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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

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national lead

January 23rd, 2014
06:22 PM ET

What a DOJ deal with Edward Snowden would look like

(CNN) - If former National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden is prepared to plead guilty, Attorney General Eric Holder is prepared to let the Justice Department talk to his lawyers about how he can return home to the U.S.

The Justice Department represents the whole U.S. government, including the NSA.

"If they were to give him some sort of deal that involved probation or immunity, I just can't conceive that the Justice Department's client, the NSA, would sit still for that," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Toobin has said in the past that he does not view Snowden as a hero, and believe he should be in prison.

"A guilty plea to some sort of crime, and some sort of prison time would seem to me absolutely indispensable in the deal," said Toobin.

For more of our interview with Jeffrey Toobin, check out the video above.

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national lead

January 23rd, 2014
06:05 PM ET

Cuomo vs. de Blasio on pre-k funding: Democrats battle over taxing the rich

(CNN) - Two Democrats fighting over who gets to pay for pre-kindergarten funding? This has to be a first.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a state budget that included $1.5 billion to fund pre-k programs across the state. But back in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio says he'll get the funding to pay for pre-k by taxing the wealthiest living in his city.

CNN national correspondent Deborah Feyerick reports.

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politics lead

January 23rd, 2014
05:58 PM ET

Debate: How to close the gap between rich and poor

(CNN) - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke to reporters in Washington, D.C., Thursday, defending why he thinks his proposal to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers made sense.

"This question of inequality and the lack of opportunity - people are feeling this all over the country, mayors feel this because we're closer to the ground," said de Blasio. "I think this will be the paradigm going forward while we work to get Washington into the game."

The President seems to agree.

"We've still got a lot more to do to deliver a vision that we all share, which is an America where if you work hard you can make it," Obama said at a White House meeting with de Blasio and other mayors last month.

Obama is also expected to talk about income inequality in his State of the Union address next week.

So is this about fulfilling campaign promises, both for de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, or is it a larger fight against income inequality with national implications?

Former Republican U.S. congressman from New York Rick Lazio, now a partner at law firm Jones Walker, and contributing editor for The Atlantic and the National Journal Peter Beinart discuss.

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national lead

January 23rd, 2014
05:52 PM ET

FBI arrests reputed mobsters on charges straight out of 'Goodfellas'

(CNN) - They were "wiseguys" or "goodfellas," the federal government said Thursday of five reputed mobsters indicted in connection with a string of unsolved crimes, including the fabled 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK International Airport.

In an indictment that reads like the script of "Goodfellas," alleged mob captain Vincent Asaro, 78, and other alleged members of the Bonanno organized crime family are accused of murder, racketeering, armed robbery, arson and extortion.


national lead

January 23rd, 2014
05:33 PM ET

Mayor: 'I'm not sure' only two chemicals were involved in West Virginia spill

(CNN) - West Virginia has demanded a full list of any other chemicals that might have leaked from a Charleston-area storage plant after its owners revealed another compound had spilled into the Elk River.

The state Department of Environmental Protection gave Freedom Industries until Wednesday afternoon to disclose "any and all information" related to the January 9 spill. The move came a day after the company told regulators that in addition to the methanol compound that escaped from a ruptured tank, a second chemical - a mix of polyglycol ethers, known as PPH - was part of the leak.

"This is pretty typical of Freedom Industries, and basically just a few renegade gangsters that run that company," said Charleston, West Virginia, Mayor Danny Jones.

Asked how confident he is that no other chemicals were involved in this leak, Jones said: "I'm not sure."

"I would hope that ... our state Department of Environmental Protection would have evaluated all of this, would have found a way to have tested the chemicals in this plant, and in the storage facility to find out exactly what is in there, and to determine what all of our future is going to hold," said Jones.

For more of our interview with Mayor Danny Jones, check out the video above.

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