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Supreme Court Expected to Rule on Immunity; Michael Gerhardt is Interviewed about an Immunity Ruling; House Judiciary Committee to Sue AG Garland; Catholic Church Approves Canonization; California Law Requires Bars to Offer Testing Kits for Drinks; Cyberattack Paralyzes Car Dealerships. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 08:30   ET





JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: If my math is right, in less than 90 minutes we will know whether the Supreme Court believes that Donald Trump should have immunity from prosecution over the federal election subversion case, the January 6th case, the federal charges he faces on that front. The Supreme Court will rule beginning at 10:00 a.m. We, of course, will bring it to you live. Special live coverage.

Before that, though, we have a treat. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten.

We're going to find out what the court thinks, what nine people think, but what you've got is bigger than that, what voters think.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: That was a very good Brent Musburger (ph), by the way.

All right, so, looking live, should Trump have criminal immunity for his official acts as president? We have been looking at this polling over and over and over again as this case has made its way up to the Supreme Court. And what we've consistent found is that, no, no is in the majority here. Sixty percent of Americans say no, just 30 percent say yes. This is true basically across the entire political aisle. Only Republicans believe in the yes on this particular one.

Although I will note, John, that, in fact, if you take Trumps out of the equation, you just say, should a generic president have criminal immunity for his official acts as president, even in that particular case, Republicans say no. It's just right here, when you attach Trump's name to it, of course Republicans are going to jump over and say, yes.

BERMAN: Oh, that's interesting. So, this number is actually higher -


BERMAN: With Trump in the equation?

ENTEN: Correct. Because Republicans all of a sudden say, well, I have to take Trump's side. But if it were a generic president, they would jump over to no.

BERMAN: No. I had no idea. That's very -


BERMAN: All right, talk about -

ENTEN: I guess I surprised you.

BERMAN: Yes, that was good.

talk about whether people think what Trump did was illegal.

ENTEN: Yes. So, you know, this is, to me, the question of, OK, why is Trump ahead in this presidential race and is there anything that can really sort of jolt that lead and throw it back to Biden? Trump committed serious federal crimes. Among all voters, the clear majority have said, yes, yes, yes. And that was true of "The New York Times"/Sienna College poll that was out earlier this month. And you say, OK, how is it that Trump actually leads in this presidential race? Well, it turns out there's a significant chunk of Trump voters, 15 percent, who believed that he committed serious federal crimes. And yet, and yet he still leads because this 15 percent are still voting for him. He led in this poll by three points among likely voters, in large part because there's a chunk of that Republican base, that Trump bass, who was just like, you know what, he committed serious federal crimes, meh (ph), whatever.

BERMAN: And in terms of the, how voters view the severity of the federal election subversion charges, where does it rank?

ENTEN: Yes. This - you know, if all of a sudden Trump got immunity for this, you'd basically be taking away the one case - or the top case that voters think is the most serious. So, if true, the charges would disqualify Trump from the presidency. Look at this, nearly a majority, 48 percent say the federal January 6th charges, if true, would disqualify Trump from the presidency. That is very different from what we saw in that New York hush money case, right, where obviously Trump was convicted. It was just 28 percent there. This is nearly double that at 48 percent.

A lot of voters think these charges are very, very serious. And if the court were, in fact, to rule that Trump somehow had immunity, this would just be another one of these rulings in which the court went against the public and took away what they think is something that, if true, could very much be the end of Trump's run for the presidency.

Of course, even if they did, in fact, find that he didn't have immunity, I'm not quite sure that they'd able to get that case underway in time for it to be determined by the election.

BERMAN: Issuing the decision in July. ENTEN: Yes, that - that -

BERMAN: Might be the most important thing they've done here.

Harry Enten, great to see you. Thank you very much.

ENTEN: Great to see you, my friend.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're going to dig into the legal implications of what the Supreme Court opinion could mean moving forward for presidents in the future and for Donald Trump. With me now is University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Can you give me a sense of what the ramifications are if the majority rules in Trump's favor, giving him everything that he has asked for?

PROF. MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNC SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, that - the ramifications of that outcome would be enormous. To begin with, it'd be really significant to figure out what - how the public reacted to that. I assume most Americans would be quite upset with that ruling because basically most Americans think, if you committed a crime, you should be held accountable for it.

It would also - that outcome would also mean that presidents generally have a very broad scope of immunity for doing things as president that would be countered as official, even if those official acts could be characterized as criminal. That means the presidency will become more unaccountable and more capable of breaking the law. Those are not good outcomes if you believe in the rule of law.

SIDNER: Yes, it sounds like when we talk about the fact that, you know, the saying that no one is above the law, that the president, in this case, could be above the law.


I do want to play some of the audio from the oral arguments back in April. This is Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. They're questioning Trump's lawyers. Listen in.


JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT: How about if a president order the military to stage a coup?

Is it an official act?

JOHN SAUER, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: On the way you've described that hypothetical, it could well be. I just don't know, you have to again, it's a fact specific context, specific determination.

KAGAN: That answer sounds to me as though it's like, yes, under my test, it's an official act. But that sure sounds bad, doesn't it?

JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT: The most powerful person in the world with the greatest amount of authority could go into office knowing that there would be no potential penalty for committing crimes.

I'm trying to understand what the disincentive is from turning the Oval Office into, you now, the seat of criminal activity in this country.


SIDNER: These are really deep questions being asked here. If the court does rule presidents are immune for official acts, doesn't this cause a huge question of what can be deemed an official act, as you heard them sort of going over there, and who gets to decide that?

GERHARDT: Yes. There's no question about that. And the real critical thing for the court to give guidance on is how any court, whether it's the Supreme Court or lower court, should judge Trump's actions on January 6th. Do they fall within that official conduct or not? I don't think it's a hard question whether or not the president should be entitled to some immunity for his official acts. Fair enough. The question in this case is, whether or not Trump's actions leading up to January 6th and on January 6th our official or unofficial. Could they be private? Those two justices, I think, did an excellent job of highlighting the risks - the stakes in this case, because the broader the immunity the court gives for official acts, the more that not only helps Trump, but the more it places the president above the law.

Again, that's a - that would be historic. And it would be a real injury to the rule of law in this country.

SIDNER: I'm curious what you think this might mean for Trump's federal election interference cases.

GERHARDT: Yes. To begin with, we don't know what test the court or what criteria the court's going to use for saying, this is what an official act - these are the elements of an official act. Either the court or a lower court will determine whether or not Trump, on January 6th, satisfied those elements.

But beyond that question of whether or not Trump - Trump's conduct met the elements of official conduct, there's - the question is also whether or not the Supreme Court will decide that question for itself or will it let a lower court decide it. Either way, Trump wins in the short term because it means that there's going to be a delay in terms of an outcome. And either the delay is immediate, because of what the court says, or could the court perhaps even go further and just decide the merits of this question? Yes, whatever Trump did on January 6th was official conduct, in which case I think the court ultimately hurts itself because it will really undermine its own legitimacy by helping a fellow Republican be above the law.

SIDNER: Well, there certainly would be an interesting argument about the balance of power, wouldn't there. Michael Gerhardt, thank you so much for your analysis this morning.


BERMAN: All right, as soon as today, the House Judiciary Committee could file a lawsuit against Attorney General Merrick Garland to try to force him to hand over audio recordings of President Biden's interview with special counsel Robert Hur. The House voted last month to hold Garland in contempt over this.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is with us now with the latest.

Sunlen, good morning.


Yes, this battle is intensifying today. The House Judiciary Committee, they want to get their hands on these audio tapes. So today we expect them to file a lawsuit in the district court here in Washington, D.C., to try to get them.

Now, these are recordings of President Biden's interviews related to his handling of classified documents. And these are his interviews with the former special counsel, Hur, that the attorney general, as you noted, has refused to turn over. Lawmakers, they already have the transcript of these interviews, but the administration has so far claimed executive privilege over these recordings.

Republicans on Capitol Hill, they are - they say that hearing these audio of the tapes will provide more context for them. And they argue that since the DOJ has already released the transcripts of Biden's interviews, the president's assertion of executive privilege, they say, is not valid.


The DOJ, on the other hand, they say that they have specific security concerns that require them to protect the audio.

Now, the House voted last month to hold Garland in contempt over his refusal to turn over these tapes. And Speaker Johnson, John, has promised, in his words, to fight vigorously to try to get them. So a next stage in this battle potentially filed in a D.C. court today.


BERMAN: Yes, that next stage could be in a courtroom.

Sunlen Serfaty, thank you very much for that. Great to see you.


Oh, me.

The teenager who was called "God's influencer" set to become the first saint of the millennial generation.

And Will Smith now with a new song after his infamous appearance at the Oscars.


WILL SMITH, ACTOR/MUSICIAN (singing): The darker the hell you go to endure. The brighter the heaven you get to enjoy. The harder you fall, the higher you soar. God opens a window.




SIDNER: Turning now to Israel, where thousands of ultra-orthodox Jewish men have taken to the streets. They are protesting a ruling by Israeli supreme court requiring them now to enlist in the military like everyone else. Military service is compulsory for most Jewish men and women in Israel, but ultra-orthodox parties have one exemption for their followers to skip military service and instead study in religious seminaries.

In just over 30 minutes, defense lawyers for Senator Bob Menendez will begin presenting their case when court resumes in his federal corruption trial. Prosecutors allege Menendez and his wife benefited in the form of gold bars, nearly half a million dollars in cash, a Mercedes-Benz and thousands of dollars in mortgage payments. After seven weeks and 30 witnesses, the prosecution rested their case. The defense aims to wrap up theirs within days.

And Will Smith returning to his musical roots, lighting up the BET Awards stage with a brand new song.


WILL SMITH, ACTOR/MUSICIAN (singing): The harder you fall, the higher you soar. God opens a window when the devil closes a door. Believe me, they tried to bleed (ph) Will Smith. From the rear view, I see it first that it was the gift, to lift me high and gifts require favors.


SIDNER: Big debut after - you remember the slap. Smith delivered a fiery performance on the night. The new Gospel-infused song is called "You Can Make It" and comes, of course, after that tumultuous few years for Smith, including that infamous moment on the Oscars. This is his first solo material in more than five years.


BERMAN: All my songs are in the first-person as well. Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

So, a video game loving Italian teenager known as "God's influencer," will become the Catholic Church's first millennial saint. Fifteen- year-old - the 15-year-old died in 2006. The pope and cardinals just approved his canonization.

CNN Vatican correspondent Christopher Lamb has the latest here.

What are you hearing?

CHRISTOPHER LAMB, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the pope and the cardinals met in the Vatican today to sign off Carlo Acutis' canonization cause. We're expecting that the canonization will take place at some point in 2025. It's likely to be a big event in St. Peter's Square preside that by the pope.

Carlo Acutis has developed a big following of young people over the years. I mean when you think about saints, often people assume that to be a saint is something from the past. They think of saints depicted as statues. Whereas Carlo Acutis was a video gamer, as you mentioned. He was also a technological whiz kid. He used his skills to try and spread awareness of the Catholic faith. And he was also a teenager who enjoy things like all other teenagers. He liked soccer. He loved his pet. He had problems with bullies. He had challenges, as every other teenager might have. And, therefore, he is seen as a very relatable figure for the Catholic Church to hold up to young people as the Catholic Church seeks to connect better with a next generation.

Of course, to become a saint in the Catholic Church, you do need to have two miracles attributed to you. And Carlo Acutis has had those. The second miracle recently signed off which - concerning a woman in Costa Rica. A Costa Rican woman who had fallen off a bicycle and sustained a serious injury. And according to the Vatican, she was healed after prayers were made to Carlo Acutis.

So, this is an unusual cause for canalization. An unusual saint. But someone who is being held up by the church as a relatable figure who can show that to be a saint is not something on the past, but very much of today.


BERMAN: Christopher Lamb, thank you very much. A milestone here.


SIDNER: All right, a new California law takes effect today requiring bars and nightclubs to offer common date rape drug test kits. The drug testing devices will either be offered for sale at a very reasonable price or given to customers for free.

CNN's Camila Bernal is joining us now from Los Angeles.

This is different. Tell us how this all came to fruition with this potentially lifesaving measure?

CAMELA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sara. So, imagine this, you're at a bar in California and you suspect that maybe someone puts something in your drink. Maybe it's spiked. Well, now you don't have to wait to find out. All you have to do is ask a bartender or someone at the bar for one of these test strips. And what's going to happen here is that you're going to be able to test it right away and possibly even have evidence if you need it for later.


So, this law goes into effect today here in the state of California. And it's going to impact about 2,400 businesses around the state. And what the law says is that this applies to people who have a type 40 license. So that means they sell alcohol and not necessarily food. And as you mentioned, it could be free. So, you could simply just get it at the bar, or the law also states that it has to be given at a reasonable price.

So, I want you to take a listen to some of the reaction from many here in California.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think it's good that, you know, there's a law like at least safety for patrons is the name of the game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, hopefully it makes everyone else in the community feel more comfortable as well. Again, being gay and going out and celebrating, sometimes you've got to be careful. Like, the environment that you're in.


BERNAL: So, the law requires businesses to put a sign advertising this at the entrance, at the exit and the bathrooms so you will know that it is available. And there's also this. They could face penalties if they do not have these test kits. So, if you don't find one at a bar, you'll be able to report it, and that could impact the businesses' license. So, it's good for everyone. People here just reacting and saying this is good for safety and good for just enjoying a night out here in California, Sara.

SIDNER: A margarita and a testing kit. You can get it all at your local bar there in California.

Camila Bernal, thank you so much.


BERMAN: All right, this morning, a major cyberattack is leading to millions of dollars in losses for car dealerships. The systems outage at CDK Global is effecting software used by dealers across the nation. It's now entering its second weeks.

CNN's Matt Egan is here.

So, explain what's going on here.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, John, this cyberattack is causing chaos in the auto industry. Now, CDK Global, not a household name.


EGAN: I don't think I had ever heard of it before this happened.


EGAN: And yet it turns out its software serves as the brains at car dealerships. It's used in almost 15,000 dealerships across North America. So, this software blackout has caused massive disruptions. It's impacted everything from sales and orders, to repairs and even payroll. I mean imagine owning a restaurant but you can't take reservations, you can't pay the bills, you can't order foods, right? It would be crippling.

Now, in this case, what we've seen is that some auto customers, they've faced delays, longer wait times. They haven't been able to get their cars fixed. Sometimes they haven't been able to get registered with the DMV.

Employees, they'd have to go back to pen and paper, in some cases, and some of them are worried that their paychecks are going to be delayed. We talked to a sales - a salesman in South Carolina at a Ford dealership and he said, I couldn't do anything I normally can do. I was at a complete standstill.

Now, CDK is so popular in the auto industry that there could even be a national impact here. JD Power estimates that there's going to be 100,000 fewer cars sold in June because - not because of low demand, but because of all the disruptions here.

Now, those sales would hopefully be made up in July, but still, Anderson Economic Group estimates that if this last for three weeks - and we don't know it will - but if it does, there could be almost a billion in losses for the auto industry. The longer this goes on, the bigger the impact.

Now, CDK says they're taking this very seriously. They put out a statement saying - saying that they understand and share the urgency for their customers to get back to business as soon as usual, promising updates to come.

The good news is that CDK, they say that they have been able to bring back some groups of dealers back online. They're scrambling to do the same for others. Hopefully, John, this is moving closer towards resolution. But, look, this is another reminder of how reliant we all are on technology the unexposed to this cyber threat.

BERMAN: Do they think they know what happened and how to fix it?

EGAN: They -- they're - it's been reported that this was a ransomware attack. But they are still scrambling to get everything back online. And they have to make sure everything is safe before they allow all the dealers back into all these systems.

BERMAN: All alright, Matt Egan, pretty interesting.

EGAN: Crazy.

BERMAN: Pretty troubling if you're a car dealer to be sure.

EGAN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: OR if you want to get your hands on a car in the next month.

EGAN: Yes.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

EGAN: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: All right, a new hour of CNN NEWS CENTRAL starts right now.

So, within the next 65 minutes we will learn whether the Supreme Court believes Donald Trump should be immune from charges surrounding the January 6th insurrection. We have special live coverage.

A new interview from the first lady. Her new take on what should happen next after President Biden's shaky debate performance.

And happening now, a powerful now category four hurricane that just increase barrels through the Caribbean. Who needs to take cover?

Kate is out. I'm John Berman, with Sara Sidner. And this is CNN NEWS CENTRAL.


SIDNER: Happening now, a live look at the Supreme Court where we are now standing by for a huge and