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CNN TONIGHT: Protests Across U.S. After Leak Of Supreme Court Draft Opinion To Strike Down Roe V. Wade; Draft Opinion: Supreme Court To Strike Down Roe V. Wade; CNN Projects J. D. Vance Wins Ohio GOP Senate Primary. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 03, 2022 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Again, a live look, at the protests, outside the court. And there are others, around the country, as well.

The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: John, thank you. That's happening just a few blocks away, from our bureau, here, in Washington, D.C., and happening, as you mentioned, all across the country.

And I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT, on quite a significant election night, the first multi-state primary night of 2022, which we are monitoring closely. And we're going to have much more on that, in just a moment.

And there is perhaps no greater evidence, of just why elections matter, so much, more than that sonic boom that's still reverberating, across the country. Perhaps that's why.

Protests, continuing tonight, outside the Supreme Court, and all across this country, over the leaked draft opinion, the one written by Justice Alito, and backed by four other conservatives, that indicates that the High Court may, in fact, be poised, to soon overturn Roe v. Wade, normally known as settled law of the land, well for nearly half a century, at this point, a law that grants women the right to have an abortion.

And there is no question, at this point, about its authenticity. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed today that that leaked draft, in fact, is real. But he emphasized, and was quite careful to say that the opinion, written back, in February, does not represent any final decision, by the court.

And, as for that unprecedented leak, well Roberts is ordering an investigation, to find the source of that leak. In fact, he's calling the leak a, quote, "Betrayal," unquote, and, quote, "A singular and egregious breach," unquote, of trust.

Now, the leak aside, emotions are high. There has been great shock, and anger, for some. And praise, and joy, for others. Undeniably, there has been much disagreement. But everyone, everywhere, is asking the key questions that we're going to focus on, here, tonight.

Questions like, what happens now? What will it mean, for women, for the Constitution? What about other fundamental rights that might be impacted, if any? And how has your state legislature planned for the possibility of this very holding? And what role can Congress play? On an election night, like this, what might the political impact be?

We've got a powerful dynamite team, here, to help answer, all of those questions, tonight.

Politically speaking, perhaps no one should truly feel blindsided by what we've seen. This has been a hotly-debated issue, since at least 1973, one that both Democrats and Republicans have campaigned on, and have fought over relentlessly since.

Donald Trump, as you know, told us point-blank, back in 2016, that if he were elected president, he would try to appoint justices, who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

But still, this bombshell does have many people stunned that the High Court would possibly take away a right, rather than provide and enforce one, as is normally done.

Well, this draft's key words? Quote, "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

Now, this is feeding into some of the public's concerns, about the court's political independence. What some of the justices, in the majority, are saying now, about Roe, also isn't exactly what they told senators, back at their own confirmation hearings.


JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: It is a precedent that has now been on the books, for several decades. It has been challenged. It has been reaffirmed.

JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Part of being a good judge, is coming in, and taking precedent, as it stands. And your personal views about the precedent, have absolutely nothing to do with a good job of a judge.

JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By it, I mean, Roe v. Wade.

GORSUCH: A fetus is not a person. That's the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, Senator. Yes.


COATES: Well, this draft opinion isn't exactly following that notion of the acceptance of the law of the land. And I want to unpack this further, with a team that we have, to take apart, and answer the question, what now?

We're joined by our Supreme Court Reporter, Ariane de Vogue, Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, and Political Commentator, Jonah Goldberg.

I'm glad to have all of you here, especially on a night like this.

I wanted to get with you, Ariane, because you know, the courts so well, and you've been following for so long. I want to know about the impact of this leak.

Because we can talk about the substance of the draft opinion, of course. But this is truly unprecedented, to have the actual draft opinion, that normally is circulated, to be out in the public, under the microscope. How impactful is this to the court's reputation?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, it's shattering, particularly for the justices, themselves.


Because as the Court confirmed today, it wasn't a final draft. What usually happens, is then it's circulated through different chambers. One justice can say, "Add this, subtract this," you can have my vote.

This really is a breach of public trust, there. And it will have big implications. And when you think of the draft opinion itself, it's really the worst-case scenario, for supporters, of abortion rights.

Because remember, at oral arguments, they knew things were bad. But they really thought that Chief Justice John Roberts had floated a middle ground. He was saying something like, "Let's keep this law, but also keep Roe on the books." And they came out of it feeling like he might attract someone else.

But that is not what Justice Alito did at all. He said that Roe should be overturned. He said that the issue should return to the States. He said that Roe had short-circuited the process.

And he took on that notion of stare decisis, which means that the justices usually allow precedent to stand, even if they don't completely agree with it, because the cases -- case law, are the building blocks of law. And if you pull one out, then the whole thing comes down. And Alito to date rejected that.

So, this really, this leak, and the opinion itself, it really is such a blockbuster. We haven't seen something like this. And it's going to impact the future of the court. It's going to impact, as you said, confirmation hearings, from now on. And it's just it was a seismic shift.

COATES: On that point, Ariane, the idea of confirmation hearings, already, under the microscope, being evaluated, to figure out whether you're actually going to have candid forthright answers that are transparent, from those that are nominees. And Dana, to that point, you -- we realize that there have been many members of the Senate, who have talked to those, who have stood to be confirmed. And they've asked the very questions, about what they thought about precedent, about stare decisis, about what ought to be.

And, in fact, today, Murkowski spoke about how her confidence in the court had been rocked. Should she have known?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN CO-ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: Given what we have seen, with this draft opinion, perhaps. But so much of this is unprecedented, and -- never mind, the leak.

But also, it wasn't that long ago, that it was anathema, for a president, to demand what they called a litmus test, on abortion, for their Supreme Court nominees. It's really only in recent years, especially on the Republican side, in the Trump years that he went all-in.

I mean, you have to remember, on the notion of elections, having consequences, in order for Donald Trump, to secure the backing of the base, of the Republican Party, somebody, who was a former Democrat, who was very much for abortion rights, until just shortly before he ran, on the Republican ticket, he said, explicitly, "Not only will I pick somebody who will overturn Roe v. Wade."

He was given a list of potential nominees, to pick from, from groups, who knew what they were talking about, and worked for decades to do that. And so--

COATES: And Dana, and on that point, though, the idea of--

BASH: Yes.

COATES: --having to understand the dynamics, politically, of who could actually get confirmed, you spoke to Senator Susan Collins, just a few years ago, about this very notion, this idea of thinking about what it would take to be confirmed.

I want to play what you asked her, about the confidence level that she had, about that candid nature, about that litmus test.


BASH: Are you 100 percent certain, without a doubt that Brett Kavanaugh will not overturn Roe v. Wade?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade.

BASH: Because precedents are overturned all the time.

COLLINS: They aren't overturned all the time.

He noted that Roe had been reaffirmed, 19 years later, by Planned Parenthood versus Casey, and that it was precedent on precedent.

He said it should be extremely rare that it be overturned. And it should be -- an example he gave us--

BASH: You have obviously full confidence?



COATES: Well, on that notion, the full confidence that Dana, spoke to her about, Jonah, I mean, does the public have the same confidence in the court, knowing that there is certainly a disconnect, between what was said, and now what might be joined, if it's a final opinion?

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN- CHIEF, THE DISPATCH, HOST, "THE REMNANT" PODCAST: I think that the public is actually pretty sophisticated on this kind of thing. And they understand.

Basically it's Bork -- I mean, the story here begins with Bork, where Bork treated, his confirmation hearings, as if they were a graduate- level seminar. And he spoke very bluntly, and very honestly, and it torpedoed his nomination.


And since then, with Democrat and Republican appointees alike, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first one to say that she was not going to discuss any issues that might appear before her, the nomination -- the Supreme Court confirmation process has been sort of calcified with these -- this opaque language that prevents having frank and full conversations about what people's positions are.

I do disagree a little bit, with Dana, about litmus tests, insofar as my recollection is that the Democratic candidates started the process of campaigning on the promise to only appoint pro Roe v. Wade candidates. And then Trump basically joined in, in that process.

I think, at the end of the day, the American people are very ambivalent about abortion. They're very -- it's a very -- they generally don't like it. But, at the same time, they want some protections for it, in some circumstances.

And we're going to actually see that in most of the country, is that you're going to find these kinds of compromises, which is something that Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself said, would have been a better thing for our politics.

BASH: Can I add to that--

COATES: Stay tuned on -- stay tuned.

BASH: --Laura?

COATES: Yes. I want your add-on.

BASH: Just real quick.

COATES: Go ahead.

BASH: Just real quick. I agree with Jonah. What I meant was, on the Republican side, Republican presidents. I mean that's--


BASH: --that was maybe going back to the suitor example, where the Republicans were very upset with George H. W. Bush. But even more recently, I mean, look at the clip that you played from Justice Alito, then-nominee Alito, a George W. Bush nominee. He was saying all the right things, something that to get nominated -- to get confirmed rather.



BASH: Very much differs from--

GOLDBERG: I mean, suitor, literally--


COATES: Hold on. I want to talk about both these issues. I want to hear more from you.


COATES: Excuse me. I want to hear more from you, Jonah, and I just want to hear from all of you. We're not going to resolve, in this instance.

But I want to -- I want talking about the notion of the importance of elections, and campaigning on it, and what the litmus tests are. We'll come back, on this issue, in just a moment.

Ariane de Vogue, Dana Bash, Jonah Goldberg, thank you so much.

I want to turn now to Ohio, where we've got CNN projecting that Congressman Tim Ryan will win the Democratic primary, for the U.S. Senate.

But many are watching the Republican Senate primary, a far more contentious race. And the outcome could reveal what we're talking about here, the influence of former President Donald Trump, and whether he still has that influence on the party.

I want to go get a close look at who is leading this field. And we've got John King, at the Magic Wall.

John, tell me what are you seeing?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: Laura, right now, we're seeing J. D. Vance, who has the Trump endorsement. J. D. Vance, the Author of "Hillbilly Elegy," a venture capitalist, has the Trump endorsement. And, right now, we're seeing him starting to pull away. We still have

about half, a little more than half. We're 43 percent of the estimated vote in. So, more than half to count, so everybody be patient at home.

But, in the last hour or so, we have seen J. D. Vance continue to grow, and expand, his lead. About 26,565 votes ahead now of the second-place candidate, a fellow conservative, another very pro-Trump candidate, Josh Mandel.

And Matt Dolan, the only candidate in this race, who has said the Republican Party needs to put the Big Lie behind it. He is running third, right now, and a distant third, 93,000 votes.

Couple other leading candidates in the race are candidates who were in contention, in this race, who have fallen low, but they're getting votes in the crowded field, Laura. And this makes a difference. Businessman Mike Gibbons at 12.5 percent, the former State Party Chair, Jane Timken, at 7 percent.

Why does that matter? Well, when you're in a crowded primary, in your race now, you're 26,000 votes and change ahead, you see J. D. Vance in the map? Winning many not -- the dark red is Josh Mandel.

This lighter red here is J. D. Vance. He's winning a lot. He's winning most of the rural counties. That was Trump's strength. So perhaps -- we know, the Trump endorsement shot J. D. Vance up in the polls. The question was where would the undecided go in the final days? Again, a lot more to count. But J. D. Vance pulling ahead.

If Matt Dolan has a chance here, it's only here, because of this, Laura. This is Franklin County, Columbus, the seat of government, the capitol. He's running well ahead here. And only 25 percent of the vote is in. But he'd have to make up a ton of votes here.

As we watch, the other possibility is Cuyahoga County, Cleveland. The Dolan family owns the Cleveland Guardians, the baseball team. You see a much bigger margin for the more Establishment candidate, where you have the suburbs here. But 20 percent of the vote in. It's possible, because you have large voting centers in Cleveland, and in Columbus.

But what's been interesting, the third largest county is Hamilton, here. This is Cincinnati. And you see much more of a split here, with J. D. Vance, narrowly ahead. So, is it mathematically possible? Yes. But at the moment, J. D. Vance, with the Trump endorsement, stretching it out.

Again, you mentioned Tim Ryan, is the Democrat. Whoever -- whichever Republican wins this race, will be favored in the fall. But it's May. We'll see how it goes.

COATES: Thanks, John. We'll check back in later, in the hour. Thank you so much.

And we're going to return to the Supreme bombshell ahead. And what this draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade might mean for women nationwide, if that draft opinion is indeed made final. We're going to talk to two key figures, in the abortion rights movement, the CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the owner of the abortion clinic, at the very center of this storm, out of Mississippi. That's next.



COATES: So what now, is the big question? What now, for women, who might be seeking abortions? What now, for abortion clinics? I mean, if the Supreme Court majority draft opinion, is actually adopted, some of the effects will be immediate.

You got 13 States that have passed what are known as trigger laws, which are abortion restrictions that will be triggered, automatically, if or when Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Now, one of those States, is Mississippi. And that's where Diane Derzis owns the only abortion clinic, in the state. In fact, it's her clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, is the one at the very center of that draft opinion. And she joins me now, along with the President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Nancy Northup.

Ladies, I'm glad to have both of you here, with me, tonight.


I want to begin with you Diane. Because as many people have been talking about, over the course of a year, what happened in Texas, in the end run, around the precedent of Roe v. Wade, really, the case before the Supreme Court involved the idea of what was happening in Mississippi. And you own the only clinic, left standing there, for this particular issue.

What has it been like, in your clinic, today, with the news of this draft opinion circulating?

DIANE DERZIS, OWNER OF JACKSON WOMEN'S HEALTH ORGANIZATION, OWNER OF ONLY REMAINING ABORTION CLINIC IN MISSISSIPPI, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ACTIVIST: It has been business as usual, except for the press that is there, to talk to the administrator. But the patients don't pay any attention to that, because they're there, to get a medical service. That's all they're interested in. And that's what we saw today.

COATES: Are you seeing a lot of people, outside the clinic, in terms of protests, or talking about a media presence, mostly? Are you seeing your -- the people, who are patients, having to go through something, before they can enter and get that treatment?

DERZIS: That's the norm. We're actually seeing less protests, because they know that our future is limited. So, they have chosen, to go to other States, at the time. Today was press, waiting to hear, what was going on, in the clinic, and to see, what they could see, in the front. COATES: And speaking of the idea, of being able to go, other places, or needing to go, other places? If this actually is adopted, as a final opinion, your clinic would likely have to close.

And that would mean that women, who are in Mississippi, who were otherwise able to access your clinic, are going to have to travel to other States, like Illinois, or North Carolina, because abortion would not be banned in those areas.

So, what are you doing, in terms of preparation, in the event that that might happen? Is there a movement happening, to help those women, be able to get to those other areas? I know, you're opening a clinic as well.

DERZIS: Absolutely. We're going to New Mexico. That will be the Pink House West. We have long thought that our time was limited, and that Roe would be overturned. So, we have made plans.

We've presently been seeing women, from Texas. So, they drive great distances. And the waiting period is about five weeks, before a patient, from Texas, can be seen, in one of the clinics, in an adjoining state. And that's because the numbers, from Texas.

Now, multiply that, times the numbers, from the States, who have yet to ban it. And that's going to give you some idea of the nightmare, this is going to become. Hundreds of thousands of women, trying to get medical care.

COATES: Nancy, as she speaks, about this issue, and the waiting period, you can't help but think about every week, being a moment, where obviously you're talking about, in a trimester framework, it being quite impactful.

And I want you to tell me about the big picture here. She's articulated the idea of having to go to different neighboring States, assuming those States are not banning abortion.

What impact would this decision, if it's final, and if it overturns Roe v. Wade, what impact is that going to have, on the ability of people, to travel, to different areas, to be able to go to a place, within a timeframe, to actually receive the service, they're requesting?

DERZIS: It's going to be difficult--


DERZIS: --clearly, you know? If a woman finds out she's pregnant?

COATES: Well, I mean, let me ask Nancy, quickly, about the question as well. I'll come right back to you, Diane. Go ahead, Nancy.


NORTHUP: Yes, well, what we do know is that if the Supreme Court were to reverse Roe versus Wade, about half the States would move quickly, to ban abortion. And that would mean that in large swaths of the South, and the Midwest, people would have to cross multiple state lines, to be able to get care, if they have the means to do so.

And we've already seen this happening, with abortion being banned, at six weeks, in Texas. And, as Diane just said, people were going to Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, during the time that that's happened, since September, and that is going to multiply. And that is going to be an incredibly difficult situation.

What's so important is for people to recognize that this is going to be an access crisis. And that that is why you're seeing today, so many people coming out, not just here in Washington, but across the country, to say that it is unacceptable, to have the Supreme Court, reverse 50 years of a guaranteed personal liberty. People are coming out today, and standing up, and saying "Enough."

COATES: Well, thinking about that, and we see on the camera -- on the screen, here, the protests are happening, outside the Supreme Court. And again, this is only the draft opinion that is not final, and might not be the one, we see, later on, maybe next month or so.

But I want to ask you, Nancy. You talk about those who are turning out. What about Congress? Do you have any hope that Congress will be able to codify Roe v. Wade? We've heard President Biden speak about the idea today outside of Andrews Air Force Base.

Do you have confidence of the potential to codify Roe v. Wade, if in fact it's overturned?


NORTHUP: The Women's Health Protection Act is the bill that responds to the bans, and the medically-unnecessary restrictions, on abortion that had been happening, for years. And the Women's Health Protection Act has been passed by the House. The Senate has voted on it. It didn't get enough, in the first vote, in the Senate.

But we're going to continue to push the enactment of the Women's Health Protection Act. Because we cannot have the situation that Diane has talked about, where you don't even have access, in Mississippi.

She has been holding on, in Mississippi, for all these years, with the Pink House, in Jackson, providing the care that people need, in that state. They should not have to leave that state. Care should still be provided in Mississippi, and in every state, across the country.

So, the Women's Health Protection Act, Congress can act. Many people don't know that. They're just waking up to the fact that it's not just the Supreme Court that can protect abortion rights. So can the U.S. Congress.

COATES: Diane Derzis, Nancy Northup, thank you, for the information.

And especially, Diane, thinking about the waiting list, about who is actually coming, to get the services performed, different States, and thinking about projecting that out, what it would look like, ultimately, thank you for your time.

I appreciate both of you, for taking the time, to talk to us about this.

DERZIS: Thank you.

COATES: And we're going to -- we're going to keep looking at the Supreme Court draft opinion. And, by the way, the leak fallout, ahead.

But up next, our other big story, because we're watching the returns, and a major test, of Donald Trump's influence, tonight, in the State of Ohio. Our political team is here, with the early takeaways. 24 hours, after the battle, for the control of Congress, nationwide, may have just shifted.

We're coming right back.



COATES: So, right now, more votes are being counted, in Ohio, and also in Indiana. This is the first major primaries, of the midterm season.

The races, tonight, not only set the stage, for what's said to be, an eight-week blitz of primary elections. But it's also going to be a preview of the issues that American voters care about most, and maybe which direction they want the country to take.

I want to bring in our top political minds, here. We've got Abby Phillip, David Chalian. And Dana Bash is back with us here.

Let me begin with you, Abby. I want you to react, a little bit, to the primaries, as we're seeing, so far. We're learning that in terms of where things stand, about 56 percent, or more of the votes are in. And you've got J. D. Vance, who seems to be about 40,000 votes ahead. Are you surprised?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: Well, I mean, that's the intention of a Trump endorsement, is for his candidate, to go from being kind of in the middle or the near the back of the pack, to being in the front. And, I think, it just goes to show that really, there's not much that has happened that has waned Trump's influence, on the Republican Party.

Vance was one of many of these candidates, who were vying for Trump's endorsement, trying to be as close to Trump, as possible. He happened to win the endorsement. And it worked for him.

I also think it's notable that Trump's endorsement came, as early voting was already underway, in that state. So, I think, it just emphasizes that even a relatively late endorsement seemed to have given Vance, just enough juice, to kind of beat out the competitor.

And also, when you have a race that is split between so many candidates, Vance might end up with, what, 30 percent of the Republican vote? I mean, that kind of says just how split Republican voters are, picking among candidates who, frankly, are not that much different from each other, when it comes down to it.

COATES: Well, the difference is one's got the rubber stamp of Donald Trump. And, of course, as you've mentioned before?


COATES: This is somebody, who Trump had to warm up to, after early criticism, by J. D. Vance. You had that late in the game.

David, on this point? I mean, we're talking a lot, today, obviously, about the impact of this draft opinion that is not final. We've been told that. It was leaked.

But if it's any indication, of what's to come, we know that abortion issues, and abortion rights, can be a very big game-changer, in terms of the turnout. What impact, do you see, about the fights, surrounding the abortion rights, in this country? Is it going to have an impact on the primaries? I mean, obviously, this just came out last night.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR, HOST, CNN POLITICAL BRIEFING PODCAST: Yes. I think we're going to see less of an impact in the primaries, because Republicans tend to agree, on the issue of abortion rights, as do Democrats agree in their position on abortion rights.

It's much more an issue where the parties, for the general election context, in November, differ greatly, and where both parties will attempt to mobilize their bases, around the issue.

I do think it's worth noting, as we're talking about Trump's endorsed candidate here, in the lead? In Ohio, Laura, you know, who's probably not surprised, to see the Trump-endorsed candidate, in the lead?

People like Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy, who we just recently were learning about their initial response, to January 6, and time to get Trump, out of the party, and how quickly they moved off of that.

Because they sort of looked at where the base of the party was, and understood that, even a year ago, in the immediate aftermath of January 6, this was still very much Donald Trump's party.

And, I think, we're seeing that, play out today. If Vance holds on to this, that is only going to embolden Trump's presence, and prowess, inside the Republican Party.

COATES: I want to prep on the screen, for people to see. And this is the beginning of this eight-week process, this eight-week blitz.

We're talking about upcoming primary battles that are happening in May, also happening in June as well. We know that's going to be a factor. And we know that nearly a dozen other States are going to have primary battles, this month. And there are some pretty key matchups here.

If we were to go beyond the primary, though, Dana, as Chalian was speaking about, what do you see, in terms of the political fallout, possibly being, in terms of the impact of abortion, at a general election, in the midterm elections, going forward?

I mean, this has been an issue, for many, who have compartmentalized their grievance, with a particular candidate, based on the ability and the prospect to have Roe v. Wade overturned.

Who will -- to whom's benefit will this inure? Will it be Democrat? Will it be Republicans? Is it hard to judge?


BASH: Well, this is so new. The real answer is, it's hard to judge.

What I can tell you, based on talking to sources, all day, in both parties, is that, on the Democratic side, you have them already facing incredible headwinds, on a whole host of issues.

And the idea that they have a real, not just a base motivator, but they hope potentially a suburban voter motivator, in this issue of abortion, which had been a very, a pretty sleepy issue, on the Democratic side. I mean, the reason it has been a huge political issue, is because the Republicans made it this way.

The Republicans, methodically, for decades, focused on this issue of abortion, and focused on packing the court, and focused on getting people elected, in Congress -- in the Senate, and to the White House, in order to do that. And so, you are likely to see a shift there.

But just even more broadly beyond abortion, what is going to be fascinating, if in fact, J. D. Vance, for example, does win the Republican nomination, in Ohio? You are going to see the Mitch McConnells of the world start to get potentially a bit nervous.

Because, the question is about the general election. The question is whether or not these Trump-endorsed candidates can win, even though Ohio in the last presidential election, was clearly red.

COATES: You know?

BASH: Is it going to be a different case, because you have a Democrat, who's going to run, against potentially a J. D. Vance? And it could be a more of a toss-up than a solidly Republican state, which is what Republicans were hoping it would be.

COATES: On that point, I was just going to say, I mean, all of these different primary elections, they really are sort of case studies, for people, like Senator Mitch McConnell, and others, to look at, and also, Senator Chuck Schumer, as well, to figure out how the balance of power, may shift, or may be maintained.

And so, looking at all these races? That stamp of approval that Abby spoke about, and David echoed as well, on this notion, what impact will it have? Will the Kingmaker still reign supreme, particularly knowing what we're seeing in the abortion-related issues, of last night, and going forward? Abby, David, Dana, thank you so much. Nice seeing all of you.

BASH: You too.

CHALIAN: Thanks.

COATES: Now, back to the hunt for a Supreme Court leaker, an investigation ordered up, by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, on this truly unprecedented breach of the High Court. So, who leaked a major draft opinion, and why? And was it illegal?

Insight from the lawyer, who represented the whistleblower, at the center of the first Trump Impeachment trial, is up next.




COATES: We have breaking news now, in the Ohio Republican Senate primary race. CNN can now project that J. D. Vance will win the GOP nomination.

Let's go right to John King, at the Magic Wall.

John, what are you telling us?

KING: This is a victory for J. D. Vance, Laura. It's also a victory, you cannot sugarcoat this, for Donald Trump, as well, who endorsed J. D. Vance. And you see a turnout, on Election Day, in Ohio, powering J. D. Vance.

We have about 70 percent of the vote counted now. This lead has stretched, over the last hour, stretched from 20,000, to 40,000, to 50,000. Now just shy of 50,000. J. D. Vance with 31 percent of the vote.

Josh Mandel, the former State Treasurer, a very pro-Trump candidate, but he did not get Trump's endorsement, running second at 24 percent. The more Establishment Republican, State Senator Matt Dolan, was in the hunt early on, but he simply faded.

As J. D. Vance -- see all these rural counties. This is J. D. Vance's color here. See all these rural counties up here. Just like Trump, built it up in Ohio, and ran away with the state against Joe Biden, rural Ohio, not exclusively, but very much powering the math behind what we now project, will be a J. D. Vance victory.

And you just go in some of these counties. I'm just going to tap randomly here. Again, he's relatively close in some of them. But you pick up several hundred votes, in a small rural county, like that. You move over here. You're picking up several hundred more votes, here.

This is how Donald Trump does it, in small town, and rural America. And J. D. Vance, with the Trump endorsement, doing it, in Ohio, tonight.

Another place, where if Matt Dolan, the more Establishment candidate was, to have an upset, he needed to do it down here, the third largest county, in the state, Hamilton County. That is Cincinnati. It's where J. D. Vance's headquarters is tonight.

Look, you see J. D. Vance running just narrowly ahead right now. But if there was to be a magic Establishment strike-back moment, against Donald Trump, this would have to be, for Matt Dolan, at the moment, with only 26 percent. Still a ways to go there. But J. D. Vance leading, there.

But Laura, just look. Just look. This is how, if you go back to the presidential race, in 2020, see all that red? That's Donald Trump. That's how he does it.

Joe Biden won in Cleveland. He won in Cincinnati. He won in Columbus. Joe Biden won the three largest counties in Ohio. But he won only seven counties, in Ohio, because Donald Trump runs it up, in small- town America.

And if you look at the Senate race, tonight, J. D. Vance, he's going to be -- he's at 31 percent, because of the crowded field. But we project him the winner, because of that.

And there is no doubt, no doubt, on this one night, with a long way to go to see how it plays out, throughout the primary season, on this night, a victory for Vance, is a victory for Trump.

COATES: Let's bring back in our top political minds, Abby Phillip, David Chalian, and Dana Bash.

I'm wondering, who is relieved, and who is anxious, now? Not you all, personally. In terms of the political parties, and the machinations of Capitol Hill, Abby, predicted or not?

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, I think, expected, given the Trump endorsement for sure.

Of all the candidates, in the Trumpy wing of the party, I think, Vance is one that the Establishment thinks they can live with. He made a sharp turn toward Trump, in order to run this race.

But, I think, by and large, many Republican establishment types, from what I have heard, they feel like he can run a general election, effectively, in that state, and perform, decently.


And especially, if you look at some of these primary returns, as they're coming in, he's doing well, in the kind of more rural areas. But he's also doing OK, in suburban areas. And I think that those are two kind of factors that Republicans are going to look at, to see how he might perform, in a general election.

And not to mention the fact, Ohio has just become a much more conservative state. And so, this is going to be an uphill battle, for Democrats. It almost doesn't matter, who the Republican nominee ends up being.

COATES: Dana, I hear you acknowledging it as well, and echoing it, that sentiment of how this would be able to may be extrapolated even beyond Ohio.

What is this telling you, in terms of the ability of Donald Trump, to have endorsed a candidate, to a successful primary victory? But also what it might speak to other state primaries that are coming up? Is it a litmus test?

BASH: I think we have to be careful, because although the Republican Party, nationally, clearly, is the base of it, the primary voters, clearly do still support Donald Trump, and Trumpism, each state is different.

You just showed that that Ohio, in particular, John did, Ohio, in particular, has become much more red, in every way.

Pennsylvania is a state that is coming up, when this other primary tests, will be out there, whether or not a Trump-endorsed candidate, Dr. Oz will beat somebody, who, or if there are few candidates, but somebody who is more Republican establishment, and Dave McCormick. It's unclear, given that electorate, whether or not you will see the same kind of dynamic that you saw, tonight, in Ohio.

What is also unclear, again, what we were talking about earlier, is how a Trump-endorsed candidate is going to do up against whomever the Democrat is going to be. It's also all, and especially now, starting today, in Ohio, it is about the general elections.

All the questions you were asking before, how the Supreme Court potential decision, on abortion, comes into play, other factors come into play? That will all decide whether or not this Ohio seat, which Rob Portman, the Republican is leaving, stays in GOP hands.

CHALIAN: And speaking of that--

COATES: And David, yes, go ahead.

CHALIAN: Oh, sorry. No, I was just going to--

COATES: No. I was going to say, David, I want to bring you in, on that very notion. Because I'm curious for exactly what Abby was speaking about, in particular, the idea of, and what John was explaining the -- where these votes were coming from, how to look at this, in terms of what the composition, of these voters, who are galvanized, to come out, votes actually means.

CHALIAN: Yes. I mean, this is certainly, as John pointed out, a Trump- country kind of turnout for J. D. Vance. Now, remember, we're saying that in the context of a Republican primary, right?

When you look at the general election map, you see how Democrats have sort of lost any foothold, even in places like Ohio, where they used to have it, in terms of rural areas. And Donald Trump sort of wiped that away, in his last two presidential elections.

But what's interesting to see about, now that we know, it's going to be J. D. Vance versus Tim Ryan, it's like how does that shape up? And we see Democrats, out of the gate, immediately, within minutes of Vance--


CHALIAN: --being projected the winner, here, trying to frame him, as a California elitist, who wrote "Hillbilly Elegy," and made a lot of money, from a Netflix movie on it, and not of Ohio. I don't know, if you're a Trump-endorsed candidate, who just pulled a lot of votes, from rural Ohio that that kind of frame will stick.

COATES: Well, I want to go Jeff Zeleny. He's live at J. D. Vance Headquarters, in Cincinnati.

What are you seeing over there, Jeff?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing a lot of excited J. D. Vance supporters, Laura. You can see, the crowd, behind me, listening to the song, "Gloria." And they believe that J. D. Vance will be taking the stage, momentarily.

And there is no doubt that endorsement, from President Trump, about two and a half weeks ago, led to this victory, tonight. The question going forward, can he consolidate other Republicans?

And just talking to a variety of Republicans, who supported his challengers, they say, yes. They say that J. D. Vance could speak to the base of the party, which he proved tonight. And he can also speak to the intelligencia, of the party, if you will, the Establishment wing of the party. So, this victory is really quite extraordinary.

Just about three weeks ago, he was near the bottom of the pack. And it was that endorsement, at a rally, in Delaware County, from President Trump that did indeed give him the credibility, to overcome all of the doubters.

But what we're going to hear, tonight, I am told, is J. D. Vance, trying to unify this Republican Party, and immediately going after Tim Ryan. He will be trying to portray him as simply part of the Democratic Party, part of the Biden party, he may say, tonight.


So, clearly, this is a large win for J. D. Vance, in his first bid, for public office. And this is going to be a test.

But we do know, Ohio is increasingly becoming a red state. So, will this be competitive in the fall? It will be in the sense that Tim Ryan is a strong Democratic candidate. But this simply is a tough uphill battle, for Democrats. They know that, Laura.

COATES: Jeff Zeleny, thank you. I want to go back to the panel. And I'm sorry, everyone's going to

have that song, stuck in their head, for the remainder of the night, and are probably going to try to find Flashdance, on Netflix, at some point in time.

BASH: Thank you, Laura Branigan.

COATES: I know. I'm telling you, it's a great one.

But to that very point, about what it reveals, I mean, obviously, you're talking about a primary victory, versus a general election victory. It's one thing to be able to best your Republican opponent, if you're a Republican.

But you also have to bring in a greater part of the electorate, Abby, on these issues, to have that win, in Ohio. Is there a concern there, the way Jeff explained it, being able to bridge the gap, across a spectrum of Republicans?

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, first of all, I have to say that if you're going to get the Trump endorsement, the first thing you have to do is adopt the playlist, which I think J. D. Vance did.

BASH: Yes.

PHILLIP: As we can see, tonight.

BASH: He needs to add some Pavarotti (ph) after that playlist.


COATES: That's a good one.

CHALIAN: (inaudible) coming up, next.

COATES: That's a good song.


COATES: I got to give. It's a good song.

PHILLIP: It is a good song.

COATES: It is now stuck in my head.

PHILLIP: But I will say, I mean, to your question, look, this -- looks like J. D. Vance is taking the stage now. But -- so stop me, if you need to, Laura.

I think, it's going to be a question of whether he can convince general election voters, of his own transformation. I mean, this is someone, who really did go from being in the Never-Trump wing, to being kind of a pro-Trumper. And, I think, you're going to see Democrats, trying to sort of poke holes, in that narrative. Tim Ryan, as a candidate, is someone who, he had his own presidential run, tried to run a sort of like a working-class populist. And so, these will be two kinds -- two candidates, from different

parts of the ideological spectrum, both trying to run, as populists.

And J. D. Vance, we're looking at less than 30 percent of the Republican electorate, right now, in his camp. Can he consolidate those people, by November? That will be a big question.

All of those Matt Dolan voters, are they going to come out to vote, for a Republican nominee? Or will they stay home? Those are some of the big questions that we ought to be looking at, over the next few months.

COATES: And it's worth noting, he has now secured this primary projected victory, Dana. And, just last week, Trump didn't actually know his name, the appropriate name. He had blended two different ones. So, I'm saying, there's a lot there. What do you think?

BASH: There are a lot of candidates. So yes, that was a very interesting moment, especially because all of the candidates, except for one, as we've noted, Matt Dolan, have been vying -- had been vying, for Donald Trump's endorsement, in a way that was really remarkable to see.

But listen, J. D. Vance, what he has, in common, with Dr. Oz, in Pennsylvania, is that he's a celebrity. Maybe he doesn't have the -- didn't have the Oprah endorsement once upon a time that a Dr. Oz does. But he's got some name ID. And that's not nothing. Put that, with the Trump endorsement, and the fact that this is going to be a very closely-watched election, in Ohio, means that it's really up for grabs.

Yes, this is a Republican electorate. Yes, this has gone GOP. But remember, Sherrod Brown, is a Democrat, who also -- he's a well-known guy in Ohio. But he is a Democrat, a progressive Democrat, as he would call it, who represents Ohio as well.

COATES: David, you've got some reporting, speaking about, the conversation about Donald Trump, and the shadow, he obviously has, in this particular race. You have reporting about a conversation between the two.

CHALIAN: Well, I'm sharing our colleague Gabby Orr's reporting.

She spoke to sources familiar that former President Trump reached out, to make a congratulatory phone call, to J. D. Vance, just a few minutes ago, before he took the stage. And no doubt, wanted to be part of this victory moment, extended those congratulations to Vance. Perhaps Vance will share that in his remarks here.

But clearly, our colleague, Gabby Orr, was also saying that he was watching these returns very closely. And he was gathered in Mar-a- Lago. And they were keenly interested, in seeing how this endorsement would play out, as the vote returns, were coming in, tonight.

And he is described, as relieved, according to Gabby's reporting, that it turned out this way that his horse in this race did indeed get across the finish line.

COATES: And we're talking, of course, about what's going on, in Ohio, in a congressional primary. But there's also some really big races, at the state and local levels.

I point to Georgia, for example, the gubernatorial race, there, about who has the stamp of approval, endorsement from Donald Trump, versus others, and what impact that's going to have down the line.

A lot of people watching Ohio, and many other places, as well.


We have more on all of this. In a few moments, here, we're going to bring you the latest, on what's been going on, in just a moment here. We're going to be right back, in just a few. Standby.


COATES: Thanks for watching.

A big night still ahead. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: It is a very big night, Laura. Thank you very much.

And we're going to get to the live breaking news, happening, in two places.

There's, in Ohio, tonight, there's J. D. Vance, who is been declared the winner. He's going to speak. Our live picture, there.

And also, tonight, in Washington, D.C., live pictures, at the Supreme Court, where there are protests, of course, because of what happened, yesterday, with "Politico" releasing this draft document.

So, we're going to continue to watch both of those stories, and we'll get to them in just a moment. We've got major breaking news, and two big stories, as I've been saying, here, and around the world.

Just moments ago, the breaking news, on election night, CNN is projecting that Trump-endorsed J. D. Vance, who you saw on your screen, just moments ago, will win the GOP primary, for the Senate in Ohio, as repercussions that will go beyond Ohio. Our John King will be with us, in a moment, to lay it all out.

And the major story that stands to impact this entire country.