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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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world lead

May 7th, 2014
04:29 PM ET

Fmr. CIA director: Arming Ukraine is 'edgy' but the right move

(CNN) – Whether Russia's activities in Ukraine add up to an invasion is, at this point, a matter of semantics, says former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden.

"Invasion, infiltration – it may be a difference without much distinction," Hayden said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

There is no appetite in the U.S. to get military involved in the crisis in Ukraine. But acknowledging that America is "war weary," Hayden said the U.S. should provide arms to the Ukrainian military.

Obama needs to make the case to the American people that failure in Ukraine "leads to an unraveling of the post-Cold War status quo in Europe," says Hayden.

For more of our interview with Gen. Hayden, check out the video above.

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world lead

May 7th, 2014
04:14 PM ET

Report: Putin wants delay in referendum in Ukraine's Donetsk region

Mariupol, Ukraine (CNN) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he wants a delay in a referendum on whether certain eastern Ukrainian residents want sovereignty from Kiev and that presidential elections scheduled for this month are "a step in the right direction."

But he added that the planned May 25 presidential vote Kiev wants to hold would "not solve anything unless all of Ukraine's people first understand how their rights will be guaranteed" once the election has taken place.

The comments, according to a transcript published by the Kremlin, came after Putin met with the chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Wednesday.

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world lead

May 7th, 2014
02:36 PM ET

Rep. Gowdy: CIA director Morell wasn't telling the truth about no political pressure in Benghazi hearing

(CNN) – Former acting Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell testified before the House Intelligence Committee last month, saying the Benghazi CIA station chief e-mailed three possibilities for what had motivated the 2012 attack: the anniversary of 9/11, revenge for the death of a senior al Qaeda leader in Pakistan, and an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube.

Morell also denied any kind of cover-up or political influence behind the edits he made to those now-infamous talking points used by the White House.

But Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is leading a House select committee investigating the Benghazi attack, says Morell's testimony leaves out some key points, and calls on Morell to explain certain edits.
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politics lead

May 7th, 2014
01:52 PM ET

Rep. Gowdy calls on NRCC to stop Benghazi fundraising

For more of our interview with Rep. Trey Gowdy, watch "The Lead with Jake Tapper" on CNN at 4 p.m. ET

(CNN) – Rep. Trey Gowdy said Wednesday his fellow GOP lawmakers shouldn't be fundraising off the Benghazi terror attack while a select committee, which he is leading, is investigating the 2012 assault.

The Republican from South Carolina told CNN's Jake Tapper that he would not be asking supporters for money related to the latest investigation and his colleagues shouldn't either.

"I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi." Gowdy said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises money for House Republican candidates, published a blog on its website explaining the establishment of a select committee panel to investigate the Benghazi terror attack. In the same post, the NRCC also asks for contributions.

Asked specifically whether the NRCC should continue to raise money on Benghazi, Gowdy said, "I also advise my colleagues to follow suit."

The NRCC defended its actions in a statement Wednesday, warning that if Democrats gain power in the House, the truth about the attack may never be uncovered.

“The Obama administration has not been honest with the American people with regards to Benghazi, and if Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker the American people will never know the truth," said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek.

"Our goal is to hold Democrats in Congress accountable who vote against creating the select committee on Benghazi and who continue to try to sweep this controversy under the rug.”

CNN’s Dana Bash contributed to this report.

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