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Biden's Post-Debate Crisis Grows; Trump to Hold Miami Rally; Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is Interviewed about his Call for Biden to Drop Out; Beryl Churning towards Jamaica; Honeymooners are Interviewed about Being Trapped in Jamaica. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 09:00   ET




SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His office is right here, but he didn't want to talk to us.

MURRAY (voice over): Speaker after speaker called on Spindell to step down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I call on him to do the ethical thing, the right thing, and to resign.

MURRAY (voice over): Spindell's response.

MURRAY: No plans to resign? The protests aren't (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERT SPINDELL: Oh, no, of course not.

MURRAY: Thanks.

SPINDELL: They'll ask next month too.

MURRAY (voice over): Protesters plan to keep up the fight.

THE RAGING GRANNIES (singing): Not one step back no way.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: The Biden campaign in crisis as an increasing number of Democrats pressure the president to step aside in the wake of his debate debacle. Is there anything he can do or say to reassure members of his own party?

And right now Jamaica under a curfew as the already deadly Hurricane Beryl churns ever closer to that island, just hours from landfall. We'll have the latest on the powerful storm.

And it's time to get those grills going for the Fourth of July. Why this Independence Day cookout costs more than last year.

I'm Sara Sidner, with John Berman and Kate Bolduan. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, happening right now, this is a live look at the White House. Can you see inside the windows to see what the discussion is in there today? No, but there is a lot we are standing by for to see what happens today.

Like, six days after the presidential debate and the Democrat's dam of support for President Biden showing real cracks. There are calls for more transparency around his health, calls for him to step aside and calls for his VP, Kamala Harris, to step in. And those calls are growing louder.

In hours, President Biden will have lunch with the vice president. We also know the White House will soon holding all staff phone call. And there's also potentially a watershed moment today when Biden is meeting with a group of Democratic governors, some already expressing real concern.


GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): I'd like to hear more from him.

When you come off a bad debate, you need to remind people why you're the right guy to elect.

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): I don't think that there's anything wrong with asking the president to talk to the American people a little bit more about his health. We want to make sure he's doing OK. We all know him.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Arlette Saenz at the White House for us.

Arlette, what is the very latest you are hearing from there surrounding the questions, the answers, the non-answers, and what's happening?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, President Biden and his team have been engaging in these private and public efforts to try to ease some of the concerns and demonstrate that President Biden can effectively serve a second term as president. President Biden has started picking up the phone, speaking with congressional leaders. Just yesterday, we're told, he spoke with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, as well as a top ally, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. And as you mentioned, he will have that meeting with governors a bit later today.

And publicly, the campaign has laid out a few travel items for the president. He'll go to Wisconsin Friday, and Sunday he'll be in Philadelphia to try to speak directly to voters, in addition to participating in an interview with ABC News on Friday, something that many of his allies have called on him to do to face tougher questions amid concerns about his debate performance.

But it comes as you're starting to see some cracks in the Democratic coalition. Congressman Lloyd Doggett becoming the first Democratic lawmaker to call on the president to step aside. And some other Democrats have openly suggested they believe Biden would lose if he were to remain at the top of the Democratic ticket.

Now, a lot of discussion has also focused in the past 24 hours on Vice President Kamala Harris. You had former Congressman Tim Ryan on our air just moments ago say he believes that Biden should step aside and that Harris should be at the top of the Democratic ticket. Really, Vice President Harris publicly has batted down those suggestions, including in this interview with CBS yesterday.

Take a listen.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Joe Biden is our nominee. We beat Trump once and we're going to beat him again, period.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to lead the country if necessary?

HARRIS: I am proud to be Joe Biden's running mate.


SAENZ: Now, an important note on President Biden's scheduled today. He will actually have lunch privately with Vice President Harris in his private dining room. We're also told that Harris and Biden have spoken multiple times since Thursday's debate. And the mandate we're told among campaign staff is to keep their heads down and focus on the Biden-Harris ticket, even as many questions are swirling about the president's future in this race.

BOLDUAN: And, Arlette, what are you hearing about what could be happening with this meeting with Democratic governors?


SAENZ: Yes, President Biden will meet with Democratic governors here at the White House. Some will be attending virtually a bit later this evening around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. It comes as a group of Democratic governors had hopped on the phone Monday to talk about the state of the race, with some expressing concern about President Biden's debate performance and what that could mean.

Now, we are still waiting for a full, detailed list of who will be attending, though we expect that Governor - California Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, will be in attendance here in person.

Of course, some of these names who will be participating in the meeting are people who could some day have presidential aspirations themselves. So, President Biden looking to try to reassure some of these top Democratic leaders while also hearing out their concerns after that debate.

BOLDUAN: All right, much to come.

Arlette, thank you.


SIDNER: Now to the Trump campaign. We are just under two weeks from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. We, of course, know that Donald Trump will be there. But what we don't know yet is who will be his running mate. Three men now sit atop the list of front runners, but there are new reports that Trump has delayed his announcement to keep the spotlight on the post-debate Democratic drama.

CNN's Alayna Treene is joining me now.

In this instance, silence, I think the campaign is looking at, is the best option for them right now.

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Sara. They really want to keep the attention right now on the hand-wringing from Democrats and people within their own party over Biden's performance and the questions around whether he is fit to serve for another four years.

And look, we kind of saw this play out earlier this week. And I'm going to give you just an anecdote to sharpen my point here. So, last week, in the days before the debate, Donald Trump's team, we've learned, was actually planning a potential vice presidential rollout for July 9th. We know from my reporting with our colleagues Kristen Holmes and Steve Contorno that Trump aides, as well as people on their planning team, had traveled to Miami, where Trump's Doral resort is, to begin preparations for a rally. That rally is still slated to continue on July 9th. But we had been told that that was the potential setting for where Trump might make an announcement.

Now, of course, I will also add the heavy dose of skepticism that we continue to get from Trump's top advisers, which is, when Donald Trump is ready to make this announcement, he will make it. Until them, it's still very unclear. And to, you know, hone in on that even further, they had said, even if we were to have this announcement and we were planning for some of this, there were no signs being made hidden in war - in warehouses. There were no branding or merchandise with Donald Trump's name and the top three contenders we know that are on his shortlist. That includes Senator Marco Rubio, Senator JD Vance, as well as North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. But, in the aftermath of what happened with Biden's debate performance, that is shifting.

I will also point out that they had also been looking at his potential sentencing on July 11th. Now we know that after the Supreme Court's decision on Monday, that he is immune for official acts while president. And now that's been pushed to September. That has also changed the dynamic around this. There were discussions over whether, you know, announcing his vice presidential pick could be a distraction from that sentencing date. That's no longer an issue.

And so, it's very unclear now when this announcement will come. But, of course, a lot of calculation behind the scenes about wanting to keep the attention on Joe Biden and his campaign at this moment, Sara.

SIDNER: Yes, the Democratic infighting, the best distraction for the Donald Trump campaign at this point in time.

Alayna Treene, thank you so much.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, with us now is Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas, the first elected Democrat in Congress to call for President Biden to step aside in this election.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

You made the announcement yesterday. You were on with Anderson last night talking about this. I'm curious, since then, what have you heard from your colleagues in Congress, other Democratic members?

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): Well, I'm hearing some positive comments and I'm also hearing some silence. You know, yesterday, in Washington state, and in Maine, two of my colleagues predicted a Donald Trump victory. In between you've had Tim Ryan and a number of other people who are not currently in office expressing concern about the president.

I - my concern is that a criminal and his gang are about to take over our government, and we may never get it back. What we need is the enthusiasm and the excitement that has been missing there that President Biden has lagged for a year behind Trump. The debate, instead of adding momentum, added disappointment and disillusionment.

The idea of having a new person who might excite all those double haters, that there's another alternative out there, and bring us together, would give us a much better chance in the fall than we have right now.


I think what you'll see in coming days, if the numbers stay the same or grow even further apart, you'll see Democratic candidates who, all of our Senate candidates have been leading in (INAUDIBLE) state well ahead of the president, people will begin to distance themselves from the president and we will be in a very difficult position.

BERMAN: Do you know of any other members who are going to come forward today?

DOGGETT: I don't know who will come forward today. And I understand some will not because they're not in my position. You know, you can tell by looking, I'm not a new member of Congress. I'm not starting my career and concerned about what might happen to it by taking a position that is different than the president. And I also am not most the endangered Democrat. So, I felt I was in a position to speak out about what I was hearing from so many of my colleagues and say, we need a different course. We can prevail in this election. We can elect a Democratic House and Senate but not perhaps if we stay on the course that we have been on for the last year, not just about one night, but about all the months that have proceeded it. BERMAN: Well, let me ask you a follow-up there. Is your concern that President Biden can't win in November, or is your concern that President Biden can't lead after November?

DOGGETT: Well, I think the two are intertwined. And I think President Biden has had remarkable accomplishments, though he did not defend them very well in the debate, and that Trump has had incredible repetitive lies that his whole campaign is based on. I think that President Biden doesn't necessarily needed a new test, except the test of public opinion by being out with journalists like you, appearing on shows like this, to answer the tough questions and to demonstrate by his conduct that he doesn't have to have a teleprompter for every occasion. Doing that would restore some confidence. I just think that some of the damage that was done in this debate will be very difficult to overcome. Why take a chance when there is a better alternative?

BERMAN: Since Thursday night, people who have come forward, you're the first elected Democrat, but there have been others on the margins and columns and the like have come forward saying that President Biden shouldn't run. The Biden campaign, either directly or indirectly, has called them bedwetters. What do you think of that label?

DOGGETT: Well, I think they would be better off demonstrating that this president is fully able and capable to take on all comers, all questions, all pesky journalists who might want to ask him something he doesn't want to answer. And it's troubling that since Thursday, while there's been this big rally around our man approach and discouraging public opposition of any kind, that we haven't seen the president out doing just that, some events like he says he will do one of this week, or what we need almost every day to demonstrate that what we saw last Thursday night is - is an aberration. Whether it had been the kind of (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: What does that tell you? What does that tell you then?

DOGGETT: Well, it tells me that - it tells me they're either pursuing the wrong strategy or they have a problem.

BERMAN: Let me ask you finally, there was - "Semafor" reported this morning there was a conference call last night from American Bridge, which is a super PAC, discussing what they think Democrats should do going forward. James Carville, Paul Begala were reportedly on it. And there were concerns expressed on this call about replacing President Biden with Vice President Kamala Harris. And one person, Dmitri Mehlhorn, who is an advisor to Reid Hoffman, at LinkedIn, a big Democratic and Biden supporter, said reportedly according to "Semafor" this, quote, "Kamala Harris is more threatening to those swing voters than a dead Joe Biden or a comatose Joe Biden." In other words, you might be worse off with the vice president at the top of the ticket. What do you think about that?

DOGGETT: Well, I haven't seen the report, but I can tell you, I think she's a talented woman and someone who should be in the mix. But this is not a matter of just passing the mantle to her. We have some talented governors, talented United States senators, other members of the cabinet. What we need is a fair and open process over the coming weeks to let the American people see this, develop the enthusiasm we haven't had and get behind them.

So, she's not our only candidate, but she is certainly a prominent one. We need to have the kind of competition and open process rather than some backroom deal to get us the best possible candidate because the threat from Donald Trump is so real to everything we hold to be valuable. We cannot take the chance of going forward with less than a total and complete enthusiasm for our candidate.


BERMAN: Congressman Lloyd Doggett from Texas, hook them horns, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Appreciate your time, sir.

DOGGETT: Hook them horns. Thank you.


BOLDUAN: So, there is new polling out in the wake of, well, what you - they were just talking about, in the wake of last week's presidential debate and the impact of it all. How voters are feeling now about President Biden and Donald Trump, and the surprising signs about some of the Democrats now being discussed as a possible replacement for Biden.

Plus, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading to Washington to address Congress this month. New details now that he'll also likely make a stop at the White House.

And Hurricane Beryl heading straight for Jamaica. Ahead of time tourist were left scrambling to get off the island but that wasn't possible for everyone. Not everyone could get out. An American couple went to Jamaica for their honeymoon and are now stuck. They're our guest.



BOLDUAN: So, right now, Jamaica is bracing for Beryl. The dangerous hurricane closing in on the island. And the National Hurricane Center now says, even if the storm does not make a direct landfall, this storm will still deal a devastating blow. The island has not had a major hurricane come within 50 miles of its shores since 2007. Now in other parts of the Caribbean, the storm has already killed at least seven people.

CNN's Rafael Romo is in Jamaica's capital of Kingston.

Rafael, what are you - what are you hearing from people there of how they're preparing and what they're really preparing for.


Well, there's a great deal of anxiety here among the population on this island of 3 million people because people have already seen what happened in Barbados, they have seen what happened in Grenada as Hurricane Beryl went through those islands. And they have experience and they know that that may very well be their case.

And you were talking at the beginning about hurricanes that have impacted this island. Only really two hurricanes in the last 40 years have made landfall here in Jamaica. But the reality is that they have felt the effects of many others. And people are used to that.

But what they're telling me is that it doesn't really happen this early in the season. They're used to facing that challenge in the month of August, and September, and October, but not in July. And if you think about it, the hurricane actually formed at the end of June, right at the beginning of the season.

We have also heard from the prime minister, who's asking the population to protect themselves, to make use of shelters. A top government official telling CNN that as many as 780 shelters are available for people who may need them.

Let's take a listen to what the prime minister had to say to people who might be in the path of the hurricane.


ANDREW HOLNESS, JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER: If you live in a low lying area, an area is (INAUDIBLE) prone to flooding and landslides, or if you live on the banks of a river or a bony (ph), I implore you to evacuate to a shelter or to safer ground.


ROMO: And, Kate, there's already a curfew that went into effect that six this morning. It's going to last until 6:00 p.m. So it's going to matter when the hurricane actually gets here. But as of right now, we're only beginning to see the wind pick up. We saw a little bit of rain earlier today. But the real impact of the hurricane is expected to get here in a matter of just a few hours.

Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: Rafael, thank you very much. Things are going to change really quickly where Rafael is very soon.


BERMAN: All right, with this now, newlyweds stranded in Jamaica, Casey and Warner Haley.

Thanks so much for being with us.

This is your honeymoon, right?



BERMAN: Congratulations.

W. HALEY: Can you hear us?

Oh, thank you very much. We're very excited to be married.

BERMAN: I'm told it's good luck - good luck to be stranded in a hurricane for your honeymoon.

W. HALEY: Yes. Thank you very much for those wishes.

BERMAN: The connection here is a little bit rough and there's a delay, so let me ask you this question and go on as long as you'd like.

Tell us what you've gone through the last few days, despite the fact that you are on your honeymoon, and I'm sure it's a very joyful time. You've been trying to get the heck out of Jamaica. How's that gone for you?

C. HALEY: No, that's exactly right. So, we - it started yesterday morning. We got back from a fun morning of snorkeling and kayaking to find out that the prediction had changed and that we were going to get hit. So, we packed our bags and decided to head straight for the airport. And like I said in my Facebook post, it was like a scene out of a doomsday movie. Every line was full and we were asking every - every counter we could about flights out. And every single one of them told us there is no way off this island.

And so on our way back to our resort to hunker down, we tried to stop at a grocery store and, again, scene out of a doomsday movie. And so we were not able to get any supplies there. And so we have found what we could at our resort and are ready to hunker down.

BERMAN: Well, how do you plan to ride it out?

W. HALEY: Well, first thing we did when we realize that we're stuck is we started investigating the entire resort that we're on to find the safest location from all windows and all direct airways to prevent any debris from following us.


And alongside contacting the resort's managers to see what their plan was. At first, when first talking to them, they didn't have a plan at all. They just told us, we'll be back with you shortly. And as time's gone on - last time we checked was this morning. They said we're all going to meet in a conference room.

Honestly, we're not too confident about that. We're not so sure if they've boarded up all their windows yet, as they've done with some other windows. So, as far as we're concerned, we might have to resort to hiding in the stairwell where we've investigated earlier.

BERMAN: I've actually been in a resort, not in Jamaica, but in another resort riding out a hurricane as part of my job. Occasionally what they do is put you in some kind of a ball room or a meeting room that might not have windows. You don't need advice from me, but it might be a good idea to listen to them. If they have a plan like that, that might be a good place on higher ground. You feel like this is bringing you closer together?

W. HALEY: Yes, absolutely.

C. HALEY: Yes.

W. HALEY: You know, what do you - you know, stress really tests - tests the relationships. So, we've - we seem to be very compatible and very - we know each other pretty well when it comes to these situations, as we now know through this.

BERMAN: Well, after four days without a shower, which might happen after a hurricane, we'll see how you feel about that.

No, listen, I wish you guys the absolute best of luck. Stay safe. I know you will. You've got a great attitude about this. We'll be thinking about you. And really, congratulations. You're going to have a heck of a story to tell. Casey and Warner Haley, all the best.


SIDNER: All right. I'm so glad this team is close together without a hurricane.

BERMAN: I know.

SIDNER: It's really helpful. Thank you, John.

Your Fourth of July cookout could actually cost you more than ever before, although gas prices are down. The products that are driving up costs for that cookout.

And if you're looking for some fun, join us tomorrow for CNN's "The Fourth in America." We'll have live fireworks shows from across the entire country and must-see musical performances by folks like Bebe Rexha, T-Pain, The Killers, Ashanti, and many, many more. It all kicks off tomorrow, July 4th, at 7:00 Eastern on CNN, and also going to be streaming on Max.