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Vice President Harris Stumps with California Governor to Send Message to Women Voters; Capitol Police Warns of Potential Unrest at 9/18 Far-Right Rally; Two Teen Sensations to Play in U.S. Open Semifinals Tonight. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired September 09, 2021 - 11:30   ET


CECILE RICHARDS, FORMER PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: And it does nothing to help the women who are the survivors of rape.


The point being right now, 85 to 90 percent of faith and legal abortions that happens in the state of texas is now not possibly anymore, and that's because of the actions of this governor. It is cruel. It is unconstitutional. I'm grateful that the Biden administration, the Department of Justice is taking action. But this should be a wake-up call to women and men all across this country who are concerned about the loss of rights in the state of Texas and what could be happening across in other states as well.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Cecile, thanks for your time.

RICHARDS: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: California's recall election is now in the final stretch. Vice President Kamala Harris is returning to her home state to help campaign with Governor Gavin Newsom as he fights to keep his job. The vice president insisting this one recall has much bigger national consequences.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: They're thinking that if they can get this done in California, they can go around the country and do this. You have got to understand what is happening right now, what is happening in Texas, what is happening in Georgia, what is happening around our country with these policies that are about attacking women's rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, workers' rights. They think if they can win in California, they can do this anywhere. Well, we ill show them you are not going to get this done, not here, never.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Dana bash is back with me. She is the host of the new CNN podcast, Total Recall, California's Political Circus.

So, Dana, the vice president, she wants to nationalize this recall election. That seems clear. Do you think that can work?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It could given the very real conversations that are happening, like the one that you just have had Cecile Richards, with women especially but voters beyond women across the country about what is happening in places like Texas and so forth.

I mean, let's be clear and let's have a little bit of a fact check here. Even if there is a Republican governor come September 15th, next week, in California, there still is a very robust Democratic legislature in California. So, that is a reality check.

But it is also true that what has been happening with the California recall is that the passion has been on the anti-Gavin Newsom side. The passion has been on the pro-recall side because people are angry. They're very upset about a lot of things. And when you're upset about a lot of things, you tend to take it out on the guy in charge, and that is Gavin Newsom right now.

So, what Kamala Harris, and before her, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, and, of course, Gavin Newsom himself, all campaigning, have been trying to do is to get people fired up who have been the concern on the Democratic side in California, have been a little bit complacent about this recall.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And you have, as I mentioned, the new podcast, all about the history of the recall, you sat down with the only person in California's history to win a governor's race through a recall, which is Arnold Schwarzenegger. I want to play some of what you told you, kind of his take on the current recall election.


BASH: You mentioned that the debate of the current recall, that there were no cameras there. How concerned are you that people just don't care, as you said, and there won't be a lot of people who go and vote? What are you thinking about?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: Well, I think that people do care. But they sure didn't care about the clowns up there on stage having a debate. There was like the media is not stupid. The media go and say, look, if we get millions of requests to cover that thing, of course, we go with the camera. But there was no one interested.

So I think there are people interested that want to go and unseat Newsom. They will be motivated and they will say, we've got to get rid of him and they will come out and vote. And then there is the Democrats that maybe take this a little bit too relaxed and maybe not come out and it is going to be -- that could be dangerous for Newsom if that is the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: It seems Schwarzenegger is getting at just what you were mentioning, about where the passion is or the imbalance of it and the biggest problem might be that people don't care.

BASH: Yes, that is exactly right. Now, I will say that at the time we spoke a few weeks ago, he even then said, I see that the Newsom campaign is not relaxed anymore. They're getting it. So that was already clear to him and to everybody else.

I will also the clowns he was referring to were the people who want to do what he did, the only person as you said in California history, which is to supplant a sitting governor in a recall. He referred to them as clowns and also it was the day after a debate they had where like there was no media coverage because there wasn't a lot of interest.


Again, things have changed but I think it (INAUDIBLE) you what went on 2003, which is why, I will tell you, I had such a blast working on this because it was the ultimate circus back then. And it was aided and abetted by the fact that there was a mega movie star, the guy you just heard, on the ballot.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. He talks about the clowns, why your podcast is so perfectly titled, Total Recall, also one of my favorite movies, the original, not the new, California's Political Circus. You can catch Dana's podcast anywhere you get your podcasts. It's good to see you, Dana. Congratulations on that.

BASH: Thank you so much, Kate.

BOLDUAN: See you soon.

Up next for us, the FBI says it needs your help to find this man who planted -- this person who planted pipe bombs near the U.S. Capitol. More on this new surveillance video, next.



BOLDUAN: Law enforcement officials are preparing for the potential of violence and unrest again ahead of another upcoming right-wing rally in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol Police is requesting the temporary fence that blanketed the Capitol after January 6th, now requesting that it be put back up around the complex ahead of the rally on September 18th.

CNN's Melanie Zanona is joining me live with more on this. What are you learning, Melanie?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, law enforcement officials are growing increasingly concerned about the potential for violence on this September 18th rally, which aims to support the jailed January 6 rioters. And an internal Capitol Hill Police memo reviewed by CNN reveals there

are increasingly violent rhetoric surrounding this event. There have also been particularly heated discussions centered on Ashli Babbitt, the rioter who was shot and killed as she tried to storm the Capitol, and an attorney for Ashli Babbitt was also invited to speak at the rally.

Meanwhile, a lead of the Proud Boys has encouraged people to attend. There's also been white supremacy images used in connection with the event online and there are counter-protests being planned. So, the memo concludes all of this as cause for concern. It is not unreasonable to plan for violent altercations but Capitol Police are preparing for this threat on Capitol Hill. The fencing is going to come back. Lawmakers as well as Capitol Police rank and file officers will receive security briefings in the days ahead. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Melanie, thank for that.

And on January 6th, the FBI is now asking for the public's help identify and find a suspected pipeline bomber. This new surveillance video released shows the suspect placing bombs near the RNC and DNC headquarters, and this was night before the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. And despite a $100,000 reward being offered, the FBI still has not located them.

CNN's Josh Campbell is joining me now for more on this. Is it something new in their surveillance video that is important, Josh, or is it more that they just haven't gotten any good leads?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this certainly gives us a different vantage point. There have been videos released prior the surveillance videos in and around the area where this took place, but the FBI giving this new vantage point. And what they're trying to do is implore the public that if you recognize this person, the mannerisms, the gait, how this person walks, those are important clues that they want to put out there because someone may look at this and say, I know this person.

One thing that is interesting in this new video that was released also is we're now getting a greater sense or more clarity, if you will, on the direction of travel that this suspect took as he meandered in and around the DNC and the RNC headquarters. The FBI saying that they assessed that he did not live in this area based on his route of travel. But, again, as you mentioned, $100,000 reward, but we're going now over eight months that the suspect has eluded officials thus far.

Finally, people may be wondering, well, why does it take so long? I can tell you, having worked a lot of bombing cases overseas and the FBI, that law enforcement often suffers from what is called the CSI effect, and that is the entertainment industry often leads people to think, well, these cases get solved very quickly.

Some of this takes years sometimes as you look at these devices. If a device goes off itself, or in this case, thankfully, it didn't go off but it was detonated, rendered safe by officials, you can lose a lot of evidence, such as fingerprints, such as hair fibers and the like. And so what they're now trying to do is rely on this video, the surveillance video, to implore the public, if you know the person, if this seems familiar, they want you to call the FBI.

BOLDUAN: Josh, thanks for your reporting. I appreciate it.

Coming up still for us, two teenage phenoms taking the tennis world by storm. They both play tonight in the U.S. Open semifinals. We're going to speak with tennis legend, the great Venus Williams, next.



BOLDUAN: The tennis world is on fire over two teen sensations at the U.S. Open. Canada's Leylah Fernandez, who just turned 19, and Britain's Emma Raducanu, who is 18, both reach the semifinals. Both will play tonight.

Joining me now is Tennis Great Venus Williams, also with us is Alon Matas, he is the founder and president of BetterHelp, which is partnering with Venus and the Women's Tennis Association on a new mental health campaign. Thanks for being here, you guys.

Venus, let's get to this new effort on mental health in just one second. But, first, I mean, you've won seven grand slams championships yourself including two U.S. Opens. You know better than anyone what these two teenage athletes are facing in this really amazing moment. What do you make of it?


VENUS WILLIAMS, SEVEN-TIME GRAND SLAM TENNIS CHAMPION: It is super exciting. It is been a great U.S. Open. It's super unpredictable. It seems like the whole world is engaged and I love seeing new names an new faces that bring extra interest into the sport that I love.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And you announced, we all saw at your social media posting, that you weren't playing in the open due to an injury. How are you doing?

WILLIAMS: I'm fine. Of course I missed tennis and there's nothing like New York. And last year, there were no fans. So, it's amazing to see the fans back and the roar of the crowd. But thank you, I'm doing well. I'm looking forward to getting back on court.

BOLDUAN: I'm so happy to hear that. I say for -- I'll just say for everyone, we're all looking forward to having you back on court as well.

What is interesting, as I'm asking how you're doing, it is also a question a lot of us should be asking more often, checking in on loved ones, on their mental health, right, I mean, something that you are now partnering with Alon and BetterHelp to shine a brighter spot line on. This is an initiative. It's offering a free month of therapy to tennis fans. Why did you want to get involved with this, Venus? WILLIAMS: Yes. I'm so excited to work with Alon, BetterHelp, and with the WTA. Because as we've seen in this last year with COVID and also especially this past summer with athletes, really shining a light on what's happening inside of our heads, all of our heads around the world and mental health. And it's a personal journey for every individual but we're learning how to manage together.

So, I'm very excited that anyone can go to, anyone, not just tennis fans and tennis players, any person, and start speaking with a licensed, accredited and board-certified therapist completely free.

And I'm very excited to be able to offer this and to partner with BetterHelp to do this because the impact that mental health has, we've really seen in this last year, and we know that no one can -- not everyone can figure it out on their own, and sometimes that we need help. And my experience is that I've had access to dedicated mental health staff over 20 years at the WTA, and I know what results that it can prove. And you can see that in my results.

So, I'm very excited to help people, to be able to manage their life with this free access to mental health care.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Alon, what does it mean to have someone like Venus Williams speaking up in this way?

ALON MATAS, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, BETTERHELP: It's really amazing. We started BetterHelp eight years ago because so many people who face life challenges are just too afraid to get help. They're afraid of the stigma. They're afraid nobody can really help them. They're afraid that getting help would be too difficult.

And I think that's why we're so excited about this collaboration, with Venus and the WTA, because when someone like Venus says, hey, there's nothing to be afraid of, there's nothing to be ashamed about, mental health issues can happen to everybody, and everybody can get help from a therapist. When someone like Venus says something like this, people listen.

And like I said, the beautiful thing about this partnership is it's also taking away another obstacle that people think about when they're not getting help, which is the cost, and this commitment of bringing therapy to anyone who can start it today at no cost, that's making it even more special.

BOLDUAN: And we'll have on the screen the website, as Venus pointed out, so everyone knows how to get more information on that.

Venus, while I have you, you're also speaking up about another very important issue, which is COVID vaccines. I watched with interest, you putting out a PSA with the goal of getting more young and healthy people to get vaccinated. I think I have a little bit of that we can play for our viewers. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAMS: I think that all of us think that, to some degree, we're invincible and we don't ever envision this time where we would be so sick. But now we're just seeing all these young people who are not vaccinated because they think they'll be fine. And it's important to know that you are taking a risk and also that you can pass this virus onto other people, so that is not fine. You won't be fine. And you won't feel fine.

What's important is that we realize the consequences here and what's at stake, and that by taking very simple steps, getting a vaccination, that you can prevent all of that. So if you're young, healthy, if you think you're invincible, go ahead anyway, get vaccinated and protect yourself. Protect your family.


BOLDUAN: It's great to see your voice on this, your face on that as well, Venus. And we've also seen -- it's not just young and healthy people that message needs to get to. We also have seen some big name athletes even resisting getting the shot. I mean, what do you think is going on here, in general?

WILLIAMS: You know, it is a personal choice, and what was important for me is to let people know that that is a choice that they can make, and that also knowing where to get their vaccinations, if that's something that they choose.

So, obviously, our health is our own personal information, but, of course, people should know that it is an option.


BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Well, Venus, it's wonderful to have you. Thank you for coming on. Thank you for putting a spotlight, shining a spotlight on something we need to talk about more, which is mental health. Alon, thank you for your work, looking forward to seeing what comes of this initiative. Thank you both.

And thank you all so much for being with us today. I'm Kate Bolduan. Inside Politics with John King begins after a short break.