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Don Lemon Tonight
Protest Explode Over SCOTUS' Decision; Justices Lied During Confirmation; Women Looking For Other Options; Roe v. Wade A Main Factor For Voters; New York Welcomes Women Who Chose To Have Abortion; Stop The Steal Rally Leader Testified. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 24, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you so much for sticking me. I will be back here at 9 o'clock Monday night. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Sara Sidner, thank you very much. I appreciate that.
This is Don Lemon Tonight as the lady said.
You are looking at protests right now across the country. At least 70 planned, from coast to coast. Thousands of Americans taking to the streets in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade after almost half a century.
Three conservatives appointed to the court by then-President Donald Trump, who promised to nominate justices to overturn Roe, and now, a fundamental right -- the right to abortion -- is taken away ask and that has been upheld by generations of justices appointed by both Republican ask Democrats. A right millions of Americans had yesterday, and don't have today.
We are going to continue to follow these protests all across the country this evening, so make sure you stay tuned in the coming hours here on CNN.
Look at this map. Thirteen states already have trigger laws that would ban abortion. At least six went into effect as soon as the Supreme Court struck down Roe. The rest in a matter of days or weeks and at least one justice would like this to go further.
Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion, writing quote, "in future cases, we should consider all of this court substantive due process precedence, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell."
That means a court -- a court that says that there is no right to abortion could also take away more rights, like the right to birth control, the right to same-sex relationships, the right of gay couples to get married. Tonight, I'm going to talk with Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the
landmark case that legalized gay marriage nationwide. That's coming a bit later in this program. But listen to what the justices who voted to overturn Roe said during their confirmation hearings. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do not have a position to share with you here today on the proper, whether or not that was properly decided.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: The legitimacy of the court would be undermined if the court made a decision based on its perception of public opinion. It should make its decisions based on the Constitution and the law.
NEIL GORSUCH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: That's the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, Senator, yes.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By it, I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey, been reaffirmed many times.
AMY CONEY BARRETT, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: That is a case that's litigated. It could -- you know, its contours could come up again. In fact, do come up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, with so that being said, it's no surprise that confidence in the Supreme Court is at an all-time low. Just 25 percent of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the highest court in this land. The court, now more and more out of step with the majority of Americans, and how we live our lives every single day.
Just adding fuel to the fire of our political chaos. And it couldn't come at a worse time, as we reckon with stunning revelations from the January 6th hearings, and learn just how close we came to losing our democracy. Criminal investigations heating up. Much, much more to come on all of that tonight.
Thousands of people still out in the streets all across this country tonight, protesting the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is in Washington for us. Camila Bernal is in Los Angeles. Rosa Flores is in Houston.
Good evening to all of you. Donie, I am going to start with you. What are you seeing?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Hey, Don. Yes, we are out marching with demonstrators just on a loop around the city. They passed the Supreme Court a little earlier tonight went to Washington, D.C., walked through some streets where there were folks having Friday- evening dinner at restaurants. And now, they are heading back to the Supreme Court.
There have been hundreds -- thousands of demonstrators out on the street here all day. We were at the Supreme Court this morning when there was both pro and anti-abortion rights people there, some celebrations on the part of the anti-abortion side. But that has pretty much given way to just demonstrations this evening.
I spoke to a lot of people. Some people here who have been activists on the issue for decades, and others who are tourists who are visiting Washington who have come from states -- some states, like Missouri, which have those trigger laws. And they have, on their vacation, came to the court this morning as soon as that opinion dropped. Don?
LEMON: All right. Donie, I want you to stand by. Let's get to Camila Bernal now. Camila, you are in Los Angeles. What's happening there?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don, so we are currently in the middle of the highway. This is the 110 highway and this is where the highways split. So, this protest has actually stopped traffic right in the center of downtown Los Angeles. They have been protesting for about an hour or so. And it is a large group, of course, you know that L.A. traffic is already bad enough.
And so, this is kind of making it a lot worse and sending out this message, that this crowd is supporting abortion rights. And especially, here in the state of California, a lot of these people here say they are thankful to live in the state of California because this is a state that protects a woman's right to an abortion.
But they ever they are protesting and saying they are concerned about women in other states. They want more to be done outside of California. And they say they are not going to give up that their work here is ongoing.
I also spoke to someone who is on the other side of this issue, who is celebrating this decision but who told me, look, now in California, we have even more work to do because they don't want women from other states coming to California to get an abortion.
They call it an abortion vacation and they say they don't want their tax dollars to go towards that. So, you have, of course, both sides of the issue. The people here, supporting a woman's right to an abortion stopping traffic.
And of course, you see the signs, they are chanting. They are doing anything they can to call attention to this protest, Don. And as I mentioned, we are in the middle of downtown L.A., and we are stopping traffic because these people want to send this message. Don.
LEMON: All right. Camila, thanks for that. Donie is in D.C. Camila in Los Angeles. Now, I want to head to Houston where rosa Flores is. Rosa, Texas already bans most abortions at six weeks. What's the mood like where you are tonight? ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Don, here, there's been a
lot of pain, a lot of somber stories that have been shared by speakers. All of the protestors here are for abortion rights. And there's been many speakers -- many I women who have spoken and have said that they have either been raped or they have been abused or they have been in abusive relationships. And an abortion has saved their lives.
There is -- there was another woman who shared her story who said she was a cancer survivor -- that having an abortion saved her life. And then, there is also a lot of anger, a lot of rage, a lot of women saying that it is time for women in this country to stand up and do something about this.
I talked to several women who said that they woke up this morning crying. They spoke with their friends. They spoke with their parents about the emotions that they were feeling because of just how monumental this decision has been. And it will be for so many women in this country.
Don, Beto O'Rourke was here for more than an hour. He is the Democratic candidate for governor here in the state of Texas. He said that he was here to listen. He was not here to speak. He stood by a lot of the women that were telling their stories here. He did not make any comments. But he was here and he listened.
And many of the chants here in Houston have been about Governor Abbott with expletives about Governor Abbott, saying that -- like you mentioned -- just last year, the state of Texas passed a law that practically banned abortions. It banned abortion at the six-week mark, before many women even know that they're pregnant.
And so, a lot of emotions here today, Don, a lot of pain, a lot of rage, a lot of anger. A lot of women saying that, in the land of freedom, in the land of the free, women still have to fight for women's rights. Don?
LEMON: Yes. Rosa Flores, thank you very much. There are heated protests across the country. Again, most people in this country in support of abortion rights but there are some who are celebrating tonight. We are going to get to all of that.
But I want to bring in now CNN senior legal analyst, Laura Coates. Laura, good evening to you. Thank you so much for joining us.
As we watch these protests all across the country tonight, abortion now illegal in six states. More to come, obviously. What are the implications of overturning what was a constitutional right for women for 50 years?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, this morning, I woke up with certain rights and by the time I go to bed tonight, I will have less rights than my mother did, than my grandmother did, and my great grandmother did. And the idea the Supreme Court of the United States, normally when -- when they are trying to change a particular right or change the guardrails around it, they are expanding it. Now, they are taking it away.
And this is precedent that has been around for nearly half-a-century. People have relied upon it. It has been based on a notion of a fundamental right and right to privacy, the idea of being able to have agency over one's body, over the fetal viability line.
And now, the Supreme Court Justice Alito in the majority said that right should never have existed. It never should have been extended because that notion of abortion or a right to it was not part of a deeply-rooted part of our nation's history.
And under that same philosophy, Don, which is just pointed out, a number of other things could be put under that same umbrella, including same-sex marriage, including the right to contraception even in marriage, including same-sex relations. They all are premised on a similar right. The Supreme Court wants to sort of wall all those off and say no, no, we're just talking about abortion and that's just not how it will be interpreted, I believe, by future local and state legislatures.
LEMON: You know, it is clear, is it clear just how complicated this next phase could look like legally? The battle among states, the legal ramifications to women, to doctors, the extent to some of these bans, no exceptions in some cases for rape, incest, or even the health of the mother?
COATES: It's a legal nightmare, particularly for how you are going to enforce it. It's one thing to say you are going to outlaw abortion. But how are you going to criminalize it? In the sense of how will you prove that there has been an illegal abortion without trampling on other privacy-related rights? Doctor-patient privilege.
The idea of if the womb, so to speak, is the scene of the crime, how will you be able to prove it without being invasive of other rights? Will you subpoena menstruation cycle records? Fertility apps of some kind? Would you be interviewing patients to try to get to the doctors or receptionist or somebody?
If it's an interstate issue, one person who tries to aid somebody where abortion is legal, helping somebody to place it's not. There is a lot of interstate conflict, as well. And then, in terms of Congress, Don, I mean, the president was right. He is limited in what he can do in terms of the executive orders but Congress is limited until they have enough buy-in from Republicans and Democrats to try either overcome the filibuster or amend it to make an exception for abortion to have a codification of Roe v. Wade.
And we've already seen it's possible to raise the debt ceiling and have that. It's possible to do start talking about Supreme Court justices. Will they make it possible for Roe v. Wade is the million- dollar question.
LEMON: Laura Coates. Laura, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I want to bring in now, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Her state last year overturned a zombie law, a decades-old abortion ban. Now, people from other states are coming to New Mexico to get abortions. Governor, welcome. Thanks for joining us.
GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM, NEW MEXICO: Thank you, Don. Nice to be on the show.
LEMON: So, for the first time in 50 years, daughters, granddaughters are going to have fewer rights in the United States than the generation before them, as Laura Coates just pointed out in -- in our conversation before. Is that sinking in tonight? Do you think people understand the magnitude of this change?
GRISHAM: I do. And certainly, as you were highlighting the many protests going on around the country, there was a rally that I just attended in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with hundreds, it was (Inaudible) so get to thousands of women and their families and partners and they are bringing their children.
And it is not lost on them that these decisions are including now expanding access and protections for gun owners. You have got Citizens United that it's protects free -- freedom of speech through monetary giving to corporation. So, we are going in the opposite direction in terms of protecting equal rights for women in every aspect.
And not having the same rights as my mother and my grandmother is so chilling, it's hard frankly to say out loud. But I think this is more than just a debate for today. I think you are going to see women and their families motivated. And we're motivated not just for ourselves, but for the next generation of women who are depending on us to get this right.
LEMON: I wonder why -- I have been wondering about that and asking, you know, you know, when I have guests like you on. If -- if it's going to be a motivating factor. Perhaps, it could be a suppressing factor or maybe not at all. Maybe people will just stay home because you -- who knows? But do you really think it's going to motivate people to go to the polls or to become politically involved?
GRISHAM: Well, I'll tell you, Don, I am going -- I am going to treat it as such. You bet. This is a state that has long fought for equal rights. We're a very poor state --
LEMON: Let me ask you this way, Governor, not to interrupt. Let me ask it this way. Do you think that this will backfire for Republicans?
GRISHAM: I think it will and it deserves to. This is not how you build a democracy. This is how you rip it apart. And for many women and their families, to have equal protections under the law, and basically having Justice Thomas declare that everything now is -- can be revisited. That there are no precedents that you can rely on, I think is a message to voters that this is not just a single issue anymore. Not even a moral debate.
The democracy, in fact, by virtue of the politicization of this and related issues is now a call to action to save the democracy. And you think that the insurrection would be enough but I think this is the tipping point today with the (Inaudible).
LEMON: So, it's interesting because you said that New Mexico has already seen an influx of people seeking abortions from other states. Texas had recently banned most abortions after six weeks. Are you expecting a bigger influx now?
GRISHAM: We are. We are seeing it. We already have folks from Texas coming to New Mexico. Volunteers and quite frankly, religious organizations who are supporting that, you know, the religious coalition for reproductive justice coordinating those efforts because this is a state that believes in protecting all women. But it is also an access issue.
As you have nearly with all of the potential bans, current ban, all the sort of tipping laws in the mix, you'd have half the country looking for access to abortion. That a unique position for every state. I think every Democratic governor is standing up all their provider and access issues. We're readying, if you will.
That is also, I think, sort of part of this dilemma. Can we all assure equal access in fewer than half the states? And the answer is, not unless we do something about Roe v. Wade and get it codified across the country.
LEMON: Governor --
GRISHAM: That's the only way --
LEMON: -- we really appreciate you joining us this evening. Thank you so much. I appreciate you, your perspective and your time.
GRISHAM: Don, thank you for having me today.
GRISHAM: Thank you.
LEMON: So, Republicans got what they wanted. What they have wanted really for decades -- for decades, a conservative majority court that would overturn Roe v. Wade but are they ready for the political consequences of taking away a right Americans have had for nearly 50 years?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they are all on a ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So overturning Roe v. Aide has been a major goal of the Republican Party for decades and a winning strategy really for GOP candidates and with today's landmark decision, that goal is now accomplished. But it comes with real consequences, as I mentioned earlier, at least 13 states have so-called trigger laws, anti-abortion laws that take effect today or in the days to follow.
I want to discuss now with CNN political commentators, Alice Stewart and Ashley Allison. Good evening to both of you. Thanks for joining.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don,
LEMON: Alice, you know, anti-abortion Republicans have wanted this for years and today the day came. But do you think they are prepared for the political ramifications of finally getting what you want when it's something that the majority of the country does not want?
STEWART: Well, pro-life Republicans have been fighting this ever since Roe was first enacted nearly 50 years ago. And yes, they have begun -- as soon as this was announced today, they left the steps of the state capitol, in part because they were being threatened by the pro-choice advocates but they left and immediately began the next step, which is working to elect and enact legislation on the state level that further solidifies the pro -- pro-life issue. And they are working to put officials at the state level that will continue the work that has been done with regard to protecting the sanctity of life.
Look, pro-life advocates understand this was the right decision by the courts. Justice Alito said Roe was wrong and egregious from the very start and it's time to put this back in the hands of elected representatives and that is exactly what happened here.
This took the important policy issue of abortion out of the hands of un-elected justices and put it in the hands of elected officials, and a decision like this and choices like this are best served for the people, by people that are closest to the people.
LEMON: Ashley, I want you to respond to what Alice said.
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Justice Alito, first of all, lied. All the justices that helped overturn this 50-year precedent in their confirmation hearings lied. So, they were not honest and truthful. Second, we know -- today, I was on calls all day with voters, activists, organizers. A lot were upset. A lot were sad and felt gutted because this is a very sad day in our country.
But the other thing that I definitely heard was determination. So, while those lawmakers today may be doing all they can to codify and make sure that abortion is illegal. Voters are mobilizing, and I am confident they will lose their seat. Not just in Congress. Not just in the Senate. But in governors' races, state legislature races, city council races. This country does not want to go back to a time when women do not have
bodily autonomy, and choices over their body. It is a matter of privacy. It is a matter -- it was a matter of law. And they gutted it. And I think they will pay severe consequences.
Sure, the pro-life movement can think it's the right decision. But the pro-life movement is not a part of the majority of Americans and what we want and in -- in November, they will have to pay for their consequences.
LEMON: Well, that gets to the heart of the question that I -- I asked you early, Alice. You know, just before this because there is a new CNN poll -- not a new poll but a CNN poll -- it's from May and it shows that 66 percent of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. You heard what Ashley just said.
The former president, as well, is calling, you know, this the biggest win for -- for life in a generation. But Maggie Haberman of the New York Times is reporting that Trump has been privately warning that overturning Roe would be bad for the Republican Party, reportedly said it would anger suburban women.
There are many independents and even Republicans who don't support this decision. So, again, same question but a different -- I am posing it a different way. Do you think Republicans are going to pay a price for that?
STEWART: Well, look, if he truly felt that way, he would not have been so vocal and so adamant about appointing the justices that he appointed to the Supreme Court, that -- the -- the goal and the hope was for this day that we had today for them to overturn Roe v. Wade. And look -- look --
LEMON: But to the heart of what he said, though, but not -- I understand what you said -- but to the heart of -- do you think it is going to anger Republican women? Because there are Republican women who support the right to choose. There are independent -- lots of independent women or not just women but, you know, all -- people all across the country, do you think Republicans are going to pay the price come November of 2022 and November of 2024?
STEWART: I truly don't, Don, because Republicans have been fighting for this day for decades. And look, this is going to mobilize people on both sides --
LEMON: I'm sorry, I meant suburban women, I said Republican women. I'm sorry. Go on.
STEWART: This is going to mobilize people on both sides. Ashley is completely right. The pro-choice community is pissed, they are angry, they are hurt. They are going to galvanize and they are going to organize and they are going to turn out the vote.
But at the same time, Republicans will do the same thing. Pro -- pro- life conservatives will do so. And the latest CNN poll that we've also had with regard to the motivation and the enthusiasm for registered voters, Republicans have a three-point greater enthusiasm for voters than Democrats. So, that also is going to turn out Republican voters.
Look, this is something that has been unifying conservatives for years and we have had an eye not just on the pro-life issues, but on appointing justices on the state and federal and the U.S. Supreme Court. This has been a big issue for Republicans. I've worked on every presidential campaign I've worked on -- we have talked about this. Democrats have not. They -- they did not --
LEMON: Well, that's what --
STEWART: They did not acknowledge ask didn't notice the value and importance of this.
LEMON: Let me get to Alice -- to Ashley because I want to ask you that question. Listen, there are many people who support the right to choose who are angry at Democrats. And say that Democrats have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to the second amendment, when it comes to Roe v. Wade and the right for -- for -- when it comes to the right to vote, as well.
Why are Democrats, who are the majority -- or in the majority in the House and the Senate and the White House and -- and even in the country, Democrats and independents, why is this happening? Is there -- do you think Democrats your own party is to blame for this? Or bear some responsibility for this?
ALLISON: Look, I think we have to do a better job with engaging voters not just in one election cycle but in every single cycle. We keep saying that this is an issue and a plan that has been a part of the Republican strategy for 20 years.
So, when I think about that, I think about 2004 when George W. Bush ran on partial birth abortions. Now, he never did anything actually in his term on policy about it but you know what he did do? In 2005, he got Justice Roberts and in 2006, he got Justice Alito. And they were the ones for years, plotting for this moment right now. So, in November, I think --
LEMON: But Ashley, but Ashley, hang on, Ashley.
LEMON: That's my point, though. You are talking about what Republicans did --
ALLISON: I get -- LEMON: -- but what did Democrats do or not do?
ALLISON: We have to remain consistent. And we do have the majority but we also know that the rules of the Senate, even though we have a majority, the filibuster blocks it. So, we need to abolish the filibuster, and move this bill to codify --
LEMON: But the filibuster is there when Republicans are in charge, as well.
ALLISON: And they will change the laws, too. That's the thing is that Republican justices lie when they get confirmed, and they will change the law when they have power. And I do think Democrats need to act and do whatever they can to pass gun reform. I'm glad to see the bill last night. Whatever they need to do to pass and codify Roe.
We, people, are outraged. And one thing I will just say is this is not just about a woman's right to choose. It is very clear, and people should take note, they are coming for everyone. If you are not a white, conservative male, they want to take your rights away. This time, it's abortion. Next time, it will be marriage equality. The next time, they have already done voting rights.
Every right we have fought so hard for is at stake right now and they have written the playbook in their concurring opinion and in their opinion today. So, voters need to take note. It has to be a continuous engagement and we need to elect people who will be bold and who will remove the laws that prevent us to move this country forward where the majority of the people want it actually to be.
LEMON: Well, you know what? I've got to -- I have got to run, Alice. But --
STEWART: Don, it's important to point out that that's not factually accurate. Justice Alito said this ruling pertains only to abortion, not any of the other privacy, constitutionally protective --
LEMON: But you know --
STEWART: -- portions of --
ALLISON: Read the concurring opinion.
LEMON: But you saw -- did you read the concurring opinion from -- from Justice Clarence Thomas?
STEWART: Yes. From Thomas. I certainly did. LEMON: And those -- and those who supported what happened today have
been saying or had said all along, there is no way they are going to go for same-sex marriage. There is no way they are going to do that, or this or that. And Clarence Thomas is saying exactly that -- exactly what people who support the right to choose have been saying. If we give up this right, they are going to go for the other thing and Clarence Thomas seems to be saying that. Not seems to be saying that, he is saying that.
ALLISON: He is saying it.
STEWART: Well, and Alito said that's absolutely not the case because those protective rights --
LEMON: But this is not Alito's court anymore, you know that, Alice.
ALLISON: He also said it wasn't the case that he would overturn 50 years of precedent and he lied.
LEMON: Alice, whose court is it? is it Alito or is it Thomas?
STEWART: The point is, is that he was one that the lead voice on this and said that the other privacy-protected rights do not affect the life of a human being. An abortion does and that is why this is separate.
STEWART: It's not -- not in the same constitutionally protected area as abortion is.
LEMON: Yes. We have to remember this is --
ALLISON: Don, I just got to say we can't take their word. They lied in their confirmation hearing and they will lie in these opinions that they write. Everyone's rights are at stake. We need to wake up. We need to vote not in '22, not just in '22, '24, and for more elections to come.
LEMON: Thank you all. Look, this is an abortion case right now. We'll see what's to come and I do have to say coming up a little bit later on at 11 o'clock, we have Jim Obergefell who actually helped to get same sex marriage right by suing the government or what have you, by challenging it, will be on this program. Thank you, Ashley. Thank you, Alice. I appreciate it.
STEWART: Thanks, Don. Thanks, Alice.
ALLISON: Thanks, Don. LEMON: New York attorney general says the state will be a safe haven for anyone wanting an abortion. She speaks out from a protest, right after this.
LEMON: So, we are talking about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade today. Just a day after another law was struck down, the New York law focusing on concealed carry permits. The New York Attorney General, Letitia James calling today, quote, "one of the darkest moments in the history of this nation."
She joined me earlier from a rally in New York City's Washington Square Park for people supporting abortion rights. Here it is.
LEMON: Attorney General James, thanks so much for joining us. What is your reaction to this decision from the Supreme Court today?
LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm disappointed and I'm disgusted, which is why I am here in Washington Square Park with thousands of individuals, individuals who are outraged and ready to take action, individuals who are excited about voting.
Individuals who are excited about the fact that New York state will still -- has the right to free and a safe apportion in this state and we welcome individuals from other states, particularly Republican states, who unfortunately right now, as a result of trigger laws will criminalize abortion even in the case of rape and incest. But New York -- New York state is ready for the influx of individuals coming here for a safe abortion.
LEMON: So, considering your answer, you said something similar earlier. You said that New York State will always be a safe haven for anyone seeking an abortion. How will your office protect this right?
JAMES: So, in anticipation of this decision, when it was a leaked decision, he organized 20 major law firms in New York state, in addition to that, we organized advocates and we have organized medical professionals. And so, we will not bow, we will not break. We are ready to stand up and fight back. And the best way to fight back now is, one, to organize and, two, to vote.
It's really critically important that individuals understand that this was a political decision and the only way to respond to a political decision is with a political response. And the best response is to vote. Vote out individuals who do not believe in a woman's right to choose. Vote for individuals who believe that the equal rights amendment should apply to women.
Vote for individuals and elected officials who recognize that we have a country which is at war with itself. And women who have depended upon 50 years of precedent -- 50 years of precedent, we have relied upon, it's really, critically important that individuals understand when you go out to vote, this is a harmful, harmful decision which will jeopardize the lives of primarily poor and women of color all throughout this country.
LEMON: This ruling coming after the Supreme Court yesterday struck down a New York law that limits carrying a concealed handgun outside the home. What are you and other New York officials and lawmakers going to do in response to that?
JAMES: In the last 48 hours, the United States Supreme Court has upended the lives of Americans and New Yorkers and again it represents a threat. And what we are doing, the governor of the state of New York has called a special session and, in the days, to come, what we will do is pass legislation, which will pass constitutional muster that will protect the rights of New Yorkers and keep them in harm -- keep them away from harm.
LEMON: Do you believe the state will be able to pass laws to safely regulate guns, Attorney General?
JAMES: Yes, I -- we've already had discussions with the governor's office, as well as with leaders of the state legislature. And we believe that we will pass laws that will protect individuals at a time when the United States Supreme Court and others, unfortunately, are following the lead of -- of the gun lobby.
It's really critically important that individuals understand that the second amendment is not absolute. And that we are going to pass reasonable restrictions on the right to carry guns in New York state, and that this is not open season on the right to carry guns in our city and in our state.
As a chief law enforcement officer of New York state, I promise that I will keep New Yorkers safe. And I will defend the Constitution, and I will defend the woman's right to choose each and every day. We are ready. We will not bow. We will not break. We will stand up and fight back.
LEMON: Congress has -- did pass the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades. It includes $750 million for crisis- intervention programs, closes the boyfriend loophole which deals with whether unmarried partners could have guns if they were found guilty of violence against a dating partner. And it requires more gun sellers to register as federally-licensed firearm dealers, which that would mean more background checks. Will this make New Yorkers safer?
JAMES: So, it's a step in the right direction. It's a bipartisan compromise. But it's a step in the right direction, and I am confident, with the work of Congress and the work that we are doing here in New York, we will continue to keep New Yorkers safe.
Again, it is not open season here in the state of New York to carry guns on the street of New York City. And I stand with law enforcement offices all across the state of New York to let individuals know that, if individuals carry guns, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
LEMON: Attorney general --
JAMES: We will designate spaces that are safe.
LEMON: Attorney General James, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.
JAMES: Thank you. I appreciate you.
LEMON: He is testifying behind closed doors at a federal grand jury. What the DOJ wants from the leader of the Stop the Steal movement. That's next.
LEMON: New tonight on CNN, the leader of the Stop the Steal group Ali Alexander testifying before a federal grand jury.
Let's get right to CNN's Evan Perez who has more. Evan, good evening to you. What do we know about Alexander's testimony?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we know he was in there for four hours and really, you know, he is the highest- profile person who was involved in -- in these efforts in these rallies around January 6th that has made an appearance before this criminal-grand jury.
And what it tells us is that, you know, this investigation that the Justice Department has going, sprawling investigation is intensifying. And you know, in his -- in his case, he acknowledged that he was there. Our cameras caught him in going in, by the way. But you know, he, afterwards said that he told the grand jury that he committed no crimes, and that he witnessed no one committing any crimes, you know, during the election or on January 6th.
But, look, I mean, what this tells us is, you know, he was an important guy because he was in touch with so many people, including people on the campaign and people in Trump's family in those days, those key days around January 6th.
LEMON: There is also, there is some more news in the other investigations related to election conspiracy. What do you know, Evan?
PEREZ: Well, we know that there were some witnesses, there were at least four witnesses that were brought before the -- in -- in the Fulton -- in the investigation down in Atlanta run by the Fulton County district attorney. And they were being asked about Rudy Giuliani and the fact that in December 2020, he appeared before a state committee there, Don.
And the question that is being asked, at least by the district attorney, is whether Rudy Giuliani, in his efforts to overturn the Georgia' election results, whether he committed any crimes. That could be making false statements as part of his efforts to throw out the election results in Georgia. Whether, you know, there was an effort to solicitation of election fraud.
Those are the questions that are being asked and again, there are about four witnesses that we know of that have appeared there as part of that investigation, and you know, we don't know whether this -- where there is going. But clearly, Rudy Giuliani's efforts there in Georgia are being -- being scrutinized by the D.A. in Georgia. And it comes of course, Don, as the Justice Department's investigation into those very efforts are also intensifying.
Evan Perez in Washington. Evan, thank you very much.
Lots of new revelations about the then president and his allies' attempts to overturn the election but does any of it amount to criminal behavior? We ever going to talk about that next.
LEMON: The leader of the Stop the Steal group testifying to a federal grand jury today. Plus, Trump DOJ officials detailing the former president's pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 election.
Former U.S. attorney Harry Litman is here to break it down for us. Harry, good evening. Good to see you again.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, the Stop the Steal leader his name is Ali Alexander, testifying to a federal grand jury today. What does that tell you about the DOJ investigation into January 6th, if anything?
LITMAN: Things are get -- yes, it does. Things are getting wider and wider away from the actual conflagration of June 6th than more toward the activity before where he was deeply involved. He was also a player with the sort of shadow group. Roger Stone, Mike Flynn who may potentially serve as a bridge to the people in the White House.
LEMON: This week from the January 6th committee, we heard from the top Justice Department officials all conservative Republicans, all appointed by Trump. Was yesterday's hearing a personal indictment of the former president and how important was it in the case that the committee is making to the American people.
LITMAN: Well, for my money it was the most important because it showed the nearest scrape, closest we've come to an actual coup because it wouldn't have taken much if he had been able to work his will on his stodge that he wanted to install. It could have rolled the dominos in different states and it could have resulted in January 6th with Trump being reelected that would have meant the end of the democracy. LEMON: Harry, thank you. Our time is short. We were covering the
protests earlier so we'll have you back and give you a little more time. Thank you. I appreciate you joining.
LITMAN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade leaving millions of American women's health in the hands of individual states. Stay with us.
LEMON: A stunning decision by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade taking away the federal right to an abortion, the court upsetting 50 years of legal precedent. The conservative majority writing in its opinion, and I quote, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start and that it must be overruled."
The impact is immediate. At least 13 states have trigger laws that ban abortion now and in the coming days and weeks, the decision sparking protests around the country.
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is in Washington. Camila Bernal is in Los Angeles. Good evening to both of you. I'm going to start with you, Donie. What are you seeing?
SULLIVAN: Yes, Don, what a day it has been here in Washington, D.C. It's about almost exactly 13 hours since that historic decision, news of that broke and the U.S. and all around the world.
We've seen thousands of demonstrators pass through this area outside the Supreme Court today.