Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
The latest on national protests. Plus, what went wrong in Yemen rescue attempt?
Friday marks six months since the deadly shooting attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the actions of one man still affect the lives of so many.
The anniversary is reigniting efforts on both sides of the gun control debate. Mayors against illegal guns is holding rallies, targeting politicians who have not supported gun control legislation.
The National Rifle Association is back with an ad attacking one of its own, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin - an avowed gun enthusiast and "life member" of the NRA - for his ill-fated bill that would have strengthened background checks.
That NRA ad was released the same day Manchin met with Newtown families at the Capitol. President Barack Obama also met with the families Thursday afternoon.
One of those parents was Mark Barden, father of 7-year-old Newtown victim Daniel Barden.
"We're just trying to get through every minute of the day, a minute at a time," Barden said, adding that he and his wife, Jackie; son, James; and daughter, Natalie, are learning to be a family again.
Barden now keeps a journal, where he writes down memories of his son.
Victims of the Colorado fires Mike and Caml Schultz tell CNN "The Lead's" Jake Tapper about losing nearly everything.
Members of Congress finally got briefed about the super-secret federal phone and e-mail surveillance programs that President Barack Obama contends they’ve known about for years.
The head of the National Security Agency, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, did the talking in two closed-door meetings with members of the House and Senate intelligence committees on Thursday about domestic spying programs that collect millions of phone records a day and can access e-mails.
"This is not a program where we are out freewheeling it. It is a well overseen and a very focused program. What we owe you the American people is now how good is that with some statistics. And I think when the American people hear that they are going to stop and say, ‘wait, the information we are getting is incorrect,'" Alexander told reporters after one of the briefings Thursday.
FBI director Robert Mueller also defended the spy programs before the House Judiciary Committee.
He said they are legal and known to Congress. Mueller evoked 9/11, claiming these types of programs might have been able to catch phone calls between an al Qaeda safe house and one of the hijackers who was lying low in San Diego.
"If we had the telephone number in Yemen, we would've matched it up to that telephone number in San Diego," said Mueller. "The simple fact of their detention could have derailed the plan. In any case, the opportunity was not there. If we had had this program, the opportunity would have been there."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 2012 Republican presidential candidate recommends a “fire wall” of sorts that says “you not use that in any kind of investigation except terrorism."
Gingrich said he suspects the surveillance programs are more vast than what has so far been revealed.
Syria has crossed a 'red line' with its use of chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin gas, against rebels, the White House said Thursday.
The acknowledgement is the first time President Barack Obama's administration has definitively said what it has long suspected - that President Bashar al-Assad's forces have used chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war.
According to Politico, behind closed doors former president Bill Clinton said it would be lame “lame” to blame a lack of intervention on opposition in polls or among members of Congress.
He reportedly went on to say, "if you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken, is that, ‘Oh my God, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ ... You’d look like a total wuss. And you would be."
That's some pretty tough talk from Clinton.
"It's a little like a school house taunt," said CNN contributor and former senior adviser to Mitt Romney Kevin Madden. "He's seen as like the cool kid on the schoolyard, and he's not somebody who you want going out there and shaping perceptions ... [or] shaping your opinions in a negative way."
Chicago (CNN) – Hillary Clinton burst back onto the political scene Thursday, delivering an expansive speech that kicked off the two-day Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Chicago.
In her remarks, the former secretary of state formally announced the group her husband founded more than a decade ago would be renamed to include both herself and daughter Chelsea, making it the official family business. And she described in relative detail the three areas she'll focus on at the organization: early childhood development, expanding opportunities for women and girls, and improving economic development around the world.
The enthusiastic crowd reacted the loudest when the former presidential candidate – and potential 2016 White House hopeful – declared one of her goals was to help women around the world become more engaged in the political process.
"When women participate in politics, the effects ripple out across society," Clinton said to applause and cheers.