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

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.

politics lead

May 7th, 2014
06:16 PM ET

Disaster politics: How Obama's Arkansas visit could hurt Democrats

(CNN) – Some Republican grassroots still think when Gov. Chris Christie embraced President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy, it was the hug that sank a presidential campaign.

Political watchers saw a rising GOP star giving an unspoken nod of approval to a Democratic President.

Now, Republicans hope another presidential trip in the wake of a natural disaster – devastating tornadoes – can sink a top Democrat's re-election hopes.

Vulnerable Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor has done everything he can to distance himself from the White House, even running ads touting his push-back against the President's efforts to tighten gun laws.

But Obama just made his first ever presidential visit to the state, at Pryor's behest.

CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash on how the visit could hurt the Arkansas incumbent.

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buried lead

May 7th, 2014
06:11 PM ET

Cleveland hero: I talk to the girls through prayer

(CNN) – Charles Ramsey became an unlikely national hero last year, when he helped rescue three girls – Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus – that were missing for more than ten years.

Ramsey is out with a new book, "Dead Giveaway," detailing how that day changed him.

When a detective told him who he had just rescued, "my heart just dropped," says Ramsey.

Everyone in Cleveland knew about Berry and DeJesus (Knight's family did not report her as missing), says Ramsey. As the neighbor to captor Ariel Castro's house of horrors, Ramsey was shocked the women were nearby all along, hidden in plain sight. He says he lives with the guilt of not recognizing something was amiss sooner.
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politics lead

May 7th, 2014
05:56 PM ET

Rep. Gowdy: New Benghazi committee to pursue Clinton, Rice testimonies

(CNN) – When Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty lost their lives on September 11th, 2012 in an attack on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, Americans wanted to know what happened, and why.
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world lead

May 7th, 2014
04:51 PM ET

U.S. military personnel heading to Nigeria

(CNN) – U.S. officials pressed ahead with plans to provide Nigeria with law enforcement assistance and military consultations, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"Obviously, this is in the interest of the Nigerian government to accept every aspect of our assistance," she said. "They conveyed that they were willing to do that yesterday and it continues to be in their interest to be as cooperative as possible."

U.S. officials will establish a "coordination cell" to provide intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiation expertise, Psaki said. The cell will include U.S. military personnel.

The joint coordination cell will be established at the U.S. Embassy in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the work is expected to begin immediately.

The Pentagon has started planning for how it can help Nigeria, a senior U.S. military official told CNN. U.S. military assistance will likely be limited to intelligence, mission planning and hostage negotiations, several officials told CNN. It's unlikely at this point that U.S. troops would be involved in operations, the officials said.

British officials will send a small team of experts to complement the U.S. team, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday. The spokesman didn't specify the nature of the team's expertise.

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world lead

May 7th, 2014
04:46 PM ET

Analysis: Going after Boko Haram the 'right thing,' but comes at a cost

(CNN) – Former head of the CIA and NSA Gen. Michael Hayden applauded the Obama administration's efforts to get involved in the hunt for Boko Haram.

But he cautioned that it could put another target on America's back.

"There's a cost," Hayden said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"Boko Haram is local. Now we are making a choice. I think it's right. But there are consequences. We are putting an American face on opposition to Boko Haram, an organization that doesn't target Americans – yet. And we may accelerate that process because of what we've done," says Hayden.

U.S. authorities say Boko Haram already receives weapons and communications training from al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and the greater Middle East.

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