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Trump To Hold Rally In Miami Amid Growing VP Speculation; Biden Digs In As Calls Grow Among Dems For Him To Get Out Of The Race; FDA Approves New Drug For Early Alzheimer's Disease. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 07:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning we are under two weeks from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and we have no idea who is going -- going as Donald Trump's running mate, that is. There are reports that Trump has delayed his announcement to keep the spotlight on all the Democratic drama.

Let's get right to CNN's Alayna Treene, who has been reading the tea leaves, with the latest -- Alayna.

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Right. Well, John, we have some new reporting out that was published recently essentially that in the days leading up to the debate last week in Atlanta, Donald Trump's team had begun plotting for a potential vice-presidential announcement rollout.

We're told that many of his aides and planning staff had been sent to Miami where Trump's Doral Resort is to begin a setting up for a rally that many people in Donald Trump's top circle had believed would be the place where he would announce who his vice-presidential running mate would be.

However, they also cautioned that many of these people, including Donald Trump's top advisers, are still in the dark about who Donald Trump is going to pick. When I talk to his team they often say it's still unclear if he has made up his mind. If he has, he has not shared it with us. They are reserving the right to have Donald Trump really continue to marinate on this decision for -- up until his -- really, his self-imposed deadline of the Republican National Convention in two weeks for when he said he has to announce.

Now, look, when I talk to these people about these plans to set up this rally as a potential rollout they said we have no signs in warehouses. We have none of the merchandise that you would see with Trump's name as well as some of these top three contenders, as you laid out -- J.D. Vance, Doug Burgum, and Marco Rubio. They continue to be the top three people under consideration on this short list. But there is the no kind of branding for any of these men just yet.

And I think it just goes to show how Donald Trump's team is being very reserved about this decision. And again, they continue to argue that look, we need to reserve the right for the former president to change his mind up until the time that he makes this announcement.

Now, I will say the posture did change earlier this week after the debate with many people thinking that Donald Trump was going to make this announcement sooner -- far sooner than the actual convention in Milwaukee. That has changed since the debate given that Donald Trump and his team really do want to focus on the handwringing around Biden's performance.

And so, we're still waiting to see if that has changed. But this rally in Miami next Tuesday is still on the books, John.

BERMAN: I can't help but notice that one of the three people you say who are on the short, short list is from Miami, and that would be Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Is there anything to read into that?

TREENE: We were told that look, it seems there's definitely going to be some tea leaves being read about that with the proximity to Marco Rubio. And also, it's obviously his home state as well as Donald Trump's. They said it's purely coincidental.

But again, when I talk to Donald Trump's team they very much argue that it's unclear what he's going to do. If he says he's made up his mind, that can change on a day-to-day basis. And so, they're very much keeping their cards close to their chests on this -- John.

BERMAN: Yeah. I would say if Marco Rubio all of a sudden changes his state of residency, that might be a sign because of the whole 12th Amendment thing.

TREENE: And then we'll know.

BERMAN: Watch for that.

Alayna Treene, thank you very much -- Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you, John.

Joining me now to wade into the wacky political waters, if you will, this morning, Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist. And Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush. Thank you both for being here this morning.


Maria, I'm going to start with you. Governors are worried. Democratic congressmembers are worried. The White House staff and campaign, according to a source that talked to Axios, are freaking the f out about how Biden is going to lead this party to victory.

Why shouldn't they be worried, Maria?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, they should be because we all know where we are today. And so, there is no question that there is a lot of worry within the party right now and within President Biden's most ardent supporters. Having said that, we should also know that the conversations that are taking place are the ones that need to take place. The campaign, the White House, the president is reaching out to governors, to members of Congress, to supporters, to allies, to donors, and that is going to continue.

And there is no question, Sara, that the campaign and President Biden himself have some very important days ahead. We know that they have announced an event in Wisconsin and several other campaign events. There is going to be the interview with George Stephanopoulos. He's going to be also being put in front of Black journalists, Latino journalists, other journalists.

Those are going to be key moments to make sure that what we saw on Thursday was, in fact, an aberration and that is going to, I think, really lead into what happens in the next couple of days.

It's also recess right now in terms of lawmakers going back to their home districts for the July Fourth holiday. They're going to hear from their constituents. A lot of them very much support Joe Biden right now. I've heard from many of them. But like you said, a lot of them are also going to be very concerned about how the party moves forward.

So, some key moments coming up for the campaign and for the president where they're going to really need to prove that they can move forward in a strong position to make sure that we beat Donald Trump, which, as you know, is the most important thing ahead for the Democratic Party.

SIDNER: Scott, the Republicans have to be licking their chops, so to speak, as they're watching this. Because they haven't really come out and said anything because they don't have to, right?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah, and Donald Trump, I think, has gone radio silent, which is the best thing he can do.

Look, I think the big lie of 2024 is the idea that what happened on Thursday night to Joe Biden is an anomaly or an aberration. There is now credible reporting from Axios -- Alex Thompson at Axios that there's been a 3 1/2-year coverup to try to keep Joe Biden away from other people so folks wouldn't see just how bad it is.

Last night, the most alarming article I read yesterday was from The New York Times. It said his lapses in meetings are getting worse and more frequent. There was a paragraph in that story where senior diplomatic officials in the United States and in Europe said that they weren't sure you could put Joe Biden in the same room as other world leaders right now.

Last night, Joe Biden told donors to the Democratic Party that the reason he was bad on Thursday night was because of his foreign travel -- a trip that ended 12 days before the debate.

What we saw on Thursday night was Joe Biden at his best. Seven days of rest, prep with his top staff. That was Joe Biden at his best. I've honestly stopped worrying about the campaign and I have one

question. Who is running the White House today? Who is making decisions today? I'm not really worried about the presidency in January. I'm worried about it right now. We have serious problems going on right now and I don't really think Joe Biden is up to the task today, let alone seven months from today.

SIDNER: Scott, you talked about the concern right now and I want to just sort of mention what Semafor is reporting. They're saying Democratic strategist James Carville is saying to donors cut him off.

What do you think about that, Maria?

CARDONA: I think it's very concerning. Like I just said, the campaign and the president are at a crossroads right now and they knew -- they need to prove to the American people that there will be strength ahead.

But I think there's a couple of other things to note, Sara. I know that right now everyone is breathlessly reporting coming out of the White House because of what's going on.

And I think we're missing a really important piece of this, which is Donald Trump. The reporting that Scott is talking about from The New York Times also included some very concerning paragraphs about the slippage in terms of mental acuity of Donald Trump.

If we're going to pile on the president, let's also be fair and talk about the mental acuity and the lack of mental fitness that was in The New York Times from Donald Trump in terms of the things that he has said on the stump that make no sense. The incoherencies. The going off on tangents and making no sense. Trying to figure out what he's talking about, when he's talking about it, and who he's talking about.


So let's be fair, right? These are -- both candidates are old and that is what the American people are facing. Right now, Joe Biden has a lot to prove but there's no question that whoever ends up being the nominee -- and right now, it's him until he decides otherwise -- we have to wrap around him. The Democratic Party, the Democratic nominee, to make sure that we beat Donald Trump, who is an existential threat to our democracy.

SIDNER: Scott, you know, Maria does make the point that there have been some real rambling rallies that we've heard from Donald Trump. But I do want to ask you about this. When you look at polling and Americans are saying look, time and again, they don't like their choices for president, should Republicans actually be worried if Democrats decide to put up a different presidential candidate?

JENNINGS: It's an interesting question and truthfully, I don't know. I mean, I see the merits of both sides of keeping Biden and just trying to ride it out versus going to somebody like Kamala Harris who, by the way, is also dramatically unpopular. I see no way, by the way, that -- how the Democrats could skip over

Kamala Harris. I mean, if they're going to change candidates here, they have to give it to her. She is not going to step aside. They're not going to go from Joe Biden, skip over Harris, and give it to one of these other people. So it's either Biden or Harris. She's got an approval rating right now that's under 40 percent as well.

However, I would point out one thing. When you look at the swing state polling and the polling where you have Senate races going on, the Democratic senators do much better right now on their ballot tests than Joe Biden does. It tells me that the Democrats have a unique Biden problem. And this was before the debate.

So there is a world where you could conclude we couldn't do any worse with a fresh face, so why not roll the dice on it. It may be that the riskiest thing the Democrats can do is stick with Joe Biden.

But as I said, I'm not really as worried about the campaign right now as I am about the state of who is running the country today. And I don't think we're thinking enough and putting enough focus on the day- to-day operations of our government right now. We're -- I know we're all political contributors but we're all Americans, we're all taxpayers, and we've all got to live in the country for seven months. And we have a president right now that I think, according to very credible reporting, is not up to the job of running it.

SIDNER: Scott Jennings, I'm going to let you have the last word. Maria Cardona -- thank you both for coming on this morning. I appreciate your time.



CARDONA: Thanks, Sara.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thirteen thousand people ordered to evacuate as California wildfires tearing through 2,100 acres and still growing and going, burning buildings and pretty much everything in its path. The latest efforts now to contain this blaze.

Also, a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer's. The new FDA approval and which patients this can now offer a new glimmer of hope to.



BOLDUAN: This morning, there is a new FDA-approved treatment for early Alzheimer's disease. The federal -- that federal agency getting FDA -- just greenlighting -- just giving the green light yesterday for the drugs called donanemab. It was shown in studies to slow the pace of cognitive decline in early stages of the disease, which could be huge for the nearly seven million people -- plus their families, of course -- who are living with this disease. One of those families is that of actor Seth Rogen. His wife lost her

grandparents to Alzheimer's and her mother started showing signs, in her early 50s, of dementia. They started a charity to support families impacted by this disease and talked about their experience last night on CNN.


SETH ROGEN, ACTOR: What I found through seeing Lauren's mother, who was diagnosed in her 50s, that it not only affected her in a much more severe and sudden way than I had ever assumed was possible in that she forgot how to walk, and speak, and eat, and do everything. But also, it affected her whole family and me, in many ways.


BOLDUAN: Let's talk about this new FDA approval now and what this could mean for those families.

Joining us right now is neurologist and Alzheimer's expert, Dr. Richard Isaacson from the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Florida. Doctor, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.

What does this approval mean for patients and families suffering from this horrible disease?

DR. RICHARD ISAACSON, PREVENTIVE NEUROLOGIST, INSTITUTE FOR NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES OF FLORIDA (via Webex by Cisco): Well, as people have been texting me, it's an exciting time to be a neurologist. It's a hopeful time to be a patient with the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's is a brain disease that develops silently over decades. And now that we realize this, we know that when symptoms just begin -- when the symptoms are mild -- the memory loss and the changes in thinking skills begin -- that's when we can intervene. And what this drug shows us is that the earlier we intervene the better the patient will do. We can have slowing by 35 percent and it buys a lot of time, and that's very exciting.

BOLDUAN: And this is the latest edition, if you will, in this new class of drugs targeting Alzheimer's. How is this one different from others?

ISAACSON: Well, one part of the good news here is that this may not have to be a lifetime treatment. In the study, they treated patients for anywhere between six months, 12 months, or 18 months. And sometimes, people could get off these drugs in a year or a year and a half.

There's this protein that's called amyloid and it's a sticky protein that builds up in the brain of people with Alzheimer's. And once this drug can clear that amyloid away then we can stop the treatment and then monitor the patient, which is helpful.

BOLDUAN: The idea of being able to get off of the medicine -- it really -- to me, you can't describe this as a cure, but how far along is the work towards it when you -- when you hear the promise of these treatments?


ISAACSON: Well, there's no one magic pill or I.V. This is an I.V. medication that's used once a month for several months, at least. You have to do MRIs frequently to make sure that no side effects are developing. If there is, you may have to intervene and may have to stop.

But this is very hopeful because it's just one new tool in our toolbox to truly treat and prevent and one day, hopefully, eventually cure Alzheimer's disease. It's going to be multiple treatments targeting different areas of the -- of the -- of the problem -- the pathology. So I'm very excited by this but we still have a long way to go, but we are making tons of progress. Every day is hopeful.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

It does come with a hefty price tag upwards of -- seeing $32,000 per year before insurance for patients. How cost prohibitive is this price point -- is this for patients? What does this mean for families?

ISAACSON: Well, we're hoping that Medicare and Medicaid can cover this in the United States. That's helpful. But this is expensive, and we need to bring down costs, but we also have to realize that if we can treat patients and get people more quality of life -- keep people out of a nursing home, which costs tens of thousands of dollars. My family was affected by this and the cost was striking. If we can keep people out of a care home, if we can keep people more independent in their daily lives, that will actually save money in the long term. So I do think we have to think about this.

But we also have to think about safety. You have to check MRIs. You have to monitor the person and if there are symptoms or potential side effects that could be worrisome, we need to intervene quickly.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. There are, as with many prescriptions -- especially, new medicines -- there are side effects. But those obviously associated with having close communication and coordination with your doctor if taking this med.

But it's great to see you, Dr. Isaacson. It's great to shine a promising, hopeful spotlight on developments when it comes to battling Alzheimer's. Thank you very much.

And Dr. Isaacson -- he is featured in "THE LAST ALZHEIMER'S PATIENT." This is a report by CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This is premiering on CNN this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. -- Sara

SIDNER: Thank you, Kate.

On our radar this morning, fires raging in California. Thirteen thousand people have been ordered to evacuate in Oroville, California because of that growing wildfire. About 400 fire personnel with helicopters and air tankers are trying to battle what has been dubbed the "Thomas Fire" -- "Thompson Fire."

It erupted yesterday and has already burned more than 2,100 acres. It is zero percent contained at this hour. A red flag warning is in effect due to gusty winds that could, of course, fuel those flames and push them even further.

Lawyers for the last two living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre have filed a petition to have the Oklahoma Supreme Court reconsider their reparations lawsuit. The court had dismissed their case last month.

The lead attorney for Viola Fletcher, who is 110 years old, and Lessie Benningfield Randle, who is 109 years old, called on President Biden to fulfill a promise he said Biden made to the survivors three years ago.


DAMARIO SOLOMON-SIMMONS, LEAD ATTORNEY: It is time for the administration to show not just Mother Randle, not just this Greenwell community, but Black America that they will stand with us in our time of need. That they understand our pain to know that a horror can happen so devastating that it can destroy and alter the entire trajectory of Black people throughout this whole country. And yet, we can have a literal survivor and she cannot even get a day in court.


SIDNER: In a statement, Fletcher and Benningfield-Randle said, "We are deeply saddened that we may not live long enough to see the state of Oklahoma or the United States of America honestly confront and right the wrongs of one of the darkest days of American history."

All right. From the K-Pop stage to the Olympic stage. Jin, of BTS superstardom, will be an Olympic torch bearer for South Korea at the Paris Summer Olympics. The singer just wrapped up his mandatory military service. Jin and other torchbearers will travel to historic sites across France for that torch relay. His agency says he will spread a "message of peace and harmony." Boy, do we need that here, John Berman.

BERMAN: We always need harmony. All right, Sara. Thank you.

This morning, we are waiting to see if new elected Democrats step forward and call for President Biden to end his campaign. But there is another crucial group at play here, too -- anti-Trump Republicans. They've got a lot on the line. So how are they feeling in the days after the debate?

CNN's Elle Reeve went to find out.


ELLE REEVE, CNN REPORTER (voiceover): This happy bar party is full of people who usually feel pretty bleak.

PAUL IVANCIE, FORMER REPUBLICAN: This country needs to wake up. There's a dangerous thing happening, and it's called complacency.


REEVE (voiceover): They're fans of The Bulwark, a Never-Trump media organization. Many are ex-Republicans who reject Donald Trump -- a group that can feel so tiny that some got on airplanes to meet one another. The event was festive and just a few days before the presidential debate.

BECKY HOFER, FORMER REPUBLICAN, ATTENDED BULWARK PODCAST TAPING IN DENVER: It's hard for me to wake up every morning and talk to my neighbors and know that they're supporting somebody that doesn't match any of their values.

REEVE (voiceover): Becky is a former Republican who flew in from South Dakota with her sister-in-law.

HOFER: We're in a very red state and I'm a very not red person, and that's tough to find a community there. We're married to Republican men.

REEVE: Is your husband pro-Trump?

HOFER: Uh, I think he's going to vote for Trump. I hope he doesn't vote for Trump. But it's an interesting house to live in.

REEVE (voiceover): We wanted to talk to these people because they represent an important part of President Biden's coalition. But after his struggle in the debate we had to go back to them to see what had changed.

Hofer was shocked and angry.

HOFER: It was terrible. I'm completely disillusioned. I -- at this -- they're both a joke. It felt like elder abuse. So, yeah, I think he needs to be replaced if for anything, just out of respect for his humanity.

REEVE (voiceover): Robin Hawkland had flown from Salt Lake City to be among Never-Trumpers before the debate.

ROBIN HAWKLAND, ATTENDED BULWARK PODCAST TAPING IN DENVER: I fled the district in North Georgia with Marjorie Taylor Greene. She was pretty abusive to people wearing masks during COVID and I was a little traumatized by that.

REEVE: And how would you describe your politics?

HAWKLAND: My politics were center left. My husband was always Republican and we got along fine for years. And then it seems everything has kind of broken and we both now are registered Democrats in Utah, which is rare.

REEVE: Are you worried about what might happen after the election?

HAWKLAND: Yes, very worried, very worried. I have three daughters. They all live in red states. And they are in reproductive age, which is in their 20s, and I really worry about their options.

REEVE (voiceover): When we spoke to Hawkland afterward, she said she'd barely been able to sit through the debate.

HAWKLAND: Initial reaction was shock, and then just sadness, and then I think I moved into anger.

REEVE: Do you think Joe Biden should be replaced?

HAWKLAND: It hurts me to say that, but yes. I don't think he's electable. I don't know how you dig out of this hole. He could do more events where he looks better. He's looked better since then. And they can time it right. But everyone knows deep in their -- deep in their existence what they saw may happen again.

REEVE (voiceover): The pre-debate party in Denver was for a live podcast taping from The Bulwark, which was created by former Republican operatives. At the after-party, people told us that this was one of the few places where they could meet in real life -- people who didn't make them feel crazy.

DAN MAGILL, ANTI-TRUMP REPUBLICAN: I'm a relatively conservative Republican. It's almost rather than being Republican or Democrat, it's become more autocracy versus democracy. Even though I would probably economically agree with more the policies that a Trump administration would put in place versus a Biden administration, I can't support someone like Trump.

HAWKLAND: You feel safe here and you feel like you can speak your mind. And people may disagree, but you can talk about it in a rational way.

REEVE: But after the debate, Hawkland felt more despair.

HAWKLAND: You feel like you're being condescended to. To be talked to from the Democratic Party kind of like just get behind the candidate was very frustrating and angering.

This is not about to the Democrat or the Republican Party. They both put up candidates that are not electable for very different reasons. Trump is a criminal and many other issues. Biden is just aging. And there is no reason that people should not be concerned with what they see.

HOFER: He has done a great job. He did a great job the last four years. Right now, if these are the two options that we have in November, I'll vote for Joe Biden's head in a jar before I'll vote for Donald Trump.

I'm angry and, I mean, I'm angry to the point where if Joe Biden stays on the ticket and Donald Trump is still on the ticket, I'm fast- tracking moving to Costa Rica. I had it as a five-year plan to move to Costa Rica and I'm going to try and fast-track it. I don't not want to be here before the Republicans -- Trump's little trolls start reducing more -- or taking away more women's rights.


BERMAN: Wow -- and Elle Reeve is with me now. First of all, what a phenomenal idea to be at that party to begin with and then follow through.

What did these people say they want to see now?

REEVE: Well, they're devastated because they thought of Joe Biden as their imperfect but best vehicle to beat Trump, and now that's gone. So, some had talked about maybe Vice President Harris -- that she might not be popular enough to win.