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Biden Under Pressure to Step Aside After Debate Performance; Jamaica Prepares for Hurricane Beryl; Netanyahu Rejects Idea of Ceasefire with Hamas Still in Power. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 04:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time for him to step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the reality is from that debate, America can't unsee what it saw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats let's give them somebody different, a generational change here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am now declaring the whole of Jamaica to be a disaster area for the next seven days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a sense of just wanting any kind of change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want change, you have to vote for it.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm Max Foster. It is Wednesday, July the 3rd, 9 a.m. here in London, 4 a.m. in Washington, where U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to speak with Democratic governors and congressional leaders in the hours ahead as concerns mount of his re- election bid following a poor debate performance.

These numbers aren't helping. A new CNN poll shows three-quarters of Americans believe Americans would have a better chance of beating Donald Trump with another candidate, one other than Mr. Biden. Democrats are sounding the alarm, saying their party must deal with the fallout and make sure that Trump doesn't return to the White House.


SEN. PETER WELCH (D-VT): The big question going into that debate was the age question. That is what the Biden campaign wanted to put to rest. The outcome of the debate was that that question on age was intensified. We have got to deal with that. That's the real issue and have frank conversations about it. The reality is, from that debate, America can't unsee what it saw.


FOSTER: In an effort to calm concerns, Mr. Biden is expected to sit down for an interview with ABC News this week. This comes as the first Democratic lawmaker publicly asked the president to step aside.


REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): I salute President Biden. I just feel that it's time for him to step aside if we were to be able to protect what he allowed us to gain in 2020, which was a victory for democracy, but he delivered us from Trump then. He could be delivering us to Trump this year if we had more of what happened last Thursday.


FOSTER: Mr. Biden has already acknowledged his weak performance in the debate, and at a fundraiser in Virginia, he blamed it on a tough travel schedule, saying he almost fell asleep on stage. Reporters who were in the room believe that line was intended to be a joke, but so far, there's been little to quiet concerns. CNN's MJ Lee has more on the debate fallout from Washington.


MJ LEE, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Democratic firewall around President Joe Biden is beginning to fracture. Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett becoming the first Democratic lawmaker to publicly call on Biden to withdraw from the 2024 election following last week's poor debate performance.

The congressman saying in a statement: President Biden's first commitment has always been to our country, not himself. I'm hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw.

The White House facing a barrage of questions about the president's debate performance.


He was not taking any cold medication. That is what I can speak to. I've asked his doctor, and that's what he stated to us.

LEE (voice-over): And urged to release more medical records.

JEAN-PIERRE: We have released thorough reports from his medical team every year since he's been in office.

LEE (voice-over): The White House press secretary digging in and saying Biden's accomplishments speak volumes.

JEAN-PIERRE: With age comes wisdom and experience. LEE (voice-over): Other Democrats beginning to publicly express

concern that the president could hurt candidates in down ballot races.

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): It's his decision. I just want him to appreciate at this time just how much it impacts not just his race, but all the other races coming in November.

LEE (voice-over): As Republicans are ready to pounce on Biden's debate showing to attack their Democratic opponents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a lot of confidence in his leadership.

LEE (voice-over): Even the president's most staunch defenders giving credence to the flurry of questions about his health.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), FORMER U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: He has a vision. He has knowledge. He has judgment. He has a strategic thinking and the rest. He has a bad night. Now, again, I think it's a legitimate question to say is this an episode or is this a condition?


LEE (voice-over): New CNN polling showing no immediate damage from Biden's halting debate performance. The president trailing Donald Trump by six points, 43 percent to 49 percent. The same numbers as April.

But Biden's approval ratings declining to a new low with just 36 percent of Americans approving of his job performance. And in a hypothetical matchup, Vice President Kamala Harris is polling better against the former president. She is within striking distance, 45 percent to 47 percent.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): I will support her if he were to step aside.

LEE (voice-over): Some prominent Biden supporters also expressing support for Harris but insisting for now that the president remain at the top of the ticket.

CLYBURN: I want this ticket to continue to be Biden-Harris. And then we'll see what happens after the next election.

LEE: And President Biden on Tuesday night offering a new explanation for his poor debate performance when he spoke at a fundraiser in Virginia. He apologized for the poor performance last Thursday night and said this is not an excuse but an explanation and blamed the extensive foreign travel that he did in the lead-up to that CNN debate. He said that it wasn't a smart idea, that he didn't listen to his staff, and that he almost fell asleep on stage.

That, of course, is an explanation that is not likely to reassure a lot of Democrats that are very concerned right now.

MJ Lee, CNN at the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOSTER: CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona weighed in on the calls for President Biden to step aside and the concerns within the Democratic Party.


MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We have to admit that. And the campaign knows that. And they've been talking to all of those folks who are concerned, all of the Democratic lawmakers. They've been talking to supporters, to allies, to donors, as they should. They're hearing people's concerns.

But you know what? They're also hearing from a lot of people who are supporting President Biden as long as he continues to decide to stay in. He is the nominee of the Democratic Party right now. He won the process. He has all of the delegates. He has raised millions of dollars, even record amounts of money since the debate, much of that from grassroots supporters.

And so I respect Congressman Doggett, and we might have others come out and say, but right now, the dam really has not broken.


FOSTER: Now, a New York judge has postponed Donald Trump's sentencing in the criminal hush money case following the Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity. Trump was scheduled to be sentenced next week on his felony conviction for falsifying business records. But it's now delayed until September the 18th.

This comes after Trump's legal team filed a letter seeking to challenge that conviction following the Supreme Court ruling that presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for core official acts.

The judge's announcement on Tuesday underscores the far-reaching implications of the high court's ruling. It could also impact other Trump indictments as well.

Now Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is speaking out about her father's legal issues and explaining why she's not part of his campaign.


IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: On a human level, it's my father. And I love him very much, so it's painful to experience. But ultimately, I wish it didn't have to be this way.

Politics is a pretty dark world. There's a lot of darkness, a lot of negativity. And it's just really at odds with what feels good for me as a human being. And you know, it is really -- it's a really rough business.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FOSTER: After being a full-time adviser to her father at the White House, Ivanka said she would no longer be involved in politics and hasn't been part of her father's 2024 presidential campaign.

Rudy Giuliani has been officially disbarred in New York over his part in Donald Trump's alleged election interference efforts in 2020. It's a major blow to the former mayor of New York City and Trump's most high-profile lawyer.

In addition to losing his law license, Giuliani is in bankruptcy after landing $150 million in debt for defaming two election workers. He also faces several other lawsuits and criminal charges.

A deadly hurricane Beryl is expected to hammer Jamaica, with life- threatening wind and storm surge in the hours ahead as the death toll from the storm rises to at least seven. Jamaica's government is warning people to take the threat seriously.


ANDREW HOLNESS, JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER: All Jamaica should note that following on this declaration, an island-wide curfew will be in effect between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.


This is to ensure the safety of everyone during the passage of the storm and prevent any movement with the intent to carry out criminal activity.


FOSTER: Beryl is moving rapidly across the Caribbean and is now a category 4 storm packing 230 kilometer per hour winds this week. It became the earliest ever cat 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin, fueled by record-high ocean temperatures. Forecasters say the center of the storm will make landfall in southern Jamaica on Wednesday and will then head to the Cayman Islands.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers shows us some of the damage that Beryl left in the Wynwood Islands and tells us what to expect next.


CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The damage picture is finally coming out of the area here, really devastating. Here's St. Vincent-Hiraku, hit just as hard if not harder with winds of about 140 miles per hour. Somewhere around 240 kilometers per hour as it did make landfall on these islands.

Where does it go from here? Well, the first stop in the morning hours and into the afternoon this afternoon is Jamaica and then into the Grand Cayman Islands and then into the Yucatan. And it may even head up toward the southwestern coast of Texas.

What we know right now, though, let's just focus on the next 24 hours. We know that there's going to be significant wave, wind, and also surge action in Jamaica. There will be surges that are greater than 9 meters, I believe.

And then you see some rainfall there of 250 millimeters or more. So, yes, this was a big storm. It rapidly intensified.

In just 24 hours, it went from 120mph to 165mph. That is considered rapid intensification. In fact, you only need 35 in 24 and we got 45 in 24. The water is still very warm.

I think this is going to change a little bit when we get our next little picture here because Beryl is using up a lot of this very warm water. We're going to get a little cold pool in behind it and an awful lot of wind. I think the wind chances in Jamaica are 100 percent with this.

Does it steer to the north? Does it steer to the left? We'll have to see. High pressure to the north of the system is going to try to keep it down to the south, but we'll have to see where this goes from here. This is still a very big storm.

The last storm that was this large or even close to it was Gilbert in 1988. It moved right over Jamaica. So what does that now? More than 30, 35 years? They're really in for something today. We're going to have to keep watching this.


FOSTER: Still ahead, Hungary's authoritarian leader and Putin's closest European ally proposes a ceasefire to Ukraine. We'll have Kyiv's response next.

British voters are just a day away from choosing their next government and the ruling Conservatives seem to be in serious trouble.

And the presidents of China and Russia are in Kazakhstan for a regional security summit. We'll have details on what the group hopes to accomplish just ahead.



FOSTER: Israel's Prime Minister has rejected the idea of starting a ceasefire in Gaza whilst Hamas remains in power.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Unnamed officials are briefing the New York Times today. They say Israel will be willing to end the war before achieving all of its goals. I don't know who those unnamed officials are, but I am here to convey unequivocally that this is not going to happen.

We will end the war only after we achieve all of its goals, including the elimination of Hamas and the release of all of our hostages. The political echelon defined these goals to the IDF, and the IDF has all the means to achieve them. We do not give in to the winds of defeat, not in the New York Times, and not anywhere else. We are imbued with the spirit of victory.


FOSTER: Well, he was responding there to a report from the New York Times which cited six current and former security officials who said a ceasefire would give Israeli troops time to prepare for a potential land war with Hezbollah.

One former Israeli national security adviser went on the record saying, quote: The military is in full support of a hostage deal and a ceasefire. They believe that they can always go back and engage Hamas militarily in the future.

Now, the situation in northern Israel and southern Lebanon remains extremely tense, with the Israeli military and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants exchanging cross-border attacks.

Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have once again been displaced by the latest evacuation order from the IDF. Meanwhile, the U.N. says it covers nearly 120 square kilometers in Khan Younis and Rafah, about a third of the enclave. That makes it one of the largest such orders since October, and it's forced one of the last functioning hospitals to shut down.

Let's bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks following developments from Abu Dhabi, where are people going to go then?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a good question, Max, and it's worth bearing in mind that many people who are in that area of Khan Younis and Rafah have been moved on from other areas to try and protect themselves and their families from the military operations. So Israel says that they have to evacuate from this particular area. As you say, it is a vast area.

And we have been seeing the footage of many people moving, many people panicking and fleeing the area, as they have seen what has happened to areas under evacuation order before, many of them also saying there's still nowhere safe for them to actually evacuate to.

And within this evacuation area is the European hospital. It is one of the last fully functioning hospitals, really, in Gaza. And we have heard from the chief of the World Health Organization talking about the fact that this has had to be evacuated as well.

Saying, quote: It is devastating to see the 650-bed capacity hospital out of service at a time when access to health care is urgently needed.

He goes on to say: European Gaza hospital, one of the largest referral hospitals in the south, must be protected and made operational immediately. Gaza cannot afford to lose more hospitals.

[04:20:00] Now, we've been seeing footage of the patients being moved out of that hospital, including ICU patients, including babies being taken out in incubators. It has put tremendous pressure on some partially functioning hospitals elsewhere that are already struggling under the sheer number of patients and also a lack of medical supplies.

Now, we did hear from the Israeli military hours after these evacuation orders were given saying that the European Hospital itself did not need to be evacuated. But by that time, many had decided already to leave as they were concerned about what kind of military operation would follow -- Max.

FOSTER: So we're also getting confirmation that, well, we think that Netanyahu will be meeting Biden later on this month. A huge amount of tension between them. What do you expect of that meeting?

HANCOCKS: Well, I think most would expect it to be a fairly frosty meeting but covering some of the main issues at this point, namely the ceasefire and hostage deal, which is on the table, which the U.S. president has been very vocally supportive of and which Israel's prime minister has been less vocally supportive of but says he does support all the same.

There is frustration between these two leaders, and it has been playing out very openly over recent weeks, not least because a couple of weeks ago, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said publicly that the Biden administration was withholding weapons from Israel and had been for months.

And this is something the Biden administration officials came out very quickly and unequivocally about, saying that they didn't know what he was talking about and that there hasn't been a withholding of weapons, bar those larger bombs, the 2,000-pound bombs, for example, that President Biden told CNN he did not want to give to Israel at a time when they were doing operations in densely populated areas like Rafah.

So there are a number of public spats that we have seen between the Biden administration and the Israeli prime minister, certainly in recent weeks.

And it comes also at a time when the talks to try and release the 120 hostages in Gaza, to try and secure a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to get into the Gaza Strip, are pretty much stalled at this point.

So it will be an important meeting, clearly, but one which we hear from a source familiar with the ongoing discussions is trying to be nailed down now as to exactly when those two will meet -- Max.

FOSTER: Paula, thank you so much for joining us from Abu Dhabi.

The U.S. is set to give Ukraine more than $2 billion in additional military aid, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. He said the official announcement will come soon as he welcomed Ukraine's defense minister for talks on Tuesday. Austin said it will include new air defense interceptors, anti-tank weapons and other items.

The U.S. and Ukrainian presidents signed a long-term security deal on the sidelines of the G7 summit last month in Italy.

Ukraine's president has rejected a ceasefire proposal from Hungary's prime minister, a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Here's what Viktor Orban suggested.


VIKTOR ORBAN, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I asked the president to think about whether we could reverse the order and speed up peace talks with making a ceasefire first. A ceasefire connected to a deadline would give a chance to speed up peace talks.


FOSTER: President Zelenskyy's office says Ukraine's number one tool to end the war is through a second peace summit, which Kyiv is already preparing for. Mr. Orban was making his first visit to Kyiv since Russia's full-scale war on Ukraine began in 2022. As Hungary's authoritarian leader, he has repeatedly criticized and tried to block European support for Kyiv.

Scores of people have been killed in a crowd crush at a religious gathering in India, what officials say led to this tragedy just ahead.

Nearly a week after a poor debate performance, U.S. President Joe Biden is still facing the fallout, including questions from within the Democratic Party. How the White House plans to calm those fears just ahead.



FOSTER: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. Here are today's, or some of today's, top stories.

Hurricane Beryl is set to make landfall in Jamaica later today. A state of emergency is being declared for the island, and a curfew will be in effect for seven days. It's a category 4 storm right now. Forecasters warn it could bring life-threatening conditions.

At least 121 people were killed in a crowd crush at a religious event in India. Organizers said 250,000 worshippers showed up. That's triple the amount of people that were expected.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to slow the progression of early Alzheimer's disease. Before insurance, the medication will cost around $12,500 for a six-month supply. It was made by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

Several Democratic governors will be heading to Washington today to meet with President Joe Biden amid the fallout over his debate performance.

We're told that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and California Governor Gavin Newsom are amongst those making the trip. Top Democrats are seeking reassurances as concerns mount over Mr. Biden's re- election bid.


ANDREW YANG, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the Democrats would lose the House and the Senate as well as the White House if Joe Biden was at the top of the ticket. It's one reason why I believe the right thing for him to do is to step aside.

TIM RYAN, FORMER U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: American people don't want Trump. They don't want Biden. They want someone different. Democrats let's give them somebody different, a generational change here.


FOSTER: Voters here in the U.K. head to the polls tomorrow for a momentous general election that will likely see the end of the Conservative Party's 14-year rule. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is almost universally expected to lose. He took a major gamble by calling for early elections and has struggled to turn around dire polling.