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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Two Major Rulings Tonight In Legal Fight Over Medication Abortion Pill; VP Harris Criticizes Texas Ruling On Abortion Pill, Calls It A Dangerous Precedent; Interview With Rep. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (D-NY); Tennessee House GOP Expels 2 Democrats In Retaliation Over Gun Control Protest; Justice Dept. Opens Investigation As Extensive Leak Of Apparent Classified U. S. Docs And Wide Range Of Issues Surface Online; Israel: 1 Dead, Seven Wounded In Tel Aviv "Terror Attack"; TX Judge Rules To Suspend Approval Of Abortion Pill; DOJ Appealing; GOP Fall Into Line, Blast Criminal Charges Against Trump. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 07, 2023 - 20:00   ET



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): As you heard there, Bianna, the Israelis saying they don't want all this to escalate any further, but certainly what we're seeing on the ground here is that the situation remains extremely volatile -- Bianna.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: We will be watching closely.

Fred Pleitgen, thank you.

And AC 360 starts now.



We begin tonight with breaking news. Two Court rulings, the first, potentially life-altering for women in this country. A Federal Judge in Texas putting government approval of a drug widely used to terminate pregnancies on hold, effective seven days from now. Mifepristone is the name of the drug. It first got FDA approval more than two decades ago. And until recently, the notion of a Judge having grounds to reverse approval of it was seen by many legal experts as dubious at best.

However, abortion opponents steered their case to a Judge named Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Fifth Circuit in Texas, and he has ruled as they hoped.

Just after that, we got word of a ruling in a different Federal Court in Washington State affecting only some States on the same drug.

So there is a lot to get to. CNN Supreme Court reporter, Ariane de Vogue joins us right now on both ruling.

So Ariane, first, tell us about the Texas ruling and what that means.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. It has been an unbelievable night, right? Both of these rulings opposing, they both have to do with the FDA's approval of the medication abortion drug and that approval came in 2000.

In this first case, what the Federal Judge said is he blocked the government's approval of this drug. He said he was going to put this on hold for a week to allow appeals to occur, but basically, he said that the government had not taken into account the risks of the drug.

The Biden administration, as you said, said that this lawsuit brought by opponents of abortion was unprecedented because that drug has been on the books for so long, but here is what the Judge who is a Trump nominee said. He said that the FDA entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem by omitting any evaluation of the psychological effects of the drugs or an evaluation of the long-term medical consequences of the drug.

Now, it is worth noting here, Anderson, that most medical groups disagree with that, but that is what the Judge did in that particular ruling tonight.

COOPER:bAnd what about the Washington State ruling?

DE VOGUE: Well, so that's totally different.

So this ruling, this case was brought by more than a dozen liberal States, and they took the position that the FDA is not doing enough to ease access to this drug. So totally opposite from the other case.

And the Federal Judge here, who is an Obama nominee, he gave them a partial whim. He said, look, for now, the FDA cannot withdraw this drug.

So if you're confused, you have a right to be. One Judge blocking it, although he put it on hold; and the other saying that in the States where he has jurisdiction, it has to stay on the market. Very confusing.

COOPER: So what happens when there are conflicting rulings like this?

DE VOGUE: So one thing we know when you have two District Courts who are saying opposite things, you know, for sure that there is going to be a quick appeal. So a Higher Court, an Appeals Court, or the Supreme Court can sort this out, and that is what we know is going to happen.

It's going to move quickly with the appeals and it is going to end up back somehow in some form before the Supreme Court. And keep in mind, it was less than a year ago that the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. As things stand right now, the majority of abortions are medication abortions.

COOPER: Ariane de Vogue, appreciate it. Thank you.

DE VOGUE: Thanks. COOPER: For more on the Judge in Texas, I want to go to CNN's Rosa Flores.

So how did the lawsuit end up in front of this particular Judge? And who is he?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so the Judge, as you mentioned, Anderson is Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. He was appointed by President Trump and before rising to the Federal bench, he worked for the religious right. He worked for a religious right law firm on antiabortion advocacy, and who are the plaintiffs here? A coalition of antiabortion groups, and that's why abortion advocacy groups accused the plaintiffs of Judge shopping.

They said that -- and they pointed to a few factors, including not only the background of the Judge, but also the fact that these plaintiffs didn't register in Amarillo, Texas, until a few months before this lawsuit was filed.

And so that's why there was a lot of pointing the fingers at these plaintiffs by abortion advocacy groups saying that they were Judge shopping. The plaintiffs fired back saying that that was not indeed the case, that they have the right to file a lawsuit where the public is injured.

But what's really interesting, Anderson is that during that hearing, the plaintiffs admitted that the one doctor, the one plaintiff doctor that was from Amarillo, this doctor actually did not prescribe mifepristone which really raised questions about why they were even filing this lawsuit with this particular Judge. But this particular Judge is the only one in Amarillo, Texas.


And that's why advocacy groups saying that these plaintiffs Judge shopped and went there, and I'll leave you with one final thing. Texas, and because of Judge Kacsmaryk, Texas has become a bit of a graveyard for some of the Biden administration priorities, whether it be immigration or LGBTQ rights and abortion.

Advocacy groups say that it's because of this, because they can Judge shop. They can take it to this Court, and they know exactly what they're going to get.

COOPER: Did the Judge say anything in the hearing last month that foreshadowed this?

FLORES: You know, it was very interesting. This was a four-hour hearing last month, and this Judge appeared skeptical, Anderson.

He appeared skeptical and what was so fascinating was that the plaintiffs were really asking him practically to yank this medication off the shelves. And in the questions that the Judge asked the plaintiffs, he seemed skeptical.

He even asked the plaintiffs, can you point to another case in which a Judge has done exactly what you're asking me to do, and the plaintiffs couldn't point to another case, and that is why this case is so unprecedented, which brings me to this point, because this is so unprecedented, in essence, what the plaintiffs have asked this Judge to do is to override the scientists, to override the FDA, which leads me to my final point, how will the FDA read this and interpret this order? And what will they do?

Now, of course, we know that this order is on pause at the moment for seven days, but if it does go through, Anderson, I think one of the key things is how will the FDA interpret this? Will they actually follow the law and the statute that dictates how they are supposed to suspend a drug or will they yank it out together because of other circumstances?

And how will manufacturers, physicians, pharmacies react as well? Will they automatically yank them off the shelves or not? We don't know. It's unclear.

But I think one thing is really clear, this order, this decision, even though it is not in effect yet, is really sending ripple effects throughout the country because of its unprecedented nature -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Rosa Flores. Appreciate it. Thanks.

Joining us now is author, medical journalist and OB-GYN physician, Dr. Jen Conti; also CNN senior legal analyst and anchor, Laura Coates and Elliot Williams, SENIOR legal analyst and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

Dr. Conti, appreciate you joining us.

The majority of abortions in this country are medical abortions. What is the impact of a ruling like this on women seeking that procedure?


That's right. The majority of abortions in clinics in the US are medication abortion, which means that this affects so many people. And even beyond medication abortion, people forget that this medication is used for other aspects of reproductive healthcare, and it is used oftentimes, you know, for reasons like inducing a second trimester or a later loss with a very wanted pregnancy.

So the fallout is really a lot wider than people realize.

COOPER: Laura, how unusual is it to have these two rulings on this issue on the same basically evening or afternoon? And how does this get resolved?

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, it's almost like lightning striking, that's how odd and unique this is. But it is also very odd and unique for a Judge down in Texas to say, listen, although he has a JD, a Doctorate, nothing like a doctor's degree, let alone a scientific one, which essentially, is what the FDA and of course, other entities who looked at the FDA, including their regimen of how to review this drug and others and have said you haven't done enough and I can't trust the science, so I'm going to make sure that my judicial ruling eliminates the access to it, at least in about seven days from now.

So it's the very, very thing to think about, it also leads, as the doctor talked about to really probably illogical conclusions, because other drugs now will be called into question and other Judges may have the authority to say listen, although the FDA is the entity and the agency we'd like to be able to review for safety and pragmatic concerns, we will now usurp that authority.

And really, that runs counter to this idea of why we use Judges, what the legal system is for, and what we rely on various agencies, administrative and otherwise, to actually do the work, do the actual review, and decide on behalf of the people.

COOPER: Dr. Conti, one thing I just want to ask you before I get to Elliot, the Judge in the case was saying that one of the things the FDA has not taken into account enough is the psychological effect that taking this drug has on women.

This drug has been around now for some two decades. Is there proof of that? I mean, is what he said accurate?


CONTI: No, not at all. And I think you can tell from my eye rolling, that's a ridiculous claim. We've got over 20 years of collected data with millions of women who use this medication, millions of people who've used it, and also lots of really good research.

There is a really great powerhouse research coming out of UCSF, and they call themselves ANSIRH where they really look for actually, at people who were denied abortion care, and that is the population of people they find, who actually have the most psychological damage.

COOPER: Elliot, this allegation of venue shopping in the Texas case, what do you make of it?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, that's real, Anderson.

Look, there are 93 Federal Districts across the United States of America, and typically, when a party files, you know, there might be 10 or 15, or however many Judges in a District and you're rolling the dice on which Judge will ultimately hear and get to decide on a case, through a quirk of how Courts are apportioned across the country, but particularly in this portion of Texas, this Judge was the one Judge in the one Court that could have gotten this case.

It was a deliberate, clearly, a deliberate choice on the part of the parties here to seek out this Judge, quite possibly the most favorable Judge on this issue, given sort of prior history and background there are.

So there is no question that not just forum shopping in the sense of well, I'd like to file this in the Southern United States or you know, in the Northeastern United States where I might have a better chance of winning, but specifically seeking out one particular Judge and trying to engineer an outcome.

This was in many respects, sort of a policy decision in search of a Court to help effectuate it.

COOPER: Laura, the FDA is obviously a Federal agency, presumably State Legislatures can't really intervene in this.

COATES: No, and remember, look back to the Dobbs decision. Remember, a lot of this Pandora's Box has been opened, obviously, by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and much of this should have been foreseeable for the nine Supreme Court Justices to anticipate what it would look like when you have a patchwork or confusion with respect to what it looks like in terms of a surgical abortion, or a medication abortion, the latter of which that the doctor spoke about far more common.

And so the idea of returning it to the State, which is what the Supreme Court Justices said to do, which the majority said to do, now you've got this conflict at play. But for those who are watching this from an esoteric notion, legally speaking, the fact that there are two conflicts now, one Court saying one thing and another saying another, it generates such confusion that it is a fast track to the Supreme Court to look at these issues.

Now, I don't know if there should be legal optimism with respect to the issue about how they feel about abortion given the most recent Dobbs decision, but just take a step back, Anderson.

The idea that an agency and over the last, not just 20 years, over the last 12 years engage in higher levels of research to focus on this and about 299 other drugs, when you have a whole universe of drugs that are available to focus on the research, to look at these particular drugs, including this one in particular, and then to say that it's a Judge who has the power to usurp the authority of that agency. For the Justices who care a great deal, which the Supreme Court has many now, about the idea of administrative law, this is antithetical.

And so looking ahead to what they might conclude on that basis, I think there is room to question the longevity of the Texas decision.

COOPER: Dr. Conti, I mean, do you have from, a medical standpoint, just on the efficacy and the safety of this drug, do you have any concerns about this drug? Any qualms about this drugs?

Because the Judge had also raised questions about the FDA saying, you know, they hadn't looked at it in women below the age of 18, I think was one of his comments.

CONTI: No, not at all. And look, like the goal of these antiabortion extremists, including this Judge has always been to ban complete abortion care. It's not about the safety. This has never been about the safety. This is about finding a way to ban abortion. And here actually is how that looks. If you ban medication abortion or if you ban what people associate is the only form of medication abortion, which is not, we'll get back to that, you essentially have all of these States now that have banned surgical abortion and you've created this chaos where people think that they can't have either medication or now surgical abortion. Time goes by, and essentially they're trapped. And that's the goal. The goal is to trap them and to create chaos and fear.

The second point I wanted to make about the medication is that medication abortion is still available. So even though this medication is potentially going away, it sounds like it's going away. Misoprostol which is the other or the second medication that we use together is still available and that is promising.


COOPER: And what do you think the immediate impact of this, assuming seven days go by and this is actually removed.

CONTI: Chaos. I mean, I think chaos, fear. I think, you know, even talking to highly-educated people who consider themselves in the know and who are prochoice, a lot of people are confused right now. They think that this medication going away means that medication abortion is no longer available.

And whereas the most effective and efficient way to do medication abortion will not be available anymore, we have a regimen in place to do medication abortion with just misoprostol alone, which is that second medication.

COOPER: What's the difference and why is that the secondary -- you know, why is that not the one you would first use?

CONTI: So it requires going back a little bit of history. So in 2000, when the US approved mifepristone with the FDA, we changed the way we did medication abortion. So we started using both mifepristone and misoprostol together and it made the efficacy of abortion just skyrocket. It went up to like 95 percent.

If you use just the medication, misoprostol, you've still got a pretty good chance of having an effective abortion that is 85 to 90 percent. But remember, there are a lot of countries all over the world who don't have access to mifepristone and use that regimen still. So whereas it might not be as effective, it's still an option.

COOPER: Dr. Conti, appreciate it. Laura Coates, Elliot Williams as well. Thank you.

We'll get reaction from New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez next. She joins us live.


[20:20:13] COOPER: Vice President Kamala Harris just weighed in on tonight's breaking news, a Federal Judge in Texas invalidating FDA approval of mifepristone, a widely used drug in medication abortions.

Speaking at the airport in Nashville, here's her initial response.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So the District Court in the abortion medication decision came down today. I haven't read it yet. So I'm going to do an analysis of it.

But as a general matter, I'll say that there is no question that the President and I are going to stand with the women of America and do everything we can to ensure that women have the ability to make decisions about their health care and their reproductive health care in a manner that is what they need and they decide that, not their government.


COOPER: More reaction now to that and a separate ruling in Washington State on the same drug going in the opposite direction, all of it likely headed to the Supreme Court.

Joining us, New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. Thanks so much for being with us.

When you've heard the news this afternoon, a couple of hours ago. What did you think?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Well, you know, I think rulings like this, and I think we've seen from the FDA and also from activity in Congress that some of these rulings, I think we've been preparing and anticipating for there being these egregious overreaches by members of the judiciary appointed by a right-wing Republican Party, whose goal for a very long time was to just pack these Courts with partisan Judges often under qualified or completely unqualified for the for their role.

And so there has been thought I believe given to this. Senator Ron Wyden has already issued statements, for example, advising what we should do in situations like this, which I concur, which is that I believe that the Biden administration should ignore this ruling.

I think that we, you know, the Courts have the legitimacy, and they rely on the legitimacy of their rulings. And what they are currently doing is engaged in an unprecedented and dramatic erosion of the legitimacy of the Courts.

It is the Justices themselves through the deeply partisan and unfounded nature of these rulings that are undermining their own enforcement.

COOPER: So what you're saying, the Biden administration should ignore this Court. But what does that look like? What does that actually mean?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I think the interesting thing when it comes to a ruling is that it relies on enforcement. And it is up to the Biden administration to enforce, to choose whether or not to enforce such a ruling.

COOPER: But is that -- do we want to live in a world where the government can decide to ignore a Federal Court ruling?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, no, of course. I mean, I do think that this -- that it raises these important questions, and do think that when we look at, and there are serious questions that the FDA and the Biden administration is going to have to figure out and how exactly we map this out.

But on the other hand, what we are also seeing is a power grab over our Courts in which the laws passed by Congress, and the rules and policies passed by the executive branch now are going to require unanimous consent from 650 District Court Judges, many of which are appointed with even, you know, the American Bar Association, saying that they are completely unfit for the role.

COOPER: You know, it is one of the things sort of that a lot of people didn't pay that much attention to during the Trump administration, because there were so many bizarre things going on every day. But Mitch McConnell was, you know, getting Judges appointed to the bench who were the most conservative Judges possible.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And they weren't just conservative, they were completely unqualified, and you know, the American Bar Association, along with many other organizations, they issue recommendations or assessments, oftentimes, some of them are nonpartisan, about how qualified a candidate maybe to be, you know, nominated for the bench, and many of them were completely unqualified.

And Republicans knowingly put these folks on the bench because they -- you know, between nominations with the Federalist Society and other organizations knew that they would get outcomes like these. And this is an effort to really subvert the will of the American people who elect their legislators and who elect their leaders to enact the policies that they are accountable to.

COOPER: I understand, you know, people having differences of opinions on matters like this, religious differences, whatever it may be. What's interesting to me, this Judge though, the arguments he is making, I mean, we just spoke to that physician, the arguments he is making about the medical concerns just do not stand up to the facts.


OCASIO-CORTEZ: And that is exactly what makes this ruling different. This is not about a case where a Judge is calling balls and strikes on what is within the bounds of the law and not.

Mifepristone has been legal and in the market for 23 years.

COOPER: And it's not as if there's some new study that has come out and said, oh, my gosh, this is actually --

OCASIO-CORTEZ: This is like someone coming out and a Judge just coming out and outlawing Claritin or aspirin or Plan B, because they felt like it. I mean, the contents of this Judge's ruling is frankly shocking, and it should be appalling to anyone who practices law, because it is so unfounded, it is insulting, I believe to any profession in the law, because it is pure conjecture, pure conjecture.

As you mentioned, there is no medical evidence, there is no new study. This is a ruling that happened because they could and because they wanted to.

COOPER: So when you see Vice President Harris saying, you know, we're going to do everything we can to stop this, to stand by -- to stand with women. You're saying that they should not -- they should just ignore this Judge?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think what we need to see here, and we saw -- and there is precedent for this and the precedent for it escalated in the Supreme Court back, you know, a hundred years ago, when there were these mounting pressures with then FDR and the Supreme Court, where there was concern about the Supreme Court, truly expanding its reach and abusing its power.

And when we have a system of checks and balances, there is the question of who is the check on the Supreme Court. You have the check on the presidency, you have the check on Congress through veto power, and you have the check on the presidency with overriding. You have to check on both with the Supreme Court in their rulings.

But what is the check on the Supreme Court? And that is up to the President of the United States and Congress.

COOPER: I want to ask you about what we saw in Tennessee last night. Three legislators who took part in a protest on the floor of the State House, not with protesters, but on the actual floor. They had a bullhorn, clearly a violation of the rules of decorum.

You know, not something legislators normally do or would, you know make sense to have legislators do for good order of actually hearing people's arguments. That being said, the punishment for two of them was to be expelled. How do you see that? Do you think that really was about the rules of decorum or something else?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: We know that that it absolutely was not. We know that -- and there is precedent for this, you know, while protest is not a normal occurrence on the House floor, it happens all the time.

We saw John Lewis lead a sit-in on the floor of the United States Congress. You saw the -- you know, the unseeming behavior from House Republicans, even during the State of the Union yelling and hooting and hollering from the National Republican Party during the President's State of the Union. Were these people expelled? Was there even an ethics, you know, question brought up to this? No, there was not.

COOPER: There was a shush.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: There was a shush, right, and so what we're also seeing here and there are so many levels before expulsion, naturally, there's even censure, there is striking the word, there is --

COOPER: So what was it about?


COOPER: What was it about?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think this is about the fascist takeover of our State Houses that Republicans have invested in, in the last several decades. This is about a naked abuse of power. This is about disenfranchising Democrats in States where there is extreme levels of voter suppression.

And it was also about racism. It was deeply about racism. From the comments, the absolutely disrespectful and denigrating comments made to the Black members of the Tennessee House, to the fact that these Republicans voted to expel after charging three of these members, they expelled two Black male legislators, and they voted to acquit in a way or they voted to not expel the sole White woman, Representative Gloria Johnson, who has been a phenomenal ally.

COOPER: Who herself raised this issue of race playing a role.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes. And they have no defense. There is no defense and we have not heard any rational explanation for why that is, and it is so important that we recognize this for what it is, and that we see this for what it is because if we do not, then we will not take the proper actions to stop it.


COOPER: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thank you. Appreciate it.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Of course. Thank you so much.

COOPER: Coming up, more breaking news on the leak online of classified information in the war in Ukraine. Plus, escalation in the Middle East as Israel's prime minister orders additional troops, as well as all police border reserve units mobilized. We have a live report from Tel Aviv next.


COOPER: More breaking news tonight. We have new information related to that leak on social media of screenshots of apparently classified U.S. and NATO military information on the war in Ukraine. It's now apparently more extensive than originally believed.

Our Senior National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt joins us. So Alex, the Department of Justice is now looking into this. What more are you learning? ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: More than looking into it, Anderson, they have officially launched an investigation. We had been told by both the Pentagon and the CIA that they were looking into this possible trove of classified documents, U.S. intelligence documents, NATO intelligence documents that had been leaked online.

And now this appears to be escalating significantly both because DOJ has launched an investigation and also what appears to be online is much more extensive than we initially knew about. A DOJ spokesperson telling CNN tonight that they have been in touch with the Pentagon. They have officially launched an investigation. But that's really all they are saying.

Anderson, the initial trove of documents that I first got a glimpse of last night was really specific about Ukraine and what's going on in Ukraine. Now this-- the latest documents, there appear to be dozens more that include much wider ranging subjects like the Wagner mercenary group's presence in Africa, pathways for Israel to provide lethal aid to Ukraine which is something that they haven't done yet, the ties between the United Arab Emirates and Russia, and then South Korean concerns about providing ammunition for Ukraine.


So it is a much broader range of issues. The documents that I've seen, Anderson, they clearly say secret and top secret. At the top, there are notations that say they shouldn't be shared with foreign countries or only certain countries. There are maps, there are troop levels, force postures, the types of ammunition that's being used, very specific numbers, Anderson, like the number of American Special Forces that are in Ukraine.

It is not the most sensitive intelligence that is possible, but it is certainly something that you can imagine Russia and other adversaries would be interested in. There had been some early speculation that this might be part of a Russian disinformation campaign, because some of the documents did appear to be edited in a way that reduced Russian casualties and raised Ukrainian casualties.

But that appears -- that speculation appears to be fading as these documents do appear to look more and more real. Certainly, the Department of Justice, as well as the Pentagon and the CIA taking this seriously, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Alex Marquardt, appreciate the update.

In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu tonight ordered the mobilization of all police border reserve units, as well as additional troops from the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF. It comes in the wake of a vehicle attack in Tel Aviv, which injured seven people, killed one, all tourists. Israel's Foreign Ministry is calling it a terror attack.

Tensions have been high since nearly three dozen rockets were fired into Israel from southern Lebanon by what Israel said were Palestinian militants. Israel then hit targets in Gaza and southern Lebanon, and then more rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Tel Aviv for us tonight. So you're at the scene of the attack in Tel Aviv, what more can you tell us about what happened?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson. Well, it was an extremely brutal attack. There was some video that came out on social media tonight that really showed a car racing down this pathway that you see behind me, which is actually a bike path and a pedestrian path racing down there, hitting people, and then coming off that path and flipping over several times.

And what we're hurrying from Israeli investigators tonight is that what happened afterwards, there was a policeman who was at a gas station nearby who then raced to the scene and saw that the person who was at the wheel of the car head that had flipped over was reaching for a weapon and had then shot that person.

So this all of this could have been a lot worse than it actually was. However, as you can imagine, a lot of people here taken aback very much by what happened here tonight. You mentioned all the people who were killed in that incident, or the one person was killed was a tourist. The other ones who were injured also were all tourists as well.

Benjamin Netanyahu, by the way, not only mobilizing those border reserves. Earlier today, he had called on reserves as well for the air force and the air defense sector. And that just gives you an idea about how volatile the situation is in the wake of those Israeli retaliatory strikes that took place, of course, also in the wake of some of those strikes that come from Gaza as well.

And it remains a volatile situation, even though the Israelis are saying and it seems, though, the other side is saying as well, they don't want this to escalate any further, Anderson.

COOPER: And so what are officials saying about next steps?

PLEITGEN: That's a very good question. They are saying essentially they don't want this to go any further. The Israelis are saying they are prepared for anything that might come next, but right now, they're saying they don't want to act any further. In fact, the Israelis have announced tonight that right now, as of right now, as we're speaking here right now, their operation in Gaza and in south Lebanon is over.

They don't intend to fly any more sorties. Of course, that is predicated on no more rockets flying into Israeli territory as well. So what you have on the ground here right now is a very tense calm. At the same time, the Israelis getting ready for anything that could come. And you do, of course, also have mediation efforts that are going on as well to try and calm the general situation down.

Because, of course, as we've been seeing over this past week and as we've been reporting, of course, on our air as well, there have been several incidents this past week that have just escalated the situation further. We're thinking of, for instance, of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israelis going into that raiding that then, of course, those strikes coming from Lebanon onto Israeli territories, the Israeli strikes in retaliation, it is generally an extremely volatile situation.

It seems, though, right now, powers here in this region, medias are trying to generally calm that down somewhat, while at the same time, the Israelis are saying that they will continue to tow a very hard line, Anderson.

COOPER: Fred Pleitgen, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next, Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar on today's abortion drug ruling in Texas.



COOPER: We'll continue to follow the breaking news on a Texas federal judge suspending FDA approval of the drug mifepristone, which has been safely used for decades by millions of women in medication abortions. That competing ruling as well, affecting 12 states from a federal judge in Washington state.

Just moments ago, Attorney General Garland said the Justice Department will appeal the Texas ruling quoting from the statement, quote, "Today's decision overturns the FDA's expert judgment rendered over two decades that mifepristone is safe and effective. The department will continue to defend the FDA's decision."

Joining us now by phone is Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Klobuchar, I'm wondering what your reaction to the two rulings is, particularly the Texas ruling.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: This is just a complete shock for women across the nation. This is medication abortion, is safe. It was approved, as pointed out by the Attorney General over 20 years ago. The approval process took four years.

Yet this judge, a notoriously conservative judge, Judge Kacsmaryk from Texas, he's the same one, Anderson, who issued the initial decision in the Dobbs case that shredded more than nearly five decades of precedent protecting women's right to make her own decision about her health care. He's now said this drug, which is literally used for more than half the abortions in the U.S., it cannot be used.


Now, he stayed his opinion for one week. So the Justice Department will appeal on behalf of the FDA. They're going to have one week to do that. And they go to the Fifth Circuit, notoriously again conservative circuit, and then they will decide if it gets stayed for a longer time. And if that doesn't work, of course, they go to the Supreme Court. COOPER: I was talking to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier in the program. She said she believed the Biden administration should just ignore the Texas ruling. Is that something that you would support?

KLOBUCHAR: I believe that in the law, and I think what you're going to see here is an uprising of women across the country that you've already seen. Look at what just happened in Wisconsin. And I think what you do have available is a second drug that is also being challenged, which is slightly less effective.

And then you have 12 states, and this is key, Anderson, 12 states which you pointed out, where the court out of Washington state has actually ruled the opposite. And as far as I know, those 12 states, it's OK, and that includes my state of Minnesota. So once again, you're going to have a patchwork of laws.

The hope, of course, is that between these two courts, someone will stay the decision longer than a week. And meanwhile, the Washington court case applies to those 12 other states.

COOPER: It does seem like the judge in Texas focused on what he said were concerns he had about the drugs impact psychologically on women. I talked to a physician earlier in the program who said there's no evidence of that. In fact, the psychological harm is for women who are trying to get this procedure and are unable to. I mean, does the judge's decision make sense just on the merits of what he ruled?

KLOBUCHAR: No. Not at all. Especially when he said it was rushed four years available for over two decades. That is not rushed. Used by -- in one year alone, half a million women was the way that they accessed abortion care. So this is obviously outrageous. You can see a very strong case on the other side, and then you have states all over the country.

My guess, it won't just be these 12 that will also be bringing cases as well, because as you know, there's still a number of states, including mine, that is an island in the middle of a number of states that ban abortion now that allow for abortion. So I think that his ruling just under the law makes no sense when you look at FDA law.

On the other hand, I don't think we're surprised another, you know, Trump appointed judge. You have got these people that Donald Trump put in. You've got Supreme Court that did all it could in that Dobbs decision to overturn 50 years of precedent, and you've got women and men from Kansas to Alaska --


KLOBUCHAR: -- telling them, no, we don't agree with this. 70, 80 percent of the public is with us. So one answer, Anderson, of course, is to pass the Women's Health Protection Act in Congress.


KLOBUCHAR: But right now, we have a House of Representatives controlled by the Republicans that won't let it through.

COOPER: Yes. Senator Klobuchar, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, what the former president's declared are likely primary rivals are saying or not saying, as the case may be about his criminal indictment this week.



COOPER: Last night, two contenders for the Republican nomination for the presidency, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis had ample opportunity to speak out about the former president also running for the White House. Haley, who was at a campaign event, did not mention the former president or the indictment. DeSantis never mentioned his name.

The criminal charges against the former president appear to have frozen in place any possible attacks against him by current or potential presidential opponents. And Republicans overall have spent this historic week, the first ever where former presidents had to say not guilty to criminal charges, rallying to his side, or at least saying nothing critical about him.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They planned to run against him.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: The winners get to make policy. The losers go home.

ZELENY (voice-over): And believe Republicans were ready to turn the page.

NIKKI HALEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you're tired of losing, put your trust in a new generation.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet at the end of a historic week in American politics --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.

ZELENY (voice-over): Donald Trump's top GOP challengers are suddenly on his side after falling into line and blasting criminal charges against the former president.

DESANTIS: You see this guy in Manhattan, this district attorney, they're weaponizing the prosecutorial power to advance a political agenda. Maybe it's targeting a politician they don't like.

ZELENY (voice-over): Republican rivals fear their opening against Trump may have closed a bit after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's indictment on 34 counts.

ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: These are felony crimes in New York State no matter who you are.

ZELENY (voice-over): Prompted a storm of outrage, even from some of Trump's fiercest critics, like Senator Mitt Romney, who called it a dangerous precedent, saying, "I believe President Trump's character and conduct make him unfit for office. Even so, I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda."

With Republican wagons circling around Trump, or at least against his indictment, it's unclear when the window to forcefully challenge his candidacy will open again or who will dare to try.

HALEY: Got a liberal prosecutor that's doing political revenge against a former president. I mean, that's not a precedent that you want to have.

ZELENY (voice-over): Not long ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did tiptoe around a critique of Trump's predicament with Stormy Daniels.

DESANTIS: I don't know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I just -- I can't speak to that.

ZELENY (voice-over): Before quickly dropping any references to porn stars and hush money and simply going on the attack against the New York prosecutor. When asked today whether the indictment influenced his plans to run, DeSantis answered like this.

DESANTIS: It's affected me in the sense that it's reinforced this problem we have in our country where we have the political left weaponizing the rule of law, actually abandoning the rule of law by weaponizing it and using against people they don't like. And that needs to stop in this country.

ZELENY (voice-over): And an orthodox presidential primary becomes even more so. Advisers to Republican campaigns tell CNN the biggest risk of all is to get crosswise with voters deeply loyal to Trump, who once again is dominating and overshadowing the race.


TRUMP: This fake case was brought only to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election, and it should be dropped immediately, immediately.

ZELENY (voice-over): Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Joining us now, Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and CNN Senior Political Commentator Adam Kinzinger, former Republican Congressman. Mr. Scaramucci, can you believe -- I mean, it's been almost eight years since Donald Trump announced he was running for president and nobody seems to know how to run against him still.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, Joe Biden, he knew how to run against them, but he's a different ilk than these Republican politicians, and they need to go after him, Anderson. If they don't go after him, they're going to lose to him.

COOPER: What does that mean to you go after him? I mean, how do you think -- because I think, I mean, did Marco Rubio try that?

SCARAMUCCI: No, it's different. I -- you have to go after him on policy, you have to go after him on character. You can't call his hands little. That's just getting in the mud with him. You have to explain to the American people of the Republican Party that it's a different country than it was in 2016.

It's a totally different demographic, and you have to appeal to a wider base of people. And if you do that, you'll beat them. If you don't do that, it'll be like seven dwarfs up against him and they'll each get 3 percent to 5 percent of the vote. He'll get his requisite 20 percent to 25 percent, and he'll win.

COOPER: Congressman Kinzinger, do any of these candidates who have announced so far, do you think they know how to run against him?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think, you know, Asa is going to take it to him a little bit, but no, they don't, because the hope right now is just that Donald Trump goes away magically through, you know, some guy riding on a unicorn to save the day who -- of which they are of the unicorn class. They're just not going to come in and do it. That's the hope.

That's the only way they think they can win, because if they go after him, you know, if anyone goes after them, they're out. They all have to go after him, and they're all not going to do that.

COOPER: Congressman Kinzinger, do you think that Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis -- I mean, are they hoping, are they waiting for, you know, other indictments to come, that there will be just a weight of indictments that somehow erode his base support? Because clearly they don't want to upset the base.

KINZINGER: Yes, that's exactly what they're doing. They'll never tell you that. I mean, you'd have to put them on truth serum to get that out of them. But they're exactly hoping that those further indictments take them out. They're hoping some sweet meteor comes along and changes the political dynamic, but they're not going to take them on. Because, you know, if you do it alone, you're going to get crushed out of the primary. Everybody has to unionize and do it, but they won't do that.

COOPER: Anthony, what do you think -- I mean, do you think that there is going to be sort of a weight of more indictments coming? I mean, if that -- will that have an impact?

SCARAMUCCI: See, I have a different take on all this. I do think that's going to impact him. It'll be very time consuming, but I think the absence of his family members in this campaign is going to knock him out of the race. I -- he just doesn't do well without them. He ran Trump Organization with them, reality television with them, the White House with them, the 2016 campaign and the 2020 campaign.

They want nothing to do with this campaign, Anderson, and they were conspicuously absent from the courtroom. So I think he's going to have a hard time. He may not even make it to the Iowa caucuses, not because of anything other than the combination of the lawsuits and the family's absence. It may not be anything to do with the Republican adversaries that he's facing.

COOPER: So you think he might actually drop out?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, he would fake an illness or something like that. You know, he would come up with a very clever excuse. But I don't -- you know, listen, you get hit with two more lawsuits like this, maybe another arrest and arraignment in Georgia and your family's nowhere to be seen, and you're somebody like Donald Trump, it's possible.

You can't rule it out, let's put it that way. These people that see him as indestructible at age 78 and he's going to ride himself back into the White House, I think that's also far-fetched.

COOPER: Congressman Kinzinger, what do you think of that?

KINZINGER: Yes, I'm sorry. I was getting some bad audio, so I couldn't catch what you said there, Anderson.

COOPER: Oh, he --

SCARAMUCCI: I said you were a great person, Adam. I said you were a great person.

KINZINGER: I got that part. I got that part.

COOPER: Anthony was saying he thought that Trump might actually just, you know, fake an illness or something and ultimately drop out of the race.

KINZINGER: Oh, I think it'd be great if he -- I mean, that's -- yes, I like your theory. I like his theory. I just -- I'm still, I don't know, maybe I've been through this for long enough to just kind of be under the impression that, you know, this guy, I mean, everybody is just waiting that, you know, Donald Trump's going to magically get out of the race. And we were doing that in 2016 as well.

I think it's quite possible. I mean, Anthony knows the family and kind of that dynamics better than I do, but certainly it's not going to be from other, you know, candidates taking on Donald Trump, because you just can't do it. You can't do it and survive in this party. And it's really kind of a bad wrap on the party, unfortunately. COOPER: Yes. Adam Kinzinger, Anthony Scaramucci, I appreciate you being on. I'm sorry we got pressed for time given all the breaking news, but thank you so much.

SCARAMUCCI: Good to be here.

COOPER: The news continues. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now.