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Supreme Court Expected to Rule on Trump's Sweeping Immunity Claims; Biden's Family Encourages Him to Stay in Race After Debate Debacle; 13-Year-Old Killed by Police After Officers Say He Pointed Fake Gun at Them. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 07:00   ET



MATT GORMAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TIM SCOTT PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Non-teleprompter speakers during the day, they need more of that. But I'll say here's the risk, right? In theory, you want a new visual that shouldn't have had him out on morning Joe the next morning. But if he shows up during, during the debate, it is over, right. That's an entire risk if they bring him out again in an unscheduled way, news, conference interview, and it looks more like the debate than it did North Carolina, that's a whole other set of issues

MOLLY BALL, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: And the frustration for so many Democrats is that we're even talking about someone who's been president for four years having to prove he can just do the job.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. It's a reminder he still has control of the nuclear codes.

All right, thanks to all of you for joining us this morning. I'm Kasie Hunt.

Don't go anywhere. CNN News Central starts right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Standing by for a pivotal decision from the Supreme Court. Does Donald Trump have immunity from the federal election charges against him? The ruling comes this morning.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: While Democrats are doing damage control over President Biden's disastrous debate, CNN has learned his family is telling him to keep fighting. New details on their frustrations with his team and talks of possibly firing top aides.

Also a powerful and life threatening hurricane taking aim at the Caribbean. Hurricane Beryl is poised to be the strongest storm the area has seen in two decades. We're tracking its destructive path.

I'm Sarah Sidner with John Berman. Kate Bolduan is out today. This is CNN News Central.

BERMAN: Hard to remember a Monday morning with more hanging in the balance, the political future of President Biden and the legal future of Donald Trump. We are on alert for any sign that President Biden is wavering in his commitment to stay in the presidential race or any sign a prominent elected Democrat calls for him to step aside. So far, that has not happened, so far.

Also this morning, the Supreme Court will rule if Donald Trump is immune from the federal election subversion charges against him, a case that could shape not just his future but the presidency itself.

Let's get right to CNN's Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic. Joan, give us a sense of what we will see today and when.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Sure, John. Good to see you. And isn't the suspense killing us? You know, just three more hours, John, before the justices take the bench. And they have probably three opinions they will announce. You know, four cases, I think, they're going to condense them to three.

And the immunity one will come last, so it's likely that it'll be read by the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, because they usually work in reverse seniority. We don't know yet if the chief is the author of this, but we suspect he would be. Something this big, the chief would keep for himself.

And I have to say, you know, you, you cast the stakes exactly right. This opinion is going to decide whether Donald Trump faces trial for the events that culminated in January 6th, 2021 before he sits for this current election. So, it's just so much riding in a practical vein for this election but also the stakes are very high for presidents in the future. Can they be immune from criminal prosecution for actions they took while they were serving?

Now, two lower courts rejected former President Trump's claim that he was categorically immune from any kind of criminal prosecution. They handled it straightforwardly without getting down into the weeds of the conduct itself. The D.C. Circuit said for the purposes of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump with all the defenses of other criminal defendants. But any executive immunity that might have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him against this prosecution.

Now, John, I have to say, during the oral arguments, the justices went much deeper into trying to look at the various claims by Special Counsel Jack Smith, the charges he's brought on behalf of the Department of Justice, on behalf of the American people against Donald Trump and tried to -- and looked at the justices were looking at whether some of these actions might be considered official actions that could be immune from prosecution, whereas others might have been private actions that he was taking as sort of Candidate Trump in the heat of the 2020 election results.

So, we're going to get we're going to get a definitive word on whether former President Trump is subjected to trial, but it might be the kind of word that then has to play out through another set of lower court hearings, John. BERMAN: That's right. And it may be the type of ruling. You don't know exactly what it says on the first page. You're going to have to dig underneath to see what the implications here are.

Joan Biskupic, we know you will be there watching every single step of this. Thanks so much, Joan. Sara?

SIDNER: All right. Let's keep the legal conversation going now with Attorney Matthew Seligman.


Thank you so much for joining us. Where do you think the court will land on this issue of presidential immunity?

MATTHEW SELIGMAN, SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR ELECTION INTEGRITY, CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER: Thanks for having me, Sara. I think the court is going to land somewhere in between. So, unlike the lower courts, I think the Supreme Court is likely to recognize some form of presidential immunity for core constitutional duties. It can't be a crime for the president, for example, to veto a bill or to recognize an ambassador. And the question is how much, if anything more than that, the court recognizes. Does the court go all the way to what President Trump had asked it to recognize that all official acts by a former president are immune from criminal prosecution? And that's the big question going forward.

SIDNER: I want us to listen to Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She asked a question about what might constitute an official act where a president would have immunity from prosecution. And the response from Trump's attorney as well, here is the sound from inside the Supreme Court.


JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. SUPREME COURT: If the president decides that his rival is a corrupt person and he orders the military or orders someone to assassinate him, is that within his official acts for which he can get immunity?

D. JOHN SAUER, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: It would depend on the hypothetical, but we can see that could well be an official act.


SIDNER: That could well be an official act. What could this ruling do if it's in Trump's favor? What would it do to the balance of power?

SELIGMAN: It would be extraordinarily dangerous. And I think it's important to keep in mind that, as Justice Gorsuch said, they're adopting a rule for the ages. And so whatever rule the court hands down right now applies not just to former President Trump's prior conduct but also to the conduct of the current and next president.

And so what President Trump's lawyer was saying is that the president has criminal immunity for assassinating a political rival, for attempting to stage a military coup on the morning of January 20th. That's an extraordinarily dangerous position.

Now, it's also important to recognize that President Trump's lawyer also conceded that the vast majority of the conduct that's alleged in this indictment is not official, even by his own test. And so we live in a kind of split screen reality here, where former President Trump is asking for impunity for his next term but also, no matter what the Supreme Court rules today, it's overwhelmingly likely that if time were not a factor, he would ultimately face charges for the unofficial criminal conduct that he's charged with in this case.

SIDNER: I do want to ask you about that. So, if the court does rule in Trump's favor, how does that affect the January 6th case against him? Does it diminish it or does it finish it?

SELIGMAN: Well, I think it's just a matter of time. I think the details that are most important in the court's ruling are how long it's going to take to determine that the conduct alleged in the indictment overwhelmingly is private conduct. We're not talking about using the military to assassinate a political rival. What we're talking about is organizing fraudulent slates of electors and then pressuring the vice president to count those fraudulent slates of electors. None of that is part of the president's official responsibilities and there's no real plausible argument that it is.

And so we've been in this delay mode for seven months now while we've engaged in this important constitutional question of the president's criminal immunity. But at the end of the day, if time were not a factor, it's overwhelmingly likely that former President Trump would be put on trial. And so the question going forward is, given the test that the court hands down today, how much more time is it going to take for the lower courts to determine that this conduct isn't official?

SIDNER: I do want to ask you about something the court has already ruled on the January 6th case involving a police officer charged with obstruction of an official proceeding. They said that the police officer was in the right here and that the special counsel or the prosecutors were in the wrong. When you hear that they sided with the officer, how might this apply, if at all, to this case with Donald Trump and immunity? Does it give him a boost, for example, that you think that maybe this is a precursor to what the Supreme Court is going to rule?

SELIGMAN: I think there's a difference between the headlines and the reality in that case, Fischer v. United States, which was decided on Friday. So, the headline is that the government's position on this statute obstructed an official proceeding, which former President Trump is charged with as well. The headline is the government lost. But if you actually read the opinion, the court adopted a position that almost definitely applies both to the defendant in that case, who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6th, and to former President Trump.

And so we again get a dynamic where the headline says, oh, the January 6th defendant won.


But if you look at the details, actually, in a year or two, I think it's overwhelmingly likely that Joseph Fischer is going to be convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding and he'll go to prison. And so, so much of what we see right now is the process playing out, and it's playing out much too slowly given the stakes in this election.

SIDNER: Matthew Seligman, thank you so much for your analysis there. I appreciate your time this morning.

SELIGMAN: Thanks for having me.

SIDNER: All right. Ahead, Jill Biden's message to America that 90 minute debate should not define the four years Joe Biden has been president, more what the first lady had to say in an interview just out in Vogue Magazine.

And protest after a police officer shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was carrying a replica gun. We have the body cam footage of the moments leading up to his death.

And 11 people injured after an escalator malfunction inside the Milwaukee Brewer Stadium. One witness describing it as an out of control roller coaster,



BERMAN: All right. This morning we have new reporting on the advice that President Biden is getting from his family about staying in the presidential race and also where they are pointing the finger for his faltering debate performance. We should note, one new poll finds only 55 percent of Democrats say that Biden should continue running.

Let's get right to CNN's Priscilla Alvarez at the White House with the latest. Priscilla, what are you hearing?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, the President was huddled with his family at Camp David yesterday. It was a previously scheduled visit, but of course it was also at a crucial time as there has been so much fallout from the president's Thursday night debate performance. Now, the family, according to Biden advisers, has told the president they support him, that they are encouraging him to stay in the race. Now, the conversations, according to sources, have been very much focused on how the family can help Biden and not whether he should reconsider his candidacy.

We're also seeing some of that, too, in the pages of Vogue and an editor's note for a profile of the first lady, the first lady telling the magazine that the president shouldn't be judged over those 90 minutes, again, referring to the debate, but rather his record. That has been something that we have heard time and again from allies over the last several days. The president, too, is collecting his own data anecdotally and through public polling. And, of course, the narrative here can shift, anything can change, particularly since we're still waiting for that more public polling to come out in terms of any sort of decision-making. But at this point, all of the president's allies are maintaining that the president will stay in the race.

Take a listen to some of what they had to say over the airways on Sunday.


SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): Well, listen if they weren't engaged in a little bit of handwringing, they wouldn't be Democrats.

GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): Joe Biden is our leader. And Joe Biden has earned and Joe Biden deserves the confidence, the respect and, frankly, the partnership that we now have to provide to him.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): I do not believe that Joe Biden has a problem leading for the next four years because he's done a great job of leading for the last three and a half years.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It's not about performance in terms of a debate. It's about performance in a presidency. And I want you to know that the fact is that the reaction to the lies of Donald Trump is something that maybe T.V. isn't focusing on but people are.


ALVAREZ: Of course, John, the big question is whether this does calm nerves, including among donors who have also panicked and are wrapped with anxiety over the next steps here. In fact, in a fundraising email, the Biden campaign also put out polling to show how alternatives would fare against former President Donald Trump to make the point that President Biden is the best candidate. So, a pretty remarkable step by the campaign that just goes to show how much scrutiny they are under at this very moment.

BERMAN: Yes, that was something to see when the campaign put that polling out over the weekend. They know the discussions that are being had.

Priscilla Alvarez at the White House, thank you so much. Keep us posted as to what you hear. Every hour counts right now.

All right, new body camera video just released showing the final moments before a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by police.

And then breaking overnight, U.S. military bases in Europe on high alert for possible terror attacks. The level of alert signals there is an active, reliable threat.


[07:20:00] SIDNER: This morning, a devastated family and community after a Utica, New York police officer shot and killed 13-year-old Nyah Mway on Friday night. Police say when officers approached him, the boy ran and pointed a replica handgun at them. The incident has been captured entirely on police body camera and is currently under investigation.

CNN Correspondent Polo Sandoval joining me now. So, if this whole thing was captured on body camera, what are authorities gleaning from what they're seeing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, there are two investigations that are running parallel with each other. You have the Utica Police Department that's investigating the actions of their police officer and also the New York State attorney general. They are going to review basically a mountain of some of this body camera video that was recovered from the scene after this weekend since it actually happened on Friday night.

We're going to play for you a portion of that. Two things first, a warning, it is a disturbing video. But also, let me just set things up for you so you know since things happen in a very quick moment here, it was Friday night when police in Utica received a report about an armed robbery on the city's west side. They arrived and eventually made contact with this 13-year-old now identified by police as Nyah Mway and also another young individual.

While speaking to him, that's when police then moved to actually pat him down. And that, as you'll see in the video, is when the 13-year- old then runs away, right? Police give chase. A few moments later, there's a single shot. One officer fires one round that fatally strikes this 13-year-old.

The video that you're about to see, though, you will see how Utica police have actually edited on purpose to show you with red circles what the officer perceived to be a pistol at the moment only to find out later that, in fact, it was a pellet gun.


So, again, a warning, the video is disturbing to watch, but we'll give you an idea of what went down on Friday night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep your hands out your pockets. The reason why we're stopping is right in the roadway, and you're walking and you're walking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that. Oh, shit, I forgot with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean you forgot about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just having fun. He was living over there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I just pat you down and make sure you got no weapons on you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One running. He's fast. He's racing for his life. Gun! Gun! Gun! Gun! Gun!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots first and an ambulance. We've got shots fired.


SANDOVAL: I've had an opportunity to review some other body camera video that was also released here, Sara, and you can see the officer that fired that single round actually recover what appeared to be a pistol. He even pulls back the slide on it. So, it certainly bears a very striking resemblance as you can see here, so with even police officers may carry in their holsters.

So, there is, as you can imagine, just a complete sense of devastation among the community. We understand that this was a 13-year-old that was a refugee from Myanmar. And so that community is certainly calling for accountability. There was a protest over the weekend outside the police department. They want a closer look. And ultimately, again, these two investigations will have to determine whether or not the shooting was justified.

But the reality is this is not the first story of its kind. I've even covered this myself, where police officers will see something that appears to be a weapon. On top of that, they had received reports of an Asian male who brandished a black firearm and stole property in the vicinity. So, at all up at that moment, those officers, according to what we heard from the police chief, recognize it as a threat and use lethal force.

SIDNER: At night, seeing that gun that looks very similar to a real firearm. Well, all right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: Thanks, Sara.

SIDNER: All right. Coming up, Donald Trump's strategy to beat Joe Biden has shifted since the debate as Donald Trump awaits a Supreme Court decision that could change the game on multiple charges that he is now facing.