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President Biden Says He is Staying in Presidential Race as Democratic Nominee; New Reporting Indicates President Biden Saw His Doctor after Presidential Debate; Beryl Bringing Heavy Rain, Strong Winds to the Cayman Island; Warning Sign. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 04, 2024 - 08:00   ET



MIKE VALERIO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Behind the camera. So that's the mass migration that's going on here.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: OK, that's the action. I love it. Lots of fun. Happy Fourth to you, Mike Valerio. Thank you so much. And to all the troops --

VALERIO: Happy Fourth, Fred.

WHITFIELD: -- there.

All right, A new hour of CNN NEWS CENTRAL begins right now.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And Happy Fourth everyone. The White House just revealing President Biden saw his doctor in the days after that disastrous debate on CNN. President Biden doing new interviews this morning, fighting for his political life. Doubts are still swirling within his own party on whether he should stay in the race.

And hurricane Beryl is heading towards the Cayman Islands after leaving a trail of destruction in Jamaica. Were going to talk with the manager of the Jamaican Red Cross about emergency response lots efforts at this hour.

And on this Fourth of July, people in D.C. and parts of northern Virginia will be boiling their water as well as barbequing. The new advisory that they're waking up to.

I'm Alisyn Camerota with Fredricka Whitfield this morning. Sara, Kate, and John are out today. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

Tonight, fireworks will light up the White House sky, as they do every Fourth of July. But this morning, a very different patriotic display like never before. We're seeing President Biden declaring that no one is pushing him out from becoming president again. This is Biden in a brand new interview with this message for America.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any reason for the American people to be concerned?

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I had a bad debate. I had a bad debate. But 90 minutes on stage does not erase what I've done for three-and-a-half years. I'm proud of the record, and we've just got to keep moving.


CAMEROTA: So this morning, Democratic governors all seem to be speaking from the same script. Governor Walz of Minnesota says, quote, "He is fit for office. The governors have his back." And from California's Governor Newsom, quote, "He's all in and so am I."

But the number of people not in is growing. Two sitting House Democrats now say that President Biden should step aside as well as megadonor, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings.

Let's get right to CNN's Arlette Saenz. She's outside the White House. So Arlette, how is the president viewing the next few days?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, President Biden is now one week out from that halting debate performance, and he has yet to fully assuage the concerns of Democrats who fear what it could mean to keep him at the top of the Democratic ticket. As you noted, there are two House democratic lawmakers who have publicly called for Biden to step aside, and we're told that in a private call with a top party leadership in the House last night, some top Democrats also said it was time for the president to step aside.

President Biden himself gathered about 20 Democratic governors, some joining in person, some virtually, to hear out there concerns about this campaign. But in a video call with campaign staff yesterday, President Biden stressed that he is remaining in this race until the end, and that he will not be pushed out.

It does come, though, as the president has privately acknowledged, to at least one key ally that these next coming days in his campaign will be critical in trying to convince Americans to give him a second term in the White House. Part of the president's goal is taking this pitch directly to voters. He will sit down for that major interview with ABC News and also travel to battleground states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

This morning, that new interview aired in Philadelphia, and as part of that interview, the president really tried to make a pitch to black voters who he has already struggled with pre-debate and that he argued will be in this next election. He specifically pointed to the diversity within his administration and to the Supreme Court as something voters should look at. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Imagine what it says to a young girl who is in school having trouble wondering what she can do, and look up and see a Supreme Court justice who is a black woman, or a black vice president of the United States, or a secretary in the cabinet, or a famous, famous political figure, and say, I can do it there. I can do that. I can do that.


SAENZ: Now, the president will be here at the White House today for Fourth of July festivities. He will be surrounded by his family, who I'm told remains all in with President Biden staying in this race.


Vice President Kamala Harris will also be in attendance for tonight's Fourth of July celebrations on the South Lawn of the White House. Of course, it's a poignant time as the moment is meant to celebrate the nation's founding, and Biden has so often framed this campaign as a fight for democracy. Of course, he himself is now fighting for his own reelection bid to stay alive as well.

CAMEROTA: Arlette, do we know if the president got any medical attention after the debate? Because the White House has said different things.

SAENZ: Yes, there's been a lot of conflicting information coming out of the White House over the past 24 hours relating to the president's medical exams. Yesterday, our colleague M.J. Lee pressed White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about this and asked if the president had undergone any medical examinations after his physical, which was conducted in February. Jean-Pierre said that the president has had not.

But this morning, the White House is acknowledging that President Biden was examined by his doctors following that debate night during which his team has said that the president had a cold. A White House spokesperson this morning saying that the president was seen to check on his cold and was recovering well in the days after the debate. One White House official says that this check-in was a brief check-in.

But there are questions about why we are getting these conflicting answers relating to President Biden's medical examinations at a time when many Americans continue to have concerns about the president's health and his ability to serve into a second term.

CAMEROTA: OK, Arlette Saenz, thank you very much for the latest from the White House. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, Alisyn.

Let's bring in CNN senior reporter Isaac Dovere to discuss all of this and more. Isaach, great to see you this morning. So President Biden, I mean, he's pretty dug in, right, saying he is not going anywhere. But whatever confidence he has going into this now primetime ABC interview this Friday, and appearances later this weekend, this weekend, I mean, it really threatened to undermine -- to be undermined by this growing pressure within Democratic ranks to step down. How does he get ahead? What can he do to turn the tide?

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: You've seen even from the closest to Biden allies, people like Chris Coons, senator from Delaware, and Jim Clyburn, the congressman from South Carolina who helped save his 2020 campaign, that they want to see a Biden who can perform, who can do the things that would be necessary for a campaign, and they want to see it in the next couple of days. Town halls. They want to see that interview go well. They'll be watching what happens when he's onstage in that battleground state travel.

This is not a question to them of taking Biden's word at this point. They keep on saying privately and publicly and to him directly that they need to see it.

WHITFIELD: Do you think viewers of voters are looking for something different in that George Stephanopoulos interview on ABC? Are they looking for something different than, say, what elected officials are looking for?

DOVERE: Well, look, this is always a question of where the political class, so to speak, is versus the voters. But that said, CNN's poll and other polls since the debate have shown a steep response from voters to the debate. And Biden went into that debate trailing Donald Trump. There was hope from the campaign that that would be the turnaround moment. And instead, it seems to have pushed at least some voters further away from Biden.

And so this is not the highest topic of conversation probably for most Americans in the same way that is for most of the elected officials who are in Washington and beyond thinking about what to do here, and most of the top Democratic operatives and donors. But it is something that is clearly on the minds of a lot of Americans, whether Joe Biden is up to the job, whether he's up to the campaign, whether he's up to another term.

WHITFIELD: President Biden, he acknowledges the next few days are critical. Former Senator Barbara Boxer knows Biden well, and she told "The L.A. Times" give him two weeks to show that he's up for the job. Is that reasonable?

DOVERE: Two weeks is a long time, and of course, two weeks is all through this next day, week that we've got ahead of us. And then after that it's the Republican convention. A lot of Democrats are feeling like this is already been a week, and they need to see more of Joe Biden than they have seen before. Of course, we're starting to see more of him, but it's still not a lot. We've had about a half-an-hour total of Biden in public since the debate on Thursday, and in all of the speeches that he's given, he's been on a teleprompter for all of them. Those are the sorts of things that sit in people's minds and make them uncomfortable when you're a House Democrat or a top -- or a Democratic operative looking at how to win in November, both for the presidency and for other offices.


And so that's why there is so much focus on this interview that will be on ABC News on Friday and these events that Biden will be doing in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on -- sorry, in Wisconsin on Sunday.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And so also along those lines, you wrote an article earlier this week about how much defiance has become part of Biden's mentality. And he says he's a fighter, that's how he and his family are putting it. So how has that been shaping this past week for him behind the scenes?

DOVERE: Yes, as I wrote in the article, defiance has become as much a part of his psychology as Delaware. Look, Joe Biden has been counted out many times before, and that is part of his self mythology at this point. And he looks back at 2016 when people, including Barack Obama, steered him out of running, and Donald Trump won. And he looks at in 2020 when he came in fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary. Everybody counted him out. He, actually, at one point thought that he might be done, and of course, rallied into Super Tuesday. Then in the election in 2020, many people thought he couldn't win against Donald Trump the way he was doing it. Obviously, he did.

And so there is this sense that this might be another one of those moments. But you talk to people around the Democratic operation when it comes to top party leaders, what they say is this may be a case of him thinking that it's like every other moment when it's not like any of those moments, when it's so much more intense. And that is the question that all of them are wondering, whether Biden is going to come to a different conclusion or not.

WHITFIELD: All right, Isaac Dovere, great talking to you. Thank you so much. Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Fred, there's an FBI warning on this Fourth of July. It's about the increased risk of mass shootings. The warning signs that we all need to be watching out for.

Also we'll get a first look at the damage done by hurricane Beryl in Jamaica, and we'll figuring about where the hurricane is heading next.

And one town cancels their fireworks show after the main attraction goes up in flames.



CAMEROTA: Right now, Hurricane Beryl is skirting the Cayman Islands and heading towards Mexico.

The deadly storm has weakened to Category Three after pounding Southern Jamaica with torrential rains and about nine feet of storm surge. One person in Jamaica was killed, raising the death toll from Beryl to at least eight people.

Jamaica's prime minister warns heavy rains could still cause dangerous flooding and landslides there.

CNN's Rafael Romo is in Jamaica, in the capital, Kingston.

So Rafael, you rode out the storm there. So describe it.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was very scary at one point, Alisyn, very powerful. One of the most powerful hurricanes that I've ever seen.

And the prime minister is right, we experienced the thunderstorms overnight, very powerful ones. And so even though Hurricane Beryl is now history, at least here in Jamaica, the damage, the devastation is quite a significant.

I was showing you guys last hour how the powerful winds pushed the boat behind me across the bay, made it crash against the old pier here in Downtown Kingston, and as you can see now, it is sunk, and we are getting new data, new weather data about how a powerful the series of storms was.

We are learning that Kingston reported wind gusts in excess of 80 miles per hour for multiple hours yesterday. Also, wind gusts near 50 miles per hour started at 1:00 PM. That situation remained for about 12 hours, imagine that, and the damage that it might have caused.

And then, another significant piece of information that we got is that Kingston totaled four 4.4 inches of rain yesterday, which is more than double what they get in a typical month here. So that gives you an idea of the things that people here had to go through, not to mention that around 500 people had to go to shelters because they were displaced.

That prime minister here also saying that there is significant damage to coastal areas because of the storm surges that we went through.

So we are talking about very challenging days ahead for Jamaica -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Understood. Rafael Romo, thank you very much for reporting from there.

We want to bring it now, Leiska Powell with the Jamaican Red Cross from more on the relief efforts there.

Leiska, thank you so much for joining us.

So what does Jamaica need at this hour?

LEISKA POWELL, JAMAICAN RED CROSS DISASTER MANAGEMENT FOCAL POINT: Hi, good morning and thank you for having me, Alisyn.

We are now in the process of starting the damage assessment and the needs assessment including social and level assessment to get a better sense of the degree of impact and what are some of the immediate needs.

Suffice it to say, the Red Cross with one of our main partners prepositioned critical relief items, bedding cots, and other non-food items. So we also participated and supported the Ministry of Labor and Social Security with the packaging of food items, which we hope to start distribution as soon as more information becomes available as we move forward into understanding the degree of devastation that happened yesterday.


CAMEROTA: Yes, we are just looking at some video of what was happening yesterday and the Red Cross is so good at being in position beforehand. I mean, that's obviously just one of your superpowers that you have to do.

So we understand that the hurricane warning has been discontinued, but there is still danger. There is still obviously lots of danger of flooding. What are you hearing from people on the ground?

POWELL: Yes, all right, so yes, the warning has been lifted, but there is still an advisory that was put out by the Med Service advising persons of being careful, flooding is still expected, or can be anticipated in certain areas. So we are still advising residents, the population to proceed with caution and to stay indoors today until as I said before, we get a better sense of the scale of impact and what we are dealing with.

Certainly from Red Cross side, we have already placed our volunteers on standby once we get the go ahead from the government and other partners, we will certainly provide the necessary assistance to the most vulnerable and those in need.

CAMEROTA: The eight people who were killed there, do you know those circumstances?

POWELL: All right, so based on the last information I have, one death was confirmed, the other one person is missing. So based on my tally coming out of the National Emergency Operation

Center was two. I think they are still waiting confirmation before a confirmation is given in the official reports.

In one case, I believe a tree fell on the house and unfortunately, the occupant of that property succumbed to her injuries and the second one where we -- based on information we got, unfortunately, a young man was swept away by floodwaters in a drainage network, and so they are still searching for his body. He is still missing those are the two that I can speak to at this point.

CAMEROTA: And Leiska, you're right. It was eight total. It was one confirmed in Jamaica, eight people total killed by this deadly storm. But obviously, as it becomes morning there and throughout the day, you'll find out more about the damage.

Leiska Powell, thank you. We know how busy you are. Thanks for taking the time to update us.

POWELL: Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Extreme heat, adding to the danger for crews trying to contain the huge wildfires in the West.

And division inside the Democratic Party over President Biden's future.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, as we head into the busy holiday weekend, a new report by the FBI hopes to inform people of the warning signs of mass shooters. Researchers say there tends to be an uptick in gun violence around the holiday.

Over the past three years, 77 mass shootings happened collectively during the first week of July.

CNN's security correspondent, Josh Campbell is following this for us. So Josh, hello to you.

You spoke with an FBI profiler about key warning signs that could help stop the next massacre. What did they say?


You know, the FBI's storied profilers or behavior analysts have long been in the business of helping law enforcement agencies solve and prevent crime, but with the surge in mass shootings we've seen across the US, they have stepped up efforts to educate the public about what the research is finding and bottom line, the key takeaway is that mass shooters don't just snap, they plot and that provides people opportunity to pick up on potential warning signs.

So let's look at some of those threat indicators noted by the FBI. If you're seeing someone who is making comments or jokes about threats against violence, that's on the list.

Someone who you see, maybe is having a particularly difficult time coping with stress, someone who might be receding into isolation, whereas once they were maybe outgoing, they were involved in activities, and now no longer so.

There is also this concept of what's called the injustice collector, the grievance collector. That's someone who starts to feel like they've been slighted over and over and that builds and that builds and the bottom line, the FBI says that it is up to all of us to essentially take an interest in those around us, those that we care about.

Have a listen here to one FBI behavior analysts that I spoke with. She leads one of the FBI's teams looking into this and she talked about just how critical it is that we maintain interest in our loved ones.


DR. KARIE GIBSON, FBI BEHAVIORAL ANALYTICS UNIT CHIEF: You have somebody who at one time in their life was functioning in a way where they were handling the stress, and now we are seeing marked changes to that. We are seeing someone who once was able to deal with different challenging situations, now absolutely struggling with that.

When you have the grievance collector, you have somebody that's keeping score, that's keeping track of those slights and those humiliating events and the different factors that have impacted them, negatively and they're really using that to fuel their justification for violence.


CAMPBELL: Now, the FBI says that there is no one key characteristic that will guarantee some will become a mass shooter, but if you start to see multiple of these warning signs happening again, it could be time to seek help and that could include from law enforcement, from a principal, from a supervisor, a member of clergy, anyone that can help you start that conversation to try to get someone helped, because Fred, so often all of these mass shootings that you and I have covered over the years, after the fact, we learn that someone knew something, someone saw something, but they just didn't reach out.