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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Trump Wraps Up Testimony In New York Civil Fraud Trial; Judge Admonishes Trump, This Is "Not A Political Rally"; New Poll Raises Concerns Among Dems For Biden Run; NYT/Siena Poll: Trump Leads Biden In Five Battleground States; Democrats React To Rep. Tlaib's Pro- Palestinian Comments. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 06, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, back in Washington, D.C., a busy afternoon as we come on the air this afternoon, an historic and, frankly, contentious day in court has just come to a close.
Moments ago, we saw Donald Trump leave the courthouse in New York followed by the New York state Attorney General Letitia James who brought the civil fraud case against Mr. Trump and his family business. The former president spend the day on the stand repeatedly clashing with the judge, the very person who will decide how much the Trumps must pay after he already found them liable for fraud.
We're going to go to the courthouse in a moment where this case could put Trump at risk of losing his entire business operation in New York where he's accused of inflating financial statements.
Also ahead, an astounding number coming out of Gaza, the Palestinian ministry of health, which we should note, is controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, the Palestinian ministry is claiming that more than 10,000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza have taken place, which they claim is by Israeli airstrikes in response to the initial Hamas attack on October 7th.
Now, the Biden White House says one should consider the source. They do not trust the numbers of the Palestinian ministry of health, though without questions thousands of innocents have been killed in Gaza.
Also today, Israeli's military says it's advancing towards Gaza City after a brief evacuation window for civilians.
We are going to go live to that region ahead, but we start this hour in New York City where Donald Trump just finished testifying in the trial that could determine the future of his entire business enterprise. The former president spent much of his time on the stand calling the judge names as well as the New York attorney general and the case as a whole. It's a message he essentially repeated after he left court just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: It went very well. I think we were there, we listened. You see what a scam this is. This is a case that should never have been brought. It's a case that should be dismissed immediately. The fraud is on behalf of the court. The court was the fraudster in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, Donald Trump and the Trump Organization are accused of repeatedly lying about the value of their assets and their properties, and the New York State Attorney General Letitia James says despite Trump's actions on the stand today, she believes her prosecutors have proven that fraud.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins is live outside the courthouse in Manhattan.
Kaitlan, the Trump team has said their legal strategy and their political strategy are one and the same. So it should not be a surprise, I suppose, that Trump's approach to his testimony today was attack, attack, attack.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, he repeatedly went after the attorney general seated in the front row who brought this case against him, and he did nothing to ingratiate himself with the man who is going to make the decision here, Judge Arthur Engoron who, of course, was presiding overall of this. Instead, Trump went after him, too, criticizing him for that summary judgment that already found Trump liable for fraud.
Of course, why he's on the stand today, what the point of all this is, is to determine how much money he could have to pay, the penalties he could face as a result of being found liable for that fraud, the case the attorney general has made here. Something she just noted despite the attacks and insults that he hurled at her direction as this trial is going on today. Instead, she pointed back to the numbers.
And that was something notable as well, Jake, because, yes, there was a lot of back and forth between this judge, Trump, Trump's attorneys. It took up kind of most of the oxygen in the room as he was on the witness stand. But there were key moments as the assistant attorney general who maintained his composure and continued with his line of questioning was getting answers from the former president about just what he knew about those documents, stating the values of his properties, talking about his net worth, talking about the terms he agreed to with banks like Deutsche Bank to get those loans he had secured. Of course, those were numbers that the attorney general says were inflated. Instead, they used those to get more favorable terms for those loans.
So, they did seem to get answers as he was having these aside and these outbursts, going after the judge, after the attorney general. He was also acknowledging and had much closer proximity to those numbers than what previous witnesses including his own sons had alluded to, Jake.
TAPPER: Kaitlan, there are still weeks left of this trial. What might come next?
COLLINS: Well, we do know Ivanka Trump is going to be here on Wednesday. There is no court tomorrow because it's Election Day. The court will be closed. Ivanka Trump is going to be testifying on Wednesday, something she tried to fight but has since dropped her appeals, after it's pretty clear that she was not going to win them or certainly wasn't likely.
One notable aspect of that, Jake, is the defense did say today they're going to question Ivanka Trump as well. We haven't seen them do that with Donald Trump, Jr., or Eric Trump. They didn't even do so with Donald Trump today. But they did signal earlier in court that they will be questioning Ivanka Trump. After that, the Attorney General Tish James says they will be resting their case. They are not expecting to call any more witnesses after that. That's when the defense, of course, will take their turn. And Chris Kise, one of Trump's attorneys, said today that he expects it to go until about December 15th or so. So, that's the question. That's what the timeline is looking like right now.
And, Jake, just one more thing on Trump's attorneys, he had several with him today. Chris Kise has been the lead attorney for this case. He was commenting on Trump's answers today calling them brilliant. He referred to Trump as the next president of the United States in another moment.
He just came outside the court today, even in spite of the brutal, you know, back and forth between the judge and Trump today and he said in his 30 years practicing law, he claimed that Trump was the best witness he had ever represented.
TAPPER: Uh-huh. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.
Let's bring in CNN chief legal analyst Laura Coates.
And, Laura, let's start with what we just saw at the end of court. Donald Trump left the stand and his team chose not to cross-examine. Why?
LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's odd to do so because the purpose is to rehabilitate your client, essentially saying, here are things you maybe got wrong or I want to help to buttress your credibility for a judge. Hey, this part, is that what you really want to say?
It's really an opportunity for the defense counselors sort of speak to it and will that testimony into existence. That they did not suggest that maybe they believe either A, that he was great on the stand, was really the best they've ever seen. Or B, it would be a fruitless endeavor. Probably the latter.
TAPPER: And Trump's lawyers also told the judge at the end of the day that they want to make a motion for a mistrial. Do you think they have any sort of argument here?
COATES: I don't. I think they have every right to file that motion because most litigants do try to do that. But the basis of it is either bias on the judge, which is proven, not just spoken to existence. Here, it will be spoken to existence. Also, some factual or legal error that's been made, I'm unaware of any of that that's happened in this particular trial. So, I will likely think it would never be granted. I guess who decides that? The judge.
TAPPER: Right. Speaking of which, are you surprised that Donald Trump was so combative with the judge who is the one person who will decide the fate of his business?
COATES: I'm not surprised he's combative. Generally, that seems to be the M.O. that leads him to have many of his base and supporters loving him. With a judge whose job it is to decide the case -- remember, a lot of this has already been done, Jake. They already have a motion that says you have fraudulent documents, you're liable for fraud. Now it's about how expensive it's going to be.
The judge didn't rule on those things yet. A quarter billion dollars, having a conservatorship with your company or anything else, there's still a window of opportunity for lenience from that judge on these very important factors. That he wouldn't try to, I'm not saying ingratiate to bend the knee, but to acknowledge the respect and decorum necessary to have that ruling is surprising.
TAPPER: Trump's lawyer Chris Kise said in court today that Trump's answers were relevant to the questions asked and, quote, brilliant. What does that tell you about the overall strategy?
COATES: Well, maybe there's an ostrich leading it, to put ones' head in the sand, because when you answer a question blatantly to the court, you must actually answer the question. He was circuitous, he was meandering, the judge criticized him for those points of view. When a judge wants to know the facts, it's not because he wants to hear you talk, he wants to hear the answers to the questions because again, this is not a jury trial, he is the fact finder and he's trying to figure out if you have credibility. The longer your answer, the longer-winded, the more around robin's bend you go, the less credible you are.
TAPPER: Trump did acknowledge there could have been a mistake on his financial statement when it came to Trump Tower. But he said, that's why his statements included disclaimer clauses, quote, there's a disclaimer clause where you don't have to get sued by the attorney general of New York. Is that in any way a legitimate defense?
COATES: No. The judge already found it wasn't. The judge said, listen, you can't just offer miscalculating or wrong and misleading and fraudulent information and then say, wait, just kidding. Do your own due diligence here. You have to rely on what's actually being said.
The judge already resolved that issue. Now, what he's trying to do is suggest, and you can't have both worlds. You can't on one hand he's in control of everything thing and say, I handed it over and delegated. [16:10:02]
Both can't be true in a fraud trial.
TAPPER: So, Ivanka Trump, the president's -- the former president's daughter is said to testify Wednesday. Unlike her brothers, she's not a co-defendant in the case.
TAPPER: How could her testimony differ potentially?
COATES: It is crucial because she would have insight into how the workings of the business operation actually functioned. Also, what was that chain of command, who really was in control? And when documents are given, who has to sign off on it?
Remember, her brothers, her father, Weisselberg, the former CFO, they're all officers of the company. And with that comes a responsibility to have actual, factual information as relied upon. I jokingly talk about this is not the DMV driver's license, you give me your weight and we wink, wink, figure out the rest.
I have to give real information that's then used for insurance policies and tax appreciation and tax liability. If I give you fake information and I know it is or it's a reckless disregard for what's true, I'm liable.
TAPPER: This is a civil case, a civil trial. The other four cases that Trump is facing are criminal. Does his behavior today give you any insight into how those other trials will go, or might he behave differently? Might -- I mean, is there any reason to think that maybe somebody said it's okay for you to behave this way in a civil case, but don't behave that way in a criminal case?
COATES: I wonder about that a lot. On one hand, one would think one's liberty at stake would be the one you take the most seriously. But for him, his political currency, his life currency is his brand and his business. And so, he's been in this courtroom not every single day, but when it counted he's been there, in front of the cameras. He's very clear he takes it very seriously for that reason.
I would note, though, there's still a liability factor, whether it's criminal and punishment and jail time or not, this case feels more real to him in real-time. It's more urgent. The ruling will come before the rest of these other trials even have a chance to begin. This one ought to feel as real as it does.
TAPPER: And, lastly, in terms of the other criminal cases, the other criminal cases, whether he wins -- well, if he loses, they can be appealed up to the court of appeals and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court. What about a civil case?
COATES: It can be appealed and oftentimes will. The basis for why you can make an impenetrable case is to have credible findings. The appellate court looks at legal errors, not your factual credibility assessments. That's why this judge is so clear to credit testimony or not because you can't reverse on those.
TAPPER: All right. Laura Coates, you can catch more of Coates tonight on "LAURA COATES LIVE" at 11:00 p.m. here on CNN if you did not get enough of Laure Coates just now. Really, who possibly could have gotten enough from that little dollop?
Laura, thanks so much.
As mentioned, the next witness on the stand in this case is Ivanka Trump. She's going to testify on Wednesday. That's when she's scheduled to testify anyway and we're going to look for that coverage as well right here on THE LEAD.
As this contentious day wraps up, how Donald Trump is using this civil fraud trial and all the criminal cases against him to power his 2024 campaign?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Now, we're back with our law and justice lead.
Former President Trump just finished speaking after wrapping up his historic and often combative testimony in the New York civil fraud trial against him.
CNN's Kristen Holmes is outside the Trump Tower in New York, and Jamie Gangel is here in studio with me.
Kristen, how does Trump's dramatic antics in court, I don't know what you call them, but whatever you want to call them, how do they coincide with his presidential campaign?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, this is all part of a strategy in order to really shape the political narrative around these ongoing court cases. One, it's just lumping them altogether, even though this is brought by the New York attorney general and the other are federal criminal cases, state criminal case as well. But this is a part of a larger strategy to paint himself as a victim, as a political martyr who is essentially only getting, quote/unquote, persecuted because he's running for president because Democrats or whomever his rivals are don't want to see him win his presidency again.
I will tell you that yesterday, Donald Trump flew into New York, he did have a prep session with his lawyers ahead of the testimony. But the top of the conversation all day yesterday, and that's from sources who spoke to him, was all about those poll numbers, "The New York Times" poll numbers we've been talking about all day. The reason why that's important is when they see numbers like that, they believe that their strategy is working.
Now, any advisor you talk to say they don't know exactly what this is going to look like should Donald Trump get the nomination. But right now, particularly after seeing these polls, they believe this narrative around election interference or the two-tiered justice system or the fact that this is, quote/unquote, unfair, something you've heard from Donald Trump today, is working with voters. And so, they're going to continue doing it.
TAPPER: And, Jamie, what do you make of Trump's tactic of being on the stand and being on the attack?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, Donald Trump knows how to behave in court. He's been in court a lot over the years. This was a strategy. There's no question about it.
He knows he's already been found liable for fraud. But this is not the way you treat a judge who's now going to rule on the penalty. Donald Trump doesn't want to pay $250 million. He doesn't want to have his business, you know, dismantled. But I think what you saw is someone, to Kristen's point, who looked at those polls, these are polls that show he's beating Biden in battleground states and he's looking at one thing. He's looking at next November.
TAPPER: What are the political implications, do you think?
GANGEL: As -- look, he clearly thinks this helps him. And if you talk to political consultants, they will say voters like a politician who is on the attack. There is no question if you look at Donald Trump he thinks that works for him.
TAPPER: And the idea that Joe Biden is behind these prosecutions, even though there is no evidence at all that he's behind these prosecutions. Whether New York or whether Jack Smith, the special counsel, et cetera, et cetera, there's no evidence, none.
But Trump keeps saying it. Does that matter?
GANGEL: It certainly works with his base. You usually ask me a question, will anything make a difference? Well, if he loses his business, will that make a difference? He has four more criminal cases. As far as his base is concerned and as far as the polls we've been seeing, he's going up.
TAPPER: And, Kristen, let me ask you, this trial is going on and the debate -- the third debate is Wednesday. Do we think this will affect that at all? I think he's still planning on not showing up for that debate?
HOLMES: Yeah, Donald Trump is holding his own counterprogramming event just down the street from the debate. It's essentially to take people away, take eyes away from the debate as he clashes with the RNC over those debates. He's continually said they need to stop holding them because he has such a significant lead.
But it is interesting when we talk about the dynamic between the ping- ponging that Trump is doing now, going to court and then on the campaign trail and what we know for the next year. This is just the beginning of what we're likely to see, which is a juggling act between his legal problems, his legal appearances and trying to run a campaign in 2024. And I am told that one of the things we talk about a lot here is the fact that the political and legal messaging is one in the same now.
That's also true of the scheduling and of the campaign. Behind the scenes, the legal team is working with the campaign team to essentially help him run for president in 2024, to give a schedule of when those trial dates are so the political team can work around that and schedule those campaign events. We're really talking about a mind meld of Donald Trump's legal issues and his ongoing trials, his looming trial calendar and the political schedule.
TAPPER: Jamie Gangel, Kristen Holmes, thanks to both of you.
You heard how Donald Trump is trying to frame his legal problems, calling prosecutors political hacks to say the least. So, how in the world do you manage a campaign against him? We'll get some expert opinion next.
TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead.
We saw some Democrats turn against each other this weekend with former Obama adviser David Axelrod posting on X, former known as Twitter, the question is President Biden running for president for his best interest or the country's best interest. Biden's former chief of staff Ron Klain responded by saying, this is the man who called Biden Mr. Magoo in August 2019. Still at it.
All this driven by new poll numbers not looking good for Biden in his bid to stay in the Oval Office.
We turn now to Jim Messina. He ran former President Obama's campaign in 2012 and served as Obama's White House deputy chief of staff.
Jim, good to see you.
So, we just saw Donald Trump leaving court. Despite his many, many legal issues, the latest "New York Times" polling for battleground state shows Trump is not hurting politically. Biden is the one struggling in battlegrounds. Polls have Trump up 10 in Nevada, six in Arizona, five in Arizona, five in Michigan, four in Pennsylvania.
How do you explain it?
JIM MESSINA, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, OBAMA 2012: A couple ways, Jake. First of all, the whole thing about polling this far out is silly. This time in 2011, this exact same weekend, you and I remember that Nate Silver put Barack Obama on the cover of "New York Times" magazine and said he had a 17 percent chance to win re-election and he was toast. Clearly, President Obama won handily over Mitt Romney. At this same time, George Bush trailed, Bill Clinton trailed, Barack
Obama trailed, and all of them ended up winning. And so, right now, people are comparing Biden to the almighty. We're not sure who the Republican nominee is going to be. And we haven't gotten to that binary choice that you talked about earlier. Next year when we're at that binary choice, that's when swing voters start to pay attention, not this far out.
TAPPER: I don't know if I agree with you. It's a pretty binary choice between Biden and Trump. Trump is leading far and ahead in the polls and that we just showed you polls between Biden and Trump. And, you know, a plurality were picking Trump.
MESSINA: Yeah, but you and I also remember the same polls showed Obama trailing. And, you know, there was a poll out week that had Biden up seven nationally. Not that I think that poll is any better.
But I think you can't poll this far out for a variety of reasons and just think it's going to be who is going to win the election. Right now, there's a lot of people pissed at the incumbent president, as they are for every incumbent for a variety of reasons. And finally, next year, they're going to focus on who the candidates are.
And I thought you framed it perfectly earlier, Trump's behavior today in court whether it was smart politics or not, is going to -- that's going to continue next year. It's going to continue to remind people why they got rid of him the first time because he sort of drives them crazy and they don't want to have that kind of circus. And so, you know, that will be a good moment for Biden as well.
TAPPER: So, Axelrod is publicly asking the question we heard other Democrats mentioning, some -- in front of the camera, most behind the scenes, should Biden stay in the race? He largely won in 2020 because Trump was so disliked by swing voters. What do you think?
MESSINA: Look, I think the data really matters here. And since World War II, if one incumbent party hasn't run, the other party has won every election except for 1988. And the second thing is we've already had the election of Trump versus Biden. And Biden won that election, knows how to stand up to Trump.
So, let's say that, you know, we get rid of -- Biden decides today he's not going to run. We have a 20-way primary. We have no idea who is going to come out of that primary, and several months later, they have Donald Trump in the general election.
Is that a better bet than the guy who has already won and been a really successful president? I don't think so, Jake, and I don't think my party wants to take that kind of risk.
TAPPER: Going back to "The New York Times" poll, when asked, who do they trust to do a better job in a -- on democracy? Biden is 48 percent. Trump is 45 percent. Forty-eight to 45, how do you see that number given Trump is currently criminally indicted for trying to overthrow the 2020 election and, two of his Trump's lawyers have now pleaded guilty in Georgia for trying to overthrow the election there? Biden is only up by 3 percent on democracy, basically within the margin of error?
MESSINA: Yeah. Well, the same poll Democrats had a three-point lead overall in which party do you favor? And I think that's about what that is. That shows you how split this country is. We really are split right down the middle.
And I don't care who the nominees are, this is going to be a super close election because those are the elections we have. People on that question, Jake, are just going at their party ideology. And the Republicans are saying, sure she's great for democracy. And Democrats are saying, no, he's not. And independents are sitting back here saying, oh, god, I don't even want to answer these questions.
TAPPER: What are your concerns when it comes to how strongly Biden is supporting the government of Israel and the Israel defense forces and the risk when it comes to losing the progressive vote, when it comes to losing the young vote, when it comes to losing the support of Muslim and Arab Americans, especially in states like Michigan?
MESSINA: Right. Well, first of all, let's lead with the positive, and that is incumbent presidents in wartime often benefit politically because they look strong. And you've written about this in the past. And Biden looks very strong right now and has been very clear, and I thought his speech to the country was really, really well done, and that's a good moment for any incumbent president.
Second, you can't really worry about base politics in the middle of these things. What I learned when I was in the White House with President Obama, and we went through tough things, you've got to call balls and strikes. You've got to do what you think is right. Obama used to say, look, I'll get the policy right, you guys get the politics right.
So I don't think the Biden White House is worrying about that stuff in a general election context. I think they're just reacting to a very difficult situation and trying to be really, really clear with what they're doing, and more importantly, why.
TAPPER: The other major issue not making as many headlines today but still a big factor we saw in the midterms is abortion. In this poll, Biden has a nine-point lead over Trump in that issue. How do you see that issue motivating voters maybe in a way we don't see the effects of in this poll? Obviously, Democrats are going to run on this issue in a major way when it comes to 2024.
MESSINA: Thanks for asking, because I think better than polling is actually real life political results. In special elections across the country this year in 2023, Democrats have performed 11 points better than historic averages or the polls. When you look at why, it is swing women all over the place going to them over this issue and that's partially why we had a much better 2022. And so that, again, isn't baked in. People haven't started thinking about the abortion issue in a presidential context. And, you know, you just look at this -- I think Virginia tomorrow is
going to be incredibly interesting for you and I to kind of slice and dice and see how that went. We've already seen that in the Kansas referendum, and the Ohio referendum, where the Democratic position did much better than people thought it was going to because it was swing women moving on abortion.
TAPPER: Yeah, we'll see tomorrow in Virginia when it comes to the House of Delegates. And we'll see also in Ohio, they have a different referendum to see how that performs.
Jim Messina, thank you so much, appreciate it.
Will those new polls showing Trump beating Biden in critical battleground states cause the White House and the Biden campaign to change their messaging. We're going to talk to a former Biden White House communications director next.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Despite or maybe because of the fact that he's facing 91 felony charges, despite or maybe because he took the stand today and testified under oath in the civil case. Despite or maybe because of the legal challenges facing the former president, a "New York Times"/Siena College poll finds former President Trump leads President Biden in five of the six battleground states, one year after the election.
Joining us now in studio, Jonah Goldberg and Kate Bedingfield.
And, Kate, you just left the White House earlier this year. And we realize we're a year out. You heard Jim Messina say all this stuff, you know, of all the other precedence of people who were at this position and went on to win. But still, I'm sure this is not the poll you'd like to read.
Do you agree with Axelrod's take that, you know, Biden should consider stepping aside maybe for the good of the country?
KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think David Axelrod's point -- we're at the point in the cycle where we fall back on the clocks, and somebody comes out and says that the president should not be the nominee. We saw that -- I'm sure David Axelrod will remember, in 2011, there were pollsters in November of 2011 who wrote an op-ed for the "Wall Street Journal" saying --
BEDINGFIELD: -- Barack Obama -- yes, Barack Obama should not be the nominee, and, in fact, he should step down and allow Hillary Clinton to take the nomination --
TAPPER: Was it Doug Schoen?
BEDINGFIELD: It was indeed.
TAPPER: I guessed. I guessed.
BEDINGFIIELD: It was indeed.
So, there -- look, I think Ax -- Ax of all people knows at this moment there's always going to be concern. Look, was that a great poll for Joe Biden? Of course not. Of course not.
There was a lot of that poll that shows what he's got to do is juice the base and he's got to claim his share of independent voters. I mean, fundamentally what that poll shows is actually not a surprise, right? Which is our politics are incredibly divided and hyperpartisan. There aren't that many voters who are truly open to being persuaded.
And so, for the Biden campaign, what they've got to do is focus on energizing the base vote and taking that share of independent voters. And I think -- let's not forget they have a year to make that case and to do that.
TAPPER: And, also, lest we forget, Donald Trump is not yet the nominee. It is still kind of difficult to imagine him not getting the nomination, but it is still possible he will not. So far, the 91 indictments against the former president have not hurt his campaign, maybe even have helped.
If you were advising one of his rivals, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, whoever, what would you say? How can they get a leg up?
JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fortunately, I don't give a lot of advice to politicians. I try to keep my distance from them. I have the sort of same attitude that research scientists has towards lab animals. You just don't want to get too attached.
But you've got to stick them with the needle. I think the telling thing about this poll, I think Jim Messina, Kate, make a perfectly point that a year out is kind of crazy. I think the key thing about this poll is it's the battleground states.
GOLDBERG: And it reminded a whole bunch of people have been talking about how national polls don't matter, it's a year and all that kind of stuff, it reminded people of sort of like, it was the show me where on the dull 2016 hurt you, right? Because it reminded people it's the Electoral College that matters, not the general election.
TAPPER: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, yeah.
GOLDBERG: And the remarkable thing to me in the poll is just almost nothing to do with Trump gaining strength. Trump's -- Amy Walter points out that Trump's actual finish in the 2020 election is almost exactly the same as the findings in all these polls. His ceiling and his floor is unchanged. The people who voted for him are staying with him.
All the problems in this poll is because Biden is losing members of his own coalition. He's losing big chunks of his base. He's losing young people.
And I can make a really strong case that Trump can't win. I can also make a strong case why Biden can lose. And I think it's freaking people out.
In appeals to 2012 -- the Barack Obama stuff, I understand why people need to say that. You're talking about Donald Trump, you're talking about the guy with 91 indictments, right? And if Biden is this weak against this guy, I think a lot of people who turned Trump into an existential panic thing are like, oh, my gosh, Biden can lose to this guy.
BEDINGFIELD: But I almost note in sort of almost a perverse way, because he has certainly been participating in a civil trial, Donald Trump has actually been -- he's receded a little bit to the background over the last few months.
BEDINGFIELD: He hasn't been front and center, being Donald Trump, saying the most bombastic things that he says. I do think as the campaign starts to heat up and the Biden campaign has the opportunity to point to Trump and say, you know, this person is aggressively threatening to take away your rights and freedoms. I think that will have the benefit of hiring up the Biden base and drawing up that clear contrast which the Biden campaign hasn't had that much opportunity to do, in part because Trump isn't the nominee, as you pointed out, and also because he's sort of atypically quiet for Donald Trump.
TAPPER: Right, there aren't the contrast ads. I mean, I saw a lot of Muslim Americans and Arab Americans in Michigan talk about how disappointed they are with President Biden for his support for Israel. Nobody is running ads saying, remember he wants to --
BEDINGFIELD: The Muslim ban.
TAPPER: -- ban all Muslims from entering the country. So, maybe you don't like this, but it's that what.
TAPPER: Yesterday, "The Washington Post" reported, quote, Donald Trump and his allies have began mapping out specific plans for using the federal government to punish critics and opponents should he win the second terms with the former president, naming individuals he wants to investigate or prosecute. This is entirely credible. I mean, this -- Alyssa Farah was saying this before January 2021 that he was going to do this. GOLDBERG: Yes. Before you asked me about advice for his opponents. I
mean, one of the places you can go is to say -- DeSantis is doing this, simply say, hey, look, the Donald Trump who said he was going to rely on Federalist Society judges, no longer cares about constitutional conservative judges. He no longer cares about lawyers who will uphold the rule of law or any of that kind of stuff. He's now saying he wants loyalists and sycophants who are going to be out for retribution and little else.
The problem is I don't know how much that works on a Republican electorate that has changed its mind about what it wants from a Republican nominee.
TAPPER: Do you -- in your -- let me -- I'm going to sodium pentothal, beep, do you wish there was a younger candidate at the top of the Democratic ticket? Even if it's Joe Biden age 70, let's say?
TAPPER: Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom?
BEDINGFIELD: I don't because I have seen Joe Biden up close as president of the United States for two years. I worked in his White House for two years. I worked for him when he was vice president. I've watched him navigate incredibly difficult challenges. I believe that his experience and his wisdom are integral to the steady hand that he applies.
And, so, look, would anybody -- are you asking would I want my favorite candidate to have zero vulnerabilities? Well, sure, who wouldn't? Anybody would. I mean, Jonah, would you want your preferred candidate to have zero vulnerabilities?
TAPPER: He doesn't have a preferred candidate.
BEDINGFIELD: Of course, you would.
GOLDBERG: Mitch Daniels, yes. I want him --
BEDINGFIELD: There you go. Of course you would.
TAPPER: His vulnerability is he's not a candidate.
GOLDBERG: Yeah. Well, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln.
BEDINGFIELD: Of course, you would. But I have seen him up close. I have watched him serve as president of the United States. He's the right person for this moment, and he's the right person to take on this campaign.
TAPPER: Kate Bedingfield and Jonah Goldberg, thanks to both of you. I really appreciate it.
What about elected Democrats, do they share similar reservations about Biden in 2024, his handling on major issues, the economy, the border, a war between Israel and Hamas. A Democrat from a battleground state will join me next.
TAPPER: As former President Trump sparred with the judge in his civil trial and President Biden is struggling in the polls in battleground states, we turn now to Democratic Congressman Jared Moskowitz of Florida.
Congressman, thanks so much for being with us today.
So, we've now heard from a handful of Democrats, from David Axelrod to Congresswoman Jayapal, to obviously Dean Phillips, who's running against Biden in the primaries, all expressing concern about Biden's run in 2024, especially after the latest poll numbers. Do you share those concerns?
REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): I don't share those concerns. Now, look, I think we should look at the poll. We can get into the data and we can figure out how we need to improve our messaging because I do think we have a messaging issue in that we've got to continue to feed the beast every single, solitary day.
I mean, one of the things we learned is that Donald Trump was on TV a lot. He got a lot of interviews in the last election. And, because of that, people just saw him and got his name ID out. Not that Joe Biden doesn't have good name ID. But Trump is on TV every single solitary now, three times a day, four times a day sometimes, we're seeing it played over and over.
Joe Biden has to get out there and we've got to get our surrogates out there because we do have to message not just the young people. We have to explain what Donald Trump is going to do if he returns. I mean, I just read an article of the 18 things Donald Trump would do when he comes back, some of them are just outrageous, like starting to deport people, Muslim bans all over again. I mean, it's just absolute lunacy.
TAPPER: One of the key issues historically motivating voters is the economy, and while the numbers on jobs and spending, even inflation are much improved. More than half of this polled by "The New York Times"/Siena College says current economic conditions are poor. I mean, that's a threat to Democrats, especially to Biden.
MOSKOWITZ: It is, it is. We can't tell people the economy is good or things are getting better if they don't feel it. Go to the grocery store, food is more expensive. Gas is more expensive than they remember, even while it's coming down.
And so, these are things affecting people's lives. The rent is more expensive, right? Doing anything right now is more expensive because of inflation. This is still the period outside COVID when we saw things just skyrocket. They went up super quick and they're coming down much slower, right?
And we've got to explain to people all the things President Biden has done to help that along. Yeah, people still don't necessarily feel it. There's no doubt about that. We've got to talk to them.
TAPPER: Your fellow House Democrat, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is accusing Joe Biden, President Biden of supporting a genocide in Gaza. She said from the river to the sea, she tried to explain on Twitter what that call means. She's obviously Palestinian American.
She said, quote, from the river to the sea is an aspiration call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hate, unquote.
I know there are a lot of people who disagree that's what from the river to the sea means, given the fact that there are extremists, especially terrorists like Hamas who used that phrase to mean from the river to the sea, destroy Israel.
What's your view of what Congresswoman Tlaib is saying?
MOSKOWITZ: Well, first of all, we don't disagree. Some debates don't have two sides, from the river to the sea means the destruction of Israel and everyone who's on it, OK? Just like "Mein Kampf" is not a coloring book, and the final solution meant exactly what Hitler meant. From the river to the sea is calling for the entire destruction of an entire country. Period, full stop.
And so, look, the congresswoman has a First Amendment right. She can say whatever she wants. But at the same time Congress has the ability to express their displeasure with a fellow colleague of ours calling for the destruction of a country.
What if we had someone walking around saying France should be wiped off the map? I mean, we would think that's outrageous, but somehow, from the river to the sea is debatable. It is another ridiculous double standard when it comes to Israel.
TAPPER: She also said Biden is supporting a genocide in Gaza.
MOSKOWITZ: Well, listen, let's not be cavalier. There's a lot of suffering going on in Gaza. But if Israel wanted to commit a genocide, there would be 500,000 people who are dead, right? They have the military to do that is what I'm saying, right? But that's not the case.
Not only that, she's using numbers that are given to her by Hamas. By the way, Hamas also doesn't differentiate in the 10,000 people that they say have been killed there. They don't differentiate between Hamas fighters and civilians, they lump them all together, right?
And so, listen, there is absolutely tremendous suffering in Gaza. There is absolutely civilians that have been killed, and there have been kids that have caught in this. And that's Hamas' fault.
Hamas knew Israel would have an overwhelming response. Now, I support humanitarian aid. I support pauses to get the hostages out, but there can be no cease-fire with Hamas.
Instead, we should be calling for Hamas to surrender. How about that? How about we call for the terrorist organization to surrender instead of a country like Israel defending its people?
TAPPER: It sounds like you're contemplating supporting a censure resolution against her if there were one? I assume you voted against the one that Marjorie Taylor Greene.
MOSKOWITZ: Well, Marjorie Taylor Greene brought up a censure having to do with an insurrection. And let's not --
TAPPER: Of course, it wasn't an insurrection.
MOSKOWITZ: It was an insurrection and October 7th shouldn't be conflated with any other date on the calendar.
TAPPER: But if there were one more about what she said that I just read, that's something you would support?
MOSKOWITZ: If a censure comes on her misinformation on the hospital bombing which obviously we know was not true, that she continued to spread even after intelligence came out it wasn't true and on from the river to the sea, I would support that censure.
TAPPER: Congressman Jared Moskowitz, Democrat from Florida, thanks so much for being with us.
Today, the judge in Trump's civil fraud trial said Trump's legal team can plan to start presenting their defense one week from today. What Trump's team may be considering as they see how today played out. A former member of his legal team will join us right after the break. Thanks for joining us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Looking ahead to a big election day in America tomorrow.