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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  September 1, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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a new texas law goes into effect banning most abortions. desperation in louisiana, hundreds of thousands still without power, now water, gas and food are running low.
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a crisis in america's hospitals, icus nearing capacity all because of coronavirus patients. we begin this hour with breaking news. the right to an abortion effectively eliminated in the state of texas today. the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation went into effect this morning in the state after the u.s. supreme court declined to step in overnight. the texas law bans abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy with no exception for rape or incest. make no mistake, the real life application and intention of this law is to ban abortions altogether. it allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs procedures or even helps a woman get an abortion. we'll get to the details in all of this in just a second. first, let's be real. the very same people in the very same state who say don't you dare tell me to wear a mask, the same people say that is government overreach because it
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violates individual freedoms, those very same people clearly are saying now, never mind when it comes to my body and the medical decisions i make with the advice of my doctor. now that choice is totally fair game to be taken out of my hands and dictated now by a bunch of politicians. that is hypocrisy. this is hypocrisy, the definition of. let's go to texas and get cnn's dianne gallagher up who is live in austin for us. what exactly does this abortion do, dianne? >> reporter: this bill effectively bans abortions after around six weeks in pregnancy which is often before many women know that they are pregnant. it is also in cases of rape and incest. what this law does that is different from other laws in the past in other states that have attempted to do the same and been struck down is that it doesn't empower government
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officials or any sort of criminal effects to it. what it does, it empowers private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against anybody who, quote, knowingly aids and abets a pregnant person seeking abortion in violation of that ban. here in texas, that's where the confusion comes in. that's a v there. some are concerned, a ride share driver who takes a woo man to an abortion clinic, someone who donates to a fund that could be used to help with legal defenses of abortion providers. now, when we're talking about this six-week ban, kate, according to those who oppose this law, who filed those suits, they say they're looking at roughly 85% of the abortions that have been conducted in the state of texas that would fall
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underneath this law. the supreme court did not act this morning, and it went into effect today. we're expecting a protest here on the steps of the texas state capitol later this afternoon opposing this law. >> dianne, thanks so much. joining me is cnn chief senior analyst, former federal prosecutor jeffrey toobin and cnn supreme court reporter adrianna vogue. jeff, why is this significant? >> september 1st, 2021 i think will be seen as a major date in american history because this is the first time since january 23rd, 1973, the day roe v. wade was handed out, today is the first day that a state could legally ban abortion because the supreme court let this law go into effect. this is a major change in the law. yes, it is true that many states have imposed restrictions, have tried to limit the right to
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choose abortion for women, but this is the first time an outright ban has been allowed by the supreme court to go into effect. it is not going to be just texas if the supreme court continues not to step in because every other law in the many other red states that have been trying to ban abortion, they're going to pass copycat laws, and this is not the end of the fight. this is just the beginning of the end of roe v. wade. >> arianne, were you surprised the high court did not intervene? >> it's interesting because the court still could. that's worth saying. what happened here is the clinics raced to the court yesterday said please step in, block this law, going into effect at midnight. the court basically did not do anything. that inaction allowed it to go into effect.
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i think still somehow we should get some kind of order with the justices and they may explain their thinking here a little bit. that could still come today. they've been under some pressure in recent years for increasingly deciding big issues on the shadow docket, cases that come up on an emergency basis, ruled on late at night and the justices really don't explain their think ing. i think this inaction will prompt some of the justices, maybe the chief, maybe bret kavanaugh to want to explain their thinking a little bit. right now they're waiting and seeing and the law is in effect. >> i'm going to elaborate on the characteristically accurate and restrained analysis by ariane there. what a disgrace this is. this is the second-most famous opinion of the last 100 years of
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the supreme court, second probably only to brown v. board of education, and here it is being tossed out without a word from the supreme court. how can they possibly allow this? whatever else you can say about the supreme court, at least they usually explain what they're doing. they write what's called opinions. here they allow a state to ban abortion for the first time since 1973. no explanation at all. it's an absolute disgrace. >> jeffrey, can you also speak out -- i'm no legal scholar, but just the hypocrisy of the application of law in texas. the same people who are fighting against mask requirements because they say that is a violation of individual rights and freedoms are the same people who are very okay taking away the individual rights and freedoms of people when it comes to medical decisions with their doctors. >> again, it all depends on the perspective.
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what the opponents of abortion say is what makes it different is they view abortion as the taking of a human life. that is the value that trumps everything else. that's what makes abortion different from a mask mandate. the majority of the american people, as polls show over and over again, don't see it that way. they actually see this as very much analogous, where a majority of the american people say this is a woman's decision, a woman's choice, a woman's -- this means equality for women in america. ruth bader ginsburg wrote a famous opinion where she said you cannot have equality betwee if you have abortion restrictions because that's an skber feerns with a woman's autonomy. that's the majority view.
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but what makes this different according to opponents of abortion is it's taking the human life. >> ariane, the supreme court earlier this year agreed to hear a similar law in mississippi, bank abortion after 15 weeks. what does today mean for that mississippi case? without explanation from the court, all i have is questions. >> here is what i think is really interesting. that case that's going to be argued next term, that was the big abortion case of the term, right? >> exactly, exactly. >> it's challenging, still on the books. the core holding of roe v. wade. there, unlike last night, you're going to have briefs, oral arguments and an opinion. here is what's key and what is really interesting about why that texas law is going to impact that other law. because texas now has found a way to pass a law that
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effectively allows -- blocks abortion in texas. other states, already eight other states had tried to pass a similar law. they're going to copy this. they're going to maybe try to do the same thing which would effectively then ban many more abortions so that when the supreme court comes to have oral arguments for this big case and you have some of the conservative justices who don't think that the courts should step in, that this should play out in the states, well, the playing field by next june could be very, very different. the conservative justices no longer have to take this big whopping step to overturn roe v. wade because, in fact, the states will have moved along those lines all because of the legal strategy behind this unusual texas law that's now into effect. >> but can we just talk about the procedural mumbo jumbo that,
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again, ariane accurately describes, but here we have a situation where texas is overturning roe v. wade. >> it is banning abortion. both of my pregnancies, i'm a very aware person, i was trying to get pregnant. both of my pregnancies, i didn't know i was pregnant until eight weeks because that's how women's bodies are. we just don't know that early. >> one other thing that's important to point out here is this is all playing out less than a year after the death of justice ruth bader ginsburg. and ruth bader ginsburg who often said, if the court were to ever overturn roe v. wade, the impact would be on poor women who didn't have the ability to travel. she would have looked at what happened last night and been super, super surprised because the court basically said nothing and allowed it to go into effect. >> jeffrey, can you please hold,
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i really do want to hear your point. will you please hold your point at the top? coming up, also in our next hour, i'll talk to the texas valedictorian whose graduation speech on abortion rights went viral earlier this year, all about the state's new ban. she'll be our guest. also coming up, extreme heat, massive power outages across louisiana compounding the misery. half of the gas stations in two major cities are without fuel. we'll take you to louisiana next. let's go walter! after you. walter, twelve o' clock. get em boy! [cows mooing] that is incredible. it's the multi-flex tailgate. it can be a step, it can even become a workspace. i meant the cat. what's so great about him? he doesn't have a workspace. the chevy silverado with the available multi-flex tailgate.
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developing at this hour, cnn learned that half the gas stations in two major louisiana cities are completely out of fuel in the aftermath of hurricane ida. the danger and desperation facing so many residents across the state is being compounded by the power outages and the heat wave that is setting in. cnn's ed lavandera is in laplace, louisiana, one of the harder hit areas. ed, what are you seeing there? >> we're at a food and water distribution site where people are in their cars, an incredibly long line, of course, using gasoline. the lines at the gas stations here in this community are also equally long, stretching for nearly a mile in some cases along the main highway in this town. as you mentioned, according to the gas buddy tracker, a little more than half of the gas stations that are open in baton rouge and new orleans area are without gas.
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so the number is a little deceiving because there's still a great number of gas stations that haven't been able to come back online because they are still without power. of course, this just adds to the stress of these days here in the days after hurricane ida has made landfall and ravaged so much of this area. it's a real problem because there are so many people in these neighborhoods and communities relying on generators to power up a refrigerator or cooling system. that's a lifeline to get people through the worst of these days in the aftermath of this hurricane. the gas prices have also inched up to compound this even more. the average price of gasoline has gone up a few pennies, up to $3.17. all this coming at the worst possible time for tens of thousands of people in southwest
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louisiana. we're getting a new view of ida's catastrophic destriks. satellite images showing the striking before and after of ida's path. the community of lafitte in total devastation, under water. it looks like a different place. this is a really stark showing where ed and our other reporters are. this is one of the reasons that the governor is telling people, if you've evacuated, you need to stay away. cnn's ryan young is live in new orleans for us. ryan, what are you seeing and hearing there? >> reporter: look, you can see the devastation where we're standing here. this tree is in the middle of the street, knocked on top of the house there, creating damage. you can see the power lines are down. we've been monitoring ems chatter as well. we know of some families that were using generators that had to be rushed to the hospital. in fact, 11 people in the last half hour had to be rushed to the hospital including seven
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kids. it is so hot you can understand why people are trying to stay cool. you've got to be safe with those generators. we bumped into this woman, ms. janet. what was the storm like? you said it was powerful coming through here obviously with all the trees that are down. tell us what it was like? >> very, very windy, horrific. the wind was so strong. the wind was the main thing, horrible, very, very, very frightening. >> and being without power right now, how difficult has that been? >> that has been extremely difficult because it's like pitch black. there's no -- not one inch of light at all. >> thank you so much. >> reporter: obviously the heat here, kate, has been strong and people in the neighborhood have been trying to stay out of the heat. look back in this direction. the crew just showed up to try to cut down some of the trees in this area. this is what you see over and over again. this sort of tangled meggs left behind. they're going to try to clean this up over the next few hours.
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i can tell you, people's patience is running thin, especially with no gas, no power, no way to get out of this heat. this could go on for quite some time. it's really leaving people in a really tough situation. kate. >> and at the same time you just see how much work there is ahead, just on this one street that you're on. good to see you, ryan. thank you very much. >> absolutely. complicating the recovery and making the first days after the storm more dangerous is the extreme heat hitting louisiana. cnn meteorologist jennifer gray is in the cnn weather center tracking that for us. jennifer, what are you seeing? >> kate, temperatures in the mid 80s. when you factor in the heat index, feeling like the triple digits. if it feels like this outside, most likely it's hotter inside your home and people don't have a way to cool off. temperatures 85 degrees in new orleans right now. temperatures will continue to climb. 85 in baton rouge, 87 in gulfport. as we look at this map, you can see the hot and humid conditions taking shape across much of the
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deep south. that's going to hold on for the next couple days. so the heat advisory covers the entire state of louisiana and well up into the mississippi river valley, even portions of texas as well as arkansas. the actual temperature, 87 degrees in houma. kate, it's very important to remind people don't overexert yourself trying to clean up because you're not going to have a way to cool off. >> which is impossible to do when you're going to need to lift a tree off your house. joining me for more on this on the phone is louisiana's lieutenant governor. thank you for calls in. as we've been laying out, there's no shortage of crises for you to grapple with right now. the heat, gas shortages, food and water running out, the power. what's the biggest concern for you right now? >> it's getting the power back
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on and the water back to all those areas. it's so widespread. we flew yesterday and it's such a wide area having this problem. it's not just focused on the coast. because the storm was so powerful and the rainfall in many areas, flooded areas off the the heat has taken its toll. it's something we're going to have to deal with. we're asking people to don't come back. if you've got somewhere to get out of town, out of the heat, go do it. our state parks are full. the ones that could take people are overflowing. it's a situation we're going to have to really work through quickly. >> on the power, the governor said very clearly yesterday 30 days without power is just simply not acceptable. i know you feel the same way. what is the plan to get it back faster? is there a work-around?
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>> i believe there's thousands of men and women out there in this heat working hard to get it back on. nobody is happy with the progress thus far. some areas we believe will go on before that 30 days, but it's taking a while to get a full assessment of the damages because it's so widespread. usually they can concentrate on one area that's hardest hit. this was such a powerful storm. it devastated the length cal grid all over. so entergy crews and so many people are here from out of town helping get that back on. we're hoping we can get some updated information soon as it will be put back on inside those 30 days. you're absolutely right, 30 days is not acceptable. i don't think the energy companies, it's acceptable to them. >> the official death toll i believe right now stands at five
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people. is it your belief that we just don't know the extent of it yet, or do you believe this somehow was not as deadly of a storm, as deadly of a storm as people fear? >> i hope that's it but i fear more. if you look at grand isle, lafitte, the highway is completely covered with five feet of sand. in places of grand isle, you can't get there. so as people have gone out in boats and high-water vehicles to check homes for survivors. but there will be another check for bodies. hopefully we won't have any more death toll, but i'm fearful it will climb and climb by more than five, just people that may have gotten in the attic or not been able to get out of the floodwaters.
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we're going to see more people that have perished in this storm. >> in plaquemines parish the sheriff imposed a complete lockdown, putting up roadblocks and only allowing people involved in recovery in and out. why is that necessary, lieutenant governor? >> you have people going back to check on their homes, and with no water, no power -- many of the roads still have lines down, trees over the roads. it's very dangerous. as the governor said, in the last hurricane, we lost more people from generators and chainsaw accidents. we need to make sure people stay out and do not go back to their home if they absolutely don't have to. i think it's a safe thing to do for plaquemines parish. have of the parish in the middle is still under water with six feet of water. you can only go so far into that parish before you have to turn around and get out.
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>> i talked to the physician and chief for children's hospital new orleans. what he said to me has really stuck with me. he said they had fuel to run their generator for a few days, but he was very concerned and didn't know what was going to happen after that. have you been able to get fuel to i guess his hospital and others like it? >> the national guard is doing that as we speak. once again, the wide area that needs fuel and needs services, it's unprecedented. that's the situation. the national guard and the governor's team is getting fuel to those hospitals. they've gotten generators. the veterans homes as well. they were able to get a generator and get fuel to the veterans homes so we didn't have to pull the veterans out. there are successes in this cr crisis. that's not good enough. we have to get to all the hospitals and work quickly to get things back before we lose more people from this heat. >> lieutenant governor, thank
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alabama hospitals are at a breaking point. the state is out of icu beds, and the problem is coronavirus patients, most unvaccinated, filling many of these precious spaces. more than 880 patients are currently in intensive care, the most since the very beginning of the pandemic, and nearly all of them are unvaccinated according to the alabama hospital association. covid-19 cases continue to spike nationwide in adults and kids. here is what is also new on that front. the american academy of pediatrics reports more than 200,000 children tested positive for covid in the last week, a five-fold increase. the director of pediatric critical care at the youths of alabama at birmingham and children's of alabama hospital is with me. a five-fold increase in cases in
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a month. what does that look like in your hospital? >> we've been a lot busier just with the number of patients. this weekend we had 31 pediatric patients with covid. like you said, most are either unvaccinated orr under the age of 12 and unable to get vaccinated. the numbers have been three or four times what we were seeing last winter at its peak. >> what are you hearing from the parents of these kids? >> a lot of them are remorseful that they didn't get vaccinated, and i try to encourage them that, at this point what we're going to do is take the best care of their child we can, and when they go back to their community, i have a mission for them to get two or three other people vaccinated, and for the kids who are in high school, to get some of their classmates vaccinated so hopefully they can begin to pred the word about the
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necessity of the vaccine, especially with the delta variant which is so much more contagious than the prior variants. >> that's interesting, doctor. you're trying to turn this into a mission, kind of an army of people who have learned and who have seen how bad it is, to go out and do the good job of trying to convince people to get vaccinated. >> yeah. i try to think of trying to be what optimistic given all of the patients we're taking care of, and to get frustrated is only so helpful, but if i can get these people who have friends and relatives who felt the fear that they had in the hospital, maybe that will be effective at least in their communities. >> it's worth a shot, right? i spoke to an er doctor from texas yesterday who has a story that no doctor should have to tell. his patient, an army veteran, died from a treatable disease because there weren't any icu beds available. he needed an elevated level of
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care, could not find a bed. he was going to multiple states, could not get them in. all full of covid patients. there are reports of doctors in your state having trouble finding beds for non-covid emergencies as well. what does this mean for you? honestly, is this what we're facing now? >> for children, luckily, our hospital has a lot of capacity, and we're actually able to help out atlanta this weekend and take a critically ill patient from them who ended up not needing ecmo or heart-lung bypass, but they were concerned they may. we've been able to help other surrounding communities and states take care of these critically ill children. >> it's unbelievable that that's even now a question we would be facing. dr. thank you for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up for us, president biden giving a forcesful defense
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afghanistan exit. in just hours, we will hear from the defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs about the end of the afghanistan war as president biden is firmly defending his decision to withdraw troops and also defending the execution of that plan. joining me now is cnn military analyst, retired lieutenant general mark hertling and susan glasser. when they speak after the president's defiant defense of the u.s. withdrawal, what do you expect or what do you hope to hear from them? >> i think there's going to be a summary of some of the things the president said from a military perspective, how we defeated but not destroyed al qaeda during this period of time we were in afghanistan, that certainly things were ugly in the last few weeks, but it was because of the chaos of conflict and the chaos of complexity, and sometimes you can't always plan for that. they're probably going to give
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the context of the situation, of planning -- they'll be asked about the planning of the non-combatant evacuation as many have started to talk about. they'll likely tell how that has been in the planning works for several months but, frankly, you can't plan for every contingency, like the disaster of the afghan government departing. they may also talk about how the afghan military, the ana and security forces, were more beholding to the u.s. than they were to their own government because there was not the loyalty between the government and the soldiers and the soldiers and the government. so i think all of those contributed to what we've seen over the last couple weeks. i think secretary austin and general milley are likely going to talk about all those things. >> susan, the president declaring in his remarks yesterday that the withdrawal was an extraordinary success, is how he put it, do you think he's
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trying to will that to be son. he's hoping history will look kinder on this exit than it looked originally? >> you see the administration not 'em fa sighs the chaotic evacuation as the overall rightness of his decision in his view back in april to execute the withdrawal in the first place. that's a much more broadly supported by americans across the political spectrum, that after 20 years, it simply wasn't w worth it to continue on in a mission that had not succeeded. in historical terms, we're at the very beginning of a debate that will last a long time. what i'd like to hear from the military leaders, and i didn't hear it in biden's speech yesterday. it may be too soon. what are the concrete lessons we'll take away for our national security and foreign policy. as with vietnam, that provoked a
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soul searching that went on for a long time about the nature of u.s. power overseas. my question is will afghanistan do the same thing or will we just turn the page on it. president biden, i thought the most interesting thing in some ways he said is, listen, this is not just the end of afghanistan. it's the end of an era of u.s. nation building in other countries. if that's going to be the case, this really marks a pivot point in how we think about the use of our military in other countries. >> general, the president said it is his obligation to defend and protect the country, and this is how he put it, quote, not against the threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow. the read on that from many is it both makes sense, and for some it doesn't. you have 13 u.s. service members killed last week by a growing isis-k threat and insurgency in afghanistan. what do you think of that assessment, about the threat no longer being in afghanistan?
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>> kate, that is the question of the day. first, if i can comment on what susan just said, there will most definitely be not just a military after-action review of the last 20 years, but i'm certain there will be an interagency review. and the critical part of that, if i may, is to make sure it's a bipartisan and calm effort to determine what we did right and what we did wrong. there was certainly a lot of things we did right as well as many of the things that we did wrong during our time in afghanistan. now, to answer your second question, i actually have a letter to myself in my desk drawer that when i was the war planner in 2002 when we were in the pentagon, in the joint staff, i had to brief a couple of key leaders in the department of defense about what going into iraq would cause us. in that long four-page letter i wrote to myself which i haven't chonin except my wife, there were some things that talked about the future of american
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potential to do strategy in other places of the world. and we have been bogged down. make no mistake about it. we have been bogged down in both afghanistan and iraq over the last 15 to 20 years. i think that's what the president was talking about, that we as a nation must have a larger strategy for how we conduct national security and national defense, and unfortunately, because many of us in the military, not so much the american public, but many of us in the military had been focused on the combat zones of afghanistan, iraq, maybe even northern africa and in the horn of africa, we have allowed those who were our peer competitors to get the better of us. and i think that's what the president was saying yesterday in terms of a rebooting of american foreign policy and national security strategy. >> so interesting. it's great to hear from you both. thank you so much. coming up for us, a threat
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against telecom from kevin mccarthy, don't cooperate with congress investigators. what he's trying to do, what he's trying to block and why next. paint with behr ultra scuff defense® that you can live that scuff-free life. honey, i'm home! honey! scuff defense. right now, get incredible savings on select behr ultra® paints, starting at $29.98*
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a threat from the house minority leader kevin mccarthy warning companies not to hand over phone records relating to
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the capitol insurrection. melanie, what is kevin mccarthy doing here? . this is a remarkable and stunning statement from the top republican in the house. cnn reported this week that the select committee on january 6th is requesting telecome companies -- mccarthy was not mentioned in this initial batch. that doesn't mean he can't be requested down the loine. listen to what he said in the response last night. quote, if these companies comply with the democrat order to turn over private information they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the united states. if companies choose to violate federal law a republican majority will not forget and will hold them fully accountable
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under the law. it's unclear what law mccarthy is referring to claiming these companies would be violating. this is a duly authorized congressional request. i think the big question is whether mccarthy's statement is running afoul of house ethics rules. the house ethics committee probe is largely toothless and it would take a long time for them to investigate. another option is a criminal referral. again, a very high bar to prosecute something like this from a member of congress. mccarthy could be protected by the speech and debate clause. it really does seem to be more of a political problem than a
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legal problem for kevin mccarthy. nonetheless it knows the lengths republicans are being to go. >> even telling companies to violate a lawful request. coming up, the most restrictive abortion ban in the country now in texas. ♪ two straws, one check, girl, i got you ♪ ♪ bougie like natty in the styrofoam ♪ ♪ squeak-squeakin' in the truck bed all the way home ♪ ♪ some alabama-jamma, she my dixieland delight ♪ ♪ ayy, that's how we do, ♪ ♪ how we do, fancy like, oh ♪
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top of the hour. i'm kate bolduan. we were going to begin with the breaking news. the u.s. supreme court allowing a texas law to go into effect that essentially ly bans aborti in that state. the law prohibits abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy, which is before most women know they're pregnant. it takes a route not utilized before in allowing anyone to sue over this. cnn's diane gallagher is live in austin with the latest. what meaare you learning? >> reporter: this is a law that went into effect today here in the state of texas that effectively bans abortion after the six week mark including in cases of rape and insist. that is often before a person knows they


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