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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
WNBA Star Brittney Griner Appears In Russian Court; U.S. Officials Says She Is Being Wrongfully Detained; More Than A Dozen States In Midst Of Legal Fights Over Abortion Bans; Abortion Clinics Prepare For Influx Of Patients; Ukrainian Official Calls Russia "Terrorist State" After Attacks; Secret Service Sources Tell CNN They Heard Accounts Of An Angry Trump Demanding To Go To The Capitol On January 6; Rep. Liz Cheney Calls Out Wyoming Primary Opponents For Pushing Trump's Election Lies. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 01, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: A programming note for all of you before we go tonight. On Monday, please don't miss CNN's Fourth of July concert special, "The Fourth in America" with fireworks from across the country. That starts on Monday night at seven Eastern.
Thank you so much for joining us this evening. I'm Kate Bolduan.
AC 360 starts now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington sitting in for Anderson.
Tonight, two major new developments in the wake of Cassidy Hutchinson's bombshell testimony before the House January 6 Select Committee. What appears to bolster a disputed piece of what she told the panel. The other concern is potential witness tampering concerns raised by Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney in her closing remarks on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Our Committee commonly asks witnesses connected to Mr. Trump's administration or campaign, whether they'd been contacted by any of their former colleagues, or anyone else who attempted to influence or impact their testimony.
Without identifying any of the individuals involved, let me show you a couple of samples of answers we received to this question. This is a call received by one of our witnesses. "A person let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know he is thinking about you. He knows you're loyal and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition."
I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Tonight, CNN has learned that this example and one other example that Congresswoman Cheney highlighted were both directed at Cassidy Hutchinson. CNN has also learned more about this, Miss Hutchinson's testimony about what fellow White House staffer Anthony Ornato told her in the presence of Secret Service head of detail, Robert Engel on January 6th.
It was about the ride the former President wanted to take to the US Capitol and what happened when he was told no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: The President had very strong, very angry response to that.
Tony described him as being irate. The President said something to the effect of, I'm the effing President. Take me up to the Capitol now. To which Bobby responded, "Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing." The President reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, "Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing. We're not going to the Capitol."
Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel and when Mr. Ornato had recounted the story to me, he had motion towards his clavicles.
CHENEY: And was Mr. Engel in the room as Mr. Ornato told you this story?
HUTCHINSON: He was.
CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel correct or disagree with any part of the story for Mr. Ornato?
HUTCHINSON: Mr. Engel did not correct or disagree with any part of the story.
CHENEY: Did Mr. Engel or Mr. Ornato ever after that, tell you that what Mr. Bernardo had just said was untrue?
HUTCHINSON: Neither Mr. Ornato nor Mr. Engel told me ever that it was untrue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So there is new reporting on that tonight, as well as the apparent attempt to influence Miss Hutchinson's testimony.
CNN's Ryan Nobles is up on Capitol Hill for us tonight with more on both.
Ryan, what more first of all are you learning about that alleged incident in the presidential SUV back on January 6?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, Wolf, you know that this is in dispute because a soon after Hutchinson's testimony, officials from the Secret Service started coming out saying that they were prepared to refute part of what Cassidy Hutchinson had to say, and they also followed up by saying that both Tony Ornato and Bobby Engel, the two agents in question would be willing to testify under oath and dispute part of what she said specifically, that the former President made an effort to grab a hold of the steering wheel and that there was some sort of physical altercation with Bobby Engel.
Well, what we have learned through our reporting and CNN's Noah Gray talking to two different individuals who worked within the Secret Service in the months after January 6, told Noah that this was a story that was being passed around for quite some time within the agency that many agents had heard this story about a President who was angry in the presidential SUV on January 6th and demanded to go to the Capitol.
And one of those sources even said that the story did include, parts that showed that the President was lunging toward the front seat. Now, there is some dispute about whether or not he ever actually got hold of the steering wheel, whether or not there was ever any physical contact with any of the agents.
But the one thing that is definitively clear and that no one has disputed, Wolf, is that the President was angry and he wanted to go to the Capitol, and that is what the January 6 Select Committee is most focused on.
We should also point out that one of the sources that talked to Noah also talked to the driver of the presidential SUV, so that is a firsthand account from someone who was in the limo as it happened.
BLITZER: Very significant new information indeed.
Ryan, you also, I understand have new details about who may have tried to actually influence Hutchinson's testimony. What can you tell us about that?
NOBLES: Yes, that's right, Wolf. And this, of course, a big concern for the January 6 Select Committee because they want to make sure they're getting accurate information that is not shaded in any way, shape or form by the former President or his allies, and we've learned that those two examples that Liz Cheney provided at the end of the January 6 Select Committee hearing on Tuesday were both directed at Cassidy Hutchinson, their star witness.
And furthermore, we've learned that at least one of those examples, was delivered through an intermediary of Mark Meadows, at least that's what the Committee believes.
Now, Mark Meadows through his spokesperson, Ben Williamson, said to CNN, they emphatically denied that Meadows or anyone in his orbit made any attempt to influence Hutchinson or her testimony, but this is something that the Committee is keeping a close eye on. Of course, Wolf, there is a report in "The New York Times" this week that outlines how many of these witnesses that are coming before the January 6 Select Committee, their lawyers are being paid for by organizations with close ties to the former President.
The Committee is going to work very hard to make sure that there is no undue influence in this testimony. They view that to be a serious problem. And of course, keep in mind, Wolf, if they find direct evidence that witnesses were targeted and intimidated with the expressed purpose of not telling the truth, well, that could lead to a crime -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Excellent new reporting, Ryan Nobles. Thank you very, very much.
Joining us now, the Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe. He is author of the book "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment." There you see the cover.
Professor Tribe, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for all your important work over the years. You heard that new reporting from Ryan Nobles, our correspondent up on Capitol Hill.
So, what does this new avenue potential witness tampering actually mean for the investigation, both for the Committee and potentially for the Department of Justice?
LAURENCE TRIBE, AUTHOR, "TO END A PRESIDENCY": Well, it means that in addition to the very serious crimes of inciting and aiding and abetting an insurrection, and seditious conspiracy that appear to have been committed by the President's circle, and perhaps the President himself in the lead up to the January 6th attack on the Capitol, in addition to that, we now have, essentially in real time, the very serious Federal felony of witness tampering and witness intimidation, under 18 US Code Section 1512 (b), that is sentenced to something like 20 years, 30 years in prison, and it's serious.
And it really puts a special light on the courageous testimony of this young woman. I mean, she is under threats. They are implicit. They are like, oh, a nice little dog you have there. They are essentially "Godfather IV." I don't know which role Marlon Brando would play, whether he'd be the President or whether he would be Mark Meadows, but this is serious stuff.
And she clearly has every incentive to tell the truth because she is, instead of being sort of rewarded for what she is saying, she is being threatened for what she's saying and she is saying it anyway.
She is also a loyal Trump supporter. She has been with him all the time.
So what's her incentive to lie? And these guys who say, well, it didn't happen exactly the way she says. They're not testifying under oath, and they are really part of the Trump cult. So, I think we see serious witness tampering and the Department of Justice absolutely has to investigate urgently and seriously, because, I think in a way -- BLITZER: But, Professor, let me interrupt -- let me interrupt for a second. How difficult is it to make a case, a legal case for witness tampering? What is needed for proof?
TRIBE: Essentially, an overt act, a statement that a reasonable person would understand as a threat or as an offer to treat one more favorably, if one gives favorable testimony. It's really not that difficult. It's not rocket science.
Witness tampering is part of the stock and trade of criminal prosecutors in mob cases and racketeering cases with great frequency and we almost never have such dramatic evidence of it, and we haven't seen it all yet.
I understand that the Committee has developed and is developing still further corroboration, and the people who know the truth and have something to gain by hiding it are hiding. They are taking the fifth or they're refusing to show up.
This is extremely distressing, because, you know, we've never had a sitting President try to overthrow the government so that he can stay in power. And we've certainly never had one who when investigated for that, basically wields power as though he were still President, and as though he is accountable to no one.
You know, unless he is held accountable, our democracy is in grave danger, because he can get away with that anyway.
BLITZER: Yes, let me just point out, so based on what we know now, Professor Tribe, do you believe the US Justice Department will try to bring an indictment against the former President related to these events of January 6th?
TRIBE: Well, I wish I knew, but Merrick Garland is a friend and a former student of mine. He is an honest man, he's serious. He said, you go to the top, if that's where the evidence points, and that's certainly where it's pointing now. And there's indication, certainly from the searches and seizures of both John Eastman and of others, strong evidence that the Justice Department is not stopping with the foot soldiers, it's going to the Generals.
And the biggest General of all, of course, is Donald Trump. I do think the odds are he will be indicted.
BLITZER: And so you think, Merrick Garland, the Attorney General of the United States will indict the former President of the United States?
TRIBE: If I had to guess, that would be my guess.
BLITZER: What are the main hurdles right now, Professor Tribe, to pursuing an actual indictment of Trump? If you were making a case against the former President, where would you be concerned? TRIBE: Well, I would be concerned, of course, with the possibility of a hung jury, someone who basically believes with Trump, that he can do no wrong, but I would think that it would be worth having an indictment anyway.
I certainly recognize that indicting a former President would generate lots of social heat, perhaps violence, but not indicting him would invite another violent insurrection.
I would be weighing two terrible choices, but it is clear to me, if I were the Attorney General, which is worse? It is worse to say that a President of the United States can hold on to power, do whatever it takes in order to prevent the transition, a peaceful transition of power for the first time in our history and get away with it, because once that has happened, democracy is at an end.
BLITZER: Strong words, indeed. If the former White House Counsel -- before I let you go, Professor Tribe -- if the former White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone does indeed wind up sitting for a limited deposition with the January 6th Select Committee, what's the first question you would want him to be asked?
TRIBE: I would ask him whether the accounts of the President's urgent desire to join a mob that he knew was armed. And that he knew and said was not armed to get him, whether his desire to join them in the Capitol, as reported by many witnesses, whether that is what he observed himself, and there is no executive privilege that would prevent him from answering that question.
BLITZER: Well, we will see what happens. These are very dramatic moments, indeed, Professor Tribe. Once again, thanks so much for joining us. I want to continue this conversation with you down the road.
TRIBE: Thank you. I'd like that.
BLITZER: Thank you.
So from having perhaps the most powerful job inside the White House, to being right at the center of a political and legal storm that now appears to be growing, Mark Meadows, who was Trump's White House Chief of Staff has certainly come quite a distance over the last year and a half. We will have more on that, and his journey leading up to it.
Here is "360's" Randi Kaye.
MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I stand for life, liberty, and lower taxes. And as we look at that I'm unapologetically pro-life.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That was Mark Meadows in a 2011 campaign video, long before he aligned himself with Donald Trump.
A year later, in 2012, Meadows was elected to the House of Representatives from North Carolina's 11th congressional district.
For Meadows, it was a meteoric rise in Congress. In 2013, just eight months into his freshman term, he became known as the Architect of the Government Shutdown. He gained significant influence as Chairman of the Freedom Caucus, a coalition that included dozens of conservative House Republicans.
MEADOWS: I believe that I'm representing the will of the people.
KAYE (voice over): In 2015, he used his influence to lead an effort to oust then Speaker of the House John Boehner from his leadership role.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He rose to the ranks of the Republican Party by doing the difficult work and advocating for Republican policies.
KAYE (voice over): Years later, when Donald Trump was in the White House, Meadows seemed to have his back, introducing a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
At the time, Rosenstein was supervising Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Eventually, in March 2020, Trump handpicked Meadows to be his fourth and final Chief of Staff.
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As is always the case with those who get too close to Donald Trump, he asks for too much. He demands too much loyalty. He expects these people to cross lines that should never be crossed, ethically or morally just in particularly as it relates to January 6th.
KAYE (voice over): Mark Meadows has turned over more than 6,000 documents to the January 6 Committee, but has refused to cooperate beyond that.
MEADOWS: The President has claimed executive privilege. I'm going to honor that.
KAYE (voice over): But the Committee has questions, lots of them. There is the issue of Meadows lack of urgency on January 6th, as described by his top aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.
STEWART: I was surprised he wasn't a little bit more alarmed and wasn't a little bit more aggressive in requesting for the former President to call off the protests at the Capitol.
KAYE (voice over): Meadows did share hundreds of text messages with the Committee including some texts he exchanged with January 6 rally organizers and with others in Trump's inner circle calling on him to stop the January 6th attack.
In one text message with a Member of Congress, Meadows writes, "I love it," about a plan for selecting a group of alternate Trump electors. Documents also show, Meadows pushed a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2020 election being stolen. At one point, contacting national security officials with what he said was potential evidence of China hacking the US election by using thermostats to change voting machine results. That's according to two sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
DENT: I am not surprised that, you know he would go to these extreme lengths to please President Trump. It does not surprise me, but it disappoints me, because I thought he was better than that.
KAYE (voice over): And now Meadows has gone silent. His lawyer declining our request for comment.
DENT: Clearly, what's happened in recent weeks, you know, is I think not only done damage to the President, but those closest to him like Mark Meadows. Now, all that stink is splashed up on him, and you know, you just can't wash away the stink.
KAYE (voice over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.
BLITZER: Up next, Liz Cheney's uphill battle to keep her seat in the US Congress and what it says about today's political climate here in the United States.
And later, with Brittney Griner's trial now underway in Moscow after nearly five months in captivity, an exclusive conversation with her wife about how the WNBA star is holding up.
We'll be right back
BLITZER: For a lawmaker who is both in the national spotlight for her role in widely viewed televised hearings, and the owner of one of the most storied family names in politics, Liz Cheney sure isn't benefiting from either. She is struggling right now just to keep her job. And the reasons may speak volumes about where the country and the Republican Party for that matter are right now.
Last night, she faced off against her primary opponents in a debate where disproven beliefs about the 2020 election -- about the 2020 election ally ran very deep.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: I think that in Wyoming, we have tremendously secure elections. I also know that the truth matters and the claims that Mrs. Hageman is making about the 2020 election are the same claims for which the President's lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani was disbarred. They're the same claims for which Sidney Powell has had her law license suspended. They are simply not true. It is not true that there was sufficient fraud to change the results of the 2020 election.
Now, if Mrs. Hageman is standing up here claiming that the election was stolen or that there was fraud that was sufficient to overturn the election, she ought to say it. Otherwise, she needs to stop making claims that are not true and she ought to tell the people of Wyoming the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The opponent she is referring to Harriet Hageman is endorsed by the former President. The other candidates, by the way, also criticized the January 6 Select Committee, and to one degree or another, they all cast doubt on the 2020 presidential election.
Some also raised unfounded suspicions about Dr. Anthony Fauci and COVID vaccines for that matter, as well. And another suggested that the United States pushed Ukraine into "being against the Russian government," despite the fact that it was Russia, of course, that invaded Ukraine.
The answer say a lot about modern Republican politics right now and Liz Cheney's estrangement from it.
Let's discuss with CNN political commentator and conservative columnist SE Cupp.
SE, thanks so much for joining us. What does it say right now about the state of the Republican Party that Congresswoman Cheney, someone who is very conservative, a lifelong Republican, may actually wind up losing her seat in Congress to a candidate who espouses those lies?
SE CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, in some ways, it doesn't say much more than we already knew, right? Which is that, you know, Republicans who take on Trump don't tend to be long for this world in the Republican Party, and they are marginalized, and attacked by other Republicans that looks to be what will happen in her home state of Wyoming which you know voted for Trump percentage-wise more than any other state in the Union, which says a lot.
But listen, some time ago, the Republican Party decide to jettison conservatism for Trumpism, and this effort to serve decapitate Never Trumpers or Republicans who took on Trump and then paraded their severed heads around became much more interesting and satisfying, even than taking on Democrats, the opposition party and so there's been some giddiness in trying to primary and get rid of people like Liz Cheney.
And by going into the Jan 6 Committee, I think she really put a huge target on her back. Now, I think it's good that she did that and she probably did that knowing that it would sacrifice her political career in Congress, but I think she did it because it was the right thing to do. BLITZER: If Congresswoman Cheney, SE, loses her Republican primary in August, then what? Could her clout on the Committee or her moral high ground for that matter, in politics in general be impacted while she is in that lame duck period? Or frankly, could she even be empowered to speak her own mind? Or she'd be even more empowered, I should say?
CUPP: Yes. Right. I've been talking to some folks on the Hill, both Democrats and Republicans, and it's funny, you know, there's this cynicism, this idea that, like she must, she must want something out of this.
There must be some reason she is doing this, because why would anyone just do something for the good of it?
It's hard for me to find a good ulterior motive for her. Like I said, she is not dumb. I think she knows that she'll probably lose in Wyoming, and looking ahead to the future, maybe 2024, I'm not sure what natural constituencies there are for Liz Cheney.
I always have to remind people as much as you would celebrate her, rightly, for taking on Donald Trump on the Jan 6 Committee. She's very conservative, far more conservative than many people probably know.
And so I think the folks that like her now for her courage are probably not her voters, and then on the right, she's become sort of traitorous.
So I don't think she's got a long game or a short game. I think her game isn't a game at all. She really wants to tell the truth. And if anything, provide a roadmap for other Republicans to speak out and use this kind of messaging, right?
She said that the truth matters. She's called Donald Trump a domestic threat. I think she wants to give permission to other Republicans to talk that way, to talk that honestly, about Donald Trump, whatever happens to her after there.
BLITZER: Yes, she has got a lot of guts, a lot of courage. There is no doubt about that. It's already very rare, as you know, SE, for a Republican in office to call out Trump's lies. If Congresswoman Cheney loses along with Congressman Adam Kinzinger, he chose not to even run again to seek re-election, will that sort of push back the almost non- existent among members of the GOP?
CUPP: Yes, I mean, they are two of the most public faces of the right- wing resistance in Congress. Over in the Senate, you've got Mitt Romney from time to time, and he's got a few more years before he has to run again.
But certainly, the numbers are dwindling which has made what Liz Cheney and what Adam Kinzinger have done all the more remarkable.
Now, you know, as the January 6 Committee hearings go on, maybe you'll find some more courage. You're certainly seeing some more pushback against Trump from the right even from among his own, you know, "team" over at FOX News, so I guess you could see some more. But listen, losing a Liz Cheney, losing an Adam Kinzinger, I think are going to be devastating for the party. Not if yes, the party, but for the health of this nation and the health of our democracy.
BLITZER: Yes, Kinzinger and Cheney, they both deserve an enormous amount of credit for having the guts to do what they're doing.
SE Cupp, thank you so much for coming in and joining us.
After being detained for more than four months in Russia, we now have new details in the trial for WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Also, CNN spoke exclusively with her wife, who is calling on the Biden administration right now to bring her home.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Today, the world got a brief glimpse of Brittney Griner heading to a Moscow courtroom. The WNBA star has spent more than 130 days in prison after Russian authorities say they found two cartridges of cannabis oil equaling less than one gram in her luggage at the airport. The offense in Russia is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The U.S. believes she is being quote wrongfully detained. The U.S. Embassy says Griner is in quote, good spirits and is keeping up the faith. Right now, Griner declined to share her thoughts on the charge, at least at this moment.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Griner's wife expressed how hard it's been waiting for answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHERELLE GRINER, WIFE OF BRITTNEY GRINER: It's really difficult. Is really, really difficult. You know, this is not a situation where you know, the rhetoric is matching the action that has been the hardest thing to balance because I can't let up, because it's 100 -- it's over 130 days, and BG still not bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Joining us now CNN senior political correspondent, the anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY," Abby Phillip.
Abby, a great interview you did with Cherelle Griner. Tell us about what she told you about this dire situation that's underway right now.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, I mean, the start of the trial today in Russia is really the beginning of a process that Cherelle Griner knows is going to be a lengthy one, and one that she is clear eyed is unlikely to end in a positive way for her wife as she repeated this figure to me 99%, 99% of criminal trials in Russia and in a conviction so there is an awareness there that at the end of this process it is very unlikely that Brittney Griner is going to be to be acquitted. And one thing to keep in mind about Cherelle Griner is that she is actually a lawyer herself. And she's very clear eyed that this kind of legal process is not like what we are used to in the United States.
And so, that with that knowledge, she's advised her wife to approach it very differently. Take a take, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRINER: Honestly, I want people to try and just put themselves in her shoes, you know, and just think about the fact that, you know, this is not our typical system. So BG is not walking into a situation where there is a balance of justice, she's walking into a situation where their judicial system has a 99% conviction rate. So in their system, there is no innocent, in their system is guilty. So she's happened to, you know, make decisions, you know, better that's going to preserve her physical and mental health right now. And so just, you know, be gracious and understanding that, you know, she's happened to navigate something totally different than what an American would have to navigate in a judicial system, in our judicial system here.
To them that treating her like a princess, basically, you know, because they do things differently. So I'm not trying to bash what they do, but I don't agree with it. But I don't think they're treating her in a way that they could be considered harshly, you know, I think that they think they're treating her as best as, best as a system allow, which should tell you a lot, because I think that that's terrible still.
PHILLIP (on-camera): But what could the Biden administration do today to demonstrate to you that they're really on it?
GRINER: Well, again, you know, for me, we had out 130 days. And so, the only thing that the Biden administration can do for me is getting my wife back to be very honest and frank with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: She is talking to her wife pretty regularly. Wolf. They've been writing letters to one another. She's been talking to Brittney Griner about what is coming up. And one of the things that was kind of left unsaid there is how Brittney Griner is going to be pleading in this case in Russia. One of the things that you don't hear Cherelle Griner talking too much about is trying to litigate the facts of the arrest, this accusation that she's being charged with. And one of the reasons for that is because she believes that at the end of the day that is not what is going to get Brittney Griner out. She thinks what's going to get her wife out of Russia is a deal, a deal that is brokered by the United States government and the Russian government, perhaps a trade of one prisoner for another or one prisoner for two. Remember, Paul Whelan, another American is still in Russia as well.
And so, that's what she's pushing for is a conversation with President Biden and for the United States government to put a deal on the table with Russia. Because at the end of the day, they do not believe that at the end of this process, there can be an acquittal of any kind in the justice system that she doesn't really, as you can hear there have a whole lot of confidence in Wolf.
BLITZER: So bottom line is Cherelle Griner, and you did an excellent interview with her very move moving, is she disappointed in the Biden Administration's efforts, at least so far, to secure Brittney's release?
PHILLIP: She said that she is. She says that they can do more to demonstrate that they actually are doing what they say they are doing. She's pretty disappointed. They were supposed to have a phone call about a week and a half ago for their anniversary. They weren't able to have that phone call. That phone call still has not happened Wolf, and I think that's contributing to her sense that the administration can certainly do more.
BLITZER: Let's open happens. Abby Philip, thank you so, so much. And I know you're going to be having a lot more coming up on your show "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" on this important interview 8:00 a.m. Eastern Sunday morning. We'll of course, I'll be watching.
Up next --
PHILLIP: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: -- across the nation. More than a dozen states are now in the midst of a legal battle over abortion bans, and some states are actually closing down their clinics. Others are preparing for an influx of patients from across state lines. We have details when we come back.
BLITZER: Legal fights are now underway in more than a dozen states over abortion bans and limits. The latest in Oklahoma provider ribs there are asking the state Supreme Court to block a free row abortion ban that's more than a century old. They're also asking for an end to a criminal abortion law enacted this year. Earlier this week, West Virginia providers also sued to end the enforcement of a pre Roe ban in that state.
All this comes as President Biden today met with Democratic governors working to protect access to reproductive health care. He called on Congress to act on abortion rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: But ultimately, Congress is going to have to act to codify the Roe into federal law. And as I said yesterday, the filibuster should not stand in the way of us being able to do that. For the choice is clear, we either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe where Republicans who elect the House and Senate will try to ban abortions nationwide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: But right now with more states increasing abortion restrictions, some women are forced to travel across state lines just to receive services and it's expected to put a strain on some clinics.
CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has the story.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They come by car and by plane to this Bloomington, Minnesota clinic opened for its access to transportation arteries connecting Minnesota with states banning abortion.
SHARON LAU, MIDWEST ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, WHOLE WOMAN'S HEALTH ALLIANCE: Some patients may fly, some patients may prefer ready to drive and so being near the highways that we are and the airport in Bloomington really gives patients, you know, the most options.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Now Whole Woman's Health is one clinic bracing to treat more patients with I-35 connecting it to three of the states with the most restrictive abortion laws, including Texas, and South Dakota right next door.
Planned Parenthood CEO, Sara states is also bracing for an influx.
SARAH STOESZ, CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD NORTH CENTRAL STATES: We expect to see a minimum of 10 to 25% more people coming seeking abortion.
BROADDUS (on-camera): Can you guys handle the increase?
STOESZ: I don't know if we're going to be able to handle the increase. There is already a healthcare worker shortage and we've been struggling with that since the beginning of the pandemic that hasn't gone away.
BROADDUS (voice-over): And that worries Liz Van Heel.
LIZ VAN HEEL, HAD AN ABORTION 6 YEARS AGO: I actually always thought I'd have two boys.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Who knows the challenges of seeking this type of health care, even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Six years ago, Van Heel says she and her husband went in for an ultrasound and left devastated.
VAN HEEL: It was Friday the 13th that my doctor told me the news that this baby was incompatible with life. And that's when I decided I wanted an abortion as soon as possible.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Van Heel says her unborn baby had a neural tube defect, meaning her baby's brain didn't fully develop.
VAN HEEL: And that diagnosis meant that I would either miscarry at any time, are the moments after I gave birth to baby with that. I knew that continuing to carry a baby that was not compatible with life was not going to be good for my mental health or my emotional health.
BROADDUS (voice-over): The Minneapolis mother who later had a healthy child is worried women like her will have an even tougher time getting an abortion.
VAN HEEL: That is worrisome. I would be honored to be a resource for anyone that needs it.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Planned Parenthood says it's hearing from people like Van Heel offering to be a resource for those who live far from airports or don't have cars.
STOESZ: Someone reached out to me who owns a small plane, and she wants to organize a lot of her friends and others around the country who also have small planes and can land in rural parts of the country and can safely transport women to larger urban centers.
BROADDUS: But even for people with transportation, Planned Parenthood expects appointments will be in short supply.
STOESZ: I do think we'll see more use of abortion pills by mail because appointments are going to be difficult to get.
BROADDUS: And Planned Parenthood told us that on Monday the first business day after the SCOTUS decision. It received its highest volume of calls ever up 50% with most of those callers from out of state. Additionally, Wolf, the CEO you heard from in the story, Sarah Stoesz said she took about 1,000 calls last Saturday from people volunteering to help. Wolf.
BLITZER: Adrienne Broaddus, thank you so much for that report.
Coming up, tragedy in Ukraine right now after yet another deadly Russian missile attack struck a residential apartment complex area. The latest on the war and the new military aid from the United States when "360" returns.
BLITZER: As the U.S. authorizes another $820 million in military aid for Ukraine, officials there are reeling from yet another deadly missile attack by the Russians. This time in the southern city of Odessa, at least 21 are dead, 40 injured after the early morning attack that hit a residential apartment complex at a community center. One of the dead, a child. Ukraine says one of the buildings actually struck in the attack was a rehabilitation center for children with health problems. An employee there was killed, five were injured. The attack comes a day after Russians withdrew from Snake Island, the sight of one of the most memorable early clashes in this brutal war.
CNN's Scott McLean is joining us now from the capital of Ukraine Kyiv with the latest.
Scott, once again the Russians have struck mostly residential targets. What are Ukrainian officials saying about the damage right now?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is why the Ukrainians continue to refer to Russia as a terror state because they continue to target these civilian areas. This was actually in the Odessa region in a village called (INAUDIBLE) right along the coastline. And we're talking about sites that clearly have no military value and Ukrainian say that there were no military sites around them either. As you mentioned a nine story apartment building, and children's rehabilitation facility and a summer camp as well.
The type of missile used here as well would have been fired from an airplane over the Black Sea. It's the same type of missile according to the President that was used in that mall attack in Kremenchuk, this isn't the kind of missile Wolf that could sink a military ship, clearly not meant to be fired in to the civilian areas at all. But that is what we are seeing here. What the intended target is because this type of missile is not quite as accurate as the more modern varieties. What the intended target is, is not entirely clear.
But one thing that stood out to me is that the area that these were fired in is only about five miles or so from a very critical bridge, the only road or rail link between the far southwest corner of Ukraine and the rest of the country. This is a bridge that the Russians had hit over and over again over the course of this war.
Now, these missiles can strike anywhere in the country, Wolf, of course as we're finding out and the Ukrainians have been asking for more and more air defense systems and it seems like they're getting that from the United States which has just been announced tonight as part of this deal they are also getting more ammunition and radar system as well.
I should point out that the Russians continue to insist that they don't hit civilian sites, reiterating what President Putin said earlier this week that they don't need to, they say that they have the technology, they have the intelligence to know exactly what they're aiming at, and to be able to hit it with precision. But clearly, this is just one more example of the fact that that's not true. They continue to hit hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, the list goes on, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, they hit a shopping mall just the other day, killing a whole bunch of people as well. Is there any indication the strikes could have been some form of retribution for the Ukrainians recapturing what's called Snake Island? MCLEAN: It is really unclear, it's really difficult to get inside Vladimir Putin's mind, but Snake Island makes it much more difficult Wolf to hit the Odessa region, it's one less launch pad that the Russians have to strike this region that really they have not been able to reach by land. There are plenty of land or natural barriers and also Ukrainian resistance that have prevented the Russians from getting anywhere close to Odessa.
And so, instead they've resorted to lobbing missiles in that direction. The Ukrainians hope that there's at least less shelling going into the Odessa region now that Snake Island is back in their hands.
BLITZER: Scott McLean in Kyiv for us. Stay safe over there. Thanks very much.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: If you don't have plans for the Fourth of July, CNN has you covered. Starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, CNN will celebrate the 246th anniversary of our nation's independence with our special "THE FOURTH IN AMERICA," right here on CNN until 1:00 a.m. Eastern.
In the meantime, that's it for me. Thanks for watching. The news continues. So let's hand it over to Sara Sidner in "CNN TONIGHT."