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Biden Family Urges President To Stay In The Race; Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) Discusses Supreme Court Immunity Decision; Dems In Damage Control As Biden Tries To Save Reelection Bid; Ex-Trump Aide Steve Bannon Reports To Federal Prison; Hurricane Beryl Makes Landfall In Grenada As Cat 4. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 13:30   ET



ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, AXIOS: They sometimes feel at their strongest when they're under pressure like this. They sort of unit and link together.

The problem is that, to your point, there's some serious concerns from longtime Biden allies, Biden confidants that staying in this race could tarnish what is otherwise a pretty incredible and improbable, in some ways, legacy of political life.

Because if he loses face in this race and loses to Donald Trump, that could end up being the first line of his obituary. And that's what people who really love Joe Biden are still a little bit worried about.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Alex Thompson, thank you.

Coming up, more on our top story. The nation's highest court ruling that Donald Trump is entitled to some level of immunity from prosecution. We're going to get reaction from one congressman, who was there on January 6th, about this decision, up next.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We continue to follow a monumental Supreme Court decision on the powers of the presidency. The highest court in the land ruling today that former President Trump is entitled to some level of immunity from prosecution for the actions that he took in the final days of his presidency.

This decision will likely further delay the former president's federal criminal trial on efforts to overturn the 2020 election and set a new precedent for future commanders-in-chief.

We're joined now by Congressman Dan Kildee, who is a Democrat from Michigan.

So thank you so much for being with us.

And I do want to talk to you about the immunity decision here in just a moment.

But first, we haven't spoken since the president's debate performance, and I want to see what you think about whether he can win Michigan after that.

REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): Well, I think he still can win Michigan because the difference between the two candidates couldn't be more stark in terms of the policies that they promote and the records that they have.

But look, it was not a good debate performance. It wasn't consistent with the Joe Biden that I know and that I know well. But obviously, this is something that makes the Hill a little bit taller. But the stakes couldn't be greater.

And so I think, in Michigan, at the end of the day, people are going to think about which of these two people have their interest, which of these two people are honest and decent people who believe in the rule of law, who respect other human beings.

And there's no question Joe Biden comes out ahead on that, no matter how well or poorly he performs in a 90-minute debate.

KEILAR: What do you say to your constituents who may agree with you on all of that, but who say they would like to vote for a different Democratic candidate and that they would like that available to them?

KILDEE: I understand that. But I think we've gone through the process and Joe Biden emerged as the nominee of our party, for good reason, because he's got a track record that warrants it.

But I get it. No candidate is perfect. Everyone is searching for something that would guarantee that Donald Trump will not be in the White House. That's what they're looking for.

And I think, for us, the question is, what's the best path forward? Is it to stick with a guy who's proven himself to have the moral standing, the ethics, the intellect, the ability to guide us and to create great policy that's positively affecting the American people? Creating 15 million jobs. Unemployment is low.

Or do we want to go back to a Donald Trump presidency? Now, even more unfettered, given the other subject of our conversation, the Supreme Court saying that he's immune from prosecution for official acts. I think that's a toxic combination.

To the choice between the two, I think is even greater now than it was 24 hours ago.

KEILAR: And just finally, on the point of Biden's future as the nominee, you already had 100,000 uncommitted Democrats in Michigan.

As you talk about a hill becoming a mountain, you told a local Detroit outlet last week that any conversation about replacing Biden on the ticket is one that he is, quote, "going to have to have with his folks." The campaign insists Biden's going to run. Do you think the president

is getting the best advice from those who are close to him?

KILDEE: Well, I will say this. He didn't get great advice in terms of the debate preparation. It felt like he was just overwhelmed with facts.

Look it, this is a guy who knows the information. So I think he probably could get better advice in terms of how to prepare and present himself to the American people.

That was -- that was not a good performance. And he alone can't be held completely responsible. And the people around him -- I don't think they did a very good job of preparing them for it.

But look, we've got -- we've got democracy on the line. We've got democracy at stake. And so we can't let the search for the perfect be the enemy of the good. And Joe Biden is a very good person.

KEILAR: What is your reaction to this Supreme Court decision on immunity that -- it certainly went further than a lot of, I think, legal observers were expecting.

KILDEE: I'm not a lawyer, let alone a constitutional scholar, but I worked in the federal government for 12 years. This is baffling.

I mean, even Mitch McConnell, back in the wake of January 6th, assumed and he said it on the floor of the Senate, that there would be accountability through the justice system for President Trump's actions.

And he used that as a reason to not agree on impeachment. The -- Mitch McConnell got that wrong.

But this makes it even more troubling in the sense that the opportunity to hold him accountable, according to him, Leader McConnell, was that the only way we could do it is through impeachment. Now we can't even do it through criminal prosecution for official acts.

So obviously, the lower courts are going to weigh in on that line between official and unofficial.

But the very notion that acts that fall within the duties of the president that could be executed for a corrupt purpose, could not result in any criminal liability, creates an environment where somebody is above the law. The president becomes a king in that -- in that circumstance.


And it's just in comprehensible that the Supreme Court could come to such a judgment after four centuries, us being of the belief that no person, even the president, is above the law. They have decided otherwise. That's frightening. KEILAR: All right, I do want to ask you, one of the markers of many

corrupt foreign governments that we watch is an administration that prosecutes the predecessor, right?

Which is -- and that's, to be clear, not a commentary on the prosecution of Donald Trump. That is just something that we see time and again in corrupt governments.

And Roberts makes the opinion kind of -- it seems like a warning about creating a situation where America could become that, I guess, if I'm reading this correctly.

He says, in his opinion, he's making the point that, "The dissents overlook -- meaning the three liberal-appointed justices -- "a situation where each successive president is free to prosecute his predecessors, yet unable to boldly and fearlessly carry out his duties for fear that he may be next."

What do you say to that?

KILDEE: I say that we have a justice system that is intended to dispense prosecutions fairly based on the adversarial system of the judicial process.

What this court says is that we're not going to subject a former president to that process.

A -- let's just say we follow their logic and an administration goes rogue and attempts to prosecute a predecessor, the judicial system has to adjudicate that. A jury would have to hear the evidence and make a determination.

What this court is saying, we're going to take that away. We're going to take away 200 years-plus of jurisprudence. We're going to take away the right for a person to face their accuser and have a jury of their peers make a determination.

We're going to say that this is a case that can't even be brought. Even under the most egregious circumstances, we're not going to allow it to be subjected to the judicial process. And I think that's just dead wrong.

KEILAR: Congressman Dan Kildee, it is great to have you. Thank you so much for being on today.

KILDEE: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: And straight ahead, Former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, now in prison, serving his sentence on contempt charges. What he said before going behind bars.



BROWN: Steve Bannon is now an inmate. The former Trump White House strategist turned himself into a federal prison in Connecticut just last hour. Bannon is set to serve four months behind bars for defying a subpoena from a congressional committee investigating January 6th.

CNN's Sara Murray is live right outside the prison in Connecticut.

So, Sara, what can Bannon expect?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as soon as he went through those gates, you would have had to go through processing. That's going through a metal detector, that's a strip search, that's a mental health evaluation, and then you're assigned your housing unit.

And look, Bannon's life is shrinking a lot now that he's behind bars. He's someone who normally does his far-right podcast for hours a day. He travels across the country giving speeches.

Now he's going to be in a cell. He's not going to have access to the Internet. Any emails he sends go through a monitoring system. He has a limited number of phone minutes every month.

Despite all of this, he was awfully defiant before he headed into federal prison today. Take listen to what he said to reporters before he went inside.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: Just as I have, not only no regrets, I'm actually proud of what I did. And I would have felt terrible if I didn't do it. I don't mind going to prison today.


MURRAY: Now, despite this sort of air of being unconcerned, people close to Bannon did tell me that he had a lot of apprehension about going behind bars and that he was in denial a little bit that he hadn't been spared this four-months sentence -- Pam?

BROWN: All right, Sara Murray, thank you so much.

Coming up, Hurricane Beryl, a life-threatening category four storm, is slamming into the Caribbean right now, as we speak. Why this unprecedented hurricane is so rare and what it means for the U.S.



KEILAR: Happening now, Hurricane Beryl making landfall on an island in Grenada. The dangerous storm's 150-miles-per-hour winds lashing the island as a strong category four.

Beryl is only the second named storm. It's already the strongest hurricane that the Atlantic has ever seen so early in the season.

We have CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers with us to talk about it.

All right, Chad, where's Beryl now?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It just moved through the island there of Carriacou. This is the area that I believe probably has the largest amount of damage, likely devastating damage. Without -- without a doubt, there will be fatalities.

When you get 150-mile-per-hour storm that blows from the north on the west side of the eye, and then it does the other side, coming up from the south at 150, this was a double barrel for them.

It went right over. Beryl, there you go. But it went right over there, that island here. And so this is where we're going now into the Caribbean, away from the islands. But even Grenada had a wind gust last hour of 121 miles per hour.

Officially, it's 150 miles per hour around the eye, not in the eye, around the eye, in the eyewall. And that's what those people have felt there over the past couple of hours.

Amazing, devastating damage from this, this early in the season, considering well, it started in June. OK, now it's July 1st. But this is an August or September type of store.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, just looking at that, it's gigantic.

All right, where's Beryl headed? What can we expect moving forward here?

MYERS: Staying in very warm water without a doubt. And headed just to brush Jamaica.

Now I want you to notice this cone because we learned a lot from Ian that the cone isn't always perfect. You can be on the right side of that cone -- and if it is very close to Jamaica -- even as a cat two or three, if it's a little bit of a wobble to the right, that takes it into Jamaica proper.

And it's not going to slow down. It will lose its category -- almost category five hurricane gusts right now, without a doubt. But this is the problem here. As we take all of that water and try to push it onto the land.

In the D.R., you're going to have storm surge. Even in Jamaica, you're going to have storms surge.

Even the remnants of Chris now making flooding. So we got rid of the "C." Now we're looking for the "D," the Debbie, possibly, out in the Atlantic.

So an awful lot of rainfall in Mexico, in places that picked up a lot of rainfall with the last storm. If you remember, this is the area that we had flooding. In Monterey, 22 inches of rainfall there from one little tropical system and more rain coming down for them right now.

So, yes, the average date for any kind of a big storm like this is August 3rd. I looked at my calendar, we're nowhere near that.


KEILAR: Yes, that is something that really puts it into perspective.

Chad, thank you so much for taking us through that.

MYERS: You bet.

KEILAR: We'll keep an eye on Beryl.

And just ahead, more on today's Supreme Court decision that presidents have immunity for official acts. We're going to break down what we know. We're going to break down the possible impact from this decision.

CNN NEWS CENTRAL continues next.



BROWN: A ruling on immunity.