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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban On Bump Stocks; CNN Tracking Major Pending Supreme Court Decisions; Retired Judge Offers Start Warning About U.S. Supreme Court; Investigation Into Rare "Dutch Roll" Of Boeing Plane; Princess Catherine Says She's "Making Good Progress"; Father Whose Son Was Killed In Parkland High School Massacre Reacts To Demolition Of Building. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 14, 2024 - 17:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN, the world's news network.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to the lead. I'm Jake Tapper. This hour, a new and terrifying inflight scare investigators are trying to figure out why a Southwest Airlines plane made a rare and unsafe rolling motion during flight. What you need to know as the busy summer travel season takes off.

Plus, in just hours we're going to get our first public glimpse of Princess Catherine since Christmas. What the palace said today about her cancer battle and her plans to try and resume some of her royal duties.

But leading this hour, yesterday today and for the next two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will dominate the political conversation in this country. Today it's a major guns decision, the justices ruling six to three to strike down a federal ban on bump stocks. The ban was initially approved by Donald Trump in 2018 after the massacre at a Las Vegas Music Festival. You might remember a gunman killed 58 people at the outdoor concert when he set up perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and open fire for at least 10 minutes. By the time police breached the room, they say the shooter was dead, but they found 23 weapons in the room, 12 were firearms with bump stocks attached.

That attack, by the way, is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. So I know some of you are probably out there wondering what exactly is a bump stock. I keep talking about bump stocks. What is it? So, it's this piece seen here, it can be attached to a semi-automatic weapon.

When a shooter uses a semi-automatic rifle, they have to pull the trigger each time they want to fire. A bump stock harnesses the energy of the fired weapon to make pulling the trigger faster, which allows the shooter to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, theoretically. Let's bring in Stephen Gutowski. He is the founder of The Reload which focuses on firearms policy and politics and is an expert when it comes to firearms. So we always want to know what we're talking about here.

So, Stephen, a bump stock makes a semi-automatic rifle more like an automatic weapon, almost not quite, but almost like a machine gun.

STEPHEN GUTOWSKI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, closer in the rate of fire as to how quick you can fire.

TAPPER: You mean, how quickly. So, there are still some differences. Can you explain the differences and why a bump stock was created to begin with?

GUTOWSKI: Yes, and the differences are the key thing here in this ruling. That's what the justices in the majority focused on that. Essentially, in order to fire each round when using a bump stock or doing bump fires more generally, bump stock just kind of helps you do that technique of bump firing, you still have to actuate that trigger, pull that trigger.

TAPPER: You still have to pull the trigger no matter what?

GUTOWSKI: Every single round that gets fired.

TAPPER: But it harnesses the energy. So it makes it a lot easier, right?

GUTOWSKI: Yes, it makes it much easier to do it, a lot faster than a traditional shooting style where you're physically squeezing your finger each shot. And they're really kind of a novelty device, to be honest, I've shot them there. There's something that people own for, you know, amusement, it's something that gets you sort of like machine gun rate of fire.

TAPPER: Machine guns, which are essentially banned and the United States.

GUTOWSKI: Right, without all the extra regulation that comes along with owning an actual machine gun --


GUTOWSKI: -- which you can do but is very expensive--

TAPPER: And very difficult. Yes. So I want to play some music -- some video, rather, I'm sorry, from the moment the shooting started in Las Vegas at that horrible. You're not going to see anything bloody or anything but you can hear the gunfire and people panicking. A warning to our viewers that the video is a little disturbing. So let's play this.




TAPPER: OK. Can you tell if the shooter was using a bump stock when he fired the bullets you just heard in that video?

GUTOWSKI: Yes, I think it's fairly clear that from the cadence of how quickly the rounds are going off, he was likely using a bump stock at that point in the video. Now he used -- he had a lot of firearms on him.

TAPPER: Right.

GUTOWSKI: He was in this really terrible situation where he's elevated and he's shooting into a crowd. So, a lot of guns would have result -- there a lot of firearms you could have used to get similar results, but the bumps fire in this case is one of the only cases where it might actually have, you know, helped him carry out this terrible tech because --

TAPPER: Killing 58 people.

GUTOWSKI: Yes, because he's spraying fire into a giant crowd. He doesn't need to be accurate. That's one of the downsides of using something like a bump stock is it really reduces how accurately you can fire --

TAPPER: But that you don't have to be that accurate if it's a crowd. You're going to get something.

GUTOWSKI: Correct.

TAPPER: In his concurring opinion, so in favor of overruling this ban, get rid of it -- getting rid of it, Justice Alito wrote, quote, "There's a simple remedy for the disparate treatment of bump stocks and machine guns. Congress can amend the law." What's your take on that? Do you think that that is a good sign or a bad sign for gun rights enthusiast who wanted this ban gone?

GUTOWSKI: Yes, you know, the top line of this ruling is positive for gun rights advocates who wanted the bump stock ban gun because it's gone now. You could -- you can own these devices. They'll probably start making and selling them again in most states. There are still state level bands in 17 states and in District of Columbia. But there's something to that concurrence that I think speaks to a larger issue on how the court is approaching gun regulation.


Because if you remember they had a landmark ruling in 2022, where they said all modern laws have to have an analogy -- analogous law from the founding here, it has to be rooted in the history and tradition of firearms regulation. And what you don't hear in that concurrence is anything about how a banning bump stocks would --

TAPPER: Be a violation of the Second Amendment.


TAPPER: They're not saying that. GUTOWSKI: Or how it would fit into the history and tradition. You just kind of set -- I mean, Alito is one of the most conservative members of the court. And you also had two other members, Gorsuch and Barrett, in oral arguments suggesting that they would be perhaps OK with a ban on these devices. It is just how to get there. They didn't like the way the ATF sort of reinterpreted law in the room.

TAPPER: They're saying the ATF basically you would probably have -- it sounds like you're saying reading the tea leaves, and who knows, but like, you have three liberal justices and potentially three conservative justices that would be willing to rule that a -- at a banned by Congress on bump stocks legislatively, not through the regulatory framework, but legislatively could be constitutional.

GUTOWSKI: Yes, that's the signal they're saying. I mean, that's almost literally what Alito was saying in that concurrence. So, it's not so much the idea of banning these devices that the justices were upset with, it was how the ATF went about doing it.

TAPPER: And it's interesting, because it was under Trump. It was the Trump administration did this. He was trying to -- he was reacting to what happened in Las Vegas and the argument that there really isn't a need for this unless you're trying to kill a lot of people or a lot of animals or whatever at the same -- at once. When that ban happened in 2018, those who own the devices were told to turn them in or destroy them within 90 days. Do people do that?



GUTOWSKI: I mean, the ATF received very few of these devices. They're -- I think they're estimates of about 100,000 out there, they received maybe less than 0.1 percent were turned in to the ATF. Now people could have destroyed them, we don't know exactly what people did with them. Likely a lot of people kept them and just ignored this ruling, which probably wasn't even that well known at the time. This was a sort of, you know, it's a federal rule that was published in the registrar, which is not exactly the most famous --

TAPPER: Right.

GUTOWSKI: -- document in the world. So, you know, a lot of people probably still have these devices, even though they technically been committing a felony, but --

TAPPER: Well, they're legal now.

GUTOWSKI: Yes. Now they are.

TAPPER: So, they don't have to worry about it. Stephen Gutowski, always appreciate your expertise. Thank you so much.

Let's discuss this now, the politics of it with CNN Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic and CNN Political Commentator, Jonah Goldberg, Editor in Chief of The Dispatch. And Joan, I'll start with you. Today, the justices ruled along familiar six to three conservative to liberal lines. Did anything stand out to you in today's ruling?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Thanks, Jake. And you know, that's exactly what does stand out in the courtroom. The core divide, the Supreme Court is the sixth conservative justice -- conservative majority, all appointed by Republican presidents versus the three liberals in dissent, all appointed by Democratic presidents. And you know, Jake, this is the time of year when we get our most consequential rulings. And occasionally, we'll have a rare dissent from the bench, an oral dissent.

And I -- and -- we got the first one of the season today from Justice Sotomayor, which I think reinforces this core divide, even though we're going to see, you know, some shifting alliances. This is basically what the courts all about. And I thought Stephen really laid out well, you know, exactly how these mechanisms function. But Justice Sotomayor, as much as she highlighted, the tragedy of 2017 said that this was actually a case involving statutory interpretation. And she said that phrase by a single function of the trigger from the 1934 ban on machine guns --

TAPPER: Ban on machine guns. Yes.

BISKUPIC: -- that it actually would cover this. That she said, if you have an ordinary reading of that law --


BISKUPIC: -- that you actually could have it covered. So --

TAPPER: She said, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

BISKUPIC: Yes, well, essentially, because, you know, again, we had just a great explanation of how bump stocks could work, which said, if you pull the trigger and then the pressure that the shooter would put on the weapons that that is a single function to have those continuous rounds go out. So, you know, I just would say that we saw in stark relief, you know, in the tableau in the courtroom today, just how these justices are divided.

TAPPER: It's not surprising that conservatives would say do it through the Congress and not through the regulatory state.

Jonah, Florida Republican Congressman Byron Donalds called the bump stock ban, dumb. And he also said this.


REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): A bump stock does not cause anybody to be shot in the United States of America. That is the shooter that does that, not a piece of equipment. The bump stocks, if you will, is really just a brace for people who have arm injuries who still actively shoot.


TAPPER: What's interesting about this is, yes, I mean, that argument you could use to overturn the ban on machine gun.


TAPPER: Really.

GOLDBERG: Yes, exactly.

TAPPER: But what's interesting is it was Donald Trump, President Trump who pushed this. I doubt many headlines are going to be, you know, Supreme Court handles -- enhance Donald Trump a loss.



TAPPER: But that is the reality of it. What do you think's going on in Trump world right now?

GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, I don't think Trump world is going to say bupkis about this.


GOLDBERG: Except maybe they can figure out some three carom messaging to show that this proves that Trump is more moderate than, you know, trying to do -- or what he's been trying to do on abortion, you could kind of see him trying to do on this. I think that's too nuanced an argument for Donald Trump.


GOLDBERG: But yes, look, I mean, this does get to the point that the conservative justices on the court are not lockstep Trumpets. They have not been, you know, as friendly to Trump, as a lot of the critics want to make it seem. And this is an example -- is a small example, but it's an example of how they see things not necessarily through the partisan lens that a lot of people want to ascribe to.

TAPPER: And, Joan, you're going to be watching the next two weeks very closely, huge consequential cases on the courts, docket including Trump's claim of immunity from criminal prosecution. Perhaps that's the biggest one, whether January 6th defendants will face obstruction --


TAPPER: -- charges of emergency room abortions is another. What's your -- do you have any predictions for these rulings?

BISKUPIC: I'll take the easiest one first, just based on oral argument, Jake, the justices are likely to reject the idea that the January 6 defendants, hundreds of them, including a case that touches on Donald Trump, could be liable to -- for the charge of corruptly obstructing an official proceeding. They've been charged with many, many different federal crimes, but that's one that has been used on, as I said, hundreds. And just from the oral arguments, the justices, a majority seem to suggest that prosecutors had gone too far with an expanded reading of that federal law that was passed actually to get at accounting practices and actual evidence issues, destruction of evidence. So they didn't think the law was properly used is that's my guess on that one. But then on the one that we all really care about the most, and I think people are watching, is the one on whether former President Donald Trump should be shielded from the election subversion charges that have been brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith on behalf of the Justice Department.

I think in that case, it's likely that Donald Trump will win a little bit. Jack Smith will win a little bit. And the key question that, you know, we're all kind of wrestling with as we anticipated is, you know, who's going to -- how lopsided will it be? And who will have the best chance of going forward either with a trial without. And I think at this point, just the signals from the court is it's just very unlikely that former President Donald Trump would be tried on election subversion charges before --

TAPPER: Before the election.



TAPPER: Do you agree?

GOLDBERG: Yes. I think -- I mean, look, even Trump's own lawyer conceded that the president is not immune from personal acts of criminality, and that some official acts could be deemed criminal. I don't think this court in any way is going to endorse the full throated Trump Truth Social position that the president can just go climbing as much as he likes, right?

TAPPER: Right.

GOLDBERG: And so, you know, but the Supreme Court settles questions, not cases. And so I think what they're going to they're trying to do is figure out some sort of precedent that they can set on this very thorny issue of presidential immunity. And I suspect what they're going to do is they're going to do it narrowly, come up as close as they can get to nine zero for something that trims back some of the broader outreaches of Jack Smith's case, but tells the district court the things that you can actually demonstrate a real crimes, go with that stuff. And so, Trump's absolutely right, it's not going to happen on a timetable that people -- a lot of people would like it to. And I don't think the Supreme Court is supposed to ask questions based upon, you know, electoral timetable.

TAPPER: Interesting stuff. Joan and Jonah, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Who better to comment on these some massive Supreme Court cases than a man who was once considered himself for the highest court in the land? That conversation is live in studio next.

Plus, what caused the Southwest Airlines flight to make an unsafe rolling motion while 34,000 feet in the air? I'm glad I was not on board. I'll tell you that much. The new investigation is ahead.

And this just in, President Biden moments ago boarding Air Force One in Italy after the G7 summit of world economic superpowers. Biden is headed straight to California for a star studded fundraiser tomorrow with former President Obama, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Jimmy Kimmel, we're back in a moment.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead, we spend a lot of time talking about the U.S. Supreme Court on the show. We have a guest today who can talk about in a way that no one else can, a longtime judge he was twice under consideration for a seat on the highest court in the land. He's out with a brand new book, a captivating read it offers a critique of the court that only a unique insider could he talks about scrutiny, he talks about independence. He also talks about the need for trust with the nine people whose decisions affect every single American.

With us right now is retired judge David Tatel. He served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for 30 years, filling the seat that had been vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was appointed to the Supreme Court. His new book is called "Vision, A Memoir of Blindness and Justice." And you might know that we have with us in studio right now, that's vixen, his German Shepherd guide dog. She is a pretty girl.

Thank you so much for being with us, Judge Tatel. I really appreciate it.


TAPPER: Let's start with the court, if you can?


TAPPER: You issue a stark warning about the U.S. Supreme Court losing public trust. You say in your book, quote, "Toxic judicial confirmations, which these days look more like partisan punching matches than tests of legal acumen and personal integrity have contributed to that loss of trust. So have the ideological vote counts and men contentious cases. The public apparently believes that Supreme Court justices vote with the political party of the president who appointed them rather than from neutral legal principles."


Let me ask you, do you think this started getting bad after the Bush v Gore decision in 2000? And where do you put the Roberts' court in this in this gamut? TATEL: It's a process. It's accelerated in the past two or three decades. And, you know, from my perspective, the basic problem here is we have a court that is all too often not faithful to really fundamental principles of judicial restraint, that are really quite essential to preserving the separation of powers and the checks and balances that make our government work. And that process has accelerated in the past decade or two as our country has become more political and as the court has become more political.

TAPPER: I want to play for you a Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said earlier this week.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Chief Justice Roberts is supposed to be the guardian of the court's reputation. In my judgment and the judgment of so many Americans, he's derelict in that responsibility.


TAPPER: Derelict as the guardian of the court's reputation, harsh words from Senator Schumer there. Do you agree? Would you put that on John Roberts?

TATEL: My book is about the Supreme Court, Jake. It's not about the individual justices.


TATEL: I rarely talk about the individual.

TAPPER: So let's talk about --

TATEL: It's about the court as an institution, and it's the courts behavior as an institution that concerns me.

TAPPER: Do you think the Roberts' court, so all nine of them, is derelict in guarding the courts reputation?

TATEL: I would not use that word.


TATEL: I don't know that that's the right word to describe this court. I would say, as I do in my book, that that is -- what is concerning to me, and I think many judges is that courts abandonment of principles of judicial restraint. And that's -- those are -- it's those -- it's the abandonment of those principles and the decisions that come from it that I think adversely affect what the public thinks about the court.

TAPPER: Yes. You're critical in the book --

TATEL: Yes. TAPPER: -- of the court for overturning roe for the Roe v. Wade, for the Dobbs decision. But you also write, and this is really interesting, really stood out to me, quote, "It's clear as day that Dobbs," that's the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade --


TAPPER: -- "never would have happened if Justice Ginsburg had lived, or if she had retired during Obama's presidency and been replaced by like-minded justice."

TATEL: Right.

TAPPER: You then go into detail about a conversation you had over dinner with Justice Ginsburg and her decision to retire. Why do you think she ultimately decided to not retire during the Obama administration? And how much do you blame her in any way for the Dobbs decision?

TATEL: The conversation I had with Justice Ginsburg was a conversation she had with many people. She did not appreciate the pressure to retire. She thought -- you know what, I think -- she never told me this, but I think Ruth Ginsburg hoped that she could retire and be replaced by the first woman president.

TAPPER: Right.

TATEL: I think that's what she wanted. And, you know, I can't second guess her judgment. I do say in the book, which is what we all know, that she rolled the dice and lost.


TATEL: And the consequences of her decision were enormous for the country.

TAPPER: I have to ask you about this beautiful dog to your left.


TAPPER: Your guide dog vixen. You're write, if talking too much about my dog is a crime, I plead guilty." I think there are a lot of us who are probably guilty --


TAPPER: -- of that. I'm certainly guilty of that about my dog.


TAPPER: "I just love to talk about Vixen. There's a sign on my desk that Edie bought me. It says, ask me about my dog." But what's interesting you have had sight issues for quite some time.


TAPPER: But you only recently -- his is your first guide dog?


TAPPER: Even though you're in your 80s and you've had --


TAPPER: -- sight issues for 50 years or so.

TATEL: Right.

TAPPER: How has she changed your life and why did you switch?

TATEL: It's been -- the last chapter in my book is called "The Dog that Changed My Life." And that's not an overstatement. I was a cane user for 30 years. I was pretty good with my cane. But I yearn for more independence.

Cane travel is complicated. It's getting more difficult as the city gets more complex. My wife and I, we live in the country and we like to go on long, long walks. And it's very hard to do that with a cane. Vixen has given me a level of independence that I haven't enjoyed in probably 40 years.

She and I go on -- first of all, we commute back and forth to work. She loves escalators. And in the country, we go on long walks together. It used to be if I wanting to go on a walk I said, Edie, let's go for a walk. Now, I say, Edie, Vixen and I are going for a walk.


And we'll go for 567 miles. And I say in the book, Jake, that when I'm walking with Vixen, down -- one of these beautiful dirt roads, I don't have to think about the mobility issues. I don't have to worry about obstacles. If a car is coming, she pulls me off to the side of the road. I can think about the sounds and the river and the wind. And I can think about the book I've been writing, right?

Edie once said, Vixen has allowed you to actually be alone for the first time. And that's been really profound.

TAPPER: That's beautiful.

TATEL: Yes. It's been really profound.

TAPPER: She is a good girl.

TATEL: She's a very special dog.



TAPPER: That's wonderful.

TATEL: Right.

TAPPER: Judge Tatel, you honor us by being here. Thank you so much.

TATEL: Thank you.

TAPPER: And thank you, Vixen. Thank you, sweetie.

The new book of course, "Vision, A Memoir of Blindness and Justice," is out now, a very compelling read. I hope you sell a billion copies. Thank you so much for being here, Judge, appreciate it.

Just as we learned about another inflight scare and new report claims on passenger planes were made with a fake metal. What is going on in the skies and in airports? A former federal playing inspector is going to join me live next.



TAPPER: In our National Lead, an investigation is underway into why a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane just experienced a rare and potentially dangerous back and forth role motion during the flight. We're going to show you this animation of the motion known as the Dutch roll. It happened last month on a Southwest Airlines Flight. Luckily no one on board was hurt but the aircraft was damaged.

Joining us now to discuss former Federal Aviation Administration safety inspector, David Soucie. David, good to see you again. The FAA says the nose of the plane makes this figure eight moment during this rare Dutch roll motion. How dangerous is this? And were you surprised that no one was hurt?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, it's extremely dangerous and the pilots must have been able to know exactly what it was right away to be able to recover from it. But it's really something that is designed to be stopped with a yaw damping or something that prevents the rudder from overreacting to the situation. And that was damaged when they found FAA reporting that the power control unit for that yaw dampener was damaged on the airplane. And that may be what led to what happened here.

TAPPER: There's another probe happening right now the FAA along with Airbus and Boeing and their supplier are investigating how fake titanium components, fake ones, made it onto commercial jets that were sold with falsified documents. I mean, what kind of safety risks are we dealing with here?

SOUCIE: Well, I talked with Boeing just recently, just right before we were talking here, and they've already done their investigations to find out if there's any aircraft in flight right now that have an issue. So they've identified where these parts came from most of what both Airbus and, and Boeing get their parts from is directly from the titanium manufacturers. And although these came from someone else, and they were admire -- they're not major parts that are being affected here. But the fact that they slipped through their quality control is, again, another black eye for both Boeing and in this case, Airbus as well, the whole industry.

TAPPER: Where did the fake titanium components come from?

SOUCIE: While they're investigating that now, Jake. It's a third party supplier, that Spirit Airlines that Spirit Manufacturing used to get the parts. And they found that they had corrosion on in titanium. I don't know if you're a bunch of a metallurgist, but titanium ain't supposed to rust, it really is not. And they found rough spots on this metal. And that's why they investigated further, but which is another concerning thing.

If the parts are coming in, they should be inspected to be meet the quality standards before they're installed on any part. So that's where I think this investigation is going to go is not only where they came from, because there is -- there are some documents that were forged that put them into the system, but also why were they not identified before they got put on aircraft.

TAPPER: Well, that's my next question. I mean, is there a way that is support -- is it -- where in the status of this, you know, I understand that the documents were forged, but where in the status of this is there any sort of failsafe to make sure that fake titanium or any counterfeit parts don't even enter the supply chain in the first place?

SOUCIE: Well, and that's, Jake, I've been talking about this for years with Boeing, with Airbus, with FAA to stop these bogus parts, these suspected unapproved parts from being in the system, they need to invoke a Blockchain methodologies like what do you do with Bitcoin with Blockchain? It ensures there's no duplicate part being manufactured. Once that parts manufactured, it has its unique identifier number, and we could make sure that there's not another one of those out there, which would completely eliminate this problem. But we got to start using some new technology to prevent this from happening.

TAPPER: All right. David Soucie, thanks so much. Always good to have you on.


In just hours, Princess Catherine is set to make her first public appearance since Christmas. What else she revealed today as she gave the world an update on her cancer diagnosis.



TAPPER: An update right now on the health of Catherine, the Princess of Wales, amidst her battle with cancer. The British Royal has released a new photograph of Catherine in a statement that reads in part, quote, I am making good progress but as anyone going through chemotherapy will know there are good days and bad days, unquote.

With us now is CNN Royals commentator and royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith. Sally, thanks for joining. What do you make of today's statement, which is still very scarce on details, including what kinds of cancer she has?

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is. Obviously she's not ready to divulge that. But I think what was important about it today was, A, she announced that she's going to be appearing at the big celebration tomorrow that dripping that color and the King's birthday parade. It will be in an, you know, in a carriage with her children. And I think they wanted to prepare people for it.

And the other aspect of it I thought that was noteworthy is that she was really speaking from the heart and she was speaking to fellow cancers of hers. She -- what she said was look like everybody else, I have ups -- up days and down days. And it's -- chemotherapy is rugged. And she was admitting that. But on the other hand she -- the photograph certainly portrayed her as looking as if she's in good shape.


TAPPER: Yes. What will you be looking for when Princess Catherine appears tomorrow?

SMITH: Well, I think many more people are going to be watching tomorrow than were previously watching. I think looking for signs of liveliness, vitality, animation, clearly if she were feeling -- if she were having a down day, if she were feeling fatigued, she wouldn't want to do it. But I think she may be in a, you know, in a period where she's feeling good. So I think we'll see her in the carriage. We'll see her up on the balcony, watching the fruit in the color. And we'll see her on the big balcony of Buckingham Palace.

And I think everybody's just going to be watching her body language, her level of animation. And I think everybody's just going to be really glad to see her after all these months. She hasn't been seen since the middle of December.

TAPPER: Are you hearing anything more from your sources about Catherine or King Charles, who also was being treated for cancer?

SMITH: You know, the specific kind of cancer, the age of the cancer, the nature of the therapy, I mean, in all the years I've been following the royal family, I don't think I've encountered anything that's been that tightly held. I, you know, you hear great remarks. There's a lot of people speculating. And I feel that, you know, at some point, they will be more specific about it, but I think well, the two of them are going through it. They probably won't disclose that.

TAPPER: CNN's Max Foster reported that there are already crowds camping outside Buckingham Palace for a chance to see Princess Catherine tomorrow.

SMITH: Yes. I think that doesn't surprise me at all. I think they'll have probably a significantly larger crowd of people. It is an event that attracts thousands of people anyway, tens of thousands. And I think it'll be even bigger because everybody wants to see her. TAPPER: All right. Sally Bedell Smith, thanks so much for your insights. Appreciate it.

Today, a new chapter begins in Parkland, Florida at the site of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is torn down. A father who lost his son in that horrific attack went inside the building, just before demolition started and he will join me next.



TAPPER: This has been a week of sad landmarks having to do with horrific shootings in the United States of America. On Wednesday in Orlando, Florida church rang its bells 49 times to remember the 49 innocent victims murdered in the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting eight years ago. Also on Wednesday, survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre graduated from high school, a painful reminder of the 20 classmates who were killed and should have been there to graduate alongside them.

Today in Parkland, Florida, some victims' families of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting watched the demolition of what was a preserved crime scene. For more than six years, this bloodstained building, where 17 children were massacred, stood frozen in time.

And joining us now is Max Schachter, his son 14-year-old Alex Schachter was one of the 14 students murdered on that horrible day. Max is one of the parents who courageously went inside the building before it's planned to demolition. Max, thank you so much for joining us. What was going through your mind when you saw the building demolition today? Did you want it to be torn down?

MAX SCHACHTER, FATHER OF PARKLAND VICTIM: I had mixed feelings. For the last eight months, we've been bringing people through the building. The site of the Parkland School shooting is the only mass shooting site where large groups of people have actually been brought through the building so that we can use that building and so we can make sure that this never happens again.

And so I was sad that nobody else is going to be able to be brought through that and it'll never happen again. The reason this was so unique is because never before have you had the sight of a mass shooting stand and basically frozen in time for five and a half years. The reason this happened is because after the shooting, the district attorney put a lock and a massive fence around the building. And he wanted to bring the jury from the Parkland murder trial through that building.

And then we had the Parkland, the deputy that never went into buildings with a trial for him as well. And then after these trials were concluded, the district attorney's office gave the building back to the school district. And they asked the families if we wanted to go in. And I had been asked to go in back in 2018. And I couldn't. I said, no. It's just too painful. But when they asked me last year, I went in. I wanted to understand where Alex was. I wanted to see the angles. I wanted to really sit where Alex was because that was where he took his last breath. And I wanted to be there in that place.

And so when I exited the building, my wife saw how traumatized I was. And she said to me, you know what you need to do, you didn't need -- you need to make every member of Congress walk through that building. And I said you're right. And that was the mission that I set out on for eight months because never before they had a building where nothing's been removed and it hasn't been cleaned, Jake. So there was blood everywhere from the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, where 17 were murdered and 17 were injured in just three minutes and 51 seconds.


And so we, in October, I brought 215 people through that building. And the largest group of individuals from any state, there were 25 states that came was from Utah, and so one of those was a Utah State Representative Ryan Wilcox. Ryan was in that building for on campus for six hours. He took 20 pages of note, detailing every failure. And then he took those lessons learned and he put it into $100 million Utah school safety bill, the largest Utah school safety bill they've ever passed.

So it was sad, and I was upset that I wasn't able to bring more people through that building. But I was grateful to the school district for letting me bring all those people. We brought members of Congress. We brought the Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Fred Guttenberg orchestrated and organized the Vice President Harris to come through that building. And we brought the director of the FBI through.

So even though it was so painful and hard for me to go into that building every time and walk those officials through into Alex's classroom, I did it because I knew that schools were safer because I did that, and lives were saved because we brought all those people through the building.

TAPPER: It's really remarkable what you've done, Max. I have a 14- year-old son and I cannot imagine the pain you live with every day. But as you acknowledged in a modest way, you've spent so much time trying to make sure no other parent has to go through what you went through, you and so many other parents down there at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. What is one effort that you think has made a real difference? There have been so many things that you've been pushing in terms of school safety, and school shootings, preventing school shootings, what one are you most proud of?

SCHACHTER: You know I travel around the country after this happened. And I presented Parkland. I deliver a three and a half hour presentation on the failures of the school district, the law enforcement failures, how they never went in the building, and they waited outside. And then my second half of my presentation, I talk about everything that Florida has done. Florida is the leader in school safety across the country.

And so I talk -- there's no reason to reinvent the wheel. Florida is doing a lot of good things in regards to making schools safer. And I want every state in the country to be enacting these laws. Florida didn't just check the box after Parkland and pass one bill. But we've passed seven consecutive school safety bills since the horrible tragedy that took Alex and 16 others. And the most impactful thing I do, people can hear me give a presentation or I can meet with members of Congress. But Jake, walking through that building, I brought people that had served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, they said it was the worst crime scene they've ever been to.

And they said that their life was changed because of this. And they walked out of that building with a rejuvenated determination to make sure that it never happened again. So the most impactful thing I've done over the last six years to make school safer was bringing people through the site of the Parkland School shooting.

TAPPER: Max Schachter, may the memory of your son, Alex, be a blessing. Your -- you have been working to make it a real blessing for so many moms and dads and kids that are not going to go through that. So thank you so much. And thank you for joining us today.

SCHACHTER: Thank you, Jake.


TAPPER: Our last leads are next.



TAPPER: Our last leads now, the start of a brutal summer just days away forecasts for parts of the U.S. predict high temperatures 15 degrees above what is normal for June. Blistering heat waves will wash over the country and mix with rising humidity to make for very uncomfortable and potentially deadly conditions.

A lot of things might feel more expensive these days. But gas prices are miles away from their 2022 spike. Two years ago today, the price per gallon peaked nationally in the U.S. at a record of $5.02. Today we're looking at $3.46.

The woman known as the grandmother of Juneteenth finally has a new habitat for humanity home replacing the one burned by a racist mob in Fort Worth, Texas back in 1939. Opal Lee is 97 now and, quote, elated. She's a retired teacher and considered a driving force in the effort to make Juneteenth the Federal holiday, which happened in 2021. Juneteenth commemorates June 19th, 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas with news of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that had been made more than two years before.

In our Sports Lead, 50 years ago, Morley Safer asked this interesting question about cricket.


MORLEY SAFER, CANADIAN-AMERICAN BROADCASTER: Do you think there's any chance that a game like cricket could surpass baseball and catch on in the United States?


TAPPER: No. But that doesn't mean the U.S. can't make some cricket history. Today, the U.S. Men's cricket team moved on to the next stage of that team's first ever T20 Cricket World Cup. The scheduled game against Ireland got rained out resulting in a draw earning both teams one point and securing the American teams advancement.


Coming up Sunday on State of the Union, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, that's Sunday morning at 9:00 Eastern and again at noon here on CNN. You'll see me there.

If you ever miss an episode of THE LEAD, you can listen to the show once you get your podcasts. The news continues on CNN with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". I'll see you Sunday morning. Have a great weekend until then.