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Washington Post: DOJ To Pursue Trump Cases, Even Post Election Day; Biden, Harris Call Into Campaign All-Staff Call For "Pep Talk"; Hurricane Beryl Maintains Strength, Strong Winds Over Jamaica; "The Last Alzheimer's Patient" Airs Sunday At 8PM ET/PT; White House Briefing Amid Questions About Biden's Candidacy. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 13:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: The Justice Department reportedly plans to push ahead with criminal cases against former President Trump past Election Day, even if he is elected.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is here with the details on this.

All right, Katelyn, what do we know about the trajectory of these federal cases?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, at least in the general sense, these two federal criminal cases, they continue on. Donald Trump is still a defendant there and will be fighting them and the Justice Department will be pursuing them.

"The Washington Post" reporting out last night is that Justice Department officials would plan to continue with those cases, even past Election Day if Donald Trump we're to be elected the president in November.

But they very likely would stop once he took office either because Trump would want them to stop if he we're to be elected president or because the Justice Department has a policy that you can't be prosecuting a sitting president by its own department.

That just isn't what the Justice Department has decided since the 1970s that they could do. So that policy would likely be in place for Trump.

A lot is in the hands of the court system though, and a lot could happen, Brianna, between now and Election Day, obviously.

Even with these cases, Donald Trump and his team, they have been trying to take that Supreme Court opinion from Monday about presidential immunity, they're going to be using it every way that they can.

And already they've been able to push off his sentencing in the New York hush money case, where he was convicted by a jury, until September if that even survives.

They are going to be arguing to the judge in the coming weeks that it should not. There was too much evidence from the White House that came into play at that trial proceeding -- Brianna?

KEILAR: All right, Katelyn Polantz, thank you for that report.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Some breaking news into CNN. We've learned that, moments ago, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called into today's campaign all-staff call at the White House.

At any moment, we are expecting to hear from the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, taking a number of difficult questions after she did already yesterday about the president's future.

CNN's M.J. Lee is live for us inside the briefing room.

M.J., you have some new reporting specifically about the chief of staff and a call that he held with staff at the White House telling them to keep their heads up and to focus on their work. Tell us more about that reporting.

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is new reporting coming in from our colleague, Betsy Klein, who reports that the President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called into an all-campaign staff called just moments ago.

This was described by a source as being a pep talk, and that both of them in this call described the stakes of the election. And at that end -- near the end, excuse me, that the president said, "Let's go win this."

And as you mentioned, there are other efforts coming in the campaign and the White House as well as a lot of folks, a lot of staffers, aids that are working in the campaign and the White House aren't really worried about the future of the 2024 campaign.

We know that a White House chief of staff, Jeff Zients, also had a White House aides called trying to bring some sort of reassurance given the events of the last several days.


And we are expecting here White House Press Secretary Karine Jean- Pierre to take the podium any minute. And we expect that it is going to be yet another very tough White House press briefing.

Just to remind you, yesterday, she, of course, confronted a barrage of questions about the president's health, about the release of potentially more medical records or any other information that could give us a better sense about the state of his health.

And even questions about whether Dr. Kevin O'Connor, the president's physician, could be somebody who could take questions from reporters. So we do expect those lines of questioning to continue.

And of course, all of this is coming with the new reporting that President Biden has privately acknowledged too an ally that he understands that the next couple of days, the next stretch of days is going to be the incredibly important in terms of whether or not he can actually save his candidacy.

And what I think is interesting, Boris, to note is that we are seeing the president finally starting to get a little bit more involved himself. In the conversations that he is having in private with lawmakers, he, of course, hosting, some Democratic governors who had expressed concerns about his age and the viability of his candidacy.

And then of course, there's that big interview that he is doing on Friday with "ABC News," not to mention the press conference that the White House has been talking about that he will participate in next week at the NATO summit.

So we'll see how the White House answers all of the questions that we are expecting it to get again today.

But again, it is important to sort of emphasize the moment that we are in. This is a White House and a campaign that is very much in crisis mode and they're also in survival mode right now -- Boris?

SANCHEZ: Yes, potentially critical days ahead for this campaign.

M.J. Lee, live from the White House. We'll, of course, bring you that briefing as it happens.

Thanks so much, M.J.

Coming up, Hurricane Beryl is hitting Jamaica as residents are being warned to take cover right now. They're bracing for a potentially devastating blow, the worst in years We'll take you live to the ground in Jamaica, next.



KEILAR: Hurricane Beryl is on a collision course with Jamaica, leaving residents they're scrambling for safety. Hurricane-force winds are now hitting parts of the island with the storm center still about 50 miles off the coast. A life-threatening storm surge of up to nine feet is forecast here.

So let's get right to CNN's Rafael Romo, who is live for us in Kingston in Jamaica.

Tell us what it is like where you are and elsewhere on the island, Rafael.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, hi. It's amazing how conditions have deteriorated in the last couple of hours here. Now, as you can see, rain is pretty constant. That's a big change. The

winds have yet to get here, but it's only a matter of time before they do so.

And the latest update from the U.S. National Weather Center says that Beryl is still a category four storm, packing winds -- maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour.

And the good news here, Brianna, is that it's moving at about 80 miles an hour in a west-northwest direction. And that's good news because it means that it is not a stationary storm.

Its -- it's authorities here are hoping that it'll move through very quickly and not dump a lot of rain. Because the potential for torrential rains is very high. That may cause flooding and mudslides. And so that's a big, big concern.

And people, as you can see, not a lot of people around here because, right now, here in Kingston and nationwide, Brianna, there's a curfew.

KEILAR: And tell us, Rafael, how people there are preparing for the storm and what officials are telling them.

ROMO: Yes, over the last 24 hours, we saw that people were just scrambling and trying to get to supermarkets, trying to get all the necessities, food, water, other necessary items.

And authorities, especially the prime minister, had been begging them, imploring them, especially those who live in low-lying areas, to get out of those areas, go to the shelters.

The government says that they have opened well over 780 shelters for people that need to seek shelter to go to.

And again, in his latest plea, the prime minister once again pleaded with those people who haven't left those areas at risk.

Let's take a listen to what he had to say.


ANDREW HOLNESS, JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER: We urge all Jamaicans to comply with notices to evacuate if and when they are issued.

However, even with no issuance of notice, if you live in a low-lying area, an area historically prone to flooding and landslides, or if you live on the banks of a river or a bunting (ph), I implore you to evacuate to a shelter or to safer ground.


ROMO: And, Brianna, in the next 24 to 48 hours, the hurricane is expected to impact not only the Cayman Islands but also to make landfall in a point alongside Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, from there all the way south to northern Belize.

So we're going to be tracking this hurricane for you very, very closely.

Now back to you.

KEILAR: All right, Rafael Romo, live for us in Kingston, Jamaica. We know you will be keeping an eye on that. Thank you so much.

And we are right now waiting for the White House press briefing. It is actually supposed to have started already. Not unusual for it to begin a little late.


But this coming as we have some new CNN reporting that President Biden, in a private conversation with a confidant, acknowledging some conditions that would have to be met for him to step aside. That bar being pretty high, plummeting fundraising, polls, and interviews going poorly.

So no doubt, Karine Jean-Pierre is going to be -- be getting in lot of questions about this when we bring you the White House press briefing live here in a few moments.


SANCHEZ: So we are monitoring the podium at the White House. The press briefing this afternoon was set to start some 20 minutes or so ago. It is often delayed and so that's not unusual.


We are watching it closely for what questions Karine Jean-Pierre is asked about President Biden's health, his mental acuity, specifically.

And whether he is considering potentially stepping aside from the race for the White House as a growing number of Democrats, both publicly and privately, have speculated that it may be the best course of action.

Obviously, we'll monitor this and bring you the latest as we get it.

But right now, we want to talk about new hope for millions of Americans living with or caring for someone with Alzheimer's. The FDA just approved a new drug that has been shown to slow the progression of the disease by removing plaque from the brain.

It's called Kisunia from drugmaker, Eli Lilly. And while it is not a cure and comes with a number of potentially life-threatening side effects, the Alzheimer's Association is calling this real progress.

KEILAR: This Sunday, CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, explores the emerging weapons to fight this disease as part of a brand-new special called "THE LAST ALZHEIMER'S PATIENT."


DR. RONALD PETERSEN, DIRECTOR, MAYO CLINIC ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE RESEARCH CENTER: These are pet scans that pick up the two proteins in the brain that define all Alzheimer's disease amyloid and tau.

The redness indicates that the amyloid protein is present. So that's the protein that makes up the plaque, one of the defining features.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Ronald Petersen is director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

PETERSEN: The amyloid protein that gets laid down in the brain, this can happen up to 10, 15, 20 years before a person becomes symptomatic. So many people are out there walking around with some amyloid in the brain, but they're doing fine clinically.

GUPTA: Hania (ph) Grumble (ph) is one of those people. Lots of amyloid in the brain but zero symptoms.

HANIA GRUMBLE (ph): So I know that I do have plaque in my brain. I don't understand how that affects some people and not others.

Nice to meet you as well.

PETERSEN: Thank you so much.

GUPTA: We first met Kania (ph) at Dr. Peterson's clinic five years ago in 2019. And at the time, 69-year-old Kania (ph) was halfway through a highly anticipated Alzheimer's study called the A4 trial.

It was designed for those with plaque in their brains but, so far, living a normal life.

GRUMBLE (ph): So I'm one of 19 children.


GRUMBLE (ph): Number 18.


GRUMBLE (ph): And three of my sisters have died. I have two in memory care. It's personal.


KEILAR: Let's go now to the White House briefing.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- over the last few months has been critical in helping Ukraine defend their territory against Russia's advances.

Thanks to the bravery of the Ukrainian forces and weapons deliver -- deliveries from the United States and our allies and partners, it is increasingly clear the Russian offensive around Kharkiv has been a failure.

And as President Biden has been clear, we are coming committed to continuing to stand with Ukraine until they prevail against Russian aggression.

So I want to share a bit of additional updates before -- for all of you before we start. I know some of some of you have been trying to confirm some of this information that I'm about to share. So I'll do it right now at the podium.

The president has connected with Leader Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Schumer Representative Clyburn, former Speaker Pelosi and Senator Coons. Today, President Biden taped two black radio interviews that will air tomorrow morning. One is with Earl Ingram on Civic Media Network, which airs across Wisconsin, and one with Andrea Lawfolk (ph) Sanders on WURD's "The Source" in Philadelphia.

And as Governor Walz of Minnesota announced today, the president will meet with more than 20 Democratic governors. Now, as you know, these governors are some of our closest partners when it comes to creating jobs, building new roads and building bridges, and so much more. And so the president certainly looks forward to meeting with them.

And with that, I'm happy to take your questions.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Last night at the fundraiser, the president blamed jet lag for his performance. But he was stateside well over a week. So does he really need more than a week and a half to recover from -- from traveling? I mean, really, is that really (INAUDIBLE)

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. Just a couple of things. And I do appreciate the question because you -- you know, the president has certainly spoken to this many, many times about the debate. And so he had an opportunity to do that in front of supporters. And as you just stated, he did that.

He -- he talked about he owned that the debate was not his best night. And he said himself, it's not an excuse, but it's an explanation. I was standing here yesterday and many people were asking why and what's the explanation? And that's what you heard from him.

Look, the two -- I think in addition to the two major trips, he was also doing -- continued to do his presidential duties. He worked late in doing that. And he also prepared for the debate.


And on top of that, there was obviously the jet lag, as you just asked -- asked about. And he also had a cold. And you all heard directly -- you heard -- you heard from him.

During the debate, he had a hoarse voice. Many of you reached out to me and my team and some other members of the White House asking what was going on, and we confirmed that he had a cold.

And so I think those two things, continuing, obviously, to do his duties as commander-in-chief as the president.

And so I think some of you here in this room can certainly relate to, you know, what -- what can happen when you're having an important moment and you're not feeling well. And also you wish you could have done better.

And so he took ownership. I think that's important. And he's going to continue to make a strong case for his agenda. And that's what you're going to see.

And he was giving an explanation. And that's what he wanted to do. He wanted to get that out there for people to hear directly from him as he has been doing since -- since Friday of last week.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I know you're calling it an explanation.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But it does seem like a new excuse since the debate of what went wrong.


JEAN-PIERRE: No. I would say, no, I don't think it's a new excuse. I think some of you, some of your colleagues reached out to us about the schedule. Some of your colleagues asked if the schedule was too strenuous or was it because of the jet lag?

And so and so we -- we are laying out and explaining exactly what happened. You heard from the president. You've heard from me. And it was, you know, indeed a -- a schedule where the present traveled six times zones forward to the G-Y in Italy, nine times zones back to L.A. and three time zones again to D.C.

That's something that when the print puller on that day laid out for -- for all of you and those who reach the pool notes.

And on top of that, he did have a cold. So it is an explanation. I don't think it is an addition. I don't think it's -- we certainly don't want to explain this away.

But you all ask me for an explanation yesterday, the president gave that directly yesterday to his supporters. He wanted to make sure knowing that all of you would get that information as he's speaking to his supporters.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You mentioned all the quality is meeting your topper. Why was he do not on Friday and why was he just sort in damage control? Why was he waiting and waiting to do that until the middle --


JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, I -- I was asked a similar question by one of your colleagues yesterday.

And look, the president, obviously right after the bait. He visited four states in two-and-a-half days, gave a couple of remarks. He met with supporters, whether they were at the Waffle House in

Atlanta or a watch party or North Carolina where there we're hundreds of supporters there and in Raleigh. And so he was busy dealing with -- dealing with his schedule and also speaking directly and engaging with his supporters and then spend time with his family.

I think what's important is that he has done this outreach. He's having these conversations. It is important to him to do so.

And the folks that I laid out that he spoke to or -- or some of them have been his colleagues, some of them has been elected officials that he's known for some time.

Obviously, Leader Jeffries is a new relationship that he has. Someone that he obviously respects.

And so it is -- I think it's important to note that they were strong conversations. That's something that the president told me and my team directly moments ago. He was -- he was walking around and we happen to see the president and he said they we're strong conversations.

And by the way, he looks great, the vice president looks great, and they are ready to continue working on behalf on behalf of the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hi. Is President Biden considering stepping down?

JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely -- absolutely not. And you heard, I think, I believed directly from the campaign as well.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Given the groundswell of concern from fellow Democrats, from donors, from supporters, doesn't he owe it to the American public to reflect on whether he should step down?

JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, (INAUDIBLE) asked this question and my answer to her question where he had opportunity to talk to supporters. He's done it a couple of times at this point. And laid out what happened on that night.

Talked about how he understands and it was not his best night. He understands that it is fair for people to ask that question.

But we cannot forget his record and what he's been able to do. We cannot forget how he has been able to deliver for the American people for almost four years. That matters, too.


And he has the most historic record administration, the most in modern politics. And that should matter.

And he wants to continue to do that work.