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The Situation Room

Supreme Court Extends Temporary Block of Abortion Pill Restrictions; Fox Now Faces Pricier Defamation Lawsuit After Dominion Payout; Homeowner Pleads Not Guilty in Shooting of Teen at Wrong Home; Federal Judge Denies Manhattan DA's Request to Block House GOP Subpoena of Ex-Prosecutor; Poland Marks 80 Years Since Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired April 19, 2023 - 18:00   ET



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the Supreme Court extends a temporary block of abortion pills restrictions, the court allowing continued access for now and buying the justices more time to consider an emergency appeal.

Also tonight, after Fox's historic settlement with Dominion, the network is now facing another major lawsuit from a voting technology company with an even bigger price tag.

And the 84-year-old defendant pleads not guilty in the shooting of a teenager who mistakenly went to his home. I'll be speaking with the lawyer for the teen's family, Ben Crump, about the racial component of this case and whether hate crime charges are warranted.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Wolf Blitzer is on assignment. I'm Alex Marquardt and you're in The Situation Room.

Tonight, the Supreme Court has set a new Friday night deadline as it considers whether to preserve or limit access to a widely used abortion drug.

Let's go straight to CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid. Paula, what is the thinking behind the Supreme Court's decision to kick this can down the road 48 hours?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alex, as of now, this widely used abortion medication will remain widely available. The Supreme Court is expected to offer another update by Friday afternoon, potentially up until midnight.

Now, at the center of this case is a drug, Mifepristone. It is one of the drugs, one of two, that is used in a process called medication abortion, which accounts for over half of all abortions in the United States. Several weeks ago, a Texas judge invalidated the FDA approval of Mifepristone, and now the Supreme Court has to decide what will happen to that decision while this issue plays its way out through the courts. Now, since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion last spring, medication abortion has been a focus not only in conservative state legislatures but also in litigation like this. So, it's unclear right now what will happen to that Texas decision, but we could potentially get an update on Friday.

MARQUARDT: Do we have a better idea of when that could come or is it at any point in the next two days?

REID: Any point in the next few days, and the Supreme Court has a few options here, Alex. First of all, they could decide to just take over this case, decide it before the term ends in June, or they could allow it to work its way through the courts.

Traditionally, as we go through the appeals court, it would have to be heard on the merits, then potentially go to the Supreme Court. But if they do that, they need to decide what happens in the interim. Do they allow that Texas decision to stand which would restrict access to Mifepristone, or do they just keep that on hold while this issue on the merits works its way through the courts? That's what we're waiting to hear right now.

MARQUARDT: All right. Paula, I want you to stay with us as we bring in our Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates and Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Thank you both for joining us.

Laura, I want to go to you first. As we just noted, this deadline now just 48 hours later going from tonight at midnight to Friday at midnight. So, what do you think will change between now and Friday?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Unlikely to have a lot changed. It seems now, of course, there seems to be some dispute about what to do, ultimately. This is not going to resolve the case in full. It's not as if by Friday night, Alex, we're going to have a full resolution as to what exactly what happened in lieu of a full, litigious process.

What this essentially says, though, is, hey, we want to decide what the new normal and what the status quo is going to be. Is it going to be that Mifepristone remains as accessible as it's been since at least 2016, or are we going to impose those newer restrictions right now? The Fifth Circuit said to say, look, we're going to have these restrictions that were previously in place, excuse me, in 2016 no longer apply. And so the courts are likely wrestling with this.

The interesting part about this, this goes beyond the issue of solely medication abortions. They're looking into a deeper issue as well. And that is what is the power of the FDA to authorize a whole host of medications? What will actually happen in the marketplace in terms of what chaos may ensue, what people have been accustomed to having access to, how the male plays into this.

And also, remember, Alex, you've got the almighty dollar that governs a whole lot of considerations in public policy. And so what are the pharmaceutical industry heads to think about the notion that things that could be profitable or things that could interest them and continue investments in research and innovation might just like this be taken away by a judge.

MARQUARDT: Elizabeth, I want to ask you about that chaos that Laura mentioned there. The medication now staying on the market without any restrictions, but that's just for now.


So, how has this almost two-week-long legal back and forth impacted both patients and providers?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alex, I'm going to give you a quote from a doctor I was speaking with. He said. It has been a mess, just a mess. They don't know, at different days of the week. You know, can I do this? Can I do that? What's the latest ruling? You know, these people are trying to take care of women's health, and they're not quite sure from day-to-day what they're allowed to do and what they're not allowed to do. They're calling patients in early then they're sending them home. It's really been quite chaotic. And, you know, this ruling today just adds to the chaos. Alex?

MARQUARDT: And, Paula, given this Supreme Court, in particular ruling on abortion cases, why is it not assumed that it would uphold the restrictions on this abortion pill?

REID: Well, we should never assume anything here with the Supreme Court, and it's interesting that they are kicking the can down to Friday. This was, of course, authored by Justice Alito and what could be happening behind the scenes as he could be working to try to build a coalition of justices to see things his way to rule in one way.

But at this point, it's just not clear exactly how they're going to come down on this, and the bigger question is what they're going to do while this issue is decided on the merits, which is something that has to happen. And right now, they're just trying to figure out, all right, while we decide this on the merits, what happens to this drug?

MARQUARDT: And after overturning Roe v. Wade, Laura, the justices who were arguing that it should be overturned, they said they were putting the decision back in the hands of the voters and elected officials at the state level. Doesn't this now show that the Supreme Court is going to keep having to be involved in all kinds of abortion cases going forward? Couldn't the court have seen this coming?

COATES: A lot of this could have been foreseeable. And if their intention, of course, was a return to those who have been elected, we know that the judge in Texas who made this initial decision, prompting the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to make their ruling, was not an elected official. And so it's the judicial branch usurping the role that even the Supreme Court actually wanted people to look at.

But this is likely to be a part of an ongoing and lengthier conversation for a number of reasons. Remember, I have to harken back this very point. The issue in the Dobbs decision was about the constitutional access and right to an abortion. This will likely come down to more of an administrative one. In terms of who's lane is this particular judge or any judge hoping to enter into? Is this a matter of the authority of an agency or the authority of the court and which it actually trump?

But you know what, for many people watching this issue, it feels like women's access to abortion and health care and rights are now the newest judicial hot potato.

MARQUARDT: And, Elizabeth, when it comes to the science about Mifepristone, we have highlighted the fact that this drug has been in use for over two decades. How would restrictions that could now go into place on Friday night impact women across the country?

COHEN: So, let's talk about how safe this drug is. As you mentioned, it's been in use for 20 years, and it is very, very safe. In fact, if you look at deadly side effects, it is way safer than Penicillin, a very common drug. It's way safer than Viagra, another very common drug.

Now, if the restrictions go through, in other words, the restrictions that aren't on now, if the proposed restrictions, so to speak, go through, it will make it harder for women to access this drug. They won't be able to get it through the mail. They'll have to have an appointment with the doctor, and that's an appointment with the doctor, not with the nurse practitioner and nurse practitioners often do obstetrical care, so it will make it more difficult for women to get this drug.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, thank you all for joining me. I'm sure we'll be speaking again very soon.

Now, just ahead, the next legal battles for Fox News after its 11th hour settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, the network facing another huge lawsuit over its coverage of the 2020 election.



MARQUARDT: Fox News' legal troubles are not yet over after agreeing to pay Dominion Voting Systems more than $787 million in the largest known defamation settlement for a U.S. media company, the network is now facing another major lawsuit from a second voting technology company with an even steeper price tag.

CNN's Oliver Darcy has all the latest for us. Oliver, so what happens next for Fox?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: That's right, Alex, they have some more legal troubles. Smartmatic is a voting technology company that also filed lawsuit actually before Dominion filed lawsuits. Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that they had spearheaded a disinformation campaign against the company, and they're still working their way through the courts. So, that's still something that Fox News is going to have to deal with. They actually released a statement yesterday, Smartmatic's lead attorney. And he said -- I'll read to you. He said, Dominion's litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox's disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest. And so you can see they are very eager to take Fox to task over the lies they spread in the wake of the 2020 election.

I should also note, Alex, that Dominion also has ongoing lawsuits in its other right-wing channels. They're suing OAN, Newsmax, as well as pro-Trump figures like Mike Lindell and Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani. So, that will be interesting to see how those lawsuits go through the court system, Dominion suing Newsmax and OAN. And it's interesting because they don't have the deep pockets necessarily that Fox News does. And so it could really impact them in a far more adverse way.

MARQUARDT: Yes, lots more to come for both companies. And, Oliver, you have some incredible behind the scenes details about how Fox and Dominion reached this settlement.

DARCY: That's right. My colleague, Marshall Cohen, and I spoke with people who are directly related to the settlement here, and the process is almost something like outside of HBO's Succession. I mean, it was really a dramatic 36 hours that led up to this historic deal on Sunday, the both parties, they consulted a mediator, Jerry Roscoe, and he came in. He was actually on vacation celebrating his 70th birthday on a river cruise between Budapest and Bucharest.


He agrees to come in and negotiate this deal. And on Monday, he starts negotiating.

It doesn't really go anywhere until Tuesday after the jury is sworn in, after the jury is seated and goes on a lunch break. We're told that talks really ramped up and after the 2:00 P.M. hour, they had hammered out a deal. And by 4:00 P.M. the judge comes into the courtroom, announces this deal. It elicits gasps from the courtroom and the whole trial that would have put Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson on the stand is completely averted, and they walk away, Dominion walks away with that $787.5 million figure. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Such a dramatic end to these legal proceedings, really fascinating. Oliver Darcy, thank you for all of your reporting on this story.

Let's get some more analysis from CNN Legal Analyst Norm Eisen and defense attorney Shan Wu. Norm, I want to ask you first. You heard Oliver there mentioned this other company that has a lawsuit with Fox, Smartmatic. So, how will this settlement between Dominion and Fox and this ruling by the judge that it was crystal clear that Fox lied, how is that going to impact this lawsuit between Smartmatic and Fox?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Alex it puts wind in the sails of the Smartmatic matter. Fox already tried and failed to have that thrown out of court. Smartmatic alleges over 100 false statements about their business. And now that Smartmatic sees Fox is willing to pay, they are girding up for battle. You saw their statement they're ready to fight. The Fox legal battles are far from over.

MARQUARDT: Yes, $2.7 billion they're looking for. And, Shan, I spoke with Dominion's lead counsel yesterday and he told me -- Justin Nelson told me this settlement, he thought, was a strong message of accountability. But are you surprised that there were not stricter terms that were imposed on Fox?

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm not surprised. From a lawyer's point of view, the Dominion lawyers did a really great job for their client and there are lots of strategic and tactical reasons for not wanting to still roll the dice them with a trial even though they're looking very strong, had great rulings from the judge. I think particularly because Dominion has other irons in the fire, as Norm says, this puts a lot of wind in the sails.

If I can make an unusual analogy to asbestos litigation, where the big plaintiffs firms will go after like 100 different defendants, they'll settle all the ones they can. The ones are left, you go to trial one. And so Dominion has a similar possible strategy here and now because they've learned so much that's damaging about the falsehoods that those who want to settle, great, let's settle and then those who don't, we will go to town on you.

MARQUARDT: And these remarkable details, Norm, about how this mediation was carried out all the way from Romania, what do you make of that?

EISEN: Well, Fox knew that they were in a lot of trouble here, Alex, and it is extraordinary, as Shan notes, to get a $787.5 million settlement, as far as we know, the largest in history for a case of this kind, I'll bet, yes, it was Fox's lawyers on that lunch break who took Dominion and Mr. Roscoe aside and said, gentlemen let's make a deal, and gentle ladies, let's make a deal. Because they were facing trouble there, but there are so many other cases coming both against Fox, other cases brought by other defendants against Dominion. I just don't think Fox can tuck their checkbook away just yet.

MARQUARDT: And Dominion, as you noted, they have more lawsuits, six of them, in fact, Shan, against election deniers, both media companies and individuals. So, how much is that Dominion roadmap going to help in these other cases, do you think?

WU: Well, it's going to help a lot because it already is giving them the knowledge and the tactics that work well, and they've already learned a lot from the discovery that they have already obtained. So, it really validates any theories they're thinking to use and they've already got a lot of the really damning information. So, it's a big head start.

MARQUARDT: So much of this has been made public. We saw a lot of that incredible correspondence between producers and top talent. Norm, do you see it the same way?

EISEN: I do. You know, this evidence is never going to go away. And it's not just the evidence, Alex. We had a judge who found that these claims were clearly false. That is going to be something for the history books. But that is also going to be an issue in all of these other cases. So, the scandal of what happened here is going to go on and on.


MARQUARDT: So much. There is a very long tail for both Fox News and Dominion after this trial, remarkable, remarkable developments. Norm Eisen, Shan Wu, thank you so much for breaking that down for us.

WU: Good to see you.

MARQUARDT: And coming up, new developments in a series of separate shootings, all targeting young people who wound up at the wrong house, in the wrong car or on the wrong driveway. You're in The Situation Room.


MARQUARDT: A not guilty plea today by the elderly white man charged with shooting a black teenager who mistakenly went to his home and rang his doorbell.


Brian Todd is following this story.

Brian, this is one of multiple shootings in recent days that targeted young people were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very strange and disturbing pattern, Alex. Tonight, we have new information on these cases, and we look at whether those controversial stand your ground laws in several states could be at play here.


TODD (voice over): 84-year-old Kansas City home owner Andrew Lester arraigned today after being charged in the shooting of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl. Lester pleaded not guilty to two felony counts, first- degree assault and armed criminal action. Yarl shot in the head last Thursday after going to the wrong house to pick up his siblings. As Yarl recovers from his wounds, the man who shot him is out on bail.

The probable cause statement said Andrew Lester believed someone was trying to break into his house. But the mayor of Kansas City says there's another component at play.

MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS (D-KANSAS CITY, MO): I think that this has everything to do with race the defendant's fear of black people, black men, black boys.

TODD: But this was also part of a series of incidents over the past few days where young people were shot after making the simple mistake of going to the wrong place. In Elgin, Texas, about 20 minutes east of Austin, two teenage cheerleaders were shot and wounded in a parking lot on Monday night when one of them mistook the suspect's car for her own. An injured cheerleader described the exchange.

HEATHER ROTH, CHEERLEADER INJURED IN TEXAS SHOOTING: I was trying to apologize to him. And then just halfway my window is down, he just threw his hands up and then he pulled out a gun and then he just started shooting at all of us.

TODD: The suspect is now in custody charged with deadly conduct.

And in Hebron, New York, near the Vermont border, 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis was shot and killed on Saturday when a car her boyfriend was driving accidentally turned into the wrong driveway. The sheriff says 65-year-old Kevin Monahan fired two shots from his porch. He is charged with second-degree murder. Monahan's lawyer says he was frightened from seeing multiple vehicles speeding up his driveway. But the sheriff says witnesses and neighbors have another version.

SHERIFF JEFFREY MURPHY, WASHINGTON COUNTY, NEW YORK: They weren't in the driveway for a very long time at all before they realized it was the wrong house. And they were in the process of leaving, which makes his case obviously a little different. I don't know how you could menace someone if you're leaving.

TODD: At least 28 states have stand your ground laws, which allow people to respond to threats of force if they're in a place where they have a right to be. Could stand your ground be cited in any of these cases?

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT: I don't see how it should come into play because there was no imminent threat by the individuals that were shot. There was no furtive movement by these people. They weren't armed.


TODD (on camera): Retired LAPD Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey says the actions of some lawmakers here in Washington who carry firearms and some who wear pins on their lapels shaped like AR-15 rifles are not helping in this environment. She says it seems they're almost daring people to shoot in these situations. Alex?

MARQUARDT: All right. Brian, thank you very much for that important report.

And joining us now is Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Ralph Yarl's family. Mr. Crump, thank you so much for joining us.

I want to ask you about Ralph Yarl. Your colleague posted a picture of him. He seems to look well after this horrible incident. How is he doing? How is he processing what happened to him?

BEN CRUMP, RALPH YARL'S FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, he is a miracle, Alex. He's getting better. Obviously, the doctors have opined it's going to be some time before he can return to school, but he's able to communicate. He's still a little lethargic. Obviously, if you have a bullet in your head for 12 hours, it is going to have some effects on you. So, he does have a traumatic brain injury. The question is how substantial would that impact him going forward in the future.

MARQUARDT: Well we, of course, wish him all the best on this long road to recovery, but are very happy to hear that he's doing as well as could be expected.

I want to ask you for your reaction to today's news that the suspect, Andrew Lester, 84 years old, he's pleading not guilty.

CRUMP: Yes, I'm not surprised at all. Obviously, we look at history, whether it's Trayvon Martin or Ahmaud Arbery, when white citizens have killed, shot unarmed young black men, they always say, stand your ground, they were in fear of their life, some form of self defense. So, we knew from the very beginning, Alex, that this was going to be the defense. We were scared of the big black human being. And when you look at Ralph Yarl's picture, he's a kid.

MARQUARDT: And Lester is now facing life in prison. There are two felony counts, but the prosecutor is not pursuing hate crime charges because he says it's -- they're double jeopardy issues.


So, are you satisfied with the current charges as they stand? Do you think there should be federal civil rights charges?

CRUMP: Well, we're still waiting to see all of the probable cause report and why did they put in there. There were racial components to the case. Because I think that would be the crux of whether or not hate crime charges should be bought.

MARQUARDT: And the governor of Missouri did call Yarl's shooting a tragedy but he also accused President Biden of politicizing what's happened. What's your response to the governor?

CRUMP: I just think that's ridiculous. You know, President Biden call to show a degree of humanity and empathy by saying, we're praying for you, the whole country is prayer for you, Ralph, and we pray you get better. I don't know why that would be a bad thing. I think that would be a good thing when you have the leader of the free world saying that, you know, this was a tragic circumstance and we're all praying with you and your family.

MARQUARDT: I want to turn now to the other piece of news today. You also represent the family of Tyre Nichols, who was beaten to death by five Memphis Police officers back in January. Today, you filed along with the family a $550 million lawsuit against the city and some Memphis Police officers. Are you confident that this suit is going to succeed in delivering justice for Tyre Nichols and his family?

CRUMP: We are going to fight to our very last breath, Alex, to hold everybody accountable, who has something to do with the savage beating of Tyre Nichols. The fact that it's not just for Tyre Nichols, but it's for all of these city leaders around the country who have these police oppression units that terrorize and violate the Constitution of black people and brown people in our communities. It's a warning for them that if you don't get rid of these unions units and these were thinking that you can just treat certain people will disdain.

And you look at Tyre Nichols video and there was no respect for Tyre. Then we're sending a message that we're coming after you next because Tyre Nichols' life matters and all of our children's life matters.

MARQUARDT: But there are still criminal proceedings going on in that case, so why are you filing this lawsuit now as opposed to once they're over?

CRUMP: Well, just like we did with George Floyd, there's this belief for whatever reason that black people shouldn't get full justice. If we get just a small amount of justice, that's enough. Well, the Constitution belongs to black people too. We have a right for criminal culpability and civil accountability under the Constitution of the United States. And there's nothing that says this family can't go forward with a civil action while they're waiting on the criminal case to go forward.

And if we look at history now, Alex, we know there's nothing that we can do to control the criminal matter, because, oftentimes, black people have had their hearts broken in the criminal courts. The one thing that the family can control is the civil action. And so that's where we're going forward, demand a full justice for Trye Nichols, and we want policy and legislation to prevent anybody else seeing their child beat up by lynch mob wearing blue uniforms where they look like Emmett Till.

MARQUARDT: All right. Attorney Benjamin Crump, thank you so much for joining this evening. We know you've got a lot going on in these two very big cases, so we really do appreciate your time.

CRUMP: Thank you very much, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And just ahead, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is putting his cards on the table in the partisan showdown over raising the debt limit. Now, President Joe Biden and the White House are hitting back.



MARQUARDT: Tonight, new high-stakes maneuvers in the partisan standoff over raising the federal debt limit. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiling the Republicans' plan while trying to pressure President Joe Biden and Democrats to negotiate.

Our Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly joins us now along with Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona and Senior Political Correspondent Abby Phillip.

Phil, to you first. President Biden and Speaker McCarthy had been going back and forth for months on debt ceiling negotiations. Walk us through what happened today. PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alex. I think you can frame those as kind of skirmishes, very real skirmishes and very different positions on this issue, but not necessarily a full blown war, a war that everyone has been expecting for several months until today.

Today was a dramatic moment and what expects to be an issue that will really envelope Washington over the course of the next several months with potentially very consequential fallout if the U.S. defaults on its debt for the first time in history.

Speaker McCarthy laying out in detail with legislative text his own proposal to raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion -- sorry, billion or through the end of March, and President Biden, just a few moments after the speaker laid out that plan, making his own remarks and making very clear his position of not negotiating on this at all, is unchanged, attacking Republicans directly. Here's that split screen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: But folks, this is really dangerous, MAGA Republican congressman threatening to default on the national debt, a debt that took 230 years to accumulate overall, unless we do what they say.


They say they're going to default unless I agree to all these wacko notions they have.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): President Biden has a choice, come to the table and stop playing partisan political games, or cover his ears, refused to negotiate and risk bumbling his way into the first default in our nation's history.


MATTINGLY: And, Alex, to be clear, the positions of the two sides are completely irreconcilable. There is no way to find a middle ground between where Republicans are based on the proposal released today and where the White House is.

And that underscores the importance of today of this moment. White House officials have made a very clear pivot over the course of the last several days to really escalate the political pressure, both behind the scenes working with allies, both on Capitol Hill and in outside groups with the leadership, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, really to line up all leading towards the president's speech today. The hope they believe they have the political high ground, that they can crack house Republicans in their position. McCarthy making very clear they don't think that's the case.

MARQUARDT: And, Melanie up there on Capitol Hill, how much are Republicans backing McCarthy's plan? MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, speaker of McCarthy is still working to lock down the 218 votes. He's going to need to pass this through the house. They only released the texts this afternoon. They are pushing for a floor vote next week. And McCarthy has been huddling with various groups throughout the day. He's been huddling with his leadership team as well as some of these conservative skeptics who are saying they're not quite there yet.

And it is very clear that there are a number of Republicans who are just keeping their powder dry and say they're not sold yet. Just take a listen to Nancy Mace, who represents a swing district.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): I am concerned always. I don't know why balancing the budget of the next decade can't be part of the conversation.

I haven't had a chance to read the package yet and read the details. As I've said, the devil is in the details, but I will be doing that over the next couple of days, and we'll be able to comment more explicitly once I am able to review that information.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you're just totally undecided at this point?

MACE: Right now, I'm leaning no, I just haven't had a chance. I was no yesterday and I'll be a no until I fully read the package and see what it does and doesn't do.


ZANONA: Now, McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes on this bill, so he has very little room for error. That is why he is trying to meet with every single member of his conference who might have concerns here and trying to assuage them.

But there have been some positive signs. There are some conservatives who are saying that they are seeing positive things out of the bill so far, they've got a number of priorities included. This not only is going to raise the debt ceiling, but it's going include billions dollars worth of cuts. It would impose work requirements on government assistant programs, like SNAP and Medicaid. And so they are still looking at the bill. But GOP leadership is confident that they can finally get there.

MARQUARDT: And, Abby, on this splintered conference, this really is the first big test for McCarthy since he became speaker. So, how do you think he can unify Republicans to get this done?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that absolutely remains to be seen. It's been a really difficult road for him to even get to this point. And I think that what he put forward in his package today really represents the most fragile of potential paths forward for the Republican majority. It's not clear based on what Nancy Mace is saying when based on the fact that some of the provisions that McCarthy is proposing, they're not even conservative enough for a lot of conservatives in his conference. So, when you start from that point, and it's not clear he can get to the votes that he needs to pass that, and then you add into that the fact that he is going to have to get to the negotiating table with Democrats, I don't think this is headed in a particularly positive direction.

One other aspect of this whole thing that I think is going to be interesting to see, a lot of Republicans wanting to repeal not just of parts of the Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed last year by a Democratic-controlled Congress, but of all of it. And that's something that both, I think, has some real implications for whether or not it might actually increase the deficit and it might be an absolute no- brainer, it might be a complete red line for this White House and for even some moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats in the House and in the Senate.

MARQUARDT: All right, some very dramatic days ahead. Phil Mattingly, Melanie Zanona, Abby Phillip, thank you all very much.

And coming up, a federal judge rules in favor of House Republicans, saying a key witness in their probe of Donald Trump's indictment has to testify. What that means for the investigation and GOP attacks on the Manhattan district attorney.



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: In New York tonight, a federal judge just issued a new ruling in the showdown between the Manhattan district attorney and House Republicans. The judge denying District Attorney Alvin Bragg's request to block the congressional subpoena of a former prosecutor. All of this coming from Bragg's role in Donald Trump's indictment.

CNN's Kara Scannell is outside the courthouse in Manhattan.

Kara, so what does this ruling mean?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alex. This ruling came just two hours after a spirited oral argument in the courthouse just behind me. The judge issuing this written order in which she denied the District Attorney Alvin Bragg's request to block a subpoena for former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz's testimony. But the judge said there was a lot of politics that play on both sides. But she said the issue before her was this particular subpoena and the question whether Congress had a legislative purpose in issuing the subpoena.

Now the House lawyers argued that they did have a subpoena and even one of Bragg's attorneys conceded in court that the Congress did have a right to oversee the use of federal funds. They said that they used about $5,000 for their broad investigation into the former president.


The judge agreed, and in her order, she wrote, it is not the role of the federal judiciary to dictate what legislation Congress may consider or how it should conduct its deliberations in that connection, Mr. Pomerantz must appear for the congressional deposition. No one is above the law.

And the judge also criticized Pomerantz saying that he put himself in this in this predicament because of the book that he wrote that was a tell-all essentially of his time in the DA's office. At various points during the hearing, she held up a copy of the book, you know, but, of course, here, Alex, time is of the essence. The deposition is set for tomorrow.

MARQUARDT: And speaking of time, does the district attorney have time to appeal?

SCANNELL: Well, they've already noticed the judge that they're asking for a stay of the deposition saying, you know, could you postpone this deposition at some point in the future to give them time to go to the federal appeals court to have them look at the merits the real legal arguments in this case. The D.A.'s office also told the judge that Pomerantz himself is going to seek emergency relief by the federal appeals court, but it's a question of how quickly does this appeals court act because the deposition is set for tomorrow in Washington, D.C. at 10:00 a.m.

You know, we have not heard -- the House did issue a statement and saying that this did validate their subpoena and they looked forward to this testimony. But it really will be a question here of how quickly does the appeals court rule and whether Pomerantz will give this testimony.

Now, the House attorneys in court today also were saying that they will not hold Pomerantz in contempt of court tomorrow if he doesn't answer questions. They said there is a process but this all still remains to be seen how it will play out -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: All right. Kara Scannell in Manhattan, thank you very much.

And we have this note to our viewers, coming up on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" right after THE SITUATION ROOM, the Ukrainian minister for veterans affairs will be on to address those recent intelligence leaks, the spring counteroffensive that is looming and the loss of human life in Russia's war in Ukraine. That is coming up at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

And we will have more news just ahead right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Wolf Blitzer is joined by Dana Bash in Poland to mark a pivotal moment in the Jewish resistance against the Nazis 80 years later.


[18:56:15] MARQUARDT: In Poland and all around the world, people are remembering the extraordinary bravery of Jewish citizens who stood up against their Nazi occupiers 80 years ago today.

Our own Wolf Blitzer is in Poland, along with our colleague Dana Bash for commemorations of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, an event that has very personal meaning for both of them and their families.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Alex, we're here just outside the Polin Museum. This is the museum that they built to remember the history of the Jews of Poland, and it's a very, very powerful scene, and we were here -- we were here today because they commemorated -- they remembered exactly 80 years ago today, the Warsaw ghetto uprising, where a group of Jews who had been thrown into this Warsaw ghetto and this is the land where the Warsaw ghetto was.

They were thrown in. They resisted. They fought the Nazis. It was a brutal situation, but a very heroic situation by those Jews who were inside the worst are ghetto.

And today, we heard powerful words from the president of Israel, Poland and Germany, president of Germany was here, President Steinmeier, and he spoke so powerfully and personally about what this day means for Germans. Listen to this.

PRES. FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, GERMANY (through translator): I acknowledge our responsibility for the crimes of the past, and our responsibility for a common future.

BLITZER: And, Dana, as you and I know very often, they like to speak of the Nazis doing this, the Nazis doing that, he was blunt, President Steinmeier. He spoke that the Germans very responsibility for what happened. Very blunt.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was very blunt and to hear him say that was a message. Not just about accepting what happened historically, and apologizing and taking responsibility as you said, but also it's critical for the rise in antisemitism globally right now, particularly in the United States, where there is not just a rise in antisemitism, but Holocaust denialism.

Well, here you had the president of Germany making clear that it happened and they were the reason for it. And so the question now is. How does the world continue to remember? One of the ways is here in Warsaw, as you mentioned Wolf, we're right here inside what was the Warsaw ghetto, that was -- that was leveled.

At its height, at its maximum capacity, 450,000 Jews were basically shoved into this area where they didn't have a lot of space. And because of that, that was the number 450,000 of these. They're yellow daffodils, and they represent to the Jews here at the time, but it also represents a flower of hope.

So these are on the lapels of people in Warsaw, walking around the streets, obviously mostly non-Jews, because they're only a little more than 3,000 Jews left in all of Poland.

BLITZER: And there were three million before World War II.

BASH: Exactly. And so, this is a way for people to remember, for people to honor those who were killed but also to learn from history.

BLITZER: And what was so meaningful, especially for Dana and me, my grandpa -- four of my grandparents were killed during the Holocaust and your great grandparents.

BASH: And my great aunt.

BLITZER: Your great aunt were killed during the Holocaust.

It was so meaningful to see thousands and thousands of people gather here in Warsaw, and yesterday, in Auschwitz-Birkenau for what was called the March of the Living, to go ahead and to determine to show their solidarity with what happened, and especially, the young people who were here because the new generation has to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Wolf and Dana for their reporting from Poland, and their very personal reflections on the horrors of the Holocaust.

You can read more about their travels this week on

I'm Alex Marquardt here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thank you so much for watching. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitRoom. THE SITUATION ROOM is also available as a podcast wherever you get your podcast.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.