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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump Criticizes Verdict As His Legal Team Debates Next Steps; Jury Selection Nearly Complete In Federal Gun Case; Sources: Biden To Severely Limit Asylum-Seeker Crossings; First Woman Projected To Win Mexico's Presidential Election; GOP Lawmakers Scrutinize Dr. Fauci On COVID Origins, U.S. Response; Celebrities In Kansas City Raise Money To Fight Pediatric Cancer. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 03, 2024 - 16:00   ET



JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Yeah. He can be seen filing, making faces. He got that tongue out for a while.

The congressman took it all in stride though. He posted on X: This is what I get for telling my son Guy to smile at the camera for his little brother.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Best brother ever.

DEAN: Honestly, that's such a good brother, and he brought us a lot of joy. So thanks, Guy.

KEILAR: Yeah, he's delivering for, his little bro. I think he should get an award for that. I love this.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Team Trump debating whether they should try to push his July 11th sentencing date.

TEH LEAD starts right now.

The question of the moment for the Trump campaign, should they try to move the former president's sentencing date or keep it as it is. The Republican convention begins July 15th in Milwaukee, sentencing July 11th. Ahead, what sources are telling CNN about this dilemma.

Plus, Dr. Anthony Fauci back on Capitol Hill facing questions and some attacks about the coronavirus pandemic.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Did the American people deserve to be abuse like that, Mr. Fauci? Because you're not doctor. You're Mr. Fauci in my few minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this what we have become?

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Is this what Congress has become?

And that flagrant foul on WNBA superstar Caitlin Clark, was it all just part of the game or intended to be a lot more personal?


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

And we start today with our law and justice lead, and brand new CNN reporting on the politics at the heart of Donald Trump's current legal issues.

Trump's attorneys are currently debating whether they're going to try to push his July 11 sentencing date in the hush money case given that that date is just four days before the start of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee but a source familiar with those deliberations tells CNN's Paula Reid that the decision is not going to be ultimately up to the lawyers. Instead, Trump and his political advisers will make the call as they weigh whether or not they can successfully frame the former president is something of a martyr, being unfairly pursued by Biden's politicized Justice Department to voters.

And as far as that sentencing goes, Trump says he would be okay with house arrest or even with prison its a supporters who wouldn't.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know that the public would stand it, you know? I don't -- I'm not sure the public would stand for with a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a house arrest or --

TRUMP: I think -- I think it would be tough for the public to take. You know, at a certain point, there's a breaking point.


TAPPER: Here in Washington, Congress returned to work today with the verdict front of mind for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Democrats seem divided on how much they should campaign on Trump's legal troubles, while the pro-Trump Republican response sounds pretty consistent and a lot like this.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We aren't a serious country anymore. We're literally a banana republic. So what does it matter of funding the government. The American people don't give a shit.


TAPPER: Yikes!

CNN's Kristen Holmes joins us now.

Kristen, let's start with the Trump team's legal strategy here. What are you hearing from your sources about the sentencing scheduling July 11th?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are two schools of thought. So just a reminder, before we actually landed on July 11, or the judge did, Todd Blanche, Trump's attorney, had asked for the end of July to be the sentencing which would have been after the convention.

And I will tell you that they had been concerned about the convention and this case running up against it for quite some time, even when they were doing their delay tactics, they were worried at a certain point that if they were to successful, that he could actually be in court while that convention was supposed to be going on.

So this has been an ongoing issue for them. So now the political team is assessing whether or not this actually helps him or doesn't help him politically.

Part of the reason that it could potentially help them is because what we've seen, these outrageous fund raising numbers. The fact that you've seen these Republicans rallying around him, does it energize Republicans going into the convention or as time goes on, is it something that would turn Republicans off or even potentially independent or conservative leaning independent voters off right ahead of the convention.

So, a lot to wait here for the Trump team.

TAPPER: And we should note, Republicans have touted some tangible wins including fundraising numbers. You just mentioned. In a new ABC News poll shows Americans views of Trump are largely unchanged even after his conviction on 34 felony charges, 31 percent of voters view him favorably, 29 percent in March. That's pretty much the same thing, if not a tick up.

What is the Trump campaign strategy moving forward to try to boost those rather dismal approval ratings? Although we should note that his opponent is in a similar situation, yeah.

HOLMES: Similarly dismal.

Donald Trump's team right now is waiting to see how this actually plays out in these polls. I think his polls are very, very new. They're fresh and this conviction just happened.

They are waiting to see what this actually looks like long term, because what they believe is that they want to make this election all about the economy, particularly inflation and immigration, crime rates as well.


That might not, be possible given the fact that he was just a convicted of a felony or felony charges but what they're trying to do now is really tried to continue to boost his popularity among Republicans while they searched for low propensity voters, people who don't often vote, trying to bring them into the fold, which they have been successful at doing a lot in 2016.

Stick with me, Kristen.

Let's go to Capitol Hill now. CNN's Manu Raju has been speaking to Republicans and Democrats today about the verdict.

Manu, let's start with the Republicans. How much are other Republicans on the same page as Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who said that America is a banana republic and voters don't care about even funding the government, given how awful the United States is now?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that view has not yet picked up steam yet among House Republican leaders, but a fight is brewing over funding the federal so government in the fall, just weeks before the November elections. In fact, just moments ago, the judiciary committee, chairman in the House, Jim Jordan, issued a letter calling for the defunding singer or to cut federal funding for certain prosecutions that he says, guard going after quote, a political opponents.

Also the same time, some of Donald Trump's closest allies in the United States Senate are vowing to bottle up any legislation at all, any moves to confirm President Biden's nominees in retaliation over the verdict in New York.

So, you're seeing some of this play out here on Capitol Hill, Jake, but undoubtedly some Republicans will be uneasy about those tactics.

TAPPER: But when it comes to Democrats, there seemed to be some divisions on exactly how much they should be talking about Trump's conviction from the House races, all the way to President Biden's campaign, right?

RAJU: Yeah, that's right. And some say, they should embrace it. In fact, bang the drum and say that they are running against a convicted felon.

Other Democrats are telling me that in fact that Joe Biden should not be talking about this. Let his surrogates do the talking about the convictions and said talk about economic issues, bread and butter issues.

And I caught up with also Joe Manchin, who just became an independent after being coming due as a Democrat for pretty much his entire political career. And I asked him about the impact that he believes this verdict will have on voters.


RAJU: Do you think this has emboldened Trump?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (I-WV): I think it did. I think it emboldened him and basically it basically shored up his support and his base and he's got a lot of new people coming on board.

RAJU: But he's a convicted felon now.

MANCHIN: I know. It makes it very difficult. I don't know how in the world you get the past that when you go to the polling both.

RAJU: This is a raised question about his character I guess?

MANCHIN: Well, I think we already know that. That's been thrown out the window.

REP. ROBERT GARCIA (D-CA): He's a convicted felon and a con man. I think it's important for all of us to remind the public of that. I think the president should stay on focus on his issues and on delivering for the American people.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We're talking about a twice-impeached convicted felon, told America to, you know, inject itself with bleach during COVID-19. And I think people have a strong sense of who he is.


RAJU: And, Jake, as a Senate return from its Memorial Day recess, the majority leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, opened the floor of the chamber to talk about the Trump verdict and saying, quote, former President Donald Trump is now a convicted felon -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks so much.

CNN's Kristen Holmes still here, along with CNN political director David Chalian, and CNN national politics correspondent, Eva McKend.

Eva, you are out on the campaign trail talking to voters all the time. How much do you get the sense that, A, there, they're closely following Trump's legal troubles and b, it plays a role in their votes.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: So voters are not following every incremental legal development. But what I can tell you when you are at forums with a large concentration of conservative voters. So I think about the faith and freedom events I went to, you often hear these voters tell you they feel more inclined to support him as these indictments king down, and were seeing that same sort of defiance in the wake of the conviction they Trump has effectively messaged to a significant amount of conservative voters that they have some sort of shared struggle. And you hear that, but I also attended a lot of Nikki Haley rallies and I would hear time and time again from conservative voters that they were exhausted of Trump, that they were tired of the chaos this alleged criminality.

And I don't see how this conviction does anything for Trump in terms of bringing those voters into his camp.

TAPPER: David, we just heard Trump say that he's not sure if, quote, the public would stand for it. If he was sentenced to House arrest or prison this is how Democratic congressman and Senate candidate Adam Schiff of California responded on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION".


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): This is clearly Donald Trump once again inciting violence, potential violence, when he is sentenced.


TAPPER: What do you make that comment as well as the split in the Democratic party that Manu discussed.


DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Democrats are seizing on that comment. This is classic Trump sort of rhetoric here, right? He tossed is something out there that's dangling out there that could be interpreted his opponents get enraged by it, and we see his supporters get fortified around it.

The split that Manu was talking about -- we see that split almost on a daily basis, even inside the Biden campaign. And I don't mean a split strategically, Jake, though, but like today, the Biden campaign put out a press release with a comment from their spokesperson, adding this comment that Trump made about his -- the public may not be able to say four it into a litany of things that they say this is somebody who is once again going to invite violence here and calling him a victim felon and all that.

Yet, Joe Biden himself when he speaks doesn't quite use that kind of language. And so even within the realm of the Biden campaign, the candidate and the staff are planning in both of those notes because I don't think they see it as an either/or kind of position. I think they believe both end can be part of it, sort of above the fray for the candidate and then getting in the mud with it from his spokespeople.

TAPPER: Is there any risk for the Biden campaign for, to act as though every single thing Donald Trump says can be interpreted in the worst possible way. I mean, is there a boy the cries wolf kind of idea that or is the audience for that so narrow cast?

CHALIAN: I think it's -- I think you answered the question, another --


CHALIAN: -- their of the option. I do think this is such a narrow cast. These are about dialed in voters who are watching cable news and that kind of, I don't know how much harm it is to the actual voters that they need to court, which are those that are disengaged and largely not paying attention to this right now.

TAPPER: Kristen, a allowed of the Republican potential Trump VP picks appeared on Sunday shows.

How -- how much, how closely are the Trump is Trump watching these auditions? And how close are they to a decision? HOLMES: Well, when it comes to a decision, I think no one knows, but

Donald Trump himself. And he was at dinner as all week last week floating different names, just on Thursday the night that he was convicted, he had a dinner with donors where he was talking about Tim Scott, Nikki Haley was mentioned.

We know that just in the last two weeks, Tom Cotton has appeared as a potential pick. That came from a number of allies and donors who have seen an opening there and decided that they were going to strike because they like Tom Cotton.

That also just being said, shows you just how far he is from this decision that mentioning Tom Cotton how makes Donald Trump mentioned him in dinners over and over again and all of a sudden, Tom Cotton has emerged.

So in terms of when the decision is going to be made, only one person knows and that's Donald Trump himself. Now, whether or not they're watching people, of course, they are, they want the most and particularly Donald Trump. He watches all of the cable news shows. He watched these clips. He's provided by some of them, the candidates themselves or their allies that show them all over Donald Trump supporting him, talking about how he is a political prisoner, et cetera.

Of course, Donald Trump is watching that, and, of course, anyone who wants to be a potential vice president for Donald Trump knows that Donald Trump is watching that and making sure that he's seeing every single clip that they do on media.

TAPPER: Somebody who's not on the list -- on the shortlist is former Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who's running for Senate. He's the Republican Senate nominee. In the moments before the Trump verdict was read, he posted on X, quote: Regardless of the results, I urge all Americans to respect the verdict and the legal process. It went on from there, but it was basically just a call for calm.

This is how Republican National Committee co-chair Lara Trump, Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, responded on "STATE OF THE UNION":


LARA TRUMP, RNC CO-CHAIR: Hey, I'll tell you one thing. I don't support what he just said there. I think it's ridiculous.

He doesn't deserve respect of anyone in the Republican Party at this point. And quite frankly, anybody in America, if that's the way you feel. That's very upsetting to hear that.


TAPPER: I mean, regardless of whether or not Governor Hogan feels that way, and I think that's probably reflective his feelings. He's running for the Senate in a blue state, deep blue state. He has a chance of winning. But if he does it, he has to appeal to Democrats.


TAPPER: I mean, she does just not care? Well, it would be a vote for Mitch McConnell. It would be vote for Trump if he wins. It'd be vote for his legislation. I mean --

CHALIAN: For all those reasons, by the way, that's why it's such an uphill battle for even a former popular Republican governor, Larry Hogan, in deep blue Maryland in the context of a Senate race.

So let's just -- that's an uphill battle to begin with, even though he may make more competitive than other Republicans.

Now, of course, Lara Trump, or Trump world going after Larry Hogan could have some appeal to independents and Democrats that Hogan trying to woo because enemy of my enemy could be your friend, kind of a thing. But clearly, he also would need every single Republican in Maryland basically do be with him in this effort.

TAPPER: Right.

CHALIAN: And that is a potential hello on that side of the equation that he needs. I don't think Senate control or how many votes they have. Were probably playing into her thinking there because what is so critical for Trump world is the total unified force, all singing from the same page on this, any crack in that is just simply intolerable.


MCKEND: She can also say what she wants to say to appease him in that format. That really has nothing to do with the behind the scenes strategy in order to get Hogan to win that competitive Senate seat. We know that the Republican establishment views him even running as a huge victory.

TAPPER: All right, one and all, thanks for being here.

Ahead, day one in the criminal trial for the president's son, Hunter Biden. The first lady in attendance as the felony gun case begins.

And the monumental election, Mexico electing its very first woman to be president. What her victory could mean with one of the United States' most important allies.


TAPPER: In our law and justice lead, for the very first time in American history and adult child of a sitting president is on trial. Hunter Biden on trial for lying when he bought a firearm in 2018, he claimed at the time he was not on drugs.

I asked President Biden about this year-and-a-half ago before Hunter was charged. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This thing about a gun, I didn't know anything about it, but turns out that what he made application to purchase a gun, what happened was he stayed -- I guess you get asked, I don't guess, you get asked the question, are you on drugs?


Do you use drugs? He said no, and he wrote about saying no in his book.


TAPPER: Today, jury selection is nearly done in Hunter Biden's federal gun case. And the judge expects opening statements to start tomorrow.

CNN's Evan Perez is outside the courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware.

Evan, what questions are the potential jurors being asked?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDETN: Well, Jake, the jurors are being asked -- potential jurors are being asked about everything from politics, their views on gun instead, of course, their views on addiction and recovery.

Those are all themes that very -- that loom very large over this case. As you pointed it out we are probably going to have a jury by the end of today, they've narrowed it down to 36 potential jurors, started the day with 250 people who are called to this courthouse. They're trying to seat a jury of 12, plus four alternates, and there's a variety of reasons why people were dismissed. Some of them said that they had hardships, serving, and this jury one this afternoon was dismissed because he was a squash partner of Beau Biden, but there's a lot of this has been a focus on addiction.

There was one retired maintenance worker who told the court that his daughter was struggling with addiction. He said, everyone deserves a second chance. He remained in the jury pool as of the last time we checked, one woman said that she wanted to ban all guns and after Donald Trump was elected in 2016, she joined what she called a resistance group. Both sides agreed that she should be dismissed.

There was also a Wilmington -- a tired Wilmington cop who told the court that Trump -- Donald Trump was a victim of political persecution and he said he didn't think that Democrats suffered from the same fate.

So, all of those things come into play in jury selection.

TAPPER: So Hunter did by the gun, and he admitted that he was on drugs at the time. What's the defense's argument?

PEREZ: Jake, one quick addition.

Just been told -- our team inside the courtroom says that a jury has now been selected. A jury of 12 and four alternates have been having selected. And so now we expect that that the opening statements will begin in the morning. That's what the plan is, but the defense from Hunter Biden is really focusing on the issue of addiction.

And when he signed those documents, the ATF form that allowed him to buy this firearm in 2018, you remember he owned his gun for 11 days? And he had to attest that he was not addicted to drugs what they're saying is that at the time, he -- it's not -- it's not clear, the government can't prove that he believe he was an addict to drugs.

Of course, the government has a lot of evidence of they're going to present. They're going to bring in the infamous Hunter Biden laptop. They're going to show text messages where he's talking about buying drugs. They're going to have testimony from three of his exes who are going to testify about his use of drugs.

And of course, his own memoir where he talked about being addicted to drugs during that very period -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Even Perez in Wilmington, Delaware, thanks so much. Then, of course, there is the president himself, the executive order he is expected to issue in an attempt to address one of the biggest division issues in the country. But is it too little too late?



TAPPER: In our national lead, it's a pivotal week for both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, one day after Mexico elected it's very first female president. Sources briefed on the action tells CNN that President Biden is about to announce a sweeping executive order on immigration.

This could happen as soon as tomorrow. It would effectively shut down the U.S.-Mexico border to asylum seekers. It's a policy that immigration rights advocates and some Democrats said was way too harsh when it was proposed under the Trump administration.

Let's get right to CNN's MJ Lee at the White House.

MJ, walk us through this new policy.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, sources who were briefed on this executive order tells CNN that what it would allow the administration to do is effectively shut down the U.S.- Mexico border to asylum seekers if the number of daily crossings at the border reaches and sort of passes a certain number.

Now, we are told that unaccompanied children would be exempt from this. But that is actually worrisome to immigration advocates because they say that that actually has the effect of incentivizing seeing an encouraging some desperate families from actually sending children to the border on their own.

Now, President Biden would be using an authority called the 212F authority. This was a regulation you might recall that was used by former President Donald Trump during his administration. And at the time was really widely denounced, including by many Democrats, so you could easily imagine President Biden getting a lot of heat and getting a lot of criticism for being hypocritical for leaning on this same authority.

Now, it's really impossible to ignore here the politics that are looming over all of this, of course, border security is one of the biggest political vulnerabilities for President Biden and for Democrats, they've gotten a lot of pressure to do more, take more actions to get a better handle on the situation at the border while at the same time former President Donald Trump has made a hard line immigration policies, so central to his presidential campaign.


LEE: Now, the White House, of course, is not conforming this expected announcement that could come tomorrow. But a spokesperson saying in a statement to CNN: As we have said before, the administration continues to explore a series of policy options and we remain committed to taking action to address our broken immigration system.

Now, of course, the big caveat here is that there could be some changes that are made to the final tax before tomorrow, but it will be a sweeping action that the president announces. He will get backlash, but he's hoping that it can earn him some political points, again, ahead of that presidential election that is coming in November.

TAPPER: Right, and, MJ, it can't be a coincidence that the order is expected to be rolled out as soon as tomorrow.

LEE: Yeah. I think you can assume that politics is really driving much of the timing here, given that we are in the middle of a presidential election. But more specifically, we are just 3-1/2 weeks away from that first presidential debate between President Biden and Donald Trump, hosted by CNN.

So taking action now, you can imagine would allow the president, President Biden, to go onstage and point to this as actually some that he has taken on this issue. The other thing, of course, is that this will be coming right on the heels of the Mexican presidential election. That is significant because it would force Mexico to take some action, too, in other words, take back some of those asylum seekers that were turned away at the border.

TAPPER: All right. MJ Lee, thanks so much.

Meanwhile, President Biden congratulated Claudia Sheinbaum on her historic projected win as Mexico's very first ever female president today. The expected landslide victory saw the largest voter turnout in the country's history.

The former Mexico City mayor has a PhD and she'll also be the first Mexican president with Jewish heritage.

CNN's Gustavo Valdes dives into Sheinbaum's background at this consequential time in the United States' relationship with Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mexico is making history. Claudia Sheinbaum's landslide victory will make her the country's first female president and the first Jewish person to ascend to its highest office.

A significant achievement in a mostly Catholic country known for its deeply patriarchal culture.

CLAUDIA SHEINBAUM, MEXICAN PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): This triumph of the Mexican people is a triumph of a revolution of minds.

VALDES: She's known as La Doctora for her PhD in energy engineering.

Sheinbaum is a climate scientist working before politics to find solutions to the extreme climate events we are facing. She's the former mayor of one of the world's most populous cities, Mexico City, now on the verge of running out of water.

Amongst her biggest challenges, lead the country to safer days as Mexico's homicide rate ranks among the highest in the world.

SHEINBAUM: We will take Mexico along the path of peace and security. Duty is and will always be to look after each Mexican without distinction.

VALDES: The U.S. closely monitoring Sunday's results for the country's relations in how key issues are handled. From trade to cracking down on drug trafficking, to their shared border, the U.S. has relied heavily in Mexico to step up immigration enforcement and helped stem the flow of migrants.

As a candidate, she mentioned the need to work with the United States and Canada to push for legal migration because according to Sheinbaum, those countries need workers.

But for a long-term solution, Sheinbaum has said Central American nations, where most of migrants come from, need investment from wealthier countries to reduce incentives to leave.

It will be much more economical than building the wall and fences, she said last March.

Woman in Mexico did not enjoy universal suffrage until 1953. More than three decades after women gained the right to do so in the U.S. Sheinbaum band will be sworn in just a month before Americans head to the polls in November.


VALDES (on camera): And, Jake, Sheinbaum spent the day quietly, receiving all this congratulation calls from world leaders, including President Lopez Obrador, who also sees his victory as a validation of his policies. He said today that he is not going to tell her what to do but he did say that between now in October, when she takes over, they're going to consult to see what changes can be made before she takes over -- Jake. TAPPER: All right. Gustavo Valdes, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and that rather heated hearing on Capitol Hill.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, FORMER NIAID DIRECTOR: You said about four or five things, Congressman, that would just not true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we have emails, just prove it.

FAUCI: Well, you don't.


TAPPER: The questions and attacks that came his way, next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, today, ugly congressional partisanship on display during Dr. Anthony Fauci's testimony about the U.S. COVID- 19 response and the origins of the virus. At one point, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene not only said that Dr. Fauci should have his medical license taken away, she said Fauci should be thrown in jail.

Fauci was grilled mostly by that Republicans over vaccine mandates and other pandemic guidelines. He also detailed death threats made against him and his family.

CNN's Lauren Fox has more on today's hearing on Capitol Hill.


LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After retiring in 2022, Dr. Anthony Fauci, once again defending his actions and recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic --


FAUCI: We were having people for reasons that had nothing to do with public health and science refusing to adhere to public health intervention measures.

FOX: -- as Republicans sought to undermine his credibility.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Do the American people deserve to be abused like that, Mr. Fauci? Because you're not doctor, you're Mr. Fauci in my few minutes.

FOX: Republicans accusing Fauci of trying to downplay a theory that the coronavirus may have originated in a lab, something Fauci adamantly denied. FAUCI: I did not edit any paper as shown in my official testimony. So

you said about four or five things, Congressman, that would just not true.

REP. DEBBIE LESKO (R-AZ): Well, we have emails, just prove it.

FAUCI: Well, you don't.

FOX: Fauci maintaining he has not been definitive one way or another about the virus's origins.

FAUCI: I keep an open mind. I feel based on the data that I have seen, that the more likely, not definitive, but the more likely explanation is a natural spillover from an animal reservoir.

FOX: During the nearly four-hour hearing, Republican seizing on a series of private emails, suggesting some NIH aides may have attempted to bypass public disclosure requirements.

FAUCI: The individuals at the NIH and NIAID are of a very committed group of individuals, and this one instance that you point out is an aberrancy and an outlier.

FOX: And Republicans questioning some of the key guidance government officials gave in the early days of the pandemic.

REP. BRAD WENSTRUP (R-OH): While policy decision it should have been based on scientific data, some, frankly, were not. The burdensome six- foot social distancing rule did not have sufficient scientific report. In your words, it just sort of appeared.

FOX: Democrats sought to defend Fauci, applauding his leadership on the COVID vaccine, and defending his right to be addressed as a doctor in the hearing room.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Are we allowed to deny that a doctor is a doctor just because we don't want him to be a doctor?

GREENE: Yes, because in my time, that man does not deserve to have a license is a matter of fact, it should be revoked and he belongs in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's completely unacceptable to be able -- to deny Dr. Fauci who's here, a respected member of the medical community, his title, and that's actually a personal attack on his character.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I have instructed her.

GREENE: He's not respected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I've instructed her to address him as a doctor.

GREENE: I'm not addressing him as a doctor.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOX (on camera): And Dr. Fauci acknowledged as he was being grilled by Republicans, Jake, that so many of the decisions he was making were the best that he could make at the time, given the fact that there were hundreds, at times thousands of Americans dying every day, he said, of course, in hindsight, he does think through whether or not some decisions could have made differently. He said that is the job of a scientist, of a public official who is garnering and trying to get the country through a pandemic -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill for us, thanks so much.

Coming up next, how star power is helping save the lives of some of America's youngest cancer patients.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: So, our health lead collision with our pop culture lead, it's a celebration dedicated to saving some of the most precious lives. And one of the most meaningful plants I attend every year raising awareness and money for the fight to combat pediatric cancer and other child health challenges.

It's called the big slick. It's a weekend and Kansas City to benefit Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and started 15 years ago. As a charity poker tournament by actors and comedians Rob Riggle and Jason Sudeikis. The team is now helm as well by familiar faces, Paul Rudd and Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner and Heidi Gardner from "Saturday Night Live".

There's a softball game at the Royals' Kauffman Stadium.


PAUL RUDD, ACTOR: It was touch and go there for a bit, but we're lucky enough to be out here doing this and celebrating this incredible weekend or raise money for this unbelievable hospital.


TAPPER: Paul talking about the rain there.

Folks mingle, and auction off experiences.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again, give it up for your home town hero.


TAPPER: One person offered a sizable donation to Children's Mercy if "SNL" alum and actor Will Forte dove into the hotel fountain and sang a verse from the famous James Ingram hit "Just Once". It was definitely worth it.

There were real singers, of course, though at that the talent show on Saturday night, among them, this year, Sheryl Crow.

We also had a return of the famous '90s "Saturday Night Live" skit, the bears, featuring George Wendt and Jason Sudeikis and Robert Smigel, who is also the voice of triumph and so comic dog and the Bears fans there on stage enjoyed the opportunity to grill Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you going to make an honest woman out of her?


I mean, you got -- look, Taylor doesn't need to be working anymore. And again, I know your kicker agrees with me.


TAPPER: For the record, no answer from Travis Kelce about Taylor Swift there.

Beyond the glitz, of course, the most memorable moments of the weekend always come when we get to visit to see the kids at Children's Mercy, and we get to meet their families who are enduring these horrible experiences that are made slightly better by the incredibly compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, aided by cutting edge technology at Children's Mercy.

Here's the story of one, just one, brave girl named Parker.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like a Wednesday and she wasn't feeling very good and it progress even further to Friday and we got into the doctor and they send a straight to the emergency room, and they found a large mass in her abdomen. That next Monday, she had the mass removed.

That's when they asked if we are willing to do any of the research, if they could do any research on her tumors hello her treatment for all that research studies. And, of course, we did because I'm both myself and Parker's dad have cancer history in our family.

Anything we could do to help other kiddos in the future, maybe not have to go through what Parker went through in being able to do that and have that funding, like it was free for Parker. And after seeing the mass that was removed from her, I mean, some of them describe it the size of a cantaloupe out of her little abdomen. So going from thought to having a few small spots and now they're gone, stage four, like she beat it, beat it, didn't you?


TAPPER: The Big Slick team this year raised a record-breaking $3.9 million this weekend, bringing the total 15-year haul to more than $25 million.

But the very need for the altruism of the Big Slick underlines a victory real problem, the imbalance, and how much this nation invests in research to benefit children as opposed to adult to, I get it, they have a lot more money and a lot more sway. And they have the ability to vote.

Here to help us better understand the need and the disparity is Nancy Goodman, founder and executive director of It's an advocacy group calling for more government funding to fight pediatric cancer.

And we're just going to keep doing this. I'm going to keep going to the Big Slick and coming back telling the story and having you in until they take care of this insanity because let's talk about this. These kids are tremendous. They pull in anyone's heartstrings. Pediatric cancer accounts for 4 percent, 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute Budget, less than 1 percent of the bio pharma industry's recent searching development budgets. And then the last 30 years, the FDA has approved 200 adult cancer drugs compared to six for kids.

Why? And what can we do?

NANCY GOODMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KIDSVCANCER.ORG: It's such a great question and especially such a great question because we do care so much about kids. You know, there are as many children's cancers as there are adult cancers, Jake, and so, really, the National Cancer Institute should spend half their budget on children's cancers and half their budget on adult cancers, right?

So I think part of it is culture. I think just having these conversations and talking about it really is going to matter and we just have to increase the NCI's budget. You know, it's not -- it's not where it needs to be.

Where the money is, the money and private sector and bio pharmaceuticals. And so there, you know, we need Congress to pass some laws to require industry and incentivize industry to do more to study kids cancers.

TAPPER: And they have done that in the past for other disparities, gender disparities, racial disparities.

GOODMAN: They have, they have.

TAPPER: So, look, nobody wants anyone to pass away from cancer but I mean, do people not see that there's a difference between a 95-year- old dying of cancer and a five-year-old dying of cancer.

GOODMAN: Well, hopefully, Congress -- which Congress is considering couple of bills now and hopefully they will see that there is a difference. You know, you put a bill in front of Congress, it's really hard to get some traction when there are thousands of other bills in front of Congress. But I think were doing a good job and the pediatric cancer community and hopefully, hopefully, it's going to work.

But, you know, these kind of fundraising events that you put on really, really matter. I mean, the fact is that most drug development for kids does not occur in industry. It occurs in hospitals.

TAPPER: Lets think about what these guys, Rudd, Stonestreet, Sudeikis, Wriggle and Heidi Gardner and David Koechner, $25 million, that really could make a difference.

GOODMAN: It could make -- and it makes a difference. And hospitals do an enormous amount of money with this -- with what's raised locally and if you look at the pediatric cancer drugs that have been developed recently, there are six last 30 years, they all started in hospitals, all of them.


TAPPER: Where do you find hope? Will advances like CRISPR, this is a new genetic tool in immunotherapy, offer some hope to these kids?

GOODMAN: You know, we're at a moment of there's going to be a greatly forward in science and new cancer drugs are going to cure people who now have terminal diseases, adults and children? So where I find hope and what I hope is going to happen is that kids are going to get access to these drugs, too, and that there's going to be enough to fund researchers who are researching drugs for children.

So that's why what you're doing is so important.

TAPPER: And your website again, for everybody at home?


TAPPER:, I knew it. I just want wanted to do it at the same time.

GOODMAN: Thank you.

TAPPER: Nancy, it's so great to see you. And I want to thank Nancy and all of those involved in the Big Slick and the fight to combat pediatric cancer and everyone at Children's Mercy, an incredible hospital. Thank you so much.

We have some breaking news today from Israel, the IDF declared that four people taken hostage on October 7th were killed. The tragic development comes amid confusion and frustration over the latest ceasefire proposal. We're going to go live to Jerusalem, next.