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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Hunter Biden's Exes Detail His Past Drug Use; House GOP Issues Criminal Referrals For Hunter and James Biden, Alleging They Lied To Congress; Judge Scrambles Schedule For Classified Docs Case; Prosecutors Show Texts Between Sen. Menendez & Wife; 2023 Called "Highway To Hell" After Breaking Heat Records; Georgia Court Of Appeals Indefinitely Pauses Trump Case; Source: NYPD Preparing To Revoke Trump's License To Carry A Gun. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 05, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Hip-hop legend Flavor Flav has a plan to save red lobster. He posted a picture of himself standing next to all this food, writing: Your boy said he was going to do everything to help Red Lobster and save the Cheddar Bay Biscuits, ordered the whole menu.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: I guess the true flavor of love or the cheddar biscuits?


SANCHEZ: Of course, the seafood chain files for bankruptcy last month. Their Instagram account said, it's flavor time, boyeeee!

The kind of hard news stories you only get here on "CNN NEWS CENTRAL".

Thanks for watching.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hunter Biden's gun trial just got deeply personal.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Dirty laundry aired in courts in the federal gun case against the president's son. Today, Hunter Biden's ex-wife and ex-girlfriend took the stand. How testimony about a crack pipe is being used to help build prosecutions case.

Plus, massive news in Donald Trump's federal classified documents case in Florida. The judge reshuffling the calendar, delaying hearings, putting a trial date even further in jeopardy. She's also allowing more voices to weigh in on whether special counsel Jack Smith should have the case in the first place.

And with a punishing heats dome pushing temperatures into the triple- digits, a new report shows the world is on a climate, quote, highway to hell. Every single person on the planet should be alarmed.


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

And we start today with our law and justice lead.

Right now, the man who sold Hunter Biden the gun at the center of this federal trial is on the stand. The president's son is charged with illegally purchasing and possessing a gun while using drugs in the case brought by special counsel, David Weiss.

Earlier today, prosecutors called Hunter's ex-wife, Kathleen, and his ex-girlfriend, Zoe Kestan, both of whom testified about Hunter's past drug use. Kestan acknowledged that Hunter Biden smoked crack almost constantly in private, though not in public. She also said she helped him by drugs from a dealer she knew.

Hunter Biden's defense team tried to poke holes in the prosecution's case today by acknowledging Hunter's struggles with addiction, and suggesting there is no proof he was on drugs the very day he bought that firearm.

Hunter Biden faces not only this trial, of course, but a federal tax trial in California scheduled from September.

And today while Hunter Biden was inside courthouse, Republicans referred both him and his uncle, James Biden, to the Justice Department, a criminal referral, alleging they lied to Congress during Republicans' impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

First, to the federal gun trial in Wilmington, Delaware, CNN's Paula Reid is outside the courthouse.

Paula, how significant is today's testimony as prosecutors begin to try to build their case?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, when it comes to the two women on the stand today, prosecutors have them testified to the jury about what they observed in terms of Hunter Biden's addiction. All his ex-wife did testify that she found a crack pipe in the family home in 2015. She also testified that she never directly observed him doing drugs, but his former girlfriend testified about the time they spent together, lengthy stays and luxury hotels where she said she observed him smoking crack approximately every 20 minutes. She also testified that she observed him smoking crack in September 2018, and that is significant because it cuts against the defenses argument that by that point, he was clean and just using alcohol.

Now, she also testified on cross-examination by a Hunter Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, that she didn't see him again for September until November. So she didn't see him in October 2018, which is when he purchased this firearm. So, she has no direct knowledge of whether he was using illegal drugs during that month. TAPPER: Paula, how did the jury react during today's testimony? Could -- were they stone-faced like the Trump jury was, or can you read them a little bit better?

REID: No, they're definitely not as stone-faced as the jury was up in New York, but let me tell you, there were little board this morning when it was his bank records and going back over text messages that have already been asked about yesterday. But when his ex-wife took the stand, I was in the courtroom, Jake.

They were sitting up straight. They were leaning and so far I could barely see the witness on the stand. Now, she was not on the stand for very long, but once the girlfriend got up there and she started testifying about these luxury hotels they were in, the sketchy drug dealers she would encounter in these fancy dinners -- I mean, they were wrapped, they were very attentive to her testimony, which is good because her testimony about the fall of 2018 could prove to be critical here.

TAPPER: And that girlfriend, that ex girlfriend, Zoe Kestan, was asked how she met Hunter Biden.


Presumably prosecutors hope this story, this tawdry story bolsters their case.

REID: Yeah, this tells you kicked off her testimony explaining the origin story of their relationship. She testified that she met him in late 2017 at a gentleman's club in Manhattan. She said she was just about to clock out and he ordered a 30-minute private dance.

So she says she went up to the room with another girl. She had no idea who he was, what she described him as being very friendly, charming. She said he was really chatty. And at one point though, he stepped out onto a balcony in this room to smoke, which she now realizes was crack it.

She said he actually blew through that 30 minutes that he had purchased without ever getting that private dance. He was asked she said if you wanted to extend the time he declined, but he did invite her to his hotel room. She also declined.

But he got her number and they met have a couple of weeks later, which kicked off this year long relationship.

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

Let's go now to Capitol Hill were House Republicans, as we mentioned, have sent a criminal referral for Hunter Biden and President Biden's brother, James, to the Justice Department.

CNN's Manu Raju joins us live.

Manu, what exactly are the allegations against Hunter and James Biden by these three House committees?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the Republicans are alleging that James Biden, Hunter Biden made false statements to the committee behind closed doors when they came and they were deposed back in February as part of the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. Specifically, they're talking about to false statements that Hunter Biden allegedly made, one that James Biden allegedly made. They allege that Hunter Biden testified to a, quote, entirely fictitious account about an apparent text message involving an interaction with a Chinese businessman.

Also, they say that James Biden said that his father did not meet with a Biden family associated when they say that they have proved that he did meet with a Biden family associate that apparently counter allegedly happened when Joe Biden was not president of the United States, was actually the was a private citizen at that time.

But in this statement put out by these three House committee chairman, they say Hunter Biden and Joe Biden made materially false statements and the Oversight and the Judiciary Committee as demonstrated by the evidence presented in the attached referral, the nature of these false statements is not lost on the committees. Every instance implicates Joe Biden's knowledge of and role in his family's influence, peddling.

Now, it's important to point out that Republicans have yet to prove that Joe Biden acted corruptly or did any sort of quid pro quo with his son involving his business dealings or personally enriched himself in any way. Republicans have been trying to make that case for months, really since the beginning of this Congress, and in the fall when they launched a -- formally launched this impeachment inquiry.

But this has not yet moved ahead because Republicans simply don't have the support to impeach Joe Biden. They can certainly make criminal referrals, but that does not mean the Justice Department will act on it. We have reached out to the Biden's also for comment. No comment yet, Jake, on his criminal referral.

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

On the Florida now where Judge Aileen Cannon announced her plans to hold a sprawling hearing in Donald Trump's classified documents case. Trump's lawyers are trying to have Jack Smith's appointment as a special counsel in the case declared invalid. It's a legal strategy that has failed from coast to coast over the last few years in cases involving Trump and other high level targets such as Hunter Biden.

CNN senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz is here to explain.

Katelyn, let's start with this upcoming hearing. How exactly is all this going to work?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah. So at the end of June, Jake, there's going to be three days of court hearings before Judge Aileen Cannon in Fort Pierce, Florida, at the federal courthouse. And one of the things that she's adding on the calendar is something that the special counsel's office asked for very recently to put a gag order on Donald Trump to limit his ability to talk about the law enforcement involved in this case.

She's going to hear arguments on that. So that's now on the calendar, but, Jake, it gets a little beard with what else she's going to do. And that's not just me saying it.

That's what every lawyer I have talked to in the past 24 hours about what the judge is doing here has been saying, including people close to the Trump team, she's giving a full day and a half now for there to be arguments over the legality of this special counsel's office. Is Jack Smith a prosecutor who's able to even bring a charge in federal court under the Justice Department?

And what she's doing here that's so strange, abnormal for a criminal case is she's letting third parties, not the Justice Department, not Donald Trump, not his legal team, not his co-defendant's legal team, but other people come in and give arguments. You never see that in criminal cases at the trial level.

TAPPER: And, Katelyn, judges have rejected these arguments in similar cases, trying to get rid of the special counsel, even those involving Trump in recent years, what was the reasoning in those cases?

POLANTZ: Well, they've just said that the span special counsel's office is lawful and it's lawfully funded. So Donald Trump is arguing two things that the appropriations from the Treasury Department to fund the work of that office, that those are invalid.


And also that Jack Smith wasn't appointed correctly because he's not Senate confirmed.

But judges have looked at this including in the cases of political advisers to Donald Trump that went to trial and then in the cases of Hunter Biden, that case in federal court in Delaware and in California, all of the judges there have said, no, these special counsels, they can go ahead and they can take these crimes, these alleged crimes to trial if they wish -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Let's discuss all this with former Trump attorney Tim Parlatore, and former counsel to then Vice President Joe Biden, Victoria Nourse.

Victoria, let's start with you and what we heard from Katelyn.

How unusual is it for a judge to allow this hearing where third parties unrelated to the case are allowed to come in and argue things in court?

VICTORIA NOURSE, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL FOR THEN-VP JOE BIDEN: Extremely unusual because the idea in a criminal prosecution, the state brings it on behalf of the people, and they are supposed to speak in the name of the rule of law. And you can't just cede this to other parties. It's not the Supreme Court.

In the Supreme Court, you get all sorts of friends of the court briefs. But it's very unusual to allow this argument not only because it's been rejected so often, it's really a kind of caused by some conservatives since Ed Meese has filed briefs on the Supreme Court and immunity case on this. They believe special prosecutors violate the separation of powers and they've used every ton of argument where you hear appointments clause, et cetera, to try to get rid of these special prosecutors.

And they do this in somewhat adherence to Justice Scalia, who once wrote a famous dissent in a case that involved the old special counsel statute.

TAPPER: But they're not filing -- they're not filing the same things against the special counsel going after a Hunter Biden, right?

NOURSE: Right. They're not doing the same thing with Hunter Biden at all.

TAPPER: Right.

NOURSE: And it's fascinating because, you know, this judge in Florida has been already struck down by her circus as highlighting various roles and setting up the preliminary proceedings.


NOURSE: So she is walking a fine line, I think with this. She's already had a number of complaints against her. The 11th Circuit has refused to cognize them. She got a thousand complaints. And I don't think it's fair to trash trial judges, but this is a very unusual procedure.

TAPPER: What do you make it all, Tim?

TIM PARLATORE, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: It is very unusual. It is something that is permitted under the roles and one thing I'll note is that the motion by these third parties to appear, it's not opposed by Jack Smith. So they did discuss with Jack Smith, didn't oppose it. And so, it makes sense in that case that the judge would allow it.

Yeah. It's something that has since they change the rules, but it's been challenged in district courts across the country, but never challenged in the circuit court. And so I think that that's one of the things that if I were representing him, it makes sense to continue to challenge it until there is a controlling circuit court opinion saying, hey, this is the law. And don't do this anymore because eventually, one judge is going to go the other way and then it goes up on appeal, and then we can get more clear guidance from the appellate court.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the Hunter Biden case. The defense from Hunter Biden's lawyer today appear to be, yes, he is an addict and, yes, he did drugs that year in 2018. But they say the prosecution has not proved that Hunter was on drugs when he bought the gun and filled out that paperwork saying that he was not using drugs.

Is that an effective defense, do you think?

NOURSE: Well, yeah. I mean, there are two different statutes here, and one of them says that this is the one that was struck down in the Fifth Circuit, says, you know, it doesn't matter what he what he thinks. But the other statute says you have to know that you're deceiving the gun dealer, and on that, it will matter as to what whether he said at the time oh, yes, did I know that I was using drugs, et cetera? I think they say he was misusing alcohol at the time.

And just in the Fifth Circuit case, that individual confessed, I've used marijuana 14 times, then that court struck down the law is unconstitutional because you can't prevent someone from possessing a gun under the Second Amendment, just because they have used alcohol or drugs in the past.

TAPPER: And the -- apparently, I'm not in the courtroom, but apparently, there are members of the jury who have been touched by addiction. I guess most of us probably know somebody, either a friend or family member who's been -- who's been affected by addiction, could that to be effective when it comes to his defense, Hunter Biden's defense?

PARLATORE: I think it is going to be very effective. And you're right, you know, today there are very few people to find 12 jurors who haven't been touched by addiction. It -- that would not be a jury of your peers. Yeah, that'd be a highly selected.

TAPPER: Right.

PARLATORE: And so, you know, these jurors will understand the type of struggles that Hunter Biden went through. They may have personal experience with understanding this.

And the problem that the prosecution has is if they lean too hard into all of his drug use and everything else, they undermine whether he was able to form the requisite criminal intent at the time. So, you know, the prosecution I think needs to in some ways, to throttle back because they're kind of playing into the idea of, you know, they can't prove it that he was doing it at this time.


So they're filing it on before the --

TAPPER: So, there's an intent?

PARLATORE: There is.


TAPPER: There is an intent. So that's interesting. So when the stripper -- I forget her name, I apologize -- but went those stripper of testifies that he was so addicted to crack, he didn't even get his lap dance. I'm sorry. This is salacious, but this was the testimony today.

He didn't even get his private dance that obviously the prosecution is trying to make that point, like, look at how messed up he was or whatever but --

NOURSE: That's not a criminal offense and you can't criminalize just mirror -- being an addict. Supreme Court decided that case a long time.

TAPPER: Right, but the point you guys are both making, which is like if he is that gone, although I don't know the defenses arguing that he doesn't even know he's deceiving the government when he lies on that form.

NOURSE: That's one -- that's one argument. The other argument is that maybe it wasn't crack. It with some other outcome, alcoholism.

TAPPER: Or it was alcohol.

NOURSE: Which was not covered by the statute.

PARLATORE: It makes it very difficult and then a lot of -- a lot of dealers, gun dealers, that is, when they give you the form, they say, hey, fill out your information at the top and check note all these things.

TAPPER: Right.

PARLATORE: I've seen plenty of people that they just go and check and they don't even read it. If you're an addict or somebody who's using drugs, that increase the likelihood that you did that. So, only goes to further undermine that he intentionally violated the law here.

TAPPER: I've heard Republicans say that this is not a good case, even Republicans, that the tax case might be a better case in California. But this one --

NOURSE: Well, even Congressman Gowdy said that if you're an ordinary person, you would never be charged in a federal court with this. There are 37 million, you know, gun owners.


NOURSE: And they've all filed these forums, and are we going to go back and try to investigate all 37 billion (ph) of them? No. So I do think that this is not the kind of strong case that you would ever expect to be brought. But, of course, he is the president's son.

TAPPER: Indeed.

All right. Victoria Nourse and Tim Parlatore, thanks to both of you for being here. I really appreciate it.

A steakhouse has a big place, big role in the federal corruption case against Senator Bob Menendez. Hear his response when asked about Morton's, the steakhouse, earlier today. Plus, Amanda Knox being punished again by the Italian legal system. The case that landed with a verdict today, coming up.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead, stake out at the steakhouse. The theme of booze and bribes and steakhouse is continued in the trial of New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez in New York today.

Prosecutors earlier called Rachel Graves as a witness. Rachel Graves is an FBI special agent assigned to the public corruption unit. Graves testified about text messages exchanged between the senator and his wife, Nadine, after she was in a car crash in 2018, a fatal one.

Prosecutors are using these texts to set up a story of how a New Jersey businessman, Joseph Uribe, would eventually bribe Menendez with a Mercedes Benz.

This follows testimony yesterday that the FBI was surveilling Senator Menendez at Morton's, the steakhouse in Washington, D.C. That's an expensive steakhouse here in D.C., right off L Street, I think.

It's where Menendez attorney revealed that Menendez would frequent eating there, excuse me, about 250 nights a year. That's a lot of stake.

Menendez was asked about this when entering court this morning.


REPORTER: Hey, good morning, Senator.

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Good morning.

REPORTER: Talk to us about Morton's.

MENENDEZ: It's a great steakhouse.


TAPPER: It's a great steakhouse. Put that on your Yelp review, Morton's.

That federal corruption trial also impacting our politics lead on Tuesday. Three-term New Jersey Democratic Congressman Andy Kim easily won his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Senator Menendez. Kim won roughly 74 percent of the vote. If he wins in November, he would become the first Korean American ever elected to the United States Senate.

And here with us now is Congressman Andy Kim.

Congressman, thanks so much for being here. Congratulations on your victory. You were the first Democrat in New Jersey for call -- to call for

Senator Menendez to resign after he was indicted. Senator Menendez it said he will not run for reelection as a Democrat. But on Monday, he filed to run for reelection as an independent.

In a statement he said, quote: It displeases me to have to go this route, thanks to overzealous prosecutors, but I will do what must be done to continue to uphold my oath of office for my constituents, unquote.

So it's not clear if he's going to stay in the race, if he's convicted.

But what is your reaction to him filing to run as an independent?

REP. ANDY KIM (D-NJ): Well, look, as he said, his oath of office, I took that same oath of office in the House of Representatives and it's to our Constitution. It's to our country.

You know, I get to work a job, the senator, we work jobs whose job descriptions are in the Constitution of the United States. That same Constitution we swear an oath to. That should hold us up to the highest level of standards. You know, for me, that is a deeply humbling experience as a son of immigrants, of public school kid gets to work a job whose jobs description is Article One of the Constitution.

So I just have to say, you know, I think that people in New Jersey are fed up with Senator Menendez, just tired of this politics that is frankly just embarrassing to our state, and to our country. And we deserve better representation. So I'm really proud that I was able to get past the primary election last night and I will win in November, even if it means that I have to take on both Senator Menendez as well as a Republican.

TAPPER: The Republican is a guy named Curtis Bashaw. He won yesterday. Democrats have not lost a Senate race in New Jersey since 1970. I believe that's before you were born.

If Menendez does run as an independent, are you concerned that it could split the vote and give Republicans an opportunity to win the seat?

KIM: You know, Senator Menendez is in court right now because of allegations that he was putting his own personal benefit ahead of what's right for the country and that we're seeing it again.

You know, the Senate majority is so important, it's what standing in the way of having Republicans pushing for a national abortion ban or doing so many other damaging things to our country, including Supreme Court nominations.


So that's something that, you know, he's playing with fire in that way. And so, you'll -- look, I'm going to do everything I can. I've been a

Democrat, won a district Trump won twice in 2020. I was one of only seven Democrats in the nation that wanted district Trump won that year. So, you know, I've shown that I can outperform the party, outperformed the president. So hopefully, I'll be able to continue that again.

And look, you know, in terms of my opponent of Republican side. This is a wealthy multi-millionaire self funder. I've beaten three straight Republicans, self funders in my three previous races. And right now, I'm running against the indicted senator who is in court, as well as a Republican candidate who is supporting a convicted felon. So that's my general election competition.

So I very much hope that people New Jersey will choose some sanity to be able to get through this all.

TAPPER: Yesterday, President Biden issued an executive order -- executive action rather to ban migrants who cross the border for illegally from being able to seek asylum.

What is your response to that? Are you worried at all that this might hurt Latino support for Democrats in November?

Well, I look at this as a son of immigrants that's married to an immigrant that is such a vital part of our country. And I -- look, I'm concerned that this enforcement only approach, it's not looking at the totality of what needs to happen to be able to address our concerns. When I talk to people, whether Republicans or Democrats, everyone wants an orderly process, but that includes making sure we take steps to be able to hire more immigration judges.

You know, we have only 682 immigration judges as a country and 3 million pending immigration cases. You know, those are tangible things where we can take -- addressed to be able to get rid of this backlog, manage this challenge. So, you know, what we deserve to have is a comprehensive approach, something that makes sure that we're not taking on the kinds of actions as well as rhetoric of Donald Trump.

TAPPER: There's a big story in "The Wall Street Journal" that says President Biden, according to Democrats and Republicans, who have met with him privately, is showing signs of slowing and slipping behind closed doors.

Quote: The interviews were with Republicans and Democrats who either participated in meetings with Biden or briefed on them contemporaneously, including administration officials and other Democrats who found no fault on the president's handling of the meetings, most of those who said Biden performed poorly where Republicans, but some Democrats said that he showed his age and several of the exchanges, unquote.

I'm not sure when the last time is you spoke with President Biden, but what's your reaction?

KIM: Well, that's certainly not my experience. You know, I'm somebody that worked with -- and I worked at the White House when he was vice president. I have a lot of experience engaging with him, you know, ten years ago. I have encounters with him here in this work. It's not every single day.

But my encounters with him, you know, he's somebody that's been very on top of the work that he's been doing. He's shown a lot of, you know, mastery over the issues that we were dressed discussing, especially a lot of foreign policy issues, which is something that I work on a lot.

So I certainly have a lot of confidence in him to be our president as well as commander in chief right now.

TAPPER: Congressman Andy Kim, Democrat of New Jersey, thanks again and congratulations again for your primary victory.

KIM: Thanks a lot, Jake.

TAPPER: An alarming trend for planet Earth. The month of May was hotter than any other May. April was hotter than any other April. And that's been the pattern for 12 straight months.

Coming up next, the damage done by this kind of trend and why you should worry about what might come next.



TAPPER: In our "Earth Matters" series now, troubling new data confirms the 2023 was a record smashing year when it comes to global temperatures. Hence, the floods and droughts and the fires and the blizzards across the globe, taking thousands of lives, costing the U.S. alone tens of billions of dollars.

And as CNN's Bill Weir reports for us now, this is expected to be a terrifying new baseline for the future of Planet Earth.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across the American heartland came a conga line of devastating tornadoes, deadly flooding from Brazil, to Germany, a drought that has millions rationing water in Mexico City, and temperatures close to 122 degrees in India, enough to kill at least 33 poll workers on the same day in recent national elections.

All are snapshots from a planet overheated by human activity or monthly heat records have been shattered for the last 12 months in a row.

As somebody who has been studying sort of with intimate knowledge that the climate crisis all these years, what do you make of what's happening around the world these days?

KIM COBB, DIRECTOR OF INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY, BROWN UNIVERSITY: I mean, Bill, this is just a dizzying rate of change that were experiencing right now. But in the near future, 2023, you register as a normal year. Whereas in fact, if you look at those graphs, all you can see as a vertical line shooting upward from the very recent warmest years on record. So, really just a record smashing year in 2023.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Let me be very clear, again, the phase out of fossil fuels is essential and inevitable. No amount of speed or scared tactics will change that. Let's hope it doesn't come too late.

WEIR: While the head of the United Nations has been railing against polluters and petro states for years, he is using this report to plead with world leaders to cut dirty fuels faster than ever, to kick in more for unfair loss and damage in developing countries, and to ban all advertising from oil, gas, and coal companies.

AD NARRATOR: If you could see the inside of your engine --

AD NARRATOR: We at Chevron believe that nothing is more precious than life.

WEIR: What do you make of the secretary general's decision to really take new steps to call for an end to fossil fuel advertising on television and radio, to treat those ads the way you would for tobacco products?

LIZ BENTLEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE PROFESSOR, ROYAL METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY: Any policies that we can introduce at national level or even international agreements to actually change the way we rely on fossil fuels are important. So these, these actions, as you say, to treat fossil fuel adverts, as if it would we treat ban in conversations around tobacco, or at least warning signs. If you do smoke, these are the consequences. We need to get I think more savvy to do that around greenhouse gas emissions as well.

WEIR: To avoid the worst, scientists say global emissions must fall 9 percent a year until 2030. And while they still went up last year, it was only by 1 percent, thanks to a boom in clean, wind and sun power, assign that humanity could finally be on the verge of bending the carbon curve?

COBB: Yes, 1 percent is in the wrong direction, but it's getting close to zero. And then it can start going into the negative territory.

So in fact, we are predicted to have peak fossil fuel emissions within the next year or two, which is something I frankly never saw coming even five years ago. So that's real progress and I think people need to really appreciate that.


WEIR (on camera): The next big test for this progress, of course, is the U.S. election has big climate implications. Donald Trump has been meeting with oil and gas executives in recent weeks, trying to get their support, promising them so much in another term, if given the chance.

In the meantime, this heat dome parked over the southwest, Jake, it is a silent killer. It preys on older folks in older homes. This is the summer we've got to check on the most vulnerable. It is going to get bad.

TAPPER: All right. Bill Weir in New York for us, thank you so much.

We have some breaking news for you now, a Georgia appeals court has indefinitely paused the Georgia election subversion case against Donald Trump, specifically from Fulton County, Georgia.

Let's get straight to CNN's Zachary Cohen.

Zach, what's the reasoning here?

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, Jake, the Georgia Court of Appeals, issuing an order that is a stayed issuing a stay on all proceedings at the trial court level until it decides whether or not Fani Willis should be disqualified from the case. You'll remember that Judge Scott McAfee who's overseeing the Georgia election subversion case say that Fani Willis can stay on the case if her lead prosecutor, Nathan Wade, stepped away, which he did.

But that was appealed up to the Georgia Court of Appeals, which took up the appeal and is now going to decide whether or not Fani Willis does remain on the case or if they want to remove her and until they make that decision, which could be by March 2025, they're now saying that work on the Trump case in Georgia must halt. It must stop completely.

Judge McAfee had allowed work to continue in the pretrial phase while the appeals process was playing out. So that is being overridden now by the appeals according itself, as it sorts out this disqualification issue.

But really, the top line here is that this decision is order really does make it even more unlikely that we'll see a trial in Georgia before not only the 2024 presidential election, but we could see one -- not see one until mid-2025.

TAPPER: All right. Zachary Cohen, thank you so much.

We are sticking with this major breaking news. Our Elie Honig is up with what this means for Georgia's election subversion case, the context you need even as this news breaks. Stay right here.



TAPPER: And we're back with our breaking news.

A Georgia appeals court has indefinitely paused that Georgia election subversion case against Donald Trump.

CNN's Zachary Cohen's back with me, along with federal -- former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.

Elie, what is the significance of this decision? And is it normal?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Jake, first of all, as a practical matter, this means that the chances that this case gets tried before the 2024 election have gone from low to essentially zero at this point. The court of appeals, what they've done is they've granted the appeal of the defendants, Donald Trump and several other defendants motion to disqualify the D.A. Fani Willis, based on conflict of interest.

We had a long hearing and try a mini-trial about this a few months ago. The trial court judge, Judge McAfee, found that there were some problems with a conflict of interest, but he said that their remedied by the prosecutor, the other prosecutor on the case, Nathan Wade resigning.

Now, Donald Trump and other co-defendants appealed that. And this tells me that the court of appeals in Georgia is interests stayed in hearing the issue. I don't think they would have paused this case altogether unless they were taking this issue quite seriously.

TAPPER: And, Zach, just to refresh everyone's memory about this, this has to do with the fact that Fani Willis, the district attorney had a relationship with one of her investigators and what Donald Trump's defense team was alleging was this prosecution was all about the two of them being able to get money from his salary so that they could go on trips and such, right.


Is that correct?

COHEN: That's right. That basically she was in this relationship to financially enrich herself and that that influence and impacted the prosecution, including the decision to charge so many defendants, to charge former President Donald Trump.

And ultimately, the trial judge, Scott McAfee, decided no, they haven't met the burden of proof to show there was an actual conflict, but in his decision, he did write pages and pages about his issues with Fani Willis's alleged behavior and what the evidence that was presented about that in these are hearings -- various hearings that as you know, we watched live happened on camera.

And so, look, this is the appeals court saying, look, the work on this case needs to stop until we can sort out whether or not we agree with Scott McAfee that Fani Willis can remain on this case or if we disagree in that Fani Willis needs to be disqualified, removed, ultimately, in the timeline in for potential trial as Elie said, this makes the chances of a trial happening before the presidential election almost zero when they were already low before. But now, it really throws up near whether trial will happen at all. If

Fani Willis is disqualified, we've been told by sources for months that if she's removed from this case, the case effectively goes away. So that's really the stakes here, and that's really what we're facing in addition to the delay.

TAPPER: Elie, do you think ultimately Fani Willis is going to get disqualified from this case?

HONIG: Well, it's a really close call, Jake, and even Judge McAfee in his opinion, originally finding that there were some problems, but didn't require her disqualification. Judge MacAfee wrote, we are untethered to precedent here, which means we've never seen a situation quiet like this. I don't personally believe that they made a strong enough showing of a direct financial conflict of interest, as Zach laid out in the trial court and Judge Scott McAfee and the trial court agreed he came to the same conclusion, but I do think its significant that Judge McAfee found that there were significant issues with whether D.A. Willis's testimony was truthful. Judge McAfee said that in his ruling.

And he found that Fani Willis had made improper out-of-court statements about this case, including a speech she gave it a church where she essentially called the defendants and the defense lawyers racist and Judge McAfee raised concerns about that. So it could also be that the court of appeals, its concerned with those issues of the case. It may perhaps in addition to or perhaps beyond any financial conflict of interests.

TAPPER: Zach, quickly, any reaction from the district attorney's office.

COHEN: You know, the D.A.'s office declined to comment. And so is Trump's lead attorney, Steve Sadow. At this point, that tells you a little bit about how consequential they both view this decision from the Georgia appeals court. They're not going to want to add insult to injury here, and maybe anger the appeals court before this process even gets going.

TAPPER: Elie Honig, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Zach, as well. Thank you.

We have more breaking news involving another criminal case involving Donald Trump. The next move in New York after Trump's conviction in the hush money case last week. That's coming up next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: We have some more breaking news for you now. CNN has learned that the NYPD is preparing to revoke former President Donald Trump's licensed to carry a gun. CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, John Miller, joins us now. John was deputy commissioner of the NYPD. He served under Mayor Adams and left the department in July of 2022.

John, do we know whether Trump has any guns and what are your sources telling you about how this will happen? I suspect it's -- this is just routine for somebody who's been convicted of felonies.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, it is although it is highly unusual, at least in New York for somebody who has been convicted of a felony to actually legally possess guns. But in this case, very quietly, on April 1st, 2023, when he was indicted on felony charges, Donald Trump, who has been licensed to carry firearms in New York City for well over a decade, was notified that those guns had to come in. They were vouchered by the license division of the NYPD.

But there was a third gun on the license which apparently had been, quote, lawfully transferred to Florida, unquote, where Donald Trump is now a full-time resident. And when he was convicted of those charges he became a convicted felon under New York state law, but also under federal law that says, if you're a convicted felon, you cannot id be in possession of firearms or even ammunition.

TAPPER: And, John, what more do we know about the gun in Florida? Do we know where it is?

MILLER: So we don't and that's a key question, Jake, because the New York guns are in the custody of the NYPD. We know where they are, we know how they got there through that process. But the gun in Florida, we have asked the Trump camp through our Kristen Holmes, who's in contact with the Trump team, to find out is the former president still in possession of that firearm? Was it turned over to authorities in Florida? If so, what authorities and when? And is there a record of that?

Because the burning question here is, if Donald Trump is still in possession of that firearm being a convicted felon right now, that would be a federal crime. It also begs the question why someone who has 24/7 protection from the Secret Service would need to carry a concealed weapon, but it's a licensee apparently maintained through the entire time he was president and after.

TAPPER: John Miller, thanks so much.

When a run for the White House might be more than a return to the Oval Office, how Donald Trump's campaign could be about retribution as much about -- as much as it is about reelection. One of the reporters breaking new details on that "New York Times" story joins us next.



TAPPER: And welcome to THE LEAD. Just hours ahead of world leaders convening in France to mark 80 years since D-Day, one soldier's special mission with close connections to CNN. You're not going to want to miss the story, really moving.

Plus, the White House today slamming Republicans for what the White House calls false claims to "The Walls Street Journal" about President Biden's mental fitness and acuity. Ahead, I'm going to talk to somebody who knows the president well about the reporting and the age concerns.

But leading this hour, brand new CNN reporting, what Donald Trump is saying about the possibility of going to prison for his conviction in that New York hush money cover-up case.

Let's get straight to CNN's Kristen Holmes in Phoenix, where Donald Trump holds a town hall meeting tomorrow.