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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

"Politico" Publishes U.S. Supreme Court Draft Opinion That Would Overturn Roe V. Wade Abortion Decision; Ukraine Successfully Retaking Territory Around Kharkiv, Ivanka Trump Talked to 1/6 Committee About what Transpired Inside White House. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 03, 2022 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans. Laura Jarrett has the morning off.

We begin with a major story developing story right now. "Politico" has obtained what it calls a draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would strike down Roe versus Wade overturning the right to abortion in America. Protestors began gathering in front of the Supreme Court building minutes after "Politico" dropped this bombshell leak.

The final opinion, of course, has not been released, but if it matches this draft, it would be by far the most consequential abortion decision in decades and would transform women's reproductive health in the U.S.

I want to get straight to Jessica Schneider. She is live at the Supreme Court for us bright and early this morning.

Jessica, what does this apparent draft opinion say?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Plain and simple, Christine, it eliminates the constitutional right to have an abortion that existed since 1973 when I the court at that time issued its opinion in Roe v. Wade. Now, "Politico" is reporting this is a 98-page draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and it says in part this: We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.

Now, this is just a draft. It has not been authenticated by CNN and the court ha refused to comment on this. But if this is, in fact, true, if this has been leaked to "Politico", this would be a stunning and unprecedented development. These opinions by these nine justices, they are always tightly held. We never get any indication of what these justices have decided at any point before decision day.

As for this decision, we are expecting at anytime in the next eight weeks, most likely, we're expecting it in June. But the fact that this has leaked already is really a stunning development. Now, what "Politico" is reporting is that right after the arguments

were held on December 1, remember this is a case involving Mississippi's law, Mississippi's law bans abortion at 15 weeks. Now, the justices weren't only considering if that law was constitutional, which if you look to precedent, it would not be. But Mississippi also asked the justices to completely overturn Roe v. Wade.

"Politico" reporting that after the arguments were made on December 1st, five of the justices agreed with Mississippi, agreed that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Those justices, Justice Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett.

What we've learned is that John Roberts would be in the dissent. After that point, a draft was written, this draft that political company obtained politically was written on February 10, at least the process began on February 10 by Justice Alito.

This would mark a monumental shift in abortion rights, it would completely eliminate the constitutional right to have an abortion and we would see states take swift action. In fact some states are already moving with their Republican-led states moving to at this point ban abortion already. We've seen Oklahoma probably act the most swiftly. They recently passed a complete abortion ban, that is set to go into effect in August.

So, Christine, states are already on the move. We saw the governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, tweet last night that if this is in fact true, she will move swiftly to get the legislature in her state to also ban abortion. So again, this is a draft opinion. No final opinion is expected to be released until likely late June. And we're still waiting to hear any word from the court about this. And the fact that it was leaked to "Politico" -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yeah. It's just stunning.

All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much for that. Keep on your toes there. I know that there will be a lot to talk about today.

Let's bring in legal analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin.

Areva, a leak overnight that could upend a generation now of established law. The Supreme Court draft opinion says Roe was egregiously wrong from the state, its reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision has had damaging consequences. Talk to me about your initial reaction to this bombshell news overnight.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Shock, Christine, absolute utter shock, dismay, disappointment and even anger.


When you read what politico reported about this draft opinion, what Alito says essentially is that the word "abortion" is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. And although that is accurate, there are many rights that are protected that we as citizens enjoy, many freedoms and rights that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. And my biggest fear is that this is not the end, this is the beginning of the evisceration of many of the rights we enjoy such as the right to privacy, the right to contraception.

My big fear is that this opinion affirms that women don't have control or agency over their reproductive health, over the rights to make choices about their bodies and thereby regulating women to second class citizens, giving men more power, more control over their bodies, more freedoms than what would be afforded to women. Very, very disturbed by this draft opinion.

ROMANS: And a patchwork of very different -- potentially very different laws around the country, very different conditions for women and their reproductive health to live under.

I want you to listen to what the recent appointed justices said at their confirmation hearings on Roe v. wade.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Is Roe a super precedent?

AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: How do you define that? I'm answering a lot of questions about Roe which I think indicates that Roe doesn't fall in that category and scholars say it doesn't mean that Roe should be overruled, but descriptively, it does mean that it is not a case that everyone has accepted and doesn't call for its overruling.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: As a judge, it is an important precedence of the Supreme Court. By it I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey, and reaffirmed many times, Casey is precedent on precedent, which itself is an important factor.

NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Senator, as the book explains, Supreme Court of the United States is held in roe vs. Wade that fetus is not a person for purposes of the 14th Amendment. And the book explains that.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Do you accept that?

GORSUCH: That is the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, Senator, yes.


ROMANS: So what do you make of that and where we are now?

MARTIN: Utter deception. That is the only way that you can describe what we heard from those three Trump-appointed U.S. Supreme Court justices. All the answering questions suggesting that they would acknowledge roe as established precedent.

Remember Susan Collins -- Senator Susan Collins said that she was willing to give her vote to Brett Kavanaugh because she was assured by him that he would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. And now this report from "Politico" says that Brett Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, all three Trump appointees, voted along with Alito and Clarence Thomas to overturn Roe v. Wade.

ROMANS: And this is the first major like to come out of the nation's highest court. I mean, the leak itself is just stunning, the contents of the leak equally stunning. Does this scar you think the reputation of the Supreme Court, what happened here?

MARTIN: I think when you look at this, in addition to what we've seen by Clarence Thomas, the comments and statements made by Clarence Thomas, his wife, the treatment of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, it is hard to imagine that the U.S. public has any confidence or trust in the Supreme Court.

And also it is important to note that the court represents a viewpoint that is radically different than most Americans. The majority of Americans believe that women should have the absolute right and control over their reproductive health, the decision to have or not have an abortion. So, here we have nine justices or in this case five, according to this article, that are voting in a way that is completely inconsistent where most Americans are on an issue as fundamental as the rights that women have to control their own health.

ROMANS: Some polling earlier this year showed 69 percent of people said you should not overturn Roe v. Wade. But here in this opinion, this line, the inescapable conclusion is that right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation's history and traditions. On the contrary, there is an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion it goes on.

So this is definitely -- this is definitely a remarkable shift and we will continue to follow it.

Areva Martin, thank you so much for your analysis there.

MARTIN: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: Coming up, Vladimir Putin's plan to reframe his invasion of Ukraine. Plus, what Ivanka Trump has been telling the January 6 committee and America's job market, this close to making a full recovery from the pandemic.



ROMANS: To Russia's war against Ukraine, Ukraine's military now says that its forces have won back control of several settlements to the north and east of Kharkiv.

CNN's Isa Soares joined this morning from Lviv, Ukraine.

Isa, so nice to see you. Ukraine's counteroffensive could make it harder for Russia to launch missile and artillery attacks against Kharkiv itself, so this is notable.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. Very good morning to you, Christine. The reason Kharkiv and the Russians are so keen on taking Kharkiv, because you imagine the man, Kharkiv is at the very top northwestern point of the Donbas region. That is why Kharkiv is critical.


But what we have seen in the last 24 to 48 hours, hearing from U.S. defense officials, is really that Ukrainians have been able to push the Russians further out of east of Kharkiv, even taking some of the settlements.

One defense official calling the efforts an incredible effort from really the Ukrainian side. We've seen that push and Ukrainians really standing their ground overnight as well in other parts of the country, in the east of the country in particular, with Ukrainians attacks, repulsing about 12 attacks across this. And this is important given what you said before you came to me, what we heard from U.S. as well as western officials, that of course President Putin could formally declare war on declare on May 9.

Of course the concern is from these officials that perhaps the hostilities could escalate as Putin tries to create a propaganda value, give more significance to this state. But it doesn't end there. Have a listen to the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE, what he had to say.


MICHAEL CARPENTER, AMBASSADOR TO THE ORGANIZATION OF SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE: According to the most recent reports, we believe that Russia will try to annex the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in quotes so called to Russia. The reports state that Russia has planned to year referendum Russia sometime in mid-May and that Moscow is considering a similar plan for Kherson.


SOARES: And it's a huge concern, of course, trying to create that independence referendum of Kherson in the last few weeks. And so that is on the battlefield.

Quickly, if we have a look at the evacuation efforts that we've been keeping an eye on Mariupol, we know that further evacuations are expected today. These are expected for the city of Mariupol. Remember, about 100,000 people have been sheltering in Mariupol looking for a safe passage. We know that is expected today for Mariupol.

In terms of Azovstal steel plant that you say have been talking about at great length, more than 1,000 or so people holed up inside for 60 days, 100 people evacuated, we know that on Sunday. On Monday, they tried again to do an evacuation for the civilians inside, that didn't work out simply because the shelling, the constant shelling a commander inside says that didn't make it happen.

But we've heard that several buses from that Sunday evacuation is making their way to Ukraine-held territory, to Zaporizhzhia, about four, five hours away. So we'll keep on top of the news from the evacuation and bring you more as soon as we have it, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. I know you will. Thank you so much, Isa Soares, for us this morning.

All right. Germany says it is on board ready to participate in any European ban on Russian energy imports. And Germany's finance minister telling CNN his country will not be blackmailed by the Kremlin into paying for natural gas in rubles.


CHRISTIAN LINDNER, GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER: It takes time to reduce the dependency. It is a mistake to be dependent in this way, but we are making progress. In the end, we will be completely independent from Russia.


ROMANS: A mistake. A mistake to be this dependent on Russia.

Clare Sebastian joins us live from London.

How long will Germany need to wean itself off of Russian energy and how are they going to do it?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think that we can safely say the time lines are accelerating. Oil they previously said that they could wean themselves off by the end of this year. Now the economy and climate ministry is saying by late summer they will be ready to end all imports of Russian oil. That is because a lot of that work has already been done.

Germany says it has cut back from 35 percent of its oil imports coming from Russia before the war in Ukraine, now it is down to 12 percent. So, not a huge amount left. They say it is a local problem, just one refinery near Berlin. But they can find alternative suppliers when it comes to oil but more difficult when it comes to gas. There just is not spare capacity in the gas market. There isn't enough infrastructure to imports liquefied natural gas into Germany.

They have also cut back already in terms of how much gas they import from Russia, but they say with gas it could take longer. The previous deadline was around 2024. But they are very clear they are ready for go for an oil embargo. The E.U. is drawing up a sixth package of sanctions as we speak. We think that will be included there.

ROMANS: All right. Clare Sebastian, thank you so much for that. Keep us posted.

The U.S. economy approaching a milestone. The labor market will fully recapture all the jobs lost during the pandemic by the end of August. That's an estimate from Fitch Ratings. If that happens, payrolls would have returned to pre-crisis levels in barely two years.

[05:20:02] Get this: It took nearly 6 1/2 years for the jobs market to fully recover from the Great Recession. Right now, the U.S. is only 1.6 million jobs short of February 2020 levels, 13 states already back to pre-COVID employment. Among them, Florida, Georgia, Colorado and Arizona.

Just ahead, a leaked draft of an opinion shows the Supreme Court may have already struck down Roe vs. Wade.

First, exclusive details on what Ivanka Trump is talking about with the January 6 committee.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

The head of the January 6 Committee telling CNN that Ivanka Trump talked to them about what was happening inside the White House as that Capitol riot unfolded. Congressman Bennie Thompson says she answered questions about her activities and her awareness of what President Trump was doing at the time. Thompson says the testimony wasn't against Trump himself but it did help corroborate testimony from others who said that Trump was reluctant to call off the rioters despite being asked to do so.

Meantime, the January 6 Committee is sending letters to three Republican congressmen asking for their voluntary Cooperation with the investigation.

CNN's Zachary Cohen is live in Washington for us.

And, Zachary, who are these GOP lawmakers and what is the committee hoping to learn?

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, good morning. So these three GOP lawmakers are Congressman Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Ronny Jackson of Texas. And that brings our total to six Republican lawmakers in total including Kevin McCarthy who the January 6 committee wants to talk to.

Unfortunately for the committee, almost all of those requests have been refused by the individuals. Now, that is pretty remarkable considering the fact that some members of Trump's own family have come in voluntarily and provided information. But these lawmakers making it clear that they view the committee's investigation as a witch hunt and they have no interest in participating in the investigation itself.

Now, what is interesting about these letters though, they do reveal new information about where the committee is in the course of its investigation. It mentions recent testimony that was provided by White House personnel where Congressman Biggs' name was mentioned in connection to a White House meeting where a presidential pardons were referenced. So, we're getting a sense of how far along the committee is in its investigation and how much Trump's influence is really impacting the potential cooperation from these members of congress. Now, the committee has left the door open for subpoenas. They are looking forward to public hearings starting on June 9. So they are running out of time. But these letters are remarkable in the sense that the committee is widening its net, inviting more lawmakers to come in and the expectation is that they will also send more letters to potentially senators.

ROMANS: Yeah. More than a year on and yesterday a jury found a former New York police officer guilty in his trial for what happened on January 6. So the justice marches on here even as Washington tries to get more answers.

Thank you so much, Zachary Cohen. Nice to see you.

Just ahead, Joe Biden's first chance to say something about the draft opinion from Supreme Court overturning Roe versus Wade. And Vladimir Putin preparing to make a major declaration about Ukraine.