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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Jury Deliberating In Hunter Biden Federal Gun Trial; New Video Shows Moment Hostages Were Rescued From Gaza; Trump Holds Virtual Meeting With New York Probation Officer; Hunter Biden Jury Done For The Day; France's Macron Gambles On Election After Far-Right Surge. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 10, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: He's facing three charges.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Yeah, a potentially historic verdict, really, no matter the outcome. Plenty of news to keep track of.

Elliot and Jamie, thank you both so much.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts in just a few seconds. Thanks for being with us this afternoon.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: New details just in on the four Israeli hostage just rescued from hell on Earth.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Beaten and malnourished, that from a doctor who treated the four Israeli hostages, rescued from the terrorist group Hamas by the IDF. New video of the operation is just in, as we learned details about the mission and the dozens of Palestinians killed in the process.

And former President Donald Trump meeting today with a probation officer. What we're learning about his virtual hearing coming smack dab in the middle of a 2024 campaign stop.

But first, the breaking news in the trial of Hunter Biden, President Biden's son. Closing arguments are now done and the jury now has the case.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

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

And we start this hour with breaking news. We're now in verdict watch as the jury deliberates in Hunter 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 on drugs at the time. The third charge is for possessing the gun while allegedly using or being addicted to drugs. Hunter Biden could face 25 years in prison if he is convicted on all

three charges. President Biden said a few days ago that he will not pardon his son if he's convicted.

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

Paula, what did prosecutors and the defense focus on in their closing arguments.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I was inside the courtroom earlier today and was really surprised to see how many people were there to support Hunter. The first three rows of the courtroom on the defense side absolutely packed. There was barely room for the Secret Service, amid his friends, family members, religious leaders who are there to show support.

Well, I noticed this, prosecutors also clearly made note of it because that is how they started their closing argument. They pointed to the gallery and said those people, those people include, of course, the first lady of the United States who's been here almost every day, they said those people don't matter. They are not evidenced. So, clearly, they must have some concern about the impact that show of force could have on their case.

But then they moved on to the law itself. And specifically, the most difficult thing they have to do, which is prove that Hunter Biden knowingly lied when he filled out this form while he was buying a gun, and they told the jury that, of course, he knowingly lied. He knew who that he was using or addicted to drugs at this time.

They've been pointing out the fact that he had recently been to rehab. They said, look, maybe if he hadn't been to rehab, we could by the fact that he didn't know that he had a problem. Now, they also took aim at Abbe Lowell's effort to try to shift some blame to the people working at the gun store, pointing out the fact that a Hunter Biden is a Yale educated lawyer who shouldn't need someone to explain to him how to fill out a federal form.

Now, when Abbe Lowell, his attorney, had a chance to present his closing arguments, he compared prosecutors to a magician, trying to do some sort of trick on the jury, some sort of sleight of hand. He emphasized that there is no direct evidence of Hunter Biden using drugs during October 2018.

He also tried to undercut the testimony of at least two of his ex- girlfriend, Hallie Biden, he reminded the jury, couldn't remember specific details about the days she found the gun in his truck. They also tried to undermine the testimony of another woman he dated who provided a lot of the photos in this case of him with drugs and drug paraphernalia, but she had no evidence of him using drugs in October 2018.

Now, prosecutors described the evidence here, Jake, as ugly personal, and overwhelming. I can tell you from reporting on this over the past week, the evidence has been at times very personal and ugly. Whether it's overwhelming -- well, that will be to the jury to decide over the next few hours, potentially the next few days.

TAPPER: And, Paula, a verdict could literally happen at any moment now. How has the jury room reacted to the trial overall, if you can detect it at all?

REID: Yeah. They're much more expressive than the jury that we observe for two months up in New York and the Trump trial. Here, you know they laughed a lot. They seem to find Abbe Lowell quite amusing, but the prosecutors got a few good last, too.

They were very attentive. They were clearly paying a lot of attention to the evidence being presented. Even at some of the slower times, more than documentary evidence text messages that they had to enter into evidence. There are paying attention many of them taking notes and I haven't to notice, specifically with a testimony of Naomi Biden, Hunter Biden's daughter, it was clear that everyone had some sort of recognition.


But that is an incredibly difficult thing to do for her, right, to sit on the stand and talk about her fathers addiction. You could tell the way they watched her, the way they responded. They had clearly some compassion for her. And as we know from jury selection, the majority of people in the jury pool had some experience either directly or with a loved one, with addiction.

So that is, of course, a huge theme in this trial, and the folks who have been sitting there for the past week so, they're clearly taking their job very seriously. I watched them this morning as they followed along line by line, is the jury gave them their instructions, so the rules of the game, as they make this historic decision.

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

Let's bring in CNN's Elie Honig, and also Biden biographer Evan Osnos joins us.

Elie, how long do you think jury liberation deliberations might go?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So I've seen juries come back with verdicts as quickly as an hour in a gun case, actually, now that I think of it, and I've seen them take as long as two weeks.

And what's interesting in this case is it the inverse of your typical gun case because there's a federal category of laws we call prohibited persons law saying certain classes of people are not allowed to possess firearms. Usually that's the easy part. A person's a convicted felon. Person was dishonorably discharged from the military. Person is here without legal immigration status. Easy, and then the fight is over, did they have the gun?

Here, it's essentially conceded by the defense, yes, Hunter Biden had the gun. What he's arguing about, is there a prohibited persons status was he -- was he not an addict at the time? So either the jury's, it's possible to get back there, look at each other and say, he's obviously guilty. Let's get back out there with a verdict or they could chew on this for several days. We just don't know.

TAPPER: And, Elie, the other day, you wrote an article with this headline interesting, Hunter Biden is probably guilty, but his prosecution doesn't make sense.

HONIG: Yeah.

TAPPER: Tell me, explain that.

HONIG: So prosecutors are not supposed to be automatons. It's not just a question of well, we get the evidence. If it equals the crime, hence, we charge. We have to use judgment.

And so, my view is based on the evidence here, Hunter Biden is almost certainly guilty of being an addict while he possessed a firearm.

But I used the example of when I was a supervisor at the U.S. attorney's office. If someone came to me and said, we had this guy, he was an addict. He had a messy family life.

He had a gun five years ago. He had it for 11 days. It wound up in a garbage can. No one ever used it or shot it and now, he's not a current threat to society. I said, why are we bothering with this case?

And I think -- I wouldn't call this an injustice. I would save that for the real injustices, but I do think it's a shaky and questionable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

TAPPER: And Evan Osnos, how much is this weighing on President Biden and the Biden family? Obviously, First Lady Jill Biden, I think has been there for every day of trial.

EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. Look, there's just no way to avoid saying what it is, this is agonizing. It's agonizing for the family. I mean, if you've take this out of politics for a minute, here is the surviving son as Joe Biden often describes, Hunter in a position now facing serious potential jail time.

And Joe Biden has told people over the course of the last couple of years that he feels very acutely that his son, Hunter, for all of the mistakes that he's made, would not be facing this specific charge, were it not for the fact that he is Joe Biden's son. So there is an acute sense of personal connection to this. And at the same time, Jake, you heard him say the other day that he would not pardon his son, were he in fact convicted.

So, there are -- and the reason he wouldn't pardon is because he is making a commitment to the idea that he is not meddling in federal cases, whether they involve his son or whether they involve his opponent in the presidential election. That's a principle he wants to underline.

So, on many levels, this is really an unprecedented kind of personal pressure and personal agony for a president. We've simply never seen anything like it.

TAPPER: And, Elie, prosecutors showed overwhelming evidence during the trial. Did the defense do anything to get the jury to side with their argument that this case is based on suspicion of Hunter Biden's drug use, and drug addiction around the time he bought the gun in 2018?

I think that what the defense or Abbe Lowell did quite an effective job here is giving the jury illegal hook if they want to reject this chart, right? He threw enough question about, well, did Hunter Biden know he was an addict at that very moment. I actually think the evidence is quite clear that he was an addict and he had to have known it.

But what Abbe Lowell is done here is make an essentially an emotional case to the jury and asked the jury to just reject this case as a statement as a political matter, as a personal matter.

And if you can make that case and I think he's got a reasonable asked here of the jury. You want to give them a legal avenue to get there. And I think that's what Abbe Lowell has done with this argument. And well say, are they able to decide this case, mechanically, or are they going to exercise their human feelings and emotions?

TAPPER: And, Evan Osnos, just a quick one for you before we bid you adieu, a lot of very embarrassing details about Hunter Biden's life came out in this case. I was shocked to discover. I knew that he had cheated on his wife with his dead brother's widow, but I was surprised that he had introduced crack cocaine to her.


That was stunning and horrifying.

What is the feeling among friends, family, and supporters of Hunter Biden about all of this?

OSNOS: Yeah. I think part of the anguish of this is that in some ways, Hunter Biden had tried to live his addiction out loud. He talked about it. He'd written about. He'd written a memoir about it. He tried to sort of own it as a step towards recovery. And this process because of the nature of it, because of the nature of the charges, the specificity of the moment in time, it has meant dredging up the most really ornate and awful details of that part of his past.

And there's just been no way around it. You've seen members of his family sitting in court supporting him, but that means there are also listening to some really agonizing detail.

TAPPER: Yeah, Evan Osnos, thanks so much.

Elie Honig, stick with me because we have another big legal case were following today. Of course, Donald Trump's interview today with a probation officer. What's likely to come out of this one on one? Why much of it -- much of what was said will likely stay out of the public eye? Ahead, a far-right surge in elections oversees. Might the trend

continue here in the United States with the Election Day only 148 days away?

But, first, the new details, a new video, but weekend raid that rescue four Israeli hostages.

We're back in a moment.



TAPPER: And we're back with our world lead and new dramatic video just in to CNN of the moment three of the four hostages were rescued from the clutches of Hamas in Gaza over the weekend. Israeli police and intelligence officials built for these this compilation clip showing Israeli security forces approaching the building through a garden and amid heavy, heavy gunfire. Here is some of what happened once they got inside.


TAPPER: You can hear the security forces speaking. They were speaking the hostages for their names before saying, quote, we came to rescue you, be calm.

An important note, this video was edited and blurred before it was released. CNN cannot independently verify the details. Dozens of civilians were killed in the rescue operation as the IDF acknowledges, although the exact number is not clear, officials in the Hamas-run government permanent claimed more than 270 were killed. The IDF says, the number was less than 100.

Obviously, the fact that these hostages were kept in a population center says quite a bit about the risk inherently pose to the civilians in the area. All of this comes as U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken is visiting the Middle East for the eighth time since Hamas invaded Israel on October 7th. Blinken sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing increased pressure at home over the war.

Now, despite the rescue of those four hostages on Saturday, a key member of Netanyahu's war cabinet, acquit the government yesterday. His name is Benny Gantz. He accused Netanyahu of caring more about his political future than the end of the war and the rescue of the hostages.

CNN's Paula Hancocks kicks off our coverage from Israel now with more details of how this hostage rescue was pulled off and what those families are saying now that their loved ones have been returned.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New video from the Israeli military shows the rescue of Israeli hostages from central Gaza it says hundreds of personnel were involved in this rare daytime operation. Three hostages locked in an apartment in one multi-story residential building. Another held in a flat 650 defeat away in a densely populated neighborhood. Models of the buildings were built weeks before to train forces.

This is how Israel's hostage rescue mission looked from the ground. Airstrikes, explosions, residents running to find safety that doesn't have to exist in Gaza.

Hostages were flown by helicopter back to Israel and to emotional reunions with family who had dreamed of this moment for eight months.

Families who only heard about the mission once their loved ones were safe.

ORIT MEIR, MOTHER OF ALMOG MEIR JAN: I haven't stopped smiling since my Almog was returned for me, but the remaining hostages need the deal to get home safely. There is a deal on the table. We ask the Israeli government to move forward with the deal.

HANCOCKS: The doctor who has treated the hostages since they arrived, tells me, despite appearing in good condition, all four are malnourished.

DR. ITAI PESSACH, TREATING RESCUED HOSTAGES: Their muscles are extremely wasted. There is damage to some other systems because of that.

HANCOCKS: He says they were moved frequently and beaten by their captors.

PESSACH: It was harsh, harsh experience with a lot of abuse almost every day, every hour, both physical, mental, and other types, and that is something that is beyond comprehension.

HANCOCKS: Dr. Pessach also treated some of the hostages released in November and says the psychological damage of these four is significantly worse.

PESSACH: All of them had faith but losing that faith, I think, is where you get to the breaking point. And I'm happy that these guys are here but there are others losing the faith in us, in humankind.

HANCOCKS: Residents in Nuseirat, central Gaza, are in a state of shock, struggling to deal with the aftermath of Saturday, which neighboring countries and the EU's top diplomat have called a massacre.

This woman says most of those trapped under the rubble are women and children. Houses are filled with displaced people. Israel committed a massacre.

Hospital directors and Gaza officials say more than 270 were killed hundreds more injured. The IDF says there were fewer than 100 casualties. There's no breakdown of civilians versus fighters.


But this hospital is filled with women and children.


HANCOCKS (on camera): Some misery is continuing to flourish in Gaza. Those on the ground still daring to hope that there could be someday this ever elusive ceasefire -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Paula Hancocks and television for us.

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

Prime Minister Bennett, thanks for joining us.

So, the U.S. national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has -- is saying that an enduring ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas which would include hostage release is, quote, the only credible path forward for returning remaining hostages. And according to polling, majority of the Israeli people agree.

Do you?

NAFTALI BENNETT, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, the Israeli government is agreed to hostage deal, the hostage deal that President Biden that put forward, and we're waiting for Hamas.

TAPPER: We should note in the eight months since the war started, the IDF has rescued seven hostages. They accidentally killed three hostages, more than 100 are still being held captive. This mission, which thankfully, it turned out well in terms of the four rescued hostages, it took weeks planning and training and as we know, there were many innocent Palestinian lives lost.

Realistically, isn't a hostage and -- as ceasefire, not just the hostage deal, but a ceasefire, really the best possible way to get the hostages home?

BENNETT: Well, as I said, the commander of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, is not going ahead with a deal because he doesn't feel enough pressure on him. He will feel pressure when tanks come to kill him or -- and his leadership, the folks around them. And that's why we have to pursue them as quickly as possible.

Right now, we don't have enough leverage on him because he sees that we're being stopped all day, and this whole war is being prosecuted only half-heartedly. That's why the best way to end this war is for him to understand that at the end is nearing and only then I think we can which the deal.

TAPPER: What is your view of the criticism that this hostage rescue saved for innocent Israelis, but also cost countless lives of innocent Palestinian civilians?

BENNETT: My response is simple, don't invade Israel and kidnapped hundreds of citizens from their beds, including children, moms, dads, and then expect that we'll come in dancing ballet and with flowers to get our people back. We sent our best force, the Aman special forces unit, in to release these hostages.

They were held, by the way, not by someone who's considered Hamas, but by an al-Jazeera reporter whose name is Abdallah Aljamal.

So according to the Hamas and the Gazans, this is a civilian. But do you consider him a civilian, a guy who's holding against their will civilian hostages for eight months?

So I have to say this is a ridiculous argument, a ridiculous reprimandment. I am proud of what we did and we would do it again and again if we could.

TAPPER: So let me ask you about Abdallah Aljamal. Al Jazeera denies that he worked for them as anything other than a freelancer. Or I think he wrote an op-ed or something like that. Although he is on the Al Jazeera website, so I don't know what the truth is there.

He was definitely a journalist. He wrote an article for the Palestine or the "Palestinian Chronicle" within the last few months, but we are waiting for -- we in the U.S. media are waiting for proof that he was holding these hostages captive. I don't think there's any question that he was a journalist.

But have you seen evidence that he was holding them captive and can you press the Israeli government to share that evidence?

BENNETT: I assume at a certain point the government will share, but we don't want to burn our sources, but it's funny because to hear Al- Jazeera denied that he's a reporter when his name is on their website as a reporter is ridiculous. Al-Jazeera and Qatar are terror organizations, a terror state and of terror organization.

The fact that Al-Jazeera still calls itself a news outlet is ridiculous. Their hands are in blood, and this is not the first time that Al-Jazeera reporters are part of Hamas. We've discovered many additional cases.

You have to understand, we are fighting a population that unfortunately massively supports Hamas.


We see in every other home, under beds of children, we see peers, we see RPGs. So this is a mix of civilians, and a terror group. But I would love to have been able to say that the civilians are hijacked by Hamas. But the reality is they elected Hamas, they support Hamas and they support, by and large, this massacre. Not every one of them, but most of them.

TAPPER: So when we spoke last week, you told me that if Benny Gantz left the Netanyahu government, the Netanyahu government would lose legitimacy both domestically and internationally. How big a blow is his resignation and when will there be new elections if at all? BENNETT: I don't know when there'll be new elections. We have a fairly

complex methodology to bring about elections. I will say that, yeah, it is a blow to the government.

And Benny Gantz yesterday in his announcement, he said that he believes that Netanyahu puts his own interests above the country's interests, et cetera. That certainly does not provide a back wind for the war. It's something were going to have to deal with in Israel.

It's my belief that the sooner we can go to elections and get -- lets say, the backing of the Israeli people yet again, the better off we are.

TAPPER: Naftali Bennett, former prime minister of Israel, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Five Americans are thought to be among the 116 hostages still being held in Gaza. Each have a dual Israeli American citizenship. Their names are Edan Alexander and Omer Neutra and Hersh Goldberg Polin, Sagui Dekel-Chen, and Keith Samuel Siegel.

I'm not sure that Sagui Dekel-Chen belongs on that list.

Anyway, this was a big day for Donald Trump. Just hours ago, his first interview with a probation officer after his criminal conviction in the New York hush money. What we know happened and what we may never know. That's next.



TAPPER: Also in our law and justice lead today, Donald Trump attended his pre-sentencing interview virtually today with a probation officer after that Manhattan jury found him guilty of 36 -- 34 felony charges last month related to that cover up hush money payment to adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels.

CNN's John Miller joins us now.

John, what's the purpose of today's interview? What did the probation officer likely asked the 45th president?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So the purpose of today's interview is for them to prepare a PSR or a pre-sentence report for the judge. This is basically where the probation department, which could in today's meeting have included the commissioner, a couple of senior members, maybe a social worker, but it's where the probation department meets with someone who's going to come for sentencing and they ask questions about family background, financial status, living situation a lot of basic questions, which coming from Donald Trump would have not the usual answers they get from the common defendant.

But what they do is they write up their report and they submitted to the judge basically saying is this person a good candidate for what they call community corrections, which means being supervised on the outside rather than in jail or in prison.

TAPPER: Will Trump's interview -- or was Trump's interview likely different from the average probation client do you think?

MILLER: Well, yes. And our understanding is that the interview was scheduled for around 3:30 this afternoon. It can usually take an hour or two, so that interview may still be going on as we speak.

But the average client, they're looking to ask about family history, okay, his family history isn't the average family history education criminal background. So he doesn't have a criminal background except he will have to explain to them that he has three open felony cases pending in other jurisdictions. Two special counsel, one in Georgia.

What's his employment history? He's always worked for his dad or himself. Substance abuse issues, medical conditions financial status. I'm a billionaire.

Where do you live? In a big tower with my name in bold letters on it, in a triplex penthouse. So it'll be unusual.

That said, this is, you know, the Manhattan D.A.'s office. It's the New York City Department of Probation. This will not be the first white collar defendant they've brought in who's a millionaire. But it is unusual because it will be the first person they've ever brought in who was a former president of the United States and running to get that job again.

TAPPER: Right. He worked for his dad. He worked for himself and he worked for the American people for four years, also I want to note.

MILLER: That's right.

TAPPER: Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Let's bring back CNN's Elie Honig.

Elie, how does this pre-sentencing report weigh into the judges sentencing decision?

HONIG: So, ordinarily, these PSR's pre-sentencing reports can be influential, judges wanted now a bit more about the person. But in this case, what's not known about Donald Trump.

And I doubt Judge Merchan is going to be much persuaded by this. I mean, this is a decision that he and he alone will make and he has to live with. He knows that this will be his mark in the historical record books. But I don't think he's going to give all that much credence to whatever probation recommends. I think its going to be on him.

TAPPER: When it comes to sentencing. What do you think the defense is going to recommend? What do you think the prosecutions recommend going to recommend?

HONIG: So the defense is certainly going to ask for a non-custodial sentence, are going to ask for some combination of probation or a fine or maybe community service, a healthy majority of people convicted of this exact crime do get non-incarceratory sentences in New York, somewhere between 70 and 90 percent.


I also think the prosecution is going to ask for imprisonment, and I think first of all, because there are aggravating factors here that make this worse in the prosecutions eyes than your typical falsification of records.

TAPPER: He broke the gag order 10 times.

HONIG: Breaking the gag order, his open contempt for the judge and the process. The fact that the conduct impacted an election.

I also think its hard for the days just a practical and political matter to bring this case get the convictions and then say, we're fine with probation.

So I expect them guessing, but I expect Alvin Bragg to ask for some sort of prison sentence.

TAPPER: You know, it's possible that we didn't discuss this enough because the amount was so miniscule, $35 for 15 designated to the Trump campaign -- against the Trump campaign for the Biden campaign. But it is inherently unusual and very frowned upon for a judge to have given political donations and then not to have recused himself. Again --

HONIG: Yeah.

TAPPER: -- the amount was small, but still is that not grounds for an appeal in and of itself, that Judge Merchan gave $35 to, whatever, was it ActBlue or whatever.

HONIG: Right.

TAPPER: Fifteen that went to the Biden campaign, which is very much against the defendant.

HONIG: Judge Merchan did get himself what we would technically call a CYA memo. He went to the ethics board and gave them the facts and they said, you can stay on.

But in my view, we absolutely should have recused himself. He should have removed himself. I mean, it's miniscule out, but judges are not supposed to give any amount. He violated the rules by giving $2, forget about $35.

And I would just pose the converse. What if the judge had donated a tiny amount, $35 --

TAPPER: To Trump.

HONIG: -- Trump 2020? TAPPER: And then was the judge, exactly.

HONIG: Right. Will people be fine with that? I think people would be going nuts about that.

TAPPER: But is it grounds for -- I don't know that it quite rises to the level of reversal because he got this opinion from the ethics board saying you're okay to stay on if you want. Not, you have to stay on, but you can stay on.

But keep in mind, there's 40-something other judges in that courthouse who never donated and it would have been safer.

TAPPER: Why would -- I mean, what was the ethics board thinking? It seems like why they've given him that this allowance to give money?

HONIG: The ethics boards opinion is mishmash. It is a two or so page opinion that's very conclusively. They basically say, well, it was a small enough amount and it was more than two years ago to which I would say who cares? Why does that matter?

TAPPER: Yeah. So we have some breaking news. Elie, I want you to react. We've just learned that the jury in Wilmington, Delaware, in the Hunter Biden trial has ended deliberations for the day. They had the case for about an hour.

HONIG: Yeah.

TAPPER: Any guesses as to what that means? Obviously, an hour is not much of a time to deliberate at all.

HONIG: Yeah, I guess I'll just say if they had come back within an hour, I would feel like that's probably a conviction. They probably just said meets the statutory definition of the crime. Let's go home.

So they're chewing on it more than just that minimal amount, and we'll see.

I do want to note this, if they end up enough potential hung situation, where they can't get to unanimity, that's going to take a while to play out. Because what has to happen is they have to get to a point where they feel like they're deadlocked, then they have to tell the judges that in a note. Then the judge gives a further instruction, what we call an Allen charge basically saying, hey, folks, you really need to get to a verdict if you can.

So we're not there yet.

TAPPER: No, we're nowhere there.

HONIG: Right. We're nowhere near there, but, you know, if we don't see a verdict next couple of days, I'd start thinking about that.

TAPPER: All alright. Let's -- let's go to Wilmington, Delaware, right now, where Paula Reid is standing by with the news of the jury going home -- Paula. REID: That's right. We just watched them leave. They passed by very close just a few feet away. They all headed home. Look, they had barely an hour to deliberate. So it's not surprising that they're going to head home.

We're told they will be back in court at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow to continue their deliberations on these three counts, and this historic case against the president's son. But really no one can know how long it'll take them to reach a decision.

TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid, Elie Honig with the breaking news, thanks to both you.

Coming up next, is stunning election results showing a conservative and far-right victories across parts of Europe. We've seen this movie before, haven't we? Right before America elected Donald Trump as president, there was Brexit, remember that? Are we about to see a sequel in 2024?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead now, French President Emmanuel Macron is gambling on France's political future after his party fell to second place in the European parliament elections yesterday. President Macron made the shocking move of dissolving the French parliament and calling for snap elections in France. That will force voters to decide which direction France should go.

Don't forget what happened last time we saw this kind of lurch toward the right in Europe. Back in 2016, the Brexit movement pulled off a stunning victory and just months later, so did Donald Trump back here in the U.S.

Is this populism part of something in the air?

CNN's Melissa Bell explains now how President Macron is trying to call the bluff of those on the right in his country.


MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was an aftershock that rivaled the earthquake Sunday night's European election results.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCE PRESIDENT (through translator): I will dissolve the national assembly tonight.

BELL: France's Emmanuel Macron called snap national elections as the two main far-right parties took nearly 40 percent of votes in France.

MARINE LE PEN, NATIONAL RALLY (through translator): We are ready to turn the country around, ready to bring France back to life. BELL: Already hamstrung without an absolute majority in parliament, Macron is looking to tackle the far-right head on, calling for clarity from voters on the country's future.


But if the far-right copy their wins on the French stage, Emmanuel Macron could be facing three years with a radical right prime minister, most likely the 28-year-old Jordan Bardella.

A TikTok star, he brings a youth-friendly dynamic, posting here about drinking the tears of Macron's fans.

DOMINIQUE MOISI, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: It looks as if the fear for the future of the planet have been replaced by the fear of what is called the great replacement, the identity quest. The world is too dangerous. We don't want to be inundated by migrants coming from the Middle East or Africa. We want to be at home surrounded by our peer.

BELL: The far right also saw major wins in a host of European countries. In Germany, the alternative for Deutschland, or AFD, came in second. Its main candidates said last month that he didn't consider all members of a notorious Nazi group to be criminals.

And in Italy, there were gains by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy the most right-wing party to govern since fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. But the headlines in Western Europe contrast with relatively minor changes across the continent. In Nordic countries, for instance, the left and greens made sweeping gains and overrule the political center appears to have held, ensuring relative stability in the European parliament.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We made it, and now we want the European elections.

BELL: Confidence for now, but unease settling in, in parts of Europe, most of all in France, as the far-right challenges, so much of what the European Union itself has come to stand for.


BELL (on camera): Jake, to your point a moment ago about comparisons of the 2016 British referendum that led to Brexit, there's something very similar about the way and the suddenness and the controversial nature of this decision President Macron had to call this election. He didn't have to do it, just as David Macron -- David Cameron didn't have to hold his referendum.

And similarly, Emmanuel Macron seems to be saying to the French, look, think long and hard about what you want. Consider what the far-right is. And let's see what you choose.

Remember how 2016 went for the British. There are fears this could similarly go a populist way for Emmanuel Macron. So it's sort of double or nothing. Either he wins and consolidates his position, or indeed the political landscape of France changes in ways that would have seemed unimaginable only 24 hours go, Jake. TAPPER: Indeed. Melissa Bell, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

We have some brand new reporting breaking right here on lead. Jobs eliminated at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, even though the agency vowed to protect these kinds of cuts.

CNN's Kyung Lah is digging into what's going on. That's next.



TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you in our national lead, CNN has learned that veterans who served honorably served the United States of America may be getting less care than they were specifically promised. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has cut front-line jobs for psychologists, for clinical social workers and others according to an exclusive new CNN review.

CNN's Kyung Lah examines the impact of these cuts at a time when suicides among veterans remain disproportionately high.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Department of Veterans Affairs leaders said 10,000 jobs needed to be cut, but that those positions would not be taken from patient care.

DR. SHEREEF ELNAHAL, V.A. UNDER SECRETARY FOR HEALTH: We're talking about more managerial, programmatic, individuals, supervisory roles that aren't necessarily over the point of care directly.

LAH: A CNN investigation found that's not what's happening. Jobs for psychologists, clinical social workers, and other patient care positions have been cut, and job offers have been rescinded according to emails viewed by CNN.

CHRIS MAPPS, PRESIDENT, AFGE UNION LOCAL 2280: Our mental health department was already understaffed. They are also not allowed to hire.

LAH: Chris Mapps is a local V.A. employees union president in Michigan. He says jobs and crucial departments now sit empty.

MAPPS: We need to fill the gaps we are already had. The gaps we cannot fill now because they have -- they have restricted the ability to fund positions.

LAH: Does it feel like they are assessing the clinical needs of the veterans?

MAPPS: My opinion is they're not. What they're currently doing is excessively burning out the staff that are remaining.

LAH: In one internal email obtained by CNN, a V.A. manager in central Texas told employees that 22 vacant positions and mental health and behavioral medicine had been abolished, describing the losses as painful.

In another, a Michigan V.A. manager wrote the hiring issue has placed considerable strain on all our services, and that the result would come at the cost of possible veteran dissatisfaction.

V.A. nurses from across the nation rallied in Washington last week to protest what they call a critical lack of staffing.

THOMAS BEWICK, V.A. NURSE: They've instituted a hiring freeze, but they be refuses to call it that. But they've taken down posted positions and we don't have enough nurses.

GWENDOLYN FREIERMUHT, V.A. NURSE: It really puts are veterans at risk because they're not getting the care that they need at the time that they need it.

LAH: The cuts follow a record surge in V.A. hiring in recent years. The agency unboarded tens of thousands of staffers to keep pace with the spike in veterans seeking care.

Now, some fear the eliminations could undercut the V.A. as some patients based long wait times, and veteran suicide remains display proportionately high.

DR. HAROLD KUDLER, FORMER CHIEF CONSULTANT, V.A. MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: If we have fewer mental health clinicians who can respond after someone calls are crisis line. If it takes longer to return that call, then you're undercutting that safety net that we've all called for.

It is dangerous for veterans.


It is not what we promised them. And it's less than we need to deliver.

LAH: A V.A. spokesperson told CNN, the agency has the nationwide staffing we need to deliver for our nations veterans.

And that there are no plans for an enterprise-wide hiring freeze or layoffs. Some V.A. staffers disagree.

MONICA COLEMAN, V.A. NURSE: We do not have the provider fighters that can give this specialty care that the veterans need and deserve.


LAH (on camera): A top V.A. official sent an internal memo about a week ago, directing managers to continue hiring roles vital for safety, quality, and timeliness of care. He also said that certain key positions like jobs involving suicide prevention, homelessness, or women's health that had been initially frozen, should be reactivated and filled.

But be insiders fear that the staffing challenges are not going away anytime soon -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kyung Lah, with an important story there.

Coming up next, Donald Trump's message just moments ago to a Christian group on the mission -- on a mission to eradicate abortions in the United States. The group, what did he tell them?

Stay with us.