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State of the Union
Interview With Cincinnati, Ohio, Mayor Aftab Pureval; Interview With Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH); Interview With Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Interview With Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 10, 2022 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Holiday heartbreak. As the nation reels from the July 4 massacre...
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): If you're angry today, I'm here to tell you, be angry. I'm furious.
TAPPER: ... questions about why a man with so many warning signs was able to buy guns and how future killers could be stopped.
Questions about why a man with so many warning signs was able to buy guns and how future killers could be stopped. Illinois Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker joins me exclusively.
Plus: safe and legal? President Biden signs an executive order on abortion rights, but says the best options for frustrated Americans are:
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Vote, vote, vote, vote.
TAPPER: Will voters agree with him in November that Republicans have overreached? The Republican leader of a state that preserves abortion rights, Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, will be here.
And unconventional warfare. The Justice Department says January 6 could have been more deadly. What will the January 6 committee reveal in its hearings this week? I will ask Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren ahead.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is finding it difficult to relax this summer.
As we wrap up a holiday week, the problems facing our nation sometimes might seem insurmountable, the divide over abortion rights, unease over the economy, an election lie that is getting more entrenched. We're going to talk about all of that.
But I want to start today talking about gun violence. Tomorrow will mark one week since the deadly mass shooting at a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, outside Chicago. And while shattered families are still grappling with all that they have lost in that senseless slaughter, CNN is learning more about the warning signs from the alleged shooter that, despite Illinois' red flag law, did not prevent him from legally buying that semiautomatic rifle police say he used last week,
The young man spent time at his father's Highland Park deli growing up, and police were often called to the family home for domestic disturbances between the parents. In 2019, police came for a different reason, to briefly confiscate a collection of knives after the then- 18-year-old threatened to -- quote -- "kill everyone."
A report filed after that incident did not keep him from obtaining a gun license just a few months later.
Joining us now to discuss this tragedy exclusively for the latest on the investigation and how to stop future gun violence is the governor of Illinois, Democrat J.B. Pritzker.
Governor Pritzker, thanks so much for joining us, and our deepest condolences to you and the people of Highland Park.
I do want to ask about how to prevent this, because there -- there, frankly, were a lot of missed warning signs here. State Police granted the shooter a gun license just four months after local police filed a clear and present danger form. No one seemed to have taken any steps to initiate the state's red flag law.
So what do you think what went wrong, and what needs to be done to make sure it never happens again?
PRITZKER: Well, good morning.
And let me just begin by expressing my condolences, once again to the people of Highland Park and, of course, across the state of Illinois. They have suffered a terrible tragedy last week. And you said it yourself. The challenge is that, for red flag laws to work, family members had to step forward and sign an affidavit, go to court, do something to make an affirmative action, so that those red flag laws would actually go into effect. They didn't.
The police were there. They confiscated weapons, these knives that you referred to. But the father claimed that the son was simply storing them for him, and then he recovered them a couple of days later. So there were warning signs, there's no doubt about it, but nothing that reached the probable cause or preponderance of the evidence required for there to be a red flag.
TAPPER: Do you think the law needs to change, so that police have more ability to suss out a situation and realize, look, this father, we don't think he's being honest with us, and at least, for the short term, we don't think that this young man should be able to buy a gun?
PRITZKER: I do.
I think that there are probably three things that need to be looked at here. One is changing some of the verbiage in the law on red flags, so that something could have been filed that would have prevented the FOID card from being issued. That's one.
Two is that we need to ban assault weapons, not just in the state of Illinois, but nationally, and then, third, high-capacity magazines. There's no reason why someone should have 90 bullets at the ready, 30 in each of the cartridges that he used. And that's just something that I don't think civilians should have.
And I have talked to police since the shooting who would tell you that the size, the caliber of the bullets that were being fired is much larger than the size, caliber and speed of bullets that even police carry with them. Why do civilians need this?
The name of the weapon that this shooter was using is the Smith & Wesson M&P 15. M&P 15. You know what M&P stands for? Military and police. And that's who perhaps should have these weapons, not civilians being able to just walk in and buy one.
TAPPER: So, even after all the warning signs, the shooter's father sponsored his son's application for the gun license. He now says that he thought his son's earlier threat to kill everyone was just a childish outburst.
Is it possible that the parents might be charged with something?
PRITZKER: Well, listening to the state's attorney in Lake County, it does not sound like that will happen, but no final conclusion has been reached.
I certainly think that it's possible that the father could be held civilly liable. But, at this point anyway, the authorities are saying that no charges have yet been decided upon.
TAPPER: Do we know anything more about any possible motive here?
PRITZKER: I think you know from some of the evidence that's been made public that there were signs of this white supremacy symbol, that there is evidence, obviously, of someone who is -- was looking to cause harm to people.
We don't exactly know whether it is focused on one particular group or another. I can tell you that, at that Highland Park Fourth of July celebration, there were many people who are Jewish. There are many people who are not. There were a large contingent of Latino families there.
In fact, I was at two of the memorial services for two of the seven who died who are Latino. And everywhere, not just in Highland Park, but in surrounding communities, because people came from surrounding communities to see that parade, people are suffering and need help.
TAPPER: I'm sure you had heard anecdotally reports that there's at least one synagogue in the area that believes the shooter came, and an individual who worked at the synagogue said that they thought maybe he was casing it out. Do we know anything more about that?
PRITZKER: We don't. We don't.
As I say, I think that Highland Park is known to be a largely Jewish population, but I couldn't tell you and I don't think the authorities are ready to talk about what the -- what the implication is of his visit, the shooter's visit to that synagogue.
TAPPER: The Fourth of July weekend death toll in Chicago, as you know, surpassed the Highland Park shooting.
You visited Highland Park after the shooting. But T.J. Grooms, who's an assistant pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, said -- quote -- "If you are in a position of power, you must make sure that the same energy and the same effort that you put in one area is put in the other. I will not visit an area like Highland Park and then not show up to the other end of the spectrum."
One parent told CNN that they see the difference in how black and brown children are treated all the time.
What do you say to any parents who are asking why the Highland Park shooting is getting so much more attention than the gun violence facing residents in parts of Chicago, specifically minority neighborhoods in Chicago, every single day?
PRITZKER: Well, I can speak at least for myself. I'm not giving more attention to one than another.
In fact, much of what we have done in our budget over the last six months for this current fiscal year is to put money into programs that serve black and brown communities throughout Chicago, in fact, throughout the rest of the state, particularly communities where there's been a high degree of violence.
And I have been to and spent time with the communities and families that have been affected by gun violence on the South Side of Chicago, West Side of Chicago as well. Highland Park happens to be the latest. And it's an unusual one that I think the nation is paying attention to, in part because of the weapon that was used and the number of people killed all at once by one particular shooter.
Having said, the -- talking about assault weapons isn't the only thing that we ought to be talking about. It's, of course, the issues of the underlying challenges that lead to violence. We need to reduce poverty in our nation. Here in Illinois, we're trying to do that. We need to help lift up these communities that are so often left out and left behind.
TAPPER: Whether it's guns or abortion, I know there are a lot of Democrats frustrated right now because they feel as though the leadership in Washington, D.C., specifically President Biden and the Biden White House, are not doing enough on these issues that matter so much to Americans, especially to Democrats, perhaps. On the matter of abortion rights, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told "The Washington Post" that by Biden is focused on helping women and building a coalition, adding -- quote -- "Joe Biden's goal in responding to the Dobbs decision is not to satisfy some activists who have been consistently out of step with the mainstream of the Democratic Party" -- unquote.
That comment is getting a lot of notice this weekend. I'm wondering what you make of it?
PRITZKER: Well, let me begin by pointing out to everybody listening that Illinois is now an island, an oasis in the nation protecting women's reproductive rights. And we're going to continue to do that. There's more that we need to do.
But I must say that the federal government should be doing more. I have talked to the president about this. And he took some action in that regard with some executive orders the other day. But Democrats need to be pushing for a national law that protects reproductive rights across the nation.
We are going to have an influx of women coming to Illinois, we already are, as a result of shutting off reproductive rights for women in virtually every state around us. Just look at the map. And we need help in order to serve those people. But we shouldn't have to.
This should be a right that is a constitutional right. And it should be a right that's protected across the nation. So, yes, there's more that needs to be done. And I know that president knows that.
TAPPER: Do you think he should declare a public health emergency because of the situation that so many women and girls are facing in some of these states, including the ones surrounding Illinois?
PRITZKER: Well, there's no doubt it is an emergency for women all across the nation, that seeking to protect, to exercise your reproductive rights should not be something that is difficult to do.
It should not be something where, if you can't afford it, you may not be able to actually access it. We're providing funding here in Illinois for Illinois women who seek to exercise their reproductive rights. Other states should be doing that, but aren't. The people who are most affected by this decision, this terrible decision by the U.S. Supreme Court are women who are marginalized, are women who are poor, black and brown women across the nation.
And so it's an emergency for them. That's for sure.
TAPPER: Lastly, sir, if President Biden runs for reelection, which he says he is expected to do, will you support him?
PRITZKER: I will. I will.
TAPPER: All right, Governor Pritzker, thank you so much. And, again, our deepest condolences to the people of Highland Park.
PRITZKER: Thank you very much.
TAPPER: A handful of Republican governors are preserving abortion rights in their states. I'm going to talk to one of them, Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, if he thinks his party might be going too far in some parts of the country next.
And what did former President Trump's White House lawyer tell the January 6 Committee when he testified behind closed doors on Friday? A member of the committee is coming up.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
Fears about a recession eased a bit this week after another strong jobs report.
But with the Fed likely to raise interest rates again later this month and high inflation continuing to push up the cost of everything you buy, Americans remain deeply uneasy about the economy just months before the midterm elections.
Joining us now, New Hampshire Republican Governor Chris Sununu.
Governor Sununu, thanks so much for joining us.
So the U.S. economy has now recovered all of the private sector jobs lost during the pandemic. Gas prices, after shooting up, have been dropping steadily for more than three weeks. Do you see this as signs that an economic outlook -- the economic outlook is going to improve, beginning to improve, or are you worried about a recession coming?
GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): Recession is coming.
You cannot add $5 trillion onto America's balance sheet and just hope it goes away. The recession is coming. The Fed, I think, has known this for a while. They have kind of ignored it. They should have been easing us into the right rates and where we need to go over a year ago. You had a Treasury secretary who was saying, oh, well, it's not inevitable.
Well, of course, it's inevitable. You don't need four years at Dartmouth economics to know that, when you add that $5 trillion, there has to be some outcome. And, unfortunately, the outcome is high gas prices, high housing prices. The price of a taco is getting unbearable for some folks, and it hits lower- and middle-income families very, very hard.
And that's just going to be the issue going forward. TAPPER: What do you think the Biden administration needs to do about
it, if anything?
SUNUNU: Well, there's a couple of things.
Look, first, I would fire the Treasury secretary. I think she's completely misled America, because she didn't want to kind of own the bad news. But that's part of public service. You got to own the good with the bad. You got to ease folks into it and present a glide path.
But the more this administration keeps telling people that a recession isn't inevitable, of course it is. Look, gas prices might come down a little bit, and that's wonderful. Home heating oil prices are still going to be at record rates this winter. And just having people in their homes, elderly couple, folks on fixed incomes, low-income families, just to heat their homes this winter, that fuel crisis has yet to rear its ugly head, but believe you me, it is coming.
And that reality is going to come to bear at the toughest times, right? We have high energy prices now. It costs twice as much to fill your gas tank. It costs about twice as much to create baseload generation. And all of that really comes to bear. And it's not going away anytime soon.
TAPPER: Let's talk about some other national issues. You have said that abortion will remain illegal in New Hampshire up to 24 weeks.
But, so far, at least nine Republican-controlled states have near total bans in effect with no exceptions for rape or incest. Some Republican lawmakers are looking to go even further by limiting access to contraception and restricting women's ability to cross state lines if they want to get an abortion.
Do you have any concern that members of the Republican Party are overreaching with these policies?
SUNUNU: Well, I can speak here in New Hampshire.
We're not changing anything, right? The access that women had to abortion today is the same as it was two months ago. We're not changing anything. Republican leadership here in this state has stated as such. It's a state issue now. And every state is going to really try to find their path.
I think it's going to take a little while for some of this stuff to -- for folks to figure out where it's going to truly settle. For a long time, states had that backdrop of Roe v. Wade, that protection, if you will, of not the full -- the full abortion bans.
But some states are going to have some very tough discussions coming forward, without a doubt.
TAPPER: What's your response when you hear someone like South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who said on the show last week that her state's law would make no exception for a young girl who got pregnant after being raped?
SUNUNU: Yes, look, I don't agree with that at all. I just don't.
I mean, South -- Governor Noem and the folks of South Dakota have to reconcile that. But I don't agree with that. And that's definitely not the rule of law here in New Hampshire. So we're going to keep it accessible, we're going to keep it available and make sure that folks have that choice.
TAPPER: Last month, Congress passed the first new federal gun legislation in decades, which includes incentives for states to implement red flag laws.
Two years ago, you vetoed a red flag law in New Hampshire. Has your position changed at all since then?
Look, the red flag law that came to New Hampshire, that was opposed by the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. That would have created loopholes for boyfriends and whatnot. It would have prevented women from carrying a firearm to protect themselves from dangerous other individuals.
I think, as what you saw in Illinois, red flag laws aren't the end- all/be-all. There were red flag laws there. That failed. So the fact that we're just going to sign a law and call it a day and move on to the next thing when you're talking about gun violence, these mass shootings, you have to have a much more encompassing approach.
And it's all the things that we have been talking about in terms of mental health, finding connectivity for these kids, just those emergency services. A lot of folks don't even know where to go for an emergency mental health service. Here in New Hampshire, every student's going to have an emergency mental health hot line on their back of their student I.D., every single one.
So, every family has that access, the concept of one trusted adult social-emotional learning programs in schools. We fought back the teachers union here in New Hampshire to ensure that every teacher has suicide prevention training and mental health training to make sure that, again, whoever's interacting with those kids, who's seeing them over the course of the day -- unfortunately, when you're talking about school shootings, there's a lot of similarities with a lot of these shooters.
It's disconnectivity. It's mental health issues. It's abuse and trauma. Those things can be identified when the community really comes together as a whole. So, this -- I go back to this idea we're just going to sign a law here and ban another gun there, that all sounds good politically, but, at the end of the day, it has to be a community effort to really tackle the problem.
TAPPER: Let's talk about January 6, because, last year, you said former President Trump's -- quote -- "rhetoric and actions contributed to the insurrection at the United States Capitol Building" -- unquote. Since then, obviously, because of these January 6 hearings, we have
heard testimony that Trump knew the crowd that day was armed, wanted to escort the mob up to the Capitol, wanted to go up with them, resisted taking any action while Congress was being overrun, despite calls coming in pleading with him to take action.
What's been your reaction to these hearings?
SUNUNU: Well, I have watched a little bit of the testimony here and there, bits and pieces.
Some of it definitely calls a lot of decision-making into question. Some of it, you have to wonder where it's coming from. It's second- and third-party kind of hearsay type stuff. Did it really happen? Didn't it really happen?
So I'm just curious as anyone where it all falls out. I don't think it's the political issue that a lot of Democrats especially want it to be come November, because it doesn't define a party. It doesn't define a platform or a policy. I think it more, if anything, just defines some very bad decision-making, and particularly at the White House, on a single day.
And it's not just former President Trump. I think there's a lot of other individuals that are going to have to be called to that. But at the end of the day, you want to find out exactly what happened. It's all about making sure it doesn't happen again. It's all about making sure you put the right preventative measures in place to make sure that we don't have that situation again. It was just a terrible day.
TAPPER: It was a horrible day, but, as you know, of course, Trump's attempt to overturn the election was many months in the making, built on the foundation of lies about the election.
And a lot of Republican candidates for governor around the country are pushing these lies, Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Kari Lake in Arizona, Darren Bailey, Illinois, full-throated supporters of these election lies that helped incite the violence at the Capitol.
Do you see that as disqualifying?
SUNUNU: Well, if I were -- if they were on the ballot in my state, I would disqualify them.
You just picked three -- three pretty interesting individuals. They all do happen to be running for governor. We will see where those races end up. Look, as a voter, I think voters look at what's happening at their kitchen table every day when you're talking about whether something's a disqualifying issue.
And that's going to be gas prices. It's going to be inflation. It's going to be housing prices and the lack of housing and all of this sort of thing. Those are the things that are really going to be driving folks to the polls.
So I don't know if there's ever one single disqualifying issue. But my sense is, if they're kind of pushing that line, there's other issues and other platform policies that folks might have questions with. But that's something every voter just has to kind of decide for themselves, look at the whole platform, look at what's important in their state and what's important for their family.
TAPPER: Assuming you are reelected, will you entertain running for president?
SUNUNU: Oh, it's Sunday morning, Jake. We're going there already? Really?
TAPPER: I'm just wondering.
SUNUNU: Oh, look, I -- people ask me that all the time.
No, look, I am so focused. I love New Hampshire. I mean, I am addicted to the state, almost to a fault. I really am. I love being here. I love being governor. We can really make some changes. Totally focused on this election. Got to earn every vote. And then we will take next year,next year, but really just focused on what needs to happen here.
I still think you're going to have a potential small COVID surge this winter. We got to make sure we're prepared for that. I think inflation and gas prices are very real, hitting people hard. So we're trying to make sure that we're providing the right opportunity for cutting some of those prices back here in New Hampshire.
And then, finally, all this federal money that is in these states, you got to spend it wisely. You can't create more big government with it, one-time money for one-time investment in infrastructure. And that's going to go on for a couple of years. And that's where my focus is going to be, making sure we're just smart with our dollars.
TAPPER: Well, just for the record, that wasn't a no.
Governor Sununu, always good to see you. Thank you so much.
TAPPER: Have a good Sunday.
SUNUNU: Thank you, buddy.
TAPPER: Were there plans for January 6 to be even more violent? What are we going to find out in the hearings this week?
January 6 Committee member Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is next.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
The January 6 Committee just talked to one of the people who worked most closely with then-President Trump around January 6, the former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
And we're learning this morning that Donald Trump is waiving claims of executive privilege for Steve Bannon, who's now indicating that he might be willing to testify in public.
Joining me now is a member of the January 6 committee, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California.
Congresswoman, let me just start with that news about Steve Bannon that we're learning this morning. Will Bannon testify before your committee? And what specific questions might you have for him?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, we got the letter around midnight from his lawyer saying that he would testify. And we have wanted him to testify.
So the committee, of course, has not yet had a chance to discuss it, but I expect that we will be hearing from him. And there are many questions that we have for him.
TAPPER: Would it be a public hearing, or would it be behind closed door?
LOFGREN: Ordinarily, we do depositions. This goes on for hour after hour after hour. We want to get all our questions answered. And you can't do that in a live format.
TAPPER: You heard from another key witness this week, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who sat with you on Friday. Your committee said he gave critical testimony that shows -- quote -- "Donald Trump's supreme dereliction of duty" -- unquote.
What does the committee mean by that? And are we going to hear excerpts of Cipollone's video testimony in this week's hearings?
LOFGREN: Yes, we will have some excerpts of Mr. Cipollone's testimony.
He was able to provide information on basically all of the critical issues that we're looking at, and including the president's what I would call dereliction of duty on the day of January 6. So, yes, that was important.
As you know, the committee rules don't allow us to disclose the testimony without a vote of the committee. That hasn't happened yet. But it was important testimony.
TAPPER: Did he discuss Trump considering seizing the voting machines or Trump considering declaring martial law to seize the voting machines?
LOFGREN: Well, I think you're going to have to wait for the hearing later this week on that. As I say, we haven't had a vote to disclose the testimony.
Let me just say this. I think he did provide important insights on those very subjects.
TAPPER: Former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Pat Cipollone said that -- something along the lines of they would get charged with every crime imaginable if Trump went up to the Capitol.
Two sources tell CNN that the committee did not ask Pat Cipollone whether he had said that. Is that true? And, if so, why wouldn't you ask him that?
LOFGREN: We never call in witnesses to corroborate other witnesses or to give their reaction to other witnesses.
But I will say that he did interview with us for eight hours and provide very insightful information, and that augments and certainly does not dispute Ms. Hutchinson's testimony., So stay tuned for this week's hearings. We think they will be worth attending.
TAPPER: We just learned from federal prosecutors that Oath Keepers, that far right militia group, members brought explosives to the D.C. area around January 6.
Will the American people ultimately see a direct link between Donald Trump and these far right militia groups, some of the members of which have been charged with seditious conspiracy?
LOFGREN: We are going to be connecting the dots during these hearings between these groups and those who are trying to -- in government circles to overturn the election. So we do think that this story is unfolding in a way that is very serious and quite credible.
TAPPER: But we heard Cassidy Hutchinson testify along the lines of Trump telling Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, to talk to Roger Stone and others, Mike Flynn.
And Stone and Flynn had relationships with some of these far right militia groups. Are those the dots you're talking about connecting?
LOFGREN: Some of them.
But, certainly, there are -- we're going to be making some connections that are important for people to understand the full run of the events and the events leading up to the 6th. So, yes, I hope that our hearing on Tuesday will be enlightening on these issues.
TAPPER: Was President Trump aware that these far right militia groups, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, were in the mob when he told the mob to go to the Capitol?
LOFGREN: Well, I think you have to reach your own conclusions, but, based on the events leading up to the day, I think that would be a logical conclusion. TAPPER: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes said through his attorney
on Friday that he's willing to testify to your committee, but only if it's live and in public.
Will you take him up on that offer?
LOFGREN: Well, I believe he's in prison right now, isn't he, being held for his trial? So this may be a pitch to be released.
I will just say that we have already had information from Mr. Rhodes.
TAPPER: You have information from Mr. Rhodes? He has already testified before the committee separately?
LOFGREN: Well, I don't want to go into all the details. But I think this is a pitch to get out of -- get-out-of-jail-free card for Mr. Rhodes.
TAPPER: Before we go, we know about the hearings coming this Tuesday. I believe there is another one expected Thursday in the evening.
What more can you tell us about any future hearings? Will this be the end of it? Or do you expect more hearings to come perhaps later in the month or even in August?
LOFGREN: Well, I always let the chairman and vice chair make the announcements on hearings.
But let me just say this. We're working over the weekend to put the final touches on the hearing for Tuesday. There is so much information, it's overwhelming, really. And you can't have a 10-hour hearing. So we will have a report towards the fall, I believe. Whether there will be additional hearings, I -- we haven't decided that yet.
TAPPER: And who are we going to hear from on Tuesday?
LOFGREN: I'm not going to announce the witnesses today.
TAPPER: It was worth a shot.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, thank you so much. Appreciate your time. Appreciate getting up so early in California.
LOFGREN: That's OK. I was up early before.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks so much.
Are there signs that the Republican Party is moving on from Donald Trump? We have heard that before, of course.
Our panel is next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The challenge is, go out and vote. Well, for God's sake, there's an election in November. Vote, vote, vote, vote.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We have to fill the street.
Right now, elections are not enough. Elections alone are not going to save us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Two different messages from two different Democratic figures, Joe Biden and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
And President Biden facing some pressure.
Our panel is here now.
And I do want to introduce -- we have a new face at the table, Mayor Pureval, the mayor of Cincinnati, a Democrat.
Thanks so much for being here.
AFTAB PUREVAL (D), MAYOR OF CINCINNATI, OHIO: Thanks for having me.
TAPPER: It's good to have you.
So, one of the big criticisms of the Biden White House right now, President Biden's White House, is that they're not -- they're not responding aggressively enough to the challenges put forward.
And there's a quote from the communications director, Kate Bedingfield, that's getting a lot of attention responding to Democrats who say he's not doing enough to protect abortion rights: "Joe Biden's goal in responding to Dobbs" -- that's the Supreme Court hearing -- decision -- "is not to satisfy some activists who have been consistently out of step with the mainstream of the Democratic Party."
What was your response to that, Ashley?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was disappointed in that statement, as an activist, as someone -- she nodded to the coalition that Joe Biden built. I ran the coalitions department on that campaign.
Guess who was a part of that coalition? Activists. And 2020, when people took to the streets because of the death of George Floyd, it invigorated the base in a way that allowed us to have record turnout.
Now, yes, we were fighting an authoritarian president like Donald Trump. But these people going into the street saying that we need bodily autonomy, that is the excitement that Democrats need right now ahead of the midterms. And to demonize them and say they're not mainstream, well, abortion is a very popular issue in the country, and it goes across Democratic and Republican lines.
I think it was an unforced error. And I hope they address it. I'm not sure they will. But it -- I took offense to it. And a lot of people have.
TAPPER: Mayor Pureval, David Axelrod told me recently Biden's problem right now is Americans feel like -- quote -- "Things are out of control and he's not in command."
Do you agree?
PUREVAL: I don't agree.
I think the president has shown strong leadership. And on the abortion issue, look, I think we're missing the point. The battlefield is now at the local and state legislative levels, which is why, in Cincinnati, just days after the Dobbs decision came down, we took action by ensuring that our health care coverage covers abortion- related services, that we are reimbursing travel for women who need to cross state lines to get abortions, and we're looking for ways to decriminalize abortion.
MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just don't understand how anyone could not agree.
I mean, if you -- there is no leadership here. And I was in Congress during the time where,even with a president I didn't agree with all the time, found some things to agree with, when it came to TPA, TPP. He had Republicans saying, OK, we're going to help support you.
TAPPER: You talking about Barack Obama now?
LOVE: I'm talking about -- yes.
LOVE: It's possible.
So, when you're looking at the economy, you're looking at inflation, gas prices, and I know everyone's sick of me saying this, but this is what the American people are feeling. It's a major fail. People aren't feeling the pinch. They're feeling the pain of what is happening.
People are priced out of the housing market. It's just -- it's a failure of leadership and a failure of having a plan to fix the economy.
And when it comes to the abortion issue, I'm going to talk about this. And, Jake, I have been a pro-life advocate, but I think that Americans are being forced to two sides, whether it's the life of a mother, the quality of life of a mother who has an unwanted pregnancy, or the life of an unborn child.
We, as Americans, can and should be advocating for both. You don't have to choose one life against another.
ALLISON: I think people are advocating for constitutional rights, and not picking the life -- one life over another.
I think it's saying, I'm a human, and I have the intelligence to make the decision over my own body, and no one needs to be in my business.
PUREVAL: Look, we're sitting in D.C. having this theoretical conversation about abortion, but it's no longer theoretical in Ohio.
Just last week, a 10-year-old child, a rape victim, found out she was pregnant six days and -- six weeks and three days after her pregnancy. Because...
TAPPER: Do you know anything more about that story, by the way?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There are some pretty big questions about this story.
TAPPER: Yes. Yes.
PUREVAL: All I know is, three days after she found out she was pregnant, she tried to get an abortion. She was forced to go across state lines to Indiana to get the health care that she needs. That is not pro-life, forcing a child to give birth to her rapist's baby.
TAPPER: Let me just say, so that story came from one doctor talking to a reporter in Kentucky, was it, or...
TAPPER: And I would love to know more about that story, because, obviously, a 10-year-old, that's a crime.
JENNINGS: It's a one-source uncorroborated story right now that made its way into the president's remarks.
JENNINGS: And I have to say that the president's rhetoric on this issue, to me, I mean, they have played fast and loose with the facts here.
The one thing I find fascinating, though, is the fighting among the Democrats. Biden wants people to vote, and that's you would effect change on this, by passing laws. And then you have the clip you showed of AOC saying, that's not enough. That's not enough. Voting won't save us or whatever it is she said.
I find it amazing that you...
TAPPER: She said, elections are not enough. Elections alone are not going to save us.
JENNINGS: Elections are not enough.
What does she want the president to do? Completely disregard an institution of our government, completely go outside the norms of our democracy? I was under the impression that Democrats wanted norms and wanted strong institutions. She's calling for the complete disregarding of an institution here, the United States Supreme Court.
LOVE: Let's be careful when we ask the president to do more in terms of executive orders.
What one president writes in pen, another president can erase.
TAPPER: Yes. No, that's true.
I want to bring up this new poll that shows that most Republicans oppose many of the strict abortion measures being considered in a lot of states.
LOVE: Including me.
TAPPER: You have 77 percent of Republicans oppose restricting types of birth control; 64 percent oppose prohibiting crossing state lines to get an abortion; 61 percent oppose criminalizing seeking an abortion, and 56 percent oppose banning FDA-approved abortion pills.
These are Republicans, Scott. Does this concern you at all that some Republicans are taking this decision by the Supreme Court to kick it back to the states and are going too far in the other direction?
JENNINGS: Well, and they would also oppose unlimited abortion through day one to the end of the term.
So, what people, I think, are looking for is some kind of middle ground. What people actually want is some kind of reasonable time limit; 15 weeks has been a highly polled time limit. Everybody that wants to fly to Europe, every liberal trying to flee to Europe right now, that's what they have over there; 15 weeks is about what they have.
And so I think kicking it to the states, what you're going to find is, over time, in the democratic process, some kind of equilibrium that gets to where the people of that state want.
LOVE: There are two bookends we need to remember, abortion, unrestricted abortion at any time at any place. And then the other side is no abortion at all under any circumstance.
Americans aren't there.
ALLISON: But can't we just...
LOVE: Americans aren't there. They're everywhere in the middle.
ALLISON: Right. And let every American make their own choice. That is what people are asking.
We talk in rhetoric, like you say, and these extremes. Nobody is celebrating an abortion. That is a tough decision. And if you have ever talked to a woman who is faced with that choice whether to terminate a pregnancy or keep a pregnancy, it is a personal decision that she needs to make with herself and her health care providers.
So, talking about 15 weeks vs. -- every situation is unique. And why do you care? Get out of people's bedrooms and let them live their lives.
PUREVAL: And the status quo right now cannot stand.
As Governor Pritzker said, Chicago and Illinois are now an island surrounded by women who can't have access to health care. And the results will be inequitable, and it will be worse for black and brown women and people who cannot afford to travel long distances.
TAPPER: Let me just ask you a question as somebody who actually has constituents and voters. Are people focused more on the economy, as the polls indicate, as Congresswoman Love was talking, as Governor Sununu was talking about?
Obviously, abortion rights, gun rights, all these issues matter to people. But when you talk to voters in Cincinnati, what do you -- what do they talk to you about?
PUREVAL: They talk about the gun violence. They talk about abortion, but, of course, they talk about the economy as well.
And President Biden has led on this issue, particularly for American cities. If not for President Biden's leadership and the American Rescue Plan, cities across the country would have failed. I'm talking about no police, no fire, no trash pickup or snow removal. Cincinnati is receiving about $300 million from the American Rescue Plan.
And if it had not been for those dollars and the revenue replacement that we lost due to the pandemic, we would have had to lay off firefighters and police officers and sanitation workers. Because of President Biden's leadership, Cincinnati has the resources to exist.
People of Hamilton County know that, and they appreciate it.
TAPPER: You're a good spokesman for the White House.
TAPPER: I know they have...
JENNINGS: They may in the market for one.
TAPPER: They have -- well, she's leaving. Kate Bedingfield is leaving.
Thanks, one and all, for being here. I really appreciate it.
We are losing the very last members of the Greatest Generation. What's the best way to honor their sacrifice?
TAPPER: This week, the last surviving member of the Easy Company's band of brothers, Bradford Freeman, died at age 97.
Freeman parachuted into Normandy, France, close to midnight on June 6, 1944, during the D-Day invasion. He was later injured during the Battle of the Bulge.
We also recently lost the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel "Woody" Williams, who died 11 days ago at the age of 98, a Marine honored for conspicuous gallantry, at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant fighting in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Congressional leaders are honoring Hershel "Woody" Williams by allowing him to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol this week.
As we say goodbye to those who fought to truly save the world from totalitarianism, who sacrificed so much, in some cases, everything, so that you and I can live the way that we do, with freedoms, and representative democracy, and so much more, we owe it to that Greatest Generation, we owe it to them to continue to persevere for those same principles that they fought and died for, not just abroad with support for the people of Ukraine, but also here in the United States, as we push back against those who defile our Constitution with lies about the election, attempts to overturn the election, threats of violence against those who stand strong.
And one wonders, how will future generations look back at us?
Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts next.