Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

The January 6 Committee Announces Surprise Hearing For Tuesday; Multiple States Move Quickly To Ban Abortion After Roe Over Overturned; Colorado Voters Go To Polls Tomorrow, Two Election Deniers On Ballot; Chaos, Confusion Amid New Patchwork Of Abortion Bans Across U.S.; Officials: 46 Migrants Found Dead Inside Semi-Truck In Texas. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 27, 2022 - 23:00   ET



RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The committee is doing nothing to downplay those expectations.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Come on, Ryan, I know you know something. Tell us. Who is it?


NOBLES: We have an idea of who it may be, Don, but we're not ready to report it quite yet.

LEMON: You're serious? You do have an idea.

NOBLES: Well, there -- you know, there is -- there is some reporting out there that we are -- that CNN is not ready to confirm as of yet. But, you know, suffice to say that we know that the committee has had conversations with individuals who had a very close working relationship with high-level members of the administration, that their testimony is already proven to be a very important part of the committee's investigation, and that some of these individuals we've already seen through part of their video depositions.

So there is the distinct possibility that it could be someone in that realm. Again, we are still attempting to try and figure out and nail down exactly who this testimony is.

You know, Don, they have been so careful to not release this information. Even high-level staffers, you know, people that have very close relationships with the actual members of the committee themselves, have not been looped in on this because they want to keep this information as quiet as possible. We are working to try and get it confirmed. When we do, Don, you will be one of the first to know.

LEMON: I was just joking around with you about you know something but apparently you do know something.

NOBLES: Don, we are always reporting.

LEMON: Yes. NOBLES: We are always reporting.

LEMON: I know.

NOBLES: You know that.

LEMON: You are always on top of it. Ryan Nobles, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

NOBLES: Thank you.

LEMON: See you soon.

NOBLES: All right.

LEMON: So we are now just hours away from that surprise hearing the January 6 Committee has slated for tomorrow. Let's get right to CNN's senior legal analyst, Preet Bharara, and also the former U.S. attorney, Doug Jones. Good evening. Senator, I should say. I don't know why I said attorney but anyways.


LEMON: You are an attorney, are you?


LEMON: Yeah, I was going so say --

JONES: Absolutely. Both.

LEMON: There you go. I was right. I was right. So, I shouldn't have corrected myself. Thank you both for joining.

Preet, CNN has learned the committee is concerned about the security of a potential witness ahead of tomorrow's hearing. You heard Ryan talk about that just moments ago. You have been following this investigation closely. Do you think that there must be a serious risk to whoever may be testifying tomorrow?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yeah, that may be. There is a lot of tension and strong feelings about the hearings, and people have different sides. And we have seen throughout the course of the first number of hearings that most of the people who are testifying are folks who are Republicans, who are in Trump's orbit, who will make people very upset and angry up to and including the former president of the United States if they testify truthfully.

Now, there may be some other reasons why they are trying to keep this secret. You want to maximize the news effect and you want to maximize the surprise effect.

If it's the case that someone who is in the Trump camp is the person testifying and is going to be saying things that will upset her former employer or employers, then you want to make sure that you give that person every ability to sort of sit with their own thoughts and recollections without being hampered by people trying to talk them out of it or getting a case of the nerves or cold feet.

So, you know, aside from, you know, pure security matters, I think prudence dictates that you want to keep this as secret as long as possible, especially if the testimony is going sensational as the committee seems to be signalling that it will be.

LEMON: Senator, the committee held two blockbuster hearings last week on Trump's efforts to pressure local officials and the DOJ to overturn the election and, of course, the effort to pressure the vice president, Mike Pence. And now we have this mystery hearing tomorrow. Is this about keeping that momentum going? What do you think is happening here?

JONES: Well, it seems clearly that that's part of it. I mean, they decided that they were going to wait until after the July 4th recess, which would have been the next hearing sometime in the middle of July. But, you know, at some point, there comes a time when you look and you see this new evidence. And I think Preet will tell you -- I mean, it's not unusual for hearings like this, grand jury investigations, whatever.

When people see other witnesses coming forward, they get a little bit emboldened, they get -- in some cases, they may get a little bit concerned because they may have had some involvement that they didn't really think might be a problem, and all of a sudden when they start connecting the dots, they think they may have a problem. So, that's one thing, they could get emboldened.

So, I don't think it's unusual at all to see witnesses come forward in the middle of a hearing like this. I think, clearly, this is something really important that the committee believes -- they are going to continue to put these pieces of the puzzle together, connect these dots, and to make sure that their momentum is going -- they have done an amazing job of telling a story in a very factual matter-of-fact way, and I think that they want to continue that and not have a two or three-week lull when the news gets on something else, and they can continue to make sure that the American public knows and fully understands what happened before, during, and after January 6th.

LEMON: Preet, let's talk more about some of Ryan's reporting here. The federal agents are seizing the phone of former President Trump's election attorney, John Eastman, last week.


That is a high bar, to get permission to take that phone and stop him in front -- you know, in front of a restaurant. What would investigators be looking for?

BHARARA: Well, you know, it's unclear to me at this moment if this is largely or purely an investigation relating to the office of the inspector general that looks at the propriety of conduct on the part of people at the department, sometimes merely issues reports, looks at issues of waste, fraud, and abuse, or if it's also, or in addition to that, what we have all been looking for, a high-level investigation by the FBI and in particular U.S. attorney's office into the events surrounding the insurrection. So, it's not clear.

It is a very high bar in particular because this person not only purported to represent, you know, another person, but that person was the former president of the United States. And there are all sorts of precautions you need to take and permissions you need to get and clearance that you need to secure in order to conduct that kind of a search.

I also don't think that the fruits of labor will be immediately known as we have seen in other cases involving Michael Cohen and others who are -- you know, practicing lawyers who have claims of privilege, whose devices have been taken, Rudy Giuliani also, for example.

It takes some time to figure out a way to make sure that prosecutors and investigators don't get access to attorney/client privileged information. So, that takes time. I think it's a very significant step but unclear at this moment precisely what it means.

LEMON: Andrew McCabe was on earlier and he talked about I guess the file number or the case number. It was something that was -- that led him to believe that there was something other than what, you know, might be the standard sort of investigation because of that. Do you -- did you see that segment? Did you understand that?

BHARARA: I didn't see file number.


BHARARA: I wasn't fed the file number.

LEMON: There was something about filing number --

BHARARA: I defer to Andy on that.

LEMON: Yeah, led him to believe that it was, you know, had something to do with either an inspector general or the FBI. That was something that was unusual. I found it fascinating. I will get clarification from him.

Senator, let us talk. I remember the committee showed testimony from RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, saying that Trump called her as part of the effort to use fake electors, and then Trump passed the phone to John Eastman. Listen to this.


RONNA ROMNEY MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: He turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the states. I think more just helping them reach out and assemble them. But my understanding is the campaign did take the lead and we just were helping them in that -- in that role.


LEMON: So what does it mean if Eastman was acting at Trump's direction and how do investigators figure that out?

JONES: Well, Don, remember, you know, this -- all this information about -- I say all the information -- the information generally about fake electors has been out there for a long time. I don't think this is an expansion of an FBI or DOJ investigation. I think it's just a next step.

And, again, every investigation they are putting pieces of a puzzle together and trying to connect everything to each other. They are connecting the former president to John Eastman. I think that these phone calls, text messages, whatever is on his phone that they -- they believe that there is some connection there to other individuals, whether it's the former president, it could be the wife of a Supreme Court justice. We don't know just yet.

But the fact of the matter is all of this information is going in to be assimilate by the FBI because there is clearly, clearly a potential out there at the time that an entirely new set of election -- electors in different states was going to be submitted to the vice president of the United States in order to try to get him to certify as the appropriately elected electors -- electors that were never elected. And that is -- I think that is a really problematic thing for Eastman and a number of individuals because that seems to the kind of false statement, the kind of obstruction that DOJ is looking at in this criminal activity.

LEMON: All right, Preet, Doug, thank you very much.

BHARARA: Can I make another point?

LEMON: Yeah, go ahead.


LEMON: Go ahead. Go on.

BHARARA: I was just going to say, Eastman is a very significant figure for another reason, he is a contrast to Donald Trump. One of the things we have been talking about and speculating about is how are you going to prove that Donald Trump knew that the claim of the false election was sincerely held, right?

John Eastman is someone we know from conversations that have reported and that have revealed. He understood that some of the plan that he was advocating might violate the Electoral Count Act. He understood and has revealed to other people that with respect to the arguments to he was making, that it would probably fail at one point.


He said 7-2 in the Supreme Court and then he finally admitted 9-0 in the Supreme Court. So, he is a person about whom we know had real knowledge that he was pushing B.S. And to the extent you can connect Eastman's knowledge and his understanding and his state of mind to Trump's, if there were those communications, you get a little bit closer to showing that Trump also understood that what he was doing was false and fraudulent and not sincere, and that goes a long way to proving his mental state.

LEMON: All right. Thanks, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Again, we will see you tomorrow. We'll know who it is tomorrow.

BHARARA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: We will turn now to our other top story tonight, chaos and confusion across the U.S. with multiple states banning abortions after the Supreme Court ruling, overturning Roe v. Wade.

CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins me now. Ron, hello, sir.


LEMON: There is a lot of confusion. I mean, that is quite sure. The Supreme Court's ruling is, you know, illustrating the deep cultural divide in our country and it is much bigger even than this huge decision. Explain how that is.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Look, I mean, you know, if you look at the 20,000 foot level, the story of the middle decades, the 20th century, broadly speaking, was of convergence between what we now think of as the red states and the blue states both in terms of the outcomes, the economic opportunity, the people had living in them, but even more importantly, in harmonizing the rights that were available to people in every state.

I mean, we saw beginning with Brown versus Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the 60s, all of those landmark Supreme Court decisions.

(INAUDIBLE) with Jeffrey Toobin on contraception, interracial marriage, and one man, one vote, and, of course, abortion, basically reduced the ability of states to restrict the rights available to their citizens and establish more of a common floor of rights that were available to everyone everywhere.

We are clearly now moving into the opposite direction. As I have written, I think what we are watching is a systematic effort to reverse and erase the rights revolution of the past six decades. You have a three-step process. You have the Supreme Court pulling the rug out or rescinding a national right. We see it with the Voting Rights Act. Now, we are seeing it with abortion, maybe in the future on same- sex marriage. Then you have red states rushing through that gap to roll back the right in law.

And then finally, you have Republicans in the Senate wielding the filibuster to prevent Democrats from restoring that right through national legislation.

People forget the House has already passed legislation to codify Roe, to establish nationwide LGBTQ rights that would override a lot of what the states are doing, and to establish a national for voting rights that would override what a lot of the states are doing.

All of those have been blocked in the Senate by the filibuster and we may see the same act repeated in the next few weeks if the House, in fact, votes to codify rights like same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, and contraception.

LEMON: This is what you write, a new piece in "The Atlantic." You say -- part of what you write. You said, what is becoming clear over time is that the Trump-era GOP is hoping to use its electoral dominance of the red states, small small-slate bias in the Electoral College and Senate, and the GOP-appointed majority of the Supreme Court to impose its economic and social model on the entire nation - with or without majority public support.

How long do you expect this to last?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, I think the 2020s are going to be the most difficult decade for the country since the 1850s. You know, what we're describing -- what we've just describing, what we're watching in all of these red states that are banning abortion, making it tougher to vote, making it easier to ban books, classroom censorship, rolling back LGBTQ rights, that is a great divergence. That is a reversal of what we have seen over the last 60 years in the rights revolution.

I believe that is only the way station and that the goal is to impose the red state values and laws on the blue states as well. You see Mike Pence saying they want a national law to ban abortion everywhere. I suspect you will see laws to prevent the teaching of race and gender --

LEMON: Wait, Ron, I thought they said that they wanted to send it back to the states because the states should be deciding these things.


LEMON: Why would they want to have a federal ban then if it's the states that they are trying to get to?

BROWNSTEIN: Because -- I mean -- because I think the -- you know, you could see it in the Supreme Court, right? The Supreme Court on the one hand is saying that blue states have to be prevented from infringing on rights that conservatives prized like gun ownership and religious liberty in these cases today in Washington and the New York case.

And on the other hand, we are going to empower, we are going to authorize the red states to infringe on rights that liberals prized like abortion and voting and potentially the others that Clarence Thomas threatened in his concurrence. And I think the same is true at the Senate in the Congress.


I mean, the end -- you know, I wrote in that story that if you think about the south during the era of Jim Crow, it's -- political priority at the federal level was primarily defensive. It was to keep the federal government from overturning segregation in their states. They weren't trying to export it, segregation, to California or New York.

What we are watching is more like the south in the 1850s when the goal was offensive, was to expand slavery into more states, including potentially the free-states who imposed their system on the whole country.

And as I said in the story, I think the Trump -- the Trump movement is more like John Calhoun and Richard Russell. It envisions bringing this vision of America to all of America and with or without majority support. And, of course, that's where it fits in to the entire investigation that's underway with the January 6 Committee, by any means necessary, moving forward this agenda on the grounds, that it represents the real America, you know, the kind of America deeply rooted in our history and tradition.

I mean, the court is taking this idea to a literal extreme by essentially saying that if it was not in law in the 1860s, then it's not protected under the Constitution today.

LEMON: Oh, boy. There is so much to talk about that and say, but I got to run. I got to run because I got breaking news. I got to get to a break. The secret witness -- thank you, Ron. The secret witness, I've got a name for you, you know who it is, right after this.




LEMON: So, as I said on the other side of the break, this is just in to CNN. This is news about tomorrow's January 6 Committee hearing. CNN's Ryan Nobles is back with us. Ryan, I was asking you just a few minutes ago if you knew who was going to be testifying, the surprise witness. You said you were working on reporting and, well, true to your word, you have it. What is it?

NOBLES: Yeah, that's right, Don. CNN can confirm that Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a former aide to the former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, will be the surprise witness at tomorrow's January 6th hearing, which is going to take place tomorrow at 1:00 Eastern time.

I do want to give credit to our colleagues at "Punchbowl News." They were the first to break this. We were able to quickly confirm it and we had been chasing this news all day today.

Hutchinson is a significant figure, Don. As I alluded to you in our report earlier before we were officially able to nail down Hutchinson as the witness, this is someone who we've already from as part of these hearings. She has shown up. Video clips of her have shown up from her closed-door depositions that have took place with the committee where she has talked about the things that she learned as being someone that was in very close proximity to Mark Meadows after the election and leading up to the events of January 6th.

If you are trying to place her, the most obvious place would be that she was the witness who detailed that list of Republican lawmakers who saw pardons through the Trump administration in the closing days of their time in the White House. So, she is significant.

The other thing we know, too, about her, Don, two really important things that I think are important and could lend some information about just how revealing she may be in her testimony tomorrow. First off, she went back to the committee on multiple occasions. She would go in for a closed door interview, she would reveal information that she learned, and then she volunteered actually to come back and speak to investigators when she thought of other details or able to put together certain pieces of information as part of what they were learning about.

And then secondly, she changed attorneys just in the last month. She was aligned with an attorney that was closer to the Trump orbit, to the Trump world and figures in the Trump world, and she is with a new attorney who many legal experts thought may be someone that was putting her in a position to be more revealing with the committee and provide information that they were looking for.

So those details in particular really lend to the fact that she could be a very, very important witness and reveal information that we have not learned up until this point.

LEMON: Ryan Nobles, thank you very much. Significant news. We appreciate that.

I want to bring in now CNN political commentator Alice Stewart and Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA and former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Thank you both for joining. I really appreciate it.

Alice, before we get to -- we are going to talk about Roe and other political news. Let's talk about Cassidy Hutchinson, the significance of Cassidy Hutchinson testifying tomorrow.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: She is very close to, you know, the heartbeat of the presidency. And being with Mark Meadows, she knows where all the skeletons are buried.

You have to remember what we've heard about Mark Meadow's involvement in this. So many people were texting him on January 6th, saying, tell him to stop, tell him to stop, and also have him acknowledge that President Trump lost the election. She will have inside information on that.

And hearing today through different sources, people I've talked with, the security has been heightened. That leads you to believe she is providing information that might be unwelcomed by the previous administration.

And to Ryan's point, her getting rid of her previous legal counsel and seeking other legal counsel that may allow her to cooperate more fully with this investigation, that's going to say a lot.

Look, who have we heard the most damaging information from? It hasn't been Democrats on this partisan committee, so to speak. It has been Republicans, Republican insiders, family members and senior aides have provided the most damning information against the former president, and she knows a lot of it.

LEMON: The inner circle.


LEMON: Trump's inner circle, really.


LEMON: Let's talk about the other things. I want to talk about Roe v. Wade, the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I also want to talk about the messaging coming out of the White House.


By the way, if I didn't say, good evening, good evening to both of you. Guy, welcome.

Listen, I want to talk to you about the Dana Bash's interview with the vice president, Kamala Harris, vowing that the White House will do everything in their power to help women in this post-Roe world. More from this exclusive interview right now. Let's watch.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will do everything within our power as an administration, through the executive branch, to ensure that women have access to the medication they need which has been, by the way, FDA-approved, and that they will have freedom of travel and that that travel should be unrestricted.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And you're going to do that through the courts if need be?

HARRIS: I am sure that our Department of Justice is going to do that based on every statement that the attorney general has made.


LEMON: She didn't offer many specifics in that interview. The draft ruling overturning Roe leaked almost two months ago. So, why doesn't the White House have a plan, a messaging plan or strategy by now, Guy?

GUY CECIL, CHAIRMAN OF PRIORITIES USA, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Well, I mean, there are two pieces of this. First is the immediate need which is being implemented in large part by Democratic governors around the country.

You know, governors who are in places like Illinois, who are surrounded by states where now abortion is illegal or Minnesota, trying to make sure that people have access to the state, that there is funding, trying to make sure that Telehealth is available to neighboring states and that they are a place of welcome for people who now are trying to seek the medical care that just a couple of days ago they were allowed to have.

The second piece, though -- and I just want to be clear about this. There aren't a lot of short-term solutions that can happen at the federal level.

LEMON: Okay.

CECIL: We can make sure there is unrestricted travel, we can make sure people have access to the medicine that they had access to just a few days ago, but there will not be systemic change until we get two more seats in the United States Senate and we can pass legislation to send to the president to codify Roe v. Wade. That is the only way we will have long-term consistent change and go back to what we had just a couple days ago.

LEMON: So, the messaging, because we were saying -- I had Jeffrey Toobin on just a short while ago. He said, I don't think that there are many options federally for Democrats right now. My question was specifically about messaging to the White House. It just don't -- there is really nothing --

CECIL: I think the messaging is pretty simple, that the lines are very clearly drawn.

LEMON: Yeah.

CECIL: The democratic House has passed legislation. A majority of Democrats in the Senate support that legislation. Democratic governors are fighting back even in places where they face a republican legislature. And meantime, Republicans at every turn are deciding that guns and corporations now have more rights than American women and girls.

STEWART: Republicans at every turn have fought for 50 years for the humanity of the child. That's what this is about, protecting the humanity of the child and the unborn. And we have been fighting this fight ever since Roe was enacted and doing so every time we have the opportunity to seek elections.

Look, what the vice president said in terms of trying to get Congress to codify this and institute a national ban on abortion, that's not going to happen. That's not going to happen. The Supreme Court has said, this is not in our purview, let us put it to the states, this is where it should be, this is how democracy works best.

LEMON: Alice, give me just a moment because you have Mike Pence now saying, who is campaigning, right, we know he is campaigning, that he wants to codify anti-abortion legislation into law. He wants to. So, you know, you have the president, the Democrats saying they want to codify a pro-abortion language or getting it, you know, making it legal. Mike Pence wants to make it illegal.

STEWART: Well, look, clearly, both sides have what they want to do. Pro-life side wants to protect life and the pro-abortion wants to provide abortion. Look, what we cannot have is what the Democrats want to currently do, is the Women's Health Protection Act. That is horrible for the unborn children. This would provide abortions without consent of parents. Could you imagine having a teenage daughter who needed to have an abortion and the parents didn't have consent?

CECIL: I could if that daughter was a victim of a rape or incest in which case your party will allow, not just allow, but force that 13- year-old girl --


CECIL: -- to carry her rapist child to pregnancy, to term.


CECIL: I just -- this idea that -- you know, I just want to -- I want to just clarify one thing, and I think the vice president said it well. The only difference between Clarence Thomas and the rest of the court is that Clarence Thomas said out loud and Mike Pence had said out loud what many Republicans like Alice will not say. They want the national -- if they really believe -- if they really believe that what is happening is a murder, it is inconsistent for you to say a national ban is not the next step, and Republicans care about life until the child is born.

STEWART: No, here is --

CECIL: And that's where they drop off --

STEWART: Here's the -- I want to ask this. Since --

LEMON: Final statement because --

STEWART: The other option is what Democrats want. You -- Democrats are fine with abortion up to delivery. That's unfathomable. They certainly are --

CECIL: This is --

STEWART: That is absolutely on the table for Democrats.


CECIL: How many cases of a woman having an abortion at delivery do you know of that are going to report it? How many?

STEWART: Okay, I want to ask you -- I want to --

CECIL: How many? Just give me a number.

STEWART: Democrats are fine with that, though --

CECIL: This is a stocking horse of the Republican Party. Instead of giving women the rights, you want to give Mike Pence and Clarence Thomas the rights over a majority of American women that want to choose their own reproductive health choices.

LEMON: Okay. More to come. We'll discuss. Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Voters in Colorado going to the polls tomorrow in that state's primary elections, and two election deniers are on the ballot.


More now from CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through the doors of this Grand Junction, Colorado hotel with just hours left before the primary --


LAH (voice-over): -- a crowd of activists gather for what amounted to an election conspiracy forum hosted by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell --


LAH (voice-over): -- featuring 2020 election denier and Republican Colorado Secretary of State Candidate Tina Peters.


LAH (voice-over): Peters is not just a headliner here. She has made headlines across Colorado for the last year.

PETERS: Let go of me! Enough of this!

LAH (voice-over): This is Peters in February, one part of a long saga of investigations she has faced with. A grand jury indicted Peters on multiple felony counts stemming from an election security breach at her Mesa County clerk's office. She has pleaded not guilty. As part of the investigation, confidential forensic images of voting machine hard drives and log-ins appeared on a QAnon-affiliated telegram channel. She is now barred from overseeing the county's elections this year. Instead --

PETERS: I'm running to be your secretary of state to make that happen.

LAH (voice-over): She is on Tuesday's ballot running to oversee elections in the whole state.

PETERS: I'm not an election conspiracy theorist. When people came to me, I listen. I listen to the people. That's how I got involved.

LAH (voice-over): What do you say to critics like your opponents who say that you are just simply raising lies?

PETERS: Oh, I like that one. Well, I want to run on being accurate, transparent and a voice for the people.

LAH (voice-over): Also on the far-right republican ticket, state Representative Ron Hanks running for the U.S. Senate, a 2020 election denier. Hanks, on his campaign website, proudly shared this image of himself in Washington on January 6th. In his campaign video, he wheels out a copier with the words "Dominion voting machine," a widespread conspiracy lie that the machines were rigged against Donald Trump.

RON HANKS, COLORADO STATE REPRESENTTIVE: I'm Ron Hanks, and I approved this message.

LAH (on camera): What happens if Republicans do nominate these candidates?


LAH (voice-over): Election liars can't win in November in blue- leaning Colorado, says former state Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams. That is why Republicans are now seeing this.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): How conservative is Ron Hanks?

LAH (voice-over): Millions of advertising dollars boosting Ron Hank's conservative credentials paid for by the Democrats.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Democratic Colorado is responsible for the content of this advertising.

WADHAMS: The Democrats spending this much money to nominate the weakest candidates is smart. I mean, I think it's unethical, but I think it is smart. And frankly, it has moved voters.

UNKNOWN: Dumped so much money into this.

LAH (voice-over): Republican Senate candidate Joe O'Dea, a businessman and supporter of abortion rights, is not just fighting Democrats boosting his competitor but also millions to tear him down. He can't even get through a campaign event at a restaurant --


LAH (voice-over): -- without a negative ad running in the background.

LAH (on camera): Why are they targeting you with so much cash?

O'DEA: They know I can win. And they are going to have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to beat me in November, so they are trying to get me off the ballot right now. They are looking for somebody who can't win here in November, focused on an election that was stolen and focused on things that don't matter to working Americans right now.

LAH (on camera): We reached out to the democratic super PAC that is behind this big spend. And in short, they say, so what? The spokeswoman for a Democratic Colorado says -- quote -- "We are an organization committed to ensuring that Colorado doesn't elect a Republican to the U.S. Senate. Both GOP candidates are totally out of step with our values and voters deserve to know the truth about who is running to represent them. But, of course, if you talk to the Republicans who are running in the primary, they just call it meddling. Don?


LEMON: Kyung Lah, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a number of states instantly banned abortion. We are going to tell you which ones next.




LEMON: The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade leading to chaos and confusion across the country. CNN's correspondent Tom Foreman joins me with the latest on where state abortion laws stand now.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. These are the states that have fully implemented outright bans or extreme limits on abortion already. South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas, which has a strange convergence of some restrictions already in place, some more pending and some left over on their law books from long before Roe.

But right after that, this map gets very muddled. For example, there are numerous states where there are waiting periods before bans or new restrictions are put into place, and there are states that face legal challenges which are holding up implementation. Louisiana, for example, wanted to automatically implement its ban, but abortion rights activists said that would be unconstitutional under state law. So that now faces a full hearing in court and is temporarily blocked in the meantime.

There is also a temporary restraining order blocking Utah's trigger law.

[23:45:01] Mississippi, Georgia, Idaho, all facing court action. In Michigan, there is court action, too, because the governor wants the state Supreme Court to review a 1931 law banning abortion that is threatening to kick back in again, but that is because she wants to protect abortion rights there. West Virginia has a very old ban, too. And there, some lawmakers think it needs to be updated, but to make it effective.

And then comes are the states which could well bring in more severe anti-abortion measures in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana. And finally, we have some wildcards, states where new bans may show up depending on what happens. Kansas, Pennsylvania, and let's not forget about Wisconsin where there is an old rule on the books, but the governor says he will give clemency to any physicians prosecuted under that law.

There are many exceptions to almost every example here. The Guttmacher Institute is trying to keep track of it all. We are trying to keep track of it all. But hour by hour, this is a sense of the general chaos in the wake of Roe being struck down and where we stand tonight. Don?


LEMON: Tom, thank you.

Some prosecutors aren't planning to go down without a fight following Friday's ruling. In a statement put out by the group Fair and Just Prosecution, more than 80 of them nationwide have signed a commitment saying that they will not prosecute anyone seeking or providing abortion care.

The statement in part saying -- quote -- "Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice; prosecutors should not be part of that."

Among those signing the statement is Suzanne Valdez. She is a district attorney for Douglas County in Kansas. For now, abortion remains legal in Kansas but the voters will decide in August whether or not to approve an amendment that would allow the legislature to limit abortions in that state. Suzanne Valdez joins me now. Suzanne, thank you. I appreciate you joining.


LEMON: So, help us understand this. Right now, your pledge remains within the law. But what if that changes? If abortion does become illegal in Kansas, would you be in a position where you would have to prosecute?

VALDEZ: Well, once, you know, depending on what the vote is on August 2nd, like you mentioned, then what will happen is this will probably go to the legislature for further sort of consideration on all sorts of aspects concerning, you know, criminalization of abortion or contraception or any of those things that relate to reproductive rights.

So, it's something that we need to be worried about, something I have been thinking about since there was the leak on the -- of the case --

LEMON: Draft.

VALDEZ: -- that was just decided. So, yeah, at this point, you know, we wait for August 2nd to happen, and then we see what the legislature does.

LEMON: So, you say that you understand that not all people agree about the right to life or the right to choose. Do you expect to face political ramifications over your decision?

VALDEZ: Yeah. I think that's a great point. We all have different opinions about it. Certainly, I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on my position. I also had folks who have expressed their unhappiness with my sort of stance on this. I felt like I needed to do so immediately. As we know, after the decision on Friday, there were a lot of Americans who were very saddened. I felt like I needed to speak out for those folks who are going to be harmed by this decision and are harmed by this decision.

And I think overwhelmingly, we had a very positive response. I think that the decision in my sort of position on it has been fully supported by my community. I represent my community interests. My job is a minister of justice and I reflect the interests of our community. Public safety is a concern of mine. I think that all of the policies within our office which include, you know, criminalize -- going after sexual assault perpetrators, gun violence, those are priorities for my community. Criminalizing and certainly going forward with any sort of prosecution of abortion is just not a community interest, and I think it's a public safety concern.

LEMON: Even if the law changes? Because if the law changes, then wouldn't you be breaking the law if you don't prosecute?

VALDEZ: Well, no, because prosecutors are given wide discretion. I mean, as an elected official, my community has elected me based on what they believe they want their prosecutor, their lead law enforcement officer to enforce the law. And so I --

LEMON: So even if it changes, you are not going to prosecute? If it does change in August, you're not going to prosecute?

VALDEZ: Well, I am just saying that I think that -- I don't know what the legislature is going to do. I mean, I can only guess what they are going to do.


At this point, I can say that I will not because I don't think that prosecutorial resources should be used to criminalize --

LEMON: Okay. VALDEZ: -- health care decisions made by women. I just don't think that that is a good use of our public resources. It is just not a priority for my office.

LEMON: We will be watching. Suzanne, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

VALDEZ: Thank you.

LEMON: We will be right back.


LEMON: Terrible news out of Texas tonight. Forty-six migrants found dead inside a semi-truck in San Antonio. That is according to officials. Sixteen hospitalized.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins me now by phone. Priscilla, hello to you. What more do we know?


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER (via telephone): Well, we are learning here the details from authorities in San Antonio tonight. The local authorities provided an update just moments ago. They said that a call came in at approximately 6:00 p.m. local this evening after an employee in a building nearby had heard a cry for help and was alerted due to the truck that you just mentioned.

They found a number of deceased individuals inside. As you said, 46 people have died. Sixteen were transported to the hospital. And they suffered from heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

Authorities said that there were no signs of water and there was no visible AC unit on that rig. They also said that those people who were found alive could not get up. They were in duress and they had to be helped.

The authorities put it quite bluntly, Don, that this was -- quote -- "a human tragedy." Three people are in custody. It is unclear what their connection to this is. It is now a federal investigation.

But Don, this comes at a time of a surge of migration at the U.S.- Mexico border. We don't know the nationalities of the migrants. It is unclear whether this is human smuggling, but smugglers do often use rigs to transport migrants.

And this is something that the Biden administration has been doubling down on. They have been cracking down on human smuggling in recent months. This is what they have warned about and have feared. A situation in which we now know 46 people have died and more details are sure to come in the next few hours. Don?

LEMON: My goodness. As you said about the investigation, federal and now homeland security is involved. Thank you very much. I appreciate that, Priscilla Alvarez. And thanks for joining us, everyone. Our coverage continues.