Skip to main content

tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  September 15, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

2:00 pm
gavin newsom held onto his seat as california governor in the pricey and ultimately unsuccessful republican recall election effort. though today president biden is turning his attention back to the pandemic, which is still raging out of control. and a matter of national security we'll bring you those remarks when they start. but first let's bring in jeremy diamond live at the white house. jeremy, what is president biden going to talk about at this national security announcement? >> reporter: well, jake, we have learned according to a senior administration official that president biden is going to be announcing a new trilateral partnership with australia and the united kingdom that seems to be aimed ostensibly at challenging china in asia and the pacific. one of the -- at the heart of this partnership what we are learning is that it's going to be the u.s. and the uk working to help australia develop nuclear-powered submarines. that is something that the australian military does not currently have and that the u.s. and the united kingdom are going
2:01 pm
to help australia develop. a senior official speaking to this earlier said that this is extremely rare. in fact, the united states has only once before shared this highly sensitive military technology with another country, and that was with the united kingdom some 70 years ago. and so while the white house is insisting that this new partnership, which is going to be focused on defense issues as well as cyber issues, they say it's not focused on any one country -- >> jeremy, let me interrupt, i'm sorry, because president biden is speaking now. >> built with a strong foundation of truth and trust. -- through a similar lens. we've always believed in a world that favors freedom, that respects human dignity, the rule of law, the independence of sovereign states and the peaceful fellowship of nations. and while we have always looked to each other to do what we
2:02 pm
believe is right, we have never left each other, always together, never aligned. our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the ind no pacific. this affects us all. the future of the indo-pacific will impact all our futures to meet these challenges and to help deliver the security and stability our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level. a partnership that seeks to engage, not to exclude, to contribute, not take, and to enable and empower, not to control or coerce. a new, enhanced trilateral security partnership is born between australia, the united kingdom, and the united states. a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our defense forces are
2:03 pm
all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all. it will also enhance our contribution to our growing network of partnerships in the indo-pacific region and our asean friends, five eyes countries and of course our dear pacific family. the first major initiative of aucas will be to deliver a nuclear powered submarine fleet to australia. this will include an intense examination of what we need to do to build these submarines in adelaide, australia, in close cooperation with the united kingdom and the united states. but let me be clear. australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear
2:04 pm
capability. and we will continue to meet all our nuclear, nonproliferation obligations. australia has a long history of defense cooperations with the united states and the united kingdom. for more than a century we have stood together for the cause of peace and freedom, motivated by the beliefs we share, sustained by the bonds of friendship we have forged, enabled by the sacrifice of those who have gone before us, and inspired by our shared hope for those who will follow us. and so today, friends, we recommit ourselves to this cause and a new aucus vision. >> i'm delighted to join president biden and prime minister morrison to announce that the united kingdom, australia, and the united states are creating a new trilateral
2:05 pm
defense partnership known as aucus with the aim of working hand in glove to preserve security and stability in the indo-pacific. we're opening up a new chapter in our friendship, and the first task of this partnership will be to help australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, emphasizing of course that the submarines in question will be powered by nuclear reactors, not armed with nuclear weapons. and our work will be fully in line with our nonproliferation obligations. this will be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, lasting for decades and requiring the most advanced technology. it will draw on the expertise that the uk has acquired over generations dating back to the launch of the royal navy's first nuclear submarine over 60 years ago. and together with the other
2:06 pm
opportunities from aucus creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the united kingdom including in scotland, the north of england, taking forward this government's driving purpose of leveling up across the whole country. we will have a new opportunity to reinforce britain's place at the leading edge of science and technology strengthening our national expertise and perhaps most significantly the uk, australia, and the u.s. will be joined even more closely together. reflecting the measure of trust between us, the depth of our friendship and the enduring strength of our shared values of freedom and democracy. only a handful of countries possess nuclear-powered submarines. and it is a momentous decision
2:07 pm
for any nation to acquire this formidable capability. now the uk will embark on this project alongside our allies, making the world safer and generating jobs across our united kingdom. thank you. over to you, mr. president. >> thank you, boris. and i want to thank that fellow down under. thank you very much, pal. i appreciate it, mr. prime minister. i'm honored today to be joined by two of america's closest allies, australia and the united kingdom to launch a new phase of the trilateral security
2:08 pm
coope cooperation among our countries. i want to thank you for this partnership, your vision as we embark together on this strategic mission, although australia, the uk and u.s. partnership, aukus. our nations will update our shared ability to take on the threats of the 21st century, just as we did in the 20th century together. our nations and our brave fighting forces have stood shoulder to shoulder for literally more than 100 years through the trench-fighting in world war i, the island-hopping in world war ii during the frigid winters in core and the scorching heat in the persian gulf. they have long been faithful and capable partners. today we take another historic step to deepen and formalize cooperation among all three of our nations. because we all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and
2:09 pm
stability in the indo-pacific over the long term. we need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve. because the future of each of our nations and indeed the world depends on a free and indo-pacific. this is about investing in our alliances and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow. it's about connecting america's existing allies and partners in new ways and amplifying our ability to collaborate, recognizing there is no regional divide separating the interest of our atlantic and pacific partners. indeed, this effort reflects the broader trend of key european countries playing an extremely important role in the indo-pacific. france in particular already has substantial indo-pacific
2:10 pm
presence and is a key partner and ally in strengthening the security and prosperity of the region. the united states looks forward to working closely with france and other key countries as we go forward. and, finally, this initiative is about making sure that each of us has a modern capability, the most modern capabilities we need to maneuver and defend against rapidly evolving threats. aukus will bring together our sailors, our scientists, and our industries to maintain and expand our aging military capabilities and critical technology such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and undersea domains. now as a key project under aukus, we are launching consultations with australia's acquisition of conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines for its navy, conventionally armed. i want to be exceedingly clear about this. we're not talking about nuclear
2:11 pm
armed submarines. these are conventional submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors. and the united states and the uk have been operating these for decades. i have asked secretary austin of the department of defense to lead this effort of the u.s. government in close collaboration with the department of energy and the department of state. our governments will now launch an 18-month consultation period to determine every element of this program from workforce to training requirements, to production timelines, to safeguards and nonproliferation measures and to nuclear stewardship and safety to ensure full compliance with each of our nations' commitments of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. this reflects the longstanding leadership in global nonproliferation and vigorous
2:12 pm
verification standards in partnership, in consult with the international atomic energy agency. so i want to thank the prime minister, prime minister morrison and prime minister johnson for their friendship, but mostly important, for their leadership and partnership as we undertake this new phase of our security cooperation. and the united states will also continue to work with asean and the quad as was stated earlier. our five treaty allies and other close partners in the indo-pacific as well as allies and partners in europe and around the world to maintain a free and open indo-pacific and build a future of peace, opportunity for all the people of the region. we're joining together where partnerships are getting stronger. this is what we're about. i want to thank you all, and i look forward to seeing both of you in person very soon, i hope. thank you.
2:13 pm
>> mr. president, did you tell president xi when you spoke to him last week? >> you have been listening to a major national security announcement president biden joined by the leaders, the prime ministers of the united kingdom and australia announcing that the u.s. and uk will help australia acquire and deploy nuclear-powered submarines. that's different than a nuclearly armed submarine. this is a serious step about countering the increasing flexing of muscle by china in the pacific. so let's get you up to speed. and, frankly, we need to take a moment here to acknowledge that the united states on foreign policy has, to a great degree, been focused either on counterterrorism, the wars in iraq and afghanistan and the threat from russia. we haven't really in the news media focused a great deal on china. so, let's talk about how big a deal this is. the u.s. is going to help
2:14 pm
australia and the uk are going to help australia get nuclear-powered submarines. that doesn't mean a nuclear-armed submarine, right? >> it does not. that's a very important distinction, which, as we note, the president took care to make. it is a big deal no matter how you look at it on several levels. first, in my mind, it really breathes life into the notion of a pivot to asia, which we've been talking about for a long time. >> for decades. >> and it's a very bold step for the australian government and the australian people to take. it conveys -- >> why is it a bold step? >> the notion of a nuclear capability are somewhat controversial. they certainly weren't in new zealand, which of course is not part of this. so i just think -- and the fact that given the dependence that
2:15 pm
australia has on china for its economy, it's a bold step because clearly the chinese will view this as provocative. and they should. it also, i think, demonstrates a real pivot away from the distractions that you mentioned, afghanistan, counterterrorism, into a strategic relationship that we've always had a close relationship with australia, clearly, certainly i can attest to the intelligence domain. this will profoundly extend the capability of australian navy, and in a sense expand the size of the fleet available to the united states because we are so interoperable. so, in my mind on several levels a really big deal, and coincidentally coming on the right time to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the
2:16 pm
australia/new zealand/u.s. treaty. it's yet another layer of the intimate relation partnership we have with australia and the uk. >> colonel leighton, for people who have not been focusing entirely on chinese assertions, aggressions in the pacific, what has led up to this that australia, the united states, and the uk would feel the need to reassert the alliance and say, and you know what, we're going to give some powerful submarines to australia to push back against china? what has china been doing that has the west so alarmed? >> the most obvious thing is what's been happening in the south china sea. what you have is an area that's been claimed by china by the people's republic of china for really since they took over mainland china in the late 1940s. and what those claims are based on natural resources or perceived natural resources in those areas. it's between vietnam, the
2:17 pm
philippines, brunei, malaysia, and of course china and taiwan. so that's the first part of it. what we're talking about here is making sure that what we call the sea lanes of communication are open. that means that the trade routes that we use on the open seas need to be protected in the u.s., australia and uk view, they need to be protected by our collective forces in order to make sure that no other navy can interfere with the trade routes as they exist right now. so that means any oil, for example, that comes from the middle east, any raw materials that come from africa, things that china depends on a great deal -- but have the chinese been stopping those trade routes? >> not yet. but the fear is that they could. they haven't been doing so directly. and the other part of this is taiwan. the chinese have made lots of noises in the last few months
2:18 pm
about taking over taiwan as part of their, you know, bring it back into china. they're really making sure that they can go ahead and take over what the chinese nationalists have had since the late 1940s and what they're also doing is they're making sure that civil liberties in hong kong are being curtailed. so you have three things going on, on the open side of things. and then beneath all of that you have a big cyber war that's going on between china and the united states. and all of that speaks to a large picture where china and the u.s. are really fighting each other in a virtual way. but what is happening now is the united states is moving its focus along with the uk and australia into the pacific and making good on the plan, as general clapper mentioned, to do this over the last few decades. >> and we should note that,
2:19 pm
first of all, it's very clear to president biden that president xi, whom he's known for decades, is not a reformer, is aggressive, in the way that putin longs for the old ussr, xi longs for the old mao. and this is a struggle between democracy versus autocracy. >> yeah, that has been the central kind of organizing theme we have heard from president biden since he took office. it is a petition of the u.s. versus china, democracy versus autocracy. but what we're seeing now is just how the biden administration is actually going to really bring that to life. and i think the biden administration has been clear that they're not going to take on china alone. and by tapping into the uk, the brits, and the australians, two of our closest allies and pulling them in on an effort
2:20 pm
that is forward-looking. like, when you heard president biden speak about the things that they are going to be sharing together, it's about defense, it's about this new submarine for the australians. it's about cyber, it's about ai. these are all forward-looking efforts. it's not about wars of the past, traditional warfare. i also think it's significant that the uk hasn't really been present in the indo-pacific for the greater part of the last decade or so. after world war ii, the uk really left. so this brings them back, and it brings them back alongside the u.s. and the australians. >> let's go to beijing new bureau chief who's live inside the u.s. capitol. it's still very early there. what do you expect the chinese government's response will be to this announcement if they did not already know it was coming? >> this is obviously not going to sit well with them.
2:21 pm
they will see this as a provocation. also this is probably in a way not surprising. because australian/china relations have really plunged to a deep freeze for some time. this of course was getting really to the point of no return after scott morrison, the prime minister in april 2020 called for independent national inquiry into the origin of the covid and really seen by beijing as a thinly veiled attack on china's role in starting this pandemic. and since then of course we have seen china using every possible means to basically attack australia, not only diplomatly and militarily but also economically. china is australia's biggest trading partner. and since april of last year chinese authorities have made it very difficult for australian exports to reach this very important market. we are talking about things from coal to beef to barley to wine.
2:22 pm
the bilateral trade actually dropped more than $4 billion between these two trading partners. so, this is really seen by many as an example of beiging using a u.s. ally, a very close one, to show the rest of the world what happened to them if they get too close to what beijing considers to the anti-china agenda by washington. and so i think this is very important, this announcement, because this is president biden really telling beijing the u.s. is committed to standing with its allies, especially liberal democracies in countering these chinese aggression, assertive policies. this is also especially important after what happened in afghanistan. because the events there have been seized by beijing propaganda machine as the u.s. abandoning its allies at a critical moment. >> thanks so much. appreciate it.
2:23 pm
and general clapper, let me just ask you, i mean, i think one of the base-line thoughts by people watching this right now and trying to understand what it means to their lives is does this mean we are headed towards some sort of military confrontation with china, obviously in the cyber realm, that's already happening. obviously trade wars are going on. but when we start talking about submarines, we should note australian submarines but submarines getting involved in patrolling the seas to counter china. what does that mean in terms of a great power war potentially? >> well, i think right now it means greater deterrence. it puts australia in play, particularly because of the endurance of the nuclear-powered submarine and the range that gives them because australia is a long way away from the approximate maritime areas around china. so i don't think it means directly war, it certainly means
2:24 pm
better preparation in, god forbid, we get into a hostile situation. but i think the important message here is it represents deterrence. >> all right, thanks, everyone, for all your thoughts. a big story that's going to keep happening. so thank you so much. breaking right now, three new reports just published all backing the argument that if you are fully vaccinated you might need to get that third shot. plus, the threatening words from kim jong-un's sister after both north and south korea fire off test missiles. stay with us. 100% wild-caught tuna. hold up! 100% wild-caught tuna ain't new! subway®'s always had 100% wild-caught tuna! y'all tried to sneak one in on the chuckster!
2:25 pm
2:26 pm
visible is wireless that gets better with friends. pay as low as $25 a month. or bring a friend and you both get a month for $5. so the more people you roll with, the more you save. visible. unlimited data as low as $25 a month. or bring a friend and you both get a month for $5.
2:27 pm
for people living with h-i-v, keep being you. and ask your doctor about biktarvy. biktarvy is a complete, one-pill, once-a-day treatment used for h-i-v in certain adults. it's not a cure, but with one small pill, biktarvy fights h-i-v to help you get to and stay undetectable. that's when the amount of virus is so low it cannot be measured by a lab test. research shows people who take h-i-v treatment every day and get to and stay undetectable can no longer transmit h-i-v through sex. serious side effects can occur, including kidney problems and kidney failure. rare, life-threatening side effects include a buildup of lactic acid and liver problems. do not take biktarvy if you take dofetilide or rifampin. tell your doctor about all the medicines and supplements you take, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis. if you have hepatitis b, do not stop taking biktarvy without talking to your doctor. common side effects were diarrhea, nausea, and headache. if you're living with hiv, keep loving who you are. and ask your doctor if biktarvy is right for you.
2:28 pm
just moments ago three highly anticipated studies were released, two from pfizer, one
2:29 pm
from israel, nudging scientists and doctors closer to a definitive answer on the currently hotly debated question, are booster shots for fully vaccinated americans needed? joining us now to discuss, cnn's chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. and, sanjay, we heard about data from israel suggesting that boosters were needed for months. what do these studies say? >> yeah. so let's look at this, jake. i want to put up the study. this has been making a lot of news. this is going to be discussed on friday at that vaccine meeting. here is the data out of israel. it's basically month by month saying how well protected are you if you had your vaccine in second dose in january, that's on the left side of the screen going to the right. if you had your dose in january you have lower protection than going forward. but look at this graph closely, jake. there's a couple things to point out. april seems to actually be worse off than march in terms of protection. why would a more recent set of
2:30 pm
vaccinations actually have less protection? don't know. that's curious for sure. something they're going to certainly talk about. but also those vertical lines, we're going to nerd out for a second, jake, but those are called confidence intervals. it can vary within that line. and if you look at those vertical lines, tons of overlap there. so point is how robust is this data? that's what they're going to look at, how meaningful is it? one other study talks about this is out of the "new england journal of medicine." in this case they looked at boosters specifically and says how well does it compare to people who just got two shots? what they found is it seemed to reduce the rate of confirmed infections and the rate of severe illness. but this study sort of started 12 days after the shot. and some of the critics have said is that long enough to really know the long-term value of a booster? yeah, you're going to get a lot of protection right away after the shot. we know that. but what about a month later,
2:31 pm
two months later, three months later? this is the contentious part of the discussion, what they're going to have to sort of figure out on friday. >> what sort of data are we getting from pfizer and moderna? >> well, pfizer is presenting sort of similar data. we can show you, there is a sort of waning of the overall effect that drops by about 6% every couple of months. now, this is in terms of the protection and the effectiveness against anybody who has any symptoms of covid. could be really mild symptoms, could be severe symptoms. and you do see a drop-off. if you look in that study, and i hope people don't miss this point is that for severe illness, it is still pretty much across the board 96.7% effective. that's according to their own study. so for severe illness, the thing they care about the most, it holds up and it doesn't really degrade. as far as moderna goes, they did show more breakthrough infections the further away you got from your vaccines. but, again, overall very good protection against severe
2:32 pm
illness and no safety concerns. >> so we're looking at the population of israel. does it make sense to compare the united states to israel? israel has a high vaccination rate, higher than the u.s., writ large. it has a much smaller population. frankly, it's also not as diverse as the united states. >> yeah. i mean, it's interesting because they've always sort of been ahead of us in the vaccine thing. so in some ways they're sort of a living lab, all the things you say are correct, it's not a perfect sort of lab, but they are ahead. we kind of look to them for their data and see if there are any lessons we can learn here. so let's take a look at what's been happening in israel to get a sense of how their numbers have changed. 63% of the country vaccinated, so higher than we have here. yet you see they're at higher case rates now than they've ever been before. and this is after at least boosters in the age group 60 and
2:33 pm
older. so we talk about the fact that boosters will hopefully reduce breakthrough infections. but in israel, in fact, cases are as high as they've ever been, a little bit higher than that even. i think there are lessons there. the vaccines are really good at protecting against severe illness. they may not be as good at protecting against breakthrough infections. and that's an important thing to remember. because if we keep saying breakthrough infections are going to inspire us to give more and more shots, that may be a little bit of a false metric as israel is showing us. >> but of course the most important numbers are fatalities and severe illness or hospitalization as opposed to just infection. infection could mean you just have the virus, but no side effects at all. how do you expect this new information to impact the fda's decision on whether or not to officially recommend boosters for people who are fully vaccinated? >> you know, jake, the honest answer is i don't know.
2:34 pm
this has been kind of a mess, to be quite honest, because the original messaging came out of the white house, and even though the cdc and fda and the white house were on board with that, it became very clear very quickly that not everyone in those agencies at the fda and cdc agreed. and you heard about the sort of high-profile announced departures of people at the fda. there's a lot of back and forth on this. i think where the data seems most convincing, as we saw, for example, giving a boost to immune-compromised people, that makes sense. they were never able to generate enough of an immune response in the first place. so this boost will help them. people who are over the age of 60, that's where most of the data that we're seeing out of israel really is focused on. and as i just showed you, there's some evidence of it. it's a little bit weak because huge confidence intervals and things like that. but there is some evidence. but whether or not the fda will then recommend everybody get boosted, i don't know. i wouldn't think so, but we'll see. >> sanjay, stick around.
2:35 pm
but i do want to bring in cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen who has new details on the decision. this is not going to be an easy decision for the fda. >> jake, when fda vaccine advisers meet on friday to discuss boosters for covid-19 vaccines, well, it is sure to be contentious and perhaps even somewhat bitter. last month president biden came out and talked about the booster program, even gave a date for next week to start that program up. and that has made many scientists quite angry. they say the president of the united states should not be talking about something until fda and cdc scientists have been able to look at the data and weigh in on their thoughts. so let's take a look at what some of this data is. at issue is whether two shots are enough to protect people. u.s. and qatari studies suggest that two shots are sufficient to protect against severe illness, against severe covid-19.
2:36 pm
but the israeli studies suggest that two shots are not sufficient to protect against severe covid-19. and out this hour from the "new england journal of medicine," an israeli study that shows boosters do protect against severe illness. that israeli data is based on their booster program that started on august 1st. they've already given booster shots to millions of people. now, there's another layer to this. we've already talked about shots protecting against severe illness. but would a booster shot protect against in education? we know that sometimes people get two shots of a covid-19 vaccine and they get an infection, they get covid-19, typically they don't get very sick. one camp says that's not a big deal, these people don't get very sick. another camp says, well, those people are still possible of spreading covid-19 around and we don't want that. the so let's take a listen to something that dr. rochelle walensky said recently. >> in early august we started to see that there was some waning
2:37 pm
with our vaccine effectiveness just with regard to infections. people weren't getting that particularly sick yet, but just with regard to infections. and that foreshadowed we may be seeing this soon with regard to hospitalizations and severe disease. >> so the vaccine advisers are going to be debating this on friday as americans wait to hear will they be getting a covid-19 booster shot. jake? >> elizabeth cohen, thanks so much. so, sanjay, clearly behind the scenes this is a huge mess. what's your reaction? >> i think the fda has really taken this opportunity in some ways to signal their independence here. they want to make sure they're independent. and we saw the beginning of the whole vaccine authorization process last year. you remember that with president trump and the fda. the fda saying, look, we are going to wait until we are convinced. and we may see some of that here or they may sort of play it down the line saying we understand that the white house has talked about boosters across the board. the evidence is strongest only
2:38 pm
for certain age groups, 60 or 65 and older. >> all right, dr. sanjay gupta, thank you so much, appreciate it. >> look out for sanjay's new book titled "world war c." we'll talk all about it when it comes out. even more twists, that prominent south carolina lawyer now admits he hired someone to shoot him in the head. and now a new investigation involving the death of a housekeeper at the family's home. stay with us.
2:39 pm
2:40 pm
finding new routes to reach your customers,
2:41 pm
and new ways for them to reach you... is what business is all about. it's what the united states postal service has always been about. so as your business changes, we're changing with it. with e-commerce that runs at the speed of now. next day and two-day shipping nationwide. same day shipping across town. returns right from the doorstep, and deliveries seven days a week. it's a whole new world out there. let's not keep it waiting. and there you have it— -woah. wireless on the most reliable network nationwide. wow! -big deal! ...we get unlimited for just $30 bucks. sweet, but mine has 5g included. relax people, my wireless is crushing it. that's because you all have xfinity mobile
2:42 pm
with your internet. it's wireless so good, it keeps one upping itself. switch to xfinity mobile and save hundreds on your wireless bill. plus, save up to $400 when you purchase a new samsung phone or upgrade your existing phone. learn more at your local xfinity store today. in our national lead, a stunning twist in the
2:43 pm
investigation into the shooting of of the prominent south carolina attorney alex murdaugh. his son and wife had been killed months before he was shot. now murdaugh's own attorney reveals that murdaugh hired a hitman to shoot him in the head. the apparent goal to fake a murder so that his surviving son could collect $10 million in life insurance. but murdaugh survived the shooting, and the staged case is raising new questions about those unsolved murders of his wife magee and son paul back in june. cnn's martin savidge has been digging into murdaugh and his claims and has the new revelations coming to light. >> reporter: a shooting on the side of this south carolina road is now embroiled in charges of conspiracy and insurance fraud. he was shot in the head september 4th after he pulled over to check his tires. but it is now said he asked this
2:44 pm
man chris smith to do it. >> realized that things were going to get very, very, very bad and he decided to end his life. >> reporter: his lawyer tells cnn that the 53-year-old suffered a fractured skull and brain bleed but survived. an affidavit says he provided mr. smith with a firearm and directed mr. smith to shoot him in the head. smith is charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high-aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. it is not clear whether smith has an attorney or how he intends to plea on the charges. murdaugh, who has not been charged, told south carolina police he was in such a bad financial position he thought death was his only way to ensure a life insurance payout for his son, his attorney says. >> he believed that $10 million policy had a suicide exclusion. suicide exclusions are only good for two years, and he didn't realize that.
2:45 pm
so he arranged to have this guy shoot him. >> reporter: his lawyer says that murdaugh was in a massive depression from the shocking unsolved double murder of his wife and son three months ago. and that he also has a severe opioid addiction. >> his father died of cancer that same week. most people couldn't get through that. he got through it with the use of opioids. >> reporter: just one day before the shooting, murdaugh had abruptly resigned from his law firm after being accused of misappropriating funds, which his lawyer says has been primarily used to purchase drugs. attorneys for murdaugh now claim that smith and others, quote, took advantage of his mental illness and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs. >> this guy shooting him in the head didn't try to persuade him not to do it, didn't hesitate at all. >> reporter: smith appeared in court today on unrelated drug charges. he will now be transferred to hampton county for charges in the alex murdaugh case. records show the connection between murdaugh and his alleged
2:46 pm
shooter going back more than a decade when murdaugh represented some itd in court, first in a personal injury suit and then for a traffic infraction. murdaugh's lawyer says he spoke to murdaugh at a detention center on monday and explains why he finally came forward. >> he didn't want law enforcement spending more time on this fake crime instead of focusing on solving the murders of magee and paul. >> at the risk of sounding like a broken record, there is yet another twist late this afternoon, and it is coming from the south carolina law enforcement division, they put out a statement saying based on a request from the hampton county coroner earlier today as well as information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving alex murdaugh, they are opening a criminal investigation into the death of gloria satterfield. gloria was a housekeeper that worked for the murdaughs. she reportedly tripped and fell and then died in 2018.
2:47 pm
now it appears that they have questions not only about how she died but also questions about money that was supposed to be paid to her sons. yet another death and another investigation tied to the murdaugh name. jake? >> martin savage, thank you so much. let's bring in cnn criminal defense attorney. now there's this 2018 death of a murdaugh family housekeeper. murdaugh's wife magee and his son paul were shot and killed back in june. paul was also involved in a boating crash that killed a young woman in 2019. i mean, the only thing that's clear here is that we don't know everything. >> we do not, jake. but perhaps we will and we'll learn soon. so remember when something like this happens where you have someone, right, who allegedly was involved in this conspiracy, i say that, everyone's alleged, and it's until proven guilty.
2:48 pm
it opens up a number of things. now it's very unusual, first of all, to have your lawyer on tv basically admitting to every underlying element of every charge. yes, there was an agreement with respect to the $10 million. yes, he indicated that he wanted this person to shoot him in the head. yes, he was involved with respect to his own death because of this whole life insurance issue. now you have something, so the police are going to want to know, a, was there any involvement in the june killing of his wife and son with respect to that what, if anything, did you know or were you involved with anyone who could have done this if you didn't yourself. and then b, to your initial question, what about that housekeeper? it raises the specter of if you had any involvement in that. we very well could know something soon because you have the attorney and the client speaking about their activities and their past history. >> we should remind people this is a very powerful family in a
2:49 pm
small town in the south. so, one of the reasons why this is getting where it is is because now it has become a news story, not just locally but nationally, so there's new focus and attention on this. now, murdaugh's attorney is pushing a lot of the blame for the september 4th shooting on this hired hitman who allegedly took advantage of murdaugh. >> he arranged to have this guy shoot him. he called this guy who met him on the side of the road, agreed to shoot him in the head. and this fake car breakdown. 30 minutes later this guy shooting him in the head, didn't try to persuade him not to do it. didn't hesitate at all. >> soi, you're a defense attorney. can you ever think of any reason why you would go on tv and admit that your client committed a crime like that? >> i would not.
2:50 pm
everyone handles things differently. no one has a monopoly on wisdom. but i can tell you that i think, a, the lawyer believes they have the client debt to rights. and everything the lawyer is peddling goes to what we lawyers call mitigation. none of this excuses your involvement, conspiracy, which is the act to agree with someone to do, which is kill me for life insurance. that, in effect, is a crime. and then the fraud relating to that is a crime. so, all of these things, none of what the attorneys said goes to excusing the client and is not a defense. it simply provides mitigation. my client was on opioids. my client had very different things happening with the family, everything else. so, it's very bizarre, very unusual. and hopefully sled will get to the bottom of it too, south carolina law enforcement division. >> i find it odd you would hire somebody to shoot you in the head, he shoots you in the head
2:51 pm
and doesn't succeed. it seems it's something a hitman could succeed in doing. turning to our world lead, turning to tensions on the korean peninsula after north and south korea launched ballistic missiles today, provoking an angry back and forth between top officials from both countries. paula hancocks joins us from seoul, korea. north korea now is claiming this is some kind of new missile system. >> reporter: yes, jake, north korean statement media has just reported on this. and they're calling this ballistic short range missiles railway bourn, so presumably fired from a railway, which is an interesting new development. now, we -- this comes just a couple of days after they claim they have those long range cruise missiles that they fired over the weekend. technically that didn't break any rules but what happened on wednesday did. ballistic missile technology is a violation of the u.n. security council resolutions against
2:52 pm
pyongyang. japan's prime minister has called it outrageous, the defense ministry saying that they believe those missiles landed in their waters. so, their exclusive ec nonlic zone. then on the other side of the dmz, just a few hours later, you saw south korea test firing a submarine launched ballistic missile. they're the 7th country to do this and the only non-nuclear country to do this. moon jae-in was in attendance. he watched the test firing, and he did say this wasn't in reaction to what pyongyang had done a few hours earlier but also did say that increasing the missile arsenal of south korea can only help deter north korea. we had a response from kim yo-jong slamming north korea saying their missile launch was simply in self-defense and not out of the ordinary. also pointing out that the relationship between north and
2:53 pm
south korea was going to degenerate very quickly, given what president moon had said. just a bit of context, just a couple of months ago we were talking about the leaders of north and south korea exchanging letters. things were looking hopeful. and then on wednesday, you have missile launches on both sides of the dmz. >> paula hancocks in seoul. coming up, making history for americans heading to space, not one of them an astronaut. stay with us. kinder bueno? woooooow.
2:54 pm
it's crispy. it's creamy. it's not your average chocolate bar. smooth milk chocolate, crispy wafer and creamy hazelnut filling. it's kinder bueno.
2:55 pm
like many people with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's disease, i was there. be right back. but my symptoms were keeping me from where i needed to be. so i talked to my doctor and learned humira is the #1 prescribed biologic for people with uc or crohn's disease. and humira helps people achieve remission that can last, so you can experience few or no symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections,
2:56 pm
including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. be there for you and them. ask your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, remission is possible.
2:57 pm
i don't just play someone brainy on tv - i'm an actual neuroscientist. and i love the science behind neuriva plus. unlike ordinary memory supplements, neuriva plus fuels six key indicators of brain performance. more brain performance? yes, please! neuriva. think bigger. in our out of this world lead today, a first for space. tonight four american civilians will blastoff on board a spacex rocket and orbit the earth for three days. this will be the first mission in the history of space flight to go into orbit staffed entirely by non-astronauts. kristen fisher is live for us
2:58 pm
near the launch site. kristen, is it still all systems go for launch tonight? >> the crew is in the capsule, the weather looks great. all systems are still go for launch in about two hours and five minutes. jake, the reason that this mission is so extraordinary is because of how ordinary the crew is. none of them are professional astronauts and yet they're going to be orbiting the earth for three days before splashing down into the atlantic ocean. on board, hailee arceneaux. also, dr. sian proctor, who tried to become an astronaut in 2009. she came this close, was a final list. she was devastated. there's also chris sembroski who saw that super bowl ad for this flight, entered a rifle. his friend got the golden ticket and gave it to him. that's how he ended up here.
2:59 pm
finally the mission's leader and commander, jared isaacman who is an entrepreneur, a billionaire. he funded this flight. he's also a pilot. he went to spacex back in october and they were talking about something totally separate. but he said, hey, if you ever want to send a private screw to space, think of me. now less than a year later, here he is strapped on top of this falcon 9 rocket about to blast into space. the reason this is all so important is because when spacex founder elon musk founded spacex, he did it with the goal of making humanitarian multi-planetary. he wants to colonize mars. and in order to do that, you have to be able to prove that your everyday american, your average human, people who don't necessarily have the right stuff as government nasa astronauts are pretty much required to do, you have to prove that the everyday astronaut is able to survive in space, capable of
3:00 pm
dealing with all that g-force. so, that's why this mission is so important. and that's what the inspiration for a crew is attempting to do, jake. >> all right, kristen fisher, have fun tonight. you can follow me on facebook, instagram, and tiktok. you can tweet the show. if you miss an episode of the show, you can listen to the lead podcast wherever you get your podcasts. our coverage on cnn continues our coverage on cnn continues right now. -- captions by vitac -- happening now, president biden says he has great confidence in the joint chiefs chairman, general milley protecting the country from president trump, including secret calls to china. backup from the national guard and protective fencing is about to go up on the hill, all this amid growing concerns. star gymnasts offer wrenching testimony about the fbi's botched investigation of abuse by