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Supreme Court limits EPA's ability to reduce emissions

Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency's power to fight climate change.

The case involved how far the federal government could go in regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The court held that Congress did not grant EPA in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the 6-3 conservative majority.

The three liberal justices dissented.

The court's decision in West Virginia v. EPA comes as global climate change exacts an increasingly dire human and economic toll on communities worldwide.

The landmark Clean Air Act of 1970 charged EPA with protecting human health from dangerous airborne contaminants, which the Supreme Court has twice affirmed to include greenhouse gasses.

The law currently lets the agency craft pollution limits based on the "best system of emission reduction" available, but there is disagreement over whether the law prohibits consideration of measures "outside the fence line" of a particular plant, such as shifting to alternative sources of power generation or emission trading programs.

The Biden administration, environmental advocates and public health groups have said EPA's ability to robustly regulate U.S. power plant emissions is one of the most significant tools available for cutting earth-warming pollution and blunting the impacts of rising temperatures.

The U.S. power sector is the nation's second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions with more than 3,300 fossil fuel-fired power plants, including 284 coal-fired facilities, according to the Energy Information Agency.

"If we do not have the full extent of these tools, we will need all of the other tools in the toolbox," said Vickie Patton, general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund. "And those tools may not be as effective and they might cost more."

The plaintiffs in the case -- a coalition of Republican-led states and coal and mining companies -- argued that overly-aggressive EPA regulation threatens to "reshape the power grids and seize control over electricity production nationwide," imperiling thousands of American jobs.

An estimated 1.7 million Americans work in fossil fuel industries, from mining to pipeline construction to electricity generation.

"If there are enormous decisions that have vast political and economic significance, Congress -- if they want an agency to deal with it -- should speak clearly to that issue," said Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA official who served during the George W. Bush administration and has represented clients challenging recent EPA emissions regulations.

The Supreme Court decided the case even though EPA does not currently have a power plant carbon dioxide regulation in force.

The Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which first prompted the lawsuit in 2015, was temporarily blocked by the Court at the time and never took effect. The Trump administration subsequently proposed an alternative plan, but that was rescinded by President Biden. In the meantime, a lower court ruled the Clean Power Plan could be enforceable – even though Biden said he would not adopt it.

The EPA has said it expects to release Biden's plan for regulating power plant CO2 emissions shortly after the Supreme Court decision.

The White House has set a goal of cutting U.S. carbon pollution in half over the next decade and shift entirely to clean energy sources by 2035.

This is developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Supreme Court allows President Biden to end Trump's 'Remain in Mexico' policy for asylum seekers

Robert Alexander/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday said the Biden administration can end a Trump-era immigration policy known as “Remain in Mexico” that had forced thousands of asylum seekers to wait south of the border while their claims were adjudicated.

The court ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the three liberal juustices in the majority.

Officially termed the "Migrant Protection Protocols" -- or MPP -- the policy was created in 2019 to send unauthorized immigrants, including asylum seekers, back to Mexico while their cases are processed in immigration court.

Trump administration officials intended the policy to serve as a deterrent against flows of migrants along the southwest border. Human rights observers and immigrant advocacy organizations said the policy contravened international law, putting vulnerable people at risk of higher documented rates of kidnapping, extortion and violence in the areas they were forced to wait.

President Biden attempted to formally end the MPP last year but was sued by Republican-led states Texas and Missouri, which alleged the Immigration and Naturalization Act required the administration to continue the program. A federal court ordered the policy to continue as legal challenges played out.

The INA says that the Department of Homeland Security "shall" detain unauthorized noncitizens pending immigration proceedings, but it also allows for their parole inside the country on a case-by-case basis if it’s determined to be for “public benefit.”

Congress has never allocated sufficient resources to fulfill the law’s requirement of detaining all migrants and asylum seekers pending an immigration hearing; every administration has had to exercise some level of discretion in enforcement.

The Biden administration argued that the MPP required costly and complicated negotiations with Mexico and that foreign policy authority rests solely with the president -- not the states or federal courts.

Under President Donald Trump, roughly 70,000 migrants were enrolled in the program and sent back to Mexico to await immigration hearings in the U.S. So far, the Biden administration has enrolled 5,000 migrants in the program. Just 2.4% have been granted relief after their claims were heard, one recent study found.

The court’s decision comes as the flow of migrants to the southwest border continues to strain law enforcement and humanitarian resources. Customs and Border Protection reported 239,416 encounters with migrants in May, a two percent increase compared to April; a quarter of those were repeat offenders.

A separate Trump-era border enforcement policy known as Title 42 -- activated during the pandemic to rapidly expel migrants due to COVID -- remains in effect and unaffected by the court ruling. Biden has also tried to rescind Title 42, but lower courts have ordered it continued as legal challenges proceed.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Biden backs exception to Senate filibuster rule to get abortion rights codified

Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday blasted the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and said he would support carving out an exception to the Senate filibuster rule to codify abortion rights and other privacy rights as well.

"One thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States and overruling not only Roe v. Wade, but essentially challenging the right to privacy," he said at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a NATO summit.

"We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law," he said. "And the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way it's like voting rights, it should be we provide an exception for this, except the required exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision."

Biden has previously said he would back a carveout for voting rights legislation, but Democrats do not have the votes to support altering the rule.

On other domestic issues, he said NATO and G-7 leaders "do not think that" the United States is going in the wrong direction -- with reporters raising the Supreme Court abortion decision, continued mass shootings, including a massacre of children in Uvalde, and record-high inflation.

Addressing inflation and soaring prices across the board for goods at home, Biden said, "I can understand why the American people are frustrated because of inflation," but argued it's a world problem and not isolated to the U.S.

"The reason why gas prices are up is because of Russia, Russia, Russia," he said.

Biden spoke to close out his European trip made to meet with NATO and G-7 leaders to amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In opening remarks, Biden delivered a message of NATO unity and strength in the face of new challenges, touting, above all, the addition of Finland and Sweden into the alliance.

"Putin thought you can break the Transatlantic Alliance. He tried to weaken us and expected our resolve to fracture. But he's getting exactly what he did not want," Biden said. "He wanted the federalization of NATO he got the NATO-ization of Finland."

"With the addition of Finland and Sweden will be stronger than ever," he added.

Saying that the U.S. will support Ukraine "for as long as it takes," Biden also said the U.S. will soon announce $800 million in new military aid to Ukraine including air defense systems and offensive weapons.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as Supreme Court justice at noon

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(WASHINGTON) -- When Justice Stephen Breyer retires from the U.S. Supreme Court at noon on Thursday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, his former law clerk, will mark a milestone in American representation when she is sworn in as the first Black woman in history to sit on the nation's highest court.

"It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments," Jackson said at the White House after her Senate confirmation, "But we've made it."

"And our children are telling me that they see now, more than ever, that here in America, anything is possible," she said.

Her joining the court also will make it the first time four women will sit on the high court bench at the same time.

President Joe Biden announced in January that Breyer would retire at the end of the term after 27 years on the court, fulfilling the wishes of progressives wary of waiting, and setting off what would become a month-long process to name Jackson and another 42 days for her confirmation.

Three Republicans ultimately joined Senate Democrats in confirming her, marking a significant political win for Biden's long-term legacy -- and his short-term efforts to energize Democrats.

Biden said, when he was considering nominees, that he was looking for someone with Breyer's judicial philosophy and "a pragmatic understanding that the law must work for the American people." And with Jackson's nomination, he delivered on a key promise from the 2020 campaign trail, before the all-important South Carolina primary, that he would nominate the court's first Black woman.

"This is going to let so much sun shine on so many young women, so many young Black women," Biden said in April, alongside Jackson and Vice President Kamala Harris, the nation's first female and first Black vice president. "We're going to look back and see this as a moment of real change in American history."

Jackson, 51, born in Washington D.C., comes off the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, considered the most important federal court next to the Supreme Court. She has more than eight years of experience on the federal bench, following a path through the judiciary traveled by many nominees before her.

Like other associate justices, she is a graduate of Harvard Law School, but she marks her place in history in multiple ways, as also the first former public defender and first Florida-raised judge to sit on the Supreme Court. She'll also be the first justice since Thurgood Marshall to have criminal defense experience.

Asked what her message to young Americans would be during her Senate confirmations, she recalled to the Senate Judiciary Committee feeling out of place at Harvard in her first semester -- when a stranger provided a remarkable lesson in resilience.

"I was walking through the yard in the evening and a Black woman I did not know was passing me on the sidewalk, and she looked at me, and I guess she knew how I was feeling. And she leaned over as we crossed and said 'persevere,'" Jackson said. "I would tell them to persevere."

She has also spoken with emotion about descending from slaves and her parents growing up in Jim Crow South.

"In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States," Jackson said at the White House after she was confirmed. "And it is an honor, the honor of a lifetime, for me to have this chance to join the court, to promote the rule of law at the highest level, and to do my part to carry our shared project of democracy and equal justice under law forward into the future."

Jackson and her husband Patrick, a cardiologist, have two daughters, Talia, 21, and Leila, 17. Her family is expected to join for the historic swearing-in.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Republicans must choose Trump or the Constitution, Liz Cheney warns, describing 'threat' like no other

Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- There was only one path forward for her fellow conservatives, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said in a speech on Wednesday night: either follow the Constitution or former President Donald Trump, whose conduct around last year's pro-Trump insurrection is the focus of the congressional committee Cheney helps oversee.

"It is undeniable -- the Republican Party cannot be both loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution. We must choose," Cheney told a crowd at the Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California.

"We must not elect people who are more loyal to power or to themselves than they are to our Constitution," Cheney went on to say.

She appeared at the library as part of a larger speaker series on the future of the GOP, which previously spotlighted Republicans from several segments of the party, including Sens. Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and more.

Cheney has emerged as one of the Republican Party's most vocal and most famous Trump critics, alternately esteemed for her candor and criticized by Trump and other conservatives for what they call her betrayal. Indeed, as she was being introduced on Wednesday, a library official briefly noted and then dismissed concerns they received that Cheney might be heckled in the audience.

She and nine other GOP members of the House voted to impeach Trump last year in the wake of the Jan. 6 rioting at the U.S. Capitol -- a decision that ultimately led Cheney to lose her position in the House's Republican leadership -- and she is one of only two Republicans on the House Jan. 6 committee, alongside Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Unlike Kinzinger, who is stepping down from office, Cheney is seeking reelection in November.

Trump has repeatedly assailed Cheney -- for her criticism of him as well as, he says, for her foreign policy views, calling her a hawk -- and he endorsed a primary challenger against her, Harriet Hageman, with their race set for Aug. 16.

At Wednesday's speech, Cheney took pains before addressing Trump and the Jan. 6 committee to reiterate that she holds deeply felt conservative policy beliefs and has long been connected to the party, in part through her father, Dick Cheney, a former secretary of defense and vice president. She also took time to criticize Democratic President Joe Biden's handling of inflation and the southern border.

"But at this moment, we are confronting a domestic threat we have never faced before -- a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic. And he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man," she said.

She made something of a broader pitch to her party -- and perhaps her constituencies -- about the kind of candidates who should, ideally, thrive on a Republican ballot: leaders who are "serious" and "substantive," who "defend principle" and "abide by their oaths of office."

Leaders unlike the last Republican president, she felt.

"As the full picture is coming into view through our work on the Jan. 6 committee, it has become clear that the efforts Donald Trump oversaw and engaged in were even more chilling and threatening than we imagined," she said.

She applauded Cassidy Hutchinson, a 26-year-old former Trump White House aide who delivered revelation after revelation at Tuesday's surprise Jan. 6 hearing.

"I have been incredibly moved by the young women, some of whom worked on the Trump campaign, some in the Trump White House, some as staffers on the Hill, who knew immediately that what happened on Jan. 6 must never happen again. America met one of these young women yesterday: Ms. Cassidy Hutchinson," Cheney said.

"Her superiors -- men many years older -- are hiding behind executive privilege, anonymity and intimidation. Her bravery and patriotism were awesome to behold. Little girls all across this great nation are seeing what it really means to love this country, what it really means to be a patriot," she continued.

Cheney's appeal for the future? Create a party that fosters disagreements and one that steels itself against Trump's rancor.

"We should work to build a future where we remember that, despite our differences, we are all Americans. Where our political battles and disagreements are intense, but where we do our best not to descend into vitriolic partisan attack," Cheney said.

"But this time, this moment in our history, demands more. We cannot let ourselves be torn apart. That is what our enemies hope for," she said.

"We stand at the edge of an abyss, and we must pull back," she said. "We must pull back."

She ended, in part, with this: "In our great nation, one individual can make all the difference and each individual must try. There is no bystander in a constitutional republic."

"We must love our country so much," she said, "that we will never yield in her defense."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rep. Liz Cheney 'confident' in Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony

Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Rep. Liz Cheney told This Week co-anchor Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview that she has full faith and confidence in the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the 26-year-old former Trump White House aide who delivered explosive testimony about the Capitol riot during a highly publicized hearing this week.

"As you know, there's an active campaign underway to destroy her credibility. Do you have any doubt at all in anything that she said to you?" Karl asked Cheney.

"I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told Karl in a wide-ranging interview set to air in full on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

"I think that what Cassidy Hutchinson did was an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage and patriotism in the face of real pressure," said Cheney, who is vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee.

The witness, Hutchinson, a former top adviser to then-President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, spent some two hours divulging extraordinary details about what she said went on behind the scenes leading up to, during and after the attack.

Hutchinson sat for multiple closed-door transcribed interviews with the committee during its year-long inquiry but on Tuesday, she spoke publicly for the first time during the committee's sixth publicized hearing.

She described in detail how she was told about Trump's desire to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 after he spoke at a rally near the White House -- and how Trump became furious when he was told it wasn't safe or advisable for him to be there.

Republicans loyal to Trump, including Trump himself, immediately sought to discredit her testimony.

Trump on Tuesday dismissed Hutchinson's testimony, posting on social media that "I hardly know who this person ... is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and 'leaker')."

"She is bad news!" he added.

"We have real confidence as a committee that she testified honestly, and in her credibility, and I think the world saw that -- she testified under oath, and her credibility is there for the world to judge," Cheney said in her interview with Karl.

"She's an incredibly brave young woman," Cheney added. "The committee is not going to stand by and watch her character be assassinated by anonymous sources and by men who are claiming executive privilege."

On Wednesday, Hutchinson's lawyers released a new statement amid pushback on her testimony.

"Ms. Hutchinson stands by all of the testimony she provided yesterday, under oath, to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol," Hutchinson's counsel, Jody Hunt and William Jordan, said in the statement to ABC News.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee

Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images, FILE

(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump's former White House counsel Pat Cipollone was subpoenaed Wednesday for a deposition by the House's Jan. 6 committee -- and his team is now engaging on the ultimate scope of the order for future testimony, sources say.

"The Select Committee's investigation has revealed evidence that Mr. Cipollone repeatedly raised legal and other concerns about President Trump's activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded," the Jan. 6 committee's chair and vice-chair, Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson and Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, said in a statement.

Cipollone is evaluating the subpoena and his team is involved with the committee on the parameters surrounding an eventual closed-door deposition, sources close to him told ABC News.

There is an expectation that he and the committee will reach an agreement on the terms by the requested deposition date of July 6, though sources emphasize the fluid nature of the talks.

Sources said that among the topics for testimony about which Cipollone and the committee are negotiating: the actions taken by former top Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark to use the powers of the DOJ to attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election; what Cipollone did the day of Jan. 6, 2021, excluding conversations he had directly with former President Trump; interactions he was present for or had with former Trump lawyer John Eastman; and interactions he was present for or had with members of Congress post-2020 election.

The information shared with the committee could be impacted by a number of factors, sources familiar with the deliberations said. That includes whether Trump's presence in any of the past meetings could result in potential claims of executive privilege.

Cipollone and former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin met with committee investigators for an informal interview in April. Cipollone and Philbin engaged on these topics during that previous meeting with committee investigators.

The new subpoena comes one day after Cipollone was repeatedly mentioned during the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide to Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Hutchinson told the committee during a Tuesday hearing that on the morning of Jan. 6, Cipollone was adamant that Trump shouldn't accompany his supporters to the Capitol after addressing them at the Ellipse near the White House earlier that day.

"We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen," she recalled Cipollone telling her at the time.

A lawyer familiar with Cipollone's deliberations told ABC News earlier Wednesday, in response to the committee's announcement: "Of course a subpoena was necessary before the former White House counsel could even consider transcribed testimony before the committee."

"Now that a subpoena has been issued, it'll be evaluated as to matters of privilege that might be appropriate," the lawyer said.

The committee wrote in a letter to Cipollone along with his subpoena that they "continued to obtain evidence about which you are uniquely positioned to testify; however, you have declined to cooperate with us further."

Cipollone was one of the few aides who was with then-President Trump in the West Wing on Jan. 6. ABC News has reported that in the days following the attack on the Capitol, Cipollone advised Trump that Trump could potentially face civil liability in connection with his role encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol.

Both Cipollone and Philbin, his deputy, were part of a Jan. 3, 2021, Oval Office meeting where Trump insisted on replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark, a Trump loyalist who had vowed to use the DOJ to investigate the election.

Cipollone and Philbin made it clear to Trump that they would resign if Clark were installed, according to a Senate committee report released last year that detailed instances where Trump and his allies sought to use the DOJ to overturn the election.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New York governor to unveil new gun legislation in response to Supreme Court ruling

Spencer Platt/Getty Images, FILE

(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday detailed what is in gun safety legislation she will propose during a special state legislative session scheduled for Thursday.Hochul is set to propose a slew of ideas in response to last week's Supreme Court decision to strike down a state law that had limited the concealed carry of handguns in public to people who had "proper cause."

"There's more to do, this is a nationwide crisis. Too many lives are being lost here in New York, but I will not rest, as the governor of this state, until we have done everything in our power to end this gun epidemic once and for all," Hochul said.

The legislation will define a number of "sensitive locations" where people will not be allowed to carry concealed guns, Hochul said.

Those locations include: federal, state, local government buildings; health and medical facilities; places where children gather like daycares, parks, zoos and playgrounds; public transportation like subways and buses; polling places; and educational institutions, Hochul said.

If the proposed bill is signed into law, all private businesses will be classified as "no open carry" areas by default, unless business owners post signage indicating that people are allowed to carry concealed weapons, Hochul said.

Hochul's proposed legislation will also strengthen the list of disqualifying criteria, banning those with a history of dangerous behavior from being able to get a permit.

The laws will also add a vehicle requirement to existing safe storage laws, requiring gun owners to lock up their guns when they are traveling to cut down on gun thefts from cars.

Gun owners with children in their homes aged 18 or younger will have to get safe storage for their guns, keeping them locked up.

The laws will improve information sharing for state police background checks, Hochul said.

Gun owners will also be required to get over 15 hours of in-person training to receive a concealed carry permit, Hochul said.

Hochul said the laws will require a background check for all purchases of ammunition for guns that need a permit. Gun owners will have to show their permit at the time of purchase.

The special legislative session comes over a month after a gunman killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in an allegedly racially motivated attack.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Most who supported bipartisan Jan. 6 commission best Trump in Tuesday's GOP primaries, runoffs

Jon Hicks/Getty Images, FILE

(WASHINGTON) -- Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony before the House Jan. 6 committee Tuesday added a new layer of political consequences for Donald Trump after she detailed a defiant president she said wanted to lead supporters from his rally on the Ellipse to the Capitol even after being warned they were armed.

There are political ramifications as well for several vulnerable members of Congress, notably five of the 35 GOP members of the House of Representatives who voted in May 2021 in favor of a bipartisan commission to probe what surrounded the attack on U.S. Capitol and who faced a primary or runoff contest Tuesday night.

Of the group of five, four survived, with one loss.

Of the total group, 16 of the 35 have advanced from their early contests, three have lost, while nine others resigned or retired.

Inconsistent results in these primaries show Republican voters' political fealty is unclear: Are they steadfastly loyal to Trump or are they satisfied with elements of Trumpism paired with more home-grown politics? The answer to that question is a sword of Damocles for many of these candidates -- having to assess whether breaking party ranks will come back to bite them.

It's critical to note that support of a bipartisan probe has not equated to full-throated endorsement of the current House bipartisan Jan. 6 committee.

In fact, one of the commission supporters, Rep. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, who won Tuesday night, recently called the public hearings a "dangerous, political stunt," similar to what Trump himself has said. (Such line-toeing rhetoric can be a firewall against attacks from a Trump-endorsed challenger -- or accusations of being a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

Similar tactics likely aided Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., fend off a challenge from Navy pilot Michael Cassidy in his runoff election as well as Utah's Rep. Blake Moore, who claimed his vote was to back the commission investigating Capitol security decisions made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sometimes, even not criticizing the Jan. 6 committee didn't hurt. Rep. John Curtis, of Utah, said of Hutchinson's testimony: "It was an extremely credible witness, but you always want to hear from other side."

At the time of his vote on the commission, Curtis, who won his primary Tuesday night, called the original measure to create one "imperfect."

Not all firewalls were as strong, though, as was the case with Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis who was bested by Trump-backed Rep. Mary Miller, who attacked Davis for stabbing "Trump in the back by voting for the sham January 6th commission." Ironically enough, Davis congratulated Trump and Miller in his concession speech.

These Republicans losing their races Tuesday may not be entirely sad news for Democrats, regardless if they've nationally stood with any anti-Trump sentiment on principle.

Several deep-pocketed left-wing donors, with the help of national groups, have bolstered election-denying right-wing candidates, seemingly in the hope of a more decisive general election victory against an easier-to-beat foe come November.

In Illinois' gubernatorial race, for example, incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association spent $30 million in ads attacking moderate Republican challenger Richard Irvin, in turn raising the profile of Trump-endorsed candidate state Sen. Darren Bailey.

The Democrats' ploy worked out in their favor -- Bailey bested Irvin in the primary. But such political puppeteering is dangerous and can easily backfire with an electorate that is seeing historically high numbers of Republican voter registrants coupled with historically low approval numbers for President Joe Biden across a flurry of sectors.

Consequences are just as stark across the aisle.

The 80% survival rate of these Republicans is an early smoke signal in GOP races with even higher political stakes: the August primaries of Washington House Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Hererra Beutler, alongside Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, and Wyoming Liz Cheney – four of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Justice Stephen Breyer to officially retire Thursday at noon, swear in Ketanji Brown Jackson

Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images, FILE

(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the most senior member of the U.S. Supreme Court's liberal wing, said he will officially step down from the bench at noon on Thursday, and the court announced he will then swear in his former law clerk -- Ketanji Brown Jackson -- to take his place on the bench, becoming the nation's first Black female justice.

"It has been my great honor to participate as a judge in the effort to maintain our Constitution and the Rule of Law," Breyer wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden dated Wednesday.

Breyer's retirement fulfills the wish of Democrats who lobbied for his exit to make way for Biden's first nominee to the court.

Jackson will take both her oaths at noon -- Chief Justice John Roberts administering the Constitutional Oath and Justice Breyer delivering the Judicial Oath. Her presence will mark the first time four women will be on the Supreme Court at the same time.

Progressive activists had imposed unprecedented public pressure on Breyer, who was nominated in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, to retire. Breyer was first appointed to the federal bench in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, going on to serve 13 years as an appellate judge until Clinton elevated him to replace Justice Harry Blackmun on the Supreme Court in 1994. The Senate confirmed him 87-9.

Last term, Breyer authored major opinions upholding the Affordable Care Act, affirming free speech rights of students off-campus and resolving a multi-billion dollar copyright dispute between two titans of American technology, Google and Oracle.

His retirement relatively early in the Biden presidency, while Democrats retain a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, helped to ensure his seat would be filled with someone who shares his judicial philosophy.

Breyer has described differences among the justices as contrasts in "philosophical outlook" rather than differences of politics and chaffed at the labeling of justices as "liberal" or "conservative."

"Politics to me is who's got the votes. Are you Republican or Democrat? I don't find any of that here," he told ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl in 2015.

While he never enjoyed the rock-star status held by Ginsburg, Breyer has long been revered and celebrated as a consensus-seeker and happy warrior throughout his 27 years on the court. He has also been one of the few justices to be a regular attendee at State of the Union addresses before a joint session of Congress.

Asked in 2017 how he would like to be remembered, Breyer told an interviewer: "You play the hand you're dealt. You're dealt one. And you do the best with what you have. If people say yes, he did, he tried, he did his best and was a decent person, good."

Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill Breyer's seat

Jackson, 51, who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, will fill Justice Breyer's seat, and become the first Black woman to sit on the nation's highest court. With Jackson's ascension to the bench, for the first time, white men will not represent the majority of justices on the Supreme Court.

President Joe Biden formally announced Jackson's nomination earlier this year and fulfilled a campaign promise made ahead of the South Carolina primary when he relied heavily on support from the state's Black voters and Rep. Jim Clyburn.

"For too long our government, our courts haven't looked like America," Biden said in February from the White House. "And I believe it is time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications."

Jackson, who will also be the nation's first former public defender to sit on the high court, served as a clerk for Breyer from 1999 to 2000 and called it "extremely humbling to be considered" for his seat.

"I know that I could never fill his shoes, but if confirmed, I would hope to carry on his spirit," she said.

Three Republicans -- Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney -- joined Senate Democrats in voting to confirm Jackson in April, marking a solid, bipartisan win for the Biden White House.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Trump White House attorney disputes Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony about handwritten note

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(WASHINGTON) -- Former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann is claiming that a handwritten note regarding a potential statement for then-President Donald Trump to release during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was written by him during a meeting at the White House that afternoon, and not by White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

At Tuesday's Jan. 6 committee hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney displayed a handwritten note which Hutchinson testified she wrote after Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows handed her a note card and pen to take his dictation.

Sources familiar with the matter said that Herschmann had previously told the committee that he had penned the note.

"The handwritten note that Cassidy Hutchinson testified was written by her was in fact written by Eric Herschmann on January 6, 2021," a spokesperson for Herschmann told ABC News Tuesday evening.

"All sources with direct knowledge and law enforcement have and will confirm that it was written by Mr. Herschmann," the spokesperson said.

At Tuesday's hearing, Hutchinson, testifying about the note, said, "That's a note that I wrote at the direction of the chief of staff on Jan. 6, likely around 3 o'clock."

"And it's written on the chief of staff note card, but that's your handwriting, Ms. Hutchinson?" Rep. Cheney asked.

"That's my handwriting," Hutchinson replied.

Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, said that Meadows handed her the note card and a pen and started dictating a potential statement for Trump to release amid the Capitol riot.

Hutchinson also said that Herschmann had suggested changing the statement and to "put 'without legal authority.'"

In response to Herschmann's claim, a spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee said, "The committee has done its diligence on this and found Ms. Hutchinson's account of this matter credible. While we understand that she and Mr. Herschmann may have differing recollections of who wrote the note, what’s ultimately important is that both White House officials believed that the President should have immediately instructed his supporters to leave the Capitol building."

"The note memorialized this," the committee spokesperson said. "But Mr. Trump did not take that action at the time."

The Jan. 6 committee has repeatedly relied on Herschmann's candid and sometimes vulgar testimony throughout the hearings in June, including when the former White House lawyer testified that he shot down former Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark's plan to overturn the 2020 election.

Herschmann, a former Trump White House lawyer, also defended former President Trump during Trump's first impeachment trial and worked in the West Wing as a senior adviser.

An attorney for Hutchinson did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News, nor did Meadows.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Key takeaways from Cassidy Hutchinson's bombshell testimony to Jan. 6 committee

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The House Jan. 6 committee's surprise hearing on Tuesday featured highly-anticipated and explosive testimony from someone who was inside the White House both as the Capitol attack unfolded and in the days before.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top adviser to then-President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, spent some two hours divulging details about what went on behind-the-scenes leading up to, during and after the attack.

Committee members and even some former Trump staffers hailed the 25-year-old for showing the courage to deliver her testimony publicly. Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said members felt it important to offer her "firsthand" accounts "immediately."

"It hasn't always been easy to get that information, because the same people who drove the former president's pressure campaign to overturn the election are now trying to cover up the truth about Jan. 6," Thompson said. "But thanks to the courage of certain individuals, the truth won't be buried. The American people won't be left in the dark."

With Hutchinson's testimony, Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., argued that Trump and Meadows were well aware of the potential for violence at the Capitol last year yet ultimately dismissed the warnings. Trump even demanded to be taken to the Capitol alongside his supporters, Hutchinson said, despite concerns of legality and security from his team.

Here are some key takeaways from Hutchinson's testimony:

Trump's chief of staff knew Jan. 6 might get 'real, real bad'

Kicking off her revelatory account before the committee, Hutchinson said that Meadows had warned her on Jan. 2, 2021, that "things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6."

She said Meadows made the remarks to Hutchinson after meeting with Rudy Giuliani, who was at that point a central figure in Trump's campaign to overturn the election. After the meeting, Giuliani talked enthusiastically to Hutchinson about plans to go to the Capitol, she said.

"It's going to be great," Giuliani said to her, Hutchinson said. "The president's going to be there. He's going to look powerful."

When she walked into Meadows' office to relay what Giuliani told her, she said Meadows responded with the remark about how "bad" the situation may be on Jan. 6.

"That evening was the first moment that I remember feeling scared and nervous for what could happen on Jan. 6," she told the panel.

Hutchinson testified that Meadows generally knew about the potential for violence on Jan. 6 but failed to act. Both Meadows and Giuliani expressed an interest in seeking pardons over the events of Jan. 6, Hutchinson testified. Giuliani on Tuesday denied asking for a pardon. Meadows has not commented on Hutchinson's testimony.

White House lawyers worried about criminal charges

Several White House staffers expressed concerns about the legality of what Trump intended to do on Jan. 6, Hutchinson told the committee. Specific crimes they were concerned about, she said, included defrauding the electoral count or obstructing justice.

One point of contention was Trump's speech at the Ellipse, Hutchinson said. She recalled Trump lawyer Eric Herschmann urging speechwriters to avoid "foolish" language that Trump requested be included, such as the phrases "fight for me" and "we're going to march to the Capitol."

On the morning of Jan. 6, Hutchinson said White House counsel Pat Cipollone was adamant that Trump shouldn't accompany his supporters to the Capitol.

"We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen," she recalled Cipollone telling her at the time.

Trump knew his supporters were armed

With the committee displaying texts from Jan. 6 as visual aids, Hutchinson recalled how Trump was "furious" with the crowd size of his rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 and with advisers who didn't want to let in individuals who had weapons. Those weapons included pistols, rifles, bear spray and flagpoles with spears attached to them, officials warned, according to Hutchinson.

Trump, she said, wanted the metal detectors to be taken away.

"I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, you know, "I don't f------ care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the f------ mags away. Let my people in," she recalled. "They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f------ mags away."

Cheney said Hutchinson's testimony established that Trump "was aware that a number of individuals in the crowd had weapons and were wearing body armor" when he spoke at the rally and urged them to then march to the Capitol.

She asked Americans to "reflect on that for a moment"

An 'irate' Trump grabbed the wheel inside presidential SUV

In one of the hearing's most shocking moments, Hutchinson recalled hearing how Trump turned "irate" as he was driven away from the Ellipse after being told by his security that he could not go to the Capitol to meet supporters.

Hutchinson was not in the SUV at the time but said she heard the account from Tony Ornato, a senior Secret Service official, when everyone was back at the White House. Also in the room was Bobby Engel, the head of Trump's security detail, Hutchinson said

"The president said something to the effect of, 'I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now' -- to which Bobby responded, 'Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing,'" she continued. "The president reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm and said, 'Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We're going back to the West Wing. We're not going to the Capitol.'

"Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge toward Bobby Engel and when Mr. Ornato recounted this story to me, he motioned toward his clavicles," she said.

In a statement later Tuesday, the Secret Service reiterated that it had been cooperating and intended to continue to cooperate with the House committee, "including by responding on the record" to Hutchinson's testimony.

Two sources familiar confirmed to ABC News that Trump had indeed requested to go to Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the Secret Service refused due to security concerns. One of those sources said that the former president did return to his vehicle after his speech at the Ellipse and asked Engel if he could go to the Capitol, with Engel responding, essentially, that it was unwise.

In another alleged incident of Trump having an outburst, Hutchinson told the committee Tuesday that he threw his lunch at the wall in the White House dining room after learning about then-Attorney General Bill Barr's interview with the Associated Press in which Barr made it clear the Department of Justice found no evidence of widespread fraud in the election. It wasn't the first time Trump threw a dish or tablecloth in anger, Hutchinson said.

Meadows wanted to go to the 'war room' on Jan. 5

Hutchinson testified that the White House was aware of a "war room" assembled in the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of Jan. 5.

Hutchinson said Trump asked Meadows to speak by phone with Roger Stone, a longtime Trump aide, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn the day before the rally, and that Meadows asked her to look into setting up Secret Service for him to go to the nerve center of the "Stop the Steal" movement that night.

She said she expressed to Meadows she didn't think was a "smart idea" or "something appropriate for the White House chief of staff to attend or be involved in," coming days after she overheard Guiliani mentioning "Oath Keepers" and "Proud Boys," she testified earlier.

Eventually, Meadows dropped the request and said he would dial into a meeting, Hutchinson recalled.

Stone, for his part, said through his attorney that he and Meadows did not talk. "Unequivocally stated, Mr. Stone did not speak to or otherwise communicate with Mr. Meadows on January 5th or 6th. Additionally, Mr. Stone did not receive a call from Mr. Meadows on either day,” Grant Smith exclusively told ABC News.

Flynn, who Trump pardoned in December 2020 for lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador, previously appeared before the committee and repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

In a clip played by the committee, Cheney asked Flynn if he "believed in the peaceful transition of power."

"The Fifth," Flynn replied.

ABC News' Luke Barr, Ali Dukakis, Katherine Faulders, Ben Siegel and Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


States introduce new abortion laws after Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade: Live updates

ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that guaranteed a woman's right to an abortion, states are taking action.

The court's ruling rolled back constitutional protection for abortion rights, giving each state the power to decide.

Several states had trigger laws in place that immediately banned abortion if Roe was overturned. Others guarantee the right to an abortion under state laws or their constitutions.

Some states are now introducing new laws, emboldened by the Supreme Court's decision.

Latest updates:

Jun 28, 8:42 pm
Nevada governor signs executive order strengthening abortion protections

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an executive order "ensuring safe access to abortions for women seeking refuge from restrictive laws in their state."

The order grants protection to abortion providers and denies extradition requests if the woman receives an abortion in Nevada but lives in a state where abortion is banned.

"Reproductive health care is a basic human right -- We are committed to ensuring safe access to abortions for women seeking refuge from the restrictive laws in their state," Sisolak said.

-ABC News' Marilyn Heck

Jun 28, 3:53 pm
Wisconsin governor challenges state's pre-Roe ban

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he and the state's attorney general are filing a challenge to a pre-Roe abortion law.

The law dates back to 1849 and makes an abortion a felony in Wisconsin, even in cases of rape or incest.

Confusion surrounding the law and whether it is enforceable caused abortion providers in Wisconsin to suspend abortion procedures in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Access to safe and legal abortion stopped in Wisconsin last Friday. With this lawsuit, we are fighting to restore reproductive freedom in Wisconsin,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement.

He continued, “The Republican-led legislature’s failure to act during last week’s special session has left Wisconsin law regarding abortion in a state of uncertainty. This lawsuit is asking the court to clarify that Wisconsin’s 19th century abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest has not gone back into effect.”

-ABC News' Ely Brown

Jun 28, 2:43 pm
Tennessee abortion ban goes into effect

Tennessee’s ban on abortion starting at around six weeks of pregnancy has gone into effect after a federal court removed an injunction blocking the law in 2020.

The law prohibits the procedure after a fetal heartbeat can be detected and if the providers knows the woman is seeking an abortion due to the fetus's sex or race or due to a Down syndrome diagnosis.

The only exception is if the woman's life is in danger.

“This is just the beginning,” Rabia Muqaddam, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights -- one of the groups that filed a lawsuit that initially blocked the law -- said in a statement.

She continued, “We will continue to see many, many states ban abortion, creating huge abortion deserts in parts of this country resulting in serious harm to people and their families. We will do everything we can to maintain as much abortion access in Tennessee as possible -- for as long as possible.”

Tennessee is one of at least 13 states that have ceased nearly all abortion services.

Jun 28, 1:12 pm
State court blocks Texas' pre-Roe ban on abortion

A state court blocked Tuesday enforcement of a Texas pre-Roe ban on abortion.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week, the state's attorney general, Ken Paxton, said Texas' trigger ban would not go into effect for about two months.

But he added that abortion providers could immediately face criminal charges based on a 1925 law that had gone unenforced since Roe was decided in 1973.

In response, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Morrison & Foerster, LLP, Hayward PLLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of several abortion clinics in the state, arguing that the statute had previously been declared unconstitutional.

The temporary blocking means abortions up to six weeks of pregnancy can resume at some clinics.

A hearing has been scheduled for July 12.

Jun 28, 9:16 am
'Fetal heartbeat law' in effect in South Carolina

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said the state’s abortion ban is now in effect after a federal judge lifted the injunction June 27.

The so-called Fetal Heartbeat Protection from Abortion Act prohibits abortion if cardiac activity can be detected, which is around six weeks of pregnancy -- before many women know they're pregnant.

If a heartbeat is detected, an abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or if the mother's life is in danger.

“The Heartbeat Law is now in effect. Once Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, the decision on legally protecting the lives of unborn babies was returned to the states, so there was no longer any basis for blocking South Carolina’s Heartbeat Law,” Wilson said in a statement.

He continued, “Our state is now carrying out a government’s most sacred and fundamental duty, protecting life.”

Jun 27, 6:03 pm
Judge issues temporary restraining order on Utah's abortion 'trigger ban'

Utah 3rd District Court Judge Andrew Stone issued a temporary restraining order on Monday blocking Utah's "trigger ban" on abortions.

Plaintiffs have demonstrated “irreparable harm here in allowing this law to go into effect immediately," Stone said. "I think the immediate effects of [what] will occur outweigh any policy interest of the state in stopping abortions immediately. Doctors here are threatened with felonies. The affected women are deprived of safe, local medical treatments to terminate pregnancies."

The temporary restraining order is effective immediately and lasts for 14 days. There will be a preliminary injunction hearing on July 11.

Planned Parenthood filed the challenge on Saturday.

-ABC News' Jenn Watts

Jun 27, 10:02 am
Mississippi attorney general certifies state's trigger law

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said Monday she has certified the state's trigger law banning abortion following the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade.

"Mississippi's laws to promote life are solid and thanks to the Court's clear and strong opinion in Dobbs, they can now got into effect," she said in a statement posted to Twitter.

She continued, "As we have said throughout the case, Roe v. Wade presented a false choice between a woman's future and her child's life."

The ban will go into effect in 10 days.

Under the new law, anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion in Mississippi will be charged with a felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The only exceptions are to save the mother's life or if the woman is a victim of rape, provided she has reported the crime to law enforcement.

Jun 25, 8:41 am
Utah ban on nearly all abortions goes into effect

Utah's abortion ban went into effect on Friday, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The Utah Legislature allowed a 2020 law prohibiting all elective abortions in the state to go into effect. The law makes exceptions for circumstances involving rape, incest or medical emergencies.

Under the law, abortions would be allowed for women at risk of death or serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function. Abortions are also allowed if two maternal fetal doctors find that the fetus has a lethal defect or a severe brain abnormality that is diagnosable.

Jun 24, 6:36 pm
Alabama abortion ban allowed to go into effect

An emergency motion to end an injunction against a 2019 law that made abortion illegal was granted Friday, hours after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"Thus, Alabama's law making elective abortions a felony is now enforceable," said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in a statement. "Anyone who takes an unborn life in violation of the law will be prosecuted, with penalties ranging from 10 to 99 years for abortion providers."

The Human Life Protection Act makes it unlawful "for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion" unless "an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother." There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

Jun 24, 5:03 pm
Oklahoma AG announces trigger law banning abortion is in effect

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced the state trigger law banning abortions has gone into effect after the Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade.

“As a result ... the authority of the State of Oklahoma to prohibit abortion has been confirmed, and the State of Oklahoma may enforce” statutes prohibiting abortion throughout pregnancy, O’Connor wrote in a release sent to state lawmakers Friday.

In a press conference later in the afternoon, he called the Supreme Court’s ruling “the most lifesaving decision in the history of our nation.”

Gov. Kevin Sitt also appeared at the press conference, during which he praised the court’s decision.

“You know when I ran for governor, I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that hit my desk. and I'm thrilled to have kept that promise,” he said.

Last month, Stitt signed into law the strictest abortion ban in the U.S., effectively ending access to the procedure in Oklahoma. 

Jun 24, 4:19 pm
Kentucky bans abortion after trigger law enacted

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced abortion is now banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect following the Supreme Court's overturn of Roe v. Wade.

“As of this morning, except where the health of the mother is at risk, abortion is no longer lawful in the commonwealth,” he said during a press conference Friday afternoon.

There is also an exception if a provider performs medical treatment that accidentally terminates a pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that focuses on sexual and reproductive health.

Under the law, anybody who performs or attempts to perform an abortion will be charged with a Class D felony, publishable by one to five years in prison.

Jun 24, 3:56 pm
Arkansas' trigger law banning abortion goes into effect

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge signed the state's trigger law into effect, banning abortion in the state.

The Arkansas Human Life Protection Act was passed in 2019 and included a provision to activate if Roe v. Wade was overruled in part or in whole.

The law makes performing or attempting to perform an abortion a. felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

The only exception is if the mother's life is in danger.

Earlier Friday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson praised the court for its ruling, and tweeted, "For decades I have said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Today, the Supreme Court overturned the abortion ruling and returned the issue to the states. Arkansas is a pro-life state, and we are able now to protect life."

Jun 24, 3:07 pm
Louisiana enacts trigger law banning abortion

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Friday abortion is banned in the state after a trigger law went into effect following the Supreme Court's decision.

"My office and I will do everything in our power to ensure the laws of Louisiana that have been passed to protect the unborn are enforceable, even if we have to go back to court," Landry said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that strengthened the 2006 trigger law that went into effect Friday. The new law increases the penalties abortion providers face: prison terms range from one to 10 years and $10,000 to $100,000 in fines.

Criminal charges cannot be brought against a woman who receives an abortion. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, only when the mother's life is in danger.

Edwards also recently signed into law legislation that makes it illegal for anyone to send abortion pills by mail to Louisiana residents. Those who do face one to five years in prison and fines up to $50,000.

Jun 24, 2:11 pm
Indiana legislators to address abortion in special session

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said a special session of the General Assembly next month will address abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

"The Supreme Court’s decision is clear, and it is now up to the states to address this important issue. We’ll do that in short order in Indiana,” Holcomb said in a statement. “I’ve already called the General Assembly back on July 6, and I expect members to take up this matter as well."

Jun 24, 2:10 pm
South Carolina governor vows to push for passage of 'fetal heartbeat bill'

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, vowed to push for more abortion restrictions on the heels of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

"Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a resounding victory for the Constitution and for those who have worked for so many years to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us," McMaster tweeted.

He added, "By the end of the day, we will file motions so that the Fetal Heartbeat Act will go into effect in South Carolina and immediately begin working with members of the General Assembly to determine the best solution for protecting the lives of unborn South Carolinians."

The law requires doctors to perform ultrasounds on pregnant women seeking an abortion to determine if cardiac activity can be detected, which typically occurs around six weeks -- before many women know they're pregnant.

The law had been blocked, pending the outcome of Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 6-3 vote along party lines.

Additionally, the state's attorney general, Alan Wilson, announced he has filed a motion in federal court to lift the injunction of the law.

Jun 24, 1:11 pm
Alabama governor seeks to enforce abortion ban

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Friday the state will work to enforce a 2019 law that makes performing an abortion at any stage a felony unless the mother's health is in danger.

"Currently, there is a halt by a federal judge on the enforcement of that law, but now that Roe is overturned, the state will immediately ask the court to strike down any legal barriers to enforcing this law," Ivey said in a statement.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall also issued a statement calling on all abortion clinics in the state to close.

"Any abortionist or abortion clinic operating in the State of Alabama in violation of Alabama law should immediately cease and desist operations," Marshall said.

The right to an abortion is not protected under Alabama's state constitution.

Jun 24, 1:10 pm
Virginia governor seeks to ban abortion after 15 weeks

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin will seek to ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy following the Supreme Court decision to overrule Roe v. Wade, his office confirmed to ABC News.

Virginians elected a pro-life governor and he supports finding consensus on legislation," spokesperson Macaulay Porter said.

She added, "He has tapped Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, Senator Steve Newman, Delegate Kathy Byron and Delegate Margaret Ransone to do so and prioritize protecting life when babies begin to feel pain in the womb, including a 15-week threshold."

Youngkin released a statement Friday morning praising the court's decision, saying it "rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states."

Jun 24, 12:56 pm
Missouri announces abortion ban after Supreme Court ruling

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said in a tweet Friday that Missouri has banned abortions following the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

"In response to today's SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, I have signed a proclamation activating the 'Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act,' ending elective abortions in the State," Parson wrote.

With the overturning of Roe, nearly half of the nation's 50 states are prepared to ban all or nearly all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights policy organization.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Why Democrats spent millions in some GOP primaries -- betting they can sway the base

Minko Chernev / EyeEm / Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- Colorado voters on Tuesday will choose party nominees in a variety of local and statewide races -- and put to the test a multimillion-dollar plan by left-leaning groups there hoping to gain an advantage in the November midterms by influencing the Republican primaries.

Democratic-affiliated organizations have spent millions on political ad contracts to boost pro-Donald Trump candidates in the nominating contests, highlighting the platforms of those who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election while attacking more moderate GOP politicians.

It's the latest example of a familiar political plan that isn't just playing out in Colorado: The goal is try and help pick the Democratic opponent -- and in this case, to try to engineer the victory of ultra conservatives who may then prove weaker with the broader electorate.

History shows such tactics can have success. In 2010, the Democratic Governors Association nicknamed several GOP gubernatorial candidates, including Republican nominee Dan Maes, "Christine O'Donnell Republicans" to try to persuade voters to reject their electability. Maes ultimately lost his general election to then-Denver mayor -- and now Senator -- John Hickenlooper.

Still, some Democrats warn that the gamble comes with more risks than benefits: The boost of extreme Republicans could help elect candidates who repeal rather than uphold Colorado's codification of abortion access -- or who champion false claims of mass voter fraud, joining a rising tide of conservatives in other states who will control elections after challenging past results.

"I think it's very dangerous and potentially very risky to elevate people who are hostile to democracy," Howard Wolfson, who served as a counselor to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, told The Washington Post.

The strategy is most prominent with the nascent organization Democratic Colorado, which has spent more than $4 million in TV advertising across the state related to the GOP Senate primary. The new super PAC filed registration with the Federal Election Commission on June 2 and reserved more than $1.5 million last week to amplify the conservative credentials of right-wing, election-denying state Rep. Ron Hanks.

Hanks, who also takes a staunchly conservative stance on total abortion bans and claimed to have marched to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, without entering the building, lags millions of dollars in fundraising behind the more moderate Joe O'Dea, a businessman.

Hanks raised just over $124,800, of which he supplemented $35,100 with personal loans. The wealthy O'Dea has more than $2.3 million. Unlike Hanks, he has affirmed his support for a bill to codify abortion rights nationwide but said he wouldn't vote for late-term abortions.

The winner of their primary will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

One 30-second Democratic Colorado ad aired on June 8 portrayed Hanks as a candidate who wants to "build Trump's border wall" and "wants increased access to guns," deeming him "too conservative for Colorado."

A week later, Democratic Colorado revealed a new advertisement that criticized O'Dea for supporting President Joe Biden's spending bill and previously donating to Bennet.

Separately, targeted ads have made their way into Coloradoans' mailboxes emphasizing O'Dea's previous ties to Democratic politicians like "gun control advocate John Hickenlooper." (The mailer refused to disclose who paid for the message distribution -- a requirement under federal election law.)

The tactics did not go unnoticed by O'Dea's campaign or the Republican Party at large. In a statement, O'Dea accused Democrats of "propping up Ron Hanks in a desperate attempt to save Senator Michael Bennet." His campaign filed a federal election complaint, requesting that a federal judge block the mailers.

On June 20, the National Republican Senatorial Committee also filed an FEC complaint about what they called Democrats' "coordinated effort to hurt Republican candidate Joe O'Dea."

"These are egregious and reprehensible violations—the mailers violate black letter campaign finance law," said Brent Owen, an O'Dea for Senate attorney.

A similar dynamic has played out in the Colorado gubernatorial race and the GOP congressional primary for the newly drawn 8th District. The DGA donated $500,000 in late May to Strong Colorado for All as well as another $1 million early June. The DGA remains the largest donor to the state-level super PAC.

Strong Colorado for All then donated $600,000 to state-level super PAC Colorado Information Network, which aired ads -- which were set to run up to Election Day -- against the Republican candidate for governor Greg Lopez. Although the ads ultimately concluded Lopez was "too conservative for Colorado," they also highlighted his Republican stances on abortion and LGBTQ marriages and his loyalty to Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020.

When asked about this campaign strategy, DGA spokeswoman Christina Amestoy said in an email to ABC News: "Greg Lopez holds views that are too extreme and out-of-touch for Colorado. Voters need to know what he believes in, what he would push on the state, and just how dangerous of [a] governor he could be."

Strong Colorado for All did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the DGA have spent $32 million to elevate state lawmaker Darren Bailey, who is running against former Aurora mayor Richard Irvin in Tuesday's Republican primary election. And ahead of the California primaries earlier this month, the House Majority PAC promoted right-wing candidate Chris Mathys against moderate incumbent David Valadao in the 22nd District.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Money, MAGA and Democratic meddling take center stage in Tuesday's primaries

Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

(WASHINGTON) -- As Tuesday's primaries get underway, the influence of big money, the "big lie" and some Democratic groups have meddled in some of the races.

Primaries in several states, including Colorado, Illinois and New York, will also be held against the backdrop of the latest -- surprise -- Jan. 6 hearing in the House.

Republican candidates remain divided on Donald Trump's evidence-free election denialism across Colorado's congressional and statewide GOP nominating contests, which are further complicated by Democratic efforts to boost the seemingly more right-wing candidates -- assuming those choices would then backfire in the general election.

Two GOP politicians are on the ballot in the Republican Senate primary hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet. Businessman Joe O'Dea, the moderate in the race, has focused his campaign on public safety and economic reform.

In stark contrast, Ron Hanks has centered his campaign around the "big lie," baselessly disputing the last presidential race. Hanks attended Trump's infamous Jan. 6 rally in Washington ahead of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol.

In this GOP Senate primary, some Democrats have directed their money toward supporting Hanks, the election denier in the race. Democratic Colorado, a super PAC, has run ads highlighting Hanks' conservative values; and ProgressNow Colorado has simultaneously campaigned against O'Dea. Their thinking -- as yet unproven -- is that Hanks will ultimately be less appealing to much of the electorate even if the conservative base embraces him.

Meanwhile four Republican candidates are vying for the nomination in Colorado's newly minted 8th Congressional District. Whoever wins will face off against Democratic Nominee Rep. Yadira Caraveo. This highly competitive election could help decide who controls Congress in 2022, where Democrats hope to preserve their fragile majority.

The candidates in that race include state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine and political newcomer Tyler Allcorn.

While there is no front-runner in this four-way primary, Lori Saine, the most conservative candidate on the ballot, may likely prove the easiest for Democrats to beat, given past trends.

The House Majority PAC has run ads featuring Saine. Though the ad does not deliberately promote her, it characterizes her as a "conservative warrior" with strong popular Republican stances. A political action committee backing Democratic candidates has also run ads against Saine's opponent Kirkmeyer.

For the governor's race, two candidates are facing off in Colorado's Republican primary to unseat Democratic incumbent Jared Polis: Heidi Ganahl, the establishment favorite, and Greg Lopez, an outspoken election denier who has emphasized that, if elected, he would pardon Tina Peters, an accused election worker there. (She has said she is innocent.)

The Democratic Governors Association sponsored ads raising Lopez's profile, emphasizing his staunch conservative stances on issues like abortion access and gay marriage.

Against the backdrop of Trump's election lies, Democrats play a risky game -- potentially advancing election deniers further in the race for elected office.

In New York, the Democratic primary for governor features a three-way race between a favored incumbent who has yet to serve a full term and two challengers on her left and right.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is considered a front-runner after she stepped into the position (and became New York's first female governor) in 2021, following Andrew Cuomo's resignation.

Her two primary opponents are Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

Four candidates are fighting for the nomination in the New York GOP gubernatorial primary: Rep Lee Zeldin, Rob Astorino, Andrew Giuliani (son of Rudy Giuliani) and Harry Wilson.

Zeldin was first elected to the House in 2014 after serving in the state Senate; he is a member of the House Financial Services and House Foreign Affairs committees. Zeldin also voted in 2021 to sustain objections to certifying the 2020 election results even after the Jan. 6 attack.

The younger Giuliani's dad is a former New York City mayor and adviser and attorney for former President Trump. Andrew Guiliani recently had to join a gubernatorial debate from a separate studio, instead of appearing alongside the other candidates, because he refused to provide proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Astorino is a consultant and former county executive of Westchester County while Wilson is a businessman who emphasizes his working-class roots. Notably, Wilson supports abortion rights, according to Politico, which could appeal to liberal-leaning voters in a general election in light of the reenergized national conversation around abortion after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

In Illinois, the governor's race is becoming a heated battle between billionaires as candidates enter the last leg of the primary.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker -- whose family controls the Hyatt Hotel enterprise -- is running for reelection. A billionaire in his own right, Pritzker is expected to succeed in his party's primary.

Two Republicans are fighting for the chance to go head-to-head with Pritzker in the general election.

Richard Irvin was the first Black mayor of one of Chicago's largest suburbs, Aurora. Irvin and his campaign have heavily focused on crime and taxes, while the former mayor has avoided mentioning other pressing issues such as abortion.

Pritzker's nemesis -- Billionaire Ken Griffin of Citadel, a hedge fund and financial services company -- has helped fund Irvin's campaign: According to the Illinois State Board of Elections website, Griffin has donated $50 million. Griffin also poured millions in 2018 against Pritzker during his first run for governor of Illinois.

Pritzker and the DGA have spent millions trying to ensure that Irvin is not the GOP nominee in the race.

Another candidate is Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey, who received an endorsement from Trump on Saturday during the former president's rally in Illinois.

Bailey fought against COVID-19 restrictions, is against abortion access and is an avid supporter of the Second Amendment and Trump.

Bailey has also garnered support from billionaire Richard Uihlein -- a mega GOP donor who has thrown millions behind Bailey's run for governor. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections website, Uihlein has donated $9 million to Bailey's campaign.

The Illinois primary will also display some of the most heated battles involving incumbent candidates drawn into the same congressional district.

GOP Reps. Mary Miller and Rodney Davis will face off against each other in Tuesday's primary.

Davis voted to certify the 2020 election and supported a proposal for a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission. On the other hand, Miller voted against certifying the 2020 election results.

Trump endorsed Miller in the race earlier this year and held a rally for her last weekend where Miller spoke on the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe, saying that it was a "historic victory for white life."

"President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday," Miller said.

A spokesperson for Miller told the Associated Press the line was a "mix up of words."

Davis tweeted to criticize Miller, saying her initial comments were part of a "disturbing pattern of behavior she's displayed since coming to Congress."

In January 2021, Miller had quoted Adolf Hitler during a rally in Washington. She said then: "Hitler was right on one thing. He said, 'Whoever has the youth has the future.'"

Davis has also outraised Miller, $3.4 million to $1.4 million. In addition, the Club For Growth has supported Miller during her reelection.

Over in Illinois' 6th Congressional District, incumbent Reps. Marie Newman and Sean Casten will face off against one another.

As a member of the progressive caucus, Newman is facing an ethics probe into whether or not she bribed someone into not running for office. She has denied wrongdoing.

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