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The Lead with Jake Tapper

First Trump Rally After CNN Presidential Debate; Biden Tries To Reassure Voters: "I Know How To Do This Job"; Some Democrats Struggle To Answer For Biden's Debate Performance; Supreme Court Limits Obstruction Charges Against January 6 Rioters. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 28, 2024 - 16:00   ET


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Him defend his atrocious record, it's not defensible. I don't care who you were, you could be the late great Clarence Darrow.


Has anyone ever heard of Clarence Darrow? He was known as quite a good debater not as good as your governor, but that's okay.

Hello, Governor. I cant miss this guy in the graph. But his son is much better looking than him.

Joe Biden's problem is not his age. It's not his -- anything really. It's got no problem other than it's his competence. He is grossly incompetent.

You know, they keep saying olds. I know people that are much older than him that are doing unbelievable things, making a fortune. I knew a man that's 79. He was never a success and he made a billion, billion and a half dollars from 79 to 92.

And that's what it is. It's not his age. It's his competence. He's not respected anywhere in the world. Our country is being laughed at all over the world.

Biden is using the weaponization of his Justice Department, the FBI, local district attorneys, and attorneys general, to try and win an election against his political opponent. That happens to be me, you know who I am -- something that actually was unthinkable in our nation. But which is very common in third world countries or in banana republics.

That's what he's doing. He's using law enforcement to try and hurt his political opponent. Every one of those things last night, you saw that, was all started by this guy, this crooked guy. And not only crooked, I mean, just so bad in so many ways, he's killing our country.

He's incapable of winning based on as far left policies of open borders, massive tax increases. The green news scam, that's a windmill on every corner, most of which don't work, and things like putting men in women sports -- really not a great idea. As every American saw firsthand last night, this election is a choice

between strength and weakness, competence and incompetence, peace and prosperity, or war or no war. They'd like a war. They love wars. You know, they love killing people. It's so wonderful.

You know, I'm the only president in many, many decades that didn't start a war. I finished one. I beat ISIS in record time.

As soon as I left, we had the situation where Russia went into Ukraine. They would have never done that and where Israel's attack and then we had inflation and then we had that horrible, horrible event that took place in Afghanistan, the worst I think the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country and it's a choice though, between a president who puts America first or a train wreck who puts America last, they put America last, actually the Democrats put America last, you take a look at that.

Look at a guy like Senator Schumer. I've always known him. I've known him a long time. I come from New York. I knew Schumer.

He's become a Palestinian. He's a Palestinian now. Congratulations.

He was very loyal to Israel and to the Jewish people. He is Jewish, but he's become a Palestinian because they have a couple of more votes or something. Nobody's quite figured it today.

A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for failure, surrender, and disaster for our country. A vote for your all-time favorite president, President Donald j. Trump --


Is a vote for stopping Joe Biden's inflation.

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

You've been listening to former President Donald Trump speaking in Chesapeake, Virginia. That is his first campaign events since last night's CNN debate against President Joe Biden. Trump directly addressing that face off at the very beginning of his remarks, attacking Biden and calling this an election between strength and weakness.

I want to go straight to CNN's Kristen Holmes, who is there.

What have you noticed? We've heard from campaign advisors throughout the course of the day, obviously pretty happy with what happened last night. What sticks out to you just from the top of that speech?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So they were just happy. I mean, they've been downright giddy about the results of the debate last night.

What was interesting to me is that so far, Donald Trump has really stayed away from those blatant personal attacks, particularly about Joe Biden's age. In fact, he said that he had read that there, that this hadn't been about age. The debate had been about age, but it was just about incompetence, something he says, often.

So, let's just go to the beginning think of what he said. He asked the crowd if they had watched the debate. He said that he had victory last night. He said the fact that Joe Biden had made the rules, obviously, the rules were agreed to by both sides. He said it was been format that he wanted, also agreed to by both sides.

And then he spent a week at Camp David, but still couldn't define his record.


I thought that was an interesting way of putting it because, Phil, I have heard many of his allies and donors. And so, they want him to make a victory lap, but they didn't want him to hone on these personal attacks particular about Joe Biden's age. And it seems as though some of that is what's happening right now.

Donald Trump is not just attacking him on his personal demeanor, he is attacking him over his, quote/unquote, record. The reason why, of course, I'm saying 'quote/unquote", is that not everything Donald Trump is defining here is accurate, but it is interesting to hear him talk about this.

Now, he did bring up the fact that that Biden was older. One of the things that I have been told by a number of people close to Donald Trump is that he himself was very sensitive about talking about Biden's age for two key reasons. One, he's not much younger. He understands that linking Biden's age to any kind of behavior could be linked to him, but the other part of this that Donald Trump has a lot of very wealthy donors who are much older than Joe Biden. He doesn't want to alienate them either.

Now, right now, Donald Trump is staying on message. He is talking about his record. He is saying all of the things that he said last night when he was in that debates setting. Again, this is what I heard from allies that they wanted to hear from him today.

Of course, we will be watching here, waiting to see if he says anything else, but he has moved on to Joe Biden's record while in office, talking here today at this first campaign events since that debate last night.

MATTINGLY: All right. Kristen Holmes for us, the first major event for the former president since the big debate.

I want to go straight to CNN fact checker, Daniel Dale.

Daniel, again, we just listened to the top. I could pick out a couple of things, I know you could as well after last night, where I think there were more than 30 things the former president said that were factually inaccurate, or just outright lies. What did you hear so far?

DANIEL DALE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Yeah. We're still at the top. He's still on prompter, so not much yet. But he did repeat the false claims he made pretty much every day outside that courtroom in Manhattan. He made it again last night. He said Biden is behind all of his legal cases, that Biden is weaponizing DOJ, law enforcement, to try to win an election.

No evidence for any of this. Two of the four prosecutions against Trump were brought by local district attorneys who don't even report to the federal government. The other two brought by, of course, a federal special counsel, no evidence Biden has had any contact with a special counsel, any personal role in bringing or running those cases. All four indictments were approved by grand juries of ordinary citizens.

So this is something we hear pretty much every rally, pretty much every event from Donald Trump. And there's no evidence for it whatsoever.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, it's important to point out every time that that's actually the case, not what the former president is saying, but what you're saying, Daniel Dale. Thanks so much.

I do want to also note just because off-script moment saying Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, was a Palestinian. One, I'm not sure that that's necessarily should be viewed as a pejorative, but Chuck Schumer is not Palestinian. He is in New Yorker. He is one of the strongest supporters of Israel and the Democratic Caucus to the point where many pro-Palestinian members, or advocates have often run up against him.

So why Trump went that way, I don't think that was in the script.

President Biden, also on the campaign trail today. We're going to hear from him just this our again, in New York City. And this afternoon, the president very clearly trying to reset the narrative at a North Carolina event, where he acknowledged his poor debate performance and tried to reassure his supporters that he's up for another four years.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't walk as easy as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly that I used to. I don't debate as well as I used to. Well, I know what I do know. I know how to tell the truth.


I know, I know, I know right from wrong. I know how to do this job. I know how to get things done. I know like millions of Americans know, when you get knocked down, you get back out.


MATTINGLY: CNN's Arlette Saenz has new reaction to the debate, including comments from former President Barack Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BIDEN: You get knocked down, you get back up.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Joe Biden in North Carolina, looking for a reset after a halting debate performance against former President Donald Trump.

BIDEN: I know I'm not a young man, to state the obvious. I don't debate as well as I used to. Well, I know what I do know, I know how to tell the truth.

SAENZ: On the campaign trail, the president fiery in his attacks against his rival.

BIDEN: Donald Trump will destroy our democracy, I will defend it.

SAENZ: A stark contrast from Biden's time at CNN's presidential debate, which has sent Biden's advisers scrambling behind the scenes to calm Democratic panic after moments like this.

BIDEN: Making sure that were able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with -- with the COVID, excuse me, with -- dealing with everything we have to do with -- look -- if -- we finally beat Medicare.


TRUMP: Well, he's right. He did beat Medicare, beat it to death.

SAENZ: Donald Trump seizing on Biden's struggles.

TRUMP: I really don't know what he said at the end of their sentence. I don't think he knows what he said either.

SAENZ: Even as he made multiple false claims and hedge, yet again, when asked directly if he would accept the results of this year's election.

TRUMP: If it's a fair and legal and good election -- absolutely. I would have much rather accepted these, but the fraud.

BIDEN: I doubt whether you'll accept it because you're such a whiner.

SAENZ: But those moments overshadowed by Biden's demeanor and delivery.

Midway through the debate, aides explaining his hoarse voice the result of a cold. And now the campaign facing questions about what comes next for the 81-year-old president.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Are they going to stick by him or are they going to come with pitchforks?

SAENZ: Despite the slip-ups, many top Democrats defending Biden.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. There was a slow start, but it was a strong finish. This election, and who is the president of the united so it has to be about substance. And the contrast is clear.

SAENZ: Former President Barack Obama writing bad debate nights happen, trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life, and someone who only cares about himself.

But in private, some Democrats are less assured, questioning whether Biden should remain at the top of the ticket.

Biden's team spent part of the day calling donors and lawmakers trying to ease concerns, when adviser telling CNN, quote: We are in a dark place, but we're moving forward.

That path forward is ultimately up to Biden himself who so far has shown no signs of backing down.

BIDEN: I'm giving my words as a Biden, I would not be running again if I didn't believe with all my heart and soul, I can do this job.


SAENZ (on camera): Now, President Biden is set to continue his campaign swing here in New York City, where in the next hour he is expected to appear at the Stonewall Inn, a historic sites of the gay rights movement.

He is also set to attend a fundraiser with supporters from the LGBTQ community.

One thing the Biden campaign is trying to tell today is the fundraising haul that they brought in around this debate. They -- campaign officials say they raised $14 million on debate day and this morning. So we will see what other types of announcements they could potentially have relating to this evening's fundraisers.

But there will be questions going forward within the Democratic Party of what support for President Biden will look like going forward, whether it's in the donor class, whether it's with lawmakers, allies of the presidents, and ultimately, it will be a decision that is left to the voters, making these next few days and weeks incredibly consequential for President Biden as he's looking to try to present himself as a steady leader to offer the type of course correction to last night's debate.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, this feels like day one of a long climb back.

Arlette Saenz, thanks so much.

I want to discuss now with our panel.

Ashley, I want to go straight to you because I think it's been a journey for Democrats today where they were last night, which was the sky was falling and considerations of okay, how do we potentially find another candidate here which id never thought we would get back to that place after we seem to have left it. To be very clear, the only person who can make that decision is Joe

Biden. He has the delegates, 98 percent of them, I think. What are you -- what are your text chains look like right now?


Well, I think there's different components of the Democratic Party. So, can I break it down a little bit? I think there are like the DNC delegates. And they're like, look, this is our guy. We're going to show up and we're going to nominate him in Chicago. And we're going to ride with him through the end.

And the criticism isn't really falling well in that camp. And it shouldn't actually. You should stand up and support your person. So I agree with that.

I think there's other people who vote Democratic, but are identified as progressive. They, -- I'm also not hearing from them saying it's time to turn the page they are asking themselves, what do we do now to ensure we preserve democracy.

People are still very clear what the choices. Last night, I was with a group of 300 Black voters in Atlanta. And nobody left that event. It was a debate watch party. Nobody left that event saying, I'm not voting for Joe Biden.


ALLISON: There were moments in the debate when they did share.


ALLISON: There were moments in the debate when they're like, that's a rough one, you know? They were very honest.

And so, I think what people were deciding right now is how do we win in November? Because we know we have control over certain things, how we engage with voters. We don't have control over the candidate and whether or not he stays in there.

BORGER: Yeah. And the -- and the -- I was talking with a very plugged in Democrat today who said to me, look, the only person who can decide not to run his Joe Biden and he would be influenced by Jill Biden, by Val, you know, his sister and by Ted Kaufman, his best friend in Delaware.


And none of those people are going to say to him you shouldn't run. And so, what we just saw today was the reset. And the question is, how long does he keep that up for? How can he keep that up?

And will people believe it or will they go back to what they saw last night, which was someone who was halting, who didn't have much of a voice, who got confused? That was very difficult for people who were Biden supporters to watch.

MATTINGLY: You know, Matt, to that point -- Gloria makes a really interest point because your eyes aren't lying to you, that -- you saw a different person in North Carolina. You saw a different person at his event after the debate last night, than you saw during the debate. If you're his team, if you're Democrats, if you're all the lawmakers who are texting everybody on background, emojis and F bombs, but won't actually go on the record and say it --


MATTINGLY: --how do you change course here?

GORMAN: I mean, it's just a surprise for anybody? I mean, like we all have eyes, we all ears. And if you've been paying any reasonable amount of tension -- attention, you're not surprised by what you saw last night. I mean, this has been three-and-a-half years in the making and Democrats in a lot of ways of kind of try to push it aside. They tamped down a lot the criticism.

Remember? Everyone when "Wall Street Journal" came out with an article about two weeks ago and they act like it was just completely made up, Democrats, actually it was completely made up, and what was born out on stage.

And I guess is the bar that low that reading a stump speech off a teleprompter in the middle the afternoon and a roomful of supporters is now the bar he has to clear. It's just incredibly low now.

BORGER: I was surprised by last night. I had never seen Biden that way. I have seen him in debates. We saw him at the State of the Union, which, you know, admittedly was a teleprompter, but he had some moments there that were off script, and I had never seen him as rattled, let me put it that way in a debate as I saw him last night.

It seemed as if he just wasn't on his game when he said we finally beat Medicare, I had no idea what he was talking about. And I think he was confused and that I haven't seen that.

MATTINGLY: Go ahead, no, no, no.

BORGER: No, I just -- I've never seen that.

ALLISON: No, I was surprised with the performance. I didn't ever think I was going to get Oscar winning performance from Joe Biden. Trump, perhaps, but not Joe Biden.

The thing though is I think some of the rules that folks thought would play to Biden's favor did not.

BORGER: Right.

MATTINGLY: That's an important point.

ALLISON: I think the absence of the crowd actually hurt Joe Biden and that he could have fed off of folks and got encouragement by seeing people. He is a people person. Trump doesn't need anybody to feed his ego. He feeds it himself.

The other thing though is just lied throughout that entire debate. He said many, many things that were not true, and it would have taken the entire debate to fact check him that whole time.

GORMAN: Well, there was a fact checker on stage. He's wearing a blue tie and was president of the United States. He was eight feet away. If he had something to say, he should have said it. I mean, you could make his own case, let alone trying to say encyclopedia Britannica against Donald.

BORGER: Well, he said, you're lying.


GORMAN: That's what debates are for.

MATTINGLY: You worked for a candidate who -- Trump did not debate him.


MATTINGLY: Because Donald Trump didn't participate in Republican primary debates.

But if your candidate was going up against Donald Trump, what's your advice on that front? Because to Ashley's point, when he's thrown out 15 in a row in his two minutes and Biden said his second, I got to try grip 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then he gets caught up.

GORMAN: One thing that Biden did not do it all in any way, tried to rattle him. It did. It didn't work at all.

And to be fair to Trump, Trump didn't take any of the bait.

ALLISON: I was surprised. I was surprised that we two different people last night, Donald Trump was the best -- most well-behaved form of Donald Trump I've ever seen before in my life. And Joe Biden probably had one of the worst performances last night that we've seen in or at least with --

MATTINGLY: With one exception, golf handicaps, that was the one that kind of -- all right, we got a lot more.

BORGER: He did call him a liar a lot.

ALLISON: He did -- he did as he should have.

MATTINGLY: All right. We have a lot -- a lot more to get to guys. Stick around.

A loyal Trump supporter and potential running mate weighs in on the debate, up next.

Plus, how members of Congress are responding to how Biden and Trump showed up on stage last night.

Stay with us.



MATTINGLY: While former President Trump's debate performance last night appeared much stronger than President Biden's, it does not take away the lies or false claims Trump repeatedly told. I want to bring in potential Trump vice presidential pick, former Housing and Urban Development secretary, Dr. Ben Carson.

Dr. Carson, appreciate your time.

I want to start with a couple of issues that either the president didn't answer or just wanted some clarification on and get your sense of things. The former president dodged the question three times about whether he would accept November's election results. Here's one of them.


TRUMP: If it's a fair and legal and good election, absolutely. I would have much rather accepted these. But the fraud and everything else was ridiculous.


MATTINGLY: And we will once again remind people, there's no evidence of 2020 election was rigged, fraudulent, or illegal.

I guess, Dr. Carson, why -- what's the purpose of sowing doubt about the integrity of elections when presumably he's going to want to see the results in November?

DR. BEN CARSON, FORMER HUD SECRETARY: Well, it's a good question and as I'm sure you know, ever since 2020 -- or 2000, the vote in 2000, every election has been questioned by the side but loses. And what that says is we need and much more transparent system.

MATTINGLY: Right, every election, those losers have also conceded at some point and everybody is accepted what actually happened that obviously it was very much not the case, and then there was an insurrection and federal indictments.

There was also another comment that the former president made moves, asked what he'd say to Back voters who are disappointed with the progress so far. The campaigns clearly made this a focus. They believe if they've made some inroads, pulling seems to back that up. Take a listen.


TRUMP: The millions of people that he's allowed to come in through the border, they're taking Black jobs now, and it could be 18, it could be 19, and even 20 million people, they're taking Black jobs and they're taking Hispanic jobs. (END VIDEO CLIP)


MATTINGLY: There are issues there in the sense that Black unemployment right now is the lowest that has been in history. There are certainly economic concerns the Black community, while not a monolith, may have. But I guess my question for you is, do you know what a Black job is?

CARSON: Well, I know what he was talking about. He's talking about people at the lower end of the economic scale. And at those frequently unskilled jobs are taken by people who come in here illegally, making them unavailable for our people. That's basically what he's saying. And probably could have been phrased in a better way.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, that's what's going to ask me, especially as somebody who was as accomplished and successful as a professional career, as you've had, it seems to generalize in a way that I would think would be somewhat offensive.

CARSON: You know, what we really have to do is stark not picking apart what people say, but actually asking what is the meaning of what they're saying. And that's become a problem on all sides. People reading too much into it, and not just looking at what someone is doing.

You know, I was glad we had the debate last night, because so many people take their news only from one source, from a source that they agree with philosophically. People need to hear other sides and people need to begin to understand that just because somebody is in disagreement with you, doesn't make them your enemy.

MATTINGLY: When you want -- you have a close relationship with the former president, you were once opponents on the campaign trail. You served in his cabinet. He speaks very highly of you.

It is a matter of fact that there were a lot of things that the foreign president said last night that just simply weren't true. And I think sometimes that rubs voters the wrong way, include some of the voters, the former president may be targeting may need to win in November, including this voter for Michigan. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm looking for somebody that I trust to be able to uphold policies that will protect me and are more concerned for the general well-being of everybody in the United States, which I got more from Biden.

From Trump, all I really heard was I've done this and it was the best ever, but I never heard what it was.


MATTINGLY: And I think from a policy perspective, look, you've worked at a very critical agency on a very critical issue. You've been inside the room with the former president on policy issues.

Do you believe that he has a firm understanding of the policy positions that he speaks about in broad terms, but maybe doesn't delve into?

CARSON: I think he has an excellent understanding, which is the evidence by what happened during his administration, particularly prior to COVID hitting. The economy was roaring, it was booming.

Everybody felt optimistic. People were buying and selling houses. People didn't have a heart attack when they went to fill up their car. You know, things were different.

And these were things that are associated with policies. Energy policies, for instance, have a domino effect on the economy.

And when you go in and you stamp out the benefit that we have from our fossil fuels rather than saying, we have a lot of fossil fuels that we can use, and we have a goal of renewable energy. Let's use them both. Let's use one to get the other. You know, that's what intelligent people do.

MATTINGLY: Can I just quickly before we go, have you spoken the president since the debate and have you heard anything more about, I don't know, a vice presidential slot?

CARSON: I haven't talked about the vice presidential slot, but I congratulate him on his performance and he responded to that.

MATTINGLY: And certainly, people around the former president quite pleased with what happened last night. But 4-1/2 months left to go. We'll see and also a decision about vice president.

Former Housing and Urban Development secretary, Dr. Carson, appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.

CARSON: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: And coming up, we've heard from Barack Obama. We heard from other Biden surrogates. But what are Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill saying, particularly in those districts they won with razor thin margins. We're going to take you there, next.



MATTINGLY: In our politics today, Democratic lawmakers' phones were ringing off the hook. They were also ringing other peoples' phones, reporters mostly, as President Biden's advisers attempted to ease the panic after shockingly poor performance last night.

Let's hear now from a Biden supporter on Capitol Hill, I want to bring in Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado. Congressman, I've read what you've said throughout the day. It tracks with kind of Democrats who are starting to coalesce behind the person they supported just yesterday, too, which is bad night choices, very clear. This is what were doing going forward. Put our heads down and work.

When you got to Capitol Hill today, you guys voted this morning, was that the view the unified view of the Democratic caucus?

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Well, I can't speak for my colleagues, Phil and clearly it was a tough night for the president last night, even he admitted as much at a rally in North Carolina today.

But here's the deal, you know, I've led troops in combat for this country for three times in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ive been in Congress over five years now during that time, I've dealt with an insurrection a pandemic two impeachments, global conflict and on and on. And I've learned a couple of things.

The first thing I learned is that we don't make decisions in the heat of the moment because those are usually bad decisions. And the second thing is we listened to people's concerns. And last night, there were turns about the debate and what those concerns actually tell me is the deep the deep fear that people have for a second Trump presidency, because they know he's a liar.


They know he's a sociopath. They know he's a narcissist and they know the damage he'll do to our country. And we have to listen to those concerns.

MATTINGLY: To your point about not making decisions in the heat of the moment, does that mean that after a couple of weeks, if things don't seem like they're improving or there's a clear impact on the numbers and perhaps your House majority that Democrats want, the Senate majority of that Democrats don't want to lose looks like it's in big trouble, is their a decision to make?

CROW: Well, you have to look at the whole body of work. Look at what happened to this week. The president continued to lead a 51-country coalition in defense of Ukraine, implementing hundreds of infrastructure projects across the country, he's running around North Carolina campaigning, give a fiery speech in North Carolina today.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to lie without remorse, without trepidation. This is the man who consistently maligns my fallen comrades by calling them suckers and losers, who consistently threatens our closest allies and cozies up to dictators, who consistently doubles down on the Roe decision -- to overturn Roe, to rip away fundamental reproductive rights for women.

That's what's at stake here. And the contrast is pretty clear.

MATTINGLY: I think the concern you heard from a lot of your colleagues, and again, I want to make very clear -- these concerns were all raised on background. Your colleagues are not coming out in mass on the record.

Actually, why is that? Why do they feel so comfortable expressing their fears, outrage disapproval of last night, but nobody says anything publicly?

CROW: Again, I can't speak for my colleagues and I don't deal with conjecture. All I do is I deal with the facts and what I know.

And we have four years of a Trump presidency. We've had almost four years fears of a Joe Biden presidency. And the contrast between the two couldn't be more clear.

Four years of chaos and dysfunction and violence, America being pitted against America during that time versus almost four years now of some of the most successful legislation since LBJ and the Great Society, passing gun violence prevention laws, climate crisis bills and on and on.

That's what I go off of and I will willing -- I'm willing to defend that record any day of the week, Phil.

MATTINGLY: No, and I think every one of your colleagues, including those that are frustrated or concerned right now, is in the same spot. And I think that's part of the frustration from last night is they didn't feel like that message in that contrast, was delivered upon.

Instead, it was the exact opposite. The one thing that they didn't ever want Biden to do at on the biggest stage was exactly what happened. And so, I think I understand you're not a career politician, but when you look at the politics here, the concern here from Democrats is, I don't know that we can come back from this. Are they wrong?

CROW: Yeah. There's no one issue in a campaign. Campaigns are tough. I've made plenty of mistakes and a campaign. And, hell, I just gave a pretty bad TV interview last week and I beat my itself up over it. You pick up and you move on. That's what leadership is about, right?

It's not about perfection. It's not about whether you make mistakes or not. It's about your character.

And, you know, let's talk about honesty for a minute here, Phil, let's talk about honesty. You know, the president stood up at a rally today. President Biden, and he said, hey, this was a bad speech for me. I didn't do well, right?

That showed a level of honesty, personal reflection, of candor with the American people, of self-understanding, the type of stuff that I actually want in a leader, right, someone who can improve can admit it mistakes and can surround himself with good people. That's what I want.

I don't want a lying sociopath who can lie at record pace without remorse, without even skipping a beat. Listen, I mean, this isn't even a close call for me. MATTINGLY: Yeah, it is a -- before yesterday, you heard that from all your colleagues, you and I, I appreciate you coming out and actually talking about it, unlike those that just text emojis.

Congressman Jason Crow, I always appreciate your time in Colorado. Thanks so much.

CROW: Thanks, Phil.

MATTINGLY: And coming up, some group chats when you're talking about and they're on fire last night, including Ashley's. Others were, quote, abysmal, according to a White House staffer. What's the plan to try and change the narrative this weekend?

Stay with us.



MATTINGLY: Quote, deflated, abysmal, that's how one White House official described the mood in the group chats among Biden staffers this morning.

Let's bring back our panel for a lightning round because I just want to know where this goes. And it's tough to do a lightning round. However, what -- what do you see the days and weeks ahead?

ALLISON: First, I wanted to say to the campaign staff, don't start talking trash about your other folks on the campaign. This is going to be a long haul. Stay committed if this is your guy.

I think it's going to go to the convention and Joe Biden is going to be our nominee. And people are going to have to work really hard to turn voters out.

I also think this election has never been about Joe Biden. This election is about the future of our country and saving democracy, and people need to get committed into lean into that message and we'll see you in November.

BORGER: I think Biden has to make it also about Donald Trump.


BORGER: And tell the American people that this man is not qualified to be president of the United States. And Joe Biden is qualified, even though he's old.

And I thought the notion of talking about his age and saying I'm not as young as I used to be and I don't walk the way I used to and I don't debate the way I used to is effective. It's very effective. People can relate to that.

GORMAN: The debate news cycle really isn't over yet, because I think probably come Sunday or if not sooner, we're going to start seeing some polls, now with after the debate, and that's going to hopefully have a little bit of a Trump bump. It's going to maybe pretend this new cycle a little bit more.

And so that's why we opened overhype things a lot in politics, I get it.


Last night was so important because also, unlike the fall, there isn't a ten days next debate. There's three months, maybe if there's the next debate.

MATTINGLY: To that point, if the round of polls come out, there's like two schools of thought. Either something's going to happen, it's going to happen real fast.


MATTINGLY: Or something is going to happen, it's going to be when the polls come out and it's something dramatic.

ALLISON: Well, let's go back to 2022. The polls came out, Biden's approval rating was very, very low, immediately following that, we started to see decriminalization of marijuana, student loan forgiveness. He's still the president of the United States and still can do things to improve the quality of folks' lives.

So I think you will also see some executive actions that start to come out to speak to specific constituencies to get them riled up. Even if polls come out, I mean, his polling hasn't been great to date and it hasn't really changed the trajectory. So I'm not sure it would do much to change his mind.

BORGER: Well, his approval is, what, 38 percent. And it's I don't believe that Donald Trump's approval is going to go sky high after this debate, either, because he wasn't likable in this debate, he might have been effective to a degree, but he wasn't likable. And so, you know, people walk away from the debates saying, I don't, you know, it didn't do much for me.

GORMAN: One thing you folks hadn't talked about, I was surprised and pleasantly surprised how Trump was on to last night debate. There's obviously more prep than his team had talked about. He was sharp, practiced, to more 2016 Trump, less 2020 Trump.

ALLISON: I feel just want to close this panel out and say Donald Trump lied a lot in that debate. And what will be -- the debate cycle is not over and fact checking is real. So if folks didn't like the way Biden perform, people need to fact check Donald Trump this whole weekend because he lied a lot.

MATTINGLY: And we have four months left, there's going to be a lot of a lot coming up in the next four months.

I would also say before we go because we do have to go, there's a chip on the shoulder of the president and his team where they have gone through situations, never quite this bad and somehow come back over and over again and don't minimize that in terms of the conversation that's had internally and with allies.

Guys, it's been great. Thank you very much.

We have to wait until Monday to find out how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the question of whether former President Donald Trump is immune from criminal prosecution. However, a separate opinion issued by the court today could still impact one case against Trump. That's next.



MATTINGLY: In our law and justice lead, the U.S. Supreme Court today releasing a huge decision that is already impacting cases against hundreds of people who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Justices say the U.S. Justice Department overstepped by bringing obstruction charges against those rioters.

Let's go straight to CNN's Paula Reid.

Paula, this won't just impact the rioters. It's possible I think that it could impact President Donald Trump.


And speaking with sources, I'm told to expect that Trump legal team will file motions trying to get the obstruction charges against the former president dismissed based on today's decision. But it's unlikely that's going to be successful, of course.

The obstruction charges that were covered in today's Supreme Court decision, those are related to people who were at a Capitol Hill on January 6, people who engaged in conduct in and around the riot, where Trump's obstruction charges are related in part to his efforts to install a slate of fake electors. It's different conduct.

And while this opinion did not mention Trump or fake electors, specifically, Chief Justice John Roberts, he actually nodded to the possibility that this obstruction law could actually be violated by quote, creating false evidence. That's part of why we don't expect that this will be successful for Trump in court doesn't mean they're not going to try.

And, of course, politically, he is painting this as a big win on Truth Social, which is fair, right? In the court of public opinion, he's trying to undermine the credibility of the justice system here, highlighting what the Supreme Court has suggested is prosecutorial overreach.

And the best-case scenario for Trump, I'm told, is that possibly this opinion could help them exclude certain evidence if his January 6 case goes to trial and fill, that is still a big if and on Monday, we'll get an answer to the biggest question, legally for the former president, and that is if he has any immunity that can protect him from some or all of Jack Smith's federal January 6 case. We will get that decision on Monday.

MATTINGLY: Paula, there's also a massive ruling on the regulatory front today, and you can actually threat it together with two yesterday, they really limit the scope of the federal government and its agencies, its role in providing oversight, a number of areas.

Talk to people about the impact here.

REID: This will impact every single American. This changes the way the federal government really operates and overturns 40 years of precedent. For 40 years now, regulatory agencies like the EPA with SEC, they've had a big role in interpreting laws and technical issues. And today, the Supreme Court really diverted that expertise in that authority to the courts.

Now, in her dissent, Justice Kagan wrote, quote: In one fell swoop, the majority today gives itself exclusive power over every open issue. And she's pointing to the fact that, of course, the Supreme Court oversees all federal courts and now they will likely have the final word on a lot of these controversies in American government.

MATTINGLY: It is a major shift. Paula Reid, as always, thanks so much.

And our last leads are next. Stay with us.



MATTINGLY: In our national lead, more than two years after the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, the schools district -- the school district's former police chief has been booked on ten counts of child endangerment. The mass shooting at Robb Elementary in May of 2022, left 19 children dead in two teachers dead.

A grand jury indicted former Chief Pete Arredondo and former school police officer Adrian Gonzales.

And there are out of this world lead. Two NASA astronauts will stay in space for at least a couple more weeks, when engineers can continue troubleshooting Boeing's new Starliner capsule. It's been docked with the International Space Station since June 6.

A day after it was launched, NASA is trying to understand why its thrusters necessary for a safe return aren't performing as expected.

Well, coming up on Sunday, "STATE OF THE UNION" with Dana Bash, Democratic Congressman James Clyburn and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. That's Sunday morning at 9:00 Eastern. And again at noon here on CNN.

You can follow the show on X @TheLeadCNN. If you ever missed an episode of THE LEAD, you can listen to the show wherever you get your podcasts.

The news continues and it is a lot of news on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, the one and only, in THE SITUATION ROOM. Have a good weekend.