Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

White House Ready to Move on as Democrats Still Fret Over Biden's Debate Performance; Beryl Leaves Nearly 2 Million Texans Without Power Amid Heat Wave; Today, Opening Statements to Begin in Alec Baldwin Trial. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2024 - 07:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: New warning signs in the Democratic Party, a Democratic senator now saying publicly that he does not think Joe Biden can win re-election after that debate performance and that Biden could take down their chances in the House and Senate with him.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Millions in Texas once again waking up without power after Hurricane Beryl rolled through the state. Dangerous heat only making matters worse as cleanup efforts continue there.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And have you ever felt like your Airbnb host was watching you during your stay? It turns out, they may have been. CNN investigates the hidden cameras inside Airbnbs.

I'm John Berman with Sara Sidner and Kate Bolduan, and this is CNN News Central.

BOLDUAN: We are done talking about the debate. That is the quote from the White House this morning. The new CNN reporting just in that the White House is turning the page on this Democratic Party crisis surrounding President Biden, or at least trying to turn the page. Sources within the administration making clear to my colleagues that their message to the doubters is essentially get over it.

As one Biden aide just put it, we're done talking about the debate and focused on a singular mission, defeating Donald Trump. And rather than worry about the president's political future, a senior administration official told CNN, I'm moving on to my day job.

Now the question seems to be, are Democrats on Capitol Hill ready to get on with their day jobs, get along and get in line, or something else?

And what about voters, especially now that Biden's rival is back on the campaign trail with commentary like this?


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The radical left Democrat Party is divided in chaos and having a full scale breakdown. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Some context here, this morning the dam of support for Biden has not broken yet, and there are definitely new warning lights flashing, though, a source telling CNN that Senators Michael Bennet, Sherrod Brown, Jon Tester behind closed doors, they all said that they do not think Biden can win. And then Senator Bennet decided to say that very publicly on CNN.


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): The White House in the time since that disastrous debate, I think has done nothing to really demonstrate that they have a plan to win.

It's critically important that they address the concerns of the American people, not ignore them.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Arlette Saenz is at the White House for us. Arlette, what is the campaign, what is the White House saying about this now?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, President Biden and his team are simply pushing forward with this campaign, essentially telling those Democrats with doubts about the president's future of political capabilities that it's time to move on. Aides here at the White House and the campaign really believe that the debate about the debate and President Biden's path forward in this campaign has been fully aired out and is over, even though there are still serious doubts among some corners of the Democratic Party. One longtime adviser to President Biden saying quote, he truly believes he is the only person who can defeat Donald Trump. It's not an act.

These aides say that the president has fully made clear his intention to run in this race, perhaps the most public push and campaign to assure lawmakers of that was in that letter that President Biden wrote on Monday where he said the question of how to move forward has been well aired. It's time for it to end.

Now, the president has been working both publicly and behind the scenes to try to rally and shore up support for his re-election bid. That includes a holding those calls with the Congressional Black Caucus, meeting last night virtually with Democratic mayors, even placing one-on-one phone calls to key lawmakers, including a key progressive voice, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


The president's hope is to further stop the bleeding of support that he saw from over the past week. But so far, only seven House Democratic lawmakers have gone public with their calls for President Biden to step aside in this race. But, as you noted, there are many more who still harbor deep reservations about President Biden's ability to win in November. That is something that Senator Michael Bennet said last night on our air. Now, the Biden campaign and the White House say that the president will be pushing forward with his schedule. Today, this morning, he will be meeting with union chiefs at an AFL CIO meeting. Later in the day, he will be attending various events for the NATO summit as well, as hosting the new British prime minister here at the White House. This is all part of his efforts to show that he is out there doing the job of president. And, of course, a lot of eyes will be on that solo news conference playing out tomorrow at a time when many of President Biden's allies and also those with concern say that he needs to do more in this campaign to show he's up for the job.

BOLDUAN: Arlette, thank you so much. More reporting coming from our White House team all throughout the morning. Sara?

SIDNER: Kate, if there is a sign that President Trump is loving all this, this is it. Former President Trump danced off the stage last night in Miami after launching several new attacks against Biden and the chaos he says is dividing Democrats right now.

CNN's Alayna Treene has more on this. Alayna, this was, I think, Trump's first post-debate rally. And while Biden's name was really not brought up a lot, you know this morning that for the first time this election cycle, he really dug into Vice President Kamala Harris. Tell us what you heard.

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Sarah, and I found that to be one of the most interesting parts of his rally last night. And you're exactly right, this was his first rally, but also public event since the debate. And what's notable about his attacks on Harris is both Donald Trump and his team have really avoided going after the vice president throughout their campaign. But last night, that was not the case. And I think it just very clearly shows how closely Donald Trump and his campaign are monitoring the situation around Joe Biden and questions over whether he will step aside and if Kamala Harris could potentially be his successor.

Take a listen to exactly what Donald Trump said.


TRUMP: But whatever else can be said about crooked Joe Biden, you have to give him credit for one brilliant decision, probably the smartest decision he's ever made. He picked Kamala Harris as his vice president.

No, it was brilliant, because it was an insurance policy, maybe the best insurance policy I've ever seen, Marco. If Joe had picked someone even halfway competent, they would have bounced him from office years ago.


TREENE: Now, Sara, I do want to just share some inside reporting on how Donald Trump and his campaign are thinking about this. One is that despite what he is saying about Kamala Harris not being as strong of an opponent, Donald Trump and his team are very concerned about what it would look like if Joe Biden is not the person at the top of the Democratic ticket. Part of that is because they have spent millions of dollars on modeling and gathering data focused solely on going after Joe Biden. So, they really don't know what having someone like Kamala Harris at the top of the Democratic ticket would look like.

And so his team is very much delighting in Joe Biden saying repeatedly that he is staying in the race and digging in on remaining as president.

BOLDUAN: And certainly when you look at the polling and Americans saying they don't like either choice, it would be interesting to see what a new choice would mean.

I do want to ask you about -- he mentioned Marco Rubio right there in his sound bite. Marco was there speaking. Did he give any sort of idea as to who he's going to pick for vice president?

TREENE: No, that was the one thing we didn't hear, Sara. And he kind of dangled it in front of Rubio. And you're right. Marco Rubio was there. He spoke prior before Donald Trump took the stage. He had his entire family there. And at one moment, he actually joked that there was so much press at the rally because they thought he was going to announce his pick.

Take a listen to what Trump said.


TRUMP: I think they probably think I'm going to be announcing that Marco is going to be vice president, I don't know, because that's a lot of press. That's a lot of press.

We had a vicious campaign for a while. And he was tough and he was smart. And I got to really know him well over the years. And he's a fantastic guy, Senator Marco Rubio.


TREENE: Now, Sara, he briefly mentioned Marco Rubio, as you heard there, but then he quickly moved on. And I can tell you it's still unclear what Donald Trump's timeline for announcing his vice presidential pick is.


I'm told by Trump's team that it could come as late as Monday, which is the start of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. And so he has another rally upcoming this weekend and we're going to be watching whether or not that announcement could come then. Sara?

SIDNER: My, my, my, his rhetoric has changed from Little Marco. Certainly, we're seeing that now. Thank you so much, Alayna. John?

BERMAN: Nearly 2 million people without power after Hurricane Beryl. It could be out for weeks as life threatening heat moves in.

Opening statements set to begin today in the manslaughter trial against Alec Baldwin.

And it turns out for one man, it was a snake in his pants, actually not one but a hundred live snakes hidden in his pants at airport security. CSA and some psychiatrists might have a field day with this one.



BERMAN: This morning, nearly 2 million people are without power in Texas after Hurricane Beryl and the air conditioning may not come back on for weeks, as sweltering heat blankets the state. And now there's some finger pointing over federal aid as well.

Let's get right to CNN's Ed Lavendera, who's there. Ed, what's the latest this morning?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, there's no question that days after a major hurricane like this, it's an extremely frustrating time for the millions of people living without electricity at this moment. But right now, the latest figures we have is that about 1.7 million people, customers, in that Southeast Texas region are without power still, several days now after the arrival of Hurricane Beryl, and about 1.4 million of those customers are in the Houston area serviced by the utility company CenterPoint.

CenterPoint says that it will take several days to get the power back on for most customers, but they do anticipate by the end of the day today that a million customers will be back online, but that means there will still be hundreds of thousands of customers without power. So, incredibly frustrating times, especially as the heat continue to rise again in that region intensely here in these summer months. But CenterPoint says the goal as of today is to get at least a million customers back online, but that is going to take some time. And it's not exactly clear how much longer others will have to wait.

This is what CenterPoint is saying now.


PAUL LOCK, CENTERPOINT ENERGY REPRESENTATIVE: It's going to be days. I mean, look at the last event in June -- I mean, in May. We had just under a million people without power. I don't know if you recall that we restored power to a million people in 4.5 days. And now we're at 2.2 million.


LAVANDERA: And, John, political squabbling on top of all of this. President Biden told the Houston Chronicle yesterday that he had been trying to track down the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who is on an overseas business development trip in Asia and has been gone since the storm hit. The acting governor is the lieutenant governor at this moment. Both Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott said that they're disappointed that the president is politicizing the situation and that they know how to reach state leaders, that he knows how to reach state leaders here during this time. John?

BERMAN: All right. Ed Lavandera for us in the heat in Texas, Ed, thank you very much. Kate?

BOLDUAN: So, this morning, opening statements are set to begin in the trial of Alec Baldwin. He was in court yesterday. He is facing involuntary manslaughter charges. What to expect today when his team starts laying out his defense.

And no room for privacy, a CNN investigation reveals Airbnb is failing to protect its guests from hidden cameras in its rental property.



SIDNER: This morning, opening statements are set to begin in the involuntary manslaughter trial against Alec Baldwin. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in the 2021 death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot on set as Baldwin and others were rehearsing a scene for their film Rust. The actors face up to 18 months in prison if found guilty.

Let's bring in Court T.V. Anchor Julie Grant to discuss all of this. You've been watching this closely. The case was brought and then dropped and then brought back and prosecutors go first with opening statements. How do you think they're going to frame this case to the jury?

JULIE GRANT, ANCHOR, COURT T.V.: Sara, good morning, great to be with you. I think prosecutors going to frame it that Alec Baldwin was reckless and negligent when he pointed a firearm, and a real firearm, at the film cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. That's where their Take things back to what a reasonable person would have done. Would a reasonable person not have checked that gun themselves before pointing it at another human being?

You don't have to be a firearms expert to know that the biggest rule in firearm safety is you never point at anything you don't intend to shoot. That is going to be the biggest problem, Sara, for Alec Baldwin, the pointing of the gun at Halyna Hutchins.

SIDNER: But, of course, this was a movie. There was an armorer who was also charged in this case. What will the defense be trying to hit for the jury?

GRANT: The operability of the firearm, Sara. You mentioned how prosecutors had charged Alec Baldwin, then they withdrew the charges, then they recharged him. Part of that recharging decision was done after some lab testing on the firearm. And the state created a really big problem for themselves.

In the lab, they managed to break the firearm during the testing. They did a drop test. They did a mallet test, all these tests that, quite frankly, were unnecessary for the issue at hand. And in doing that, the firearm is no longer in its original condition. So, now we really don't know how it was operating back in October of 2021. And that's going to be so key for the defense here because they can point to a malfunction and the fact that they didn't get a chance to do their own independent testing on that gun.


So, the state has had to reassemble the gun, Sara, in order to get it operable again. You can expect the defense to make a huge deal about this in Alec Baldwin's defense case.

SIDNER: I do want to also ask you about this question, potential jurors of one of Alec Baldwin's attorneys appeared to reference his SNL impression of Donald Trump. Why do you think they asked about that?

GRANT: Sarah, that's something interesting. I took a look at the jury questionnaire. And the one question that stuck out as not being standard to me was party affiliation, and where this could come into play is politics. We know that Alec Baldwin has been someone who has spoken out against former President Donald Trump, and he's also someone who is an anti-gun advocate.

So, the idea for these, the attorneys who are doing the voir dire or the jury questioning is to make sure you have everybody who is not going to bring any politics into that courtroom. You can't have anybody judging Alec Baldwin on his party affiliation or impressions he's done on the former president, only on the facts and the law, Sara.

SIDNER: Julie Grant, it's nice to have you this morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

GRANT: Thank you, Sara, my pleasure.


BOLDUAN: The Democratic senator from Colorado now sticking his neck out and saying the quiet part out loud in some respect, voicing his fear that Joe Biden will now lose to Donald Trump after that debate performance. Why he's speaking out now and why he is still stopping short of calling on Biden to step aside in light of this.

And a CNN investigation uncovers Airbnb's hidden camera problem, customers sharing how their vacations turned into nightmares, one man finding out when he was contacted by police.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They explained that every single room in the house had cameras.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cameras were hidden in smoke detectors.