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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Any Minute: House Vote On Holding Garland In Contempt; Former House Speaker Paul Ryan: Trump Unfit For Office; Federal Reserve Interest Rate Unchanged, Remains At 23-Year High; Michigan Auto Workers Politically Divided; House Votes To Hold Attorney General Garland In Contempt; Biden Arriving In Italy Ahead Of G7. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 12, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: It's pretty great. You can also buy like close there, cowboy hats.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Have you heard of a mall? You do the same thing at a mall.

KEILAR: And gas up your car and get beef jerky, and get a pulled pork sandwich.

SANCHEZ: Let's say the jury is out on that.

KEILAR: Clean bathrooms at the mall, I don't think so.

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KEILAR: I actually know the answer to that. THE LEAD may know.

SANCHEZ: It tells you everything you need to know.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A major vote is about to go down on Capitol Hill any minute.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The breaking news, House lawmakers just seconds away from a vote that could hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. The dramatic action led by House Republicans as Attorney General Garland refuses to hand over audio of President Biden's interview with these special counsel. It's the interview where Robert Hur described Biden is seeming like a, quote, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.

Do House Republicans have a vote? Have the votes?

Also this hour, a hate crime task force launched to investigate this, repeated acts of antisemitism and vandalism in New York City. See some of the acts under investigation.

And two somber moments today, marketing the ugly scars of gun violence in America, students who as first-graders survived the horrific Sandy Hook massacre. Those kids are graduating from high school today.

And this hour, a symbolic act to remember the 49 innocent victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.


TAPPER: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We start today with breaking news. Any minute, we expect to see history fold on Capitol Hill as House Republicans move to make Merrick Garland only the third U.S. attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress. All three quite tellingly happened within the last 10 years, as our politics has gotten even more divided.

House Republican leaders say this rare step is necessary because Garland refuses to turn over the audio recordings of President Biden's interviews with special counsel Robert Hur. You might remember Hur investigated Biden's handling or mishandling of classified documents, but Democrats say this is all just a stumped by House Republicans who want to use the audio for attack ads take the audio out of context to embarrass President Biden and doing do it all to appease Donald Trump.

If this motion passes Republicans will then ask justice department to prosecute Garland, who we should know is the head of the Justice Department because he's the attorney general, the DOJ did not pursue charges against the other two attorneys general who were held in contempt, Mr. Holder and Mr. Barr.

Let's get straight to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

Manu, it is a very narrow majority that House Republicans have. Do they have the votes?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Republican leadership believes that they do have the votes back. In fact, the speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, just emerged from his office. He told her colleague Kit Maher that I believe we do. They have the votes, he says.

Now, here's the catch though, Jake is, but absences at this point. There is such a narrow majority that a couple of members don't show unexpectedly that could scuttle the whole efforts going forward. We've seen that happen in other votes. Will that happen here?

But nevertheless, the Republicans believe that they have all their members here in essentially support that. They only afford to lose two Republican votes if all members are here in voting because there's a majority of people who are here, but they do ultimately expect that.

But Democrats are furiously opposed to this effort. They believe there's all part of push to try to make Joe Biden look bad and that the Justice Department has cooperated. The Justice Department, attorney general himself, Merrick Garland, said that they have provided transcripts about that interview between President Biden and the special counsel, and that the older provide the audio recordings that it would impair their ability to have investigations going forward because future witnesses would be unwilling to cooperate behind closed doors and be deposed if they other audio would be leaked to the public.

But nevertheless, that is this dispute has been going on for weeks and now, Merrick Garland facing history, one of the rare attorney general about to be held in contempt in the House in the middle of this hotly contested election. So it'd be happening, Jake, in a matter of minutes.

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

But before you go, Manu, what happens if this passes? Who decides ultimately if the attorney generals punished?

RAJU: Yeah, this will be the D.C. -- the U.S. attorney's office in the District of Columbia. And, of course, that is under the Justice Department that Merrick Garland runs. And there's virtually no chance that Garland will be prosecuted here in large part because the president himself asserted executive privilege over these audio tapes and the Department of Justice's own Office of Legal Counsel has affirmed the validity of invoking executive privilege, meaning that essentially Merrick Garland's position is in line with the executive branches position over this.


And as essentially this is a dispute between the legislative branch and executive branch and how this can get ultimately resolved. Some members say that in the court system fighting about that, about who has the right to the audio tapes. And so, that's going to take a lot of time to resolve, certainly not before November and certainly no prosecution happening for Merrick Garland -- Jake.

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

Let's discuss. Meghan, let me start with you. Look, I'm a journalist, I love transparency in everything, everything. What's the argument for not releasing the audio? I mean, the transcripts already out there. The special counsel's report with its description of Joe Biden, President Biden is out there. Why not release the audio?

MEGHAN HAYS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And what's the point of releasing the audio? So the Republicans can prove the Joe Biden is old and we can see all read his birthday like it's -- I don't understand what the point of releasing it is.

They don't want to release it. I think it said it's a bad precedent. So what's the point of this? It's just more political games happening that are unnecessary and these folks should get to work and work on issues and like pass the immigration bill.


MATT GORMAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TIM SCOTT PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I think the point of it is to number one, see what, if anything, was redacted, but also, you already they already waived executive privilege by releasing the transcripts. So when you go and you get a little bit as whether it's a campaign or in these machinations, that's the danger because you just going to keep asking you for more. That's how these games are played.

We've done on our side. They've done on theirs. And so, what Democrats find themselves in is if you really want to hold a hard line and really maintain executive privilege, should have done with the transcript. Once you start doling it out, its harder to hold your position throughout.

HAYS: But to your point, it's a game. This is a political game.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about this because, Gloria, this showed THE LEAD has been on television for roughly 11 years and this is the third time I have reported on the contempt of Congress charges against attorney general.

The first time was 2014. Eric Holder under Obama, refusing to turn over documents related to the fast and furious gunrunning sting. Then the second time in 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr under Trump for refusing to turn over the full unredacted Mueller report, and now, possibly Merrick Garland.

Is this just the new normal if you're going to be an attorney general, you're probably going to get held in contempt of Congress? Three out of five.

BORGER: I think you have to get ready for that. I mean, what they're trying to do is trip-up Joe Biden. I mean, the description -- if the description had not been that he was an elderly man, et cetera. With a poor memory, none of this would be going on. Let's be honest about it.

What they're trying to do is look at -- listen to him and see if he sounds like an elderly man, and then use that against him either in an ad or whatever. I mean, this has nothing to do with substance.

TAPPER: Well, let me just say, I mean, we all have eyes and ears, and we see Joe Biden speaking and he --

BORGER: Yeah, exactly.

TAPPER: And he's 81 and --

BORGER: And he's an elderly man. So, what are you going to learn? What are you going to learn?

TAPPER: Also on Capitol Hill today, House Speaker Mike Johnson met with Senate Republicans ahead of Donald Trump's visit to Senate Republicans tomorrow, and we already know that Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney won't attend. They say they have prior plans.

You work for Mitt Romney. Do you think he ultimately will end up showing up tomorrow or?

GORMAN: He's retiring. There's -- he's kind of made his views known of Donald Trump. There's no really incentive for him to do that.

Look, I've been in these sorts of things, whether it's Trump or somebody else.

These aren't -- they're not going to break at the PowerPoint and the slide decks and start going through whatever first hundred days will look like. This essentially political rally, no matter what it is, it's -- he's a leader of the party now. You're having a debate in two weeks, convention, and next month. It's about uniting the party, getting everybody on the same page.

TAPPER: Interesting. Another interesting maneuver when it comes to visiting Republicans is former House Speaker Paul Ryan visited Fox yesterday. Now he's on the board of Fox, but he was visiting as the former speaker, and he explained why he is not going to be voting for Donald Trump.

He also said this. Take a listen.


PAUL RYAN (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: He's cost us a lot of seats. I could probably spend some time and come with the numbers. He's cost Senate twice. He's cost us the House because he is nominated. He is pushing through the primaries, people who cannot win general elections, but who pledged fealty to him. That's not a good way to build and grow a party.


TAPPER: Do you think that there is a place for Paul Ryan in the current makeup of the Republican Party?

HAYS: I mean, it doesn't sound like it. It doesn't sound like he's going to kiss the ring of Donald Trump at any of these meetings or other meetings. So I know he's not invited tomorrow, but it just it doesn't look like there's a place for him because I just don't think he's going to pledge undying loyalty to Trump, but --

BORGER: I don't know why hasn't said it earlier honestly. He's been on the board of Fox for quite some time.

TAPPER: He has said it, just not on Fox.

BORGER: Just -- well, yes, but this was pretty direct and frontal and it was on Fox, which I think is really important. And, you know, he could have done it a couple of years ago. Why not?

GORMAN: He's been clear. This is the first time I've heard this sort of thing. He also said he's not voting for Joe Biden either, but I would think of him. He's like a Nikki Haley voter, right?


He didn't vote. He's not going to vote --

TAPPER: Although Haley's voting for Trump.



Didn't vote for him in 2020. He said in the interview, voted in 2016. So I didn't expect honestly to vote for Trump. He's a good guy. And it's kind of also telling of where both parties are kind of competing over the Haley vote.

BORGER: He's a Romney guy, too, don't forget.

GORMAN: Oh, I know it well, very well.

TAPPER: Do you disagree with his assessment that some of the candidates he's picked in the House, Republican primaries and Senate Republican primaries have ultimately cost Republicans seats?

GORMAN: In theory, yes, but also that the point of this is, look, we had a primary like I know better than most, right?

TAPPER: Right, you work for Tim Scott.

GORMAN: Yes. We had that one-on-one race to at the end, this wasn't like a clown car in '16, and tend to go back to the point, Trump is coming down because he won the primary fair and square, right? We can agree or disagree, majority of primary voters wanted him. Now, we got to figure it out in November.

TAPPER: So when it comes to the presidential election, Meghan, I'm from Pennsylvania. I take a keen eye. I'm always paying attention. A new Marist poll finds Joe Biden and Donald Trump basically within the margin of error. But you got to give the edge to Trump 47 percent for him, 45 percent for Biden, 3 percent for RFK Jr.

Now, this poll was taken after Trump's conviction. Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by about a point in 2020. I imagine the polls like this don't make you happy.

HAYS: I mean, I think that it should be a wake-up call to the campaign. They need to focus on issues here. And I also think that the more that former President Trump is out on the campaign gel and people can hear what he says and what he believes, I do think that the polls will start to shift in Biden's favor.

TAPPER: Of the three blue battleground states, blue, blue ones like Wisconsin, I'm speaking of the wall, right?

GORMAN: Yeah. TAPPER: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, which ones do you think are the most likely to -- how would you rank them in terms of most likely to go for Trump?

GORMAN: Pennsylvania is just -- I think is always the toughest because you're dealing with, you know -- you're dealing with Philadelphia. That's always a bastion of really, really deep blue support.

I feel okay about Michigan, specifically with kind of like the vote around the Gaza issue. That's an issue.

TAPPER: Affecting Democrats.

GORMAN: Yes. Yeah. I feel like we can flip that. I feel -- I knows that a question? I feel very good about the Sunbelt right now, Arizona, Nevada.

TAPPER: Yeah, I can understand that.

But, Gloria, before we go, I want to note that we lost -- you and I both lost a friend today. Howard Fineman, who used to be with "Newsweek" and then it was "The Huffington Post". He was on MSNBC.

He passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. It was announced a few hours go by his wife. I know he's also a fellow Colgate graduate.

BORGER: Yeah, he is.

TAPPER: So you've probably known him for quite some time. Just --

BORGER: For a while, we started out at "Newsweek" as cub reporters on "The Hill". He covered the Senate and I covered the House. And that was -- that was in the days when you could do that.

And I have to say about Howard, in addition to being a great colleague. He's just one of the best old-fashion reporters I've ever known.

He was a brilliant writer. When he did a profile on a politician, you really wanted to read it because you know, he spent so much time on it, and he also had his finger on the pulse of the electorate and would go to the editors in New York without fear and say, no, no, no, no, this should be the cover this week. This is the political cover we ought to be doing.

And he had a great deal of respect inside the bureau and outside the bureau, I think from politicians and, you know, those were the days when you could be friends with politicians on both sides of the aisle and cover them and I think he did that and I think we all learned a lot from Howard.

TAPPER: I think about -- I think about that era, and it was just, its hard to imagine for the young people out there. But "Newsweek" would come out, it doesn't exist in print form and it's certainly not what it was at the time, and there would be cover stories and basically there would be competing cover stories, or competing profiles by Evan Thomas or by Howard Fineman.

BORGER: Right.

TAPPER: And they were always -- yeah, everybody in but Washington read every word and they were tough but fair as they say. And he and Evan Thomas were always the authors and they were -- they were great.

BORGER: And we used to call them the violins because they would -- they would be the violin for the week. And it would sort of set the stage for what had occurred politically in the country that week. And so, Howard was one of the great ones writing that violin.

TAPPER: And reporters all over the country would be feeding information to Evan and Howard?

BORGER: Yeah, like me.

TAPPER: And they would take get all in and construct this beautifully written narrative.

BORGER: It was -- it was a marvel, it was a marvel and he was a marvel at it and had some great teachers at "Newsweek", but those were the days when writing really mattered.


BORGER: The writing really was everything.

TAPPER: Absolutely. So to his friends and family and former colleagues out there, we send our love. May Howard Fineman's memory be a blessing.

As we watched for this House vote on holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt, we're going to get some reaction from those directly involved. We're going to hear from House Republicans and House Democrat about this monumental move happening on Capitol Hill.

Also breaking this hour, the closing bell on Wall Street after two major economic headlines that directly impact your wallets. We will explain exactly how it impacts you.

We're back in a moment.



TAPPER: In our money lead today, the closing bell has rung at the New York Stock Exchange and the Dow closed slightly lower. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed up a little bit. This after the Federal Reserve just announced that they're not going to raise interest rates.

And this morning, we also learned that inflation cooled more than expected in May. Consumer prices rose 3.3 percent from a year earlier, which slowed from April of 3.4 percent.

This is the first time price is held flat on a monthly basis since June, July of 2022.

Let's discuss with CNN's Julia Chatterley and Catherine Rampell, CNN economics and political commentator, as well as a "Washington Post' opinion columnist.

Julia, so this all sounds like good news, I guess. But when you think about the average consumer and you dive into the specifics grocery prices remained flats. Overall, food prices went up by 0.1 percent because restaurants got more expensive.

Is that ever going to get better?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: We hope it is. I don't have good news for you this year. The expectation is that we see food prices continued to rise this year, Jake, by just over 2 percent.


That's on top of a sort of near 6 percent rise last year. So it's pretty mind-blowing quite frankly for consumers, but you're right to break it down into grocery prices. And then what were seeing at the worst end of this, which is fast food restaurants, those prices for grocery up around 1 percent over the past year. Fast food restaurants are up over 4 percent and, and we're seeing all sorts of complaints from the likes of McDonald's, Starbucks, Burger King, on social media, where consumers are saying, quite frankly, we've had enough.

The key, if you're a shopper, look for the price cuts. Target just announced 5,000 price cuts, milk, cheese, eggs. Walmart, they've cut prices on 7,000 items. I can throw in Aldi, Walgreens, CVS, all talking about cutting prices.

So, Jake, my advice is, look where you shop because people are cutting prices even today.

TAPPER: All right, look at that news you can use.

And, Catherine, one of the reasons inflation fell overall is because gas fell by 3.6 percent, but housing inflation more than offset the declining gas prices, rising 0.4 percent for the fourth month in a row. Americans cannot afford to buy houses right now, many of them, even from any homeowners. If they sell, they can't afford to buy a new home. Is there any relief on those fronts in sight?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's going to continue to be very challenging. Shelter prices, housing prices, rents has been very painfully high and growing more, much more quickly, certainly, than prospective homebuyers or renters would like.

If you own a home, that's quite good news for you. But if you are trying to purchase one or if you're looking for an apartment to rent, those numbers have been moving in the wrong direction. And certainly high interest rates don't help in that respect. Normally you would expect that when interest rates go up, that pushes housing prices down, because you can buy less house for the same mortgage payment and more of that payment is being eaten up by interests that hasn't happened recently.

And that's because we just have a shortage of housing in this country. It's extremely difficult to build, not just here in New York and other coastal cities where this has been a problem for a long time, but increasingly across the country, it's difficult to build. We've basically under built since the financial crisis, since the housing bust. And we are continuing to see the pain of that today.

TAPPER: And, Julia, walk us through the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates.

Is this a positive sign? Do you think how will that impact the average American?

CHATTERLEY: It's a positive sign if you want to fly the flag for the resilience of the American economy. It's a negative sign if you're one of the millions of Americans that have borrowings, whether its credit card, as Catherine was saying, you're paying a mortgage right now, what the Federal reserve said today is they now only expect one rate cut this year, not the three that they were talking about, just as soon as March of this year.

And that's down to, one, inflation. That prices, even with the good data that we had today are the better-than-expected data, prices are still above the target, but all so what we saw last week, Jake, and that is people keep hiring, businesses keep hiring in the United States. So when you tie those two things together, what Jay Powell said today was policy is about where it should be at this stage, and they're in no hurry to cut rates.

Good news, arguably again, to promote the strength of the American economy, but not great for Americans who owe money or paying back money.

TAPPER: Catherine, you've written columns about how the public's perception of the economy is worse than the reality of the economy. How might today's news impact the politics of the economy as President Joe Biden works to take control and try to shift the narrative ahead of the November election?

RAMPELL: Biden has a very difficult job, which is how do you talk about the strengths of the economy and on paper, it looks pretty strong without sounding tone deaf to the real concerns that Americans feel. And part of this has to do with the fact that the way economists measure things or talk about things is little bit different than how normal people do.

So, for example, we were talking about grocery prices earlier. Grocery price inflation is actually great right now. It's very low. It's about 1 percent year over year. And for the past few months, its either been flat or falling from the previous month. That's good news.

But Americans are not necessarily going to feel super enthused about that, given how much price growth there already had been, to date, in the prior year, in the prior couple of years when prices had gone up, so much, people are not really excited by the idea that, oh, great, milk isn't getting even more expensive. But why is it so expensive already?

So it's really challenging to celebrate some of these wins. This inflation report today was in many ways good news, certainly better than expectations.


But how do you talk about that in a way that doesn't sound like you're dismissing Americans real financial stresses and again, I don't know the exact answer to it, but I think it is helpful for those of us in the media, of course, to try our best to explain what the numbers mean, how they look in context, how they compare historically, like the fact that unemployment is at near historical lows rather than historical highs. That's the kind of thing that I think greater contexts and explanation would at least be helpful.

TAPPER: Well, that's why I invited you both on the show.

RAMPELL: Exactly.

TAPPER: Catherine and Julia, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

TAPPER: The economy is consistently issue number one for voters and 2024 is going to be no different. Up next, compelling arguments from auto workers on what's driving their vote. CNN's John King has those conversations from battleground Michigan, next.

And we're standing by for the vote on the House floor and whether or not the Republicans or for Democrats who knows, will hold U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress.

We're back in a moment.



TAPPER: In our 2024 lead -- music, please? Yeah. The election jam 2024. In John King's latest installment of "All Over the Map", he takes you to the battleground states, talks to actual voters.

And today, we're going to Michigan, where union auto workers want a presidential candidate who will best support their blue collar concerns. And despite the United Auto Workers Union's endorsement of President Biden, there are a number of members of the UAW throwing their support behind former President Donald Trump.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's way down from Detroit's heyday, but 134,000 members still makes the UAW a force in battleground Michigan.

Chris Vitale works in engine development at Chrysler and believes President Biden's push for more electric vehicles hurts business.

CHRIS VITALE, MICHIGAN VOTER: The government seems to be appeasing the coasts. You know, everyone who lives in Manhattan thinks everyone should drive an electric car.

J. KING: Vitale says he will again ignore union leadership and vote Trump a third time, hoping to end the EV mandates and to get better trade rules.

VITALE: So I've watched this region go from the arsenal of democracy to now, we're happy if we can get a sports stadium or were going to sell wheat or fireworks or whatever. It's absolutely pathetic what we have sunk to now. And our politicians just -- they're good with it. He isn't. So that's the difference.

J. KING: Bob King worked at Ford for more than 40 years and served a term as UAW president when the industry was trying to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. He ties Trump's support among union auto workers two years of lost jobs, and lower wages.

BOB KING, MICHIGAN VOTER: That people feel like the government and the establishment hasn't been delivered for them. Is their life better now than it was ten years ago or worse? And for many, many working people, it's worse. Their standard of living has deteriorated. In some cases, their communities have deteriorated.

J. KING: Walter Robinson, Jr. bets about 40 percent of his Ford coworkers are for Trump.

WALTER ROBINSON JR., MICHIGAN VOTER: He's never done a hard days work, not physical work, like you're doing in a plant. He has a solid gold toilet at home. So, I mean, how can he really empathize with your life?

J. KING: And when you say wait, Joe Biden walked a picket line with us. Joe Biden's been a pro-union president --

ROBINSON: They say that, you know, guns, gays, abortion, sleepy Joe, Hunter Biden.

J. KING: Robinson says the new contract wins were impressive, but didn't fix everything.

ROBINSON: Gas prices are still pretty high. Food when you go to the grocery store, every time is -- it's just me and my wife and it's $200 every time I go to the grocery store.


KING (on camera): And, Jake, note that Walter Robinson's concern there about the cost of living that tracks the conversation you just had about the economy and do voters, are they processing the improvement in most of the data? But many of them say no, housing costs, grocery costs are still high.

Look, here's what comes down to in Michigan, President Biden got 62 percent of the union vote, according to our exit polls in 2020. That was nine points better than Hillary Clinton. If he wants to keep Michigan and keep the blue wall, he's going to have to run that strong again. But our conversations with voters say he's still got some challenges ahead in the next few months to keep that number.

TAPPER: And, John, we talk a lot about cracks and the Biden coalition and the work he needs to do to repair things with all sorts of voters in Michigan union voters, blue-collar voters, Arab American voters, Muslim voters, progressive voters, the list goes on and on.

Michigan might actually be the biggest task of them all for the Biden campaign, right?

KING: I think that's right in the sense that you have, if you look at all of the cracks in the Biden coalition, all of the repair work he has to do, you find just about every one of those groups in Michigan? It's not a huge Latino number. That's more of an issue in an Arizona or in Nevada.

But think about Black voters in Detroit, right? Not just the present will win Wayne County. He'll win Detroit, but he needs to turn out. He needs people to turn out and not defect back to the third-party candidate. He needs to keep that numbers. I just said among union voters.

We'd been on college campuses before school broke this year. The Israel-Hamas conflict has hurt the president daily there, and there are somewhere in the ballpark of 300,000 -- 300,000 Arab American voters in the state of Michigan, most in the Dearborn area, they're mad at the president about that, too.

So he's got a lot of repair work to do across the country, but Michigan is perhaps the most complicated laboratory of them all.

TAPPER: All right. John King, thanks so much.

A lot happening this hour.


A live look at the tarmac in Brindisi, Italy. Any second, we're going to see President Biden there. He'll be wheels down ahead of the G7 summit starting tomorrow.

Here in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill. The vote happening soon -- as soon as Republicans lead the charge on a vote that could hold the U.S. attorney general in contempt of Congress. I'm going to talk to a House Democrat about this vote coming up and a House Republicans.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: The breaking news on Capitol Hill, an historic moment as House lawmakers get ready to vote on whether or not to hold U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. Let's bring back CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju.

And, Manu, this is going to happen any moment. It's going to be a close one to watch.


What are Republicans saying about their vote count? Would Speaker Johnson bring this vote up if he didn't have the votes? I mean, he has before.

RAJU: Yeah. I mean, we expect him not to, and ultimately, it should be a huge embarrassment if he brought this to the floor and it collapsed in front of his face. But that is not what we're expecting here at the moment.

In fact, the Republicans seem to have a little bit more leeway because of the number of Democratic absences at the moment. Remember the vote will be approved. This resolution to refer the attorney general, the United States, on contempt charges that will be approved if a majority of members who are present are actually voting. So that means that there are absences that changes the number of people that would be considered into be in the majority.

At the moment based on what our team has calculating, on our back of the napkin calculations from the earlier votes today, and in this vote series, we expect that Johnson could actually afford to lose three Republican votes given this expect it to be along party lines, even if all members were present and voting, he could only afford to lose two Republican votes. So he potentially could have an extra defection to play with.

The question is, who will defect? I spent the last couple of weeks were really talking to a number of those swing district Republicans and then making very clear that they are on the side of the leadership on this question, even though it is a very controversial vote, many of them have said that they believe that Attorney General Merrick Garland should turn over the audio tapes that he was subpoenaed for those audio tapes. Of course, it special counsel Robert Hur had in his conversations is interview with President Joe Biden over Biden's mishandling of classified.

Documents Republicans clearly want to inject this. This audio into the campaign season, given the criticism of Robert Hur's -- about Joe Biden -- Joe Biden, his elderly state and why he decided not to prosecute him. They want to hear all of that.

Democrat seen absolutely no reason for this audio to be turned over to the to the House and the attorney general himself has warned that doing so could be a detriment to future investigations going forward, witnesses may not want to Cooperate if they believe their audio is simply be released to Congress.

So all that is playing out as his vote, Jake, it appears it is now taking in place. According to the vote right now is you can probably see here on your screen, but what were seeing right now, 204 votes, there is one Republican vote in the negative. We're trying to get a name and who that person is at the moment.

Sometimes those votes happened by mistake. Remember, they may vote no and mean to vote yes, we'll see if that person changes their mind. But at the moment, Jake, since Johnson can afford, we think, to lose three votes, given the attendance numbers, he seems to be on track of gains approved Jake and a matter of minutes.

TAPPER: Right. And right now, just to bring everybody up to speed, what's going on, House and House Democrats and Republicans are voting and whether or not to hold attorney general Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress.

Right now, there are a ele -- 10 Democrats who have not voted in five Republicans to have not voted. It's possible that those are 15 members of Congress in tough election fights, possible, we don't know. I don't know.

Right now, one Republican, as you noted, Manu, one Republican has voted nay. If that was not an accident, that might be a Republican in a Biden district or something like something like 15 or 20 districts that Republicans represent the House district. But Joe Biden, actually won that district in the presidential election.

Any -- any word, Manu, on whether its possible that any of these ten Democratic holdouts might vote to hold Merrick Garland in contempt. I could see theoretically a Jared Golden in Maine or someone like that who's in a Trump district, may be feeling the urge.

RAJU: It's possible. It still remains to be seen. We have not heard them say that publicly, but we do know who that one no vote is. In fact, that is Congressman David Joyce of Ohio. He is someone who has a more moderate Republican member, someone who serves on the House Ethics Committee, sometimes he votes on these ethical questions because he is serves on the member of the House Ethics Committee, but he voted no. Sometimes you vote present in that case, we felt like it wasn't the right to vote this way.

We'll see if that's ultimately why he -- why he decided to vote. I'm going to keep my eye out here, Jake, in case I see him or another relevant member of the House walking down here, but that is -- but from what we can tell, we are seeing all of these, members walking out who just voted and were not seeing any other defections other than David Joyce, which tells me that this is going essentially along straight-party lines, and there's 214 votes to 206 votes.

It's very clear that Attorney General Merrick Garland will be about to be the third attorney general who will be referred for prosecution, for contempt of the House given the Republican -- given the fact that he did defy House subpoena.


He said he had legitimate reasons to do so. They say there was -- they note that there's a dispute between the executive branch and the legislative branch, but Republicans want to go further, want this to be prosecuted. And at the moment is very clear though, that, Jake, that he did they

do have the votes, given it is only one Republican defection. Johnson probably can lose three. They're nine no Republicans who have not members who have not voted seven, those are -- those are Democrats, which gives Johnson a little bit more room to play with, Jake.

TAPPER: Correct, although if those two Republican holdouts vote no, then the resolution wouldn't pass? We do not know how they are going to vote or who they are?

So, now -- it's just one Republican holdout.

RAJU: Yeah.

TAPPER: So it looks like the motion will pass. It looks like the motion will pass.

Manu, stay right there. We're going to squeeze in a quick break. We're going to come right back with the results.




REP. JAY OBERNOLTE (R-CA): On this vote, the yeas are 216, the nays are 207. The resolution is adopted. Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.


TAPPER: That's it. The gavel making an official, the Republican-led House of Representatives has just voted to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress by a vote of 216-207. The vote coming because Attorney General Garland is not turning over the audio recordings of the special counsel's interview with President Biden.

Special counsel Robert Hur, he investigated Biden's handling or mishandling, I should say, of classified documents.

We should note for transparency reasons that CNN is suing the Biden administration as well for those audio recordings because transparency is a hallmark of journalism and accountability, demanding accountability from public officials.

With us now to discuss this vote is New York Democratic Congressman Dan Goldman.

Congressman, what's your reaction to the vote and why should the Biden administration hide these tapes from the public?

REP. DAN GOLDMAN (D-NY): Well, first of all, it's a -- it's a very disappointing day, and it's another effort by the Republican Party to dig a deeper hole for this institution. Contempt of Congress is a very serious charge, and as we know from the Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon cases, those are situations where witnesses are subpoenaed and absolutely blow off various committees, provide no documents, no information, which is exactly what the Trump administration did, as you will recall back in 2019, and the State Department had gathered a boatload of documents to turn over to the impeachment inquiry related to Ukraine, Donald Trump ordered them not to turn them over.

And so, what we are now entering into is a situation here where the Republicans obtained the substance of the interview that they requested. That is more than enough for them to do any oversight that they deem necessary. There is no legitimate legislative purpose for them to obtain the audio recording because they're not prosecuting. They're not trying to determine whether to prosecute him.

And there is no legislation they can identify. There's no oversight. They can identify that points to why they need the audio recording and what they really want to do is release it to help Donald Trump misconstrue these recordings, use them during the campaign, and that is not a legitimate purpose.

And so, this is a situation where the Department of Justice when beyond really the call of duty and providing the substance of all of the requests that the oversight committee and the judiciary committee made of Merrick Garland. But that's not enough for them.


GOLDMAN: They can't take yes for an answer.

TAPPER: For last throughout three of the last five attorneys general have been found in contempt of Congress. Eric Holder didn't turn over information relating to the Fast and Furious mishap, that sting operation. Attorney General Bill Barr was held in contempt of Congress by a Democratic Congress for not turning over information. The unredacted Mueller report.

And now, Attorney General Merrick Garland for not turning over the audio, a citizen who doesn't have a dog in the fight might say, it seems to me as though the legislative branch is trying to do oversight of the executive branch and the executive branch keeps giving the what -- whoever's in charge of the Congress, the executive branch consistently gives the finger to the House.

I assume you don't see it that way, but there is a consistency in these three contempt of Congress votes.

GOLDMAN: Well, there's only a consistency and the fact that they, three attorney generals have now been held in contempt by Congress. But the situations and the circumstances are very different.

There -- there was no basis for Bill Barr to withhold the unredacted report from Congress. He could identify none if it were issue of classified or secret information --


TAPPER: But there's really not its going to see the Justice Department to not give the audio recordings to Congress either.

GOLDMAN: Well, first of all, there is, and I do believe --


GOLDMAN: The basis is that it would have a very chilling impact on any future cooperation of witnesses who would know they would be recorded and would know that it potentially could be disclosed. And who knows what's in a specific recording?


We know what the substance is because we have the transcript. And so, there are legitimate investigative reasons why the Department of Justice would not want to turn over. And the Congress has to have a legitimate reason to request this is materials. There is no legitimate reason that anyone has identified on the Republican side why they need the audio recording in addition to the transcript?

And so, yes, congressional oversight is very important and certainly Donald Trump did give the finger to Congress and he said it explicitly when he said, I will defy all congressional subpoenas. But that is not what this administration has done at all. This administration has actually gone over and above what is necessary in the usual accommodations process between branches in satisfying these subpoenas.

TAPPER: All right. New York Democratic Congressman Dan Goldman, thanks so much for your time today. I appreciate it.

You heard from a Democrat. Next, I'm going to get reaction from a Republican after this quick break.

Plus, Air Force One now wheels down in Italy. President Biden has a short layover at this site, then goes to stop number two. His travel is ahead of the start of the G7 Summit tomorrow of the world's economic powers. The CNN correspondent is traveling with him and we will check in with that team, next.