Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden: "I Am Running And Going To Win Again"; Trump: I Know Nothing About "Project 2025"; Washington Post: Senator Warner Seeks To Form Group Of Democratic Senators To Ask Biden To Exit Race; British Voters End 14 Years Of Conservative Rule; Beryl Now A Tropical Storm, Expected To Regain Strength In Gulf. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 16:00   ET


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Breaking records come Sunday or Monday.


It's also the extended heat wave here, the duration of this, this past week. We've already seen a couple of heat-related deaths. One man, 69 years for old man who died in San Jose. He was living on the streets and a 10-year-old boy in Arizona who died while on a hike with his family due to heat emergencies there.

So very dangerous for people and a lot of folks, as you can see behind me, really trying to cool off.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Natasha Chen, thank you so much. You can catch Pamela at "SITUATION ROOM" at 5:00. I'll be on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" at 7:00.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now. Thanks for joining us.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: A defiant Joe Biden declares -- I'm running and going to win again.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Moments ago, the president rallying supporters in a key battleground state, promising he is in this race for the long haul.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm trying, to push down on race. Let me say this as clearly as I can -- I'm staying in the race!



HILL: Is that enough, though, to calm a growing number of Democrats who want Biden off the ticket?

Plus, a conservative plan lays out sweeping goals for a second Trump term. A plan Donald Trump now says he's got nothing to do with, doesn't even like some of it. So, what's really going on here?

And Beryl churns toward the United States, expected to make landfall as a hurricane with dangerous winds and catastrophic flooding. We'll take a look at where that track he's now shifting.


HILL: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper.

We begin in our 2024 lead with President Biden saying very clearly he is staying in this race, a defiant, confident Joe Biden, just wrapping up a rally moments ago with supporters in the battleground state of Wisconsin, insisting he is the man to beat Donald Trump.


BIDEN: There's been a lot of speculation which show going to do. Is he going to stay in the race? Is he going to drop out? What's he going to do? You heard my answer: I am running and going to win again.


HILL: Happening over the next hour, President Biden set to sit down with ABC News for what could be in many ways, the interview of his life here. And, of course, this is a man who spent more than 50 years in national politics. But the stakes for this interview could not be higher.

The president trying to prove two things, you heard some of it in that campaign message just a moment ago, prove that one. He can do his job right now.

And number two, that he can beat Donald Trump in November. Biden's reelection campaigns as the president is going to be doing a lot of travel over the next month to try to rebuild support and confidence within his own party. He along with the first lady, Vice President Harris, and the second gentleman will go to every single battleground state in the country. Pennsylvania is up next, after Wisconsin, they'll be there on Sunday. Nevada, on the schedule for later this month.

New CNN reporting those shows, party officials and key donors are far from reassured at this point. Many of them actually shifting their attention to think about whether Kamala Harris behind -- belongs at the top of the ticket. However, the vice president and her aides making it clear she is still with Biden.

And also this just in, brand new reporting from "The Washington Post" that Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is trying to assemble a group of Democratic senators to ask Biden to exit the race. A spokeswoman for the senator would neither confirm nor deny that reporting to "The Post", saying in a statement, quote, like many other people in Washington and across the country, Senator Warner believes these are critical dates for the presidents campaign, and he has made that clear to the White House.

Let's begin with CNN's Arlette Saenz was in Madison, Wisconsin.

So, Arlette, we heard him there, very forceful. Give us a sense of how it's been there on the ground at that campaign event.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, President Biden was defiant and insistent that he is remaining in this presidential race even at a time when there is a lot of skepticism from top Democrats and donors about keeping him out the top of the Democratic ticket in November. Now, the president has directly addressed those who are trying to push him out of this race.

Of course, that is at a time when there are top Democrats privately and publicly calling for the president to step down. But he said that he is in it for the long haul and plans to beat Donald Trump in November. The president also spoken a very interesting way about his age.

Of course, his age and health has emerged as a top concern in this election prior to the debate and has really been reflected on. And there's a bit of writer for spotlight on it, a post that debate and the presidents tried to make this new arguments saying, and I too old for everything that I have accomplished and what to do.


Take a listen to what he had to say.


BIDEN: So, let me ask you, what do you think? Do you think I'm too old to restore Roe v. Wade, the law of the land?


BIDEN: Do you think I'm too old to the ban assault weapons again?


BIDEN: Do you think I'm too old to beat Donald Trump?


BIDEN: I can hardly wait. Anyway.


SAENZ: So the president, they are trying to put a new spin on the age question, but all of this comes as the president is trying to really assuage the concerns within his own party. Top Democrats, top officials about his remaining in the race, but also the concerns that voters might have a going forward. Now, he finished this rally here in Madison.

He is now set to sit down for that interview with ABC News, perhaps one of the most consequential interviews of his political career, if you think about the way the president prepares for other interviews, they often focus on foreign policy and domestic issues, but this interview will likely focus on the very viability of his candidacy and his path forward in this race.

So they're all be a lot of attention paid to what the president says in this interview and what the coming days of campaigning will look like. He is set to travel to Pennsylvania on Friday.

The campaign saying he'll be hitting Nevada in mid-July, when the Republican National Convention is going on. They're are also hoping to have more off the cuff moments for the president to engage with voters. All as they're trying to convince voters to give him a second term, but he's up for a job, but also quell some of those calls, from within his own party, from top officials about him remaining in this race.

HILL: Arlette, I know you said the chance to speak with some voters today on the ground. What did they tell you? Where do they stand?

SAENZ: Yeah, we had a chance to talk to a wide range of voters in the lead-up to the president's speech, and there was really a mixed reaction. There were some who were for fervent supporters. There were others who had concerns following the debate and concerns about what that could mean for Democratic -- Democrats' chances of winning against Trump in November.

I want to play you a little sampling of the voters we talked to today.


JEFF MARTINSON, WISCONSIN VOTER: We have concerns about President Biden's ability to good conduct the campaign in the way he needs to. He hasn't come out since the debate forcefully enough to assert his capabilities the way he needs to, to reassure his supporters.

SAENZ: Are you concerned at all about him at the top of the Democratic ticket? Do you think he should step aside?


SAENZ: OK, why is that?

STRAUS: No, not at all, because I think he's the right man for the job.


SAENZ: Now, I will note, our producer, Samantha Wallenberg, spoke with that first photo, Jeff Martinson, after the speech. He said that the president's speech changed his calculus and now he does want him to remain in the race and see it through. We'll see if the president is able to convince other voters of that as well over the course of the coming weeks.

HILL: Arlette Saenz there in Madison for us, Arlette, appreciate it. Thank you. Joining me now, former senior director of cabinet affairs during the

Obama administration, Nayyera Haq, and Republican strategist David Urban.

Good to have both of you with us.

I just want to pick up on this "Washington Post" reporting that we just got in. Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, "The Post" is reporting, is trying to assemble a group of Democratic senators to ask Biden to exit the race.

Nayyera, I'm just curious, your reaction to that.

NAYYERA HAQ, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CABINET AFFAIRS, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Well, so much of this is about this older generation of leaders. It's about Biden, it's about Schumer, Pelosi, all of these folks who in the Democratic Party have continued to support incumbents. We've had the same thing on the Republican side of the House. Donald Trump effectively anointed at the next leader of the Republican Party, despite his loss to Joe Biden, and despite the fact that he too has had challenges and questions about cognition during his presidency.

So I would say this, that all of this is about a older generation figuring out how to deal with and bring in younger and more diverse electorate.

HILL: Senator Warner getting together other senators to ask Biden to leave. That's about that they just need someone younger? That's -- that's what you're saying is behind it?

HAQ: Oh, I think that that specific point, clearly, the debate performance has multiple Democrats concerned and worried about the longevity of the ticket. It's not a worry about the policies that the Biden-Harris administration has done because most of these senators supported it and have enjoyed the fact that Biden's accomplishment stand on their own.

That is the challenge of the incumbency process. The fact that primaries, both parties that decided nearly two years before even an election date happens. And so, I would say that our actual partisan, by a party systems are not adapted for a modern age.

And yes, the senators now are realizing that in real time, it is very hard to come up with a ticket or come up with a solution that feels satisfying for an election, you're having in three months, when you effectively decide that two years in advance.


HILL: David, hopefully you just heard Arlette spoke with a voter and then spoke with that who was concerned about President Biden, spoke with that same voter after this campaign speech that he just gave, and that voter told Arlette he was feeling much better about it, throwing his support back behind the president, obviously, that's something that that campaign would like to hear. The reason I bring that up is because I also found it the interesting

that in these radio interviews and I spoke with both radio hosts who did those interviews this week. They both told me that the reaction to this and the reaction from a number of their listeners is they want Joe Biden to stay in the race and specifically the host and Philadelphia told me that after her interview aired on Thursday morning, she had people saying, I believe Joe Biden is the man for the job.

There's been so much about the White House, you need to get him out there. All you're doing is laughing, David.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, to compare what we're doing, so let's just go -- go back to what was said earlier, Republicans had a primary, we had a real best primary. We picked Donald Trump. Our party decided Donald Trump was best standard bearer moving forward, so we picked him.

Democrats didn't have a primary. There's this conspiracy of silence. Everybody's kind of known Joe Biden's -- kind of miss it a little bit, but nobody wanted to -- nobody wanted to call them on it. When Joe Biden didn't take the softball interview at the Super Bowl, people were kind of whispering, wow, wonder why he's not doing that. Maybe he's off a step.

You know, everybody's known this is the case and no one has said anything. And I'm not surprised Joe Biden isn't going anywhere because Jill Biden and the Biden family don't want them to go anywhere. And you're going to have senators and down-ballot, you know, races and congressmen, they're going crazy because they understand they have a giant anchor around their neck named Joe Biden.

If you're Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, you are terrified at this point because Joe Biden is going to drag down the top of the ticket, the middle of the ticket, the bottom of ticket. And it's too late to replace him. It's too late.

If Joe Biden would have kept his promise saying, I'm a one-term president, I'm going to be a -- I'm here for a change and I'm moving on, Biden -- Joe Biden would have gone down in a completely different way in the record books.

Now, listen, he had a successful presidency, passed big pieces of legislation. However, he doesn't know when to go away. And now he's clinging to power in a desperate attempt to, I'm not quite sure what, but he's dragging the party down and he's dragging his legacy down.

HILL: Nayyera, there's a lot riding on this interview.

HAQ: David --


HILL: The president making his way -- go ahead.

HAQ: I was going to say, I'm so glad that David acknowledged the amount of legislation, the positive policy of the recovery that's happened under a Biden administration.

And just to one point of clarity, President Biden is running from the White House, Donald Trump is not running from the White House. He lost to Joe Biden, and that is why there was a Republican primary. That's what happens in an open season election.

HILL: Nayyera, I want to get your take on this interview. So, the president making his way over to that interview now to sit down with George Stephanopoulos. The White House and the campaign have turned this into, one could argue, I think very easily, an even bigger moment. There is so much writing on this. It's such a big deal.

Is there any way for him to come out of it cleanly? Even if its flawless, Nayyera, is that enough?

HAQ: Flawless is such an interesting way to look at this dynamic when I spent the last year working on Capitol Hill hearing from Democrats members, right? These are the superdelegates, the folks who are running the season and they said, we just need Joe Biden upfront to admit with the rest of America knows which is that he's aging. And we're seeing him aged in office.

Instead, the denial or the silence on it and a dramatic change from a debate night at 9:00 p.m., to then the next day, the fire and vigor and energy was such a sharp contrast. So this interview needs to be Joe Biden doing what he does best, be authentic, be himself, pull - don't pull your punches because you're trying to remember some data points, the human that people like seeing on the campaign trail.

URBAN: Listen, I'll just say this -- we know that Joe Biden can read a teleprompter and he can yell, right? Can he go toe to toe George Stephanopoulos? We'll see. Can he go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump again? We know the answer is no. We know the answer to that is no. We all saw it, America saw it.

So, we'll see what happens with Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic presidential press secretary. Let's see how he deals, but we already know we can scream at the top of his lungs. Let's see how he does.

Listen, I would say go to the Brady press room, stand there, take questions. You want to prove to America you're up for the job, go to the Brady press room tomorrow, Mr. President, take questions. I dare you.

HILL: All right. David, Nayyera, stay with us. I am -- not surprising that we have a lot more to talk about. We do need today to fit a quick break in those. So stay with us. I will be bringing you back.

Look, in addition to all of these latest headlines that we're following, in addition to his job here helping us weed through those, our dear friend, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is also, of course, a practicing neurosurgeon. He's going to join us live to talk about some of the discussions he's had with other medical professionals who've raised questions with him about President Biden's health.

Plus, from the blistering heat to that incoming hurricane, severe weather threats. We're going to get you up to speed on everything you need to know as we head in to this holiday weekend.



HILL: In our health lead, President Biden's debate performance sent shockwaves across the political world, and also raised some questions about his health, sparking conversations among doctors.

And I want to be very clear here, what we're discussing is not about diagnosing nor is it about making any judgments on Mr. Biden's condition.

I want to bring in CNN's resident neurosurgeon, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

So, Sanjay, you wrote an essay today inspired by conversations that you have had over the past week or so with doctors, many of whom reached out to you. What is the reaction you've heard? What's been what was your reaction to the debate and what we've seen over the last week?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, look, first of all, the essay wasn't intended to be a political essay, but rather a medical one.


And many of these -- these physicians, many of them were brain doctors, reached out to me sort of highlighting things that they saw in the debate that weren't necessarily new things either, but were perhaps more pronounced and more sustained, really starting from the very beginning of the debate. And I think that's what really sparked that discussion acknowledging that these were things that were maybe intermittent episodes or thought about being episodic in the past or was there a question?

There was something that was a more significant underlying condition that was driving it. That was really what the conversation was about. A few of the things that sort of people noticed, in particular, from a neurological standpoint were slower response times, word retrieval, mix-ups -- these are things you can notice when you're observing someone's speech -- confused rambling at times, and also looking at just the amplitude of the speaking reduced speech volume, for example, and also fewer facial movements.

Now, again, in and of themselves, none of these observations lead to any sort of diagnosis as you mentioned. But collectively, I think they consensus was, look, this probably warrants more testing. This warrants some sort of examination to sort out what might be driving it.

Is it something that could be more attributed to a poor night sleep, low blood sugar, a viral illness or is there something else going on here? If it were my dad, Erica, it's the same sort of testing that I would

recommend if I saw these sorts of signs in large part because you could do something about it as well. I know this is obviously everything is seen through a political lens, but from a medical lens, getting that sort of testing means perhaps there's some action that can be taken to stop all or even reverse some of the symptoms.

HILL: As we know from the White House, the president's last full medical exam was about four months ago, happened in February. What -- what did it say? What did we learn from that exam and from the information that was released?

GUPTA: We know it was a pretty thorough examination. I mean, when you hear about these presidential physicals, it's 20 plus experts who are coming together, specialists, including a neurologist what and then we get a six page summary, essentially. So we're not seeing everything, but we are seeing a fairly detailed summary.

There was no mention of a cognitive exam. And when folks at the White House were asked about that, they said the doctors didn't see any need for one, so one was not performed.

Mostly, it was about ruling out things. No evidence of stroke, for example, no evidence of multiple sclerosis, which is something they keyed in on because of his gait, I think. No evidence of Parkinson's disease which was notable because Parkinson's disease is the most common form of something known as parkinsonism, but it's not the only cause of that. And there was no mention of things that could otherwise be causing Parkinson-like traits.

So there was a lot of information in there, but really not much with regard to cognition or potential movement disorders.

HILL: So, Sanjay, walk me through some of those other conversations that you've been -- you've been having with doctors and what you've been hearing from them?

GUPTA: Well, I think the big thing is that the level of cognitive -- cognitive testing that we're talking about can actually be really helpful. I think a lot of people heard about something known as the Montreal cognitive assessment. I think we have an image of this as well. This is something that President Trump said he took twice and aced essentially.

It's about a ten minute exam. You're asked to draw a three-dimensional cube, draw a clock hand with a specific time. Remember words, identify objects, things like that. And it's a sort of a blunt screening test to see if there's any kind of problem.

The type of testing that these doctors were talking about was something that I've seen before where you would actually be asked to name as many words as you can in the next 60 seconds, beginning with the letter T. Now, do the same thing, but as many animals as you can. But it's also your blood work or your bone density. All these things to give a complete picture of ones cognitive health. They're -- they're pretty, they're pretty good test. And again, they

can help separate out. Is this something episodic or is this something that's more of a condition?

HILL: Yeah. And you actually did some of those tests. I think you talked about in the piece that you wrote what you said.

GUPTA: I did, yeah, yeah. And luckily, it looked like things were okay. But it was surprising how detailed this type of testing can be.

HILL: Yeah. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, always good to talk to you, my friend. I encourage everybody to find and read your essay at Thank you.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

HILL: Well, Democrats have warned of grave threats, if Donald Trump is re-elected, many of them pointing to a document called Project 2025. Now, Donald Trump is saying Project 2025, he's got nothing to do with those ideas.


The back-and-forth is next.


HILL: With much of the 2024 focus right now on President Biden and the future of his campaign, Donald Trump chose today to try to distance himself from Project 2025. That's the 900-plus page document from conservative advisors at Heritage Foundation which lays out some pretty aspirational goals to reshape the federal government, and frankly, American life if Trump were to win in November.

Well, on Truth Social today, Trump wrote, I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who's behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal.


Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.

Several Trump allies though do have ties to Project 2025, including two of its authors, Dr. Ben Carson and Ken Cuccinelli. Mark Meadows and Stephen Miller are with groups on Project 2025's advisory board. Senior adviser, Peter Navarro, who is, of course, in prison, he's also listed as an advisor.

My panel is back.

So, David, Donald Trump is distancing himself today from Project 2025, saying he's not involved here. These though are people who would be likely to have significant policy rules in the administration if Donald Trump is in fact reelected. How involved is he really? URBAN: Yeah. So the answer is zero. He's involved zero. And those people you put on the screen there, they're involved zero. This is being drafted -- this Project 2025 is coming out of the Heritage Foundation and they are clearly tried to assert or they weren't trying to clearly assert some sort of role that they don't have that. I know from speaking their Chris LaCivita on the campaign, he retweeted out a piece on that. I know from speaking have previously about this and the former president that they've disavowed this.

And it also comes from Donald Trump's mouth or the campaign, don't believe it. And so, people are trying to be important in Washington. Everyone's trying to throw around their weight and say things that they shouldn't say. And Donald Trump does game the smack down. So it's simple as that.

HILL: So, curious, though. I would like to get your take and I'm sure you've seen this moment which is really going viral. Kevin Roberts, who's the president of the heritage foundation earlier this week, was on Steve Bannon's "War Room" podcast in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on immunity, and said this:


KEVIN ROBERTS, PRESIDENT, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.


HILL: What does that even mean? I mean, is that a threat, David? What is that?

URBAN: Yeah. I don't know. Listen, I don't know. It's crazy, right? It's crazy.

Why do you think Donald Trump has said, I don't know anything about these people, I don't know what they're doing, they don't speak for me? Like that's not coming -- unlike Karine Jean-Pierre, who is the press secretary for the White House, and who was could put complicit with his conspiracy of silence, Donald Trump is pushing back. He's speaking in his own voice and saying, these people don't speak for me. This is not the truth.

So it's pretty clear.

HILL: Nayyera, Democrats would like to be talking about Donald Trump. I have heard that it has been very clear to me in a number of interviews this week that that is a messaging that is coming to Democrats if they should be talking more about Donald Trump, they should be talking more about his debate performance, the more than 30 lies that he told, I get that.

But the fact is Joe Biden and questions about Joe Biden are dominating the moment. Democrats haven't figured out a way to do both yet. Why is that? HAQ: Well, I think they're looking at this ahead of where most of the electorate is right now, and Democrats are looking ahead to October and the feelings and behavior people will have as voters in October when they realized as of this moment, it is a binary choice between Biden and Trump. That's what will be on the ballot ticket, third parties, very minimal. There are options there.

But we all remember the feelings of Ralph Nader tweeting earlier this weekend and folks saying, sit down, sir, you as a third party candidate has played (AUDIO GAP) or played a significant role, third- party candidate in Trump winning over Hillary. So that for Democrats, third-party candidates are definitely a challenge and why they're reminding voters, this is a choice between Biden and Trump.

The Heritage Foundation has said that this 900-page document is their plan to institutionalize Trumpism. The Heritage Foundation has been an ally of the Trump administration and all four years, not (AUDIO GAP) many of the policies, but being perfectly happy when Trump himself comes under heat, he will just temporarily reverse how he feels about something.

He did that on abortion, right, at one point, he wanted to put pregnant women in jail because that seemed to be the conservative trend. Despite Trump flip-flopping, there is a massive conservative agenda that is going to eliminate reproductive rights and challenge diversity, and the American Constitution as we know it today.

HILL: Nayyera Haq, David Urban, we're going to have to leave it there on this busy Friday, appreciate you taking the time. Thank you.


URBAN: Bye. Good effort by -- good effort for your team, Nayyera.

HILL: We are keeping a close why -- watch rather on these dangerous weather events that affect millions of Americans. A potentially dangerous heat wave is actually growing more intense and were also closely watching the path of tropical storm Beryl, now shifting north. What could that mean for you? That's next.



HILL: Continuing with our 2024 lead. I want to bring in Liz Goodwin. She's the co-author of a brand new "Washington Post" report that Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is trying to assemble a group of Democratic senators to ask Joe Biden to exit the race.

Liz, great to have with us.

What more you hearing from your sources?

LIZ GOODWIN, CONGRESS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah. So ever since last week's debate, Democratic senators have been pretty concerned and there are in touch with each other even though they're not here in Washington, they're back in there. Their districts for the July 4 recess but Senator Warner, who's the chair of the intel committee, he's really become a ring leader of a group that's very concerned and Warner has come to believe that Biden really has to step aside, that he can't be on the top of the ticket or he wont be able to beat Trump so several sources of said that he's, you know, been calling other Democratic senators and essentially trying to get a group of them together to make that case.

And just to add to this, Senator Warner's office is not confirming or denying this. This isn't coming from him directly, but this is what senators are saying.

HILL: Yeah, which is fascinating. You note to that in terms of that consensus that you just talked about, of concern, that there is also -- senators are struggling with the best way to message this, too, as you point out here, an insulated president.


This is a conversation I've had a lot this week in that is, are the messages getting through to not just Joe Biden, but to that very tight circle around him.

So, it sounds as if these centers are also having a hard time piercing that circle.

GOODWIN: Exactly. And I think there's a real -- there's no consensus at all on timing, on tactics. You know, even though Democratic senators who really know and like the president, he's, you know, he was a senator for a long time. He has a great relationship with the caucus.

But there is a sense that, you know, this is becoming untenable politically, but there's really no consensus on what to do about that, or the best way to make that case to the president if at all.

HILL: Is there a consensus? It seems like some of the, some of the case it seems to be being made in public, right? Neither confirming nor denying in terms of Warner spokesperson. Also, we saw information leaking about the call that Governor Walz organized and then, all of a sudden, there was a meeting at the White House for Democratic governors.

Is it your sense that there is an actual tipping point that would change things?

GOODWIN: I think senators are watching the interview that will be aired tonight with the president very closely. You know, their case from the beginning was you got to get out there. You got to really show strength and show you can do this, and they just haven't seen that yet.

There's also a thought that it's good to wait for better data, for better polling. It's hard to pull right now over Fourth of July weekend. So, senators are also divided over that.

HILL: We'll be watching for all of it. Liz Goodwin, appreciate it. Thank you for being here with your reporting.

GOODWIN: Thanks so much.

HILL: There was more politics in our world lead. Two of the United States' closest allies really viewing an opposite directions. In France, Marine Le Pen's far-right party is poised to gain power when voters choose the next prime minister, the second round of voting on Sunday. Meantime, in the United Kingdom, a seismic shift in power after a landslide victory by the Labour Party, and in 14 years of conservative rule.

CNN's Nic Robertson brings us this report on the power shift across the pond.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Britain's new Prime Minister Keir Starmer, and his wife, Victoria, a moment, 14 years in the making for the Labour Party to return to 10 Downing Street.

KEIR STARMER, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Whether you voted Labour or not, in fact especially if you did not, I say to you directly, my government will serve you. Politics can be a force for good. We will show that.

ROBERTSON: His party securing a massive landslide majority in parliament, a hard reality though, only around 35 percent of voters supported labor. And turnout was low, less than 60 percent. Many in the UK, using fate (ph) of their politicians.

Outgoing PM Rishi Sunak stepping down as PM and conservative leader.

RISHI SUNAK, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have heard your anger, your disappointment and I take responsibility for this loss.

Sunak's conservatives handed a long anticipated humiliating blow. This election, not so much an endorsement to the left as a rejection of incumbents.

Keir Starmer, known by some as no drama Starmer, a lawyer and former director of public prosecutions, came late to politics. Now, the hard work of governing begins.


ROBERTSON (on camera): And that hard work was on display here today. His shadow cabinet, all arriving to get their proper cabinet positions appointed, the first female chance to the exchequer finance secretary, if you will, are appointing a home secretary of foreign secretary, of course, very important for him because in just a few days there'll be traveling to Washington, D.C. for the NATO leaders summit, 32 leaders there. He'll be meeting with President Biden and all the other leaders.

He wants Keir Starmer wants to have a very strong transatlantic relationship. Keep going the special relationship between the United States and the UK, they share a lot. United States and the UK under Keir Starmer, share a lot of commonality on Ukraine, backing Ukraine militarily, on backing NATO, on support for Israel.

The view about Gaza is pretty much concurrent with the United States view, a view that there should be a Palestinian state as soon as reasonably possible.


And on China, their views are very much the same.

So these are two leaders, Keir Starmer, President Biden, who can really get on a lot on foreign policy. They share similar values about democracy. So this big first meeting with all these other foreign leaders coming in just the first few days of his leadership for Keir Starmer.

HILL: Yeah. Boy, talk about going right into the fire.

Nic, appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next here, imagine you lived through the hottest days of the summer. There's no air conditioning, can't even plug in a fan. There's no freezer. You have no refrigerator.

That is the harsh reality for thousands of families in the U.S.

We're going inside the project working to bring them relief.


HILL: With temperatures expected to reach the triple digits this weekend in the western U.S., that scorching heat is having a unique impact on the Navajo Nation where nearly 13,000 families, about third of the households currently live without electricity.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has a look at the race to build up their power grid.



ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Allen Bryant watches a power lines crew with curiosity and wonder. For 70 years, he's lived on this patch of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico without electricity.

It seems like a life changing moment for you.

ALLEN BRYANT, NAVAJO NATION RESIDENT: Yes, it is. It's going to be real good.

LAVANDERA: His family's home will soon be connected to the power grid. That means air conditioning and a refrigerator. And it comes as the summer heat intensifies.

BRYANT: Yeah. Yeah. It's getting hot and hot and hot, drier and drier.

LAVANDERA: Right. And that's dangerous.

BRYANT: Yeah. The sun comes down, it's like, right first.

LAVANDERA: This summer power line crews have planted 55 polls stretching along four miles through this rugged landscape. The work is part of a non-profit partnership known as Light Up Navajo. The goal is to bring power to 13,000 families who live without electricity in one of the poorest places in the country.

The crews come from 46 different power utility companies in 16 states. This group of linemen signed up for this assignment and as the planet gets warmer, they sensed the urgency of their mission.

JOE TSETHLIKAI, JOURNEYMAN LINEMAN, TRICO ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE: To me, it's just some thinkable that here, we're the greatest country in the world than we have Americans are living without power, water, all that.

BRYAN ENGLISH, CREW FOREMAN, TRICO ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE: It's crazy that still happens in America in 2024.

LAVANDERA: So, well, you're less than 24 hours away from getting electricity at your house?


LAVANDERA: This is William Tom's last night living without power. Tomorrow, crews will connect his home to the newly installed power lines reaching his house.

He's lived here 15 years and often slept outside because its cooler.

Did you ever get frustrated? Did you ever think, yeah, this is a hard way to live?

TOM: Yeah, of course. You know, there's frustration.

LAVANDERA: This summer though, will feel different with a flip of a switch.

TOM: When you're ready, ready. Here we go there we go. All right, Yeah, the lights, it's pretty good.

LAVANDERA: Light bulbs working.

TOM: Yeah. Yeah. Light bulbs working.

LAVANDERA: Now you can go buy an air conditioning unit.

TOM: I need to, I need to, yes, I do.

LAVANDERA: The Light Up Navajo Project started in 2019, almost 850 homes have been connected to the power grid.

Navajo Nation is roughly the size of West Virginia with home spread out across rugged and isolated terrain. It will likely take decades to finish the project.

While one family celebrates, it's a reminder that thousands of others remained disconnected, left struggling through the painful summers.

Arlene Henry's house has a small solar panel that provides a few hours of electricity. But her son needs around the clock oxygen. They use their car is a power source.

And you'll come here just to cool off?

ARLENE HENRY, NAVAJO NATION RESIDENT: Yeah. Cool off in here, too, that's where our AC.

LAVANDERA: She's lived like this for 56 years.

HENRY: Yeah, it wears us out. Yeah. It's too hot. It's scary. Right now, it's too hot in there.

LAVANDERA: Yeah, because it's almost -- almost 100 degrees today?

HENRY: Yeah, I get scared. I'm scared for my son. It's too hot. I wish we have electricity.

LAVANDERA: It's not clear when the Light Up Navajo initiative will reach Arlene's home. Until then, her family will find refuge from the heat by chasing the shade cast by their home the sun passes over.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.


HILL: And our thanks to Ed for that story.

Beryl now on track to strengthen it to a hurricane again, as it turns toward the United States, the path next.



HILL: At this hour, Hurricane Beryl has weakened into a tropical storm, but it's still slamming Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Ominously, the storm could reach, strengthen and take aim at South Texas.

Meteorologist Chad Myers is here.

So, Chad, what are we expecting?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We are expecting it to get stronger.

It's going to get back into warm water and we are going to go from the 65 miles per hour where we are right now over the Yucatan, died really during the day because of what we expected, it rained over the land. And so, now that it's back in the water or will be rather soon, hurricane hunters will be out there to see where we really are. Are we yet 60 or we had 65? We'll have to see.

The problem really here is that it is going to get up here in the Texas and every model that runs gets farther and farther to the east into this warm water, making it into the water longer. So all week, it's been in Mexico. Well, now that's not even the case anymore. Very few models or even down here.

Eventually though, look, more than half the models here on this European run are east of Corpus Christi. It just doesn't want to go West anymore. So were going to do, we're going to get this storm in the Gulf of Mexico significant rip currents all weekend long, a holiday weekend.

We're going to see six to ten inches of rain in some places. This isn't going to be Harvey. This isn't going to stall. It's going to keep on going, but places will get pretty significant heavy, heavy rainfall.

And then 300 record highs across the country over the next couple of days, where look at this, heat index in New Orleans by Sunday will be 107, palm springs, almost 120 -- Erica.

HILL: Ooh, that is rough, Chad. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, ahead here, Sunday on "STATE OF THE UNION", Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. Be sure to tune in Sunday night, 9:00 Eastern and again at noon, right here on CNN.

Thanks so much for joining me today on THE LEAD. You can, of course, follow the show on X @TheLeadCNN. And if you ever miss an episode, you can listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.

The news continues on CNN next. Pamela Brown, in for Wolf Blitzer, in THE SITUATION ROOM. Enjoy your weekend.