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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Tonight: Biden Meets With Dem Govs Amid Debate Fallout; House Democrats Grapple With Debate Fallout; How Trump Plans To Use Immunity Ruling To Fight Four Criminal Cases; Now: Biden Gives Remarks At White House Ceremony Amid Questions About Future Of His 2024 Campaign. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: The island is still being battered by hurricane-force winds. There's flooding, rain, a tremendous storm surge, and Jamaica's prime minister says the worst is actually still to come.

Beryl will move past the island throughout the evening as it makes its way toward Mexico. It's expected to make landfall there on Friday morning, but as a much weaker storm.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: CNN's Rafael Romo has been on the ground there. He is watching the storm closely. We hope him and his crew are staying safe.

We'll, of course, keep you updated with the storm and where it heads next.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we start today with, of course, our 2024 lead. In this hour, we're going to hear directly from President Biden and at an event at the White House. This while numerous Democratic officials are privately expressing panic and many are starting to say out loud that if President Biden stays on the top of the ticket, the ticket will assuredly lose and bring many other Democrats with it.

This evening, President Biden will meet with Democratic governors both in-person and some will join on Zoom. This is after sources told me many of those Democratic governors were shocked at five days after the disastrous debate performance, they had yet to hear directly from President Biden. One of the governors attending that meeting is going to join us live later in the show.

Before that meeting, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris joined a call with their campaign staff. A source described it as a pep talk. Biden told staffers, quote, let's go win this, unquote. But, can he? That's one of the very real fears I've heard from House Democrats in

background conversations I held today. One Democratic member of Congress told me that their phones hadn't stopped ringing.

They say there's a clear split in the House Democratic Caucus. Those who seemed to have a close relationship with President Biden wants to stay the course. Others are all too ready to back Vice President Harris as the nominee, quote, polling of House members is cratering, this House Democrat says, about the congressional races they're all running.

They're all running for reelection, of course. Quote: We are all outperforming the president. But that's not sustainable, unquote.

A second House Democrat that I spoke with told me that they had to leave the room just a few minutes into the debate Thursday night, during Biden's, quote, we finally beat Medicare, unquote, answer. They had to leave the room because their blood pressure went through the roof, they said.

House Democrat two then sat in the kitchen drinking for the rest of the debate. This was the first time this Democrat thought, wow, not only could Biden lose, I could, too.

Quote: Every American knows what a confused older person looks like, this member of Congress told me. They went on to say that was a massive signal that he wasn't able to handle a future term.

They also told me, quote, I do not subscribe to the people who immediately were like he should go, he should go, he should go nor do I subscribe to those who said we need to support Joe Biden at all costs. That's what we have to do.

I'm a logical person. Defeating Donald Trump is the only mission that counts, unquote, the member tells me, that they don't want to make a knee jerk reaction. They're waiting for more comprehensive, deeper polling data next week to see on whether Biden has any chance of winning in November and on which alternatives might be the strongest.

This Democrat engages with Biden, pretty regularly and says the debate performance, quote, was more of an anomaly, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't get better. The chances of those things happening more frequently are going up, and it's not going down.

A third House Democrat with whom I spoke told me they had believed wrongly what the campaign and White House had been saying about Biden's health, all the assurances. Now, they tell me, quote, I just want to beat Trump and I don't think Biden can do that. No one has laid out a path to me. Barring that, we have to consider what we do.

It's almost impossible to see anyone coming back from this House, Democrat number three told me, because this is something everybody understands. And as one person said to me, it goes slowly and then it goes quickly.

When this House Democrat pushed campaign staffers, that they had not been honest to Democrats, they were rebuffed. But this member of Congress told me, quote, sometimes when you're with someone every day who is declining you don't see as clearly. You see what you want to see.

Now, look, obviously these are just the opinions of three Democratic lawmakers out of thousands. We know that President Biden has recently reached out to House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Chris Coons, his campaign co-chair. And there are still many Democrats who support Biden, including Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who said today on CNN, that Biden, quote, has the stamina and can do the job.

The White House also said today that the president is, quote, absolutely not thinking about stepping down.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that President Biden is, quote, as sharp as ever, unquote. As sharp as ever she said, she said that. But there is no doubt that conversations are going on amongst members of the Democratic Party. Top members about whether he is fit to serve another four years.


CNN's MJ Lee is at the White House.

MJ, you directly pressed the White House press secretary. This afternoon about the level of transparency they're having with Americans.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake. The White House just made clear for the second day in a row that they do not think if they should release more information about the president's health or his medical records, raising a lot of questions about transparency.

Take a listen.


LEE: The White House has said no to releasing the full results of that annual, said no to making Dr. O'Connor available for questions from us, no to releasing any other information that would shed some more light on the president's health.

I guess I'm just wondering if now is not the time for full transparency, when is?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So I would say, MJ, to your question that what we have released over the past three years, every year since he's been in office has been transparent, and it has been comprehensive. It has been one of the most transparent. We have been one of the most so transparent administration when it comes to medical records.


LEE: She also told me, Jake, that the president has had no additional medical exams since its last annual physical back in February.

She also said the idea of putting up his doctor, Kevin O'Connor, to face questions from reporters that that really just was not the norm. But she also faced numerous questions about the new explanation that President Biden has started giving about why he performed so badly on the debate stage, jet-lagged from the two foreign trips that he had right before, even though we should really remind everyone that there were some 12 days when he was back Stateside.

No good answer as to why he might it has been still fatigued or jet- lagged about when he had that much time back in the states, and also why we only heard that new explanation from the president last night when all day yesterday, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, had not mentioned that as an explanation. She told me that she had been so focused on the president's hold yesterday that she didn't mention the other factors.

TAPPER: But just to remind people, in September 2020 when I interviewed then Vice President Biden, and then after he was president-elect, I think November or December 2020, both times I asked him about his health and whether or not he would show total transparency in his health because obviously he was the oldest person ever elected, both times, he promised total transparency.

We have not gotten as a nation or journalists total transparency. That's -- we just haven't. We've gotten these six page memos or whatever, but we have not gotten all the records, for instance, the way that John McCain showed all his records, while he was running in 2008.

But moving on, MJ, the White House was also asked why Biden doesn't just come to the briefing room himself to take reporters' questions which would potentially -- could serve as a way of, you know, getting the story under control. What does she have to say to that?

LEE: Well, Jake, the issue isn't just more narrowly why we haven't seen the president come to the White House briefing room. It's broader than that. It's why we have seen so little of the president out in public ever since that poor debate performance last week. It's been days and the White House press secretary pointed out that he went to a waffle house. He had a rally in North Carolina right after the debate, and then she pointed to the things that he will be doing like that interview with ABC News coming up on Friday, and the fact that he is going to be having a press conference next week.

But, you know, as you have heard, and other colleagues of ours and I have heard from Democrats over the last several days, there has just been so much confusion and frustration about why we have seen so little from the president and particularly in unscripted moments, I think the question for a lot of people, including Democrats who have been very much panicked about the state of their party and the state of this race, is if it is so important to prove the critics wrong right now, why have we seen so little of the president?

And of course we are starting to see a little bit more engagement from the president in recent days, yesterday and today, he did call lawmakers and he is going to be hosting some Democratic governors here at the White House this evening. So, we'll see if all of that is enough to sway voters, sway people who are concerned, that he's got this, that he can turn the narrative around. It's just too early to tell, Jake.

TAPPER: They must be aware, MJ, that the fact that they don't do the thing that would put the story too bad, this idea that if he just came out and took questions and showed himself to have alacrity and quickness and be up for the job and he just did that for an hour or two hours, they know that if they did that, that would put the story way.


The fact that they don't do it suggests that they know he can't. I mean, I don't know that for a fact, but that's certainly what it suggests.

LEE: Well, and just think about how much this lag time is costing them and is really raising the stakes. You know, we have now been talking about this interview that is coming in a couple of days for a while now, its not happening until Friday. The outreach that we were just talking about, the president has not been making until it sounds like yesterday to key Democratic leaders.

So I think that has just really raise the stakes on how much he needs to prove himself in every moment that we now see him out in public, everything that he says, every appearance but he makes, everyone's going to be watching to see, is this going to be the moment where he slips. And I do think that it could be a very different circumstance right now if the White House had put him out in public right away to say the words that a lot of people were wanting to hear, that he's not dropping out, that he's not going anywhere.

And I just don't think they had given him the chance, I guess to decisively do that.

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

Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California.

Congresswoman, it's always good to see you.

You just heard our MJ Lee pressing the White House about transparency? What do you make of how they handle all this, the White House?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): They've clearly fumbled this. And I think that we have to be honest about that. I think there are as many for me, as many questions about President Biden's advisers, both those who did the debate prep and those who are continuing to give him advice, as there are for me about President Biden himself because, of course, we all want our president to be surrounded by people who are going to help him win. And I think that what we've seen in the last week or six days is probably not the course correction that we need. TAPPER: Well, what are the decisions that they have made that you

disagree with, that are in there hands, for instance, if President Biden were able to settle this by giving a two-hour press conference, right this minute, one assumes that he would there not having him do that. I don't know that that's their fault, right?

PORTER: Well, I think we don't know the answer to that, Jake. So what I think the problem is for all we know, the president's fully capable of doing these things.

TAPPER: You think he is?

PORTER: He thinks that's a good idea. He's being told that it's not a good idea, but I think the more important thing is that he needs to get out there and earn the trust of the American people.

This isn't something that's going to be solved by calling Democratic leaders. This is something that needs to be solved by Joe Biden taking his message, his energy and his enthusiasm directly to the American people.

Look, Joe Biden's run for president several times and he won definitively in 2020. He knows what it takes to become president. You have to earn it with American voters.

TAPPER: But do you think he's capable of giving an hour-and-a-half to our press conference and setting the story aside? I mean, do you think he can?

PORTER: Like most Americans, I actually don't have that information. And so the last time that I saw the president personally was about a year ago at a press con -- at an event where, you know, was successful event. He gave a teleprompted speech, which he deviated from successfully and so that's not enough information.

I can tell you why engage with the president in deep personal conversations on the campaign trail in 20 -- in the fall of 2022, he was terrific. So I think I'm situated and most Democratic leader verse are situated in the same way the American people are, which is give us that reassurance, give us that confidence.

And to do that, this campaign is going to have to, this White House, is going to have to be way less insular than they have been, and that may need a change of advisers, that maybe a change in campaign strategy.

TAPPER: I spoke with the number of your colleagues today for a number of background conversations. I read -- read the quote at the top of the show. Not a lot of confidence among these three, and it's just three, but three House Democrats that Joe Biden is the best person to win in November.

If President Biden were to step down, do you think Vice President Harris would step in? Would you support that? Or would you prefer perhaps more of a truncated primary system and open convention? PORTER: I definitely think we need to have a robust democratic process if President Biden is not the nominee. I think senator, sorry, excuse me, Vice President Harris would be terrific and a real competitor in that process and she might well be successful.

And I think we're seeing that she would be a strong candidate to take on President Trump and to win in November. But I think especially given how insular on how controlled -- look, Washington doesn't, they want to do things their way. They don't want to necessarily let the American people take the lead, but that's what democracy requires. That's what winning an election requires.

So I do think we need to have an open Democratic process. If Joe Biden is not the nominee, and I do think Vice President Harris would be a very, very top contender in that process. But I think the more folks we have who are qualified, who are part of that sort of secondary process to choose a replacement nominee, the better for our democracy.


TAPPER: So we have heard from a couple Democrats from very competitive seats that seats for the Democrat won, but Trump also won, Congresswoman, in Washington state, congressman in Maine, that they think Trump is going to win. And then, of course, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, House Democrat from Texas, said Biden should step down.

We just have this breaking news, just having the second interview with New York time to second Democratic lawmaker just called on President Biden to drop out of the race, Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona. He said, quote, if he's the candidate, I'm going to support him. But I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere what he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seating in part of that responsibility is to get out of this race, unquote.

What -- what is your reaction?

PORTER: Well, I think I just question how much more information any of those people have that I have those or all colleagues and friends of mine. But I think the real issue here is President Biden needs to go before the American people in town hall style events. He needs to engage with the press. He needs to come before the Democratic Caucus and stand on his own two feet and earn this presidency.

Look, his record as president is terrific. I don't hear anyone questioning that, and we shouldn't. He's the best president we have had in my opinion, in my 50 years on this Earth, but he needs to earn the next term. And so I think -- I would just say that none of those colleagues, I don't think they have any more information than any of the rest of us. We're all kind of the same boat.

And so, I think it's President Biden's job to come aboard the boat and to -- and to take Hellmann's captain and to earn our trust.

TAPPER: This is not the first time that I as a journalist have covered an aging lawmaker whose problems are not necessarily being disclosed in a transparent fashion, surrounded by staffers who are not necessarily being upfront.

There have -- this happens. It's -- I haven't seen it happened with the presidency, but it happens all the time. Do you think that's part of the problem here?

PORTER: Look, yes. This is a systematic problem and I don't think we should lose sight of that in all of the difficult circumstances and difficult decisions about how we're going to beat President Trump. This is a problem in Washington.

And some of the same people now who are saying, well, he needs to be tested. It's legitimate that people have questions, we heard Speaker Pelosi say that. There are legitimate questions.

People have some of these same people were saying there's no problem with Senator Feinstein. Nobody should question whether there's Senator Feinstein for the very end of her term was fit to do the job. And so I think there's a credibility gap then created.

I think Washington needs to be more transparent and hold itself more accountable. Don't be afraid of American voters. That's how -- you don't win being afraid of losing, you win by putting yourself out there by engaging again and again and again with all different kinds of Americans and all different kinds of audiences.

That hasn't been the playbook of this campaign. I think in the 2020, it was difficult to gauge that because of COVID. But I think here in 2024, this just needs to be in an absolute handshaking, nodding, taking questions, full press engagement, and Washington tries to cover its own tracks and it doesn't, ultimately, in my opinion, work, it just weakens trust in government. And ultimately, it comes back to hurt Democrats.

TAPPER: Quickly, "Bloomberg" is reporting that dozens of Democratic lawmakers are considering signing a letter demanding the President Biden drop out of the race. Do you know anything about this letter?

PORTER: I have not heard anything about this letter. I did ask a couple of colleagues if they had heard anything about this letter and the answer was no.

TAPPER: All right. Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California, always good to have you on. Thank you so much.

PORTER: Thank you.

TAPPER: A House Democrat tells me the conversations about President Biden and his campaign are non-stop right now. You have House Democratic leaders holding a call on the issue today in about two hours, Democratic governors plan to meet with President Biden himself at the White House. Before that, President Biden will speak at a Medal of Honor ceremony. It's set to start in just a few minutes.

Also new this hour, how Donald Trump is using this weekend's immunity decision from the U.S. Supreme Courts a fight all the criminal cases against him, not just one of them. We're following it all, a very newsy week.

We'll be right back.



TAPPER: Just in, in the 2024 lead, a second Democratic lawmaker is now publicly calling on President Biden to drop out of the race. In an interview with "The New York Times", Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona said, quote, if he's the candidate, I'm going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere. What he needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race, unquote.

My panel joins me now.

Karen --


TAPPER: I haven't talked to you since Thursday night, nor since all of everything that's happened since Thursday night.


TAPPER: What's up with your party?

FINNEY: It's an excellent question. Look, Thursday night sucked. I mean, I can't sugarcoat that. And it appears that what's happening is that the campaign is put a plan in place, whether you agree with it or not, to see if they can turn things around.

I do think that the president deserves the opportunity to try to turn things around. Let's see how he does in this interview on Friday. But obviously in the interim, you know, he's got to be making the case to people that he's still up to the job. I think he's trying to do that. Obviously, there's some members of Congress who disagree.

TAPPER: Do you think a 15-minute taped interview with George Stephanopoulos, no matter how well he does, is going to set this tourist rest?

MARC LOTTER, FORMER TRUMP COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: No, because I think we forget that he was losing going into this, to the debate. And there were about what, 60 percent, I think before the debate of people had questions about whether he was up for the job. I think the debate reinforced what many people often believed.

And so, whether it's a 15 minute interview or a great rally speech or something at the White House, the next time it happens, it's going to just reinforce everything all over again and its not something he's going to get away from.

TAPPER: Yeah. I mean, I'm sure George is going to ask a lot of tough questions, but again, nobody is saying he can't do a 15-minute taped interview.

ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, AXIOS: Yeah. I mean, the problem -- the problem that Joe Biden has is like he can do the big rally in North Carolina where he looks amped up and he's ambitious. The problem is that debate Joe Biden exists at all. That is like if you're president and you have, though, you cannot string sentences together for significant of time, that's what's troubling.


The other thing that's really been troubling for current and former Biden advisers is not so much the strategy now, is that it took them at least 72 hours. I mean, as one person put it, it's like I hope that Annie Leibovitz photo shoot on Sunday was worth it, because people on the campus campaign and in the White House were just like what's the plan? We haven't heard from the president.

FINNEY: But I think that's a really important point that there is -- there is the president who definitely is the one person who needs to be able to come out and again, make the case. And whether you believe them or not, he's the one who's got to do it.

There is also a question though I think the team around them has to be asking, is this the right strategy? Do we need to switch gears? Is this strategy working?

TAPPER: What do you, what do you think?

FINNEY: I would do it very differently. As you know, I'm a fighter, I'm aggressive. I would have been a lot more aggressive, a lot sooner. I don't know why they weren't, right?

TAPPER: Don't you really though? Don't you think if -- don't you think he were capable of doing a two-hour press conference to put this to bed that he would have done that on Monday?

FINNEY: I think the problem is I don't -- we don't know the answer to that question.

TAPPER: Don't we?

FINNEY: And I don't think -- I agree with you that I don't think it's about just one interview on Friday. I think it is about, you know, he's got this meeting with the governors. He's got events tomorrow. He's got the thing on Friday.

Like, you know, they're in the middle of their plan. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But if it --

LOTTER: Let me add real quick, is that in a normal campaign cycle, we would have had another debate two or three weeks down the road or the vice presidential debate would have changed the narrative. They're stuck with this until September. There will not be another time when those two men are standing side-by-side to be compared.

TAPPER: So "The New York Times" has brand new polling numbers before the debate. Trump was up three points in a national poll, which to be completely candid is not -- that does not reflect the state of the race in the battleground states, right? The battleground states its much, much tighter. But when you have a national poll you get like a little, you know, oomph from New York and California. I'm just to be just completely honest with it.

Anyway, so it showed Trump with only three-point lead. Now Trump has six point lead Biden's at 43 percent Trump at 49. That's among likely voters. Among registered voters, it's even worse.

How are they thinking of trying to come back from this?

THOMPSON: I mean, George Stephanopoulos. I don't know. Like they're going to do the Milwaukee thing. They're going to do the press conference next week. They are calling it the big boy press conference.

But again, why didn't --

FINNEY: A reporter said that, not them.


THOMPSON: She's repeated it.

FINNEY: She said.

TAPPER: That's a NATO press conference?

FINNEY: Correct.

THOMPSON: But they said it's going to be like a two by two. It is going to be a -- like a single, like he's going to be out there, who knows how long he's going to be out there.

So, that is the current plan. Again, though the question is, why has it taken them so long? Today was the first day where they actually looked to try to stop the bleeding. I can tell you, I have covered this White House for three-and-a-half years. I have never been able to get angry quotes from White House officials easier than I have in the last 48 hours.

And finally, today, you had Jeff Zients hop on a call. You had Joe Biden and Kamala Harris hop in a campaign call trying to reassure people.

FINNEY: But again, I think what I actually think is positive about that is that shows that they need to be reassuring people. I think that is the right thing. You may again, we may say it's Wednesday, why they wait so long, but I -- it is the right thing to do and the reporting that I've seen suggest that the president gets that he is introspective enough to understand he needs to be out there.

TAPPER: He blamed on foreign travel even though he came back from that foreign trip 12 days before the debate.

FINNEY: I know. I'm not even going to go there.

TAPPER: They blamed it on a cold. They blamed it on cold medicine. They blamed it on --

FINNEY: I'm with you. I'm with you.

TAPPER: They blamed it on me.


TAPPER: I mean, there --

THOMPSON: That one was terrific.


TAPPER: It's me. I'm the problem.

LOTTER: I'm going to see how the six-point, the six-point poll from CNN yesterday, "The New York Times" today --


LOTTER: -- "The Wall Street Journal" has got another one around six points, it usually takes a week or so for that national poll number to translate to the battlegrounds and the battleground map is moving and it's moving in the favor of Donald Trump.

TAPPER: And look at this, Mark, I just wanted to get your reaction, this in, too, the cross tabs of "The Times" poll, among voters ages 18 to 29, Biden 40 percent, Trump 48 percent.

That's young voters -- among his -- that you've used any part of the Biden coalition, young voters. Among Hispanic voters, Biden 41 percent, Trump 50 percent.

I mean, he's losing. It's just a poll. But I feel like I said that every day, he's losing Latinos and he's losing young people.

LOTTER: And a Democrat can't win with those kinds of numbers if they translate to November, I think a lot of it is the strength versus weakness, but then I think also there is a lot of economics in that. Young people can't afford mortgages, get their first house. And the obviously the inflation is really bad from the --

FINNEY: Can we also point out, though, that this "New York Times" poll is one of about five. I think there's a "Reuters" poll out, I mean, several others that are out that also show things a little bit closer, kind of more status quo.



FINNEY: So I think we should now --

TAPPER: We got more, panel.


TAPPER: We're coming back. This is a good panel. We're coming back, we're going to do more panel.

We're also going to go to the White House in a minute. All eyes are going to be on the president at a ceremony set to start in a few minutes.

Squeeze in a quick break. We'll be right back.


TAPPER: We're back with more of our 2024 panel with pressure mounting on the Biden White House. We now have a second Democratic -- Democratic lawmaker openly calling on President Biden to drop out of the race.

At 6:30 p.m. this evening Eastern Time, Biden will be meeting with a slew of Democratic governors at the White House. Many of them will join by Zoom.

Later this hour, we should see President Biden in a Medal of Honor ceremony.

My panel's back with me.

So we've been talking about polls. We've been talking about lawmakers.


TAPPER: There's another big part of running a campaign and that's the people who give the money and now they raised a lot of money from small donors especially, after the debate, both candidates did, but Biden did more.

I want to play what Charles Myers, who is a top Biden donor, said during an interview with "Bloomberg" earlier today.


CHARLES MYERS, BIDEN DONOR: I think what Nancy said is absolutely accurate and the things are moving a little faster than I expected. I think they've got probably another five to six days.


TAPPER: So, five or six days. I think he's basically saying five or six days to like pull the trigger one way or the other, right?

FINNEY: Well, five or six days to see what, again, whether or not you're able to turn this around.

[16:35:04] Are you able to convince people that you are capable of doing this job for another four years? Are you the right person at the top of the ticket?

I think I -- that's also what he's saying and, look, it's important for donors to hear from people. I mean, I think in addition, we're talking a lot about what the president is doing, but his team, I know they have Zients and others have been on the phones, but I think this is time for full-court press for everybody to be on the phones, making sure -- this is when you want to be -- you want people to hear from you as either the White House or the campaign, not just since the side conversation.

TAPPER: Another top Biden donor guy named Damon Lindelof, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer and producer of "Watchmen", and "The Leftovers" and "Lost", he wrote in a guest column in "Deadline", calling for other Democratic donors to stop giving money to the Democratic Party until there's a change at the top of the ticket. It's a column in "Deadline".

Quote: When they text you asking for cash, text back that you're not giving them a penny and you won't change your mind until there's change at the top of the ticket. And when Joe finally leaves the mound, I will stand and applaud because he truly pitched a great game, but I'm ready to hear the walkout song for our closer.

And once I do, I'm going to double the size of the checks. I'm going to write so many damn checks my hand will cramp.

That's, first of all, by the way, we should -- we should note, that's kind of a risky thing for a donor to do. Just to say that. He risks alienating the Democratic Party. It's gutsy, but I mean, that's reflecting how a lot of people feel I'm told.

THOMPSON: Absolutely. I mean, the Biden team knows this is a potential -- if donors start leaving mass, this could end up becoming crisis very quickly if you have more Damon Lindelof --

TAPPER: Lindelof, Lindelof.

THOMPSON: Thank you. It's going to be a problem. There's a reason why when they convene the donors, just the other night, that Jen O'Malley Dillon, the campaign chairman, was on that call. Lots of other these calls to comfort people did not have Jen O'Malley Dillon. In some cases, they'd have the deputy communications director.

They made sure that they had I think 500 donors on that call. I talked to several people that were on it, some came back being like, listen, he's going to be the nominee. I still support him.

There are other people that came across like a little bit indifferent and that actually could be the slow death here is that they're like, I'm still supporting them, but that, check I was going to cut, it's like a third of the size now.

TAPPER: So here's Democratic Congresswoman Summer Lee of the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania on radio this morning.


REP. SUMMER LEE (D-PA): This is going to be a thing that maybe folks don't want to hear. We have time that is running out, okay? Time is not on our side right now.

Which means that right now, if our president, the size that this is not the pathway forward for him, then it means that we are going to have to move very quickly. The vice president is the obvious choice because she's sitting right there.


TAPPER: So truth serum, Okay? Truth serum.

LOTTER: Uh-huh.

TAPPER: Vice President Harris on the top of the ticket with, let's give her, you know, dream running mate from some state rather Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, somewhere in there, okay? Or Joe Biden? Who is tougher for Donald Trump to beat?

LOTTER: Well, I think --

TAPPER: Truth serum.

LOTTER: -- Kamala Harris would be tougher because I think what we saw going back just because of the first female president, a female president of color, we dealt with this in 2016 with the Hillary factor on it, something new. She gets kind of a grace period, but we've also seen that she's a horrible campaigner as when she was running in 2020.

So it's probably a pick 'em because she's also going to get tagged with all of Joe Biden's policy failures, inflation, the border, the wall. She's not going to make any policy differences. So I think its still in Trump's corner. It'll just be a different focus.

TAPPER: Karen, final word here.

FINNEY: Truth serum, it depends on the process by which she would be if she became the nominee. Because a lot of people like some really who are out there talking don't actually know the process, as we were talking about and when you --

TAPPER: Nobody knows the process.

FINNEY: Well, but in terms of the dele -- I'm saying like delegates going to vote --


TAPPER: Right, you think open convention and she wins is better for her further than just anointed?

FINNEY: Absolutely, but I think the party would get behind her regardless.

LOTTER: Can't even at the convention, though they may have to do it to get them on him -- earlier to get on in Ohio and other states.

TAPPER: All right. The famous apocryphal Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times.

Thanks one and all for being here.

Brand new reporting on Donald Trump coming in, how he could use this week's U.S. Supreme Court decision on immunity to help fight every criminal case against him, not just one.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: This just in in our law justice lead. CNN has new reporting on how Donald Trump plans to use this week's immunity decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to attack the evidence in all four of the pending criminal cases against him.

I want to get right to CNN's Paula Reid and Katelyn Polantz.

Paula, how will this impact the two special counsel cases? Jack smith, on classified documents and on January 6?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: A lot of attention has been paid to what the Supreme Court said about the parameters around when a former president can be charged, but not as much attention has been paid to what the Supreme Court said about what evidence now cannot come in to support any charges that survive that analysis. And that was an unexpected gift for the Trump team, and that's where a lot of their focuses right now.

They think that that part right, excluding evidence. Could help them in both of these cases, but maybe even more so in the classified documents case than the January 6 case.

TAPPER: Sorry. Let me interrupt. I'm sorry. Let's bring President Biden at the White House, performing a Medal of Honor ceremony.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- star-shaped mental made of copper coated in bronze.

The first two is called the Army Medal of Honor, in time to capture the full capacity of Armed Forces became known simply as the Medal of Honor. Today is our nation's highest military honor.

Secretary Austin, Secretary McDonough, Secretary Wormuth, Chairman Brown, General Milley, previous Medal of Honor recipients who are here, distinguished guests.

The very first recipient of the Medal of Honor were a small band known as Andrews raiders, named for a spy for the Union Army, James Andrews, who led one of the most daring operations and the entire Civil War.


Every soldier who joined that mission was awarded the Medal of Honor, except for two soldiers who died because of that operation, but never received this recognition.

Today, we write that wrong. Today, they finally received the recognition they deserve.

Private George Wilson, born in Belmont County, Ohio, in his early 30s, not long after the civil war began, enlisted in the Union Army. He joined the Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was a father, mechanic and he was a hell of a debater.

He always has ready to persuade, argue. And as one family member put it, dress anyone down if the need be.

Private Philip Shadrach, born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. By the time, he was a teenager Philip was an orphan, a laborer, did everything he could to get by.

From what we know, he was a free spirit, always searching for adventure, excitement, intrigue. In his early 20s, Philip enlisted, joining the Ohio Regiment, as George did, the same one.

With us today are members of those families, Theresa Chandler, George's great, great granddaughter. Gerald Taylor, Philip's great grand nephew. They shared with us the how the stories of their brave ancestors are passed down for families for generation after generation.

For Philip and George and their brothers in arms serving our country meant serving our country, our country, fighting, and even dying to preserve the Union, and the sacred values it was founded upon, freedom, justice, fairness, unity.

George and Philip are willing to shed their blood to make these ideals real. Folks, it was April 7, 1862, James Andrew, the union spy, who regularly sneak behind Confederate lines, was preparing to lead a daring scheme, a group of two dozen soldiers including George and Philip who traveled 200 miles deep into the Confederate territory, and steal a Confederate chain, or a train, near Atlanta, and driving north to Chattanooga, just over the Georgia border, which Union troops were preparing to capture. That is Chattanooga.

Along the train journey, they would destroy enemy bridges, railroad tracks, telegraph lines, disrupting communications and vital supply lines, sabotaging the railroad that the Confederate Army used to move troops. All of that would make the Union capture Chattanooga much more likely. That would cut off the Confederate Army from both Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. A huge, a huge strategic victory could bring the war to a swift end.

The risk of this mission, the risk of all this mission were enormous. If caught, they would certainly be killed, Philip, George, all the men were given a chance to walk away, not one of them did not. One of them walked away. Instead, they changed it a civilian clothes, got a few hours sleep, and set out for Georgia.

Several days later, they all of them, including George and Philip, made it to the rendezvous point. A train station just north of Atlanta they gathered at midnight and waited until morning when the conductor and passengers disembark for breakfast. They made, that's when they made their move. Quickly and quietly, they detached three box cars and a locomotive, hopped in, began moving in full speed north to Tennessee.

Almost immediately, their problems are increased. Rain made it nearly impossible to burn the tracks and the bridges along the way. There are other trains on the track that were not supposed to have been there, slowing them down considerably.

By then, Confederate forces were in hot pursuit, but George and Philip and the rest of the raiders didn't quit. They kept going nearly for seven hours, destroying as much track as they could along the way and cut it as many telegraph wires as they could. They almost made it to Georgia.

But about 15 miles from Chattanooga, they ran out of fuel and Confederates closed in. The raiders took off on foot, running and hiding in the woods. They survive there for weeks. But one by one, Confederate soldiers, supporters and their bloodhounds rounding them up.


They were taken to a Confederate prison, held in a tiny underground room, chained by their necks and the wrist, starved, still, the men remain unbowed and unbroken, eventually eight escaped, six were exchanged for Confederate prisoners.

The rest including Philip and George were tried as spies, and both are sentenced to death.

That fateful day came as they approached the gallows, Philip and George still stood tall. A crowd gathered around them. Private Wilson turned to face the crowd, summoned the ultimate measure of grace and according to reports from that day, this is what he said, looked through the crowd and he said, he believed they were wrong but he did not harbor hostility toward the people in the South. He said it was not them, but their leaders are responsible for the rebellion.

And he said, the time would come when the Union would be restored and the American flag would wave over the entire nation once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, until the very end, George and Philip believed in the United States of America, the only nation on earth founded on an idea. Every other nation in the history of the world is based on geography, ethnicity, religion, or some other attribute but we're the only nation founded on an idea. That idea is we're all men are created equal, deserve to be treated equally throughout their lives. We haven't always lived up to that. But like Georgia and Philip, we've never walked away from it either.

Their heroic deeds went unacknowledged for over a century, but time did not erase their valor and they want to fight for what they fought for him and died just as precious today as it was then. Unity over disillusion -- disunion, freedom over subjugation, progress over retreat, truth over lies.

Let me end with this: Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, another reminder of why it's so important to know our history, not to erase our history, to remember the sacred cause of American democracy and not make up a lost cause to justify evil of slavery. To remember the nation that George and Philip fought for and died for, the United States of America.

That's who we are. That's who we are. The United States of America, there's nothing, nothing beyond our capacity in the United States if we work together.

May God bless you all. May God protect our troops. With that, I'd ask the military to read the citations.

Thank you.


Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: Gerald Taylor accepting on behalf of his great, great uncle, Private Philip Shadrach, and Theresa Chandler accepting on behalf of her great, great grandfather, Private George Wilson.

TAPPER: All right. That was President Biden giving remarks. They are awarding Medals of Honor posthumously to two Civil War veterans and family members, descendants of those veterans will be presented with these Medals of Honor.

Let's bring back CNN's MJ Lee.

MJ, a lot of attention on President Biden's every move, every word, given all the talk about his 2024 campaign in contexts, I don't mean to belittle it. It was a very nice speech and he delivered it fine.

But the question isn't about the president's ability to -- the question Democrats are raising I should say is not whether President Biden is capable of reading a teleprompter speech, which he certainly does well at times.

LEE: Yeah, these were remarks delivered via teleprompter as an event like this typically would be. And, Jake, this is the president doing his day job while his reelection campaign is really in a state of turmoil and come just hours after the president told his own campaign that he isn't going -- going anywhere, that he is staying put that nobody is going to push him to the side. He is in it until the very end.

The White House has said, we are going to see him more in the coming days, pointing to a press conference that's coming in, an interview that is coming. But as you noted, Jake, this is not the kind of moment that Democrats are eager to see more of to get that reassurance they are wanting to see more unscripted moments.


I should note what is coming up next on his schedule, of course, is this meeting with a group of Democratic governors. And as you had reported, there are some in that group, just nervous and worried and definitely just desperate to get a better sense directly from the president on what happened last week at the debate, and get a better sense of just how he is doing, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, MJ, thanks so much.

And obviously we just saw and heard from President Biden. In about 90 minutes, he is scheduled to meet with several Democratic governors at the White House, many of them are joined by Zoom, but others have actually flown in, including Governor Gavin Newsom, all the way from California. After that, he's going to head over, I mean, after that, one of the governors is going to head here to the studio.

We'll be right back.