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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Biden Touts 372K Jobs Added In U.S., Yet Inflation Sits At 40- Year High; Former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe Shot & Killed During Campaign Speech; Ukrainian Settlements Under Attack As Russians Push Into Donbas; Inside The Battle Over Abortion Rights In Swing-State Virginia; Climate Change Threatens Majority Of America's National Parks. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired July 08, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Some presidents would have done anything for numbers like these.
THE LEAD starts right now.
A better than expected June jobs report, but why the good news presents a problem for inflation.
Then, a shocking assassination. The former prime minister of Japan is murdered in the middle of a speech. The suspect using what appears to be a handmade gun and a country with very little gun violence.
Then, fires flooding and drought. America's national parks are disappearing faster than ever before.
COLLINS: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Kaitlan Collins, in for Jake Tapper.
We start today with the money lead. Wall Street closing this hour mostly flat after today's jobs reported exceeded expectations. That's great news, obviously, but it's not slowing rising prices and fears of a recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States added 372,000 jobs in June and on average American paychecks are up 5.1 percent in the last year.
But that's not keeping up with inflation, which jumped 8.6 percent annually in last month's report. As MJ Lee reports, that's a problem for President Biden as he is struggling to convince Americans his economic agenda is working. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My economic plan is moving this country in a better direction.
MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More signs on Friday of a robust U.S. labor market. The economy adding 372,000 jobs in June, far beating economists' expectations and the unemployment rate remaining at 3.6 percent, near historic lows. President Biden celebrating the news, saying the U.S. has now recovered all of the jobs lost during the pandemic.
BIDEN: At a time when our critics said the economy was too weak or having already added more jobs, we added more jobs my first year as president, any president in history, we still added more jobs in the past three months than any administration in nearly 40 years.
LEE: But despite the continued strength in the labor market, soaring inflation remaining a stubborn problem for the Biden White House.
BIDEN: Now, look, I know times are tough. Prices are too high. Families are facing the cost of living crunch.
LEE: While ages continue to move up last month, they were outpaced by decades' high inflation. Consumer goods across the board squeezing American families and high gas prices adding to the widespread economic pessimism.
ELLIOTT DEJESUS, CALIFORNIA DRIVER: It's getting crazy. My car used to be $30 to fill up. Now, it's $69.45. I'm over it.
LEE: Economist and experts are warning that the U.S. is headed towards a recession if it isn't already in one. Top administration officials carefully treading around those suggestions.
MARTY WALSH, LABOR SECRETARY: I don't want to say we will be in a recession because we are doing everything we can to get our economy and bring inflationary costs down.
CECILIA ROUSE, CHAIRWOMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Many people are asking, are we in recession? What this suggests is at least on the employment side in the labor market, we have a very healthy economy.
LEE: The Federal Reserve has been quickly raising interest rates to try to cool the economy. The central bank widely expected to announce another major rate hike later this month.
ROUSE: The president understands that in order to bring down inflation, the Fed is going to, you know, needs to cool the economy to some extent.
LEE: Now, on a day like today, you really see what a uniquely challenging moment this is for President Biden and his White House. We have a very strong labor market with strong job gains. The
unemployment rate remains low, wages are going up but high inflation is preventing a lot of people from feeling good every single day. So, of course, the White House is hoping that some of this economic pessimism is going to dissipate in the coming months and particularly ahead of the November midterm elections, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Yeah, absolutely. It's a huge concern for them.
MJ Lee, thank you.
I want to bring in Brian Deese, the director of the White House's National Economic Council.
Brian, thank you for being with us.
In the White House's view, based on what you have seen today, has the jobs market slowed enough to help moderate inflation? And if not, how much more do you think it needs to slow down to do so?
BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, I think it's useful to step back and recognize that we've now hit a major milestone in this country. We have now recovered all of the private sector jobs that were lost during the pandemic and then some. So we now have more Americans working than at any time in our history, any time before the pandemic.
And we also saw that the economy created about 1 million jobs over the last three months. Now, that is about 375,000 jobs a month.
That's down from about 600,000 jobs a month that we saw earlier, and as the president said today, we expect that to continue to normalize and stabilize and you wouldn't see as strong job growth going forward.
The goal is to get ourselves to a steady and stable growth through this transition while bringing prices down. And we recognize prices are too high. We are making progress on that front. Gas prices 25 cents over the last 25 days. We have more that we need to do there.
But it is important to step back and recognize the milestone on the labor market. A fast jobs recovery not only helps tens of millions of Americans with higher -- better jobs and higher wages. It helps families. It helps balance sheets. It helps avoid hunger and other economic pain. And that's a real accomplishment.
COLLINS: Yeah, I think is a milestone. I understand it's one the White House wants to tell. But I do wonder, how much do you think it needs to moderate -- to moderate, how much does it need to slow to help moderate inflation? What does that number look like?
DEESE: Well, look, we are seeing this process unfold. We are seeing it unfold and we are in a transition that many people have identified as necessary and those elements that we should -- we should track and we should recognize that that is what we want to see in the economy. So, we were running at 600,000 or 700,000 jobs a month. We are down to 375,000.
We expect to see that come down further because to job growth, that's more typical to an economy where the unemployment rate is 3.6 percent. That's a historically low unemployment rate, so we would expect some additional moderation.
We expect other transitions as well that we are seeing in the economy. People are spending less money on goods and products for their homes. They're spending more money on travel and services as well. That affects some companies positively, some negatively.
Those are transitions that we want to see occur as we get back to a more normalized -- normalized pace here, and as we also work through some of these global supply challenges that are hitting countries around the world. Last point is that the United States because of the strength of this labor market recovery is better positioned than almost any country to take on the challenge of high prices, to actually drive that transition in a way where we don't have to give up all the economic gains we have made.
COLLINS: Yeah, I know that's an argument that President Biden has been making on the world stage. I do wonder, Brian, with the addition of 372,000 jobs in a month, it doesn't look like a labor market on the edge a recession. What is the White House's assessment given it has been a big concern for so many Americans?
DEESE: Well, look, if you look at the last quarter, April, May and June, as we just talked about, 1 million jobs created during that period. So there has been a lot of questions raised about where we are economically.
But as far as the labor market is concerned, we are seeing healthy and steady job growth. In fact, that quarter 1 million jobs in a quarter is stronger than any time pre-pandemic in 40 years. So that's on the labor market side.
On the household balance sheet side, consumer spending side, some cooling but it remains historically strong and people are in a relatively strong position to deal with what are real challenges. None of this is to diminish the uncertainty and the challenges that people are facing when they are going to the grocery store. They're going to the gas station.
But if you look at where we are economically right now, we have continued sources of strength and resilience. The question going forward, can we make the right policy choices, put the right policies in place to continue this transition and not have to give up those gains.
You heard the president say today, we're going to navigate through this transition. He is going to focus on helping working people during this transition.
COLLINS: So, Brian, does it make you less worried about a recession potentially? DEESE: Look, you know, there is always uncertainty. We are always
going to try to assess it. And that's -- with every data point, we do that.
I think that if you look at a quarter in which we created a million jobs, it should be a pretty resounding statement of the strength of the labor market and the labor market is at the core of the economy because everybody operates fundamentally from whether they have a job, whether they can earn a paycheck and have an opportunity to move up in their job. So, a healthy labor market is at the core of a healthy economy and I think we have real, healthier and ongoing strength in our labor market.
COLLINS: Brian, I guess one thing today, people look at this number, this jobs report, and see really good numbers and wages are up, but inflation is still at this 40-year high. I mean, gas, groceries, other goods are all up.
And so, for Americans who see these numbers today but don't feel like they feel these numbers, what do you say to Americans who say they simply can't afford those price increases?
DEESE: Absolutely. We have tough and uncertain times and people are feeling it. What I would say is you have got a president who made clear his priority, to do everything he can to bring those prices down, but importantly to do so in a way that doesn't give up all of the economic gains that are making a difference in people's lives, that are making a difference in terms of the job opportunities and the opportunities that people have to have a little more economic dignity in their lives.
So, that's why you see this president focused on doing everything that he can while the Fed uses the tools that it has to help ease the costs the families are facing. As I mentioned, we are seeing some moderation on gas prices. That's a good thing. We need to see more.
We are seeing some moderation, for example, on shipping rates that companies pay and pass on to consumers. That's in part because the president work today get a bipartisan shipping bill done and signed into law about a month ago. There is more work that we have to do.
But in all of these places, you are going to see a president that's going to use the tools that he has to try to bring down prices. But again, not in a way that just destroys or gives up all of the economic gains we have made.
COLLINS: And we got a key update on inflation next week. We'll be looking closely at that. I know you will be, too.
Brian Deese, thanks for joining us this afternoon.
DEESE: Thank you.
COLLINS: Coming up, the former prime minister of Japan has been assassinated. What we're learning about the suspect.
Then, the Uvalde mayor refutes a report that claims that the police officers missed an opportunity to shoot the gunman before he entered the school.
COLLINS: And in our world lead, the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent shockwaves across the globe.
Today, American leaders are remembering his kindness and fierce dedication to the U.S.-Japanese alliance. He was the first Japanese leader to ever address a joint session of Congress. And when he was there, he quoted a song by Carole King that he said he listened to in high school to highlight the alliance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABE SHINZO, FORMER JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: When you are down and troubled, close your eyes and think of me and I'll be there, to brighten up even your darkest night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: CNN's Blake Essig reports from an astonished Japan where gun violence is almost non-existent.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was speaking at a campaign rally east of Osaka on Thursday when chaos ensued.
Two shots can be heard. Abe is hit in the chest and neck.
The weapon: a handmade gun lying on the ground. Bystanders tried to aid the former prime minister before he was rushed to the nearest hospital. But soon news broke. He had succumbed to his injuries and died age 67.
HIDENORI FUKUSHIMA, PROFESSOR, NARA MEDICAL UNIVERSITY (through translator): There were two bullet wounds. He was in a cardiopulmonary arrest after damage to large blood vessels in the heart. We took resuscitative measures, but unfortunately, he died at 5:03 p.m.
ESSIG: Police have arrested the suspect, a 41-year-old man who didn't flee after the shooting. A rare occurrence in Japan, a country with one of the world's lowest gun rates.
FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): He loved this country and constantly looked beyond the current generation working hard for a brighter future of this country, leaving behind many major successes in various categories. ESSIG: World leaders condemned the assassination. U.S. President
Biden stunned in outraged by Abe's death, calling him a champion of the friendship between our people.
BIDEN: This hasn't happened in Japan in decades. I'm told all the way back to the late '30s. The Justice Department is going to be going in and give me more details.
ESSIG: Former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump also grieving the death of a personal, quote, friend of America.
From China, reaction came from the country's embassy in Japan, highlighting abe's contribution to promoting the improvement and development of Sino-Japanese relations.
Shinzo Abe's relations with Beijing were sometimes contentious. He was the first Japanese PM to meet with the Chinese counterpart in years but was critical of Beijing's stance on Taiwan.
His premiership marked Japan's history in bilateral relations. However, his assassination now a black dot in the country's history, a violent act of crime due to send ripples of shock across Japan.
ESSIG (on camera): Now, overnight, we've learned more -- overnight, we've learned more about the suspect's motive in the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Police say that the suspect, a 41- year-old unemployed man, has admitted to the shooting. They say that he went after Abe because he hates a certain group that he believed Abe had ties to.
That man has now been -- is now being investigated as a suspect for murder with 90 police investigators dedicated to this case, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Just such stunning news. Blake Essig in Tokyo, thank you for the report.
Turning to our national lead, Uvalde's mayor is disputing a damning new report about the police response to the deadly massacre at Robb Elementary School. That report claimed that an officer failed to shoot the gunman while he was sighted in his rifle because he never received permission before the suspect entered the building.
Mayor Don McLaughlin is pushing back, saying that none of the officers had an opportunity to take a shot at the gunman and that the, quote, premature release of piecemeal information does a disservice to the victims and their families. Despite that criticism, the group behind the report says they stand by what they found and those details came directly from officers' statements provided to investigators.
One postal workers deliver more than the mail in a war zone, they are lifeline for the Ukrainians who cannot leave their homes.
COLLINS: More than 40 towns and villages in the Donbas, which is the industrial region in the eastern part of Ukraine, have come under Russian attack over the last 24 hours. That's according to Ukraine's military which says Russian forces are now pushing their advance further west towards the Luhansk and Donetsk border.
And CNN's Alex Marquardt is on the ground as forces are also preparing to push back.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In downtown Kharkiv, this team of postal workers is gearing up for a trip to the front lines, a village, until recently, was occupied by Russians.
Their mission is critical. They have cars full of cash to deliver to Ukrainian pensioners who rely on the funds to survive. They drive past fields littered to mines, to Vilkhivka, where the older residents have already gathered in the small post office, pockmarked by shrapnel.
Only the most vulnerable people stayed here, says the head of today's operation. During the Russian offensive, it was impossible to evacuate these people. We come here because no one else will help them.
Bills are counted out and one by one, they collect around $100 at the counter. Their pension for an entire month.
Seventy-eight-year-old Stepania Leskiv has come from nearby. We walk back with her past a school destroyed. Stepania's home also lies in ruin, hit in late March.
She bursts into tears at the sight of it. And says the shelling happened right in front of her. The house started burning. I fell down and I managed to crawl out to the road, she said. In 20, 30 minutes, everything was burned down.
She is staying with a neighbor, but worries what will happen when winter comes. She is a widow whose son died from the Chernobyl disaster.
I wish it was over for me, she says. When the bombing starts, I don't know where to hide.
Russian forces occupying much of this region have been pushed back by Ukrainian troops. Fear is growing they will try to come back soon. These Ukrainian soldiers claim they are ready.
They might be stronger than us in numbers and in weapons. You know that, this soldier says. But we are much more motivated. We will be fighting until our last bullet, so they don't take our land.
These Ukrainian forces have positioned this rocket launcher here among the trees to try to hide it on the edge of this field. This is called an Uragan. It's an old Soviet-era Ukrainian rocket launcher, much more basic with far less range than the handful of American rocket launchers that have been given to the Ukrainian military.
But this is what these troops have. And they tell us that their commanders today have given them the coordinates of a Russian position inside Ukraine to fire on. In a couple moments, they will drive the truck with its rockets a short distance away and target that Russian position.
The launcher rumbles into the middle of the field and fires four rockets in quick succession. Black smoke trailing into the sky. We move out in case there is a response, but the soldiers' day is just getting started.
MARQUARDT (on camera): And, Kaitlan, what those Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines said is they need more and more sophisticated weapons from the West to stop the Russians. The Pentagon now saying today more is on its way in the form of a $400 million security assistance package which will include four more of those advanced highly precise rocket launching systems called HIMARS, bringing the number that the U.S. has given to Ukraine to 12.
Now, Russia claims that they have destroyed two of it them, but Ukraine and the U.S. flatly deny that -- Kaitlan.
COLLINS: And President Biden has said he will support Ukraine indefinitely.
Alex Marquardt in Ukraine, thank you and stay safe.
Coming up, Donald Trump's White House counsel is on Capitol Hill and talking to the January 6th committee behind closed doors. What we've learned about the hours-long interview is up next.
COLLINS: In our politics lead, today, President Biden signed an executive order aimed at protecting reproductive rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade. But the order is vague and it leaves most of the details up to the health and human services secretary who has said there is no, quote, magic bullet to restore the right.
The White House says today's move will expand access to emergency contraception and devices like you IUDs, launch new public education efforts on patient rights, provide more legal representation for those legally seeking abortions and the doctors who are providing them and focus on protecting patient privacy, when people are looking online for information about abortions.
But the order stops far short of meeting the demands of abortion rights activists and Biden is placing much of the responsibility to act on Congress.
Legal challenges over abortion are still unfolding across the country and CNN's Jeff Zeleny met with people on both sides of the issue in Virginia, a closely divided swing state, trying to figure out what comes next.
GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA: So help me God.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Glenn Youngkin took office this year as the country's newest Republican governor, his Virginia victory was hailed by the GOP as a roadmap for the party's success.
YOUNGKIN: First, I am pro-life.
ZELENY: He opposed abortion rights, but rarely emphasized it, focusing instead on economic and education issues.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, most Republican governors across the country moved swiftly to ban or severely restrict abortions.
But in Virginia, Youngkin is taking a slower, more measured approach.
YOUNGKIN: I'm a pro-life governor and I will sign a bill that comes to my desk that protects life. And I look forward to that.
ZELENY: The governor supports a law seeking to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, as he tries to balance the demands from strict opponents of abortion rights with the political reality of Democrats controlling the state Senate by one vote.
AMANDA CHASE (R), VIRGINIA STATE SENATE: All eyes will be on Virginia. I think we are the epicenter for the initial decisions that will be made on a lot of pro-life legislation.
ZELENY: Senator Amanda Chase, who challenged Youngkin in the Republican primary last year, said she would prefer a bill that goes even further. But she knows that is unlikely to find success. So she supports the governor's plan.
So, even the 15-week bill you think has an uphill --
CHASE: I think it has been uphill battle, honestly, in the Virginia Senate because of the makeup of the Virginia Senate, 19-21, 19 Republicans, 21 Democrats.
ZELENY: As legal challenges unfold in states across the nation the political debate in Virginia is taking shape with the nuance of a closely divided battleground. VICTORIA COBB, PRESIDENT, THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA: Well,
it's certainly taken us decades to get where we are in this moment, to get past the decision of Roe, and so to think that tomorrow we could ban all abortion would be unrealistic, but I understand the sentiment.
ZELENY: Victoria Cobb is president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, an influential lobbying group that opposes abortion. She's calling for a patient pragmatism.
COBB: When you're talking about human lives, you do what you can when you can rather than put out what you believe and what you want to have happen. You put out what you can actually accomplish.
ZELENY: Youngkin insists common ground can be found.
YOUNGKIN: I believe that this is a moment where the commonwealth of Virginia can come to the.
ZELENY: That's not how Democratic Senate leader Louise Lucas sees it.
L. LOUISE LUCAS (D), VIRGINIA STATE SENATE: The bill is big on Roe.
ZELENY: Any abortion bill must pass through the education and health committee of which she is the chair and decides what is or is not considered by the full Senate.
LUCAS: I will not agree to anything less than what is codified in code in Virginia right now, and that is for 20 weeks. And so if the governor is trying to push a 15-week ban, it's not going to get through my committee. I can guarantee you that.
ZELENY: You can block this in your committee. You have the power as the chair?
LUCAS: I do.
ZELENY: Senator Lucas tells me she will do everything in her power to make sure Virginia remains, in her words, a safe haven for women seeking access to abortion. Now, Governor Youngkin and Republicans are pushing for a ban after 15 weeks as a starting point with calls by some to go much further. It is clear that Virginia will be a closely watched test case for all of the fallout from that Supreme Court ruling as the country is divided into a state by state patchwork of abortion laws -- Kaitlan.
COLLINS: CNN's Jeff Zeleny, thank you.
I want to bring in my panel now to discuss this.
And, Abby, you just saw that report from Jeff where you see this division over what's going to happen. You saw the smile on her face as she was saying that she would have the power to block that abortion ban at fewer weeks.
Is this something you think we are going to be dealing with until the midterm elections or for the foreseeable future really?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And even beyond. And, I mean, look, she had a smile on her face. There are not actually that many places in the country where Democrats, if they are face with a restrictive abortion ban, have the ability to stop it. They don't have a lot of state legislatures where they have unified control and even in the places where they do maybe have the governorship, they have a veto, that some legislatures they have veto-proof majority to pass restrictive bills.
So, it's actually a dire picture out there for Democrats at the state level, and this issue is going to go on even further beyond the midterms because this is -- Democrats got into this hole in state legislatures over the period of 10 to 15 years. It's not going to get resolved in two to four years. And I think they are going to have to come to terms with what that means and how to reverse the slide that has been going on.
COLLINS: And so much of this is going back to the White House and so much pressure that President Biden is under to do more. You saw them come out with the executive order today. It's vague. It's not really clear.
Part of the directive it is sending the HHS secretary off for 30 days to then come back. Is this something that for abortion rights activists that they have been pushing for is this at all going to meet their demands?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what they have said and I have talked to some of them today, they think it's a step in the right direction, but politically, I actually think what it allows Democrats to do is to continue to keep the focus on this issue front and center.
You talked about how it's a dire picture for Democrats. It's actually a dire picture for American women and that's exactly what Democrats are going to be campaigning on. And, sure, there is sort of some vagueness in terms of what the White House announced today, but the White House and President Biden can point to everything that they can do at this point and then what else is there?
It is up to the voters. It is up to the activists to push this is issue front and center because if we think we live in two Americas before Roe v. Wade, this is really the definition of two Americas. We are going to have states where they are going to be prosecuting women and doctors and then you're going to have states that are going to be safe havens.
I talked to a lawyer today about the executive order and he said this is sort of laying the ground work for what is going to become a state- by-state literal battle for women who are trying to look for this kind of reproductive care. I think that is absolutely an incredibly important and powerful issue for Democrats to run on.
COLLINS: And some of them may say it's a step in the right direction. There are other things the White House could do, like putting abortion clinics on federal lands. They have not said there are options but they are not taking that step yet.
But, really, today, President Biden seemed to be putting much of the responsibility on Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law. Your vote can make that a reality. I know it's frustrating and it made a lot of people very angry, but the the truth is this. And it's not just me saying it. It's what the court said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So, Jackie, the president is predicting record turnout from women voters this fall. Do you think that's realistic?
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's hard to say. I know that Democrats are counting on that. You are hearing -- to change the tide on many things, on voting rights, on, you know, all sorts of things that you hearing Democrats say you've got to vote or this isn't going to change. This is kind of -- we haven't had abortion actually, you know, outlawed in certain states before. So we'll have to see.
In the past, you haven't seen Democrats vote on this issue. It was much more things like the economy and a range of other things where you had conservative voters, to Abby's point, particularly in the legislature, would vote on this issue and on justices and whatnot.
So they have a lot of work to do, honestly, the Democratic Party, in order to make sure that their people get out.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look at the polling on this nationally. The list of issues that people care about, 70, 80 percent of Americans are focused on an economic issue, inflation, job situation, cost of groceries, cost of gas.
The issues you mentioned they have trouble rallying people around, abortion, climate, voting rights, these are all low single digit issue. So, the White House here is putting a ton of attention on an issue that is not that important in the grand macro metric --
KUCINICH: I wonder -- I do wonder -- but we don't know -- because this is the first time it's been overturned and because this issue is so front and center, I think it will be worth watching to see how Democratic voters and --
JENNINGS: It's also not the only -- the Democratic voters are not the only players in the field. Remember, Democrats ran on abortion in the Virginia governor's race last year, and in the post-election exit polling, people who ranked it as the top issue preferred Youngkin over McAuliffe. So, there are a lot of Republican voters who are more than happy to have this decision come down. This is not a monolithic issue.
CARDONA: But we all know that voters who come out to the polls and are energized the most are voters who are pissed off. Women are pissed often. And that is something that Democrats are going to continue to energize.
And I'm sorry, Scott, this is not a low attention issue.
JENNINGS: I'm just raiding the polling.
CARDONA: Let's talk about the polling. There have been several polls after Roe v. Wade that actually have flipped the generic ballot for Democrats. That shows me there is absolutely momentum there.
Do we have to keep this front and center? Absolutely. The announcements from the White House I think help us do that.
What Republican governors are trying to do to outlaw abortion or make it more restrictive, absolutely is golden for Democrats to continue to talk about this. When you have a woman -- and, yes, the economy is going to be huge, right? Inflation is going to be huge. When you are at the gas pump, it's huge.
But, I'm sorry. If you have a woman who is pumping her gas and looking at the price of gas and rolls in a man and she starts thinking I have freaking less rights than this guy that's pumping gas next to me, that is important. You might be rolling your eyes, Scott, but you're a dude. So I am sorry. But this is a huge issue for women and their families.
PHILLIP: The Democrats coming into this cycle had an enthusiasm problem. It's really important for them to at least match Republicans on the enthusiasm question. I think that perhaps this issue plus guns could help them get there.
But there is also a lot of people in the messy middle for whom this is important, but they are weighing it along with other things. And I think that's where we don't know how it's going to play out at the end of the day.
COLLINS: We don't know. And, of course, it will be up to the voters to make this decision and we'll see what they say when they go to the polls.
I do want to switch, though, because we have another story in Washington today when it comes to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and that's Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel, up on Capitol Hill testifying behind closed doors to the January 6th committee.
And so, Jackie, I wonder, you know, he didn't want to testify. He was subpoenaed. They came to an agreement to go behind closed doors. It's being videotaped. How do you think President Trump is taking this today?
KUCINICH: I can't imagine he is happy about it. He clearly didn't want anyone around him to testify. But I really think you have to go back to that Cassidy Hutchinson testimony.
Last week, I mean --
COLLINS: She talked about Cipollone so many times.
KUCINICH: Completely. And that really changed the game and her conversations with Cipollone are not going to be something that's privileged. I imagine that they asked about several of the things she testified to and others. Jared Kushner talked about how Cipollone was trying to quit all the time.
What about that? So, there is a lot they can glean from him.
COLLINS: You referred to Cipollone as whining.
Abby, we covered the White House together, and yet, Cipollone is someone who was the center of so many issues but he is also an institutionalist and he values the position of the White House counsel.
That's why we were told he in part resisted testifying.
Do you think he is behind closed doors using a lot of executive privilege for not answering? He has been consulting with attorneys in the hallway frequently.
PHILLIP: I think that he came in having given the committee a pretty clear sense of what he could and could not talk about. But at the same time there are, to Jackie's point, a lot of very specific recollections. I am struck by the specificity, the words that came out of pat Cipollone's mouth of were recited allegedly by Cassidy Hutchinson.
And he cannot claim executive privilege on those things. Those things were not said to Trump. They were not said in meetings with Trump. They were said in the hallway in Mark Meadows' office.
He cannot claim executive privilege on those things. And so there is that set of things. I think he also has some self-preservation at hand here. This is not someone who wants to be in a never Trump camp and I think that weighs heavily on what he is willing to testify to.
COLLINS: And I think a question since Republicans have tried to dispute what Cassidy Hutchinson said is does he back up a lot of the quotes and the centuries that she testified to.
Thank you all for being here on a Friday afternoon. I do appreciate it.
Of course, on Sunday, be sure to tune in for CNN for "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY WITH ABBY PHILLIP". That's at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. So, you make sure get up and pour a cup of coffee and watch Abby.
Still ahead, it is the land Harriet Tubman traveled across to free hundreds of slaves. But right now, it's disappearing. The growing threat to so many American national parks.
COLLINS: In our "Earth Matters" series, 500 of the Earth's biggest trees are in danger of burning to a crisp as a wildfire rapidly encroaches on Mariposa Grove in California's Yosemite National Park.
CNN's Rene Marsh reports from a national park on the East Coast that's vanishing due to the climate disaster caused by humans.
DEANNA MITCHELL, SUPERINTENT UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The land is disappearing before our eyes.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Maryland's eastern shores in the crosshairs of climate change induced sea level rise. And so is the rich history preserved at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park.
We are wearing these nets because so much water here. It's standing water. The mosquitoes are really bad.
MITCHELL: The mosquitoes are bad. So this is almost like a requirement during the summer?
If Harriet Tubman were living now, she would recognize this landscape, but she would be shocked at how quickly it's disappearing.
MARSH: As water from the Chesapeake Bay encroaches, University of Maryland scientists project large portions of the national park will be underwater by the year 2050 if planet warming emissions are not drastically curbed. Rising tides threaten places like this cemetery for freed black people in Tubman's community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over time, these low-lying areas that were a part of the important trails that allowed people to escape at that time will be lost in some places.
MARSH: More than 70 percent of national parks in the Continental U.S. are at high risk from the effects of climate change, from sea level rise and flooding to extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires.
Historic flooding at Yellowstone National Park last month forced it to shut down for more than a week. At California's Sequoia National Park, home of the world's largest trees, wildfires have burned large swaths of the giant sequoia growths.
Wildfires and extreme heat have forced California's Yosemite National Park to close several times in recent years.
Meanwhile, Glacier National Park in Montana is rapidly losing its namesake feature. This is the Grinnell glacier in 1910 versus 2021. STEPHANIE KODISH, NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION: These are
places that tell critical stories of our history and people and culture, and these places are not going to be able to withstand these repeat assaults.
MARSH: More frequent, more intense natural disasters will drastically transform national park landscapes and there's the economic loss.
KODISH: In 2021 alone, our national parks saw over 297 million visitors. They generated over $42.5 billion.
MARSH: Back on Maryland's eastern shore, the National Park Service says it is teamed up with the Army Corps of Engineers and the national oceanic and atmospheric association to fight climate change.
MARSH (on camera): And it is high tide here in Washington, D.C., and you can see water is flowing over the banks here at the Jefferson Memorial, in part because water levels have risen a foot since this memorial was built 75 years ago, and this issue of climate in national parks is on the radar for some members of Congress. Just this week members visited Yosemite National Park to see firsthand the effects of climate change on these national parks.
The idea is to bring back that information so they can better determine how to spend federal dollars to make these parks more resilient -- Kaitlan.
COLLINS: That's awful to see such landmarks under threat. Rene Marsh, very important report. Thank you so much for bringing it to us.
COLLINS: And coming up, we have a look at the place where killer whales are intentionally beaching themselves for survival.
COLLINS: CNN is traveling to one of the wildest places on earth for a new CNN original series.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: The family has perfected an ingenious way to hunt here. First they swim sideways to hide their telltale dorsal fins. They have no idea that these six-ton killers are so close. Then, the orcas do something extraordinary. They beach themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You can see the CNN original series "Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World" this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. And on Sunday morning, you can join CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION", Jake
Tapper is going to be talking to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, and January 6 committee member, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. It's at 9:00 a.m. and noon eastern on Sunday.
I'm Kaitlan Collins in for Jake Tapper on this Friday afternoon. Thank you so much for joining me.
Our coverage continues right now with my friend Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".