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Leaked Roe V. Wade Draft Opinion Leaves Questions About Final Ruling; CNN: White House COVID Projection Puzzles Health Experts, Caught Some Top Biden Officials Off Guard; Judge: DeSantis Redistricting Map Likely Unconstitutional. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 12, 2022 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: It's just the issue is can you imagine going to the office to John's point to Joan's point. To Joan's point the language is not final, it seems pretty clear that those five on the left are determined to wipe out Roe but the language is not final and you have a process, but you have a process that has been warped, by a dangerous leak. What does that do?

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I think it's been for so long, the court had been held in this esteem of, you know, above the fray outside of the political process. And we all know, that's not been the case in terms of public opinion, for a while now. We had a presidential election that was decided by the Supreme Court. We had a Supreme Court justice sit in the Capitol and disagree with the President when he gave his State of the Union address.

So it's been a while now that people have viewed the Supreme Court and threw a political lens, but no doubt, this has really elevated that, and made this whole process a much more political one, than, for sure, people like Chief Justice Roberts would like for it to be maybe many of the other justices would like it to be, but the reality is, there is a lot of politics in this and this leak, I think really will cause whatever the decision, ultimately is to be seen through a much, much more polarized lens, even than it otherwise would have been in.

And Joan is right. This was always going to be a high stakes thing. It was always going to be very political. But I think this just really makes the debate that they're having right now about what are the details going to be, what are the fine print say, that much more intense.

KING: And so we all hope that the nine Supreme Court justices are not influenced by public opinion that they follow the law. But the question is, should they be sensitive to public opinion, look at this Monmouth University poll just out. Look at the disapproval of the court since they made this decision, the disapproval of the court has jumped 10 points from this. So you don't want to tell the public we're listening to you. Meaning if you protest outside, that's how we'll settle a legal issue. But should the court given all the doubt and institutions now including the Supreme Court, does the court have to do anything to repair its image to try to send some message that we're going to get things done? Or is it -- to do they just have to stay in the secret of cloaked process and deal with it?

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, there's a couple of questions there. There's been some people who think that the court should not be -- should have -- there should be more transparency in the court. Why is it so secretive? We'll see if there's more calls for that. But also on Capitol Hill, Republicans have made this very political from the time of the leak, they have without evidence said that it was a left leaning clerk, which the I have asked over and over again, why they are saying that, what their evidence is, and they have none.

And so the politics behind this is being reinforced by what is happening on Capitol Hill, who are they are in fact trying to put, make the Supreme Court now a political issue. They're not wanting to talk about the merits of the case for the time being Republicans. And so now everything is just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

KING: And SO I just want to read a little bit from a very smart "New York Times" piece about the, you know, how the work process now goes at the court. So this is from Tara Leigh, University of Alabama law professor, to the extent that this leak undermines that deliberative process, that Joan spoke of, by making the justices less inclined to have that exchange, share drafts, et cetera. That could lead the longer to less careful and perhaps less moderate decision making of the court.

That's the question here, as these nine justices sit around the table today, can they move past this? Or is there a lack of trust, which means a lack of communication, a lack of sharing?

TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, I mean, that meeting today definitely sounds more tense than, you know, our roundtable here, given all of those questions. But I think it kind of depends in part on how this leak investigation plays out as well, because we don't know sort of the scope of that investigation, how in depth it's going to go in terms of private communications that the justices might have had.

So if this goes far enough into sort of really digging into some things that might be considered more private, or have been for years now, I think justices might start not, you know, revealing as much not circulating as many draft opinions, things like that. So it could definitely change things the way this investigation goes.

KING: And if you look at the docket, if you just look, they have this Mississippi abortion case, of course front and center, but restrictions on carrying guns outside the home, school vouchers and prayer, regulatory authority of the government when it comes to the environment, the immigration policy, Trump remain in Mexico. They have a lot of very sensitive or difficult things to work out. Is there any doubt that this will make it harder?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, no, it will make it harder. June is already their version of the cruelest month for sure. As they're finishing up these opinions, and having looked through lots of archives of justices, and then, you know, recreated what happens behind the scenes after the fact not as lucky as POLITCO getting it right there in real time.

You cannot believe the sorts of exchanges that go on because they're just very angry people right now. You know, they're tired. They're resolving just, you know, the most blockbuster opinions and they -- and now they have protesters in front of their house, all this kind of tension, and they're not, you know, to your point about what kind of investigation is going on? Chief Justice John Roberts is not the boss of them and the marshal has limited resources. So it's unlikely that much of an investigation will truly go on so a lot of questions will hang in cloud the process through the end of June, early July, John, and maybe for years and decades in the future.


KING: And just to make the point, we're talking about this meeting today. So we're talking a lot about the process. Also, we're waiting, of course for a decision that would rewrite American law in a dramatic way and we'll see the impact of that as well.

Up next for us, though some new reporting on some team Biden COVID confusion, its new pandemic coordinator warns, there could be 100 million new COVID infections this fall. Well, that number took some by surprise, including some of his Biden administration colleagues.



KING: Some new questions today about a White House warning that there could be as many as 100 million new COVID infections this fall. Here's the White House COVID Coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, addressing that projection over the weekend.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We're looking at a range of models, both internal and external models. And what they're predicting is that if we don't get ahead of this thing, we're going to have a lot of waning immunity. This virus continues to evolve, and we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths this fall in winter.


KING: CNN though was told that projection of 100 million potential new infections surprise many public health experts and even some of Dr. Jha's Biden administration colleagues. CNN's MJ Lee joins us now live from the White House to share her new reporting. MJ, tell us more.

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, what we are told by sources is that that warning from Dr. Jha over the weekend caught some of Biden officials by surprise. And we're talking about officials that work closely on COVID issues. And they were surprised because they hadn't gotten a heads up that he would be making this public projection. Now, the other side of this, of course, is that public health experts, they were a little puzzled to see this as well, for a couple of reasons. And one is that the White House hasn't released the models that were used to make this projection. And two, we are talking about a timeframe that is pretty far out. We're talking about the fall and the winter. And if COVID that has taught us anything it is that so many things can change. And so many things are unpredictable.

Now, we tried to sort of get a better sense of why that projection was made and why Dr. Jha said that in the -- on the air, on television over the weekend. And what we're told is that the White House COVID team for a number of weeks now, they have been reaching out to modelers, they've been reaching out to experts, and trying to get sort of preliminary and early data to try to plan for the fall and the winter.

And that one of the reasons that the models cannot be made public yet is because those models that they were using behind the scenes, they're not actually final yet, and they may not be finalized for a number of weeks. So that's one of the reasons why those models have not been made public yet, of course, a number of reporters have asked the White House, can we have access to those models, so we can better understand them. But now we have a better sense of why.

And there was also just this acknowledgement from a senior administration official that I spoke with that the 100 million new infections warning from Dr. Jha, that that wasn't really meant to be a prediction, but they really were trying to talk about sort of the scenario planning. And I just want to emphasize the very important caveat that we're talking about here, the scenario that he was talking about is if Congress does not approve you COVID funding, so that affects so many things, right?

That means that the administration won't have the money to do an aggressive vaccine campaign come the fall and the winter, that means no new money to do tests and for therapeutics. So this is sort of the scenario that they're trying to plan out for. And that's why they've been in touch with modelers and experts and getting their hands on this early data, again, to try to plan everything out.

KING: And so you get the point that they want to plan things out, you get the point that I want to give people as much advanced notice sometimes advanced warning as necessary. But this is also a team that promised that they would be just the facts, no politics involved in COVID like the prior administration, is that how this gets complicated?

LEE: You know, I just want to be really clear, we are not suggesting that this number is sort of, you know, came out of nowhere, clearly, they are using models, they are being informed by experts, and again, modelers that they have been talking to. But again, there's a reason that that information is not really readily available for the public yet.

And it is because again, according to the senior Administration official, those models that the White House has been impart consulting, they're not actually finished yet, and they probably won't be finished for a number of weeks. And that's why that can't be really shared with the public. But the 100 million new infections, again, that is a scenario according to the White House if Congress does not approve new funding, and that's why they're talking about this was such urgency, John.

KING: Well, hopefully the second that data is ready to share. They know where to find you, MJ, come back and share it with us, we'd appreciate it. MJ Lee, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.


Up next for us, a judge rejecting a new congressional map drawn by the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.


KING: This week and important courtroom defeat for Florida's Republican Governor. Ron DeSantis is trying to redraw Florida's congressional map. But now a judge he appointed says his maps are likely unconstitutional. The governor calls the map race neutral. But the judge, Layne Smith, does not agree. The maps are illegal the judge says precisely quote, because it diminishes African Americans ability to elect the representatives of their choice.

Tarini Parti, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Julie Hirschfeld Davis back with me. The governor has been quite aggressive. Even his own legislature had a map, a Republican legislature. And the governor said, no, it's not aggressive enough. Now you get this whack.

CALDWELL: Yes, and this is something he obviously didn't want. And it's just partially one district probably it's because of a northern Florida black district that has been redistricted so that the judge is saying that it disenfranchises black America or black Floridians. So looking forward though, this is -- Ron DeSantis had a very aggressive map as many as 20 of the 28th congressional districts in Florida could be Republican seats.


Right now, the split is 16 to 11. So it's much closer. And this was a big blow to Democrats, Democrats actually had been very previous this judge decision, Democrats have been very happy with how the redistricting process had gone around the country. They were surprised at how well it did went for them, thinking that they might even not lose the house because of it. And so this Florida map, the DeSantis Florida map, was something that was not good for Democrats. It looks like there might be a little bit of a rejiggering of it because of this court decision. But we'll see it's going to take some time.

KING: And so let's look more closely, you make the point. This is the Lawson district, the current district in the northern part of the state represented by an African American Democrat. If you look over here, you see what happened in that space. They drew the lines this way. They drew up and down lines, north-south lines, and they took that district away. This is the current 10th District represented by Val Demings. And let me blank this so you can see it more clearly over here. Let's do that again.

You see, this is the current 10th district, you see it's a relative almost a square. They did that dispersing the voters to make -- it's very clear what happens when you do that. We've seen it in other places as well. In this case, though, a judge appointed by the current Republican governor said sorry, sir, appreciate the appointment. You're wrong.

DAVIS: Right. And when the governor submitted this, this map, which as he pointed out, was even more aggressive than the map that the Republican legislature had put forward, it was very clear that he was really reaching on this, and everyone who saw this map, including some of the Republicans in the state, were very clear about the fact that OK, this is really pushing the boundaries here.

I would note, though, that the likelihood here, even though this judge has made this decision, and has said, OK, that's a bridge too far, is that they are going to get a map that is very favorable to Republicans. This is still going to be, you know, probably more like the map that the Republican legislator wanted. And so while it's definitely a loss for the governor, they're still going to end up to Leigh Ann's point, in a better position than I think Democrats would have liked to see because there has been this really aggressive push it throughout the state, both by the governor and by the legislature itself, to really try to tamp down on the effect of some of these Democratic voters, including voters of color in Florida,

KING: Right. And you see, in the case of Florida, it's -- you just look at the map itself, evidence about voters of color. But we've also seen in other states, Democrats in New York, for example, the same thing, if you -- this is the lesson of redistricting in the modern age, ask for everything, push the envelope, and you will probably get almost everything.

PARTI: Yes. And I think the strategy here that the two parties have taken has been very interesting. In some ways, it's been sort of the opposite. Democrats, as you mentioned in New York, they've been trying to expand the map, even if each individual district only has a slight Democratic advantage. They've been trying to get as many of those districts as possible.

Republicans meanwhile, we've seen in states like Texas and others, they've been trying to make the districts that they already control more favorable to them, so that, you know, we're not going to see as many of those swingy Republican districts, but so they're taking very different approaches. But Ron DeSantis decided to go sort of the more democratic way in this in terms of the strategy in terms of being aggressive and sort of trying to expand the map more.

KING: And does he get a little bit more attention in this because he's also fighting Disney? And everybody just sees him as somebody who was just waiting to, shall we say, move on from Florida?

CALDWELL: Oh, absolutely. I mean, this is part of I mean, Ron DeSantis is doing everything he can to show how conservative he is how that he is willing to fight for conservatives and fight for Republicans. And this is part of it, pushing the boundaries and many issues, not only social issues too, but these electoral issues as well. It's part of the DeSantis playbook at this point.

KING: We'll watch how that one plays out. Few other states too are still waiting for the final map as we move more and more through this primary season. Yes, we are in a busy election year.


Up next for us, a brand new development in a very serious issue that ongoing baby formula shot -- shortage across the country.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, a bit later today, President Biden will speak with baby formula retailers and manufacturers of course to address the nationwide supply shortage. A voluntary recall of powdered infant formula earlier this year, and a warning from the FDA added an additional strain on existing supply chain woes.

A key inflation measures slowed slightly in April offering some hope that we're getting past the pandemic inflation peak. The Producer Price Index, which measures wholesale prices, rose 11 percent in April. That's a lot but it's a small slow down from 11.2 percent in March, but the fifth straight month of course of double digit increases.

Mike Pence and the largest conservative caucus in Congress will have quote, a special meeting next month. The former vice president once chaired that group, the Republican Study Committee when he was an Indiana congressman. The Committee has heard from a slew of potential 2024 presidential nominees over the past year, Punchbowl news first to report Pence's plans to meet up on Capitol Hill with that group.

And for the first time ever, look at this, a group of more than 300 astronomers have captured an image of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. This gives confirmation that Sagittarius A which astronomer is called the beating heart of the Milky Way does indeed exist. Although black holes don't emit light, what you're seeing there, the shadow of the black hole surrounded by a bright ring of light which is spent by gravity that's just cool.


Don't forget you can also listen to our podcast. Download INSIDE POLITICS wherever, wherever you get your podcast. Thanks for joining us today. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow I hope. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.