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Bannon Reports to Prison; Supreme Court Expected to Rule on Immunity Claim; Allan Lichtman is Interviewed about Biden; Beryl Now a Category Four Hurricane. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 09:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, Steve Bannon is headed to federal prison for defying a congressional subpoena from the January 6th Select Committee nearly two years ago. His pre-prison plans might have just changed a little bit.

CNN's Sara Murray is live outside the pretty famous federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut.

Sara, what are you learning?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. I mean I think Steve Bannon had hoped to do a live show out here this morning. They sort of had to rearrange that plan. I think he's live from his hotel.

They are still going to try to make a statement before Steve Bannon pulls into the gates behind me and officially reports to prison, which will happen in just a couple of hours. And then once he's in those gates, you know, he becomes like a regular inmate. He's going to go through the metal detectors. He's going to get stripped searched. He's going to undergo a mental health evaluation. And then he's going to report to his housing unit. And this is where he's going to spend four months behind bars.

Now, he has projected this era of defiance. He sort of acted like he doesn't care at all about the fact that he's facing this prison sentence. When I spoke to him about it, he predicted, "I'm going to be more powerful in prison than I am now." He also told me, "I will have a much bigger impact on the campaign when I'm in prison than I have now." At this rate he's likely to get out in October, just before Election Day.

But I also talked to sources closer to Bannon who said, you know, behind the scenes, this is someone who was sort of in denial about the fact that he was actually going to have to report to prison. He really thought that he would be spared by the Supreme Court or one of the lower courts. You know, there's a certain amount of apprehension about going here, about spending this time behind bars for someone like Bannon. So, I'm sure we'll get a lot more of the defiance, a lot more about

President Trump's - former President Trump's campaign when Bannon arrives here in just a couple of hours, John.

BERMAN: All alright, Sara Murray, we know you are there. Great to see you this morning. Thank you very much.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Hurricane Beryl has regained strength, becoming a category four hurricane yet again. What it means for those islands in the days ahead.

And American gymnast Simone Biles takes another giant leap toward Olympic history.



BERMAN: We are just minutes away from a huge Supreme Court ruling. You are looking at live pictures of the Supreme Court right now. The nine justices will rule whether Donald Trump should have immunity from the federal election subversion charges against him.

This is what Trump said about it just moments ago.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, the immunity statement that's coming out that they say on Sunday, on Monday, that is going to be very interesting to see what happens. But I think it has a bigger impact on Joe Biden than it has on me, actually.


BERMAN: All right, CNN's senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz, is with us now.

Notwithstanding what legal analyst Donald Trump just said about this, this is a huge ruling, not just for Donald Trump, but for the presidency.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: For the presidency, John. But make no mistake, this is about Donald Trump. This is about Donald Trump as a criminal defendant, and it is about the case he faces in federal court in Washington, D.C., charging him with many alleged crimes related to what he did while he was serving as the president but as a person wanting to hold onto that office when his supporters overran the Capitol and tried to allegedly obstruct Congress.

So, what's happening today at the Supreme Court is they will issue their final opinions. There's a couple opinions coming out. We very much expect U.S. v. Trump to be decided by the Supreme Court sometime after they take the bench at 10:00 a.m. And whenever they are ruling on this, there's a couple things to look for here. First of all, do they dismiss the case against Donald Trump entirely and say the presidency has vast protections? That would be a very big deal. Anything they say is going to be a big deal, but that would be a very big deal, putting an end immediately to this case and likely any other cases like that one in Georgia against Donald Trump.


We don't necessarily expect that to happen though based on what the Supreme Court had asked at oral arguments. So instead, we're looking to see how the Supreme Court will define or articulate the bubble around the American presidency. And what happens when someone is serving in that office and takes actions that the Justice Department believes could be crimes that could be charged before a jury? If they say that, you know, there are things that are private actions or that are not protected, then that is one of those things, John, that means this case could very well go on to trial. And then the next question is, when. This year? Potentially.

BERMAN: Yes, it will be very important to know whether the court itself rules what actions Donald Trump took were official or not official, or whether they asked a lower court to make that determination. That's where the clock gets very interesting.

Katelyn Polantz, great get see you this morning. Thank you very much.

So, as that is going on, obviously the other major story this morning is what will happen with President Biden and his presidential campaign. There are people out there wondering whether he should stay in the race. However, no prominent elected Democrats have said that he should drop out just yet. And one historian who has predicted nine out of ten presidential elections says replacing the president could cost Democrats in November.

With us now is Allan Lichtman, presidential historian and history professor at American University.

Professor, when we last heard from you Friday night with Abby Phillip, you said, no, replacing President Biden would be a mistake. You've had two more days to think about it. How do you feel this morning?

ALLAN LICHTMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Even more strongly that it would be a mistake. You know, all of those who are calling for Biden's withdrawal, they have zero track record in predicting elections, and yet they presume to tell us what the Democrats need to do to win this election.

And remember, all the pundits, you know, watched Hillary Clinton win three debates in 2016. They all said Trump was finished after "Access Hollywood." And they are so often wrong.

I have a system, as you know, that's been successful I would say ten of ten, but we can argue about 2000, since 1984. And the way it works, I have 13 keys of six fall against the White House party, they are predicted losers. Biden ticks off the incumbency key, and he ticks off the party contest key. You push him out, you lose the incumbency key, and you lose the contest key. So, instead of starting two keys up and having six more keys to fold and predict the Democrats' defeat, they start two keys down and only four more keys would have to fall.

Moreover, how often since the turn of the 20th century has the party holding the White House every won in an open seat with an uncertain or contested nomination? The answer is never. And that's what all these critics would be setting up if they push Biden out of this race. They could not be more misguided.

And his term - in terms of Biden's capacities. I'm not a neurologist. They are not neurologists. They have no standing to comment on that. And I would only say far better to judge Biden by three and three- quarter years or so of his presidency than 90 minutes.

SIDNER: Allan, but people are talking about this. The voters. The people who are going to be making these decisions. And you look at some of the polling and it says 72 percent of the voters, after they watched that debate, said they didn't think that he was - had the mental acuity to be the president.

Do you pay attention to those polls? How much does polling play a role in how you see things?

LICHTMAN: Polling place far tomorrow too much of a role in our decision-making. Polls are snapshots. They're not predictors. And they change rapidly over time. One can turn to another poll, I think it was "The Morning Consult" poll, which showed that after the debate Biden improved by one point. He went from a dead heat to a 45 to 44 percent victory.

And, you know, I love you guys in the media, but I have to say, you are complicit in Donald Trump lying and conning his way to the presidency. You know, all the attention has been on Biden's faltering debate. But Donald Trump's debate was vastly worse. It was based entirely on lies. More than 30 significant lies. That's one lie for about every one minute and 20 and 30 seconds.

He threatened our democracy by saying he wouldn't accept necessarily the results of a fair election.


He said he would seek retribution. Why wasn't that the headlines? Why wasn't that the greatest concern from the debate rather than all the focus on Joe Biden.

You know, there's an old saying, it's not just the evil people who wreak havoc on the world, it's the good people who don't do enough to stop them. And the media, right now, is complicit in Donald Trump gaslighting his way to the presidency and threatening our democracy.

BERMAN: Professor, I've been a big fan of your model for decades. I think the model is terrific. And so I'm not asking any questions about the model itself and how President Biden fits or doesn't fit into that model. My question to you is, when you talk about the "they." They have been

questioning whether President Biden should stay in the race. Have you talked to voters since Thursday night? Have - what have - what's the discussion been around you with people who may not be in politics since the debate Thursday night? Has the discussion among voters - and, listen, I - I'm curious to know, have they talked about Donald Trump and the lies he told, which we did report on, or have they talked about how President Biden looked on that stage Thursday night?

LICHTMAN: You know, I've gotten a slew of emails ever since my CNN appearances, as you say, on late night last week, which, by the way, has gotten about half a million views already on YouTube. And, you know, some have said, you're wrong, you know, Biden's got to be removed. But the vast majority of communications to me have said, thank you. Thank you for highlighting the importance of keeping Biden in this race and that the real danger is not Biden faltering in a debate but Donald Trump lying his way into the presidency and threatening our democracy. That's been the great bulk of communications I've gotten. Totally non-scientific, of course, don't draw any conclusions from that, but the American people who seem to be aware of the very serious stakes that are involved in another term for Donald Trump.

SIDNER: I have to ask this question. Have you determined who is going to win the 2024 election?

LICHTMAN: That's a great question. And the answer is, I haven't made a final prediction. I'll make it after the Democratic Convention in August. But I have said, you know, with Biden winning those two keys upfront, he's only down two keys right now. Four more keys would have to fall to predict his defeat. So, a lot would have to go wrong. It could.

One of the four keys to look at. You know, forget the polls, forget the pundits, it's governance, not campaigning that counts. So, look at third party, which is a sign of discontent with governing, social unrest, another sign, and with two wars raging, look at my keys on foreign policy, failure and success.

So, my final word is, forget the polls, ignore the pundits, keep your eye on the big picture as gauged by the keys to the White House. And I wish those who were so quick to dismiss Joe Biden would pay more attention to the fundamentals of how elections really work.

SIDNER: I know you pay close attention, and we will be talking to you throughout.

Allan Lichtman, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

And as we continue to discuss this potentially historic decision from the Supreme Court, you're seeing lives pictures there of the court where the nine justices are expected to rule on whether or not a president has immunity for presidential act.

And people across -



SIDNER: Right now a, quote, "extremely dangerous" category four hurricane is racing towards the Caribbean. Beryl, the first hurricane of the 2024 season, has prompted warnings for Barbados, Saint Lucia, and the Grenadines. And it has created tropical storm watches from the Dominican Republic through to Haiti.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is joining us now live from Havana, Cuba.

And we're looking at this churning. It's enormous and it's - I think it's the first time that we have seen this powerful of a storm at the very beginning of hurricane season.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Sara, a category four hurricane that's formed in late June. And the terrifying thing about Beryl is on Saturday, late Saturday afternoon, it was still a tropical storm. And today we have a very powerful category four hurricane. It does not give people in the Windward Islands, which are under the gun right now, it did not give them enough time to prepare despite being warned by local officials because it developed so rapidly, it is so strong right now.

And as you know, Sara, on those small islands, you can't get out of the storm's path. You just have to find the safest place, the highest ground, to hunker down. That is what people are doing right now. The rest of the Caribbean keeping a very close eye on this storm. Of course, you know, we are looking at record water temperatures in the Caribbean. That is a fuel for hurricanes. It is quite concerning that we're looking at water temperatures that are more like August or September, the height of hurricane season sort of early on in the summer.

You know, we all remember other hurricane seasons. It seemed like to just go on forever and ever. And this is certainly shaping up to be one of those seasons where the storm is just continued to come, certainly starting off with a very powerful, potentially catastrophic storm. So, for people in the Caribbean, people live on the coastline in the U.S., you know, buckle up, it's going to be a long hurricane season.


SIDNER: That is good advice. Thank you so much, Patrick Oppmann, there in Havana, Cuba, for us.

BERMAN: So, we want to show you all just this incredible musical moment.


That was Michael J. Fox on guitar with Cold Play in the Glastonbury Music Festival this weekend. Just amazing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And especially thank you to the main reason why we're in a bad is because of watching "Back to the Future." So, thank you to our hero forever and one of the most amazing people on earth, Mr. Michael J. Fox. Thank you so much, Michael, a hero.


BERMAN: That's just awesome to see Michael J. Fox out there.


BERMAN: And he went on Instagram to thank the band for the unforgettable night. He said on Instagram, oh, yes, in case you were wondering, it was f-ing mind blowing.

SIDNER: Mind blowing. He's mind blowing, all that he's been able to do. And there were tears and those crowds while people were also singing.

Thank you so much for joining us. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Jim Acosta, up next.