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White House Calls Supreme Court Decision "Devastating"; Biden Supports Changing Filibuster Rules To Codify Roe; Woman Fatally Shot In Head While Pushing Baby In Stroller. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 30, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're following breaking news. In a statement just in from the White House on the Supreme Court's EPA decision, a White House spokesperson calling the decision "a devastate -- another devastating decision from the court that aims to take our country backward." The court's decision now limiting the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, a major driver of the climate crisis, of course.

Joining me now is Carol Browner. She's a former EPA Administrator under President Clinton and former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy under President Obama. It's good to see you. Thank you for being here. Just your reaction to the supreme -- what the Supreme Court just handed down.

CAROL BROWNER, FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR: It's devastating. I know. It is yet another example of the court's unwillingness to protect the health and safety of the American people from guns to abortion. And now climate change. It is devastating.

BOLDUAN: If you were in your old job today, Carol, I mean, how much does this change your -- would change -- be changing your work, changing the work of the agency just in the immediate?

BROWNER: Well, my hope is that I know that the agency will do everything they can to continue to address climate change. It is the most pressing environmental public health issue that we've ever faced, and certainly for communities that are the most impacted essential that we continue to move forward. So I think they will do what they can.

What's deeply troubling about today's decision is it limits what they can do, right. And so rather than allowing them to find the most cost- effective ways to achieve pollution reductions to encourage more renewables, to bring families lower electricity bills, this Court has said you can't do that, it's tied EPA's hands behind its back, it's limited its ability to do what is smart in terms of addressing climate change.

[11:35:16] BOLDUAN: What do you think this looks like then? If the EPA can't regulate greenhouse gas emissions, specifically with regard to power plants or and it will allow reach -- likely reach further, what does that mean for the agency?

BROWNER: Well, one of the reasons you have an EPA is that they can do the tough job of looking at the law, looking at the science, and understanding how to get rid of pollution. If they don't do that, we're going to be left to go back to Congress. And to be honest, particularly the Senate has not shown a great interest in addressing the realities of climate change. This is a pressing immediate problem that we need to address. And there are answers. There are cleaner solutions to making power. There are ways to save families money. We need to allow the EPA the ability to address climate change and to do it in a cost-effective commonsense manner.

Clearly, this court is not living in today's world. It is not taking into account that how we make electricity today is very different than when Thomas Edison invented electricity. You know, I think the case -- the case, like many of the cases of the last several weeks, calls into question the legitimacy of the majority of the court, their complete failure to ignore the realities of modern life.

BOLDUAN: Regardless, this decision is -- you know, this decision is how it stands. And when you look at the impact, I was just looking back at the -- at the president's goals, of President Biden's goals with regard to climate change. He aims to cut the nation's greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade and to have an emissions-free power sector by 2035. Obviously, power plants are a huge part of this. Can Biden now meet those goals?

BROWNER: Power plants are a huge part. The good news is he has additional authority, for example, regulating emissions from cars, regulating emissions from other sources. But power plants are clearly an important piece of the puzzle, and this does hamstring EPA's ability to address the emissions from power plants. And that is deeply disturbing because we already see a transition happening in the industry.

And what we should be doing is encouraging more renewables not walking away from the reality of how we can make less polluting energy, how we can generate less polluting electricity, we have the solutions, we can build a clean energy future, and this court is simply not prepared to look at how the world is functioning today.

BOLDUAN: The White House statement that was put out, Carol, said that the lawyers are looking -- studying the ruling carefully and finding ways to move forward under federal law. But I returned to my question. He's said the -- President Biden has set out the goals and aims of where he wants the country to be in terms of cutting back, do you -- like can he meet those goals under this ruling even no matter what these lawyers -- the lawyers are going to look at the inside of it?

BROWNER: I think we have to carefully look at the opinion. I agree with the White House on that. I think that there are other avenues potentially available, but this has certainly made it much, much more difficult without a doubt. This is not -- this is -- this is a bad decision. This is a disappointing decision. And I think it will be you know one that we will have to study carefully and understand what paths may still be available.

BOLDUAN: Carol Browner, thank you so much for coming in. I really appreciate it.

Coming up for us. President Biden just made a major statement also, while wrapping up his summit overseas calling for a filibuster carve out, changes to the filibuster in order to codify abortion rights if necessary, to codify them into law if necessary. Details in a live report next.



BOLDUAN: President Biden just wrapped his news conference at the end of the NATO summit in Madrid announcing new aid to Ukraine to fight against Russia's war there. The president also focused on issues back at home chastising the Supreme Court for what he called outrageous behavior, announcing that he will now support a change to the Senate filibuster rules to codify abortion rights if needed.

Joining me right now is CNN's Kaitlan Collins live in Madrid, and CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger. He's a correspondent for The New York Times, of course. Kaitlan, the president, he came out forcefully against the Roe decision and the Supreme Court itself in this press conference.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He called it an outrageous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade building on the remarks that he made the day that decision came down from the Supreme Court. But the news that the president made today is that he said he backs an exception to the filibuster, which is, of course, that 60- vote threshold on the Senate on Capitol Hill in order to codify the right to an abortion, that nationwide standard that had been in place because of Roe v. Wade, but obviously went away after the Supreme Court overturned that decision.

And, Kate, this is notable because it's only the second time you've seen President Biden back an exception to the filibuster. Of course, he spent three decades in the Senate, and he explained why he is now backing this in an answer to a reporter.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The most important thing to be clear about is we have to change -- I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law. And the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way it's like voting rights, it should be we provide an exception for this. The accept -- the -- requiring an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Now, Kate, here's the issue with that suggestion by the president and it's been the issue that he has experienced his entire time in office. Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, they do not back. And their offices have confirmed today changing the filibuster or creating a carve-out to the filibuster as President Biden had suggested earlier to codify Roe v. Wade into law.

So, that is two senators who do not support that. So if the president does actually want to achieve this, they're going to have to gain two Senate seats, two Democrats in the Senate who are willing to do so. Right now, they do not have that. And as, of course, we've noted they are facing some pretty challenging headwinds in the midterm elections this fall.

And another reporter asked the president what he plans to do from his office to restore the right to an abortion, something he doesn't have the full executive power to do. He did not preview any new executive orders, but he did say he will be meeting with the governors at the White House tomorrow.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It's unclear what options he has on the table for executive action on this but that is definitely something he said that he will have an announcement with regard to tomorrow. David, beyond the abortion decision, what was your big takeaway then from the president as he wraps this NATO Summit and everything that he discussed in that press conference?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Kate, two of them. First, his biggest problems right now are clearly domestic. And the Supreme Court has, as you've noted earlier, now struck a big blow to three big policy areas that are critical to his domestic agenda, abortion, gun control issues, and now his climate change agenda.

And that's got a big impact on his foreign agenda as well because your power abroad is really a reflection of your power at home. And everything from climate to other issues, his allies are looking at Joe Biden and saying is this man marking a real change in the way America engages with the world, or is he just a blip on the way to a much more conservative U.S. government that disengages again?

It's going to be very difficult, Kate, to convince other nations to meet their climate change agreements if you can't promise that the United States will meet its own. And so I think in many ways, what the Supreme Court has done is crippling to them not only domestically but abroad.

BOLDUAN: And, Kaitlan, the president was asked, I don't remember the exact wording if he sees the country's going backwards if he -- how he would explain that. He says the country is not. He says the country is in a better position. America is in a better position today to tackle the issues at hand than we ever have been. But in the White House statement, I just noticed -- in the White House statement put out after the EPA decision, it talks about this is a court aiming to move the country backwards.

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, they are becoming incredibly critical of the Supreme Court and you know, every comment he makes. He said the decision on Roe v. Wade is destabilizing, he thinks for the entire country, but that has raised a lot of questions and pressure on this White House from Democrats some like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren from the Senate saying that they need to change the court. It structurally needs to change because of these decisions that are coming down.

You saw AOC, weighing in once again, after this EPA decision, came out saying not only that, maybe they should just get rid of the court because of the -- what the danger it poses to the entire country, she said, the world really would this EPA decision. Now so far, that is not something that the president has backed when it comes to changes at the Supreme Court, whether that's expanding the Supreme Court, or having term limits for the Supreme Court justices. Those are big questions, of course, for the White House. And you've seen the White House facing more and more pressure ever since that abortion decision came down.

The broader context of the question that President Biden was asked about was also, you know, his message always on the world stage is democracy versus autocracy. And he was questioned whether or not the United States is no longer really living up to that rallying cry that he often puts out there because of this decision.

You know, really rolling back abortion rights only puts the United States in a corner with Nicaragua, Poland, Russia, and only a handful of authoritarian nations. And so the president said no, he said that wasn't an issue that came up in any of his conversations with world leaders, but certainly some of the world leaders that were here did criticize that decision, including the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who caught it a big step backwards.

BOLDUAN: It's a good point. It's good to see you. Kaitlan, thanks so much for being there. David, it's always good to see you. Thank you very much.


BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. New York police are now searching for a killer after a woman was fatally shot at point-blank range while pushing a baby in a stroller. Details next.


BOLDUAN: So police in New York City, they're now looking for a gunman who shot a 20-year-old woman in the head at close range. She was pushing her three-month-old baby in a stroller when she was killed. It happened on Manhattan's Upper Eastside last night. And New York City's Mayor Eric Adams, he called this shooting a symptom of a national problem.



MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: And it doesn't matter if you are on the Upper East Side or East New York, Brooklyn, the oversaturation of guns and dangerous people that repeatedly leave our criminal justice system to continue actions like this, it is worth making the New York City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies here in New York, across the country -- and across the country are difficult to fight this issue.


BOLDUAN: So Police said the suspect was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and black pants at the time and took off on foot after the shooting and authorities are now saying that they believe this could be and was a domestic incident.

We are moments away from history. Stephen Breyer retiring, and Ketanji Brown Jackson being sworn into the Supreme Court, the first female black just -- black female justice to join the court. INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts after this break.