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New Biden Strategy; Marty Dolan is Interviewed about Biden; U.S. Adds 206,000 Jobs; U.K.'s Labour Party Wins in Landslide; Judge Halts Young Thug's Trial. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 08:30   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, the stakes could not be higher for President Biden as he tries to reignite confidence in his campaign after last week's debate. And now the president's team is putting together a new media strategy that includes more unscripted events and a packed public schedule. And tonight he'll be faced with another critical test. A one-on-one prime time interview with ABC News.

CNN media analyst and "Axios" senior media correspondence Sara Fischer is joining us right now.

So, good to see you, Sara.

What will you be looking for in the primetime event this evening?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, it really depends on the energy that he brings tonight whether or not the remaining part of the plan, all of those public events and unscripted events that you described will continue to move forward. If he doesn't show up tonight in a really clear and coherent manner, that's going to dictate whether or not the campaign and the broader Democratic donor base feels comfortable continuing to put him forward as opposed to moving quickly to find a new candidate ahead of the convention in August.

The thing I will point out about tonight, it matters less that he knows about every little subject matter, every little detail and number, and more of the energy that he brings to the screen. If I was prepping the president, I would advise that they focus on making sure he's well rested, making sure whatever cold he had last week has been dissipated, and that he seems really vibrant as opposed to knowing every little nitty-gritty detail.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's interesting, you say less on substance. I mean that's something that Representative Clyburn seemed to, you know, glean from the debate, saying he thought he was perhaps over prepared. So, you're hoping that he's going to show more energy.

So, we're also learning this morning that the president will lead a much more aggressive travel schedule. And that's contrary to what even Biden himself said, where he said he wants to work in more rest. So, how do you have the two so that you don't have an incumbent who's overstressed and perhaps exhibits a lot more stumbling or an uneasiness?

FISCHER: They're going to have to be really, really disciplined about how they make that travel schedule work for his energy levels. It's been reported by my colleagues and others that President Biden does well in the mornings, he tapers off towards the late afternoons and that evening events can be a little bit tougher. And so when it comes to this type of travel, trying to make sure that he is going to be at his most visible moments during the daylight, that seems to be where he has a lot of energy, and they need - you know, doing some of that travel, focus on times where he can be down and get some rest is really critical.

But to the point about tonight, you know, he can pack in all of the travel and try to get the moments out as much as he can that he's unscripted and he's alert. But if it doesn't go well tonight, Fred, it doesn't matter if he does any of that travel because the campaign essentially stops if this interview doesn't go well.


WHITFIELD: All right, this ABC interview was to air on Sunday. Now it will be primetime Friday night, tonight. What's behind the change, do you know?

FISCHER: Yes, well, there's - both parties have something to gain here. One, for the White House, moving this up expedites the schedule faster. They don't want this narrative to linger in the press and to linger amongst the American people that he's incapable. But then for ABC, they got a big primetime special. Of course, they're going to re- air it for their Sunday show in a few days.

The key thing here to understand, Fredricka, is that, you know, the White House has been adamant that a full transcript of this interview gets published so that way anyone who sees him stumble can get access to what he says in full. I just don't think that really matters. I think even showing a full interview doesn't really matter. They want to make sure that, you know, it's not going to be edited to make him seem like he's stumbling more than he is.

I think, at the end of the day, all that really counts is that he can show up for the full thing, which, by the way, we don't really have a full understanding of how long this interview is going to be. You know this. The energy for an hour-long interview is very different from a 20-minutes sit down. But he just needs to show up and get through the entire thing without stumbling. That is the key here.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And I think people mean in an exaggerated form because everyone in normal conversation, you know, intonates their, you know, space of talking, et cetera. So, I think people are looking for the real exaggerations, if you will.

All right, Sara Fischer, thank you so much.

All right, Erica. ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Fred, thanks.

This morning, more major Democratic donors are trying to pressure President Biden to step aside. A new threat actually to stop funding his campaign. Abigail Disney, who, of course, is heir the Disney fortune, telling "The New York Times" in an email exchange, the Biden campaign and the committee supporting it will, quote, "not receive another dime from her unless they replace Biden at the top of the ticket."

Now this, of course, comes on the heels of calls from megadonor Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Netflix, to make the change.

Democratic donor Marty Dolan joins me now.

So, Marty, I've spoken with a number of donors this week. Whitney Tilson telling me just two days ago, he hasn't spoken to a single Democrat who thinks the president should stay in the race.

Where do you stand?

MARTY DOLAN, DEMOCRATIC DONOR WHO THINKS BIDEN SHOULD STEP ASIDE: I think we have to look at this, not as an interview on Friday night, and not as a November election, and not as, you know, without him we're going to end up with Trump. I think our job as a party is to nominate somebody who can do the job for what's going to be, you know, four-and-a-half years. You have the midterm elections out there in 2026. The person who's elected in November will be president until, you know, January of 2029. And so, I think if you put everything else aside, the simple question that the Democratic leadership has to ask is, are we nominating somebody that has the confidence of the party and the country to do the job for another four-and-a-half years? And I think when you ask the question that way, it sort of leads you to the answer.

HILL: What - and that answer for you is?

DOLAN: I don't believe Biden has the confidence of the party and the country that he can leave the - that he can lead the country for another four-and-a-half years. I think we're - you know, we're - it's wrong to focus on the idea of getting through one night or getting, you know, just kind of creeping across the deadline to the election.

If you go back in history, if you go back to, you know, Franklin Roosevelt, when - when he was elected for his fourth term and then he went off to Yalta to negotiate, you know, with Stalin, there were some pretty serious mistakes made. And, you know, we then had Truman put into office.

And we're living in a world where there are some very complex issues right now. And the question is, are we going to nominate somebody who's ready to go for the next four-and-a-half years or not?

HILL: You know, you bring up an interesting point. Congressman Jared Huffman was on CNN yesterday, and I'm paraphrasing what he said here, but essentially said it's time for Democrats, in his view, to step back and take more of a 30,000 foot view here and said this can't be about sentimentality, it cannot be about loyalty to a person, and it can't be about a single person, that it has to be the bigger picture and the bigger picture of the party.

Do you think the campaign gets that?

DOLAN: I don't know. I'm not close enough to the campaigns to know.

I'll start by saying, Biden is a national treasurer. I mean he's been a senator for 36 years, vice president for eight years, president for four years. He doesn't need to be briefed on anything. I mean he really knows everything there is to know. It's - I agree with what you just said though, which is, if you step back, we're in a very complex time. We have the war in Ukraine. We have the war in Israel. We have relations with China, which are, which are getting more and more complex. You have 60,000 nuclear weapons in the world and you have extremism in the United States.

You know, this is a 24-hour a day job. And it goes on for four-and-a- half years. It's not just a question of getting through November because of this, you know, anti-Trump sentiment in the Democratic Party.


So, I think that's the standard. I think we have to look at, who can do the job for four-and-a-half years. And - and, by the way, the Democratic Party is full of talented people.

HILL: This increasingly public pressure from donors, right? So, I mentioned Abigail Disney in "The New York Times" this morning. Reid Hoffman. Damon Lindelofd pushing what he was calling a dem-bargo, telling people just to stop giving money.

"The New York Times" is also reporting this morning there's a group of donors who are looking to raise as much as $100 million, essentially create a PAC, put that in escrow, and then if Joe Biden does not step aside, they will funny that - funnel that money into the down-ballot races.

Is the money starting to talk to the campaign?

DOLAN: You know, I don't - I think voters all over the United States can see this. I have a lot of faith in the voters, I think it'll take people about a minute to come to terms of what's happened here because this is what happens in everybody's lives. They - they move to a new city or they get a new job or somebody in their family gets sick and people get it. You have to deal with reality. And I think we're in a new reality for the voters now than where we were six months ago.

I think there's enough money to go around to support Biden, or to support another candidate. I think the question really is, has the party lost faith that he can be the leader for the next four-and-a- half years.

HILL: Marty Dolan - DOLAN: I think it's up to Joe to make the decision, but I'm confident he'll make the right decision.

HILL: Which is what we ultimately keep hearing and which is true, right, he needs to make that decision if, in fact, this is a decision that he wants to make at this point.

Marty Dolan, appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being with us this morning.

DOLAN: My pleasure.

WHITFIELD: All right, Erica, breaking news just moments ago, U.S. jobs slowing down last month, adding 206,000 jobs.

CNN's Paula Newton is joining me now to break down some of the numbers for it.

So, what are we looking at.


This is a really good jobs report post July 4th.


NEWTON: And I'm going to tell you why. You just mentioned that they were down a little bit. OK, fine, we've got 206,000 jobs created. That's good news.


NEWTON: The job market is coming into more balance. And that's what everyone wants to see.

It was a little bit surprising in May when jobs - they had created so many jobs. But this is a much better number and what economists were looking for.

The unemployment rate, this is really interesting. It's ticked up 4.1 percent. Fred, we haven't had that kind of an unemployment rate in nearly three years.

Listen, it's still a very balanced and robust jobs market. This is historic. We've had consecutive job gains now for three-and-a-half years. You know, it's ticking up a little bit. This is nothing to concern yourself with. It means that, as I said, the labor market is coming into balance a little bit more.

The bright side of this is when we think about inflation and interest rates. What does it mean? It means that actually for interest rates this might give the Fed chair, the guy who's responsible and his board, to set interest rate policy. It might mean that they lower interest rates just by a quarter point, don't want you to get too excited, in September. WHITFIELD: Every little bit helps.

NEWTON: Yes, every little bit helps, especially when talking, right, about mortgages. People need so much help on the mortgage - mortgage rates, especially on those 30-year rates, have been so high. We'll see if this puts a dent in any of that.

And I also want to look at the actual employment picture, right, when we talk about the kinds of jobs that were created. There were a lot of jobs created again, surprise, surprise, in health care and also in the government. The government's been spending a lot of money. And 27,000 in construction. You know, Fred, that'd be willing to bet, if we get a decrease in interest rates, you'll see that go up. And that's also good news. People want those construction jobs.

But I think the bottom line is, this is a good report. It means that there is that so-called soft landing. But enough wiggle room that the Fed chair is going to say, look, we can give Americans a little bit of relief on these interest rates. The economy does seem to be slowing well, but not anywhere near recession. So, all in all, a really good jobs report.

The other thing they're looking at is that, in terms of hourly wages, there's nothing to get concerned about, especially as inflation creeps downward. I know it's that all important inflation number that is so important to so many.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's - well, it's amazing how impactful the jobs growth, or lack thereof, might have on the interest rates because really we know especially with real estate there's kind of a stagnation and buying as a result of interest rates being so high.

NEWTON: Absolutely. And they need to see that relief, right? They've got a little bit of relief on those long-term interest rates a few months ago and then all of a sudden they came up again. People want to know when am I going to be able to actually move on this real estate?

WHITFIELD: When and where.

NEWTON: When are the mortgage rates going to look attractive


NEWTON: This helps. We'll wait at 9:30 to see where the markets - I think the markets are going to like this. I'm not sure how many people are trading today. I've got to be honest. But we'll see.

WHITFIELD: Right. I think people are still kind of sleeping in right now.

NEWTON: Yes, I know. So, like I said -

WHITFIELD: Just a little bit.

NEWTON: An excellent jobs report post. Excellent July 4th.

WHITFIELD: Paula Newton, great to see you. Thank you so much.


HILL: Well, the U.K., as we've been telling you this morning, has a new prime minister.


The British government shakeup overnight and how that could impact the U.S.

Plus, a CNN exclusive ahead for you. An exclusive interview with France's Marine Le Pen. Her far-right national rally party hoping to sweep to power in Sunday's parliamentary elections there. Could they, though, hit a roadblock.


HILL: In the U.K., a massive power shift this morning. The Labour Party taking the lead here in a landslide, pushing the conservatives out of the majority in parliament for the first time in 14 years. And this, of course, also means a new prime minister for the U.K. The Labour Party's Keir Starmer shaking hands with his supporters last hour as he arrived at 10 Downing Street just after receiving the official mandate from King Charles.


My colleague Christiane Amanpour is live outside parliament at this hour.

So, Christiane, this election marks a major shift of power to the left in the U.K.'s parliament. Interesting, this is not what we're seeing in a number of other European elections at this moment.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: That's right. But, Erica, to be honest with you, it's more a shift to the center, center left, you're absolutely right, because what Keir Starmer, former human rights lawyer, has done over the last few years of his leadership is move the Labour Party away from the very far left under Jeremy Corbyn, with the accusations of anti-Semitism and other such things that really roiled the Labour Party made it unelected. And in the meantime, the Tory Party, the ruling conservatives for the past 14 years, I had appeared to shift further to the right.

So, it is a recalibration. And it is a massive landslide. The Tories have lost the biggest in their entire history as a party. And there's a lot of Brexit aftershocks. There's a lot of fatigue with what some have called a lack of integrity. They point to all the, you know, censures that Boris Johnson underwent with his, you remember party- gate and all of it. People were just fed up of 14 years of a - of a party that didn't seem to be delivering.

So, this is the result that we've had overnight, actually, that has been building, obviously, in the polls for the past year or so.

HILL: It was a little bit expected.

Of course, things happen much more quickly over there across the pond, as you know. I don't have to tell you.

Looking at this, right, now that there is a new -

AMANPOUR: They do.

HILL: Yes, a new prime minister. We look at this new majority in parliament. What does that mean for U.S.-U.K. relations?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think it's going to be good because this - this new prime minister has made no secret of being a total alliance person. He's not somebody - obviously, he didn't want Brexit. Brexit was not on the agenda at this election. But he was very, very keen and very direct on how important the transatlantic relationship is. He will want to get, you know, good trade deals if at all possible with the - with the United States because he's going to also try to not go back into the E.U., because that's not possible right now and the British politics wouldn't accept it, but try to, you know, slowly, slowly reconfigure Britain's relationship with the E.U. and make it less, as they say, frictiony (ph), and allow much better trading opportunities. But also he's a fierce defender of NATO.

Look, they've had some issues, just like American politicians with their - with their view on the Israel-Gaza War. The Labour Party lost to independents four candidates over the Gaza war in certain constituencies and they do want a ceasefire and they want a two-state solution and they want to put an end to the carnage that's going on there since the attack on October 7th.

HILL: As I mentioned, other elections are happening. I know you just had an exclusive interview with Marine Le Pen, who's the figurehead of the French far-right national rally party.


HILL: Boy, that did not perhaps turn out as Emmanuel Macron wanted it to in the first round there, these snap parliamentary elections. What did she have to say about her party's gains so far and what she is anticipating ahead of the second round?

AMANPOUR: Well, first and foremost, Marine Le Pen, who is the founder of the national rally, the leader of the national rally, and before that of the National Front, which is the party her father and others founded, which was rooted in racism, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denialism. She has worked like a devil to re-brand and to make this a apparently palatable, quote/unquote, mainstream alternative. It is an extreme example of how they have worked to try to do this.

And even though independent economic analysts will say that Macro, over his time in office, has improved the French economy, has brought unemployment down, has been a good steward by and large, they capitalize on what many countries are feeling, and that is cost of living rises and the pinch of cost of living. France's economy is not an outlier compared to like say the U.S.

economy and elsewhere. It's had inflation. The inflation is coming down. But still, Marine Le Pen has campaigned hard on this and branded Macron a catastrophic steward of the economy.

And when I asked her about rebranding and how she had brought her far right party this far, she pushed back and said some quite extraordinary stuff. You take a listen.


AMANPOUR: The fact that your party did so well in the European elections, and so did Giorgia Meloni's party, and so did AFD. I mean, you know, AFD, as you know, a little bit like the former National Front, is very scary.


The fact that the far right is becoming a very, very powerful force in Europe, and who knows maybe now with all that's going on in the United States, Donald Trump might win a second term. How do you see Europe changing?

MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH LAWYER AND POLITICIAN (through translator): Madam, first of all - first of all, I strongly dispute the term far- right, which in your country refers to small groups that are extremely radical and violent. If you like the equivalent -

AMANPOUR: You don't think - you don't think you're far right?

LE PEN (through translator): The equivalent of what we are in the United States is between the center right and center left with regards to ideas. So, I think this -

AMANPOUR: You're kidding me, right?

LE PEN (through translator: Yes. Yes, I'm telling you very honestly, I think this use of the term fall right carries a stigma and is very pejorative. It does not correspond to what we are and not at all to what the far-right is in the United States.


AMANPOUR: So, you can see that she didn't like the terminology because she's worked hard to make this, you know, a different looking party. But it is still rooted in an anti-immigrant's, you know, policies. It has got this thing that she calls national priorities. Some people call it national preference to give housing and all sorts of other benefits and jobs to French citizens, even though foreigners pay into the, you know, the tax system and Social Security system. So, it still has those issues. There are still members of the party actually standing right now for election who have said terrible things, racist things, anti-Semitic things, that she told me she wouldn't accept, that they're just black sheep, but they are running. So, she said, if they, you know, if we find out that they've broken our rules, we'll take them to account. But the point here is, that there is a far right grouping that's

growing in Europe, and they have very specific nationalist ideas that revolve around, just like in the United States, basically immigration and anti-immigrant policies.

HILL: And we're seeing - and we're seeing it in France, too, Christiane, attract more young voters. Part of that is some of the younger party heads that they have in there, but it is fascinating. It was really interesting to hear her reaction there.


HILL: Appreciate it, as always. I look forward to seeing your full interview. Christiane's full interview with Marine Le Pen is it 1:00 p.m. on CNN International.

And tomorrow you can catch it at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on "THE AMANPOUR HOUR."


WHITFIELD: Al right, look forward to that. Thank you so much, Erica.

All right, what has become the longest trial in Georgia's history is now halted indefinitely. The case against Jeffrey Williams, aka Grammy-winning rapper Young Thug, is a controversial one. Is his YSL brand just a record label or a street gang driving up Atlanta's crime rates.

CNN's Nick Valencia sat down with the rapper's father.

Take a look.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It doesn't take much to get any loving dad talking about his son, especially one who feels partly to blame for getting them into trouble.

JEFFREY WILLIAMS SR., FATHER OF "YOUNG THUG" JEFFREY WILLIAMS: I say the indictment is bogus because I taught my son loyalty instead of friendship. This is why he's gone through this, because he was loyal to people.

VALENCIA (voice over): Jeffrey Lamar Williams has taken that idea of loyalty and turned it into a worldwide image as the artist Young Thug, a Grammy Award winning rapper who promotes his YSL brand, Young Slime Life. Prosecutors allege the term is euphemism for a life filled with street crime.

Young Thugs' dad claims it's a gangster rap gimmick, and the reason Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis wants to make an example out of him.

Prosecutors have used testimony from co-defendants already tried for their crimes, as well as rap lyrics from Young Thugs' own songs as purported evidence that violent crimes were committed at the rapper's behest. He denied the charges.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY D.A.: It is our allegation that they operated as a criminal street gang and commence to do havoc in our community.

VALENCIA (voice over): Willis and her team are juggling a lot, including prosecuting Donald Trump in a separate racketeering case, in the same courthouse, just five floors above.

VALENCIA: Why do you think the D.A. is trying to use Jeffrey Williams as an example?

WILLIAMS: If he didn't have a name, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

VALENCIA (voice over): Speaking to us from his podcast studio, Williams Senior said his son is no gangster or crime boss shock collar involved in a street war, as alleged by investigators. He insists his son's only wrongdoing was hanging with the wrong crowd.

VALENCIA: Is there any merit to this indictment? Was there ever a war going on between Young Thug and Wiifm Lucy (ph)?


VALENCIA: Were you ever targeted? Was your safety ever at risk?

WILLIAMS: I run by myself every day. I go to - I go to every part of town every day. I can go anywhere in this city by myself every day.


VALENCIA (voice over): Young Thugs' trial is already the longest in Georgia history. The jury selection process alone took nearly ten months. The RICO