tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN May 28, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
it. >> i just can't. >> so thank you for that. >> but you're in the movies, you like movie theaters? >> i do, i like popcorn, i like reclining, and i like a $10 nap. >> and close your cellphone. "the lead with jake tapper" starts now. their workplace was attacked. their lives in danger. somehow that wasn't enough for senate republicans. "the lead" starts right now. even the grieving mother of a fallen capitol hill police officer could not stop the republican party from fully embracing donald trump's big lie and blocking a bipartisan commission to investigate what went wrong on january 6th. late officer brian sicknick's mother and his partner will join us to react in an interview you will only see on cnn. then it's the cdc guidance parents across the country have
been waiting for for months. do kids need to wear masks at summer camp? plus it's the first normal holiday weekend in more than a year, which means lots of planes, trains, and automobiles. but prepare for some stress as gas prices soar and masks remain a must on planes. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we start with our politics lead. even though it was almost guaranteed to fail, it was still stunning to watch almost every senate republican this afternoon block a bill which would have created a bipartisan commission to investigate what went wrong and what caused the capitol riot. only six republicans sided with democrats on today's vote. bill cassidy, susan collins, lisa murkowski, ben sasse, rob portman, and mitt romney, despite so many votes calling for an investigation in the
aftermath of january 6, of course before donald trump made it clear he opposed any closer look on what may have caused the attack at the capitol. 11 senators, we should point out, could not even have been bothered at all. nine democrats, two democrats. a reminder that while republicans insist this investigation is unnecessary, at least 450 people have been charged for their roles in the insurrection so far. and capitol police officers are still trying to sound the alarm, warning that parts of the capitol are still vulnerable for attack and security upgrades are needed right now, they say, to keep that from happening. those individual criminal pursuits, however, they're not going to together create a wider look at what went wrong, at the lies and the propaganda that led to the deadly day, and lest we forget, this is not just about an attack on democracy, as if that weren't important enough. there is also the human toll of this tragedy to consider.
four people died that day, two law enforcement officers died by suicide afterwards, and more than 100 police officers were injured, some very seriously and permanently. capitol police officer brian sicknick, of course, died in the aftermath of the attack. in just a few moments his mother and his partner will join me to share their reactions to today's stunning vote and how they are hoping to continue to honor his legacy. as republican senator john cornyn said back in february, quote, a 9/11 type investigation is called for to help prevent this from happening again, unquote. cornyn, of course, voted no today. cnn's ryan nobles starts our coverage from capitol hill. >> reporter: it may have taken a little bit longer than expected. >> three fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. >> reporter: but the outcome was never in doubt. republicans successfully blocking an attempt to form an
independent commission to investigate the january 6th insurrection. the final vote, 54-35. 60 votes were needed to move the measure forward. >> out of fear or fealty to donald trump, the republican minority just prevented the american people from getting the full truth about january 6th. >> reporter: six republicans voted yes. among them, maine's susan collins who attempted to make changes to the bill to bring her fellow republicans on board. it was not enough. louisiana's bill cassidy, who voted yes, and voted to impeach former president trump, warned his colleagues they will now lose a voice in future investigations. the investigations will happen with or without republicans, to ensure the investigations are fair, impartial, and focused on facts, republicans need to be involved. and democrats are already hinting that is the direction they will go. house speaker nancy pelosi, who made a number of concessions to get the bill over the finish
line in the house, vowed she was not done investigating what happened on january 6th. honoring our responsibility to the congress in which we serve and the country which we love, democrats will proceed to find the truth. but some democrats believe the failure to find a bipartisan consensus on an issue like this speaks to a bigger problem with the senate in general. despite democrats controlling the house and senate, requiring 60 votes on almost every piece of legislation has bottled up a number of their priorities, leading senators like ed markey of massachusetts to call on democrats to blow up the system. >> they're not going to show up. and ultimately, we just have to come to the realization that that's going to require us to repeal the filibuster so that we can pass these bills with 51 votes, so the republicans cannot engage in obstructionism. >> reporter: despite those growing calls for reform, moderate democrats in the senate like joe manchin remain unwilling to take that step.
>> i'm not ready to destroy our government. i'm not ready to strdestroy our government, no. >> reporter: meaning bills will require significant gop support in an environment where both sides are having a hard time finding common ground. and despite the gravity of this legislation, 11 members of the senate chose not to be here today to vote on the measure. nine republicans and two democrats just not showing up. and some of them issuing statements as to why they could not vote and how they would have voted had they been there. for instance, pat toomey of pennsylvania saying he would have voted yes. despite that number being added to the number of republicans voting yes today, that would not have been enough to change the outcomes. >> it would not have. ryan nobles, thanks so much. joining me now to discuss, the mother and the partner of fallen officer brian sicknick,
g thank you very much for joining us. we know it's not easy, you did not sign up for public speakers of this type. i want to get to today's news in a minute. i want to check in, 2k3w4gladys are you doing? >> i'm doing all right. >> how are you doing? >> glad to be here, it's an honor. >> what did you think of the vote today, senate republicans with six exceptions blovoted to block the commission. >> i was optimistic yesterday, but obviously some of them i was not surprised that voted no. but still, clinging to that hope, based on our passionate pleas to them. but i think, you know, it speaks volumes to how they really feel. not only about the events of
that day but they're also speaking volumes to their constituents. you know, and how much they really care. because it's not just our pleas about how we felt about brian and, you know, his brothers and sisters in blue and everything that they did that day, but also the safety of them and everyone else that was in the capitol that day. if they can't do their jobs, if something happens to them, that also speaks volumes about, you know, how they feel about our democracy in general. how can they do their job if they are no longer here? >> what about you, gladys, what was your reaction to the news today? >> i was disappointed, but i realized it was going to happen. i really did. it was just vibes that we got yesterday. >> what were the vibes? >> i don't know, just -- just a feeling. you know, they went through the
motions, but you can tell that, you know, underneath they were being nice to us. >> we heard a lot about backing the blue from politicians especially, who talk about the importance of backing our men and women in blue who protect us. what does it mean in that sense when -- because you know you're going to hear some of these 35 republicans talk about, in the future, how important it is to back our men and women in blue. what will you think when you hear that? >> unbelievable that they think like that. you know, if they had a child that was hurt, that was killed on a day like that, they would think very differently. or if they were hurt. i mean, they could have very well -- somebody could have been killed, one of the congressmcon one of the senators. apparently they think we're safe because of the men in blue. they don't think any further from that. >> what do you think?
gladys said it was a slap in the face to not have this commission created. >> i think, you know, it's all talk and no action. clearly they're not backing the blue. and yesterday, having officer fanone and officer dunn there to talk about their experiences, i even learned more about what actually happened on that day, hearing their stories, you know, close and up front, live and in color. and i was absolutely appalled. so, you know, they heard it firsthand. some of that stuff has not been put out in the media. and, you know, it's devastating, because they could have -- especially officer fanone, he could have been murdered. and, you know, this cannot happen again. it cannot. so for them to vote no is -- you
know, it's not protecting law enforcement. and more importantly, it's not protecting our democracy. people there were not only hurting law enforcement officers. and then of course, like i said yesterday, there's the ripple effect of trauma that's still continuing today. >> oh, of course. >> many officers are struggling with ptsd. >> and you people should know, you're a psychotherapist, this is something you know about. >> yes, i work all the time with people who struggle with ptsd so i know how devastating and debilitating it can be. then it's the family members that are struggling to pick of the pieces of that, daily. but it's also, those people were there to, you know, destroy the will of the people. they could have destabilized government as we know it. the vice president was in the building. people were after the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. i mean, it's just unbelievable to me that they could do nothing
about this. and now is not the time to sit around and say, well, maybe we'll do something in the future. the time to do something is now. and again, i mean, although there were some tense moments yesterday, i'm hopeful that at least they'll be able to reflect on some of what we said as the days go on, and they'll be able to start to get the ball rolling fast and say, we need to do something now. i think more importantly is to listen to the officers that were there that day, on the ground. because there's this misconception that there was no firearms there, that those people in the crowd had no firearms there. there were firearms there. i'm talking about handguns, not just the general term "weapons." i'm talking about actual handguns. people had handguns on them. so, you know, this is serious. this is serious stuff. i actually heard the former d.c. police chief here that was on
this network, charles ramsey, that was talking about, you know, they need to get serious about this because some bad stuff is going to happen. and they need to take this seriously, if not for themselves, about the other employees that are in the capitol, the staffers, the architect of the capitol. i was very moved by senator klobuchar's opening statement in the hearings when she talked about the gentleman who hid in the closet that was part of the cleaning crew. >> it's terrifying. >> he came out and had to clean up urine and feces in the building. this is ridiculous. they need to do something and they need to act now. >> gladys, i know san did idra d to, some of the moments in the meetings were tense. it doesn't even really matter, but brian was a republican. i mean, so it's not just turning their backs on an american.
they're turning their back on a fellow republican. whatever you're comfortable with, tell me about the tense moments and the senator -- with the senators that you met with. you don't have to name them if you don't want to. >> no, i'm not going to do that. just -- they were very charming, and they knew what they were doing, they knew how to talk to us. but we kind of held back. it was just -- it was tense. and we just made believe, you know, everything was fine, and we were very nice to them, for the most part. >> it was just tense because -- >> because we knew -- i think because we knew they weren't sincere. they weren't sincere. >> and they didn't want to get to the bottom of what happened? >> no. no. and i don't understand it. they are elected for us, the people. and they don't care about that. they care about money, i guess,
their pocketbooks. so they'll be in front of the cameras when they feel like it. and they just don't care. and it's not right. >> sandra, were you surprised, some of the senator didn't even agree to meet with you? >> no, i wasn't surprised. you know, it's much easier to do interviews with people who are not moved by their actions. you know, by losing a family member, a loved one like gladys and i were, right? to do something from afar. it's very different when you have to face someone who has been touched personally by something like gladys and i were. so, you know, it's about having courage and a backbone and saying, you know, i'm willing to meet with you. which i respect those who were. even if they didn't agree with us, i still have respect for those who were. and them willing to listen and
hopefully even though some of them did decide ultimately to vote no, my hope is that they will eventually do something. because that needs to happen. >> gladys, you met with senator cassidy from louisiana. >> mm-hmm. >> he voted yes. >> mm-hmm. >> you met with senator portman, he voted yes. senator toomey had a family commitment so he didn't vote but he would have voted yes, he said. does it mean -- does that give you any sense of satisfaction that you may have changed -- >> oh, definitely. >> -- some minds? >> definitely. i don't know if they were on the fence or not. that i'm not sure of. were they all on the fence? i'm not sure. >> we only knew of three ahead of time that were going to vote yes, romney, murkowski, and collins. so ultimately three more voted yes. >> maybe we changed their minds. that would be great. that was a great -- >> it's not nothing. >> right. >> i mean, a bipartisan majority did vote to create the commission. >> mm-hmm.
>> it just wasn't enough. >> what bothers me is that all these people that are, you know, backing the wrong people, i should say, they don't understand what they're doing. what kind of country do they want? do they really want to live in the country they're creating? >> where this kind of insurrection happens. >> right. do they want their children to grow up like this? do they want those people that we saw on january 6th, do they want them to be like that? a government that is with these people? i just don't understand it. >> i have more questions for gladys sicknick and sandra garza. but let me pause and get some reaction to what we just heard, because it's a lot. let's bring in cnn's jamie gangel to discuss. and jamie, very interesting moment when gladys sicknick, grieving mother of fallen officer brian sicknick, says
there were some tense moments with certain republican senators, quote, because we knew they were not sincere. >> correct. she's the real deal, and frankly, i don't know how any senator who met with mrs. sicknick and with sandra did not vote for the commission. but she said they were very nice to us. >> they said all the right things. >> they knew how to talk to us, they were very charming. >> yeah. >> and then when you asked, but why was it tense, she said, because they weren't sincere. >> yep. >> she knew which way it was going. i thought both sandra and mrs. sicknick -- i was standing over in the corner watching the interview -- were so remarkably honest about what they had been
through and about the loss of brian, but also very impressive. there was one message, and that was, i can't believe they didn't do the right thing, which is what mrs. sicknick said over and over again. >> and for them, it was really, honestly -- and we have more of the interview coming up, so people should know that, but for them it was also -- it wasn't just about honoring in sandra's case her fallen partner, in gladys' case her fallen son, but all the officers. >> right. >> and also, as they made clear, democracy. democracy. they do not understand why 35 republicans could have voted against -- we're not talking about throwing donald trump in jail. it's the creation of a bipartisan commission. washington does this 300 times a year, creates bipartisan commissions. >> correct. she said at one point, is this the world you want your children to grow up with?
is this the world you want to create? and i think the point about democracy was so important. one of the things that happened yesterday behind the scenes which we didn't see, capitol hill police officer harry dunn and metropolitan police officer mike fanone were with them and went to all these meetings and they also walked them around the capitol. and officer dunn introduced mrs. sicknick and sandra to other capitol hill police officers. this was personal for them. but it was very clear in your interview, this was much bigger as well. she meant it. this is about democracy. >> and these are not political activists. >> no. >> these are not people who are comfortable with this type of situation. it's actually one of the great honors of being a journalist, as you know, we speak to a lot of very important people with very important positions. >> right.
>> in government and business. and they're very skilled at talking to the american people, to people like us. these are just authentic, regular americans who would rather be home with brian alive. >> right. and i think you could tell. mrs. sicknick in real life is a very quiet person. she likes being behind the scenes. i know from correspondence that she didn't want to have to come yesterday. she came at the last minute, because she really expected that they would do the right thing. but when it came down to it, this was not easy for her yesterday. she came because she felt that she had to do it. >> and i can't imagine, we know that pat toomey would have voted for it, the senator from pennsylvania, it still would not have been enough, but he had a family commitment. still, there are ten other senators that didn't vote. i don't know what the reasons are. i'm sure some of them had good reasons. people have family commitments,
et cetera. but generally speaking, i mean you look at this list, you look at marsha blackburn, roy blount, they couldn't even be bothered to vote? >> you're more generous than i am. there were two democrats, i believe, and nine republicans. i'm sorry. this was a historic vote. >> and it's your job. >> it's their job. they were attacked. they were there that day. this was about a commission to get to the bottom of it. it is unconceivable to me that, barring the most extraordinary circumstances, that you wouldn't show up to vote for this. >> but for whatever reason, and it's really actually odd, i have to say, i didn't think that this would happen a month ago. i thought that mitch mcconnell, who has faulted trump for what happened that day, very directly, i did not think that
he would lead his caucus to vote against this. i didn't, because -- well, i don't want to talk about what i thought because it's not operative anymore. but this is about a direct attack on democracy. it's not just like a riot that got out of control. politicians and lying members of the news media at fox and other places spread the lie. they lied to millions of people, millions of whom still believe the lie. thousands of them were incited to go and try to undermine and overturn an election. we've never seen anything like that in this country. and i am stunned that 35 republican senators voted against trying to get to the bottom of it. >> you and i have talked about this for two weeks now, as we watched the politics and the votes unfold. i think it's quite simple. it's about political power, whether you're talking about
kevin mccarthy or mitch mcconnell. they want to be the speaker and majority leader. >> and they can only do that if they think they have trump's base and trump inside the tent spewing out as opposed to outside the tent spewing in. >> correct. >> with this commission dead, what's next? speaker pelosi has talked about having a select committee. >> she has floated the idea of having a select committee. this is something she could appoint. republicans say this is partisan. one of the scenarios i've heard floated is she could float an executive committee but keep it along the same lines of fairness, of bipartisanship that republicans, congressman john katko, who is a republican, negotiated, there was a compromise, everybody agreed to it. what is nancy pelosi picks that model? if she has john katko as a republican, liz cheney, adam
kinzinger, anthony gonzalez. >> former congressman denver riggleman. >> if she sticks to a very bipartisan select committee, that will take the wind out of the republican argument that this is partisan. >> we'll see what happens. jamie gangel, i wish we were covering a more pleasing adventurous story, but it is what it is. it's good to have you here, jamie. coming up, more of my interview with the mother and partner of the late officer brian sicknick. then, the cdc just updated their guidance for masks for children. will your kids have to mask while playing kickball? stay with us.
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children and staff do not need to wear masks or be socially distanced. the new guidance couldn't come soon enough. cnn's nick watts reports that 40% of americans are fully vaccinated, heading into the first normal-ish-feeling holiday since the beginning of the pandemic. >> three, two, one. >> reporter: this morning, mask mandates lifted across new jersey. "cruella" and "a quiet place 2" are playing in open movie theaters nationwide. 135,000 fans expected at the indy 500 sunday. this holiday weekend, roughly one in ten americans are expected to travel. >> many airports have already returned or exceeded the 2019 pre-pandemic levels. >> reporter: meantime, a sobering milestone. one in ten americans confirmed infected during the pandemic. the actual number nearer one in
three, says the cdc. daily case counts are now falling but so are average daily vaccine shots, which peaked at nearly 3.4 million in mid-april, just 1.6 million late may. most adults who want to get vaccinated have started the process, say pollsters. >> we've certainly reached the lion's share of people who are eager to get the vaccine. the "willing" is the complicated part. there are a lot of people who are willing but it's hard for them. we can get them but it's going to take a lot of work. >> reporter: california is giving away over $100 million in incentives. west virginia just announced cash prizes, college scholarships, pickup trucks, also emotional blackmail. sharehold >> you've got to get vaccinated for baby doll. she wants you vaccinated so badly. she'll give you a high five right now. but you have got to get yourself vaccinated. >> reporter: nearly half of americans age 12 and up are now
fully vaccinated. but about a quarter of parents of the under 12 say they definitely won't get their kids a shot when their time comes. many of the nation's largest school districts will still be offering the option of remote learning come the fall. for now, just quickly back to that cdc guidance, they're also saying unvaccinated kids can pretty much rome free unmasked outside. and they also have a section on their site, the cdc does, guidance for camps where not everybody is vaccinated. the number one thing on that list is basically tell everybody that they should be get vaccinated, jake. >> they should, it's true. nick watt, thank you so much. dr. richard besser joins us now. dr. besser, 40% of americans are fully vaccinated. that means 60% are not.
does that mean life is returning to normal too soon, given that statistic? >> i don't. i worry about focusing too much on that overall nationwide statistic. what i'm interested in is what's going on in each community. and i think that should help guide what people do. i'm here in princeton, new jersey, and something like 67% of adults are vaccinated. 14 miles away in trenton, it's down to 33%. so, you know, if you're looking across the state of new jersey, we're doing incredibly well, around 60%. but it doesn't talk about the local circumstance where you really need to say, all right, there are certain communities that you have to step up the efforts in a really big way to increase the vaccination coverage. >> and for people not familiar with new jersey, perhaps people watching internationally, princeton, obviously the home of princeton college, a very educated and wealthy part of new jersey, and trenton a little bit more disadvantaged, people do
not necessarily have connections to the health care system, and even some vaccine skepticism there. dr. besser, since covid began, holidays have historically led to a spike in cases. do you think we'll see that a few weeks after memorial day? >> i think we're much less likely to see it than we have with other holidays. right now, the disease transmission rates across the country are as low as they've been since last spring, before the peak set in. with transmission rates or positivity rates that are less than 2%, i think the vaccine coverage rates and the requirements of masks on airplanes make it quite safe for people to be traveling. i'm getting on a plane tomorrow for the first time in over a year. so i don't think we're going to see the same kind of spikes that we did before. and i hope that the increasing level of activity and the things that people can do safely if they're fully vaccinated will encourage people who are on that fence, those people who are willing but aren't taking the efforts, encourage them to go out and get vaccinated.
>> if anybody like that is listening, dr. besser is vaccinated and he's fine, i'm vaccinated and i'm fine, it's a good thing to do. the cdc has updated guidance for summer camps. they say kids and staff who are fully vaccinated don't need to wear masks, don't need to socially distanced. i have to point out, i have an 11-year-old. kids under the age of 12 are unable to get vaccinated right now. what about them? could this pose a risk, opening summer camps? >> well, again, i think you want to look at your state. you want to look at the community that the camp is located in. what are they requiring in terms of staff being fully vaccinated? one of the things i love about the new guidance from cdc out today is that even in camps that have younger children, most outdoor activities, kids don't need to wear a mask. you're hikering, out there playg kickball, running out, they say you don't need to have a mask on. for crowded indoor events, you need to wear a mask. for swim pools, they limit the
number of people to allow for some distancing. but for most activities, young kids at camp can be kids, which is so critically important. >> but if they're indoors, they should wear masks, but outdoors, for instance, it sounds like you're agreeing with former fda commissioner scott gottlieb who said this this morning about kids wearing masks. take a listen. >> i don't think kids should be wearing masks outside. i think the risks of wearing a mask and the heat exposure probably are greater than any benefit they'll derive from wearing a mask. >> so you think what? >> when i haear that, he spoke about the cdc guidance came out. i think for activities outdoors where kids are running around, increasing their heat level, yeah, wearing a mask is not going to be beneficial. if you're outdoors and you've got kids packed in together, that's a setting where they're saying use a mask. i think it will come down to judgment at that level. frankly there isn't the science to drive it. it's what makes common sense. the other piece of it is that
there's some people, kids and adults, who still feel more comfortable wearing a mask even in a setting where it's not recommended. that's okay too. and we need to go easy on people who say, you know what, i still want to wear that mask. >> we don't know individual people's health situations, some people may have immune problems, et cetera. dr. besser, thank you so much, safe travels this weekend. as the united states prepares to leave afghanistan, the same terror organization behind 9/11 is lurking in the shadows there and thriving with some help. stay with us. we're carvana, the company who invented car vending machines and buying a car 100% online. now we've created a brand-new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate
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in our world lead today, a sobering look now at the potential threat posed by an old and deadly enemy, al qaeda. yeah, them. the terrorist group behind the september 11th, 2001 attacks on the u.s. and much more. that threat did not vanish when the u.s. killed osama bin laden a decade ago. the terrorist group is still around, still full of hate. as cnn's nick paton walsh discovered, they're thriving in territories of afghanistan that are under taliban control. >> reporter: al qaeda. the reason the u.s. went to afghanistan. they're greatly diminished. the biden administration said -- >> it's time to end america's longest war. >> reporter: -- but a cnn investigation discovered al
qaeda very much alive and thriving in afghanistan, linked to global cells the u.s. is hunting. senior afghan intelligence officials tell cnn al qaeda are communicating with their cells worldwide from afghanistan, getting shelter and support from the taliban in exchange for expertise, and could be able to attack the west from there by the end of next year. u.s. treasury in january said al qaeda was, quote, growing in strength here. but afghan intelligence officials i spoke to go further, saying it's more substantial than that, that al qaeda provide expertise like bomb making but also in finance, in moving cash around. core al qaeda members number in their hundreds, most assessments conclude. but it's not how many but who which is most telling. key is senior al qaeda member
al-masri. masri crossed into afghanistan from pakistan in 2014 and over six years, moved around different provinces in afghanistan, something that senior afghan intelligence officials say would only have been possible if he had the assistance of top taliban officials. but he was in october tracked down to here, a tiny taliban-controlled village in gossni that we can only see on satellite issues. afghan soldiers lost a soldier, so fierce was resistance. when they went through al-masri's messages on his computer, they found messages communicating with other al qaeda cells around the world, talking about operational matters, not necessarily attacks, but also about how soon afghanistan could be a much freer, easier space for them to operate in. then something curious happened, revealing a lot about al qaeda and afghanistan's global
connections, particularly in this case to syria. there were two rare u.s. strikes in al qaeda cells in syria immediately afterwards. this one on the 15th of october. and another a week later, both in idlib. a spokeswoman for the u.s. military said they were, quote, not aware of any connection to the afghan raid. but a senior afghan official told me they were most likely connected, because the americans asked the afghans to delay announcing their raid for over ten days. and during that delay, before the afghans broke the news, both syria strikes happened. strikes on al qaeda figures are often announced by afghan intelligence who present the threat as why the u.s. must stay. a taliban spokesman rang cnn to say the claims were false and designed to keep american money coming to afghanistan. he also said the taliban had agreed to kick out terrorists as part of their peace deal with the united states.
now, jake, i have to say, in that phone call, remarkable to get an english-speaking spokesman from the taliban to ring you, they've made it clear they've issued not only an order making their fighters ban foreigners in their ranks but a secondary one actually making it an offense, that you could end up in a taliban court, if you have foreign fighters in your ranks. very keen to stress the terror group was kicked out of afghanistan but their assessment is the opposite of every other intelligence agency or official you could speak to. >> nick, you and i are old enough to remember the muhajadin in afghanistan when osama bin laden first came in. how has it changed? >> reporter: we saw men hiding in case of, perhaps giving somebody a flash drive with an evil plan on it. that's no longer the case, but
they're still a modern threat. al-masri was using telegram, it seems, to communicate with global cells. he had been in afghanistan for six years. he was giving information around that seems to have led the united states to other strikes in other countries, targets it seems they were seeking as well. this is very much an organization thriving. we seem to hear every sort of two weeks or so that the afghans have hit what they consider to be another senior al qaeda figure. the core assessment is they could be there in serious numbers in the hundreds. possibly thousands of extremists there who they could call upon. so it remains a very serious and current threat to the united states, certainly. and one, with the u.s. saying they're 25% of the way through their withdrawal, it is likely to get more space to operate in. that's certainly what those in afghanistan and al qaeda were saying to those outside of the country, stay tuned, we're going to have freer space to operate in in the months ahead. jake? >> nick paton walsh, thank you so much. americans traveling this weekend like they haven't been
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in our money lead, with memorial day weekend marking the first holiday where life for many americans is returning to normal-ish, so is holiday travel. one in ten americans is expected to travel this weekend for the start of the summer season, the unofficial start. and as airports see more fliers, there's also an uptick in unruly passengers. southwest permanently banning a passenger accused of assaulting a flight attendant.
cnn's aviation correspondent pete monteen joins us live. >> reporter: jake, southwest airlines says one of its flight attendants was assaulted on a flight on sunday when the flight attendant was just trying to give the passenger basic instructions about putting their seat back in the tray table. the union representing southwest flight attendants says this is when things got ugly and they call this a serious assault with injuries to the flight attendant's face, also getting two of their teeth knocked out. southwest responded by permanently banning the passenger and also saying it will not resume alcohol service on its flights, something it planned to do starting next month. >> and pete, who are the people who are driving instead of flying? tell us about them, because they won't have the same violent
experiences, potentially, from crazy passengers, but they'll have a shock of their own when they go to get gas. >> reporter: the vast majority of people are driving this week, jake. 37 million americans will travel 30 miles or more this memorial weekend. the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.04, the highest it's been in seven years. that's a 60% increase from where we were a year ago. and still about a 7% increase from where we were pre-pandemic, back in 2019. so a bit of sticker shock here. the biden administration even releasing a statement saying that $3 a gallon gas is not all that unusual. but people are going to have to brace for this as they go out. >> i'm sure they don't want any fingerprints attached, although obviously their critics disagree. pete muntean, thank you so much. coming up next, i'll continue my exclusive interview with the mother and partner of fallen capitol police officer brian sicknick. what republican senators told them but why they were going to
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welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. this hour, under attack. microsoft says russian hackers have launched a new global attack on more than 150 organizations right before biden meets with putin. plus i'll talk to an author whose hot new book is revealing new details from inside washington including what obama secretly said about trump behind closed doors. leading this hour, more of our exclusive and emotional conversation with both the mother and the partner of fallen capitol police officer brian sicknick who died in the aftermath of the january 6th insurrection. his loved ones were hoping to convince republicans to back a bipartisan commission to investigate what went wrong on
that deadly day. instead that measure failed earlier today after only six out of 50 republican senators voted yes. nine republicans and two democrats didn't even cast a vote. in moments, we'll have more of our conversation with sicknick's mother and partner. but first let's go to cnn's manu raju live on capitol hill for us. manu, what kind of reaction are you hearing from both parties after the vote to form this commission failed? >> reporter: democrats are is that rightly criticizing republicans, saying they're trying to suppress the truth about what happened here, given that this commission, if it were to be created, would have been ten commissioners selected evenly between the two parties with equal subpoena power, having to report by the end of this year, looking at what happened at the capitol and the outside influencing factors that led to the attack, what democrats are saying is that republicans simply did not want to shine a negative spotlight on their own party, on donald trump, on his role, and want to move on. republicans will say