Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

First Sitting Democrat Calls On Biden To Withdraw From Race; New CNN Poll: 75 Percent Of Voters Say Dems' 2024 Chances Are Better If Someone Other Than Biden Is Nominee; Former Democratic Representative Says Kamala Harris Should Be Nominee; Trump Sentencing In NY Hush Money Case Postponed Until September; Fraudulent Trump Elector Refuses To Resign From Election Job. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 02, 2024 - 16:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Thank you very much. And I'm surprised that Derrick (ph) didn't get in there with the glass blowing. He's been part of everything else.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I think he figured out, Brianna, somewhere itinerary for travel.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yeah. He would normally -- what did he do? He yodel Jolene I think when he did the Dollywood one. That was great.

Victor, thank you so much. Really love that.

BROWN: It's (INAUDIBLE) lifetime.

All right. THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: At least one sitting House Democrat is publicly calling on President Biden to drop out of the 2024 race.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The very first congressional Democrat on the record urging the president to step aside in the November election. At the same time, several Democratic governors are uniting and pushing for a the meeting with the president to express their own concerns. How far will the Democratic Party go? Coming up, new reporting on the conversations.

Plus, some breaking news, the sentence and saying for Donald Trump in the New York hush money cover-up cases now been delayed by months. The twist in this and other cases, a direct result of yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity.

And a fake elector in the 2020 election is overseeing elections -- I'm sorry, a fake elector in the 2020 election is overseeing elections in 2024. The growing pressure on this man to step down from the election board, even pressure from a group of grannies.


TAPPER: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We start with breaking news in our 2024 lead. The Biden White House is insisting this afternoon the President Biden is indeed fit to lead and fit to serve another four years as president, despite growing concerns amongst Democrats after Biden's shaky debate performance.

That includes what I'm hearing today directly from Democratic sources who say that Democratic governors convened a call yesterday afternoon. This was apparently only governors, not their staffers, not their aides. Some of those governors are now pushing for a meeting directly with President Biden after the debate. A meeting that looks like it will probably take place tomorrow, most of the governors likely to join by Zoom.

Now, three of the Democratic governors had appeared at events with President Biden after the debate in New York, New Jersey, in North Carolina. But other than those three on the call, there was widespread surprise, even shock the President Biden had not already reached out to so many other governors.

Our reporters tell us that neither Democratic leader in the House, Hakeem Jeffries, nor the Senate, Chuck Schumer, neither of them have heard from President Biden.

Sources tell us that some of the governors are at this point worried about making any of their concerns public for fear of backlash, for fear that it will cause President Biden and his team to further dig in.

That's a sentiment not shared by Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett. Doggett today became the first sitting Democrat in Congress to call on President Biden to drop out of the race. We should note he's not exactly in a swing district. Doggett won is 2022 race by more than 50 points.

But his comments are quite notable. He said in a statement, quote: Our overriding consideration must be who has the best hope of saving our democracy from an authoritarian takeover by a criminal and his gang.

Recognizing that, unlike Trump, President Biden's first commitment has always been to our country, not himself. I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw. I respectfully call on him to do so, unquote.

Even stalwart Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island told local media that he was horrified by the debate, including the blips of President Biden. He said that quote, people want to make sure that the president and his team are being candid with us about his condition that this was a real anomaly. And not just the way he is these days, unquote.

Now, we should also note, Biden does seem to have the public support of many Democratic lawmakers, Senators Chris Coons and Jon Tester and John Fetterman and Bob Casey and many others.

But today, we also heard from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who acknowledged that questions about Biden's health and acuity are legitimate.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Now, again, I think it's a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition? And so, when people ask that question, it's completely legitimate -- of both candidates.


TAPPER: Democratic Senator Peter Welch of Vermont told "Semafor", it's, quote, inappropriate for the Biden campaign to dismiss questions about Biden's age.

All of this as brand new CNN polls are giving us insight into the state of the race since that incredibly consequential debate, 75 percent of American voters say they believe Democrats have a better chance of winning in November if the nominee is not Joe Biden, 75 percent.


Let's get straight to the White House where Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was just pressed about all of this. CNN's MJ Lee is there.

MJ, so what is the official response from the White House today?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I can tell you if any Democrats were tuning in to this White House press briefing to be reassured, this was not a reassuring press conference and press briefing. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, first of all, clarified that the president did have a cold when he was on the debate stage, but that he wasn't on any medication that might have affected his performance.

And then she was just asked multiple times, including by CNN about the question of the president's medical records will they release more from his February annual exam? Has he taken any more medical exams since then? Will Dr. O'Connor, the president's physician, take any questions from reporters? And the answer was basically no to all of those questions.

And she kept saying that the White House has released up thorough medical records from the president. I should note in February, what they released was six page summary of the president's annual physical. And in that memo, Jake, Dr. O'Connor described the president as a healthy, active, robust, 81-year-old male who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.

I pointed out to the White House press secretary that the majority of Americans simply do not believe that and whether the White House is asking those Americans to simply take Dr. O'Connor add his word. This was a part of her response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That's why he's acknowledging he's not a young man. That's why he's acknowledging he's a little slower than he used to be, in walking and now, as smooth as speaking. We get that. But we also want to make sure that we point to the successes that he's had, his record and we want to continue build on his unprecedented record. And I'm not going to discount what the American people see or feel.


And she said multiple times at the White House is eager to turn the page and pointed to multiple things at the president is going to be doing in the coming days to be more engaged, a sit down with George Stephanopoulos, a press conference at NATO next week, a meeting with Democratic elected officials, including governors.

But, Jake, what we don't know right now is whether all of that is just going to be too late.

TAPPER: All right. MJ Lee at the White House, thanks so much.

Let's bring in my panel right now, CNN's David Chalian and Jamie Gangel, and Isaac Dovere, and I could probably talk to each one of you for seven hours about this topic.

But, Jamie, let me start. You and Isaac have brand new reporting about conversations Democrats are having behind the scenes, notably not in public. What are you hearing? What are they saying?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Along with our colleague, Jeff Zeleny, the dam is breaking, Jake. Top Democratic leaders, former administration officials, current administration officials, major donors are all telling us privately and now we're hearing it publicly, that they think that President Biden needs to step aside for the good of the party, for the good of the country.

A couple of things they're saying -- they do not think that debate was just a one-off event. They think that there is a health problem. They also say you cannot unsee the debate. They're worried, obviously, because of Donald Trump, who they see as an existential threat to democracy. But they're also worried about down ballot races, losing the House and the Senate.

TAPPER: Yeah, we just saw the Democratic congressman from Maine, Jared Golden, from a district that Trump wins and he wins write an op-ed saying, Donald Trump is going to win and democracy is going to be fine. That is the definition of cut and bait.

Isaac, talk to us about the timing factor, what Democrats are saying about the process if Biden were to heed their call and we should say -- we should note there is no indication right now, none that he's going this step down. None.

But if he were to -- what about the timing?

EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: I think it's actually the opposite of there's no indication. They're saying very clearly he won't.

TAPPER: Yeah, right.

DOVERE: We ran in the piece today, defiance has become as much a part of the Biden psychology as Delaware is, right? This is a man who has been counted out many times before and he feels like he can do it again. But it only -- there is no process of what happens next unless Joe Biden decides that he's stepping aside. That's it.

The way that the convention rules work is that these are delegates that are -- were elected because Biden won all the primaries, he controls 90 percent of them. They have to vote for him on the first round. Well, they would -- then he would be the nominee. Now, if he steps aside, then it creates a lot of whole hypothetical tree of things here.

Most people believe that Kamala Harris would have the edge in that situation. That she would have potentially the support of leading Democrats, including potentially Joe Biden, and that she would also be popular with delegates, and on top of that are demographic and political considerations, the first Black vice president, first woman vice president, Black voters, women, Black women are key to Democratic wins.



DOVERE: It'll be hard to get in the way of that. Donna Brazile, former interim chair of the DNC, and a Harris adviser on the outside said to me over the weekend that her response was how you're going to put any of these white people. She said actually how the after you're going to put any of these white people in front of Kamala. And that is part of what this would be.

Of course might not work, could go into multiple ballots and that would be great TV for us. We'll see if it is great for the Democratic Party.

TAPPER: And, David, you -- I don't think I've wanted to see a poll more than these polls that you have us today because, you know, there's so much in politics, so its unknown. And the voters always surprised us. What are these new polls taken after the debate show?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, I mean, it's just a poll, right? So it's a snapshot for now, but I think it has information for both the Biden campaign that they're circling the wagons, but it also has information for all the people Jamie is talking about that believe they have a pressure campaign to mount here.

If you look at the top line numbers here, Jake, 49 percent, Donald Trump, 43 percent, Joe Biden. That is the sixth point deficit. He is trailing Donald Trump. That is identical. Identical to what the horse race looked like in our pulling back in April. And at that, if you look across the last year, Jake, look at that, the numbers there last fall, this race sort of locked into place and has stayed consistent throughout. That's something that Biden campaign is going to hold onto.

Take a look by party. I think this is really interesting. Joe Biden gets 91 percent of Democrats in this poll that this is the first time in CNN polling of this race that he has had more than 90 percent of Democratic support. So, we actually, after the debate, uptick his number among Democrats coming to his aid, he's losing independents by ten points, which is an enormous problem for him, of course.

And if you look at what is motivating voters, this also plays into the Biden campaign's messaging right now, Donald Trump is the factor and they want Donald Trump to be the factor. So, for Biden voters, 63 percent are voting for Biden because their voting against Trump, 37 percent are doing so to vote for the president. That's okay with the Biden camp. They think Trump is, their motivating factor.

It is the verse among Trump voters. Trump voters, two thirds of them, 66 percent are casting their ballot in favor of Trump. Only 34 percent are casting their ballot in opposition to Joe Biden.

TAPPER: And how to voters see President Biden after that shaky performance on the debate stage?

CHALIAN: So here comes the data points out of the brand-new do you see an poll that does not work in the presidents favor in this moment while he's trying to have this conversation to assuage concerns. His approval rating stands at 36 percent. That is a new numeric low in CNN polling of Joe Biden's approval for the entirety of his presidency. No incumbent president wants to hit their low four months out from their reelection date.

You noted at the top of the show, Jake, 75 percent, three-quarters of registered voters in this poll believe the Democrats have a better shot with someone other than Joe Biden, only 25 percent of American voters believe Joe Biden at the top of the Democratic ticket is the best course to victory.

And here is what well get all the Democratic tongues wagging, and Isaac alluded to this on the Kamala Harris piece. Kamala Harris was tested in this poll against Donald Trump. Look at this. She pulls the race within margin of error. No clear leader, Trump 47 percent, Harris, 45 percent. That is a no clear leader race.

She is the only candidate we tested that. Does that if you look at all the other Democrats Whitmer, Newsom, Buttigieg, their numbers look more like Biden's numbers. They lose outside the margin of error right now to Donald Trump.

Only Kamala Harris polls this race right now of those tested within the margin of error.

TAPPER: And that's fascinating because it was just over the weekend that the Biden people put out a head-to-head comparison with the other possible candidates to show the Biden was the only one that could beat Trump. But live by the pole, die by the poll.

Now, Kamala Harris is at least according to this one poll, one poll -- CHALIAN: Right.

TAPPER: -- more likely to be able to give Trump a run for his money.

And, Jamie, you're hearing the Democrats are not only concerned obviously about top of the ticket, but we have to remember there are whatever 33 Senate races, 435 House races. There's a lot on the line beyond just the White House.

GANGEL: Couple of things, Democrats are worried about getting out the vote. If Joe Biden is at the top of the ticket and people are not energized to get out the vote that can hurt them down ballot.

The other thing that Capitol Hill source said to me was before the debate to David's point, these polls have been so close, neck and neck. He said before the debate, it was close, but you could see Biden polling it out, not after the debate, end quote.

So there's concern. One thing about Kamala Harris having the edge, part of our reporting is that Democratic Party leaders are also looking, they are floating scenarios for opening it up to all contenders, having perhaps a series of many debates, of five-week campaign.


So, yes, she has the edge, but they are not ruling out if Joe Biden steps aside. Other people coming in.

CHALIAN: To be clear, if that happened, those debates would not be many at all, right? It would be fascinating.

TAPPER: There are a lot of people.

Do we have any reporting on like what Barack Obama or Bill Clinton think? Because I am quite sure that what I'm hearing from a lot of Democrats donors, elected officials, et cetera, is not immune -- that former presidents are not immune to it.

DOVERE: Yeah. Like both of them have been getting calls, obviously. Bill Clinton takes more phone calls generally than Barack Obama does. But Obama on Friday night was at a fundraiser in New York City. It was a fundraiser that actually had been scheduled for earlier than week, but he was -- his mother-in-law's funeral made it the day after the debate, inconveniently for him.

And he was there with a lot of people who were very anxious. They kept it so that the photo line was very quick and people didn't have a lot of time to spend with him. And then he was interviewed on stage by Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic leader.

Jeffries said, what do you think about what's going on with the debate? We have to address it. And Obama gave this very long drawn-out answer. He said, look, I had a bad debate in 2012.

TAPPER: Oh, it's not the same thing. DOVERE: Of course, but he said it -- and only report to you what he

said, Jake. And then he said that Biden has the values that best represent America. And by the end of it, he turned it back to talking about House Democrats. He said, but look, politics is a team sport and we need to get House Democrats elected.

To some people in the room that felt and this was not the words that Obama said, but what they felt was, oh, was he feeling unsure about Biden? We need to get Jeffries in as speaker to be the check on him.

TAPPER: Well, I think it's very clear that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama know how to read polls as well.

Thanks one and all. Appreciate it.

This just in, the White House chief of staff is going to hold an all- staff call tomorrow. Two sources confirm that to CNN. This in the wake of President Biden's shaky debate performance. According to one source, it's just a touching base call. The chief of staff regularly holds these calls with staff, just touching base. He's expected to tell his staff to keep doing the job of governing, which, of course, we all applaud.

A Democrat who ran against Biden in 2020 is now openly calling on his party to put Vice President Kamala Harris at the top of the ticket. His argument and how it's going over with Democratic insiders.

Plus, the breaking news for Donald Trump, his sentencing delayed in the New York hush money cover-up case. How yesterday's immunity decision from the U.S. Supreme Court came into play.



TAPPER: In our 2024 lead, former Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan ran against President Biden in 2020 for the Democratic presidential nomination. He endorsed Biden after dropping out of the race. But in a new op-ed, Congressman Ryan writes, quote: Witnessing Joe Biden struggle was heartbreaking, and we must forge a new path forward. After deep reflection over these past few days, I strongly believe that our best path forward is Kamala Harris, the vice president.

Tim Ryan joins me now.

Congressman, thanks for joining us.

So what is the response you're getting now that you put this out? Because obviously, I wouldn't exactly say a lot of Democrats are being as forthcoming with their views on this issue publicly as they are privately.

TIM RYAN (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Yeah. I mean, overwhelming, Jake. My phone blew up this morning and all day long, I've been doing calls and doing media and former colleagues have been reaching out, just saying thank you. I think somebody had to do something like we had to break the logjam here and I just think that that Kamala is the person that's -- it's the cleanest way. She's a seasoned campaigner now, three-and-a-half years of experience.

And so, I think people would be very, very excited, and I think she'd be good for down-ballot races and energize our base. So to me, it's pretty straightforward. But the fact that no one said it, I think was holding back and now it seems like the dam's breaking.

TAPPER: You say that Democrats have to rip the band-aid off because too much is at stake. Why do you think Harris is the best choice to replace Biden beyond what you said about her being a seasoned politician? Obviously, she's the vice president as well, but beyond that, you think that she would do a better job of winning than some of the other -- I mean, to be honest, you have -- you have --you have a big bench, Democrats.

Why her and not Whitmer or Newsome or Shapiro are anyone?

RYAN: Yeah, I mean, we've got a lot of talent and that's very fortunate and some great governors, I think, you know, we talk about President Biden's administration being the most successful administration and modern history, we brag about that.

She was in the room. She was right there, three-and-a-half years, went through the campaign with them, all the things that we're going to talk about, Inflation Reduction Act, infrastructure, the Chips Act, actually re-industrializing the country. I think she would be able to talk about that much clearer than the president would be able to.

The choice issue is going to be huge in this election. There's a lot at stake for women, who better to prosecute that argument than Kamala Harris? She energizes our base. I mean, we're bleeding out young people right now.

We're losing in the different minority communities. We're losing support. Support is soft.

I think she would absolutely juice up the Democratic base which in your previous conversations you are having, Hakeem Jeffries, the House races, the Senate races, those -- a lot of those are going to depend on, can we get our base out to support?

And I think she just makes for a great candidate. And finally, I think she's generational like American people have been screaming for how long, Jake, how many times have we reported, American people don't want Trump, they don't want Biden. They want someone different.

Democrats, let's give them somebody different, a generational change here. And we got four months to make the case. And I think she's a very compelling candidate, and I think we should all get behind her.

TAPPER: What do you -- what do you -- what's your response when you hear the White House message, which is president, this was just an off night, President Biden had a cold you know, even, even Obama had a bad debate and on and on? What's your perception of how his performance for that 90 minutes on Thursday night, how representative it is of him in general?

RYAN: I think the problem with them saying that Jake and I say this, I love the guy, you know, is that we watched what happened with our own eyes and that in conjunction with many of us -- you know, I just lost my mom a few months ago, like many of us have gone on through dealing with people moving into their later years.


And so, we know what it looks like. And so, watching that on stage and having our own personal experience, and then have people tell us that we shouldn't believe that, that it was just a bad debate night -- no, like, don't insult us by saying that, don't gaslight everybody who has an opinion based on what they watched.

And if you think you know, and I think this the other thing I think it makes the Democrats look bad because one of the Achilles heels we have as a party is that people think we're not in touch with them, not in touch with reality in some extent, with working class people. That's why we've been losing them.

And so, to tell working class people who watched what we've watched, that they should unsee that or that wasn't really what they were seeing. And then on top of that, sometimes they think that Democratic Party is not strong, they perceive us as being weak. And for us to not have leaders who can step up and say no, we have to change, we have to be strong, we have to make a decision on the best interest of the people of this country, the Constitution.

And we're watching in real time the chevron decision last week the immunity decision yesterday, like the stakes are super high. If we want to sit back and watch every federal bench in the United States be filled with Kavanaugh. And these other people who are on the current Supreme Court, every federal bench is going to have somebody like that, Clarence Thomas, every U.S. attorneys office across the country, if we lose the Senate, lose the presidency, will be filled with the Federalist Society.

Like that's a bad recipe for the United States. They've already flipped the Constitution on its head yesterday with the immunity deal, lots at stake. Let's get behind the charismatic, generational change candidate. Let's beat Donald Trump. Let's heal this country and let's move forward and start being Americans again instead of Democrats and Republicans.

TAPPER: I have -- I have one more question for you before I know you have to go. What was your mom's name?

RYAN: Rochelle.

TAPPER: Rochelle, I'm so sorry. I'm sure she was really proud of you.

RYAN: Yeah. Yeah. No, she was great. But it --

TAPPER: I know. It's awful.

RYAN: It taught to understand what we were -- what we were watching. So, anyway, thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Before you go, it does look as though he's going to give an interview. President Biden's going to give an interview with George Stephanopoulos with ABC News. Is that going to be enough?

RYAN: I don't -- I don't think so. I think, you know, we would -- American people would have to see some vigor, some energy, some juice. I mean the American people want a leader to be strong and energetic, and, you know, I just -- I'm not sure that's -- that's possible.

And again, I say this with a broken heart.

TAPPER: Right.

RYAN: I was the first one who endorsed him in 2020. Like this isn't personal, but there are stakes here that are so high, I don't think one interviews going to do it. It's going to have to be town halls. It would have to be numerous interviews.

It would have to be going and doing a Fox News town hall and having some real adversity there to show your strength.

And I used the example the other night on your network of Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis, like he's in a room with a bunch of brass, military brass for 13 days, pushing them around, not getting sleep, they're bullying him, trying to get him into World War Three.

TAPPER: Right.

RYAN: And he had the mental acuity, capacity, intestinal fortitude to be able to do that for 13 days, and solve a really big problem and prevented World War Three.

And we didn't see that on the stage the other day. That's what the American people want to see. And if we're not giving it to 'em with our current candidate, we have to put a candidate and who can do that.

And I had just happened to think that the vice president, watching her performance after the debate the other day, she was masterful. I followed her all across the different cable news shows and she was terrific. And it was someone who has really grown into the office, who handled the pressures as political meltdown was happening.


RYAN: She was -- she was absolutely masterful. So, let's go.

TAPPER: Former Democratic Ohio congressman, Tim Ryan, Rochelle's son, thank you so much and make your mother's memory be a blessing, Congressman.

Donald Trump was supposed to be sentenced a week from Thursday in New York hush money cover-up case. Now, that sentencing has been delayed, postponed for months. It's a direct result of yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court immunity decision. And this is not the only case that could be impacted. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Breaking news, Donald Trump's sentencing in the New York hush money case, which was scheduled for next week, a week from Thursday actually, is now delayed until mid-September. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court's bombshell decision to grant limited presidential immunity to Mr. Trump.

CNN's Paula Reid takes a look now at how the high courts ruling could impact Donald Trump's Manhattan conviction and how it could change the former president's three other upcoming trials.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a scam. It's a rigged trial.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first fallout from Monday Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity, Trump's sentencing in the Manhattan hush money case now delayed until September.

TRUMP: This is bigger than Trump. This is bigger than me. This is bigger than my presidency.

REID: Trump's team plans to use the Supreme Courts historic decision granting Trump some immunity from criminal prosecution to attack his recent conviction in New York on 34 counts related to hush money payments to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The only voice that matters is the voice of the jury and the jury has spoken.

REID: Both sides are now asking to brief the court on how they think the Supreme Court's ruling impacts the New York case. Trump's legal team believes this decision bars evidence related to Trump's official actions.

WILL SCHARF, TRUMP ATTORNEY: We believe that that corrupts that trial, that that indicates that that jury verdict needs to be overturned. And at the very least, we deserve a new trial where those immune acts will not come into evidence.


REID: The opinion is likely to reverberate in Trump's other criminal cases, too. A source tells CNN his team is confident it will help them gut the federal January 6 case.

TRUMP: We call it a sham indictment.

REID: The high court outlined parameters for presidential immunity and then told the trial court judge, Tanya Chutkan, to decide how that applies to the Trump case, making a trial before the election, nearly impossible.

TRUMP: We did nothing wrong at all. And we have every right, every single right to challenge an election that we think is dishonesty.

REID: The decision may also have implications in Georgia, that case is currently paused and determine if D.A. Fani Willis should be disqualified. But if it resumes, the judge would have to go through the same analysis to determine which of Trump's acts were official and therefore immune.

Like this call to pressure Georgia state election officials.

TRUMP: I just want to fine 11,780 votes, which is one more that we have because we won the state.

REID: The Trump team is also expected to try to undercut the Mar-a- Lago documents case.

TRUMP: I had every right to have these documents.

REID: A source tells CNN they plan to argue that how classified material ended up at the Florida resort stemmed from official presidential acts.

TRUMP: Whatever documents are president decides to take with him, he has the right to do so. It's an absolute right.


REID (on camera): It's not a guarantee that Trump will be sentenced in New York before the election or ever. If you look at the judge's letter, he said the sentencing will happen if necessary, and, Jake, he's using that language because the Trump team is challenging that conviction based on yesterday's Supreme Court opinion. It wasn't just about acts being shielded from prosecution, it's also about how official acts can't be used as evidence and hear, the Trump team will argue that portions of Hope Hicks testimony and specific social media posts should not have been included under this opinion.

So it's really astonishing. They're using this opinion to attack all the criminal cases, ensuring he won't have another trial before the election. And he may not have another sentencing.

TAPPER: Supreme Court nominees matter.

REID: They do.

TAPPER: Paula Reid, thanks so much.

Could the Supreme Court immunity ruling lead to more than just a sentencing delay in the New York hush money cover-up case? Could this lead to a whole new trial or even a mistrial? We'll get expert opinions on that, next.



TAPPER: More in our law and justice lead, and the sweeping effect, the U.S. Supreme Courts immunity ruling of yesterday could have on Donald Trump's legal battles.

Here with me to break it all down, former principal deputy assistant attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush, Tom Dupree, and criminal defense attorney Brandi Harden.

Thomas, Mr. Trump's lawyers are arguing here that some evidence that was raised during the New York trial, including Trump's social media posts from when he was president about Michael Cohen comes from a time when Trump was president and therefore, it should have been excluded due to immunity protections. Is that a fair argument?

TOM DUPREE, PARTNER, GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER: It is a fair argument and look, I think that's maybe one of the under appreciated aspects of the Supreme Courts opinion that we've all been poring over the last 24 hours is that they did say that this is not just a rule of immunity. It's also a rule governing the admission evidence in a criminal trial, that you can't use evidence of a president's official acts against him.

I think the Trump team has decent arguments. Clearly, Judge Merchan is taking it seriously. He's adjourned or postponed the sentencing. He actually signaled at least the possibility he could throw the whole thing out when he said, I will sentence if necessary.

But I could also see Judge Merchan saying, look this error, if it was indeed error to let this stuff in was harmless. And that it didn't prejudice Trump. Defendants are entitled to a fair trial, not a perfect trial, and so, I'm going to uphold the verdict.

If that happens, I think Trump will have fairly respectable arguments to go up on appeal to the New York court of appeals. And if necessary, again, to the United States Supreme Court.

TAPPER: Brandi, what do you think? Do you think that the Supreme Courts ruling on immunity here could result in Trump's conviction being overturned all altogether, in the New York -- in the Manhattan hush money case?

BRANDI HARDEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER: I just think there's a possibility. You know, I think that once you have this new test, this new rule that essentially says that he has presidential immunity, and that some of the things that were admitted in this trial cannot be properly -- were not properly admitted, then there's a chance that the conviction could be overturned.

I think it's also -- there's also a chance that the court can declare a mistrial. But all of those things are very fine lines. And I think the judges have to be very serious about how they're going to evaluate the evidence and whether or not they're going to hold a hearing to determine whether or not certain things were improperly admitted. TAPPER: Tom, turning to the January 6 case, the federal charge, Trump is facing four charges, so two felony counts under obstructing an official proceeding, one felony count to defraud the United States, one felony count, conspiracy against rights, meaning voting rights. Is Special Counsel Jack Smith going to have to adjust your scale back the charges in the case due to the immunity decision, and maybe that other decision about obstruction from last week?

DUPREE: Absolutely. I think he is going to have to dust off his indictment and he's going to have to figure out which charges in which allegations can stand, which can survive and proceed in which need to be jettisoned from his complaint.

It's a pretty big homework assignment, and I think he is going to have to look hard and say, look, there's certain evidence now I know can't come in. There are certain charges that have to be narrowed. You mentioned the January 6 decision from the prior week. That's something else he's going to have to take into account.

I think the short of it, Jake, is he is going to have to go back in all likelihood, narrow his complaints substantially, at least with regard to the charged conduct he may or may not have to actually drop one of those charges mentioned, but at a minimum, he's got to go back and take another look and figure out what can survive now.

TAPPER: Brandi, what does the timeline look like now for the January 6 case, which a lot of observers feel like is the most significant, the most important case, it was pretty clear it seems that its not going to go to trial before the election, and if Trump wins, not at all?

HARDEN: That's right. So, the timeline is one of the things that I think that Judge Chutkan, who I practiced in front of, I think she definitely is going to hold an evidentiary hearing before the election.


But the timeline in terms of the trial -- again, I think I've said this before -- it's almost impossible for some lawyers to get ready, especially with these new rulings, to get ready in time for a trial before the election. And I think the 1512 issue, which I have clients that have that charge as well, I think absolutely Jack Smith is going to have to go back and determine whether or not that charge is going to be able to stand.

And oftentimes what you need to do is take some of the charges out of the indictment so that you have a cleaner case moving forward. And I think that's exactly what's going to happen.

The timeline is just not going to happen before the election.

TAPPER: Brandi Harden, Tom Dupree, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, to look at who is overseeing the 2024 election. This question specifically for one man still on Wisconsin's election board despite his legal drama as a fraudulent elector.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, Robert Spindell, a fraudulent Trump elector, who admitted to playing a role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election results -- well, he's still oversees elections in the state of Wisconsin. Dozens of activists are demanding that Spindell resign from the state's election commission. There's even a theme song by a raging group of grannies.

CNN's Sara Murray has more on the pressure campaign to remove him.



SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Wisconsin elections commissioner Robert Spindell, this is turning into a regular welcome. Although it's the first time they've had a theme song.

REBECCA ALWIN, CALLING FOR ROBERT SPINDELL'S RESIGNATION: We didn't have a song, believe it or not, specific to having a fake elector.

MURRAY: I'm shocked.

ALWIN: But I wrote a song.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the tellers who collect the ballots.

MURRAY: Roughly four years ago, Spindell was signing papers to serve as a Republican fake elector for Donald Trump, who lost the state by more than 20,000 votes.

Those papers, Spindell and other Wisconsin fake electors now admit were part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results, something they acknowledged in a civil lawsuit settlement.

But nothing in that deal blocked him from staying on the board that oversees elections in the Badger State.

SAM LIEBERT, WISCONSIN STATE DIRECTOR, ALL VOTING IS LOCAL: You know, it is a concern that someone who's an acknowledged fake elector, overseas our elections.

MURRAY: Sam Liebert is one of dozens of activists trying to keep the pressure on Spindell.

LIEBERT: Bob Spindell must resign from the Wisconsin elections commission, period.

MURRAY: We caught up with Spindell heading into a commissioners' meeting.

Sara Murray with CNN, can we just ask you a couple --

To ask if there was any chance he'd step aside?

Rigorous protests downstairs calling for you to resign. Do you have any plans to do that?


MURRAY: So you're used to it right now.

SPINDELL: I've been around.

MURRAY: Do you think that they have a point after that civil sediment settlement you signed when it came to the whole fake elector plot?

SPINDELL: No, I don't think so. That was all settled.

MURRAY: He told us his goal this year is to ensure everyone can vote and election laws are followed.

What about 2020 looking back now? I mean, you said there was fraud all over the place, all over the country.

SPINDELL: I didn't say that.

MURRAY: He did. Back in December 2020, without evidence to back it up.

SPINDELL: We have fought all over the country, and the 2020 election especially in swing states.

MURRAY: Now he says --

SPINDELL: I think really nobody knows in terms of fraud, only God knows, but I think we had a good election.

MURRAY: Soon after, activists filed into the meeting room from the jump, it turned contentious.

BIANCA SHAW, ALL VOTING IS LOCAL: It is imperative that you, Mr. Bob Spindell, resign immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commissioner Spindell has a question.

SPINDELL: Democrat administration placed 185 polling places to just five. Don't talk to me. Talk to your friends and Milwaukee white Democrats.


SHAW: You should not be on the Wisconsin election commission where presenting any person in the state of Wisconsin, and it is imperative that you do what is right for our elections in this state and resign today.

MURRAY: Outside, activists said that they're also motivated by Spindell's previous comments, seeming to celebrate lower turnout among Black and Hispanic voters in Milwaukee in the 2022 midterms, a characterization Spindell has disputed.

SHAW: The sense of entitlement was just real. He feels very protected.

MURRAY: He has reason to feel secure. Wisconsin's Republican Senate majority leader Devin LeMahieu is the only person who has the authority to remove Spindell from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

His office is right here, but he didn't want to talk to us.

Speaker after speaker called on Spindell to step down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I call on him to do the ethical thing, the right thing, and to resign.

MURRAY: Spindell's response?

No plans to resign? The protests aren't --

SPINDELL: Oh, no, not (ph) resign.

MURRAY: Thanks.

SPINDELL: They'll ask next month, too.

MURRAY: Protesters plan to keep up the fight.



MURRAY (on camera): Now, Robert Spindell is just one of the 2020 fake electors who is still wielding power in battleground states ahead of November's presidential contests, in a rural county in Nevada, the top elections officials actually, actually, a 2020 fake elector. There's a state senator in Arizona, who is a fake elector. The lieutenant governor of Georgia was a fake collector and he has welcomed investigations and denied any wrongdoing.

TAPPER: Very, very serious stuff and you seem to really like that song i have to say.

MURRAY: You know, you got to give it to the raging grannies for really going for it.

TAPPER: You're really. It's your jam, I got it.

All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

We're back with the breaking news: the White House pushing back on calls for President Biden to drop out of the 2024 race, calls by Democrats.

Plus, a brand new report from "The New York Times". Headline, quote, Biden's lapses are increasingly common, according to some of those in the room, unquote.


A White House correspondent and the byline of this report is going to join us coming up.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.