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At This Hour

Soon: Biden To Announce Executive Order On Abortion Rights; "United Shades Of America" Premieres Sunday At 10 P.M. ET/PT; Dr. Gupta On Social Media And Our Brains. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 08, 2022 - 11:30   ET



MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Even as he watched on television as the rioters stormed the Capitol building, and so that critical time period of inaction is expected to be a large focus of one of the upcoming hearings. And Pat Cipollone can really help the committee fill in the gaps, especially since there are long gaps in the White House records from that day.

Now, we've also heard from other witnesses who have testified that Pat Cipollone was expressing concerns about Trump's behavior and the potential legal concerns there on January 6. And witnesses have also said that Pat Cipollone threatened to quit over Trump's plan to overturn the election, calling it a "murder-suicide pact." And so the committee is expected to ask him to corroborate all of that.

Now, there are concerns about executive privilege. It's unclear how the committee is going to navigate that. But we could find out soon because this interview is going to be videotaped, and it is likely that we could see clips of this deposition pop up in future hearings, Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill, thanks so much. Let's dig deeper on Cipollone's testimony with CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers. Jennifer, good morning, if you were in that committee room today, what would you ask Pat Cipollone?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Boris I like the reporter just said we'd like to corroborate all of what we've heard Pat Cipollone was in the middle of, certainly Cassidy Hutchinson's blockbuster testimony from a week or so ago. But I'd also want to dig deeper into what he knew and what his views were of all of the pieces of the plot that we've been hearing about during the course of the hearings, the fake elector scheme, even the 60-plus cases that they filed in court.

Now, what were his views of the stretch? Because what we've been hearing is that he was not in favor and he thought that they were frivolous and at some point criminal. So I would want to get into all of that, as much as you can get into effectively without getting into executive privilege areas in terms of conversations between him and former President Trump directly. SANCHEZ: Well, I want to ask you about executive privilege but first, I want to play some sound for you and our viewers from committee member Zoe Lofgren. Here's what she said about that.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D-CA): We recognize that there could be some communication between him and the president that is legitimately privileged, and we're willing to work through those. But clearly, if you look at Miss Hutchinson's testimony yesterday, there were quite a few things that he could tell the committee that would not be subject to privilege. And I think it's important.


SANCHEZ: Quite a few things he could tell the committee, what do you think those things are?

RODGERS: Well, executive privilege is going to cover communications between Cipollone and the former president. It really only covers those episodes, the advice that Pat Cipollone is giving to the president, so it's not going to include when Pat Cipollone is talking to Hutchinson or Meadows or other people, and it's not going to include his views on things. There's no work product privilege in connection with executive privilege. So I do think there are a lot of areas they can go into.

I think Cipollone will not provide, you know, word-for-word recitations of his conversations with Trump. But that leaves a lot of areas where he can expound upon who said what to whom, aside from the president, and of course, his views on all of this.

SANCHEZ: And in terms of the optics of this. How much does it matter that his testimony is going to be pre-recorded behind closed doors instead of live, in person?

RODGERS: Well, it says to me that Cipollone is more cautious. He's maybe not as willing to go against the former president, he's an institutionalist, I think, still a loyal Republican and so he's not willing to testify in public. I also think because of the legitimacy of the executive privilege claim for some of his potential testimony, it's safer for him to do it behind closed doors instead of doing it in public, so they don't have to navigate those issues on the fly.

But, you know, I think there still will be a lot of information and testimony that they're going to want to use in next week's hearing so it will still be valuable. I mean, it's not the same as being in person, but still seeing him testify will be very powerful for the American people.

SANCHEZ: And we are expecting to see parts of his testimonies -- pre- recorded testimony on Tuesday. Jennifer, I hope you'll join us again to go over all the details from these committee hearings. Thanks so much.

Coming up, we are anticipating President Biden will appear at -- before cameras at the White House in any moment. He sought to sign an executive order aimed at safeguarding abortion rights, something many in his party have been demanding since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade exactly two weeks ago. We're going to break down what's in this order next.



SANCHEZ: At any moment now, we are expecting to hear from President Biden. He has set to announce an executive order aimed at protecting abortion rights and this comes two weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and as many Democrats are demanding more urgent action from the president.


SANCHEZ: The reality is, though that without Congress, the White House can't restore the nationwide right to an abortion. As we await the president's arrival, let's bring in CNN senior political correspondent and the anchor of INSIDE POLITICS Sunday, Abby Phillip, Abby, good morning, always good to be with you. What stands out to you about this executive order?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Boris. Well, you know, I think one of the first things I did was sort of compare what the White House is announcing today to what they've been asked to do by progressives, both in Congress and in the activist space. And you can see that the executive order tries to be responsive to some of those concerns, dealing with a medicated abortion, dealing with privacy concerns around smartphone apps and things like that, that could be used to track women, even addressing some of the recommendations around how to use federal lands when it comes to abortion. But it obviously does not go as far as many of these activists wanted it to. And a lot of that has to do with legal concerns that the White House had, and that they voiced publicly about the limitations that they have.

They were concerned that there were some steps that they were asked to be -- to take, especially around things like using native lands for abortion, that they did not think were legal, there were concerns about the Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funds to fund abortion. So the White House pulled back in some of those areas, and I think you're going to see some progressives may be disappointed. But this is an executive action that is pretty modest in scope because this is a White House that does not want to go into territory that they believe just simply isn't legal.

SANCHEZ: You mentioned the disappointment. There was some reporting this week from CNN's Edward-Isaac Dovere in which one member of Congress told them they felt that the White House was rudderless, aimless, and hopeless. There's some frustration from Democrats, feeling that the White House was caught off guard, specifically on the overturning of Roe v. Wade. In your conversations with Democrats, do you get the same sense? PHILLIP: Yes, -- no, I mean, the issue here, Boris, is, of course, the timing I mean, as you noted, it's two weeks to the day since the Dobbs decision was handed down, and only now is the White House moving forward with this kind of event that you can see there at the White House with the president signing these executive orders. We've known that this decision was likely to be coming for months and there is a lot of frustration among Democrats that this White House was caught on the backfoot on this, moving too slowly, not prepared for this moment.

And as Isaac reported in his story, even within the White House on the day of the Dobbs decision, senior officials were assuring people in the White House that it wasn't going to happen on that particular day, even though it, of course, did.


PHILLIP: So I think there's a -- there's a legitimate reason for Democrats to say, well, you all knew this was coming, you should have been ready on day one, and they clearly weren't. The reasons for that could be many. Some of them, management, some of them, maybe slowness and decision making, but there's no question Democrats think that it looks bad. But it also is, from their perspective, probably too late on some of these fronts to prevent some of the worst things in their view from happening in terms of abortion in the states where it's almost -- in some states, abortion is almost completely banned.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And we are within the two-minute warning, Abby, we will keep monitoring this. We'll let you go for now. Thank you, Abby Phillip, for your insight and expertise. Again, President Biden expected at any minute to take the podium at the White House and sign off on this executive order on abortion rights. We'll bring it to you as it happens.

Coming up, though, critical race theory has become a flashpoint in American politics, but a lot of critics struggle to even define it. So why is America seemingly so divided on the subject? We'll talk to CNN's W. Kamau Bell about it next.



SANCHEZ: W. Kamau Bell is back asking tough questions about the country's most challenging issues. In an all-new season of United Shades of America, Kamau takes us on a journey around the United States tackling everything from critical race theory to the Native American land back movement. Here's a preview.


W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: Right now there's arguments about whether should we teach kids a more accurate history of America?


BELL: What did you say? Here we go. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The race theory? Is it the race?

BELL: Race Theory, critical race theory. What are your thoughts on that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could teach it without having your opinion.

BELL: But is it OK if a teacher says I think slavery was bad, is that OK?




BELL: What about us being good? Nazis are not good.


BELL: Nothing's bad. And if the latter is how you heard about it first, then I'm not surprised you're confused which is why I grind my teeth when I sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's solely manipulation and manufacturing, a crisis.

BELL: Who's manufacturing it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Democrats. It's always a race card like it's so sick of it. We need to teach children to compete when the Chinese probably know more about American history than we do.

BELL: So we should teach better American history here?


BELL: It's like the history of America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: History of America.

BELL: Slavery, genocide, Native American.


BELL: Not that stuff?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, not the whole thing.


SANCHEZ: This is why he grinds his teeth in his sleep. Joining us now is the host of the United Shades of America, W. Kamau Bell.

[11:50:01] SANCHEZ: We should note, he's also the co-author of a new book, Do The Work: An Anti-Racist Activity Book. It comes out on July 19. Kamau, I'm grateful that you are with us. You're diving right in with this first episode, two concepts that have been really distorted in political conversation, woke and critical race theory. Why does that keep you up at night?

BELL: I mean I've kept up at night by a lot of things. I know -- first of all, I know I'm competing with President Biden so I just want to make sure people know where I stand on what is right to choose right here. I'll make sure that -- OK, there we go. There we go. There we go. You know this country is in crisis and we are getting distracted by things like the definition of woke and critical race theory. And I have -- I'm here to tell people if your kids are being taught critical race theory at elementary school, then your kids are geniuses because that is high-level graduate school stuff right there.

Your kids are not being taught critical race theory. We're talking about teaching kids an accurate history of this country. And as you see in that clip, some people don't want that. And many of the powerful forces in this country, the GOP don't want that either because they want to whitewash American history. And I'm not for that.

SANCHEZ: What did you think when that woman told you that it -- this lesson of critical race theory, the ideas behind it are being manufactured by Democrats, this idea that there's an agenda to try to brainwash people?

BELL: You know, it's -- you know, sometimes you laugh to keep from crying and I think that's why I became a comedian in general. But I think the thing that I knew that was sad is as much as I felt like she was incorrect. I know that there are -- there have been forces in this country who have told -- who have told her to think that way. And I think those people know they're lying to her and she's bought the lie, hook, line, and sinker, even though what she said didn't even connect.

She said the Chinese know our history better than we do and then she said that we shouldn't teach our kids the history. So those ideas don't connect if you're talking to them like that. So for me, it's about the fact that like, a lot of times those of us on the left, don't want to believe those ideas are out there. We want to condescend to those ideas. And I'm about like, let's go talk to those people and see if we can figure this out.

SANCHEZ: Well, Kamau, I wanted to get your reaction because there's this idea out there floating in Texas right now, there's a proposal to change the way that kids refer to slavery in class. You obviously know what I'm talking about. Forced relocation instead of slavery. I mean, I imagine that makes your blood boil.

BELL: Yes. I mean, involuntary relocation, which is what they call it. That's when my mom moved us from Boston to Chicago without asking my permission. And that's involuntary relocation. That has nothing to do with the transatlantic slave trade and how Africans were stolen from Africa and forced to work here for free. And if you continue to whitewash the issue this way, I think it leads to the country really losing its standing in the world more than it already has lost standing.

SANCHEZ: We got to leave the conversation there. I'm excited for this new season to watch it and enjoy it with you, always appreciate your time and your work, Kamau, thank you. The all-new season of United Shades of America premieres Sunday night at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN. Stay with us as we await President Biden. He's running a few minutes late. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: At any moment now, we are expecting to hear from President Biden. He's set to announce an executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion. This is something his party has been asking of the White House since two weeks ago when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Of course, this is a limited action since any broader protection of abortion rights, especially nationwide would require Congress to act. Of course, we're going to bring you the president's remarks to you as soon as they happen. We will carry them live right here on CNN.

Meantime, social media has become a central part of our lives. It's often where we find community and where we entertain ourselves, but it can also be harmful to our mental health. Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta in this week's Chasing Life.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's Chasing Life podcast. You know, social media can help us connect with others but it can also lead to endless scrolling, and it can affect our mental health. Why? Because there's more going on in the brain than you might realize.

This is our brain's reward system. It makes you happy, makes you feel good. Many social media apps are designed to keep you engaged by continuously activating that circuit over and over again. If you find yourself constantly thinking about social media when you're not using it, or you're scrolling more and more just to get to the same satisfaction, those could be important warning signs. But there's a number of ways you can cut back and use these apps in moderation.

For example, leave your phone behind when you're enjoying activities and really be in the moment. Reduce or reschedule your notifications, you may be able to batch them together so you get fewer pings throughout the day. If you're on social media, avoid what is called doom scrolling, and just engage instead. It's that real engagement that allows you to get the most benefit. It is social media after all.

You can hear much more about how to optimize your health in Chasing Life wherever you get your podcast.


SANCHEZ: Thanks too much -- so much to Sanjay Gupta for that. Thank you so much for having me this week, I'm Boris Sanchez. Kate Bolduan is back next week. Don't go anywhere. INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts right now.