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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Axios: Israeli Officials Says Hamas Has Rejected Latest Hostage Deal; U.S. Officials: Intel Suggests Hamas Leader Believes Hamas Has The Upper Hand In Negotiations With Israel; Hunter Biden Found Guilty On All Counts In Gun Case; Mixed Reactions From GOP Lawmakers On Hunter Biden Verdict; Mixed Reactions From GOP Lawmakers On Hunter Biden Verdict; How RFK Jr. Politicized Vaccine Science; Afghan Family Reunites After Being Separated During U.S. Withdrawal; New Doc Explores How The "Brat Pack" Changed Culture. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 11, 2024 - 17:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper. And we're starting off this hour with breaking news in the law and justice lead. Just moments ago, President Biden arriving in Delaware greeting his son Hunter, who was just hours ago found guilty in a federal gun case against him. CNN also just spoke with a member of the jury who reached that guilty verdict. Let's go straight to CNN's Evan Perez outside the courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware.

And Evan, you spoke with juror number 10. Tell us what he told you.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake, juror number 10, who we spoke to without showing his face, he was concerned about his safety. One of the things he told us was that very quickly, very early in the case he had a pretty good idea of where this case was going. But he said he wasn't 100 percent sure, until he heard all of the evidence, listen to what he said what the crucial part of the prosecution's case.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at that form, are you a drug addict? Are you an unlawful user of drugs? And he said, No. Clearly, he lied.


PEREZ: And, Jake, you know, there was five days of prosecution evidence, mountains of evidence, overwhelming these jurors trying to drive home the point that he was addicted to drugs. And the defense really tried to focus on the days around when he bought this gun in October 2018. And it's clearly that did not really make an impact for these jurors.

We also asked this juror about the idea that politics could have played any role in this case, obviously, this is the first time the son of the President has been on trial for any criminal violation. And here's what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would tell them, Hunter did get a fair trial. Politics played no part in this whatsoever. We were not allowed to talk to anybody, not even our families. Not even the jurors. We cannot talk about the case, until it was actually given to us yesterday. Now that I look back on nothing was mentioned anything about the President of the United States.


PEREZ: And Jake, you know, the idea that Hunter Biden had so many family members, including the First Lady, the the jurors noticed that, but they didn't talk about it. They didn't even discuss it within themselves when they got to this -- to the jury room. He said that this was a decision that was pretty unanimous fairly quickly, given all of the circumstances that they had to deal with here. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez with the breaking news in Wilmington, Delaware, thanks so much.

More on breaking news, this in our world lead, Hamas has responded to the latest proposal for a hostage and ceasefire deal and Hamas has rejected it. CNN Political and Foreign Policy Analyst Barak Ravid is breaking this up.

Did Hamas, Barak, give any explanation for its rejection?

BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL & FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST: Hi, Jake. So first, Hamas did not say that it rejected the deal. Hamas said that it gave a response to the Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it gave several comments and remarks on parts of the Israeli proposal. Israel, the Israeli government, Israeli officials are the ones saying that after they received Hamas response and analyze it, they treat it as a rejection. I think we still need to hear from the mediators and most importantly, from the White House that White House Spokesman John Kirby said that the White is still analyzing and studying the Hamas response.

So, Hamas is saying they just gave few comments, Israel is saying Hamas rejected the deal. The White House still hasn't said anything of substance. I think we should wait and hear more what the White House says, what the Qatari say and what the Egyptians say.

TAPPER: So, U.S. officials say that they believe Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, feels as though he has the upper hand in the negotiations. This after a Wall Street Journal report that says that the messages that they've seen from Sinwar show that he believes Hamas is benefiting from the civilian death toll of Palestinians in Gaza. Is that similar to what you're hearing from officials in Israel and the United States and elsewhere?

RAVID: So the Israeli said for a long time that, you know, Sinwar that there is a big gap between Sinwar and Hamas leadership, Hamas's political leadership in Qatar. That Sinwar was much more hardline. And what I heard from U.S. officials in the last few weeks is that because Sinwar thinks that as the war goes on, Israel will be more under pressure and the U.S. will put more pressure on Israel.


This is why they try to mobilize the international community to support President Biden's speech including the Security Council Resolution that passed yesterday that the Biden administration thought that if Sinwar cares so much about the international pressure on Israel, maybe when he sees the Security Council Resolution, they'll have second thoughts on where the international pressure is directed, maybe understand that he's also under pressure, and not only the Israelis.

TAPPER: All right, Barak Ravid, thanks so much for that reporting.

Last night in New York City outside an exhibit that memorializes the 364 innocent victims at the Nova music festival who were slaughtered by the terrorists of Hamas, a group of anti-Israel protesters, many of whom could be accurately described as pro-Hamas set off flares and smoke bombs and chanted there is only one solution Intifada revolution. They also displayed this flag, celebrating the October 7 attack which slaughtered more than 1,200 Israelis and others. New York politicians ranging from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to Governor Kathy Hochul condemned the celebration of the slaughter of Jews with even Israel critic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling the protest and the display atrocious anti-Semitism.

But Hamas and Hamas supporters' callousness about the death of Jews is not particularly new nor is it news. What might be is the state of callousness about the death of Palestinians. Necessary sacrifices is how Hamas terrorists leader Yahya Sinwar describes the deaths of 1000s of Gazans, his own people theoretically, this according to messages viewed by the Wall Street Journal would shed more light on how Sinwar may be influencing a potential ceasefire deal despite the fact that he's been in hiding ever since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. CNN's Oren Liebermann examines the messages and what could come next in ceasefire negotiations.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In an all- out push to stop the fighting in Gaza, negotiators are hoping for elusive success. The focus is on Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's military leader hasn't been seen in public since the start of the war, hiding somewhere in the bombarded enclave, but Sinwar may believe he has the upper hand.

We have the Israelis right where we want them, Sinwar said in recent messages to Hamas officials, viewed by the Wall Street Journal. Sinwar's leaked messages which CNN hasn't seen and cannot independently verify shed light into his mindset during eight months of brutal war. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's assault on a territory. In one message to Hamas leaders in Doha, Sinwar wrote, these are necessary sacrifices. The Israeli military responded on social media saying "Sinwar profits off the deaths of Gazan civilians.

Hamas leaders don't care about Gazans. How many times do they have to say it for themselves before the world believes them?"

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the region to push a ceasefire proposal aimed his message directly at Sinwar.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: 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 to help from the suffering of people, to help bring real security to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Sinwar spent more than two decades in Israeli prisons convicted for playing a role in the murder of two Israeli soldiers and four Palestinians suspected of working with Israel. He was released in the 2011 hostage deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and rose to the top of Hamas. Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar, says Sinwar's ascent was marked by his brutality.

SHLOMI ELDAR, ISRAELI JOURNALIST: This is Sinwar and life therefore him is nothing. As many Palestinian will be killed by the IDF, the more pressure from the international community.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Believed to be the mastermind of the October 7 attack, messages suggest even Sinwar was surprised by its atrocities. "Things went out of control," he wrote early on. But Sinwar soon doubled down on the war. In a message to Hamas's political leaders in December he said, "We have the capabilities to continue fighting for months."


LIEBERMANN: Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is still in the region. He's met with Jordanian officials, Egyptian officials, Israeli officials, and soon he'll meet with Qatari officials. The problem, Jake, is that it's not clear any of this has the intended effect which is trying to put pressure on Hamas and you see it there in the message is viewed by the Wall Street Journal from Yahya Sinwar there, that's where the focus is because he is viewed as the decision maker and perhaps the sole decision maker, even if he's out of touch with Hamas political leadership sitting in Qatar.

TAPPER: Not to mention habitats with what the people in Gaza want him to do. Oren Liebermann, thanks so much.


We're going back to the other big story. This hour, today's guilty verdict in the Hunter Biden gun case. How many Republicans are now comparing the outcome of this case to Donald Trump's conviction?

Plus, a stunning verdict you'd likely have not heard about today, produce giant Chiquita was just ordered to pay $38 million to victims of a Colombian terror death squad. This case is frankly bananas. The backstory ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: In our politics lead, reaction pouring in from Capitol Hill after a jury in Delaware found Hunter Biden, the president's son, guilty on three gun charges. Let's get right to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

Manu, what's the reaction been from Republican lawmakers to the guilty verdict?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Republicans have a bit all over the map on this, Jake. Some of them have said that, that frankly Hunter Biden should not have been prosecuted over a gun charge, given their views of the Second Amendment. Others said that this was a case was overwhelming and he should have been prosecuted. And some align themselves with Donald Trump's messaging suggesting that perhaps the issue is a distraction from their larger concerns of contentions over Joe Biden and his actions.


And I asked the Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, whether or not this undercuts the Republicans long held claims of the Justice Department goes after Republicans and lets Democrats off the hook.


RAJU: But, Mr. Speaker, you've been saying two tier system of justice for some time, here's the President's son being convicted on three counts. Doesn't that undercut your claims?

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), HOUSE SPEAKER: It doesn't. Every case is different. And clearly the evidence was overwhelming here. I don't think that's the case in the Trump trials. And all the charges that have been brought against them have been obviously brought for political purposes. Hunter Biden is a separate instance.


RAJU: Now Republicans in the House are indicating that they're still pressing head and trying to investigate Joe Biden, even though there's tried for months and months, really since the beginning of this Congress, to tie Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings with the President of the United States at the time when he was vice president. They have struggled to prove anything in that case. But this is what James Comer, who was leading that investigation said. He said, "Today's verdict is a step towards accountability, but until the Department of Justice investigates everyone involved in the Biden's corrupt influence peddling schemes that generated over 18 million and foreign payments of the Biden family, it will be clear Department officials continue to cover for the big guy, Joe Biden."

But again, that investigation really has not borne out that Biden -- Joe Biden acted corruptly or enriched himself based on his sons, Hunter, business dealers. Now, Democrats have a much different view. They say it essentially confirms that the Justice Department system works fairly and treats both sides equally.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What would Republicans point to as a two tiered system of justice when the President's son was just convicted of a crime? I mean, if anything, this shows the difference that Democrats are willing to accept when our justice system works as functions and as designed. We're not here contesting the results. We're not here trying to defund the FBI or the Department of Justice because we don't like the outcome of a good -- of a given trial. We respect the judicial process.


RAJU: Now, also, Jake, there's also been silence among top Democrats as well, Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader has not yet weighed in on this and neither has Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic Leader. So you're seeing a much different approach between the two parties over this issue. As Republicans, they're a bit divided about how they're responding so far.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

My panel joins me now. Kate Bedingfield, let me start with you because you know the Bidens, having been communications director at the Biden White House. This obviously is personally very, I'm sure, horrible for the President and his family. How much of a blow is it to him, forget the politics for one second, to President Biden?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, FORMER BIDEN WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, personally, it's very hard. I mean, he is -- the Biden family is incredibly close. They're very close knit, they lean on each other. I worked for Joe Biden for almost eight years. I sat in countless meetings in different scenarios, including in the Oval Office when a member of his family would call him and he would stop the meeting and step out to take a call from his family. I mean, he truly puts family first.

So, for him, obviously, this is very hard. It's hard to watch your son grapple with the kinds of demons that Hunter Biden has been dealing with. It's hard to watch somebody in your family who you love deal with addiction and all of the awful things that can flow from that. So this is hard.

I don't think that it will -- you know, it's not something that's going to knock him sideways, prevent him from focusing on being president of United States. He's very resilient. He has dealt with a lot of personal tragedy in his life while also being in public office. He obviously lost his son Beau to brain cancer while he was vice president. So he's somebody who has dealt with personal difficulty while handling the rigors of public office and he'll do that here. But of course, it's hard for him, of course.

TAPPER: Liz Goodwin of the "Washington Post" also joins us. Thanks so much for being here. So you heard CNN's Manu Raju tick through some of the reaction from Republicans on the Hill. We've mentioned before that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and former Congressman Trey Gowdy have criticized the case for being brought at all. Today, Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a Republican, posted, "Hunter might deserve to be in jail for something but purchasing a gun is not it."

Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican said on Twitter, "The Hunter Biden gun conviction is kind of dumb tbh," to be honest. What do you make of this reaction kind of mixed?

LIZ GOODWIN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, I think this case in some ways is the hardest possible one for Republicans to celebrate or grab on to. So, you know, the most positive comments you've seen today from people like Comer, even Speaker Johnson are more just saying, OK, it's a step towards accountability but we want them to focus on, you know, payments or these financial dealings that we believe are inappropriate. That idea of celebrating, you know, someone having a gun for 11 days, who didn't check the box that said they were a drug user, it's just not -- it's very awkward. You know, it's a second amendment issue. It's something that I think a lot of Republicans don't really want to celebrate.


TAPPER: And Mike, let me ask you, I mean, the this whole two tiered system of justice, is it not undercut by --


TAPPER: -- this by the Menendez trial going on, by the pending trial against Congressman Cuellar? Those are three --

DUBKE: I'm going to keep saying no.

TAPPER: I know, but how -- explained to me, because those are three prominent Democrats, including the president's son.

DUBKE: Because I think I've got a different definition --


DUBKE: -- to your justice system here. I think what we've seen happen with Hunter Biden, and what we saw happen with President Trump is on a different tear than what we're seeing with Menendez and others that is pure corruption, where the FBI investigates bribery, or they investigate -- they investigate votes being sold. This is -- this seems to me tit for tat. We can't forget, and it is unfortunate what happened, but we can't forget that this is the outgrowth of a failed plea deal, that this was probably part of a plea deal in order to try to get a little bit more to push on the Hunter Biden side to accept the plea deal that went awry. And now we had to face the consequences of them filing this action.

But we do have a two tiered system. One is being used for political purposes right now that we see in all of the quotes that are out there. And the other is just pure corruption that we've had in this country since Mr. Smith came to Washington. TAPPER: So, which -- OK. Let's put the New York case, both New York cases aside for one second. Do you think the Jack Smith cases are purely political, that there's no reason there for there to be any prosecution or even investigation?

DUBKE: No, I do -- I -- again, I think with the -- with some of the federal charges that have been brought on the Jack Smith charge, on the top secret documents, I do think that there is some level of political opportunism there. But I think on some of the others, that center around January sixth, absolutely, those should be pursued. But then when we talk about those cases, Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona, those cases seem --

TAPPER: Oh, against the fake electors.

DUBKE: Exactly right.


DUBKE: And the timing of those, the individuals who were brought -- when they were brought to bear, all of that seems to be on this other tier of our two tiered systems.

TAPPER: So we don't know what's going to happen -- well, you can go.

BEDINGFIELD: Oh, I just --

TAPPER: Well, your face was saying -- her expression was saying a lot, might as well use words.

BEDINGFIELD: No. I'm just (inaudible). So you're arguing that -- you're -- are you arguing that Hunter's case is politically motivated or not?


BEDINGFIELD: I was just -- I was confused listening to your breakout.

DUBKE: I think that -- I think a lot of the gun charges, most likely, on the tax evasion, I don't know enough about that case to make that point. But to what you've been saying, of Republicans keep pointing to September, I think that is the case that is going to be a little bit more --

TAPPER: That's the tax charge?

DUBKE: That's the tax charge.


DUBKE: I think that case, if there are any political repercussions of these cases with Hunter Biden, I think that case is going to be the one that may affect some individuals voting for the President.

TAPPER: And then let me also note that Darrell Issa, who's a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he posted on Twitter, "This is only the beginning of accountability for the Biden culture of corruption." And this has to do with these charges, that not only Hunter Biden, but the President's brother James Biden, made a lot of money selling access to whether directly or indirectly to the then vice president now president.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, right, but they have not been able to prove any kind of link between Hunter's business dealings or Jim Biden's business dealings and Joe Biden, and that's the issue here. I mean, there's a continued effort to try to muddy the waters, you know, but they have tried and tried and tried. Comer has tried, it's been months. I mean, this has been an effort by House Republicans. They've been unable to turn off any shred of evidence that shows any corruption.

And so you know, you can talk about Hunter's trial in September, you know, maybe it brings these issues back to the forefront as a messaging vehicle. But the fact of the matter is, no evidence has been found that links Hunter's dealings to Joe Biden, that's where your corruption case falls apart.

TAPPER: If this case goes up to the appeals court process, this is Hunter Biden case, even the U.S. Supreme Court, it's a Second Amendment case. And you heard Tom Massie basically say earlier in the show like I know plenty of people who smoke pot who, I'm paraphrasing, plenty of people who smoke pot who shouldn't have their gun rights taken away from them. Is this a case you might think that the Conservatives, even perhaps the NRA might weigh in on Hunter's behalf or is that just not how politics works anymore?


GOODWIN: I guess that is possible. I mean broadening it out to think about people who use pot recreationally and gun ownership, you know, you could actually see a taste there.

TAPPER: It's drug usage. It's not hard drug usage or hard drug addiction, it's just drug use.

GOODWIN: Right. And I think --

DUBKE: Under federal definition.

TAPPER: Yes, which includes pot.



GOODWIN: And I think that is why this is just so awkward for a lot of Republicans to latch on to at this point.

TAPPER: All right. It'd be interesting to do get a Venn diagram of gun owners and marijuana users because I'm guessing there is quite a bit of overlap. I don't know, not that I know personally.

Thanks you all. Coming up, a doctor who Robert F. Kennedy Jr. once called to learn about vaccines. That physician says RFK Jr. then went on to publicly twist his words. And the doctor is here to set the record straight. What he says he really told the now presidential candidate. That's next.



TAPPER: In our Politics Lead, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is set to outline his foreign policy agenda to campaign speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library tomorrow night. Domestically, RFK Jr. is perhaps best known for his opposition to vaccines after he falsely asserted a link between childhood vaccines and autism and a story published by "Rolling Stone Magazine" and In 2005, both Rolling Stone and later retracted the story.

My next guest says RFK Jr. called him 20 years ago to talk about vaccines for that article. And he says that RFK Jr., quote, became a bona fide source of disinformation, falsely saying vaccines cause autism ever since, unquote. Dr. Paul Offit joins me now. He's the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the great Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. And He's author of, "Tell Me When It's Over: An Insider's Guide to Deciphering Covid Myths and Navigating Our Post- Pandemic World." Dr. Offit, thanks for joining us. So you write about this conversation with RFK Jr., and you say, quote, Kennedy had sandbagged me. The article was full of misstatements. Do you regret having that conversation?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER: No. He called me 20 years ago and asked the question, I have had mothers come into my office telling me that they're concerned about this ethyl mercury containing preservative thimerosal in vaccines, could it do harm? Because certainly Mercury at high levels can be harmful. Were these the levels contained in vaccines harmful?

So and at that point that he called me around 2004. Thimerosal had been at a pretty much all childhood vaccines since 2001. And so it was easy to do those studies. You can look at children who got thimerosal containing vaccines, compare them to children who got the same vaccines that didn't contain thimerosal. There were four or five studies that had been done at that time. And I went through those studies with him. And he seemed perfectly amenable to them. He was he was appreciative.

I went home that night and told my wife that I thought that I had a really good conversation with RFK Jr. Then roughly a year later, there's an article published in "Rolling Stone" called Deadly Immunity, which just had a complete misstatement of series of facts. And what he said was that I was basically just a shill for the pharmaceutical industry, because the viral vaccine that we were working on at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, a rotavirus vaccine was, quote unquote, laced with thimerosal. And that's why I said it. But in fact, no live attenuated viral vaccines contain preservatives. So that was wrong. There were also many misstatements of fact, I called "Rolling Stone" and went through those misstatements, and ultimately, they retracted the article. And that to me was his birth as an anti-vaccine activist. His birth as a science denialist because that's what he is. He refuses to look at the data that prove that he is wrong.

TAPPER: And years before I should disclose, I worked I wasn't involved -- I didn't work for Salon at the time. But Joan Walsh, I worked under her and she was the editor-in-chief at Salon at the time. This is how she describes working in that article with RFK Jr. She wrote, quote, it was the worst mistake of my career. She writes this in "The Nation." She also wrote, quote, in our many interactions, RFK Jr. was charming and funny, but gradually he became a charming bully, resisting my efforts to rein in some of his over the top rhetoric.

Did you reach out to him at all after the experience? And what is your experience been like with him at all since that initial conversation?

OFFIT: No. I did. I have had several people come up to me in the interim, that represent him, presumably, that have said that he would like to debate me that he would pay me $50,000 to debate him. But that's not a debate. I mean, you can't debate facts. I mean, the fact is that MMR vaccine doesn't cause autism or thimerosal to level containing vaccines was never harmful. Those are the data. You can't debate that. It's like debating whether birds are real. It just -- you have to at least agree on basic facts. So those aren't debates.

He just simply would be the stating facts. And I would be saying he was wrong. I don't see how that advances the argument.

TAPPER: What impact do you think he will have his comments? He continues to say these false things about childhood vaccines, which obviously save millions of lives, and he's only gaining prominence. What are your concerns about that?

OFFIT: What you're seeing it happening. I mean, in the last, we eliminated measles from the United States by the year 2000. In the last four years, we've had more than 300 cases of measles, because parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, more and more parents are making that choice. Now there's about a few 100 cases. Wait until you get to about 1,000 or 2,000 cases and then you'll start once again start to see children dying on measles, a virus that killed 500 children a year before the vaccine. I think that's where we're heading and it's really hard to watch.

TAPPER: Now the proud legacy of RFK Jr. Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much. Good to see you.


Coming up, a reunion you'll see only here on The Lead after a family was separated during that chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


TAPPER: In our World Lead, for nearly three years now, CNN has followed the story of an Afghan family tragically separated during the disastrous and chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The father and sons made it to the United States. The mother and daughter remained in Afghanistan under a brutal Taliban rule. But today, today, we're finally able to bring you some happy news to exclusively report that that awful chapter in their lives is close. And we thank CNN as Natasha Chen for bringing us the incredible moment when the family was able to reunite here safely in the United States.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Playing in a park with her brother is something Muhsenat Roman has waited to do for almost three years. In August of 2021, the Roman family was separated in the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.


ALBINA ROMAN, SEPARATED FROM HER FAMILY: Everyone was running for plane and they couldn't control.

CHEN (voice-over): Mother and daughter were pushed outside the airport gates and couldn't get back in. But the father Ahmad and their two boys were able to get on a plane to the U.S. We last saw them in February 2023 only able to see mom and daughter on video chat. After years of multiple applications and very little information, Ahmad got help from an attorney, a congressman and refugee aid group Miry's List.

Now, they're finally reunited on U.S. soil. Ahmad had tried to take a video of the moment but dropped the camera as emotions took over.

ALBINA ROMAN: I see them and just I just ran and also my son, Oder (ph), he just ran and come and hug me. I was so excited. And I couldn't control myself. I couldn't control my like my tears. All the pain come out.

AHMAD ROMAN, SEPARATED HIS HER FAMILY: When I hugged them, I just realized it's oh my god. I have missed them two years.

CHEN (voice-over): Missed two of her birthdays. All that time that Muhsenat and her mother suffered under Taliban rule.

ALBINA ROMAN: I didn't go outside for months because they took girls with themselves.

CHEN: The Taliban would take girls.

ALBINA ROMAN: Yes, yes. They took a lot of girls with them, because they say oh, your hijab is not good. CHEN (voice-over): Even now, Albina is covering her face to avoid being recognized because her extended family is still in Afghanistan. Her father and brothers worked with the U.S. government. For the first year after the Taliban took over, they moved every few months when authorities came to check documents. As females, Albina and Muhsenat be not I'm also not stayed inside as much as possible and could not go anywhere without a male chaperone.

ALBINA ROMAN: When I go outside for like for shopping or something, I feel just like someone is following me. When I come to U.S., so at that time I feel like free like I was just thinking myself, so safe.

CHEN (voice-over): A new sense of safety now that they're all together.

ALBINA ROMAN: You want more?


ALBINA ROMAN: Yes. You want more.

CHEN (voice-over): Including for Little Roman who won't let his mom out of his sight.

ALBINA ROMAN: When we separate, he was like baby small, baby in my heart. And now he does stand on his own.

CHEN (voice-over): Muhsenat says her older brother, Sair (ph), is different now and way more fluent in English than she is.


SAIR ROMAN (ph) SEPARATED FROM HER PARENTS: So she says in the old time, you will not like playing with me that much and you were not acting that good. But when I came here, you were just acting so funny.

CHEN (voice-over): He told us he even missed fighting with his sister.

CHEN: What do you want to be when you grow up?


CHEN: Oh, you want to be a dentist.


CHEN (voice-over): This future dentist just turned nine, this time a birthday her entire family could celebrate together.

MUHSENAT ROMAN: I'm coming to my father and my brothers. I'm very, very happy.


CHEN: Her father urges the U.S. not to forget the thousands of Afghans still separated. Now the State Department tells me they've resettled more than 140,000 Afghans since the withdrawal. Now there was also a backlog of asylum applications. But after a federal lawsuit, the U.S. has now adjudicated more than 90 percent of those overdue applications. Jake?

TAPPER: Natasha Chen, it's rare we get to report, good news. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.


Coming up, "Don't You Forget About Me," the 80s "Brat Pack" took over movie theaters became cultural icons and more. Now they're the subject of a new documentary from one of the stars of the so called "Brats" who will join me with the behind the scenes preview, next.



TAPPER: In our Pop Culture Lead, this week back in 1985 marked a cultural revolution of sorts. "New York Magazine" ran this cover story on a group of young actors taking over Hollywood labeling them the "Brat Pack" a play on Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. But a Brat Pack was an actual gang. This wasn't really. But within days the name Brat Pack was being used around the world and now it is the subject of a new documentary "Brats" by one of its founding members Andrew McCarthy.


ANDREW MCCARTHY, ACTOR: First thing we need to establish is like who is in the Brat Pack, right? There's me, there's Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald. It's a moveable feast, I think.


TAPPER: From the documentary "Brats." And there are a lot of questions the documentary explores. I have some of my own Andrew McCarthy, actor, author, travel writer who served as an editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler magazine for more than a decade has journeyed here to The Lead and joins us now. Andrew, so good to see you.

MCCARTHY: Good to see you Jake.

TAPPER: One of the key questions is what was it like for the good and the bad to be part of this Brat Pack. Let's take another quick look at this compilation of the film from the trailer of your doc.


MCCARTHY: Emil, are you around?

EMILIO ESTEVEZ, ACTOR: Hey, hey. There he is.

MCCARTHY: You're not interested in talking about the Brat Pack for years?

ESTEVEZ: I turned everything down.

MCCARTHY: How come you're talking to me?

ESTEVEZ: Because you called me. It was time that we clear the air and a couple of things.

MCCARTHY: I love your stuff, Bob.

ROB LOWE, ACTOR: Hey, thank you.

I hated the Brat Pack for decades. What a -- disaster.

MCCARTHY: If you could have the Brat Pack name not exist, would you?

DEMI MOORE, ACTRESS: It really irritated me. I said what's more important you the movie or your life? And I said, the movie.


TAPPER: So, I mean what's this -- my wife is flashing before my eyes here. What did you discover on this journey?


MCCARTHY: My life too. It's an interesting thing because, Jake, like it alludes to there. I mean, when this phrase, this term was coined, we all hated it. We all thought it was really pejorative negative thing. I mean, who wants to be called a Brat, who wants to be stuck in a pack, and it changed our lives, really. It would seem so odd. And yet it did. And so, you know, it's something that stayed with me for lo these many decades now. And I just went on a journey to kind of see because my feelings about it have changed pretty much 180 degrees. I hated it so much when I was a kid. And now I've grown to realize it's probably the greatest blessing of my professional life. And so I thought I'd go see what everybody else thought about it because I haven't talked to most of those guys in 30 years.

TAPPER: It's amazing. And so many of you, of course, continue to be public figures and producing amazing, amazing content in pop culture. Let's remind people a bit about the moment. This was a time when all of a sudden movies were being made for younger audiences, starring young actors in a way that they'd never been before.

MCCARTHY: Yes, I mean, it was a real seismic cultural shift. I mean, before that, movies were adult entertainment, you know, the French Connection, the Godfather, all these kind of, you know, from the tours and things. And then suddenly, Hollywood discovered that, you know, kids go to the movies five, six, seven times, grownups go once, let's make movies for kids. And so overnight, every Friday, there was a new movie for kids, whether it was the "Karate Kid" this week, and then "Teen Wolf" that week, and then "Pretty in Pink," and just week after week. And what's hard for us to realize now, too, is it was such a unified youth culture, then because now everything is so fractured and everything, but back then everybody was looking in the same direction, and the direction they ended up looking was our direction.

And then this article came out that you alluded to, and sort of put a label on us and then that was it. You know, so we became this cultural touchstone.

TAPPER: But I never thought I never thought of you guys as brats. And I was like, I was right in that generation watching all of your movies in the theater. It wasn't pejorative to me. I'm like, oh, that's so cool. They're so cool. Look at them.

MCCARTHY: Well, you were exactly right. You in the public were exactly right that it was just because, you know, I'm the avatar of youth and other members of the Brat Pack, the avatar of your youth really in a certain way. And so people of that generation look at me and their eyes glaze over and they've go, oh, the Brat Pack movies, and they're talking about really themselves and their own youth and that wondrous moment in life when you're just sort of cusping into the world. And we represent that to them.

And so I think you're right, when you say it was sort of amazing. We were the cool kids.


MCCARTHY: We just didn't get it. We just didn't get it.

TAPPER: But we should -- I should note, I thank God every day that there was no social media when I was in high school and college.


TAPPER: But can you -- how might have this been different for you better or worse, you think if everything off camera was posted live stream and captured?

MCCARTHY: See, I think people often say, oh my god, can you imagine what it would be like now? I think it couldn't happen now, I think because they're like, I alluded to before, there was just unified, youth cultural, everybody was looking at the same thing. And so if it came out now, I think it'd be a new cycle. You know, when people could push back instantly on their feeds and go, this guy said this nasty, you know, and our fans could speak out and all this kind of stuff, and it would just fizzle very quickly. But I think it really just captured. It wasn't about us, really. It was just capturing, like, you alluded to a seismic cultural shift that was happening, and we just happened to be there. You know, we fit the clothes at the time. And the label is such a great catchy label. So I don't think it's something that could happen again.

TAPPER: Well, it's so fun, the documentary and so fun to catch up with you and Emilio and Demi and I mean, all the others, it's really, Timothy Hutton. It's incredible.


TAPPER: Andrew McCarthy. Thanks so much for joining us. MCCARTHY: Thanks, Jake.


TAPPER: The new documentary "Brats" starts streaming on Hulu in two days, Thursday. We're back with Last Leads, next.



TAPPER: Topping our last leads, a U.S. jury has found Chiquita Brands International liable for having paid a notorious Colombian terror group in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Chiquita admitted years ago, that in order to protect its employees during Colombia's civil war in South America, Chiquita made regular payments totaling about $1.7 billion to security forces controlled by the United Self-Defense groups of Columbia or AUC which the U.S. government designated a terrorist organization in 2001. This court fight has been going on since 2007. The new verdict likely means Chiquita will have to pay about $38 million to the families of eight people killed by the AUC.

In our National Lead, federal agents have arrested eight people from Tajikistan in the U.S. over suspected ties to ISIS. That's according to sources who tell CNN the arrests were made in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia. They say the eight entered in the U.S. at the southern border and no derogatory information in their past was located at that time, but the sources say possible links to ISIS members were later discovered. And senior U.S. officials decided to expel the individuals from the country a process underway right now.

In our Health Lead, a federal judge blocked Florida's ban on transgender medical care for minors. The 2023 law prohibited doctors and nurses from performing any sex reassignment surgeries or prescribing medication including hormones or puberty blockers to anyone under the age of 18. And a 105-page order today Judge Robert Hinkle wrote that, quote, gender identity is real, unquote, and that stopping someone from conforming to their gender identity is, quote, not a legitimate state interest, unquote.


Major beef and the competitive eating world, Joey Chestnut, the sixteen-time winner of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest will likely not compete this year. The major league eating organization says Chestnut struck a deal with a rival brand, the plant based food company Impossible Foods. The organization says Chestnut must renounce his rival deal in order to compete. Now that sounds like serious business.

If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show once you get your podcast. And news continues on CNN with Wolf Blitzer right next door in the Situation Room. I'll see you tomorrow.