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CNN TONIGHT: Former Trump NSC Official Expected To Testify At Thursday's January 6th Hearing; Uvalde Report Shows Nearly 400 Officers At Scene, But No One Took Charge: "Egregiously Poor Decisions" Were Made; Autoimmune Patients Struggling To Access Critical Medications. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 18, 2022 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. Want to hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thanks, Anderson.

And I'm Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

First on CNN, we now know the name of a new January 6th witness, in what could be the final January 6th committee public hearing that's set for primetime, Thursday night. We're learning tonight that that person is Matthew Pottinger. And he is set to testify, apparently, this coming Thursday.

He served on then-President Trump's National Security Council. But his service came to an abrupt end, when he decided to resign, in the middle of the riot.


MATT POTTINGER, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISERS: One of my staff brought me a printout of a tweet by the President. And the tweet said something to the effect that Mike Pence, the Vice President didn't have the courage, to do what he - what should have been done.

I read that tweet, and made a decision, at that moment, to resign. That's where I knew that I was leaving that day, once I read that tweet.


COATES: Now, a reminder of what that tweet said. He wrote, in part, quote, "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution," unquote.

When Trump was out of sight, from the public, during the riot, of course, he had time, to slam his own VP, on Twitter, in a way that did nothing to lower the temperature, anywhere, across this country, let alone, at the Capitol.

And for all the hours and hours and hours of video that we have seen, from January 6th, from the rioters storming up the steps, to the evacuation, of the Vice President, we still didn't actually have any visual evidence of what the Commander-in-Chief was doing that day.

And mind you, it's over three hours, a 187 minutes' worth of time.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, we're going to - we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we're going to the Capitol.


TRUMP: We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special.


COATES: Well, what happened, in those special moments, in between? Well, that's the main focus, Thursday night.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): We have filled in the blanks. I can't necessarily say that the motives behind every piece of information, we know, we'll be able to explain. But this is going to open people's eyes, in a big way.

The reality is, I'll give you this preview, the President didn't do very much, but gleefully watch television, during this timeframe. We're going to present a lot more than that.


COATES: Well, along with Pottinger, former Deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Matthews, seen right there, is also expected to testify.

Now, she also resigned the night of January 6th, after saying that she was quote, deeply disturbed, by what she saw. So, the question, of course, is just what exactly did you see that we did not see, on our television screens, that same day?

So what will we learn, from Matthews, and will it be additive, or corroborative, in some way? Both? Neither? As a Committee Chair, Bennie Thompson might say, "Stay tuned."

Meanwhile, why is Steve Bannon smiling? That's him, going into federal court, today, and, I repeat, federal court, today. And not as a spectator. As a defendant. With jury selection, now underway, in his contempt trial, on charges of failing to comply, with the January 6th Select Committee. Recall that he just blew off their subpoena, for testimony. Never provided documents related to January 6th.

And tonight, Bannon is still angling, it seems, for an open mic, as long as it's in front of the January 6th committee that is.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: I really want to thank all the jurors for being truthful and blunt. I thought that was great.

I think we'd have been more productive, if we'd been on Capitol Hill, in front of open mics, addressing the nation, with exactly all this nonsense, this show trial, they've been putting up, on Capitol Hill.

It's time they start having other witnesses. They can give other side - other testimony, other than what they've been putting up.



COATES: Don't worry. That happening on the Hill, is a legislative hearing. They won't have the same thing, as your criminal trial. There'll be an opportunity, for you to, of course, should you choose to, testify or anything else.

But keep in mind that Steve Bannon, who could spend, at least 30 days, and even up to a year, in jail, if convicted, he's on trial, because he refused to talk to that committee. The same one, he's now wanting to listen to him. Only this month did Bannon actually tell the committee he was willing to testify, and ideally, in public.

Now, that came after Bannon said that he got a letter, from Donald Trump, waiving executive privilege. Though, federal prosecutors say that even if that privilege applied, here, it never gave him, like a carte blanche, to ignore the subpoena, and not answer a single question, or hand over documents.

But we are in the United States of America. There is a presumption of innocence. And prosecutors must carry and meet their burden. So, what if Bannon is acquitted in this trial? What if they don't, for the jury's sake, actually convict?

This might be only a couple days' worth of a trial. It's supposed to wrap up pretty quickly. It's not that complicated a case, in terms of whether he appeared, or provided documents.

But what might complicate it is if Bannon does walk, does that mean that others can then walk, all over Congress? I mean, could say a former President laugh off the idea, the very notion of testifying, under oath, to his fellow (ph) or anyone else?

How about a Trump loyalist, like Peter Navarro, who has, of course, had his own indictment, to deal with, who just turned down a plea deal, from the DOJ? If Bannon were to walk, would he then feel emboldened to keep quiet?

We're joined now by Elliot Williams, Ramesh Ponnuru - and Ponnuru, excuse me. I know his name, Ramesh Ponnuru.

And Miles Taylor, the former Chief of Staff, for the Homeland Security Secretary, under Trump. He knows that former NSC official, Matthew Pottinger, who will testify, this Thursday.

I'm going to talk to you, first. But I will not ignore anyone else in the panel. And I'm going to get your name, right again, because I know your name, Ramesh. We both went to Princeton, for God's sakes. I know your name.

Anyway, listen, Miles, you know this person. I have to ask you, what do you expect the person, to actually say? And what is your take, on how he will be received?


Because unlike other people that have testified, where ex-President Trump has said, "This was a low-level aide. I've never seen this person," let's be clear, Matt Pottinger was the Deputy National Security Adviser, to the President of the United States.

He went on trips with him. He sat with him in the White House Situation Room. He was often, where the President was, when the National Security Adviser wasn't. He was in the Oval Office, on calls, with foreign leader. This is a very close insider. Trump cannot say he did not know Matt Pottinger.

Now look, he's also worried, because Matt Pottinger, the one I knew, the one I served with, is a very honest man, is respected, for being very straightforward, and being very apolitical.

Matt's a former Marine. He's someone, who tells it like it is. And he's very understated. He's not a showboat. He didn't try to go get attention for his time, before, or after the administration. He's someone, who's going to want to tell the truth.

And to your question about what he might have seen? I think, we're going to find out that Matt was likely, in the West Wing, of the White House, the day this happened, on January 6th, and is the person that you would expect to be the one, to want to pick up the phone, for Donald Trump, and call someone, like the Secretary of Defense, like other people, in law enforcement, to try to get the attack to stop.

In fact, I can think of few people, better-positioned, to talk about being worried, about the lapse of those 187 minutes. That would be Matt's job, to try to work on behalf of the President, to stop that attack.

And, I think, all of this time, we've looked for a smoking gun, in this case. And the closest thing, to a smoking gun, was already out there. It's the fact that the ex-President waited three hours, to do something.

And the question that, I'm sure, Matt Pottinger is going to get asked is, why did Trump not stop this? And, I think, we probably know the answer. It's that he didn't want it to be stopped.

But those questions are going to be very interesting, to hear, from someone, who should have been the person, to place that phone call, for Trump, if he had decided to make it stop.

COATES: When I hear this, I think to myself, again, who's in the room, where it happens? Who are the people that would have known what President Trump was doing, at the time, or not doing, at the time?

But, I think, a lot of people wonder this point, in terms of sort of the last straws that break a camel's back. A lot of people resigned on January 6th. Obviously, it stands, in stark contrast, to many of the other scandals that happened during the Trump presidency.

But will that undermine the notion that only now are we hearing from him, only now, did he decide to resign? A lot of people have sort of criticized those who are, I don't want to call them a johnny-come- latelies, but the idea of the epiphanies are much more delayed, for some, than others.

RAMESH PONNURU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Yes. So, I think that Pottinger is an interesting case, because he survived a lot of tumult.

COATES: He did.

PONNURU: At the National Security Council. There were three National Security advisers, under Trump. And Pottinger just managed to ride through the whole thing.


I think a lot of people, who worked, for an administration, particularly for the Trump administration, who had serious misgivings, about President Trump, told themselves, they were doing some good, and avoiding some harm.

And I think that is an easier justification, to make, if you're the Deputy National Security Adviser than you are, if you're in any number of other positions.

COATES: The adult in the room, so to speak, your point talks about, the last line of defense, so to speak.

You don't do by it?


COATES: I see, you kind of smirking. I can't tell. WILLIAMS: I mean, I mean, yes and no, right? It's, look, everybody knew, who Donald Trump was, back in 2015, and so - when he announced, for the presidency. And so, it should have been a surprise to nobody, what you got in 2020. Now, at the same time--

COATES: Yet, the direction is a shock, I mean, right?


COATES: The insurrection is a shock.

WILLIAMS: That's right. In general, you don't expect insurrections to happen.

COATES: Right.

WILLIAMS: I will stipulate to that counsel.

However, look, I was a political appointee, for eight years. I was in government for 15 years. And people serve for a lot of different reasons. And to some extent, you got to give people credit, for trying to be the adult in the room.

That said, you knew what you were getting. And you shouldn't have been that surprised, with what you got.

TAYLOR: I want to - I want to add. I love my friend, Elliot. But--

COATES: Here comes a rebuttal.

TAYLOR: But, yes.

COATES: Wait, whoa, that's like--

WILLIAMS: However--

COATES: It's almost like "With all due respect."

TAYLOR: But I have more angst than anyone, about the fact that people didn't leave with me, and others, and join the campaign, against Donald Trump. I really did.

COATES: When did you leave?

TAYLOR: I left year two of the administration.


TAYLOR: Very, very frustrated that more people didn't do it at the same time.

Matt Pottinger, though, is one of the people, I would give a pass to. I cannot tell you how many days after I left, I would actually say to people, I'm glad folks like Matt are still in, because we knew how volatile Trump was, especially on foreign and defense policy issues. And Matt was indeed one of the very last adults in the room, in that White House. And in a National Security role, he needed to be, one of those last adults.

PONNURU: But there is a separate question. So, January 6th may have been the straw that led him to resign. But as is true of a number of other figures, in the administration, there wasn't enough, for him, to say publicly, a lot of the things that we are going to be hearing, now.

So, he needed to reach another threshold, in order to be willing to talk. And I think that that is something that's been replicated by other members of this - of that administration.


COATES: --for your subpoena, you're saying?

PONNURU: Well, I think that that's a legitimate question. If some of these things are of public import, that they're things that the public needed to know, I think that after you're out of government, you've got a responsibility, to just talk about some of those things.

WILLIAMS: And moreover, look, this is testimony, under oath, like, folks have their come-to-Jesus moment. And whether it's write a book, give a press conference, or whatever it is, there's something to be said for testifying, under oath, and putting their words, on the record.

Now, look, Ramesh, I share, this is some skepticism of folks, who sort of knew what they were getting. But again, it's complicated, and it's just far more complicated--


WILLIAMS: --these questions of--

PONNURU: And I think a lot of people thought--

WILLIAMS: --those in public service, yes.

PONNURU: --right after January 6th, "This is so discrediting for Trump"--


PONNURU: --"we don't have to say anything. He's going to be off the national stage. He's going to be politically-marginalized." And then that turned out not to be true.


COATES: Well, the last I checked, there are what, 435 members of Congress, who have the floor, anytime to talk, about whatever they'd like to, including Republicans and Democrats, and even more, who could come forward, without a subpoena? We'll talk more about that. Stick around.

We're going to focus in on the Steve Bannon trial, as well. If he's so ready, to tell his story, publicly, to the point we're talking about, here, ready to talk on Capitol Hill? Should he testify in his own defense inside the courtroom? And how much is he willing to risk, to remain loyal, to Donald Trump? As if there was a ceiling! That's next.



COATES: A "Very good first day," that's how Steve Bannon described the first day, of his federal trial, for criminal contempt, for refusing to cooperate, with the January 6th committee.

22 potential jurors were picked today. And the jury is going to whittle down, a little bit more, and might be finalized, as early as tomorrow. And then, you've got opening arguments, starting underway.

So, what can we expect, from this trial? And does Bannon have any reason to think it was a really good day?

Back with me, Elliot Williams, Miles Taylor, and Ramesh Ponnuru.

I'm so glad you're all here.

I want to ask about this idea of Steve Bannon. Because there's an element of bravado, right? The idea of "Hey, the person who said, the misdemeanor from Hell," sort of challenged everyone, for doing this, at one point, tried to have Pelosi subpoenaed members, of the committee? The judge, a Trump appointee, shot that down.

Is this bravado, or he's trying to say, "Hey, I'm sort of a MAGA martyr, here, and look at me?" Or is there cause for him to think, "Hey, I might get off."


WILLIAMS: He very well might. But look, Laura, this is really straightforward, as far as crimes go. This isn't RICO, or racketeering, or some sort of a big, complicated statute.

You got to prove three things. Was there a subpoena? Did the guy know it was a subpoena? And did he intend to violate it? It's, you know, and you can do that in a day. It's really straightforward. It's why it's a misdemeanor.

Now, the question is, is the jury fooled, into thinking somehow, that there's something more complicated, than this? But this is really, really straightforward. And it's rare to say that about. I mean, look, you've been a prosecutor before too. And most of the times, it's much tougher than this.

This is really straightforward. He did it in front of all of us. He talked about it on his podcast. He ought to be convicted. COATES: I mean, the star witness, is the calendar, then, like it's like--

TAYLOR: AI mean--

COATES: --here's the star. It's a calendar. It's the month of whatever I ask you to come in. But there's still that touchy area of "Did I think I had some reason not to?" You don't think so?

PONNURU: Well, I mean, the judge has also disallowed, a lot of the potential defenses--


PONNURU: --which also means that we could end up having a trial that is shorter than the jury selection process was.


What I think he is happy to do, what I think that that smile suggests, is that he wants to use this trial, or a show trial, as he calls it, to burnish his martyrdom, in the eyes of the people that he wants to continue to grift from. That's what he has been doing quiet - for handsome remuneration, for several years, now.

But his is a testimony that could be very interesting also, in a very different way than Pottinger. Because we do know that before the election, he was saying, if Trump loses, he's just going to go out there, and say that he won.

So, that actually goes to the state-of-mind question, which has been a kind of an open question, in this investigation. How much did Trump - was Trump deluded? And how much was he knowingly lying, about the election?

COATES: I mean, I wonder how much they'll open the door. If Steve Bannon goes on the stand, I can't imagine a prosecutor's going to go "Let's just talk about the content. Let's just - let's just focus on the content. Nothing else matters. I have no other questions for you. You're going in," and everything that he might say.

And one thing I actually want to hear more about, Miles, is there are some deleted text messages, from the Secret Service.

As much as I want to hear what Steve Bannon has to say, at this trial, because I want to know the greater context of things? I really want to know how it can be that you've got Secret Service text messages, after I ask you to keep them, poof go away?

What are your thoughts on this? I mean, it's a little bit confounding, a little bit nerve-wracking, to think this is happening, if it's anything nefarious.

TAYLOR: Yes. Look, the Secret Service agents themselves are well- meaning patriots. But this is an agency, whose culture is absolutely completely broken. I've seen that for 10 years, from Capitol Hill, all the way to the Department of Homeland Security. It's an agency that's broken.

COATES: But broken how?

TAYLOR: Well, it's become a magnet for misconduct. Why? Because the agency has always prided itself, in total independence. They protect the President of the United States. "Trust us. Let us do our thing." But the result of that is without the appropriate oversight, there's a lot of mismanagement that happens in that agency.

I dealt with this on a regular basis. Agents that were being trading positions to the Vice President's detail, or the President's detail, based on favoritism, not necessarily based on their performance. We saw a lot of things like that happen there, in the Secret Service, and it was worrying.

But worse, still, Donald Trump exploited that, by taking senior Secret Service employees, and bringing them into positions that should be political. So, he takes this guy, Tony Ornato, who is a Secret Service executive, and makes him the White House Deputy Chief of Staff.

COATES: The one, who Cassidy Hutchinson says, was in the room, talking about this display, of grabbing the steering wheel, on his way, to the Capitol. But, given what you just said, I mean, what's in those messages, do you think? I mean, you're shaking your head, like you don't want to know. But I want to know.

WILLIAMS: Well I'm shaking my head because--

COATES: What's in the messages?


TAYLOR: I think - I think the explanation is incredibly fishy.


TAYLOR: And when I see spokespeople, for these agencies, come out, and give excuses, I actually feel bad for them.


TAYLOR: Because my response is, I worry that you don't have all the details. I've dealt with agencies that don't provide you all the details, when they're - you're in the middle of a crisis. And, right now, I do not think we're to the bottom of it.

PONNURU: If - yes.

TAYLOR: And Congress needs to.

PONNURU: If your phone records, or my phone records, are subpoenaed, we could not say, "Oh, sorry, we had a device migration."

TAYLOR: Well God help, Elliot, if that happened! But yes, yes.

PONNURU: That was in Clinton-- (CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: No. But beyond that, the whole idea - let's step back. They had a "Device migration," quote-unquote, which meant they were switching their telephones, and erasing data. Why is a government agency erasing any data? There's all sorts of government retention rules, across the government.

So number one, that's odd enough, as it is. Number two, the timing of it seems just kind of odd. And at a minimum, both Congress and the independent Inspector General need to get to the bottom of, and look at that.

COATES: Well, especially we're talking about like, not like this didn't happen on--


COATES: --say, September 24th.

WILLIAMS: Yes, right.

COATES: This happened - we're talking about - hope it's not a date in history that we want to pay attention to. It was January 5th, and January 6th. These are consequential days that have happened.

But I'm wondering when you hear from, say, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who seemed to think these are going to be available, tomorrow, we're going to have things tomorrow, I wonder whose timeline she's on?

And do we know there are things that are actually happening? Do they think they're actually going to happen from someplace else?

TAYLOR: Well, this wouldn't be the first time in the investigation that the committee has had a witness that was not willing to provide all the text messages.

I don't want to go into too much detail. But the staff have done digital forensics, in some cases, to get information that witnesses were not providing. I suspect, in this case, they'll rely on similar techniques, and others, to make sure that they get to the bottom of this.

PONNURU: There's a political importance here, as well, because the most gripping testimony, we've had, out of this committee, so far, was probably the Cassidy Hutchinson testimony.

And then, it was sort of left out there hanging, because we didn't have corroboration. But we didn't - we just had people raising questions in the press about it. But nobody's actually stepped forward, and directly contradicted it.

I think we do need to get to the bottom of this, because you could argue, the committee shouldn't have actually gone to second-hand information that she was providing. But it has taken on a life of its own. WILLIAMS: And really it's--

PONNURU: And they need to put it down.

WILLIAMS: --again, it's under oath. And people can say what they want to reporters, people can say what they want to their friends. They have not come in, and testified. And they ought to.


And there's a big difference between a sworn witness, regardless, of whether you believe her story or not. But she's sworn, and giving testimony that she's swearing is honest, and others who have not testified.

COATES: You described, sort of the legal term for that is cahones, I believe, about that very notion.

I had to also say though, remember, we're talking about that idea of whether the story about Secret Service, or someone trying to take down the Capitol.

The part that no one contested was that the President of the United States knew that there were armed members, of the crowd, and said, "Let them in. They're going to the Capitol, next." To me, that was the story of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony.

Elliot Williams, Miles Taylor, Ramesh Ponnuru, thank you so much.

We'll turn to Uvalde, next. We took you through all 77 minutes of that leaked surveillance video, as it happened, in real-time, right here, on Friday night.

But now, there's even more video out, from police body cameras, along with an extensive State House report. There's new anger, from the victims' families, and we all understand why.

Do the findings get us closer to making sure this kind of response never happens again? That's coming up.



COATES: Nearly 400 officers, 400 officers, responded to the massacre, in Uvalde. And yet, none of them, not one, sought to take charge, of the crisis at hand.

It was a leaderless response, according to a preliminary report, by a Texas House Investigative Committee, just one of numerous consequential failures that very tragic day.

We're learning this as new police bodycam videos offer an even closer look, at those horrible 77-long minutes of inaction.

A warning, these scenes are very hard to watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



CORONADO: Get inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reading units (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shot in the head (inaudible) one female shot in the head.

CORONADO: Shots fired inside the building, Uvalde.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which building?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't break. Can't make a break?

CORONADO: Careful, guys. Shots fired.


COATES: That was just two minutes, after the gunman had entered the school. The hallway, full of the smoke, from gunfire. We know that more shots would ring out, leading to the officers' retreat.

The officer whose bodycam you just watched then ran outside, to issue a radio call, at one point telling dispatch that he believed the gunman was contained, in an office, not inside of a classroom.


CORONADO: Male subject is in the school on the west side of the building. He's contained. We've got multiple officers inside the building at this time. We believe he's barricaded in one of the - one of the offices. Messed up, and still shooting.


COATES: And it wasn't an office. It was a classroom, and more than one, with children and teachers inside.

Now, that was just one of the crucial pieces of misinformation that very day. It's part of what further moved what was such an urgent situation, at first, into this, officers standing around, and waiting, for more resources, and backup, when roughly 20 minutes passed. Just think about how long that is for a child? For a person? For anyone?

When roughly 20 minutes passed, one officer said this.



COATES: "What are we doing here?"

It's painful, to hear, knowing that the man, who should have been incident commander, at the scene, under school policy, mind you, was addressing this entire situation, like it was a barricade situation, even looking for a key to a door that was likely unlocked.

Even as some officers at the scene were learning this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do have a child on the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait. What was that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Child called 911, sir. Room's full of victims.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The room is full of victims. Child, 911.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's victims in the room with this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Child on the phone, multiple victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A child just called that they have victims in there.


COATES: So, they knew a child had called 911. And they were outside.

The Chief, for his part, kept his focus on negotiating, with the shooter, even after a burst of more gunshots were heard.


PETE ARREDONDO, FORMER UVALDE CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE CHIEF: Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anybody else hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got kids in there.

ARREDONDO: I know. I know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what we're doing. We're trying to get them out. They're going to break the window.

ARREDONDO: Sir if you can hear me, please put your gun down. We don't want anybody else hurt. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: The use of the word, "Sir," knowing what we know now? It's painful to hear.

Nearly a half hour would pass, before officers would breach that door. And the why, the why is still unfathomable.


JESSE RIZO, UNCLE OF UVALDE VICTIM: They could have breached (ph) in. Maybe, maybe not all of them were going to make it. But at least, in their final moments, to hold their hand, to comfort them, to let them know that they're - that they're there with them.


But they did the total opposite of that. They stood there, as people bled out. They stood there, as they took their final breath.


COATES: We'll take all this new video, and the findings, to a former Police Commissioner, and the CNN reporter, who's been on this story, from the very beginning. That's next.


COATES: Tonight, Uvalde shooting survivors, and their families, are demanding school district officials, pay attention, to their fears, of trying to return to school.



JAZMIN CAZARES, SISTER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM: I'm going to be a senior. How am I supposed to come back to this school?

What are you guys going to do to make sure, I don't have to watch my friends die? What are you going to do to make sure, I don't have to wait 77 minutes, bleeding out, on my classroom floor, just like my little sister did?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter has something to say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was the last dress that my - all my friends saw me on. Most of those kids were my friends. And that's not good. And I don't want to go to your guys' school, if you don't have protection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she's encouraging for her friends not to go to school too.



COATES: I feel like that's something my own daughter would say, and hold up the dress. It's just, what answers can they give?

I mean, the school board meeting comes just a day after Texas lawmakers released a report, outlining the multiple systemic failures, and the quote, "Egregious," unquote, poor decision-making that day. That's the understatement of the century!

I want to bring in CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, who is leading our fight, for truth, on the ground, in Uvalde. And veteran Police commissioner, Charles Ramsey.

Gentlemen, I'm so eager to speak with you, both, tonight, because we're seeing just so much that's happening.

I want to know, Shimon, from where you are. You're on the ground, in Uvalde. You've been there, since the beginning, really, in pursuing the truth that the families deserve.

You've heard from the family members. You've heard a little girl. You've heard an older sister, of somebody, who passed away, in that classroom.

What has been the fallout, from this report that has just been issued, and the new body camera video? What are the families, what's the community saying?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I will tell you one thing, Laura. I'm certainly noticing a difference, with the families, is that they're becoming - they're kind of finding their voice. They're starting to really speak out. They're starting to organize.

They're starting to voice, their opinions, their unhappiness. They want accountability. They want Chief Peter Arredondo fired. He's the School Police chief. He's been on administrative leave. But the central theme here tonight was we want him fired.

I've been to other meetings here, with the parents. This is a school board meeting. They usually don't speak out as much. But the difference is noticeable. And I think it's this report that came out, listing all of the problems, some of the deficiencies, in the school security, and some of the failures, on the part, of the school.

And I really do think seeing images now, from inside the school, the body camera footage that we obtained, and that the Mayor ultimately released, as well as the other images, from inside the school? They're starting to get information.

They're starting to see things, and they're starting to become angrier and angrier, because they've been keeping all this information, from them. And it's obvious why. They were not being told the truth. And so, they're starting to voice their opinions. They're scared.

They're scared to send their children to school. So, the school has to come up with some solutions.

But the one thing, I think, people should know is that this community is starting to stand up, for itself. This community is starting to have a voice. And that is a good thing. Because, there was a time, when they didn't want to say anything. But now, they're starting to speak. And it's impactful. And I do believe it's going to make a difference.

COATES: Commissioner Ramsey, I mean, I see you nodding. And one of the sad realities here is sometimes you learn to stand up for yourself, when you know, no one is coming.

And one of the sad lessons that we have seen, from Uvalde, and we're knowing the information, is nobody came. Nobody helped. Nobody saved. Nobody came as the Hero and the Savior. And that's one of the biggest tragedies, we're seeing here.

When you look at this, Commissioner Ramsey, based on your assessment, I mean, in the report, we're seeing the law enforcement response, or lack thereof. Now that you have more of a bird's-eye view, into what happened, through bodycam footage, what is your take now?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C. POLICE CHIEF: Well, I mean, it was just a chaotic scene, I mean - excuse me. A certain level of chaos, you're going to find in any active scene, like that. But there was absolutely no leadership, no direction.

I mean, there was nothing that was taking place that should have been taking place, during that period of time, in order to stop the carnage, taking place, in those two classrooms. And there's just no excuse for it. None at all.

I mean, you look at the Chief, he's there. He's fumbling with keys, as opposed to try and organize some kind of tactical response, to get to that shooter.

You got 400 police officers, responding. That's far too many. There's too many people on a scene. It just creates more confusion. If you don't have a specific role, you don't need to be there.

Somebody's got to coordinate, what's happening, inside the building, as well as outside. That's why you have incident command. That's why you have command posts established. None of that took place.

So, the residents of Uvalde, I'm glad to hear that they are speaking up. They deserve answers, and they deserve action. Hell, I would have fired Arredondo, a long time ago. I don't know what's taking so long. Because clearly, he's not a person that ought to lead anything, let alone a police guy.

COATES: Well I mean, one of the questions, you'd have, thinking about, if there's 400 officers, on that scene, is Arredondo is the only name that comes up, in that conversation.

I want to put on the screen for everyone to see. There are - these are the planned safety and security enhancements that are coming for the upcoming school year 2022-2023. It includes a new perimeter fencing, installation of additional security cameras, upgrading doors and locks, hiring additional police officers, and campus personnel, and also training.


Shimon, when you see what their plan is, in connection with what is being demanded, tonight, at the school board meeting, is this even close to sufficient, for the families and communities, in Uvalde?


COATES: Do they believe so?

PROKUPECZ: No. Absolutely - no, they don't. I mean, they're even talking about going back to virtual classrooms, classes, right? And they're asking, if they could just keep their kids at home. They don't trust the folks here. And it's understandable. They shouldn't trust them. They were not told the truth.

There have been a lot of meetings, behind closed doors. And a lot of the parents, raising that issue here, tonight, that "You guys, school board, you have these meetings. You're sitting behind closed doors. We don't know what you're talking about."

And also, interestingly enough, last time, they did this meeting? They gave parents, three minutes, to talk. Well, smartly, finally, the school board decided, "We're not going to put a time limit." The parents will be able to come in, and they will talk, for as long as they need it.

Imagine that! At one point, they were putting time limits, on how many - and how many people could speak. They've changed that. So, the parents' anger--

COATES: Well how about - how about this, Shimon?

PROKUPECZ: --the parents' frustration--

COATES: How about you give - how they give 400 parents--


COATES: --77 minutes to talk? Those numbers sound--


COATES: --right to me.


COATES: It's unbelievable.

PROKUPECZ: It's really--

RAMSEY: You are--


PROKUPECZ: --having been here?

COATES: Real quick. Chief Ramsey? Sorry.

PROKUPECZ: I think Chief Ramsey wanted to say something.

RAMSEY: Yes. Just very quickly, I mentioned Arredondo. It needs to be - he's not the only one that ought to be held accountable. There are a lot of people that failed in this response.

And there needs to be a thorough investigation. I personally don't think the Department of Public Safety, ought to do it. Much of them - most of the misinformation came from that agency. It needs to be an independent investigation.

COATES: And that's happening now, Shimon, I think, at some point. We'll follow along. You're on the ground, giving us all the information.


COATES: Thank you for being here, and there.

Thank you to both.


COATES: Now, I want you to try to imagine this. Imagine trying to fill one of your prescriptions, and getting denied, because the medicine that you rely on, just so happens to also be able to be used, to end a pregnancy. Well that's what some patients, across this country, are now dealing with, and, I mean, right now, in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade.

One of the patients at risk, joins me next.



COATES: The impact of the Supreme Court's decision, to overturn Roe, is growing, now affecting people, who aren't seeking an abortion, or even trying to get pregnant.

My next guest has Crohn's disease. And to treat it, she relies on a medication called Methotrexate. It's used to treat everything, from Crohn's disease, to arthritis, to certain cancers. But it also can end pregnancy. And some doctors have stopped prescribing it, and some pharmacists will no longer fill the prescription, for that reason.

Sarah Blahovec joins me now, along with Dr. Zeke Emanuel. Thank you, both of you, for joining me, tonight. Sarah, let me begin with you here. Because, for many people, hearing this, they may say, "Well, I know that drug," or "I take that drug." Why would that be the type of drug that'd be taken off the shelf, so to speak, and you can't have access to? Tell me how you learned that you might be limited in your ability to get it?

SARAH BLAHOVEC, AT RISK OF LOSING MEDICATION AFTER ROE REVERSAL, DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Yes. So Methotrexate is known as a Category X medication, which means that it has impacts, on a potential fetus, such as fetal abnormalities. Many patients, who are put on Methotrexate are counseled to be on birth control, as was I, whenever I was put on it, back in 2017.

And so, it was certainly something that was on our radars, whenever the Dobbs decision came out, that this could be something that would be a little bit more complex to get.

It's also known for being a drug that can be used to treat ectopic pregnancy. I don't know if it's used to treat - or used in actual miscarriages or - sorry, in abortions. But it's certainly used in ectopic pregnancies. So, that's another reason it was known as potentially--


BLAHOVEC: --being impactful.

COATES: And Dr. Emanuel, when you think about that, I mean, again, there is no successful, so to speak, ectopic pregnancy. It can lead to the death of the mother, if she - if it's not treated. It's not going to lead to implanting into the uterus. The fetus will not survive.

And so, the idea of it being used for that it's not - it's more commonly used, for things, unrelated to pregnancy, right? I mean, a Google search may have showed them that.

DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE POLICY ADVISER, VICE PROVOST OF GLOBAL INITIATIVES, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, AUTHOR, "WHICH COUNTRY HAS THE WORLD'S BEST HEALTH CARE?", FORMER MEMBER, BIDEN TRANSITION COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD: Yes. You have about 6 million prescriptions of Methotrexate per year, for about a million patients. That's not about abortions. That's about rheumatoid arthritis. It's about Crohn's disease, as our patient has. It's about psoriasis.

The Texas legislature did not, when they drafted their law, do any research, on what else might Methotrexate be used for, besides an abortion. Because the first thing, you do, when you do - you see, when you do a Google search, is Methotrexate, for rheumatoid arthritis.

So, it's treated - it's used to treat a lot of people. It's an immune suppressant. And it works very effectively, for those patients. And now, they're going to suffer. Doctors aren't going to be able to practice medicine, correctly, and patients are going to be in pain and suffering, because of that law. COATES: Let me ask, Sarah, because you're one of the patients, who have had this prescribed. When you went to the pharmacist, to get it filled, what happened?

BLAHOVEC: So I, luckily, was successful, in refilling my prescription, last Friday. But that was certainly not a given.

I know of at least one other patient, in Virginia, which is not a state, with a trigger ban, so, she was denied, by her doctor. She was denied her medication. And there have been many other patients, in States, with trigger bans that have been denied at, either by the pharmacy, or by their doctors.

And in a lot of cases, of the doctors, they're afraid of laws, like in Texas, where they could be held liable, for an abortion.

With regard to pharmacies, there is guidance that came out last week, from the Department of Health and Human Services that says that it is illegal, to deny people medications. But I'm not sure, if those patients, who were denied that actually were successful in getting their medications filled, after that guidance.


COATES: I mean, Doctor safe - besides ectopic pregnancy, many of the conditions we've outlined today, affect both men and women. Are we suggesting that also men can no longer access, or just this is a unique brand and gender of women, who can't use this, at all, now, because they happen to have uteruses?

EMANUEL: Well, if the reasons that pharmacists aren't fulfilled - filling prescriptions is because they're worried about Methotrexate being used for an abortion, it would be preferentially giving men, the drug, and not giving it to women, because they're worried about it being used for an abortion.

It's just not very precise law. And the Texas legislature are inflicting pain, needlessly, on people, just because they haven't thought through the consequences, of just taking a medication off, out of doctors' hands, and out of prescription, and I think out of - you know, not putting their patients first, doctors are being fearful, and pharmacists are maybe worried about their own prosecution too.

COATES: I mean, that just sort of belies what we think about, when we're talking about prudent care, and what it would take, and not being able to practice, as you see fit, especially for the benefit of the patients.

Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Sarah Blahovec, thank you so much.

Everyone, we'll be right back.


COATES: Thanks for watching, everyone. I'll be back, tomorrow night.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.

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