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Biden Campaign Crisis Complicates Trump's VP Rollout; Fed Assessment: RNC Could Be "Attractive" Target For Extremists; Macron Rejects PM's Resignation After Shock Election Results. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 08, 2024 - 07:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's a big week for Donald Trump who finds himself in unfamiliar territory, navigating a crisis that does not center on him right now. There is new CNN reporting laying out how the fallout from President Biden's debate performance could actually force Donald Trump and his team to rethink their planned rollout of Trump's VP nominee and maybe even impacting who the pick will be.

Three men appear to be the most likely candidates still -- Marco Rubio, J.D. Vance, Doug Burgum -- you see there.

CNN's Steve Contorno has all of this new reporting for us and he's joining us now. So, Steve, all the focus on President Biden right now. How is it impacting Donald Trump?

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Kate, Trump's campaign is entering a very critical stretch. As you mentioned, he has to name his running mate in the coming days. He has a convention that's starting in just one week. He has a planned rally in Doral on Tuesday; another one for Pennsylvania this weekend.

And they had been planning these events under the assumption that they would be the focal point of this stretch. And instead, they are no longer operating under that assumption. The expectation is that they will continue to have to compete with Biden for the country's attention, and that is affecting how they are announcing this rollout.

You know, even if they wanted to announce it this week, it would be quite difficult knowing that at any moment Biden could drop some news about his political future. There could be another twist in that ongoing saga that would steal attention from what is supposed to be one of a candidate's most important choices.

And when it comes to the VP search itself, we are told that Donald Trump may not have even come to a decision yet. Several of his allies don't think he has made a choice. And if that's the case, the expectation there is that what's happened over the past couple of weeks most certainly is affecting the calculus for making a decision -- and how could it not? The political reality has changed drastically. They have been planning for someone who could go up against Vice

President Harris in a debate. Well, what happens if she is suddenly the presidential nominee?

And this has also re-brought into the spotlight the fact that whoever is the pick must be able to step into that job right away. Can all three of the people that you mentioned -- the frontrunners in this -- in this race do that? That's part of the calculus that they're going to have to consider going forward.

BOLDUAN: And Steve, two of the VP contenders, if you will -- they were asked yesterday about Donald Trump's promise of retribution should he win. How did they navigate that?

CONTORNO: Quite different, and you can take a listen to how J.D. Vance and Marco Rubio responded right here.


SEN. J.D. VANCE (R-OH): I would absolutely support investigating prior wrongdoing by our government -- absolutely. Donald Trump is talking about appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Joe Biden for wrongdoing. Joe Biden has done exactly that for the last few years and has done far more in addition to that.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): He was president for four years. He didn't go after Hillary Clinton. He didn't go after Joe Biden. He didn't go after Barack Obama. He'll be too busy undoing all the damage of this disastrous presidency.


CONTORNO: So clearly, two very different responses. You had J.D. Vance suggesting that yes, President Trump would be within his right to go after Biden and his administration. Marco Rubio suggesting that the country should move forward. I should note Doug Burgum didn't make any appearances yesterday on the Sunday shows.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Steve. Thank you so much for your reporting as always -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, with us now, Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton, and CNN political commentator Paul Begala.

And Paul, I want to go to you first on the situation surrounding President Biden because you're not exactly like an outside observer here. You've been in discussions. You've been on conference calls. You've been talking to people in the Democratic world.

So where do things stand this morning -- 7:33 a.m. on the East Coast? What do you see happening?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, politicians are herd animals. And the members are now coming back. The members are coming back from their Fourth of July recess. They had this call yesterday with Hakeem Jeffries. It was just the

ranking members -- the seniormost. And from the -- I was not on the call, but from the people I've talked to it was a real divide. Several of the really established party leaders, all on the call, wanted Biden to step down and several didn't.

The key thing that I'm watching is Biden is still very solid in his support among Black leaders in the Congress. That's going to be the thing to watch. Right now, he's lost Raul Grijalva, a Hispanic congressman. He's lost Seth Moulton who is a moderate and Lloyd Doggett who is a liberal.


But the last piece of Biden's fortification is that utterly important essential support he's got in the Black community. That's how Joe Biden got to be president. The real heart and soul of the Democratic Party --Black voters -- especially Black women. And he's been solid with them. Will that crack this week? We don't know.

BERMAN: What happens if it doesn't, Paul?

BEGALA: Then Joe Biden is going to be the nominee. He is effectively the nominee. This is what's so maddening.

It's -- millions and millions of people have voted for Joe Biden. I'm one of them. Their votes should be honored.

But something has happened. Millions and millions of those folks who voted for Biden -- most of them, candidly, in the polling, are saying now we saw the debate and we don't think he can beat Donald Trump. That's the thing.

Parties -- political parties are not a family. Remember Robert Frost? He said family is where -- home is where when you show up, they've got to take you in. And they're not a church.

Parties exist to win, and more and more Democrats are telling me they don't think Biden can win. Not that he hasn't been a great president. He's been -- my God, he's been the most consequential first-term president since LBJ.

Not that he's not a great guy. I love him. There's a depth of personal affection for him that is beyond almost any politician I know.

It's this question of can he win? And more and more Democrats are saying he can't win, and we cannot afford Donald Trump who wants to be a dictator, he says, for a day.

BERMAN: Shermichael, I don't know if you had a chance to hear Steve Contorno's reporting there, but inside Trumpworld, there is a guy who wants to be in the spotlight -- Donald Trump -- every minute of every day. He wants to roll out his VP pick but it's complicated right now by the fact that all the heat and the light is on the Democratic side.

Do you think -- how frustrating do you think that is for Donald Trump right now?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't think it's frustrating at all, John. I mean, when you opponent has a self-inflicted would you're seeing that the polling data is showcasing that it's continuing to widen -- the gap between you and your opponent in terms of your advantage, you would like to allow that to fester for as long as you possibly can.

Because during that time you're spending more of that increasing your resources, having more fundraisers. Trying to target more small-dollar individuals so that you have a larger pool there.

You're focusing on the battleground states, potentially lining up radio ads and television ads. Opening up more field offices. Hiring more state directors in some of those very crucial states where the differences in Georgia were 11,000; or Arizona, 10,000; Wisconsin, 22,000.

So you're using this opportunity to further strengthen your operations.

Now, the question becomes for the Trump campaign at what point do you announce your VP running mate? Do you run the risk of taking attention away from your opponent who is definitely struggling right now? And I think that's going to be a part of -- a problem to see. Do you do it now or do you wait until next week during the convention? I would advise at least trying to get through this week to allow the Biden campaign to have more damage.

BERMAN: And Shermichael, since he hasn't named his running mate, yet you have a chance to weigh in. Who would you like to see of the people being floated right now, Shermichael? Who would you like to see as a running mate?

SINGLETON: I mean, look, there are only two names for me John, to be honest with you -- Dr. Ben Carson -- and I'm a little biased here because I worked with him for a very long time -- and Sen. Marco Rubio. And I'm looking at those two for this reason.

I know a lot of people say oh, running mates don't matter. That's not actually true. There is some fascinating data from UCLA and a couple of other Ivy League institutions that suggest that a running mate on the margins -- the right running mate can make a substantial difference in a very key race.

I'm looking at Carson because you're looking at potentially a 15- to 16-point increase among Black men from 12 percent in 2020. I think that's mathematically possible. I'm looking at Rubio because we've seen an increase in Latino support for Donald Trump. So either of those two who can increase a marginal victory I think would be a smart move for Trump.

BERMAN: So, Paul, I gave you a little bit of a break here, but I want to get back to the situation at hand. I mean, honestly, every minute of the day that passes right now it's such a big story because we've never been through something like this in our adult political lives, Paul.

How long do you think realistically the Democrats have here? I mean, do they have to get it done this week before the Republican Convention? Would they ever -- if he were to step aside do you think Biden would ever do it during the Republican Convention? I mean, what's the timeframe here?

BEGALA: Well, they have literally at least until their convention in August -- the Democrats do. The problem is they only have 119 days to win the whole election and each day is precious. And I'm sure Mr. Trump -- it's probably killing him.

I loved hearing Shermichael's analysis, first of all, because he's brilliant and -- but he thinks like a strategist, not a narcissist, right? He's thinking the old Napoleonic credo never interrupt your opponent when he's destroying himself.


But Mr. Trump, as you know -- maybe I'm not being fair because I really don't like him, but he seems somewhat self-absorbed. And so, he's going to find a way to get into this story.

But the Democrats -- this is the problem. They have to sort this out, and every hour that they have not done so is really hurting them. You're seeing -- the Democratic Party has to be united right now. And right now, you're seeing divisions -- I mean, lifelong allies turning against each other as they fight over whether Biden is the best one to beat Trump. It's been the only issue since Trump slithered down that escalator in 2015 - which Democrat is the best to beat Trump.

Because I'll be candid. Even as Democrat, there's not a pro-Biden coalition in America -- not a majority. There is anti-Trump majority. And so, the Democrats have to have the person who can best put that together.

The last election, it was clearly Biden, and he won. This time you're getting at least half the Democrats saying we're not so sure anymore.

BERMAN: Paul Begala, Shermichael Singleton, who is thinking like a strategist, not a narcissist. I feel like that might be something for your business card there, Shermichael. Thank you.

SINGLETON: (Laughing). You know, I don't even know what to say to that one, John.

BERMAN: Thank you?

SINGLETON: Thank you, Paul.

BERMAN: Thank you? I mean, I'd go with that. Let's stick with that.

BEGALA: Thanks, Shermichael. Good to see you, friend.

BERMAN: Gentlemen, I appreciate it. Take care -- Kate.

SINGLETON: Thank you, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. So, to help their -- to help afford their dream wedding, Paul Slobodzian and Aly Perkins -- they took on second jobs as Uber Eats delivery drivers. The couple set weekly, even nightly quotas for their deliveries around the Phoenix area to hopefully, meet their mark. Then one night Paul got an idea to add a personalized note to each order -- a handwritten note, if you will -- and with each bag that included his Venmo.

And that is where Erica Hernandez comes in. Erica got Paul's note with her Chipotle order and posted it to TikTok. And from there, cue the donations.


ERICA HERNANDEZ, UBER EATS CUSTOMER: When it said I'm trying -- I'm working on the side to give my fiance the wedding she deserves, that was it -- that's all it took.

PAUL SLOBODZIAN, UBER EATS DRIVER: It's alarming how positive it's been given the scope that it's reached.

ALY PERKINS, UBER EATS DRIVER: It feels too good to be true.


BOLDUAN: The post has now had more than 32 million views. Paul and Aly have now exceeded their savings goal with two weeks to spare. And Erica has also now been added to their wedding guest list, as well she should. It's a beautiful story.

Coming up still for us, a new warning from federal and local law enforcement ahead of next week's Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. We'll bring you the details on that.

And we are still tracking Hurricane Beryl. It made landfall and is moving and making its way through Texas this morning. Millions are bracing for the severe storm surge that could be coming and also flooding on its way. We're live on the ground with the very latest.



BERMAN: This morning, a new warning from federal officials about next week's Republican National Convention. According to a threat assessment from several federal agencies, the convention could be an "attractive target" for violent extremists looking to sow chaos.

With us now, Andrew McCabe, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former deputy director of the FBI. Andy, what kind of threats are we talking about here?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FBI (via Webex by Cisco): John, we're looking at the whole gamut here, unfortunately. And I can tell you from my experience of trying to protect events like this -- presidential inaugurations, political conventions, and all sorts of things -- you have the basic ingredients that lead to a potential terror threat. And that is a large preplanned publicly scheduled event that's going to attract a massive media presence.

Extremist groups that are looking to commit violence -- they want to do that in way to maximize casualties in a way that the world can see. So the fact that you have cameras here and, of course, the presence of high-ranking, high-profile political figures really opens up the option to all kinds of opportunity for extremist groups.

Now, we should say that there -- according to the FBI and the Secret Service, there have been no credible threats targeting the Republican National Committee at this time, but these are the sorts of things that security professionals are worried about.

BERMAN: Now, I've been to every Republican Convention since 1996 and one thing I've noticed at all of them Andy is a huge amount of security. I mean, these things are locked down pretty tight. So are there any additional preparations or extra things, or is it just going to be the normal complete security we see?

MCCABE: Well, you're going to see that typical security package. You're going to see frozen zones where unauthorized vehicles are not allowed to get close to official events and things like that.

You're going to see local security and law enforcement creating areas where people can exercise their First Amendment rights but hopefully, do so in a peaceful way separate from each other. You don't want a big space where kind of groups with opposing views are forced together into one area where they could maybe come into conflict and start some sort of problem in that way.

So you're going to see all those same things that you've seen time and time again.

But right now, we know that we're at a period of heightened threat because of what's going on in the world. We have individuals affiliated with ISIS who have been staging attacks in other parts of the world. We know some of them have smuggled themselves into the United States in the last few months. We know that supporters of Hamas could potentially be looking to strike out in a way targeting the government for our involvement in the conflict with Israel.


So there is a lot of things for our security professionals to try to keep their eyes on here.

BERMAN: And very quickly, Andy, this threat also mentioned the possibility of foreign intelligence services trying to gather information at the convention. What does that mean?

MCCABE: John, these are great opportunities for foreign spies to both collect information about who shows up at the convention and who is doing what. Understanding better where the relationships are within our political leadership structures. Kind of who is confabbing with you and that sort of thing. But also to gain access to those individuals.

The first step for any intelligence collector is to get access to a target. To start to build the relationship of trust with someone who might have access to people or information that's of interest to that foreign government.

So you have, really, a collection point right here where many of those top political leaders -- people with access to that information are going to be in one -- the same place at the same time. And if I'm a foreign spy, that's where I'm going that week.

BERMAN: Yeah. Conventions are like access fiestas.

Andrew McCabe, nice to see you this morning. Thank you very much -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: CIA Director Bill Burns is in Cairo today for talks to try and push forward a hostage and ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas. One potential promising move, Hamas appears ready to reconsider its demand all along that Israel agree to a permanent ceasefire before any deal can be reached. That is according to a senior Hamas official. So we'll see how long that sticks.

After Cairo, Burns will head to Qatar to try to continue his work to free the hostages still being held by Hamas now nine months into this wear in Gaza.

And new this morning, at least 22 people are dead and more than 60 injured in Ukraine after officials say dozens of Russian missiles hit multiple cities during rush hour. Ukraine's largest children's hospital and some residential buildings -- they were badly damaged in this.

A CNN producer on the ground at the hospital says people left their cars to help police and security services sift through the rubble. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says the exact number of casualties is still not known right now.

And jury selection begins tomorrow in Alec Baldwin's involuntary manslaughter trial in New Mexico. Today, his defense team and prosecutors -- they're going to be in court at a hearing on what evidence and testimony will be allowed at trial.

You will remember the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed during the filming of Baldwin's move "Rust" back in 2021. The actor was pointing a gun at Hutchins during rehearsal when it fired. Baldwin insists he never pulled the trigger. The film's armorer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in March.

And WNBA rookie Angel Reese is etching her name in the history books already. She notched her 13th consecutive double-double on Sunday -- a new league record. She put up 17 points and also had 14 rebounds for her Chicago Sky even though they lost to the Seattle Storm. Reese has now surpassed WNBA great Candace Parker's 12-game double-double streak back in 2009-2010.

What's a double-double in our business?

BERMAN: Sorry?

BOLDUAN: What's a double-double in our business?

BERMAN: Um, you anchor two shows and have many people watch both.

BOLDUAN: I mean, that means you --

BERMAN: Two, two-anchor shows.

BOLDUAN: That means you've done a bajillion double-doubles in your career.

BERMAN: I'm just saying I hold the record for double-doubles. I mean, coincidentally. All right.

New this morning, French President Emmanuel Macron has rejected his prime minister's resignation and is asking him to stay on to ensure the stability of the country. The prime minister tendered his resignation following the stunning results in Parliamentary Elections. Left-leaning parties won the most seats, blocking the far-right National Rally Party which had been poised for victory. Still, there is no absolute majority for anyone, which could mean chaos.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is live in Paris at the National Assembly. This is something, Jim.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, John. One of the reasons we're here is that we expect in the next few minutes some of the first of those elected deputies are going to start arriving here less than 24 hours after the elections. But in any case, the way that they are divided is something that's going to be a real conundrum for President Macron.

I think we've got a flyer that shows the sort of make-up of this new Parliament. And the left wing -- sort of an alliance -- a very loose coalition of left-wing parties which range from everything from the Communist Party to the center-left. They're going to hold the most number of seats.

However, they can't agree among themselves about who should be the prime minister. So they're not going to be able to -- I don't think at this point, anyway, to be able to make a recommendation to President Macron about who it should be.

The other parties -- it's basically broken up -- the Parliament broken up into thirds with the Centrist Party of Emmanuel Macron coming in second. And the National Rally Party, which we all were worried about, drove a lot of the people to that left-wing alliance, basically did not do so well. They came in third.

[07:55:12] So it's going to be kind of a mess for the president. He's got to figure out who's going to be prime minister. But he's, at the moment, just as you said, named the previous prime minister as a temporary prime minister and urging him to carry on at least until the Olympics, John.

BERMAN: Yeah, the Olympics are looming. The whole world is literally watching France or will be this summer in this moment of chaos. I have to imagine they want some kind of civility, Jim.

BITTERMANN: Yeah, exactly, and especially if there's anything of an incident or anything breaks out where you've got to have -- you know, the interior minister is going to be sure -- they've got to be -- they've got to have some power behind the various apparatuses in the state here.

BERMAN: All right, Jim Bittermann at the National Assembly for this historic moment. Jim, thank you very much -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It really is fascinating.

And President Biden is now set to host dozens of NATO leaders in Washington this week for a summit. The most pressing issue on the agenda for world leaders gathering, the status of Ukraine, and also assessing China's support for Russia.

But on the sidelines, in the back -- in the background overhanging all of it is also the world watching to see how President Biden is able to perform. As we know, this is a critical week for the president.

And joining us right now is Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. She's now the executive director of the McCane Institute. It's great to see you, Evelyn. It's been -- it's been a moment. Thank you for coming in.

Let's talk about the summit --


BOLDUAN: -- in terms of the need. What the leaders need from the summit. First and foremost, what does President Biden need from this summit?

FARKAS: Well, Kate, President Biden has three big audiences that he's looking to impress, I guess would be the best verb.

He is looking to impress, of course, the domestic audience, which is your last point there. And mostly, that really means high-level officials in Congress. People who will have influence about whether he's going to be the Democratic candidate.

The second audience, of course, are our allies and partners. They are looking for our president to reaffirm and really put out a strong message about unity. This is the 75th anniversary of NATO. It's an accomplishment in and of itself that the alliance is still going and going strong.

And the third audience are our opponents. So you mentioned Russia, China. These countries are watching the United States and they're watching our president.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and there is a lot of uncertainty kind of hanging over the whole gathering. You've got uncertainty around Biden, as you were just mentioning. Around the leadership in Europe as well. We were just talking about the -- kind of the huge surprise that happened in France around the surge of far-right politicians. The NATO adverse momentum kind of gaining power in Europe. And also here in the United States with Donald Trump.

I mean, I want to play a moment just to remind folks -- the CNN debate kind of encapsulating this -- listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a guy who wants to get out of NATO. Are you going to stay in NATO?


BIDEN: He's going to pull out of NATO.


BOLDUAN: And right there it was the shrug heard round the world if you will, Evelyn.

So what -- I play that because my question is what is this Trump- proofing NATO effort that I'm -- that I'm hearing about, and how real is it?

FARKAS: Yeah. I mean, allies, Kate, have become really alarmed because, of course, former Trump advisers under the last administration -- the last Trump administration have told us that President Trump wanted to withdraw the United States from NATO. President Trump then, more recently as a candidate for another term, told us that he's going to let Russia do whatever it wants. I'm quoting loosely.

So the allies want to make sure that everything they do can Trump- proof. Can protect NATO, the alliance interests -- the interests of all the countries that make up NATO combined against anything that Trump might do, including withdrawing -- you know, trying to withdraw or withdrawing the United States from NATO.

But the number one priority is making sure that Ukraine has what it needs to make sure that Russia does not prevail -- does not win. Does not -- does not get the upper hand when it comes to Ukraine.

BOLDUAN: On that note, I wanted to ask you about two other gatherings or meetings that are happening around the same time, right?

You've got the prime minister of India headed to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin for the first time since Russia launched its war on Ukraine. You also have Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Beijing on a surprise visit to meet with President Xi.

If you add these visits up, what do you get? What do people need to be watching for there?

FARKAS: Well, I think, Kate, what they're trying to do here -- these autocrats -- I mean, they're clearly challenging the United States and our democratic allies, and I should note including our Asian allies. Because we have the members of -- so we have our East Asian allies in Australia, another ally joining the NATO summit.