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CNN International: Soon: Justices To Release Decision On Presidential Immunity; Far-Right Party Leads After First Round Of Voting; Biden Family Encourages President To Stay In Race. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 08:00   ET



OMAR JIMENEZ, HOST, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hello, and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Omar Jimenez, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Just ahead, far-right on the rise, a once-fringe party takes center stage in France's parliamentary elections. So, what is Emmanuel Macron's next move? We're live in Paris. Plus, all eyes on this building, the United States Supreme Court. In just two hours, we're expecting a blockbuster ruling that could have a major impact on the U.S. presidential campaign. And a new report from Kenya, shocking CNN video of protesters shot on the streets amid unrest in the capital last week.

All right, everyone. We are just a couple hours away from one of the most eagerly anticipated decisions in U.S. Supreme Court history. The court is expected to announce its decision on Donald Trump versus the United States, Trump's claim of absolute presidential immunity. Now, the justices know that the question of to what extent a President enjoys immunity, if at all, is a crucial one. The court heard more than two and a half hours of oral arguments on this case back in April, with Justice Neil Gorsuch commenting, we are writing a rule for the ages.

Now, to help us preview today's big decision, let's bring in CNN's Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic. All right. So, Joan, I just want to start with, how likely is it that we get some kind of split decision from the court here, one that isn't exactly a win, but also not a loss for Trump?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Good to see you, Omar. Yes, we're just two hours away. And I think the Supreme Court is going to be, as you say, a little bit more split in terms of the issues than the lower courts had been. The lower courts had both looked at the arguments from former President Donald Trump, where he was asserting absolute, categorical immunity from criminal prosecution in this entire case, the four counts of election subversion brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith on behalf of the Department of Justice, the United States people, actually, and those lower courts just basically shut the door and said, Donald Trump cannot be shielded here.

But, when the justices themselves heard oral arguments back on April 25th, Omar, they went deeper and tried to look at the kinds of actions that were at issue here and divide them between actions that might have been taken in former President Donald Trump's official capacity perhaps, and if they were taking it in his official capacity, could then he be shielded, but private acts, for example, acts that were taking more as candidate Trump would not be shielded from criminal prosecution.

But, originally, Donald Trump had said that anything he did in the wake of the 2020 election results, which validly went to Joe Biden, anything he did to protest or to look at issues of fraud or the kinds of things that Jack Smith is saying amounted to conspiracy, former President Trump was saying those were all part of his official work. So, everything should be off the table. But then, during oral arguments, Omar, his lawyer conceded that maybe there were some actions that could be considered private.

So, the key here, and it's going to be a tricky one, is to see, first of all, how do they rule on the basic question of whether he has immunity. And then, if there are enough unanswered questions surrounding the act, the core actions that he took in late 2020 and early 2021, does this case then have to go back for further proceedings in lower courts, and a trial, a potential trial be so far on the horizon that there is absolutely no way that Donald Trump can be put to trial for actions he took after the 2020 election before the 2024 election?

JIMENEZ: And Joan, you touched on it a bit there, is obviously we've already had oral arguments for this case. Did we get any hints of maybe particular things that justices were keyed in on or hints on what they may be focused on or leaning toward based on what we heard from opening -- from oral arguments?

BISKUPIC: Sure. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with how the lower court here had handled it, because the lower court had said, we don't have -- the lower court has said, as a baseline, this is something important that I think our viewers should know, it said that whatever protections former President Donald Trump had when he was President, whatever immunity he might have enjoyed then, completely disappeared when he became citizen Trump. Now, the justices thought that was insufficient. So, the main signal we got was that they feel like there is some -- there is more to be parsed here in terms of various actions.


So, I think that's -- that was the real takeaway, is that they're not going to rule the way two different lower courts already ruled in kind of a cut and dry fashion. But, what they have -- and now, there is a chance, though, Omar, that they rule in a way that's definitive enough for us to know in two hours, when this comes down, that there is no way Donald Trump can go to trial in this calendar year. There is just no way.

But, I think there might be some uncertainty and that's where it will be then in the hands of the trial judge who had initially heard this and rejected Donald Trump's claim and had wanted to set an actual trial proceeding for March. But, we are way past March and the clock is ticking, and here we are in July. I should just add that Special Counsel Jack Smith anticipated some of this difficulty when he asked the Supreme Court last December to intervene and said, you're going to -- you are the final decider on this. Please come and take this case up earlier, and the justices rejected that and didn't hear it until April, Omar.

JIMENEZ: And now, here we are less than two hours away at this point --


JIMENEZ: -- on the final calendar day or the final day of this term for the Supreme Court and it looks like we're going to end with a big one.


JIMENEZ: CNN's Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic, thanks so much.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

JIMENEZ: All right. Meanwhile, a week of campaigning and political bargaining begins in France ahead of a second round of parliamentary voting. Now, Sunday's first round dealt a major blow to President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance, which slumped to a dismal third in the polls, with just over 20 percent of the vote. The far-right party of Marine Le Pen is leading after the first round. It got more than 33 percent of the vote. The left-wing coalition, known as the New Popular Front, came second. Now, thousands of protesters gathered in Paris to show their opposition to the far-right, and the second round of voting takes place Sunday.

So, I want to bring in CNN's Melissa Bell, who joins us now live from Paris. So, Melissa, a tough night for French President Emmanuel Macron. But, there is still a second round of voting to come next week. How does the strategy potentially change? What will Macron's strategy this week be?

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've been hearing, Omar, from the French Prime Minister earlier today saying that it is now at the gates of power that the far-right are and everything must be done by French moderates, those across the political spectrum who are opposed to the far-right, to do what they can to prevent them from taking power in the shape of a potential overall majority in the parliament, and of course, a Prime Minister that that would bring.

So, the strategy is going to be, over the course of the next few days, you're going to hear a lot of debate. There are 577 seats up, and the way France's political system works is it essentially is 577 different races that are now taking place, some will take place between just two candidates, some will take place between three. It's very hard to call what the final figure will be, again, because of the nature of the political system itself. But, the projections are that whether the far-right gains the absolute majority or not, it is likely to be the dominant party in parliament, and that is a substantial political shift here in France, Omar.

JIMENEZ: And one of the big questions here, I mean, look, the far- right has been a presence on the fringes maybe of French politics for a long time. I mean, Marine Le Pen, of course, we've seen her challenging in many serious ways, increasingly so, it seems over the past years. But, why does it seem that that type of support is breaking through now?

BELL: I think it's a great question. Back in 2016, Omar, when Donald Trump was winning in the United States, we had spoken to Marine Le Pen at the time. She was hoping then in 2017 that the changes in the United States meant that anything was possible here in Europe. In fact, what happened here in France was Emmanuel Macron creating eight years ago that moderate centrist party, taking power, sweeping aside the traditional left, the traditional right, and taking power, then over the course of the eight years in a presidency that has been remarkably controversial here in France.

This is a President that is not well liked, the polls suggest, and a great deal of popular anger that's felt towards his policies and I think also towards his image, that, that's been portrayed by so many of the right and left parties as the President of the rich, that over the course of last few years has made its progress. I think what you're seeing now is in a country like so many others where there is inflation cost, cost of living issues, lots of popular anger that's really coalescing against the figure of the President, and therefore in favor of his most credible in terms of popular support rivals, and they are the far-right, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Melissa Bell, really appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

We're going to have more on the French elections later this hour with a profile of the far-right leader Jordan Bardella. We will share what we know about the 28-eight-year old, who could be France's next Prime Minister.


That is still ahead.

Meanwhile, a new era of the U.S. presidential campaign is underway, four days after Joe Biden's dismal debate performance unleashed a wave of panic throughout the Democratic Party. And the top question remains, should the President stay in the race? Those closest to him are insisting that answer is an unequivocal yes. In a new Vogue interview, First Lady Jill Biden said the President will quote "continue to fight." Now, sources tell CNN, Mr. Biden's family also met at Camp David over the weekend and implored the President to continue running for reelection.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins me now live at the White House. So, what more do we know about this Biden family meeting over the weekend?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, these are the most crucial people in President Biden's orbit. They have always been quite influential in the President's decision-making when it comes to whether or not he runs for office and his reelection, and it is those same people who are encouraging him to stay in the race, offering their support, and according to Biden advisors, also keeping the conversation focused on how they can help the President and not whether he should reconsider his candidacy.

But, there is no doubt that this was a weekend that was spent by top Democratic officials as well as top White House officials trying to calm nerves across the party after a lot of anxiety and concerns following the President's debate performance, including among donors who have also worried about what this means for the trajectory of the race.

Now, we should also note that we're still in the early stages of this immediate fallout. President Biden himself is collecting data like through anecdotes as well as public polling. You saw the First Lady in her Vogue interview also saying that the President will continue to fight. But, there are still a lot of questions here in terms of what this does look like in the polls. It's still a little too early to tell how voters are reading the President's debate performance and how it will affect, again, the trajectory of the race, but his allies are certainly taking to the airwaves to try to calm those nerves and keep the focus on the record of the President, and drawing a stark contrast between President Biden and former President Donald Trump on that exact point.

We also heard from Senator Chris Coons this morning on CNN. He is a longtime ally of President Biden. His advice to the campaign was for the President to have more unscripted moments for him to have more opportunities to meet with voters one-on-one, which is what he often sort of feeds off of and is -- in more energetic in those moments. I myself have gone to multiple rallies where you do see the President really energized and feeding off crowds when he is sort of in that space. So, that is the -- some of the advice that the campaign has been receiving.

But, there is no doubt, Omar, that there -- this is a campaign that is under great scrutiny to the point in a quite remarkable moment when they shared a fundraising email polling of what alternatives would look like to President Biden against former President Donald Trump. So, that gives you a great sense of just how concerned people are and how they're trying to tamp down all of what the -- all of what they're fielding in terms of that criticism.

JIMENEZ: It's remarkable to see the shock waves that have come after that first debate performance on CNN. Priscilla Alvarez, really appreciate you explaining that all for us.

All right. Meanwhile, the Caribbean is bracing for Hurricane Beryl. Right now, it is back to a powerful Category 4 storm. It's expected to barrel through the Windward Islands later in the day, bringing violent winds and flooding. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada are especially at risk. Now, Beryl's arrival marks an active start to the Atlantic hurricane season that really just began a few weeks ago at this point. We have team coverage tracking this dangerous storm.

But, before I head to the CNN Weather Center, I want to go to Havana and join CNN's Patrick Oppmann. So, Patrick, how are officials and residents in these communities preparing?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The really terrifying thing about the storm as we tracked it over the weekend is on Saturday, it was just a tropical storm, which while deadly many people in this region have experienced and lived through and maybe many times don't think it's that big of a deal to have it explode into now a Category 4 hurricane just in the space of 24 hours over the weekend is really very frightening, because if you are in the Windward Islands, there really isn't a way to evacuate easily out of the storm's path. And so, you have to hunker down. People, over the weekend, are filling up their cars with gas, who are making last-minute food runs, and then trying to find higher ground where they can shelter during this devastating storm.

But, when you hear about a Category 4 hurricane, a Category 5 hurricane, they use the term "catastrophic damage" and that is just a very, very different kind of storm because you have to be in a building that is constructed to withstand this kind of storm. Most people will lose their roofs.


And as the storm rages across the Caribbean, potentially impacting Haiti, Jamaica, and then at this point projected to go into the Yucatan Peninsula, it's going to cause a lot of damage. And of course, it's still very, very early in the hurricane season. And yet, we're already seeing a major hurricane like Beryl, which is going to cause a tremendous amount of damage.

JIMENEZ: I mean, just seeing the path and the strengthening of it, incredibly concerning. Patrick Oppmann, thank you so much.

I want to get a sense on where this is heading next. So, I want to bring in Elisa Raffa from the CNN Weather Center. I mean, where do we expect -- what is the path that is expected here?

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's going to basically cut across the Caribbean Sea, as we go through the next couple of days, but it's backup to that Category 4 intensity after briefly coming down to a Category 3 only because it was going through a restructuring cycle, we call an eye placement -- eyewall replacement cycle, and you can see where it was clear yesterday, kind of clouds up and then opens up again, and that's where it's gaining strength yet again and potentially causing some catastrophic conditions possible as far as the wind damage is concerned from islands like St. Vincent down towards Trinidad and Tobago.

You could see Category 4 storm, 130 mile-per-hour winds now sitting only 70 miles east there of Grenada and you can see the eyewall continuing. Look at the intense winds, that heavy rain. Showers have already been lashing parts of Barbados this morning. We've already had gusts up to 60 miles per hour there. Winds right now are sustained, near 43 miles per hour. When you get the kind of winds the way that this cuts across with such an intense hurricane, that's where you get storm surge. We're looking at up to six to nine feet of storm surge, and three to six inches of rain. Here is that track. It maintains that Category 4 strength as it kind

of skirts just south of a lot of these islands. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic in Haiti, the south side there, and then it cuts across the Caribbean Sea and eventually makes it towards Mexico by the end of the week. The Yucatan Peninsula can see some wind and rain out of this.

And we're talking about rapid intensification because these ocean temperatures are wildly warm. We're talking middle and upper 80s. This is more characteristic for late August and early September which is why the season so early is acting like it's at peak because its fuel ingredients is at peak and that's why it was able to intensify so quickly over the weekend. We find that that's a trend, as our oceans continue to get warmer. Omar.

JIMENEZ: CNN's Elisa Raffa, thank you so much.

Meanwhile, Kenya remains in crisis days after a deadly riots. We're going to take a look at what, if any, changes have been put in place, and if they'll make a difference. Stay tuned.


JIMENEZ: Kenyans are calling for police to be held accountable, after more than two dozen people were killed during government protests over the past weeks. Now, youth-led protests erupted over a controversial finance bill that Kenya's President ultimately threw out in a major U- turn.

CNN's Larry Madowo reports.



LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A prayer for the dad. The family of Ibrahim Kamau say their final goodbyes, his body being taken for burial. He was only 19. His mother tells us Ibrahim had just graduated from high school and was hoping to go to college. Ibrahim was shot twice in the neck at a protest in Nairobi.

EDITH WANJIKU KAMAU, SON KILLED IN PROTESTS (Interpreted): I didn't go that day because I didn't have childcare. But, we always went together and came back because the protests were peaceful. The first thing I want is justice for Ibrahim, and all the kids who died because they all had dreams.

MADOWO (voice-over): Protests broke out across Kenya last month against a proposed finance bill, largely driven by young people organizing on social media. But, the deadliest day was June 25th when protesters stormed parliament in Nairobi. Human rights groups accused police of shooting dozens of unarmed protesters, including some who are fleeing. No one has accepted or denied responsibility for the killings.

Our crew filmed shocking scenes like here, left of your screen, a man running away is shot in the back with a tear gas canister at close range. These protesters standing over a man who is apparently dead. Police fire a non-lethal round directly at them. Nairobi's police chief seen here commanded the operation. His officers clearly contravening their own rules for the use of force.

CNN analyzed the deadliest two hours when most of the protesters are believed to have been killed. Keep an eye on the man in white overalls, waving his arms earlier in the day. 25-year-old Erickson Kyalo Mutisya was supposed to be at the butcher shop where he worked, his mother said, but ended up here. CNN's camera captured him dancing until shots bring out. Police advanced towards the protesters, more shots, and people run away.

Amid the chaos, we spot Erickson again. He is lifeless on the sidewalk. Around him, other protesters are also on the ground. As the smoke lifts, one man has been shot in the head. People rush to help, but police keep firing. A bag is thrown in the air as the smoke grenade goes off but that protester escaped. We were on the scene as this unfolded.

MADOWO: There are three bodies lying on the ground after we heard live ammunition coming from parliament. A police truck is on fire and the protesters appear to be pushing the police, overwhelming them, getting closer to parliament.

MADOWO (voice-over): And known to us at the time, Erickson's body was being carried away behind me. His white overalls soaked in blood. We obtained his autopsy report. Erickson was shot in the back and bled to death. Moments later, another injured protester is carried away. But, he is lucky. He survived. That protester is 26-year-old Ian Keya, was also hit in the back.

IAN KEYA, KENYAN PROTESTOR: I am in pain because of the government.

MADOWO (voice-over): He was demonstrating because he has been jobless since he graduated five years ago.

KEYA: Our main mission is to change Kenya, to be a better Kenya.

MADOWO: Do you regret going out to protest?

KEYA: I'm not rejecting anything because it's my right.

MADOWO (voice-over): Ian is a keen bodybuilder but has lost the use of his legs. CNN obtained three autopsy reports of protesters who are demonstrating around parliament on the same day, two died from gunshot wounds, one was shot in the head, the other in the back.

One opposition lawmaker concerned about police brutality in recent days says he will fight to hold those responsible.

YUSUF HASSAN ABDI, KENYAN OPPOSITION MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: There must be response. We cannot accept this colonial-minded (inaudible) -- trigger happy police. Something must change. And we would make sure that the victims of this particular crisis get justice. MADOWO (voice-over): Families bury their dead. Young men and women vocalizing their anger at a government they feel is not listening to them, not helping them create a better future. An oversight body is investigating police conduct during the protests that many here don't believe they'll ever see justice.


JIMENEZ: Our Larry Madowo joins us now from Nairobi. Incredible reporting. Thank you for bringing us that. But also, Larry, I want to ask you, I know you've been out in the protests, I mean, for days, much longer at this point. But, you're also born and raised in Kenya. You live in Nairobi. I mean, how shocking was it for you to witness these scenes on the streets of your own city?


MADOWO: Omar, it was really heartbreaking to see everything that happened outside parliament, especially because my own nephews were out in the streets. I was worried for them when I saw these young men who were shot by security officers. I was freaking out, really, hoping they're fine because the young man you saw there, Erickson Kyalo Mutisya, he was live on TikTok just a short while before he was gunned down. He was saying, here, we're here outside parliament. He was dancing. I saw him dancing. I have that recorded even on my phone.

So, you see that panic and anxiety for my own family who are out in the streets because I've covered a lot of protests in this country. I've never seen these many young people come out on their own, organizing on TikTok and social media, agitating for a better Kenya, not driven by a political party or a political leader or by a civil society group, on their own saying we deserve better.

And I have to say here that CNN has reached out to the Kenya police and to the Ministry of Interior and asked about the conduct of security officers on that day. We have not received a response. But, President William Ruto said in a TV interview last night that the police did their best and he maintained that legitimate protesters were infiltrated by some criminals. But, these people I saw, these people who were gunned down, were not criminals. One of them was a Sunday school teacher. That is the man you see there lying, who has been shot on the head, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Larry, I mean, the work you've done has been incredible, but also just for what you just mentioned right there, to have in video forms, forms of accountability in the face of hard questioning. Larry Madowo in Nairobi, I really appreciate you.

All right. Meanwhile, France's far-right wants him to be Prime Minister. We're going to get reaction to the National Rally's strong showing in French elections, and meet its leader Jordan Bardella, just ahead.


JIMENEZ: France's far-right party is celebrating a surge of support in the first round of the country's parliamentary elections. The party of Marine Le Pen is the leading, getting more than 33 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance slumped to a dismal third in the polls. That's just over 20 percent of the vote. Now, at just 28-years-old, National Rally leader Jordan Bardella could be the next French Prime Minister.

CNN Producer Saskya Vandoorne has more on who he is and what he wants.


SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER (voice-over): He is being called the TikTok King, and young people love him. But, who is the slick 28- year-old French far-right leader on the brink of power?


Jordan Bardella has transformed the National Rally, taking it from the fringes into the mainstream, solidifying its rural base. Power. Rather than bow the law has transformed the national rally, taking it from the fringes into the mainstream, solidifying its rural base.

BARDELLA (Interpreted): We want just to take agriculture completely out of the free trade agreements so that we can protect our domestic markets.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): And using social media to reach a new generation of voters.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): Go and vote to stop the migration surge that threatens our security, identity and values.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): The populist rhetoric isn't new. But, because of this gifted communicator, it's resonating in France now more than ever.

KEVIN ARCENEAUX, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, SCIENCES PO: The sorts of young voters who are attracted to Jordan Bardella, they tend to have less optimism about their future, and I think Jordan Bardella shows them, look, look at me. I don't have a college education. I come from a place in France that's -- that the elite looks down upon. If young people also find themselves in those circumstances, see that is actually inspiring.

VANDOORNE: Jordan Bardella grew up here in Seine-Saint-Denis, a suburb northeast of Paris. He attended this private school, and at 16, he joined the National Rally.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): Around here, people know his name, but they remain divided.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Interpreted): I'm rather proud of the fact that he is aware of our problems here, that he knows our reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Interpreted): If you're not white, if you don't have a typical French name, we're not considered French.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Interpreted): I know the struggles that students face here, and I don't feel that he is representing young people.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): Bardella was handpicked by Marine Le Pen to be her successor, in an effort to detoxify and normalize the party that was founded by former French members of Hitler's SS. Though he lacks experience, he and Le Pen form a powerful duo.

BARDELLA (Interpreted): She is the political leader and I'm the army general. We work together in harmony.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): First, a strong standing in the European elections, now a real shot at the parliament, and finally, another go at the presidency by Le Pen, all with one man firmly in their sights.

BARDELLA (Interpreted): The first person who erased France has a name. It's Emmanuel Macron.

VANDOORNE (voice-over): Saskya Vandoorne, CNN, Paris.


JIMENEZ: All right. Let's take a closer look at the elections. I want to bring in Dominic Thomas, CNN's European Affairs Commentator. He is also a Professor at UCLA's Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies. Good to see you. I want to start with, how can you best explain the political rise of Marine Le Pen and her party here?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR, & PROFESSOR, UCLA DEPT. OF EUROPEAN LANG. & TRANSCULTURAL STUDIES: Well, it goes all the way back to the early 1970s. This is really a kind of family business where Marine Le Pen's father founded the party back in 1972, and over the past decades, have essentially fastened on the question of national identity opposition to the European Union, and really amplified the question of immigration in French society. And I think that over the last 10 years, their effort to try and clean up their image and make themselves more electorally kind of palatable, I think, has coincided with other such developments in Europe, in the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, and so on, I think especially across the Atlantic, with what was the election of President Donald Trump. So, I think people are less concerned, less fearful of her.

And what's also happened just simply in the last 10 years, really going back to when Emmanuel Macron was first elected in 2017, is that the mainstream political parties on the far-right -- sorry, on the right and the left have kind of disappeared. And you've had a range of kinds of movements in groups such as Emmanuel Macron's, the alliance on the left, then Marine Le Pen coming forward, and it's made the electoral landscape a bit more volatile. And this move away from the mainstream political parties have afforded people greater kind of chances in legislative presidential elections and so on, and she is building on that, along with her new Lieutenant Jordan Bardella.

JIMENEZ: And you touched on it a little bit, but here in the United States, a lot has been made, of course, of the rise of Donald Trump, but not just him, but some rises of the far-right in the Republican Party, to the point where even after 2020 you can't even get past whether the election was free and fair to a good portion of the party. And while there is differences, of course, in what's happening in Europe, from your perspective, I mean, it's not just France, we've seen it with Italy, if you want to go back to the UK leaving the EU, there had been traces and rises, why do you think we are seeing it catch on, it seems, in such a significant way in places across Europe?

THOMAS: Well, I think that in many places across Europe, these mainstream parties have disappeared. I go back that.


Angela Merkel in her four-term legacy as Chancellor, came to power. The main parties were getting well over 60 percent. Now, one makes it through to either the run-off stage or has a chance to build a parliamentary and prime ministership with something like low kind of 20 percentage points. And I think that in the French context, we saw this particularly play out in 2017 and then in 2022 where you have this sort of proliferation of candidates obtaining smaller percentages of the votes, and in the run-off stages, as they have in the legislators, but also with the presidential in France, you had Emmanuel Macron essentially calling on people to vote against Marine Le Pen rather than for him, and that kind of argument and has weakened over time.

And in 2022, he lost his parliamentary majority. Just been very difficult for him to legislate. His measures are overwhelmingly unpopular. And all of this is taking place in a context of kind of increasing polarization in which these smaller parties are kind of scrambling for power, but not working in a system in which they have policies or possibilities of forging electoral alliances as you have in the context of Germany and Italy and others where you have parliamentary systems. So, it makes the kind of model of power sharing in France in this climate all the more difficult to work with.

And the reality is, and we saw it yesterday, back in 2022, Marine Le Pen, in the first round of the legislative, scored less than five million votes. Yesterday, she scored above 11 million votes. So, you can see the kind of the appeal and the fear of that political party has been eroded considerably, and voters are gravitating towards them as they are disillusioned with the ruling with party and presidency, and fearful of what they see as the left and the far-left as their real opponent in this legislative battle.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. It's significant when you put the difference in results just in a matter of years, and we'll see what the second round of voting brings to solidify what support that appears to be there already. Dominic Thomas, really appreciate you coming on. Thanks for the perspective.

THOMAS: Thank you, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Of course.

All right. Coming up, the first family in the United States is making it clear where they stand on whether U.S. President Joe Biden should drop out of the race following his pretty disastrous debate performance. We'll talk about it, coming up.


JIMENEZ: Keep fighting. That's the message the first family is giving to U.S. President Joe Biden following what many have described as a pretty alarming debate performance. Now, sources tell CNN, they met at Camp David over the weekend and implored the President to continue his reelection bid.

So, let's dig a little bit deeper. CNN Political Analyst Jackie Kucinich joins me now from Washington. All right. Let's start with -- I mean, how serious are these considerations for Biden to drop out? In fact, there was difference between what the public and maybe what the press is saying, versus what political leaders are saying.


JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE BOSTON GLOBE, & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we should say that Democrats are very concerned and --


KUCINICH: -- were very panicked by that debate. So, in that way, yes, this is very serious. But, in terms of what's going on, what's being reported from behind closed doors, it doesn't seem like the first family wants him to do this and that's who really matters. When you talk about Joe Biden, you talk about Joe Biden is the person that could actually have him do this, and it has to be Biden's decision. There is no mechanism within the party to make him step down. So, this would have to be his call. And right now, his family, led by Jill Biden, is saying, no. They're not going to do this. They're going to keep pressing on.

And they're pointing to these -- some of the things that Biden did after the debate. Remember, he went to that rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he seemed to be much more the Biden that we're used to seeing and that sort of setting definitely a departure from the debate the night before, and they're just going to continue to press on. But, these fears are definitely out there, Omar. They're not going away anytime soon.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. And you touched on it a little bit. But, is it realistic to think about replacing Biden at this point if you are Democratic Party leadership?

KUCINICH: I think it depends on who you talk to about the realism aspect there. I mean, there are some that they're not saying it out loud. They're not saying it in public, but there are some who are pressing for this. But, we should mention, so we're talking about the Democratic Convention, which is later in August, because of that Ohio law that requires the -- I think it's August 7, that requires that someone be nominated by that date, they have to have that virtual nomination process at the DNC. So, it's a little bit earlier than I think a lot of people are realizing. And that's a really hard turn that for Democrats and the idea that anyone would be able to mount a campaign this quickly to defeat former President Trump.

That's what I think that the focus is. It's not so much Joe Biden, but who could go up against the former President, and that's what Democrats are really concerned about right now.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. I mean, the logistics alone for situation like this, I think it's fair to say.


JIMENEZ: If not unprecedented, I haven't looked through every election, but very rare. Last thing is, I mean, what would the ecosystem even be here? Because as you mentioned, I mean, Biden has to be the one to make this decision either to go on and everybody goes full force, or to say, you know what, it's not my time. So, what are the factors that are -- that might be considered here, of course, including his family?

KUCINICH: So, he has these close-knit advisors who -- actually, there is some friction between the family and the advisor because this point in terms of how he was prompted the debate. But, that aside, I mean, in terms of Biden's decision-making, it would be made with a very close group of people. Should he decide, then it is kind of a free for all. I mean, you would think that Vice President Harris would have first dibs. But, it's an unprecedented situation, Omar.

So, we wouldn't really -- it would definitely get a lot more interesting from there, because we know that there is a whole range of Democrats that are just below the surface that see themselves in that White House. But, whether they would be able to mount the support that they would need in the absence of Joe Biden, you'd have to see. I mean --


KUCINICH: -- it really -- it's kind of magical thinking at this point --


KUCINICH: -- to think that anyone but Vice President Harris would be able to have that.

JIMENEZ: Well, and many of those people just below the surface are very prominent campaign surrogates at this point.


JIMENEZ: But, that's a discussion for another time, maybe --


JIMENEZ: -- four years from now, but we'll see.

Jackie Kucinich, thanks so much. Really appreciate you being here.

KUCINICH: Thank you.

JIMENEZ: And thanks to all of you for joining me here on CNN Newsroom. I'm Omar Jimenez. World Sport with Patrick Snell is up next.