'This Week' Transcript 6-26-22: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gov. Kristi Noem & Rep. Jamie Raskin
This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, June 26.
A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, June 26, 2022 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTORS: My body, my choice!
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS HOST (voiceover): Roe overturned.
UNKNOWN FEMALE: To hell with the Supreme Court. We will defy them. Women will be in control of their bodies.
CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS, (R-WA): The court affirmed today that every life is worth living.
RADDATZ: The Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, ending 50 years of precedent.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks to the courage found within the United States Supreme Court, this long divisive issue will be decided by the states.
ELISE STEFANIK, (R-NY): It will save countless, innocent children.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's be very clear, the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: It's a slap in the face to women about using their own judgment.
RADDATZ: This morning we cover every angle of this seismic shift in American life. Cecilia Vega traveling with the president, Dan Abrams on the legal repercussions, Terry Moran on the political fallout, and Dr. Jennifer Ashton on the medical questions facing so many women.
UNKNOWN FEMALE: Within minutes of the decision he had to stop providing abortion care.
RADDATZ: In the last 48 hours, eight states have outlawed abortion, more than two dozen bans expected in the weeks to come. We're tracking the very latest and we'll hear from both sides.
Republican Governor Kristi Nome of South Dakota, where abortions have ended. And Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a safe haven for those seeking abortions.
Plus, Congressman Jamie Raskin on the latest powerful testimony from the January 6th hearings and the breakthrough deal on guns. Our Powerhouse Roundtable covers it all.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, this is a special edition of “This Week.” Here, now, co-anchor Martha Raddatz.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ (on camera): Good morning and welcome to “This Week.”
On Friday morning, women in this country, like they have for nearly 50 years, woke up with a constitutional right to abortion, a right enshrined by the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed again and again. But just after 10:00 a.m. on Friday, a legal earthquake, the court stripping women of that fundamental right.
In a 6-3 decision, the conservative majority upheld Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with five of those justices voting to go even further, overturning Roe v. Wade. The first time an individual right of this magnitude set in decades of precedent has been taken away.
Since the announcement, abortion rights activists have swarmed the Court and launched protests across the country, alongside anti-abortion right groups celebrating a landmark legal and political victory decades in the making. Abortion is now a matter for the states and Congress, a decision for voters and their elected leaders rather than between a woman and her doctor.
The decision had an immediate effect. As of this morning, abortion is now illegal in eight states, seven additional states had passed so-called trigger laws that automatically went into effect once Roe was overturned. And in the coming weeks and months, a total of 26 states are expected to ban or severely restrict abortion, just 16 states plus Washington, D.C., have laws that explicitly protect access to abortion care.
President Biden called Friday’s decision a sad day for the Court and for the country and talked about the steps the administration will take in the wake of the ruling. Amidst so much uncertainty, what does seem clear is the emergence of a new era in which the Supreme Court, like so much of the rest of the country, is mired by partisan divide. It’s all certain to keep the Court at the center of a political battle to come this fall in the midterm elections.
We will cover all the fallout from the landmark ruling and the state of play for reproductive rights across the country, including interviews with South Dakota Governor Kristi Nome and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
But we begin with our ABC team covering the very latest. And Terry Moran, you’ve covered the Court for so many years, the shock of this may have been tempered by the leak of the draft opinion in May but you cannot overstate how important and what an impact this will have.
TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, this is the most consequential Supreme Court decision in decades. It changes the status of American women as citizens of the United States and as citizens of their states. That's the big picture but let’s not mince words, women will die because of this ruling. We already have a disgraceful rate of maternal mortality.
But from now on, doctors in many states will have to ask themselves in pregnancies where there are serious conditions that split placenta or placenta in a dangerous position, will the local prosecutor, will the local jury think my patient is in enough danger for me to perform what I would otherwise consider a medical necessary abortion. And in 11 states already, including Texas and Florida, state governments can seize control of the bodies of women who have been raped or who are victims of incest and compel them to carry the baby, their child of their rapist to term. This is a different world for women in America.
RADDATZ: It certainly is. And I want to turn to you, Dan Abrams, our chief legal analyst, at the heart of this decision is precedent, so what other existing rights could now be in jeopardy? Justice Thomas’, of course, concurring opinion said the Court should reconsidered other past precedent cases like decisions on contraception, same sex marriage --
DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: The court went to great lengths to suggest that it doesn't apply to any of those other areas, but when you read Justice Thomas' concurrence, it's difficult not to ask the question, what could be next?
He puts it all out there, on the table, Justice Thomas, and while as a practical matter it seems the court doesn't have the votes to overturn in any of those other areas, analytically, if you read the reasoning of the court, it’s hard not to say that Justice Thomas' assessment is more intellectually consistent. I mean, if the whole reason that this opinion is applying is because abortion, for example, isn't enshrined in our history, you look at these other rights and you say, well, they're not really enshrined in our history either.
So while as a practical matter, I don’t think you’re going to see any of these other areas change constitutionally, as an analytical matter, it's tough to say, doesn't Justice Thomas reasoning apply?
RADDATZ: And Cecilia Vega, our chief White House correspondent, you're overseas with President Biden as he heads to the G7. The White House has known about the likelihood that Roe would be overturned for months, but were they really ready for this? What kind of difference will those steps he outlined on Friday really make?
CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Martha, and I got to tell you, it’s this history that’s happening back home that is really starting to overshadow at least the first day here of this summit with allies the president is embarking on today.
We've been talking about this, there had been all of these emergency meetings behind closed doors at The White House with advocacy groups, with lawyers of The White House, brainstorming on things that they could do when this decision came down. They basically started doing this as soon as that draft document leaked.
And The White House sources are telling me that President Biden had that speech written, the response speech that he gave on Friday, that it was already written so when the draft -- when the opinion actually came down on Friday he went out there and gave it. He just had to give it some minor tweaks.
Look, they’re certainly bristling at the suggestion that they were not acting fast enough, that they weren't prepared, but when it came time to give that speech, you heard it there wasn’t really very many bold actions, responses in it.
Look, there isn’t an executive order that the president can sign that’s going to overturn Roe. So what he did at this point, he is saying the administration is going to protect access to the abortion pill, that the DOJ will certainly challenge any state that tries to restrict woman from traveling to get the procedure, but you’ve got a lot of advocates right now who are looking to this White House as the face of this movement going forward, asking is there more you can and should be doing? Where is the urgency today?
RADDATZ: I want to turn to Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Dr. Jen, you're a board certified OB/GYN. So let's talk about the real life impact here. Terry mentioned it, but abortion will now be largely outlawed in more than half the states. And you have made the very important point this week that it is not just women who will be affected by this.
DR. JEN ASHTON, ABC NEWS CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Martha, and I think, you know, first of all, there are so many different ways to look at this politically, socially, legally, but medically, and in the principles of biomedical ethics, I think we have to remember that it's not just life or death, as Terry mentioned, of course there are real medical issues and the life of the mother at stake, but it's also morbidity and it's who will be affected by this.
We know that 49 percent of the abortions done in this country are performed for women who live below the poverty level, this will disproportionately affect women of color, poor women who are already in jeopardy in terms of our healthcare system. We also have the worst maternal mortality rates of industrialized countries. This will make it worse.
In the field of OB/GN, any healthcare professionals who takes care of women knows this will have an immediate impact not only on a life or death level but on a long-term morbidity level as well.
RADDATZ: And, Terry, I want to end with you, this is a deeply polarizing and political issue. But Americans are actually pretty united in public opinion. On our latest ABC News/“Washington Post”, 70 percent said the decision should be up to a woman and her doctor, 58 percent said abortion should be legal in all or most case.
MORAN: You know, in the courts and in social media and our politics, this is a very polarizing issue, but the country has always been, polls show, in the kind of vast muddled middle. People believe that abortion should be legal, they don't like it in a lot of situations.
Bill Clinton with his sense of where the votes where, put it best, capturing the public mind this way, saying, abortion in America should be safe, legal and rare. Today, no Democrat could say that, and no Republican could say that. So, where the vast muddled middle is, is unrepresented in our law and in our politics.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much to you, Terry. Thanks to all of you this morning.
Joining me now is Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, one of 13 states with trigger laws and as of Friday where abortion is no longer legal.
Thanks for joining us this morning, Governor.
You say this ruling is the answer to your prayers. Abortion is now illegal in your state unless a mother’s life is in danger. There is no exception for rape. No exception for incest.
What should the punishment for women who receive abortions or doctors and anyone who assist them?
GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): Well, Martha, I don't believe there should be any punishment for women ever that are in a crisis situation or have an unplanned pregnancy. And South Dakota has been strong on that argument.
What I would say is this was wonderful news in the defense of life. Every life is precious. South Dakota had a statute on the books that said abortion would be illegal except to save the life of a mother should Roe v. Wade be overturned. And so, that is how it stands here today.
But I anticipate there will be more debate and discussion. What was interesting about the Supreme Court decision is that it gave the authority back to the states to make these decisions. So, now that this decision has been made, it will be up to each of the states and the state legislatures and the people there to talk to their elected representatives about what their laws look like closer to home.
RADDATZ: The American Medical Association calls the Supreme Court decision a brazen violation of patients' right, saying that states that end legal abortion will not end abortion. They will end safe abortion, risking devastating consequences, including patients’ lives.
You just heard Dr. Jen Ashton say the decision will affect women of color to an even greater degree.
NOEM: Well, what’s interesting to me, Martha, is that I talked to many doctors who say when they do procedures on babies in the womb or when they work on babies that have not been born yet, that those babies are patients.
So, they define them as patients. And if they defend patients' rights, they should be defining and defending that life that’s in the womb as well. And it is an individual, and every life has value.
So, in South Dakota --
RADDATZ: But we're talking about the mothers as well. We're talking about mothers as well.
NOEM: Yes, we are, and that’s what I’m -- that's what I’m getting to, is this website that we have connects those mothers that are in this situation with all the resources that they may need during that pregnancy to support them financially, get them the health care that they would need, make sure they're connecting with pregnancy centers, and also making sure that they can connect with adoptive families, should they choose to give that baby up for adoption.
But we want to help support these mothers. I think we can do better in this country making sure we're walking alongside them in these situations and making sure that they do have the type of healthcare and the support financially that they need.
RADDATZ: We’ll look -- let's look at that support. The nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund, social policy think tank, says the 14 states that have the most restrictive abortion laws including South Dakota invest the least in policies and programs for women and children.
So, what -- what do you mean when you say these mothers will never be alone?
NOEM: Well, I would say that the facts on the ground are that South Dakota is doing a lot to coordinate with nonprofits, with churches, and then also the state in a new way by launching this website and committing to in legislative session to support these mothers is incredibly powerful.
You know, this is a conversation that we have a change now at the federal level. The states will be each evaluating how they approach the situation, getting health care to mothers, helping them during a time of crisis is incredibly important. So, these states, remember, Martha, are overwhelmed right now with other situations that are going on, with what Joe Biden is doing to the energy prices in this country, what inflation is doing in this country, our national security policies. There’s a lot of things that need to be addressed in this country today.
RADDATZ: I want to stick with abortion. I want to go back to abortion, Governor.
You say every abortion always has two victims, the unborn child and the mother. What would you say to adult women in this country who do not feel they are in any way victims? That, in fact, they consider choices they make with their own bodies no one's business but theirs and their doctor's?
NOEM: No, I’d encouraged them to continue to follow the science, to continue to follow what we know to be true today with the technology that's been advanced, and to really look at the Supreme Court decision for what it is. Take the sensational pundit commentary out of it and look at the fact that what the Supreme Court did was fix a wrong decision that was made many years ago and now give the power back to the states.
What they said is that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to an abortion. That means that each state will make the decision for themselves on what their laws look like and that those women have an opportunity to speak to their elected officials there closer to home to make sure that their laws reflect what they value.
RADDATZ: In 2006 and again in 2008, South Dakota voters voted down ballot initiatives for a complete ban on abortions. Would you be willing to let the voters of the state decide the issue again?
NOEM: They decide the issue every single year when we come to legislative session. They vote for their representatives to come to session. We have passed many pro-life bills since I’ve been governor of the state of South Dakota. We’ve had heated debates on good discussions on the policy of what really is something that makes sure every life is precious in the state of South Dakota, that we’re making sure that we are providing those types of resources and doing more even in the future to help those mothers and those families make sure that they're raising their babies or connecting them with families who would want to should they choose adoption.
RADDATZ: And what about medication abortions, the so-called abortion pill? How will you know if women receive those in the mail and should those women be prosecuted?
NOEM: I don't believe women should ever be prosecuted. I don't believe that mothers in this situation should ever be prosecuted. Now doctors who knowingly violate the law, they should be prosecuted, definitely. And we’ve addressed telemedicine abortion --
RADDATZ: But the pill is OK? You’re saying the pill’s OK?
NOEM: Again, Martha, you're interrupting, but I am answering your question. I don't believe that telemedicine abortions are safe for individuals, for women to conduct at home. Many times they’re doing it unsupervised. It's a medical procedure. And so I do believe that there should be a physician’s supervision in place when that is being conducted by any individual.
RADDATZ: And just one more question. What if your constituents travel to another state to get an abortion?
NOEM: You know, that certainly isn’t addressed in our statute today. And so I think that’s things that there will be debates about. But also we’re having lots of debates in South Dakota. How fundamentally our life has changed the last couple of years just with increased costs and inflation and what this administration is doing to every single family's budget and life right now going on in this country.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us this morning, Governor.
NOEM: Thank you, Martha. Have a wonderful day.
RADDATZ: And joining us now is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, where abortion remain legal and the commonwealth's governor issued an executive order Friday to further protect women's reproductive health services.
Good morning to you, Senator.
You heard Governor Noem there. She and millions of others believe this will save the lives of unborn children. Is that a position you can respect in any way?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Look, what she's really saying is that when this decision is made, it should be made by the government. That the government should move in and the government should determine whether or not a pregnancy is forced to continue or whether or not a pregnancy can be terminated.
I believe, and it has been the constitutional right for women across this nation for nearly half a century, for the woman to be able the make that decision with her doctor, with her religious adviser, with her family, but not something that the government should be in the middle of.
RADDATZ: You know, you and President Biden are saying that Roe is now on the ballot. Indeed, it is. Go to the polls, you say. President Biden says, go to the polls. But look at the states outlawing abortions. Those are largely conservative states. Governor Noem had a point there, people go to the polls. They went to the polls, just like your constituents in Massachusetts where abortion is legal. So, why not leave it to the states?
WARREN: Look, we have never left individual rights to the states. The whole idea is that women are not second-class citizens. And the government is not the one that will decide about the continuation of a pregnancy.
You know, there's no equivalent there for men. So what we believe is that access to abortion, like other medical procedures, should be available across the board to all people in this country.
Now, we've got a lot of things on our agenda right now. First of all, we need to help the women who are pregnant right now and need help. And that means sending resources to the states like New Mexico, you know, that border other states that are going to try to help out. It means getting involved by volunteering, by sending money. It also means asking the president of the United States to make abortion as available as possible with the tools he has, including medication abortion, including using federal lands as a place where abortions can occur.
But it's also focused like a laser on the election in November. And we get two more senators on the Democratic side, two senators who are willing to protect access to abortion and get rid of the filibuster so that we can pass it. And, yes, John Fetterman, I'm looking at you in Pennsylvania. Mandela Barnes, I'm looking at you in Wisconsin. We bring them in, then we've got the votes, and we can protect every woman, no matter where she lives.
RADDATZ: You know, you saw Justice Thomas' concurring opinion, I know, calling on the court to reconsider rulings, striking down state restrictions, contraception, gay marriage. Are you concerned about that?
You also heard what the rest of the court said about that.
WARREN: I am deeply concerned about that. I understand that the rest of the court said "No, no, we're not going there." But remember how we got to where we are. When Roe v. Wade first came down, there was a tiny minority that really put a lot of energy in effect for themselves and for Republicans, putting Roe on the ballot over and over.
But on the ballot didn't mean try to get it through the Congress, because they knew they couldn't do that. They're not even close to having national support for that. So instead it was about getting extremist judges into the United States Supreme Court. And let's see how much credibility those justices have now.
RADDATZ: Let me...
WARREN: Play the tapes of one after another saying that Roe v. Wade is settled law, and no one disturbs settled law...
RADDATZ: And I was going to ask you about that, Senator.
WARREN: ... and even if they could count the numbers, they'd toss it.
RADDATZ: And Senator Susan Collins, who voted for Justice Kavanaugh, as well as Joe Manchin, have said they were misled. Do you think the process should change, now, of -- of confirming justices?
RADDATZ: ... of confirming justices?
WARREN: You know, look, I understand that Justice Kavanaugh, for example, I don't know what he said to Senator Collins. I wasn't in the room. But I do know this, that the Republicans have been very overt about trying to get people through the court who didn't have a published record on Roe but who they knew, wink, wink, nod, nod, were going to be extremist on the issue of Roe v. Wade. And that is exactly what we have ended up with.
This court has lost legitimacy. They have burned whatever legitimacy they may still have had after their gun decision, after their voting decision, after their union decision. They just took the last of it and set a torch to it with the Roe v. Wade opinion. I believe we need to get some confidence back in our court, and that means we need more justices on the United States Supreme Court.
RADDATZ: And I know that's something you support.
WARREN: It's happened before. We've done it before. We need to do it again.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us this morning, Senator. We appreciate it.
Up next, major revelations from the January 6th hearings, including new details on President Trump's relentless effort to overturn the 2020 election. Committee member Jamie Raskin joins us exclusively here in studio. We're back in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAYE MOSS, GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: He’s turned my life upside-down. I no longer give out my business card. I don’t transfer calls. I don't want anyone knowing my name. I don't want to go anywhere with my mom, because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Former Georgia election worker Shaye Moss recounting the effects of former President Trump's personal attacks on her and her mother as he worked to reverse the 2020 election. It comes as the January 6th Committee says new evidence and a flurry of tips could necessitate additional hearings.
Congressman Jamie Raskin is a member of the Select Committee and joins me this morning. Good to see you this morning, sir.
You had detailed testimony this week with a Trump Department of Justice official saying Trump directly told the DOJ to just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen. Pretty clear what direction you're going here.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, we saw a series of successive shakedowns of the election officials, of secretaries of state like Brad Raffensperger in Georgia, a state legislative officials and we saw lot of heroes, people who hung tough like Shaye Moss and were not willing to be deterred from doing their public duties.
We saw the same thing at the Department of Justice. I mean, those were Trump's own appointees who were telling him they could not do what he was asking them to do. They could not claim that there was corruption and fraud in the election when there wasn’t. But all of it is zeroing in on Vice President Mike Pence to get him to betray his constitutional oath, to step outside of his role and then to unilaterally reject electoral college votes, so Donald Trump's friends in the House could simply vote him in through a contingent election.
RADDATZ: Your committee also looked at the role of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, in trying to overturn the election. The FBI conducted an early morning search of his home this week. Why now and is that one of the reasons another hearing is coming up and may be delayed?
RASKIN: Well, Jeffrey Clark was a Trump loyalist, a flunky if you will, who was willing to be appointed to go in and do what the real attorney general and his legal staff would refuse to do, which was pretend as if there had been fraud in the election and then to create this counterfeit subterfuge for Pence to reject the electoral votes. The Department of Justice is apparently interested in him because of crimes committed potentially and we’re interested because of the entire plot against the election.
RADDATZ: Given this week's testimony, will you be -- all the testimony really -- will you be disappointed if the Justice Department does not file charges against Donald Trump?
RASKIN: I have to tell you, speaking for myself, that is not my principal interest. I mean, our democracy is on the line here. Our Constitution is at stake. Are we going to have violent assaults against our elections? Are we going to have politicians who disappointed with the results try to overthrow the election and just seize power? Is that what American democracy is going to look in the 21st century?
So for me, I'm principally interested in telling the American people the truth so we can fortify our institutes against coups and insurrections going forward. But I know there’s a great public hunger for individual criminal accountability and I've got confidence in the Department of Justice, in Attorney General Merrick Garland to do the right thing in terms of making all the difficult decisions about particular cases. And they’ve brought more than 850 indictments already.
RADDATZ: What do you think the real impact here?
As much as -- some people are really riveted by these hearings, a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll showed that only 34 percent of Americans are following the hearings somewhat or very closely?
RASKIN: Well, people are busy and so we know a lot of people, especially younger people, will learn about the hearings through snippets that go out on TV or online, and people now are able to process information in different ways.
It's not like the Watergate hearings where everybody had to be watching at the same moment because of the relatively primitive state of technology then. People are going to be able to absorb this over time and I’ve certainly met a lot of people who are saying, I missed one of the hearings but I’m going to watch it this weekend.
RADDATZ: And I assume you want to change minds. There was very powerful testimony from Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers earlier this week. He described being asked to replace Arizona’s Biden electors with those who would support Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSTY BOWERS (R), ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: It's a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired, of my most basic foundational beliefs. And so, for me to do that, because somebody just asked me to is foreign to my very being, I will not do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: He talked about being harassed and threatened while his adult daughter was gravely ill. She later died.
And yet when asked by “The Associated Press” if he would support Donald Trump if he ran in 2024, he said, “If he's the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I'd vote for him again. Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID was so good for the country. In my view, it was great.”
So, if January 6 and what Donald Trump did to him hasn't changed Rusty Bowers' mind, how is anybody else's mind going to change?
RASKIN: I was very moved by Rusty Bowers’ testimony and his constitutional faith and patriotism. When he said that, I thought to myself, well, if you want to get Donald Trump back in office and that were actually to materialize, you've got to be prepared to do the exact same thing next time, because Trump has proven himself to be absolutely disrespectful of the rule of law and completely ungovernable by the Constitution.
So, I think -- I took Mr. Bowers to be saying that's the nature of the party system. I know he's running for state Senate now in his state, I believe. And you know, I take it that that's a statement of political necessity for him. That's what he thinks.
But the reality is that I think these hearings are unifying Republicans, Democrats, independents, libertarians, greens people across the spectrum in a determination that American constitutional democracy has got to work the way we know it has to work, which is we can't have election politicians being corrupted to fix elections. We can’t have politicians who mobilize mobs to overturn our processes.
RADDATZ: Okay, and I know we have one more hearing after the July 4th holiday.
Thanks for joining us today.
RASKIN: You bet.
RADDATZ: Thank you very much.
Up next, the other major ruling from the court this week making it easier to carry guns in public. States scrambling to react about amid concerns of an uptick in gun violence. We'll discuss that and more on the roundtable, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the health care and reproductive care that they had this morning, without access to the same health care or reproductive health care that their mothers and grandmothers had for 50 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Vice President Harris reacting to Roe's reversal Friday.
Joining us now for more on that landmark decision, former DNC chair and ABC contributor Donna Brazile, ABC News contributor and “Dispatch” staff writer Sarah Isgur, “USA Today” chief -- Washington bureau chief Susan Page, and chief Washington correspondent and THIS WEEK co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
Welcome to all of you.
And, Donna, I want to start with you and your reaction to the ruling.
DONNA BRAZILE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's hard. I was – I was devastated. I mean, yes, we knew for over 58 days, eight weeks, that Justice Alito's leaked draft may become the actual document. But, still, it was horrible. Horrible. When have rights that have ever been given been taken away so abruptly?
In my home state of Louisiana, a trigger state, a woman today who may be faced with something she can't handle or deal with, she has to find the resources to drive 600 miles. The closet place is in Illinois, or if she heads east, North Carolina.
If one of my nieces, God forbid, or cousins, is raped, what recourse will they have?
This is a personal decision. And what worries all of us -- and women should be worried, men too. There should be no second-class citizens in the United States of America. And today I feel as though we have gone back in time, not just 50 years, but we've gone even further. Because, for poor women, for black women, for women of color, where it has been hard to have reproductive health care, to have access to affordable -- and now we have -- we've lost this right. And it's a sad day for America.
RADDATZ: Sarah, how do you see this?
SARAH ISGUR, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The Constitution is a contract. And most of it was meant to be majoritarian. We were supposed to put most things to elections, with a few things reserved, counter-majoritarian, free speech, the freedom of religion.
And the question here was which one was abortion? Was it a counter-majoritarian issue or was it something to be put to a vote?
You know, for the -- for the protests that you showed earlier in the show, those were in states where people have voted on it, and they voted to protect that right to an abortion. We've been told for years how popular Roe v. Wade is, how popular abortion is. Well, then, great. Women make up the majority of voters in this country, and yet in so many of these states, the vote has been to restrict it to something much closer to the rest of Europe, to the rest of Western countries, 12 weeks, 15 weeks. That's what Mississippi now has.
I think that legally, even most liberal scholars, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Akhil Amar -- these are pro-choice people -- believed that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. And then the question is, do you keep a decision on the books that's wrong, that's just incorrect about what the Constitution says? We didn't do it in Plessy. We didn't do it when it came to (inaudible), Griswold, all these other cases. We overturned precedent. Every justice on the court has voted to overturn precedent. And they did this week.
RADDATZ: And, Jon Karl, coming off of Sarah there, this -- this has obviously been something that has rallied Republicans. What do Democrats do now? And can they keep the passion of Donna going?
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, for nearly a half a century, Roe v. Wade kept a lid on this issue politically. You had activist groups on each side. But it wasn't a central issue in campaigns. You had Republicans who weren't necessarily true believers on this issue who could appeal to anti-abortion groups by declaring themselves pro-life, without having to worry about the consequences of what that would mean because Roe v. Wade meant it was impossible to ban abortion.
So now you have Republican governors out there defending, explaining why there shouldn't be an exception for rape. And this is a story that's going to continue to play out. I mean, will there be prosecutions of women who cross state lines to get an abortion, or even investigations of miscarriages?
Democratic strategists who are working on the key midterm races tell me that they see this issue breaking through now, and actually starting to see it breaking through when the -- when the draft opinion leaked, in a way that it has never before. And you know who agrees with that, Martha? Donald Trump. Donald Trump had been privately telling people, once that draft opinion leaked, that this would be bad for Republicans in the midterms.
RADDATZ: And, Susan, you wrote back in May, when the draft came out, that there are Democrats who hope the Supreme Court decision would shape the midterms and Republicans who feared it would. How do you see it now?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: I think -- I think it's an open question. You know, there is enormous energy among Democrats against this ruling. There is a big risk for Republicans who are at odds with American public opinion about whether abortion rights, whether access to abortion is a right for Americans.
But Americans have a lot of things on their mind this year. And when we talked to them in a poll that we put out this week, by two to one, Americans who support Roe v. Wade said the economy is a bigger issue for them in deciding how they're going to vote in the midterms.
Now, maybe the response to the particular ruling and some of the stories that we are going to see coming out of these states that as of today have restricted abortion in a serious way, maybe that will change that dynamic, but some -- some key Democrats do worry that this is less a galvanizing issue for November than they hoped.
RADDATZ: And -- and that's exactly right, Donna. People have so much more on their minds. I -- I was struck by the picture from the Supreme Court this morning. There weren't any protesters out there. They dispersed pretty quickly there. Does this resonate over all issues?
BRAZILE: Well, look, the American people have a lot on their mind and I should say a lot on their plate, rising gas prices, of course, going to the grocery store. But yes, this is a defining issue.
It’s a defining issue for those who believe that we should have the freedom to choose, I mean look at the other Supreme Court decision this week on guns. I mean, you call it a contract, I call it a failure of moral responsibility of the Supreme Court justices. And what Clarence Thomas said -- Justice Thomas said that they could go further. Hell (ph) yes, it's a defining issue but it’s like every other issue in American politics, for the moment it's hot, it might cool off, but in the back of every woman's mind, every woman’s mind and probably a bunch of men, this is going to be a defining issue this fall.
RADDATZ: Sarah, do you agree and how do Republicans handle this because of the polling?
ISGUR: So, I think we've seen the limits of issue polling. For instance, let's take guns. Background checks will poll at 83, 90 percent but when it’s actually on the ballot, and I don’t mean candidates, I mean ballot measures in liberal states, California, Oregon, Nevada, they lose, they got fewer votes than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.
Voters are saying one thing to pollsters and a very different thing. Take the Texas special election -- sorry, the runoff in the Democratic primary in Texas three weeks ago, you had the last pro-life House Democrat in a challenge against a pro-choice Democrat, if elections are decided whether people show up who are otherwise are going to stay home or they change their vote based on issue, Democrats had the opportunity in the wake of the draft opinion when this was getting so much attention, the pro-life Democrat won.
I do think Republicans have an issue going too far, this cosplay that’s been going on because of Roe v. Wade, like Jon said, but the idea that this is somehow a winning issue for Democrats, there's just no data to support that right now.
RADDATZ: And I do -- I want to turn to guns in the short amount of time we have. They passed a gun rights bill on the Hill, bipartisan support, first time in decades and decades that they've done anything, is it enough, Jon?
KARL: Well, it's not enough, but it's a big deal, Martha. And the way it was done, it was fascinating to me, you saw Chris Murphy who has some views on gun rights that are pretty far out, Republicans have very little agreement with him. He put aside virtually everything that Joe Biden called for in his speech after Uvalde, there was no -- nothing in this to ban assault weapons, to raise the purchase of rifles, no bans on ammunition, none of that stuff. He wanted to actually get something done.
And they actually, Martha, they brought the NRA in on this. The NRA opposed this but not vocally because they were actually involved in the drafting as was every town, the pro-gun safety group, this was a victory for bipartisanship and a victory that will have an impact. I mean, increasing the length of time for background checks for people under the age of 21, that's a big deal. The extra resources for red flag laws, this is a big deal. It’s no where near as far as somebody like Chris Murphy wanted to go but he got something done.
RADDATZ: And Susan, back to guns and the Supreme Court, a lot of people are saying, kind of a mixed message there, because it will now be easier to carry a gun and the Court talked about states' rights. Let me read what the former solicitor general Neal Katyal tweeted right before the decision was announced. He says, “it’s going to be very weird if Supreme Court ends a constitution right to obtain an abortion” -- “saying it should be left to the states to decide, right after it just imposed a constitutional right to concealed carry of firearms, saying it cannot be left to the state to decide.” So what happened? How do you read that? I mean, obviously, you have an amendment, the second amendment.
PAGE: Look at these two issues together and it seems to be one conclusion you draw is there is no way you can argue that the Supreme Court is now not just another partisan player in national politics. The idea that it’s a dispassionate group of nine people who are going to just look at the law, it seems to me that has been shredded and what we're left with is a sense that here’s just another place, another polarized place where politics is what matters, the president who appoints you is what matters, you get through the confirmation process saying as little as possible about the issues that matter and then you are on the Court. One difference from this and the other two branches of government, lifetime appointment. And the justices who made this decision are mostly in their 50s. They're going to be there for a long time.
RADDATZ: Yes, they will. And we’re going to be right back. We have lots more to talk about, especially January 6th. We’ll be right back.
RADDATZ: And we are back with the roundtable.
And, Jon, we got to talk about the January 6th committee. Powerful and emotional testimony this week. You heard Congressman Raskin.
Did they accomplish what they needed to accomplish?
KARL: Way too early to tell, Martha, but look, they have given a series of powerful presentations that made it clear that Donald Trump was ultimately responsible for what happened on January 6th.
And it wasn't just the attack on the Capitol. They went through and methodically using Republicans, using people who worked for Donald Trump, who were appointed by Donald Trump to make the case, to show that what he was saying about the election was not true, that when the violence broke out on January 6th, he did absolutely nothing to stop it, despite the fact that he was urged and pleaded to by the people around him to do something.
This has to have an impact overtime.
RADDATZ: But, Susan, can you really imagine legal action against Donald Trump?
PAGE: Yes, I think it's possible. It would be a big step. Obviously, the Justice Department and the attorney general has been very cautious on this point. But, yes, I think it's possible that a series of people will be held individually responsible.
And we don't have a history in our country of going after former presidents legally, but we haven't had a situation like this in our history before, either.
RADDATZ: And what would that do to the country, do you think?
PAGE: Yeah, that’s one reason we have been cautious about pursuing this path in the past and why there's concern about doing it now, because it’s divided and polarized and angry as our country is now. That would be one more inflam -- one more fuel on that fire.
RADDATZ: And, Donna, I have to go back to Rusty Bowers again because that was such incredible –
RADDATZ: Powerful testimony, and he says, if – if Trump runs against Joe Biden he would vote for Donald Trump again.
BRAZILE: You know –
RADDATZ: So – so what is the real impact in your view of this?
BRAZILE: It's tragic that – that the – the former president's big lie has left us so divided. But also left the country -- part of the country that believes that the only way to resolve this is through threats, through intimidation. It's sad to see that he would still vote for the president. He believed in one candidate. That's fine. But this is about our system of government. It's about the electoral count. And the fact that people are being threatened, as we speak, simply because they're not embracing the big lie, he should pay some – I – when I say he, the president, the former president should pay a consequence for his lies.
RADDATZ: Sarah, do you think any minds have been changed or might be changed because of these hearings?
ISGUR: No, but I also don't think it was the purpose of them. I think these hearings really are for prosperity. The committee is at its best when it's not talking about January 6th, as I think we use it colloquially, which is an attack on the Capitol, violence at the Capitol.
The committee was at its best when it was talking about a United States president who did not want to stop being president, regardless of the outcome of an election. He called the Department of Justice, he called his vice president, he called Georgia election officials to say, I'm stage here, even though I know I don't have legal arguments that any of the current Supreme Court justices will agree with, I'm going to stay anyway.
I think the committee could have been better if they had had a more adversarial process. Republicans who disagreed with the overall narrative. But, again, I think this is more for prosperity. It’s not about the midterm elections. It’s not about changing minds right now.
KARL: And they've been remarkably bipartisan, even though they – even though the makeup of it as a partisan – because –
ISGUR: Trump officials on the one hand (ph).
RADDATZ: And we’ve got one or – one – two more, actually, coming up with –
KARL: Yes, two more hearings.
RADDATZ: With – we’ve got about five seconds here, Jon, but what – what’s expected?
KARL: The most dramatic one will be the final hearings on the 187 minutes that the Capitol was under attack and what Trump was doing and what he wasn't doing.
RADDATZ: OK. We will all stand by to see that.
Thanks for – so much for joining us this morning.
That's all for us today. ABC will have continuous coverage of the fallout from the Supreme Court's abortion ruling on ABC News Live, abcnews.com and, of course, later tonight on "WORLD NEWS." Thanks for parting – thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Good-bye.
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