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Don Lemon Tonight

Hurricane Ida Unleashes Devastating and Historic Flooding in the Northeast; Fires Burning Through California and Nevada.; U.S. Supreme Court Opens Path for End of Roe v. Wade; U.S. Women's Soccer Appealing Equal Pay Lawsuit. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 02, 2021 - 23:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: but remember those who are going to be in a hard way. "Don Lemon Tonight" with the upgrade, Laura Coates, right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Chris, you're so right, not only are we all in together. I mean, really fundamentally, until it happens to you, right, I mean, as they say, but for the grace of God go I. In so many instances, what we're seeing in places where you are right now and all across the country, I mean, it's hard to watch, but we can do more.

CUOMO: Amen, amen, I say. When I was driving home last night, being driven home because I'm soft, we kept stopping in Queens and every car I saw with someone in it, there was a neighbor from that area or there was another driver out and either pushing the car, speaking to the person inside, helping get them out. People do good things. Not always. But we can overlook that, especially in hard times. We see people doing good things.

COATES: Well, as I was driving you to Queens, I saw the same thing, because I'm hard. I'm giving you a hard time.


COATES: Absolutely. I see you --

CUOMO: I lose to you 10 out of 10 times.


CUOMO: You'll get no fight back.

COATES: I've never been your driver.

CUOMO: It's not the normal anchor on the show.

COATES: There you go. Thank you.

CUOMO: The other guy, I'll fight with all day. You, I'll just lose. Take care.

COATES: Smart man. Have a good weekend. This is "Don Lemon Tonight" and I am Laura Coates, in for Don Lemon.

Now, at least 46 deaths in the wake of historic flooding in the northeast. Over 20 million people still under flood warnings. New York City recovering tonight after never-before-seen rainfall. Thirty-five billion gallons, 35 billion gallons falling between 7:00 p.m. and midnight alone. The NYP reporting 69 water rescues, including a livery driver in Central Park.



UNKNOWN: Yeah. I mean, that's how you make your money. That's important. Get your stuff. I'm here. I'll hold you. Yeah, just like that. I got him from behind.


COATES: The chaos unending across this region. A New Jersey transit commuter train stuck in the floodwaters. Houses flooded three-quarters of the way up near Philadelphia. Hundreds of water rescues.

And this is how it all began. Sunday, Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm with winds of 150 miles per hour. The barrier island of Grand Isle bearing the brunt, left now completely uninhabitable.

The storm losing strength as it travels north but leaving a path of destruction, spawning at least eight confirmed tornadoes in the northeast last night alone, including one in Mullica Hill about 10 miles south of Philadelphia. That twister rated an EF-3 with 150-mile- per-hour winds, according to the National Weather Service.

Now, in New York, the biggest single hour of rainfall in the city's history floods the subway. Eight hundred and 35 passengers rescued. Look at that. How many more preventable disasters do we have to see? How many more Americans have to lose their homes, lose their lives, before we can finally admit what we can all see with our own eyes? Climate change is killing us.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These extreme storms and the climate crisis are here. We need to do -- we must be better prepared. We need to act.


COATES: Louisiana still reeling from Ida. Hundreds of thousands of people have no power, have no water, no food, and we're talking about in sweltering temperatures. Fires are burning through California and Nevada. The bottom line is thousands of Americans are not sleeping in their homes tonight because of extreme weather.

And our politics have turned extreme, too. The Supreme Court's conservative majority allowing a new Texas law to stand, a law that effectively bans the vast majority of abortions, a law that allows now private citizens to sue anyone who assists someone seeking an abortion in violation of the Texas ban. So, doctors and family members, even Uber drivers who take women to abortion appointments, they could all face lawsuits. And the court let it happen, under the cover of darkness.

Let's get right to the latest on the historic flooding in the northeast. I want to go live to our reporters on the ground.


COATES: Miguel Marquez is in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Paula Newton is in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, and Pete Muntean is in Philadelphia. All of you are on ground. It is important, the work you're doing.

Miguel, let me begin with you, because at least 23 people, we're learning, in New Jersey have now died from that storm that passed through. Floodwaters are still high near where you are. Are they ever going to recede?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are, and they are receding now. There's an alarm going off over here. Actually, if you look over this way, they're bringing a truck in probably to start moving out some of that debris as the water recedes. The tide is going out here on the Raritan River in New Brunswick and the water is going with it.

When we got here several hours ago, the water was up over this wall that I'm standing on now. Within the last hour, it has receded probably 10, maybe 12 inches down this wall. So by morning, most of this water, if not all of it, will be gone. But there is going to be a lot of debris left over. That's why you have that vehicle there starting to move the debris off the roadway to try to start cleaning this out to get back to something approximating normal within a day or two.

But crews are still out looking, emergency crews are still out looking for individuals that are missing. There's a large number of people reported missing. Whether or not they are okay or it is just the confusion of the moment, that we're still waiting for. Laura?

COATES: We hope they're okay. And Paula, at least eight confirmed tornadoes touched down last night with one of them destroying or damaging more than two dozen homes just where you are. Are people still without power? I mean, what's it like right now? We saw some of the, I guess, receding waters in progress where Miguel is. What's it like for you?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Here, there is a little bit of power, but, you know, you're so on point when you said so many families aren't spending the night in their homes. The Thomas family behind me, they're not here, they took two little girls, pregnant mother, father, all in the basement, had just three minutes before that funnel cloud ripped right through this neighborhood.

And you were talking about the tragic deaths. Just in the state of New Jersey now, up to 23. And most of those from the floodwaters, Laura, I heard again and again in this neighborhood today we are so lucky to be alive and we know that. I want you to listen to Mike Cassel who again said, coming out of the shower, he and his entire family just had to race to the basement. Listen.


MIKE CASSEL, HOMEOWNER: I was up in the shower and we got the tornado alert warning. It wasn't three minutes later that all of my back windows exploded, then it sounds like a freight train ran through my living room. So, we waited a few minutes, went upstairs, and ran outside. Fortunately, neighbors were still helping. It still feels surreal to me.


NEWTON: Surreal. The other thing Mike said, Laura, this is New Jersey. This is not Oklahoma. This is not a tornado alley. They are not used to this here. They're wondering if this is going to be a recurring theme in their lives. They told me, you know, it is still early days, early hours. They know how lucky they are. There was not loss of life here.

On the other hand, they're wondering how much resilience do they really have in them to build here again. You know, they've not seen anything like this and yet they're wondering can it happen again. And that is why they're just a lot of anxiety in this neighborhood here tonight, wondering exactly what else can possibly happen.

They were prepared for the water here, Laura, they were, but they were not prepared for this.

COATES: Just the timing, three minutes, Paula? It's unbelievable.

NEWTON: Three minutes.

COATES: It's unbelievable. Three minutes. Let me go down to Philadelphia, because Pete, you're in Philadelphia where more than a hundred people needed to be rescued from the floods and part of the city, we're looking at it, part of the city is still underwater. I mean, what are officials doing to get those people out?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: The big push now, Laura, is getting people moving again here in Philadelphia. Thirty highways closed in this region, according to PennDOT.

Maybe the most dramatic scene is what's behind me. This is the Vine Street Expressway or it was. It would typically be filled with cars. Now, it's just filled with water. Maybe the worst part here is that the water was really not receding all of that much. It's maybe gone down a foot by my estimate in the last six hours.

I just got off the phone with Brad Rudolph of PennDOT. He says a fifth water pump has been brought in here to get the water out of here and into the Schuylkill River. But talking about the Schuylkill River, that crested about 17 feet early this morning and the National Weather Service anticipates it to not get back below flood stage until sometime after midnight, which is why the flood emergency persists here until 7:00 tomorrow morning.

A lot of work ahead when it comes to the cleanup, though. Just the Vine Street Expressway here, PennDOT tells me that after all the water goes away, they will have to clear a lot of debris out and then inspect the roadbed to make sure that it is okay to drive on.


MUNTEAN: The worst part is we already lost one rush hour to this flooding today. It really snarled a lot of traffic in the Philadelphia region. Now, it seems like it will snarl another rush hour tomorrow, Laura.

COATES: I mean, it's surreal, you're talking about Philadelphia, and I am seeing these floodwaters. You're talking about feet in terms of the water cresting. It is unbelievable.

Let's go back to Miguel because, Miguel, New York City and New Jersey, they were blindsided by the amount of rain. I mean, it overwhelmed subways, overwhelmed the roads. I mean, 714 subway riders were rescued. We're seeing images right now of water rushing down the steps of the subway. And now, the New York Fire Department rescued more than 500 people from the roads. I mean, do we have a sense of why there wasn't more warning?

MARQUEZ: I think everyone was blindsided. I mean, you had weather professionals from the top levels of the government to news media like us who watched the storm from Louisiana across the country, dumping the amount of rain it did.

Everyone knew it was going to be a very big rain event. I think what people didn't anticipate, that when it came into the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania area, just how intense the water was going to be. It just dumped massive amounts of water into the entire system, a system that was already charged, that already had tons of rain and tons of water falling in the days before.

And then you had tornadoes on top of that. Here in New Jersey, for instance, they had the tornado warnings at the same time they had flooding, so people were going into their basements and in some cases having to deal with water in the basements as they're trying to get away from a tornado. So, it was just the intensity, the rapidity, and just the amount of water in the system, all at the same time. Laura?

COATES: Truly nowhere to turn. Miguel, Paula, Pete, thank you so much.

You know, at least 46 people lost their lives, 46 people lost their lives in the historic flooding in the northeast. Water rescues, as we speak, are still going on tonight, as Louisiana grapples with the devastation of Hurricane Ida. I'll talk with people on the ground there. That's next.




COATES: Tonight, the NYPD reporting 13 storm-related deaths in New York City. Eleven of the victims died in Queens, which saw some of the worst flash flooding.

Donovan Richards is the Queens Borough president, and he joins me now. President Richard, thank you for being here. What a difficult time for everyone to watch and for everyone there to experience what's happening. The images and the aftermath of this historic flooding, they're almost apocalyptic. And sadly, at least eight victims in Queens died in basements. That's according to the NYPD commissioner just this morning. I mean, it's just awful. What is the latest on rescue and recovery efforts there?

DONOVAN RICHARDS, QUEENS BOROUGH PRESIDENT: Well, our heart is hurting tonight, Laura. Let me start by saying that we lost nearly a dozen folks and we hope those numbers don't increase over the course of the next few days as we do rescue and recovery efforts.

I want to thank the men and women of the NYPD and all of our essential workers for the work that they have done. But this storm was of biblical proportion. It came fast and furious. And we are doing everything we can do to ensure safety and recovery.

COATES: I want you to listen, President Richards, to one Queens resident. I mean her home totally flooded.


AMRITA BHAGWANDIN, QUEENS RESIDENT: I can't think any more about how I feel at this point, because of the chaos outside. My neighbors, there's a loss of life. I've lost everything in here, and mostly the lives out there. I just don't know. We need some -- we need some support at this time to start to get this mess out of the way so we can -- we can gather as a community. We always try to stick together. But this is just too much for us. And there is no end in sight.


COATES: You can hear the pain in her voice. Is help coming?

RICHARDS: Well, what the hell is Washington doing, is the question. I mean, we got Democrats and Republicans who can't get their act together in passing an infrastructure bill which nobody cares about partisan politics when you're in a neighborhood that continuously floods.

And, you know, I like to say I'm a basement baby. My parents, I was born of teenaged parents. I lived in a lot of basements. Basements helped me get through college, quite frankly. My basement used to flood. So from personal experience, this is something that I know all too well.

But the pain, the emotional toll on residents is unprecedented. And we need Washington, D.C. to really act yesterday. We need Biden and everyone to sit down and to move this infrastructure package forward so that we can get some money in to states and into localities to address this climate change crisis we find ourselves in.

COATES: I mean, NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said this today. Eighteen of the 20 Queens' water rescues happened, by the way, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. I mean, should that have been cancelled for the night? I mean, was a lot of this avoidable in terms of the chaos?

RICHARDS: Don't get me started with the U.S. Open, Laura. First of all, they were holding all of these matches, first off, without even mandating the people attending have vaccines. That was a big battle in itself Friday night.


RICHARDS: I want to thank the mayor and Senator Ramos, we worked with her. And then, you know, fast forward, everybody got the warnings. Let's put safety first. Why jeopardize the public and why jeopardize the players who have put everything into ensuring they can compete in this tournament? But safety should always come first over profits.

COATES: President Richards, thank you.

RICHARDS: Thank you.

COATES: New Jersey was especially hard hit as well by Ida's wrath. The National Weather Service confirming at least three tornadoes touching down across the state. The storm unleashing deadly flash floods. Governor Phil Murphy says that there -- at least 23 people have died.

Joining me now is Hector Lora, the mayor of Passaic, New Jersey. Mayor Lora, thank you for joining me. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. What we're hearing is just so tragic on all fronts across the whole region. You were actually on with Don last night at the peak of this deadly storm. What's the latest on the rescue efforts now? I mean, I know there were at least two young people who are missing, I understand. Is there any update you can share with us now?

MAYOR HECTOR LORA, PASSAIC, NEW JERSEY: Laura, our efforts continue to try to locate these two individuals, young adults, one male and one female, the ages of 18 and 21. Family members and friends are extremely concerned.

This storm devastated our city specifically, but our entire state. There was no way to predict the impact that it would have in our areas. We obviously made all of the preparations necessary by cleaning our storm drains, making sure that we have barricades in the appropriate places.

But as our governor, Phil Murphy, stated, we had loss of life throughout our state. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones. It wasn't even a result of strong winds or tornado. It was a direct result of water (INAUDIBLE). Unfortunately, I think individuals, when they hear of floods, they may be overly confident in their vehicles and they're still driving. We're so adamant in our city. We declared a state of emergency. We wanted people off the roads because tragedies like this occur.

I did want to share that we did have loss of life and we did have two individuals that we continue to -- two individuals that are unaccounted for. We also and this should be part of the story, we had 200 rescues within the city of Passaic alone because of the heroic efforts of our firefighters, our police, our paramedics. They went around the city rescuing individuals in their vehicles and tragedies could have been a lot worse.

Our prayers continue for those who have lost their lives. We are going to continue the efforts in our city, searching the Passaic River. We have our national guard. Our state helicopters (INAUDIBLE) over the river. Tomorrow, divers will continue the efforts to try to locate -- hopefully, we are hoping almost against hope with faith that we find these two young individuals, maybe in another municipality, in a hospital. But it might turn into a recovery operation.

COATES: Mayor Lora, I mean, just to hear that is overwhelming, to think of what has transpired. Watching the images as you're speaking and talking about the confidence that some people may have in their cars, you know, you guys also experienced the tragic loss of a 70- year-old father who was stuck in his car with his wife and son. What happened?

LORA: Laura, this was overwhelmingly impactful to our entire community and traumatic even for our firefighters who are accustomed to dealing with these kinds of situations.

This father was in the vehicle with his wife and his 25-year-old son. They ended up in an area in our city that often floods. We ended up in this area with over 12 feet of water on the roads. Firefighters were able to rescue the wife and the son. Unfortunately, the water overtook the vehicle. Firefighters were being dragged under the vehicle. They were unable to continue their efforts.

Unfortunately, like you stated, we lost a father to a family, a member of our community here in Passaic County. As a community, we mourn together.

We send our prayers out to the families.

But we're consistent in telling individuals, we want people to understand that when they see the reports, when they're hearing the directives, stay off the roads, don't drive through barricades, don't think that you're going to be okay in your car. It's better to be safe than obviously deal with a tragedy.

But all of the infrastructure, all of the resources that we could have had in place would not have prepared us for the kind of storm that we experienced.

[23:24:58] LORA: We keep saying that these are rare storms but they're actually becoming not so rare, these flash floods in our area.

COATES: Mayor Lora, a very important point. And to correct one thing, the nation is grieving with you. The stories that you shared and the ongoing operations, the heroism, everything about it is breaking our collective hearts, but we are holding out hope for there to be many more stories of joy and rescue in what's happening there. I'm so sorry. Thank you.

LORA: Thank you.

COATES: Now, to the Gulf Coast, where Ida first slammed into the U.S. as a Category 4 hurricane. Remember, we've been talking about a lot of the aftermath of Ida up to this point now. But tonight, about 883,000 customers in Louisiana are still without electricity and the summer heat is scorching.

Cynthia Lee Sheng is the president of Jefferson Parish. She is in Gretna, Louisiana. President Sheng, thank you for being here. I mean, from area to area, region to region, we're seeing the impact of this. I mean, states north of you, as we're hearing, are reeling from the wreckage left behind by Ida, just last night. But Louisiana, places like Grand Isle have been dealing with Ida's devastation for what? For four days now?

CYNTHIA LEE SHENG, PRESIDENT, JEFFERSON PARISH LOUISIANA: Yes. And honestly, I've been so busy with things that are necessary in Jefferson Parish. I only found out a little while ago that this storm wreaked such death and destruction in the north, and I'm shocked. I just reached out to my family in New Jersey to make sure they're okay. I just found out. It's just terrible.

Yeah, we're without power. We had to fight fires last night. There were six hours that were on fire and they had to actually fight them. My firefighters had to go by boat to fight these fires because the road is blocked.

Unfortunately, we talk about the storm being dangerous, but the post- storm deaths have actually been greater than the deaths that we had during the storm. Plus three more citizens today from a generator, improper use of a generator, they died by carbon monoxide poisoning.

So, this is why it's so upsetting. This storm just keeps on coming at us. Of course, we're without gas. We don't have any gas yet. That's a very critical issue for us. Our refineries are down here. It was a double whammy because we supply fuel to the rest of the country and eight refineries don't have electricity now. And so we have fuel issues where I can't get employees to work, I need to make sure our hospital employees have fuel to get to work.

I had to deny one of our big food distributor non-profits wanting to get employees fuel to distribute food, and I had to say I can't give you any of my fuel because it's for first responders. So, critical situation with fuel that I know they're working at the highest levels of government to help solve.

COATES: From the carbon monoxide, misapplication of a generator to the idea of having to choose whether your medical workers or food suppliers get the critical fuel. This is a choice that no one should have to deal with. What is the timeline on getting the resources you need? Do you have a sense of that?

LEE SHENG: Well, hopefully, you know, the electricity, we had some bright news, one of our major hospitals got back on with electricity today, and that's what we need, is the hospitals first, right? So, we're doing that.

And they're concentrating on the refineries but refineries just don't turn on a switch to start producing the fuel for us. So, that's going to take a couple of days for them to get up to capacity. They're looking at finding inventory of gas to bring here for us.

It's a critical time. I'm still telling our citizens who really want to get home, I mean, they're separated from their house, they want to see the damage, but that we just can't have you back yet because it's critical.

Some of our nursing homes, we've had to evacuate people. The nursing homes that have generator power are starting to lose it because it's been so many days. So we're bringing fuel to nursing homes and assisted-living places. And it's getting hot. It was a very hot day today. So we had a shelter in Alexandria that's filled. We're still in the middle of this quite very much so.

COATES: And President Sheng, on the time we have left, the president is coming tomorrow. What do you want to hear from President Biden?

LEE SHENG: Well, I think, you know, I want him to see the destruction because you can hear it all you want, but until you see it with your own eyes, it's almost unbelievable. And, you know, I know you all showed the pictures, but to see up front, and then you see the water line where the water was, when you see the people in line at our gas stations.

So I hope he's able to get on the ground and see what we're living. And, you know, I know all levels of government are willing to help us. So, I know people are working at it. But we have not had a major influx of resources and help yet. We really have not.

COATES: We'll see what happens tomorrow. Thank you. I hope that help is on the way. You know, from extreme weather --

LEE SHENG: Thank you.

COATES: Thank you.


COATES: From extreme weather to extreme politics, Texas now has the most restrictive abortion laws in the whole country. I'll make my case, next.


COATES: They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, what Texas has done to Roe v. Wade is a very big deal. Texas now has the most restrictive abortion law in the entire country since that landmark decision. A precedent now virtually erased by the Supreme Court's decision just last night.

And not only are abortions after just six weeks now illegal in the state, and by the way, that's before most women even know that they're pregnant, Texas has also deputized private citizens across the entire country to now sue anyone who aids and abets an abortion for at least $10,000 and attorneys' fees.


COATES: Now, lawmakers purposely left vague what it means to aid and abet. So conceivably, it could include anyone from the patient's Uber driver to the school counselor she confided in to the parent who pays for it, to the receptionist that schedules the appointment. Anyone is fair game.

The hypocrisy of it all has me scratching my head in light of the Republican governors' views on, say, mask mandates. It's hard to reconcile why the government has absolutely no business whatsoever dictating your private health decisions when it comes to COVID-19, and who cares if a child without the choice to be vaccinated might be harmed? After all, in that case, your body, your choice, right?

Well, the issue of your body, your choice was front and center at the White House today.


UNKNOWN: Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He believes that it's a woman's right, it's a woman's body, and it's her choice.

UNKNOWN: Who does the president believe should look out for the unborn child?

PSAKI: He believes that it's up to a woman to make those decisions and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you have never faced those choices nor you've never been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. President believes their rights should be respected.


COATES: Under the cover of darkness, five Supreme Court justices felt that they were the ones that had had no choice. No choice but to let Texas enact the law despite the fact that the groups suing to block it raised serious questions regarding its constitutionality.

Because the Supreme Court said in the majority that the case raised some complex and some very novel aspects, they remind me which Supreme Court cases haven't been novel or complex in some way. I thought that's why they paid you the proverbial big bucks, to resolve the complexity, or maybe just to follow your own simple rule.

Supreme Court precedent can't be overturned willy-nilly. That standard is something that Senator Susan Collins pointed to when supporting her vote to put Justice Kavanaugh on the bench.


Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn --

UNKNOWN: Precedent will overturn --

COLLINS: He says for a precedent -- a long-established precedent like Roe to be overturned, it would have to been grievously wrong and deeply inconsistent.


COATES: Well, Justice Kavanaugh was part of the majority that didn't fight to honor that precedent. Senator Susan Collins calls the Texas law extreme and harmful and in a statement says that she opposes the court's decision to allow the law to remain in effect for now while these underlying constitutional and procedural questions are litigated.

The keywords here: "For now." For now, it is indeed the law in Texas and could quickly become the law in many other states. Let's hope the decisions of the lone star state do not become our judicial north star.

Congressman Jamie Raskin is here. What's he think Democrats' priority should be when all this is going on? I'll ask him, right after this.




COATES: President Biden slamming the Supreme Court Supreme Court for allowing Texas' new abortion law to take effect. He's calling it an unprecedented assault. But is there anything he can actually do about it?

Here to discuss, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the select committee on the January 6th insurrection.

Congressman, thank you for being here tonight. It's great to hear from you in particular with your insight. I want to learn from you because a ban after six weeks, there's no exception for rape or incest. It's effectively a back doorway to skirt Roe v. Wade. And since when does the Supreme Court pass on a case because it has some complex or novel aspects to it?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, there are procedural and substantive irregularities to say the least about this. This comes out of the court's so-called shadow docket. It was not the regular docket. And Justice Alito was the one on the watch and clearly wanted to let it go through. The three liberals and Chief Justice Roberts dissented from it.

But substantively, what's going on is absolutely outrageous because it's clear that the Texas state law is in direct collision with Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey. Roe v. Wade, remember, had the trimester framework but the Casey decision said that the state could only ban abortion after the point of viability outside the body of the mother.

But Texas now draws the line at the detection of a fetal heartbeat which is six weeks and something like 80 to 85 percent of the abortions have taken place after that. So this effectively nullifies and bans the right of abortion, including in cases of rape and incest of the woman who is impregnated.

So, this is a full-blown assault on the woman's right to choose on the Supreme Court (INAUDIBLE). But it is all -- what we could do in Congress, if we could deal with the mountain of the filibuster in the Senate, is to essentially constitutionalize the Roe v. Wade. We could turn into statute the constitutional standard of Roe v. Wade to trimester framework or else Planned Parenthood versus Casey.

But it looks like there's a setup going on here for the Supreme Court to essentially wipe out both those decisions and then to let the states do whatever they want.


RASKIN: I think that's obviously what the GOP has been fighting for. And I think with the addition of Amy Coney Barrett, they basically have put into place their anti-choice majority. And at the same time, of course, we've got this full-blown offensive going on against the voting rights of the people across the country.

So it is no coincidence they're attacking democracy and voting rights at the same time that they're attacking privacy rights in reproductive freedom of women.

COATES: And overall, the rule of law, because you can even redress (ph) your grievances (INAUDIBLE) in the court. What does a representative democracy mean? What is the judicial branch for if you cannot even appeal to it if you're a litigant with a problem? That just runs counter if we think of a democracy. A lot of things have been running counter to what we consider to be a democracy here in the U.S.

I want to turn to your work on the January 6 select committee. CNN is learning now that the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, is one of the Republican lawmakers whose phone records you're trying to get. He makes his threat to the telecommunication companies pretty clear here. It is pretty transparent. What will you be looking for with the information you're seeking?

RASKIN: Well, the minority leader has essentially threatened people who have relevant evidence about massive crimes that took place against Congress and against the federal government. And by doing that, he himself is arguably putting himself at risk of criminal prosecution because he's interfering with a congressional investigation. That is a federal crime in the United States, to interfere with a congressional investigation by trying to obstruct it.

So I don't know for the life of me why any member of Congress would not want Congress to get all of the evidence available about this massive crime against democracy where more than 140 Capitol officers and Metropolitan Police Department officers were pummeled and beaten over the head with baseball bats and hockey sticks and confederate battle flags and had bear mace sprayed in their face and suffered all kinds of terrible wounds. Many of them are still in the hospital. Many of them are still being treated.

How could any patriotic member of Congress try to block an investigation into an attack on the Congress and an attack on the union? It makes no sense to me.

COATES: And also, there's a continued promotion of misinformation and the big lie. You actually caught Freedom Caucus chair, Andy Biggs, pushing misinformation earlier today. Let's take a listen.


REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): The FBI recently put out a report saying, uh, apparently that, uh, they didn't find collusion or, uh, a big insurrection, an organized insurrection.

RASKIN: I assume the congressman knows that he's mistaken about that, unless there's an FBI report I'm not aware of.

BIGGS: I'm referring to the report that's been widely, uh, discussed and that's been out there, including --

RASKIN: What report is that? What date was that released by the FBI?

BIGGS: I have not seen that actual report yet.


COATES: You called him out, but the misinformation is still rampant. How do you stop it, when even sitting members of Congress are pushing the blatant lies and are not even able to provide the receipts that they are professing they have?

RASKIN: Congressman Biggs was either wittingly or unwittingly passing on disinformation and propaganda. The FBI has released no such report. The FBI has not said that there was no insurrection. The FBI has not said any of the things that he claimed in any kind of report.

On the contrary, the FBI director testified that this was domestic terrorism, another thing that the Republicans were taking exception to today. But that's just one example of how this kind of misinformation and disinformation is spread throughout the right-wing propaganda ecosystem.

COATES: Congressman Raskin, thank you for your time. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

RASKIN: Thank you for having me.

COATES: We'll be right back.




COATES: For Olympic golds, four World Cup championships. But now, they may be facing their biggest challenge ever, the fight for equal pay. The U.S. women's national soccer team were undisputed global superstars of the sport. But in a lawsuit filed against the United States Soccer Federation in 2019, the players alleged they are not receiving pay that equal to what the men's team makes.

A federal court disagreed last year, throwing out the players' equal pay claim. The judge found that the women's team negotiated a different pay structure than the men's team and that the women's players were already paid more than the men's team. The players are now appealing. As the legal battle enters its next chapter, the all- new CNN film, "LFG," brings you a behind the scenes look at the grit and determination these women bring to their game both on and off the field. Here is a preview.


UNKNOWN: Let's go!

UNKNOWN (voice-over): The U.S. women's national team, we're not just fighting for soccer glory. We are suing our employer.

UNKNOWN: We need equality.

UNKNOWN: The fight for equal pay has been going on for a long time.

UNKNOWN: We got the entire world on our side.

UNKNOWN: If you want the world to look in a certain way, you have to fight to get there.



COATES: Joining us now is CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan. Christine is the person to talk about this. Regardless of where this case ends legally, Christine, just a fact that these female athletes have sued their employer, the very federation that oversees their sport for the entire country, I mean, this is pretty groundbreaking.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Oh, without a doubt, Laura, and very much in keeping with what this team is. You go back to the 99ers as they're called, of course, the great Rose Bowl victory, Brandi Chastain, the penalty kick, whipping off her shirt in celebration. That was in July of '99. And that team was fighting for equal pay.

But they were also incredibly popular, even as they were dealing with less than the men. They were on the cover of "Time," "Newsweek," "People" and "Sports Illustrated" the same week. No story ever has ever been able to do that except for their team.

So, you've got the most popular -- really, I think you could argue the most popular women's sports team on earth and the most important women's sports team on earth, the U.S. women's national soccer team, again right in the forefront of these important conversations.

And yes, they are -- they're fighting even as they're playing. They, of course, just came back from the Olympics bronze medal, and they are still doing that. Really paving the way on the field and off for the generation, and now couple generations of young girls and young boys looking at them, watching them, and realizing that these are the ultimate role models.

COATES: Using their platform wisely. Christine Brennen, thank you. And be sure to tune in to the all-new CNN film "LFG," premieres Monday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.