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Don Lemon Tonight

Supreme Court Draft Opinion Would Overturn Roe v. Wade; Fed Raises Interest Rates By 0.5 Percent Amid High Inflation; Russia Continues To Strike Ukraine; Manhunt For Missing Jail Officer And Dangerous Inmate. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 04, 2022 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And manhunt for a missing Alabama corrections officer and the dangerous inmate she is accused of springing from jail. Clues of a romantic relationship and a planned escape piling up. The county sheriff joins me ahead in this hour.

I want to bring in now Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California. Rep. Speier, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

So, let's discuss this. Women across this country are shocked and they are furious. Reproductive rights will clearly be the Democrats' rallying cry heading into the midterms. But what can Congress actually do to help women whose power over their own health care and their bodies, women feel that may be stripped away?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): I hate to say this, Don, there is nothing that can be done at this point. Yes, we can call upon the two senators who had commitments from both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch that they respected precedent and that Roe v. Wade and Casey were here to stay, and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski both were committed because of those statements that were made, but you still have to then get them to agree to do away with the filibuster as it relates to this specific law, this specific bill, and I just don't think that they will do that.

So, the next step is raising everyone's awareness about how diabolical this draft statement really is.

Because Justice Alito has every intention, if this goes forward as drafted, to do away with the right to abortion completely, it would be totally left up to the states.

And all you have to do is look across this country. The states are made, a majority of them are, by men who make these decisions. And we basically have a situation where we will have government mandated pregnancies that women will have to endure. And it is something that we've got to get our brains around because, in fact, it's so much worse than even, I think, most people think.

LEMON: It's going to be stunning to hear because, you know, I had people approaching me saying, wait, is this really done, is this what's happening? I said, well, if it -- if this -- actually, this draft statement, if it turns out to be true, yes, it is.

I know you said that there's nothing to be done. But Senator Dick Durbin says democratic leadership still reviewing what legislation to bring to the floor next week to codify Roe v. Wade into law. But, of course, Democrats don't have 60 votes. They're still deciding whether to get input from moderate Republicans.

Isn't this a five-alarm fire and shouldn't Democrats have seen this coming and had a battle plan for it?

SPEIER: Well, I think that maybe you're right, maybe the criticism is justly deserved, but I don't think that the expectation was that it would be a wholesale removal of the right to abortion and that shifting to the states.

I mean, what Justice Alito is basically saying here is that you don't have a fundamental constitutional right to control your own body as a woman, and I don't think we ever thought it would go that far.

LEMON: Listen. I wanted you obviously to talk because you're a congressperson but also you have a very personal relationship with this. You've been a champion for women's reproductive rights, and I know this is very personal for you. You were the first member of Congress to share your own experience with abortion on a House floor during a debate over Planned Parenthood funding.

This is how responded to a Republican congressman reading a graphic description of certain procedures. Here it is.


SPEIER: I had a procedure at 17 weeks, pregnant with a child that had moved from the vagina into the cervix, and that procedure that you just talked about was the procedure that I endured. I lost a baby.

But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest, as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous.


LEMON: Listen. I thought -- I remember when that happened, and I thought it was very brave of you. Let me just give a stat before I get your response. One in four women has an abortion by the time she is 45, congresswoman.


LEMON: That's according to the Guttmacher Institute. But very few women talk about it. You changed that on Capitol Hill. Why was it important for you to tell your story?

SPEIER: Well, truly, Don, it wasn't my intention to stand up that night and tell my story, but I was so filled with rage when I heard this member speaking about abortion that he knew nothing about. And the figure that it is really important to point out is that 59% of the women who have abortions in this country are mothers. I was a mother. It is not done as a form of contraception. It is not done as an, you know, easy way to deal with sex when you do not have protection. It is so -- it is so fundamentally wrong to everything we believe about personal autonomy.

And to think that so many of these colleagues have been smarting about having to wear a mask, that that was infringing on their personal rights, but you're going to now take control of my uterus? I don't think so. And I think that is the message that we have to get up to women and families and men across the country that recognize that this is just wrongheaded.

LEMON: Congresswoman, some people think it is preposterous that this debate is being had, especially in the political realm. There's supposed to be a separation of church and state. And many believe that this decision was made by -- on the basis of religion, this is sort of a religious right.

And that people believe -- if you believe in, you know -- if you don't believe in having an abortion and if you're religious, that you should just don't do it, but you shouldn't force your views on other people.

Do you believe that this is sort of -- that there is no separation of church and state when it comes to this issue?

SPEIER: I think there is a separation of church and state. I think what has happened is that this issue has been a way of appealing to the right evangelical Christians, and it has been used by my Republican colleagues to attract more support.

And if you notice, what has been happening the last few days, they are not talking about this draft decision, they are talking about the leak because they know that they have really overreached here.

So, yes, this is a violation of church and state. That is protected in the First Amendment as well. It is what brought so many of our pilgrims to the United States, because they wanted to be able to practice their religion freely.

I am a Catholic. I am a practicing Catholic. I do not impose my beliefs on others nor should others impose their beliefs on me.

LEMON: Congresswoman, thank you so much.

SPEIER: Thank you, Don. Thank you very much.

LEMON: And as we were just discussing, there is intense anger across the country over this draft Supreme Court opinion. A lot of Democrats are blaming the GOP, saying that they have capitalized on systems that allow minority voters to elect leaders who have reshaped the highest court.

So, let us bring in now CNN senior political analyst Ron Brown, and Max Boot, a columnist for "The Washington Post." So interested to hear both of your perspectives. Thank you so much.

Ron, let's start with you. This is CNN's polling. It shows that a majority of Americans don't want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. So, explain how something so important in the lives of so many is happening when, you know, when most people aren't on board with this.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the short answer is the president nominates and the Senate confirms Supreme Court justices. And elections for both are tilted in the direction of small, rural predominantly white Christian states that Republicans dominate.

Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections, something that no party has done since the formation of the modern party system.

And if you go back to 1980 and you divide half of each -- assign half of each state's population to each senator, Republicans have represented a majority of the country in the Senate only once in that last 42 years, and yet Republicans have appointed six of the nine Supreme Court justices.

In fact, five of those Republicans have been appointed by Republican presidents, so initially lost the popular vote. And four confirmed by senators who represented less than half of the country.

And what is more, it is not only kind of the overall population numbers. The republican coalition is centered overwhelmingly on the places in the country, the states that are the least touched by the demographic and cultural changes remaking America in the 21st century with the result, I think, when you add all of this up, is that the America of 1950 is now in position to write the legal rules for the America of 2050 (ph).


LEMON: To Congresswoman Speier's point, why then is a religious issue, why does it take so much precedent? Why is it looming so large on a political issue -- excuse me, I shouldn't say political -- on personal issue? Shouldn't there be a separation of church and state? Should people who want to be able to get abortions with restrictions, shouldn't they be able to get abortions, and those who don't, if you don't believe in it, don't get an abortion?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, look, I mean, the polling you cite, that most Americans do not want to overturn Roe, has been true for 50 years, has been true throughout the entire Roe period.

Americans have consistently said they do not want to overturn Roe. And somewhere around 60% to 65% are saying in polls that they believe abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances.

So, yes. And in fact, across almost every religion, as the Public Religion Research Institute pointed out in a new release this week, white evangelical Christians are the only major religious group at this point in which a majority says abortion should be illegal in most circumstances. That's a very powerful constituency inside the Republican Party.

And, you know, it's not only abortion, as I think many people have pointed out, that once -- despite some language to the contrary in the Alito draft, once you say that there is no right to privacy, that there are other decisions -- interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, contraception -- that are at risk.

And more broadly, Don, the Supreme Court republican majority has basically hung out a shingle encouraging red states to challenge any precedent that conservatives don't like.

Today, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, said that he wants to revisit the 1982 decision that requires states to provide public education to the children of undocumented immigrants. It's not going to be long, I think, until some red state challenges --

LEMON: Well, that's --

BROWNSTEIN: -- the decision on same-sex marriage. This is basically --

LEMON: That is what the concern is.

BROWNSTEIN: -- what they are inviting by such a sweeping language as in -- and their willingness to revoke a 50-year-old constitutional right.

LEMON: That's what the concern is, that it's going to lead to other things, that it's a slippery slope.

Max, why then for conservatives is the Second Amendment sacrising but this one is not, the Roe v. Wade is not?

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's a good question, Don. I think you're moving into a situation where the current very conservative majority on the court is going to tell states that they can essentially outlaw abortion, but they cannot do anything about people packing guns in the streets. I mean, that's a bizarre situation. It really doesn't make a lot of logical sense.

It can only really, I think, be understood in terms of conservative ideology, which really seems to be what the conservative majority is legislating on. It's not really the law.

What they're trying to do is exactly what they have accused liberals of doing for 50 years, which is to impose their political preferences from the bench at a time when, as Ron points out, they are largely losing the popular fight in the country at large. That the trends of the country are moving away from this very conservative world view, which is held primarily now by people in rural areas and smaller states.

But those rural areas and smaller states essentially have a hammerlock on the Senate, on the electoral college, and therefore, on the Supreme Court, which is increasingly unrepresentative of the country at large and yet nevertheless is acting in an increasingly radical and sweeping manner, disregarding the lack of poplar support for their decisions. I really think this is only exacerbating the crisis of legitimacy for our government and undermining the basis of our democracy, which is something that is already happening with everything from January 6th and the big lie. And there are so many other factors that are undermining support for our institutions. And this is just another one of those that leads me to be very concerned about this country's future.

LEMON: Max, I owe you another question next time I see you. That's all we have time for. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you.

The Fed optimistic that it can avoid a recession after the biggest rate hike in more than two decades. But Americans are really feeling fed up with the economy and the impact on their wallets. How long could it be before things turn around?




LEMON: So, the Fed announcing a half-point interest rate hike today and that's a big deal. It is the largest single hike in 22 years. It's all about trying to tame inflation, which has Americans paying more for everything, from groceries to gas. Stocks soared on the news with the Dow having the best day in nearly two years.

So, for more, let's bring in Kai Ryssdal, the host of Public Radio's "Marketplace." There he is. Hey, Kai.


LEMON: So, the market soars. There is -- this is a big rate hike, the biggest in 22 years. But the Fed is optimistic that it can cool (ph) inflation without a recession in the market soars. I mean, what is going on? Do you think it's possible, that they can do that?

RYSSDAL: I don't know if the Fed is optimistic. Chair Powell said today it's difficult, it's going to be challenging. There's a path that we can get through these rate hikes that are coming to what's called a soft landing, right? Getting the economy back to normal, getting inflation down without causing recession.


RYSSDAL: How long is it going to last? I don't know. The Fed can't control that, right? The Federal Reserve, as the chair said today, doesn't control the supply side of the equation. And so much of this inflation is being driven by what we have been talking about now for two years, right? All of this is coming out of a pandemic, wanting more stuff, buying at the (INAUDIBLE) at the ports. Everybody wants what they want, when they want it, and which is now -- and that's not something the Fed controls. The Fed only controls, you know, the price of money in this economy. It's going to be a little bit.

LEMON: So, when I saw the market, you know, soaring, I was, like, wait a minute. So, it's always like the people with money, right, who can invest in the market usually, they always do well. And the people -- and then you have the rate hikes. So, the people who, you know, need credit to be able to buy a home and all that, they don't do well.

RYSSDAL: Right. So, look, first of all, here's what happens with the markets, right? Powell was asked today, so you're raising at a half a percentage point, Chairman Powell, why not three-quarter of a percentage point? Powell said, no, we're good. Half a percentage point is great. We're not going to 75 basis points. That is a fancy way to say three-quarter of a percentage point.

And the markets heard that and said, oh, okay, we're good, Chair Powell feels all right, we're going to buy. But look, the bigger point, and I know you guys have seen a polling on this, is that inflation is hitting this whole economy and it's the people at the lower end of the income spectrum who are really paying, who are feeling, you know, gas at 422 nationally and oil at 108 and inflation at a 40-year high.

LEMON: You're reading my mind when it comes to this polling. By the way, the market soared, shooting up more than 900 points on this news.


LEMON: Crazy. Speaking of the new polling, that shows that 23% of Americans consider current economic conditions as being good. Twenty- three, that's not good.


LEMON: That despite bright spots like unemployment being near 50-year low, strong consumer and business spending. What do you make of the disconnect? Are we measuring the economy correctly given how much the world has changed? I had a similar question last time your own.

RYSSDAL: Yeah. I think actually we are measuring the economy the right way. One of the interesting things in that poll that your producers sent me was that people say they are not hearing good news about the economy almost at all. And apart from inflation, right, which is a huge drag on millions of Americans, right, apart from that, this economy is strong.

Businesses are spending money. They are hiring. There are two job openings, 1.9 job openings for every person in this economy looking for work, right? Unemployment, as you said, at a 50-year low. But inflation drains all that because the wage increases that people are getting, they're not keeping up with inflation, and that's why people feel so lousy. It is a huge challenge.

LEMON: But the hearing about -- do you think that the Biden administration is not broadcasting their accomplishments enough or what's good about the economy, or the news media is focusing on the negative part of the economy? Is that --

RYSSDAL: Well, so look, I think the news media by and large focuses on, oh, my god, inflation is at a 40-year high, right? And so that is what people hear.

Jen Psaki can go out to the White House briefing room and the president can go out and give a speech and say this economy is strong and I feel your concerns about inflation, but there are two challenges about that. Number one, somebody hears that speech and says, oh, okay, but then they have to go pay 5 bucks for a gallon of gas, and that's a really big problem, right?

And the other this is that the president by himself and, in fact, almost entirely, can't do so much about this inflation, right? We have to let the supply chain backlog get through this economy. Jay Powell can raise rates from now until the cows come home. But until the supply chain gets fixed and we all are done buying, there's going to be some inflation in this economy.

LEMON: Kai, thank you, sir.

RYSSDAL: Any time, man.

LEMON: Good luck. We will see you soon.

RYSSDAL: See you.

LEMON: New fighting at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine where hundreds of civilians are still trapped. One commander saying heavy, bloody battles are now taking place inside the facility.




LEMON: Ukrainian forces inching towards the Russian border as they push Vladimir Putin's forces to the east of Kharkiv. But in the southeast, new battles breaking out in the bloody fight for the port city of Mariupol. A Ukrainian commander says Russians have broken into the steel factory where defenders are making a last stand. And all of this as Russia continues to launch deadly strikes from the air all across Ukraine.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN military analyst and retired Air Force colonel, Cedric Leighton. Good evening, colonel, once again. Good to see you.

So, Ukrainians keep claiming successes in the northeast as they push Russia further from Kharkiv. What risks pop up as they get closer to the Russian border?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, RETIRED AIR FORCE COLONEL: This is going to be really interesting, Don, because right here, this is Kharkiv, Russian border is right there, it's basically 30 miles away, and if we look at a closer map here of the Donbas region, we can see Kharkiv right here in this area, and what the Ukrainians are at risk of here is being encircled by the Russians in these areas.

These are the pockets where they're at. But if they move in this direction, the Russians could conceivably go after them this way. However, the Ukrainians also have the capacity to potentially go around this way with extra forces and take out the Russians that are right here.


LEIGHTON: So, it could be a battle where they take each other out in this area. The Ukrainians generally have the upper hand at this point. But it's all about momentum. And if the Russians regain momentum, the Ukrainians are at risk once again.

LEMON: So, colonel, the U.S. is sharing intel with Ukraine, providing information about Russian force movements and locations along with intercepted communications within 30 minutes to an hour of receiving them. Is this typical or going beyond the norm to help allies?

LEIGHTON: It's definitely going beyond the norm for an ally like Ukraine. So, one of the reasons that we do this kind of thing is if we take a look at some of the things that have happened, we are looking at very precise targeting here.

This is one of the things that can happen with precise intel. You can go after specific things. And that is one of the big things that we're trying to do with the intelligence that we provide the Ukrainians and anywhere in this country. You're looking at the ability to go after certain discreet elements.

And that's one of the main reasons that this intelligence is being shared. It's being shared very carefully. But it is, you know, something we've done with other countries. But it is not something we've done before with Ukraine. That's why it's unique in this case.

LEMON: How could the Ukrainians be using this intel strategically along with the weapons the U.S. is sending?

LEIGHTON: So, what they're doing is they're really taking some very precise looks at the different people that they're going after. They're looking at different weapons systems that the Russians have. They're going after, for example, if you look again at the animation right here, you see some of the bigger things that we're doing here with this.

So, the drones are looking at this by themselves, it appears in this animation, but the only reason that they're in this area and that they're being able to target these weapons systems is because they know where they're at. It's all about location. Just like in real estate, you talk about location, location, location. The same thing is true in targeting. You use very precise mechanisms to go after specific things and the intelligence that we have is used in this way to do exactly that.

LEMON: The Pentagon Spokesman, John Kirby, says that Russia is targeting critical infrastructure like transportation hubs, but say key U.S. military aid is still making its way into the country. Do you think Russia's efforts will eventually stop this?

LEIGHTON: No, I don't, because there are lots of ways that the Ukrainians have to go against what the Russians are doing. But if we take a look here and just see where the Russians have been striking, it is instructive because right here, they're going at like in Zakarpattia, which is in the Carpathian Mountains right here, this is on the Slovak and Polish borders, and also the Hungarian and Romanian borders that go through this area right here.

So, this is definitely a strike that is designed to interdict, to cut off the supply lines that are coming through this area. The same thing for the strikes here in Lviv and Vinnytsia. This is where the headquarters of the Ukrainian force is. That is why these areas are very important from a supply line standpoint. They are going to be hit. They are going to be hit hard. But the Ukrainians can overcome this.

LEMON: Colonel, thank you. Be well.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Don. Thank you.

LEMON: One says her vote for Trump is vindicated. The other says what's happening is patriarchy at its worst. Alice Stewart and Kirsten Powers are both here. They're going to talk Roe v. Wade after this.




LEMON: So, an ominous warning tonight from the head of the CDC in the wake of the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Dr. Rochelle Walensky is saying she believes that women may die if they're denied access to abortion services, especially women who do not have the resources to cross state lines if abortion is outlawed in many states.

We have a lot to discuss now with CNN senior political analyst Kirsten Powers and political commentator Alice Stewart, who is a Republican strategist. Good evening to both of you. Thanks for joining once again.

Kirsten, I saw something that you tweeted, and I just want to read it. You said, believe it or not, it's possible to believe abortion is wrong and not something you would do and recognize that reasonable people of good faith disagree and should be allowed to follow their own conscience. Talk to me about this.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, COLUMIST FOR USA TODAY: Yeah, well, I was addressing the fact that when I came out with my opinions about the leaked decision -- I support Roe v. Wade and I always have -- you know, a lot of people were coming at me basically, you know, making religious arguments because I'm Catholic.

And so, I was addressing this argument that a lot of people make that you, you know, if you're a Christian, for example, or if you're just a decent human being, you have to see that this is a child that is being murdered and slaughtered and all the language they use.

And I was trying to make the point that if you think about this in a less binary way and just acknowledge, which people have such a hard time doing, that people of good faith who actually spent a lot of time thinking about this issue have come to a different conclusion, and it's made in good faith.


POWERS: And, you know, you are free to have your opinion about it, but to take your opinion and then impose that religious belief on to other people, I just -- it's not okay.

And so that was the argument I was making, you're free to believe what you want to believe and live your life that way, but once you start moving into making your religious argument, you know, that anybody who does not hold it is somehow some kind of monster, I think you are in some pretty bad territory.

LEMON: Listen. Alice, I know that you are pro-life and you say that your entire vote for Trump is vindicated based on the Supreme Court. So, what is your response to what Kirsten just said?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: Look, I have also been hit from many sides for speaking out my opinion on this very divisive issue. I, like Kirsten, am pro-life. I happen to believe. I think it's really important to protect the sanctity of the unborn and protect the life of innocent children.

There are 63 million reasons why I believe this, because that is the number of abortions that have been conducted since Roe v. Wade was enacted in 1973. Look, these are the people, these unborn babies do not have someone speaking out for them. I think that it is really important that we keep them in mind and someone stand up for them.

Look, people have lit their hair on fire with this opinion coming out, saying that abortion is going to be banned across the country. That is not true. What this does, this takes us to very important issue, takes it out of the hands of nine unelected justices and puts it in the hands of elected representatives at the state level, closer to the people where the best decisions are made, and that is important to keep that in mind.

Look, Republicans have fought for decades for (INAUDIBLE) jurist to the Supreme Court that would strip -- adhere to the strict interpretation of the Constitution. That is exactly what Alito did in this opinion, saying that abortion is not specifically addressed in the Constitution, therefore, Roe v. Wade was incorrect from its very inception. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg said just the same when she addressed a law school years ago.

LEMON: Go ahead, Kirsten.

POWERS: Yeah. I mean, the other thing that I said today, this argument is like peak patriarchy, okay? It is a self-reinforcing loop that you can never get out of, because the men who wrote the Constitution hundreds of years ago didn't think that the people who they believed were their property, right, that women were their property, that they didn't believe that the people who were their property should have a right to abortion or to frankly anything. It's irrelevant.

You don't look to the history to mimic people who believed that women and Black people were their property, okay? We look to our past to learn lessons. And to have Justice Alito or even to listen to you, Alice, frankly say that because these people did not put abortion in the Constitution, that that means that there is no right to Constitution.

It's crazymaking because there is no way to ever get out of that loop because this idea of even of the tests that he's putting on it, you know, nothing really could pass these tests.

LEMON: Let me just ask you this. There are other issues beyond Christianity where people find sacred, right, and should that -- if people wanted to espouse their religious beliefs or put their religious beliefs on the courts or make them legal, Alice, would you be okay with that? There are many religions that don't like meat. Should we ban meat in the United States?

This is an example. I know it is not equal. But how far do we take this? It is supposed to be a separation of church and state. I understand your feelings about it and I accept that. I understand, Kirsten, your feelings about it and I accept that. But shouldn't there be a separation of church and state?

And when you have something like this, shouldn't be based on what the doctor and the woman thinks is okay rather than on a religious belief? Because part of the reason -- a main part of the reason this country was founded is for religious freedom.

STEWART: What needs to be kept in mind here is the fact that this is about what is written in the Constitution and this is what the Supreme Court -- what this opinion addresses is that this abortion issue --

LEMON: Alice, I accept that. But if you understand what she just said, there are lots of things that were not written in the Constitution. When the Constitution was written, I wasn't even considered a human being. That is not in the Constitution.

Do we go back to that time and say, you know, for a person of color, a Black person, that I should not have every right that you have, Alice, as a person under the Constitution of America because it is not originally written in the Constitution?


POWERS: They didn't say interracial marriage was okay. I mean, the -- and then the Supreme Court said that it was.

LEMON: And Alice -- hold on. Hold on. I don't want to be (INAUDIBLE). Also, just another point, under the Constitution, you would not be able to vote, and now you have full right as a man, as a white man, white men who were able to vote. Now you're able to vote as a woman. Should that not be -- should you not be able to vote because it wasn't in the Constitution?

STEWART: Look, Alito specifically said this opinion deals specifically with the life issue and all of those other issues -- look, many previous precedents have been overturned. Plessy v. Ferguson is a case in point. Look, Kirsten is talking about what is crazymaking. What's crazy is we have some states, Virginia, for example, that allows abortion, taking of a life up to the third trimester. I mean, the baby is almost born and they're fine with aborting it.

LEMON: But that's where the country lives, in the middle. It's not the extreme.

POWERS: Save a woman's right. I mean, this is insane.

LEMON: I don't think people --

POWERS: I'm sorry.

LEMON: Hold on, Kirsten. I'll let you make a point. I think most of the country believes that there should be restrictions on abortions. The life of a mother should be included in that, that it should be allowed. But that is not what is happening here. Going on, Kirsten. Sorry. I'll let you make your point.

POWERS: The vast majority of abortions happen within the first eight weeks. So, you know, this is always taking us off into this other kind of part of where it's dealing with like an infinitesimal, like 1% of abortions. So, it's not what we should be talking about.

I want to get back to what you said, Alice, and this was the point I was trying to make with the tweet that Don brought up, was you're talking about -- you're speaking in very definitive terms that this is a person, that an embryo is a person, okay? And what I'm saying is there are a lot of people of good faith who do not believe that.

LEMON: Okay.

POWERS: Reformed Jews who have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue morally and theologically do not believe that. And so, why is that view being imposed on people who do not share that religious view?

LEMON: I got to go. Alice, quickly, please.

STEWART: What I believe and what many pro-life people believe, that life begins at conception, period. And at that point --

POWERS: Great. Don't get an abortion.

STEWART: And also, to the point Don says in terms of making exceptions, I believe there should be exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother. So, this is not a blanket across the board --

LEMON: Okay.

STEWART: -- ban on abortions. There should be exceptions in certain cases, but not in all.

LEMON: We'll continue this conversation. Thank you both. I really appreciate it.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

POWERS: Thank you.




LEMON: So, tonight, the whereabouts of Alabama corrections officer and an inmate she sprang from jail, still a big mystery. Officer Vicky White and murder suspect Casey White, not related, by the way, disappeared from the Lauderdale County jail on Friday and they haven't been seen since. But clues of a romantic relationship and a planned escape piling up tonight and authorities are now checking tips coming in from several states.

I want to bring in Sheriff Rick Singleton of Lauderdale County, Alabama. Sheriff, we really appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. So, help us get to the bottom of this. You now suspect that Vicky White and Casey White had a romantic relationship before they disappeared. What led you to believe this?

RICK SINGLETON, SHERIFF AT LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: Well, it began last Saturday when some of the inmates here in our facility sent word to our investigators that there was a relationship between the two.

When something like this happens in a jail, of course, every inmate has information that they want to exchange for some favor or whatever. So, you have to take it with a grain of salt. But at the same time, you can't ignore it. We took their statements, what they said, followed up on it, and we did confirm that, in fact, there was a relationship there.

Casey White was in our facility in 2020 for an arraignment hearing. He was moved back to the Department of Corrections where he was serving 75 years for multiple charges out of Limestone County. And then he was recently brought back in February to our facility for his trial appearances.

During that time, between 2020, while he was in the state prison, we now know that Vicky White did, in fact, visit him in the prison more than once. I don't know exactly how many times, but multiple times she visited him there in the prison.

LEMON: Okay. Listen, that should have been my first question. Sorry about that. It's late. Any clues to where they are, any leads, anything?

SINGLETON: We have several leads that we're following up on. Some of them look promising. We hope they pan out. But yes, we've gotten several tips from actually all over, especially the east of the Mississippi. And, you know, we're following up on all those leads.

Like any case like this, the vast majority of them do not pan out. But we do have some that have some promise. So, we're especially focused on those right now, trying to get all the information we can. At this time, we do not have any clue where they're at.

LEMON: All right. Anything you can share that doesn't give it away, that doesn't hurt your case, anything, any lead or anything?


SINGLETON: Well, I can tell you that we've had multiple, you know, reports of sightings from Florida all the way up to Kentucky. And, you know, so, we're not sure. But one specific incident in Florida where a lady went into a convenience store, handed the clerk a note, I'm Vicky White, I've been kidnapped, help me, and it turned out she was not Vicky White. That's just one example of it.

LEMON: Yeah. So, they got into -- are you still looking for this gold or copper-colored Ford Edge SUV or do you think they have changed cars or what?

SINGLETON: Well, we're still looking for it. I think now that word is out about that vehicle, we'll probably find it in the next -- hopefully in the next day or so. But, you know, the description of the car is what we worked on hard all weekend because we had no clue what kind of vehicle they left in, and we were finally able to get that description and confirmed it, and that happened early Monday morning.

So, we put the word out to law enforcement to be on the lookout and inadvertently one of the agencies sent the description out publicly. That really set us back and forth. My question to anyone is, if you were one of them, you knew that we knew what you're driving, what would you do with it?

LEMON: Yeah.

SINGLETON: So, we expect they're going to change vehicles, but that -- there's a silver lining there, though, yeah.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, sheriff, thank you.

SINGLETON: Got the silver lining there.

LEMON: Go ahead. Quickly, please. Sorry.

SINGLETON: Yes, sir. It is silver lining because if we found the car, that will give us a region of the country. We know where we need to be searching.

LEMON: Got you. Sheriff, thank you. Let's hope you find them. We appreciate you joining us. Let's hope those promising leads do pan out. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.

SINGLETON: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.