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Erin Burnett Outfront

Judge Rules To Suspend Approval Of Abortion Pill, DOJ Can Appeal; Judge Rules In Lawsuit Filed Against FDA By 12 Blue States Saying Limits On Abortion Medication Are Too Strict; VP Harris Speaks After Meeting With Expelled Lawmakers: "They Chose To Lead & Show Courage" After School Shooting; Russia Officially Charges WSJ Reporter With Espionage; Israel Launches Strikes In Lebanon & Gaza After Rocket Attacks. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 07, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: And good evening, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, and what is now the most consequential ruling since the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade. A Trump-appointed federal judge has just suspended the FDA's approval for a widely used abortion drug. That means the drug called mifepristone could soon be banned nationwide, even in states where abortion remains legal.

Now, this is a hugely consequential ruling. The drug has been on the market for more than 20 years and used in more than half of all abortions in this country.

We have reporters covering this story across the country for us, but first, let's start with Ariane De Vogue, OUTFRONT, live in Washington.

Ariane, what else can you tell us so far about this judge's decision?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: You are absolutely right. This is the biggest ruling we've had since last spring, when the Supreme Court reverse Roe v. Wade. Here, this federal judge has halted the approval of this popular medication abortion pill.

Now what's important here is he's put this ruling on hold for a week. He knows it's going to be appealed. So he's put it on hold.

But keep in mind, that this drug is used for terminating early pregnancies, and it was approved all the way back in 2000, and that's why the Biden administration had called this lawsuit absolutely unprecedented. It was filed by opponents for abortion.

And let me just tell you a little bit about what this judge said in this long opinion. He said that the FDA entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem by omitting any evaluation of the psychological effects of the drug or an evaluation of the long term medical consequences of the drug.

It's worth noting that some medical officials in medical organizations have absolute refuted what he has said there, and it's -- and it's worth remembering that medication abortion now is -- makes up the majority of abortions. So, now, they're going to go ahead and appeal but this is a big ruling tonight coming from this judge.

GOLODRYGA: And potentially, massive implications now for not only states where abortion is banned, but for the nation as a whole.

I want to go next to the White House, and that is where our Phil Mattingly is standing by.

And, Phil, the DOJ has been waiting for this ruling for weeks. Nonetheless, coming somewhat as a surprise on a holiday weekend, Friday evening.

What are you hearing from the administration?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Bianna, White House officials had been bracing for this moment. They understood the judge overseeing the case. They understood that this was a distinct possibility, although one they warned against both on grounds that this shouldn't be in the area where a judge should feel they should operate. This is the FDA's purview, not a judicial issue, and also that they believe that there is very real danger to taking this drug off the market of drugs that have been on the market for the better part of the last 20 years.

Now, one thing has been made clear in the weeks leading up to this moment. Is it worth the ruling to come down this way? There would be a swift appeal. As Ariane noted, they have seven days to do so. The expectation in every way you can imagine is that they are going to do so and do so quickly.

I think the real question right now is over the course of the last several months, they have been meeting at a pretty heavy clip in the wake of, first, the Dobbs leak, and then the Dobbs decision about how they were going to try and address this issue, one in which they understood was only going to grow more significant, more acute to some degree on abortion, on access to abortion in the wake of the Dobbs decision.

Jen Klein, who is a senior advisor to the president, has been leading those. Vice President Kamala Harris has been deeply involved, convened a lot of advocates just a couple of weeks ago to talk about this issue, the risks that they thought it posed in the dangers that they thought it post.

They are clearly trying to get everybody on the advocacy side ready to move on something. I think the big question right now, and there's been some tension between advocates and the administration in terms of what the pathway forward should be, given kind of the way things have been heading on these issues is whether or not the administration feels like they have much that they can do beyond appeal. That's been one of the issues they've been grappling with is within

their legal authorities. What can they actually do? There have been executive orders, there's been significant focus. On leveraging government agencies to try and address access issues in the wake of jobs. But this is obviously a significant moment, and this is obviously another example of an issue that is not just a legal issue, certainly, a very significant health issue.

But as we've seen just this week, we saw it in Wisconsin, where the Supreme Court judge -- justice race was really centered on this issue.


It has become a political bellwether, has become an enormous political issue, one Democrats very much focused on in the midterms, which went better than expected them to and have continued to focus on flipping the state Supreme Court in Wisconsin earlier this week.

Every element of this legal, health, on the policy side, but also political, only growing more important, more critical, more top of mind with what happened tonight, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: This decision, no doubt, precedent setting as well.

Phil Mattingly, thank you. Thank you. And please do let us know when we do here from the White House.

I want to go to our legal analysts now, Karen Agnifilo and Elie Honig.

So, Elie, as we said the DOJ had been preparing and expecting a decision from the judge. Nonetheless, this came as quite a surprise tonight. What was your initial reaction to the ruling?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Bianna, this is a breathtaking example of judicial aggressiveness, both in terms of the scope and the breadth of this ruling. Essentially, what this one judge has done is to substitute his own scientific judgment for 20-plus years of scientific judgment by the FDA. He essentially says they didn't do it right, even though this drug was approved 20 plus years ago. Also important to note, this is one judge in one of our 94 federal judicial districts whose you're issuing this ruling, which purports to suspend this drug throughout the entire nation.

And finally, Bianna, this is the ultimate example of judge shopping. It's really one stop judge shopping because by filing the lawsuit in this particular district, the plaintiffs here assure themselves 100 percent they would get this judge, Judge Kacsmaryk, who is very conservative, a Trump appointee. It's a little bit of a glitch in the system, but he happens to be the only judge in that particular vicinity.

So this is really one stop judge shopping, and it paid off for the plaintiffs thus far.

GOLODRYGA: And, Karen, and appeal is expected imminently. How do you think this will playoff ultimately, though? KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, so the Supreme Court in Dobbs versus Jackson, Mississippi, specifically said, leave it up to the states. But as Elie said, this is forum shopping. This plaintiff here was represented by Senator Josh Hawley's wife, who's a GOP senator.

And make no mistake. They went to this remote court in Amarillo, Texas, to look for the one judge, the one Trump appointee judge that is only -- the only judge sitting there, so it's -- there's no risk that it's going to be assigned to some other judge, and he has banned this for the entire country because the way he did it was he revoked the FDA approval of the drug, and therefore it will nationwide make it so that nobody can have a medical abortion through these pills.

And the other bad part and the thing that's really difficult to stomach here is that this is in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one of the most conservative activist courts in the country. And so we cannot necessarily count on an appeal to the Fifth Circuit of this of this ruling to, you know, and who knows what the Supreme Court will do given where we are with the Supreme Court?


AGNIFILO: So this was a perfect example of forum shopping and getting really what the -- what the conservatives have wanted, which is to ban abortion nationwide, despite what the Supreme Court said, leave it up to the states.

GOLODRYGA: And overruling 20 years of a precedent that was set by doctors, by experts. The FDA has approved this drug for 20 years now.

Okay, you guys stand by. I want to go to Rosa Flores, who is in Texas for us.

Rosa, what more can you tell us about this specific judge?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk was appointed by President Trump and before rising to the federal bench, he worked for the religious right law firm and he worked on anti- abortion advocacy.

Now I want to take you into the courtroom, what happened just last month and why we are here. So this hearing was about four hours long, and there is no question that the judge was sympathetic to the plaintiffs here.

So who are the plaintiffs? These are coalition of anti-abortion groups, and we just heard the judge. The judge worked on anti-abortion advocacy before rising to the federal bench, and there was no question that he was sympathetic towards the plaintiffs during this hearing.

But he also expressed some skepticism. Some of the skepticism that he expressed was he didn't quite seem like he was ready to go as far as the plaintiffs were wanting him to go. He didn't appear that he was going to be as aggressive as the plaintiffs were wanting him to be, how aggressive were the plaintiffs asking him to be. They wanted him to yank this medication off the shelves, which now he has done, except that there is a pause to this ruling.

The judge went as far as asking the plaintiffs, so point to another case in which a judge is -- has done exactly what you're asking me to do.


Well, the plaintiffs couldn't point to another case, and that's what I wanted to point out, Bianna, because this is so unprecedented that we can't take this lightly. In essence, what this judge is doing is overriding the FDA.


FLORES: So, he's overriding the scientists, the subject matter experts, and that's what it was why it was so unprecedented because these plaintiffs were asking the judge to override the experts, to override the scientists. And that's why a lot of people were hoping that this was not going to happen and not be the case because that is so unprecedented that a judge is in essence doing the job of the scientists.

And then I wanted to leave you with this other thing, because this really stands out to me is as you mentioned, this case is the most consequential case regarding abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned. But when Roe v. Wade was overturned the point there was to return the power to the states, return the power to the people, to the representatives of the people. And in this case, it's one judge with tremendous power.

GOLODRYGA: With federal implications -- nationwide, federal implications here.

Rosa, thank you.

Elie, if I could just get back to what Rosa was talking about, I mean, what grounds do these plaintiffs have to have a judge effectively overruled 20 years of expertise handed down by the FDA?

HONIG: So the judge couches his terms in terms of procedural nuance, and it's clear, by the way, that the judge recognizes just how bizarre this is, that he's taking a medication that was approved in the year 2000, 23 years ago, and he sort of opens the opinion by saying, well, you might you reader might be wondering why now, how am I? A judge able to come in this far after the fact and essentially overruled the FDA, and he basically says, it's the FDA's fault, they've been delaying and dragging their feet.

But we're talking about 23 years or 12 of those 23 years, by the way, the FDA was part of a Republican administration, eight years with the Bush administration, four years with the Trump administration.

And so, this is really a glaring example of what some might call judicial activism. I know that's a phrase that get kicked -- gets kicked around in a political sense, but here we have this judge two decades plus after the fact saying, no, FDA, you got it wrong 23 years ago and you've gotten it wrong all along, and I'm going to come in as a judge, not a scientist, and I'm going to fix it. And I'm going to put this thing on hold for the entire country.

GOLODRYGA: So, Karen, given that, does the DOJ have good standing for an appeal here?

AGNIFILO: Certainly, they have a good appeal because there is a voluminous records since the FDA fast tracked the mifepristone, which is the second drug of the two drug abortion, medical abortion pills that the plaintiffs were complaining about. And -- but there's been -- there's been 23 years and voluminous records and scientific studies showing that it is safe.

This drug has been exhaustively studied since 2000 and it has been found to be much safer than Viagra and penicillin. So, yes, there is plenty of -- there's plenty of opportunity to appeal here. But as I said earlier, I don't have confidence that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, this very conservative activist court is going to be a savior here and allow this to stand.

GOLODRYGA: Elie, let's talk more about this specific judge, Judge Kacsmaryk. He said that he was nominated by President Trump. But he said that he would be independent, that he has made a series of rulings that the right has celebrated, including striking down the Biden administration protections for transgender people, forcing asylum seekers back to Mexico as their cases played out in immigration court, and he struck down a federal program giving minors access to birth control without parental consent.

Do you think this ruling looks independent or political?

HONIG: No, it looks political, and it looks strategic, and it looks engineered because of a quirk in the system. This particular judge, this particular this vicinage in Texas has become the right's favorite one-stop judge shopping location, because it is a strange feature of our system that if you file a lawsuit in this particular part of the northern district of Texas, you will get this judge.

Other districts may seem more or less favorable for conservative or liberal causes, there maybe, say, nine conservative judges, four liberal judges, but you're still going into that element of chance. Here you have one of one. This is the only judge who will be assigned. And so, we're seeing conservatives go back to that well over and over again.

And again, we are seeing this judge issue what we call a nationwide injunction, which is if it stands and it very much will be subject to appeal. But you have one judge here in one of our 94 judicial districts across this country, saying, I bind you for the entire country.

Now, that's not new. That was done to block Trump initiatives, that was done to block Obama initiatives. But there's a real legal question about just how much power one district court judge can have.

GOLODRYGA: Karen, just talk about the implications nationwide now for women who are either seeking an abortion or for those, by the way, this is a medication that is prescribed for women who are having a miscarriage as well. I mean, what are the questions they should be asking their doctors right now?

KAREN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, I mean, the fear here is because most women now choose to do this medical abortion in the privacy of their own home rather than going into a doctor's office and having what's -- what's more like a surgery and it's easier and you get to have it in the privacy of your own home. And it's really personal choice.

And what I'm afraid of is that I think first of all, there'll be a rush for the next seven days of people stocking up on this, but I also think I worry about, you know, we should all worry about the Black market and the safety of that that women are going to be ordering this -- these drugs from overseas or places that aren't necessarily regulated properly.

And so there's a concern that women will -- will potentially put themselves harm's way. The other problem is, if somebody in these are extremely safe and any adverse reaction is extremely rare. But if there is a medical reaction to one of these pills that they get, I think there is also going to be fear of getting actual medical help after the fact. For fear of getting in trouble for taking this these drugs that have been safe for 23 years.

So this has tremendous, tremendous implications across the country.

GOLODRYGA: Elie, how soon can we see that appeal from the DOJ?

HONIG: Oh, I think they're going to file it next week. This judge, this district court judge has put his own ruling on hold for seven days and I think the DOJ needs to be ready to act and act quickly.

Now this will go to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is traditionally seen as the most conservative of our 13 federal circuit courts of appeals.

Now, the way it will work is a panel of three judges will be randomly assigned. They will rule on the case. And then the losing party there can try to get the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which, of course, overturned -- overturned Roe v. Wade just last year.

So I think the future of this ruling is very much in doubt. Now, there are some important indications if you look back at the Dobbs decision, which over overturned Roe v. Wade, that some of the justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade may not be willing to sign on to this, but it's very much in doubt how this comes out.

GOLODRYGA: How quickly, Karen, could we expect this to go all the way to the Supreme Court?

AGNIFILO: I think this can be fairly quickly. I think this might be done on emergency basis. So it depends. You know what? What -- what people choose to do. But I think because this has extreme implicate health implications. I think we could anticipate this going to the Supreme Court quickly whether the Supreme Court agrees to hear this quickly and an emergency is to be determined, but I think this could go quickly.

I think another thing to be thinking about is the FDA is going to now have to go through the long process of getting these drugs or this drug approved. Not in a short circuit way and hopefully they will be able to do that, in short order in case that women aren't successful, or plaintiffs aren't successful in getting this -- this decision overturned.

GOLODRYGA: I want to go back to Rosa Flores for us in Texas.

So, Rosa, what are the next steps here in terms of the impact of this judge's ruling?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think the language is going to be critical, Bianna, and what our guest was just mentioning regarding the FDA and how the FDA will proceed is going to be critical. It's going to be up to the interpretation of the -- of the FDA. If this order in does go into effect as to what the FDA will do.

Now, there's statue, there are laws that dictate how the FDA is supposed to suspend a drug. But the big question is, will the FDA go through all that process or because of how this -- this order is written, how it goes into effect, all of the other circumstances will the FDA circumvent all of that. And also, you also have to think about how some of the other stockholders if you would, that are connected to this will react. How will doctors react? How will the manufacturers react? How would the pharmacies react?

But they automatically yank this drug off the shelves or not? I think that is one of the most critical things here is just this chilling effect across the nation that this order will have -- regardless of how long it's going to take for it to go into effect or if it goes into the into effect or not, because of the implications here because it's so unprecedented because it's going to cause confusion.


And one of the big questions is going to be, how is the FDA going to interpret, that order those words written by this judge? Bianna?

GOLODRYGA: Elie, I believe there are other drugs on the market. FDA approved that serve similar purposes. Are those drugs still allowed?

HONIG: Well, this ruling appears to be limited to mifepristone, excuse me, this one drug. But I think it throws into question all of these drugs that have been reviewed by the FDA depends how broadly the courts construe this on appeal. So this is -- this is really just the first salvo in an ongoing battle.

GOLODRYGA: And, Karen, what are the -- what's -- what precedent did this ruling set in terms of again, let's go back to the grounds that these plaintiffs had an overruling the experts and overruling science that had been established for two decades? AGNIFILO: Yeah. I mean, obviously, this sets a terrible precedent

because it's really not supposed to be that way, right? You're not supposed to be able to find some judge who puts his own opinion in front of that of the scientists. And, you know, frankly, what, if a different what if what if, what if other plaintiffs go to a different judge in a different federal district, who rules differently? And then there's conflicting rulings that potentially could be?

I mean, it's really -- this is really -- there is appropriate judicial oversight of the FDA, obviously, but this is frankly activist -- judicial activism at its worst. This is a judge who really isn't looking at the science because this drug and these drugs have been extensively studied since the year 2000 for 23 years, and as I said earlier, it's much safer than other drugs like Viagra and penicillin.

And so this judges, ignoring the science and just putting his own moral and religious beliefs, you know, here. I mean, is it? Is it a coincidence that this ruling is coming down on one of the most religious holy days of, you know, of Christianity?

I don't think so. I think he's sending a message.

GOLODRYGA: Also on a Friday, a quiet Friday at that, okay, Karen and Elie, hold on for us, because believe it or not, we have more breaking legal news.

There has been just another ruling about the same widely used abortion drug. That's mifepristone. This one out of Washington state, where 12 states sued the FDA in an effort to make access to mifepristone easier.

And the judge ruling those 12 states should not be blocked from distributing this drug. This is directly opposite of what the Texas judge just ruled. If you're confused, you're not alone.

I want to go back to Ariane De Vogue.

So, Ariane, tell us more about. We're learning from this ruling and how it impacts the ruling from the judge in Texas.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: You're definitely not alone to be confused here. This is an entirely different lawsuit, but it has to do with this same medication abortion drug. This case, unlike the one we were just talking about, was brought by liberal states, and they actually said that the FDA has to ease access to this medication abortion drug, right? So completely opposite from what the plaintiffs said in the other case.

Now this judge has come down and said in fact, the FDA cannot withdraw the drug. So you have these two rulings that have come down tonight. The first one is on hold pending appeal. The second one actually only applies to the states that brought the case.

And all this means is that this is really going to move quickly on an appeal. You've got two courts, saying two different things. The Biden administration is outraged by the first ruling. All this says is this issue is going to go back to the Supreme Court,

really on short order, but as things stand right now, the first ruling is on hold for appeal. This one only applies to a few states, which means a higher court is going to have to step in and resolve this confusion for all of us.

GOLODRYGA: This is high stakes, high level of confusion coming on a Friday evening. Of course, we will be following this story throughout the evening and waiting to hear from the DOJ and the White House in response is well.

Thank you so much. Thank you, Ariane. Thank you to our guests.

Meantime, OUTFRONT next, Vice President Kamala Harris tonight meeting with the Tennessee Democrats, who were just expelled for protesting on the House floor. Well, now, former Representative Justin Jones, who just met with the vice president is my guest.

Plus, Russia formally charging the detained American journalists with espionage. I'll talk to the wife of another man who was behind bars in Russia and facing 25 years. Why she says Putin's regime is now sentencing people out of fear.


And the violence escalating in the Middle East once again. One person killed and what's being called a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, and now, Israel is calling up additional forces.


GOLODRYGA: Tonight, the White House is standing by the two Black Democratic representatives in Tennessee, who were expelled by their Republican colleagues for an anti-gun protest on the House floor. That protest in the wake of the deadly Nashville school shooting that killed six.

Vice President Kamala Harris is in Nashville tonight, and she spoke earlier with now former representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. The vice president also spoke with Representative Gloria Johnson, who participated in the protest but was not expelled. Johnson says that her race and age saved her. The representative also received a call from President Biden today.

And just moments ago, the vice president spoke to a crowd and said this about the group she called the Tennessee Three.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It wasn't about the three of these leaders. It was about who they were representing. It's about whose voices they were channeling.


Understand that. And is that not what a democracy allows? (CHEERS)

A democracy says you don't silence the people. You do not stifle the people. You don't turn off their microphones when they are speaking about being voice (ph) of life and liberty.


GOLODRYGA: Ryan Young is OUTFRONT live in Nashville for us.

So, Ryan, what is the latest on the ground there tonight?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Bianna, you can really feel the anger from a lot of the citizens here throughout Tennessee. We walk through some neighborhood today, we talked to some people on the streets. We wanted to ask them what they thought about all the actions that happened at the statehouse.

Even some Republicans told us they thought this went a bit too far. They wanted some civility to return to the state house, and so far, they're not seeing that.


LISA LEVINE, NASHVILLE VOTER: It's sad and pathetic to think that our democracy can be taken away from a voter.

RYAN (voice-over): Today, two Tennessee districts are without representation. Voters like Lisa Levine are furious.

LEVINE: I was trying to look into whether filing a taxpayer suit and making it class action against these folks that stole my vote and took my representative away from me.

RYAN: Community up in arms over the expulsion of two Democrat representatives from the Republican-led state house on Thursday. Expelled because they took to the floor last week with a bullhorn standing up for gun reform after the school shooting in Nashville, where six people were killed, three of them children.

The three representatives accused of violating decorum and procedure rules for their actions.

STATE REP. GLORIA JOHNSON (D-TN): We are still three, Tennessee three.

RYAN: Gloria Johnson, a White woman, was the only one to survive the expulsion. Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, who are Black, did not, but they determined not to give up.

STATE REP. JUSTIN JONES (D-TN): I'll continue to speak up for district 52 and for Tennesseans who are demanding change.

RYAN: Their constituents frustrated that expelling these Democrats was more important to Republican lawmakers than gun reform in their state, less than two weeks after another school massacre. MORGAN BROCK, CONSTITUENT, DISTRICT 52: We need change so badly and

these people are willing to give it -- willing to represent our perspective and willing to change things over a little girl who I will have to send one day to school and yeah, I'm so optimistic that if these people are given the right platform, they actually can make change. So this is disappointing.

PHILLIP FERNANDO SHADE, CONSTITUENT AND VIETNAM VET: We are going to take these guns off our streets and save our children. We're losing too many of them, too many of them.

RYAN: But so called Tennessee Three are intending to continue their fight.

JOHNSON: We need their voices in the legislature and I'll do everything I can to help them get back.

RYAN: On Monday, the local legislative body, the metro council in Nashville, will meet to discuss Jones' fate and start the process of possibly reappointing the lawmaker.


RYAN (on camera): Bianna, this is such a sensitive topic that we went to several businesses today, and there were people who wanted to talk about this, but they didn't want their business associated with the left or the right. They say, right now, with the microscope on this entire state, they'd rather keep it just down the middle and stay out of politics.

On the other side of this, when you talk about gun violence, they are also worried about urban gun violence. They want to hear more about that and gun control -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Ryan Young. Ryan Young, thank you.

I want to take you now actually to listen to the vice president there on the ground in Nashville, speaking on the surprise ruling on the abortion pill.

HARRIS: It is contrary to what makes for good public health policy to allow courts and politicians to tell the FDA what it should do. This is a drug that the FDA approved as safe 20 years ago and has been proven to be safe for 20 years. So this is a dangerous precedent, and I'll have more to say after I review this decision in its entirety. Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: I want to bring in Congressman Jim Clyburn, the assistant Democratic leader of the House, and one of our country's most prominent civil rights leaders.

Congressman, as you know, we had booked you to talk about those three members of the House there that had -- those representatives, that had been expelled.

But first, I do want to get you to weigh in on what we just heard from the vice president, and, obviously, what we've been covering the first 30 minutes of this show, and that is that ruling out of a judge in Texas, basically banning a drug that had been used for women who are looking to get an abortion, or those who are suffering through a miscarriage had been approved for 20 years by the FDA as safe and sound. And now we have this ruling from this judge. Your view?

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): I think this is atrocious. I really believe that we need to weigh in very quickly. The judge did stay his ruling for seven days, and we ought to use that seven days to do what we can to stop this.

Now, there is another decision coming after this one. That seems to be going in the opposite direction --


CLYBURN: -- which means they'll be really need to move quickly in order to clear this up because people are confused with these two rulings.


The problem here that later ruling only applies to several states. This one is so worth (ph) it that it seems to apply a nationwide. So I think this is a classic case of putting politics over science.

The scientists have studied. It's been in place for 23 years. It's safe, but politics is now trumping the science.

GOLODRYGA: You're right. Two very different rulings over the same medication, and we're waiting to hear how the DOJ and the Biden administration officially responds with an appeal. Of course, we'll be continuing to follow that development.

But I do want to ask you about what the vice president was there in Nashville to do and that was to speak with those three representatives who were expelled from the House for their protest. Yes, they broke house decorum rules, but their protest over gun legislation in support of so many of their constituents. They're young constituents who are sick and tired of having to deal with school shootings.

How important was it for the vice president to be on the ground there in Nashville today?

CLYBURN: Very, very important, but it was only two that -- of the three that were expelled. However, I think it's important for the Whiter House to make it clear to the people of Nashville, and Shelby County, Tennessee, and the people of the country, make it clear to all of us that they stand on the side of democracy.

What we had there in Texas is this absurd, a subservance (ph) of the democracy. These people are subverting the most precious thing that we have in this country, and that is our representative democracy that we hold dear. They have taken away the representation of people and somewhere around 140,000 people have just said that their voices silenced. And I watched this debate yesterday and to see the author of this resolution stand up on the floor and said to a young African American, you wanted attention. And now, you go get it.

That's the kind of stuff that I grew up in here in South Carolina. Never to be intimidated by again, and I'm so pleased that both these Justins are not going to be intimidated by that. I spoke last night with Justin from Nashville, and I'm following this issue very closely, and we are not going to be intimidated by those legislators in Tennessee.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, you were right to correct me. It wasn't three that were expelled. It was three that were threatened to be expelled. Two of them were expelled. A one was saved by one vote, that one who was saved, Gloria Johnson, is a white woman who when asked about whether she believed that her seat was saved because of her race, she said yes.

I'm curious to get your response to that. Do you think that race was a factor here and the expulsion of as you said the two Justins?

CLYBURN: Absolutely. The whole issue here is about race. The Tennessee legislative lines have been gerrymandered by grace. That's all it is.

The Republicans have his supermajority in Tennessee for the same reason Republican got a supermajority here in South Carolina and just with the switch of remote got a supermajority in North Carolina as well. Race is driving all of this.

I studied these issues that have been studying them since my childhood. And I can tell you, I have said on national television, I would say here again tonight, I am convinced that these people studied what was going on in this country in the 1870s and most especially, the children Hayes compromised of 1876, because everything I see let's see over the last several weeks is almost identical to what was going on in this country when South Carolina went from having four African Americans, it is congressional delegation down to zero in 20 years.

GOLODRYGA: Congressman Clyburn, thank you so much for your insight, for your words. They are very powerful, indeed. And we appreciate your view tonight on a very important night here indeed. Thank you so much for joining us.

CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me.

GOLODRYGA: And OUTFRONT next, more on our breaking news, the federal judge suspending the FDA approval of a popular abortion drug, a ruling that could ban the drug nationwide.


Democratic Congressman Katie Porter is next.

Plus, fears of more violence in the Middle East after one person was killed from a, quote, terror attack in Tel Aviv. We're live in Israel with the latest.


GOLODRYGA: Back to our breaking news: The Trump-appointed federal judge has just suspended the FDA approval for the drug, which is used in more than half of all abortions in the country that would essentially banned the drug nationwide. The Biden administration has seven days to appeal the ruling.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter.

Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

So I want to get your initial reaction to this ruling, suspending access to this medication after more than two decades of approval.

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA) (via telephone): This is an outrageous and wrong decision that is going to put women's lives at risk. I think it's ridiculous that a judgment unkempt to invalidate on the basis of this extreme political opinions, the science and the research of the FDA.

The goal of the FDA is to make sure that drugs do not endanger people. And not only does this decision invalidate that, but it actually going to put women's lives in danger by limiting access to mifepristone. So I think it's a terrible decision and I hope the administration will appeal it. I'm confident that they will.

And I think this just really demonstrates that this is part of a larger strategy, nationwide strategy to remove the right to an abortion for all Americans.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, the administration is expected to appeal this. They have seven days to appeal this ruling, actually.

What is your message to your constituents, specifically your female constituents? But this is a family issue, so I would say to all of them when they hear this ruling?

PORTER: This is absolutely a family issue. Everybody benefits from being able to make their own decisions about when and if to become apparent.

And so I think this is a powerful reminder of the risks -- that risks that we face that the fight for equality, including in health care for women, is still very much ongoing. That the battle lines -- the battle is being fought right now. This is not something that we're some abstract, let this is very real and occurring right now.

And we've seen at about box in November and all kinds of parts and pockets in places in this country that people want the right to make their own healthcare decisions. It's the FDA's job to decide if a drug is safe or not safe. It is every patient's own personal decision whether or not to use that drug.

And for a judge, a male judge to override that individual authority that patients should have. I think it's outrageous, and I'm sure my constituents are feeling both angry and scared at this moment.

GOLODRYGA: All right. Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank you so much for calling in. Thank you for your time tonight.

PORTER: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, another major story we're following tonight. Russia formally charging detained "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich with espionage, according to Russian state media. Gershkovich, an American citizen, categorically denied the charges. This is a state department confirms that consular access to get Gershkovich has not been granted since his arrest more than a week ago.

Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT for us in Moscow tonight.

Matthew, this is a grave charge that carries a potential 20-year sentence. So what happens next?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the bureaucratic wheels in Russia, you know, make another turn because this was a formal sort of procedure. The authorities here have 10 days to charge a suspect with a crime formally or they have to let him go. And it's been exactly 10 days since Evan Gershkovich was detained in the city in central Russia, in Ekaterinburg, on suspicion of espionage. And so, they're exactly following the letter of the law here in that, in that formal sense.

It also dashes any hopes, of course, that the Russians would have had, you know, a change of heart that they would have backed down, perhaps decided to set Evan Gershkovich free, you know, despite you know, amid all the appeals from the international committee from the U.S. -- from his own newspaper to do so immediately.

But that they're not doing that. They're proceeding. He's been remanded in Lefortovo prison here in Moscow until May the 29th, while the prosecution builds their case. If they need more time, they can just ask for it and because it's top secret, they're going to get it.

And there's an appeal hearing on his remand, which is being held in 10 days from now on the 18th of the month in which they'll try and sort of work out whether he should be kept in prison or whether he can going to house arrest. But I think with a charge of the seriousness, espionage, the likelihood is they're going to keep him behind bars -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Matthew Chance, thank you.

And amid Putin's crackdown, Russian prosecutors are seeking a maximum 25-year sentence for human rights advocate Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian state media is reporting. Kara-Murza, a top Putin critic who has survived two poisonings, was arrested nearly one year ago today after criticizing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and he has been imprisoned ever since.

OUTFRONT now with us, Evgenia Kara-Murza, the wife of Vladimir Kara- Murza.

Evgenia, thank you so much for joining us. You call this sentence of 25 years in prison, a high recognition of the effectiveness of Vladimir's work, Vladimir's work, and that is Vladimir Kara-Murza. You're talking about your husband -- speaking out against the Kremlin and this war. This is a sentence out of fear, you say.

What is it that you believe the regime fears?

EVGENIA KARA-MURZA, WIFE OF JAILED PUTIN CRITIC VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: Good evening, Bianna. Thank you very much for inviting me here.

Well, Putin's regime is built on lies and the thing it fears the most is the truth. And hence, total censorship of the media. Hence, the use of repression against free voices that keep telling the truth, despite all odds, they refused to be intimidated. And hence, also the portraying of anyone who dares oppose the official narrative as a criminal like in dozens and dozens of cases in Russia as spy like in the case of Evan Gershkovich, or a traitor like in the case of my husband.

Actually, while asking for a 25 prison sentence for Vladimir, prosecutor Lukyanov (ph) made a very revealing statement.


Talking about Vladimir, he said: This is our enemy who must be punished.

So that tells me about what this regime -- about how this regime sees Vladimir. It sees my husband as its personal enemy that threatens its existence. And I understand why, because for years, my husband has been involved in the advocacy for the introduction of targeted Magnitsky sanctions against human rights violators. The sanctions, that includes, asset freezes and visa bans.

And Russian officials have been very much affected by the sanctions. The fact that this regime sees my husband as an enemy, a personal enemy is proven by the presence of three people on the Magnitsky list in Vladimir's case. One of whom is actually the judge, Sergey Podoprigora (ph), who sent Sergei Magnitsky in 2008 to unlawful detention as a result of which Sergei died. This is the same man who is now trying my husband. He's been on the Magnitsky list for years.

GOLODRYGA: Can I ask you, Evgenia? Because the Kremlin imposed these instruments of fear as you call them as warnings, really for other people, including journalists. I mean, just look at Evan Gershkovich. And now, you're seeing other journalists leaving the country.

Are you worried that at least in the short term, they may be effective in suppressing opposition and the truth?

KARA-MURZA: They're doing everything to suppress position and to suppress the truth in the country. Since last February, over at 200,000 media resources, online media resources have been blocked in the country. All social media platforms have been blocked in the country.

The remaining three independent media were blocked talking about the Ekho Moskvy radio station, TV Dozhd, and Novaya Gazeta.

But despite all this, Russia placed second on the -- but the number of VPN services installed last year around the world, which means that there is a high demand for independent information in the country. People are trying to get to independent information that to circumvent the blockade.


KARA-MURZA: This is why it is important to support the work of journalists, independent journalists who are creating content to counter propaganda.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Evgenia, we will continue to cover Evan Gershkovich, obviously, and Whelan over there as well, and obviously, your husband, Vladimir, who has been sentenced to 25 years. Thank you so much for joining us.

KARA-MURZA: Thank you, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And OUTFRONT next, Israel calling up additional forces tonight after what's being called a terror attack in Tel Aviv. We'll take you there, next.



GOLODRYGA: Tonight, major developments in Israel to tell you about. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordering Israeli police to call up all border reserve units and calling on the IDF to mobilize additional forces. This after Israel said a terrorist attack occurred in Tel Aviv, an attack caught on surveillance video, which I will warn viewers may be disturbing.

A driver of a vehicle seen hitting multiple people on the road, leaving one person dead and several others injured.

Let's go right to Fred Pleitgen, who is in television for us right now.

Fred, what else can you tell us about this attack?


Well, we are actually right at the scene of where that attack happened. You know what we saw there on that surveillance camera videos that car just blasting here down the promenade and then coming off the promenade, and flipping over several times.

And as you mentioned, one person was killed, several people were injured. All of those people who were killed and injured, the Israelis say, are all tourists who had come here to Israel. But it also comes at a time where the tensions here are extremely high, especially after those retaliatory airstrikes of the Israelis flew after the rocket attacks coming from southern Lebanon.

Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Throughout the night, massive explosions in Gaza as Israeli warplanes hit militant infrastructure, Israel says. Hamas firing back dozens of rockets activating Israel's missile defenses, a spokesman for the Israel defense forces tells me.

LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: They started firing rockets after that some Palestinian factions in Lebanon, predominantly Hamas, also started fighting at Israel.

PLEITGEN: Israel says it intercepted most of the rockets, but one landed in Sderot, damaging a house.

Hamas saying it will put up a stiff fight alone.

ABDUL LATIF AL-QANOU, HAMAS SPOKESMAN (through translator): The resistance forces of our people today send a message to the occupation, to extremist groups and to this extreme right wing government that the continuation of provocations, attacks and attempts to divide and change the reality will blow up the entire region.

PLEITGEN: Hamas has condemned both the strikes in south Lebanon and here in the area of Gaza. They say they are going to hold Israel accountable. The Palestinians also say that civilian infrastructure was hit in those strikes on Gaza, including a pediatric hospital.

Israel also hit targets in south Lebanon, saying they were used to launch rockets at Israel the night before.

In the West Bank, two British Israeli women were killed and one was severely injured when their car came under fire and crashed. Still, Israel says it wants to deescalate.

HECHT: There's a very, very sensitive weekend ahead, with Passover, Ramadan and Easter, all aligning, and we're looking for a hoping for a quiet weekend.

PLEITGEN: At Friday prayers in Jerusalem, some protests but a tense, calm persisted. Still, Israel mobilized reservists, especially for the air force and air defense.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will act together with the complete backing of our forces, the IDF and the security forces who also worked on the holidays to ensure the security of our citizens and the security of our homelands.

PLEITGEN: As dusk sets in, drones hum over Gaza as Israel keeps a watchful eye, hoping the night stays calm.


PLEITGEN (on camera): As you heard there beyond the Israelis, saying they don't want all this to escalate any further, but certainly what we're seeing on the ground here is that the situation remains extremely volatile -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: We'll be watching closely.

Fred Pleitgen, thank you.

And "AC360" starts now.