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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Unveils Sweeping New Border Restrictions; Garland: I Won't Be "Intimidated" By Attacks On Justice Department; Photos Of Drugs Found On Hunter Biden's Laptop Shown In Court; Biden Hints Netanyahu Is Prolonging War To Stay In Power; Study: CEOs Earned Nearly 200 Times More Than Their Workers In 2023. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 04, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: It's the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the Army.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Corporal Woodson was part of the all-black 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, which deployed balloons to protect soldiers from Nazi fighter planes.

He was seriously wounded during the invasion of Normandy, but spent 30 hours treating fellow soldiers throughout that attack. Woodson died in 2005 at the age of 83.

KEILAR: This means so much to his family. It is obviously well overdue. So congratulations to them.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Moments ago, President Biden rolled out a major new immigration policy.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Brand new rules at the U.S. border. The president clamping down on how many people can seek asylum. But why now?


Border crossings are down, but then again, so was the president's polling on immigration.

Also, ahead, another states charging Trump allies with crimes related to a 2020 fake electors scheme. Who's on the list? And what prosecutors say they did, ahead.

Plus, the fat paychecks for America's CEOs making almost 200 times more than their average worker. The billionaire entrepreneur known as Mr. Wonderful is here to weigh in.

And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. We're going to start this hour with the breaking news. President Biden rolling out sweeping new actions at the U.S.-Mexico border as the president attempts to address one of the biggest challenges facing the United States and his reelection campaign.

Biden's new executive actions on immigration allow the government to ban migrants who crossed the border illegally from being able to seek asylum. That's a change to a policy that's been in place for decades. The new rules are expected to go into effect at midnight tonight in the year 2024. During Biden's announcement, President Biden announced -- acknowledged rather that more needs to be done to fully address the border crisis.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must face the simple truth to protect America as a land that welcomes immigrants. We must first secure the border and secure it now. The simple truth is, there is a worldwide migrant crisis. And if United States done to secure our border, there's no limit to the number of people may try to come here.


TAPPER: President Biden is using the very same authority that Trump used in 2018 to similarly attempt to restrict asylum seekers. Trump was eventually blocked by the courts. And today, the ACLU said it plans to sue the Biden White House over the order, which is already facing backlash from both the left and the right.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The only question anyone should ask is, why didn't you do this in 2021? Why didn't you do this in 2022? Why didn't you do this in 2023? Why don't you do this last month or the month before?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): I'm concerned that this is just, you know, the enforcement only side of the strategy.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I'm disappointed that the president has, you know, sort of gone into the same frame as Donald Trump at a very time when we need to make a distinction between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.


TAPPER: CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is at the White House for us. CNN's David Culver is in San Diego, California, at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Priscilla, walk us through exactly how these new actions will work and why now?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, this is a sweeping measure, but in effect will make it much more difficult for migrants to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. What it does is essentially bar migrants to cross the border illegally from seeking asylum when a daily threshold of 2,500 is met.

We're already there, so that allows us to go into effect immediately. Now, this would allow for authorities to turn migrants back to Mexico or to their origin country with some exceptions for unaccompanied children, among others who may have medical conditions or are victims of severe human trafficking.

But look, this is a page from Donald Trumps playbook. He tried to do this exact same thing in 2018, and he was challenged in the courts. And that's exactly what the Biden administration is going to face according to the ACLU.

Senior administration officials acknowledged that, but also acknowledged that they need cooperation from Mexico, and we're learning that moments ago, President Biden spoke with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador about this latest action.

Now, Jake, to your question about why now, the president said that he had to take action and he told his critics to be patient.


BIDEN: To those who say the steps I've taken are too strict, I say to you that be patient. And goodwill of the American people are going to -- wearing thin right now.


ALVAREZ: Now, Jake, this is a significant policy shift from 2021 when the president was talking about restoring the asylum system and passing immigration reform, clearly an attempt to try to blunt attacks from Republicans who have slammed his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border -- Jake.


TAPPER: David Culver at the border, encounters at the border in San Diego were up nearly 50 percent last month from the year before. What's the reality on the U.S.-Mexico border right now?

DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we wanted to get a sense of that firsthand, Jake, and we mobilize late last night, about 50 miles east of where we are to an area that's a bit more rural. It's part of San Diego County is still and its that hotspot, as you mentioned, especially compared with the rest of the U.S. southern border.

And at first, it seemed eerily quiet. And then we started to see folks. We can show you some the images crossing in the early morning hours as the sun was coming up, it was getting increasingly hot in that desert climate.

And then they were all coming together to go to Border Patrol, who then process them and put them into vans and take them on into detention centers. But what was really interesting and talking to some of these migrants

is, you get a sense I can solve this back last year when Title 42 ended, they cannot base their movements around U.S. policy. For many of them, U.S. policy is just too unpredictable. They don't know what's going to happen with the president, with Congress, with the courts.

And so, they're planning day by day on their own terms. And that's really important to keep in mind because you thought perhaps there'd be a surge today. They got word the executive order is coming down and they move along. Not necessarily the case. It could come later on.

But even folks, let me show you where we are here, you got folks who are still coming in. Now this is one of the few portions of the border wall when you've got two barriers, essentially, the U.S. territory is in-between between these two walls. And so these folks right here are already in the U.S. about 25 of them came in from India.

I spoke when I was in that other more rural section with one migrant from Ecuador and here's what he had to say about his journey.



CULVER: He says he's going to walk up here. And --


CULVER: He acknowledges it's hot, but he says he's got to hurry along because he's going to then continue on to an immigration official to start the process for asylum.


CULVER: I thought it was really important that you hear from Brian there from Ecuador because, Jake, as you know, earlier this year, we were in Ecuador covering the instability. And when you think about the root causes of migration, his story speaks right to that. He said things are too insecure right now in his country, so he packed up and as you saw, crossed into the U.S. today.

TAPPER: All right. David Culver, at the border, Priscilla Alvarez at the White House, thanks to both of you.

Let's discuss with my panel.

So, Kate, when then-President Trump tried to restrict asylum at the southern border, Joe Biden, not yet president. tweeted -- this is 2019 -- quote: Trump is fighting tooth and nail to deny those fleeing dangerous situations their right to seek asylum in our nation. We should uphold our moral responsibility and enforce our immigration laws with dignity, not turn away those fleeing violence, war, and poverty, unquote.

I assume you knew I was going to ask you about this tweet. What changed other than the election year? KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well --

TAPPER: Facts of a --

BEDINGFIELD: I think a few things. First of all, I think it's important to note there are differences between what President Biden has put forward today. And for example, family separation, which is a key piece of Donald Trump's --


TAPPER: I'm not talking about family separation. I'm talking about restricting asylum.

BEDINGFIELD: But that's an important difference. I -- look, also, we've had four years of rising numbers at the border, the president has been very, very clear that his preference was to do this in a bipartisan way through Congress. We know that when the Trump administration tried to do this with an executive order, they were challenged in the courts. The Biden White House has every expectation that will happen to them too. This was not the way the president wanted to do this.

But Republicans walked away from the table, were unwilling to, you know, to work on a bill that was one of the most comprehensive and most significant bipartisan efforts on this issue in decades.

TAPPER: Didn't it happen like -- it happened like six months ago, February was it?


BEDINGFIELD: And so they tried -- and they have exhausted so the Biden White House has every other -- every other option and is now doing this. They want to make sure that they are taking every step available to them, but they've been clear this is not the way that they would prefer to go.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well -- but the president is also 27 points down from Donald Trump on the issue of immigration, which is now one of the top issues for the American public. So they had to do something and they didn't get what they wanted in February, we can acknowledge that. But this is kind of a Hail Mary, right? They -- because they -- they have to do something.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, I would say --

MIKE DUBKE, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: They have to -- they have to throw Hail Mary at this point because of the politics of it all. The three-and-a-half years ago, they could have started this.

BEDINGFIELD: But wouldn't you say had they done this 3-1/2 years ago, don't we think Republicans would have used that as an excuse to not come to the table? I mean, everybody agree --

DUBKE: We have a broken system.

BEDINGFIELD: -- that the best way to address the broken system is through Congress, which will be a lot more bullet-proof --


DUBKE: Oh, I don't know that I agree with that.

BEDINGFIELD: -- from a legal standpoint.

DUBKE: I -- as one thing -- one thing that you have to give credit to the Trump administration doing is they're tough rhetoric actually brought down the numbers of people traveling to the border. And the piece that we just saw, these are individuals making decision on U.S. policy that they're getting through their news sources and whatever country in the world, Ecuador, India.


I mean, this -- this is now an open gate for the world to come to him.

BORGER: And now, it's come down since December, for example, because the president has spoken with Mexico and they've tried to make some arrangements about busing migrants back, et cetera, et cetera. So, the numbers are -- they're high, but they're not where they were in December.

I mean, I would argue they'd be a lot lower if Congress had passed its bill and put more money into what needs to be funded for --

BEDINGFIELD: Absolutely.

TAPPER: So, let's talk about that for one second because one of the border states senators, Senator Mark Kelly, Democrat from Arizona, this is what he had to say after President Biden's announcement today.


SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): The political issue happened months ago when after months of negotiation, you know, many of us work can together on a plan that had the support of the majority of the United States Senate. This is when it became political is one former president decided that he wanted this as a campaign issue and even said that, made it very clear he needed this as a campaign issue. That's when this was politicized.


TAPPER: So let me grant every point you made about Biden -- but for the sake of argument -- sake of argument about Biden could have done this in 2021 or whatever, but does Senator Kelly not also have a point?

DUBKE: Senator Kelly has a point only because the Biden administration, again, I'm just making -- coming back to this point had had a number of years to work with Congress on this very broken system. I don't know who's right here.

I'm just going to basically say that. I know the rhetoric --

TAPPER: They both could be wrong.

DUBKE: They both could be wrong. And this is one of those tough issues. It's now number two issue.

We are going to have to confront it. I think in my numbers might be slightly off here, but yesterday, 3,700 individuals came across the border that they know of? This is -- this has been just an -- this on a sieve. This has just been an opening gushing gate.

BEDINGFIELD: But Joe Biden sent a bill to Congress on his first day in office, his first day in office --


BEDINGFIELD: -- and six months ago, seven months ago, we were closer than we've been in a generation to genuine bipartisan legislation on this, which many, many very far-right members of the Republican caucus said was a serious and significant bill.

DUBKE: Uh-huh.

BEDINGFIELD: And Donald Trump said, no, I need this as a campaign issue. You can't -- you can't dispute those facts.


BEDINGFIELD: We all saw it play out.

BORGER: Republicans were working on it. Senator Lankford. I mean, he was, he was thrown under the bus. And how long have we covered immigration?

TAPPER: My entire adult life.

BORGER: More than a decade, right? I mean, at least.

And they finally got close to the finish line. And then Donald Trump pulled the plug.

TAPPER: There wasn't even -- it was actually just a border bill. It wasn't even an immigration reform bill.

BORGER: Right.

TAPPER: That bill was a border bill.

BEDINGFIELD: So that's just indisputable. And I think for Biden now, as he makes this argument moving into the last five months of this campaign, he's not only going to argue about the steps he's taken, including the executive order today, but he also has what I think is now a very potent argument to say, Republicans did not want to get this done. They were all talk, they walk, and I'm about solutions. DUBKE: His solution, and just briefly, his solution is the solution

that we had before Biden became president.

TAPPER: That the courts, that the courts --

DUBKE: And he's going to have the same issue.

TAPPER: All right.

BEDINGFIELD: He doesn't disagree with that.

DUBKE: Well --

TAPPER: Thank you, one and all. I will -- I will see you guys in the next hour.

Coming up, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland confronted on Capitol Hill by some of his sharpest critics. Hear his defense.

Plus, the Biden administration confirms more senior officials, including the CIA director, are heading back to the Middle East to push more for a ceasefire deal.

The growing pressure that this puts on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept that deal coming up.



TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead and contentious hearing on Capitol Hill where U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared before the House Judiciary Committee.

Attorney General Garland pushed back on claims that the Justice Department was targeting Republicans, including Donald Trump. Garland said he would not be intimidated by those attacking the Justice Department.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: These repeated attacks on the Justice Department are unprecedented and they are unfounded.

We will continue to do our jobs, free from political influence and we will not back down from defending democracy.


TAPPER: As CNN's Manu Raju reports, Garland's hearing comes as House Republicans lay out their new plan to go after the U.S. Justice Department for unfair practices, they say.


UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury -- MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):

Attorney General Merrick Garland facing off with his loudest critics on Capitol Hill --

GARLAND: I will not be intimidated, and the Justice Department will not be intimidated.

RAJU: -- in calling out GOP attacks that his department is behind the New York hush money case that made Donald Trump the first ever ex- president to become a convicted felon.

GARLAND: That conspiracy theory is an attack on the judicial process itself.

RAJU: Republicans firing back.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The question is, do you communicate with them, not whether you control them. Do you communicate with them? And we provide this committee --

GARLAND: We make a request. We will refer it to our office of legislative affairs.

GAETZ: But see, here's the thing, you come in here and you lodge this attack that it's a conspiracy theory that there is coordinated lawfare against Trump. And then when we say fine, just give us the documents, give us the correspondence, and then if it's a conspiracy theory that will be evident.

RAJU: Democrats said Republicans were playing for an audience of one.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): They're about to nominate a convicted felon and they don't know how to cope with that.

RAJU: The GOP taking aim at Garland for appointing special counsel, Jack Smith, who is leading the prosecution against Trump in two federal indictments.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Did he ask for the job?


GARLAND: This was not a job I don't think anybody asks for. I'm sorry.

JORDAN: That's not -- no, but that's not the question I asked you. I said did Jack Smith ask for the job?

GARLAND: He did not ask me for the job, no.

RAJU: Garland today refusing to comply with the House subpoena for audio of special counsel Robert Hur's interview with President Joe Biden over his handling of classified documents. In that 388-page report, Hur declined to prosecute Biden, citing in part, how a jury would view him as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.

GARLAND: Releasing the audio would show cooperation with the department in future investigations.

RAJU: Republicans accusing Garland of protecting Biden as they threatened the attorney general with contempt of Congress.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Is it because DOJ has determined the president is not mentally fit to defend himself and stand trial for his crime, but former President Trump is?

GARLAND: I say again, that's an inaccurate description of Mr. Hur's report.

RAJU: Undercutting the GOP's criticism is the fact that two sitting Democratic congressman and the president's own son, Hunter, are facing three separate criminal indictments.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): So you've prosecuted Democrats and as we speak, Hunter Biden, who is a son of the president, is under trial in Delaware. You haven't weaponized the Justice Department in terms of hiding and protecting Democrats, Menendez, Cuellar and Hunter Biden.

GARLAND: The Justice Department follows the facts and the law.


RAJU (on camera): And, Jake, this all comes as Republicans are grappling with the fact that they are presumptive nominee is now a convicted felon. I talked a number of Republican what gives including in swing districts, and many of them actually are aligning themselves with Donald Trump's contention that this was an unfair verdict.

I did ask the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell today, if you he's 100 percent behind Trump now that he's a convicted felon. He said. Jake, that the prospect of the case should never have been brought, but he did not say if he still supports Donald Trump -- Jake.

TAPPER: Manu, today, House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled the plan of House Republicans to go after the Justice Department for alleged abuses.

Tell us more about that.

RAJU: Yeah, this plan is still coming together. In fact, Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, has been pushing Speaker Johnson and tried to go take aim at funding for the Department of Justice, going after some of the prosecutions at the state and local level.

Johnson indicated that he would make them move forward with three- pronged approach, looking at oversight, looking at the issue of funding, looking at the issue of legislation, but also indicating that there'll be taken more deliberate approach. So a lot of details here are lacking. He is facing a lot of pressure from his hard right when it comes time to fund the government in the fall and whether to pull back any funding from the Department of Justice.

Some of those members telling me today that Johnson should absolutely fight to potentially move to a government shutdown fight and try to define the Department of Justice even as the White House would not accept that, Democrats in the Senate wouldn't accept it. And it probably can't even pass in the narrowly divided House.

But that is the pressure that Johnson is facing saying showing that what is in store in the fall as they head into this funding fight, just weeks before the election, Jake.

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

Coming up, cash, cocaine, and of course, that infamous laptop. A testimony today in the Hunter Biden federal gun case, that's next.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead today, Hunter Biden's drug addiction and photographs of what appeared to be cocaine found on his laptop are at the center of the prosecutions case today in Biden's federal gun trial. President Biden's son faces three criminal charges, two for allegedly lying on a gun form application, claiming he was not using drugs at the time. The third charge was for having the gun while allegedly using or being addicted to drugs.

CNN's Paula Reid is outside the courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware.

Paula, what did jurors here from the prosecutor's first witness today? And was any of it damaging to Hunter Biden's defense?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, today, the jurors have spent most of the day, hearing prosecutors introduce electronic evidence to support their case, including evidence from the infamous Hunter Biden laptop.

Now, they're introducing this electronic evidence to support their allegation that Hunter Biden was in the throes of addiction when he purchased a firearm and checked on a form when he made that purchase, that he was not addicted to or using illegal drugs.

Now, among the evidence they introduced was that for which relates to two of the three charges he is facing. They also introduced photos of drugs that he was using, specifically cocaine, a photo where he is shirtless and has a crack pipe, text messages between him and drug dealers, and also bank records that show that at the time he purchased this firearm, he was withdrawing hundreds, even thousands of dollars a day.

Now, I was in court earlier for quite a long time and it was fascinating to watch Hunter Biden as prosecutors introduce large sections of his memoir, the audiobook that he in fact narrated, specifically the portions where he talked about how he descended into drug addiction, the lengths he went to, to obtain crack and the impact that had on his life.

Now, while he was watching attentively, there was also someone else watching attentively, Jake, and that was the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, who is in court again today to support her stepson.

TAPPER: How did the jury respond to everything? Tell us about the mood in the courtroom.

REID: Yes, certainly a somber mood inside the courthouse today. The jury was incredibly attentive, many of them taking lots of notes as they heard the evidence. But the issue of addiction, Jake, something that we know is an epidemic in the United States, looms large in this case.

The majority of potential jurors said either day or a loved one has had issues with addictions, something almost everyone understands. And at a one-point during the defense's opening statement, one juror -- she took out a tissue and dabbed her eyes. It's clear that the story was getting to her.


By the way, prosecutors are handling this very delicate issue. They remind the jury that, of course, addiction is not a choice, but they say buying an illegal firearm is.

TAPPER: And just to remind everyone, didn't Hunter Biden? Have a plea deal on the table at one point that would have avoided him going to trial, going to prison, but his legal team walked away from it?

REID: Yeah, he had a plea deal until he didn't Jake. A roughly a year ago, this plea deal fell apart. The judge overseeing this case had some concerns about it, and then Hunter Biden's defense lawyers also had some concerns that the plea deal would not fully resolve all of his legal exposure.

The whole thing fell apart. Subsequently, the Trump appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who've been overseeing this case, he was appointed special counsel, and he has since brought two criminal cases against Hunter Biden. And this is the first case.

The other one occur in September in Los Angeles, and that is a case focus on tax-related charges.

TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid in Wilmington, Delaware, thanks so much.

There is a proposed ceasefire deal on the table to get more hostages released by Hamas.

So what is stopping Prime Minister Netanyahu from publicly acknowledging it? President Biden has a theory about the prime minister's true intentions. What did Biden say in an interview about it? That's next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, President Biden says there's, quote, every reason, unquote, for people to believe that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prolonging the war against Hamas in Gaza for his own political survival.

Those remarks published today in an interview with "Time Magazine" conducted just three days before Biden's speech on Friday, laying out details of Israel's proposed hostage and ceasefire deal, a speech that seemed to back Prime Minister Netanyahu into something of a corner forced to choose between a deal or the survival of the Netanyahu government and its current form.

Joining us now to discuss, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Thanks so much for joining us former Prime Minister Bennett.

The war cabinet and Netanyahu himself approved this proposal before Biden laid it out, according to CNN analyst and "Axios" reporter Barak Ravid.

Do you think, ultimately, Netanyahu will listen to Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich on the right side, the right flank of his government, over his war cabinet, that wants this deal?

NAFTALI BENNETT, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I don't know. I have to say, I don't think there's a real deal on the table in the sense that Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, they're holding 120 hostages of which 41 we know are dead or have been murdered by Hamas.

And I believe that he's playing a tactic, a cat and mouse tactic here. He won't really release a lot of the hostages. He'll try and prolong this war because that's his strategy to exhaust Israel. It's also Iran's strategy.

And I think the only way for us to really get a deal, a real deal on the table is to increase the pressure on Sinwar, by a pressing up and pushing up their effort in Rafah.

TAPPER: Do you think there needs to be more done in Rafah? I thought that the IDF had concluded major operations in Rafah were concluded?

BENNETT: No, they're not even just a few minutes ago, I spoke to soldiers from Rafah, we need to act much quicker. This whole war is going on way too long that it could have been -- we could have done Rafah three, four months ago.

I think -- I think a combination of poor execution of the Israeli government and the administration's constant -- American administrations constant slowing down Israel coupled together, made for a very slow and prolonged war. This is not good. We should get it done with this sooner.

TAPPER: Do you believe that Netanyahu is prolonging this war to stay in power as President Biden seems to suggest this is possible.

BENNETT: I truly hope that that's not the case, that he's not injecting political personal considerations. I would hope that that's not the case.

Factually, it is being conducted, the war is being conducted way, way too slowly.

TAPPER: So you hope it's not the case, but do you suspect it is?

BENNETT: Again, I am not in the brain of Mr. Netanyahu. And all I can look at the actions. I can see that wars are won with decisive continuity. You can't turn on and off the switch.

I was a fighter for many years. That's not how you win a war. If you punch your opponent, then he's wobbling. You have to zero in and punch him again. You don't give them a month off to recuperate and come back strong again.

And that's exactly what's happening. It needs to stop. We need to increase the pressure on Yahya Sinwar so we can release the hostages and win the war.

TAPPER: In the "Time Magazine" interview, President Biden refuse to answer when the interviewer asked him what he would do now that, quote, Netanyahu appears to have crossed your red line, as the interviewer put it.

But today, the U.S. agreed to give Israel another batch of U.S.-made stealth F35 fighter jets. Does Israel still believe Biden's threats to withhold U.S. support if red lines are crossed or does the government in Israel, does Netanyahu not think that Biden's threats along those lines were ever serious?


BENNETT: We deeply respect President Biden and his administration and the friendship of the United States of America. We don't take it for granted at all. Regarding Rafah, there was a debate and we were told that there's no way to move 1 million civilians away from harms way, yet we did it. And it didn't take three months as was suggested, it took about a week-and-a-half.

So I think we have the abilities to do what we need to do. I want to point out, Jake, that we have sealed the border between Egypt and Gaza, which means that from about seven days ago, Hamas cannot refill its ammo, which means time is running out for them. And if we just follow through rapidly decisively, I think we can conclude this faster than expected.

TAPPER: The countries of Spain, Norway, and Ireland have all recognized a state of Palestine in recent weeks. Slovenia might be next. The country of Colombia broke diplomatic ties with Israel. Brazil recalled its ambassador.

Is the war in Gaza doing long-term strategic damage to the state of Israel?

BENNETT: First of all, we are paying international price for this, but we have really no choice. We're fighting for our lives. And any other country would do it.

So there's a double standard being applied on Israel. We're trying to conduct the most just war in history, trying to do it as cautiously as possible. And everyone in the world is a double guessing and telling us how to do it and how they would do it better.

But they're not in our shoes and we have to defend our citizens first.

Regarding the recognition of a Palestinian state, you know, if you say a tree is a duck, it doesn't turn the tree into a duck. A state has three main conditions, defined territory which the Palestinians don't have, government that effectively controls the people, which does not exist, and sovereignty which does not exist.

So this is more symbolic gesture. There's no Palestinian state, but more importantly, I want to say the Israeli public, who supported a two-state solution until a few years ago, now has moved to oppose it, not because we're 10 million imbeciles. We don't understand anything. The whole world knows what's right for Israel, just we don't.

There's a reason because twice we gave him a Palestinian state once in the West Bank and once in Gaza, and twice that very Palestinian state blew up on us and killed thousands of Israelis. So something is wrong.

This Palestinian state approach has not worked and we're looking at reality as it is, not as the world wants it to be.

TAPPER: In four days, Netanyahu's rival in the war camp, in the war cabinet, Benny Gantz says he's going to leave the war cabinet. He's going to pull his party from the government if the cabinet cannot agree on a comprehensive plan for the war against Hamas and a plan for the day after.

What will the ramifications be politically if Benny Gantz leaves the war cabinet?

BENNETT: Well, it's meaningful because Benny Gantz provides the other side of this unity government. So it's left and right government, bipartisan. The moment he pulls out, it'll be one-sided, the government, which has less legitimacy domestically and internationally.

So, certainly, it's not going to provide Israel more freedom of action.

TAPPER: All right. Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, thank you so much for your time.

BENNETT: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: This note, in just a few minutes, I'm going to speak with the journalist from "Time Magazine" who had that interview with President Biden.

But first, some breaking news coming in on Donald Trump's hush money case after last week's verdict. We're back with Trump's new request. That's next.


TAPPER: Our money lead now. CEOs are making nearly 200 times more money than their median worker and analysis by the Equilar, and "The Associated Press" shows that CEOs are benefiting from the stock market and from inflation as their employees are struggling to keep up with cost of living expenses.

Last year, the median CEO of S&P 500 companies made just more than $16 million. It's up 13 percent from the year before. Employees made nearly $83,000. That's up about 5 percent.

So while workers are getting paid more compared to previous years, it's at a very slow pace, comparatively.

Kevin O'Leary, a "Shark Tank" judge, often called Mr. Wonderful, joins us now.

Kevin, thanks so much for joining.

So workers, paychecks are basically swallowed up by high costs for rent and groceries, other bills, inflation is rampant, obviously, even if it's down a little. Are there any ways that employees themselves can level the playing field? Or do you think inflation is too big of a giant to compete against?

KEVIN O'LEARY, CHAIRMAN, O'LEARY VENTURES: No, actually, as you just detail, the S&P 500, the largest economy on Earth is made up of 11 sectors. We are the most successful economy in the world and have been for over 200 years.

But one thing missing from the data you talked about is actually 62 percent of jobs in America are not created by the S&P 500 where the CEOs are being detailed in their salaries versus the average of the workers. Sixty-two percent come from small business in America between five and 500 employees, most of them family for second-generation businesses.

They pay themselves a lot more. They're doing very, very well. We should be very proud of them.


However, we don't spend a lot of money or time in government worrying about them because it acts like the Chips and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, there isn't a dime in there for small business. So focusing just on S&P 500 and trying to say that's how America works, and that's the disparity on salary, that just doesn't work anymore.

We're too big, small businesses are too big. It's way too big. It is America, it is the backbone of the economy.

And, by the way, a public markets determine what people are paid. And so far, we've been very, very successful. So I don't think I want to mess with any of it. TAPPER: You previously said you don't think the Fed will lower

inflation rates anytime soon, or interest rates anytime soon rather. How can the average worker get used to living with inflation?

O'LEARY: Well, this just about policy and, you know, at the end of the day, you've got an election coming up. You may want to start thinking about this because inflation is the one thing that people really feel when they go to the ballot box because it affects housing food, notably protein and gasoline prices, energy.

So if you don't like what you have right now, you may want to actually stop focusing on porn (ph) and start thinking about policy which we haven't done yet, and this election cycle. And I'd like to hear the ideas of both candidates are what they're going to do about this because you're right this affects the outcome of what the economy looks like. In the next four years.

I don't want to be biased or bipartisan, but there's a big difference in what's being talked about in taxes, for example, or government programs or energy or technology transfer to foreign countries. It's worth focusing on those now, because if you don't like what you have right now, you may want to hear the new ideas for the existing incumbent or the ones that may be coming in from a new candidate.

TAPPER: So, let me ask you, because former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers was pooh-poohed by the Biden White House when he was warning about inflation if the hundreds of millions of dollars were pumped into the economy as Biden did. Summers is now warning that under a second possible Trump presidency, Trump's economic plans, including extending the tax cuts, increasing tariffs, deporting migrants, he says now that that would make inflation even worse than it is.

He told "The Atlantic," quote, there has never been a presidential platform, so self-evidently inflationary as the one put forward by President Trump.

What do you make of that?

O'LEARY: Well, its very interesting large brush comment. But I like to get into policy because that's what matters. Let's take one that's been floated in the last few days, which I find very interesting.

ANWR has been discussed. ANWR is one of the largest resources of oil in the world, hasn't been touched just yet. We have massive debt. We've got a lot of government printing money. You just detail that.

How do we stop that? Well, let's take a lesson from Norway or from Canada. What they did back in the '70s when they found similar oil, in Norway's case, offshore, they said let's put a royalty on every barrel, and use it specifically to reduce the country's debt and then build a giant endowment fund that assures the wealth and the ongoing wellness of people in Norway.

They did that by putting law in place. The Canadians didn't. They squandered their wealth. They discovered the same amount of oil almost down to the last hundred thousand barrels. And they let the government just freighter it away over 30, 40, 50 years.

Now, if we did the same thing in ANWR and that policy is on the table and we said the only use of that royalty, off those barrels, the only use as written by Congress is to pay off national debt. It would take a huge chunk of the national debt away and we would be the largest self-sufficient, energy secured nation on Earth, supplying all the Asian coast from Alaska energy. This would be a great policy.

Now, I don't know which president is going to put it in place, but it is a gift to the American people. That ANWR has not been touched yet. It could solve a massive amount of problems.

I would argue to you whether you're Democrat or whether you're a Republican or an independent, this is a good idea. Let's borrow it from Norway and do it their way, not the way the Canadians did it and solve a massive amount of our debt problem.

I bet you that sells as an idea. Which candidate wants to do it. I vote for that if I could.

TAPPER: Balls in your court, Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump. There's an idea for your right there, free of charge from Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O'Leary.

Thanks so much for joining us today. Interesting stuff.

O'LEARY: Take care. Bye-bye.

TAPPER: Moving on to our sports lead now, San Diego Padres infielder Tocupita Marcano has been banned from Major League Baseball for life for placing hundreds of bets on games. It's the first time since Pete Rose in 1989 that a player has been banned for life from MLB. Officials say he bet on Pittsburgh Pirates games when he was with the Pirates last year.

Also in our betting on baseball lead, Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for the Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani pleaded guilty today to federal charges of bank and tax fraud.


He has admitted illegally transferring nearly $17 million from Ohtanis' bank account to cover gambling losses and other expenses. After today's guilty plea, Major League Baseball announced it as cleared Ohtani of any wrongdoing.

We have some breaking news for you on Capitol Hill. Vote just now to sanction the International Criminal Court in response to its push for an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we'll get those results in, in a second.

Also, breaking a brand new request from Donald Trump in the hush money cover-up case, just days after the verdict.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.