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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Hunter Biden Found Guilty On All Counts In Gun Case; Biden Speaks At Gun Safety Event After Son's Gun Convictions; Source: After Felony Convictions, Trump Tells NY Probation Officials He Has A Gun In Florida; Barak Ravid: Israeli Official Says Hamas Has Rejected Latest Hostage Deal; WSJ: Hamas Leader Said Civilian Deaths In Gaza Benefit Hamas; Liberal Activist Tapes Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito; Rare Access Inside ISIS Prison And Detention Camps. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 11, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. And the president is now traveling to Wilmington, Delaware, where he will be with his son. Hunter Biden facing up to 25 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines when he is sentenced, likely in mid-October. The legal experts say his sentence will likely be far less severe as a first-time non-violent offender.

And that's it for us today.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: For the first time in the history of the United States of America, an immediate family member of the current president is a convicted felon.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Hunter Biden, guilty on all charges in the federal gun case against him. His fathers speaking at the gun safety event just hours after. Did he say anything about it?

Now, Biden, the president is rushing to Delaware to be by his son side. So, will Hunter Biden now head to prison and for how long?

Plus, Trump has a gun situation of his own. A source telling CNN the former president fessed up about his weapon in Florida, which he is legally not allowed to possess as a convicted in felon. But does Donald Trump plan to hand the gun over? CNN's digging into what he might face if he does not.

Plus, leaked messages reported from the leader of the terrorist group Hamas, revealing that he thinks Hamas is benefiting from the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. And that he seemingly could really not care less what happens to them.

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

Hunter Biden is now a convicted felon. It took a Delaware jury less than three hours to find the president's son guilty, guilty, guilty on all three felony gun charges, deciding he violated laws meant to prevent those who use and are addicted to illegal drugs from owning firearms. Multiple jurors spoke to CNN in the moments after they left court, including juror number ten who told CNN that the jury had been evenly split last night when they wrapped for the day, with six guilty, six not guilty. But this morning, jurors went count by count and unanimously decided Hunter Biden was in fact guilty on all three counts.

Juror number 10 went on to tell CNN he does not think politics played a role in any jurors decision to convict.


HUNTER BIDEN JUROR: No politics came into play. And politics was not even spoken about. The first family was not even spoken about. It was all -- it was all about Hunter.


TAPPER: Two jurors also told CNN that the emotional testimony would stick with him for a long time, including one saying that the testimony of Hunter's daughter, Naomi, was, quote, heart-wrenching.

Hunter Biden responded to the verdict in a written statement saying, quote, in more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from his wife, Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community that I am disappointed by the outcome. Recovery is possible by the grace of God. I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time, unquote.

Hunter Biden now faces theoretically up to 25 years in prison. He is expected to be sentenced before the presidential election.

Multiple jurors telling CNN that while they agreed he would was guilty, they do not think Hunter Biden should go to jail. President Biden has said he would not pardon his son.

The president reacted to the verdicts this afternoon saying he accepts the outcome of the case and is proud of his son for his recovery.

I asked President Biden about this possibility back in October 2022, before Hunter Biden was even charged.


TAPPER: Our reporting, CNN's reporting, and "The Washington Post" reporting suggests that prosecutors think they could -- they have enough to charge your son, Hunter, for tax crimes and a false statement about a gun purchase.

Personally and politically how do you react to that? JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, I'm

proud of my son. This is a kid who got out -- not a kid, he's a grown man. He got hooked on -- like many families have had happened -- hooked on drugs. He's overcome that. He's established a new life.

This thing about a gun, I didn't know anything about it, but it turns out that when he made application to purchase a gun, what happened was he stayed -- I guess she had -- get asked. I don't guess -- you get asked the question, are you on drugs? You use drugs. He said no. And he wrote about saying no --

TAPPER: Right.

BIDEN: -- in his book.


TAPPER: Let's go straight to CNN's Paula Reid, who's live outside the courtroom in Wilmington, Delaware, along with CNN's Kayla Tausche, who is live outside the White House.

Paula, give us more context about the jurors and what the next legal steps are for Hunter Biden.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the jury was unanimous in its verdict, but we've learned Jake there was a split behind the scenes about whether they believed that this was a good use of time and resources. One juror told our colleague, Hannah Rabinowitz that she thought this was, quote, a waste of taxpayer money, but they believed they had no choice but to convict based on the instructions that they received from the judge.


Now, juror ten, who Manu and I spoke to earlier, he did say that he believed it was a legitimate use of taxpayer funds. Of course, this case has come under significant scrutiny, even high profile Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Matt Gaetz, questioning whether this case should have proceeded.

Today in a where statement, the special counsel, David Weiss, he defended his case as, quote, being about illegal choices and the rule of law. Never his part as you noted, Hunter Biden, he focused his statement not on the verdict, but the enormous outpouring of support that he is received here in Wilmington from family, friends, members of the clergy. That is something that even prosecutors appeared a little concerned about because they said in their closing arguments that the jury should not consider the presence of the first lady and others in making there decision.

And after the verdict, Hunter treated that group of supporters sort of like a receiving line and went through and thanked each person individually. Now, Jake, we expect to be back here in Wilmington in roughly 120 days for sentencing.

TAPPER: And, Kayla, kind of an uncomfortable coincidence today, the very day President Biden's son is convicted on gun charges, the president spoke at a gun violence prevention conference. How's he handling all this?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was an unfortunate coincidence of scheduling, Jake. The president delivering those remarks at Everytown for Gun Safety's Gun Sense University, and the White House had told reporters that the president was expected to announce that the Department of Justice has charged more than 500 defendants for violating some of the new provisions in a Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which he was touting the efficacy of and the strength of that law in those remarks.

Now, the president did referenced the fact that prosecutors have new tools to bring charges just against defendants on gun crimes. But he did not mention that number. That number instead, coming in a Department of Justice press release that was released earlier today, but it comes as, of course, the president is in an uncomfortable position, both promoting these laws as well as dealing with what he has long said is a personal and family matter.

In his statement today, in the wake of that verdict, he again praised Hunters resiliency and recovery and said this: I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal. Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that.

Now that statement is expected to stand alone today with the press pool here at the White House reporting that the White House is no longer expected to hold a press briefing. The president, of course, on his way to Wilmington where presumably, he will spend time with family behind closed doors as he did in the days leading up to the beginning of this trial, and as the first lady did on at least a few occasions last week -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kayla Tausche and Paula Reid, thanks -- thanks so much.

Let's bring in my panel.

Tim Parlatore, this is what's Special Counsel Weiss said shortly after the verdict.


DAVID WEISS, SPECIAL COUNSEL: -- is above the law. Everyone must be accountable for their actions, even this defendant. However, Hunter Biden should be no more accountable than any other citizen convicted of this same conduct.


TAPPER: So, Tim, if Hunter Biden should be no more accountable than anyone else, what does that mean in terms of sentencing?

TIM PARLATORE, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. So everybody has been talking about how this goes up to 25 years, but really, that's just the first step of sentencing. Federal sentencing is very involved. You start with the statutory maximum, then you go to the U.S. sentencing guidelines.

And sentencing guidelines are very sophisticated, you know, math equations of figuring out all the different things that could apply, I've done my calculation.

TAPPER: Okay. What do you got?

PARLATORE: Zero to six months.


PARLATORE: -- is what I think because you add all these points, it ends up as a base level offensive six. And I know some prosecutors may disagree with me on this point, but there's a reduction if they possessed it for the purpose of lawful sporting purposes collection, and did not unlawfully discharge. Otherwise unlawfully use the firearms or ammunition.

With his criminal history category of one, that gives you a recommended guideline range of zero to six. Now when I heard Weiss say that in the press conference, I took that is an indicator that he is probably going to go into sentencing asking for probation.

TAPPER: You think so?

PARLATORE: I do. And I think it's the right sentence in this -- in this case. There's -- there's a lot of things you can add on. If its an automatic weapon, if it was used as part of a larger crime, a crime violence, and all those things.

That's what brings you up to the 25. But for this type of thing where there's no other aggravating factors, a probationary sentence is appropriate.

TAPPER: Thereabout -- I -- one of our contributors, Stephen Gutowski, he writes about guns for us, is very knowledgeable, says, if I have this right, it's about 200 charges like this a year and usually, it is along the lines of somebody's found with drugs and a gun and the prosecutor decides to charge him with the gun charge instead of the drug charge.


It's not somebody who confesses in a bestselling book to it. And then they go and get him, right? So do you agree with Tim's analysis in terms of the sentencing?

VICTORIA NOURSE, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL, VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Yes. Yes, I do. And the other thing that this judge is going to want to see basically how she has rolled in other cases similar to this for first- time offenders. And you can look and see in various databases at the Justice Department how those kinds of cases have been led down, you know, these guidelines. So you can see whether this if it is as we suspect, zero to six is in line with other defendants with the same criminal history, and did not use the gun, and that's one thing that's a bit different about gun safety that the president was added.

TAPPER: Right.

NOURSE: He never used the guy.

TAPPER: And thrown out.


TAPPER: On his behalf, I guess, or kind of a bone (INAUDIBLE).

Kate Benningfield, on Twitter, Republican Congressman Tom Massie of Kentucky posted, quote, Hunter might deserve to be in jail for something, but purchasing a gun is not it. There are millions of marijuana users who own guns in this country and none of them should be in jail for purchasing or possessing a firearm against current law.

I wouldn't say that Thomas Massie is a big Hunter Biden supporter, but saying that this is kind of bogus in his view.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, Republicans have kind of been all over the board today in their responsiveness. And it shows you, I think what a political challenge this is for them both from gun owner perspective, they're kind of loathe to jump in and, you know, beyond on the opposite side of the NRA, for example, on the gun issues here.

But also I think that they have seen over time that trying to make a Hunter Biden's struggles with addiction, which is fundamentally what this is for the average American when you heard that from juror ten, who talked about all of the case in terms of the heart wrenching testimony and the struggle of the family, Republicans have really struggled to make this line of attack stick because most people see this and feel sympathy.

Most people have somebody in their family who's gone through addiction. They know --

TAPPER: What they feel for, though, President Biden?

BEDINGFIELD: I think they feel sympathy for the Biden family, and so, I think there has been --

TAPPER: I don't know that they fill it for Hunter.

BEDINGFIELD: I think we've seen -- well, but Hunter is not an elected official. I mean, ultimately, the point of a political attack --

TAPPER: No, I just want to be clear on sympathy though.

BEDINGFIELD: And they've really struggled -- and they've really struggled to make the stick to Joe Biden. So, I think, you know, seeing that kind of reaction from Massie, the Trump campaign sort of struggled to respond today. They put out a statement than they retracted it. Then they said Trump was going to say something on Truth Social. I don't think he has.


BEDINGFIELD: We've been saying. We haven't seen anything.


BEDINGFIELD: So, this is -- this is not going to be a political winner for them.

TAPPER: But, Jamie, three jurors told CNN that they question whether the criminal case should have ever been brought against the president's son.

Another said he doesn't think politics plays a role in anyone's decision to convict.

First of all, I mean, kudos to the jury for doing there duty, even though they didn't think that this was worth it, they still just abided by what the judge told them to do. But what do you make of this?

GANGEL: So, first of all, if you cant have cameras in the courtroom, I want to say thank you, especially to juror number ten, for coming out and speaking to us and the others about what happened.

Look, I think what happened here today was the system worked as simple as that. It was common sense. Juror number ten said to us that the jury came to believe that Hunter was an addict at the time he felt out his forum and that he knowingly did -- did that.

I also thought was very interesting. Juror number ten also said that politics did not come into play, that they put a sign, that this was the Biden family, although you could tell it was a federal case, but this was a Delaware jury. Juror number ten called the first lady, Jill.

TAPPER: Right.

GANGEL: This is a family they're familiar with.

TAPPER: No, absolutely. Everyone, stick around. We've got a lot more to talk about. I want to get into what today's verdict might mean for the election, for attacks against the Justice Department.

Also ahead, the weapon Donald Trump is not supposed to have given his own criminal conviction. What CNN is learning about that?

Plus, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito secretly recorded by an activist. What she said about that controversial flag outside her home, the upside down distress symbol, and the people who criticize her for flying it.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: And we're back with our law and justice lead.

For the very first time in the history of these United States, an immediate family member of a sitting president is now a convicted felon. Hunter Biden was found guilty today on all three federal gun charges.

Let's bring back our panel.

So, Victoria, anyone who thinks that the unfounded attacks against the U.S. Justice Department, that, you know, it's just a tool of Biden to go after his political enemies, will just stop because of this, or the Menendez case. So the Cuellar case in Texas is probably mistaken.

But do you see any political ramifications going forward?

NOURSE: Well, I do think that, you know, democracy is held. The world was part of democracy. Jurors are, you know, one of the things the Founders adore jurors because they were a kind of democratic decision- making. We can't throw you away into jail.

So I think we will see that some of the attacks blunted earlier. We saw that former President Trump has not commented, for example, on this because yet. But I think what you see is a totally different pitch from, we don't see Hunter Biden screaming about the illegitimacy of the justice system.

And so, that contrast to the former president and his antics, I will say at the trial, and this rather dignified acceptance of responsibility is something that I think we will continue to see.

TAPPER: So let me ask you this, Tim, because it occurred to me. Whatever one thinks about the Biden family, Hunter, James, the president, et cetera, what happened today would not have happened if, A, President Biden upon taking office didn't keep the U.S. attorney of Delaware as U.S. attorney, even though he was appointed by Trump, because of the investigation into Hunter and not wanting to be unethical, and B, if U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland hadn't appointed Weiss, that U.S. attorney as special counsel after the questionable sentencing issue -- I mean, it's just -- you cant dispute it.


I mean, it happened because Joe Biden, actually abided by what ethics officials would have wanted him to do.

PARLATORE: He left the Trump appointed prosecutor in front of the Trump-appointed judge and this was the result. I mean, look I'm not somebody that believes that the Justice Department and everything has been weaponized. I think I look at each one of these cases individually and we have had this type of thing throughout our history. We once had a president of the United States who ordered his vice president indicted Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr. So this type of thing has happened throughout our history, but ultimately, the jury is a great equalizer.

And so, you know, I think that it is to Biden's credit that he kind of step back and let this process play out, and, you know, it's going to play out again shortly in California.

TAPPER: Yeah. With the tax case, tax charges against him.


TAPPER: And uncomfortable moment. And you heard Kayla Tausche, our White House correspondent talking about this, Biden speaking at a gun safety event and he was supposed to herald all these laws and regulations that help keep guns out of the wrong people's hands. And obviously, he didn't mention it because that's his son.

I mean, that's one of those laws you're not supposed to be able to -- if you're using or addicted to drugs, you're not supposed to have a gun and he kind of skirted that law. I mean --

BEDINGFIELD: Well, I think first of all, I think this is the fluke of the schedule. But in some ways, is there a more -- is there more compelling and for him to go to demonstrate that you should --

TAPPER: But should he lean into it more do you think?

BEDINGFIELD: No, no, I don't think so. He has been very -- he has kept himself out of this process. He has made this about love for his son and also his belief that the president should not inappropriately influenced the judicial process.

And I think you saw both of those things on display today when he went to a gun event, and talked about the progress that he's made on these laws and focused on how what he's done as president and what he would do in a second term will impact real people.

He didn't go and talk about his family. He didn't go and complain about how his son was treated unfairly. And that contrast in and of itself, I think is powerful.

TAPPER: Jamie, former President Trump's campaign said, and I'm not sure if this was the one that they retracted or if this is a new one, you'll have to tell me.

Quote: This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the real crimes of the Biden crime family, which has raked in tens of billions of dollars. I'm trying to Russia and Ukraine, crooked Joe Biden's reign over the Biden family, criminal empire is all coming to an end of November 5th. And never again will a Biden sell government access for personal profit.

Is that the one that they revoked or is this a new one?

GANGEL: This is number three actually.

TAPPER: This is -- okay.

GANGEL: The first one had a tagline, as for Hunter, we wish him well in his recovery and legal affairs. They took that one back in.

This is now out without -- without that.

TAPPER: What is the fact that this is their response say about at all?

GANGEL: I just wanted to say the words "Biden crime family" are staying on my bingo card for Donald Trump for the rest of this campaign?

TAPPER: Yeah. All right. Well, thanks one and all. Appreciate it.

Also in our law and justice lead, our source tells CNN that former President Donald Trump admitted he still possesses a handgun in the state of Florida and talked about the weapon in a pre-sentencing interview with a probation officer yesterday. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is a crime in Florida and a violation of federal law.

CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, John Miller, joins us now.

John, you've been following this closely. What more can you tell us and could Trump face any legal consequences?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So he could, although right now, that is unlikely. Our understanding from a New York City official who was briefed on the interview that Donald Trump and his lawyer, Todd Blanche, sat in on with probation officials yesterday, went through the regular questions about where do you live, how much time do you spend in Florida versus New York family situation access to firearms. They said there is a gun in Florida.

Now, we know that when New York City officials after Trump's arrest in 2023 suspended his pistol license, there were three guns listed there. Two were turned over. And when they said where's the third, they said, oh, it had been lawfully transferred to Florida.

So, this apparently is the gun that Trump and his lawyer were referring to yesterday which apparently is still in Florida. So what New York City probation officials are doing, we are told by the source is they are reaching out to local officials in Florida to resolve the issue of this weapon. And, of course, yesterday we went through our calls last week to the Palm Beach County sheriff's office, the Palm Beach Police Department saying had anybody turned in a gun from Donald Trump since his conviction on felony charges and they said they had not.


So, those wheels seem to be turning now. It's interesting, though, because he was convicted of felony charges at the end of May, which means he has been technically in illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for about as many days as Hunter Biden was, if you'd like the irony there.

TAPPER: Oh, boy. John Miller, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Coming up next, the leaked messages from the leader of the terrorist group Hamas reportedly calling Palestinian deaths, quote, necessary sacrifices in the Hamas war against Israel.

More of the stunning messages now exposed. Plus, CNN's rare exclusive access to a site in Syria that a U.S. official ones called a breeding ground for the next generation of the terrorists of ISIS. What a woman there told CNN's Clarissa Ward, coming up.



TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you in our world lead. Hamas has rejected the latest proposal for a ceasefire and hostage deal, that's according to CNN analyst Barak Ravid, who also writes for "Axios" and who spoke to an Israeli official just moments ago.

That update comes as U.S. officials tell CNN that they believed the leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, feels that he has the upper hand in these negotiations and that the terrorist group can withstand Israel's military attacks.

All of this as "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that Sinwar recently told other leaders of Hamas that the civilian death toll in Gaza benefits Hamas.

CNN's Kylie Atwood reports now from Amman, Jordan.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, a high-stakes life and death waiting game heats up in the Middle East. Hamas has responded to the latest ceasefire proposal for Israel, but more talks are now expected as an effort to set piece into motion.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't think anyone other than the Hamas leadership in Gaza actually are the ones who can make -- make decisions. That's what we're waiting.

ATWOOD: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who's traveling in the region, said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to the current deal on the table that was detailed in speech 11 days ago by President Biden.

The pressure now increasingly on one man alone, who started this war and could end it. Yahya Sinwar, the military leader of Hamas.

Sinwar, helped mastermind the horrific October 7 attacks and is suspected to be hiding out in the tunnels under Gaza, exactly where is unknown. Our fresh report out today from "The Wall Street Journal" details messages between Sinwar and Hamas officials participating in the ceasefire talks in Doha.

The exchanges show that the terrorist leader thinks he may have the upper hand in the current negotiations. Quote: We have the Israelis right where we want on them. Sinwar allegedly said in recent messages. These stunning messages which CNN cannot independently verify, reveal his frame of mind, as this war drags into its ninth month. With the Palestinian death toll climbing, Sinwar wrote, quote, these are necessary sacrifices, and this is why U.S. officials believed Sinwar has had little incentive to broker a deal. Not only will Israel refused to stop fighting, but the pressure will continue to mount on Israel daily, which Sinwar believes is to his benefit.

The Israeli military responded to these messages saying, quote, Hamas leaders don't care about Gazans. How many times did they have to say it for themselves before the world believes them?

And as Blinken continues to push for a deal that could eventually end the war, he took aim at Sinwar.

BLINKEN: Are they looking after one guy who may be for now safe, very -- I don't know ten stories underground somewhere in Gaza while the people that he purports to represent continue to suffer in a crossfire of his own making, or will he do what's necessary to actually move this to a better place?


ATWOOD: Now, of course, we have learned that Hamas submitted this proposal by Qatari interlocutors. It included proposed amendments including a timeline for a permanent ceasefire and a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Of course, Jake, those are tall asks for the Israelis who have steered clear of anything that would explicitly link them to a permanent ceasefire in the end. But, of course, we know the goal is bring this conflict to a close. So, we'll have to watch and see where this all goes. The Biden administration for their part not commenting on what is in the Hamas response, and it sees John Kirby says that they are examining it right now.

We are here in Jordan with the secretary of state. Tomorrow, he's headed straight to Qatar. Those will be critical conversations because Qataris have been so intimately involved in this process. We'll get a better sense for where the United States thinks things will go from here, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kylie Atwood in Amman, Jordan, for us. Thank you so much.

Coming up next, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito secretly recorded dishing on the dustup over the controversial upside- down flag outside her home. Hear her response to the criticism, that's next.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead, a liberal activist secretly recorded politically sensitive conversations with the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, with Justice Samuel Alito and with Justice Alito's wife.

CNN's Jessica Schneider brings us that audio, and the stark contrast between the comments of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.


MARTHA-ANN ALITO, WIFE OF JUSTICE SAM ALITO: You come after me, I'm going to give it back to you.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Martha-Ann Alito, the wife of Justice Samuel Alito, back in the spotlight and secretly recorded after flying controversial flags at their homes in Virginia and New Jersey.

MARTHA-ANN ALITO: We know what I want. I want a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag because I had to look cross the lagoon at the Pride flag for the next month.


MARTHA-ANN ALITO: And he's like, oh, please don't put up a flag. I said, I won't do it because I'm deferring to you. But when you are free of this nonsense, I'm putting it up and I'm going to send them a message every day. Maybe every week, I'll be changing the flags.

SCHNEIDER: The comments captured by a liberal activist at a dinner last week hosted by the Supreme Court Historical Society.

The society condemned the secret recordings, saying attendees are advised not to discuss anything from the event.


Lauren Windsor defended her actions.

WINDSOR: There's nothing illegal in D.C. about recording people, so long as one person is a party to that conversation. To people who want to pearl clutch about this, yeah, please tell me how we're going to get answers when the Supreme Court has been shrouded in secrecy and really just refusing any degree of accountability whatsoever.

SCHNEIDER: Winds are also recorded two members of the high court who gave their own differing opinions. First, listen to this exchange with Justice Samuel Alito at the event.

WINDSOR: People in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that to return our country to a place of godliness.


SCHNEIDER: Windsor was posing as a devout Catholic while recording, feigning disagreement with progressive politics.

WINDSOR: I don't know that we can negotiate with the left in a way that like need to happen for the polarization to end. I think that it's a matter of, like, winning.

JUSTICE ALITO: I think you're probably right. One side or the other, one side or the other is going to win. I don't know, I mean, there can be a way of working -- a way of living together peacefully, but it's difficult. You know, because there are differences on fundamental things that really can't be compromised. They really can't be compromised. So, it's not like you're going to split the difference.

SCHNEIDER: Windsor also secretly recorded Chief Justice John Roberts, who rebuffed her when she made a case for a more Christian society.

WINDSOR: I think that we live in a Christian nation and that our Supreme Court should be guiding us on that path.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Yeah, I don't know if we live in a Christian nation. I know a lot of Jewish and Muslim friends who would say maybe not, and it's not our job to do that. It's our job to decide the cases as best we can.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): Now, we've not yet seen any comment on these secret recordings from the Supreme Court or from the justices or from Justice Alito's wife.

Now, the Supreme Court Historical Society, they're the ones who hosted this dinner where the recordings were made. It is a yearly event. It's held inside the court building and members of this society, they're allowed to buy tickets for themselves and one guest.

And, Jake, as you saw, the members and their guests, they're provided this rare access to the justices, who knows that the rules might change given what we're seeing here.

TAPPER: Yeah, okay. I'm just going to -- I'm just going to hold my thoughts on that one.

Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.

Coming up, what really is remarkable reporting by CNN's Clarissa Ward. She got rare access inside a prison for ISIS fighters, as well as a detention camp housing families. Why U.S. officials called one of these sites a breeding ground for the next-generation of the terrorists of ISIS. We'll have Clarissa's reporting, next.



TAPPER: And we're back with an exclusive in our world lead. CNN's extraordinary access to facilities described his training grounds for the next generation of ISIS.

Five years since the fall of the terrorist group's so-called caliphate, 27 U.S.-funded prisons and detention camps are sprawled across northeast Syria. They hold some 50,000 ISIS suspects and their families.

CNN's Clarissa Ward went there. Among those with whom she spoke, detainees at a prison and a young American woman who went to Syria to join ISIS.

Most of these sites are children at risk of being radicalized by a life created by their parents.

Here's some of what Clarissa Ward saw.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has found that boys as young as 14 had been held here at the notorious Panorama prison. With an estimated 4,000 inmates, it is the largest concentration of ISIS fighters in the world.

No journalist has been allowed inside Panorama since 2021 until now.

So the head of the prison has asked me to put on a head scarf while we walk through here because these are some of the most radicalized prisoners they have.

A senior U.S. official told us the number one concern at Panorama is a prison break, a fear that was realized in 2022, when hundreds of inmates managed to escape.

Can I look inside?

Twenty-five men sit cross-legged in silence. The cell is spotless.

The men we see appear to be in decent physical condition.

But tuberculosis is rampant in the prison. And we are only allowed to look inside two cells.

Are you British?

You are? Where are you from?

A British man approaches the grate but does not want to show his face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): We've been here for like five or six years.

WARD: I know.

Advocacy groups called the U.S. funded Panorama a legal black hole, worse than Guantanamo Bay.

In an interrogation room, we meet 19-year-old Stephan Uterloo from Suriname. He tells us he was brought to the prison when he was 14, along with more than 100 other minors.

Have you had a lawyer ever? You talk to a lawyer?


I don't know about the big guys. But if you are speaking about kids, us in (ph) -- if you want to know the truth, we don't know even why we're always like punished, is like five years in this prison and we're punished. We don't even know what we've done. Like we've been in prison because of our times (ph).


WARD: At the SDF intelligence headquarters, we met British Pakistani Dr. Muhammad Saqib. Accused of joining ISIS, he claims he was the victim of an elaborate kidnapping plot. He says Panorama's inmates are abused.

DR. MUHAMMAD SAQIB, PRISONER: So we live in torture. I live in fear.

WARD: When you say you live in torture, do you mean that you are actually physically being tortured?

SAQIB: This happens on and off.

WARD: What kind of torture?

SAQIB: Like beating by the stick, by the guards.

To be honest, I'm just waiting for my death. There's no getting out of this prison, probably never.

WARD: The warden at Panorama called Saqib's claim of abuse false, saying, quote: All parts of the prison are monitored by cameras and no prison guard can act in this way.

The SDF and the U.S. are pushing countries to repatriate their citizens from Syria, saying it is the only solution to this complex and dangerous situation.

But the process has been slow. And many, including Western allies, are dragging their feet.

In the Al-Roj camp, we meet Brits, Canadians, Belgians, Australians and a couple of Americans.

HODA MUTHANA, DETAINEE: We survive basically --

WARD: Thirty-year-old Hoda Muthana has been stuck here with her 7- year-old son for more than five years.

I have to ask you, I'm seeing all of the women here are fully covered. A lot of them covering their faces. You're not covered, you're wearing a T-shirt.

Is that hard?

MUTHANA: It was hard when I first took it. I would say for the first two, three years. People were not accepting of it, you know, and they harassed us a lot. They stole our stuff. And I had to stay strong and show an example for my son.

WARD: Born and raised in the U.S., Hoda became radicalized online at the age of 20 and left her family in Alabama to live under ISIS, a decision she quickly regretted.

If you were to be able to go back to the U.S. and you had to go on trial, potentially serve time in prison, have you reconciled yourself with that possibility?

MUTHANA: I always tell myself that going to prison would be a step forward in my life. If I had any time to serve, I'd serve it and I'd come out and begin my life with my son.

WARD: For now, that is not an option. While the U.S. advocates repatriation, it ruled Hoda's U.S. citizenship invalid on at technicality.

Now she lives in fear for her son's future.

What do you miss most about America?

MUTHANA: I just want to breathe American air and be around people. I love the people of America. They're very open and they're very forgiving and they're very -- they're people who give second chances.

And I think if they were to sit down with me and listen to my story from the beginning, they would give me a second chance.


TAPPER: And, Clarissa, the woman Hoda there in your piece, especially at the end there, what does the Biden administration say about her chances of being able to come back to the United States?

WARD: Jake, we've reached out to the State Department who wrote to us that the department has not changed its position with regards to Ms. Muthana's citizenship status. As the State Department determined and the courts agreed she is not and never was a U.S. citizen.

We also heard from Hoda's lawyer who said, if Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen, then she is stateless and that is a violation of international law. That directly contradicts what the U.S. government has stated that other countries cannot and should not do.

So, Hoda is continuing to appeal to get back to her family in the U.S., Jake.

TAPPER: And then I guess this gets into the question as to why its taking so long for countries to take their people back from these prisons.

WARD: Well, I think, Jake, for many countries, particularly here in the U.K., this has become a political issue and a lot of ordinary people don't want to see those who joined ISIS or who were affiliated with ISIS coming back here. I think for law enforcement, there are also concerns that potentially not enough evidence has been gathered in every single case that would allow these people to be put behind bars if indeed they belong behind bars. And so they would rather just leave the problem alone.

And then you also have people, Jake, some of whom we met, particularly in one camp, women who don't want to leave, who don't want to return to their homes own countries who want to continue to live in there sort of many caliphate-esque enclave until the time comes in the future where they hope there will be prison breaks or some kind of spasm of violence that will allow for the gates to be opened and ISIS to reconstitute an army overnight -- Jake.


TAPPER: Remarkable reporting per usual. Clarissa Ward, thanks so much.

A couple of stories breaking right now, just moments ago, word that Hamas has rejected the proposal for a ceasefire and hostage deal laid out by President Biden last month. The reporter breaking that story is going to join me.

Plus, a juror who helped render today's guilty verdict in the Hunter Biden gun case is now talking to CNN. What he's saying about the deliberations that took just under three hours. We're back in a moment.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

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