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Alabama Governor Signs Nation's Strictest Abortion Ban into Law; Jim Sciutto Honors Ex-Al Qaeda Member Fighting Against Terrorism; TV Shows We Watched Together Come to an End. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 16, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Alabama's governor Kay Ivey put pen to paper in signing the most restrictive abortion ban into law. Makes no exceptions for rape or incest. A provision that could send a doctor to prison for up to 99 years, a life sentence for performing an abortion and even ten years for even attempting it. Alabama's new law sparked an unexpected response from televangelist Pat Robertson.


PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: I think Alabama has gone too far. There's no exception for rape or incest. It's an extreme law and they want to challenge Roe V. Wade but my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose.


BALDWIN: Now Robertson has a point there. Legal analysts say the Alabama law is likely to be blocked immediately by lower courts because it directly violates Supreme Court precedent. And getting to the Supreme Court is the obvious calculation where of antiabortion groups where they hope the conservative majority would strike down Roe V. Wade, the law of the land since 1973. Let's go straight to CNN Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic. Joan, how quickly might this, if it does, end up in the Supreme Court?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Not quickly at all, Brooke. It's interesting when even Pat Robertson says that this is too much, too fast, too far. It conflicts flatly with the law of the land. Which says that government cannot put an undue burden on a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy before viability which is essentially 24 weeks or at least it starts then. And so this law is such a bold assault on Roe. And no lower court judge could possibly allow it to go into effect without defying decades of Supreme Court precedent.

So whatever -- challenges will begin immediately. And probably what will happen immediately is the court -- a lower court will block this law from taking any kind of effect. And then eventually it might be heard on the merits in lower courts. But because of how strongly it is worded and how it precludes abortion in just about every circumstance, the Supreme Court is likely not even to take it up. Not take up this one. Now down the road, Brooke, the Supreme Court might take up a ban on

abortion but not right now. And I think that is why someone like Pat Robertson fears a showdown over something that cannot go anywhere. I should add, though, there are more moderate measures or -- that's using the word a little bit loosely because abortion rights people think that even less restrictive measures so infringe the right of a woman to end a pregnancy that he undermines the legal opinions of Roe. But those more moderate ones, so to speak, compared to Alabama's are in the works moving up with greater chance for the justices to weigh in than on the law from Alabama.

BALDWIN: What about -- the justices have been, as you know, so reluctant to take on cases involving abortion recently. Do you think they have been waiting for a signature case like this?

BISKUPIC: Absolutely not. That this is exactly the kind of case they do not want. And I'll tell you why. You're exactly right, Brooke, that they have not weighed in on abortion rights since 2016. When they heard a Texas case involving regulation of physicians and clinics that perform abortions. That just gives you an example of kinds of restrictions they've been grappling with, access, physician requirements, informed consent, waiting periods. Nothing like an outright ban.

And the ones that they have postponed action on, the disputes that are up there from for example Indiana and Louisiana, the ones that they have just sort of waiting for them to act on, they don't go as far as this of course. But I don't think the justices want to weigh in at all. Remember, this is Brett Kavanaugh's first term and all eyes are on the Supreme Court precisely because he succeeded Anthony Kennedy who was the key fifth vote to keep abortion legal nationwide.

BALDWIN: Got it. I hear your resounding no in answers to all of my questions. Not now. Joan Biskupic, thank you very much.

BISKUPIC: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: And Missouri state Republicans have just passed its own anti-abortion bill, we should point out. It forbids abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Similar to other heartbeat bills cast in other states. Supporters call it one of the best in the country and believe most will be held up in court.

[15:35:00] The bill must pass the house before it hits the governor's desk. Missouri joins a growing list of states passing anti-abortion legislation in hopes of overturning Roe V. Wade.

Still ahead here on CNN, a major cultural moment in America starting tonight. Two of the biggest TV shows of the decade coming to an end within days of each other.


BALDWIN: Just into CNN, Boeing says it has completed the work on the software fix for the 737 Max jets. They have been grounded nationwide since the second deadly crash involving Ethiopian Airlines back if March. Boeing said it has flown the Max with the updated software on 207 flights for more than 360 hours. The FAA would still have to sign off before those jets could go back up in the air.

It has been so fun this week. We've been sharing all these stories of just absolutely remarkable people making lasting impacts all around the world. And we're calling this series "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE." It's are chance to revisit amazing changemakers we have covered in the past and just couldn't forget. Their passions endure and so do the differences they continue to make. And CNN "NEWSROOM" anchor Jim Sciutto met his champion, Hanif Kadir, nearly 10 years ago. Hanif has been waging his own war against terrorism. And it's a war he knows all too well because he's actually been on both sides of it.


ASSAD: With father's death, I took that very, very badly.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR (voice-over): Assad is a kid who was one step away from hopping on a flight to Syria to fight.

ASSAD: The only goal at that time, without my dad, was to get to him quicker.

SCIUTTO (on camera): To die?


SCIUTTO (voice-over): He wanted to be a martyr. He wanted for a suicide bomber.

ASSAD: I possibly would have just ended my life and killed a lot of innocent -- innocent people. For what? And, you know, I would have been -- my book would have been closed, basically.

HANIF QADIR, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ACTIVE CHANGE FOUNDATION: He was just in this vicious whirlpool of grievance.

SCIUTTO him(on camera): I first met Hanif him more than ten years ago in London.

SCIUTTO (voice over): Former militant Hanif Qadir told us, rich or poor, educated or not, extremism doesn't discriminate.

QADIR: Everybody's one of them.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Hanif is a "Champion for Change" because he's trying to fight terrorism before it happens, long before it happens, before young kids, young Muslims, make the choice to become a terrorist.

(on camera): Hanif.

QADIR: Hey, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Long time.


SCIUTTO: How you been?

QADIR: A very long time.

SCIUTTO: Good to see you.

QADIR: And you -- and you, my friend, and you.

SCIUTTO: Do you have a sense of how many young people you helped during that time?

QADIR: We made a huge amount of difference over the years. And we grew from a very small organization to delivering into 11, 12 different parts of the country and abroad in Pakistan. We've helped people understand that they've got a stake in society and in life, to do things differently.

ASSAD: I won't be able to describe how much -- how grateful I am towards him.

QADIR: It took us a bit of time, but it was just about having the conversation with this guy about what would your father have wanted you to do? Did your father really want you to go on this journey, or did your father want you to take care of the affairs of the family, help your mom, help your brother and sisters and be a decent, law abiding citizen and a God fearing individual.

ASSAD: I mean now I'm working every day, six days a week, providing for my family, which I would -- I wouldn't -- I wouldn't do none of these things before.

SCIUTTO (on camera): When he talked to you about going to Syria, you listened. You trusted him.


SCIUTTO: This is personal for you because --

QADIR: Of course it is.

SCIUTTO: -- you had your own experience.


SCIUTTO: When he was a young man, he left the U.K. to go to Pakistan to join al Qaeda. It sounds I'm incredible to say that. But when he got there, he saw the violence that they were planning, that they were carrying out. He saw it up close. He saw it personal. And he decided, that's not Islam in his view. He didn't want any part of it.

QADIR: It was an experience of taking things personally about the way that the war on terror was conducted in Afghanistan, especially where innocent women and children were being killed. And I dwelled on that. For some reason, those kids reminded me of my own struggle and I wanted to join to help them. But I also wanted to prevent that. So I traveled abroad to join al Qaeda. But then seeing the same thing happen to those children by members of al Qaeda, using them as suicide bombers, also was something that I was not going to tolerate, was not going to take.

SCIUTTO: Does that give you credibility as you're counselling young men that they know that you've been there?

QADIR: Absolutely. I talk to them and I'm taking them through a journey they're going on without them even opening their mouths. And that's, for them, it's like, how the hell does he know this? And it's still relevant today when I talk to people who are thinking of going to Syria or thinking of going to Palestine and fighting the Israelis or thinking they're going to Iraq or to Pakistan. I say, look, this is what you're feeling, this is what you're going through. And I know -- and I know this.

SCIUTTO: The loudest voices are the extremist voices.

QADIR: Absolutely. Absolutely.

SCIUTTO (voice over): When I met him ten years ago, his center was just buzzing with activity. He had hundreds of kids coming there over the weekend.

SCIUTTO (on camera): It's a shame to see it empty now. The last time I was here, it was buzzing.

[15:45:00] QADIR: Yes, yes, yes.

SCIUTTO: You know?

QADIR: It's depressing when you come in.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Now, today, he's lost the funding, the support that he used to get from the British government. It became a political issue in the U.K. And he warns, he's worried that a lot of the kids that he would have stopped going down this path, that they don't have the support network anymore.

QADIR: The challenge will not get any easier, especially with the perception that ISIS is gone and al Qaeda is gone. This is -- this is just as fake as --

SCIUTTO: It's not gone.

QADIR: They're not gone. They're reemerging.

SCIUTTO: Tell me about "I Want Out."

QADIR: This is the campaign that I'm pinning all my hopes on, to tell you the truth, working with a lot of young people, extremist networks and, you know, thinking about getting involved in terrorism or gang violence. And when you really speak to them and it's like -- you know, and you get to know them, then you say, I want out. Just give me a chance. Just, I want out. You know, understand me. People can change and we need to give them the opportunity to change. SCIUTTO: He is not deterred. He's going to stick with it. He's told

me repeatedly. I'm going to keep fighting.

QADIR: The day you start to look at these young people as if they were your own, that's when you will always step forward. I'm not going to let this go without the biggest fight of my life.


BALDWIN: So good, Jim. So good. And to think you met him so many years ago in London and even before -- OK. So many questions. The first question just being did he talk to you about why he or some of the kids want to join these terror groups and what draws them?

SCIUTTO: From the start, it is obviously, a difficult topic because you see there was a kid there, ready to hop on a plane to go to Syria --

BALDWIN: Just like that?

SCIUTTO: Look at him. Can you have sympathy or empathy? Understand where he's coming from? Same with Hanif, he made a choice. Granted some 20 odd years ago and for him he saw a U.S. invasion in a Muslim country and this is often the motivator. And they feel like they're defending their faith, right. So Hanif gets there and he says, wait a second, these guys are worse than I imagined. Their blowing young kids up. Whatever. He turns around and comes back. So as I'm watching it there, I wonder how people at home are reacting to it. Wondering if they're looking -- well why should I have any empathy whatsoever for that guy. But I think -- and I hear this from folks in law enforcement too, that you have to approach them as human beings.

BALDWIN: He's a human.

SCIUTTO: And not one, because some of them can be rescued, but, two, also just for the country's interest in that you want to stop them before they turn. That's funny, Hanif compares it to gang violence a lot.

BALDWIN: Yes, I heard that.

SCIUTTO: Troubled vulnerable kids and these are the ones they go after.

BALDWIN: So how does he find the kids or how do these kids find him.

SCIUTTO: This we were in East London, it's a working-class neighborhood, not many jobs. A lot of kids from broken families. It sounds like stories here if you're talking about young people who go the crime path.

BALDWIN: Instead they go to Syria.

SCIUTTO: They go to Syria. And for them it's part religious. It's part identity. It's like here is a unit that takes me in. I don't have a family. They're giving me something to do. A lot of folks in law enforcement talk about it this way as well with

counter radicalization and so on and with respect to non-Muslim groups like white nationalists, et cetera. How do pull them back? And that's what Hanif's been trying to do. And listen, he worked with the U.K. government for ten years. The metropolitan police were giving him money and funding and working with him because they saw the benefit of it too. The sad fact is now the politics have kind of overshadowed it. So they've taken away the funding. They don't want the association anymore and then you wonder what happens to these kids.

BALDWIN: How many did he -- did he say how many -- just quickly, how kids he's helped.

SCIUTTO: Hundreds. Who knows if all those hundreds would have ended up going that way but he feels they do job counselling. They get kids through school. They tutor them so that they graduate from school. He in a way acts as a surrogate father for a lot of these kids. You saw that with the reaction with Assad. Clearly there was a kid who lost his dad and looks to Hanif for that kind of guidance.

BALDWIN: Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: What an extraordinary story. And just to remind all of you, do not miss our hour long "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" special. It airs this Saturday night at 8:00 Eastern here on CNN.

President Trump just rolled out his plan for immigration a bit ago from the Rose Garden and already he is facing pushback from Congress. The uphill battle ahead for the White House.


BALDWIN: Mick Jagger, 75. Six weeks out of heart valve surgery showing us a thing or two about living life of rock 'n' roll.




BALDWIN: Look at this guy. I can't wait to go to the show in Miami. The front man for the Stones posted this video on social media. It shows him practicing his signature moves. Jagger underwent heart surgery just last month prompting the Stones to postpone their North American tour. He promised he would work hard to get back on stage as quick as possible. The tour is set to resume June 21st.

[15:55:00] And here's something to consider. The first-time Mick Jagger pranced across a U.S. stage was June 5th, 1964. That is 55 years ago next month. Start them up and be, Mick Jagger.

And get ready to say good-bye to some of the biggest TV shows ever to grace the small screen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, THE BIG BANG THEORY: And the phantom menace will be a timeless classic.


BALDWIN: Tonight after 279 episodes, "The Big Bang Theory" ends its 12-season run. It's the longest running multicamera sitcom in TV history. Good-bye Sheldon and Penny and Leonard and Raj. Bazinga!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President of the United States!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the President of the United States, man. What you say goes, literally. You're like a real-life Mariah Carey.


BALDWIN: For political junkies, "Veep" brought its seven-year run to a brutal end earlier this week. Goodbye Selena Meyer, oh, how you made us laugh while loving to hate you. And then on Sunday --



BALDWIN: Sunday night, we finally find out who is left to sit on the iron throne. If there will even be a throne left to sit on as "Games of Thrones" calls it quits after eight epic seasons. Good-bye to all of those characters.

So much to discuss. My producer is laughing at me because she knows I've never seen it. Sorry. You have to forgive me. My producer is walking away from me right now because she's in fits of giggles. Because every Monday I have to listen to her talk about "Game of Thrones" and I'm like, I haven't seen it. I'm the only person on the planet. Let me get to "Game of Thrones" in just a second as I collect myself. Seriously though, with the ending of these shows, it's -- is it hyperbole to say it's like the end of a TV era in a sense?

ELAHE IZADI, POP-CULTURE WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's somewhat the end of an era. I mean, both of these TV shows in a sense represent the last vestiges of water cooler talk. Especially with "Game of Thrones." Those sort of TV shows and pop culture moments in which a lot of people are engaging with. I mean, I know you say that you're the only person. There are a lot of people like you who haven't seen "Game of Thrones" but there are a lot of people who have seen it. And in the current media infrastructure right now where it's so fractured, there are so few shows that a lot of people are all watching.

BALDWIN: If I may, let me just say, I am on the outside and I'm sad about it, but it's just like I'm going to let the run go and I'm going to be the lone person in the office in two years saying, hey guys, winter's coming. I know that'll be me. But on "Big Bang Theory" which I have watched, tell me about that.

IZADI: Yes, so that show, like you mentioned, is one of the longest running -- and is the longest running multicamera sitcoms. And that represents sort of an older era of TV of multicamera sitcoms with a live studio audience and huge syndication. Getting a lot of people to watch it. I mean, it doesn't generate the same kind of conversation at the workplace or online as something like "Game of Thrones." It's not really designed for that in the same way. But it does sort of represent that. And for the network itself, I mean, "Big Bang theory" was helped to revitalize CBS and its ratings.

BALDWIN: Do you think it's fair -- of course, I love "Friends" and "Seinfeld." Would you put this on that same level or not quite?

IZADI: Not quite. I mean, even if you just look at the raw numbers, the ratings for the finale of "Friends" was, I think, the fourth highest finale in TV show history, it got 52 million people. I'd be shocked if "Big Bang Theory" got 20 million people for its finale. So no, I don't put it quite at that. But it's of that in this era.

BALDWIN: OK. Elahe, I appreciate you. Randy, I'm looking at you. Do you agree with her? She's throwing her hands up at me. She's over it. "Game of Thrones" she will be -- gazillions of people will be watching Sunday night. Thank you so much for being with me. I appreciate it. Having a little fun at the end of the show because I can.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.