Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

In NYC, DeSantis Meets With 9/11 Families; 2024 Presidential Race; Biden's Approval Rating currently at All-Time Low of 39%, According to CNN Poll; Meadows' Request to Transfer Case to Federal Court Denied by Judge; Djokovic Sets New Record with 24th Grand Slam Title; Coco Gauff Wins First Grand Slam Title at the U.S. Open; Hurricane Lee Restrengthens to Category 3 at 120-MPH Winds. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 11, 2023 - 10:30   ET



SARA SIDNER, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: CNN's Jessica Dean is live near the 9/11 memorial for us today, the plaza there. What else are you expecting today?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sara, we did see Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at the memorial ceremony this morning. He was talking with people there. We also know, as you mentioned, that he will also be meeting with families of the victims of 9/11. And we've heard him on the campaign trail often say that it was September 11th and those terrorist attacks that day that prompted him to join the military. That that's what caused him to go into military service. He served as a jag in the navy for several years.

And we also know that during the first debate in Milwaukee, his wife, Casey DeSantis Sara had a son of a 9/11 victim as one of her special guest at the debate. So, this is something that he does talk about. And we will see him with more people today as these events continue. As you mentioned, we also expect to see Vivek Ramaswamy who has floated some conspiracy theories about 9/11, who will be taking part in a memorial event later today.

And Former Vice President Mike Pence, he's actually in Iowa today, but we know that he's going to be taking part in several events there in Iowa as he commemorates this very somber event. And of course, as a former vice president, he took part in those events when he was in office for those four years as well, Sara.

SIDNER: And of course, we saw Kamala Harris there, the vice president, she was at the ceremony this morning as well. Thank you so much, Jessica Dean, for joining us from there.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: Still ahead, a group that won Donald Trump -- helped win Donald Trump the election in 2016, could they help him win again in 2024 or could they actually prove to have some advantage for Joe Biden? An interesting look at the numbers, coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BOLDUAN: This morning, President Biden is on his way to Anchorage, Alaska, where he will be observing the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 there. The president, as you well know, is wrapping up a five-day trip to India and Vietnam, he was there for the G20 Summit. A Summit that focused in part on countering China's influence where he feels that -- the administration feels they saw some real diplomatic wins there. But it quickly became a target for Republicans running to take on Joe Biden for the White House. Watch.


NIKKI HALEY (R), U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was a win for Russia and China, they're celebrating today. I mean, what we should have had was Biden should have really pushed hard to acknowledge what he acknowledged a year ago, that Russia invaded a pro-American freedom-loving country. And that's a fact. And to deny a fact a year later is giving a win to Russia, and China is gloating because they're looking at Taiwan as this is happening, and it's a shame.


BOLDUAN: As he returns home, he returns to face those tough poll numbers we have talked about. Historically low approval ratings, but maybe that is not going to be the determining factor this time around.

CNN's Harry Enten joining me now. So, Harry, it's a bit of past, present and future.


BOLDUAN: An interesting look at what you are seeing within the numbers. First of all, historically, how does approval rating play when it comes to reelection?

ENTEN: Yes. So, you know, you were talking about Joe Biden's low approval ratings. And I want to look at the august approval ratings in August of the third year the presidency since 1955. Look at where Biden is. Look at this, 39 percent, that is the second worst on record at this point. Only Jimmy Carter back in 1979 had a worse approval rating. Of course, he went on to lose reelection to Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump was right near Joe Biden at 40 percent, of course, he lost reelection to Joe Biden. And then Ronald Reagan at 43 percent, he of course, blew everything else. So, thing can change as we go -- look going forward.

But I want to note, why is it such a big deal that Joe Biden's approval rating is so low at this particular point? And it's because, normally elections involving incumbents are referendums. So, was your 2004 and 2012 vote for president more about the feelings towards the incumbent or the challenger? Look back in 2004. Overwhelmingly more about the incumbent, 62 percent. Look at 2012, 58 percent more about the incumbent. So, as the White House looks at this low approval ratings for Joe Biden and they, sort of, analyze like myself look at them, you say, oh my goodness, that low approval rating normally election is about the incumbent.

BOLDUAN: Because that's decisive. There's not a lot of gray area in these number. But there's another number -- there are some more numbers that you are looking at. Do you think that there's -- something else that people could be leaning on how they might vote?

ENTEN: Exactly right. So, normally elections are about the incumbent. But ask that same question about this year, is your current 2024 vote choice more about feelings towards Donald Trump or Joe Biden? We have a switcheroo here. Many more voters say that their 2024 vote choice will be about Donald Trump, 59 percent, than Joe Biden 34 percent. And of course, Donald Trump's favorable ratings are south of 34 percent. So, a lot of Democrats, including those in the White House are saying, wait a minute, we may have lower approval ratings but Donald Trump's ratings will play a bigger role. And more than that, Kate --

BOLDUAN: Yes, there's a little bit of like a wild -- I'm going to call it a wild card, or just like data point that I don't know what to do with.

ENTEN: Yes. So, oftentimes people like myself will look at special elections, leading up to an election, bigger election, because they can often tell us which way the proverbial political winds are blowing. And take a look at Democrats performance in 2023, special elections so far. And get this, Democrats are outperforming Joe Biden's baseline by six points.

We would expect them to be doing considerably worse than Joe Biden at this point given how low his approval ratings are, but they're doing considerably better because maybe it turns out that the political winds aren't necessarily blowing against Democrats.


They maybe blowing toward and for Democrats because maybe Donald Trump is sort of tilting the political environment in a way we're not necessarily used to because these are, Kate, very unique times.

BOLDUAN: Very unique times. It's a really unique look at the past but the, kind of, strange data points that we have, kind of, in this electorate right now.

ENTEN: They're going -- they're weaving in and out.


ENTEN: I'm not exactly sure which way to make of it. But look, we got 14 months the go, we'll see what happens.

BOLDUAN: That's really interesting though. Thank you, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: John. Sara.

SIDNER: All right. This week, we expect a hearing in the Georgia election interference case, and it could tell us more about when Former President Donald Trump's trial is expected to start. This is after Trump's former chief of staff lost a bid to move his case in Georgia to federal court. A judge saying, the charges against Mark Meadows have more to do with his political activities than his former job at the White House.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: All right. Former House judiciary special counsel in Donald Trump's first impeachment trial, Former White House Ethics Czar, and CNN legal analyst. I should have said his name first.


BERMAN: Right?

SIDNER: Right.

BERMAN: Because that's a pretty long runway there. Ambassador Norm Eisen is with us now. Good guy. We're going to just put that as your lower third, good guy. Norm, I want to read you part of the judge's decision here in the Mark Meadows' because this could leave a mark going forward. The judge ruled that, even if Meadows took on tasks that mirrored the duties that he carried out when acting his official role as White House Chief of Staff, such as attending meetings, scheduling phone calls, and managing the president's time, he has also failed to demonstrate how the election-related activities that serve as the basis for the charges in the indictment are related to any of his official acts.

They did not pertain to his job of chief of staff. It was campaign work. How will that color to use a legal term that appeared in this ruling? How will that color the other people who want to try to move their cases to federal court?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, AND FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: John, if it's political, you don't get to go to federal court. You only get to remove if its official. The judge has pretty definitively said that this complex of activities, that are the subject of Fani Willis' indictment, were political. Not official.

So, it's fatal, I think, to Donald Trump's effort to get to federal court. Jeffrey Clark, some of the so-called fake electors. But it's more than that because this is also the core issue in the liability case. Was this merely aggressive political and legal move? Or was it so far beyond the pale (ph) that there is criminal liability? So, I think it foreshadows a very tough case that these defense lawyers and their clients are going to face when they get in front of a jury.

SIDNER: OK. So, Norm, is basically saying that the other defendants who are trying to do this don't have a shot in Hades. I almost said the other word. Norm, I do want to ask you about what we're seeing both politically and legally with Jim Jordan trying to call in Fani Willis. And Fani Willis saying, hey, you are interfering with the case. What do you make of this? How unusual is this?

EISEN: Sara, what the Republicans are attempting to do in the majority in the House of Representative is utterly unprecedented. And I know that because when I worked for the House Judiciary Committee, there is red lines. And one of those red lines is you can't interfere with an open criminal investigation.

Look, we were waiting for Bob Robert Mueller's report, but I never would have dreamt until he finished his investigation of writing him a letter, demanding information, threatening him. It's tantamount to obstruction. So, we've seen that with Jim Jordan, and I don't think it meets the legal test for what Congress is allowed to do. And Fani Willis smacked him down in her letter back rightly so.

BERMAN: We continue to watch Georgia and scheduling in Georgia. There are two cases scheduled to be tried on October 23rd at this point. Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell were waiting on the others. Norm, look, Mark Meadows lost his fight to remove his case to federal court, that case will be appealed. I would imagine, he will appeal. Does the state judge need to wait for that to work its way through appeals case to start trying to schedule everything else he's got to deal with?

EISEN: No, John. The federal law of removal is that the cases can proceed in state court because the states have the strongest interest in our federalist system when it comes to criminal cases. The allegation here in the indictment is that Donald Trump and the 18 others broke Georgia law, that is an offense against the people of Georgia.


So, the cases can continue. And Judge McAfee has jumped every sign. He's moving on a rocket docket. He's sending two of the lawyers to trial at their request on a speedy trial schedule at the end of October, Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell. So, I don't think Meadows is going to see any slowing and -- nor the others. The one exception is the 11th Circuit could give Meadows some relief, slowing things, stopping things. But I don't think that's going -- because he has a weak case.

BERMAN: Ambassador Norm Eisen, always great to see you. Thank you so much.


BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Novak Djokovic and a masterful performance at U.S. Open, capturing 24th career Grand Slam title. More on his big moment, matched only by the fantastic win also by Coco Gauff. That's next.



BERMAN: 36-year-old Novak Djokovic is the U.S. Open champion for a fourth time. It was his 24th Grand Slam title, which is a lot, the most of any man any time all time.

CNN's Coy Wire, who is just behind a phenomenal special last night on the football season --


BERMAN: -- is here. But we're talking tennis first.

WIRE: We have to talk tennis because this is great. I mean, how fortunate are we to be living in a time where we're seeing so many GOATs, greatest of all times. Novak Djokovic, you know, Tom Brady is no longer with us --


WIRE: But what an incredible achievement. Novak Djokovic, 36 years old, just keeps going, just keeps seemingly getting better. I mean, he just beat world number three, Daniil Medvedev, who just upset world number one Carlos Alcaraz, by the way, right? So, he becomes the first player since Margaret Court to hit 24 Grand Slam's singles titles.

And there's a sweet moment, you have to see, John. He runs over and gives a young fan a hug. It's his daughter, Tara, just turned six last week. And then he has this shirt, Kobe Bryant was a dear friend of his. He wore jersey number 24. He's 24 Grand Slam singles title. He told our Carolyn Manno that his biggest inspiration though came from his littlest fan, listen.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, RECORD-TYING 24X MAJOR WINNER: When I was struggling the most, actually physically and being under huge tension and stress, particularly in the second, every time I would look at my daughter. She was sitting courtside, facing me, facing the bench where I was seated. She would give me smile and fist bump. And that would, of course, melt my heart and give me this kind of energy and strength, and also playfulness that I needed in that moment.


WIRE: We also have to talk about someone else reaching their greatness. Coco Gauff, the first American teen to win the U.S. Open since her idol Serena in 1999. And what a story she is, John. I mean, at 14 years old, she turned pro. She seems like she's been around forever. She just had to virtually graduate from high school in Paris while at the French Open last year. He family's been such a big part of her story. Here she is at 19 now winning that coveted first-ever Grand Slam title.

BERMAN: Congratulations to her. I think everyone in this country was behind her, like 10,000 percent.

WIRE: Yes.

BERMAN: It was great thing to see. WIRE: We do have to talk a little football. We mentioned Tom Brady. So, let's mention -- it was a bittersweet day for Patriots fans, they lost to the Eagles. Here, John, if you need my handkerchief. 25 to 20, but when it comes to football, (INAUDIBLE), Tom Brady was there. So, bittersweet day because he won six of the seven Super Bowl rings there. He was honored at half time. He's going to be inducted in the team's hall of fame next year. Brady of course, finished his career at Tampa, but he had some strong words for the fans in Foxborough yesterday.


TOM BRADY, WON 6 SUPER BOWLS WITH PATRIOTS: One thing I'm sure of, and that will never change, is that I am a Patriot for life.


WIRE: You do need my handkerchief now, right?

BERMAN: Yes, I know. Little tears of joy.

WIRE: To hear that, I mean, incredible stuff, John. But we'll go from one GOAT to another because tonight, we have Aaron Rodgers, formerly of the Green Bay Packers.

BERMAN: He's got -- he's got one Super Bowl win.

WIRE: He does.

BERMAN: He does. He has one compared to seven.

SIDNER: Oh, John. Wow.

BERMAN: So, what you're saying, one GOAT to an --


BERMAN: -- you know, one, which is good.

WIRE: Yes. OK.

BERMAN: It's good.

WIRE: Four-time league MVP, I don't think Brady has that many.

BERMAN: Seven. Seven rings.

WIRE: They're playing the Bills, my former team, the Buffalo Bills. Let's go Buffalo. We'll see what happens.

BERMAN: Thank you so much, Coy.

WIRE: You got it.

BERMAN: Sara. SIDNER: You made John tear up. Congratulations, Coy Wire. Are you going to throw me that ball or what? Like, I'm just standing here but -- come on, let's see if you got your arm --

BERMAN: It's going to be a Marsha (ph) Brady moment.


BERMAN: Oh, my nose.

SIDNER: All right. Come on. Let's go.

WIRE: Look at that. Look at that.

SIDNER: Go Gators and Rams. OK.

Anyway, this morning, Hurricane Lee has strengthened back to a category 3 storm, but it's too soon to tell what impact it might have on the east coast.


CNN's Derek Van Dam is tracking the storm for us. Derek, can you walk us through what you are seeing now? That is an awfully big storm.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST AND AMS CERTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: Sorry. I was going to comment on that football. You just, kind of, casually threw it away there. I can just see our executives on the upper floor is going, oh, my goodness.

SIDNER: They're upset. I did it on purpose.

VAN DAM: Don't break anything. This is the latest with Hurricane Lee. Well, 120 mile per hour sustained winds, that's still a category 3. And I'm going to show you the official forecast track as of 11:00 a.m. this morning and a few takeaways from this. What you need to know is that it will be a weakening storm as it approaching the Canadian Maritimes and into Northern New England by the weeks. OK. So, we're still five to seven days out from direct impacts from this.

But what you need to know is that the wind field with Lee will expand in size considerably. And remember, the impacts from this storm will be felt well away from the center. So, the potential here is increasing for the impacts of tropical storm force winds along the New England coastline, again, that's for this upcoming weekend. So, something we're going to monitor. We have noticed those increase in probabilities across that area of New England. So, we'll have a look at it.

SIDNER: Yes. It looks like, New England, a little -- Bermuda in trouble there. We will be watching.

VAN DAM: Right.

SIDNER: I know you will be, thank you so, so much for going through that. I know that my football skills are a little wonky, but they're not bad just for the record. Derek Van Dam, it's good to see you.

All right. Kate.

BOLDUAN: A new twist in the Pennsylvania manhunt. The escaped prisoner just spotted but with an altered appearance. Looking different. Clean shaven. We have this plus other major developments coming in just ahead.