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

Continuing coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Plus, the latest on Mideast tensions.

Continuing coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Plus, the latest on Mideast tensions.

world lead

July 21st, 2014
04:42 PM ET

U.S. intelligence suggests Russia was involved in downing of Flight 17

(CNN) - The unanswered intelligence question: Were Russian military personnel present at the shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17? Did Russian troops pull the trigger, taking 298 lives?

U.S. officials say they may never know for certain, but they do know Russia was involved.

CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

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national lead

July 4th, 2014
05:45 PM ET

Door open to U.S. military action in Iraq?

(CNN) – Iraqi military forces say they have taken back the birthplace of Saddam Hussein from the Islamic militant group ISIS.

Awja is a northern Iraqi city, about 12 miles away from Tikrit and a two-hour drive from Baghdad.

It's a win for the Iraqi government, but ISIS still controls large swaths of the country, and seems to have the momentum.

It raises the question of how seriously the Obama administration is considering escalating its military efforts in Iraq.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports.

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world lead

July 2nd, 2014
04:37 PM ET

U.S. military advisers assess Iraqi military

Washington (CNN) – Preliminary intelligence reports from U.S. military advisers in Iraq say the Iraqis will stand up and fight against the militant group ISIS.

"Everything that we see indicates that they will fight, that they will defend Baghdad," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.

But U.S. advisers for now are not going on patrols or anywhere near Iraqi combat positions, they are staying at Iraqi headquarters around Baghdad.

"That would be like staying at the Pentagon and assessing the health of the US military just from the Pentagon. Its impossible to do that," said former Air Force intelligence officer Col. Cedric Leighton (Ret.).

So is the latest U.S. intel on Iraq any good?

CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

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politics lead

June 19th, 2014
02:01 PM ET

Obama prepared to send military advisers to Iraq

(CNN) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday he's prepared to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to "assess how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces."

Obama added that "American forces will not be returning to combat" but will help Iraqis "take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well."

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world lead

June 13th, 2014
06:03 PM ET

Obama says no combat troops to Iraq; U.S. weighs airstrikes

Washington (CNN) – No troops to Iraq, but other options are being considered.

That was President Barack Obama's message Friday in response to the lightning advance by Sunni militant fighters in Iraq that could threaten the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

In a statement delivered from the White House South Lawn, Obama said the United States "will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq," but that he would be reviewing a range of other options in coming days.

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