Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Biden Struggles As Trump Spews Falsehoods at CNN Debate; Dems Question If Biden Should Stay In Race After Debate Performance; Former Uvalde School Police Chief, Officer Indicted. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 28, 2024 - 07:30   ET



DAVID URBAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Just one other quick think to say. What isn't a story this morning is our network. It was -- the moderators were basically -- they were invisible. Dana and Jake did an incredible job of moderating a very tricky debate and making it about the issues. And the American people benefited last night because we got to see a really -- a really good debate between the two leading candidates. And I think our network imported (PH) itself very well.

And I know from people -- like, Vivek Ramaswamy who was a big critic of Dana and Jake, tweeted last night -- look, I've got to say they did a great job.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if you're being praised by Vivek, you know --

URBAN: I know. But I'm saying people who were critical -- were very critical of our team.

BERMAN: I got it. I got it. But, you know, whatever. Making Vivek Ramaswamy happy is no one's goal.

URBAN: I know. But, John, all I'm saying here is even the critics were saying they did a great job.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (D) FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE, ATTORNEY: I think what David is rightfully taking a victory lap, but he is feeling himself a little bit like many Republicans. Donald Trump showed who he was last night.


SELLERS: And you want to talk about the country being weaker, we could talk about the relationships we build in the strength of NATO. We could talk about our global standing around the world. We can talk about the people who were looking at that debate last night and saying Donald Trump could not tell the truth if it was the last thing that he had to do.

And so, I -- look, if you're just looking at appearance, the old man had a cough, he stammered, he stuttered, he looked pale, and he did not win the debate. November is right around the corner. BERMAN: How were your text messages last night, Bakari, from, say, 9:00 p.m. until now?

SELLERS: Well, I -- my group chat with my South Carolina colleagues -- one was fine, and two were pearl-clutching. My texts with the campaign were, you know, all right -- well, what do we do next?

BERMAN: Well, what do you do next?

SELLERS: Well, you go out there and campaign. He's with Fat Joe today. He's with Fat Joe in North Carolina today. I mean, what -- there is nothing else to do but rally and organize and vote. This isn't rocket science.

People come on here and they're like oh my God, I want to get rid of Joe, and do what? Practically, how does that work? It doesn't. It's not -- that's not a possibility. That's not something that will happen.

So what do you do now? You have Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. If you're a Democrat, you have a choice. This is a -- elections are choices and you have three of them in this race. You literally have three choices in this race. You have Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and the couch. Which one are you going to choose?

BERMAN: You mentioned Josh Shapiro. Would it be harder to beat Josh Shapiro for Donald Trump and President Biden?

URBAN: Yeah. Listen, I've known Josh Shapiro since 1996.

BERMAN: Could he beat Donald Trump?

URBAN: He's a good friend of mine. I think Josh Shapiro would be a very formidable candidate. I don't know --

SELLERS: Well, I don't know if he could -- I don't know if he could beat him.

URBAN: Listen, he is an incredibly popular governor in the state of Pennsylvania. There are Trump-Shapiro voters in the state of Pennsylvania, OK?

SELLERS: Why are we talking about Josh Shapiro?

BERMAN: Well, Josh Shapiro is coming on and we're talking about the idea that there might be another Democrat out there --

SELLERS: But they're -- they're not. Like, we are -- we are talking about things that are not reality.

BERMAN: Right.

SELLERS: The Democratic nominee for president -- his name is Joseph Robinette Biden.

BERMAN: Not until the convention. But stand by. We're going to talk much more about this and many other

things. David Urban, Bakari Sellers, you're going into overtime. You're going nowhere. We'll talk to you right after this break.

SELLERS: My coffee is getting cold.




KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, there was a slow start, but it was a strong finish. And what became very clear through the course of the night is that Joe Biden is fighting on behalf of the American people. On substance, on policy, on performance, Joe Biden is extraordinarily strong and that cannot be debated.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: But after that debate last night, what are they doing today?

Back with us, David Urban, Bakari Sellers.

How do you get people -- voters to focus on substance after the performance last night? You -- it's not just substance. You are a public figure.


BOLDUAN: It's all in the same.

SELLERS: You have to put the mirror up and you have to remind people what four years under Trump was.

I mean, if you are -- if you are a woman in this country and you're trying to make a decision about who you are voting for, you remember the three justices that took away your right to make a decision about your own body and your health care.

I mean, if you're somebody who has law enforcement in your family, like everybody does, and you want law enforcement to come home safely, you remember somebody who actually ushered in January 6 where they were literally crushing law enforcement officers.

You can look in the camera and say that our health care, our jobs -- Donald Trump inherited a beautiful economy. Now I sound like him. What he left us with was shambles.

And so, I am not as taken aback by the fundamentals of this race after last night are still very much the same. The same problem Donald -- Joe Biden had prior to the race is the same problem we have today, which is that this is not a persuasion race. You weren't persuading anybody last night. Your job was to get them out to vote, and we still have --

BOLDUAN: That's not true. There was a whole conversation about the Nikki Haley voters.

SELLERS: If we're depending on Nikki Haley voters to win this race then that's a whole other thing. That is a -- that is an ingredient in the bucket --


SELLERS: -- right? I'm more concerned about -- to be honest with you, I'm more concerned about Black men in Detroit, Michigan than I am about a Nikki Haley voter.

URBAN: Look, Bakari is a warrior. I mean, he's a warrior for his team, right?

SELLERS: There go you.

URBAN: Bakari is doing a great job.

SELLERS: I'm going to make a t-shirt.

URBAN: Listen, he is a warrior for his team and he's going at it.

This is -- this is what you're going to do. You have two choices if you're a Democrat at this point. You can fold up your tent and go home and say it's over, I'm done, or you dig in and fight harder.

BERMAN: No, no.

URBAN: You have a flawed candidate. No -- but, John, I don't think there's -- there is not -- show me a path -- how you replace this -- the -- it's just not -- it's not going to happen.

BERMAN: He has to -- he has to drop and then he has to go to the convention.

URBAN: He would have to look in the mirror and think that he is not the guy that --

SELLERS: But the political practicality of that is not -- so what happens is if Joe Biden -- let's just talk about this. If Joe Biden were to drop out and anybody around this table thinks that you're going to take some white dude to jump Kamala Harris, then you will have a problem in the Democratic Party.

URBAN: You know -- you know what's a big failure to me, John?

SELLERS: That's not happening.

URBAN: This is what I think is a huge failure. The White House Press Corps -- they've been around this for months and months and months and there's been a little reporting on of Joe Biden taking the short stairs on Air Force One. He's not up to this, he's not up to that. Shame on the White House Press Corps -- [07:40:07]


URBAN: -- for not taking it -- Kate --

BOLDUAN: The Wall Street Journal did a whole piece and the White House that (ph) went after that reporter.

URBAN: Right, they did.

BOLDUAN: And that was deeply sourced and the White House --

URBAN: But that's my point, Kate.

BOLDUAN: -- denied, denied, denied.

URBAN: Right, that's my point.

BOLDUAN: The reporting is -- the reporting is -- the reporting is out there.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: The reporting is out there. We've been watching it on television.

URBAN: No, no. But I'm saying people -- they should have dug more and fought harder.

The Journal, last night, was vindicated. They were vindicated. Those reporters at The Wall Street Journal should be having a big stack of pancakes this morning and saying we were right; you were all wrong.

More people should have been pushing this.

Joe Biden shouldn't have been up there. If you care -- if Bakari's team cares about -- this is democracy on the ballot. This is the biggest election ever, right? Joe Biden wouldn't have been out there last night. His family wouldn't let him go out there. Dr. Jill Biden wouldn't let him go out there.

If that was my father, I would have never let my dad. If my dad, in the last two years, had dementia, I would have never -- I protected my father. I protected my father.

BOLDUAN: I don't think it's about people letting him do anything. The man is making his own decisions.

URBAN: Hey, hey, I don't think so.

SELLERS: But he's also -- I mean, he's also --

URBAN: I don't think he's making his own decisions.

SELLERS: He has also created --

URBAN: I do not believe that. SELLERS: I mean, but you -- he's 81 but he's created, like, 15 million jobs. He's 81 but he drug us out of COVID. Like, you --

URBAN: It's not the age thing; it's an ability thing. It's an ability.

SELLERS: Well, we -- it is an ability thing. I'm sorry. I cut you off.

SIDNER: I do want to -- I do want to, guys, ask you about the polling because you guys were both talking about it.

Look, it is really interesting to see this CNN poll basically saying that 81 percent of voters who watched this debate said that this has not changed their mind at all. But wait -- before you get excited, Bakari, 19 percent -- that leaves 19 percent of people, which is a huge number of voters watching this, saying OK, well, I think it did change my mind, right? I mean, if 81 percent says this didn't change my mind -- I'm going to vote for whoever I was going to vote for before this -- but they're still --

Look at the -- look at this. This could be the game changer.

URBAN: Even five percent, right? Five percent in Pennsylvania.

SIDNER: Right. Could it not be the game changer?

SELLERS: I don't know who they're voting for. I don't know where their mind changed from-to.

SIDNER: What if they don't show up? I mean, that --

SELLERS: That -- now that is -- now that is more -- that is more of a concern of mine. My biggest concerns are not the Nikki Haley voters, the swing voters, the small slither that Frank Luntz and everybody else would talk about. My biggest concern is making sure that people come off the couch and vote.

What also gives me comfort -- when I mentioned the fundamentals, the big -- one of the larger problems with the Donald Trump movement is that they really recruit poor down-ballot candidates. That has been a problem for them this entire time. People like Kari Lake. She's getting beat in Arizona. Jacky Rosen is winning in Nevada. We're winning in Minnesota by 11 points with Amy Klobuchar.

Watch me make David mad. We're winning in Pennsylvania, right? We're winning --

BOLDUAN: That is not hard.

SIDNER: He's sitting right there.

SELLERS: We're winning in Pennsylvania.

URBAN: (INAUDIBLE). SELLERS: And then -- and then -- and then you have -- you have a gubernatorial candidate in North Carolina who was just running roughshod over Mark Robinson.

And so, Democrats, this morning -- like, listen to James Carville and Joe Scarborough, and get all upset and grab your neck and sweat, and say oh my God. And then, I'm going to give you this weekend. Get all that out your system. And then Monday, get back to the task at hand, which is either we fight or we fold up tent and lose democracy.

URBAN: Bakari makes a good point about down-ballot candidates because that's where the pressure is going to come from. The pressure is going to come from congressmen who were in pretty tight districts. It could come from Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Sam Brown in Nevada -- I mean, Jacky Rosen in Nevada. People who are in very tough races where -- Josh Shapiro is on here in a little bit. You ask him what it's going to do for the race in Pennsylvania.

BERMAN: Any other questions you have?

URBAN: No, I'm just saying -- no. I'll stick around and ask, John, if you like, you know.

BOLDUAN: He's advising.

SELLER: Ask John -- ask, John, did he like my ferity this morning. That's --

URBAN: Listen, it is -- it's like tying a giant anchor -- it's -- Joe Biden has tied a giant anchor around your neck and jumping off the dock at this point.

SELLER: But who wants to -- who wants to run with --

URBAN: Listen, where were those candidates last night on Twitter? None of it. They were silent. There was deafening silence from people who are running on the ticket right now. Because you know what they had to say? Nothing. They couldn't defend his performance.

They couldn't say one good thing. So they're just like their mom taught them. Don't say anything. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything. So they're quiet, quiet.

BERMAN: Look, one point I want to bring up here because Bakari, you said that it's a practical -- you know, it's not a practicality at this point and can't happen. It doesn't -- historically, it just would never happen.

So much that has never happened before has happened in the last five, six, seven, eight years -- so much. I'm not saying it should, I'm just saying we're in a phase now, like, this post-historical phase where just stuff goes crazy. Wild stuff that we've never seen before is happening now almost every six months. So --

BOLDUAN: Yeah, just look at the Supreme Court.


BOLDUAN: Just like with the --

BERMAN: Why not?

SIDNER: The word unprecedented -- how many times have you used that?


SIDNER: Like, every single day for --

URBAN: An unprecedented amount.

SIDNER: Truly.

SELLERS: I'm back -- I'm ready to get back to precedented times.

BERMAN: Yeah. Just because it hasn't happened in a long time doesn't mean it can't.

SELLERS: I mean, I just think that we -- I think that Democrats do themselves a disservice often. And we want to all be in love. David Urban and those guys fall in line. There's nobody I know who really wants to have an anchor around their neck and run beside Donald Trump. There's nobody who I know wants to be a down-ballot candidate with Donald Trump outside of the sycophants, like Kari Lake and others.


Joe Biden is going to be fine. Now, he ain't going to get no younger. He's going to shuffle his feet when he walks. He probably goes to bed a little earlier than he did 20 years ago. And the man has a stutter. And apparently, last night, he needed a lozenge, right?

But on substance there's nobody who can tell me on substance that he's not a better candidate than Donald Trump.

SIDNER: But Bakari, if he cannot get that message out -- if he can't actually put that message out strongly to the public in a debate or elsewhere, does that just fall by the wayside no matter what people are feeling?

SELLERS: No, no, no. That's when -- that's when -- that's when -- now, see -- now we're talking. Because that's when you get Josh Shapiro. That's when you get Kamala Harris. That's when you get Raphael Warnock. That's when you have the individuals who look like the future of the party come out.

And that's when Kamala Harris gets on stage and destroys anybody they put in front of her in the next debate that we'll see. Like, Doug Burgum, who -- I don't really know who that is but we're going to examine his record.

You know, we have -- the only person who gives us any pause is Marco Rubio -- that's it. The rest of these guys and ladies -- I mean, it doesn't matter to us unless he chooses Glenn Youngkin, which we talked about this morning, which could be a little curveball.

BOLDUAN: David, one of the things -- is there a risk of -- in the aftermath of the debate and while Democrats are processing, let's just say, is there a risk for Donald Trump? Everyone is waiting to hear what Joe Biden says today. I'm also curious what Donald Trump says today. Can you -- can you go too far?

You were trying to offer advice leading into the debate that he may have --

URBAN: Yeah.

BOLDUAN: -- heard and actually listened to.

URBAN: I'm not sure. I think -- I think he heard it from many people, right? Yesterday morning, John was asking what do we need to do.


URBAN: What does Donald Trump need to do to win the debate last night and get a W this morning? I think, to a large extent, he did that, right? He didn't -- he was -- you know, colored within the lines and talked about the big issues --

BOLDUAN: He benefitted from --

URBAN: -- to the best of his ability. And the mic -- yeah, the mics --

BOLDUAN: -- and missed being overshadowed by Biden's --

URBAN: -- getting shut off. And I think he talked substance. And so, I think today he's going to go to Virginia and talk substance, right? He'll talk about the debate a bit.

Listen, we'll see in the rally, right? We don't have to wait that long.

BOLDUAN: Let's just be a little more candid. Talking substance is not what Donald Trump does --

URBAN: I know, but --

BOLDUAN: -- and that's not what people look for him to do.

URBAN: Yeah, but Kate, I mean, he'll talk --

BOLDUAN: He's going to Virginia and talking substance.

URBAN: -- he'll talk jobs.

BOLDUAN: When Youngkin can talk substance --

URBAN: He'll talk --

BOLDUAN: Donald Trump does not. URBAN: He will talk about the economy. He'll talk about the border. He'll talk about things that matter, right, in his own way, that got him elected in '16 and is keeping him ahead in the polls now. So he'll do that in Virginia.

And I think he's going to be a more relaxed Donald Trump now that this debate is behind him. I don't think we'll see a second debate. I don't think that's going to occur.

BOLDUAN: You don't think so?

URBAN: Well, I don't think -- listen, if I was -- if I talked to the campaign or the former president --

SELLERS: I don't necessarily -- I'm going to lay the groundwork for that right now. I don't -- I think -- I think we might have saw enough.

URBAN: Yeah. I mean, there will not be -- if you're the Trump campaign, I would take a day or two of bad press. So, like, why would we debate? Everyone saw what happened. We don't need to see this.

SELLERS: Oh, I think that's a great decision. And if I was the Biden campaign, I'd be like we want it but if you all don't want it, we don't have to take it.

URBAN: Exactly. And so, listen, Bakari -- lawyers, like Bakari, out there fighting the fight. I mean, that's your job.

SELLERS: But can I say something, though, and I hope they listen to me. They probably -- they don't listen to me, but I hope they would.

Like Anita Dunn, Ron Klain, Jen O'Malley Dillon -- they need to do the reflection this morning. Because what they did in preparation and lead-up to that night was a disservice to the President of the United States in not laying the groundwork appropriately and/or they did not prep him appropriately.

And honestly, the person who did the best last night who is not going to get the praise that he does because he's an interesting cat is Jason Miller.

URBAN: Yeah.

SELLERS: Jason Miller prepared the president -- the former President of the United States to debate. He had him constrained. They messaged well. Their spin room was great. And they came out and executed a good day.

Does that mean you lose an election in November? No.

URBAN: Well --

SELLERS: It just means that we have to fight -- we down -- we down 15 points at halftime. It doesn't mean we can't win the game.

SIDNER: Yes or no, should they debate again, Bakari?

SELLERS: Who is they?

SIDNER: The president and the former president.

SELLERS: I -- you know, if I was running Joe Biden's campaign we would not. We probably wouldn't debate again.


URBAN: Yeah -- no, I don't they'd debate.

And you know what? Here's what's going to decide this also. What is the donor class say in the Biden campaign, right? When he's out there asking for millions of dollars to keep going, do the deep-pocketed donors -- do they say sure, here's another $10 million? Or do they say --

BOLDUAN: Yeah, but they've also got -- they've got someone -- they will have -- I do -- I think that they -- both candidates will have enough money to --

URBAN: But, Kate, or do they say we're going to focus on down-ballot candidates to keep the House and Senate, right? Listen, when things --


URBAN: -- start going badly people look to triage the damage, right? So they're going to say well, we may stand a chance of -- in Nevada, we're going to pour money to save Jacky Rosen. We're going to pour money in to save Bob Casey. We're not going to really pour money into Joe Biden's coffers. That will be very telling.

Not this -- yeah, whatever the next FEC report is coming up in the next quarter, right -- you're not going to be able to tell right away, but you'll be able to see donations. And I think Trump will have a big week this week in fundraising.


URBAN: People will -- big donors will be willing to write bigger checks, and that's incredibly telling.

And Bakari and I talked about this. The vice-presidential announcement -- there's not a lot of pressure now for Donald Trump to do that, right? Because we don't need to --


SELLERS: We don't need to choose.

URBAN: -- we don't -- why would you want to step on this media circle?

BERMAN: We're going to have to take a break or we're going to suffer violence in a moment. SIDNER: Yeah.


SIDNER: Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.

URBAN: Thanks for having us.

SIDNER: For the first time, criminal indictments over the failed police response in Uvalde. The charges that disgraced officers now face.


BOLDUAN: This morning disgraced former Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo is out on bail. Arredondo was indicted yesterday on what are the very first criminal charges over the horrific police response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in that -- on that horrible day some two years ago.


A grand jury handing up the indictment for Arredondo and another former school police officer on felony charges.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has the very latest and he's joining us now. Shimon, what are you learning?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So the charges are abandoning and endangering a child. Essentially, what the D.A. is arguing here that by not doing what they were supposed to do -- the officers here and specifically, Pete Arredondo who was the chief of the school police department. They left the children in there. They never took care of them. They never provided them with aid and care.

And so that is why the D.A. -- really, it surprised everyone that there were even charges brought here. So the D.A. there should be applauded for going ahead and moving forward with bringing these charges because many people did not think that would happen.

And as you said, Pete Arredondo -- he surrendered last night. He was arrested, booked, and then released.

Today, we are expecting the second police officer, Adrian Gonzales, to surrender and face additional charges as well. His indictment is a bit of a surprise because there hasn't been a lot of focus on Gonzales. He was one of the first police officers on the scene there. He was assigned to the school as well. He worked for the school police department.

One of the things that I found when I went back and looked at some of the investigative files was that officer, while he was first on scene, he also caused a lot of confusion by putting certain information out over the radio about what was going on inside the school that perhaps may have led to some of the confusion in officers thinking that there were no children inside that classroom that perhaps led to the delay in officers going inside that room and eventually taking out the gunman.

But this is really, really significant because we just don't see this often. And certainly, there's going to be a lot of challenges in this case for the district attorney.

BOLDUAN: And I was going to ask you what are you hearing about the chances for a successful prosecution here?

PROKUPECZ: It's going to be difficult because, look, this has happened before in Parkland, in Florida. A deputy there was charged with something very similar, and the jury ultimately acquitted that officer.

So there are definitely challenges with this prosecution and that's why I think a lot of legal folks in Texas never thought this was going to happen. But the D.A. had been working with the grand jury for months. She had family members come in; the investigators come in. They even went and visited the school just a couple of days ago.

So a very significant move here by the D.A. and now we have to let the legal process, Kate, play out.


Shimon, thank you so much.

And a programming note. We're going to be speaking to a family member of one of the victims, Jackie Cazares. Her uncle is going to be joining us later in the show -- Sara.

SIDNER: All right.

Democratic operatives are in panic mode and Trump's team celebrating this morning after last night's historic debate. But what are voters saying in those all-so-important battleground states?

In Michigan, they're divided over the first 2024 presidential debate between Biden and Trump. Trump won Michigan in 2016, as you will remember. Biden, though, carried that state in 2020. But Trump held onto Michigan's Macomb County.

CNN's Laura Coates was there getting real-time voter reaction to the debate -- listen.


LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: There was a couple of moments, to say the least, where there was a huge reaction, particularly on the issue of abortion. Here is what was said.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I supported Roe v. Wade, which had three trimesters. The first time is between a woman and a doctor. The second time is between a doctor and an extreme situation. The third time is between the doctor -- I mean, between the woman and the state.

The idea that the politicians -- that the founders wanted the politicians to be the ones making decisions about women's health is ridiculous.

COATES: Was what was said just now by the two candidates -- did it persuade you in any way that either was going to be able to be speaking to the (INAUDIBLE) they needed? Anyone? Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think President Biden spoke to it, and I could see and feel his passion about that should be between a woman and her doctor, and not all these other entities.

COATES: Did you think that the former president, Donald Trump, addressed the issue in a way that spoke to you? Anyone?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It didn't necessarily speak to me, but it did bring up something very important where it was interesting to see how, like, facts were being thrown out that weren't actually facts about, like, babies being killed or certain stages of abortion. But just generally speaking, late-term abortions don't happen as often as they seem to, but it seems to be a consistent talking point.

So it was interesting to me that what Biden has done wasn't really addressed by Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't necessarily feel as though my rights or the rights of my daughters are any more protected with what Trump said or what Biden said. I don't see any actions to reestablish Roe v. Wade being taken by Biden, and I don't see our rights as women being protected by Trump.

COATES: At one point, President Biden spoke to the issue, saying if he were reelected that he would ensure that Roe v. Wade became the law of the land again. Were you convinced by that statement?