Tamara Keith and Annie Linskey on the Roe v. Wade ruling, G-7 summit and Jan. 6 hearings

NPR’s Tamara Keith and and Annie Linskey of The Washington Post join Laura Barrón-López to discuss the latest political news, including what the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade could mean for November's election, President Biden's meeting with G-7 nations and support for Ukraine, primary races and testimony from Jan. 6 committee hearings.

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  • Nick Schifrin:

    The Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade was clear and unequivocal.

    But the political fallout from that opinion for Democrats, Republicans and the court itself is much more uncertain.

    Laura Barron-Lopez has more on what this historic ruling could mean for November's election and more.

  • Laura Barron-Lopez:

    Friday's decision sent shockwaves throughout the political system and at all levels of government from statehouses to Congress.

    And the decision came down just as President Biden left for a six-day trip abroad to meet with foreign allies.

    Joining me now to discuss all this are Tamara Keith of NPR. She joins us from Germany, where she's traveling with President Biden. And at the desk with me is Annie Linskey of The Washington Post. Amy Walter is away.

    Thank you both for joining us today.

    Annie, I want to start with you.

    There were protests across the country this weekend in response to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. President Biden sees this as a potential motivator, calling on voters to elect more pro-abortion rights Democrats. Is this going to be a galvanizing midterms issue for not just Democratic voters, but also independent voters?

  • Annie Linskey, The Washington Post:

    Yes, I mean, you're absolutely right.

    This weekend, as the decision — the ramifications of the decision settled in, there was just an explosion of anger and emotion across the country. And what Democratic strategists are hoping is that that energy sort of persists at that level, because, if it does, they believe that this shift in the legal landscape will motivate suburban women, who have been drifting away from the party since — with various school issues during COVID, but also younger voters.

    They also see an opening there, where younger voters, who tend to sit out of midterms, are really galvanized by the issue. Republicans are saying there might be energy now, but November's a long way away and at that — by the time we get around to the elections, gas prices and so forth will be back top of mind for voters.

  • Laura Barron-Lopez:

    Tamara, you're in Germany with the president right now as he meets with fellow G7 leaders.

    We're so focused here on the Supreme Court and the Dobbs decision. President Biden said that it hasn't come up so far. But can you tell us how this ruling is impacting his trip?

  • Tamara Keith, National Public Radio:

    Certainly.

    On his way in, several of the G7 leaders weighed in and said that it was horrendous, among other things. These leaders pointed to the decision and said it was wrong and that they would not accept that sort of erosion of rights in their countries.

    But the focus here has very much been on the G7 and on the war with — between Russia and Ukraine. And it hasn't been focused on these domestic political issues. But the administration back at home obviously is working on this a lot. They have several events planned this week, including the HHS secretary and others talking about executive actions that they can take to around the edges try to preserve access either to abortion pills or the ability to travel across state lines, for instance.

    So it's this interesting dichotomy, where President Biden is in the Alps, in this estate, very focused with these world leaders on global issues, and the domestic issues are really front of mind. And he has not answered questions from reporters in any significant way since that decision.

  • Laura Barron-Lopez:

    Tamara, sticking with you, and moving more towards the goal of the trip that Biden is on right now, he's trying to convince foreign leaders to keep weapons and money flowing to Ukraine, as he faces some hesitancy among U.S. lawmakers about spending more money.

    So how is Biden keeping those alliances together and maintaining support at home for Ukraine?

  • Tamara Keith:

    Well, certainly, the Congress approved enough money earlier this year to get through several more months of providing significant aid to Ukraine.

    And the president will be, according to a source familiar, announcing later this week a package of military assistance that will include an air missile defense system. That is something that Ukraine has been wanting., So President Biden is working with these allies moving forward on sanctions and tariffs. And they're talking about an oil price cap, but it's a very complicated maneuver. And they don't have that sealed just yet.

    But they're moving forward. They're focused on it, even as Ukraine has fallen from the top of the headlines in the U.S. and in much of the world.

  • Laura Barron-Lopez:

    And we will definitely be following the rest of his trip, which he will be abroad until Thursday.

    But back here at home, primaries are tomorrow in several states, Annie, and we're not really used to focusing on secretary of state races at this point in the cycle, if at all. But in many states this year, there are candidates running on Trump's lies that the election was stolen.

    In Colorado, Tina Peters, an election denier who was indicted for election tampering earlier this year, is running for the Republican nomination. How does Peters fit into this larger pattern that we have seen among Republican candidates running up and down the ballot?

  • Annie Linskey:

    I mean, she is a perfect example of a person who you wouldn't think would be a candidate for secretary of state, because, in Colorado, she is barred from overseeing some elections.

    She's been very active on sort of the far right of the Republican Party. And you're seeing across the country candidates like her advancing in secretary of state racism becoming the Republican nominee. So you have a very similar situation in Nevada, where a far right Republican became the nominee.

    In — of course, in Pennsylvania, the Republican nominee for governor there, who would nominate the secretary of state, also falls into this category. So I think it's sort of like Colorado is going to be the next test. But the last few tests have gone the same way, which is Republican primary voters really embracing candidates who doubt the January — who doubt the events are January 6 and who question whether Joe Biden was properly elected to be president of the United States.

    And that is a major shift in our politics.

  • Laura Barron-Lopez:

    And continuing on that subject of 2020 election denialism, Tamara, the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection announced an urgent, unexpected hearing set for tomorrow.

    What do we know so far about tomorrow's hearing? And, also, what do you think the impact of the hearings to date have been on voters?

  • Tamara Keith:

    Right.

    They had said that they weren't planning to have another hearing until after the Fourth of July. And now, all of a sudden, this hearing is coming up. They haven't revealed details yet. They're saying that there's new evidence and new testimony.

    So, what this committee has done again and again is must-see TV, in a way. They have put on a production that in some ways plays the game that former President Trump played, in terms of holding attention and this element of surprise. And every hearing has had a narrative arc.

    Now, are the people watching it people who could be persuaded? Some of them? Are the Trump voters who believe that the election was stolen from him likely to be persuaded? Probably not. But there is probably very little that would persuade them.

  • Laura Barron-Lopez:

    These hearings definitely have included riveting testimony and stunning e-mail exchanges between White House officials and Republican members of Congress as they sought to stop the certification of votes.

    So, Annie, any final thoughts on whether these hearings are changing voters' minds?

  • Annie Linskey:

    Look, it's too early, I think, to know that yet.

    But we do know that Democrats certainly are tuning into them there. There are independents. But even in, like, Republican primaries, it's coming up as an issue where there is some backlash that is forming. And we're going to see that on Tuesday too. There are a number of Republican incumbents who voted for a similar commission to be created, a similar commission as the committee that's being — that's going on now.

    And they are on the ballot on Tuesday, and their vote for the — for a commission similar to the one on Tuesday has become a major issue in their race. And we will see on Tuesday. Some of them — some of these more moderate Republicans very well may go down on Tuesday because of their vote and their support of this commission.

  • Laura Barron-Lopez:

    And you're right that it may be too early to tell, but there's about four months between now and Election Day. And that's an eternity and plenty of time for the committee's — the committee's hearings to potentially have impacts.

    But, Tamara Keith of NPR and Annie Linskey of The Washington Post, thank you so much for joining us today.

  • Annie Linskey:

    Thank you.

  • Tamara Keith:

    You're welcome.

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