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The Lead with Jake Tapper

3 Days Away From CNN's Presidential Debate; Two Years Since Supreme Court Overturned Roe V. Wade; Judge Cannon Appears Skeptical Of Gag Order For Trump; Biden: "Appalled" By Antisemitic Protest Turning Violent; Netanyahu: "Intense Phase" Of War With Hamas About To End. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 24, 2024 - 16:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Without teeth, which makes his tongue protrude, just right out there, right out from his mouth.


And Wild Thing's owner hopes that this victory is going to shine a light on the importance of getting your pets vaccinated.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: So important. Are we sure that that's a dog?


KEILAR: Oh, they're so cute ugly. What does that word?

SANCHEZ: I don't know. I hope no one uses it to describe me.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts in three seconds.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: Tough and nasty or nice and calm?

THE LEAD starts right now.

We're just three days away from the 2024 first general election presidential debate. It airs right here on CNN.

And former President Trump is taking his debate prep to the campaign trail, asking supporters what approach he should take on Thursday night. President Biden is preparing with his closest advisers behind closed doors over Camp David.

And it's been two years since the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe versus Wade, setting off fight in states over reproductive rights. We're taking a closer look at what has happened across the country since Roe fell.

Plus, the violent scenes out of Los Angeles as pro-Palestinian supporters descended upon a synagogue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood to protest the war in Gaza. Now, several lawmakers and President Biden's said the demonstration was antisemitic.


MATTINGLY: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Phil Mattingly, in for Jake Tapper.

And we start today with, of course, our 2024 lead because we are just three days away from the biggest event of this presidential election cycle so far. On Thursday night, right here on CNN, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will face off in their first debate, a matchup moderated by our own Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

Today, we're getting new details about how both candidates are preparing behind the scenes. But today also marks the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade. President Biden making it clear how he may go after Donald Trump on the issue of abortion in a new campaign video released just today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For MAGA Republicans, Roe is just the beginning. They're going to try to ban the right to choose nationwide. They're coming for IVF, and birth control next.

We're up extremism.


MATTINGLY: Well, Donald Trump, he previewed his potential response on the topic during the Faith and Freedom event over the weekend.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks to these justices, we have also achieved what the pro-life movement fought to get for 49 years and we've gotten abortion out of the federal government and back to the states.


MATTINGLY: We start things off with CNN's MJ Lee at the White House and CNN's Kristen Holmes down in West Palm Beach, Florida, near Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

MJ, I want to store with you because the president has holed up in Camp David with his closest advisers makes the building behind you a little quieter. Perhaps isn't normal.

What do we know about what's been happening behind the scenes?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, I think an undeniable feature of preparing to debate Donald Trump is preparing for the unpredictable. Trump himself, we saw over the weekend, teasing that question of which version of himself is going to show up on Thursday night, was he going to be nasty, or was he going to be calmer and let President Biden speak. And I think the truth is the Biden team has no idea which version of

Donald Trump is going to show up. And that is precisely why the team is trying to prepare the president for all possibilities, including as one senior adviser put it, the possibility of a very disciplined Donald Trump's showing up this adviser was saying that they basically see the Trump campaign so far this cycle as being a lot more disciplined than the last time around or even going back to 2016. And all that could translate to the president being a little bit more on message and restrain this time around, particularly when compared to the first time that Donald Trump and Joe Biden squared off in that debate in 2020 when the debate was really overtaken by the former president interrupting a name-calling and insults.

And I think all of this sort of makes for the best okay, drop of the mock debates that we expect the Biden team to engage in, in the next few days at Camp David, where aides have said really recreating the experience of going up against Donald Trump is a key feature of those exercises, including sort of capturing the relentless nature that Donald Trump can show.

And I think one of the most important issues that the Trump, the Biden team, excuse me, is preparing for is the issue of reproductive rights. And today on the two-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision, it's very clear that what the Biden team is preparing for the president to say on this issue, on the debate stage is really lay the blame for the overturning of Roe v. Wade squarely at Donald Trump's feet -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, a central focus of their campaign.

Kristen, it's been fascinating. Trumps allies for months, if not longer, have kind of framed the current president is doddering and borderline senile on some level, maybe in more aggressive terms.

Now though, his surrogates making very clear, they've -- they think he can debate.


What's going on here?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they couldn't have set the bar lower for President Joe Biden, then now, all of a sudden, there is an effort to try and backtrack some of that. You saw Governor Doug Burgum over the weekend talking about how Joe Biden has been running for election for decades that he knows how to debate.

You heard J.D. Vance on a podcast earlier today saying that the bar was set too low for President Biden, that anything that Donald Trump did, he'd have to really woo everybody in order to actually win. We've heard complaints about everything from the coverage to the moderators to essentially every possible scenario, saying that the system is essentially rigged against Donald Trump in boosting up President Biden, something that we have not heard for some time.

Just a reminder, it is President Trump himself or former president Trump himself who has been setting the bar so low for Biden, as you said, basically saying that he is competent now, we are hearing this from all of Trumps allies really trying to set the table here, saying that Biden is a great debater in some cases, hearing that this isn't going to not work out.

Now, Donald Trump himself, which Donald Trump is going to show up. You heard MJ saying they're preparing for any Donald Trump. Well, his senior divisors don't know which Donald Trump is going to show up.

I can tell you that they have been prepping him. They don't use the word prep. They say policy sessions -- to stay on message, to talk about the economy, to talk about immigration, those issues that he pulls ahead of Biden on.

But as anyone knows, Donald Trump himself is going to show up and be whichever version of Donald Trump he is that day, and anyone close to him who says they know that he'll stay on message or that he's going to be on the attack simply is not telling the truth because if you really get to the heart of the people well close to Donald Trump. They don't know who's going to show up on Thursday.

MATTINGLY: That is very true.

Kristen Holmes, MJ Lee, thank you, both.

Well, the two years since the Dobbs decision has drastically changed the landscape for many women seeking abortion and reproductive care in the U.S. Meg Tirrell takes a look back at some of the women and families CNN previously met and shows us just how much things have changed.


MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the two years since Roe v. Wade was overturned. We've crossed the country hearing from women and families about the transformation and access to reproductive health care.

DEBORAH DORBERT, COULDN'T GET AN ABORTION IN FLORIDA: I continue to feel this baby move and knowing that I'm going to give birth and watch my child pass.

TIRRELL: The effects of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision that overturned the constitutional right to abortion have stretched also to miscarriage care, as clinics have closed down, reducing access to lower cost procedures in critical moments for patients.

MARLENA STELL, HAD MISCARRIAGE IN TEXAS: I wanted to have that D&C. I didn't want to have to go through it at home knowing that it was going to be horrifying.

TIRRELL: And in vitro fertilization after a state Supreme Court decision temporarily threw Alabama's providers into legal limbo, by declaring that destroyed frozen embryos deserve protection under the states 1872 wrongful death of a minor act.

DR. JANET MCLAREN BOUKNIGHT, ALABAMA FERTILITY SPECIALIST: Now, there are so much uncertainty about the safety of growing embryos and storing embryos. Now, 14 states have near total bans on abortion, seven others restrict it between six and 18 weeks of pregnancy.

TIRRELL: And the landscape continues to change. We went inside an abortion clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, hours before six-week ban took effect, May 1st.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very scary that these laws are being put in the place, affecting not just local patients like Candace, who feared continuing a pregnancy would be risky to her health and requested anonymity, but also limiting access to care across the whole region.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This changes everything for the entire Southeast.

TIRRELL: Over the last two years, how has the number of abortions in the U.S. changed?

DR. ALISON NORRIS, PROFESSOR, DIV. OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, COLLEGES OF PUBLIC HEALTH & MEDICINE, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY: While we see that there were on average 8,000 fewer abortions each month across all of the states that ban or severely restricted abortion, nationally, the number is greater. Now, total number of abortions per month as compared to the pre-Dobbs period of time.

TIRRELL: States where abortion is legal, have tried to improve access and use of medication abortion via telehealth has increased as well. In the first of two abortion cases, that heard this term, the Supreme Court upheld access to medication abortion, but it hasn't yet ruled on whether hospitals states with abortion bans can provide emergency abortions to protect the health of the person who's pregnant.

DR. JULIE LYONS, FAMILY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Many of my patients are scared to be pregnant in Idaho.

TIRRELL: It stems from a challenge to Idaho's abortion law, one of the strictest in the country, a law that meant Jen and John Adkins said they had to travel more than 400 miles across state lines to get a procedure she needed and never wanted.

JENNIFER ADKINS, DENIED ABORTION IN IDAHO: I want it to be pregnant I wanted to have this baby, but she wasn't going to live and my health was at risk, too.


TIRRELL (on camera): And, Phil, the estimates are that more than 171,000 people have been in a similar situation to Jen and John have had to travel across state lines and did so in 2023 to access abortion. We've also heard that doctors have left states with strict abortion bans because it's so hard to practice medicine there.


So this is really he changing and its continuing to change as we saw with Florida, just in May, and we are expecting that second Supreme Court decision potentially as soon as this week -- Phil. MATTINGLY: Significant changes over 12 months.

Meg Tirrell, thanks so much.

And joining me now to discuss his Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene of Washington state. She's the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Congresswoman, thanks so much for your time.

I want to start with a policy issue before we can dig into the politics of abortion. You tweet today, quote, I'll keep fighting to restore and protect reproductive rights for all. Here's my question is, is the position right now for Democrats codification of Roe as it stood prior to Dobbs, or is it perhaps going further a more expansive push for say, the Women's Health Protection Act, which passed the House when Democrats last held the majority.

REP. SUZAN DELBENE (D-WA): We absolutely want to pass the Women's Health Protection Act and put back in place the protections from Roe. This decision, the Dobbs decision two years ago has been devastating and we have women all across the country feeling the impact of the dangerous decision that was made. It's endangering the lives, the health, and the well-being of women across the country and as you've shown, we see story after story after story of the impact. So we need to pass that legislation and put those protections back in place.

MATTINGLY: What do you say the former president has taken a position which he's repeated over and over is then very on message, which is not necessarily the norm for him when he cut -- when he says, look, yes, my Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade. However, we sent it back to the states. If you don't like the state you're in, you can move. Blue states can do a blue states want to do. Red states can do a red states wanted to.

Why is that not a valid position here?

DELBENE: Because that isn't the Republican position. The Republican position is to put in place a nationwide abortion ban. And they've been very clear about that. We've seen policy after policy after policy to take away reproductive rights even in blue states, to prevent people from getting access, even in blue states.

So this has been really devastating for women across the country and we should be very clear this is not just a state issue and even this week, were going to see in policy that comes on the floor with the defense funding bill, they're putting in policy writers to take away reproductive rights from service members.

So over and over again, just see what they do, their goals and nationwide abortion ban.

MATTINGLY: Can I ask you from a political perspective, obviously, this is a cornerstone of Democratic campaigns. It's cornerstone -- the issue and focusing on the issue as a cornerstone of the president's campaign as well. We went through this in 2022. There are a lot of Democrats who weren't

sure that that was exactly the issue they wanted everybody to focus on. It ended up being very effective for Democrats.

But if you've look at factors for people's votes now, we can pull up the poll. It shows the economy is clearly at the top, 82 percent, inflation at the top of everybody's mind, democracy, crime, border guns, all above, abortion.

Why do you think this will be an analog to 2022 and not a different moment for voters?

DELBENE: Because it's been on the ballot many times since 2022, and when abortion rights are on the ballot, people turn out to defend those rights, and Democrats win. We saw that, since November of 2022, we've seen elections in Kansas, in Virginia, in Ohio so in Wisconsin, even recently a state legislative race in Alabama where Democrat won, flipping that seat by 30 points after the Alabama Supreme Court took away protections for in vitro fertilization.

So it absolutely has been on the ballot and we have seen increase turnout because people want to protect reproductive freedom. And we know over 60 percent of voters across the country support abortion rights.


DELBENE: So this is an issue today, just as much as it was in November of 2022.

MATTINGLY: With all the time left, before I let you go, the NRCC outraised the DCCC which you run for the first time in the wake of Donald Trump's conviction. And I'm not saying onetime makes a trend or that that's going to be the way going forward.

Well, the big question is, do you think that that burst of donations after the conviction is something that Republicans can continue to poll over the course of the coming months. Are you concerned about their fundraising?

DELBENE: You know, we've had strong support. We've got raised the NRCC by over $40 this cycle. Folks are engaged, they care about making sure that we protect their rights, their freedoms, our democracy, and our future.

And so we're going to have the resources to compete across a country. We only need for more seats to take back the majority. We're going to take back those gavels and stand up for the American people.

MATTINGLY: Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, thanks so much for your time.


DELBENE: Thanks.

MATTINGLY: And coming up, the former president says he has a, quote, good chance of winning New York this November. I'll speak to a Republican who used to represent New York in Congress, asking whether Trump actually has a shot.

And brand new details of a key hearing in Judge Cannon's courtroom today. What that indicates about calls for a gag order on the former president. That's next.


MATTINGLY: Right now, down in Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon is deciding whether she will issue a gag order for former President Trump in his classified documents case. This one requested by prosecutors after Trump falsely claim the FBI tried to kill him in the raid on his Mar- a-Lago resort.

While earlier today, Trump's legal team tried to disqualify special counsel Jack Smith again by arguing he shouldn't be paid with federal funds.

Let's get straight to CNN's Evan Perez.

Evan, is there any indication at this point of how Judge Cannon might rule on the gag order specifically?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, just based on the arguments we just watched over the last hour, she's not inclined to grant this gag order from the former -- but by the prosecutors on the former president, at least not yet.


She's -- right now, this hearing is still ongoing. But she expressed a lot of skepticism about what the prosecutors are trying to sell.

And things got really got heated between prosecutor David Harbach and Judge Aileen Cannon. At one point, she told the prosecutor, I don't appreciate your tone and she said she wanted decorum in her courtroom and that if he couldn't provide that, then I'm sure one of them the other prosecutors could make this argument for her.

Part of her problem with what the government is asking for is she says that there are other ways for the government to accomplish what they're seeking, which is to protect some of the witnesses, some of the federal agents who carried out the search of Mar-a-Lago back in August of 2022, that's what concerns -- that's what the prosecutors are raising concerns over, and they're saying that the former president regularly, both about the impact of his words on his followers. And yet wants to have no consequence for what the actions of some of those threats are.

And so, at this stage, we were still hearing some of the arguments about these possible threats against federal agents, and we don't expect that Judge Aileen Cannon will rule from the bench, Phil.

MATTINGLY: All right. Evan Perez for us, thank you.

Joining us now for Republican congressman from New York, Lee Zeldin.

Congressman, appreciate your time. Also ran for governor, razor thin race, which I think surprised a lot of people for the state of New York.

I'll get to New York in a second, but you also, in terms of broader statewide, but you know, a lot of the Republicans in that state, in the house. It's why Republicans have a majority, however small it may be. A lot of them kind of rode your coattails on some degree, they may disagree with that.

I'm interested. Do you feel like the trial is a legal issues both the conviction, but also what's still going on with special counsel cases has an impact on those front-line Republicans?

LEE ZELDIN (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, NEW YORK: Well, I think that in New York, it's made President Trump spent a few weeks inside of this city. He ends up doing his rally in the South Bronx. He went to go visit the bodega where Jose Alba was attacked. This is the construction site in Lower Manhattan and had the rally in Wildwood, New Jersey.

I think his presence inside of the state being from the state, his numbers are a lot better than they were when he first ran in '16, first time running president, Biden in 2020. 2020, it was about a 23- point spread between Biden and Trump. All the polls are now showing mid to high single digit races. The voter registration numbers actually since the November 2022 race have continued to trend the right way.

Democratic registrations down over 100,000, Republican Party, conservative party, and non-affiliated voter registration is up. You have third-party candidates like Robert Kennedy Jr. and others who will be on the ballot, a different dynamic than 2020.

And new issues like -- for example, when I ran 2022, the crisis at the southern border wasn't a top issue for a lot of voters. And for a lot of voters now, it's their number one issue.

MATTINGLY: No, you should write a piece about -- oh, you did you wrote a piece for "New Yorker" (ph).

Can do you really think Trump can win New York?

ZELDIN: It's uphill. It's hard. I went through this myself is 19-month race. I had plenty of people who told me every step of the way there's no way that you can ever win New York. There's three-and-a-half million more Democrats than Republicans.

But the political Earth in places like New York or moving to the right. We're seeing inside New Jersey, Virginia, Minnesota, New Mexico. We -- there's a lot of time that gets spent on states like Wisconsin and Michigan, and Arizona, Nevada.

MATTINGLY: Right. ZELDIN: And there should be. But I would say that there are a lot of

other states where the political Earth has shifted right over the course of the last few months.

MATTINGLY: Given those dynamics that you're seeing, at least, you believe are there, what concerns you about the debate? What do you not want to see the former president do in a debate with Joe Biden on Thursday night even where you think the race sits?

ZELDIN: I know this is going to sound crazy, but I think there'll be people turning in who haven't yet made their mind up. They're actually going to be trying to figure out who to vote for. They're going to want --

MATTINGLY: Do you know any of these people?

ZELDIN: They have to be out there. And they're going to want substance and there are going to be questions that I'm sure we'll get asked about what's going on at the border and in the economy and inflation and national security and more. And it's going to be very crunched for time. We get two-minute answers, maybe a one-minute response, depending on who's the questions directed to and the key is to be able to speak to those folks who haven't made their mind up.

I have found and we experienced this in our race that there are disenfranchise Democratic voters out there who are willing to vote Republican, we earn their votes in 2022 with the Dominican community, with the Asian-American community.

MATTINGLY: But that's actually is my question, because the president -- the former president can be different and has different mentality depending on the circumstances of the occasion in which he's speaking, which was a long way of saying sometimes he's a little bit off the rails or a lot, and sometimes he can be more focused. We saw in the debates last cycle.

What -- is there a concern about one or the other of that kind of identity showing up?

ZELDIN: I think both President Trump and President Biden are going to show up ready. They're going to show up prepared. I think that they're going to be serious and focused. I mean, this is highest stakes as it gets. Maybe the stakes now are higher than they've ever been.


So, I would expect both presence to show prepared.

MATTINGLY: So not the first debate of last time, Donald Trump.

ZELDIN: Well, I think -- I think President Trump is ready to engage those -- both those voters. I think President Biden will -- President Biden has been through a lot of these debates. I think you'll be more alert than some people see him at other times. And President Trump, when asked these questions about say the border can talk about his time in office when he was building the border wall and remain in Mexico and title 42 and ending catch and release. And then President Biden comes in on day one and starts reversing those policies. President Trump wants to secure the border.

Now, what I just discussed was one example of opportunities to get in a substance. You don't want to waste time on anything else.

MATTINGLY: No. You make a great point. There's actually a lot of substantive policy issues contrast and differences.

And I know Jake and Dana are certainly really going to be focused on those. I think it's why people should definitely watch.

ZELDIN: Sure, I hope they will.

MATTINGLY: Appreciate your time. Certainly good to see you.

ZELDIN: Thanks. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Well, up next, a deep dive on everything you need to know about what we were just talking about Thursday debate, and the huge change the Trump camp is making this week just days out. Our panel joins me.



MATTINGLY: Continuing with our politics lead, we are just three days away from the biggest events so far in the race for the White House. President Biden, former President Trump are going to take the stage for the first presidential debate in Atlanta.

Let's bring in our panel of political voices to discuss.

Mike, I want to share with you because this is a race that has felt static for a very long period of time, always within the margin of error. I think Democrats feel like Biden campaign maybe starting to edge up a little bit right now, but it is still firmly within the margin of error. Who has more to lose on Thursday night?

MIKE LEON, HOST, "CAN WE PLEASE TALK?" PODCAST: What a good question. I wish if I knew the answer to that, Phil, we'd all be richer, right?

I think, to be honest with you, assessing this and talking to reporters that are going to be in the situation room and covering all of this after the debate and stuff like that, I think President Biden has the most to lose. And the reason I say that is because we know what Donald Trump is going to be. There's a reason why we've put these rules in place it's because of Donald Trump, because of what happened during the 2020 cycle, the muting of microphones and things like that.

We know what he is. We don't know what President Biden is going to be. This recent reporting earlier today here on CNN about preparing for different versions of Donald Trump and what he's going to talk about. We've seen sometimes campaign rallies.

So having said all of that, the person with the most to lose is President Biden because Donald Trump is always on the offensive.

I work in sports, boxing, styles make fights. Trump is a puncher. He's going to continue to punch, whether or not we agree with why he's punching or what he's saying during that punch, we know that he's going to continue to punch and President Biden right now, we need to figure out what he's going to answer with policy-wise. And you're going to get distracted by the muting of the microphone when his opponent is saying something in response.

MATTINGLY: Your take on that?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I disagree, but for different reasons. I disagree because if Trump loses the debate then he will definitely lose this election. I think he's going to lose the election.

MATTINGLY: Do you think it's all --

CARDONA: But if he loses the debate and then loses the election, he's going to prison so I think I've always thought that the only reason that Trump is running is to stay out of prison. And so this debate literally hangs his whole future, hangs on this debate. Donald Trumps whole future hangs on this debate.

And you're right. I think that we all know the unhinged crazy, delirious Donald Trump that might show up. But that might not be the Donald Trump that shows up. So President Biden, the way that they are prepping him is -- and we've heard this before -- they're prepping him for whatever shows up but they also need to understand that its president Biden that needs to be on offense. He cant just sit there and say, oh, well, let me see which Donald Trump shows up and then I'll react because that puts Donald Trump in the drivers seat.

I think President Biden will go in there. He is very clear on the kinds of messages that he wants to communicate. How big of a threat Donald Trump is an existential threat to every single thing this country holds dear and he's got all of the evidence to back that up, and I actually think what he says can needle Donald Trump into acting in terms of the unhinged way that he does, that will lose exactly the kinds of voters that he will need in order to win.

MATTINGLY: Well, I certainly think that's probably part of the prep at Camp David, is trying to figure out what that would be.

What I'm interested, we have seen a tonal shift from Trump advisers and surrogates over the course of the last couple of days that the Joe Biden could definitely debate, the bar was too low. He's been through a lot of these. He knows how to do it former.

President Trump, I think put on truth social shortly after the debate was agreed to, crooked Joe Biden is the worst debater I've ever faced. He can't put two sentences together. That's kind of a head snapping pendulum back-and-forth two, which is it?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP/PENCE CAMPAIGN: Listen, I didn't think they expected a success they expected by lowering the bar so easily for Joe Biden and everybody assumed that him walking to the stage would be success. And there's sort of recognition that that was a mistake. And now they're going to have the policy discussion.

And you're right. I mean, I think the challenge in my view is going to be the challenges on Joe Biden. He has to reconstruct his COVID coalition that doesn't care about COVID today, but they now care about inflation. And for the last 36 months, Joe has had a target in inflation at 2 percent and he has failed to hit that target.

So in sport down analogy, we're talking, that's a goose egg. So he's been a goose egg for 36 months and hitting the number one target of voters care about, I welcome a debate about the economy. I welcome the debate about immigration. These are areas that the Joe Biden coalition is sort of moving away from him because he's failed to achieve those goals or his goals have been too liberal.

Remember he ran as a moderate and now he's running as a full-pledge liberal brace progressive. And that's just out of tune with the American --


MATTINGLY: Yeah, I think some liberal progressive would take issue with your framing of that.

CARDONA: That is not true.

MATTINGLY: But I do have the question, though. It is a pretty dramatic shift. You can't lay the groundwork for this guy, can't put two sentences together for the better part of each year.


LANZA: So we just did. We just did. We have the conversation.

CARDONA: They're acknowledging it's a mistake.

LANZA: Yeah, listen, I'm acknowledging that nobody recognize how easy it was going to be to show the bar so low for Joe Biden, everybody believes that he's getting lost on stage. He can't find the door. He's misspeak, they can't get the elevator.


So sort of highlighting that is a cognitive issue for the course of the campaign, but it's not necessarily cognitive issue for the debate. I mean, Joe Biden can put together three sentences. We saw the State of the Union, but I don't think that's going to be determinative figure of Joe wins this debate.

What he wins in the debate, it's going to be on moments like this. And how does Joe Biden respond to Trump challenging him on inflation, challenging potentially on his son, challenging immigration. All three of those things have been a failure for three-and-a-half years. And Joe Biden still doesn't have an answer and he'll pivot to something at this point.

CARDONA: Look, he's got great answers. He's got great answers on the economy. Inflation is going down. People are feeling better.

Economists have said that if the Donald Trump policies are actually enacted inflation will shoot up. Families will have a lot more cost to deal with.

So Joe Biden is happy to talk about your the economy.

LANZA: Zero --

CARDONA: He's also happy to talk about immigration because what the last couple of months have shown is that Donald Trump and Republicans have zero interest in solving the issue of immigration. They only want to weaponize it especially when they turn their back on the Senate bill that their own conservative senators had negotiated.

And so therefore, President Biden has shown that he knows and Democrats have known for quite some time how to fix immigration. And that is the common sense balanced approach of strong border security, in addition to standard legal pathways which is what a majority of Americans want.

MATTINGLY: Real quick.

LANZA: I would say the challenge we have is that Joe Biden actually started this fire on the border. He reversed the policy --

CARDONA: That's not true --

LANZA: I let you speak some, please let me finish. So he reversed those 94 executive order policies that they're required -- the result in the flood coming in. He reversed the public charge. He is now giving benefits to illegal.

Those are things that are drawing people toward the border. Joe Biden broke it. So in my view, and arsonist who starts to fire can't put it out. I just don't trust Joe Biden to put it out.

LEON: If they have nuanced conversations like this on Thursday, are we really going to talk about the actual crisis at the border, which is that the system is flooded and the system needs revamping.

CARDONA: That's exactly right.

LEON: I don't think we're going to have that on Thursday. I hope that that's the takeaway, Phil, but I don't think we're going to having it, given these two men and what we saw in 2020.

MATTINGLY: We'll see. I know the moderators are going to try. We're all -- people deserve it at this point. There's no question about it.

Thank you guys very much.

CARDONA: Thank you, Phil. MATTINGLY: Coming up, shocking violence at protests outside a Los Angeles synagogue over the weekend. Now, a lot of high-ranking officials are blasting the protest as antisemitic. We're going to show you the frightening moments next.



MATTINGLY: In our national lead, a pro-Palestinian protest outside a Los Angeles synagogue devolved into chaotic street violence over the weekend. President Biden saying today, quote, intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable antisemitic, not American,

Nick Watt reports.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scuffles in the street of a largely Jewish neighborhood Sunday after a pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the synagogue, swiftly met by a counter- protesters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've come to our home. They come attacking us.

WATT: The Jews of Los Angeles are no longer safe claims, claims the United Jewish Coalition, a pro-Israel group.

PROTESTERS: Intifada, intifada. Long live intifada.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say things like intifada revolution. They're talking about killing people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone give me --

WATT: Unclear who started the violence.

A real estate fair at the Adas Torah Synagogue staged by an agency that markets property in Israel appears to have been the focus of protests. The temple's director of security says the synagogue rented out the space, but had no affiliation with the real estate event.

Some counter-protesters did taunt the pro-Palestinian protesters with this --

PROTESTERS: Real estate in Gaza!

WATT: Since the Hamas terror attacks of October 7 and the subsequent Israeli assault on Gaza, antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents are on the rise across the country. And there have been countless pro- Palestinian protests on city streets, on college campuses. Some vines headland, but very few outside a house of worship with claims that the entrance to the synagogue was blocked.

L.A. Mayor Karen Bass called this violence abhorrent. President Joe Biden tweeted intimidating: Jewish congruence is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic and un-American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that Jewish people would go in front of the mosque or Christian people going in front to the mosque, do such a thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It mean to be intimidated. Yeah, disrupted you. I'm sure. This is intimidating.

WATT: Jews say they feel intimidated here, where they live.


WATT (on camera): Now, someone from the synagogue told us that they did warn the LAPD. They had hoped to keep the pro-Palestinian protesters on the other side of the street rather than on this sidewalk right outside the synagogue.

Eventually, the LAPD did dispatched dozens of officers. There was one arrest and Mayor Karen Bass says that there are now stepped up patrols around this neighborhood and also around houses of worship elsewhere in Los Angeles.

She says that anybody found responsible for antisemitism and or violence will be found and held accountable -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Phil, Nick Watt for us, thank you.

We want to show you a Russian synagogue, you can see it right here, engulfed in flames. Part of what officials are calling a coordinated attack that ended in at least 15 dead police officers, a priest killed after an attacker slit his throat, and several others murdered in Russia's Dagestan province on Sunday night. That's according to reports.

The attackers seemed to target places of worship in the mostly Muslim southern region of Russia, which is also home to a small Christian minority and even smaller Jewish population. The terrorist group ISIS- K praised the attack but stopped short of claiming credit.


Well, coming up, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says its intense phase of the war with -- in Gaza is about to come to an end. So what does life been like for civilians in Gaza? We're going to take closer look, next.


MATTINGLY: In our world lead, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview yesterday that Israel will continue to operate in Gaza until Hamas is eliminated, but said the, quote, intense phase of the war with Hamas is about to end. This after months of bombing in Gaza in the wake of Hamas's terror attack on Israel on October 7th.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh met with one young woman whose losses are incomprehensible.


A warning, some of the images you're about to see a graphic and disturbing.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): War is forever imprinted on Roba's face, even here in the safety of Qatar, far from the conflict. She avoids people and going out, still haunted by what she survived.

This scene of carnage, it was a horror we uncovered earlier this year.

The Israeli military attacked this warehouse in central Gaza where Roba and her family were sheltering.

When our cameraman met her in the hospital in January, she was seriously injured and in shock, struggling to tell her story.

ROBA ABU JIBBA, SURVIVOR OF ISRAELI ATTACK ON GAZA (Interpreted): They are all gone. I have no one left.

KARADSHEH: She would become the heart of a CNN investigation, an example documenting how Israel is conducting the war in Gaza, revealing how indiscriminate Israeli fire killed displaced civilians, including half of Roba's family.

But, with access to Gaza restricted, we never met Roba in person until this spring.


KARADSHEH: Following our report, the Qatari government flew her on this military transport plane to Doha for treatment.

JIBBA (Interpreted): For my mother and my remaining siblings, I tell them, I'm fine, thank God. There's nothing wrong with me. And I'm strong.

KARADSHEH: She and her family went through the unimaginable in that Gaza warehouse. They've taken refuge there in November following Israel's directive to evacuate south. Residents said that in the early hours of January 4th, they heard what they called resistance fire in the area, though denied, there were militants where civilians were sheltering.

The Israeli military told us that after coming under fire from the warehouse, they carried out a quote "precise strike". Experts told us that strike was likely a massive 2,000-pound bomb dropped with no prior warning to Roba's family and other civilians. Roba was trapped for days, bleeding, surrounded by the lifeless bodies of her five siblings. The youngest was 10-year-old Azain (ph).

JIBBA (Interpreted): I blame the people -- and Hamas -- and this situation, because we were living normally in the warehouse for a month. If it weren't for those who fired the mortar, the incident wouldn't have happened. We didn't even want to stay in the warehouse, but the bastards (Israelis) made us stay there. I blame them (Israelis) for killing the children. They spared no one.

KARADSHEH: The once outgoing 19-year-old has been left shattered inside and out, still grappling with seemingly endless pain and loss, not just her family, even the new love she found.

JIBBA (Interpreted): After losing my family, my five dear siblings, I found someone to fill that void. Then I lost him too. We were going to get married. He was killed. He supported and stood by me. He was killed seven days before I came here.

KARADSHEH: That young man, Muhammad, she says, was out looking for firewood and was killed in Israeli strike.

JIBBA (Interpreted): People would say, "How could you marry her, she was injured in her eye and body?" He would say, "I don't care about here body." I care about what's in her heart.

KARADSHEH: But, it is her body, the physical scars that are constant reminder of that horrific night. Roba came to Qatar hoping for a prosthetic eye, a shroud for her anguish.

JIBBA (Interpreted): I want my face to look like it did before, when I was normal. I know it would be a big difference. I won't see with that eye again, but at least it would look the same.

KARADSHEH: We joined her for this doctor's appointment. She was expecting to get a date for the surgery. But, instead, it was crushing news. The doctor tells Roba and her aunt that reconstructive surgery is not available in Qatar. Slowly, the bad news begins to sink in.


JIBBA (Interpreted): I've had enough. I've had enough.


KARADSHEH: She can barely stand. No words can comfort her. She tries to shield herself as she'd likely did that night, reliving the trauma, reliving a nightmare that just won't end.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Doha.


MATTINGLY: Our thanks to Jomana for that incredibly powerful piece.

Coming up, NASA calls off a spacewalk just hours before it's supposed to happen. We're going to tell you the reason for that last-minute cancellation.



MATTINGLY: Time for our last lead, some deflating news, literally. The space suit of a NASA astronaut's sprung a leak today, which abruptly canceled a plan spacewalk outside the international space station. This is the second zero gravity stroll recently called off due to astronaut wardrobe malfunctions.

Meanwhile, the two person crew of the Boeing Starliner capsule still stuck at the ISS. They were supposed to be home two weeks ago, but engineers are working to fix helium leaks in the capsule.

Also today, the cargo ship that caused Baltimore's deadly bridge collapse back in March has finally left Baltimore waters. The Dali is now in Norfolk, Virginia for repairs. This after eight of the 21 crew workers are now back home after a laundry list of issues kept them stuck on the boat for months.

And we are just three days away until the biggest event yet of the 2024 race, the first general election presidential debate, right here on CNN. Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, they moderate. Watch it live Thursday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN and streaming on Max.

The news continues on CNN with wo -- Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".