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The Lead with Jake Tapper

NM Wildfires Converge, Surround Village Prompting Evacuations; Biden Moves To Protect Some Undocumented Spouses, Children; Rep. Dan Crenshaw, (R-TX), Is Interviewed About Biden's Executive Order, Immigration, Israel, Weapons; Netanyahu Accuses Biden Of Withholding Weapons; Police Release Justin Timberlake's Mugshot; How A Scam Is Robbing Americans Of Their Life Savings; Undocumented Immigrant Arrested In Murder Of Maryland Mother. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 18, 2024 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper. This just in, the mugshot of Justin Timberlake after he's DWI arrest this morning. What we're learning about the incident. That's coming up.

Also this hour, a warning about an online scam costing Americans billions of dollars. Victims and their families are sitting down with CNN as they fight to make sure no one else has to suffer from the phenomenon known as pig butchering.

Plus, President Biden unveils a sweeping new executive action on immigration aimed at protecting undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens. Border state Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, Republican of Texas, is here to react.

Leading this hour, the brutal scorching heatwave punching the United States right now is more than half the country faces dangerously high temperatures. Those high temperatures are fueling fires across the western United States made worse by driving gusty winds. Federal officials say there are 29 large fires burning in the United States including a pair of fast growing fires tearing across southern New Mexico right now. Multiple fires also exploded across parts of California overnight. Officials predict the fires could get even worse as temperatures continue to rise this week. In just moments we are going to be joined by New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham who just declared a state of emergency in parts of New Mexico due to the fires.

But first, let's go to California where 10 large wildfires are burning. CNN's Natasha Chen is near one of them. It's called the post fire. It's in Northwestern Los Angeles County.

Natasha, how are firefighters working to get the post fire under control?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, they're using some unusual tactics that LA County hasn't done before, one of which is actually sending fire crews, hotshot crews by boat across a lake to get to the southern side of this fire. And the video that we just shot, hopefully, we're showing you now, exclusive video, actually, of these fire crews taking everything that they can with them, including basic life support medical aid, so that they can take care of themselves should anything happen in the middle of nowhere, essentially. This is them trying to get to the southern perimeter of this fire, which has been difficult to work with because there is steep and rugged terrain there. And on the north side of this post fire is better taken care of. Overall, about a quarter percent contained 15,000 acres burned. We're at the command post where they're still just mapping this out.

There are supposed to be high winds warnings until 6:00 p.m. local time. And this is, again like you mentioned, just one of several fires burning throughout California, Jake.

TAPPER: And the post fire it may be the biggest fire in California right now, but the site's fire in the northern part of the state is getting close more than 10,000 acres burned zero percent contained. What more do we know about that fire?

CHEN: Well, Jake, I think we just saw an update that there is a little bit of containment. But you're right that 10,000 acres just exploded very quickly. And that's a characteristic we're seeing of many of these fires. They start with a small spark then daylight comes, the heat builds, and it quickly moves. And anywhere where there have been evacuation warnings or orders, people have frequently told us there was barely any time to prepare for this.

The winds shift, and next thing you know it's at your doorstep. There are definitely very dry conditions, high wind gusts, as we mentioned, a heat that is building. Next weekend, we're expected to get more of that heat. Also have to mention, the last two winters really, we saw a lot of precipitation for California. And so that means a lot of vegetation grew, and that also produces a lot of fuel for fires to burn throughout the area. So, that's one of the consequences of the wet weather we had in the last couple of winters, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Natasha Chen in Los Angeles County, thanks so much.

In southern New Mexico right now, neither the South Fork fire nor the Salt Fire show any signs of slowing down. Gusty winds and dry heat are only making matters worse. Let's bring in the governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Governor, thanks for joining us. So these two fast moving fires are converging on tribal land and villages. You were just at a briefing with state and local officials. What is your message to those who might be in the line of fire here the line of danger?

GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM, (D-NM): Well, it's a consistent message to heed those official warnings and evacuation orders. I mean, the most important thing is protecting the lives of New Mexicans and their families, but to also recognize we've deployed a ton of personnel who are fighting this fire and their lives are at risk too. So heed the warnings. We evacuated the largest community, Ruidoso, last night about 5000 people. We're keeping close watch on all the smaller communities, Mescalero, Apache Reservation as the same standby readiness.


But as you pointed out, these are two very large zero containment hot fires with weather that does not cooperate for firefighting.

TAPPER: You declared a state of emergency that will allow for more funding and more resources to fight the fires. Do you know exactly how much money or how much -- many resources that will free up? And will that be enough?

GRISHAM: Yes, I will tell you this unequivocally. It's never enough. But between the federal and state resources, that the important piece isn't really how much. We know that these wildfires and natural disasters related to climate change, you know, are getting in the hundreds of billions of dollars across the country, and billions of dollars just from the last fire two years ago, up north. So they're expensive, because there's real devastation.

The important thing is to be able to get money out immediately to stand up shelters, to support the victims of this fire, to support the personnel and to pay for personnel and get them on the line of fire to fight the fire and to prevent it from taking any more structures and homes. That's the goal. We have a long way to go, Jake.

TAPPER: We know there are more than 500 structures impacted by the South Fork fire. Does New Mexico have everything he needs to not only replace those structures, but to help any citizens or families who have been displaced?

GRISHAM: Well, right now we're in really good shape. I'll tell you two things. I mean, we're waiting for the federal disaster declaration, it will come and they are very effective. The feds and I appreciate the Biden administration to their quick response for the emergency. I think it's pretty well known across the country that FEMA wasn't created to deal with the rebuilding aspects, that gets harder.

Right now, we've focused on making sure that we save lives and take care of New Mexicans. New Mexicans are incredibly generous. Ranchers and farmers from all across the state, the state fair in Albuquerque, properties are all stood up for livestock and ranching families to spend as much time as they need to with their horses and cows and pets. We attend shelters up, food, sleeping arrangements, showers. People are giving donations of clothing and supplies.

So for now, making sure that all of those operations are steady, and we can move them as we need, I'm confident that we can do that. More firefighters is always valuable. But you pointed out at the early part of your report the west competes for these fire resources because New Mexico is not the only place where we have a serious fire raging in this heat. And with the drought, frankly, the ratification of the state as you know, Jake, the timber here is dry.


GRISHAM: And the fuel for these fires is like nothing we've ever seen before.

TAPPER: Any word yet on what caused the fires?

GRISHAM: We don't know. You know, we know that we had four starts that resulted in these two major fires. South Fork and the Salt Fire, investigations are ongoing. But for your viewers, when these -- in the heat, pardon that reference, but in trying to battle these fires, no, we can't get in to look at structures in the way that I think people expect us to. Nor can we do that on the ground investigation with the intensity it will take until we get our arms around the fire a little bit better.

Tonight, FEMA will have a satellite imagery for us so that we can look at structures in the broader area, because, as you know, New Mexico is a very rural state. So we have people that don't live in the small villages where the fires are encroaching or where the fires have passed through. So we'll have more information for New Mexicans and more New Mexicans or Americans who I know worry about us and have us in their thoughts and prayers. I feel the same way about Californians and the firefighters and the families who sacrifice so that their loved ones help us with these fires. We'll know more about what's occurring and about the patterns of that fire once we have those satellite images first thing in the morning.

TAPPER: All right, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, thank you so much. And we are sending our thoughts and prayers to New Mexico. Thank you so much.

As we stay on top of wildfires in the west, a potentially far deadly or natural disaster is also happening at the same time, extreme heat scorching the Midwestern and northeastern United States. On average, each year, heat related deaths are more than double the number of deaths from Hurricane winds and tornadoes combined. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking this dangerous heat wave.


Chad, what is causing the extreme heat?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well we've talked about this heat dome, so I'm going to try to explain it. I'm going to flatten the map and show you what this looks like. It's like closing all the windows and closing the doors in your car and park getting into the sun. All of a sudden that heat just bakes into the ground, and then it can't leave. And it didn't leave yesterday in Toledo.

Look at the high temperature in Toledo breaking record at 99. Jake, I lived in Detroit for five years. We never got close to that number. But another 150 records will likely be broken before Saturday. And we have excessive heat warnings into Maine where they may see their highest temperatures up there ever.

The feels like temperature in Syracuse right now, it was 101. For Newark, it feels like 97. Pittsburgh 95. So yes, the heat is here in the Great Lakes today, moves a little bit farther to the east tomorrow. And then again for Thursday and Friday, a little bit farther again.

But these big cities, this is the problem. The big cities have big numbers. I mean, we're talking millions of people, not the hinterlands of western Nebraska, where I played around as a kid. Pittsburg will get the 96 today and stay in the 90s for the rest of the week, Jake.

TAPPER: And Chad, there's also this potential Tropical Storm churning in the Gulf of Mexico you told us about. It could fuel heavy downpours --


TAPPER: -- in states like Texas and Louisiana.

MYERS: Yes. And certainly northern Mexico as well. They can use some rain. If you remember the stories we had earlier in the week about the water wars, Mexico and Texas, well, this is what's going to happen here. It's a potential tropical cyclone. That's a lot of -- it's a lot the coming out of the mouth.

But it's not a tropical storm yet, even though you see 40 miles an hour. And you said, wait, 39 is a tropical storm, how come it's not a tropical storm yet? Because right around the center there's no conviction whatsoever, there's no thunderstorms. All that wind is here and here. So not around the center that's why it's not yet a tropical storm, but it will likely be one and it is forecast to be one but a 45 mile per hour storm.

Not a wind event. Not really a surge event, maybe a couple of three feet. But it's a rain event like hours and hours and hours of rainfall there. Northern parts of Mexico and also into Texas, Flood Watches are in effect. But some spots, especially in northern Mexico, just south of the Rio Grande, could pick up 10 inches of rain. No one needs that.

Well, take this up here, three, four or five inches over about 48 hours, that's OK. You get 10 inches of rain in two days, that's going to cause flooding.

TAPPER: All right, Chad Myers, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, President Biden's announcement on immigration this afternoon. It's expected to impact hundreds of 1000s of families. Plus, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to ramp up public pressure on the United States. But will it change any minds in the Biden administration? And an attempt to moments ago on Capitol Hill to ban bump stocks for semi-automatic guns after the Supreme Court decision last week.



TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you now. Just moments ago Senate Republicans blocked in an attempt by Senate Democrats to ban bump stocks for semi-automatic guns. The vote comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week ending a Trump era ban. CNN Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill.

Sunlen, walk us through exactly what happened and why.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, up on Capitol Hill just in the last hour not entirely surprised, but this legislation blocked here on Capitol Hill by Senate Republicans. Now Democrats did attempt to back -- pass this bill that would ban bump stocks. They call it common sense, safety measures, some saying that there's no legitimate reason for bump stocks to be in existence and to be illegal.

Now this of course, as you noted, comes in the wake of last Friday's ruling from the Supreme Court that struck down the federal ban on bump stocks in the time since we've heard from many members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans expressing interest in new movement to try to push for this legislation to ban bump stocks. And in fact, this is an issue that has divided many Senate Republicans, many Senate Republicans against it and many others in the time since Friday, Supreme Court ruling said that they would be open in expressing some interest in potentially coming around to that legislation. But that in the end of the day here today, Jake, did not happen.

And certainly we heard from one senator who worked very hard on gun control measures, Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut. He said that certainly in this political climate is going to be difficult to push forward any new measures. And certainly today on Capitol Hill, Jake, prove that.

TAPPER: All right Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much.

Also in our politics lead, it's almost 12 years to the day since then President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. It was a sweeping immigration reform measure at a consequential time in the Obama reelection bid. He -- the measure of protected undocumented migrants who would come to the United States as children. Today, President Biden seem to take a page out of that Obama playbook. He announced a major executive order for some undocumented people in the U.S., shielding them and their children from deportation if they are already married to a U.S. citizen or the child of a U.S. citizen.

Let's get right to CNN is MJ Lee at the White House.

MJ, what is President Biden hoping to accomplish here and why now?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, it was clear that this announcement in the East Room earlier was meant to be celebratory and meant to appease progressives and immigration advocates who had been pushing the president for years to take action on these immigrants whose lives have been in limbo for so long and it is very sweeping executive action, most sweeping that we have seen in years that would affect according to U.S. officials, some 500,000 spouses of U.S. citizens and 50,000 children whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen. And the President making clear in his remarks that these immigrants in his view are American in every way. They've gone to school year here. They've had jobs here. They're married to U.S. citizens.


And not surprisingly, he didn't miss the opportunity to take a swipe at former President Donald Trump and his record when it comes to immigration. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When he was president, he separated families and children at the border. And now he's proposing to rip spouses and children from their families and homes and communities and place them in detention camps. I'm not interested in playing politics with the border or immigration. I'm interested in fixing it.


LEE: The White House really insisting today that the timing of this announcement really had nothing to do with politics. But of course, you can't ignore the fact that the first presidential debate hosted by CNN is going to be in just over a week from now, between this announcement today and what we saw a couple of weeks ago from the president putting on new restrictions on asylum seekers. You are seeing the President really trying to strike a balance on an issue that has been a tough political vulnerability for him.

TAPPER: All right, CNN's MJ Lee at the White House, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Joining us now to discuss this and more, Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw.

Congressman Crenshaw, I'm sure you don't like how Biden enacted this through executive action. But do you have issues with the policy itself?

REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): I do. I'll get to those in a second. First, I want to say how odd it is to agree with CNNs analysis on something. This is electoral politics, it's pretty clear that they did a poll. I think CNN reported they did do a poll. It pulls well, and they're far left more progressive base that they need to appease right now.

And I think what's frustrating about all this is that there's not really a guiding principle for this administration when it comes to immigration. What do they believe? I mean, they rolled back all Trump's policies, why? Because they're Trump's policies. All right.

And then we had a massive disaster at the border for the last three years. And they finally said, geez, even Democrat governors and mayors are complaining, maybe we should do something about that, we're going to lose independence. And so they did a couple of things. But we have yet to see if there's a really meaningful things that made some deal with Mexico to get Mexico to do more. They just announced this asylum change, but we have yet to see the results of it.

And that made the progressives mad so now they're doing this. So it's very reactive. And it's all political, which makes it cynical.

Now, do I like rulemaking instead of lawmaking? No, I also don't like that. But let's get to the policy itself, your actual question. There's a couple of problems with it. One, like any change to immigration, doing a favor for one group, because you know, you feel compassion for them, the thing is, is you're still allowing them to get favors over the people who did it right.

My stepmom is one of those. My stepmom is married to U.S. citizen, my dad. And they did it the right way. Right? She didn't come here illegally.

There's -- you just did it the right way, you waited in line. And there's a lot of people like that. When I talked to immigrants who have done it the right way, this stuff really makes them upset. It makes them mad. Because it is hard to get citizenship, it's hard to get a green card, it's hard to wait in line.

We're America, we're going to have a line out the door forever. And it's going to be infinitely long forever. So you have to have a process and it has to be fair. And look, the current process is it's not impossible to get a green card, but you'd have to leave the country to apply properly. That's the current process.

Now he's saying, you don't have to do that. You know what, all the other people who did it the right way, you know what, you did the wrong way, it's OK, no consequences. So I do have a problem with that on a just an ethical level. You could also suggest that because this now exists, there's no opportunity for bride sales effectively. So if a woman's been here for 10 years, and now they know that they get a green card this way, what a trafficking groups do, what are those groups do that prey on illegal immigrants? They look for opportunities like this. That's a possibility as well, it's another down of what they're thinking about.

TAPPER: So just two weeks ago, as you noted, President Biden put some pretty severe restrictions on asylum for the migrants who cross the U.S. Mexico border illegally. As you know, a lot of Democrats thought Biden went too far with that order. Republican Senator Tom Cotton, on the other hand, called it a sham. Your Governor Greg Abbott said Biden was quote, gas lighting Americans. Do you think that there's a reason to be mad at it -- mad about it?

Because I mean, it does seem like the kind of measure that Republicans have been calling on Biden to do. And I get, you know, in your view, he was late and on and on, but it still is what I would think Republicans --


TAPPER: -- would think would be a step in the right direction.

CRENSHAW: Yes, look, I don't hate something just because the other side does it. I refuse to -- I refuse to do politics that way. The policy is pretty similar to the deal that Sinema and Lankford struck. And I think a lot of conservatives hate it because it is has been -- it has been presented as allowing a certain number of immigrants in a day just for free, that's not really what it does. It counts encounter.


So, look, I would just be cautiously optimistic about it. I don't know if it's going to do any good. I don't know if they're going to look for loopholes. I don't know if it's all just messaging. It's a little too early to tell.

But I'm not going to randomly criticize it either for the point reasons you just stated. If something decreases illegal immigration, I'm for it. That's how my brain works.

TAPPER: Let's turn to Israel, because Prime Minister Netanyahu today publicly accused President Biden and his administration of withholding weapons for Israel. The Biden administration said this afternoon, they don't know what Netanyahu was talking about. What's your reaction to this? Is this Netanyahu punching back at President Biden, after the ceasefire deal fell through? What's your take?

CRENSHAW: There's so many weapons sales. I'm not exactly sure what the context is that particular back and forth. Obviously, the Biden administration had withheld some weapons sales. There was the recent story about Democrats finally lifting a hold on F-15s and JDAMs sales to Israel, setting the hesitation to be, you know, the war in Gaza, humanitarian aid, the same thing you've been hearing.

Now, the problem with that logic, of course, is when you're talking about JDAMs, you know, these are precision weapons. Which by the way, you should want, you shouldn't want dumb bombs being used in Gaza, you should want precision weapons. F-15s, I mean, they're not going to be F15s over Gaza tomorrow, just because you saw them the Israelis, these weapons are primarily for deterrence against Iran. There shouldn't be any disagreement about that. And look, these senators know that, the congressmen who are holding this knew that, the administration knows that. The problem is they have a progressive left wing base and an election year.

It doesn't like Israel and likes to chant from river to the sea. And so again, they're playing electoral politics instead of just following consistent guiding principles. And that's a problem because it gets you in these contradictory statements and these contradictory positions. It's better just to follow a guiding principles and leave it at that.

Israel is defending itself, and we're going to help Israel our ally. They're not just defending themselves against terrorist attacks from Hamas in Gaza, they're defending themselves against Hezbollah, they're defending themselves against Iran, who has already shown its ability to what they launched, like 300 missiles --


CRENSHAW: -- in Israel not too long ago. So, these weapons sales are for great power conflicts. They're not for rooting out terrorists necessarily. And everyone needs to understand that.

TAPPER: Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, thanks so much. Appreciate it, sir.

CRENSHAW: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Police have just released Justin Timberlake's mug shot after his arrest earlier this morning. What we're learning about the moments leading up to his interaction with law enforcement officers.



TAPPER: This next Law and Justice Lead is tearing up my heart. You're looking at a fresh mugshot of Justin Timberlake, popstar and former NSYNC frontman. He was arraigned on one count of driving while intoxicated this morning in New York, according to Sag Harbor Police. Timberlake was also cited for running a stop sign and failing to keep in his lane. Thankfully, neither he nor anyone else was injured. CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister is on top of the story. Elizabeth, what exactly happened that led to Justin Timberlake being arrested?

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Justin Timberlake was at a hotel in Sag Harbor, which is an enclave in the Hamptons here in New York. And he was drinking with friends. And right after he left. This was right after about 12:30 a.m. late last night or rather early in the morning, he was pulled over by a cop because he blew through a stop sign and he was swerving in between lanes. That is when he was soft.

And according to court documents, I want to read you a few things from here, Jake, according to court documents, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. And there was a, quote, strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath. Now he also failed or rather refuse to take a breathalyzer test three times, which of course is his right to do so. But per court documents, this is what Justin told police. He said, quote, I had one martini, and I followed my friend's home. So that was a direct quote from him that we have obtained from court documents. And that right now is all that he has said, Jake.

TAPPER: You've asked for a comment from Justin Timberlake team. Have they said anything?

WAGMEISTER: Justin's team has not said anything. So today outside of the courthouse in Sag Harbor, his attorney said that he would not be giving a statement today. But I have reached out to Justin's publicist and have not heard back yet. Now I do want to point out that this comes in the middle of Justin's tour. Right now he is on tour for his sixth album, which has had week ticket sales, by the way, but he's supposed to perform this Sunday and Saturday in Chicago and then next week in New York. So this is not coming at a great time for Justin Timberlake.

TAPPER: All right, Elizabeth Wagmeister, thanks so much.


Americans are losing billions of dollars to the online scam featured in our next story here from a woman who fell victim about the warning signs to look out for. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our World Lead, it's a scam that we have covered here on The Lead before, it's called pig butchering. It gets its name from scammers manipulating the emotions of their victims with elaborate storylines often romantic to fatten them up before taking all their money. CNN's Ivan Watson has been following many of these cases for one victim the consequences were financially and emotionally just devastating.


MATT, DENNIS JONES' SON: As soon as I found out that it was a suicide, I was 100 percent sure that it was the scam. It just -- it crushed him, like took the life out of him.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has only been a couple months since Matt and Adrianne suddenly lost their father.

MATT: Me and our father was the grand optimist who's always and they extinguished that for him.

WATSON (voice-over): I meet them at Adrianne's home in Northern Virginia, where their father's ashes have yet to be buried. Dennis Jones was an avid photographer, guitarist and loving grandfather. But last summer Dennis started withdrawing from the family. Instead talking daily to a woman he met on Facebook.

WATSON: The profile's name here is Jessie Chu. Do you think this person exists?


WATSON (voice-over): Overtime, Jessie convinced Dennis to invest in cryptocurrency. He pumped more and more money in until it suddenly disappeared. Text messages showed Dennis was desperate. And yet his children say he still trusted his friend named, Jessie.


ADRIANNE: I do believe he loved the person that was -- that he believed was behind that profile.

WATSON (voice-over): Carina who works in biotech in Northern California, is also the victim of an online cryptocurrency scam.

WATSON: Were you in love?

CARINA, SCAM VICTIM: I was. Yes. I really felt like I trusted this person.

WATSON (voice-over): She said she first met her scammer on the dating app, Bumble.

WATSON: How much money did you lose?

CARINA: In the end I ultimately lost $150,000. I mean, I went into a depression. I was depressed. I am ashamed, embarrassed that I had done all this without sharing it with anybody.

ERIN WEST, SANTA CLARA COUNTY DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I've been a prosecutor for over 25 years. I spent nine years in sexual assault. And I've never seen the absolute decimation of people that I've seen as a result of pig butchering.

WATSON (voice-over): Erin West is a deputy district attorney in Northern California, specializing in online crypto scams she calls pig butchering.

WEST: We've got over $5 billion in losses.

WATSON: In 2023?

WEST: In 2023. And that's up 38 percent from last year. And when crime is growing at 38 percent, that's something you better keep your eyes on.

WATSON (voice-over): Using fake social media profiles, scammers spend months gaining the confidence of their victims, before convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency through fake websites. Those platforms claim huge profits until the money suddenly disappears into the pockets of criminal gangs mostly based out of Southeast Asia.

A 2023 CNN investigation revealed many scammers are actually themselves victims of human trafficking, like this Indian man named Rakesh. Imprisoned in this armed compound in Myanmar, he was forced to work pretending to be a Russian woman targeting Americans online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They provided us. I got a Russian girl. With using a Russian girl fake profile I need scam people.

WATSON (voice-over): Investigators warned of a mass transfer of wealth stealing billions of dollars from ordinary Americans. And this year, they predict it will only get worse.

JEFF ROSEN, SANTA CLARA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Many of these perpetrators are beyond my reach. And in order to establish deterrence, we need to prosecute some individuals who are running these operations in Southeast Asia.

WATSON (voice-over): U.S. law enforcement say they have yet to arrest a single scammer. Though the U.S. Secret Service has had better luck in recouping some of the lost money.

SHAWN BRADSTREET, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, U.S. SECRET SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO FIELD OFFICE: We've been able to claw back, you know, millions, but it's still a small percentage compared to how much is going overseas.

WATSON: Which is billions.

BRADSTREET: Which is billions.

WATSON (voice-over): The scammers flood social media sites to ensnare victims. Tech companies like Meta, Match Group and Coinbase say they're trying to spread awareness about the threat. But Deputy District Attorney Erin West says that's not enough.

WEST: An enemy has declared war on the rest of the world without really telling any of us that we are at war and we are not fighting back.

WATSON (voice-over): Carina says she spent hours every day exchanging romantic texts with the person she thought she loved.

CARINA: It's heartbreaking for me to see the state that I was in.

WATSON (voice-over): By the time she realized she had been defrauded, Carina says she took out high interest loans, borrowed money from loved ones and had to move back in with her mother.

WATSON: What is the timeline like for repaying your debts right now?

CARINA: Probably 10 years.

WATSON (voice-over): After Dennis Jones took his own life, his adult children were left piecing together what happened by looking through his Facebook messages.

MATT: He's saying these are basically evil people I did not know that such people existed. And he ends it with the ultimate pain here is that I've betrayed my family's trust. This is unbearable.

WATSON (voice-over): In early March, Matt, Adrianne and their sister, Laura, planned to have a meeting to help out their father. The plan was for him to move in with Adrianne here in Virginia.

ADRIANNE: Unfortunately, the day that we were supposed to have the meeting is the day that we found out he died. You know, he died, embarrassed, ashamed, you know, financially devastated and heartbroken. And if sharing our story helps somebody else or another family then it's worth it.


WATSON (voice-over): Ivan Watson, CNN, Leesburg, Virginia.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Ivan Watson for that report.

An important reminder if you or someone you know needs help with mental health matters or suicidal thoughts, you can always call or text the national suicide and crisis hotline at 988. You can call it or text it. Again, the number 988. There is help for you.

A month long investigation into the murder of a Maryland mother has led to the arrest of a 23-year-old undocumented immigrant. The crucial lead that helped police find their suspect more than 1,000 miles away, that's next.


TAPPER: In our Law and Justice Lead, an undocumented immigrant has been charged with the murder of a mother of five. Rachel Morin was killed last August while I've hiking near her home in Maryland. After a month long investigation police finally found her alleged killer at a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Police said the man who came to the United States illegally last year from El Salvador is wanted for other violent crime. CNN's Miguel Marquez has the details.



PATRICIA MORIN, VICTIM'S MOTHER: I'm going to make this really short because I'm very emotional.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mother's anguish, Patricia Morin attends the news conference announcing the suspected killer of her 37-year-old daughter, mom to five kids, Rachel Morin, had been caught, arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma after an alleged cross country and transnational criminal spree.

MORIN: It just gave me such hope that they really did care about our family and my daughter, that they weren't going to work diligently to find the person that murdered her.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The suspect, 23-year-old Victor Antonio Martinez-Hernandez, a migrant from El Salvador who investigators say entered the country illegally in February 2023. Authorities identified him using DNA obtained from a home invasion in Los Angeles from March 2023. That DNA connected him to the Maryland rape and murder last August, then to Oklahoma and the suspect's family members in El Salvador.

WILLIAM DELBAGNO, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, BALTIMORE FIELD OFFICE: Investigators even traveled to El Salvador as part of their efforts to identify this killer.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The Martinez-Hernandez is also wanted in El Salvador, a suspect in another murder in January 2023, just a month before he came to the U.S.

SHERIFF JEFF GAHLER, HARFORD COUNTY, MARYLAND: Victor Hernandez did not come here to make a better life for himself or for his family. He came here to escape the crime he committed in El Salvador. He came here and murdered Rachel and God willing no one else. But that should have never been allowed to happen.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The arrest of an undocumented migrant now a flashpoint in America's bitter fight over immigration policy. This despite multiple studies showing no direct connection between undocumented migrants and higher rates of crime. On social media, former President Donald Trump wrote in part, another one of Crooked Joe Biden's illegal immigrant criminals was just charged with raping and murdering another innocent American woman.

For Rachel Morin's mother, who was losing hope her daughter's killer would ever be caught, profound thanks to investigators who never gave up and went above and beyond.

MORIN: I am so grateful that they have brought us to this place because some of the points during this, I didn't think that we were ever going to have an end that it was going to be a cold case so I would like to applaud them.


MARQUEZ (on camera): In the next couple of weeks, Martinez-Hernandez is expected to be extradited from Oklahoma to Maryland where he faces first degree rape and murder charges. Jake?

TAPPER: Our thanks to Miguel Marquez.

Coming up, the elaborate red carpet rollout for Vladimir Putin just hours ago in North Korea.


Plus, from a new cell phone ban to a record smashing game. Our last leads are next.



TAPPER: Our last leads begins with our World Lead, a lot of pomp and circumstance and an international guessing game. Russian President Vladimir Putin just arrived in North Korea. Experts think he is seeking more weapons for his war against Ukraine. The guessing game is about what North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un might want in return, chances are it is not more garbage for his balloons to carry into South Korea. We'll keep you posted.

In our Law and Justice Lead, more arraignments in Arizona's case involving Donald Trump's efforts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election by setting up fake members of the Electoral College. Arizona Republican Jim Lamon, one of the fake electors as well as former Trump aides Boris Epshteyn and Jenna Ellis are facing felony charges of conspiracy and fraud and forgery. All three pleaded not guilty today. Mr. Trump himself has not been charged.

In our Tech Lead, phones down, heads up. The Los Angeles School Board voted today to ban students from using cell phones during the school day. The ban will take effect in January of next year. And impact 500,000 K through 12 students in the second largest school district in the country. Advocates say the ban support students' mental health and will improve academic performance.

In our Sports Lead, it is the rivalry that keeps on giving and getting ratings. More than 2 million viewers tuned in to watch the WNBA rookies Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese face off in Sunday night's showdown between the Indiana Fever and the Chicago Sky resulting in the league's highest rated game in 23 years. Clark scored 23 points in Indiana's 91 to 83 win. The two teams will face off again in July.

The Paris Olympics are just over a month away. Today we've got this reveal. members of Team USA will be sporting these red, white and blue uniforms at the opening and closing ceremonies. Ralph Lauren, which has been dressing U.S. athletes for the game since 2008 says the collection, quote, draws inspiration from the dynamic and vibrant host city and embraces a patriotic spirit reflected in a signature palette of red, white and blue.

All right, coming up tomorrow, join CNN for a special Juneteenth event. You can look out for performances and interviews with John Legend and Patti LaBelle and Smokey Robinson and more. That's tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and streaming on Max.


Next week of course nine days from now, it's the CNN presidential debate, President Joe Biden, Former President Donald Trump. I'll moderate with my colleague Dana Bash. That's next Thursday, June 27th on CNN and streaming on Max.

Until tomorrow, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, X, formerly known as Twitter and on the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can follow the show on X at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to all two hours of the show whence you get your podcasts. The news continues on CNN with Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call The Situation Room. I'll see you tomorrow.