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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Gov. Youngkin On Trump's Felony Conviction; Gov. Youngkin On Contraception Under GOP; Gov. Youngkin On Reversing Emissions Standards; GOP Senators Block Bill That Would Protect Access To Birth Control; Watchdog: Justice Thomas Received Gifts Worth $2.4M Since 2004; Kushner's Serbia Hotel Complex Will Be On Site Of NATO Bombing; Historian On The Importance Of Keeping D-Day Memory Alive; Serial- Killing Suspect Charged With Two More Deaths. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 06, 2024 - 17:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour some eye popping numbers from a watchdog group keeping tabs on the U.S. Supreme Court suggesting Justice Clarence Thomas received $2 million in gifts for more than 100 entities, $2 million. Justice Thomas, not the only one racking up the numbers in this study. Plus the Biden Harris campaign making a play for anti-Trump Republicans such as the ones who keep turning out for Nikki Haley in Republican primaries. Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia will be here on The Lead and we'll talk about that and much more.

Plus new murder charges for the man accused of being the Gilgo Beach serial killer. The new evidence on a laptop that prosecutors say was his blueprint for serial killing.

We start this hour with the 2024 lead. Let's play the music of election jam up. One week ago today Donald Trump was convicted of 34 felonies in the New York hush money cover up case that brought by the district attorney Alvin Bragg. Now former President Trump is just minutes from taking the stage in Phoenix. This is his first return to the campaign trail since that conviction. CNN's Kristen Holmes is traveling with the Trump campaign and is in Phoenix, thank God indoors, instead of in the 110 degree heat.

Kristen, what is the Trump campaign saying is going to be the main theme of this event?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, before I get to the theme, we talked about that heat, we have just learned that 11 people were transferred because of heat exhaustion from outside of this rally, there were 1000s of people outside trying to get in but it is, again, 112 degrees here in Phoenix and they clearly impacting some of the crowd.

Now when it comes to today's event, basically, what we are expecting to see is a few minutes of a campaign speech. And then this turns into a town hall. I don't expect this to be any kind of voters who are on the fence tripping Donald Trump up. This is a very favorable crowd and his turning point a group that is associated with Donald Trump and affiliated with Don Jr. as well.

Now the themes of those short remarks are expected to focus on immigration. He's going to bash Biden's executive order, talk about what he did when he was in the office and how he's better to fix the immigration crisis if elected back into office. Now I will note, Donald Trump, one of his main issues other than the economy is expected to be immigration heading into November. So slight low when Biden issued that executive order. They want to continue to attack that order because they want to still be the fighting voice on immigration, something that we know from our polls, a lot of voters believe Donald Trump is stronger at.

Now, whether or not he can actually stay on message remains to be seen. He's done a series of interviews over several days in which he was expected to talk about campaign promises what he was going to do, and instead he just attacked Joe Biden and the justice system.

TAPPER: All right, Kristen Holmes in Phoenix, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Joining us now on discuss governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin.

Governor Youngkin, let's start with Virginia itself. I would probably call it a third tier battleground state. It's usually not up there. But the polling I have seen suggests that it is pretty much a margin of error race right now with Biden having the edge but not the 10 point lead that he won. You have much better, I'm guessing, private polling as the governor.

Where do you see the race right now in Virginia?

GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN, (R-VA): Yes. Jake, first of all, thank you for having me. And if I could, I just want to thank all of our veterans and military heroes. Today we honor and revere those that lost their lives at D-Day and it changed the course of history. And so, thank you to all of our military heroes.

Listen, with regard to the 2024 election and Virginia, it is pretty stunning that in 2020 we saw Joe Biden win by 10 points. And I was fortunate enough, I think, to win by two, but now we see Virginia, very tight. And it's early days. Of course, we still got five months to go. But I think it reflects the fact that Americans and Virginians are ready for strong leadership back in the White House.


And that strength is projected not only in economic strength, it's national security strength, it's energy policy strength, it's a secure border. It's an America that we know needs to be strong. And what they've seen from Joe Biden has been weakness. And I think America and Virginia is ready to really give President Trump the White House back.

TAPPER: The president was convicted of 34 felony charges last week. You issued a statement criticizing the conviction. Why? Why did you do that?

YOUNGKIN: Well, I think it's very clear to Americans that this has been a very much a political effort. It's an all of the parties involved had made it very clear that they wanted to get Trump. And therefore I think Americans understand that. And the reality, of course, is with the election, just five months away, it's a chance for Virginians, and Americans to really express their view and who they want to be our president. And as I said, I think when it comes to putting strength back into the White House, I think that Americans are tired of a weak Joe Biden, they're tired of a weak economy, they're tired of weak national security, they're tired of seeing a porous border, and even the actions this week from President Biden are too little too late.

We've seen in almost the state of Virginia come across the border in the last three years. And we're all seeing every single state become a border states. And we have -- we've seen sexual assaults of young women by illegal immigrants. We've seen illegal immigrants try to crash the gates at Quantico. And we've seen fentanyl fly over the border and killing five Virginians a day on average. I think Americans are ready to put leadership back in the White House.

TAPPER: Are you worried at all that the felony convictions will have an impact on turning off the independents and moderate Republicans that voted -- that might be up for grabs that some of them voted for you and that's how you won? There are these middle of the road voters, and they might have be turned off by this guilty verdict.

YOUNGKIN: Well, at least all of the polling that I've seen, and, Jake, you've seen it as well, is that the jerseys are on pretty tight right now. I think there's been some clear decisions made by a huge number of voters, there's not that many that are undecided. And I do believe that it is based on the merit of the candidates. And therefore, you know, I think again, as the issues get discussed and debated between now and November 5, there'll be a clear difference between President Trump and President Biden. And as I said, I think Americans and Virginians are ready for strength back in the White House.

TAPPER: How do you interpret the vote in the Republican primary in Virginia for Nikki Haley? Just the day before she dropped out Virginia had its primary, 35 percent of Virginia Republicans voted for her. She still continues to get 10 percent, sometimes 20 percent months after she dropped out of the race. Are you worried at all about those voters sending a message that that they're not on board with Trump and they might end up with Biden?

YOUNGKIN: Well, I believe that the Republican Party is coming together. I was just down at the Virginia Republican Party convention this past weekend, and I saw delegates from all over the Commonwealth come together and universally put down differences and start working together to win elections. And I think that's what's happening all across the nation. I also believe that there are large numbers of Independents, who will in fact, choose Donald Trump over Joe Biden.

And then finally, and I think this is really important. In Virginia, we have seen real success from common sense policies, literally growing jobs and standing up for law enforcement and, and standing for excellence and education. And we're seeing just tremendous results. And Virginians are now saying, wait a minute, common sense has a place. I like strong leadership, and I'm going to vote for Donald Trump.

And I think this is what we're going to see all -- during the fall, particularly as the records of the two administrations are placed right next door to one another. And we can't forget the fact that that Trump did build a rip roaring economy, and it's the number one issue across voters right now is concerns about the economy. The second issue, of course, is concerns about the border. And these are two issues that I think Virginians and Americans are absolutely going to go with President Trump on.

TAPPER: I want to get to two things that happened yesterday. First, all but two Senate Republicans voted against solidifying a nationwide right to contraception. If Republicans win the White House and take control of the Senate, which they have a decent chance of doing and retain control of the U.S. House, should voters expect contraception to be at risk as the right to abortion is at risk?


YOUNGKIN: I believe this was very much a publicity vote and not one based on real policy. Listen, I believe firmly in the right to access to contraception. I also believe that we need to protect our First Amendment rights. And in Virginia, we had a very similar circumstance. And I in fact, sent a bill to our general assembly that would have protected access to contraception and protected people's first amendment rights.

And the reality is, I don't think Democrats really want to bill, they don't really want to make policy. They just want to have talking points. And I think that's what happened in the Senate yesterday. Again, I am -- I'm firmly supportive of a woman's access to contraception. I did pledge to support and defend the Constitution. And we can do both of these.

You know, Jake, in Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act, that's exactly what happened. There was right to contraception and of course, there was protections for First Amendment, religious protections. We can do both. There's no reason why we have to try to divide America. Let's bring them together on this topic versus divide them.

TAPPER: Also yesterday we reported on how 2023 shattered heat records and will likely be going forward a terrifying baseline for years to come described by U.N. official as a highway to hell. We witnessed obviously extreme fires and droughts and floods and storms across the globe. Virginia is not immune to this, of course. Yesterday, however, you said you're going to withdraw Virginia from participating in California's emission standards aimed to limit what's fueling the warming, you said that the move was about celebrating freedom. I understand wanting to have Virginia zone policy, not California has.

But what are you going to do about climate change in your state? I mean, Virginia is not a particular problem compared to the rest of the world and India and China. But certainly, you want to leave the world in a better place than it is right now, when it comes to climate change, no?

YOUNGKIN: Well, Jake, to be really clear on this one, because I think it's very important, the decision that we made yesterday was to no longer be subjected to the California mandates on which car you can buy. And in fact, we are able now to choose to be subject to the federal mandates and the federal guidelines on emissions. Virginia, plus 37 other states are now subjected to the federal guidelines. And we made a decision that one having California with unelected bureaucrats mandate which car people can buy was wrong. But we also made a decision to protect people's pocketbooks and to give them the benefit of choosing which car they think is best for their needs.

And Jake, the math here is really straightforward. It's really straightforward. EVs cost anywhere between 10,000 and $50,000 more than the comparison internal gas combustion engine and to force people. And that's what the California standards would do. Thirty-five percent of cars would have to be electric vehicles. And in Virginia right now, it's about 9 percent of cars are being purchased. That's upwards of $1.2 billion of economic penalty being placed on Virginians.

And let me just make it clear. This is not a condemnation of electric vehicles. If you want to buy an electric vehicle, please do. And if you want to buy a hybrid, please do. And in fact, now that we will be subjected to the federal guidelines, innovation will have to take hold in order to drive much, much more stringent fuel economy standards.

And I think America is up for this. The reality is that mandates are misguided. Let's trust innovation. And let's put that trust in the American consumer as opposed to mandating what people can and can't buy.

TAPPER: Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, good to see you, sir. Thanks so much.

YOUNGKIN: Always great to be with you. Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up next, the brand new Watchdog Report showing you a Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas received more than $2 million in gifts over the years. See how he stacks up against his judicial colleagues. Plus, the former commander of NATO will talk to us about Jared Kushner's latest hotel venture. You might have seen the headlines. The Lead reveals what the contract actually says.

Stay right here.



TAPPER: In our 2024 lead, today, some Republicans in the Senate are struggling to explain why they voted against the, quote, "Right to Contraception Act," unquote after it failed by just a few votes. The act would have protected an individual's right to birth control. Here's Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina talking to Bret Baier on Fox.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Why vote nay and explain how that's not a bad issue for Republicans?

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): This is just a shame that the Democrats are willing to try to politicize whether or not women have access to contraception. The bottom line is they absolutely do and that will continue. The question is why Democrats continue to take the most extreme position on abortion in the country. All the Senate Democrats have voted, not talked about, but voted for abortion up until the day of birth.


TAPPER: OK. The panels' here.

So, Marc, why not -- I mean, OK, fine, it's a messaging bill, I get that and whoever the majority is in the House and Senate, they do this all the time. But why not just vote yes in favor of contraceptives?

MARC LOTTER, CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, AMERICA FIRST POLICY INSTITUTE: Well, and I don't know all the details of that bill. But I also know that Katie Britt and Ted Cruz had a bill that was just like it, it got voted down or it got rejected by the Democrats. I mean, that's what this is. This is I think Democrats just try -- both sides, trying to score points on the other one, they're not going to vote for our bill, we're not going to vote for your bill and Washington continues the way Washington does.


KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's actually incorrect. So part of what's been happening since the fall of Roe v. Wade is we're seeing measures in the states actually seeking to restrict access to certain forms of birth control, particularly IUDs and Plan B, which is some consider it to be in abortifacient, which it's absolutely not. And so this bill basically covered everything from condoms to Plan B and other forms of contraception that could be -- I mean we heard from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a willingness to reopen this conversation.

TAPPER: He specifically voted --


TAPPER: -- referenced Griswold versus Connecticut --

FINNEY: Right.

TAPPER: -- in his -- in a footnote, and that was what made the birth control pill legal.

FINNEY: Correct. And by the way, the anniversary of that decision is tomorrow. And that's part of the reason they want to do the bill. And so part of this was to be able to say, we want, you know, to get Republicans on the record to say, are you for access to contraception or not? All forms of contraception.

Do you believe that people should be able to make that decision or not? And again, it mirrors some of the work that Democrats are doing in the state.

TAPPER: So, one of the things that's going on here is that if one's beliefs, religious or otherwise, are that a fertilized egg is a life, that some birth control methods affect that? And so I mean, it's not a wild, it's not -- this bill might have been a messaging bill. But the issue itself is not out of nowhere.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think what's interesting is this is the rare issue where you've seen the language kind of change in terms of Democrats have been able to reposition this as an issue of protecting freedom since freedoms being taken away. And that language actually works for voters, whereas Republicans are now in a different position than they were. Instead of just protecting life, you're being told you're taking away things from people. And that has been a struggle to message around.

So, while messaging bills, I think, for us sitting around here kind of like adds a point here, a point here, doesn't really matter, it's part of an overall long term message going into the fall, where I think something like a dozen states have some sort of abortion amendment, constitutional amendment on their ballot. When you put things in front of voters on this issue, the voters have so far sided with abortion rights supporter.

TAPPER: Although I don't think anybody's going to really pay attention until after Labor Day, but that's really going to pick up everything said, but.

FINNEY: Yes. So, I was just going to add actually, they're awesome a handful of states that have access to contraception legislation as well, which I think is going to drive turnout.

TAPPER: So let's turn on to another issue because today's Supreme Court watchdog called Fix the Court, and Gabe Roth of Fix the Court reported some dropping numbers. He went back through his news reporting financial disclosure forms, Fix the Court research, and in his estimation, since 2004, Justice Clarence Thomas has received 100 free gifts more -- worth more than $2.4 million. And that does not include undisclosed gifts such as those that were cited by ProPublica and the "New York Times." I mean, comparatively, Brett Kavanaugh, it was $100.

I know the conservatives think that everybody's picking on Clarence Thomas. But is this not an issue that should be addressed? Not Clarence Thomas, per se, but just like, should there not be some transparency and rules here for courts, not just the Supreme Court, all courts?

LOTTER: I think if we can find bipartisan compromise, it's a place to do it. Because I mean, there were millions of dollars of gifts, of course, over all nine justices, and then you add the others that have recently left the court or recently served. So, I think this is where Congress, I mean, they put limits on the executive branch.

TAPPER: Right?

LOTTER: I think, so this is not a separation of powers issue, although maybe the Chief Justice would just agree. But I think if you could come up with not trying to score points on Justice Alito or Justice Thomas and say, let's just deal with this issue, then I think you should be right for some sort of reporting and or limits.

CORNISH: He does disagree, because he actually put out that statement --


CORNISH: -- saying an open letter to the Senate saying, look, you shouldn't -- you can't put rules on us. And the ethics statement that he has put out has no enforcement mechanism. So while they have a sort of a nod towards a code, there is no way or no reason, real reason, that a judge can recuse themselves or not. It's up to them. So there isn't any other kind of check on them.

And it's been -- lawmakers have actually been quite reluctant to actually put one.

FINNEY: But there needs to be one, right? We also have the court trying to self-regulate, but there's no teeth to it, right? There's no enforcement mechanism. And I think this is just another example particularly when you see how low confidence in the Supreme Court is right now. I think it's somewhere in the 40s in terms of accident. And again, I agree the report if you read it it's all nine justices that are -- should be held accountable.

Every justice going forward, this should be a bipartisan effort. No question.

TAPPER: It just it's so strange to me because it does seem like they don't understand, let me single out Chief Justice Roberts, although I guess maybe he's just doing the bid of justices.

CORNISH: All nine justices signed on to their letters.


FINNEY: Right.

CORNISH: Hey, we should self-regulate, right?


TAPPER: But do they not understand how much their standing is falling and how little people -- though people are losing faith in the court.


TAPPER: I don't want them to.

LOTTER: I mean, it seems a violation of the very founders of belief that there was another branch that checks the other branches in the Supreme Courts like nah, other than impeachment, there's nothing.

CORNISH: But the scrutiny matters. And I'm glad you're doing this segment because it does matter. We know they watch these things. We know they read the papers and the voters do hear these numbers and they perk up.

TAPPER: Yes. And this is not -- you know, we're not anti-court here.

FINNEY: Right.

TAPPER: We're pro-court, we're pro-SCOTUS. Thanks, one and all for being here. Appreciate it.

I should note of course, it's Audie Cornish Thursday if you didn't check your calendar. Her podcast is called "The Assignment with Audie Cornish." You can download it anywhere you get podcasts. Great One today about the water crisis in Mexico that is not getting enough attention. Although I can't say that about Audie Cornish, she's giving that attention this week.

You might have seen the headlines, Jared Kushner raising eyebrows for a new hotel project in Belgrade. Well, we have the section of the contract that sparked the controversy. It's a lead exclusive. That's next



TAPPER: Topping our World Lead, Jared Kushner's latest international real estate investment deal is raising eyebrows. Former President Donald Trump's son-in-law, who served as a senior adviser during the Trump years, recently entered into a contract with Serbia to develop a $500 million luxury hotel complex on the derelict site that included the former Serbian defense ministry in Belgrade, which was bombed by NATO forces in the year 1999. A bombing intended to bring an end to Serbia's systematic murder and rape and ethnic cleansing of Albanians under Serbia's notorious leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Now part of this new hotel deal includes building a memorial, which Serbia's press release says is, quote, dedicated to all the victims of NATO aggression, unquote. However, we should note, Kushner's firm Affinity Partners provided the lead with part of their contract with Serbia. When it comes to the memorial, the part reviewed by The Lead does not expressly include the phrase NATO aggression. And there is no indication that they were involved in the wording that appeared in the Serbian government press release.

Affinity Partners told The Lead that the project is intended to invest in the economic revitalization of Serbia, which is a war torn country. Now if the phrase NATO aggression from the Serbia press release, if that rings a bell, well, Russian leader Vladimir Putin frequently uses it as a rallying cry for his illegal war in Ukraine and any aggression he demonstrates towards the West.

Joining us now former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, retired General Wesley Clark. So General, you were the supreme allied commander of NATO during the time of the bombing of the Serbian defense ministry in 1999. What's your take on this planned memorial being described as a, quote -- as a monument to the, quote, victims of NATO aggression?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think it's great to invest in Serbia, no issue. But first of all, the building was empty when we struck it to the best of our knowledge. And it wasn't NATO aggression. It was -- this is was the culmination of a years' long diplomatic effort to persuade Serb dictator Slobodan Milosevic, not to go and kill his own citizens in the area of Serbia known as Kosovo. And he was doing it. He started it in 1998, murdering a family, killing 60 people, including women, children and babies in the judiciary (ph) family. He escalated it. We sent Richard Holbrooke and negotiate, Ambassador Crisco was there negotiating.

I met three times with Milosevic. We -- the only thing we could think of is that if we look, we're going to warn you, please don't reinstitute. We just stopped the war in Bosnia. Don't start this all over again, in Europe.


CLARK: And the Russians came in, they told them, I don't worry about NATO and just do what you want to do, kill those people. And so it started up again. We -- there was the French held some negotiations, Serbs were resolute, we're not going to negotiate. We're going to solve it our way. And so really, NATO had no choice but to try to stop the ethnic cleansing by a very graduated NATO campaign, of course, diplomacy. And we did stop it.

TAPPER: So Kushner's investment firm, Affinity Partners, told us that the history of this region is complicated. This is a massive investment in Serbia intended to help build back a war stricken nation. People did die there, they say. The U.S. companies have made investments and other places where there have been horrible histories, Vietnam, Japan, but I do wonder what you think about Kushner's firm entering into this deal where there might be a monument attacking NATO? I mean, you met with Milosevic, the butcher of the Balkans.

What do you make of their reasoning? What do you make of the reasoning of Kushner's firm? And what do you make of his possible participation in a project that creates a monument to NATO aggression?

CLARK: No, it's naive. It's naive and worried to put up such a monument and label it as needed a monument for NATO aggression. It would be a betrayal of the United States, our policy, the brave airmen and airwomen who served in that campaign, that diplomatic effort, it wasn't aggression. It was diplomacy that Milosevic simply refused to stop killing innocent people. And, you know, the Serb nation. There's -- it's a wonderful group of people, but they've never come to terms with what happened under Slobodan Milosevic.

He used nationalism to go against the other ethnic groups in former Yugoslavia. And it's the same pattern we see today with Vladimir Putin. And so we know that Serbia today is serving as a channel for Russian mischief in Europe, to disrupt NATO, to disrupt the European Union and making a monument to NATO aggression. It's part of that Russian mischief disinformation campaign.


So I hope Jared Kushner's firm won't participate in that. Build a hotel, build a memorial to all the people who died, including the mostly coasts of ours, who were murdered by Serb police forces during this campaign. And nothing about NATO aggression, there was no NATO aggression.

TAPPER: Today's the 80th anniversary of D-Day, of course. I'm wondering on this, on this day, what worries you the most about the future of NATO?

CLARK: Well, you know, if you are -- your primary concern is to avoid a confrontation with another nuclear power, you know, the purpose of NATO was to provide a bulwark of security against another nuclear power. We did have confrontations with a nuclear power during the Cold War. And so you have to be very careful how you manage this. This is not the Cuban missile crisis. You don't have to give Putin away out. This is Putin's war of aggression.

And if you tell the aggressor, exactly what you won't do, you have no deterrence. And so we're basically limiting what we're giving the Ukrainians, limiting what they can do with it, stretching it out, and they're fighting and dying. And they're fighting and dying, really, for the western values. I hope that we'll understand that you've got to have some ambiguity in this. The French move to put some trainers in there is exactly right, letting them shoot across the border, exactly right. It's Putin's problem if he gets into a confrontation.

We also are a strong nation. And we have our pledges to our people. So you know, what's happening right now as the Eastern European countries who are members of NATO, they join for protection from Russia. They see what's happening in Ukraine. They're nervous.


CLARK: They're saying, will a piece of paper save us? Will a Biden administration come to our support? I know we're in NATO, but they seem to be really -- they seem to be talking to Russia behind the scenes and it seems really scary to us, maybe they'll cut a deal at our expense. That's the future of NATO we can't have.

TAPPER: Retired General Wesley Clark, thank you so much for joining us today. We appreciate it.

On this 80th Anniversary of D-Day, up next important stories from survivors coming up and author who has been collecting their stories. Stay with us.




SGG GEORGE MULLINS, D-DAY VETERAN: I was in combat. As if you're going up the beaches of Normandy. The second night is the worst and the most casualties that I've seen. The next morning, I found 43 boys wounded and dead there. That's how close I came.


TAPPER: Another story they're from another American veteran who fought on D-Day 80 years ago today. My next guest weaved hundreds of eyewitness accounts such as that to create a unique perspective of the lead up to the invasion and how the fighting unfolded in real time. Historian Garrett Graff is here. He's the author of the remarkable new book "When The Sea Came Alive: An Oral History of D-Day." Garrett, thanks so much for being here. Congrats on the book.


TAPPER: Before we talk about the book, though, I do want to know, there are very few veterans who fought on D-Day who are still with us. And you recently wrote about why it's so important to keep their memories alive. You wrote, quote, we now face the very real question of whether America will embrace a vision of a country less free, and less democratic, more divided and more unequal. It would be a step backward, unlike almost anything else in American history, unquote. You've spoken to so many of these veterans, what do they make of the moment we're in with Democratic backsliding all over the world, including in the United States?

GRAFF: Yes. I think it's an incredibly poignant and loaded moment for exactly that reason, as all of these world leaders gather in Normandy this week, because I don't think for a major anniversary of D-Day, democracy has never seemed as fragile as it does now. You know, you've had a land war in Europe. You have a question of democracy on the ballot here at home in our election this year. Ronald Reagan, who did so much to valorize and reframe D-Day as this noble fight for freedom and democracy.

You know, he said, democracy is never more than one generation away from extinction. And I think it's hard to watch the ceremonies that we're watching in Normandy this week without wondering what we are doing with the legacy that that generation gave us.

TAPPER: Yes. And if we're worthy of what they handed down to us.


TAPPER: One of the fascinating things about reading your book is that it compiles firsthand accounts from world leaders to paratroopers. Here's what Winston Churchill had to say, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, which was such a pivotal moment for the U.S. joining the war. He said, England would live, Britain would live, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live, Hitler's fate was sealed, Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful. That's a remarkable notion, the idea that, OK, they went after the Americans, thank God, because now America will come and save democracy.


GRAFF: Yes. And, you know, one of the things that surprised me in writing this book is you write a book about D-Day and you're like OK maybe I'll start on noon on June 5th. Well, all of the success of D- Day comes in the weeks, months and years before D-DAY ever gets launched from the harbors of Britain. And so much of those first couple of years are the war are Britain and the United States learning to work together as governments, as militaries, learning how to be allies that this is, you know, we tell this simple story, you know, with Macron and Biden and King Charles, in Normandy this way, you know, we've always been great partners. And that's actually not true.

TAPPER: Not true at all. Not true at all. Yes, there are a lot of famous names in the book. You also capture stories that have been forgotten into a lot of ways. Waverly Woodson, Jr., was a medic. He treated wounded soldiers on Omaha Beach for 30 hours, despite also being wounded. Here's a quote of his that you include in the book, quote, this was a horrible day for everyone. This D-Day, army prejudices took a backseat as far as the soldiers helping one another was concerned. Afterwards, it was an altogether different story. Even to this day, the black soldiers were never given credit for their outstanding services beyond the call of duty.

And there's another quote in the book, an anonymous black soldier who said, I'm an American Negro doing my part for the American government to make the world safe for a democracy I have never known. And that is one of the most remarkable things about the Tuskegee Airmen and all the black service members from the United States who served over there. They were not fighting for democracy, not one that they enjoy.

GRAFF: And in fact, ironically, for many of them, the first taste that they got of equality was arriving in England in this segregated Jim Crow army, where all of a sudden the British treat them as equals, and much to the horror of the white southern officers, the young British lasses are just as happy to dance at the party with the black soldiers. And it's this real moment of sort of cultural awakening for a lot of the troops there.

Waverly Woodson, the black medic lands on Omaha Beach, around 10:00 a.m. on D-Day, wounded before he gets to shore, he's part of the only black combat unit to land on D-Day. It's been an 80-year fight to get him the Medal of Honor that he was considered for back then. And actually, just this week, the Army announced that he will receive the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest combat valor award for his actions on D-Day.

TAPPER: Sounds like he deserves a Medal of Honor, though if he ran right into danger in D-Day.

GRAFF: I think he does. And part of what I think was so powerful about this book was, you know, it brings together 700 voices. And what you see is how ordinary the extraordinary was that day. I mean, how many of these stories are people operating at the limits of human survival in fierce combat.

TAPPER: The greatest generation. "When The Sea Came Alive," congratulations again. Garrett, you have to sign this before you leave. OK.


Coming up, the next one is a true crime saga that rivals any fiction thriller. Thriller, the Gilgo Beach serial murders, the evidence on a laptop that prosecutors say he used as a roadmap for his crimes.



TAPPER: Our Law and Justice Lead, more charges against the suspect in New York's Gilgo Beach serial killings. CNN's Brynn Gingras was at the courthouse today where prosecutors revealed gruesome new details about the case. I want to warn you, what you're about to hear is some really disturbing stuff.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities revealing a manifesto containing chilling details of how they say accused Gilgo Beach serial killer, Rex Heuermann, planned the murders and in one case the dismemberment of his victims.

RAYMOND TIERNEY, SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: His intent was specifically to locate these victims, to hunt them down and to bring them -- to bring them under his control and to kill them.

GINGRAS (voice-over): The former architect now charged with two more murders, Jessica Taylor killed in 2003 and Sandra Costilla in 1993. Heuermann already charged with the killings of these four women infamously known as the Gilgo 4 discovered along the same stretch of Long Island highway more than a decade ago. There were audible gasps in the courtroom as prosecutors introduced a Word document found on a laptop in March described as a gruesome blueprint for serial killings. Prosecutors say, Heuermann created it in 2000 and modified it over years before trying to delete it.

TIERNEY: In that document is in some cases identical to the methodology used to murder the six victims in this case.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Court papers show it had sections and how to dispose of a body, avoid getting caught and what supplies may be needed, with horrific detail like hit harder. Remember, don't charge gas, more sleep and noise control equal more playtime and use pushpins to hang dropped clothes.

TIERNEY: We went back into the house. We also found an area where they were pushpins into the drop ceiling. GINGRAS (voice-over): Heuermann remained unemotional as this new evidence was revealed in court. He pleaded not guilty to all the murders.

MIKE BROWN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: New charges are always horrific. And yes, he's in a bad place in terms of the new charges.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Jessica Taylor was decapitated and her dismembered body was found in 2003. Nearly eight years later, Taylor's skull, hands and forearm were found near the dump site of the Gilgo 4 victims where Heuermann's truck was seen by witnesses. Investigators say Heuermann was also in the same area where Taylor made one of her last calls to her mother. Her mother cried as the new allegations were read.

JASMINE ROBINSON, JESSICA TAYLOR'S COUSIN: This year has been 21 years since she was taken from us, longer than the chance that she got to be alive.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Advanced DNA technology was used to connect Heuermann to hairs found on remains a boat Taylor and Castillo according to the court paperwork. Castillo is naked and mutilated body was found in a wooded area in Southampton in 1993. Heuermann's first alleged victim.



GINGRAS (on camera): And, Jake, it is clear that this investigation has expanded greatly not only with the discovery of that manifesto, but also 350 additional electronic devices found in new searches. Heuermann is going to back in court next month. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Brynn Gingras, thanks so much.

Our last leads are next.


TAPPER: We're going out of this world for our last leads, a successful test of SpaceX's starship, the world's most powerful rocket, blasted off from Texas this morning. The booster splashed down as planned in the Gulf of Mexico, firing its engines and making the water fly after a fiery reentry, the spacecraft splashdown in the Indian Ocean.


The two crew members of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft meanwhile docked with the International Space Station this afternoon, after engineers solve some problems with the spacecraft's thrusters. The astronauts will stay for about a week. That will give engineers on Earth time to analyze the thruster problems and the implications of several helium leaks, which the crew dealt with by closing valves.

The news continues now on CNN with Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room. To all the D-Day veterans out there and their families, thank you so much.