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Don Lemon Tonight

J.D. Vance Leading In Ohio's GOP Primary; Governor Whitmer Fights For The States' Women's Right; J.D. Vance Grateful To Former President Trump; Romance Behind Bars Helped Inmate Escape; Russian Forces Hitting Western Ukraine. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 03, 2022 - 22:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Just moments ago, the breaking news on election night. CNN is projecting that Trump endorsed J.D. Vance who you saw on your screen just moments ago will win in the GOP primary for the Senate in Ohio as repercussions will go beyond Ohio.

Our John King will be with us in a moment to lay it out and the major story that stands to impact this entire country. Protests nationwide as the shock waves spread over the stunning draft opinion that would spell the end of Roe v. Wade taking away a right Americans have had for nearly half a century.

It is a seismic shift in women's rights and healthcare and President Joe Biden says it could affect all decisions in your private life. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If this decision holds, it's really quite a radical decision. It basically says all the decisions related to your private life, who you're married, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you can have an abortion a range of other decisions, whether on how you raise your child.


LEMON: The Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris in a fiery speech tonight blasting what she calls weaponizing the law against women.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women, will we say how dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body?


LEMON: Got a whole lot ahead on every aspect of this very huge story and we've got more on the very latest results in some high-profile primaries that may tell us a lot about the former president's hold on his party.

And as Vladimir Putin's war ranges, Ukraine says that one of its drones has hit at least two military positions on Russian occupied Snake Island where Ukrainian troops famously cursed out Russian invaders. One soldier saying a Russian warship -- to a Russian warship go f yourself. Updates on all of these stories.

But again, this is our breaking story that is happening right now. We're covering two prime -- two stories tonight, the seismic change in the country, potentially coming from the Supreme Court. But first, we got the news on John -- from John King at the magic wall.

J.D. Vance is projected primary victory. John, how did he do?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Without a doubt J.D. Vance benefitting, Don, from the Donald Trump endorsement. There is just no other way to describe it. J.D. Vance lagging in the polls just a few weeks ago. We now project he will win the Republican Senate primary in the key Midwest battleground state of Ohio and increasingly Republican states.

So, J.D. Vance not projected as a winner tonight, you have to say as of today he is the favorite to win this seat in the fall. Retiring Senator Rob Portman not running for reelection. He is a Republican. J.D. Vance now with a 62,547 lead. That has stretch out over the course of the evening.

Initially it returns, Don, it was very close. J.D. Vance stretching out how? Look at his color. He is this lighter red shade here. Right? He's everywhere in rural Ohio. Josh Mandel in the darker red running second. Very pro-Trump candidate but he did not get the Trump endorsement.

These rural counties if you go back to the presidential race and look, Joe Biden won only seven counties in Ohio. Donald Trump carried the state and you see there by eight points. Look at this. Right? Look at this in 2020.

Fast forward to tonight. J.D. Vance gets the Trump's endorsement and he's winning in -- winning in rural Ohio. Also holding his own here, Hamilton County, the third largest county in the state, Cincinnati where Vance has headquarters tonight, Don. You see here it's a more narrow margin here but still holding his own there, as well.

It's impressive. In a crowded race you might say well, he's only got 32 percent of the vote. We'll see where it ends up in the end. But the Trump endorsement without a doubt, without a doubt helping J.D. Vance win this nomination tonight in the, again, in the key state Republicans need to hold this seat, Ohio.

LEMON: John King at the magic wall beginning our coverage. John, thank you very much.

And of course, the state and local races are going to have more import now that we're following what's happening with the Supreme Court. I want to turn now to the protest happening across the country over

the stunning Supreme Court draft opinion that would spell the end of Roe v. Wade. I want to get right to CNN senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reed and our chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us, as well.

Thank you both. Good evening to you.

Paula, the Supreme Court has confirmed this draft opinion is real. What is the fallout been following the unprecedented leak of this major draft opinion?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, Chief Justice Roberts called this an egregious breach of trust at the court. He's called on the Marshall of the court to investigate but it's unclear what any potential crime would be here unless there was evidence that this opinion was stolen or somehow hacked and until there is any evidence of that, this really is a political issue, both for the court itself, for the justices and also for lawmakers.

The court today issued a rare statement insisting that this was not the final decision of the court. But that has done little to quell the backlash. You can still faintly hear some protests behind me. Most of the protesters at this point have dissipated but there are more protests planned for the rest of the week.


As for the justices, there are questions whether some of them may not have been truthful in their confirmation hearings when asked about Roe, about Casey and about abortion. And then of course, a lot of fallout on Capitol Hill today with Democrats calling for additional measures to protect abortion rights but then you saw Republicans really wanting to focus on the leak itself and not this broader question of abortion rights.

LEMON: Jeffrey, to you now, if Roe is overturned, OK, if it is overturned, it's going to have an immediate impact all across the country with bans that will immediately or soon go into place. Is it clear what happens criminally if a woman gets an abortion in those places or if a doctor performs one?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: No, that's one of the very many open questions. You know, this is a huge decision but it actually opens a whole new area of law that has been, that didn't exist for almost 50 years because abortion was a protected right under the Constitution.

If this decision holds, it is no longer a protected right and those are the questions. Like what are the penalties if a woman tries to get an abortion in Texas and Oklahoma? In any of these 20 states? Can she be criminally prosecuted? Will she be? What about a doctor who performs an abortion?

This isn't just about the red states either, it's about the blue states. For example, many of the states that are banning abortion now are banning aiding and abetting an abortion so what if a woman in New York pays for an abortion in Texas? What if a woman in New York puts in the mail the pill for a medical abortion, a medical abortion is a much more common form of abortion these days? Can the person in New York be prosecuted by Texas? All of these questions are now up for grabs and, you know, we're going to be dealing with this fallout for years.

LEMON: Well, Jeffrey, look, none of this is theoretical. Look at Missouri, they introduced legislation this year to allow private citizens the one you said to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident.

So, again, if it happens, as you said, someone across state lines, someone gives someone money. How do you actually figure that part of it out? Is it going to be people anonymously helping people to give abortions? Do you understand what I'm saying? I mean, it's --

TOOBIN: It's huge. I mean, I understand exactly what you're saying and I wish I had a clear answer for what the legal implications here are. But when you take a right that has been guaranteed by the Supreme Court for almost 50 years and you simply take it away and create a whole new legal regime about abortion where something that was a constitutional right is now potentially a crime literally overnight if this decision comes out the way judge -- Justice Alito has written it, there is -- there are a lot of open questions.

And it isn't just about the red states. The people in the red states, their situation is clear. It will be un -- it will be illegal in just about half the country to get an abortion but, you know, people in the blue states where it's legal, their interactions with the red states, they are -- they are potentially at risk and all of this is going to be sorted out.

Both in the state legislatures and this is where most of the fight will take place in state legislatures but also in the courts as these controversies bubble up and they are going to be a lot of them.

LEMON: You're saying red states, blue states but are you referring also to the bill in Missouri where abortion laws to, if it's obtained out of state, out of Missouri, out of state -- how is that going to affect other people? How does that affect the people who are involved here? How is that enforced?

TOOBIN: Well, that's what I'm saying about, you know, when these states, when a state like Missouri says it's not just illegal to have an abortion within the state of Missouri.


TOOBIN: It's illegal to help someone get an abortion, pay for it, provide the supplies for it, that means potentially they could prosecute people outside the state.

In addition, as you point out, they have this bounty hunter provision which first came to light in Texas where someone in Chicago, this has already happened in Texas. Someone in Chicago can say I know a doctor in Texas who is having -- who is performing abortions. This person in Chicago who has absolutely no connection to anyone in Texas, that person can sue the doctor and get damages. That's how --


LEMON: That makes no sense, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Well, you have to take it over legislature --

LEMON: I'm trying to understand it. Because you were saying red and blue and then Missouri has this law but if someone out of state -- it's just really confusing. So, I understand what you're saying. Paula, --



TOOBIN: I'm doing my best but it's not -- it's not -- that's the -- that's the law.


TOOBIN: It's confusing.

LEMON: Yes. Paula, you know, you're there at the Supreme Court and we hear the protest going on. What happens next with all of this?

REED: So, we wait. Right now, Roe, Casey, they are the law of the land until there is a final opinion published in this case. So, until likely late next month when that final opinion is published, they will just be a lot of questions, a lot of speculation about whether any of the justices have changed their vote, that is something that happens during this process or if the contours of this authentic draft opinion have changed in any way.

The biggest questions the result of the leak are, what will happen to abortion rights and also other individual rights that have been recognized by the court. Could this potential opinion be a template for rolling back rights like same-sex marriage or access to contraception? Those are the really big questions but folks will also continue to ask who leaked this and why? And right now, Don, we do not have any answers to those questions.

LEMON: Jeffrey, you know the former Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his book that in the 1992 Casey case that reaffirmed Roe, the Supreme Court had the votes to overturn Roe in the Supreme Court's private conference after oral arguments. That is according to the Washington Post.

Chief Justice Rehnquist circulated a draft opinion for the court on May 2th, 1992 but that decision went the other way when it was announced in June. So, what would have happened if that draft had been leaked? You know what I'm saying.


LEMON: What is going to will happen now? We don't know, do we? TOOBIN: I mean, I'm a great advocate of transparency. And I think

Supreme Court arguments should be televised. But I really do understand why the justices want to keep their private deliberations private. I mean, their -- the secrecy is designed to encourage negotiation, compromise. And that's really difficult if the drafts are -- if the drafts suddenly become public.

And let's just be clear about one thing. You know, there have been a very small handful of cases where the votes of the justices have been disclosed somewhat in advance of a decision but never, never in the history of the Supreme Court has a draft of a case much less an earth- shaking case like this one been made public in advance of a decision.

So, you know, this is a situation in terms of the operations of the Supreme Court that is literally without precedent and --

LEMON: But my point is, Jeffrey, is that this could go differently than what many people are expecting especially many in the news media are saying well, this is -- and politicians. This is the end. This is whatever. We don't know. This is a draft document.

TOOBIN: That is true and what happened in 1992 was the triumvirate who looked like they were getting ready to overturn Roe, David Souter, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Anthony Kennedy, they got together and they decided along with John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackman who was still on the court at that point, that the five of them got together after the conference and said you know, we are going to cut back on abortion rights but we are going to preserve what they called the core of Roe v. Wade.

It is possible that something like that could happen here but there is a big difference. The difference is the record and the political outlook of the justices who are on the court now. Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas, they are all on the record with a great deal of skepticism about abortion rights.

That's very different from what happened in 1992. So, the idea that any of those five will suddenly have second thoughts, it's possible of course but it's a very unlikely scenario and very different from the personnel on the court in 1992.

LEMON: That's what I was getting at. And Jeffrey Toobin wrote a book called "The Nine" that I read way back in the day that explains all of this which is specifically about that case.

TOOBIN: About that case.

LEMON: About that case, yes. Thank you, Jeffrey. Thank you, Paula.

TOOBIN: All right, Don.

LEMON: I appreciate it.

Next, the governor who is vowing to protect the right to abortion in her state where if Roe is overturned, the state law that's on the books could make abortion illegal immediately in almost all cases.



LEMON: So, if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, it will be a legal and a huge swath in the country to have an abortion. I want to bring in Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. She is vowing to protect the right to abortion at the state level if the Supreme Court won't. Governor, thank you so much for joining. I appreciate it.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Thank you, I'm glad to be with you.

LEMON: So, Governor, you filed a lawsuit last month to overturn Michigan's 1931 abortion ban that would take effect again, if Roe is overturned. What would this draft opinion mean in terms of the immediate impact?

WHITMER: Yes, well, so if Roe is overturned, Michigan will revert to having one of the most extreme laws in the country. We would go overnight from a pro-choice state to a state that makes it a felony to perform an abortion. It would criminalize the act of giving an abortion to a woman who is the victim of incest or rape even. It would be one of the most extreme laws on the books.

And that's why we surveyed the tools that are available to me as governor and filed this lawsuit over a month ago because we saw the direction that it looked like the United States Supreme Court was taking and we thought it was important to take this case straight to our state Supreme Court and ask them to rule that the Michigan Constitution confers a woman's right to abortion, a right to make her own healthcare decisions under our state Constitution.

LEMON: So, Governor, look, if the 1931 law you're challenging doesn't get overturned, what then do you do?


WHITMER: Well, I mean, we've got people that are collecting signatures to go to the ballot and amend our Constitution. That is another route that we are taking. But we cannot assume that any of these is going to be individually successful, that's why we have to pursue all of that.

The fact of the matter is, Don, in Michigan like across the country, 70 percent of the people support a woman's right to choose whether it is personally something people might not exercise, the vast majority of people whether they're Republican or Democrat, whether they are business leaders or religious leaders understand that this is a fundamental American right conferred on women to be -- to have agency over our own bodies.

And that's why it is important for us to enlist all these people in the fight, we need them in the fight. This is something that is going to have a dramatic impact on millions of women in my state and that's why I'm fighting. LEMON: It seems that this fight seems to be with the extremes and

what I mean by that is people who are uncomfortable with abortion are generally favored objections for rape and incest, yet many new laws don't have that exception. I mean, that would mean victims to sexual violence.

WHITMER: Absolutely. And you know, as a survivor myself, I can tell you that growing up, you know, I always knew that if I needed to exercise this kind of a choice after finding myself pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy, that that was something I could do.

Thankfully, I never was in that position, but I'm going to fight like hell to make sure that every woman has those rights and my daughters and their generation does, as well as generations after them.

LEMON: And what about -- what about the folks who say and because there are many Republicans and conservatives and people who believe in as I say the right to life, that abortion should not be, should not go unrestricted. Is there -- is there somewhere in the middle? Is there a compromise somewhere?

WHITMER: Listen, you know what? This is a fundamental constitutional right that women in America have had for 49 years. Whereas a lot of conversation about the pandemic and the disproportionate impact it's had on women, particularly women with fewer resources.

We want to support women. You don't start by taking agency away from making their own healthcare decisions. This is something that shouldn't be up to politicians, that shouldn't be up to judges frankly. It should be squarely a woman's determination with advice from a trusted healthcare professional. And that's precisely what we're fighting for.

LEMON: You know, Democrats want Congress to pass legislation to codify Roe into law. They likely don't have the votes in the Senate nor do they have the votes to end the filibuster. So, quite frankly, they are stuck. They are also -- there are Republicans also who want to see a nationwide ban on abortion. Could that happen if Republicans regain Congress and the presidency?

WHITMER: Absolutely it could happen. I know that six months ago people didn't believe that Roe might be overturned and yet, here we are. This is a very real scenario. It's not theoretical. it's not hair on fire. This is happening.

And that's why it's incumbent on us all to be part of this fight. It is incumbent on me as the governor to use every tool in my tool box, I'm going to fight like hell but we need allies across the -- across my state and across our country to lean in here and not to make any assumptions that this isn't a very real threat because it obviously is.

LEMON: OK. So, another political question. You said this shouldn't be left to the politicians but you're up for election, reelection this year. If the Supreme Court does in fact overturn Roe v. Wade, what impact will this have on this year's election? WHITMER: When I tell you that 70 percent of Michiganders recognize

that this is a fundamental right as an American that women have had for 49 years, I'm talking about 70 percent that crosses partisan lines, that crosses religious lines, that crosses gender lines. And that's precisely why this is the right fight and it's so important that people who do support reproductive choice and women's fundamental rights lend their voices to this, jump in the fight with us. We need your fight now.

LEMON: Governor, thank you. I appreciate it.

WHITMER: Thanks, Don. Good to be with you.

LEMON: Does tonight's win by J.D. Vance show the former president is still a king maker in the GOP? We've got CNN's political experts here to discuss that and their thoughts on what's happening at the court. That's next.



LEMON: OK. So, this is our big news, the breaking news. CNN projects J.D. Vance will win Ohio's Republican Senate primary. I want to go straight now to CNN's Jeff Zeleny live for us in Cincinnati at Vance headquarters. Jeff, hello to you. Trump's endorsement pushed Vance out in front of a very crowded field. What did he say -- what did he have to say tonight?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Don, it absolutely did. Just about three weeks or so ago right before the endorsement, J.D. Vance was in about third, fourth, maybe even fifth place generously. So, this endorsement without question propelled him to the top of the very crowded and seasoned field of Republican candidates. And when J.D. Vance took the stage behind me just a short time ago, he thanked his supporters of course but he had some special words for that big supporter Donald Trump.



J.D. VANCE (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: I have absolutely got to thank the 45th, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Ladies and gentlemen.


VANCE: One, forgiveness example of what could be in this country. Ladies and gentlemen, remember 2019 when wages were going up and not down? Remember 2019 when workers were doing well in this country, not struggling terribly, thanks to the president for everything for endorsing me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZELENY: And there is no doubt again that that endorsement was the fuel that really propelled him to victory over his Republican rivals, but he also spent some time talking to and about those rivals, offering praise to each one of them by name. And here's why, Don. He needs those Republicans to help unify this party.

This was a very hard-fought Republican Party. Pretty nasty, actually. We've been out here for a few days. And the ads were intense, the rhetoric was intense but J.D. Vance directly appealed to each of his rivals to unite behind him under the united goal to hold this seat in Republican hands, of course, it's to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman.

LEMON: It's nice to have Jeff Zeleny with Tiny Dance in the background. Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate it. I want to bring in now CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, CNN senior political correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN's political director David Chalian. This is kind of an odd choice of songs. Good to see you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We have an '80s playlist tonight from the Vance headquarters.

LEMON: Not bad. Dana, by the -- hello, everyone. Dana, by the way, did you notice he said the 45th, and then he says the President of the United States. I don't think that that was a slip. I think that was on purpose.

BASH: Probably. Because the whole, certainly the whole end of the Vance campaign as he was more aggressively courting the Trump endorsement, he became more and more aligned with the Trump conspiracy theories about 2020. I mean, there is such a broad spectrum of Trump support and it was really clear if you looked at the different candidates in this Republican primary in Ohio.

It was almost a test case and Vance certainly as he became again more aggressive in trying to get Trump, he became more outspoken on the idea that 2020 was stolen from Donald Trump. All the things that we know are just flatly false and the Republicans who, namely the main Republican Matt Dolan who decided to reject that, he did OK so far but in a splintered field, it was very, very clear that that more traditional message, this is your Senate seat, I want to go there and push for low taxes and smaller government and border security, that wasn't as resonant as those issues plus the conspiracies and the fealty to Donald Trump.

LEMON: Abby, let's talk about Matt Dolan, the only GOP candidate in this race who publicly said that it's time for the party to move past Trump, and he's the only candidate aside from Vance to gain significant ground since March. Does that give any hope to other Republicans who want to move beyond Trump maybe?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, maybe. I mean, I think it's significant that, I mean let's call it a quarter of the Republican electorate. They're looking for someone else. They're looking for something else. And I think that's notable because you're talking about a party that actually really consolidated support for Trump for most of his presidency.

I mean, he had very high approval ratings as he often liked to talk about among Republicans but maybe between 20 and 25 percent of the electorate in a state like Ohio that's kind of over it, kind of done with all of that and perhaps the drama of it all.

And I think the question for Republicans and for J.D. Vance in particular becomes how do you get these people back, how do you convince them that it's OK to vote for a J.D. Vance that gives, you know, a wink and nod at the end there to the conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from Trump and that Trump is the 45th president?

You know, I think that it's -- he's trying to have it both ways and over the next few months, maybe there will be another transformation but something is going to be need to be done to speak to those voters of which there are many of them. This race proves and perhaps some of the other races this month will find out about that, as well.

LEMON: Mr. Chalian, May is going to be a packed month of primaries and there will be many tests of Trump's influence on these races. Do you think it's ultimately -- will it ultimately matter whether or not most of these endorsements result in wins?


DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think it matters tonight for Donald Trump that he ended up with a victory kicking off this month of tests. I think that he will be seen by Republican elected officials as somebody who still not only can sort of inspire and create a party in his image but actually still be the king maker and still many the one you got to kiss the kiss the ring for. So that's a big deal.

And if you're Mehmet Oz sitting in Pennsylvania having received Trump's endorsement, you're probably feeling a little better tonight. Now you see a road map how you utilize that endorsement and get ahead. But I do think that something that Abby was just pointing out that I think is important about that, you know, swath of the electorate that just is done with it, you know, one thing that may bring them home to Republicans is just this larger environment about the economy. Right?

It might be because of inflation. It might be because the president's standing is low with the public that there is enough in this very tough political environment for the Democrats, an electorate that is clearly just tired and not interested in rewarding those in power and paying more for their groceries and gas and the like, all of that may help J.D. Vance to be able to consolidate that Republican vote heading into the fall.

LEMON: It's interesting I was sitting there. Look, you guys it's your jobs to pay more attention because you are our political experts. And I was -- I mean, J.D. Vance being on my show many, many times and I was like who is this J.D. Vance? I did not recognize this J.D. Vance who is the new J.D. Vance, Dana Bash. BASH: Yes, and that's because he was pretty close to if not a flat

out never Trumper in 2016. And those were statements that he made including effectively saying he would potentially vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, that the other Republicans who are trying so hard to get the diehard Trump voters played an ad after ad after ad talked about on the stump and when you have the man himself saying that's OK, he said some bad ass blank about me --

LEMON: I got it. Ish, it's a bad ish.

BASH: Which he said.


BASH: But that's OK, then that gives a green light to the Trump voters to say OK, you know, it OK. I'm going to support him. And also, it wasn't just Trump. Yes, it was mainly Trump but Vance also was trying to be Trump like in that he was saying I'm not a regular politician. I'm an outsider. Don't trust those guys.

They even though when they think that they are going to go to Washington and try to do the right thing, their politicians at heart so they don't have it in their DNA to do that. Those messages from someone like a J.D. Vance helped along the lines of getting an endorsement from and getting the votes of Trump supporters.

LEMON: What's interesting now, he wants to be -- he wants to win this Ohio primary -- he wants to win the race and he was also selling a book, I think it was "Hillbilly Elegy" or something back in 2016 when he would come on.

You know, Abby, David mentioned the economy and so on. I'm just wondering what this draft or what happens with SCOTUS, this leaked SCOTUS draft, if that's going to have, what kind of effect it's going to have on the race if the repeal of Roe goes through, you know, this abortion right. What will happen? What effect is it going to have on these races?

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, I don't think that either side frankly can say anything about how it affects turnout. We're talking about a midterm election cycle. But I do think one thing is clear. What it helps do is sharpen the contrast between the political parties going into this fall.

That is actually something that Democrats have been trying to do, trying to make it easier for them to say maybe you're not thrilled with how the economy is going. Maybe you're feeling a little pessimistic about the trajectory of things but the alternative is this, they really want to make it a contrast not between, you know, Joe Biden and generic Republican but Joe Biden and a Democratic Washington and in the words of Democrats, an extremist right and I think that this draft really does give more fodder that kind of argument, especially on the left.

Will it be enough? I think it's just really too soon to know. This is a base election. It's going to be about the diehard tried and true Democratic voters. Those people were already motivated to come out when it relates to abortion.


So, who else might this move? I think when you are looking potentially at suburban women, this issue now, you know, I think a lot of Americans support some abortion restrictions but they want abortion to be available. I think many Americans did not think necessarily that Roe v. Wade could go away. That's going to be a different scenario and I think that if or when it happens, we will see how the kind of broad middle suburban voters, especially suburban women respond to that new reality.

LEMON: Listen, a number of examples, especially in the last couple numbers of the dog catching the car with Republicans with this, right, Republicans in the Senate, David, today focusing on the breach of court confidentiality. That's important, right. They're trying to point that out. And they're outrage about that. It is important, the breach of confidentiality. But what they're doing, they're doing that instead of celebrating a big victory that they have been fighting for decades. What is behind that?

CHALIAN: Yes. No, I think that is the tea leaf you want to understand how this is going to cut. The fact that Mitch McConnell is advising his conference to go out there and focus on the leak and that somebody is trying to interfere with the integrity of the court to get their way, rather than the substance of the overturning of Roe v. Wade is really, really interesting.

Now some Senate candidates, some House candidates, I saw statements they did champion this. I mean, even Rob Portman, the retiring senator in Ohio in his statement said, I have long advocated for Roe v. Wade to be overturned because I believe that it should be decided at the states and not the federal level and he championed that victory should have come to be.

But you are right. We don't know how this is going to totally play but I think we got a first big clue in Mitch McConnell saying hey, to his conference, you know, you may not want to delve into the substance of the legal victory here. Let's focus on the process of this leak initially.

LEMON: Look how lucky I am, the political dream team. I just I have Dana Bash, Abby Phillip and that guy, David Chalian or some -- something like that. Thank you all. I appreciate it. Good to see all of you. Thank you so much.

BASH: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Russia striking the Ukrainian city of Lviv fires at electrical stations and power outages across that city. So why is Russia attacking in the west when they have said that they are focusing on the east?


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: So Ukrainian officials reporting missile attacks across

several parts of the country, multiple large explosions heard in the western city of Lviv. The mayor says that they are dealing with fires, intense smoke and power outages.

I want to bring in now CNN military analyst and retired air force Colonel, Cedric Leighton. Hello, Colonel.

So, Russian forces say that they are focusing this fight in the east. So, what are they trying to accomplish with the strikes in western Ukraine, especially at far western Lviv?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, basically, in a word it's called resupply. So, what the Russians, Don, want to do is they want to go after all the supply roots that are coming in from the west. So, if you take a look at where Lviv is right here, it's right next to the Polish border, about 40 miles from the border.

Well, what the Russians did was they attacked points to the east, the south and the west of Lviv. So those areas cut roads and railroad lines and power stations that are associated with those facilities right there. So that makes the difference. So, they want to interdict the supply lines, they want to keep the supplies from reaching the east, which is where as you pointed out the main fight is at least at the moment.

LEMON: Didn't we have this conversation a couple weeks ago that they were going to start doing that?

LEIGHTON: Yes, we did. And that's exactly what they're doing. The playbook is unfolding like we said it would, at least parts of it are.

LEMON: Yes. So, we're getting a look at drone footage showing Ukrainian forces knocking out a number of Russian military vehicles near Kharkiv. Why is this city so critical to both sides in this fight?

LEIGHTON: So Kharkiv is really critical because it's first of all the number two city in Ukraine in terms of population and in terms of importance, plus, there is another thing that's going on here. If you look here, these are the Ukrainian positions, the newest Ukrainian positions right in this area here.

The Ukrainian have taken this area from Russian forces and what the Russians were trying to do is they were possibly trying to come in this way and surround Kharkiv. Well, none of that is happening. So the Ukrainians see a chance of eliminating the Russian threat or at least neutralizing the Russian threat up here.

So, for both sides, Kharkiv is very important. At the moment, the Ukrainians have at least a temporary upper hand and what they're trying to do is move this part of the Russian army out back into Russia, which is of course right here. Kharkiv is very close to the Russian border as you know.

LEMON: What do you see as the mission right now for Ukraine and Russia, Colonel?

LEIGHTON: So, the mission here is kind of interesting because for the one thing, the Russians of course want to occupy the eastern part of the country. This is what they want to do and maybe not this far east like we thought they would, but what they definitely want to do is they want to take the areas in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions right here.

These are the areas that were first controlled by the Russians and the Russian separatists in 2014. Well, when you take a look at what they're trying to do here, they want to control the remaining territory, which is all of this right here. So that's what the Russians want to do.

Now on the other side of this, the Ukrainians want to protect what they've got and they want to move the Russians back. So, you see the Ukrainians like we talked about around Kharkiv doing what they're doing here, they are also in the southern part of the country trying to move the Russians down and out.

That's going to be really hard to do but at the very least, they want to protect their territorial integrity. So, for the Ukrainians it's defense of the homeland. For the Russians, it's an offensive operation to take over at least these areas if not more.


LEMON: Colonel, thank you. See you soon.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Don.

LEMON: Authorities hunting for clues to the whereabout of a missing Alabama inmate and the corrections officer accused of helping him escape. Now the sheriff is revealing the two had what he calls a special relationship.


LEMON: Major new developments tonight in the case of the Alabama corrections officer who disappeared with an inmate, the Lauderdale County sheriff said the pair had a romantic relationship. Vicki White and Casey White who are not related, left the county detention center on Friday morning.

New surveillance video shows officer White leading the inmate out of the complex and into her patrol car. She claims she was taking him, a man who was charged with murder, to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. Which authorities say, obviously, was not true.


Other inmates then told the sheriff about their relationship.


RICK SINGLETON, SHERIFF, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: We have confirmed that there was, what we call a special relationship, there's not a physical relationship that we can have any evidence of, but they did communicate at times when she was not at work.


LEMON: So, Sheriff Singleton reports that the pair ditched the patrol car on Friday at a shopping center near the jail and jumped into a copper-colored 2007 Ford Edge SUV with Alabama plates that officer White had parked earlier there. He says that he'd be surprised if they're still in the state. We'll continue to update you.

Protest tonight outside the Supreme Court as anger builds over after the release of a draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade. One Biden adviser calling it a seismic shift in politics. What does it mean for both parties going forward?