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Interview with Joe Biden; Biden Tweets "Wear a Mask"; Big-Tech Stocks Surge to Near-Record High; George Floyd Family: Firing Police Officers Not Enough; Source: Pentagon Drafting Plans to Bring U.S. Troops Back from Afghanistan Ahead of Schedule. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 27, 2020 - 11:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: In a normal presidential campaign, taxes and spending always an issue. Health care, too. In this new normal, though, add the divide over wearing a mask.

Joe Biden, in his first interview since the coronavirus crisis began, tells CNN's Dana Bash, the president is, a quote, "a fool," for mocking those who wear masks. The former vice president also goes into deep detail about what's ahead for his campaign.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You told me in the last debate that you would pick a woman as your running mate.


BASH: Will that woman be a woman of color?

BIDEN: Look, I'm not going to get into that now because we haven't gotten there yet. There are women of color under consideration. And there are women from every part of the country under consideration because there are a lot of really qualified women that are ready to be president.

But I'm not making that commitment. I'm going to make that judgment after in fact this group goes through interviewing all of these people. And then they do the background checks, which you know takes six weeks or so to be done, and then for me to narrow down and --

BASH: The background checks happening already?

BIDEN: Not yet.

BASH: Has the vetting started formally?

BIDEN: Well, I'm not going to get into detail. But let me put it this way. The four-person commission I put in charge, they have interviewed a lot of these people already.

BASH: After your interview with the Breakfast Club, Charlemagne told CNN he thinks a black woman as a running mate is necessary.

BIDEN: Charlemagne is really entitled to his own opinion. There's others -- for example, I just was -- Jim Clyburn was just on "The View" and he said it's not necessary. So you know, I'm going to pick the best person.

Look, you have watched me and covered me as vice president. I think the two most important things are, you have to pick someone who is compatible with you, both in terms of your style -- and my style and Barack's were very different, but they were compatible -- and someone who you would want to be the last person in the room when you're making a tough decision.

And who would be loyal in the sense that whatever disagreement you have are between you and the president at that moment. And so that's a process that's under way.

BASH: The president is stepping up his attacks on mail-in voting. How confident are you that the election in November is going to be safe, secure, and fair?

BIDEN: It depends a lot on whether or not the president follows through with his threats, President Trump.

For example, cutting off money for the post office for mail-in ballots. This is a guy who sits in the Oval Office, fills out his absentee mail-in ballot and mails it to Florida to vote in the primary. Why is that something that is not susceptible to fraud? There's no evidence at all. There's no reason why we can't have an honest, decent vote.

And the president is always lying about voting. I heard him -- he was talking about how all those thousands of people in California are going to vote two and three and four times. I mean, it's just bizarre.

BASH: Your political opponents are trying -- the president is trying to paint a picture of you as somebody who is too old to be president and you're missing a step. How are you going to combat that?

BIDEN: Watch me.

Look, I mean, talk about a guy who is missing a step. He's missing something, man. I don't know. I don't want to get down into giving him nicknames.

But this is a fellow who looks like he's having trouble controlling his own emotions. What worries me is in all this stuff about Biden's hiding, you know, the fact of the matter is, it's working pretty well so far doing the rules. He's behind in almost every state. It doesn't mean it's going to be that way come November.

But the idea that he seems to get more erratic the more he feels like he's behind the curve. (END VIDEOTAPE)


KING: Joining the conversation, CNN's Dana Bash, who conducted the interview, and Lisa Lerer, of the "New York Times."

Dana, let me start with you.

In the sense he goes through all the issues, the many issues. He ends by saying the president is acting erratic.

What was your sense? A lot of us with campaign coverage experience, but none of us know how this is going to play out. That was the first face-to-face interview since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country and the world.

What sense did you get about how he sees the campaign and his role in it given that he can't get out and get around the country.

BASH: He's unsure and uncertain. He's uncertain as his campaign is as uncertain as we all are. Talk about uncharted waters. Everyone is living in it, especially those who are trying to run a campaign.

And I mean, if you think about it, Joe Biden, this is the first opportunity he's been able to break through, when you're talking about the news cycle, and also to really take on the president one-on-one.

The last time he was really kind of the big story, he was still debating his fellow Democrats. So that's the first kind of aha moment to remember that where we are right now.

But he really doesn't know. He said to me, John, that even just the basics of going out beyond the borders of Delaware to campaign, he's not going to do that until his governor lifts the stay-at-home order. He sees that at his responsibility as a leader and resident of Delaware to follow his governor's orders.

That's not going to happen until at least June. We don't know when in June. He said he won't even go there until that happens.

KING: As we watch it play out, Lisa, what is fascinating about it is if you look at the campaign now, and anybody watching will remember 2016, will say be careful about polling. I will join them. Let's be careful about polling.

But look at the FOX News poll this week, 48 percent nationally for former Vice President Biden, 40 percent for the incumbent President Trump. And eight-point national lead.

National polls don't mean a lot when you get to November. We do this state by state, as Hillary Clinton learned. But an eight-point lead does mean something, especially if you compare it to May 2016, 45 percent Trump, 42 percent Clinton.

So Joe Biden is in a stronger position now than Hillary Clinton was four years ago. And Donald Trump is in a weaker position than then- Republican nominee President Trump was. That's a simple fact as we watch, especially as we watch the dissatisfaction with the way this president has handled this pandemic.

LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That is a fact. You can look at some of the battleground state polls, particularly in Michigan, states like that, where Biden is doing really well.

Republicans feel really worried about some of the battleground Senate seats, which is another indicator they're worried about the map, particularly in the key states.

Then the economic situation that's really hard for a president to win re-election when the economy is not strong.

So all the environment right now is very favorable for Joe Biden.

But of course, as Dana pointed out, we're in uncharted waters and it would be foolhardy for anyone to predict how this is going to look come October, November.

And Joe Biden does have some weaknesses of his own, mainly a question about enthusiasm, particularly about younger voters who could be key to Democrats winning the White House. And also Latino voters who he hasn't done as well with as some Democrats would like to see him doing.

So there's just -- right now, the environment is favorable for him, but there's just so much uncertainty.

KING: One of the issues in a campaign is what catches the imagination of voters. It's hard to say. We're about to move into June in the middle of a pandemic. Coronavirus is front and center right now. We assume it still will be in the fall. There's a debate on going back to school and there's the economy and all that.

But, Dana, one of the interesting contrasts was the mask. You asked the vice president about it, former vice president. He said he thought the president was a fool for making an issue of this. He tweeted a picture of himself, saying wear a mask after.

And for those who weren't paying attention on Memorial Day, the former vice president went to a veterans cemetery. He wore this mask. The president then retweeted a tweet making fun, saying -- but Joe Biden has decided here, you know what, this image, I think it's a plus, a strength, not a weakness.

BASH: That's right. I said, do you think it's a strength or a weakness, what do you call it, and he said, I call it leadership. This is something that he is seizing on.

His campaign is, you know, saying bring it on, the notion of having a culture war over masks because they see it as the perfect symbol to contrast him and how he would go about business as president during such an uncertain time versus how the current president does it. You know, you always look for some way to boil things down. And they

feel like this is it. That's why he not only wore a mask on Memorial Day. He didn't wear one with me because we were 12 feet apart, outside, but he did change his Twitter profile.

The other side of this, in talking to some Republicans, is they're also saying bring it on.


I talked to one Republican strategist, who really studies this, who made the analogy of the mask to people who support Trump, or tend to, putting an NRA sticker on their car. They see this is kind of such a flash point of proof that people on the coast, people in the big city, liberal elites don't understand what they're going through, and they have to go to work every day.

And the fact is, the president could change that by changing the dynamic, by wearing a mask, by saying that's not true, but he's stoking it.

KING: Right, the science could change that, too, as we get deeper and deeper into reopening.

BASH: Yes.

KING: We'll see how that debate plays out. And individual governors as well.

Dana Bash, great interview.

Lisa Lerer, thank you for joining us. A walk through as well.

Just ahead for us, the pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy, but some big-name tech stocks surging to near record highs.



KING: Stocks are up right now, building on yesterday's market momentum.

Our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, explains what's behind this rally.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: John, while the real economy has cratered, the stock market is now looking ahead to a quick recovery.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon sees a good chance for a rapid recovery in the third and fourth quarters, but the unemployment rate dropping below 10 percent by the end of the year. He credits trillions of dollars in stimulus from the Fed and Congress and strong consumer spending heading into the shutdown.

Optimism this week has been helped by new vaccine developments. And the slow reopening is boosting investor and consumer confidence again.

And tech stocks, they have been impervious to the recession all along. Look at these gains in so-called FAANG stocks, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google.

Facebook, Netflix and Amazon have all hit record highs in recent days. Apple and Google owner, Alphabet, aren't far behind.

We have seen Amazon benefitting from millions of people shopping online for everything from groceries to computers to keep their home operations running. People are binging their favorite shows on Netflix.

Even Apple, Apple, which had supply chain issues at the start of the pandemic, it saw its revenue inch up in the latest quarter.

Deep-pocketed tech companies are thriving here as the overall economy is nearly on life support -- John?

KING: Christine Romans, thanks very much.

Don't forget, for the latest stock market news and strategy for your portfolio, check out "MARKETS NOW." It streams live, 12:45 p.m. Eastern only at CNN Business.

Coming up for us, the family of a black man who died while in police custody says firing those officers is not enough.






KING: You hear those chants, "I can't breathe." Protesters in Minneapolis repeating some of George Floyd's final words.

Floyd died in Minneapolis Monday after being pinned to the ground, a police officer's knee pressed against his neck for several minutes. The four officers involved have been fired. The FBI is now investigating.

Floyd's siblings telling CNN overnight they hope the officers are charged with murder.


PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: They treated him worse than they treat animals! (INAUDIBLE) They took a life, now they deserve life. I don't feel sorry for them. They hurt me and they hurt my family. I can't take nothing back. I can't get my brother back.


KING: CNN's Omar Jimenez joins us live now from Minneapolis.

Omar, very sensitive and raw moment there.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, John. And when you talk about the fact that these officers were fired as quickly as they were less than 24 hours after this happened, for the family, they say it's going to take much more than that. And that's a mentality we saw play out in the protesters here at this location and in another.

A part of protests that started peaceful and then, at times, grew violent, emblematic of the real pain being felt in this community over how this situation has been handled -- or how it unfolded, I should say, is probably the better way to say it.

But the pain may be no greater than in the family themselves, whose lives changed in just a matter of hours.

This is how Floyd's sister has described what this time has been like.


BRIDGETT FLOYD, SISTER OF GEORGE FLOYD: I have boys. That's very, very scaring for me. That could happen to them.

I need for those guys to know that what they did was just uncalled for.


JIMENEZ: And we have all seen the cell phone video at this point that is likely burned into the brains of this family at this point.

But what we are now seeing as this investigation continues is new video emerged. CNN has obtained some surveillance video of a restaurant nearby showing the moments leading up to what we saw in the cell phone video.

Two officers approaching a vehicle. Two people get out of the vehicle. George Floyd is essentially pulled from that vehicle and put in handcuffs.

And police were initially called over a counterfeit or forgery situation. And then Floyd was the man that apparently matched the suspect that was described.

Right now, though, we are waiting to see if any criminal charges will be filed on top of the police disciplinary actions, again, of firing these officers -- John?


KING: Omar Jimenez, appreciate you there doing the reporting. We'll stay on top of the story as it unfolds ahead. Thank you very much.

Up next for us, the Pentagon moves to deliver on a big presidential campaign promise.


KING: The president this morning saying 19 years in Afghanistan is, in his view, enough. Sources saying the Pentagon is drawing up plans to bring all American forces home, potentially before the November election. That would be ahead of conditions laid out in that recent deal with the Taliban.


The tweet from the president, quote, "Bring our soldiers back home."