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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump To Speak In Wisconsin After Losing Crucial Legal Appeal; Biden Announces New Executive Action Protecting Immigrant Spouses And Children Of U.S. Citizens; Senators Blast Boeing CEO Over Safety Problems; Sanders Calls On Ozempic Maker To Lower Price Of Drug; Netanyahu Accuses Biden Of Withholding Weapons; Fauci Talks About Correcting Trump At COVID Briefings. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 18, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Just in to CNN, we want to update you on one of the stories we've been following all afternoon. 911 services in Massachusetts now seem to be restored across the state.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yeah, the state's executive office of public safety and security posted on X the following the Massachusetts 911 system has been restored. The public may now resume calling 911 for emergencies and it says its continued to investigate the cause of the disruption.

Obviously, good news that's back up and running.

SANCHEZ: Positive development.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER, also a positive development, starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Another loss in court today for Donald Trump.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The former president just minutes away from a campaign appearance in Racine, Wisconsin, as the New York hush money cover-up case comes back into play. And now an appeals court has weighed in. The decision did not go in Mr. Trump's favor.

And Senator Bernie Sanders is going to join me live. What he wants here from the big pharma CEO about the high cost of Ozempic. Plus, his response to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's scathing criticism earlier today of the Biden administration.

And even more explosive fires and a brutally hot summer. I'm going to talk to a governor leading efforts on the frontlines.


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

Moments from now, former President Donald Trump will be speaking to voters in battleground Wisconsin, but you know what he still cannot talk about without facing fines or jail time, at least? Witnesses and the jury that convicted him in his criminal hush money trial or the daughter of the judge who works for Democrats because today, New York's highest court in the land has -- or the highest court in the Empire State rather, has declined to hear his appeal on the gag order Judge Merchan imposed on him in that in case.

Trump's legal team is today vowing to fight the gag order, saying it's unconstitutional because it violates Mr. Trump's First Amendment rights of free speech.

Trump's appearance today just South of Milwaukee comes a few days after he reportedly behind closed doors, called that city horrible because of its crime. But Mr. Trump will be in Milwaukee in less than a month for the Republican national convention, where he is set to become the party's official presidential nominee.

CNN's Steve Contorno is in Racine, Wisconsin, for Trump's rally.

And, Steve, what can we expect to hear from Trump today on the heels of this loss from New York Supreme Court?

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Well, Jake Donald Trump often brings up this gag order when he's speaking at his rallies. I wouldn't be shocked if it did come up today though we've been told by his team that he is here to focus on the issues that they believe Wisconsin will be swayed by, and that is immigration, crime, certainly, inflation.

Those are the issues that his campaign is hoping can sway Wisconsin voters. Interestingly enough, though, when -- before he speak, they keep showing a video on the boards behind me of Trump addressing the issue of voting. And he has said things like he will institute paper ballots when he is elected, that he wants to same day voting, that he will force voter ID, but until then he said, quote, Republicans must win and we must use every appropriate tool available.

There have been Republicans who have been concerned about the fact that Donald Trump has been railing against early voting, voting by mail. Those are two popular methods of voting here in Wisconsin. It's something that deals to state the higher senior population. Many of those people take advantage of early voting and voting by mail.

You have people like Ron Johnson, senator here, has been telling people to bank their voting, contrasting that against Donald Trump who continues to spread lies about the 2020 election and rally against voting early and voting by mail, a different message today from Donald Trump showing just how important this date is going to be in the upcoming election.

This is the second time in two months that he is in this part of the state. President Biden had two appearances this year as well. So, clearly, the fight for Wisconsin is going to be battled here in southeast Wisconsin, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Steve Contorno on the campaign trail in Racine, Wisconsin, thanks so much.

And our panel is here.

Jonah Goldberg, let me start with you.

I'm wondering what your take is on New York's highest court declining to Trump here, Trump's appeal on this gag order in the hush money case, Trump's lawyers say the case is over. He should be able to talk about the jury, should be able to talk about whatever he wants. His -- the case is actually being appealed.

But what do you think? I mean, should -- is he being deprived of his First Amendment rights in an unfair way do you think?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think, legally, they make a pretty good case that with the case being over politically, I think the coordinates kind of doing him a favor because he hasn't gone to sentencing yet. And, you know, releasing him from the gag order could get them to say things that would not endear him necessarily further to Judge Merchan.

But, look, I think the gag order was defensible when it was imposed.


Whether it's still necessary now, as a legal matter, I kind of doubt it.

TAPPER: What do you think, Maria?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The case itself technically is over, but the process of the case is not over. Sentencing is still there. The post trial motions are still going to happen.

And so why do we think that Donald Trump wants to get rid of the gag? It only has to be to go over -- to go for the jury, right? To go after the jury, to go after the people who were --

TAPPER: And the witnesses.

CARDONA: And the witnesses, exactly. And so, that's dangerous still, that could be putting people's lives in danger.

I think the court absolutely did the right thing. I agree with you that I think they did Trump a favor, too, because that way, he's not going to delve into something that I think could that could get him in real trouble.

But I think you have to ask yourself as a Republican, why do you think that Trump wants to get rid of this gag order? And that's just not a good look over all for somebody --

GOLDBERG: Seemingly actually wants to get rid of it and not have it as thing that he gets to complain about at rallies, of how he's being treated unfairly.

CARDONA: Well, he's going to do that anyway, right?


GODLBERG: Easier when the act still exists.

TAPPER: Do you agree, Bryan?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP-PENCE CAMPAIGN: It makes the whole thing and easy target. The minute Trump is treated differently than everybody else, it allows the president and say, look, you know, the court system is being weaponized against me. I'm being treated differently -- different than everybody else and invites sympathy for him, it works.

And so, I agree. It's probably a good thing that he's denied from a -- from a sentencing standpoint, but from a tactical standpoint, it allows them to say, look, I'm being treated differently just like this case was differently, then there's going to be more and more examples. And then it becomes more and more believable that this prosecution was a political prosecution to get involved in this election and to silence his speech. And that's a problem.

CARDONA: But he's not really being treated differently as if another person did exactly what he did, they would be -- they'd have a gag order.

LANZA: Gag orders -- gag orders are lifted constantly after a verdict have been trialed. This is an exceptional case. You should do the research on it. I have.

It is very uncommon, if not rare for a gag to not to be lifted out.

CARDONA: But he has said exceptional things that are dangerous to the jury.

LANZA: He's being treated differently. That allows him to make --

GOLDBERG: He's being treated differently in ways negative and positive. Lots of defendants wouldn't be able to get away with a lot of things that he got away with.

CARDONA: That's true.

GOLDBERG: So, cut -- it kind of cuts both ways.

TAPPER: So let's move on because it's primary day across the river in Virginia. Right now, sitting Republican congressmen and leader of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, Bob Good, is in trouble. Good was shunned by former President Trump because in the primaries, he endorsed Ron DeSantis instead of Trump. Trump is backing a guy named John McGuire who attended Trump's Stop the Steal rally on January 6.

Watch this exchange between McGuire and CNN's Manu Raju this morning.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But you acknowledge the election was not stolen, right?

JOHN MCGUIRE (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I would say it was -- I would say changing the rules of the game is cheating, and I think that -- I think that Trump was robbed, and I think the American people, under their constitutional right, can assemble and peacefully protest.


GOLDBERG: This is getting really tedious. The changing of the rules was not contested. There were changes to the rules during COVID because there was COVID.


GOLDBERG: Those changes were not contested by the Trump campaign or Republicans, or in any, and they're not complaining about any of the states where Trump won because those changes happen in a lot of states where Trump won. They cherry pick the states where there were changes made, where they lost, and then they move the goalpost and say, that's why they lost. And it's nonsense.

TAPPER: One of the things that's interesting about the Bob Good case is that the Trump -- Trump, you know, had endorsed Bob Good before I think, not this year.

He, President Trump and his legal team sent a cease and desist letter to Congressman Bob Good and his campaign over this. Take a look at this. These are Good's campaign signs, which have Trump's name on them, Republican Trump, Bob Good. It certainly implies the Trump has endorsed Bob Good and he has decidedly not endorsed Bob Good. He's mad at Bob Good because he endorsed DeSantis.

What do you think?

CARDONA: This is all about Republicans, whether or not Trump goes after you or not, genuflecting at the altar of Donald Trump because you know that he's the leader. It's no longer the Republican Party. It's the Trump party.

And whatever you do, you have to be seen as showing complete loyalty and this is what Bob Good is now learning. The tough lesson on because he dared to go against him with DeSantis.

TAPPER: Although I guess and you're here to tell me whether I'm right or not. The Trump argument would be, I did show loyalty to Bob Good. And then he didn't show loyalty to me. He endorsed DeSantis.

CARDONA: Loyalty is everything.

LANZA: Politics have sharp elbows and you've seen an example and primaries are a good thing, and Bob Good made a decision to sort of go off of the Trump reservation. He chose DeSantis at a critical time. He was very vocal about it, and his sin is endorsing DeSantis. I think a lot of people are suffering that sin. Certainly donors are, certainly lobbies in town. So, it's not a surprise that you're going to see somebody suffered that sin at the congressional level.

And I would take Donald Trump's record on these primaries. He tends -- he tends to win them.

TAPPER: And when it comes to the House -- House side.


TAPPER: I don't know about the Senate.

LANZA: Except primaries.

CARDONA: Especially now.

TAPPER: But, you know what -- I mean, but I think Trump has a case to make about these signs from the Bob Good campaign.


I mean, they're completely misleading.

GOLDBERG: Oh, they're totally misleading. And, you know, for me, this sort of underscores how I agree with whether your loyalty, sharp elbows, that's all true. At the same time, it just shows how -- when we saw this in the presidential primaries, issues matter not a whit. The only thing that matters is loyalty to Trump or insufficient loyalty to Trump or belated loyalty to Trump, and it has nothing to do with any of the substance.

And so, even the campaign signs aren't actually about any issues or anything like that. It's just --

TAPPER: It's just Trump's name.

GOLDBERG: Trying to steal, you know, association with Trump.

TAPPER: So, Maria, today, the Biden administration announced an executive action that would allow certain undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for what's called lawful permanent residency without leaving the United States.

This could offer deportation protections for about 500,000 families, one of the biggest federal relief programs of its kind since Obama introduced DACA coincidentally also an election year, June 2012.

What do you make the substance of this and the timing, especially since the president Biden also imposed these restrictions on asylum a few weeks ago?

CARDONA: I think it's great that he did this. This, I think, is smart policy. It is smart politics. It is the president taking into his own hands -- the double fix that needed for the immigration system. The first one was increased border security, which he did two weeks ago. And now it is expanded legal pathways.

He had to do it because Republicans proved time and time again that they were unwilling and uninterested in actually solving the issue, especially when Donald Trump has told them, don't give Joe Biden a win, we can't even approve our own bill because I need this issue in order to use it, to weaponize it for the election.

I think -- and polls have shown -- poll after poll has shown that this does not just good to mobilize and energize Latino voters, but the vast majority of Americans, Jake, including swing voters in swing states upwards of three-fourth support this -- what we call the balanced approach, strong border security, increased legal pathways for long settled immigrants.

TAPPER: But, Joan, I will say, speaking of battleground states, Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey, both of them running for reelection as senators from two battleground states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, at least as of show time today hadn't said whether or not they back Biden's move on this. So, it's not necessarily -- I mean, as you make the case for it, but like I don't know that everybody agrees in the Democratic Party.

GOLDBERG: Yeah. Also, look, we just had a couple of different polls come out that say that 60 percent of Americans of Americans, including large number of Hispanics, are now for compulsory deportation, which would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.

And I'm not necessarily agree with them, I'm just saying, the climate is really volatile.

CARDONA: That's in a vacuum though.

GOLDBERG: Yeah. But in the context of politics, what it is doing is shining a light on the issue of immigration at a time where Joe Biden has miserable approval numbers on immigration. I'm not sure it's going to work. At the same time, it might work at the margins because this is going to be a thing about tiny percentages of swing voters. So I don't know, but for me, the idea of hanging a lamp over the Biden administration's immigration policies.

And you may be right, it's good policy, maybe wrong, maybe right it's good politics, it is terrible process to continually do these kinds of things through executive order.

CARDONA: That's right. It should be Congress, but Republicans have turned them off.


TAPPER: Is there -- is there an argument against it on the merits?

LANZA: Yeah. I mean, it provides amnesty certain level. I mean, Joe Biden, I think at 3:34 today said this is the pathway to citizenship. Those are his words, not my words. Those are his words.

You can go back to the tape.

CARDONA: It's not amnesty.

LANZA: And pathway is amnesty.

CARDONA: It's not.

LANZA: So, yeah, I think from the standpoint of the net effect, it's going to be -- it's going to be very bad. It's going to -- it's going to have huge repercussions to the middle-class and working class because we've learned over the years that amnesty drives down wages and the people that are suffering most during this Joe Biden economy, the ones are suffering inflation, which are the working class and the middle-class folks. And those are going to be the people that are suffered, their wages are going to suffer with this illegal immigration that's coming in.

TAPPER: Bryan, Maria, Jonah, thanks one and all for being here.

CARDONA: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Appreciate it.

Coming up on THE LEAD, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is going to join us. What he's hoping to hear from a big pharma CEO about the high cost of Ozempic and Wegovy.

And up next, the CEO of Boeing is testifying before lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in front of families who have lost loved ones on Boeing flights. What did he have to say to them?

That's next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, today, Boeing's CEO, David Calhoun, struggled to answer questions about his company reportedly cutting corners, putting profit over safety, and retaliating against whistleblowers during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill.

Right before the hearing started, Boeing CEO, David Calhoun, turned around and apologized to the Boeing 737 MAX victims' families. More than 340 people were killed in the 2018 and 2019 crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Let's bring in CNN's Pete Muntean, who's at today's hearing.

Pete, Boeing CEO admitted some employees had been fired for retaliating against whistleblowers?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: That was one big headline here, Jake. The other big headline here is the moment that happened in the opening of this hearing. After it -- as it gaveled in, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun turned to the ground, mostly those of family members who they lost in the 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, and apologize to them, taking responsibility, not only for Boeing employees current, but also past. It's been a very emotional day here on Capitol Hill. And senators really had the gloves off for Dave Calhoun as he really laid out this overhaul plan for Boeing. But I'm just listening now to a press conference taking place here with the families of those MAX 8 victims, and they say that they are simply not satiated by the answer from Dave Calhoun here on Capitol Hill.

Senators also dropped those one bombshell that there is a new whistleblower who has come forward, make that 12 whistleblowers who has spoken to this committee and Senator Richard Blumenthal says he's spoken to this new whistleblower.


His name is Sam Mohawk. He's a quality assurance -- quality assurance inspector at the Boeing Renton, Washington facility. He says that Boeing is essentially hiding faulty parts from the FAA and still using them on planes that leave the factory and take to the air. That is so significant because this is the plant where the 737 MAX 9 that lost the door plug back on January 5th was left the factory there without the door plug bolts installed.

There was also some very heated exchanges between Senators and Dave Calhoun. And I want you to listen to this one from Josh Hawley of Missouri.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): They've alleged that when they raised quality issues and concerns, they were reassigned, they were retaliated against. They were physically threatened. That doesn't sound like attention to quality to me and yet, you're getting paid $33 million a year. It's extraordinary.

DAVID CALHOUN, CEO, BOEING: Senator, I -- I -- we have increased our quality inspectors significantly.

HAWLEY: You got a huge raise, a huge increase. So it's working out great for you, for the American people, they're in danger. For your workers, they're in peril. For your whistleblowers, they literally fear for their lives, but you're getting compensated like never before.

Don't you think maybe your priorities are misplaced here? I mean, don't you think maybe it's time to get back to focusing on making quality planes and paying your workers well, and taking care of the little guys who got you to where you are?

That's not a rhetorical question.

CALHOUN: Senator, I don't recognize any of the Boeing you described now.


MUNTEN: Now, Hawley pressed Calhoun on why he has remained on the job. He is retiring in December. Calhoun said, he is proud of the job that he has done and that he wants to see this through. This saga is not over yet, and the big thing here is whether or not the Justice Department will ultimately prosecute Boeing for the 737 MAX 8 crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Boeing was able to avoid a single fraud charge by a settlement. That is something that could come up again and the Justice Department is actually reconsidering right now, Jake.

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

Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, will join me live next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead. Ozempic and Wegovy, two drugs that everyone is talking about in part because they have the potential to be life-changing for millions of Americans struggling with type 2 diabetes and/or obesity. Both drugs are produced by one of the most profitable pharmaceutical companies around, Novo Nordisk.

The Kaiser Family Foundation looked at prices for these weight loss drugs and found that the list prices are significantly higher here in the United States than in other countries. For instance, Ozempic is $936 a month here in the United States, it's under $200 in Japan, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. Under $100 in the United Kingdom, Australia, and France.

And Wegovy costs more than $1,300 a month in the United States, Wegovy does only around $300 a month in Germany and the Netherlands.

Now, one senator wants answers as to why these prices are so, quote, outrageously high.

And independent Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont joins us now. He is the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Senator Sanders, thanks so much for joining us.

As you know, in March, researchers at Yale found that both Ozempic and Wegovy can be profitably manufactured for less than $5 a month why are Americans being charged more than any other country for these drugs other than profits?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Well, I would use the word "greed", but you could use the word profits.

Look, you know, Jake, you will know that we are a very politically divided nation, but there is one issue that brings Democrats, Republicans, and independents together, and that is the American people are sick and tired of being ripped off by giant pharmaceutical companies who are charging us not just more than other countries for the same product, sometimes 10, 15 times more for the same exact product. And that has got to end.

Now, as you've indicated, Ozempic and Wegovy are very, very important new products that game changes. They can have a tremendously positive impact on the lives of millions of people. And I really do want to congratulate the scientist at Novo Nordisk for their important work. I'm going to save lives all over the world.

But this product will mean nothing to an American was diabetes. We're dealing with obesity. If you cannot afford that product, and that is the case. There are estimates out there, that thousands of people will die unnecessarily simply because they cannot afford this product, which has sold so much more expensive in America than in other countries.

Second point, if Medicare and Medicaid cover Ozempic and Wegovy, there's going to be a huge increase in spending on those two-port important federal health insurance programs in fact, its going to bankrupt Medicare.

So we have got to get a handle on this. I have invited and he will come, the CEO, Mr. Jorgensen, of Novo Nordisk, to come before the committee and simply explain why he thinks it's appropriate to charge us 15 times more than the people in Germany or the UK.


TAPPER: So, obviously, I can't defend those -- those prices and I'm not here to defend. But I do want to ask you a philosophical question because a couple of weeks ago, I met Roy Vagelos.

Roy Vagelos is the scientists, the former chairman and CEO of Merck, and he told me about how Merck not only developed statins but helped develop a product that treated parasitic worms. And Merck ultimately donated the medicine to prevent 55 million Africans from getting river blindness.


TAPPER: And I guess my question is, given the costs of research and development and acts like that, what -- I know are not the norm but do happen, how does that Senate decide what is appropriate for private companies to charge and what is not?

SANDERS: Well, that's a good question. And look, I am not anti-drug companies. As you indicated, they made major, major breakthroughs in area after area.

But let us also not kid ourselves. Right now, drug companies, you have ten of the top drug companies in the world have made over $100 billion in profits in the last year. As we speak, Jake, right here, I'm on Capitol Hill, there are 1,800 well-paid lobbyists right now running all over Washington to make sure that we do not lower the prices of prescription drugs in this country.

Many of these -- many of these drug companies give their CEOs tens of millions of dollars a year in compensation. They do stock buybacks, et cetera. They're enormously profitable.

So the question that you're asking is how do we develop a system which allows us, allows the system to fund the important research and development that we need. So that we come up with groundbreaking drugs to deal with important diseases that are out there. This system that we have right now, which is ripping off the American people, just is not working.

And a simple question that the pharmaceutical industry has got to ask ourselves, they make money selling Ozempic in Germany for 59 bucks. How much money are they making in here in the United States telling us that product for almost $1,000? That's the question that has to be answered.

TAPPER: So we reached out to Novo Nordisk for comment and spokesman said, quote, we look forward to discussing solutions that ensure access and affordability for all patients within the complex U.S. health care system, unquote.

Do you have confidence that the company is willing to work with you to find a compromise? It wouldn't be the first time that you were able to achieve something like that.

SANDERS: Well, I certainly hope so. And look, they all right. The system -- our health care system is obviously broken and dysfunctional. We spent twice as much per capita on health care is the people of any other country. And our results are often not as good.

And the pricing system within the pharmaceutical area is also clearly broken and what they will tell you is, while we give rebates and they do. The PBMs get a 40 percent rebate but at the end of the day, the price they still charging after the rebates, much higher in the U.S. than in other countries, and for the average person who doesn't have any insurance, who walks into a drugstore to buy the product, they're going to pay less price if you have co-pays, if you have deductibles, you're going to pay a hell of a lot of money.

So I would hope, I really would hold the Novo Nordisk sits down with us and says, okay, we are not going to end, we're not going to continue to rip off the American people, Canadians pay 150 bucks, we're paying 900 and some odd dollars. You know, let's substantially lower the price that the American people have to pay for this.

TAPPER: Let's turn to another issue that you care a great deal about. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said he pressed about pending military aid in conversations with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Israel last week.

Here's what Netanyahu says. He told Secretary Blinken. Take a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It's conceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel. Israel, America's closest ally, fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies. Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks. I certainly hope that's the case. It should be the case.


TAPPER: So, Prime Minister Netanyahu says, Secretary Blinken told them that restrictions on weapons shipments would be lifted. But as you heard, Netanyahu said it was inconceivable that in the past few months, the Biden administration is withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel.

What's your reaction to that?

SANDERS: I tell you what? I believe is inconceivable is that while we all acknowledge that Hamas, a terrorist organization, started this war with their terrible attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking hostages, what is also inconceivable is that in the last eight months, Israel has killed some 35,000 Palestinians, wounded some 80,000, over 60 percent of whom are women and children.


They have completely decimated the housing stock of Gaza. The medical system of Gaza, the educational system of Gaza, all of which is to me inconceivable. And right now, as we speak according to the World Health Organization, you've got thousands of children who are suffering from malnutrition and children have already in Gaza starve to death.

All of this, by the way, is in violation of American and international war. So to me, what is inconceivable is for the United States to give another nickel to the right-wing extremist Netanyahu government who's going to war against the -- not just Hamas, but the entire Palestinian people. That's inconceivable.

TAPPER: So, today, I mean, you said the same thing about Israel should not get another nickel from the U.S. until policies are changed. The Netanyahu government today, as you know, top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee are signing off in the Biden administration selling what could become the largest weapons package ever to Israel worth $18 billion with some 50, 15 fighter jets included.

So, you do not appear to be in the majority in your party, even on this issue.

SANDERS: I'm not -- first of all, I'm an independent.

TAPPER: That's true.

SANDERS: I caucus with the Democrats.

TAPPER: You caucus with the Democrats. You take my point though.

SANDERS: Look -- I do get your point. TAPPER: Look, you have clearly for a dozen different reasons which we

could discuss at length for another time. You have support for this. I think it is absolutely wrong. And I think it is way out of touch with where the American people are.

The American people want to make sure that Israel is able to defend itself against terrorist attacks. It's secure. We all want that. But in my view, the American people do not want to see among other things starvation being used as a tool of war, which is what the Netanyahu government is doing right now.

So, yes, I guess there are relatively few of us here on Capitol Hill who hold that position. I happen to believe it is the right position and the moral position and in fact, the position that most Americans support.

Senator Bernie Sanders, always good to see you, sir. Thank you so much.

SANDERS: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up, why has the U.S. military pier that was supposed to help move food and aid into Gaza turned into such a logistical burden. That's a polite term for it.




KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We generally do not know what he's talking about. We just don't.


TAPPER: That from the White House this afternoon after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accused the U.S. of withholding weapons. In a recorded message in English, Netanyahu claimed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told him privately that the U.S. is trying to remove any restrictions on providing weapons to Israel.

But the White House and Blinken said there have been no recent policy changes and previous frictions on 2,000-pound American bombs are staying put.

CNN's Oren Liebermann reports on another costly paying point in the U.S. effort to alleviate Gaza's humanitarian crisis.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the waters off southern Israel, these U.S. Army vessels wait for work. They are part of the operation for the U.S.-built temporary pier to Gaza. But the pier is here some 30 miles from the war-torn strip in the Israeli port city of Ashdod, tucked behind this power plant. From these satellite images, you can see its sheltering at the port unable, once again, to operate in heavy seas.

The pier began with a major promise from President Joe Biden.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm directing the U.S. military to lead an emergency admission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean a temporary pier will enable a massive increase the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day.


LIEBERMANN: Two months after the State of the Union, the pier known as JLOTS, did begin delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza. USAID said this nautical option would one day be able to feed half 1 million people a month as critical supplies on the grounds, stalled checkpoints and airdrops can only do so much.

But a week after it began operations in May, the pier broke in heavy seas, repairs took more than a week. And the small Army vessels that are part of the system also needed work after four of them ran aground in high waves and winds. The Pentagon set a rare weather pattern knocked the $230 million pier out of commission.

SABRINA SINGH, DEPUTY PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: What happened was something that was quite unprecedented. It was the high seas states and then that storm that changed direction and created an untenable environment for JLOTS to operate in.

LIEBERMANN: The last time the pier was used operationally was the Haiti earthquake in 2010. Since then, it has repeatedly struggled and exercises with rough weather.

The pier was back up and running again on June 8th, but soon hit another snag when there was no one to handle aid coming off the pier?


LIEBERMANN: An Israeli rescue mission which freed four hostages and killed scores of Palestinians forced the World Food Programme to pause its distribution effort and re-evaluate the safety of the area.

MCCAIN: So we've stepped back just for the moment and to make sure that were safe terms and on safe ground.

LIEBERMANN: Aid still came off the pier, but it didn't get to the people who needed it without the U.N.'s World Food Programme have lead distribution. It's unclear how viable the pier is in future.


SINGH: The good news is, is that it's on the beach, so it's a step closer to getting to the people who need it most but I just don't have an update on when that will be further distributed.

LIEBERMANN: But even the latest effort didn't last long. The pier, which can only handle three-foot seas, was knocked out of commission once again moved back to Ashdod out of an abundance of caution to wait for calmer seas.


LIEBERMANN (on camera): Now, the Pentagon said today, we'll try to get this pier up and running by the end of the week. So in the next couple of days here, but the U.S. can do that as often as it wants, setting up and breaking down the pier over and over again in heavy weather and high seas. The question is, will the World Food Programme keep working to distribute the aid? Because without them as of right now, there isn't really a backup plan. They are a critical part of this operation to get the humanitarian aid where it's supposed to go.

So a lot rides on their evaluation of whether it's a safe environment to operate, Jake, and if they decide that it isn't, it's unclear if this whole project in this whole system is even viable.

TAPPER: Indeed, CNN's Oren Liebermann, in Tel Aviv, thank you so much.

Coming up, he became a household name during COVID and now, Dr. Fauci sitting down with CNN to reflect on the pandemic, his 50 year career and what his relationship with President Trump was really like.



TAPPER: In our health lead, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting White House briefings made Dr. Anthony Fauci a household name and now, he's sitting down with our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a frank and candid discussion about his 50-year career and what was really like behind the scenes, especially working for President Trump.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now.

Sanjay, you were on our show around these daily COVID briefings every day, and so many the viral moments were on camera.

What did Dr. Fauci tell you about what happened when the public wasn't able to watch?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it was really interesting to sort of hear that behind the scenes stuff and I'll preface by saying, keep in mind for 50 years, we're talking about HIV/AIDS. We're talking about Zika, Ebola, H1N1, Anthrax, and then obviously COVID. So he's really been at the forefront of all these and work for seven different presidents.

But this was different in large part because of these daily briefings. And there were times when he had to correct essentially, President Trump, go up to the lectern after the president and an offer this correction. And he said it was really painful, was the word that he used.

What was interesting Jake was what would happen afterward, and he tells us one story. He thinks President Trump is going to be very angry with him because of the way the briefing wind. They leave the briefing room, they go to that anteroom area just outside the oval office and take a lesson.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: He was on looking at three different televisions and he said, my God, these -- these ratings are amazing. They're better than cable, they're better than -- they're better than network.

The president, it's no -- it's no secret. I'm not divulging a secret about the president. He was very, very fixated on image, and ratings. And he thought that the amount of attention that was given to the press briefings was really terrific and his comment was, wow, do you see those ratings?

And my feeling wasn't ratings. We're on the middle of a pandemic. What -- why are we talking about ratings?


GUPTA: I think it's safe to say Jake that Dr. Fauci is no stranger to this intersection confluence and collision even between politics and science. But you add in there, you know, the ratings and social media and all these other things, and it made for a very different situation. He was very candid about this.

You know, he's 83-years-old, Jake. I'll just remind you of that very sharp, just wrote this 450-page memoir. I've interviewed him so many times over the last two decades.

This was different. This was Dr. Anthony Fauci a little bit unfettered, if you will.

TAPPER: Hmm. And he told you he's lived by the phrase, don't let the bastards get you down. How has he used that mantra to deal with the onslaught of criticism he has seen, especially from conservatives?

GUPTA: Yeah, illegitimi non carborundum is the Latin phrasing of that, which means don't let the bastards get you down, don't let them get you down.

You know, if you go back to HIV/AIDS 40 years ago, he was dealing with many of the same things. I mean, they were burning effigies of Dr. Anthony Fauci in the early '80s because they thought he wasn't moving fast enough on therapeutics and things like that. So he's -- you know, he's been down this road before, but this is different.

Then he said, you know, to be quite candid. You can repeat that phrase over and over to yourself. But does it get to me, Dr. Fauci talking? Yes is the answer. It does get to him. It bothers him, but he says it also hasn't interfered with his ability to do his work, which he continues to do again, even at 83, Jake.

TAPPER: What other topics did you cover with him?

GUPTA: We spent a lot of time talking about HIV/AIDS. We talked about some of the things that he wishes he would have done differently during the COVID pandemic. One of the big ones I think as soon as you start mandating things especially given the psyche of the country, his language that's going to be a problem.

So the idea that you offer up therapeutics, you offer up in this case, even vaccines. You make the case, you make the recommendations, but then give people choice I think its something that he is -- he and the entire public health community, frankly, is talking a lot more about.

I also asked him, Jake, why did he put himself out front on so many of these issues? I mean, many of these scientific organizations have spokespeople who go out there and maybe some of these briefings he really said that look for 40 years, he felt like he got quite good at explaining things, complicated topics, which I got to say I agree with.


You know, a lot of us, medical reporters would call him for particularly complicated topics, that haven't talked us through that. He could do that same thing for the country.

And I think it's what sort of has directed his career.

TAPPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.

To hear even more of Sanjay's interview with Dr. Fauci, go listen to "Chasing Life". That is Sanjay's a podcast. Get it wherever you get your podcasts.

Coming up next, one New Mexico village forced to evacuate after what started as a relatively small fire exploded as the day went on. The governor just declared a state of emergency and we're going to talk to her next.


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