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Don Lemon Tonight
The U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Roe w. Wade; Thomas Calls For Gay Marriage Ruling To Be Revisited; Several States Move Quickly To Prohibit Abortion After SCOTUS Ruling; WAPO: January 6 Committee And DOJ Seeking Footage Of Roger Stone From Danish Filmmakers; House Passes Historic Gun Reform Bill. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired June 24, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thousands of demonstrators pass through this area outside the Supreme Court today. You know, when we were here first earlier this morning, there were groups from both sides of this debate and anti-abortion activists were here celebrating. As we reached into the evening, it was pretty much exclusively hundreds, possibly thousands of pro-abortion choice activists were here. The crowd really has dwindled out now. Speakers just finished talking, but they say, come back tomorrow. They want people back here tomorrow.
What we did see here, though, today, Don, was a huge security presence all across Washington, D.C. I will tell you that it was very, very different to the security presence we saw in Washington, D.C. on the morning of January 6th. There was police all over the city.
Some demonstrators also this evening marched from SCOTUS here through Washington and came back. So, we are likely to see more demonstrations in the coming days. People here are being encouraged to come back tomorrow.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: All right. Donie is in D.C. Let's head now to Los Angeles where Camila Bernal is. We saw abortion rights supporters marching on the freeway there. What's the latest now, Camila?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don, so we were on the freeway for about 15 or 20 minutes, but LAPD officers sort of blocked the protesters from continuing to walk on the freeway and kind of pushed them back inside of downtown L.A., and that's where we are right now.
The crowd is still fairly large, as you can see. You can hear the cars honking. Many people shouting. They are screaming and saying, you know, our body, our choice. They took a water break. And just like in Washington, D.C., organizers here in L.A. also getting ready to do this all over again tomorrow. They are already organizing and saying that they're going to gather in the afternoon.
And a lot of them are just saying that they want to call the attention to what is happening here in Los Angeles, in California, and the ability to get an abortion here. But they are saying that they're also concerned about people all over the country that will not be able to get an abortion.
I talked to one of the organizers recently and she told me, look, I am upset not just at the Supreme Court but also at the people who are not showing up to these protests. I asked her how she was feeling this morning and she said the only word she can use to describe her feelings was furry. That is what she told me.
But of course, as I mentioned earlier, it is really important to point out people on the other side of the issue, even here in California State, that support a woman's right to an abortion.
I talked to another activist who told me that she was happy and celebrating the Supreme Court decision today, but saying that there is more work to be done in California on her side of the issue, saying that she does not want to see more people coming to California to get an abortion.
So, really, emotions are very high today on both sides of the issue, and of course, when it comes to all the people who are here protesting, they're stopping traffic all over downtown L.A. and they're continuing. They were actually supposed to stop at around 8:00 p.m. and we're now past that time period they were supposed to end, and I think they're going to just continue walking, I don't know until when, but more and more people start joining and honking, and this is what we're likely going to continue to see throughout the night. Don?
LEMON: Camila Bernal. Camila, thank you very much. That takes talent to do a report and -- I'm talking to Jeffrey Toobin. He is going to join us right now. Jeffrey Toobin joins us tonight, our chief legal analyst. Joan Biskupic is with us as well, CNN legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer. I mean, she was walking backwards and didn't miss a step. I kept saying --
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Very impressive, very impressive.
LEMON: Jeffrey, a woman's -- good evening to both of you. A woman's constitutional right for abortion is over. It is now with the states. When Justice Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018, this was Jeffrey Toobin's immediate reaction. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOOBIN: Abortion will be illegal in a significant part of the United States in 18 months. There is just no doubt about that. And that is why these seats matter so much. Somebody has the last word and here it's the Supreme Court, and Roe v. Wade is doomed. It is gone because Donald Trump won the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Jeffrey, I remember when you said that. It was a little bit more than 18 months but it did happen.
TOOBIN: It did happen. You know, I was thinking -- Joan will know these dates: May 17th, 1954, Brown versus Board of Education, January 22nd, 1973, Roe versus Wade. We're going to remember today because it's equally significant. You know, we cover the news every day but only a handful of days that we cover are truly historic.
And today is one. And it's a very different kind of history because the other landmarks in Supreme Court history are about expanding rights of one kind or another, and this is the first time in history that the court has overturned a precedent that contracts rights, rights that have been part of American life for 50 years.
And I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know how the country is going to react. And, you know, it is -- we are going to see. I mean, it is a very -- it is a very big deal and it is a very big change for American women who have different rights than they did at nine o'clock this morning.
LEMON: Yeah. Joan, the makeup of the Supreme Court has changed tremendously in recent years. Trump, a president who lost the popular vote, got to install three judges, right? They are all in their 50s now. Today's opinion is because of that major shift.
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: Consider how lucky Donald Trump was in some ways on his timing. He had three appointees in just a single term. Now, of course, the first one, Neil Gorsuch, was because Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland to the Scalia seat.
But to get three appointments in a single term is a big deal when you think of how his predecessor -- predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Democrats, served two terms each and only got two appointees. Jimmy Carter served for four years and got not a single one.
So, Donald Trump has had a disproportionate effect on this court and the Republicans he chose are not like the Republicans from even just, you know, 10 years ago, 10, 15 years ago. Compare these three appointees, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch to Sandra Day O'Connor, to Anthony Jennedy, to even Warren Burger, who President Nixon appointed as chief justice. He voted for Roe v. Wade.
So many Republican appointees have voted for Roe and these three came on and were chosen, in part, Don, because they would vote to overturn.
LEMON: And then lied and said that they wouldn't. Go on.
TOOBIN: Well, Joan makes such an important point here and how the difference in the Republican Party is so profound. You know, Roe v. Wade was 1973. The Casey decision, the famous Casey decision, which reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, 1992, it was a five to four decision. All five justices in the majority were Republican appointees. Think of that. Roe v. Wade was saved in 1992 by a five justice majority where all five justices were appointed by Republican presidents. Totally inconceivable today.
LEMON: Yeah. TOOBIN: This decision today was six justices appointed by Republicans who wanted to support -- uphold the Mississippi law. Roberts didn't want to overturn Roe, but he did want to uphold the law. And the three Democratic appointees were in dissent. And that is where the country is now. I mean, we have one pro-abortion rights party and we have one anti-abortion rights party. And that is just how it is going to be for the foreseeable future.
LEMON: Jeff, but it is interesting because that is not where the majority of Americans are, right? Let me read this. I want to read this to you. This is from Tom Nichols in "The Atlantic." The piece is called, "They Really Did It." Republicans used to hate activist judges. I was once a Republican and I remember the high-minded speeches from a party that despised using courts to circumvent the legislature.
Today, those same Republicans have no hope of persuading a majority of their fellow Americans to accept their views, and so they are more than happy to abuse the rules of the Senate and prop up the now obvious lies of Supreme Court nominees to get what they want.
Is that what happened here?
TOOBIN: Well, I think it is all part of the larger evolution of the Republican Party. I mean, look at the United States Senate. The United States Senate used to have a dozen moderate Republicans, people like Lowell Weicker and Robert Packwood and Chuck Percy and Stafford in Vermont. They're all gone.
The only Republican -- the only arguably moderate Republican in the Senate is Susan Collins, the one person in the world who believed Brett Kavanaugh when he said --
LEMON: She is very concerned, though.
TOOBIN: She was very -- and now, now, she is disappointed. She is disappointed because Brett Kavanaugh turned out to vote the totally obvious way he was going to vote, but she apparently was the one person in America who thought that Brett Kavanaugh was not going to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and she provided the key vote for his confirmation.
LEMON: But here is what is interesting, though, because you talk about Republicans. I always laugh on Republicans. You know, there was Lincoln and the Republicans freed the slaves and Republicans -- that party no longer exists. That is right.
TOOBIN: You know, that was a long time ago.
LEMON: That was a long time ago, that party no longer exists, and they are so unpopular, what Republicans have put forth -- are putting forth.
So unpopular that they have to manipulate the system in order to implement what they want.
TOOBIN: Well, think about what has happened just this week. You had abortion rights ended at unpopular position. Earlier this week, gun control essentially declared unconstitutional, also on unpopular position. Next week, they are going to issue an opinion very likely to cripple the ability of the federal government to fight climate change.
TOOBIN: All unpopular positions, but, you know, we've never had a situation where the Supreme Court is defying public opinion in case after case. Maybe it doesn't matter because they don't have to sit for re-election.
TOOBIN: But it is just an unprecedented situation with the court.
LEMON: Let's talk about the popularity or unpopularity of this. Take a look at this poll, Joan. Only one in four Americans has a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court. What happens when the American people lose faith in this, you know, vaunted institution?
BISKUPIC: You know, all they have, Don, is their institutional integrity, whatever shreds are left in the eye of the American public. This is something that -- I think a lot of Americans should be concerned about is the integrity and the institutional mindedness of the court. That is something that John Roberts certainly has been worried about.
You know, you can hardly hear him give a speech when they were out and about, they are not out and about now, that he didn't talk about how these nine justices are not just politicians -- they're not politicians in robes, you shouldn't identify them by their presidential party, please judge them by their rulings, not by who appointed them.
Well, you judge the Supreme Court by today's ruling and you really understand this court. I think that is why John Roberts didn't go with the majority. He said, yes, he would uphold the Mississippi law, but he said now is not the time to reconsider Roe because there was -- you know, you asked the question to Jeff about, you know, activist judges. The Supreme Court wasn't even asked when it accepted this case to overturn Roe.
Mississippi officials came up to the court and said, just look at this 15-week ban, see if it violates Roe, dictate that government should not interfere with the woman's choice to have an abortion before viability which isn't about 23 weeks when the fetus can live outside the womb and this was a 15-week ban.
That was all this case started out to be, but here is Samuel Alito and four other justices on the far-right, took it much farther than anyone could have fathom, you know, just 20 months ago before Amy Coney Barrett was appointed, took it much farther than we would have imagined to overturn completely Roe. And so, when John Roberts says judge us by our rulings, this is what we have today and this is what has brought all those people to the streets.
TOOBIN: And judge us by our rulings, six Republicans, you know, against abortion rights, three Democrats for.
TOOBIN: The cross voting in major cases is disappearing at the Supreme Court just as it is in the rest of American political life.
LEMON: Yeah. Joan, can you talk a little bit more? I want you to dig into something you said because you talked about Justice Roberts. Does today also crystallized the fact that this court is no longer the Roberts's court? Is this what he wanted to have happened?
BISKUPIC: Well, let me just give you a caveat on that, though, Don. When you talk about racial remedies, when you talk about voting rights, when you talk about campaign finance, when you talk about guns, John Roberts is smack in the middle of this court and he is driving the agenda on those items. So, he is still getting plenty of what he wants.
But, you know, there is no doubt, on abortion rights, the biggest decision, you know, in decades, he was not part of that. He tried to stop it, at least for now. So, he doesn't control in this area. It is a really important area. It is an area that is going to define the court that has dogged the Roberts's court.
I just -- I can't think of any other decision that will, first of all, in his 17 terms, that rises to this level and probably in the next 17 -- 27 years, whatever he might serve that would equal this. So, it is very defining.
But I do want to say for people who think he has lost control, there is so much more to come that he will be part of, and as I say, you know, think of especially voting rights where he has been driving that.
And the other thing, we have decisions that are coming beginning on Monday next week, and one of them involves a football coach who wanted to pray on the 50-yard line after a game. John Roberts has been behind many of the court's rulings that have merged church and state.
Just last week, he wrote the opinion for six justice majority that would allow more public funding at religious schools. So, he still has control, but on this big one, this one that most Americans know about above anything else, he lost.
TOOBIN: Right. No one knows more about John Roberts than Joan does. It is important that he not be portrayed as some sort of moderate, the next coming of Anthony Kennedy or Sandra Day O'Connor. You know, as Joan said, in virtually every area of the law except abortion, he is either part of or the leader of the conservative side of the court.
LEMON: All right. Thank you both. Thank you, Joan. Thank you, Jeffrey. Appreciate it.
TOOBIN: All right.
BISKUPIC: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, Clarence Thomas writing that he wants to reconsider Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Obergefell, that's the case where the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have their constitutional right to marry. Jim Obergefell was the lead plaintiff in the case, and he joins me next.
LEMON: In today's landmark decision from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Justice Thomas issued a concurring opinion where he said -- quote -- "In future cases, we should consider all of this court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. You heard that right. You heard that right, that he means same-sex relationships, marriage equality, and access to contraception.
So, joining me now is Jim Obergefell. He is the plaintiff in the Obergefell versus Hodges. Good to see you again. Thank you for joining us. Wish it was under different circumstances when it comes to what could happen with same-sex marriage. Are you worried tonight that the right you fought so hard for and earned for so many Americans could be taken away, the way that rights were granted, the way that rights were taken away for Roe v. Wade?
JIM OBERGEFELL, PLAINTIFF IN OBERGEFELL VS. HODGES: I'm very worried, Don. You know, let's be clear, though. Today is a very dark day for women in this nation to be able to control their own bodies. But in that concurring opinion, the rationale or the statements Justice Thomas makes, makes me very concerned for the future of LGBTQ+ equality as well as women's rights.
You know, contraception could become illegal. The ability for couples to engage in intimate relations, in the privacy of their own homes, is at risk with Lawrence. And the ability for us to marry the person we love and to have those marriages, those families respected and protected, at risk. So, yes, I am very worried about what the future holds for civil rights in this nation.
LEMON: Jim, what do you say to people? I've heard it all day today. Oh, that is never going to happen, they're never going to take away same-sex marriage, they're never going to challenge same-sex relationship, and that will never happen. What do you say to that?
OBERGEFELL: I say people said abortion rights would never be taken away and look what happened today. And if you look at that decision, that concurring opinion by Thomas, he has given opponents of marriage equality the green light to come after marriage equality, to come after our ability to be with the person we love in the privacy of our own homes. We should be worried. And if you're not, you are not paying attention, in my opinion.
LEMON: Yeah. Do you think -- let me just give you this poll really quick and I will ask you this question. There's a recent Gallup poll that shows 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage, 66% support the rights to abortion. The court is not supposed to be beholden to public opinion, but what does it mean when the court is so at odds with public opinion?
OBERGEFELL: You know, I remember when my case was going through the courts. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said we were in the wrong place. We did not belong in the courtroom. We belong in the court of public opinion. Well, we are in the court of public opinion and the public is in support of marriage equality, the public is in support of a woman's right to control her own body.
It is time for the Supreme Court to the in the present and to think about the future, not to be stuck in the past, not to drag us as a nation back to the past. To say that we can only interpret our governing document based on the time it was written, that is over 200 years ago. That is not the way this nation grows and becomes a more perfect union. So, everyone should be concerned. And public opinion is important and this court is clearly ignoring it.
LEMON: Well, you were saying, you know, people aren't concerned, they're not paying tension. I feel that there were a lot of people who weren't paying attention for a long time, still aren't. Maybe this is a wake-up call for them. But there were calls, Jim, for Democrats in Congress to codify abortion protection. So, a decision like today could have been avoided. Do you think same-sex marriage needs to be written into law?
OBERGEFELL: Absolutely. I think the rights that we enjoy and that we are now at serious risk of losing, we need to codify those into law. We need to protect those rights that we have come to enjoy. We need to protect those rights that the court has previously affirmed.
It is a terrible day in our nation for the highest court to take back a right. And when one right is taken back, every other right is at risk. So, yes, we should be doing everything we could, we can, to codify these rights into law.
LEMON: Yeah. Last week, I wanted to talk to you about this, about what happened last week or last weekend, and then this happened. We saw the Texas GOP adopted platform that included a section calling homosexuality an abnormal lifestyle choice.
Are you worried that we are moving backwards, even beyond the 50s, when it comes to LGBTQ rights?
OBERGEFELL: Oh, I absolutely am. And, you know, even when we won the right to marry in 2015, we haven't enjoyed marriage equality. And you can see the terrible attacks on the transgender community over the past several years. Don't say gay bills as if acknowledging the existence of gay people causes problems. We are here. We have always been here.
And my fear is that the GOP, the extreme parts of the GOP, they don't want to take us back to the 1950s. They want to take our nation back to the 1850s. So, yes, we should be concerned because our right, every bit of progress we've made as a nation in civil rights is at risk.
LEMON: Uh-hmm. Listen, it is a Pride weekend here in New York City. Sunday is a big day. Everyone says happy Pride. I think we should say be aware. This Pride, we should make people aware of what could happen and make sure that they're motivated to make sure that it doesn't happen.
Jim, it's a pleasure. Thank you so much.
OBERGEFELL: Thank you very much, Don.
LEMON: Thank you. Multiple states instantaneously banning abortion today, right, as the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, and more could be coming. I'm going to tell you which states are affected. That's next.
LEMON: The Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade and the impact for millions of women is immediate. Several states have trigger laws on the books now, meaning abortions are banned starting today or within the next 30 days, and more states are likely to ban abortions in the coming days
CNN's Alexandra Field has the details.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After nearly 50 years, the change came in some states in mere minutes or a matter of just hours.
JOHN O'CONNOR, OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL: As of this morning, abortions performed in Oklahoma or solicited in Oklahoma are illegal.
FIELD (voice-over): At least nine states effectively banning abortion on the very day of the Supreme Court's seismic decision. Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Wisconsin and Ohio are places where abortion is now illegal.
LESLIE RUTLEDGE, ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am proud to announce as chief legal officer for the state of Arkansas that the United States Supreme Court has in fact overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey, thereby restoring the state of Arkansas the authority to prohibit abortions.
FIELD (voice-over): Planned Parenthood in Little Rock City cancelled as many as 100 appointments for patients seeking abortions in the hours after the news broke. The court's decision celebrated as a triumph by Missouri's Republican state leaders.
ERIC SCHMITT, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am humbled to be a part of this and the first attorney general in the country to effectively end abortion.
FIELD (voice-over): While a Democratic congresswoman from St. Louis brought to tears. The state's last remaining abortion clinic can't perform abortions anymore.
YAMELSIE RODRIGUEZ, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ST. LOUIS: We notified the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that we are ceasing abortion services in the state of Missouri. The day we have been warning about for years has arrived. Today and all of the days that led to the overturning of Roe should be stained in our history for which we must learn and do better.
FIELD (voice-over): The swift action coming because six of the nine states banning abortion immediately had so-called trigger laws on the books, even before the court's decision came down, laws that could be implemented quickly to end access to abortion. In some states, that's even in cases of rape or incest and even when the life of the mother is at risk. Trigger laws in seven more states will bring more near or total bans on abortion in the coming weeks.
UNKNOWN: Today is truly the worst time (INAUDIBLE) of my entire career. I am angry. I am angry for every patient who has no other choice but to flee their home state for abortion care.
FIELD (voice-over): The list of states where you can't get an abortion anymore is expected to grow and quickly, even in states without trigger laws. A federal judge in Alabama is granting an emergency order allowing the state to implement its abortion ban effective immediately. An Ohio judge now is also allowing the state to implement its abortion ban. Indiana's governor is calling for a return of the general assembly to pass a new anti-abortion law.
(On camera): And Don, the number of states that have banned abortion in one single day now climbs to 10. Utah is the latest to say that their trigger law has taken effect. Back here in Missouri at what was the last single provider of abortion in the state, hundreds and hundreds of people have turned out to demonstrate against the state's ban. It means that more patients who are seeking abortion care services are likely to look at the possibility of travelling into Illinois. Don?
LEMON: Alexandra Field, thank you so much. Joining me now is Democratic governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers. Governor, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.
GOV. TONY EVERS (D-WI): Thank you so much, Don.
Thank you for having me here.
LEMON: So, Wisconsin's abortion ban from 1849 was invalidated by Roe v. Wade. But since it is still on the books, it goes back into effect after today's ruling. Does that mean abortion is illegal in Wisconsin now?
EVERS: Absolutely. As of this moment, as soon as the Supreme Court made the decision to release it today, women were made second class citizens in the state of Wisconsin and goes back to an 1849 law that has been on the books since the first year after our -- after our state became a state.
LEMON: Let me tell you what the law says. Any person other than the mother who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a felony which is punishable by up to six years in prison and/or $10,000 fine. Your state's attorney general, Josh Kaul, says that he will not enforce the law. But will local prosecutors in Wisconsin be charging or arresting women who get abortions, governor?
EVERS: They have that ability at this point in time. I know there have been a couple DAs across the state of Wisconsin that headed down that direction to not do that, but we are 72 counties, and that leaves 70 counties that are with women that live there who are at risk of falling into this unbelievably stringent and horrible law.
LEMON: What are women in your states supposed to do now if they want or need an abortion for reasons of choice or for medical reasons?
EVERS: Well, they will -- they will, unfortunately, have to go out of state, you know, in Minnesota and in Illinois, two of our border states. We've been actually anticipating this, looking for ways to have people to go across our borders. But honest to God, Don, that is not the answer, but that's one of the answers.
We hope -- we are going to work our tails off to make sure that this law does not -- does not impact half of our state. To have second class citizens in the state of Wisconsin is just not right. So, we are going t work hard to make sure that we stop this from happening.
LEMON: Governor, just a few days ago, the republican legislature in your state closed a special session that you called, and they refused to repeal that 1849 law. Do you expect the Republicans in your state to insist on the enforcement of this law or even take that issue to the courts?
EVERS: Absolutely they will, absolutely. And the thing that is sad, any polling on this, 60 to 70% of Wisconsinites supported Roe v. Wade. It has been 50 years of having those rights for women in our state and now it's gone. So, of course, they will. They gavelled in and gavelled out on this issue just as last week and they will continue that effort. There is no question.
LEMON: Governor Evers, thank you for your time.
EVERS: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Roger Stone back in the hot seat. The January 6 Committee and the DOJ are seeking footage from a documentary film on Stone. What are they looking for is next.
LEMON: The January 6 Committee appears to be taking a closer look at the activity of Trump ally Roger Stone in the weeks after the 2020 election. "The Washington Post" is reporting the committee and the Justice Department are seeking the 170 hours of video shot for an upcoming documentary on Stone. The material recorded by Danish filmmakers is said to include Stone's activities on the day of the Capitol insurrection.
Joining me now is CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams. Good evening to you. I had guest on that said that they believe that Roger Stone had a lot to do with what was -- interesting. Now, we have this. So, Elliot, hi.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Hey, how is your Friday?
LEMON: I was in my own little world. Wait a minute, Elliot is here, let me talk to him. This footage allegedly shows a member of the far- right Oath Keepers inside Stone's suit at the Willard Hotel just hours before that riot. Some had also shown to messaging with leaders of far-right groups. How important could this be for the January 6 investigation?
WILLIAMS: I think pretty important, Don. Just big picture, why are FBI agents in both Copenhagen and Washington, D.C. getting involved in this matter if there isn't something, at least a little smoke, if not, fire?
Look, there are number of things that you can find out. Number one, what happens at the Willard Hotel? There are a number of meetings in the run up to January 6th, and frankly, in out of Roger Stone's room, and there is an open question there.
Number two, why is he having encrypted text messages, not just text messages through a telephone but with the planners of these far-right groups?
Now, look, certainly, Don, a lot of people use signal or WhatsApp or whatever else. It's not by itself, on its face, evidence of a crime, but it is also a way to conceal your tracks. So, at a minimum, it's worth asking some questions about what they might have found there.
LEMON: The "Post" says that filmmakers recorded Stone developing a proposal for Trump to pre-emptively pardon high-profile allies for attempting to keep him in power. We learned yesterday of six lawmakers who wanted pardons from the white house. I mean, this footage could reveal a lot about that, no?
And look, at a minimum, people don't request pardons unless they think they might have done something unlawful. It's not something you just ask, pardon me, and just throw out a conversation. It's tied to criminal activity. And so, certainly, they think they might have had at least some criminal exposure.
At a minimum, it's worth finding out who asked for them. Did they actually think they committed some kind crime? Did they just misunderstand what pardons were or whatever else? So, there may be direct conversations there. Again, it's worth at least asking the question.
LEMON: The director of the documentary has declined requests to hand material over to the committee. I mean, he has not been subpoenaed but how hard should investigators pursue this footage?
WILLIAMS: You know, this is -- it's a little bit sensitive, Don, because look, he's a journalist, he's a person creating journalistic materials, and it creates a little bit of a gray area when you start talking about seizing the materials of people who are creating work. He might have sources that he wishes to protect as any journalist might want to.
If you notice, they asked him for the materials. They didn't -- "The Washington Post" article talks about it. They didn't just automatically go and issue a subpoena. That's probably a good thing for free speech. At the end of the day, they'll probably come to some kind of agreement over the materials, or just maybe after the documentary is released, he might just turn them over.
LEMON: Stone said this, any claim, assertion or implication that I knew about, was involved in or condoned any illegal event on January 6, or any other date, is categorically false. He has refused to give testimony and evidence to the committee. Does that tell you anything?
WILLIAMS: Yeah, look, if he's really got nothing to hide, then come in and say that. Don, at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with planning rallies even if your rallies are based on conspiracy theories and nonsense. That's okay. There is something wrong with planning violence and coordinating violence and particularly with far- right groups.
And so, figuring out where that line is an important one for both the committee or law enforcement to do, and Roger Stone can answer questions about that. So, look, if he has done nothing, have at it. The committee -- Congress can't prosecute you, so go on and talk to them.
LEMON: All right, Elliot, thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Happy Friday, Don.
LEMON: You, as well.
The House passing the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades. What is in the bill is next.
LEMON: A breakthrough in gun reform legislation. The House passing a bipartisan bill aimed at stemming the rise in gun violence, the first gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years. It passed the Senate late- last night.
Now, the White House is saying that President Biden will sign the bill into law tomorrow. CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Dean is on Capitol Hill tonight. Jessica, very busy day in Washington today, this development happening. What ultimately made it into this bill?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, this is so significant. As you have mentioned, this is decades in the making. It has been a log jam here on Capitol Hill, not able to get any gun safety legislation through either of the chambers. So, this passing through the House now headed to President Biden's desk is incredibly significant.
So, some of the things that are going to be in there, $750 million for crisis intervention programs across the country and that includes things like incentivizing red flag laws in some states across the country where they don't currently have them right now.
It is going to close the "boyfriend loophole" and what that means is that no one who is convicted of domestic violence will be able to get their hands on a gun. And that is an issue that vexed lawmakers for years. They haven't been able to find a solution to that. So, they were able to find a solution there.
It is going to expand the background checks and enhance them for 18 to 21-year-olds, that very particular group that those youngest gun buyers, especially when it is considering these school shootings and who the suspects, who the shooters are in those situations, those 18 to 21-year-olds.
They are also going to incentivize states to put those juvenile records into a national database so that can be checked as these younger buyers are looking to buy guns. Additionally, they are going to have more people registering to become licensed firearm dealers. And they are also going to continue to -- they are going to put a ban in place on straw purchases and gun trafficking.
Don, a lot of people thought that probably already existed, it doesn't, and that will make a difference as well, as well as millions of dollars in mental health.
LEMON: Right. So, Jessica, House GOP leadership actively campaigned against this legislation. Did we see any House republicans defy leadership?
DEAN: Yeah, we saw 14 of them, 14 House Republicans who defied leadership on this. And, of course, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is coming out not only against this but he and his leadership team whipping against this bill, encouraging a "no" vote.
And then we did see these 14 Republican members of the House, including Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, and a lot of the familiar names at this point. Also, Congressman Tony Gonzales who, of course, represents Uvalde, his home district, is also bucking leadership and voting for this.
And it mirrors somewhat what we saw in the Senate where we saw 15 Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell, joining Democrat -- their Democratic colleagues and pushing this forward.
And, Don, it is worth noting the difference in leadership here. On the Senate side, McConnell not only voting for this but really having a hand in it, deputizing John Cornyn to go into negotiations on the Senate side. On the House side, you see Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team pushing against this, actively campaigning against it, and coming out hard voting against it, voting "no."
So, really, you do see that divide within the Republican Party.
LEMON: All right, Jessica Dean on Capitol Hill. Jessica, thank you very much.
Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. In cities across the country tonight, there are people in the streets, including, as you can see, at the Supreme Court in the nation's capital. Today, the court did what a leaked draft of a majority opinion suggested it would do. It overturned Roe v. Wade, taking away a national right to abortion after almost five decades.
The historic nature of today's 5-4 decision by the court's conservatives cannot be emphasized enough, in part because you do not see the court overturn precedence of this magnitude.