About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

Ebola in New York – we'll have the latest news on the patient, and talk to infectious disease experts.

Ebola in New York - we'll have the latest news on the patient, and talk to infectious disease experts.

politics lead

June 20th, 2013
07:21 PM ET

Run for the border as immigration debate heats up

The biggest rhetorical hurdle in passing an immigration reform bill is the lack of literal hurdles on the border – and the fear that people are flocking to cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally because of the improved chance of becoming a legal resident.

And Border Patrol agents apparently have arrested some with that motivation

Asked at a Senate hearing on border security in April whether the number of attempted crossings into the U.S. had increased in the last three months, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher said the number had gone up.

"This particular year, yes, sir, we have seen an increase in attempted entries between the ports of entries. We're actually up in terms of apprehensions, about 13%. The reasons and modus behind that are varied, some of which is hearing sequestrations, some of which is hearing immigration reform, and some of it is hearing, you know, they just want to come and be joined with their families," said Fisher.

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Filed under: Politics Lead

national lead

June 20th, 2013
07:16 PM ET

James Gandolfini loved acting, and loved America's troops

TV’s Tony Soprano was fond of describing his fellow mobsters as 'soliders.' But in real life, actor James Gandolfini had a passion of for the country's fighting men and women.

Gandolfini was not only the beloved leader of the fictional mob family but a celebrated member of Hollywood and military families as well.

For most, he is remembered as the tough, yet tender Tony Soprano in HBO's “The Sopranos,” Winston Baldry in "The Mexican," and a wild thing named Carol in "Where the Wild Things Are."

But for those who have faced the true fear and real drama in war, Gandolfini was an inspired listener.

In his HBO documentaries "Wartorn" and "Alive Day: Home From Iraq," the Emmy-winner who died suddenly on Wednesday in Italy at 51, sat down with American troops to learn their stories.

"It's hard man, because I thought my life was over," Army veteran Dexter Pitts told Gandolfini in one of the documentaries.

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Filed under: National Lead

pop lead

June 20th, 2013
07:06 PM ET

Director: James Gandolfini wanted to bring attention to veterans

Director Matthew O'Neil collaborated with James Gandolfini on his veterans documentaries for HBO.

"So many people are remembering him as Tony Soprano. I'm always going to remember him as the man of such goodness who wanted to bring attention to the soldiers and airmen and marines that you see in 'Alive Day: Home From Iraq' and 'Wartorn,'" said O'Neil.

"He had heard the stories of the men and women serving overseas, and he listened to them, and he wanted to bring them back to Americans. So many more people were paying attention to him as an actor and it was so telling that in these programs, he was working to bring attention to the men and women that serve overseas," said O'Neil.

A visit to Walter Reed Hospital was the catalyst for Gandolfini's passion for 'Alive Day' He had already gone on several U.S.O. tours. He wanted the stories that people were telling him from their bedsides, that people were telling him while on those tours to reach a wide American audience, said O'Neil.

"He wanted people to stand up and pay attention. And he wanted to put his fame and his passion to good use and make sure those stories were heard," said O'Neil.

Viewers see Gandolfini's warmth with the soldiers in the movies that O'Neil directed, a warmth O'Neil said is perfectly natural.

"Jim connected to the people around him in such an intense and emotional way. He was interested in what people had to say. He listened. I think it's what made him a great actor. I think it what made him great producers. It's what made him want to tell these stories," said O'Neil.

"He was an incredibly warm and generous person, I think that's why you see such love from his friends, from his family, from his colleagues, and from the community at large, we all connected to something wonderful and good in him," said O'Neil.

O'Neil was working with Gandolfini on a project about the relationship between learning disabilities and incarceration rates.

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Filed under: Pop Lead

politics lead

June 20th, 2013
07:02 PM ET

Corker: 'Good number' of GOP senators will vote for reworked immigration bill

Republican senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven brokered the border security deal that is expected to help gain Republican support for the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill.

The amendment to the bill requires 20,000 more border agents, completing 700 miles of fence along the boundary with Mexico, and deploying $3.2 billion in technology upgrades similar to equipment used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When asked how many Republican senators will vote for the amendment - and the bill in general if the amendment is part of it - Corker was optimistic.

"A good number," said Corker. "I know that we've gotten a very good response. We've added co-sponsors to the amendment itself."

"I think we're going to garner a good deal of support, and I think that will add a lot of momentum to this bill, and solve the problem that so many people in Tennessee and across this country have, which is the issue of dealing with border security. We haven't had those inputs in the past," said Corker. "Those inputs all have to be in place before a green card status can be achieved."

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Filed under: Politics Lead

world lead

June 20th, 2013
06:50 PM ET

New hope for U.S. soldier held captive

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is the only known member of the U.S. military in captivity, the only American P.O.W. from the war in Afghanistan.

Now, after four years in Taliban hands, there is new hope Thursday that Bergdahl could finally be released, as the U.S. prepares to engage the Taliban in new peace talks.

In a video previously released by his captors, Bergdahl pleads to come home, saying to the camera, "Release me please I'm begging you. Bring me home. Bring us all home. Please. Please. Bring me home."

Bergdahl has just turned 27, but nearly four years of his short life have been spent in captivity, held by a group loosely affiliated with the Afghan Taliban.

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Filed under: World Lead
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