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The Lead with Jake Tapper

President Biden, No Plans To Drop Out Of The Race; Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) Is Interviewed About Biden's Performance On The Debate And If He Should Drop Out Of The Race; In June, "Wall Street Journal" Reports Signs Of President Biden Slipping; Remnick: Biden Staying In Race Is An Act Of "National Endangerment"; U.S. Supreme Court: Trump Entitled To Some Immunity In Jan. 6 Case; Jury Deadlocked In Karen Read Case, Panel Unable To Agree If Massachusetts Woman Killed Her Police Officer Boyfriend. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to "The Lead," I'm Jake Tapper. This hour, the immunity decision from the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of what now happens in the federal case that led to this question before the court in the first place, the election interference case brought on by special counsel Jack Smith.

Leading this hour, however, President Biden making his way back to Washington, D.C. as soon as Democrats debate the biggest question their parties faced in decades, whether or not Biden still should be at the top of the ticket, whether or not he can continue to lead the nation. A question illuminated at least last week's CNN presidential debate.

For years, Biden has pushed back on that question, consistently answering in two words. He would say, quote, "watch me." Here he is in September 2022.


SCOTT PELLEY, HOST, CBS 60 MINUTES: We'll ask whether you are fit for the job. And when you hear that, I wonder what you think.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Watch me. I mean, honest to God, that's all I think. Watch me. If you think I don't have the energy level of mental acuity, then, you know, that's one thing. That's another thing. You're just watching and, you know, keep my schedule.


TAPPER: Just one month after that, I asked the president to respond to American voters who, frankly, had been watching.


TAPPER: Whenever anyone raises concerns about your age, the oldest president in the history of the United States, you always say, watch me. Voters have been watching you. Democratic voters approve of the job you're doing. Democratic voters overwhelmingly like you. But one poll shows that almost two-thirds of Democratic voters want a new nominee in 2024. And the top reason they gave was your age. So what's your message to Democrats who like you, who like what you've done, but are concerned about your age and the demands of the job?

BIDEN: Well, they're concerned about whether or not I get anything done. Look what I've gotten done. Name me a president in recent history who's gotten as much done as I have in the first two years. Not a joke. You may not like what I got done, but the vast majority of American people do like what I got done. And so I just -- it's a matter of can you do the job? And I believe I can do the job. I've been able to do the job. I've gotten more done. I got the inflation reduction. I got all these pieces of legislation passed. And I ran on that. I said this is what I was going to do. I'm still getting it done.


TAPPER: In February of this year, CNN's MJ Lee asked President Biden to directly respond to continued criticisms about his age and aging. This is how he responds then.


MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, for months when you were asked about your age, you would respond with the words watch me. Many American people have been watching and they have expressed concerns about your age.

BIDEN: That is your judgment. That is your judgment. That is not the judgment of the press.


TAPPER: I think he meant that it's not the judgment of the public. MJ is with us now. So that was then. This is now. Take us inside this weekend's conversations in that big building behind you.

LEE: Yeah. Well, Jake, as you just reminded us, the president has long been dismissive of polling showing that many voters have a lot of serious questions about his age and his mental acuity. But as he went on to tell me in that February press conference, his main argument has really been I need to be the Democratic nominee because I am the most qualified. I think after Thursday night's debate, it has become infinitely more difficult for the president and his advisers to sort of outright reject those concerns about his mental acuity and his age.

And I think it's also fair to describe the last three and a half days or so as the campaign having been in full crisis mode. We know that they have been on the phone nonstop, fielding questions, messages and worried concerns about exactly what happened on Thursday night and also just asking the question of what is Plan B.

And for right now, the campaign is basically saying there is no Plan B. The president is going to remain on the ticket. We know that he spent the weekend at Camp David with members of his family, and the family has very much been encouraging him to stay in the race and to continue fighting The campaign is saying it is not even a remote possibility that the president is going to drop out of the race. But it is clear that the family is frustrated with how some members of his team handled the debate.

We know that there were private discussions about whether some senior advisers should be fired, though I think a lot of people would argue that maybe it isn't the advisers that should be blamed. It was simply the president's bad performance. I think even more, though, than the inner circle that is around the president that is famous for being insular, it is going to be the president's family that is going to be all the more influential on any decisions that do come about his political future.

TAPPER: So MJ, very, very few elected Democratic officials are willing to talk about their concerns with President Biden on the record.


Are White House officials expecting that they're going to be able to keep them from doing -- from being candid about this from now until November?

LEE: Well, you know, plenty of Democrats have gone on the record to express concerns about the debate itself. But you're right, that we've not heard a lot of elected officials saying that they have concerns about whether or not the president should stay in the race. That's not where we are right now. But I think the caveat is that that is now. And we don't know what's coming in the next several days, particularly as both the campaign and just Democrats overall are waiting on data.

They're waiting on research and polling to come in to actually get a full picture of the post debate damage from the president and his lawmakers. Some of them have told us they think that the down ballot impact will be more determinative than perhaps anything else, that if data shows that he is going to risk the House remaining in Democrats hands, then that could lead to the dam breaking and some lawmakers starting to say publicly that they do need a plan B.

TAPPER: All right. CNN's MJ Lee at the White House. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Today, President Biden's campaign chair, Jen O'Malley Dillon, was working the phones with party heads and campaign staff. One of those Democratic leaders telling CNN the message was this will pass, but we have to do our work. Joining us now from Biden campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, Senator Chris Coons. He is a Biden campaign co-chair. Senator Coons, thanks so much for coming on. I want to start by just playing some of the moments --

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Always good to be on with you, Jake. Thanks for the chance to talk today.

TAPPER: Yeah, no, I appreciate it. I want to start by playing some moments from the debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: We're going to have the ability of Medicare to -- for the ability to -- for the -- with the -- with the COVID, excuse me, with dealing with everything we have to do with -- look, if the total initiative relative to what we're going to do with more Border Patrol and more asylum officers.

TAPPER: President Trump?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really don't know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don't think he knows what he said either.


TAPPER: How do you explain the performance of the debate and moments like that?

COONS: Well, Jake, you just took what was probably the most difficult moment to watch of the entire 90-minute debate, but you didn't share what I found the hardest moments to watch, which was when Donald Trump was unleashing a torrent of lies, of invective, of vengeance. And we have to look at these two moments in contrast.

The "Philadelphia Inquirer," the most important newspaper in the swing state where I spent the weekend campaigning, watched that debate and concluded that the political party whose leadership should be going to their candidate and saying, in the interest of our nation and in the interest of our party, you should be stepping aside, sir, is the Republican Party because Donald Trump gave no reasons for folks to vote for him and a lot of reasons for folks to vote against him.

The next day, Joe Biden, our president, gave a forceful and clear and engaging speech on a campaign stage at a rally in North Carolina. And he's had strong days ever since. Everybody has a bad night. And I think that was a weak debate performance. I don't think anyone in the campaign is disagreeing with that point.

But I've been urging, and I expect that this will be moving forward, for the president to reassure folks in the media, the general public, the many editorialists, and others who've expressed concern by doing unscripted, casual engagements with journalists, with small groups of voters, a town hall, so that you can see what I've seen with our president in the last few months and, of course, the last few years.

He is engaging. He is capable. He has an incredible record as president. I don't think you would dispute that, Jake. But the core question is whether what you saw in those few moments of the debate and over much of the arc of that 90-minute debate was someone having a difficult night or someone who is no longer up to the job. As he said on the stage in North Carolina, he wouldn't be running if he weren't confident, he's up for the job.

TAPPER: So, with all due respect, it is not honest to say that this is just one night. There have been moments like this that people have seen in front of the cameras and other moments with cameras not there. Just two weeks ago, let me just show this clip, there was another moment like this. Not just a senior losing a train of thought, but something else going on. Here he is. It was at an event about immigration. He tries to interview -- introduce DHS Secretary Mayorkas and there's some sort of glitch. I don't know what it is. Let's roll that tape.



BIDEN: Thanks to all the members of Congress and Homeland Security. Secretary, I'm not sure I'm going to introduce you all the way, but all kidding aside, Secretary Mayorkas.


TAPPER: I don't know what that was.

COONS: That doesn't trouble me at all, Jake. Frankly, you can put up a dozen clips of me, of you, of anybody who's on TV, who speaks publicly all the time, losing their train of thought, misstating who they're about to introduce, not having a fluid moment. And if we're honest with each other, Jake, every time Donald Trump speaks in front of a rally, there's long stretches where he is saying nonsense, where he's talking about whether he'd rather be electrocuted or eaten by a shark, where he's saying nonsensical things about forests bursting into flame or windmills causing cancer.

So, to take that little clip and say, aha, Senator Coons, be honest, you know that our president is somehow mentally unfirm, and yet to not put-up dozens and dozens of much more alarming examples of the former president. Let me cut to the chase with what I think is a simple but important moment of testimony here, Jake. Only former President Trump has a vice president, secretary of defense, chief of staff, national security advisor who say he is not morally fit to be president and refuse to support him.

The whole cabinet of our current president, the entire Senate in the Democratic caucus, every governor I know who already supports Joe Biden still supports Joe Biden. And we interact with him and work with him regularly. So, do all of us who are in public life and speaking regularly have slips and moments where we don't finish our sentence properly or misidentify exactly who we're introducing? Absolutely.

But I have been saying to the campaign senior leadership, our president needs to reassure folks by doing some unscripted, engaging public events soon. Otherwise, we're going to keep having this exact exchange until the cows come home and maybe until November, which I frankly think is a disservice to our country.

TAPPER: So first of all, I don't think it's accurate to suggest that the news media hasn't provided or shown the American people clips of former President Trump saying odd or potentially distressing things. I think that we've been doing that since 2015. And obviously, we have also been covering the many people who worked in the Trump administration who have not endorsed Donald Trump.

If you want to talk about a candidate-to-candidate matchup, I understand that's not really what I'm talking about. And I don't think it's fair to compare you or me losing our train of thought with whatever we saw on the debate stage on Thursday and that little clip from two weeks ago. But let me move on to one other question, because there is this question of what if?

What if the Democratic Party decides to do something that that you obviously don't think is wise? The Biden campaign wrote in an e-mail this weekend that if President Biden were to drop out of the race, quote, "we'd switch to candidates who would, according to polls, be less likely to win than Joe Biden, the only person ever to defeat Donald Trump," unquote.

Then the e-mail goes on to show polling from, to be honest, partisan pollsters that shows Vice President Harris, Governor Gavin Newsom, Pete Buttigieg, and how they match up. To be frank, they're only one percentage point behind Joe Biden in those head-to-head matchups with Donald Trump. So it does not actually look as though there would be that much of a difference between the guy who has been president for three plus years and has been spending tens, hundreds of millions of dollars running as a Democratic nominee and the people who haven't even been running.

COONS: What's your question, Jake?

TAPPER: How does that make -- how does that make your point? If you have Newsom, Buttigieg and Harris are only one point worse than Biden in the head-to-head matchup, how does that -- how is that -- how is that like showing some sort of strength of President Biden?

COONS: Jake, I may be missing something. You're asking me to explain and defend an e-mail that I'm not -- that I didn't author or send out is your core question. Let me see if I can get a question.

TAPPER: No, no, no. Let me try again. Let me try again. I'll try again.

COONS: How would the other candidates --

TAPPER: No, the core question --

COONS: Be less competitive than Joe Biden.

TAPPER: -- is because you reject the notion that there's actually anything going on beyond just a bad night or a bad moment here or there. Let me just ask you, do you truly think that President Biden is the strongest candidate to take on Donald Trump in November?

COONS: I think Joe Biden, two things, is the strongest, most accomplished president we've had in my lifetime.

TAPPER: Not the question.

COONS: That he's been counted out over and over and over. And he can go to the stage and say, here's my record. I, in my speech at the inauguration, said I would bring Congress together and we would address infrastructure and manufacturing.


And we would reduce prescription drug prices and we would invest in restoring our competitiveness as a country and I would bring us out of the pandemic and I would address the challenges that I inherited from Donald Trump. And he's done a magnificent job. He can say that.

The other candidates, governors of different states and so forth, can't say that. His vice president can say she was a central part of that. And I do think that makes for an important argument. And this is the core thing I think you're trying to raise here, Jake. He needs to reassure folks with repeat performances in public that he is up to this task and address the core question you're asking me.

I have not seen evidence that our president is not up to the task of running for and continuing to serve as president. So that's something that is up to our president to prove to the public in the coming weeks. And I'm accepting that as an open question and a challenge. But I do think he has the strongest record in his first three years that any of us could imagine.

Just last month, our economy created more jobs in no small part because of President Biden's leadership than it did in the whole four years that Donald Trump was president. Joe Biden has the strongest record. We have the all-time high in the stock market, all-time low in unemployment. We have crime going down. We have investments in manufacturing going up. We are headed in a strong direction. And he's got a great platform to run for re-election. He is not the only Democrat who can run for president. That's not what I'm saying.


COONS: But he has the strongest record to run.

TAPPER: This, I mean, he has given fewer press conferences, fewer interviews than any president in modern history, including the previous one, who's now running for re-election. And you know, this could all be --

COONS: And the previous one told more lies per sentence than any candidate has ever told on a debate stage.

TAPPER: This is not the discussion that we're having. We could certainly, you know, have that conversation. I certainly didn't particularly care for it when President Biden said no U.S. service members had been killed in the previous four years, but moving on from things that were said that were not true, I think it is easy to settle this right now by President Biden going to the Brady Press Center, the press file in the White House, and doing a two-hour press conference.

Everybody would cover it live. Networks probably would cover it live. He'd be able to answer all these questions. It's not a crazy thing to expect a president to do. And the fact is, you know that. The campaign knows that. The White House knows that. That's how you settle this. You just put him in front of reporters and he handles himself with acuity, aplomb. We all see it was just a fluke. Oh, my God. I can't believe it happened. And we move on. The fact that you haven't done that says quite a bit to me.

COONS: Jake, what I've just said maybe three times in this interview is that is what I am urging and recommending. I think that the Biden family had a long-scheduled family retreat at Camp David where they had a family photograph taken and they were discussing both this debate and the summer and their plans. And I'm encouraging them to add something like that to the schedule, whether it's a 60-minutes interview or something at the podium at the White House or a town hall. That's not up to me to decide, but that's what I've been encouraging our president to do.

TAPPER: Democratic Senator Chris Coons from the small wonder state, Delaware. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

COONS: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Two "Wall Street Journal" reporters who took a lot of flak last month when their headline read behind closed doors, Biden shows signs of slipping. Their article was based on interviews with more than 45 people. What they say now after last week's debate. Those reporters will join us next.



TAPPER: In February, you might remember White House officials reacted quite angrily when special counsel Robert Herb made the assessment of President Biden after conducting a marathon interview with Biden over his handling or mishandling of classified documents. Herb stated Biden would seem sympathetic to a jury as a, quote, "well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory," unquote. The White House lashed out.

Fast forward to June. "The Wall Street Journal" reported that President Biden was showing signs of slipping. The White House angrily pushed back on that article as well, which only included on-the-record concerns voiced by Republicans such as former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and current Speaker Johnson, but quite clearly reflected the views of dozens of sympathetic Democrats.

Let's get right to the "Wall Street Journal's" Annie Linskey and Siobhan Hughes, who co-wrote that article. First of all, you're excellent reporters. That article stands up. It stood up then. It stands up now. Take us behind the scenes, Annie, of compiling the reporting, receiving the negative attention for it, and then watching what we all saw on Thursday, although I had a better seat.

ANNIE LINSKEY, REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: You did have a good seat. Yeah. Thanks for having us on. I think Siobhan and I doing that reporting was, at least in my career, one of the most difficult stories to do. We started working on it right after the Hur report came out. And it took it took months and the two of us worked together really closely. And it was just a monster lift.

And it was one of those stories, you know, we didn't take a lot of joy in telling it. The people who were brave enough to talk to us didn't take a lot of joy in talking to us either. So, it was a hard period.

TAPPER: And Siobhan, not a single Democrat on Capitol Hill has gone on the record with their concerns reflected in that story, but we all have heard them expressed privately. Do you think that's going to change anytime soon?

SIOBHAN HUGHES, CAPITOL HILL REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I'm waiting to see if that happens. And if it does, my expectation would be the first people to start breaking would be the vulnerable Democrats, both on the Senate side and on the House side, because one of the Republican lines of attack right now is they knew and did nothing about it and they were complicit. And that is a really, really harsh charge and a heavy burden to bear.

TAPPER: Yeah, I've already seen ads against Senator Bob Casey in Pennsylvania. I don't know if it's TV ads or just on the internet, but basically saying he knows. Annie, after the debate, you and your colleagues had another big blockbuster. Obviously, you've been working on it before the debate on more recent flubs, such as on the G7 trip to Europe.


You write, quote, "that Biden told Zelensky that money was coming to help you reconstruct the electric grid. Officials traveling with the president explained that the money was actually a series of munitions, including air defenses that could protect the electric grid, among other targets." You know, tell us more about what you went through doing that reporting.

LINSKEY: Yeah, I think in doing the reporting, we were essentially looking for anybody who had met with the president in small meetings behind closed doors. The White House has often said to us, look, the Joe -- if you could only see the Joe Biden we see. I mean, this is something that your previous guest mentioned as well. If you could see the president Biden that we see behind closed doors, you would feel differently about him because we've all seen the public flubs, right? We've all seen those.

And so that was part of the motivation for the story is going to people and saying, okay, tell us about it. Tell us what that's like. And, you know, the anecdotes that we came up with, I mean, some people would say, you know, in some moments he was good, in some meetings he was quite lucid and clear and had spontaneous back and forths. But then sometimes the next day it would be he'd be completely different. And you just didn't know which Joe Biden was going to show up.

TAPPER: Yeah. Siobhan?

HUGHES: Yeah, for me, what was most striking was how shocked some of these people were in describing to me what they witnessed the president doing. They at times were almost struggling to find the words. It was almost like, are you going to believe me when I tell you this? They were deeply unsettled.

They were in some cases afraid to be public because they felt it so went against American interests. They were concerned about the appearance of the United States on the world stage.

LINSKEY: And we had to go back to them sometimes repeatedly just because there were instances where we didn't quite believe it either and we wanted to go back to them. And then we kept on wanting to know, is there somebody else that will verify that? Is there somebody else? Is there somebody else? How many people can we get to?

HUGHES: And the more you pulled at that yarn, the more the whole ball started to unravel and eventually the evidence was overwhelming.

TAPPER: Let me just say, Annie Linskey and Siobhan Hughes, as I said, when that article came out, you were both excellent reporters. I've never met you before. I've been reading you for years. And I know truth telling is very, very difficult sometimes, but thank you for doing what you do.

LINSKEY: Thank you.

HUGHES: Thank you.

TAPPER: My next guest says there are four factors that could impact any decision by President Biden to step aside out of the 2024 race, if he's even considering that, which he does not seem to be. We're back in a moment.



TAPPER: More now in our 2024 Lead, calls her President Joe Biden has stepped down after his debate performance continue to pile up with just 127 days left before the election, including for my next guest who writes in "The New Yorker," quote, for the President to insist on remaining the Democratic candidate would be an act not only of self- delusion, but of national endangerment.

And New Yorker editor David Remnick joins me now. David, thanks so much for joining us. So in your column, in your article, you write, on President Biden refusing to step down, quote, to ignore the inevitability of time and aging doesn't merely risk his legacy. It risks the election and most important puts in peril, the very issues and principles that Biden has framed as central to his presidency and essential to the future, unquote.

There are a number of high profile editorial boards and columnist who have called for Biden to step down. It does seem as though however, that top Democratic officials at least publicly are rallying around the President to stay in the race, despite what we all saw Thursday night, despite the polling, quite frankly, that's been pretty clear for more than a year or two that voters want another option. Why such a disconnect do you think? DAVID REMNICK, EDITOR, THE NEW YORKER: Well, I'm coming to you from Tel Aviv. I'm not in Washington, in the thick of it. But it's, you know, I've never written anything that felt, or very few things that felt so hard to write on a human level. I think Joe Biden is a very decent man. I think he's been a, in many ways, very effective president. But, you know, the time has been what it is for human beings. And that's very hard for him to accept, because he's in the position of trying to fend off the return to the White House of someone who in so many ways is malevolent, racist, lies, and all the things that we know about Donald Trump.

I totally understand why I received so many notes from readers who were so anxious about speaking for, quite frankly, the truth of what was in front of our eyes at this debate, but is an indelible set of images. It wasn't just one stumble. It was a pretty terrible night. And it gave the impression, and I think it's the reality that Joe Biden is, you know, he's not Superman. He's -- nor is he even a young 81. And he's proposing to be president until he's 86. And that is dangerous. And I think he's going to lose a lot in the coming weeks and months if he stays in, and that risks a very terrible outcome.

TAPPER: The day after the debate, President Biden held a rally in North Carolina. Here's just some of what he said at that rally.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know take to rally the world, to stand up against Putin and defend free to not yield on him. And I know take to keep the world safe and free for the years ahead. Folks, I gave him my word of Biden, I would not be running again, if I didn't believe with all my heart and soul. I can do this job because quite frankly the stakes are too high.


TAPPER: Now, obviously, that was in the middle of the day, not at night. He was reading from a teleprompter. He was in front of an adoring crowd. I guess the question I have is, do you think if he's not up to the job of running for president again and winning again, do you think he's currently up to the job?


REMNICK: Look, that's a very good question and I don't know him every minute of the day and he's surrounded by a vast staff which presumably competent people and better than competent. And I don't expect him to step down from the presidency or have the 25th Amendment invoked. But he has this very, very difficult decision to make. Because we're talking about not just the next few months, we're talking about the next four years and more. And the world is in terrible shape in so many ways, whether it's climate change, the Middle East, Ukraine and Russia. We could go on and on.

And the opponent is so malevolent, I totally understand the stakes. And I think he, and I know he does, and it's on the most human, almost Shakespearean level, he has to face this profound, profound decision, and I understand the resistance to it. And I think it's going to come down to his family and a very small circle of people. I don't think the fact that somebody wrote a column in "The New Yorker," "The New York Times," or "The Washington Post" is going to be decisive. I think it'll have to do with the family, his advisors, and also whether the poll numbers plummet and the money stops coming in.

And I think there's a lot of people who are very anxious out there. And this is such a profound moment in American history that really deserves reconsideration. I say it with no joy, no mockery, but it is a profound decision that he has to make. And I hope he makes the right one.

TAPPER: You talked about how the world is in crisis, you're currently in Tel Aviv in Israel. That's a region of the world where there's a lot of crisis, both what's going on in Gaza, with the military operation against Hamas, with the hostages still being held. And also in the West Bank, where a lot of Israeli settlers are committing horrible acts of violence against innocent Palestinians. Tell us about the West Bank, which you just visited.

REMNICK: Well, I was in the West Bank yesterday. And there is, yes, you're absolutely right, a lot of settler violence. But I think the general picture here now is in the next couple of weeks, and maybe before he comes to speak in Washington, if that still comes off, Netanyahu will, but rightly or wrongly, and this has been a horror and a disaster. But rightly or wrongly, he will say that he's come to the end of this phase of the war, whether he's getting what I don't mean, rightly or wrongly, but to be truthful or not. And it will start treating this less as a ground war as the management of an insurgency.

He will claim that Hamas and Gaza is now a defeated army, but remains dangerous and insurgency and from outside Gaza, the Israeli army will continue to have raids and try to control the situation, that does not solve the problem at all. And the problem is profound. And also, the problem extends to the fact that there is an occupation that has been going on for more than a half a century. And it is a problem that cannot be avoided or evaded, I totally understand, profoundly understand the grief and trauma in Israel as well as the grief and trauma that the Palestinian people have suffered to such a tremendous degree.

But until there is forward, profound forward movement on the Palestinian question, until the Palestinian people have some sense that there is that a new reality, a better reality, and more just reality is ahead. I'm afraid that this terrible, terrible ongoing situation will go on in one way or another and it will erode both peoples these Israeli public situation is now awful, degraded, the cabinet is filled with people who are annexations, the annexations that essentially come down from the hilltops of the West Bank, and they're in the Cabinet Room. That's the reality and it controls politics here. And until that fever is broken in Israeli life, as -- that there will be no healing, and this is going to just take a long time to reverse.

TAPPER: David Remnick sobering and I appreciate your being with us today. Thank you so much. REMNICK: Pleasure. Thank you, Jake.


TAPPER: In the last hour, former President Trump called today's Supreme Court decision, quote, brilliantly written and wise, unquote. That opinion grants him limited immunity from prosecution. What that means for one of the criminal cases against him, next.



TAPPER: In our Law and Justice Lead, the U.S. Supreme Court earlier today ruled that former President Trump does have immunity for some official actions during his presidency. But the justices did not specify exactly which actions that includes, setting up another lower court battle in that January 6th case and making it incredibly unlikely that Trump will face that trial before the November election. Let's jump right in.

Erin, thanks for being here. Good to see you. And congratulations, you got engaged.


TAPPER: If you're wondering why I'm squinting during the -- it's because the reflection of the ring into my eye. So Justice Sotomayor was just a, she did not hold back in her dissent. She said, in every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law. Orders the Navy SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold on to power? Immune. Takes a bride -- a bribe, rather, in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune. It might be a little strong. But what's your take on this decision?

PERRINE: I think that this decision is probably the right one here. It needed to go back to the lower court when this happened. There was not a clear sense of what was considered official or unofficial. And this is not the Supreme Court's role to be fact finding. They are here to take the information and move it forward and decide if they should keep or remove the lower court's case. Now if you're Donald Trump, this is a very big victory for you because it means while Democrats originally wanted to have the theater of the courthouse, be where Donald Trump had to have his campaign with the four pending cases at the time against him. They're not going to have that now and they're going to have to campaign against him on the campaign trail.

TAPPER: Well, and the Biden campaign is campaigning against the Supreme Court now in addition to against Donald Trump. They said the Court handed Donald Trump the keys to a dictatorship. Trump has said it was a big win and it should end all the crooked Joe Biden's witch hunts against me. That's a quote obviously. What do you think?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: They should run against court. Democrats should run against court. Republicans have been doing this. They were running against the court for 68 years, ever since 1954. And the Supreme Court had this radical idea that black people should be treated equally as white people. Ever since then, Republicans have run against the court whether it was -- they hated the ruling with the Supreme Court so the government can't force my children to pray the way the government wants them to, or abortion rights or gay rights.


Democrats need to run against court. By the way, when Hillary ran against Mr. Trump, a fourth, 26 percent of Trump voters voted for him just because of the court.


BEGALA: Only 18 percent --

TAPPER: Because they wanted Roe v. Wade overturned in this.

BEGALA: So in that sense, I admire the Republicans. Fiercely they care about the court. They voted on court. Democrats need to, for example, 65 -- 67 percent of Americans support term limits for Supreme Court. Democrats should. Sheldon Whitehouse, a senator from Rhode Island, judiciary committee member, he's got a term limits built for the court, 75 percent support a binding ethics code for the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court doesn't -- they're above the law. Now Mr. Trump is above the law. Democrats should run hard against the court.

TAPPER: I feel like you're filibustering a little bit because you know about my next question is going to be. And this is much more easy to talk about the Supreme Court and about President Biden -- the performance of President Biden. What's your take? Obviously, it was not a good debate performance. But beyond that, should he be the nominee? Should he be President?

BEGALA: Well, it like when he said, well, it wasn't a good night. Really? Really I didn't notice. It wasn't just a bad -- it was the worst night -- worst performance in presidential campaign history. Seriously. And I've been doing this a long time. It was a catastrophe. They set up to debate to quell the questions about his age. And I don't really think they accomplish that.


BEGALA: You know, so, look, what -- here's what's going to happen. Members are going home now for Fourth of July, members of Congress. And they're going to hear from their constituents. It may well be that the comments we're getting from the Biden high commander, correct. And everybody will say jello that guy, bad night, don't worry about it. Back him up. But it may be what I think voters are going to say, are you out of your mind? Because Democrats are worried that not only will Biden lose to Trump, but that he'll drag down the House in the Senate as well. And you'll have a MAGA trifecta, which Mr. Trump himself says we'll be a dictatorship at least for a day.

TAPPER: What do you think of the debate last week? PERRINE: I don't think anybody, I think Paul's right, I don't think anybody can say that was a stellar performance for the President. It was a catastrophe. And now because of that performance, this is becoming Donald Trump's race to lose. And if you were a down ballot Democrat, if you are tester or any --

TAPPER: Bob Casey in Pennsylvania.

PERRINE: -- Bob Casey. If you are anywhere, you're Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, you now have to try to find a way to separate yourself from the president, but not alienate because right now, unless Democrat leadership steps up and says Joe Biden, you need to step down. He's not going anywhere off that ticket.

TAPPER: Thanks to both of you. Appreciate it. The murder trial that has captivated a major American city, the major twist in that case today, that's next.



TAPPER: A major development in a Law Injustice Lead story we're going to tell you now. A mistrial for Karen Read, the Massachusetts woman accused of drunk driving fatally injuring her police officer boyfriend leaving him to die in 2022. This case had several accusations of a police cover up. And CNN's Jean Casarez joins us to get us up to speed. So Jean jury deadlocked on a verdict. This only adds to more drama in this case. Tell us.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really does because it's a who done it. I mean, did Karen Read murder her Boston police officer boyfriend? Or did his friends, his fellow officers off duty in a private home, were they the ones that murdered him? Well, the jury sent out several notes today. And in the end, there was a mistrial declared by the judge. But the prosecution is now saying that they are going to retry this case. And the defense says that they are never quitting. Let's go into that courtroom. I want to show you the judge reading the final note from the jury before all of this concluded today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The deep division is not due to a lack of effort or diligence but rather a sincere adherence to our individual principles and moral convictions. To continue to deliberate would be futile and only serve to force us to compromise these deeply held beliefs. I'm not going to do that to your folks. Your service is complete. I'm declaring a mistrial in this case.


CASAREZ: Now what you're watching right now is the crowd. I think you see it that has been here virtually every day of this two month case. They're all in pink. They are supporters of the defendant. They were cheering as this mistrial was being declared because Karen Read was allowed to walk out of that courthouse. She's been on bail. But she was still allowed to walk out of that courthouse because they believe that she was framed. And the facts are very, very simple to up to a point. It was the night of January 28th, 2022 Karen Read and her boyfriend went to a private home for an after party.

She stayed in the car. He got out. The evidence showed that she put that car in reverse. And forensic showed 24 miles per hour, 62 feet, she went in reverse prosecution's theory. She hit him. He was down and he died in the cold. The defense is saying no, he went into that house. His friends got angry. They beat him up along with a 70-pound German Shepherd. And they threw him out in the cold to die. Jake, it's an open question. This case, it looks like, will go to a brand new jury.


TAPPER: All right, Jean Casarez, fascinating case and a tragic story. Appreciate it. We'll go right back with our last leads.



TAPPER: Last Leads now begins with earth matters. Damage reports already coming in as Hurricane Beryl's 150-mile an hour winds and storm surge impact the islands of the Caribbean. One of those islands described this flat. Category four storm as the fastest strengthening and earliest major hurricane so far out in the Atlantic. The winds are only about five miles an hour short of making the storm a Category Five. It's on track to hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday.

New documents made public today and one of the investigations into dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. This afternoon, a Florida judge released the transcripts of a 2006 grand jury investigation into rape and sex trafficking allegations against the millionaire. The transcripts included some witness testimony from young women who were minors when they gave Epstein sexualized massages. Epstein struck a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to one and a half years in prison after this investigation.

And our Politics Lead, the House Judiciary Committee is suing Attorney General Merrick Garland to get those audio recordings of President Biden's interview with special counsel Robert Hur. The interviews that led her to not press charges against Biden calling him, quote, a well- meaning elderly man with a poor memory or at least saying that he would seem like that to a jury. Garland testified before the Committee last month. We should note, CNN is also suing to gain access to the recordings.


And breaking news, we're just learning that President Biden will give remarks this evening about today's Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity. It's unclear whether he will take questions. You should stay tuned to CNN for that. And until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, X, formerly known as Twitter, on the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can follow the show on X at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show all two hours whence you get your podcasts. And the news continues on CNN with Pamela Brown in for Wolf Blitzer. But still right next door in a place I'd like to call the Situation Room. I'll see you tomorrow.