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CNN Poll: Most Americans Believe Overturning Of Roe v. Wade Will Have Negative Impact On Nation; Biden Speaks On Economy With CEOs Amid Recession Fears; Kremlin's Lack Of Meaningful Response To Prisoner-Swap Frustrates White House; Interview With David Whelan, Brother Of Russian Prisoner Paul Whelan; At Least Three Dead In Dangerous Flash Flooding In Eastern Kentucky. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 28, 2022 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: New research out today shows that at least 43 abortion clinics shut down in the 30 days after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

In West Virginia, the state House has passed a bill that would make most abortions illegal even in cases of rape and incest.

A 12-year-old girl called out state lawmakers and explained what that bill could mean for her and other children.


ADDISON GARDNER, 12-YEAR-OLD ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I plan on doing great things in life. If a man decides that I'm an object, it is unspeakable and tragic things to me. Am I, a child, supposed to carry and birth another child?

Some here say they are pro-life. What about my life? Does my life not matter to you?


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Meanwhile, a new CNN poll shows nearly two- thirds of Americans do not approve of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe versus Wade.

CNN's Harry Enten joins us now with a look at that new poll.

Harry, tell us where you're seeing the breakdowns.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Overall, disapprove of SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade, 63 percent. The vast majority of Americans disapprove of this decision.

If you break it down by party, not surprisingly, the vast majority of Democrats do. Even the vast amount of Independents do. Only Republicans are where the minority disapprove of this decision. When you get 29 percent of Republicans with 87 percent of Democrats,

that's actually something I might call bipartisan.

But to me, more interestingly is when you break this down by age and gender. Why? Because if you look by age -- look at this -- there's not really much of a divide here going on, right? And 61 percent of men, 64 percent of women disapprove of the decision.

There's, however, a larger divide by age, where those here, you see, in fact, a very different sort of divide. You do see in fact an age divide that's going on within the electorate.

CAMEROTA: More older people don't support the decision.

ENTEN: Yes, yes, yes.

BLACKWELL: People concerned about the end of it. How do you view the effect on them and their families?

ENTEN: I think this is interesting. Overturning Roe v. Wade will have a negative effect on the U.S. as a whole. Vast majority here, 68 percent. Women in your state, 58 percent. But you and your family, just 30 percent.


So, it's not necessarily hitting people at home. They are seeing it more as an issue that will affect the U.S. negatively and women in their state negatively rather than you and your family.

CAMEROTA: What does that mean about the family breakdown?

ENTEN: Yes, so, I think this, to me, speaks to something that's going on, right? So, overturning Roe v. Wade will have a negative effect on you and your family.

Where do we see most people saying that? It's younger women. Younger women. And 50 percent of younger women, those under the age of 45, say that will have a negative effect on you and your family.

Not surprisingly, Alisyn, that's the group that's most likely to get pregnant.

In fact, what we see is a clear age divide with younger men being far more likely than older men to say it will have a negative effect.

And younger women saying it will have a negative effect. Of course, if you're a 75-year-old woman, you're not going to get pregnant.

BLACKWELL: Are people concerned about a one-size-fits-all approach?

ENTEN: You know, if we break it down right here and we say, OK, on abortion laws, should politicians who opposed Roe -- so, we're going to look specifically of those who approved of Roe v. Wade being overturned, approved of the Dobbs decision. Should there be some push for nationwide restrictions, or should it be

left up to the states? Overwhelmingly, even among those who essentially say, you know what?

We disapprove of that ruling. They believe the decision should in fact be left up to the states, 80 percent. Just 20 percent believe there should be nationwide restrictions.

BLACKWELL: Harry Enten, with the numbers. Thank you.

This was a story you first saw on CNN. The U.S. Offering a prisoner swap that would bring WNBA Star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home. Whelan's brother joins us next as the U.S. waits for the Kremlin's response.


BLACKWELL: Let's go to President Biden speaking about the economy during a meeting with CEOs at the White House.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- near a record historic low.

Secondly, households and businesses, the engines of our economy, continue to move forward.

Just this past week, SK group from Korea was here at the White House to announce $22 billion of new advancements of semiconductors, advanced batteries, and electric vehicle chargers and medical devices.

That's on top of the 200 billion in clean energy investments in America from other businesses since we took office. All powering the strongest rebound in American manufacturing in three decades.

Now, there's no doubt we expect growth to be slower than last year for the rapid clip we had. That's consistent with the transition to a stable, steady growth and lower inflation.


There are going to be a lot of chatter today on Wall Street and among pundits about whether we are in a recession. But if you look at our job market, consumer spending, business investment, we see signs of economic progress in the second quarter as well.

Yesterday's Fed chairman, the Fed Chairman Powell said, made it clear, he doesn't think the U.S. economy is currently in a recession.

He said, quote, "There are two areas of economic where the economy is performing too well." He said, too well, t-o-o, too well.

He pointed to the labor market as an example.

The best thing we can do right now is put our economy in a better position to make the transition to steady, stable growth for Congress to -- steady, stable growth is for Congress to act. That's the best thing we can do. They're voting right now, as I've said.

I applaud the bipartisan effort to get the CHIPS Act to my desk to sign into law, which would advance our nation's competitiveness and technological edge, by boosting our domestic semiconductor production and manufacturing.

Another Congress should do it -- another thing that Congress should do is to pass the Inflation Reduction Act to lower prescription drug costs.

Which would reduce the deficit, I might add, ease inflationary pressures and ensure that 13 million Americans can continue to save an average of $800 per year in their health care premiums.

Both of these bills are going to help the economy continue to grow, bring down inflation, and make sure we're not giving up on all the significant progress we made in the last year.

I'm going to stop there and begin the meeting. But thanks to the CEOs for joining me.

And let me start with you, Brian. And thanks for taking all my phone calls, pal, at the Bank of America.

I want to ask you a question. Your bank serves many Americans across the country.

CAMEROTA: OK. We're just listening there to President Biden, who is talking to various CEOs. He was just about to talk to the Bank of America's Brian Moynihan there.

And they're talking about the economy and the new data points and his firm belief that we are not in a recession, along with his economic advisers, who has echoed that because there are too many good things happening in this economy.

Basically, President Biden thinks, though, growth has slowed for two quarters.

Let's go to CNN's M.J. Lee at the White House.

M.J., what were you listening for?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it's interesting. We have seen this White House be so on message when they have been talking about in recent days the possibility of a recession.

We heard the president saying this earlier today in his remarks. And then, just now again, basically swatting away any suggestions that the U.S. is heading towards a recession or is in one already.

This has been a discussion that White House officials have been engaging in in a really robust way. And essentially saying, look, this idea that if the GDP contracts for two consecutive quarters, that automatically means that you have technically gone into the threshold of a recession. They just reject that idea. And they say, look, there are other data

points that would be taken into account.

When you listen to President Biden and other White House officials lately, the thing that they will point to the most frequently is the strength of the labor market, whether it is the low unemployment rate or the pace of job hiring.

They say you take a look at the totality of the economy, and they don't see that the U.S. is currently in a recession.

Now, the other side of this, of course, is that maybe there's sort of the technical definition of a recession, and they don't believe that's where the U.S.'s economy is now.

But the other thing they are cognizant of is just the idea that many people across the country feel like you are in a recession because they go to the store, everything costs so much. And they really feel their wallets being pinched.

So, that is sort of the political messaging side of things that the White House has been careful to address as well.

CAMEROTA: OK. M.J. Lee, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Meantime, Biden administration officials are said to be deeply frustrated by Moscow's lack of meaningful response to a proposed prisoner swap.

The U.S. often resists prisoner exchanges over concerns it encourages hostile countries to detain Americans for bargaining power.

Here's the offer. The U.S. would release Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer, who was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans. In return, Russia would free WNBA Star Brittney Griner and U.S. Marine Veteran Paul Whelan.

Now earlier today, the Kremlin said, so far today, there's no agreement.

Joining me now with more, Paul Whelan's brother, David Whelan.

David, thank you for being with me.


You've said in the past that a prisoner exchange has likely been the entire point of your brother's wrongful detention and then conviction.

So, first, what is your reaction to this proposal from the U.S.?

DAVID WHELAN, BROTHER OF PAUL WHELAN, A PRISONER IN RUSSIA: It's very positive. This is an obvious attempt by the American government to find a concession that the Russian government might want in order to allow Paul and also miss Griner to be released.

It's been clear from the beginning that Paul's case existed so the Russians can extort from the U.S. government.

BLACKWELL: So, if that is the point, they've wanted this all along, what do you make of the three-week delay -- or weeks-long delay -- of no response from the Kremlin?

WHELAN: I think it's tricky whenever you're dealing with the Russian government.

One thing is we still haven't seen Ms. Griner's case come to an end. And until she is released and/or convicted and sentenced, I don't think the government will be interested in moving things forward.

I think it's also not always a direct line, where you might be able to speak to someone in the State Department and have someone go up to the president of the United States.

I'm not sure that the throughline in Russia runs from the ministry of foreign affairs directly to President Putin. There are oligarchs and other interests that maybe complicate it.

BLACKWELL: You have written that your brother has said that he is more Mr. Bean than Mr. Bond. Your brother was sentenced to 16 years on espionage charges.

You said that, "I don't believe any government would exchange Mr. Bean for the "Merchant of Death." That's the moniker for Viktor Bout.

But here we are. Is there an element of surprise on your part that the U.S. did put this deal on the table?

WHELAN: A little bit. I know there has been a lot of resistance, public resistance, in the media, among pundits, and I believe there was resistance within the U.S. government. So, I'm a little bit surprised.

On the other hand, the Russian government has made clear they only have a short list of concessions they want from the U.S. government. Mr. Bout is one of them. Mr. Yaroshenko, who went home for an exchange for Trevor Reed back in april.

It's a short list. I wasn't surprised.

BLACKWELL: When did you first hear of the proposal?

WHELAN: Yesterday, with everybody else.

BLACKWELL: So, you heard it for the first time when we all heard that the offer was put on the table from the secretary of state?

WHELAN: That's right, yes. I mean, we know there are things going on, but we aren't necessarily involved in the details of offers that are being made or even the offers that might be contemplated.

We had heard things like that Department of Justice had been opposed to doing prisoner trades. So we weren't sure if that was a hurdle that was going to be cleared. But it looks like President Biden is committed to making the difficult

decisions to bringing Americans home. I'm grateful for that.

BLACKWELL: After Trevor Reed was released as part of a swap in april, you asked the obvious question, why was Paul left behind? He was actually taken into custody before Trevor Reed. Your brother arrested in 2018, Trevor Reed in 2019.

Do you think that the administration would have put this deal on the table only for your brother or only now it's on the table because Brittney Griner, a WNBA star, is also being held?

WHELAN: It's really hard to tell. I think that the U.S. government, the Biden administration in particular, is moving much faster with wrongful detention cases.

So, it may be that where there was reluctance to do any sort of deal before, now people are more willing to make concessions or be more pragmatic about it.

I think it certainly helps that Ms. Griner has a greater celebrity, creates perhaps a greater value to the American spirit. If nothing else to have her come home.

When you're talking about the "Merchant of Death" and a tourist, it becomes very difficult. It's so asymmetrical that it's hard to see how that sort of exchange could work.

BLACKWELL: And quickly, how is your brother doing?

WHELAN: Not so great. They've cut back on food at the prison due to sanctions. So, he's eating less. It wasn't very good food in the first place. So, he has lost a lot of weight.

We hope that he just continues to survive day to day until he's able to come home.

BLACKWELL: All right. David Whelan, of course, we are all hoping that he and Brittney Griner are brought home soon. Thank you so much.

WHELAN: Thank you, Victor.


CAMEROTA: Well, it's a triple climate threat for much of the country. Extreme heat, wildfires, and historic flooding. Kentucky's governor calls the rainfall there devastating.


BLACKWELL: At least three people have died in catastrophic flash flooding in eastern Kentucky.

Officials tell CNN an elderly woman's body was found this morning after she was reported missing. Emergency teams had to travel half a mile by boat and then walk about a mile farther to reach her. CAMEROTA: Heavy overnight rains swallowing entire towns. Look at your


The governor calls this one of the worst flooding events in the state's history.

There are still several people unaccounted for, and forecasters say more than six inches of rain have drenched the area.

CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater is in the Weather Center for us.

Tom, how much more rain is threatening that area?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Unfortunately, they do have another round coming in tonight and it could get heavy tomorrow as well. It will get better by the weekend. But the larger rivers will continue to be high.

This is so bad. With so many that are missing, the death toll most likely is going to go up.

We just had the highest rainfall totals ever in St. Louis from the same weather system, which could have been the U.S.' 10 billionth disaster. This could be number 11.


So again, one thunderstorm after another, into the same area. This is coal country. This is southeast Kentucky. I know it well. I used to work in Lexington. It's Floyd County. It's (INAUDIBLE). It's not -- down toward Harlan.

But again, the last three days, you're getting another round of events where you have eight, nine, 10 inches of rainfall, even more. So the warnings are going to remain in effect.

This is a very hilly terrain area, a lot of hills and hollows. Most communities are down in the lower areas, but so are the creeks. So when the creeks that were already running high again rise and go into the other tributaries and the larger rivers, it affects a large area.

This is the front that's been meandering around. And that's been the culprit for that record rain in St. Louis and Kentucky. So with it not moving much, we'll have another round.

Again, St. Louis will see more. But again, really concerned about that area of eastern Kentucky now in the mountains of North Carolina and toward West Virginia as well.

So look at this. This is a lot of rainfall. We'd like to see it in the wheat basket and the breadbasket for the farmers there. But again, this could be the 11th billion disaster, the second one in just a couple days. It's amazing.

CAMEROTA: OK, Tom Sater, thank you for keeping an eye on all of that for us. BLACKWELL: The January 6th committee is moving deeper into the top

tier of the Trump administration, setting up interviews with several of his former cabinet members, including speaking with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. We're live on Capitol Hill with the latest next.