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State of the Union

Interview With Fmr. Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA); Interview With Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Interview With Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired July 03, 2022 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): States' rights. Abortion laws for women and girls now up to the states.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a mistake for the Supreme Court to do what it did.

BASH: For a leader of one of the most conservative states, what does it mean in real terms? I will speak exclusively to the governor of South Dakota, Republican Kristi Noem, in moments.

And under oath. A former Trump aide testifies about the ex-president.

CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO MARK MEADOWS: I overheard the president say something to the effect of: I don't effing care that they have weapons."

BASH: What's next in the committee's case?

January 6 Committee member Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger joins me exclusively.

Plus: High stakes holiday? soaring gas prices and inflation dampen Americans' holiday celebrations, as former President Trump considers making a second presidential bid official as soon as this month. Can President Biden turn America's mood around?


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is ready for some fireworks of the nonpolitical variety.

Happy Fourth of July weekend.

As friends gather to celebrate America's birthday at parades and cookouts over this holiday break, the food they're eating and the drives they are taking are more expensive than last year. And there are signs that Americans of different political stripes are growing more divided after a series of Supreme Court reversals on environmental regulations, guns and abortion. Add to the mix the ongoing fight over former President Trump's big

election lie, as Americans learn shocking new details about how far Trump was willing to go to stay in power. The former president has told associates he is eager to launch his 2024 campaign as early as this month.

For his part, President Biden is focused on the midterm elections this fall. He met virtually with Democratic governors Friday on abortion rights. But, as Republican states move quickly to further restrict the ability of women and girls to terminate a pregnancy, life and how it's defined depends more and more on where you live.

Here with me now is a staunch abortion rights opponent, Republican Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, where abortion is now illegal, except in the case where the life of the mother is at risk. She is also the author of a new book, "Not My First Rodeo."

Governor, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

This is a very new world with a lot of unanswered questions. So I want to spend some time this morning trying to understand some of the many aspects of this major shift in America.

And I want to start with something that I have heard you say many, many times over the past few weeks, which is you are going to walk alongside mothers and their children after this decision.

I want to ask you what that looks like. Would you support, for example, South Dakota providing paid parental leave and state-funded child care, so mothers can work and care for their children?

GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): Well, family leave policy is something that I addressed as soon as I became governor in South Dakota.

I do think it's important that we walk alongside people when they enter into a situation where maybe they have an unplanned pregnancy. And many women feel as though, when they get -- have a pregnancy that's not planned, that it's a crisis situation. And we need to do a better job of supporting them.

I launched a Web site called that makes those connections, helps with medical care, financial services, connects them to nonprofits or even adoptive parents that may choose to parent their child, if that's the choice that they make.

BASH: And, Governor, I went through that entire Web site. And I'm going to ask you about that in a second.

NOEM: Mm-hmm.

BASH: But on the notion of family leave, do you support and will you support, when the special session comes in there in South Dakota, paid family leave or greater access financially to child care?

NOEM: That's a discussion we're going to have. I think it's important that we back up exactly what I have been saying since I'm governor, that we want stronger families, that I think it's important for children to have families around them and be with them.

And that's something that we will continue to talk about as a priority for our state, yes. I think what's interesting in South Dakota is that it's very much a legislative process. We get input from legislators. I file bills. They file bills. We debate, have session, and we reflect what the people of the state believe and support.

BASH: Yes, it's a very dynamic situation. I have been following it closely.


You have a pretty powerful bully pulpit. What is your position paid family leave? Will you push for it?

NOEM: It's something that I have supported in the past and talked about, so giving that flexibility to family.

So, South Dakota has not had a broad, expansive policy, like several other states do. And I think that's a debate that will continue to have.

BASH: So you're going to push it?

NOEM: Many times, it's the financial cost, the medical cost and the leave policy that many people have a tough time supporting.

But I think, in South Dakota, that the time is right.

BASH: Thousands of low-income women in South Dakota without health insurance could be covered during and after pregnancy if your state expanded Medicaid under Obamacare.

This is going to be on the ballot there in South Dakota in November. Will you support that?

NOEM: I think it's interesting, because what that does is make sure that Medicaid expansion would cover able-bodied single individuals that are able to work. And it also would include about an $80 million cost to the state.

So that will be a debate that will be on the ballot. If it passes, I will certainly make sure that it's implemented fairly and that it's done fairly. It's something that I will continue to look at. That cost to the state is incredible. And the people that it covers are people that are single and able-bodied and able to work.

We have many open jobs, very few people in our state that are on unemployment right now.

BASH: Will you...

NOEM: And our incomes are going up faster here in South Dakota than anywhere else in the country.

So the people of South Dakota economically are doing better, even though we're really struggling with the inflation of the Biden economy and what's been happening with the policies out of D.C.

BASH: Just real quick, it's on the ballot. You're a voter, obviously. Will you vote for it?

NOEM: I won't be voting for it myself personally because of the tax increases that would have to happen to pay for it.

But if it is passed by the people, I certainly will implement it.

BASH: So you mentioned your Web site. Many of the resources on that Web site are federal programs, private organizations.

So I'm just trying to understand. You mentioned paid family leave. What else will you do as governor of South Dakota or push for? I understand you have to do it in partnership with the legislature. Since the state is effectively banning abortion, do you believe the state has a greater responsibility to directly support, financially support with services women, girls, children?

NOEM: Well, we do that through many of our agencies already.

BASH: And you will add to that?

NOEM: So there's many different grants and programs that will do that.

And, yes, I do believe that we should. I have told the legislature that clearly that I think that's a debate we need to have on what more we can do to support mothers in this situation.

We have many pregnancy centers and those that do walk alongside those mothers today bringing us ideas. And we will have that discussion during debate. And it's important to know that 2005 is when the trigger law was passed, saying that, when the Supreme Court passed this authority by overturning Roe back to the states, that the law of the land would be then...

BASH: Right.

NOEM: ... that abortion would be illegal, except to save the life of the mother.

Now that that's the law, then we have to look at what we need to do to address who in those situations, if they do break the law, is punished. And that's the doctors, not the women. I want to make sure that that's appropriate and that the women are not punished in this situation, and that we do support them as we go forward.

BASH: Let me ask you about that.

"The Indianapolis Star" is reporting that a 10-year-old girl in Ohio who was six weeks and three days pregnant now has to travel across state lines to Indiana to receive an abortion. So I just -- because this is a trigger law that was passed before you became governor, I wanted you to be clear.

Will the state of South Dakota going forward force a 10-year-old in that very same situation to have a baby?

NOEM: You know what I think is incredible, Dana, in this tragic story? Because I heard about this last night.

What's incredible is that nobody's talking about the pervert, horrible and deranged individual that raped a 10-year-old.

BASH: Right.

NOEM: And what is it? What are we doing about that? What are we doing about those individuals that do this to these children?

BASH: I agree with you, I mean, of course. That is an important discussion to have you. But the...

NOEM: You rape children, that's an issue that the Supreme Court has weighed in as well.

BASH: Yes. Listen, I totally understand that. But are...

NOEM: And as much as we can talk what we can do for that little girl, I think we also need to be addressing those sick individuals that do this to our children.

BASH: Right. I couldn't agree more.

NOEM: So, this...

BASH: But our bodies are our bodies, and women are the ones who get pregnant. And, in this case, it wasn't a woman. It was a girl.

NOEM: It's a child. It's a child.

BASH: Should she have to have -- a child. A child.

Should she have that baby?

NOEM: And every single life -- every single life is precious.

This tragedy is horrific. I can't even imagine. I have never had anybody in my family or myself gone through anything like this. I can't even imagine.

But, in South Dakota, the law today is that the abortions are illegal, except to save the life of the mother.

BASH: And you would OK with that, a 10-year-old girl having to have a baby?

NOEM: No, I'm never OK with that. In fact, that story will keep me up at night. It absolutely will.


BASH: So, will you try to change the law to have an exception in a situation like that? NOEM: It breaks my heart. I'm a mother. I'm a grandmother.

Got a 1-year-old little granddaughter named Ms. Addie. I can't even imagine.

What I would say is, I don't believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy. And so there's more that we have got to do to make sure that we really are living a life that says every life is precious, especially innocent lives that have been shattered, like that 10-year-old girl.


BASH: Yes.

And it's incredibly complicated. And I get it. But I guess my question is, given how heartbroken you seem to be about the situation, maybe the question is this, because what I keep thinking about is, how is -- a 10-year-old girl physically...


BASH: ... probably can't even carry a baby without being, never mind emotionally and mentally sort of tormented, but physically hurt. Would you consider that the life of a mother at risk?

NOEM: And I think that's something that -- yes, that situation, the doctor, the family, the individuals closest to that will make the decisions there for that family.

That's what's interesting about the time we live in right now, is every state will have different laws on the books. The decisions will be made by the legislators that are closest to the people. That's appropriate. It's the way our Constitution intended.

And I think that South Dakota's laws may look very different than California's, may look very different than New York's, where that governor has said she wants to become a destination known for providing abortions.

BASH: Well...

NOEM: That's not our story here in South Dakota.

And I think every governor, every state will make a very different decision on what their laws look like.

BASH: On that note, if Republicans take back Congress in Washington, would you support a national ban on abortion?

NOEM: You know, we will see what Congress does and what those discussions are.

I have never, Dana, operated in hypotheticals. I have told people what my values are, how I would lead. And then I follow through on that. That's just something that I have always done. Running for elected office, you represent your people, but you also represent the person that -- the values that you hold and how you see your job as governor.

We saw that during COVID. We saw that with all the decisions that were made in different states as far as impacting people's families and their businesses. South Dakota made very different decisions than every other state.

I trust the people. I trust the Constitution. I hate the energy policy that this administration is bringing and harming our families. I hate the food insecurity that they're creating and the national security crisis that we have going on.

Joe Biden has been devastating for this country. And I'm going to continue to fight to defend the people in South Dakota.

BASH: Just real quick, is it a state right, abortion? Or should it be a state right or not?

NOEM: It's a decision that should be made at the state level, absolutely.


The Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that the court's decision legalizing same-sex nationwide marriage should be reconsidered.

South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage from 2006 is still on the books. Should the Supreme Court reconsider that decision as well?

NOEM: I think it was very clear from Justice Alito's comments that this indication Roe v. Wade and it being overturned did not indicate that they were going to move on to other subjects and continue this type of decision across the board.

BASH: Do you think that's right? Was...

NOEM: So, each issue will stand on its own. Each issue will be debated on its own. And I think that, in our state, that there have been decisions and laws in place. And those will continue to be debated.

That's what's wonderful about our republic, is that each state makes its decisions...

BASH: Right.

NOEM: ... has the debate on the policy, and then they pass.

My job as governor is to make sure that I'm protecting my people from federal government intrusion, doing my job, and only my job, and not overstepping my authority, and then...

BASH: Does that include same-sex marriage?

NOEM: I think that will be a debate that we will continue to have.


I want to ask you about some new information we learned this week about the attack on the U.S. Capitol, where you used to serve. A former top aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, said President Trump knew the mob was armed and still sent them to the Capitol.

Listen to what she said.


HUTCHINSON: I overheard the president say something to the effect of: "I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here."


BASH: This is firsthand testimony under oath from a tried-and-true Republican. Does it alarm you?

NOEM: Well, what alarms me is the way that this hearing has been conducted.

This is not at all like the hearings that were conducted when I was a member of Congress. This was a one-sided conversation with one set of witnesses that are reporting hearsay in many situations, not facts.

BASH: Well, that was...


NOEM: So it's difficult to really believe everything that she has said. She says that she's telling the truth, but much of it was hearsay, and much of it other people have refuted now.

So there's an agenda behind this hearing.

BASH: Governor, what I just played was firsthand -- was her -- firsthand. She said that she heard President Trump say that.

So it's not hearsay.

NOEM: But her credibility was -- her credibility was damaged when she talked about hearsay, and then other people, that that -- that she referenced said that it absolutely wasn't true.

And that's what's difficult about these hearings. It feels to be more of a show and more of an agenda than an actual true, objective hearing that's uncovering facts.


BASH: She -- just for the record... NOEM: And I would prefer that we continue -- when I go to the gas stations, when I'm working in South Dakota and I'm traveling to businesses and talking to families, their number one concern this Fourth of July weekend is going to be gas prices and food for their families.

BASH: And I'm going to ask you about that, Governor. I'm going to ask you about that, Governor.

But, just for the record, she testified under oath to what she did. And we haven't heard anyone dispute that yet under oath.

I want to ask even more broadly, do you believe that President Trump bears any responsibility for what happened on January 6?

NOEM: I think January 6 was a horrific day in our history. I never want to see that happen again.

I think, moving forward, that we have got to have a time in our country where we all start talking to each other again, where we start having conversations, we get much better policy. I talk about this in my book, Dana, where I talked about the fact that we have become a country so offended by each other that we quit talking to each other.

And it's hurting public debate that we have to have different perspectives around the table to have an open conversation. And we will end up with much better policy, better laws if we can take the emotion and the anger and the bitterness out of our conversation, and really talk about what is best for our country and where we can agree and move forward.

BASH: Right.

The question is whether President Trump bears any responsibility.

NOEM: I think we all need to examine this country and where we're going.

And I'm hopeful that people will look to our state. Our state has done incredible things. I think the country is desperate for some hope right now. The best weekend to focus on that is this weekend, where we celebrate our freedoms, our independence, and really look forward with an optimistic attitude.

I think we have got a bright future ahead of us as long, as we continue to represent our people.

BASH: Real quick, because I wanted to get to the economy, President -- former President Trump may announce that he's running as soon as this month. If he does, A, will you support him? And, B, would you like to be his running mate?


NOEM: Well, if he runs, I will support him. I have said that many times. I think his policies were good for our country. BASH: Would you like to be his running mate?

NOEM: I supported -- I think that there's a lot of people out there who would like to be his running mate.

BASH: If he asked you, would you say yes?

NOEM: I'm focused on getting reelected to -- I don't operate in that hypothetical either.


NOEM: I would be shocked if he asked.

And, right now, I'm just so focused on South Dakota. We're doing great things. And we have got a lot more to do the next four years.

BASH: In your new book, you write that one of the things your dad used to say was: "We don't complain about things, Kristi. We fix them."

So, about inflation, gas prices, as you mentioned, are near record highs. President Biden is calling on states to pause their state gas taxes, will you do that as well?

NOEM: I think a lot of energy policies should be addressed, a lot of them with opening up American energy supply again. I wish he wouldn't have canceled the Keystone pipeline. I wish he wouldn't have stopped drilling on federal lands.

I wish he wouldn't hit so many of our energy industry partners with regulations and fines and penalties. He's made us much more dependent on our enemies on foreign soil. So when we get these American-first energy supplies back online and we start depending on ourselves and become independent, it certainly will be a better day for South Dakotans.

BASH: Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

NOEM: Thank you, Dana. Appreciate it.

BASH: And up next: Has Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony led to new witnesses coming forward? January 6 Committee member Adam Kinzinger is here.

And Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is unapologetic about her position on former President Trump. As he contemplates 2024, what is her future?


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Let me also say this to the little girls and to the young women who are watching tonight.

These days, for the most part, men are running the world, and it is really not going that well.




BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

The House committee investigating the January 6 attacks is gearing up for more hearings after the bombshell testimony this week.

Now the two Republican members of the committee are urging the Biden Justice Department to act, including my next guest.

Here with me now is a member of the January 6 Committee, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Congressman, I want to get your reaction to what you just heard from the South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, particularly on January 6, talking about the fact that she didn't think specifically that the former president had any blame. She said everybody has blame, but she also put into question the credibility of Cassidy Hutchinson.

Your response?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Yes, I mean, this -- I'm blown away this is not -- I served with Kristi Noem in the House, and it's like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

This is not the Kristi Noem I served with.

The Kristi Noem I served with was conservative, dedicated to truth, and I at the time would have thought would have put her country above her political career at any moment.

It is clear. Look, Dana, it is clear she is running for president or vice president. She's scared to death of the base. And for her to call into question a 26-year-old patriot who stood in front of the committee alone and told the truth, and then that -- to avoid saying that Donald Trump bore even an ounce of responsibility for January 6, I get amazed still every day by what some of my colleagues do.

This is one of the biggest ones. She used to be something very different.

BASH: There are, I don't need to tell you, only two Republicans on this committee. You're one of them. The other is Vice Chair Liz Cheney.

She's facing a very tough reelection fight in Wyoming. She faced off with her opponents in the debate this week. Take a listen.


HARRIET HAGEMAN (R), WYOMING CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Our republic is not in danger because of President Donald J. Trump. We have serious questions about the 2020 election.

ROBYN BELINSKEY (R), WYOMING CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: And when I talked to Mike Lindell, he did say that there was a small, small portion of voter fraud in this state, but that is alarming anyway.

ANTHONY BOUCHARD (R), WYOMING CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: There is fraud happening. And we know it.

CHENEY: I will never violate my oath of office. And if you're looking for somebody who will, then you need to vote for somebody else on this stage.


BASH: You had a colorful reaction to that debate, using a term that I think my 11-year-old son would like.


You said her opponents are -- quote -- "a bunch of armpit farters."

But, realistically, one of them could very well win in November.

KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, look, it's -- OK, how do I put it this way?

So, Liz Cheney, you can disagree with her position on whatever, but she stood in front of her constituents and she said, look, here's where I'm at on these issues, these core democracy issues. Now you can make a decision whether or not to vote for me.

Frankly, that's what politics should be. That's what every election should be. You see her opponents spreading conspiracy. Her main opponent was a big supporter of Liz Cheney until she found out that maybe she could run against Liz Cheney. And so they are lying to their constituents. I guess she hasn't really said whether the election was stolen or not, but likes to play games.

This has turned into -- and this is where I honestly think the political system is failing America, and Americans have got to wake up and demand far better, because we have a primary system where somebody like Liz Cheney, a very professional, focused person, regardless of what you think of her politics -- I tend to agree with her politics, of course -- can be up against just lies and conspiracy, and 5 to 10 percent of the country or of that district, of Wyoming, will actually show up and vote in a primary and make a decision.

We just had a -- Mary Miller defeat Rodney Davis here in Illinois, a 700,000-person district, and it was only a few tens of thousands of people that voted in that. Something's got to change.

Look, Liz, God bless her. She is making a stand. I think she can win. But I hope this serves as a lesson to every American. Like, let's fix this system, because the primary system is failing.

BASH: Congressman, let's turn to the explosive testimony this week from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Here's what she said then-Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato told her

happened inside the presidential car on January 6.


HUTCHINSON: The president said something to the effect of: "I'm the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now."

The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said: "Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing."

Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel.


BASH: So, this is the part that Governor Noem was referring to. And some Secret Service sources are disputing the account. Others say, though, it tracks with what they heard.

So the question is, Trump allies are trying to use this to discredit all of her testimony. Why did the committee put this out there, ask her about this, that she heard secondhand, without first obtaining corroborating evidence?

KINZINGER: Well, I'm not going to say what we do or don't have in terms of corroboration.

But let me say this. What she said is, this is what she heard. At no point that she says she was in the Beast with the president and saw this happen.

BASH: Right.

KINZINGER: Now, you guys have done a good job of reporting Secret Service sources saying they heard the same story.

What you're seeing now -- and this is typical for Trump world -- that nobody has argued, nobody has argued that the president didn't want to go to the Capitol. Nobody has argued that he didn't know there were guns.

They're trying to argue, did he really grab for the Beast? And that's where Tony Ornato will have to come in and tell us more about his position on that.

BASH: Will he? Will he do that?

KINZINGER: Well, we will -- there's information I can't say yet.

But we certainly would say that Cassidy Hutchinson has testified under oath. We find her credible. And anybody that wants to cast disparagements on that was firsthand present should come and also testify under oath, and not through "anonymous sources" -- quote unquote -- and not potentially being an anonymous source. BASH: Congressman, since Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, have new

witnesses come forward to want to speak up?


Again, I don't want to get into who or any of those details, but -- and it's not even just Cassidy. By the way, she's been inspiring for a lot of people. It's -- this happens every day. Every day, we get new people that come forward and say, hey, I didn't think maybe this piece of the story that I knew was important, but now that you guys are talking -- like, I do see this plays in here.

But, yes, I mean, look, she is going to go down in history as -- I mean, people can forget the names of every one of us on the committee. They will not forget her name. And, by the way, she doesn't want that. She doesn't want to be out in the public spotlight.

But she has a commitment to truth that somebody like Kristi Noem, for instance, and most people in our party would actually benefit to take just a 10 percent ounce of.

BASH: Real quick, because we're out of time.

Will we hear from witnesses that you did not know about, the stories you did not hear, because of the hearing so far?

KINZINGER: Yes. Yes. There will be -- there is. There will be way more information. And stay tuned.


BASH: Congressman, thank you so much for joining me. Have a nice Fourth.


BASH: So, how are the January 6 hearings affecting how Republicans view Trump 2024? I will ask one of his ambassadors who blamed his former boss for encouraging the riot.

That's coming up next.



KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We had a corrupt election. I'd actually like to ask everybody on this stage if they would agree we had a corrupt, stolen election. Raise your hand.

Did we have a -- did we have...


[09:35:00] LAKE: Did we have...



TAYLOR ROBSON: I'm not going to play your stunt.


BASH: That was a debate for the Arizona governor's race.

We are here with our panel.

Thank you so much, all, for coming in.

Scott Brown, you were Donald Trump's ambassador to New Zealand. If you were on that stage, would you raise your hand?


I mean, they had an opportunity to go to the election, do their job, put on all the protections. If they were concerned about polling places, they should have worked with the Justice Department and got safety and security there, so the poll watchers wouldn't be put out.

It went all the way up to the Supreme Court. He exhausted all his possibilities. And Joe Biden is the president. I wish he wasn't because of where we are right now with inflation, the border, and all the things that we know, with 85 percent of the people saying we're going in the wrong direction, 79 percent of Republicans.

But, yes -- no, I wouldn't have raised my hand.

BASH: What does that say about your party?

LINDA CHAVEZ, SENIOR FELLOW, NISKANEN CENTER: Well, it's not my party anymore. I'm now unaffiliated.

And it's...

BASH: Former party.

CHAVEZ: Yes, it's precisely because of this kind of nonsense.

And Scott is absolutely right. I think there are many of us who are still conservative who still support some of the policies of the Trump administration and support the policies of conservatism long-term.

We're desperate to get beyond Trump, to make this man go off into the sunset and stay down in Mar-a-Lago and play golf and whatever else he does down there, and to be able to be given a choice for real Republicans, real conservatives.

BASH: He's about to... BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The problem, though, is that the cancer of Trump has metastasized, and so you just can't shake it.

And when you look at -- I believe her name is Kari Lake, who is about all -- by all standards, unqualified to be governor of anything, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to be governor of Arizona. You look at Kristi Noem, who is a seasoned vet, who's contorted herself into pretzels.

I mean, she did the best job of evading your answers. I mean, I just haven't seen -- it's like my 17-year-old daughter when you ask her a question, and she's trying to sneak out. And she's like, well, you know, I don't know.


SELLERS: I mean, just -- it's -- you can't get the Trump element...

BASH: On January 6. She answered on abortion.

SELLERS: Kind of. She didn't answer the question about the 10-year- old girl and the rape exception.

But when you think -- when you think these things through, Trump is just hovering over this party, and he's just a stench that they can't shake.

JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm on the other side of the political aisle. I would love to be past Trump. I would love for Trump to be in the rearview mirror. I don't ever want to think about him again, much less have a conversation.

But this is ongoing. The January 6 investigation is about a coup that failed. We know from historical precedent all over the globe that's rarely the only time that's attempted. And we're watching them try to set it up for 2024 in real time. So we can't get past Trump until we know he can't cause us any more harm.

BASH: As you come in, I want to show our viewers what "The Washington Examiner" said in an editorial.

"The Washington Examiner" editorial board is conservative: "Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again. Republicans have far better options to lead the party in 2024. No one should think otherwise, much less support him ever again."

And yet he is, according to our sources, likely to announce he is going to run in 2024 as soon as this month.

BROWN: Well, you never know.

And, first of all, I don't disagree with what you're saying. But also look at what's happening with the Democrats, Joe Biden. You have Pritzker out there. You have AOC, others who are questioning his ability to not only lead, but run again. And, yes, President Trump is playing a role still, and he will play a

role, because he was a former president, just like every other former president.

But in New Hampshire, which is where I live, we have -- I have already seen Pence five times, Cotton, both Scotts, Christie, Haley, Pompeo. So...

BASH: Do they stand a chance against Donald Trump?

BROWN: Yes, listen, New Hampshire will vet people very, very thoroughly.

And, right now, DeSantis is tied with Trump in New Hampshire. So this is far from over. The process will take care of itself. And we will see -- we will see what happens.

BASH: Would you support him?

MCINTOSH: And, by the way...

BASH: Would you support him?

BROWN: Listen, I'm going to -- the beauty of where I am now is, I'm going to hold those backyard barbecues, like we did before that you came to, and we're going to be vetting.

And when you say, well, what about January 6 and all the thing that's coming out, yes, the voters are going to take everything into consideration, every single thing, and they're ultimately going to make their decision.

SELLERS: The both-sides-ism is not really -- it's not a thing when you talk about the issue we're having with Joe Biden vs. the issue the Republican Party's having with Donald Trump.

There is a question about whether or not Joe Biden is going to run for president in 2024. I mean, that's just...

BROWN: Or if he's going to finish his term right now.

SELLERS: Well, he's going to finish his term. There's no reason to believe he won't.

But it's not a character issue. It's not a -- it's not the fragility of democracy. This is -- these are separate issues.

When you talk about Donald Trump, it's the fitness question. He's unfit to be in office. When you talk about Joe Biden, it's an age question. It's a -- is he going to run again? Can he be a standard- bearer in 2024? You don't have those same questions.

CHAVEZ: And it's more even than a fitness question, in my view.

It's a legal question.

SELLERS: Well, that too.

CHAVEZ: I mean, this is a man who, in fact, orchestrated, with help from others, an attempted coup.


He tried to overturn a -- an election. And it wasn't just Cassidy Hutchinson. I think the testimony the week before from the three officials from the Justice Department was in some ways even more compelling.

We got very close, not just on January 6. That was the culmination. This was a plot that unfolded over weeks that attempted to strong-arm members of the state legislature, tried to corrupt the Department of Justice, and ultimately led the then-president to do what exactly what Liz Cheney did -- said he did, which was to summon the mob, to assemble the mob, and then to light the fire.

BROWN: Listen, the big person who -- the person really screwed up here was Kevin McCarthy.

He did not provide an opportunity to put others on, when he had a chance.


BROWN: I think, when the history books are written, it'll say, oh, yes, they missed an opportunity to actually have a hearing that they could have offered cross-examination, because, as I travel around the country and speak to people around New Hampshire, they think the committee is very important.

But they want to get both sides. They want to hear from that Secret Service -- the Secret Service people directly, not through hearsay, but directly, an opportunity to cross-examine. That's the fault and that's the problem.

MCINTOSH: They missed the opportunity to continue misinforming the American people, which is what would have happened if Jim Jordan was on the committee.

BASH: Jess, we got to -- we got to take -- we got to take...

BROWN: No, I didn't say Jim Jordan. I said others. I said others.

BASH: Guys, we have a lot more to talk about. Guess what? We have a whole 'nother segment. So hang on.


BROWN: Excellent. Excellent.

BASH: Stay right there.

A potential new move by President Biden is setting off outrage from his own party. We're going to talk about that. Stay with us.




BASH: What you're saying now, what the president said, that, this fall, Roe is on the ballot.

But what do you say to Democratic voters who argue, wait a minute, we worked really hard to elect a Democratic president and vice president, Democratic-led House, a Democratic-led Senate?


BASH: Do it now.

HARRIS: But do what now? What now?


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Jess, as a proud progressive, what's your overall impression and reaction to the way the Biden administration is proceeding post-Roe?

MCINTOSH: It's not enough.

I love the things that they say they are working on doing. I think the most important thing right now is to make sure that access to abortion is maintained for as many people in the country as possible until we get to November, when then we're going to need to vote in two more Democratic senators in order to codify Roe.

I think that the Biden administration needs to get very explicit about that voting message. It's not just vote and vote harder. It's vote for these two seats, so that we can get this thing done.

And, in the meantime, everything that he said was correct. He needs to be making sure that women can cross state lines. And the fact that it's 2022, and I am sitting here as a 40-year-old woman, if I were to get pregnant, I would want to keep it. I would be happy with that idea. And I would not be able to travel to multiple states in the country, because, if something went wrong, I could die.

So he needs to make sure that travel is open. He needs to make sure that medication abortion is available or telemedicine to as many people as needed. These are the things that -- he definitely needs to be looking at putting abortion clinics on federal lands, anything he can do to keep access for as long as possible, until we can codify it in Congress.

CHAVEZ: I think the real problem is, this now is back in the states. And the problems that progressive path is that 30 states are controlled by Republicans.

And, I mean, I think this is sort of missing the forest for the trees. But the fact is, if you don't get some of the radicals who are in state legislatures -- and they are radicals. I mean, these are people who would stop that 10-year-old who was pregnant by rape from being able to travel even to another state to get a legal abortion.

That's where the Democrats have missed the boat. They should have been focused more on...


SELLERS: I cannot disagree with you, because it feels as if we were flat-footed, like we didn't know this was coming.

BASH: "We," the Democrats?

SELLERS: Democrats.

And the fact is, Republicans have not hidden their hand. This has been a 50-year journey for them to overturn Roe. And we don't have a plan. I mean, and vote harder?

MCINTOSH: The reproductive justice movement didn't hide their hand either. We have been yelling about this. We have been screaming about this.

SELLERS: We're not -- I'm not -- and I -- yes.

And I'm not talking about the activists. I'm not talking about the people who do great work every day. I'm talking about the people who are...


MCINTOSH: The men in charge of the party.

BASH: Can I just inject one of the things that I mentioned in the -- two...



BASH: Two Kentucky Democrats tell CNN that President Biden intends to nominate an anti-abortion Republican lawyer to a lifetime judicial appointment in Kentucky.

SELLERS: This is absurd.


SELLERS: This is absurd.

I mean, the fact that Joe Biden will nominate an anti-choice judge in exchange for two temporary prosecutors shows that we don't have an understanding, one, of the justice system, or, two, we're not reading the room, as the kids say.

I mean, this is why it's completely outrageous that vote harder is not going to do it. I mean, we -- we have to do a better job of messaging around women's access to reproductive rights. I mean, just -- this vote harder frustrates me. And then the president of the United States goes and does this. And it just -- it's frustrating.

MCINTOSH: We're talking about the freedom to decide when and whether to grow our families. That is a foundational right.

And now we are seeing all of the things that were built on that foundation start to crumble.

BASH: You have been on the ballot many times.

Do you think that the Democrats' argument, aside from this table, that this is going to motivate Democratic or -- and even independent voters is legit?


BROWN: Well, first of all, I agree with you. The president and his team, Pelosi, they were flat-footed.

They knew two months, because of the leak, that -- and they did nothing. He said, I don't know what to do.

And I'm a pro-choice Republican, OK?

With what your question was, geographically, I think it's important. In the Northeast, where pro-choice -- they're going to codify through the states rights. But what I'm hearing around -- and I'm everywhere, as you know. Very important, January 6, the abortion, exceedingly important, but, right now, people are hurting financially, inflation, the border, fentanyl, deaths.

They can't pay their bills. And those economic issues, I believe, will supersede potentially those issues.

BASH: We're going to have to leave it there.

Thank you all. Have a wonderful Fourth.

BROWN: Thank you.

BASH: Appreciate you coming in.

BROWN: Thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

And it is summer. We're ready to celebrate here at CNN and all around the country and even the world. A sneak peek at the best way to see fireworks and an epic concert that's going to be right here on CNN.

Stay with me. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BASH: Tomorrow, right here on CNN, you can see coast-to-coast fireworks shows from Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, D.C., and even more, and musical performances from Gloria Estefan, Pitbull, Avril Lavigne, Willie Nelson, T-Pain, and the U.S. Air Force Band. And there's even going to be more.

Please join me, along with co-hosts Don Lemon, Ana Cabrera and Sara Sidner, for "The Fourth in America" special. It starts right here tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us.

The news continues next. See you tomorrow night.