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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Abbott And FDA Agrees To Reopen Baby Formula Plant; Evacuation From Mariupol Steel Plant Underway; Ukrainian Soldier Survives Being Buried Alive; Racially Motivated Mass Shooting In Buffalo; Church Shooting In California; Madison Cawthorne Versus Republicans In North Carolina; Oz, McCormick, Barnette In Tight Race For GOP Sen. Nomination; Barnette Won't Commit To Supporting GOP Nominee If She Loses; Missouri Among U.S. States With Trigger Law To Outlaw Abortion If Roe v. Wade Falls; CNN's Amanpour Speaks With One Of FBI's Most Wanted In Afghanistan. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 16, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now live and Elizabeth, this is essentially a pathway to reopen but not particularly quick enough for a lot of people, I'm guessing.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely not. Parents would like this to be over now. And that is just not going to happen. Essentially, the FDA and Abbott, so Abbott owns Similac, and it's the Similac products that have been recalled, have entered into sort of an agreement. They said you need to do step one, step two, step three et cetera in order to reopen. They have named what those steps are.
So Abbott says they could possibly reopen in two weeks, but then it would -- after that, it would take them six to eight weeks to make products and get them out onto the shelves. So we are talking many more weeks until Abbott can sort of start replenishing what they haven't been able to supply during this shortage.
So not ending anytime soon. And that's why the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying, look, we're going to change things. The American Academy of Pediatrics has now come out and said we are going to change our recommendations for feeding babies. Let's take a look at what those changes are.
They're saying instead of waiting until the baby's first birthday to introduce cow's milk, that whole cow's milk may be an option for babies older than six months, babies who usually would take regular formula. They say this is not ideal. They say that they only want babies to do this for a brief period of time. They don't explain what that means. They also say the toddler formula, which is a different product, is safe for a few days for babies who are close to their first birthday.
So Jake, that's how bad this has gotten, that the American Academy of Pediatrics is changing its recommendations. Not because anything changed medically, but solely because of this shortage. Jake?
TAPPER: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.
We have more breaking news for you now in our "World Lead." The nearly three months long siege at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine may be nearing its end. Russia says an agreement has been reached to evacuate wounded soldiers from the facility.
Ukraine's Azov regiment, that's the military group which has continually fought off intense Russian attacks on the plant and a group that has ties to far-right elements released a vague statement a short time ago which seems to suggest the siege is over.
Ukrainian officials have yet to comment. This comes as Finland and Sweden say they will apply for membership in NATO, ditching long standing neutrality and angering Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin today warning that the expansion of military infrastructure into the Nordic region will, quote, "certainly cause our response."
CNN's Melissa Bell is live for us in Kyiv. And Melissa, this could be a massive development for the dozens who have been trapped in the plant for months.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It had become such a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and a really poignant tragedy for the families involved who had regularly been holding press conferences here in Kyiv to call for their loved ones to be released. You're talking about hundreds of young men and women, many of them severely wounded who had dwindling medical supplies, about a week's worth of food left and their families kept saying look, if someone doesn't intervene from the outside, they're simply going to be allowed to die.
They had hoped for foreign mediation that these young men and women might be sent to Turkey, even appealing to Xi Jinping over the weekend to see what he might do to help. In the end, it was an announcement from the Russian Ministry of Defense announcing that the first group of wounded soldiers had been taken to Russian-controlled Donetsk town. Now, that is not what the Azovstal families wanted to hear.
And as you say, for the time being, the only other statement we've had is relatively vague. Surprisingly, no reaction yet from the Ukrainian side, from Ukrainian officials or the Ukrainian government, which does suggest that they're not terribly happy with the deal that has been reached. We await more details and we expect at some point to hear from President Zelenskyy on the moment.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, even as Russian forces are pushed back in the north by that Ukrainian counteroffensive, as they were earlier on in other parts of the north, it is the war crimes and the cost of the Russian occupation that Ukraine is beginning to count.
BELL (voice-over): This is where Mykola Kulichenko was buried alive. The blind folds he says he and his two brothers were made to wear by Russian soldiers still strewn by their shallow grave. Mykola shows us where the bullet entered his cheek. His brothers, Yevyen (ph) and Dimytro (ph) were killed, but he managed to escape their tomb.
I had to live to tell this story, not to Ukrainians but to the world, he says. The regional prosecutor's office says a war crimes investigation has been opened.
(On camera): This is Mykola's house where he lived with his two brothers along with their sister.
On March 18th, he says Russian soldiers came into the village looking for men that they believed were responsible for an attack on one of their convoys. And that is when the family's nightmare began. Three soldiers entered the house, looking for anything that might link the brothers to the attack on the convoy. They found nothing, but what they did find was something to link the family to the military in a shape of their grandfather's military medal.
(Voice-over): They also found Yevyen's (ph) military bag. Since as a reservist in the Ukrainian army, he was preparing to go and fight. For four days, their sister Iryna heard nothing from her brothers until Mykola came back from the dead.
IRYNA KULICHENKO, MYKOLA'S SISTER (through translation): I came home and there was Mykola. I looked at his eyes and asked where are the others? He said, there are no others.
BELL (voice-over): Mykola says that after being taken from their home, the three brothers were blindfolded and interrogated in a cellar for four days. They were then beaten and taken to the site of their execution. Two months on, he still struggles to speak.
MYKOLA KULICHENKO, ALLEGED WAR CRIME VICTIM (through translation): What do I think of the Russians? I hate them with all my soul. They are animals. They should burn in hell.
BELL (voice-over): It was only after the Russian withdrawal that a month after their execution, Yevgeny (ph) and Dimytro (ph) were given a proper burial, a tombstone and the peace that Mykola has been denied.
BELL (on camera): Jake, that drive from Kyiv up to Chernihiv near the Russian border is incredibly revealing. Much of the road has been destroyed. It takes a lot longer than it did. The city of Chernihiv or parts of it at least lie in ruins.
But it is those scars in the countryside outside, not where the shelling and the siege took place, but in the countryside where the quieter occupation by Russia happened, and those scars have been harder to see and harder to say, as you just heard, and they're incredibly difficult to hear, Jake.
TAPPER: Yes, Melissa Bell in Kyiv, Ukraine, thank you so much. Coming up, the massacre in Buffalo, new information just shared in the
investigation, and we're also learning more about the alleged motive in a deadly shooting at a church in California. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Coming back with our "National Lead," officials in Buffalo, New York just shared new details about the suspect in Saturday's racist mass murder. Thirteen people were shot, 10 killed at the "Tops" grocery store in the predominantly black Buffalo neighborhood.
Just in the last hour, the D.A.'s office sharing that the shooter's attorney is withdrawing his request for a mental health examination. As CNN's Omar Jimenez reports, the suspect told police he had been radicalized online by subscribing to a racist doctrine called white replacement theory.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What once was a neighborhood supermarket is now a crime scene. Investigators piecing together the sequence of events in what authorities say was a racially motivated attack. The Buffalo police commissioner told CNN the suspect planned to continue his shooting rampage if he wasn't stopped.
JOSEPH GRAMAGLIA, BUFFALO POLICE COMMISSIONER: He had plans had he gotten out of here to continue his rampage and continue shooting people. He had even spoken about possibly going to another store.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): The Erie County district attorney tells CNN the suspect seemingly planned on killing more black people if he could.
JOHN FLYNN, ERIE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It appears that way. Again, we need to drill down further.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): Drilling down further to the home where the 18- year-old suspect lived with his parents. To the gun store where the weapon was purchased before he allegedly drove 3 1/2 hours to get to the supermarket in Buffalo because authorities say its community had the highest percentage of black population of any zip code in upstate New York.
FLYNN: We are going to look into everything that this young man was doing and thinking.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): Including analyzing the alleged shooter's past. How last year, New York state police paid him a visit after he did a high school project on murder suicides, according to the Erie County sheriff.
JOHN GARCIA, SHERIFF, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK: He stayed a facility, I'm not sure if it was a hospital or mental health facility for a day and a half. JIMENEZ (voice-over): His state of mind also being analyzed. Just
before heading to the market, he's believed to have written and posted a 180-page statement, outlining his racist beliefs and the attack. Then, the Buffalo police commissioner says he livestreamed the horrific attack that has scarred this community. A community still grieving over the lives of 10 of their own. Gunned down in a matter of minutes.
Ruth Whitfield was 86 years old and on her way back from visiting her husband in his nursing home when she stopped for groceries. Her son called and called. No one ever answered.
JIMENEZ (on camera): You're looking for her, you find out. You go home. What's going through your head?
GARNELL WHITFIELD, JR., SON OF RUTH WHITFIELD: I'm angry. I'm hurt. She was a beautiful person. We're still in the midst of this thing. One of the things that we as a family wanted to insure is that we call it what it is. It is white supremacy. It is hate. It is racism. It is bigotry. And we got to call it what it is and stop beating around the bush and take it head on because it's proliferating. It's not getting better.
JIMENEZ: And we just heard from a variety of public safety officials not too long ago here in Buffalo who outlined that this alleged shooter was shot at multiple times before eventually surrendering to police, shot at by someone he allegedly eventually killed. Also, in regards to this potential shooter, we learned that he was allegedly in the area as recently as this past Friday, but also as early as back in March. That's a thread they're continuing to investigate as well.
He pleaded, this alleged shooter pleaded not guilty to first degree murder over the weekend and is expected to be back in court on Thursday. Of course, as we expect President Biden to visit tomorrow, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Omar Jimenez, thank you so much.
Buffalo was not the only city reeling from a mass shooting this weekend. One person died and another five senior citizens were injured when a man opened fire at a church in Laguna Woods, California on Sunday. Today, investigators are sharing more details about the scary attack that day including that the shooter allegedly chained up doors, disabled locks within the church and tried to nail one of the doors shut.
CNN's Camila Bernal is in Laguna Woods, California where police are sharing the identity of the alleged shooter. Camila, what do we know about him and are police sharing any sort of possible motive?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake. Yes, authorities are saying that this was a politically motivated shooting. Today, they shared just the evil and the nightmare that was lived here at Geneva Presbyterian Church. Now, remember this shooting took place at a luncheon that was held by the sister church, Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church made up of mostly elderly Taiwanese members.
And authorities say that this man essentially was upset about political tensions between mainland China and Taiwan. They say he left notes describing his anger towards the Taiwanese community. We also know, as you mentioned, that he used chains and super glue to lock the doors. But we also heard from authorities that he had additional ammunition and had Molotov cocktails ready to go. This is how the sheriff described his actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD BARNES, SHERIFF, ORANGE COUNTY: We know that he was very intentional in his plan. We know that he formulated a strategy that he wanted to employ. It was very well thought out from how he had prepared both being there, securing the location, placing things about the inside of the room to perpetuate additional victims if he had the opportunity. So that is methodical. We know that it took place at least 24 hours in advance between his travel to Orange County from outside the area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: Now, I am choosing not to name the suspect, but it is important to point out that the 68-year-old Chinese man had been in the U.S. for a while now. He is a U.S. citizen, and he most recently lived in Las Vegas. He drove here on Saturday with no connections to this church.
At the moment, he is facing one felony count of murder and another five felony counts of attempted murder. The district attorney here in Orange County saying he expects more charges. He says he faces life without the possibility of parole, and is considering the death penalty.
Now, federal authorities also opening a federal crimes investigation, so there are likely many more charges coming in the near future. Jake?
TAPPER: Alright, Camila Bernal, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Today, we are learning more about the victims killed in Saturday's horrific racist attack in Buffalo. Aaron Salter was working as the supermarket security guard and fired multiple shots at the suspect. Buffalo's mayor says Salter was a hero.
Fifty-two-year-old Margus Morrison was at the market buying snacks for the weekly movie night he had with his wife. His stepdaughter says he'll be remembered for his kindness and humor.
Thirty-two-year-old Roberta Drury moved to Buffalo eight years ago to help her brother who was battling leukemia. Sixty-two-year-old Geraldine Talley was doing her regular grocery shopping with her fiance when she was killed on Saturday. She was the mother of two beautiful children and she was an avid baker. Sixty-five-year-old Celestine Chaney was a beloved grandmother of six
and a breast cancer survivor. Her family says Celestine was one of the most loving and caring people, and above all, a fighter.
Hayward Patterson was a 67-year-old taxi driver. He was waiting outside of the market for passengers when he was killed in the parking lot. His nephew says Hayward took pride in helping people and would give them a ride even if they could not afford to pay him.
Katherine Massey was 72-years-old. She was a community activist and a writer. She was passionate about making Buffalo a safer place to live.
Eighty-six-year-old Ruth Whitfield was visiting her husband in a nursing home as she did every day. She stopped at the supermarket to get some food on her way home.
Pearl Young was a substitute teacher and a true pillar in the community, her family said in a statement. She was 77 years old.
Fifty-three-year-old Andre Mackniel was also killed in the shooting. May his memory and the memory of all of those lost in the shootings over this weekend be a blessing. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: In our "Politics Lead," former President Trump telling North Carolina Republicans give Congressman Madison Cawthorn, quote, "a second chance."
Though to be candid, Cawthorn's his various scandals number far more than two. Trump did acknowledge that the embattled lawmaker has made, quote, "some foolish mistakes recently," but as CCN's Dianne Gallagher reports, the questions remain whether or not Trump's endorsement is more important to his supporters than a member of Congress who is so embarrassing both Republican senators are trying to oust him.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mountainous tree covered landscape of western Carolina has become an ugly political battleground.
UNKNOWN: Cawthorn will lie about anything.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): As Republicans wage an all-out war on embattled but Trump-endorsed Congressman Madison Cawthorn. He faces off against seven GOP challengers in Tuesday's primary who cast the scandal plagued representative as absent, fame hungry, even dangerous.
WENDY NEVAREZ (R) NC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: A lot of things that he's said and done recently has aired in other countries as propaganda. That goes back to a national security issue. GALLAGHER (voice-over): Pitching themselves to the very red district
as more serious, less distracting alternatives.
CHUCK EDWARDS (R) NC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Instead of talking about what lingerie that our congressman might like to wear in his spare time, we need to be talking about inflation and real issues.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Republicans have rallied around the other candidates like State Senator Chuck Edwards who has the backing of North Carolina's most powerful players, including Senator Thom Tillis.
UNKNOWN: Putin used Cawthorn's claims --
GALLAGHER (voice-over): And the six figures that Tillis connected superPAC has dropped on attack ads.
REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): I have really never seen the swamp launch such a coordinated attack against any individual politics except for Donald Trump.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump endorsed the 26-year-old Cawthorn more than a year ago, though he's generally stayed away from the race. But on the eve of the primary, Trump posted on his truth social platform, rehashing Cawthorn's background while adding, "Recently he made some foolish mistakes which I don't believe he'll make again. Let's give Madison a second chance."
And we found plenty of voters in Cawthorn's hometown of Hendersonville who plan to do just that.
UNKNOWN: Well, I think he's a good kid. It's political. Everybody is trying to, you know, do what they can to make themselves look good and make the opponent look bad.
UNKNOWN: A lot of it is made up, fabricated stuff.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): But for others between the unflattering headlines, poor congressional attendance and fights over whether he shut down district offices, it's just too much drama.
UNKNOWN: He's a real narcicisstic and I'm just not into that.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): North Carolina's 11th district is massive and rural, making voters both physically and digitally hard to reach. But one Cawthorn misstep that did seem to reach the entire district, his move late last year when new maps were drawn to leave it behind.
CAWTHORN: I will be running for Congress in the 13th Congressional District. This move is not an abandonment.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): But a lot of people took it that way.
MICHELLE WOODHOUSE (R) NC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: So when Madison Cawthorn decided to leave the congressional district and run in Charlotte, he asked me to step in and run as the America First candidate. GALLAGHER (voice-over): And when the court redrew the maps, Cawthorn
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER (on camera): Now, adding some of the unpredictability that we expect to happen tomorrow, Jake, unaffiliated voters, more than 40 percent of the ballots that were cast in the Republican primary in this district have been from registered unaffiliated voters. There were movements encouraging Democrats and even moderate voters to vote against Cawthorn in this primary.
Also, a winner of a primary in the state of North Carolina by law must get 30 percent plus one. Jake, experts think that that could potentially benefit Cawthorn because the GOP group here is so large.
TAPPER: Oh, yes. He could absolutely be re-elected. Dianne Gallagher from North Carolina, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Let's discuss with former top aide to House Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner, Brendan Buck and the former National Coalition's director for Biden/Harris 2020, Ashley Allison. Brendan, let's start with Trump's kind of last-minute support of Madison Cawthorn. It's not a formal press release. He does not specifically say he's endorsing Cawthorn, but he said voters should give Cawthorn a second chance. Is that going to be enough for Cawthorn or does he even need that help at this point?
BRENDAN BUCK, FORMER TOP AIDE TO HOUSE SPEAKERS PAUL RYAN AND JOHN BOEHNER: Yes, it doesn't help. You know, the last point I think is the most critical. You only need 30 percent in North Carolina to get through a primary so I think that's probably enough.
You know, Donald Trump, if you look at, if there's any consistency behind what he does when he gets involved in congressional races though, it's whatever is worst for the GOP. This is a moment where you actually have your Republican leadership, you have the Freedom Caucus, you have everybody across the Republican House Conference ready to move on from Madison Cawthorn.
He's been an embarrassment, absolutely lost the confidence of his colleagues. But here Donald Trump come in just to make sure that he sticks around, I guess because he thinks that he's going to defend him to the death. But once again, he steps into at a moment where we could possibly be done with a really bad member of Congress and he comes in to save him.
TAPPER: Ashley, I wonder what you think about this because it's true. It's almost as if all of the Republican Party with the exception of Donald Trump has abandoned Madison Cawthorn. And yet, I mean, if you look at the array of House Republicans, he's hardly the most offensive one. I mean, he certainly has done a number of very embarrassing cringe worthy things, including his participation in what happened on January 6. But then you have Marjorie Taylor Greene, you have Paul Gosar, I mean, you have -- these are individuals who have literally flirted with white supremacists, or said offensive things themselves. Why do you think there has been such a push to get this one Republican out?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not really sure actually. I try not to, honestly, get in the hands of too many Republicans in this day and age. But I'm not really sure why they have distanced themselves from Cawthorn. I think the interesting thing, though, is that the Party hasn't necessarily distancing themselves from Trump.
So while they may be taking a step away from this particular candidate, they're not, you know, you're not going to see these Republicans say like, well, we're totally taking an arm or length distance away from Donald Trump. So I've said it before, I think Cawthorn is a disaster and they don't want unnecessary problems. They have a wave of challenges ahead of them around those current issue of replacement theory.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is problematic. They don't need someone like a Cawthorn who just have really scandalous acts in the news that draw away from the direction they're trying to take the party, which is not a great direction, let me be clear, but they don't want those indiscretions to be a part of their narrative this fall.
TAPPER: Meanwhile, Brendan, in Pennsylvania insurgent GOP Senate candidate Kathy Barnette looks -- appears poised to win a Republican Senate primary tomorrow in Pennsylvania. She has a history of telling election lies, making just rankly bigoted anti-Muslim and anti-gay statements. Now she's going after her opponents calling celebrity Dr. Oz and Dave McCormick globalists part of the swamp that she didn't get Trump's endorsement. But I have to say, she seems to me more of an obvious heir to Trumpism than McCormick or Oz. What do you think?
BRENDAN BUCK, FORMER TOP AIDE TO HOUSE SPEAKERS PAUL RYAN & JOHN BOEHNER: Yes, absolutely. She's ascended right now because you have two other, quote unquote, front runners who nobody seems to be into. Dr. Oz, who everybody of course knows, but no one thinks of as a Pennsylvanian or has any real particular ideology that people are familiar with. And Dave McCormick, who probably in time previous would clear the field, you know, clear establishment type of Republican but that's not what is in vogue right now.
So this is a situation where nobody really likes what you have. So she's ascended. And again, it could be a disaster for Republicans. This is a Republican health seat, and it's going to be a good year for Republicans. But this seat is by far, not a sure thing for us.
And Democrats are potentially going to nominate someone who is not their best candidate, either. I don't think in a general election. So here we have a situation where both parties are trying to give it away. But absolutely, she is the most Trump-like, but that is potentially problematic. This is a seed that we really, really need.
If you want Mitch McConnell to be the majority leader next year, and we're just, you know, flying by the seat of our pants here nominating someone who hardly anybody had heard of a month ago.
TAPPER: Do you remember, Ashley, in one of the first Republican debates? I think it was the very first one in 2015. This is just memory. I think Bret Baier asked, you know, is everybody here committed to voting for whoever gets the nomination? Raise your hand if you're not. And I think Donald Trump raised his hand.
And we had the same thing happened today with Kathy Barnette, she was interviewed on Breitbart, on Steve Bannon's war room and she would not commit to supporting either Oz or McCormick if she loses to them. She said she would not support globalists. I mean, that's pretty stunning.
ALLISON: Yes, it is. I think that to your point, Jake, she really is aligned with this Trump ideology. And I just have to be honest, I cannot think about this Republican primary and without also thinking about what's going on and what just happened in Buffalo. I think what you see here is this attempt, you have Dr. Oz who was endorsed by Trump, who is clearly a replacement theory champion. You have Barnette, who espousing derogatory things about LGBTQ people, Muslim people, these are the alarm bells that people are ringing about.
It's not just OK today to condemn the ideology of the shooter. It must be consistent and represented in the people that you are putting in power in your party. And for Dr. Oz to be endorsed by Donald Trump, for Barnette to be spewing these ideologies is highly problematic and it's a signal similar to how Donald Trump raised his hand and said, I'm not going to be a team player and support the GOP nominee. He also said I'm not going to support the outcome of the elections and start to undermine our democracy.
So I think the Republicans should really pay attention to what's going to happen tomorrow but also be you can't -- your actions speak louder than words. And if Barnette is successful, it's a strong indication of where the party is doubling down in this really headed.
TAPPER: And Brendan, quickly if you can, on the Democratic side front runner -- for the Democratic Senate nomination, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, he suffered a minor stroke on Friday and had him hospitalized. He didn't disclose it until Sunday. We're now learning he's not going to attend a rally in Pittsburgh tomorrow. What do you make of how he's handled this?
BUCK: Yes, disturbing. And there's a lot of questions you want to ask and you really don't have time to get answers, it doesn't seem like. Yes, Fetterman was a risky candidate for them in the first place that he's running against Conor Lamb, a member of the House, who is central casting generic -- a general election candidate, someone that when I was in the Speaker's office, we used to think was unbeatable when he was running in the House because he's such a good candidate.
Fetterman has a lot of questions. He has a history of offending his own party. And I think that they're running a big risk by nominating him potentially. And now coming out with a health concern, you might think that potentially could could change the game for him. TAPPER: Brendan and Ashley, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
Tune in tomorrow night, Election Night in America. There's that election music. Primary races in five states, special coverage starts at 7:00 Eastern here on CNN. Please be sure to tune in.
What happens if states start targeting women, prosecuting women for crossing state lines to seek an abortion? I look at one proposal that would do just that. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our national lead, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade sometime in the next few weeks. The Republican governor of Nebraska told CNN that if the court does in fact do so, he is planning to pass a complete ban on abortion in the state even in cases of rape and incest.
As CNN's Elle Reeve reports for us now, anti-abortion activists and neighboring Missouri wants to pass a law to stop women from being able to cross state lines to get an abortion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to do everything we can to protect every child in the state. So bans abortions when there's heartbeats and brainwaves, at eight weeks. If that gets overturned, there's an 18-week, if that gets overturned, there's a 20-week.
ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Missouri Republican state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman has been called the new face of the anti- abortion movement. She's a longtime activist. She has six kids. She's running for State Senate, and she's pushed for a lot of legislation to limit abortion.
MARY ELIZABETH COLEMAN, (R), MISSOURI STATE HOUSE: There are a number of provisions in the initial bill that I filed making sure that Planned Parenthood is not able to be a Medicaid provider. Also some enforcement provisions to make sure that people who are aiding or abetting, avoiding the laws of Missouri are able to have a some kind of a legal recourse against staffing that.
REEVE (voice-over): Some of her efforts have failed, even with Republicans overwhelming majority in Missouri, like her bill to impose penalties for helping people get abortions outside the state, which didn't pass this year.
(on-camera): The bill you introduced was actually referenced (INAUDIBLE) this morning as sort of what the post-Roe future could look like. There would be penalties for people who went out of state to seek abortion.
COLEMAN: Yes, actually, that's wrong. There's penalties for people who aid or abet violating the law. In fact, women are explicitly exempted from that.
REEVE (on-camera): And what would aiding and abetting be?
COLEMAN: Yes. So right now, if a woman in Missouri is wanting to schedule an abortion, she'll call the last clinic that's open here in Missouri, and that clinical actually schedule an abortion in Illinois, and both of the entities are owned by the same legal entity. And so that's a coordinated effort to avoid the laws of the state of Missouri.
REEVE (voice-over): She played a critical role in Missouri's 2019 abortion law, which includes a trigger ban, meaning if Roe falls, abortion will immediately become illegal in the state, except in case of medical emergency.
PAMELA MERRITT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MEDICAL STUDENTS FOR CHOICE: Mary Elizabeth Coleman is clearly ambitious. She's very excited to impose her beliefs through policy on the vast majority of Missourians. I don't know how she can fix her face to talk about family values or conservative values from a religious frame in a state that has so failed to provide services, adequate housing, job opportunities, food. I mean, it's outrageous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our freedom cannot be bought with the blood of our children.
COLEMAN: Oh, gosh, I wouldn't think of it as a professional political career. I think of myself as kind of taking my turn in a citizen legislature. But certainly I've prayed outside of Planned Parenthood, just really a longtime advocate for protections for the unborn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, glad to see you again. Listen, when you leave, I would like to share some information with you about women's health care, other clinics that I know are safe and give quality care.
REEVE (voice-over): Bonnie Lee is also an anti-abortion activist who prays in front of Planned Parenthood.
BONNIE LEE, ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVIST, 40 DAYS FOR LIFE: I'm sorry, I didn't have an iPhone. This is just resources. It's the babies' lives. They're innocent. We fight for them. You have a good day, sir.
REEVE (voice-over): Lee is part of 40 Days for Life, an international anti-abortion organization, which she says taught her how to approach women and convince them not to get abortions.
LEE: I wear the voice enhancer because this busy street it's so loud. And if I elevate my voice, I think I'm yelling at them.
REEVE (on-camera): There are people in the anti-abortion community who are yellers?
LEE: Yes. And that's unfortunate. And we're not going to get anyone to come and talk with us if they're not.
REEVE (voice-over): One tactic she learned is to recommend crisis pregnancy centers, religious organizations that offer aid but not abortion.
LEE: Who was there to help them and say, well, we can help you with childcare. We will help you with getting housing. And if we own the sidewalk, can build a relationship that where they'll come over and accept maybe some assistance. We're helping people and yes, that helps the baby.
KATHY FORCK, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, 40 DAYS FOR LIFE: No matter what happens with this Roe v. Wade decision, our work isn't finished. We still need to be there because women will continue to find themselves in an unexpected pregnancy. And so what better way to help them than to be at a place where they are going, thinking their only choice is abortion.
REEVE (on-camera): You said that women tend to say the reason they want an abortion is because they can't take care of the baby, they can afford the baby. Does that ever make you wonder if there's something much broader that's wrong with society on a much bigger scales and just abortion, like why is it so expensive to have a child?
FORCK: Well, I think a lot of times, when a woman does find herself in an unexpected pregnancy, a lot of times she's not married. And a lot of times she's getting a lot of coercion from the boyfriend to abort.
REEVE (on-camera): Well, I just mean, like the services you offer, like, what if all women could get medical care for their infants, you know, not just those who were directed away from Planned Parenthood?
FORCK: When that'd be nice.
MERRITT: Ultimately, the most successful factor for the anti-abortion movement has been that there were people who bought the false premise that these anti-abortion actors were a bunch of really concerned grannies who were out in front of clinics as opposed to a coordinated well-funded political operation that was drafting legislation through a long game legal lens.
COLEMAN: I just think that abortion is the greatest evil that we have right now in our country. The idea that the value of someone's life would be different based on how old they are, is really horrifying to me. OK, I'm so sorry, I have to gavel in there, I'm going to miss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
REEVE (voice-over): Elle Reeve, CNN, Jefferson City, Missouri.
TAPPER: And our thanks to Elle Reeve for that report.
CNN is live in Kabul, Afghanistan, sitting down with one of the most wanted terrorists in the world. That story is next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:51:31]
TAPPER: A key leader of the Taliban is pledging that schools will soon reopen for older girls in Afghanistan. Now it's hardly the first time we've heard such a promise. But this time, the promise came from one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists who made the vow on camera to a female international journalist, none other than CNN's own Christiane Amanpour. Christiane joins us now live from Kabul.
Christiana, tell us more about this individual, his promise, and why he sat for this interview?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, it was extraordinary as his first ever, frankly, he's barely even showed his face, you know, recently. And he does want to come out now and try to get the international community to recognize the Taliban and to lift sanctions. He knows that it's going to take a lot of work, particularly on the issue of women's rights. And we'll talk a little bit more about that in a moment.
But first and foremost, he said he wanted a better relationship with U.S., even though he is on the FBI's wanted less. There is a multimillion dollar bounty on his head, which I put to him that this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIRAJUDDIN HAQQANI, AFGHANISTAN'S ACTING INTERIOR MINISTER (through translation): In the future, we would like to have good relations with the United States and the international community based on rules and principles that exist in the rest of the world. And based on that arrangement, we have made commitment with them. And currently, we do not look at them as enemies.
But based on their conduct, the Afghans have reservations about their intentions. From our side, the freedom of the country, and struggling for the country's defense is illegitimate right, in accordance with the international rules. Currently, we do not look at them as enemies and we have time, and again spoken about diplomacy. We are committed to the Doha agreement. Like the rest of the world, we want relations with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that Doha agreement, of course, the one that was started with the Trump administration, which led to the chaotic fall of Kabul and the American and NATO withdrawal in the summer. Now extraordinarily, a Western envoy tells me that yes, this guy as he put it, has a lot of American blood on his hands. He's tied in the past and currently to some of the most extremist of the Taliban groups within the movement, but said this top official to me, he also put women back to work in the ministry, it was the first ministry to do it, and he has successfully combat terrorism.
So it is a paradox. And it's really balanced, Jake, here because sometimes a lot of people are saying you have to work with the Taliban because of the terrible catastrophic humanitarian crisis that's unfolding.
TAPPER: That's right. And it's been about nine months, Christiane, since the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the takeover by the Taliban. What's it like for you being back in Afghanistan?
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, I was here when they first came in, and then after they were routed. And when they first came in, they said some of the same things that we promised this, we promise that when conditions are right. And really women's rights were not respected at all during the first round.
This time, it is different. Many, many Taliban including this guy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, really do want girls to have education. But there seems to be a split within the more conservative hardline groups that are in Kandahar south of here. We'll see what happens.
TAPPER: All right, Christiane Amanpour joining us live from Kabul, Afghanistan. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Growing threat, the stunning new report revealing just how close you may live to America's wildfire danger. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our Earth matters series, America burning. And New Mexico crews are battling what's become the largest wildfire in the state's history. It has burned an area of about 465 square miles. A new map shows the parts of the U.S. most at risk for property damage from wildfires this year. The darker the area, the greater your risk, according to a Washington Post analysis of the data. One in six Americans lives in an area with significant wildfire risk.
Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I'll see you tomorrow.