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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

Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on the death of legendary news editor Ben Bradlee.

Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on the death of legendary news editor Ben Bradlee.

national lead

April 24th, 2014
06:06 PM ET

Chicago's top cop calls accusations of finessed murder statistics 'nonsense'

(CNN) – Chicago is one of America's greatest cities, and one of it's most violent.

According to the Chicago Police Department's latest crime statistics, the city's homicide rate is down significantly from one year ago – in fact, it is the lowest it has been since 1965.

The department focuses resources on mostly gang-related violence in the south and west sides of the city, says Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who attributes the department's success to organization.

"We're running this department more like a business, perhaps more than other departments in the country," says McCarthy. "We're pushing down the resources, we're pushing down the authority and the accountability to the right people, and we're putting the right people in those seats, and holding them accountable for what's happening."
FULL POST

world lead

April 24th, 2014
05:35 PM ET

Analysis: Kremlin doesn't see Ukraine as a real country

(CNN) – There is no way the U.S. is going to stand by while one country takes land from another, President Barack Obama declared during his trip overseas.

But no, he wasn't talking about Russia snatching Crimea from Ukraine. He was reassuring the Japanese that the U.S. will not allow China to seize disputed territory from Japan's control.

But is Obama backing himself into a corner with another red line the U.S. will not enforce?

"The treaty between the United States and Japan preceded my birth, so obviously this isn't a red line that I'm drawing. It is the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance," Obama said.

The President has long held plans to pivot his foreign policy focus to Asia, and away from the morass in the Middle East and the old world precepts of Europe. That's what this trip is about.

But some critics are taking issue with the optics.
FULL POST

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politics lead

April 24th, 2014
05:26 PM ET

Rancher branded a racist, and his rant sends GOP backers fleeing

(CNN) – For nearly a month, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has been battling federal authorities over his cattle grazing on public lands.

"The federal government is here with an army stealing my cattle," he told CNN.

Bundy's anti-government crusade turned him into a conservative hero, thanks in large part to a platform on Fox News; he was a recurring guest of news anchor Sean Hannity, a vocal supporter.

"I would think the federal government would be thankful because you're cutting the lawn for free," Hannity said.

When Nevada's Democratic Senator Harry Reid called Bundy a domestic terrorist, Republican Dean Heller came to Bundy's defense.

"What Senator Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots," Heller said.

Now, it's not Bundy's anti-government rants getting attention, it's his racist remarks.
FULL POST

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world lead

April 24th, 2014
04:42 PM ET

MH370: Bluefin-21 search nearly complete

(CNN) – As an underwater drone keeps going up and back down, so do hopes that evidence of Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may be found.

A metal object that washed ashore in Western Australia and sparked the curiosity of investigators Wednesday turned out to be unrelated.

And while the Bluefin-21 plunged into the Indian Ocean for its 12th mission Thursday, no one was certain the drone would find anything new.

CNN's Pamlea Brown reports.

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world lead

April 24th, 2014
04:14 PM ET

CNN TV Exclusive: Malaysian PM not declaring passengers dead

(CNN) – More than six weeks after Flight 370 disappeared, Malaysia's prime minister says his government is still not prepared to declare it - and the 239 people on board - lost.

"At some point in time I would be, but right now I think I need to take into account the feelings of the next of kin - and some of them have said publicly that they aren't willing to accept it until they find hard evidence," Najib Razak told CNN's Richard Quest in an exclusive TV interview.

Still, he said, it is "hard to imagine otherwise."

Najib also announced that his government will release a preliminary report next week on the plane's disappearance. The report has already been submitted to the United Nations.

A month ago, Malaysia Airlines sent a text to relatives of the passengers saying "we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those onboard survived."

Najib himself announced at the time that, based on satellite data from Inmarsat, investigators had determined the plane's "last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

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