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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Sources: Trump World Sought To Influence Cassidy Hutchinson's Testimony; Cheney: Trump A Domestic Threat To The Nation; Key Figure In QAnon Returns With New Online Posts; Supreme Court Limits EPA's Ability To Regulate Power Plants; IVF Patients, Doctors Worry The Reversal Of Roe V. Wade Could Also Impact Embryos; Woman Accused Of Killing An Elite Cyclist In Texas Captured In Costa Rica After 43 Days On The Run. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 30, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, the Supreme Court decision today is a win for the Biden administration. Human smuggling continues to be an ongoing and urgent issue.
In the last 24 hours, there have already been three migrant smuggling cases in Texas, resulting in the death of at least six migrants -- Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Priscilla, thank you very much for that. And thank you all so much for joining us tonight.
I'm Kate Bolduan.
AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin tonight with the effort to discredit Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony before the House January 6 Select Committee, an effort to destroy the credibility of a 26-year-old woman who had the courage to what the former White House counsel and the former President's own Chief of Staff do not have the courage to do.
Two days after telling the Committee that the former President of the United States sent a mob of people, some of whom he knew to be armed to the Capitol, Cassidy Hutchinson is being attacked by the former President and his coterie of defenders.
And like Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Republican on the Judiciary Committee whose Republican members are attacking her testimony, he does not have the courage she showed and is refusing to tell the Committee what he knows.
And like her former boss, then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who are openly defying a subpoena to testify and avoiding us as well. We'd love to talk to him not under oath, but he's shown no willingness to even face questions from reporters.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, meantime is seeking to cast doubt on Miss Hutchinson's testimony and the work of the Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This is just a continuation. They're obsessed with Trump and this is all they want to do. But this hearsay would never be allowed in the court of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We should point out nothing would be hearsay if Mr. Meadows or Pat Cipollone would simply testify under oath. All they need to do is tell the truth, say what they said. Then everything would be clear.
Hutchinson is also, of course, being attacked by the former President himself. Here's some of what he told Newsmax yesterday for an interview that aired today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This lady yesterday, there's something wrong with her. Is there something wrong?
The woman is living in fantasy land. She's a social climber, if you call that social. She's got serious problems, let me put it that way.
QUESTION: What did you make of FOX News --
TRUMP: Mental problems.
But for this girl to sit there and just, I think just make up stories, and I -- again, I hardly know who she is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This girl, he says, about a highly regarded 26-year-old Republican woman who loyally served as the principal aide to his own Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, claiming she has mental problems. I would say he was stooping that low, but he wasn't stooping at all. He is just that low.
So are a number of people in his orbit. Three sources familiar with matter tells CNN that Cassidy Hutchinson says she was contacted by someone attempting to influence her testimony. You'll recall that in her closing remarks, Tuesday, Select Committee Vice Chair, Liz Cheney said that two witnesses whom she didn't name, told the Committee they had heard from people connected to the former President's world who might have been trying to intimidate or influence them. Sources now tell CNN that Miss Hutchinson is one of those witnesses.
As for questions about how at least some Republicans are feeling now about the former President, listen to what Congresswoman Cheney said last night at the Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California and listen to the reaction she got.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution. At this moment --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" Washington correspondent Maggie Haberman.
Maggie, what is your sense of how the former President -- I mean, is he worried or are his allies worried about what Cassidy Hutchinson has testified to?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: During her testimony, there was a lot of anxiety about what she was saying. Since her testimony, there is less because of these discrediting efforts that you are seeing. She was pretty clear on the most explosive thing that she talked about, which was the Secret Service car incident, that she was talking about something she didn't know firsthand.
A lot of what she has said or said in that hearing has been stood up in other ways. And, you know, the most important part of that car story is that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol.
COOPER: And that he knew people were armed.
HABERMAN: Right, and that there was not -- and that he was aware that people were armed and also that he wanted the magnetometers taken down, that's the other piece that she testified to. That part, I don't know if there's been corroboration, but I don't know that it's been discredited either.
I think there has been a very traditional Trump effort to try to knock down somebody saying something about him. You know, his remarks about Cassidy Hutchinson or what he has said about any number of people.
COOPER: Well, that was actually my next question to you, which is, it is remarkable the consistency he has in his attacks on anybody he suddenly feels has betrayed him, particularly women. It's always, you know, demeaning them in some form or another often with mental instability.
HABERMAN: Yes, and that he hardly knows them, right?
COOPER: He hardly knows them, of course.
HABERMAN: This is something -- and to be clear I'm not sure how well he knew Cassidy Hutchinson. I don't really think that's the point.
The point is that she was in a number of meetings, many, many meetings with Mark Meadows, sometimes as Mark Meadows' proxy. I spoke to Congressman -- former congressman Pete King earlier today. He said that, you know, Cassidy Hutchinson was his point person during COVID. That's how frequently he was dealing with her in his office. So she was in a position of actually doing real work. She was also
pretty close to Kevin McCarthy. So, it was really striking to hear McCarthy say that just now in such a dismissive way, because he does know her.
COOPER: According to her, Kevin McCarthy actually called her while President Trump was on stage on January 6th, at the Ellipse, and accused her of lying to him about the President going to the Capitol.
HABERMAN: That's right. And look, I mean, McCarthy, as you said, is another one of the Republicans who has walked away from this Committee, so there is no way of knowing what his response to that would be. But he certainly was someone, one of the oddities around Cassidy Hutchinson, just as somebody surviving in that world as she was close with both Mark Meadows and Kevin McCarthy, two people who really don't particularly care for each other.
COOPER: There's new "LA Times" reporting that Mark Meadows brought a fraud allegation to then Attorney General Bill Barr, the day after the 2020 election, questioning the results, according to records released by the Justice Department. Is that significant at all?
HABERMAN: What's significant is the actual allegation he was bringing to the Attorney General, if I read the story correctly, was a tweet by Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch. That was the "allegation." It was something he was pulling off Twitter.
And that actually really was foreshadowing what we saw Mark Meadows doing, as it turns out, over many weeks between November 3rd and January 6th, which was sort of passing along internet rumors or pieces of gossip or things that were totally unverified and running down Cabinet members to look these things through.
You know, that was -- that was not what you would expect a Chief of Staff to be doing.
COOPER: It's also amazing how MIA Mark Meadows is now in all of this. I mean, we know now that it the Trump Super PAC gave, I think it was a million dollars to an organization, which Mark Meadows is now a senior member of, and that was given just soon after, I think the January 6 Committee started or before when it was named.
Where is Mark Meadows?
HABERMAN: That donation has raised a lot of eyebrows in terms of what the point of it was, and we still don't know the answer. But where Mark Meadows is, is trying not to cooperate with the committee after basically providing the committee a roadmap.
The hundreds of text messages that he turned over to the Committee are not all the text messages that he has, as we understand it to be, but it's a huge volume that allowed them to really understand basically week by week, and in some cases, day by day, and minute by minute, what was happening in the days after November 3rd and what was happening on January 6th. They would have a much harder task without that. COOPER: Maggie Haberman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Here to talk more about Cassidy Hutchinson as a witness in the ongoing attempt now to attack her, including from the former President, senior chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin; also former Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman who served as a senior technical adviser to the Select Committee.
Congressman, I want to get to the next steps of the Committee in a moment. But first, you heard Vice Chair Cheney speak strongly against the former President last night at the Reagan Library, I just want to play another moment from her speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: At this moment, we are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before, and that is the former President who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our Constitutional Republic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You were working with her on this Committee. I mean, she's obviously not backing down despite the cost to herself politically.
DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER US REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I will tell you, when you're talking about Liz and what she said about the Constitution, when you're talking about Cassidy, when you're talking about these individuals, it's amazing to me that they're leaning forward so far to make sure that the truth and facts get out there and it was interesting listening to Maggie in the prior segment, Anderson, when she talked about the Meadows' text messages being a roadmap. It was almost like a QAnon chat room.
And you know, the attacks that you see against Cassidy, the attacks that you see against Liz and other Republicans, all of them sort of follow the same formula and that's utilizing propaganda out into the sort of the far right, MAGA centers of gravity with the communication lines to just sort of drag these people across the internet and across social media and try to discredit them.
And I've got to tell you, Anderson, seeing this, this is very, very indicative of what happened to me and what happened to a lot of individuals that spoke out in a fact-based way, but when you're going against hysterical individuals that are facts challenged, it's very difficult to, you know, sort of influence them that the facts are the facts.
And listening to Liz and then seeing what happened with Cassidy, everything like that, it is really bothersome to somebody like me, who went through it, but they're going through it in a way that's hard to imagine.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's also worth noticing that the criticism of Cassidy is completely unspecific. It's like she's crazy. She's a liar. She's a leaker, a social climber -- a social climber, but none -- but no specific allegation that she is specifically lying about anything, because as far as I'm aware, there is no specific evidence that she lied about anything.
COOPER: Well, I mean, to Maggie's point about the big issues of the President knew the people in the crowd were armed, wanted the magnetometers gone, and wanted to go to the Capitol itself, that's not being challenged by these people.
TOOBIN: Except that she is being challenged in general, and those are incredibly damaging statements that she made. And the only people who could conceivably refute them are not talking at all and they're especially not talking under oath.
COOPER: Or not to refute them, but they're the people who actually said these things often and that Cassidy Hutchinson is just repeating because she happened to overhear it.
Jeff, I do want to ask you, though, about the -- about what sources say to CNN that Cassidy Hutchinson was one of the witnesses who received some sort of attempt to influence her testimony.
I want to play a clip from the former White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah Griffin on "New Day" this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Cassidy actually came to me and said there is more I want to share with the Committee a couple of months ago. I put her in with Congresswoman -- put her in touch with Congresswoman Cheney. She got a new lawyer and that's how this testimony came about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Her former lawyer was a lawyer who was the chief ethics lawyer at the White House. What does it say to you that she felt she needed to change lawyers?
TOOBIN: This is a classic thing that happens in the investigation of any large -- any substantial organization, whether it's a company that's under investigation for some set of fraud or a mafia family.
The first sign that someone is starting to break ranks is that they get a lawyer who is outside the circle of confidence. And Alyssa was absolutely right to get her an independent lawyer because that is when she started filling out her story, including the parts that are damaging to the President.
COOPER: Congressman, Vice Chair Cheney ended Miss Hutchinson's hearing showing statements provided by witnesses, again, one of which sources now tell CNN was Miss Hutchinson herself that may show attempts to influence testimony or intimidate.
You've spoken before about the communications, text messages, e-mails, to which the committee has access. Are attempts to influence or intimidate witnesses, do you think that's going to be a focus of the committee or potentially the Department of Justice?
RIGGLEMAN: I think it should be. I mean, when you talk about intimidating witnesses, you're talking about influencing people to say something or not say something, it's pretty interesting, because I remember, you know, there's a lot of members right now who don't believe one thing about Stop to Steal, yet, there is no way they're going to push back against that, because there's a couple things that that's going to happen to them.
Number one, they're going to lose their money or their fundraising, they're going to lose their influence, they're going to lose power, and they could very likely lose an election.
When you talk about text messages that are being sent to Cassidy, you're talking about, it is almost like the Luca Brasi, you know, negotiation method, right? As like, you know, here's a deal that you can't refuse, right? You're going to have to do this.
Either, you're going to get the envelope and the money, you're going to get a lucrative position. We're going to try to destroy you. Just do the right thing.
And that happens a lot in these circles, and when you see the people that are going after Cassidy, all you have to do is look at where they work. Are they working at the American First Institute? Are they working for CPI? Are they working for Turning Point?
So as you look at the individuals that are attacking Cassidy online or you think about the text messages that she is getting, this is all about financial collaborators making sure that their money lines are working and making sure they protect the President because that's how they earn a paycheck.
And again, Anderson, this is all about follow the money. I've said this for a long time. I love listening to you and Mr. Toobin talk about this, but for me, it's pretty simple in the political world, is they're just telling Cassidy, listen, if you buck up, you're going to get paid; if you don't, you're going to get attacked.
That's really something that we have to worry about in our system of government, and I'm glad that the Committee has taken a look at it.
COOPER: No one wants to follow the Luca Brasi model because he ended up with his hand stabbed to a bar and sleeping with the fishes.
TOOBIN: It's very hard to make these witness intimidation cases, unless their people are stupid enough to send texts or e-mails with the threats in them. If it's simply based on conversation, that's just a very hard -- that's a very hard case to make.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Congressman Denver Riggleman, thanks very much.
Coming up next, and this goes to what we have been discussing, more what reaction to a Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony says about the former administration's view of staffers, especially women who take the witness stand. We will ask a former Republican Congresswoman along with Olivia Troye,
one of Mike Pence's former advisers.
And later, we've been talking about it, the QAnon cult after a year and a half, the account used by so called Q is active again, just in time of course to start trying to raise suspicions about Cassidy Hutchinson.
COOPER: We talked about a little bit at the top of the broadcast the former President's attack on Cassidy Hutchinson and the character of it. Bear in mind, as you listen again, he is talking about someone talented and trusted enough to work in his own West Wing as the gatekeeper for the Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She's got serious problems, let me put it that way.
QUESTION: What did you make of FOX News --
TRUMP: But for this girl to sit there and just, I think, just make up stories and I, again, I hardly know who she is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Which is of course an old favorite for the former President.
Perspective now from former Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and Olivia Troye, who worked in the administration with Cassidy Hutchinson serving as former Vice President Pence's Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser.
Congresswoman, as you watch the reaction to Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony from the former President and his inner circle, what does it tell you about how they view former staffers, particularly women who are brave enough to testify in public?
BARBARA COMSTOCK, FORMER US REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I usually can't get through some of the ridiculous interviews that Donald Trump does. He's such a sore loser. But the little I saw of it made clear that this they were frightened by what Cassidy Hutchison did.
I think she was a poised, accomplished, young woman who came forward you know, 26 years old and did what men, boys, frankly a lot of these guys working in the Trump White House, you know, twice and three times her age were afraid to do.
COMSTOCK: So, I think she was impressive. I think this entire effort by the Committee has been impressive and I think Liz Cheney in particular is showing us that courage is contagious. You know, whether it is people like Olivia Troye who is with us
tonight or Cassidy or Liz Cheney out there being I think, the Margaret Chase Smith of our generation, I think courage is contagious and the misogyny of the Trump world is not going to be received well.
COOPER: Yes, Olivia. I mean, it is women like you, Cassidy Hutchinson, Alyssa Farah Griffin who have had the courage to speak out about what was going on in the last administration, and yet so many of the most senior people, mostly men have chosen to remain silent.
OLIVIA TROYE, AS FORMER VICE PRESIDENT PENCE'S HOMELAND SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: Yes, it is completely shameful. And the sad part is, is that they know that, look, someone like Cassidy, she was critical to the operation in the West Wing. I mean, she was Mark Meadows' right hand person, we've all worked closely with her.
And it's sad, because here she is standing on her own, and she is being disparaged. And you have a former President of the United States, demeaning women very publicly and talking about her mental health. I saw that clip. It was disgusting and appalling.
And yet, where are the men in this whole scenario? They could be taking a stand as well, and they continue to hide or they make comments, anonymous comments behind closed doors or statements, but they won't come forward and testify publicly and they won't go on the record to say things.
COOPER: Yes, Congresswoman, you mentioned misogyny and I think it's important to talk about -- we heard the former President referred to Cassidy Hutchinson "as this girl" attacked her, claiming she has mental problems. I mean, how much do you see misogyny as an underlying theme here?
COMSTOCK: Oh, well, that's always -- it has been an underlying theme with Donald Trump. You know, if you got a man and a woman say the same thing, he would particularly go after a woman with relish much more. If it was a minority woman, he'd do it even more.
I mean, this is how he has operated. So I think it's petty and silly. I think that's why you're seeing more and more people are just looking, you know, even if they don't want to admit, you know, we don't like Trump, they're looking away.
They realize this is a guy who is petty and focused on himself and selfish. I mean, while literally the Capitol was under siege and being attacked, while Cassidy Hutchison is going around the White House saying "Please, grownups here, do something, do something," Donald Trump is doing nothing. Mark Meadows is scrolling through his phone.
And you know, she has to, you know, push -- figure out, "How can I get them to do something?"
We know Ivanka Trump didn't, you know, I guess sometimes she came forward, but listen in life, you want to be a Liz Cheney, not an Elise Stefanik. You want to be a Cassidy Hutchinson, not an Ivanka Trump. You know, these women who, at this difficult time when somebody needs
to stand up for democracy, she's doing this. And it's actually, I think, easier to do the right thing and I think she will find that out and I think she will inspire other young woman to realize public service is a great thing to be involved in and we don't need to have the kind of ridiculous boys that we had during the Trump administration.
And a lot of these guys have young daughters or kids Cassidy's age, and they should be ashamed that they're making her carry the cross when they should be doing it themselves.
COOPER: Yes, and Olivia, you worked in administration. How were women, especially junior staffers viewed although frankly, I mean, Cassidy Hutchinson, you know, by her age, you would say, she was a junior staffer, but obviously she had tremendous responsibility and was a point person for the Chief of Staff.
But how were women viewed, treated by not only the former President, but the senior staff in general?
TROYE: Well, you know, the President was known for making comments, and it was known that he would comment on your looks or your outfits. He would do this openly in meetings, and it was just sort of that type of environment. I mean, that's who Donald Trump is and that carried forth, I think, in the way the behavior that surrounded us.
But I will say this, these staffers, and maybe more junior staffers, although she was fairly senior, considering the access that she had, they worked hard. They were a critical part of the operation in making the trains run and that's what people forget.
People try to, you know, I saw Donald Trump's tweet earlier, Donald Trump, Jr.'s tweet and he is calling her the coffee girl. Okay, well, let's say she was the coffee girl, but the coffee girl on the staff, they hear all.
I was a young staffer in my 20s. You sit in all the meetings, and you hear it all, and she went and said that doesn't take away the fact that she heard it. And she was willing to come forward and testify truthfully.
And so I think you know, I think they're scrambling. I think they're reaching for whatever they can, but the truth is, they're not deflecting the actual facts of what happened here.
And so, you know, I think it's unfortunate. Anytime that somebody tells the truth, especially women, you know, they call us names or they call us liars, or they say they never met us. That seems to be the trend, right? Who? I don't know her.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, it's -- you know, for Donald Trump, Jr. to disparage such in saying as the coffee girl, you know, not everybody has a father who runs a corporation that you can get a job for on -- job with -- even though you have no qualifications, which Donald Trump, Jr. doesn't have.
So, you know, for him to be disparaging anybody who has worked hard and gotten themselves to a position of tremendous respect is, you know, sad at the very least.
But sorry, Congresswoman, I interrupted you.
COMSTOCK: And look who's not talking. I was going to point out, you know, look, you're not getting -- you know, remember Elise Stefanik was going to be leading the charge in these hearings and defending Donald Trump, she's nowhere to be found.
COOPER: Congresswoman Comstock, Olivia Troye, appreciate it. Thank you.
Just ahead tonight, after an 18-month absence, the online poster known as Q is back and naming Cassidy Hutchinson, perhaps not coincidentally. We will discuss the dangers the QAnon movement may pose to those who testify against the former President and his allies.
Also, a history making day for the Supreme Court and for America.
COOPER: Well, another person lining up against Cassidy Hutchinson is the anonymous online poster Q whose completely absurd certain posts, which would be laughably cryptic and are actually never accurate are at the heart of the QAnon conspiracy movement.
After more than 18 months of silence, the Q account is back and on Wednesday, it aimed its conspiracies toward Hutchinson.
It's really too stupid to even show the posts of this Q person but the post contain numerous cryptic questions and ended with asking who is Cassidy Hutchinson and trust the plan, which is a common Q catchphrase.
The Q stuff wouldn't be funny if it didn't actually have real world consequences. The FBI says its arrest more than 20 people involved in the Capitol riots who said they follow QAnon. One of those probably most famously, Jacob Chansley who was seen in face paint and headdress in the Senate chamber January 6. He's been has been sentenced to 41 months in prison. There was also the follow who flashed the Q sign in his trial for allegedly killing a member of the Gambino crime family and another was sentenced to eight years following an armed standoff near the Hoover Dam that guy, he was demanding the release of a Justice Department report on Hillary Clinton's e-mails which is a popular QAnon conspiracy.
I'm joined by senior is Donie O'Sullivan, who's tracked QAnon and spoken to many of his followers over the years and CNN senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe, former FBI Deputy Director. What does it mean that now that the Q account is back up and running?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, Anderson, I think like among the kind of polite company here in Washington in Washington, D.C., and here in New York City, the conventional wisdom, I would say, we should ignore it. It's stupid. It is dumb, but it is objectively dumb.
But what happened last time, when folks weren't talking about that, half the country then was wondering why did a ton of people wearing Q paraphernalia show up and stormed the Capitol? The reality --
COOPER: So a lot of people were accused --
O'SULLIVAN: There's a lot of people.
COOPER: -- yes. (INAUDIBLE) Mike Flynn is -- was selling Q paraphernalia.
O'SULLIVAN: It's there, it's part of it, it's part of a huge grift. Look, there is obviously the crazy QAnon beliefs when it comes to cabals and everything else.
COOPER: Drinking the blood of children (INAUDIBLE).
O'SULLIVAN: Yes, but it's part of just kind of a tapestry, a range of conspiratorial beliefs, which many parts of the Republican Party now believe everything from lies about the election all the way up to QAnon and it kind of all goes hand in hand. I think what we're going to see is that this account, this phantom post online, could actually play a role in upcoming Republican primaries, and could cause a bit of chaos in the midterms as well when it comes to the Republican side.
COOPER: It does seem interesting that just as the president is, the former president is, you know, coming under serious criticism after Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony Q. The Q account pops back up raising questions about Cassidy Hutchinson.
O'SULLIVAN: Yes. Q had not posted since December of 2020. So right after Trump won the election. Remember, Q was promised --
COOPER: Lost the election.
O'SULLIVAN: Sorry, lost the election.
COOPER: You said he won the election.
O'SULLIVAN: That is going to drive the QAnon --
COOPER: Of course.
O'SULLIVAN: -- people crazy.
O'SULLIVAN: So. COOPER: Right there. You will now be the subject, you said you haven't been already.
O'SULLIVAN: I should be. But he has not posted since December of 2020. Came back a few hours after the Roe decision. And like we saw mentioned, Cassidy Hutchinson by name, called her out and what we have seen in the past, when Q calls out someone, they become harass as you know yourself.
COOPER: Right. In fact, I spoke with QAnon followers for a special report that we did last year, just listen to this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (on-camera): Did you at the time believe that Democrat, high level Democrats and celebrities were worshipping Satan, drinking the blood of children?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anderson, I thought you did that. And I would like to apologize for that right now.
COOPER (on-camera): Was it something about me that made you think that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's because Q specifically mentioned you and he mentioned you very early on? He mentioned you by name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Andrew, what is the significance of Q mentioning Hutchinson and what could be do you think real world consequences?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. So, you know, as you and Donie have already summarized, there is no significance to the post beyond the fact that he included her name specifically. And it's not because he said anything, logical or factual, it's just the existence of her name in that post, turns her into a target for people who ascribe to these beliefs.
And as you know, Anderson, it's the posts are deliberately vague, they're inane, they just raise questions that cannot possibly be answered. And then to throw her name into that conspiratorial milieu is very, very damaging to her in terms of the attention it will bring from people who believe in who knows which one of the QAnon conspiracy.
COOPER: Right, Andrew, because part of the appeal I think for people who follow this stuff is that it gives them a focus to you know, project things onto, it gives them this like treasure hunt of, you know, then they just go online and start to kind of imagine stuff about Ms. Hutchinson or whomever it is and it's they go down all these rabbit holes and invent all this stuff and it becomes this. It's like a, just this ball rolling that more and more people get in on it and believe that they're part of some sort of investigation that amounts to nothing. And it's all based on just complete BS.
MCCABE: It is it's a cave, it's a cave of conspiracies that people project their anger, they project their grievances into, and they extract from it whatever they want. And so, if you toss this young woman's name into that conversation, into that froth, you run the risk of that someone who is following these things and who's projecting their own rage and their dissatisfaction about whatever it is in life they're mad about, is going to attach her to that. And one of those people maybe more than one might decide to take the matter into their own hands and resort to an act of violence. In the exact same way that the young man from North Carolina did about the nonsense around Comet Ping Pong pizza, the pizza restaurant here in Washington D.C. when he'd been digesting all this material, got in his car drove to D.C. on a Sunday with an AR-15 intending to shoot up the place.
COOPER: Right. Believing that there were people being helped -- kids being held in the basement I mean, fair enough some sort of crazy conspiracy theory. Yes.
Andrew McCabe, appreciate it. Donie O'Sullivan, as well.
Coming up, history being made at the Supreme Court today but both because of its newest member, also because the decision handed down today by the courts conservatives curbing the powers of the EPA, and possibly more government agencies as well. The fallout from this monumental ruling when we return.
COOPER: Historic day the Supreme Court today, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice. She's the first black woman to serve in the nation's highest court. President Biden was overseas during the ceremony, but he said in a statement, her historic swearing in represents a profound step forward for our nation.
There was other significant news out of the court as well a significant blow to the Environmental Protection Agency and efforts to slow climate change. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court's conservatives severely curb the power of the EPA to broadly regulate greenhouse gases. Court cited a legal doctrine we'll discuss in a moment, its controversial critics of the decision are outraged not only because of what it means for the fight against climate change, but the impact it may have on the government's ability to regulate other areas, including the internet and worker safety.
Joining us again, our chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, a former federal prosecutor.
So what does it mean for federal government's efforts on climate change?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's going to be a lot harder. The doctrine here is, is that conservatives have been saying for years that the administrative agencies are too powerful. So they've been arguing that when Congress passes a law, all the agencies can do is precisely what's in the law, they can't use the law as an invitation to use their expertise and regulate the way they have for tradition, traditionally, for generations. It's basically, it's all designed to limit the power of the administrative agencies. And it's especially true with the environment, because you can't just regulate the environment without detailed regulations. And that's what was struck down today that idea.
COOPER: In her dissent, Justice Kagan said that the Supreme Court, quote, doesn't have a clue about how to address climate change. Which may be true. But is that really the courts job to address climate change? I mean, if they view the law, it's just reading the law, even if it's bad for the planet, isn't their job just to care about the law?
TOOBIN: Yes. But their view of the law is that agencies have to be narrow -- they can only do what the law says, they can't extend the law, they can't interpret the law. That's the big issue is do the Ag regulatory agencies have the ability to interpret law in order to pass regulations? If they can't interpret the law, they can't do anything. And that's the point.
And that's why, you know, the coal companies and the oil companies have been so active in funding the Supreme Court fights because they're the big beneficiaries of this decision.
COOPER: Ketanji Brown Jackson becoming a justice to the Supreme Court, does that change things at all?
TOOBIN: You know, it changes things because America is a different place, because an African-American woman is has now been on the Supreme Court for the first time. In terms of the results that come out of the court, almost certainly not. Presumably, her record will be very similar to Stephen Breyer, for whom she clerked, she was appointed by a Democratic president. But I mean, look at these decisions, on guns, on abortion, on the environment here. And all of them 6-3, all of them with Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer --
COOPER: So is this now going to be, I mean, this was a huge season in terms of rulings. Is this going to be every season now?
TOOBIN: You know, Anderson, I've been covering the court for 25 years. I knew intellectually this is going to happen, but to see it unfold this way is so extraordinary, and the influence is so tremendous. And the answer is yes, as far as I can tell, it is going to be like this. And we've even seen the cases lining up for next year, getting rid of affirmative action altogether, changing electoral law so that state legislatures can do whatever the hell they want. I mean, all of this is teeing up for the conservatives to keep changing constitutional law.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin --
TOOBIN: How did this year.
COOPER: -- appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up, judges in two states, putting a pause on abortion restrictions and there's more fallout from Roe v. Wade reversal. The growing fear from some that IVF could be the next target and doctor's work could be criminalized. That's next.
COOPER: Judges in Florida, Kentucky took action today on abortion laws in the States after Roe v. Wade Reversal by the Supreme Court last week. The Florida judge will issue a temporary injunction on a state law that would prevent abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And abortions can resume Kentucky for now after a judge granted a request from the ACLU for a temporary restraining order on the state's so- called trigger law calling for the end of abortions if Rove is overturned.
Before leaving the dread (ph), President Biden called for this action on Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law. And the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way, it's like voting rights, it should be we provide an exception for this. The except the requiring exception of the filibuster for this action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well President Biden today, but right now the Senate doesn't have the 60 votes needed to codify Roe v. Wade. All the uncertainty at the court's decision isn't just tied to abortion. They're also those who go through fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization have frozen embryos, those families and their doctors worry they can be the next target.
More than that now from CNN's Amara Walker.
KARLEE GILBERT, IN VITRO FERTILIZATION PATIENT: She's always awake, always wanted to see what's going on.
AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Karlee Gilbert her twins are a gift from God and science.
(on-camera): You wanted a family? How badly did you want it?
GILBERT: So bad, so bad.
WALKER (voice-over): A nearly four year long struggle with infertility led this hospice nurse to in vitro fertilization, a medical treatment where eggs and sperm are joined in a laboratory dish. The embryo was then implanted into a woman's uterus.
GILBERT: I saw just how hard it is for families to be started. I don't take my girls for granted whatsoever.
WALKER (voice-over): She says it was a dark and lonely journey. After three failed embryo transfers, she began to lose hope.
GILBERT: Got on medication because I did feel just so depressed that I couldn't have what other people were getting.
WALKER (voice-over): But this past March, 30-year-old Gilbert got what she wanted from her fourth embryo transfer two healthy babies, Adeline and Ashby. Even with their dreams realized Gilbert has a new worry now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, triggering abortion bans or restrictions in multiple states, including Mississippi, Gilbert's home state, which is moving to ban abortions in nearly all cases. She wonders what all this means for her frozen embryos in storage in Texas, when its new law stating life begins at fertilization takes effect.
GILBERT: I mean, where else can we transfer? Is that going to affect that?
WALKER (voice-over): Dr. Preston Parry is Gilbert's reproductive endocrinologist. He has fertility practices in Mississippi and Louisiana. He says his patients are petrified.
PRESTON PARRY, REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGIST: Whether they can do IVF, whether someone will regulate whether they can get their embryos, how they will be able to choose the embryos for transfer.
WALKER (voice-over): Dr. Parry also worries about the potential impact on his career.
PARRY: That basically doctors could be charged with murder if an embryo fails to develop.
WALKER: Their valid concerns, says Seema Mohapatra, a law professor and bioethics expert at Southern Methodist University. Mohapatra expects some states to pass Fetal Personhood laws giving legal rights of people to an embryo in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, destroying an embryo she warns could be considered homicide.
SEEMA MOHAPATRA, PROFESSOR IN HEALTH LAW, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIV.: If we end up in a place where there are states that define an embryo as potential life, then, and there's restrictions on discarding them, then you would have to actually implant them in order to not, you know, quote, kill them.
WALKER: One round of IVF could result in multiple embryos which can be frozen. Some embryos that are not viable or are genetically abnormal or discarded to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Mohapatra says Fetal Personhood laws will potentially determine how embryos are used. MOHAPATRA: So we're going to see this kind of fertility tourists, where we are going to see that people are going that have stored embryos are going to try to move the embryos, because of this uncertainty and fear that they wouldn't have control of what to do with their embryos that they would have to implant them or that they couldn't discard them.
WALKER (voice-over): For Dr. Parry, meeting his patients babies like Gilbert's twins, for the first time is the best part of his job. He and Gilbert hope that the scientific process of building families will not be sacrificed. As the abortion battles raged on.
PARRY: My sole job is bringing kids into this world. That's the most pro life type of setting that you can imagine. It is really scary to see how far this pendulum may swing. We don't know when it will stop.
GILBERT: I just felt like everybody should have the opportunity to be able to start their families and live the dream that we all dream to be.
WALKER: Now, Anderson, some legal experts like Seema Mohapatra there say that if a person has an embryo in storage in a state that has already banned abortion or has severely restricted or in a state that is likely to do so it like here in Georgia, they advise that these people move their embryos to a state that have safe haven laws, like California, New York, Connecticut, Oregon that have strengthened abortion protections.
And a couple things to keep in mind, Anderson IVF is currently legal in all 50 states and it's unlikely according to many legal experts I spoke with that there will be an immediate effect on assisted reproduction as a result of the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Anderson.
COOPER: Amara Walker, appreciate it. Thank you.
Up next, after six weeks on the run, authorities have finally found a woman accused of killing an elite cyclist an alleged act of jealousy. The details of where she was hiding and how they found her is next.
COOPER: After 43 days on the run authorities finally captured Kaitlin Armstrong in Costa Rica. You may recall she's accused of shooting to death elite cyclists Anna Moriah Wilson in Austin, Texas. Authorities say the killing could have been because Wilson previously dated Armstrong's boyfriend. U.S. Marshals were searching for Armstrong for six weeks. The big break came when they said she used a fraudulent passport to board a flight at Newark Liberty International Airport back on May 18th. Now she's finally in custody.
Our Randi Kaye has been on the story from the start joins us tonight with the latest. So what have you learned about how they caught her?
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the U.S. Marshals knew that Kaitlin Armstrong was at Newark Airport on May 18th, one week after that murder, they just didn't know if she had boarded a flight. Well now they know, they know that she flew from Newark Airport to San Jose, Costa Rica. They know that because they were doing interviews with people and they were told that she had been using someone else's passport, someone that I'm told by the U.S. Marshals that she resembles. So she looked like the person in that passport and she was passing herself off as that person.
So once they knew that I'm told with the help of Homeland Security, they went through the passenger list at Newark Airport. On that day they were able to pinpoint that person's name the rightful owner of that passport, they saw that a ticket had been bought a one way ticket to San Jose Costa Rica in that person's name. They then zeroed in on the gate that that flight left from at Newark Airport and they were able to see according to my contract with the U.S. Marshals office, they saw Kaitlin Armstrong boarding that flight for Costa Rica. They then reached out to the Costa Rican authorities, who then were able to locate her at a hospital. They arrested her there, she was picked up on an immigration violation for using a fraudulent passport to enter the country of Costa Rica. She's going to be extradited back to the United States. She'll face that murder charge in Austin, Texas, which occurred on May 18th.
And then on top of that, Anderson she'll face a federal charge for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Anderson.
COOPER: And just very quickly did the person whose passport she was using know about it?
KAYE: That's what's unclear the marshals couldn't say they just said to resemble that person, but it's unclear how she got that passport or if they knew, and we know that she was picked up at that hospital. And she did change her appearance as well Anderson, short hair instead of the long blonde hair that she had.
COOPER: Randi Kaye, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
The news continues. Want to hand over Sara Sidner in "CNN TONIGHT." Sara.