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CNN International: Calls for Biden to Step Aside After Debate Performance; Far-Right Party Leads First Round of Voting in France; Caribbean Braces for Extremely Dangerous Hurricane Beryl. Aired 4:30- 5a ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.

Today, President Joe Biden is mulling over whether to stay in the 2024 presidential race. This following a devastating performance at the first debate on Thursday, CNN is now learning from top advisers that Biden's family encouraged him to stay in the race during a trip to Camp David this weekend.

And earlier I spoke with Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and I asked him what he thinks about the pressure President Biden is facing following his dismal performance at the presidential debate last week.


LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Everyone saw with their own eyes what the problem was, and it's hard to explain your way out of it. You know, people can say it's a cold or he was over prepared or whatever the excuse is. The truth is most of the negativity has stayed underground, which has been surprising because Democrats normally express themselves fully in public, and that hasn't happened yet.

And it's why we have to keep our eyes on two groups. One, the elected officials who will share the ballot with Joe Biden in November if he stays on the ticket, and of course the donors. You mentioned the big donors. At some point some of them are going to abandon the ticket if in fact Biden falls behind Trump a good deal more than he already has.


CHURCH: Right, and of course President Biden says the only way he would step aside is if he is shown convincing data that proves it's too damaging for the party and the country for him to stay on. Now if that happened, what is the process for replacing him at the convention in August, and who would be positioned to take his place? Is anyone able to take on Trump at this point?

SABATO: Well, the process could charitably be described as chaos. And again, you know, Democrats have had some experience with that over the years. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.

But there is no plan. There's nothing in the party rules that contribute to the solution to this, other than the fact that Joe Biden would have to do it as soon as possible to give the party enough time to organize the selection of his substitute. And of course his vice president, Kamala Harris, is going to insist that she's next in line and certainly would be a candidate.

But I think there would be others who would be interested. But who organizes this? Would it fall to former President Obama and maybe former President Clinton and Hillary Clinton and Speaker Pelosi?

You know, you can think of a group of people that might be able to pull it off. But it would be difficult, and while the party lacks leadership for the presidential election, the Republicans aren't going to just be sitting there. They're going to be organizing, airing negative ads, raising more money, and probably moving up in the polls.

So this is really hard to figure out. You know, both pathways could lead to destruction. So which one do you pick?


CHURCH (on camera): Let's go to Max Foster now in Paris, where he's covering the French parliamentary elections. And Max, these snap elections were always a gamble for President Macron, weren't they? And that appears to have backfired.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it does, really. The far right really celebrating this surge in support in this first round of elections. It's not over yet.

But we have had the results in from that. And they do show the national rally leading, just over 33 percent of the vote, followed by the left-wing New Popular Front coalition in second, with nearly 28 percent. Mr. Macron's centrist alliance is in third, with nearly 21 percent.

I should say that 76 of the seats have been confirmed, which is very unusual for a first round. 76 candidates got absolute majorities. Very few of them, we're not sure if any at all, were from Macron's party.

They were all from the left and the far right. The far right doing very well. So all signs are that the far right is coming on extremely strong.

National Rally leader Jordan Bardella urged voters to remain mobilized, though, for the second round, which is next Sunday. He says it's clear the French people do want change.


JORDAN BARDELLA, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RALLY PARTY (through translator): They delivered a clear verdict and confirmed their clear aspirations for change. The vote taking place next Sunday is one of the most decisive in the entire history of the Fifth Republic. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Joining me Eleonore Caroit, a member of Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance Party. How are you feeling? It's been a disaster, hasn't it?

ELEONORE CAROIT, RENAISSANCE PARTY AND FRENCH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: It has been a terrible and very shocking result. But, you know, this is not over, so we're fighting. We're fighting against the ideas of the National Assembly, because they're very dangerous for France, for us, for dual citizens like me, for instance. So, yes, extremely shocked, but fighting.

FOSTER: Who was voting for them? We're getting indications it was a lot of younger people.

CAROIT: I think a lot of people just voted for them without really knowing what they think or what they believe in, because they've been hiding themselves. You know, for instance, on the European position of France, they were in favor of Brexit for many years. Now they don't say it so much because we saw what happened with Brexit to a certain extent, but we're not clear about what they think.

In terms of also citizenship, as I said, they make a difference between the real French, as they say, and the French that are French on paper. That is extremely dangerous. And I think the shame is that we don't have more time so that they can actually show their true colors, because I think many voters would not vote for them if they knew what they really think and what their ideas are.

FOSTER: Macron has had plenty of time to prove himself, though, and he hasn't done it to the voters. How does he handle this next week? Because -- well, just explain how it works. You're basically going to have three candidates in many constituencies going through to the second round. Your priority, and the left says it's the same, is to block the far right. How does that work?

CAROIT: Yes, it's a very complex and particular system because we're not in a preliminary democracy. We have a presidential system, but with a very strong parliament.


So this is really an election where you vote for a person, and you have two rounds to vote for them. So it makes it possible to block the extremes because you have coalitions that can constitute. So I am optimistic about the possibility to block the far right. I think it's not easy, but I think not everything is lost.

And I call on French people to vote for responsible candidates that will make a democratic and central alliance, because our country needs that.

FOSTER: Let's take someone from your party who's in a constituency against someone who's hard left and they don't take Macron's advice and pull out, that's going to complicate things for him. CAROIT: Every single situation is different and there are many situations that are very complicated. Again, you need to look at -- you know, there's a lot of labelling right now. We talk about three blocks.

Those three blocks, they don't really exist because when you look at the left block, you see that it's a composition, very strange, of parties, of people that were fighting each other so vehemently only three weeks ago during the European elections.

So again, I think, look at the candidate. Who is someone who's going to be able to work with a coalition, you know, a central coalition, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats and vote for them and vote against the extreme, the extreme right in particular because of their nauseous ideas.

FOSTER: You know President Macron very well. Are you angry with him for calling this vote?

CAROIT: I think it's a very difficult to understand decision. I was extremely surprised. I know him --

FOSTER: Well, you know him well and you didn't even know. No one knew, did they?

CAROIT: Look, I'm not close to him, but I work in the central coalition. I'm not a politician. That's the other thing. I'm a lawyer. I decided to do politics two years ago because I wanted to change things for my constituents that are the French people that live abroad in Latin America and the Caribbean. And I really believe in this idea that Macron had, which is the depassement. It's, you know, we're going to do politics differently.

I think what happened over the past two years in the National Assembly is that you had a very radicalized opposition to the left and to the right. And they were all trying to make this unbearable. We had a number record of motion censure, you know, that's when you try to destitute the government. And this was something that was probably going to happen anyways. But yes, it is a very difficult decision.

FOSTER: But he's made it worse because he could potentially end up with a, you know, he's the president, he has a far right prime minister. So that's going to be more chaos, more uncertainty for the French people than a situation where at least he had a prime minister from his own group.

CAROIT: I think, you know, as I said, this was a surprising, shocking decision, perhaps a bold decision. But what I'm not sure about is whether it's worse or not, because when you had the opposition that we had only a few weeks ago, saying no to everything, opposing to every single move we were trying to make, you know, to conciliate, to do trans-partisan work, they would disagree as a matter of principle. And the Republicain, which was the central force to the right with whom we could have made alliances, and we tried, I mean, we tried to make alliances with them and with the socialists, and they said, clearly, we are going to have a motion censure that is going to make you, you know, the government down, and you're going to have to have a dissolution.

During budgetary times, when times are tough in the European Union, I don't know what would have been the worst. But here we are. We have to face the circumstances and to fight with everything we've got against the far right.

FOSTER: So the big decision on next Sunday, isn't it, the final decision on who has the majority in Parliament, who becomes Prime Minister as well, and the future of France, and it says a lot, Rosemary, doesn't it, about Europe as well right now, because so many of the themes playing in here are continental.

CHURCH: Yes, just amazing. You have been doing a great job. That, of course, does conclude the coverage on the French elections for now. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Max.

And after the break, Caribbean islands prepare for an unprecedented and extremely dangerous hurricane. We will have more on that in just a moment.



CHURCH: The Caribbean is bracing for Hurricane Beryl, and although the hurricane has weakened to a Category 3 in strength, it's still extremely dangerous with maximum winds of 120 miles per hour or more than 190 kilometers per hour. Potentially catastrophic wind damage is still expected when Beryl passes through parts of the Caribbean's eastern edge in the coming hours. Beryl had intensified to a Category 4 on Sunday, making it the earliest Cat 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean on record.

Several countries are under hurricane warnings and watches, and authorities are urging caution. So joining us now from St. Thomas in Barbados is journalist Barry Wilkinson. Good to see you again, Barry.

BARRY WILKINSON, JOURNALIST: Yes, same here. Same here to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So what is the latest on Hurricane Beryl's track, and when and where is it expected to make landfall?

WILKINSON: Well, the hurricane has moved further south of Barbados, as we speak. It's like 195 kilometers per hour in terms of the wind. But it's extremely windy outside, there's no doubt about that. The wind has picked up its gusty. There's not a lot of rain at the moment, but the wind is terribly noticeable.

At this particular stage, 12 hours ago, I think the prediction would have been that this hurricane, which like you said, has been downgraded to a Cat 3, that it would have impacted much deeper into Barbados. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

Barbados is indeed getting a lot of outer bands from this particular hurricane. But it is moving closer towards the islands of, let's say, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and moving further south of Barbados. So it might not impact as we might have thought. However, there is still going to be some impact as the wind is terribly high at this particular stage.

CHURCH: All right, we'll certainly keep a very close eye on that. Talking there with Barry Wilkinson. Appreciate it.

All right, a spectacular stoppage time goal helped England squeeze into the quarterfinals of Euro 2024. We'll take a look when we come back.



CHURCH: The mood of England fans went from doom to delight when Jude Bellingham scored a spectacular equalizer in stoppage time against Slovakia. It was the team's first shot on target but came just in time. The overhead kick sent the match into extra time when England came out on top 2-1, thanks to a header by captain Harry Kane.

England will face Switzerland in the quarterfinals on July 6th and are hoping for a better overall performance.

22-year-old Angel Reese has set a new WNBA record on Sunday. The Chicago Skies forward scored her 10th straight double-double, the most in a single season in the Women's League history.

And for those unfamiliar with the term, a double-double is when a player accumulates a total of 10 or more in any two statistical categories in one game. Though the Sky lost on Sunday, Reese had 10 points and 16 rebounds. Chicago's head coach says she's proud of the player. The previous record was set in 2015.

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles has booked her ticket to the Paris Olympics after a major win at the Olympic gymnastics trials. She is now the fourth American woman to compete in three Olympic Games.

Biles placed first in the all-around competition on Sunday, leading her competitors by more than five points. It guarantees the reigning world champion and the most decorated gymnast ever an automatic spot on the U.S. team.


Well, as the saying goes if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you? Well, what if it was part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series? The competition has divers free-falling from as high as 27 meters. This is video from the third leg of the series held on Italy's Adriatic coast on Sunday. The series moves on to Northern Ireland's Causeway Coast on July 20th.

And the story's in the spotlight this hour. The U.S. Department of Justice is facing criticism as it nears an agreement with Boeing over the company's recent string of safety failures and production problems. An attorney representing 737 MAX crash victims' families is calling the offer a sweetheart deal. It's said to include a corporate monitor and a fine in exchange for a guilty plea to criminal charges. Boeing has until the end of the week to decide whether to accept the agreement or go to trial.

Well a ground test of a private company's rocket ended in this fiery crash in central China on Sunday. The company's space pioneer says its rocket accidentally launched after structural failure caused it to detach from the launch pad. The company say no one was injured as people in the area were evacuated before the rocket test.

Will Smith returned to his music roots at the BET Awards on Sunday, debuting his new gospel-inspired song.


WILL SMITH, NEW SONG DEBUT AT BET AWARDS: The darker the hell you gotta endure The brighter the heaven you get to enjoy The harder the fall, the higher you soar God opens a window when the devil closes the door Believe me, they tried to bleed Will Smith In the rear view ...


CHURCH: "You Can Make It" is the Oscar-winning actor's first solo material in more than five years, teeing up his first major music release in nearly two decades. The performance comes just months after Smith's surprise Coachella appearance.

And I want to thank you so much for being with us here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN "THIS MORNING" is up next after a short break.