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J.D. Vance & Rep. Tim Ryan Set To Face Off In Ohio Senate Race; Surveillance Video Showing Deputy, Inmate Leaving Alabama Jail; Same- Sex Marriage, Other Rights At Risk If Roe Overturned. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 04, 2022 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00]

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Country of Moldova right now but still, many people here are very concerned. We spoke with people in the villages closest to the Transnistria border and many told us they're already packing up their belongings. They have their documents in order. One man said that he was not going to leave, he will stay and fight and protect his country. But I did ask the U.S. Ambassador directly what he can say to those Moldovans who right now are living in fear and this is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: What is your message to everyday Moldovans who see what's happening across the border in Ukraine and worry that Moldova could be next?

AMBASSADOR KENT D. LOGSDON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MOLDOVA: Each time I'm out in public, each time I'm in a meeting or I just meet with regular Moldovans and they ask, what's the situation? I make sure it's clear, that the U.S. Embassy is here. We're open. We're operating per normal.

Our families are here. We continue to work here. We obviously have to pay attention to safety and security issues no matter what. Every day, we worry about that, whether there's a war on next door or not. But in this case, I think we have to be particularly vigilant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: And, Bianna, the ambassador also told me that of course, Moldova is not a member of NATO, but they have applied for membership in the European Union. But they can't really defend themselves the ambassador said because the army here he called it weak, and he said that much of the equipment is outdated. But we spoke with the foreign minister of Moldova as well and he said that they're doing their part, they are increasing border patrols, and certainly checking cars and people, Bianna, as they come across from Transnistria. Back to you.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: No doubt, vulnerable country, the poorest country in Europe, though it sends a powerful message that the U.S. Embassy plans on staying there for now for the people there in that country. Randi Kaye, thank you. And coming up, a big primary win for a candidate in Ohio endorsed by Donald Trump, what it tells us about the former president's grip on the Republican Party? That's up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:00]

GOLODRYGA: Now to the 2022 midterm elections. A big victory for Trump- back candidate J.D. Vance. CNN projects Vance will win Ohio's contentious GOP Senate primary. Now, the race was seen as an early test of Donald Trump's grip on the Republican Party. Congressman Tim Ryan won the Democratic Senate primary, setting the field now for what will be one of the most closely watched Senate races in November.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN Political -- Senior Political Correspondent Abby Phillip, she's the anchor of INSIDE POLITICS Sunday, and CNN Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny, great to see you both.

So, Jeff, given last night's results and the timing of Vance's rise in the polls coming after that endorsement from Trump, does this answer the question finally of whether or not he still controls the party?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It certainly did last night in Ohio, no question about it. Everyone was watching to see if he would be a kingmaker, the former president, and in fact, he was. Without that endorsement, now there is no doubt in anyone's mind there, particularly J.D. Vance's mind that he would have won the primary. And he won it with some 32 percent of the vote, which is pretty impressive in a crowded field of seven candidates and five major candidates. So there is no doubt that that endorsement about two and a half weeks or so ago pushed Vance over the top.

But it doesn't necessarily answer the question entirely for the rest of the month of May. There are several primaries going forward beginning next week in West Virginia, in Nebraska, following that in Pennsylvania, in Georgia, so the beginning of the question has been answered is he's still a force in the party, which we always knew he was a force in the party but, you know, each of these campaigns is a separate race so we will see it week by week.

GOLODRYGA: Yes.

ZELENY: Now, Bianna, there's no question that the former president if anyone is a kingmaker, he certainly plays that role.

GOLOGRYGA: No doubt, at least in Ohio, as you noted. And, Abby, Vance will face Tim Ryan, we know that a Democrat, not named, Sherrod Brown hasn't won statewide in Ohio since 2008. So is this Vance's race to lose?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is one of those states that I think Republicans feel pretty comfortable about. You know, Donald Trump won Ohio by a comfortable margin in 2020. And as you said, it's been a very tough state for Democrats for a long time so I think the fundamentals are there.

In addition to just the sheer politics of it all, the political environment is one in which Republicans in general feel like this is one in which their candidates are likely to do well. The one avenue I think that and you're already starting to see this that Tim Ryan is looking to use against J.D. Vance is Vance's own history. It's his turn from being an anti-Trumper you know, a venture capitalist.

There's a new ad from Tim Ryan talking about his use of his Hillbilly Elegy book to make a Netflix show, trying to use that to paint him as someone who is not of the state of Ohio, not have the kind of populist narrative that Vance is campaigning on right now. So if there's a chance that it can happen, it would be along those lines but again, this is an uphill battle for Democrats and right now Vance's job is going to be just to consolidate you know, the some 60 something percent of Republicans who didn't vote for him in the primary when it comes to the general election.

[11:40:00]

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Though, to be fair, I mean, Tim Ryan has been consistent on the issues he says that they aren't getting national attention is nearly as much as they should be and that is the blue- collar workers there in that state kitchen table issues, the economy. Abby, let me ask you about the bombshell leak from the Supreme Court draft -- excuse me, that would overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Stacey Abrams of Georgia yesterday, making very clear that she's going to run on this issue. I want to read to you what she said in an interview. She said. This campaign will absolutely lean into and lead on that issue. Because if I want to be the governor of one Georgia, that means I've got to govern for the women of Georgia.

And the women of Georgia, by and large, agree that their right to choose should not be stripped away from them. So, Abby, is this a winning issue for Democrats in the face of other kitchen table issues, namely the economy?

PHILLIP: Democrats have an enthusiasm problem with their own base with young voters, with women voters, with voters of color. And to the extent that this issue is a motivating one and a galvanizing one for those kids -- those constituencies, I think it is a very important piece of the puzzle. And you heard earlier in the program, President Biden, I think using some of the toughest language that I've heard him use since becoming president about Republicans, calling them extreme.

Democrats have been wanting to paint Republicans as an extreme party and this potential ruling that we're expecting will only help them do that with all the rest of the voters who they need to convince. Will it overtake kitchen table issues? I'm not so sure, but it certainly helps them make a contrast argument that they need to make if they're going to argue to Americans that even if they're not happy about the economy, the alternative is a lot worse.

GOLODRYGA: It's a good point. Abby Phillip, Jeff Zeleny, thank you as always. And coming up, surveillance video captures the moment the corrections officer and inmate leave in Alabama prison together. They have not been seen since that. The sheriff leading the manhunt joins me up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:45:00]

GOLODRYGA: Now to the shocking moment last night in LA. Dave Chappelle attacked on-stage during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl. This shows what happened immediately after a man tackled Chappelle as security moved in. Now, police have arrested a suspect they say was armed with a knife. This comes, of course, just weeks after Chris Rock was slapped at the Academy Awards by Will Smith. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Los Angeles with more. Stephanie, so many questions this morning specifically, how was the suspect able to come into that show with a knife?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's many questions here because, Bianna, in full disclosure, I actually went to the show on Friday night, and I was sitting pretty close and I'm obsessed with watching security and how they do their jobs. They were locking off the stage.

Clearly, that was not what -- how this happened last night because somehow this person, they're saying as a 23-year-old man, according to Los Angeles Police Department, was able to get on stage, but not only get on stage and assault, and as a friend of mine put it to me who was there, actually tackled Dave Chappelle.

And so if this could happen and then this person also reportedly had a knife that looked like a replica handgun with him, the question I'm really confused about is how that was even able to get inside because you had to go through metal detectors, you have to go through -- and have someone look inside any bag that you brought in.

And the reason why we haven't seen more videos of this is because you didn't lock your phones into these Yondr cases. So you keep the phone with you, but it's locked up so you can't access it. So all of these different precautions that were being taken, not clear how this person was able to get in.

We do know that that person was transported to the hospital afterward and then charged for assault with a deadly weapon. But still, so many questions on how this could even happen especially in light of what we saw at the Academy Awards, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, fortunately, and Dave Chappelle is OK today. Stephanie Elam, thank you.

ELAM: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now to the manhunt for a missing inmate and a corrections officer in Alabama. Newly released surveillance video shows the moment jail supervisor Vicky White and capital murder suspect Casey White walked out of a jail last Friday. You see her put them into her patrol car. Now, that was the last time they were seen together. The sheriff says

the pair had a "special relationship" and they are believed to be armed and dangerous. Joining me now is the Sheriff of Lauderdale County, Alabama, Rick Singleton. Sheriff Singleton, thank you so much for joining us. So you describe this as a special relationship going back to 2020. What exactly does that mean and how did it go unnoticed for so long?

SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: Well, my special relationship, the inmate -- we first received information from inmates over the weekend that there was a relationship, and by special. They were saying he was getting special treatment. He was getting privileges, getting extra food on his tray that Vicky White was seeing that he got that other inmates weren't getting as with what they said. Inmates in a -- in a jail or prison when something like this happened, they all have information, and they -- well, I'll tell you this, but and they're always wanting something in exchange. So you take it with a grain of salt but you don't ignore it.

[11:50:00]

SINGLETON: We didn't ignore it, we followed up on it and we found out that Casey White, when he was in our facility in 2020, that's the earliest we know of that there might have been a relationship because when he was sent back to the Department of Corrections right after his arraignment, we do know and have documentation that he and Vicky White corresponded during that time when he was in state prison before he was brought back here on February 25 of this year.

GOLODRYGA: So you're saying that the first time that you heard about this special relationship meaning that she was giving him extra food and going out of her way to be -- to be nicer to him, you heard from inmates for the first time this past weekend?

SINGLETON: Yes, yes. That came -- got that information came to us after this case.

GOLODRYGA: OK. Let's talk about this video you release of Casey White getting into Vicky blacks patrol car on Friday morning. Was this ever regular procedure for a corrections officer to transport a prisoner like this on her own? I know that she'd also said that she was then expected to go to a -- to a doctor's appointment after.

SINGLETON: Yes, that was strictly against policy. Our policy is two deputies escort these inmates to court. Being the Assistant Director of Operations, she was in charge. One of her responsibilities was to coordinate these transports. Just minutes prior to her leaving the city with Casey White, we had two vans depart for the courthouse.

The first van had two deputies and five inmates, the second van had two deputies and seven inmates. Right after that second van departed, he instructed Casey White to be brought up preparing for transport. They put handcuffs on him, they put leg shackles on him, and then she left when he supposedly to drop him off at the courthouse to the other deputies, which was strictly against policy. GOLODRYGA: You're standing at a specific location where Vicky White abandoned the patrol car and picked up the getaway vehicle. You've said that you were now hindered by the description of their getaway vehicle being released. How far did that set you back?

SINGLETON: Well, we spent all weekend trying to get that vehicle description and finally got it positively confirmed early Monday morning. And we were hoping to get that information out to law enforcement so they can help us in locating the vehicle. One department had inadvertently put it on their social media page.

And at that point, it got out and you know, like I tell people out you know I ask well, what would you do if you were one of them and you knew we knew what you were driving? You know, we're assuming that vehicles probably hadn't already been will be abandoned and then there'll be another vehicle and now we're back to square one.

GOLODRYGA: Back to square one. Does that mean you have no solid leads at this point?

SINGLETON: Well, no. We have other leads that we're following up on but we -- you know, we might not know what they're grabbing right now. If we're lucky and they're ignorant, they still driving that car, but we suspect they've already changed cars probably.

GOLODRYGA: Is there any indication that they've left the state?

SINGLETON: With some of the leads, you know, we've had a lead from a federal state that they've been spotted here or there, none of those leads yet have panned out but we certainly and we still have led if they're in other locations around the country.

GOLODRYGA: We are learning over the past few days more and more about how Vicky White planned this. We know she put in her retirement papers on Friday. She sold her house well below market value. You've known her for a long time. Had you noticed any change in her behavior recently?

SINGLETON: No, not really. You know, no one really saw anything coming. When something like this happened you know, I think we all look back and had a lot of the corrections deputies are saying well, you know, he talked about retiring and you know -- and so forth and really didn't think anything about it, talked about wanting to go to the beach, so you know at the time, it didn't seem like anything significant.

Now looking back, they're second-guessing themselves well, maybe that was a signal I should have picked up on.

GOLODRYGA: Well, as you and other sheriffs there are noting that, that you suspect them to be armed and dangerous that her life could very well be at risk too. Sheriff Singleton, thank you so much. Keep us posted on any new developments.

SINGLETON: Thank you, Bianna. GOLODRYGA: Well, now to the fallout from that bombshell leak of a draft opinion that shows the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade ruling. Advocates are now worried that same- sex marriage and other rights could be next. It will soon be seven years since the High Court legalized same-sex marriage, that ruling rested, in part, on a precedent set in Roe v. Wade that a right could be guaranteed even if it was not specifically written in the Constitution. Joining me now is James Obergefell. He was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court's marriage equality case.

[11:55:00]

GOLODRYGA: I should note that James is now running for a seat in the Ohio House. James Obergefell, thank you so much for joining us. So you say this draft opinion is a clear call to anyone who opposes same-sex marriage. Explain that.

JIM OBERGEFELL, PLAINTIFF IN MARRIAGE EQUALITY CASE: Absolutely, Bianna, and thank you for having me on today. This decision and what Alito has to say about marriage equality is a clear call to anyone who opposes marriage equality, who opposes LGBTQ plus equality, that they have a friend on the court, more than one friend, and that they should be happy or they should be willing to come after marriage equality.

Now, let me be clear, this decision is much bigger than just marriage equality, much bigger than LGBTQ plus equality. I mean, this decision is taking away a person's right to bodily autonomy, the right to make decisions about their own body. But it's much -- it's so much bigger. There are so many rights that we should be concerned about losing because as you say, in that decision, Justice Alito says if it's not a right, specifically outlined in the Constitution, then it has to be rooted in our nation's history and tradition.

And marriage equality, well, we've only had that right affirmed for almost seven years and clearly, Alito doesn't believe that is rooted in our nation's history and traditions. At the same, it could be said for (INAUDIBLE) marriage.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Let me ask you about that because Justice Alito seems to anticipate that this kind of response, and he does note in his draft in terms of concerns about other privacy rights, he says, we emphasize that our decision concerns a constitutional right to abortion and no other rights. Nothing, in this opinion, should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion. Is it my understanding that you just don't trust what he's saying at this point?

OBERGEFELL: I -- no, I do not. And in fact, you know, if you look back at the confirmation hearings for a minute, many of these justices for the highest court in the land, they all said that they considered Roe v. Wade, a woman's right to abortion settled law, and yet here we are. They are willing to overturn that. So those assurances, unfortunately, they fall on deaf ears. I -- it doesn't make me feel comfortable. It doesn't make me feel safe. In fact, it terrifies me.

GOLODRYGA: Jim, it's striking to hear those words because so many Americans remember where they were, right, on June 26, 2015. That was the day the Court handed down the decision in your case. Did you ever imagine that there would be one day a question that your case could be overturned? And we're just talking about you know seven years later.

OBERGEFELL: Well, you know, I knew there would be backlash. There always is, when our nation takes a step forward towards equality, towards living up to our values of We the People and equal justice under law, there was always backlash. Did I think it would happen this quickly and this dramatically? No. Maybe I was being foolish not to think that.

But in the time since marriage equality be -- was affirmed our right to marry, the person we love was affirmed, the world hasn't come to an end, our nation hasn't ground to a halt. In fact, our nation -- our nation has become better. It has become stronger. So I'm devastated that the opponents of marriage equality and LGBTQ plus equality just will not give up. They are determined to tell us without a doubt that we don't matter in their concept of We The People and their concept of the United States of America.

GOLODRYGA: So now, you're running for a seat in the Ohio House. Is this an issue that other Democrats and yourself can win on?

OBERGEFELL: Well, I think making sure that people understand the risk that we all face, these fundamental rights that we have enjoyed, you know, the right to privacy, the right to marry. Those are not rights that are specifically outlined in the Constitution. Those rights are at risk. And if we can help people understand that, that's something we need to do because there are so many rights we value as Americans that, in my opinion, are now at risk.

So, will I be speaking up and campaigning on the threats to our liberties as Americans? You better believe that I will because this is about like I say more than the LGBTQ plus community. This is about who we are as a people. And if the Supreme Court is going to say that our rights are based on what was written in the Constitution in 1788, when that constitution was passed, well, to me that's a terrifying prospect because that means blacks would still be the property of whites. That means only white land-owning men would have the right to vote. So, absolutely I will be campaigning on it and fighting for it.

GOLODRYGA: James Obergefell, thank you. Thank you for speaking to us today. And thank you for watching. INSIDE POLITICS starts right now.

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