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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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politics lead

August 7th, 2013
07:20 PM ET

Fmr. Obama aide slams president’s comments on NSA

A former special advisor to President Barack Obama and co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" Van Jones criticized the president's recent statements about the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance programs.

"We don't have a domestic spying program," Obama said on "The Tonight Show" Tuesday. "What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat."

Jones said that the president's policies suggest otherwise.

"Everybody knows I love this president, but this is ridiculous," said Jones. "We do have a spying program, and we need to figure out how to balance these out."

Jones also criticized the Obama administration's treatment of whistleblowers.

"You are prosecuting more whistleblowers than every American president combined," said Jones. "You can't yuck it up and say, well, whistleblowers come on out and we'll treat you right."

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also stepped out Tuesday, warning his party against defunding Obamacare through attachments to the upcoming spending bill, at risk of adding to the likelihood of a federal government shutdown.

The former Republican presidential candidate's advice may not be welcome to all Republicans, said S.E. Cupp, co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." Cupp praised Romney's business background and suggested sending him to help Detroit, but questioned his political advice given his unsuccessful presidential campaigns.

"I don't think he's proven himself to be a particularly adept political strategist, so warning Republicans about the optics of the messaging, I don't know that he's sort of the best advisor," said Cupp.

"Crossfire" debuts September 16th on CNN.

politics lead

August 5th, 2013
07:18 PM ET

Does the RNC have reason to boycott CNN, NBC?

Do Republicans have legitimate reason to be upset about NBC and CNN's planned Hillary Clinton programming?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Monday that the RNC would not partner with the networks for primary debates in the 2016 presidential election if the recently announced NBC miniseries and CNN documentary about Clinton are released as planned.

"If [NBC and CNN] have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC’s Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote stating that the RNC will neither partner with these networks in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates they sponsor," said Priebus in a statement. The RNC also started a petition on it's website against the forthcoming Clinton programming.

national lead

July 26th, 2013
06:56 PM ET

Community exhales after Castro's plea deal

Ariel Castro agreed to a plea deal Friday morning involving over 900 charges he faced in connection with the kidnapping, rape and abuse of three Cleveland women.

In exchange for taking the death penalty off the table, the deal would send Castro to jail with a life sentence plus 1,000 years with no chance of parole.

Castro agrees to life plus 1,000 years

Admitting his guilt to every charge read by the judge, Castro also said that he was abused as a child.


politics lead

July 17th, 2013
07:01 PM ET

Redemption for Weiner and Spitzer?

A new poll of New York city voters this week rocked headlines nearly as much as the "tabloid twins" it has leading their respective primary races–former Rep. Anthony Weiner, and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Spitzer, who resigned after a prostitution scandal in 2008, has a double digit lead in Democratic primary for New York City comptroller barely a week after announcing his candidacy, while Weiner, the failed tweeter, is ahead of the pack in the Democratic mayoral race.

Spitzer leads Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer 48%-33%, while Weiner is ahead of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a crowded Democratic race, 25%-22%.

"Whatever one's record may have been before the fall from grace, you need to show that you have changed in some way," said Spitzer on NBC's "The Late Show with Jay Leno" last week.

But is it their own personal growth that Spitzer and Weiner have to thank, or the public's tolerance?

national lead

July 16th, 2013
06:51 PM ET

Prosecutor: Holder raises concerns, not hopes

In an address to the NAACP national convention in Orlando Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the "stand your ground" laws that allow for the use of deadly force in life-threatening situations.

"It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," said Holder. "These laws try to fix something that was never broken."

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