Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Oklahoma Abortion Providers Bracing For Near-Total Ban; Justice Thomas Takes Jab At Court Under Chief Justice Roberts With Roe V. Wade Decision Potentially Near; Russian Soldier Pleads Guilty In First War Crimes Trial. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 20, 2022 - 21:00   ET



LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you. Yet, one of the funerals that never should have been, but for that horrendous hate crime. Thank you so much.

I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

I want to take a second, if we can, here. Just to take a step back, for a moment. I really want us to understand what is happening, across this country.

And I know that, as a nation, we've been talking about Roe v. Wade, and the potential for it being overturned since, well, at least 1973. There's been so many challenges to it, so many decisions, to try to have a Right Supreme Court, to be able to overturn it. And yet, sitting here, today, and until now, it has remained the law of the land.

But from Texas, to Mississippi, to now Oklahoma and frankly, beyond, we've seen a lot of blueprints created and followed that will - and already have upended a nearly 50-year precedent. But we have, after all, yet to see a final opinion, from the Supreme Court.

Now, I know there's a draft opinion, and it was leaked. And it purports to say that, yes, the writing is on the wall. And no one should be naive to the prospect that Roe v. Wade may, in fact, be overturned.

And yet, Roe v. Wade, again, sitting here today is still supposed to be the law of the land, until the Supreme Court officially says otherwise.

But, for some governors, and abortion clinic operators, the leaked opinion was enough. It's given license, to governors, to try to anticipate that overturning Roe v. Wade, according to that opinion, will allow them to decide the issue.

Remember, Alito wanted it to go back to the States. It's more than just overturning Roe v. Wade. It's about having the individual states be the one to decide how their state will operate. And, because of it, some governors are now signing legislation, accordingly, or hoping to be able to soon. And, for some abortion clinic operators, well, state abortion bans have made them stop providing the service, entirely, out of fear of being sued. Again, this is with Roe v. Wade, still the law of the land.

And these abortion care providers, along with many concerned Oklahomans, well, they're bracing for the impact of this looming ban on almost all abortions, in the state.

We're actually going to hear, tonight, from one of those providers, whose clinic has stopped providing abortions, even before the bill has even been signed. Well before, of course, even Roe v. Wade being overturned, if it in fact will be. Now, she says that some women that she's been talking to have become frantic.

There's already an undoubtedly important impact, on Oklahomans, in a major way. You've got the Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign this newly-passed law, at any time. And if he does, and when perhaps he does, there will be no law in the country, like this. It'll outlaw abortions, from the very moment of fertilization, with very few exceptions.

And remember what happened in Texas. You'll be able to have a civilian enforcement component, where you can be sued, if you aid and abet, or are suspected of helping somebody have an abortion.

And this, all that I've talked about today, will likely take effect, even while Roe v. Wade still stands. Even though we know that long- settled law, protecting abortion rights, could be overturned by the Supreme Court.

I have to tell you, I'm not naive. And I know you were not either. But as a lawyer, as a voter, as a human being, as a woman, as a person, I'm concerned about the effect of States getting ahead of their constitutional skis, so to speak.

And let's expand beyond abortion, in the context of the conversation, to really understand why this moment is so impactful. What's the impact of States making laws? If they're conservative or liberal? Doesn't matter how the law leans, and is perceived.

But making a law that goes against Supreme Court precedent, in the hopes that you will guess correctly, what their opinion will one day be?

The question then becomes, who's going to have the last say, and who are the people to listen to? And if that's the question we're asking, doesn't that risk making the Supreme Court obsolete? And isn't that extraordinarily dangerous precedent, as well?

And speaking of precedent, from the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court itself. You don't have to be a Supreme Court insider, to know that there were probably some tensions happening, around that leaked opinion.

And there are tensions, within the Supreme Court, right now, as the decision edges closer. I mean, it's kind of been out there, for everyone to see, with one of the justices who's had a - who has long called, for Roe, to be overturned, Clarence Thomas, who has been throwing shade at his fellow conservative and the Chief Justice, John Roberts, who might actually be behind-the-scenes trying to work for a compromise, to uphold Roe, at least for now.

Listen closely, here, to what Justice Thomas said, just the other day, about what the High Court was like, before Chief Justice Roberts came to be, in 2005, and the friendships of yesteryear, before he was a part of the court.



JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS, SUPREME COURT: This is not the court of that era.

The court that was together 11 years was a fabulous court. It was one you looked forward to being a part of.

We actually trusted. It was - we may have been dysfunctional family. But we were a family.

I think the - what's changed in society, modernity or post-modernity, I think, attitudes have changed.


COATES: I have to wonder, whether the rose-colored glasses are appropriate, or whether it was really the facts of the cases. And that was really the climate. Either way, someone's not getting invited to the party!

We're going to dig much deeper into that path forward, with CNN's Joan Biskupic, and some of her fascinating new reporting, on this very issue, about these tensions.

But first, to the looming Oklahoma ban, on most abortions, again, from the moment of fertilization.

Andrea Gallegos is the Executive Administrator of the Tulsa Women's Clinic, and also runs another clinic, in Texas. Both have stopped providing abortions, for now, even in Oklahoma, where it hasn't even taken effect yet.

Also, here is Marc Hearron, a senior litigator, for Center for Reproductive Rights. And he represented abortion providers that were challenging Texas' restrictive anti-abortion law.

I'm glad to have you both here, on a night like this. And we are, in many respects, waiting to see, what this Sword of Damocles might mean. It's a good one for people, who are in favor of not having abortion. It's one in fact, that would be the antithesis of freedom, for those, who are in favor of abortion rights. And I want to begin with you, Andrea. Because, as somebody who operates clinics? I mean, you have one, in Texas, and Oklahoma. You've actually told some of your patients, "Look, when Texas had its law, you can still go to Oklahoma. There's still another vehicle." This really cuts that off entirely.

What has been the reaction, for your patients and, of course, for yourself and your clinic? How are you responding?


So, it's completely devastating, to tell a patient that because of these blatantly unconstitutional laws, that we can no longer provide the health care that they're seeking, and that we're qualified to provide.

We've had patients that we've had to turn away, minors, rape survivors. And, because of Texas' law, SB8, we had to say, "No, we can't help you here."

Prior to any laws, passing in Oklahoma, we were able to at least provide an option, of sending them, to Oklahoma. Oklahoma was quite the sanctuary state, for Texans, for quite a while. We saw up to 300 patients, from Texas alone, every month.


GALLEGOS: And up until Oklahoma passed 1503, which was the exact same copycat law, of SB8, in Texas. And essentially--

COATES: But it goes further. Excuse me, Andrea. It goes further, right, in the idea, of at fertilization?

GALLEGOS: Correct.

COATES: So it's even one of the combination of why it's so restricted.

But I have to ask you, I mean, why have you stopped providing the services, now? I maybe understand Texas. But Oklahoma, it's not been signed into law yet.

What is it that you are afraid of? Is it the idea of being sued? Is it the idea of this being codified in a way? What is the driving reason, to stop, before you even have a Supreme Court opinion, or a signed legislation?

GALLEGOS: So first, we haven't stopped in Texas. We still provide abortions up to detectable fetal cardiac activity.

In Oklahoma, we stopped, as of today. We're expecting the Governor to sign 4327 into law, at any moment. And so, we decided to go ahead and stop, just expecting that he will be signing. COATES: Mark, when you hear this, the idea of the chilling effect that's really the fear, people have, when you have the idea of trying to anticipate the Supreme Court? And again, the leaked opinion does purport to overturn Roe v. Wade. It might just be about what they will do with it, and what the final language is.

When you hear though that there are people, who are already stopping providing services, particularly in Oklahoma, what goes through your mind? There are a whole lot of legal issues, to consider, here. And the idea that it's already a deterrent, does that concern you?


But just to back up a little bit. About three weeks ago, nearly three weeks ago, on May 3, Oklahoma passed an SB8-styled copycat bill that banned abortion, at beginning at six weeks.


So, for nearly three weeks, patients in both Texas and in Oklahoma have been unable to get abortions, past six weeks. But that wasn't extreme enough. That wasn't cruel enough, for the Oklahoma politicians, who decided, "We need to pass a total ban."

And the reason that clinics have had to stop providing, is because there's an immediate effective date, which is nearly unheard of, for legislation. But these legislators are deciding to pass the cruelest, the most - the most difficult law that they could possibly pass, with an immediate effective date.

Of course, it's a giant problem. And if the courts don't step in, my thoughts are, with the patients, all across Oklahoma, and Texas, now, who - Oklahoma patients were already backlogged, for weeks, because of the rush of patients, coming from Texas, and taking appointments, in Oklahoma.

Now, patients in Texas and Oklahoma, are going to have to travel hundreds, thousands of miles, if they have the means to do so, if they have the ability to take time off work, secure childcare. This hurts, low-income women, marginalized communities. This is devastating for those communities. And that's where my thoughts are.

COATES: And Andrea, to that point? And I absolutely understand. I mean, the ramifications of what this means. And you're on the ground. And both of you have done this work, and anticipated, frankly, the idea of the prospect of it.

But what really strikes me is the idea, and you mentioned the idea, of minors, people who were rape victims. There are exceptions that have been stated, at least codified on the paper.

But I have to tell you, I keep wondering, as a prosecutor.

GALLEGOS: Yes. COATES: And I have prosecuted rape cases. And I always wonder, well, how are you supposed to litigate the matter, fully? How do you prove that somebody has been a victim of a crime, such as rape, in order to get them, in the exception? And then going one step further, if all the clinics had been closed, what good are the exceptions at all?

GALLEGOS: Right. So, I think it's also important to consider that while 4327, the total ban does make exceptions for rape, the survivor has to be willing to report that rape, first. That takes time.

And then, 1503 is still in place. So, 1503 limits, abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. So, if a rape survivor decides that they're going to report, and going to seek an abortion, if they are past the six-week limit, there's nothing they can do, in Oklahoma.

So, the exception, to me, is not - it's not very much of one. These laws, like Marc said, are incredibly cruel, and really hurting women, right now, all over the state.

COATES: Andrea Gallegos, Marc Hearron, thank you so much.

It's most concerning as well, when you go beyond the context of even abortion. I know that these clinics provide health care services, as well. So, the shutting of them - being shutting down is not limited to abortion-related services.

I can imagine people, who were getting breast exams, who were getting Pap smears here, who were getting other services that are vital to a woman's body and health, and what the consequences might be.

Thank you to both of you.

GALLEGOS: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: And, as I mentioned earlier, this abortion fight has a lot of people on edge.

Even within the Supreme Court, we're all watching the Supreme Court, and see what they will do, and what they will ultimately decide to do, about Roe v. Wade. And there is tension, apparently, between the two people, on your screen, right now. Between Justice Clarence Thomas and the Chief Justice John Roberts.

And we're going to go take a much deeper dive into exactly why, there is the tension, and unpack some pretty eye-popping news, involving Justice Thomas' wife, and her activism, next.




THOMAS: This is not the court of that era. I sat with Ruth Ginsburg for almost 30 years. And she was actually an easy colleague for me. You knew where she was. And she was a nice person, to deal with. Sandra Day O'Connor, you can say the same thing.


COATES: But Justice Clarence Thomas couldn't say the same thing, about Chief Justice John Roberts, nor the state of the court that's under him, even suggesting, at one point that there isn't much trust, among his colleagues. The tension simmering within the High Court only adds more uncertainty to the fate of Roe v. Wade.

And we also know, very well, Justice Thomas, this court is not like that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by virtue of the fact that this is pending the way it is.

But for more on this, Joan Biskupic, Supreme Court Biographer, and CNN Legal Analyst, joins me now.

Joan, I'm glad you're here. You've written many a book, on the Supreme Court, and know this court very well. I have to initially ask, is Justice Thomas right about the court of yesteryear, and the sort of Kumbaya-moments that were there?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: Well, I can say that Justice Thomas, and others from that era, had a higher level of trust.

He said, what has been simmering inside, for many years. And I think it's telling that it would come out, at this point. Two things, and they're both in the clips that you played Laura.

First of all, when he said, we "Actually trusted" each other, as in "Now, we don't?"

And then that more recent clip you just played, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when he said, "You knew where she was." What he was saying, is she told us how she felt, how she was going to rule.

And the implication is, and I know this is the case, behind-the- scenes, that they regard the Chief as secretive and cagey. But it's been toward an end that has made John Roberts successful, at other times, in brokering a compromise.


Just think, Laura, of how close Clarence Thomas is, right now, to realizing his goal that he's had, for three decades, of reversal of Roe.

The political draft that came out earlier, this month, suggested that there were five votes, to completely overturn Roe v. Wade. Now, the draft was dated February 10. So many weeks, since then?


BISKUPIC: And there are still about five weeks more to go until, we'll probably see the ruling. Although, it can come at any point.


BISKUPIC: But I think this is likely to come at the end of June.

And I think Clarence Thomas' very candid remarks that he has prided himself in not being so candid, on the relations, behind-the-scenes, reveal some of the tension there, and could suggest that the Chief is actually having some success, in climbing that very steep hill, of convincing either Brett Kavanaugh, and possibly Amy Coney Barrett, that "We can reverse Roe, but this is not the case for it."

Laura, as you know?

COATES: Is that - is that possible though? I mean, Joan, when you say that, I mean?

BISKUPIC: When they--

COATES: Sorry to - excuse me, Joan. When you say that? The idea that Justice Amy Coney Barrett or Justice Brett Kavanaugh might be the ones to be persuadable, in this context, is striking, for so many people, across the country.

Because the expectation, during the confirmation hearings would be that these would be the two, in particular, who would side against the idea of upholding Roe v. Wade. Now, they have said, stare decisis, who, they were blue in the face, and hedged their answers, to confirm their confirmation, of course, as every justice, who's a nominee does.

But is it a possibility that those two could be persuaded? Is that what might be happening, behind-the-scenes?

BISKUPIC: Well, let me just say this, and I don't want to raise expectations, because you've got five very hardcore conservatives, who have been--


BISKUPIC: --eager to reverse it.

But let me just pose this possibility. I think the strongest card the Chief has is the fact that when they granted this case, a year ago, in May, they said they were only going to look at whether the Constitution prohibits any kind of ban on pre-viability abortions.

And you know what that means. It would mean any kind of ban on abortions before about the 23rd week of pregnancy. This Mississippi law, before the justices, has a 15-week ban.

And the one thing that Chief could say, and that he likely is saying is that, "You know, I oppose abortion rights. You know, I think there's a problem with Roe. But this is not the case to do it in. And if we're going to actually" - and Laura, I want to make clear that this, even the very persuasive Chief Justice John Roberts might not be able to pull a rabbit, out of a hat, on this one.

He might not get any buy-in from someone like Brett Kavanaugh, who in the end, Laura, has always voted against abortion rights. So, it might not happen, and the odds are against it. But I'm just saying there's a really strong possibility there.

And the fact that Clarence Thomas wanted to complain about the Chief, so publicly, last week, suggests that at least there, the tensions are high enough, and he could possibly be thwarting Clarence Thomas' goal--


BISKUPIC: --of reversal of Roe.

COATES: You're right, Joan. And, of course, it could also mean that there is distrust, because of conflicts of interest that are perceived in the court, as well, even coming from the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas. But people, who live in glass houses? You know, the end of the saying!

Joan Biskupic, thank you, everyone.


COATES: I appreciate it so much, hearing from you, in particular.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

COATES: Now, of course, to the war in Ukraine.

Ahead, the first Russian put on trial, for war crimes, since this invasion began, has now pleaded guilty. Now, what he said in court, to the widow, of the civilian, he murdered, and what this trial may foreshadow, for many others, to come, is up next.



COATES: So, Russia now claims it holds the besieged steel plant, in Mariupol, Ukraine. Now, CNN cannot independently confirmed the Kremlin's assertion.

But, as you know, this plant has been the center of months of heavy fighting. And there's actually a new video that appears to show the few remaining Ukrainian fighters, look at this, walking out of the plant.

So, what happens to soldiers, after the fight, is very much at the center of this conflict. Look no further than a Kyiv courtroom, just happening, today.

A 21-year-old Russian soldier stood trial, in the first war crime case, since Russia invaded. His name, Vadim Shishimarin, and he pleaded guilty to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old civilian.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VADIM SHISHIMARIN, RUSSIAN SOLDIER ON TRIAL FOR WAR CRIMES (through translator): I'm sorry, and I sincerely repent. I was nervous, the moment it happened. I didn't want to kill. But it happened. And I do not deny it.


COATES: Shishimarin's lawyer claims he was in, quote, "A state of stress," unquote, through the nature of combat, and the pressure from his commander.

These proceedings are a bit unusual. We often don't see war crimes trials, until many years, after the atrocities. Robert Goldman knows the unique challenges of prosecuting war crimes. And he joins me now.

Robert Goldman, I'm glad you're here. And what you've had to talk about, in this instance, there's been a lot of questions about this war crime trial, and about war crimes, in general, not the least of which is, is it unusual to have one, in the midst of the war still going on?


As a matter of fact, with research that has been done, I've only seen an example of one such trial that occurred, I believe, in Bosnia, in the midst of the wars, with the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, in the 1990s.

Other than that, you're absolutely right. There generally have been ad hoc tribunals, such as for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, the special Chambers in Cambodia, that in many cases have taken place, years, if not decades, after those hostilities, the wars are over.


COATES: But the word, "Tribunal," really piques my curiosity, here. Because, we're not seeing like a military tribunal here. We're seeing a civilian court, civilian judges, who were deciding this issue. That strikes me as a bit odd, given the greater scheme of international law, governing war crimes. Is it not?

GOLDMAN: Yes. And you've hit on a very good point. The choice of forum and so forth is not something that is left to the particular state.

Russia and the Ukraine are parties to the Fourth Geneva Conventions. But specifically, the Third Geneva Convention, known as the Prisoner of War convention, set forth very detailed, specific rules, governing, not only the treatment, but trials, and the kinds of courts, in which prisoners of war, can be tried.

You can well imagine that prisoners of war are in a terribly vulnerable position. I mean, they've been out on the battlefield. Their job is to kill the enemy. And now, they're captured by the enemy. And so the Geneva - the Third Geneva Convention expressly provides that prisoners of war solely should be tried by a military tribunal, subject to one exception. It's extremely narrow and precise.

And that is, if the existing law in the country that is of the detaining power, in this case, Ukraine, expressly provides that their own soldiers would be tried by the same tribunal, on the same charge. And that is something that would be quite surprising.

COATES: Wait, I'm sorry. Do you mean - do you mean?

GOLDMAN: Because under command and control--

COATES: Excuse me.


COATES: Do you mean that they would have to have, in their laws, in Ukraine--


COATES: --that if one of their own soldiers were captured, say, by Russia, that Russia must be able to have a civilian trial? Or you're saying they have to be tried within Ukraine as well?

GOLDMAN: No. No. What I'm saying is that they would, in other words, what the law says, is that if they try, that is Ukraine could try their own soldier, who committed, in the course of armed conflict, a war crime, or charged with a war crime?

If their local courts, their civilian courts, under the law, as it existed, and so forth, at the time, they could try their own soldiers, for that offense? Then, they could try a prisoner of war that is an enemy combatant, who is now a prisoner of war, in a civilian court. That is a very narrow exception.

COATES: Robert, when you think about we're - the fact that we're--

GOLDMAN: And this is because you won't--

COATES: Excuse me.


COATES: I want to follow that thread.


COATES: But I also want to understand, for many people listening, the idea of him being - he says that he was under the pressure of a commanding officer, to do what he's done. I'll let everyone judge for themselves, whether that is acceptable or not.

But the idea of pursuing the charge against him versus a higher-up? This is a lingering question, for people, over the course of history, the idea of whether to prosecute the one, who followed the orders, or the one, who gave the order. Is that distinct here?


COATES: In the reasoning for why to pursue him?

GOLDMAN: Well, look, the law envisions that during armed conflict, all the parties should have command and control. And if war crimes are committed, they should punish their own troops.

In the event that they don't do it, and there is evidence that an enemy soldier, who is now given Prisoner of War status, and so forth, has committed that crime? Then, you can lawfully bring those charges.

The issue about higher-ups is something that is being investigated, presently, by - the International Criminal Court has some 40-plus investigators. This is a problem, however, because Russia is not a party to the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

COATES: Right.

GOLDMAN: Nor is Ukraine. But Ukraine has consented to the investigation. These are, however, what are known as crimes of universal jurisdiction, which means any state, which is a party to the Geneva Conventions, could try the soldiers, or the higher-ups.

COATES: Interesting.

GOLDMAN: But the reality is they're trying the individual, right now. And he has to be accorded a fair and regular trial.

COATES: Robert Goldman, we're going to continue to lean on your expertise, in this area, particularly given this person has pleaded guilty. But there are still others, who may yet be tried. We'll see if those international rules are abided by, and how. Thank you for your expertise. I appreciate it.

Now, to this thing, you've been seeing, in headlines. It's probably made you a little bit queasy, and a little bit afraid.


The Monkeypox outbreak, tonight, reaches nearly a dozen countries, including this one. And the pictures, I'm not going to lie to you, they're not pleasant, and I hate to even look over there, knowing that's a small hand of a child.

And, of course, one global health official fears this spread could speed up this summer. So, how much should we worry about this, on top of everything else we're worrying about? Answers from an expert are next.


COATES: Tonight, health officials, in New York City, are treating a patient, with a, quote, "Presumptive positive," unquote, case of Monkeypox. Now, if confirmed, it'd be the second case, in this country, with six others, being still investigated.

And today, the World Health Organization reported well over 100 confirmed or suspected cases, in 11 different countries. So, how concerned should Americans be?

Joining me now, is Dr. Peter Hotez, Co-Director of the Center for Vaccine Development, at Texas Children's Hospital.


Dr. Hotez, I'm so used to talking to you, about the COVID-19 vaccination, and the pandemic that is still ongoing. And now, we have to add Monkeypox, to it? I look at these pictures. This doesn't look pleasant, and it looks extraordinarily painful, as well. How nervous should we be here?


We are seeing now, what we call, multifocal outbreaks, in multiple countries, meaning that historically, we've seen transmission, in Nigeria, and Democratic Republic of Congo. What's unusual here is that there's been transmission, of this Monkeypox, outside of Nigeria, in several different countries.

And there's been ongoing transmission, in several different countries. So, we have 17 suspected or actual cases in Montreal. You've got around 20 cases, in Spain, several cases in the U.K., Sweden, and now Australia and two cases in the U.S.

So, trying to understand how all that unfolded, and what level of transmission is going on, within these other new countries, in Europe, Australia, and the U.S., is what's under active investigation, right now.

COATES: And you're right to distinguish it from COVID-19, in the sense of the fatality risk, in particular, of Monkeypox. And we know to date no one has actually died in the outbreak, in comparison, of course, to COVID-19.

But I'm not clear on what the symptoms are, and how one would be alerted to it. Obviously, the apparent pustules, around the body, would be a clear indication. But are there things that would predate, during the incubation period, for example, that we should be aware of?

HOTEZ: Well, one of the big features is swollen lymph nodes, around the face. So swellings, under the neck, under the chin, may be under the shoulders, though kind of lymph node swelling would be potentially a tip-off.

And the fact that there is a characteristic rash, I know, it sounds kind of strange, but in some ways, that's a blessing, in terms of being able to trace all of the contacts. Just the opposite of COVID- 19, right? You have up to 40 percent of the cases without any symptoms at all. It makes contact-tracing a nightmare.

Here, with Monkeypox, any new case that you have, you can readily detect it, identify all of the contacts, and either isolate them, or vaccinate them, or treat them. And the fact that Monkeypox is far, far less transmissible than COVID-19, certainly in its current form.

All of those things add up to the fact that it's unlikely we're going to see anything near the level of transmission and the level of cases that we've seen for COVID-19. So hopefully--


HOTEZ: --this could be self-limited between a combination of contact- tracing and/or vaccination.

COATES: So how do you treat it? I mean, are the vaccines that are in existence, right now? You said you could treat through a vaccination. Obviously, we've thought about vaccines, as not necessarily stopping the infection, at a time, to the COVID-19, for example, but being able to reduce the severity of it, at times.

Is there a vaccine out, right now, for Monkeypox?

HOTEZ: Well there's--

COATES: Or is there an existing one that has--

HOTEZ: There's actually a couple of options. One, there are actually antiviral drugs that were developed--

COATES: Right.

HOTEZ: --for smallpox. Remember all - and there are at least two or three vaccines. The reason we have them was not for Monkeypox.

Back in the 2000s, when BARDA was started, the whole idea was we were quite worried that from the old USSR, there were bioterrorist and biowarfare laboratories that were weaponizing smallpox.

So, that's when BARDA was started, to stockpile smallpox vaccines, and stockpile smallpox treatments. And those seem to crossover relatively well towards Monkeypox. So, there are at least three vaccines.

One's the old smallpox vaccine, which is a live replicating virus vaccine. There's a newer one that's non-replicating. And that may be important, especially in anyone who has co-infection with HIV, you definitely want to use that non-replicating vaccine. And then, we have a couple of antiviral treatments.

So, all of those things add up to the fact that we have an already an armamentarium of drugs and vaccines, ready to go, from the get-go. We have ways, to identify patients, isolate patients, do the contact- tracing.

All of those stack the deck, in terms of being able to limit the spread of this, especially in countries that have well-functioning health systems, such as in Western Europe--


HOTEZ: --and Australia, and the U.S. and Canada.

COATES: Well, thank you for that silver lining that there is some ability to treat and possibly contain. Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you so much.

The next big election, and referendum on Donald Trump, is days away, in Georgia. So, can the Republican, who beat Stacey Abrams, for governor, win the nomination, again, after standing up to Donald Trump?

We're talking about Brian Kemp that is. Is Trump effectively abandoning his pick? And what happens, if there's a rematch, from four years ago, of the governor's race? Insight, on the days ahead, next.



COATES: Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary will headline another big election day, next week, this coming Tuesday. And the latest polls are showing that Donald Trump's pick, David Perdue, way down, and the gap only widening.

So, what to mean if this key state winds up looking a lot like a repeat of the 2018 governor's race, between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams?

With me now, CNN Political Commentator, Ashley Allison, the former National Coalitions Director, for the Biden-Harris campaign, and an Obama White House staffer.

Also, CNN Political Commentator, Washington corporate lobbyist, and former Trump campaign senior adviser, David Urban.

Can you guys have longer titles, please, for me to talk about, right now? I had a whole thing on Monkeypox. I don't want to read any more things, in the prompter. Thank you very much. I'm still scratching!

Listen, welcome back. I'm glad you're both here. I have to ask you about what's going on with Georgia, and the race coming up.


Because, David, as you know, it was personal, for Trump. I mean, he has invested a lot, in the Georgia races.


COATES: And his man is down! What do you make of it?

URBAN: Yes, very much so. Laura, listen, it's very interesting, right? So, the President - if you could pick one politician, across the United States that Donald Trump went out, with both barrels, full Donald Trump, full MAGA? It was Brian Kemp, in Georgia. And it kind of just bounced off. Kemp is up by 30 points. And it looks, by all accounts, get a cruise to a win.

Interestingly, though, President Trump remains very, very popular in Georgia, roughly about 80 percent popular amongst Republicans. When polled, though, however, said - six in 10 Republicans, in a recent poll said that they're - the President's support of David Perdue, made no difference at all, in who they were going to choose.

So, I think, candidates matter. I think people thought that Brian Kemp did a good job, as governor, and they're going to send him back to the Republican nomination, and probably back to being Governor of Georgia, once again.

COATES: Ashley, I want to bring you in here. Because, he's right.

I've been in Georgia, recently. And the number of billboards, I saw, it was almost like there was - it had to be a stamp or of an endorsement of Trump. It was so ubiquitous, about having his presence felt.

But Brian Kemp is really persona non grata to Donald Trump. And you know who's persona non grata, maybe to Brian Kemp? Stacey Abrams.

And interestingly enough, when you think about this potential rematch of things, I mean, as much as people are talking about, "Don't re- litigate a past election," these two are in an active litigation, not the personal, people, but the idea, of the litigation about their prior head-to-head matchup?

Why is the - why is that being looked at not in the same vein, as the Big Lie phenomenon that Donald Trump has spoken about in Georgia?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR, BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE STAFF MEMBER: Well, I think, what happened in Georgia, in 2018, is drastically different than what Donald Trump, in his Big Lie, around 2020.

So, Stacey Abrams knows she's not the Governor of Georgia. And she doesn't say she is the Governor of Georgia.

But what she does say, is that voter suppression, played a tremendous role, in probably preventing her, from winning that race, in Georgia by, if you remember, signature matching, and closing polling locations, and even after polling locations closed, canvassing all the precincts, to make sure every single vote was counted.

So, she wanted to ensure that every eligible voter, who voted, and who registered, they were able to cast their vote, and their vote was counted.

Trump, on the other hand, in 2020, he didn't want that. And he actually just emphasized that again, in Pennsylvania, when he told Dr. Oz, "Just say you won. Don't make them count all the ballots."

So, he is the actual suppressor, in 2020, when Stacey Abrams is the person, who just wants every vote to be able to be counted. And, I think, that's the difference.

COATES: David, you're shaking your head. You don't agree with that assessment?

URBAN: Well?

COATES: Tell me why.

URBAN: Well, listen - well, listen, Laura, I just think, I'm not here to re-litigate that race either. I think what Brian Kemp did, as Secretary of State, is he cleaned up the voter rolls, as is permissible, over his tenure, as Secretary of State.

And listen, remember, that election, Democrats had a big wind, at their backs, right? And if Stacey Abrams couldn't win then, she's facing a very, very strong headwind going in, this fall.

She with - you look at President Biden's numbers. They're terrible. When Biden came to Georgia, Stacey Abrams was conveniently absent. She didn't participate, in the Biden presser there, because she knows he's doing so poorly.

So, if she didn't fare well, in the last race, against Governor Kemp, I don't suspect she's going to do much better, this race.

So, you can re-litigate that case, which is going - ongoing, right now, as we know, in the court system. But the people are ultimately going to be the deciders, of that litigation, when they go to the - when they go to the polling place. And I think they'll soundly return Governor Kemp to the Governor's Mansion there, in Georgia.

COATES: Now, Ashley, it's one thing, he's talking about the idea of a sort of a tailwind, helping. I mean, a tailwind's only as good as if you don't have a brick wall of suppression, in front of you. I mean, either way, you're going to hit something, at the end of it.

But the idea of litigating the notions, of it? Your point is that her cause was the notion of democratic principles, in terms of one person, one vote counting. The Big Lie is premised on the notion that "Just get me a couple more votes here, and I can declare victory."

But why is that not - I mean, why is it that Brian Kemp seems to be, of all the people, at all the bars, all the people walking in the world, right, the Casablanca notion, here, why is it successful in Georgia that that's not hitting? What is it about what's happening in electorate there that the Big Lie is not gaining traction, for Perdue?

ALLISON: Well, I think, we also have to remember, Perdue just lost in 2020. And 2020 was a extremely contested election, in Georgia, and he wasn't able to pull it over the finish line, along with the President of - the President then, Donald Trump. I also think that even though Brian Kemp is - doesn't have Trump's endorsement, he definitely does things on an ideology that are very similar to Trump.


He just passed - or signed into law, sweeping aggressive voter suppressive laws. You remember Georgia was the state that they tried to make it a felony, to pass out water, to people, standing in line, to vote.

He passed controversial education policy, around how you can discuss race, in the classroom. He has passed - or signed legislation that targeted transgender athletes, in school.

So, he might not have the Trump flag waving at his rallies. But he definitely has tendencies that our former President has. And that could still resonate with the base. And we can't hide the fact that Kemp already beat Stacey Abrams, which I think Governor - Georgia voters take note too.

COATES: It's true that that has happened. We'll see, going forward, what happens.

URBAN: Laura, let me just--

COATES: We'll have much longer discussion.

URBAN: I just want to point out--

COATES: I wish - I wish I could keep you talking. Go ahead. Real quick, David.

URBAN: I was just going to point out, there are two Democratic senators, currently serving, in the United States Senate, from Georgia. So, I don't - if you can have voter suppression, it doesn't seem to affect the U.S. Senate races. So, I'm kind of confused by that.

And listen, Kemp's going to be the governor, again, because he's a good candidate, and he's a good governor.

COATES: Well, we'll see what happens in Georgia. Your predictions are all noted. Ashley Allison, and David Urban, thank you.

We'll be right back.

URBAN: Thanks for having me.


COATES: Thank you for watching. I'll be back, Monday night.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts, right now.

Hey, Don Lemon?