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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump-Biden Tensions Intensify In Countdown To First Debate; Trump & House Speaker Johnson Meet At Mar-A-Lago; Steve Bannon At Turning Point: "Victory Or Death!"; Stoltenberg: 20+ Countries Will Meet NATO Spending Targets; Hot, Gutsy Winds Fuel Wildfires Across California; Life-Threatening Wave To Grip Much Of U.S This Week; Netanyahu Disbands Israel's War Cabinet; Sources: Bannon Won't Do His Time In A "Club Fed" Prison; Southwest Flight Plunged To Nearly 400 Feet Above The Ocean. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 17, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: And he thanked medical staff for helping treat his injuries.

We were just sharing notes on bike accidents. I had a couple ugly spills when I was a kid and not wearing a helmet, probably should have been.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I had a concussion from a bike accident, not wearing a helmet. Definitely should have been, might've saved my head a little more.


KEILAR: My face took the brunt of it though.

SANCHEZ: You did find. You're in pretty good shape. I still have some scars on my knees.

KEILAR: I have one in my hand.


KEILAR: It's rough.

SANCHEZ: Wear a helmet.

KEILAR: Wear a helmet.


KEILAR: Jake wears a helmet and THE LEAD starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Biden campaign dropping 50 million on new TV ads attacking Trump in the battleground states.

THE LEAD starts right now.

We are ten days away from the very first debate between President Biden and former President Trump. The attacks are ramping up with both candidates going on offense and the campaign trail and on the airwaves. The Biden campaign launching a brand new advertising attack, calling Trump a convicted criminal.

And dozens of wildfires across California, burning thousands of acres, displacing more than 1,000 people, while millions across the country are bracing for record bright breaking dangerous heat. What's the rest of the summer going to be like?

Plus, a Southwest plane plunges within 400 feet of the ocean off the coast of Hawaii. What caused this incident and why are we only finding out about it now?


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

The 2024 campaign, tension quickly ramping up between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. It's almost as if they're getting ready for the first presidential debate here on CNN next Thursday or something.

Today, the Biden campaign dropped a new TV ad directly attacking Donald Trump for what happened after the New York jury got their hands on the case.


AD NARRATOR: This election is between a convicted criminal who's only out for himself and a president who's fighting for your family.


TAPPER: This follows Biden's Hollywood fundraiser Saturday where Biden brought out the star power, Jimmy Kimmel, Jack Black, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, former President Barack Obama, all backing Biden. Many of them warning Democrats that the U.S. Supreme Court could become even more conservative if Trump wins another term in November.

Meanwhile, Trump on the offensive, too. He spent Saturday in Michigan looking to fracture Biden's support among Black voters, and then he and his allies spoke at a Turning Point Action Convention where he blasted Biden on every issue from the economy to questions over Biden's mental fitness.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The monthly cost of a typical mortgage has doubled and tripled even. We added it to $2.

He doesn't even know what the word inflation means I don't think if you gave him a quiz today. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Today, Trump is hosting a special guest at Mar-a-Lago, House Speaker Mike Johnson.

CNN's Melanie Zanona is on Capitol Hill for us.

Melanie, what exactly is one agenda for this meeting between Trump and the House speaker?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Jake, the goal of the meeting was really to get on the same page ahead of November. I'm told that Speaker Mike Johnson, as well as Richard Hudson, who was the head of the House GOP campaign arm, really reach to Trump on a number of key House races and trying to coordinate with him about how they can only keep the House majority, but also expand it, which, of course, is going to be critical for Trump if he wins the White House and wants to enact his legislative agenda.

Let me read you part of the statement from Speaker Johnson that he put out on social media, of course, with a picture of him and Trump's smiling and putting up with thumbs-up. Johnson said: Our party is united and working together. I am confident we will send President Trump back to the White House, win back the Senate, and grow our House Republican majority.

Now, last week, when Trump was here on Capitol Hill, he did vow behind closed doors to lawmakers that he would do tele-town halls and do anything he can to support candidates. But, of course, he's not going to be an asset in every single congressional race.

So another part of this meeting was trying to figure out where Trump could be the most helpful and also ensuring they're aligned because Trump hasn't always been on the same page as Republican leadership. In fact, he is endorsing a primary on it to Bob Good, the head of the House Freedom Caucus, who endorsed Ron DeSantis over Trump and also led the effort to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker.

But, of course, this meeting, Jake, also comes in the wake of Trump's hush money conviction in New York and shortly after that verdict, he did call, according to sources, Johnson and say sort of generally, we need to do something about this.

Now, perhaps not so coincidentally shortly after that, the Republican leadership in the House began gauging support for a bill that would allow current and former presidents to move state-level cases to federal court. That bill we should note had been sitting in committee on a shelf since September. They only pulled up now, in the wake of the verdict, I did ask Johnson if Trump had asked him to act on that bill, but he insisted that this was a member driven effort -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill, thanks.

Let's discuss more about the Trump campaign with CNN's Alayna Treene.

At the Turning Point Action Conference on Saturday, Steve Bannon, former Trump White House aide, Trump confidant, Trump -- I don't know -- the brain trust of MAGA.



TAPPER: There's so many --

TREENE: Fierce defender, yes.

TAPPER: Yes, exactly. So many things you could call him.

He made some rather incendiary remarks, Mr. Bannon.

Tell us what they were and how that fits into Trump's strategy, especially with the debate just ten days away.

TREENE: Well, Steve Bannon really went in on the retribution rhetoric. He actually called -- he said the election on November 5th would be judgment day and said January 20th, 2025, would be accountability day.

Take a listen to exactly how he put it.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: November 5th is judgment day. January 20th, 2025 is accountability day.

We're going to get every single receipt, and to the fullest extension of the law, you are going to be investigated, prosecuted, and incarcerated.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's very simple. Victory or death!


TREENE: Victory or death. I mean, very strong language from Steve Bannon. Of course, we've covered Steve Bannon a lot over the years. We know this is, you know --

TAPPER: Par for the course.

TREENE: Exactly. The incendiary language he likes to use.

But it's also -- you know, it's not just the Steve Bannons of the world who have been using this language. Even Donald Trump himself has said that he thinks it would be appropriate to try and prosecute his political opponents. He was brought up Joe Biden himself by saying, I think it'd be appropriate for me to maybe take action after them.

So, this is the same type of language we've heard from not just Donald Trump's fiercest defenders, but also from people inside his camp and him directly.

Now as we look ahead to the debate, I have been told him my conversations with Trump's campaign that the language around his legal battles and retribution and revenge, they recognize that that's likely to come up.

Of course, you're still working on your questions. We'll see what actually ends up being the topics next week, but they have been having policy discussions behind the scenes, including last week, Donald Trump met following his meetings with House and Senate Republicans in D.C. He met with Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Eric Schmitt, as well as his to co-campaign managers to talk about January 6 and how to frame the response and the messaging around that.

I'm told they're also doing those policies discussions around this type of language, around retribution, as well as his legal troubles. And so, even though Donald Trump's campaign is arguing they're not actually doing debate prep, they are having these conversations behind the scene and know that they need to figure out what the best languages to message on that for when he is on that stage with Joe Biden.

TAPPER: Interesting. All right, Alayna Treene, thanks so much.

Our panel is here to discuss.

And, Matt, you hear Steve Bannon's comments at the Turning Point Action Conference and then there's this, Bannon got a call from Trump today while he was live on air, talking with Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake. Take a look.


BANNON: Kari, hang on for one second. I got a call -- I got a call from somebody got to take. Just to -- hang on.


BANNON: Hey, Mr. President, I'm live on TV. Can I call you back? I'll call you back, sir. Thank you.

Kari, continue on your favorite person.


TAPPER: So, Steve Bannon clearly back in the Trump fold, Trump calling him. What would a second Trump presidency look like if Bannon its back in the inner circle, do you think?

MATT MOWERS, FORMER TRUMP ADMNISTRATION OFFICIAL: I mean, I'd be surprised if Steve Bannon ends up back in the inner circle. Remember, these are two folks have been essentially frenemies for lack of better words for quite some time. He was fired by Donald Trump. He was sloppy Steve for amount of time before he was once --

TAPPER: You don't think he's back in the fold now?

MOWERS: I mean, certainly, he -- here's what Donald Trump goes, Steve Bannon -- and I worked with him on the 2016 campaign --

TAPPER: Yeah. MOWERS: -- the hyperbolic comments are par for the course with Steve. It's how he gets attention. It's how he keeps ratings. And his listenership, the folks who are tuning into a show every day does go very deep into the MAGA universities. These are the hardcore, hardcore supporters of Donald Trump in the movement. Donald Trump recognizes that.

He recognizes that Steve Bannon is talking to those folks every single day. I don't think it means Steve Bannon can be dictating policy in the White House, though, the way we saw in the first six months of 2017. He is much more likely to be, for lack of better words, an ally on the outside that can echo what's happening in the White House to the die-hard of that base.

TAPPER: What do you think?

ALENCIA JOHNSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Listen, I think Donald Trump -- sure. They are frenemies, but Donald Trump has chosen Steve Bannon to say the things that he can not say, which is this victory or death. That is extremely certainly concerning. That is a language that led us to January 6.

And Steve Bannon is telling us what Donald Trump wants to be able to say, but right now, he's probably being advised that he can't. But the people who support Donald Trump want this to be unfortunately, and Donald Trump actually did say this, a bloodbath come -- come after the election, whether or not Donald Trump wins.

And so, it's really concerning that he is continuing to use the Bannon and prop them up as a voice for the Republican Party right now.

TAPPER: I think he said an economic bloodbath.

MOWERS: He did. He was talking with the auto industry in Ohio.

TAPPER: But still, a rather potent word.

Matt, in a new Politico/Ipsos poll, 21 percent of independents said Trump's conviction made them less likely to support Trump. And then it would be an important factor in their vote.


Now, on one hand, that's only one out of five, but on another, this is -- this race is probably going to be won or lost on the margins with 5 percent of the black vote doing this and 10 percent of independents doing that. Should that worry Republicans?

MOWERS: Look, you'd never want to see any issue outside of your wheelhouse being brought up. However, as someone who not just speaking as a Republican but a practitioner politics, if I look at a poll, you traditionally want to see if a message is moving voters over 50 percent to be less likely to support another candidate.

Twenty-one percent is almost nothing. In fact, it really speaks volumes at the Biden campaign is out with that new ad today, given how few voters seem to be willing to change their mind over that, what it tells me is this is purely a goal to try to reengage his base right now is down on the Biden administration because whether it's what's happening in the Middle East or whether it's economic policy or unfulfilled commitments, you name it, that its speaking to the base much more so than any of these swing voters, you really want spend $50 million, for example, on an ad that's just trying to change the -- potentially change the votes of 21 percent independent voters who may already be leaning towards Biden anyway.

TAPPER: Do you agree? Do you think this add this add -- this new $50 million blitz from the Biden campaign going after Trump, calling him a convicted criminal or convicted felon, whatever they say, do you think that that's based on getting enthusiasm for Biden at Trump's expense, or do you think its aimed at suburban women, et cetera?

JOHNSON: I think it's a combination of both. The reality is the Biden campaign couldn't actually put an ad like this out until there was a conviction. And also, we're getting closer to Election Day versus months ago. And this is when folks are paying attention.

Democrats and independents and swing voters have actually been saying to the Biden campaign that we want strong, forceful defense, posturing. And this is actually that piece and they're listening to it and those swing voters who needs to understand that President Biden actually does have a position on what is happening with Donald Trump in addition to lifting up all of the achievements, this is a very clear message to those folks who are concerned about safety and concern about who was leading the country I think this ad actually makes that point in this piece.

TAPPER: Now, meanwhile, Trump himself was in Detroit over the weekend. He unveiled his Black Americans for Trump coalition. If he can weaken the Black vote even 5 or 10 percent in places like Detroit or Philly or Milwaukee, he could improve -- you could improve his chances to win those battleground states.

We saw. And I think it was less defections to Trump and more just staying home, but we saw a similar phenomenon in 2016 with Hillary Clinton in the Black vote.

JOHNSON: Yeah, look, I think it's Donald Trump, what happened this weekend, it for me felt like an embarrassment, as someone who equated economic policy to crime. That is literally what he associates with Black communities. He was asked a question about Black entrepreneurship and he answered it around crime.

He also lied about the low unemployment rate in Black communities when the reality is, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is the lowest under President Biden. I think the reality is that you're seeing Black voters understand who Donald Trump is. We are a lot smarter than Donald Trump wants to placate towards.

And so, while it might be a small percentage, I don't think it's going to be enough of a percentage that is going to shift the entire election to Donald Trump. And I do think Democrats are leaning more into the messaging of the work that we have done for Black voters, and we'll see that ramp up between now and election day.

TAPPER: Do you agree?

MOWERS: No, I look, I worked on that campaign 16 worked in Michigan actually, as one of the states, I'll tell you that if Donald Trump is 20 percent of the African American vote on --

TAPPER: Which is -- which is the polling that Harry Enten was freaked out to -- not freaked out, but stunned by of Trump polling with 20 percent with Black vote in Pennsylvania and Michigan, I believe.

MOWERS: That's right. And if he gets that, he wins -- he wins Michigan. He wins Pennsylvania. He's winning the White House. He won those states in 2016, receiving around 5, 6 percent of the vote. I'm sorry, I apologize, closer, 8 percent which was a new record high for Republican candidate.

Certainly if he makes inroads even if, lets say he takes some losses in places like Oakland County outside of Detroit, which has primarily white, primarily voters with college degrees, groups of voters that Donald Trump has actually lost some votes with. If he's now gaining upwards of 12, 13, 14 percent more among the African American community, this election is over.

Joe Biden knows that. It's why you see him on defense the last few weeks, go into a number of voters, number of events with the NAACP, as a reason to see Donald Trump going on offense and not just a one-off way been a true sustained tactical way, which could actually win some of these votes.

JOHNSON: Well, it's not necessarily defense, right? If Joe Biden actually got to the White House working with the coalition of Black voter groups with the NAACP and young progressives and all of these coalitions actually made up how Biden won. And so, it's not necessarily defense, but it's more of us saying with our whole chest what President Biden has done for Black voters.

TAPPER: Stick around, both of you. We're going to bring you back for the panel.

But right now, President Biden is meeting with the top NATO official at the White House. What we're learning about their meeting and how much U.S. allies are spending on defense these days.


And the dramatic new details inside the Israeli hostage rescue. What Israeli intelligence first learned where those four hostages were located and how they managed to get them out alive?

Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our world lead, NATO members have agreed to something wants deemed controversial. Today, the NATO secretary general announced that more than 20 members

of the 32-member alliance will meet defense spending targets of spending at least two 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.

Now, you might remember during former President Trump's first term in office, he would rail against the alliance for not doing that for too many members, not spending enough on defense.

Right now, President Biden is meeting with the NATO secretary general at the White House.

CNN's Kayla Tausche is live at the White House.

Kayla, what more can you tell us about the meeting?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is a meeting that happens on an annual basis with the secretary general traveling around, meeting in person with the heads of state from various member countries to make sure that there is consensus ahead of the annual NATO summit, which is expected to take place right here in Washington in just about a month. They're going to be a lot of very high level discussion question topics on the table during that summit, not least of which how to reach a peace agreement in Ukraine.


Secretary General Stoltenberg saying that the longer the NATO alliance commits, the sooner that peace will happen. Ukraine has also requested membership in NATO and member countries have been relatively divided on how to achieve that, and over what time frame. But there is going to be that membership in NATO and member countries have been relatively divided on how to achieve that, and over what time frame.

But there is going to be that statistic that you mentioned that is going to be hailed as significant progress for the alliance that now two-thirds of member countries are reaching that 2 percent benchmark, a 2 percent of economic output in each country being spent toward collective defense.

Now, that is something that has really doubled in a recent years with just 11 countries meeting that benchmark, just a few years ago, you mentioned it's been ongoing criticism from former President Donald Trump. And while it will be hailed as a mark of significant progress for NATO, that by this decade long deadline, that 20 of those countries have met that, that means that there is still 12 countries and have not.

And Trump as early as recent months ago has said that if they don't pay, we won't protect. So certainly there is a threat looming, even display like the fact that Congress has safeguarded NATO from any president unilaterally withdrawing from NATO. But there's still a risk that if Trump were to win reelection, that he it would withdraw funding or support or military footprint from NATO or from NATO member countries. So, the two leaders are going to be discussing how to future-proof the

alliance and specifically what deliverables and language they can reach consensus on here in Washington next month, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kayla Tausche at the White House for us, thanks so much.

Coming up, two dangerous weather situations unfolding in the U.S. In California, fast-moving wildfires fueled by high winds and burn tens of thousands of acres. While a long-lasting and dangerous heat wave in the East and Midwest will impact 250 million people.

How are communities across the United States preparing Wednesday?



TAPPER: In our "Earth Matters" series, two very dangerous situations unfolding right now in the United States. One, a life-threatening heatwaves is on track to shatter record stretching from the Midwestern United States to the Northeast, then out West, two violent wildfires. In northern California, the Point Fire in Sonoma County started and spreads so quickly yesterday, first responders were first forced to go door-to-door, telling folks to evacuate. Then in southern California, the Post Fire started Saturday, just north of Los Angeles.

CNN's Camila Bernal is live for us near this one.

Camila, are people getting the word that this dangerous fire could be headed their way?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are because officials are telling them, Jake, that this fire can spread and move very quickly because of the wind. It's actually died down a bit today, but we are expecting it to continue picking up the route today. It is hot, that humidity is low, and you add the wind and that's what causes those its flames to spread uncontrollably.

We are right now in an area where the fire already came through, but you're seeing some of these crews and well walk slowly with them and what they're doing right now is putting out these hotspots because they don't want any more fires to start in this area. And so it's a meticulous job of going by slowly and checking every single area here to make sure that things remain the way they are.

This is an area that not only was burned by the fire, but there were also some back burns being done by these firefighters to try to keep the fire line in this area. You know, there are efforts here on the ground, but there are also a lot of efforts in the air helicopter after helicopter.

The benefit of this area is that it is near a lake, so we're seeing a lot of those water drops constantly, but the wind of course, makes it even more difficult because you can't necessarily aimed perfectly when you have such strong winds. So it's just been a difficult day for firefighters. We have not seen a lot of progress when it comes to containment and went from 2 percent to 8 percent. And we did see the acreage increasing.

And so, there's clearly a lot of work to be done here. These firefighters, as you see, just working around the clock, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Camila Bernal, thank you so much. Please stay safe.

Now to the dangerous heat wave and the triple digit temperatures that could smash record after record this week as CNN meteorologist Chad Myers reports for us now, the extreme heat is something many communities are just not prepared to handle.


ZACH ISCOL, COMMISSIONER OF NEW YORK CITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: We are in the path of extreme heat bringing along potential health risks in the forthcoming days.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Summer officially arrives in the northern hemisphere this week, and with it, a heat wave not seen in decades. From the Midwest and Great Lakes to the Northeast, more than 260 million Americans are roughly 82 percent of the U.S. population could see temperatures above 90 degrees, nearly 200 daily high temperature records could be tied or broken in major cities, including Boston, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York City.

And little relief as expected even at night with low temperatures, not dropping below the middle 70s.

ISCOL: The extreme heat is the most dangerous weather phenomenon. We have in New York City. We lose over 350 New Yorkers a year on average to heat.

MYERS: Caribou, Maine, which prides itself as the most northeastern city in the U.S., could hit their hottest temperature ever Wednesday, for the forecast of 99. That's three degrees higher than their all- time hottest high temperature on record.


Boston is forecast to be nearly 100 degrees on Thursday, which would be their earliest 100 degree day in 99 years. And it's not just the high temperatures causing concern, but how long they're expected to stick around. Pittsburgh, which hasn't seen a single day go over 95 degrees in more than a decade is forecast to see six consecutive days above 95 degrees.

And Philadelphia is expected to see five straight days at or above 95. If it seems like these scorching heat waves are happening more and more each year its not your imagination.

DR. ASHWIN VASAN, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE: While very hot days are, of course, normal, the number and the duration of these hot days we are seeing each and every year is not. The risk to our planet present risks to our health and heat is, of course, the deadliest of all extreme weather events here in New York City and across the United States.


MYERS (on camera): Jake, with temperatures like this, pets, people, plants, birds are all going to need extra water. Now, kids typically don't know they need water until it's too late. So make sure you're that parent that says drink more water. Someplace that may not want that is Texas. New potential tropical cyclone number one will be issued at 5:00 p.m. tonight, 70 percent chance of something developing there in the Gulf of Mexico, making significant can range for Mexico and also for Texas.

Then we're still watching this storm out here, at least a potential storm at 30 percent interest here, possibly doing something up the East Coast later this week.

It's that time of year, Jake, it just is -- hot temperatures, tropical systems. Get ready. It's going to be a long summer.

TAPPER: Yeah, everyone out there, especially those in charge of other people like kids or vulnerable members of your family, please. Please stay on top of this issue.

Chad Myers, thanks so much.

Coming up, the intensity of details of the Israeli hostage rescue. Why the daring operation had to resort to a plan B? That's next.



TAPPER: Topping our world lead today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has disbanded his war cabinet the week after opposition leader, opposition leader Benny Gantz's threat to leave the cabinet over Netanyahu's handling of the war became reality. Meanwhile, the government of Israel announced a, quote, tactical pause in the fighting in southern Gaza along a key humanitarian aid route.

The Israel Defense Forces were quick to point out that that pause in fighting does not apply to Rafah.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is in the northern coastal Israeli city of Haifa.

Oren, now that there's no war cabinet, how might Netanyahu's approach in Gaza shift?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The short answer, Jake, is that now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will run this war exactly as he wanted to. Before, he had to confer with his defense minister and Benny Gantz. He is the war cabinet member who resigned just a few days ago when he says Netanyahu had no plan for what the goal was here or for the day after. Now, once Gantz left, there was no need to have a war cabinet. The

only members were from Netanyahu's own party. So it'll be Netanyahu now, going back to the security cabinet for consultations, and that is sort of an organization that Netanyahu knows well how to control years, even decades of practice.

So this becomes much more so now Netanyahu's war, and he will face more of the scrutiny, more of the criticism because of that, we've already seen some of that confusion with this tactical pause. It was decided upon by his own defense minister from his own party. And yet we learned that Netanyahu himself founded unacceptable and only sort of became okay with it. And we have seen it play out id for a couple of days here once he learned that the Rafah offensive would continue, and that too has continued to play out.

In terms of the humanitarian corridor itself or rather the tactical pause around that, it's supposed to be 11 hours a day to get more aid in to the European hospital just north of Rafah. The U.N. welcomes it, but says its not enough. Israel says there are a housing trucks waiting to go in.

TAPPER: And in the north of Israel, there has been months of fighting between the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah and Israel. Thousands of Israeli families have been evacuated for months. What are you hearing from them?

LIEBERMANN: Tens of thousands and they are spread out at hotels all over the country. And we have met many of them as we have gone around the country. There is a tremendous sense of frustration. They'd like to be able to go back home, but they also understand that their homes are under risk and they have faced rocket attacks, drone attacks, mortar attacks, pretty much every day or very close to it, since right after the start of the war in Gaza.

The question, of course, is how to deal with this. For that the Biden administration sent in their envoy, Amos Hochstein, to try to find some off ramp here. But Israeli leaders and officials made it clear that look, this has to end. It either ends diplomatically or it ends militarily. It is the military that is of grave concern because of frankly, Hezbollah strength. They are exponentially stronger than Hamas and the force that would be used in a war like that.

TAPPER: Oren Liebermann in Haifa, Israel, for us. Thank you so much.

Joining us now to discuss, Elon Perry. He's a journalist with the London-based "Jewish Chronicle" newspaper. He was also a commando in the IDF.

Elon, this war cabinet was heavily involved in decision-making when it came to operations in Gaza. How do you see the war taking shape after the cabinet's dissolution?

ELON PERRY, JOURNALIST, JEWISH CHRONICLE: Well, I don't see any end -- any soon end unfortunately.

[16:40:05] What they see is more -- more casualties from both sides. Hamas is determined to continue the war and as to the hostage, all the deal about the hostage, I don't think Hamas is willing to do any deal every time they postponed their respond, or they denied, or they rejected because of one simple reason, they don't know how many hostages they have.

There are six different terrorist organizations in Gaza. The main ones are Jihad and Hamas. Both of them, they are holding some of the hostage. They don't know the exact numbers. Who is dead, who is alive? And that's why they don't come up with a deal, to agree to any deal, they keep rejecting any deal.

So as far as I see it, and others, the war would continue for many, many more months unfortunately.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the article you wrote for the "Jewish Chronicle" about Israel's where hostage rescue on June 8th. It's titled the inside story of Israel's dramatic Gaza hostage rescue. You are report that Israeli intelligence received word of the four hostages and their location on May 12th, almost a month before they were rescued.

What was most surprising to you as you reported this intricate operation that Israel engaged into to try to rescue these four hostages? What surprised you the most?

Well, I was amazed, first of all, that the joint forces that in my time when I was a commando back in the '70s, we didn't have that privilege to have combined forces to help us to deal with those terrorist organizations in Gaza, all the sophisticated means that we have now, drones and things.

And also, there is a new unit come to the picture. In my days, the Shabak/Shin Bet intelligence, their job was to do only to gather the intelligence from the locals, informers from the undercovers, and from others. But these days, there is a unit that is part of the intelligence forces who are actually wearing the same combat gear and they go inside the field to help the ground forces to do the job.

And that combination was really surprised me where their success in this, but its not only these operation. There are many others who are not published maybe, that it does those kind of -- this kind of cooperation was really, really successful. Less casualties from the other side, but unfortunately, there was another surprise that I didn't like that I wrote in the article that Israeli forces didn't expect 33 more Hamas fighters in that particularly house where the three hostages were held, when they came in house through the window, they had to -- they had to use a ladder to surprise them through the window and other force went through the main door when they came inside, they did it intend seconds.

They got the hostess. I can show you a clip. I have 22nd clip that's showing exactly the operation the interest through the window. The shocked faces of the hostage, and then it was all clear and 1015 seconds. However, when they start the procedure of clearing the house and getting the hostages out of the house to the helicopter, they encountered another 30, 35 other Hamas fighters who were awaiting them outside the house. And that's how that's what the fawdaa happen. The fawdaa, you may be familiar with this term from the --

TAPPER: Chaos, right? It means chaos in Arabic?

PERRY: Yeah, it's chaos. So that's how the chaos happened when the Israeli forces got out of the house they encounter those 33 Hamas fighters who were shot two were shutting them with muscles and grenade.

And that's how the commando, the chief of the commander of the operation, Zamora, died and, then the battle continued for about 40 minutes. It's a long time, 40 minutes, during which the Israeli strike to reach the vehicle that will take them back to the base but that vehicle were hit by a missile and then the fawdaa continue until the end of the operation.

TAPPER: Elon Perry, fascinating stuff. Thank you so much, really appreciate your time today.

A Southwest flight ticket dramatic plunge and was 400 feet away from crashing into the ocean. Now the FAA is investigating. This is two months after the incident.


Why are we only learning about it now? And what else could have gone wrong? That's next.



TAPPER: This just in for our law and justice lead. New details now on where former Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, might end up serving prison time even as he appeals his contempt of Congress conviction.

A federal judge ordered Bannon to turn himself in by July 1st. That's exactly two weeks from today.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is with me.

Katelyn, what are you learning about where Bannon might end up serving time behind bars?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Jake, it's an actual prison. So, Steve Bannon wanted to go to a club fed, a prison camp. But that is not what is going to be possible in the federal system for him now that he has to serve this four-month sentence for contempt of Congress, refusing to be an interviewee, or turn over documents to the House.


It's because he now is facing additional charges in New York, a case we've known about but because of that, because that's hanging over him, it means that he is a slightly higher security inmate than somebody who could be in a camp.

So he's going to be going to the prison in Danbury, Connecticut. That's the federal prison there. It houses lots of male inmates. It also has houses, some female inmates, including the woman that wrote previously, the memoir, "Orange is the New Black". If people have heard of that before, but this low security prison in Danbury, Connecticut, is it is a place where. There can be violent offenders in the prison facility as well. It is certainly not where Steve Bannon wanted to go.

And the other thing we know about this, Jake, is that his lawyers are trying to keep him out of prison, going to appeals courts, and they have even said in recent court filings that one of the reasons he should not have to go to prison this summer is because millions of Americans are looking to him for information on campaign issues and that it will bar him from being a meaningful adviser in the ongoing national presidential campaign -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much.

In our national lead now, the FAA is investigating after a Southwest Airlines flight took a dramatic plunge to off the coast of Hawaii, coming within 400 feet of the ocean before, thankfully, beginning to climb back into the sky again. The incident happened in April the details are now just coming to light in June.

Pete Muntean joins us now with the details.

Pete, what could have caused this?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know this happened bank on April 11th, so two months ago, but just now coming to light, as you mentioned, because of this internal southwest memo to pilots leaked by Bloomberg and "The Air Current". The open-source data, the flight path, paints a tale of a lot of demands on the pilots here.

The Southwest Boeing 737 MAX 8 coming into land in Lihue, a short flight over from Honolulu, about 27 minutes, a very busy cockpit on those short flights. But add this into the mix. The weather was really bad at the time, low visibility and rain the pilots were set up to come into land, but apparently aborted the landing when they could not see the runway in front of them.

It's something called a missed approach, known to be as especially busy time in the cockpit of a large airliner, you typically climb and turn for a point out in the distance, but the data shows the plane continued to descend at about 4,000 feet a minute until that dissent was arrested at only 400 feet above the ground level.

The question here will be the cause and the memo reported by these other outlet says, the first officer was flying at the time and may have inadvertently pushed forward on the control column.

Here is the statement from Southwest Airlines. It says nothing is more important to southwest than safety. Through robust safety management system, the event was addressed appropriately, as we always strive for continuous improvement, a bit of a circle the wagon statement there from southwest.

Similar incident happened on a United Airlines flight back in December of 2022, also in Hawaii, also in bad weather. The NTSB found significant miscommunication in the cockpit? People might be asking if this is a Boeing problem, Jake, but this is not appear to be something like that. Not stemming from Boeing's quality control issues.

The FAA is investigating here, but the NTSB says it's not going to take out this investigation. Southwest doing an internal investigation.

TAPPER: And we are learning new details now, also about what Boeing leadership is saying about its own culture. This is also part of the swirl of all these concerns about airline safety. What can you tell us about that?

MUNTEAN: This comes just 24 hours ahead of Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, outgoing CEO Dave Calhoun appearing before a Senate investigation committee in what she's going to tell senators that the company does not retaliate against whistleblowers and says that they have an open forum to come forward with issues on board its planes.

This is the first time that Calhoun will be appearing before Congress since there were closed door meetings back on January 5. But Boeing has a lot of reputational damage to fix here, especially after the Alaska airlines door plug blowout back on January 5.

TAPPER: All right. Pete Muntean, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up, former President Trump weighing his options for his pick for VP, but which contender won the support of young conservatives at a conference over the weekend? We'll tell you next.



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

This hour, CNN exclusive interview with two of the women who testified against Harvey Weinstein. The new mission that they're taking on after the disgraced Hollywood mogul sex crimes conviction was overturned in New York.

Plus, are the health risks of social media akin to those of cigarettes and booze? Well, the U.S. surgeon general is calling for morning label four apps, declaring that the mental health crisis among children has reached emergency levels.

And leading this hour, Donald Trump is hosting two key Republicans Mar-a-Lago this afternoon, maybe asking their opinions on whom his vice presidential pick should be? The possible contenders are blitzing the country and the airwaves, trying to make their cases. But as we are hearing names such as Senator Marco Rubio or Governor Doug Burgum, floated by Trump allies, it is Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, who appears to have won the backing of the young Trump diehards, at least some of them.

This weekend, Vance won the VP straw poll at the Turning Point Action Convention. That's a conservative event aimed at college students. We should note, the straw poll, it is far from a scientific survey and does not represent the larger Republican electorate.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now. Jeff, I'm going to start with Senator Vance, who was asked this weekend, what would make a good running mate for --