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Biden Pushing Forward With Campaign Despite Growing Concerns; Judge Pauses Some Deadlines In Classified Documents Case; Hamas May Drop A Key Damand, Paving Way For A Truce; Beryl Set To Hit Texas With Mandatory Evacuations Underway; Voters In France To Cast Ballots In Runoff Elections. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 06, 2024 - 17:00   ET




PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday. I'm Pamela Brown in Washington.

President Biden digging in on his reelection campaign, resisting calls from members of his own party to step aside. In the first televised interview since his shaky debate performance last week, Biden called it a bad night and said the muted mics did not help.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was having a bad night when I realize that even when I was answering a question, even if they turned his mic off, he was still shouting. And I let it distract me.

I'm not blaming it on that. But I realized that I just wasn't in control.


BROWN: CNN's Arlette Saenz is live in Wilmington, Delaware where the president is spending the day before heading back to the campaign trail.

So Arlette, does the Biden campaign think that that interview was enough damage control? How are they viewing it?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Pamela, Biden's aides really viewed that interview as one of the key opportunities to try to assuage some of the concerns of American voters after that debate performance is the president trying to make this pitch that he is up for a second term.

But it does not appear that it has eased all of the concerns of some Democrats and officials within his own party who still believe that the president should step aside in this race.

Now the president came out in this interview quite defiant, insisting that he would not end his campaign before November. He also said that -- or would not commit to having to undergoing a cognitive test at a time when many Americans have concerns about his age and health following that debate performance.

The president also forcefully pushed back on the idea that top Democrats wants to see him get out of the race. Take a listen.


BIDEN: Every one of them, they all said I should stay in the race.

Stay in the race. No one said -- (INAUDIBLE) I should leave.


BIDEN: They're not going to do that.


BIDEN: Yes, I'm sure.

Look I mean, if the Lord Almighty came out and said Joe, get out of the race I'll get out of the race. But the Lord Almighty is not coming down.


SAENZ: Now, so far, five House Democratic lawmakers have said that they want to see Biden step aside from the race.

The most recent lawmaker to do so was Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota. She released this statement this morning saying that the president's debate performance, as well as a lack of a forceful response from him in the days after have led her convinced -- led her to believe that the president would be unable to wage a campaign and beat Donald Trump in November.

So the president right now is still very defiant in the face of these calls by some lawmakers to step aside. He and his team trying to craft a schedule, craft some type of campaign that they're hoping will ease some of the concerns of voters but still within his own party, there's still a lot of questions about President Biden moving forward.

BROWN: It's interesting because publicly President Biden clearly is digging in his heels, defiant saying he is not going anywhere. Privately though, he is leaning on his campaign co-chairs asking them what they think, right?

SAENZ: Yes and people who have spoken with President Biden, he has privately told one key ally that he knows how critical these coming days and weeks are to his candidacy.

This morning, he called into a meeting of his campaign co-chairs -- I spoke to one of the participants, Senator Chris Coons. He said that this call lasted for over an hour. And that President Biden was seeking honest input and advice about the best path forward in this campaign. Coons is one of those allies who has encouraged the president to really engage in these more unscripted casual types of moments. He said he expects President Biden to do that going forward.

Now, the president right now, is at his home in Wilmington, Delaware but tomorrow he is heading just across the state to battleground Pennsylvania, where he will be attending a church service in an African-American community in Philadelphia in the morning, and then a bit later in the afternoon attending campaign events in Harrisburg.


SAENZ: The campaign insistent (ph) that he is going to be hitting the trail more in the coming month and that they want to ensure that he is engaging in those types of unscripted moments, another test point for him with voters heading into Novembers election.

BROWN: All right. Arlette Saenz, thanks so much.

Joining us now is national political correspondent for Axios Alex Thompson. Thanks for joining us tonight.

You've really been leading the way, Alex, on reporting on everything since the debate as it pertains to President Biden and what, you know, your sources on the Hill, what they're thinking.

You know, I've talked to a couple of folks certainly they were not too impressed with the interview that Biden did and didn't actually think it particularly helped him. What are you hearing.

ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, AXIOS: Yes, absolutely. I think two things. One is the fact that Joe Biden waited over a week to even do the interview I think really concerned a lot of Democrats. He basically was down the first several days after the debate, despite the North Carolina rally, then went and spent the weekend at Camp David and only really started to really try to stop the bleeding both internally with his own staff, campaign and White House staff who were feeling very much neglected and felt like they weren't getting honest answers.

And so it was a little bit of too little too late. I would not be surprised, I actually probably expect that when Congress comes back, you're going to see a lot more statements like we've seen, both calling him explicitly to drop out and also sort of equivocating and saying, well, it's his decision.

But the problem with that is that Congress doesn't get a vote in this. And Joe Biden, the Joe Biden, we saw late last week is a Joe Biden that is very defiant. A president who has, you know, defied many of his doubters for decades and sort of sees this as key to his personal narrative.

And you know, I think we see a president that's more dug in the last 72 hours than he was a week ago.

BROWN: Right. In fact, I just spoke to Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly earlier in the show when he was saying the more you call on him to step down, the more he's going to dig in. That's what he does when his back is up against a wall.

He's not calling on Biden to step down, but he certainly expressed concern. Here's a clip from that interview.


REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I do believe that what happened at the debate was more than a bad night.

I am not about to throw him overboard because of a bad experience. I want to give him every opportunity to try to recover.

Having said that, at the end of the day, we cannot afford to make a mistake about Donald Trump.


BROWN: And time is of the essence here, Alex. At what point did these lawmakers who are loyal to Biden call on him to make a decision?

THOMPSON: I mean, time is running out.

The Democratic Convention is about five weeks away. I'd have to get the exact day count for you. And I think it's still very possible and if not probable, that Joe Biden is the nominee? It would be very almost impossible to remove him and it's really a single-person decision.

And also another interesting thing, I think a lot of people think, well, Joe Biden is a man of Congress, a man of the Senate. You know, these relationships will -- these people will really matter to him.

The thing you have to remember though is Joe Biden left the Senate in early 2009. He doesn't know most of the people. He knows a few, especially in the Senate. But the people that have long, long relationships with him, a lot of them are gone.

And so it's unclear having some of these -- some of these congressmen call for him to drop out will matter.

The other thing you -- and I think you alluded to this is that you see, in order to stop him from digging in further and you notice while the statements are always beforehand. They always talk about how great of a president he's been. He's amazing, historic as sort of this way of these are statements not meant to shame Joe Biden out of the race but to convince him.

BROWN: Yes. I've noticed that. You saw that from Governor Haley yesterday talking about, you know, he's had a great record and you know, it's really important for him to evaluate.

And it's interesting too, because in that interview with George Stephanopoulos, he's saying all these Democratic leaders are saying stay in the race, fight, be unequivocal we're not hearing that publicly really, right, from the Democratic leaders.

And in fact, I spoke to one Hill source today, Democratic lawmaker who said this person isn't hearing it either behind the scenes. It seems more like they're trying to sort of figure things out.

And of the five House Democrats who have called on Biden to step down, only one of them is in a swing district Representative Angie Craig from Minnesota. Why aren't other vulnerable Democrats speaking out?

THOMPSON: I think it sort of goes to your point earlier, is that people feel uncertain about how this is going to affect the race.

You know, in some ways, you could argue that the Beltway, mainstream media, mainstream Democrats they're actually sort of coming to where voters already were when it comes to Joe Biden and his age that a lot of voters had already baked in and that was reflected in the polling.


THOMPSON: Now, we've obviously seen some polls that show, you know, Joe Biden falling further behind this last week, but he's still within shooting range -- you know, he's still within range.

And I think there's still some Democrats that wonder maybe he's still electable, that maybe the debate wasn't as damaging as they originally -- they originally thought.

So I think there's going to be a lot of waiting and seeing. You're going to have to wait for more polling, you'll have to wait for how donors react to all this. Do they pull their money or at least just not give as much as they were going to do otherwise?

And then I think the other thing is we're going to see more reporting. You know, I think a key question is, you know, was this the first time that Joe Biden acts this way behind closed doors and were there people that were engaged in seeing it but then thinking it wasn't as big of a deal.

And I think, you know, the more reporting about how Joe Biden has been acting behind the scenes is the other thing that could convince more Democrats to eventually conclude that he isn't the best choice to go up against Donald Trump.

BROWN: I want to bring in seen in CNN media analyst and senior media reporter for Axios, Sara Fischer now. Thanks for joining the conversation, Sara.

So the president did a pair of radio interviews this week after his debate. Today, we learned those radio hosts who appeared on CNN, that the Biden aides provided questions in advance for approval. Here's a mashup of the radio hosts and their separate interviews asking very similar questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EARL INGRAM, RADIO HOST: Can you speak to some accomplishments that we may or may not be familiar with about your record, especially here in Wisconsin?

ANDREA LAWFUL-SANDERS, RADIO HOST: For people that may say what has the Biden-Harris administration done for me as a black person? What progress has been made here in Pennsylvania?


BROWN: So the Biden campaign says its common practice to send topics, by the way, these were questions not topics -- different. And the interview was not conditioned on asking these questions.

I mean, as a journalist, if a government entity sent me questions, I -- I mean that's NOT malpractice (ph) in my view. What do you think? What are your thoughts on this?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, absolutely not practiced. The Biden administration, they are veterans, they know better.

But really Pamela, what this suggests to me is just how ill-prepared he was even for this interview. The fact that they have been sending questions to these radio show hosts, and amid these interviews, the answers -- he still had stumbles.

He should know these answers in and out if his administration is the one sending the questions beforehand. But you're right, this is not common practice. You don't typically have any type of interview, you know, staff send questions, let alone the staff on behalf of the president of the United States.

It's a little bit embarrassing. And it also kind of shows you how much they're scrambling to control the narrative right now.

BROWN: Yes and what do you think Alex? I mean, how the White House has handled the fallout and now we're learning this that it tried to basically curate, you know, quote-unquote "interviews", tried to stage an interview essentially with President Biden with these black radio hosts.

What are you hearing from your sources and their reaction to this?

THOMPSON: Yes, a few things. One is the thing you have to remember is this was the first interview after the debate. This was -- you know, all this chatter of Biden allies saying Joe Biden needs to get out there more. He has to go in unscripted settings. He has to show that what the debate was, was just in fact, a quote, "bad night", which has been a lot of their messaging.

This was the first -- these are the first two interviews that Joe Biden did after the debate. It was Wednesday and Thursday? And the fact that they still had it basically pre-scripted, I think is really striking. It raises more questions, not less about -- about that is -- you know, about his fitness and about his age. The second thing I've heard is, you know, internally this was -- they went through a process that was not normal. The White House's director of black media was not included in this process. The campaign has basically said this was a campaign interview. So the White House was not involved and that was why.

But it was striking that this -- because I talked to some Democratic activists or Democratic strategists in the black community, and they felt that this was really patronizing. The fact that you would basically leverage the fact that this is a small local black radio and you're getting an interview with the president and basically say, well, if you're going to do it, then here are the questions we want you to ask.

BROWN: So let's talk about just the media strategy so far Sara, because you have this pair of radio interviews, you had this sit down with ABC.


BROWN: What do you make of the overall strategy and what the campaign is trying to do moving forward with making him more available for off the cuff, comfortable moments and that kind of thing? Is that going to move the dial at all for those skeptics out there?

FISCHER: I don't think it's going to move the dial enough, Pamela. Let's take a look at the ratings. So 8.5 million people watched that George Stephanopoulos interview, but 51.3 million watched the debate.

No matter what he does in television and in radio, it's not going to make up for the numbers of the people that saw that debate, of all the coverage that it got of the viral memes of him.

And then additionally, the strategy from the White House is to sort of script unscripted moments, right? This radio interviews are the exact example of that. We want to make it look like its unscripted, like he can handle things in real time. But we're handing him questions.

You know, same thing when it comes to rallies and things like that or any kind of press conference, I'm going to be looking out for whether or not there are teleprompters, whether or not he is speaking (INAUDIBLE), whether or not they take spontaneous questions from reporters.

Those are all things that the Biden administration has not been doing in terms of putting Joe Biden out there. Are they going to get comfortable now because they have to. And if they do, is the president equipped to do it.

I think a lot of folks watched that George Stephanopoulos interview and thought that he was still pretty slow.

BROWN: Certainly. And you heard Gerry Connolly on here earlier saying -- he took issue with some of the things he said about you know, God Almighty will have to come and tell me to leave the race for you to leave the race and just saying, hey, if I lose against Trump, I gave it my all certainly not satisfactory.

I want to just ask you quickly, Alex, before we let you go, it struck me as I was listening to the interview when George Stephanopoulos very -- who did it, I thought, a masterful job asking the right questions with the right tone. Asked about look, would you take a cognitive test? And he pressed him on that and President Biden said, well every day, I'm taking a cognitive test.

The bottom line is he failed. You know, if that's a standard, he failed that test on debate night, right?

I mean, I think that's a pretty universal view. And as you laid out, Sara, you know, with the interviews he's done, he certainly hasn't been passing them with flying colors.

So you know, what's the discussion behind the scenes, Alex, about -- about that? And hearing from the White House doctor.

THOMPSON: Well two things. I mean, the fact that the more troubling thing isn't just the debate, it's that voters overwhelmingly are saying that they don't think he's passed the cognitive test.

Now, Joe Biden's doctor, I can tell you has been with him forever. He was also involved in treating Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden when he had cancer. They are very, very close.

He's also a bit of a character, is a bit of an eccentric person, which is why some people speculated that even during when Joe Biden had COVID, they did not let him out on out to address reporters. But now pressure is building, especially in light of the debate for people to hear from him.

And you're already seeing profiles, you're seeing coverage, you're seeing people dissecting the visitor logs to see who he's been meeting with. And if there's any connection to Joe Biden's -- you know, to Joe Biden, to the president's health.

And that's going to continue it will be really striking to see if we hear from him.

BROWN: And I imagine that that pressure will only build on this, this White House physician Kevin O'Connor, and on the president because if this is his standard, you know, watch me every day.

I mean, every little thing right, from now on, I mean, we know President Biden's gaffe prone and so forth. But every little thing now will be looked at under the microscope, even more, under more scrutiny, right, through a different lens.

Alex Thompson, Sara Fischer -- thank you both.

And new tonight, how the Supreme Court ruling on executive immunity is changing Donald Trump's classified documents case in Florida. Could some of the evidence being thrown out.

Plus tropical storm Beryl is heading toward the Texas coast and it's expected to strengthen into a hurricane again before becoming the first storm to make landfall in the U.S. this year.

And Hamas says it's ready to drop a key demand that's been a sticking point in talks with Israel for a truce.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.



BROWN: New tonight, Federal Judge Aileen Cannon is now pausing some filing deadlines in former President Donald Trump's classified documents criminal case. Judge Cannon agreed with Trumps defense filing on Friday, setting a two-week briefing schedule while she considers the impact of the Supreme Court's ruling granting some immunity to presidents for official acts.

She also paused three-unrelated filing deadlines that were scheduled to take place during that period.

Joining us now to discuss is CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson.

So Joey, Judge Cannon has previously been accused of favoring Trump by continuing to delay the trial in this case. Is that what you think she's doing here or do you view this as a legitimate move?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure, Pamela. Good to be with you.

As it relates to this specific case, I think its legitimate. I think it is fair criticism with regard to what she has done in terms of delaying previously. Why? Because as a practitioner, I can tell you that judges are about moving their calendars, resolving and disposing of cases on the merits and quickly -- there's a lot to get through.

With respect to this case is the Supreme Court ruling. That Supreme Court ruling create certain laws in terms of the president being immune for official acts. And so it's important to give the parties their say.

I think the attorneys have legitimate arguments they want to raise on behalf of Trump, and I think the prosecution and Jack Smith's team has legitimate arguments they would like to rebut.

And so allowing for a motion schedule for those determinations to be made is absolutely proper under the law. What the decision made thereafter we can talk about when it comes as to whether or not that was a proper or improper decision.

But this right here, I think is the only way to fly.

BROWN: So let's dive in to the immunity ruling this week.


BROWN: The Supreme Court's decision says, "The former president has absolute immunity for the exercise of his core powers under the Constitution, and some immunity for his official acts as president. But that Trump has no immunity for his unofficial acts."

Why does that impact the classified documents case if most of the alleged behavior happened after he left office?

JACKSON: Yes. Well, with respect to the Supreme Court's ruling itself, I think it's fair to criticize the ruling and it's fair to give the notion that we have to have trust and respect for any court, much less the Supreme Court.

But when it makes decisions like this, it makes your head spin. I'll get into that at another time.

As it relates to this specific case, I think the argument is going to be that the official acts were the president possessing the classified documents while in office, removing those classified documents after -- while still in office, he removed them and whether or not he legitimately declassified them while he was still president.

And so with respect to this ruling of the Supreme Court where they created law, you can argue for a friend of theirs, a fellow conservative of their, wow. Notwithstanding that, and really the criticism you can make towards that, I think the Trump argument will be that while he was president in possession of these documents.

That's the critical inquiry, not what happened after the fact. Now it's a fair argument and you could say, well, wait a minute, it was being charged because he was possessing them as the president.

He shouldn't have had them in the first place. They were classified. They were brought to Mar-a-Lago. They weren't in the White House.

Absolutely, that's true. But I think you're going to hear the core argument Pamela being that the issues relating to the classified documents, his having those classified documents and what he did with the classified documents were when he was officially president, and to the extent that it protects your official acts, this immunity, those arguments are going to be centered around that timeline, not the timeline to follow in Mar-a-Lago.

BROWN: But to be clear, it wouldn't impact the obstruction charges in that case, right?

JACKSON: Well, you can argue it doesn't impact the obstruction charges, but I think the issue is going to be if it wasn't a crime in the first instance, then what are you obstructing? And so that's going to be the argument.

Obstructing is never appropriate, making false statements is never appropriate. But if there's not an underlying crime because the act was official, it's covered by immunity then what you do after is not as significant as if the acts were a crime. And that line of argument, I think you're going to see also advanced by his attorneys.

BROWN: Joey Jackson, thanks for breaking that down for us. Well U.S. and Israeli officials are cautiously optimistic about the

latest back-and-forth with Hamas as they try to hash out the finer points of a proposed truce that could mean a ceasefire and the return of hostages.

And we have some breaking news coming in, hurricane and storm surge warnings issued for the Texas coast. We have the new forecast on Beryl's projected path.

Stay with us.



BROWN: Well, new hope tonight for the possibility of a truce in the war between Israel and Hamas. A Hamas official telling CNN that it's ready to drop its earlier demand for a permanent ceasefire as part of any possible truced deal.

The U.N. says 80,000 people have now been displaced in Gaza since last week. Israel's military ordered evacuations in parts of Gaza City as, once again, ramped up ground operations there.

Nearly 1.9 million people -- that's almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip -- have been displaced since the war began.

CNN politics and global affairs analyst, Barak Ravid, joins us now. He is also an Axios politics and foreign policy reporter.

So, Barak, I understand you have new reporting tonight on the ceasefire negotiations taking place in Qatar next week.

BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICS & GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. The new thing here is that the CIA director, Bill Burns, is expected to travel to the region next week. I think it could be on Tuesday or on Wednesday. It's still not finalized.

He's going to Doha in Qatar for a meeting with the prime minister of Qatar, who is the key mediator in the deal and the head of the Egyptian intelligence service. He is also mediator in this deal.

And the director of the Israeli spy chief of the Mossad, David Barnea, who's also in Qatar already yesterday for initial talks.

And in the meantime, until this quad of senior officials that Israeli delegations will go to both Cairo and Doha to start hashing out the details about how to implement this deal.

There are many, many remaining gaps that need to be solved.

BROWN: So I'm wondering, Bill -- Bill Burns going, is bringing in a big name to help push things the last few inches over the finish line?

RAVID: I think so. And I think there's still -- there are two issues here. First, there are the operational details of how to implement the deal. This is for experts and lower-level officials to discuss.

But I think what Burns is coming to do is to try and settle this last big issue that is part of the main principles of this deal.

And this is about what exactly the deal is going to say on what happens when you move from the first phase of the deal, the humanitarian phase, to the second phase of the deal, that is supposed to include a sustainable calm in Gaza.

And this transition from phase one and phase two is a very politically sensitive issue for both sides, Israel and Hamas. And there's still a disagreement on how exactly you make this transition.


BROWN: So what about the hostage's families? What are they thinking through this? And my heart just goes out to them. I mean, so many months on and their loved ones still being held hostage.

Are they optimistic? Is the rest of the country onboard?

RAVID: Well, I think the hostage families are pressing very hard on the Israeli government, especially Prime Minister Netanyahu, not to take the deal because, in a way, it's his proposal.

It's more that they're pressing him not to back off and not to listen to the more radical right-wing elements in his coalition that are threatening to leave the coalition if this deal goes through.

And I think that when you look at broader in Israeli public opinion, a Channel 12 poll, Israeli channel 12, the biggest TV network in Israel, published a poll last night that showed that 67 percent of Israelis think that the return of the hostages should be the number-one priority for the Israeli government.

And only 26 percent said that the destruction of Hamas needs to be the top priority. So I think it shows very well where the Israeli public is at this moment.

BROWN: And what about Netanyahu's far-right government? Because Netanyahu has clearly said, time and time again, the destruction Hamas is the priority. Is the public opinion on this matter swaying him at all?

RAVID: It's unclear. I think what is more -- Netanyahu's main concern is how to make sure that his government doesn't fall. Because in every poll that -- in almost every poll that's been conducted over the last few months, you see that if elections we're held today, he would be defeated.

And one of the things that this poll that was published last night showed was that 54 percent of Israeli -- this is -- this is an amazing point in my opinion -- 54 percent of Israeli say that the war in Gaza continues because of Netanyahu's political considerations.

You know, this is a very serious accusations from the majority of the Israeli public against the prime minister to say that the work continues because of his political survival.

And I think it also tells you a lot where the Israeli public is these days.

BROWN: Yes, it certainly does.

Barak Ravid, thank you so much. Nice to see you.

Well, "CNN Heroes" is back and we're kicking off this year's campaign by catching up with 2011's CNN Hero, Yuval Roth. He founded the Israeli non-profit Road to Recovery.

For nearly two decades, the organization has transported sick Palestinians to and from there are medical treatment in Israel.

Anderson Cooper shares how their work is now more important than ever.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR & HOST, "CNN HEROES" (voice-over): The day after Hamas' brutal attacks on Israel, Road to Recovery continued its work transporting sick Palestinians from checkpoints in the West Bank to Israeli hospitals.


COOPER: Today, they're helping 40 to 50 patients a day.

YUVAL ROTH, CNN HERO: It's an opportunity for us, the Israelis, to meet the Palestinian and to make what they call a small of peace.

Each trip is one hour of peace. And we are doing every day, a lot of one hour of peace.

If we really want one day normal life for us and for the Palestinian, we should make effort to achieve it.

In the Bible, there is a phrase, "Bakesh shalmon veredfehu." It's means that you ask for peace and you have to run after the peace in order that peace will happen.

This is our mission.


BROWN: To see the full ongoing efforts of Road to Recovery, go to And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero." And look for our first new 2024 "CNN Hero" next week.


We'll be right back.


BROWN: Just in, mandatory evacuations are underway in Texas as Tropical Storm Beryl closes in on the coast.

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking the storm from the CNN Weather Center.

Chad, you're getting some new information this hour on the storm. Give us the latest.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: As expected, Pamela, the hurricane warnings have now been posted, from Baffin Bay just all the way up to the north, passing through Corpus Christi, passing through Victoria, Rock Port and the Port Lavaca. And we knew that these hurricane warnings were going to be issued.

So hurricane conditions can be expected now as this storm continues to move through.

Something else, though, that got bumped up a little bit in the 5:00 advisory, the storm surge potential here, with storm surge warnings and also now up to six feet of surge.

And for you, when you talk about this, a lot of the area that's going to get hit first is its national seashore? But the water is going to get into the back bays and push all of that water into Corpus Christi, possibly into Port Lavaca.

And this is the areas that are going to see the most surge potential and flooding potential from saltwater.

So here's the storm right now. Still hasn't picked up any intensity. That's the good news.

I'm seeing a little bit more color, a little bit more purple in the very last frames there, which means that the convection is getting colder, the cloud tops are getting higher, and the storm is trying to intensify a little bit. We expect that to happen overnight.

When the surge, when the shear goes down at night, especially after sunset, that's when storms start to perk up a little bit.


Right now, we have very warm water. We still have shear. But as that goes away tonight, I think we're going to get a much bigger storm tomorrow morning as you wake up, compared to where we are right now.

And yet, still a category one is the forecast. But the water is so very warm, the potential is there for a lot more to go here.

And the good news is this is not a Harvey event where the storm is going to stall. It is going to be long gone after 24 hours, leaving rain.

Yes, I mean, we could still get eight to 10 inches of rainfall and that won't cause some flooding, but not 55 and 60 inches, like the ridiculous storm Harvey produced there around Houston -- Pamela?

BROWN: Yes. We certainly remember that for sure.

All right. Thanks so much. Chad Myers, thank you.

A major political shift may be coming in France as voters this weekend choose between the country's first far-right government in decades or political deadlock. We're going to discuss.

You're the CNN NEWSROOM. We've got a lot of news on this Saturday. Stay with us.


BROWN: Well, voters in France will cast their ballots in the high- stakes parliamentary runoff elections after French nationalists lead in the first round. The results could cause ripples well throughout Europe.


It could also mark a major turning point in France's relationship with the U.S. And it all comes just weeks ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris.

Saskya Vandoorne has more.



SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): A dramatic move no one saw coming.


VANDOORNE: Following his party's stinging defeat in the European parliamentary elections last month, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had no choice but to call snap elections.

The stakes for the second round on Sunday could not be higher.


VANDOORNE: The far-right anti-immigration National Rally Party and its allies came out on top in the first round.

Eurosceptic and Russia-friendly, its doyenne, Marine Le Pen, claims to have detoxified the party whose early ranks included members of an S.S. military unit commanded by the Nazis.

The left-wing new Popular Front bloc came second, leaving President Macron's centrist alliance trailing in third place.

National Rally leader and aspiring prime minister, Jordan Bardella, have leaned heavily on identity politics. JORDAN BARDELLA, FRANCE'S NATIONAL RALLY LEADER: Think that the very

(INAUDIBLE) are very tired of Macron power during seven years of offenses, of increasing immigration, increasing taxes.


VANDOORNE: The 28-year-old has vowed to reduce immigration and free medical assistance for undocumented people and strip citizenship rights from those born to foreign parents on French soil.

(on camera): After the first round, an unprecedented number of candidates qualified to move forward.

Worried this would split the vote, two-thirds of the contestants from Macron's champ (ph) and the left-wing alliance have dropped out. Their goal: to block the National Rally from getting the 289 seats they need to form an absolute majority.


VANDOORNE (voice-over): Fearful of the paralysis that would come from a hung parliament, Bardella said he would refuse to govern unless he commands such a majority.


KEVIN ARCENEAUX, POLITICAL ANALYST, SCIENCES PO: One of the things or one of the big concerns that I think we should all have is that, looming over all of this, is a presidential election in 2027.

And one possibility is that, in anticipation of those elections, all of the parties in the parliament will see reasons to block each other, elect -- that they will get electoral advantage for doing so.

VANDOORNE: Le Pen, meanwhile, has made a historic advance, though it's yet unclear if that road will lead her all the way to the presidency in 2027.


VANDOORNE: Saskya Vandoorne, CNN, Paris.



BROWN: Well, when we hear about sharks, it's typically when there are attacks, like what we saw in Texas and Florida this week. So the whole idea of sharks can be scary.

But some innovative educators in the Bahamas are bringing kids up close to see why these misunderstood creatures need to be protected in todays "IMPACT YOUR WORLD."


MATT SMUKALL, PRESIDENT, BIMINI SHARK LAB: Bimini Shark Lab serves as a non-profit in the Bahamas and in the United States.

We also have a major education component. That's where we bring students into the area around Bimini.

The tag will go up here. And we want to be -

The students learn about the research, all of the types of tagging that we do, all of the long history that the shark lab has done here.

But then take them out and really so they can see it with their own eyes. Appreciate them in a new way and not be scared of some of these sharks.

So going to see the stingrays is a great introduction for the students, where people can get in at their own pace and get very, very comfortable with them.

You'll see when they, again, they're going to come right over top.


SMUKALL: One of our favorite places to take the students to is up to the mangroves to go see the lemon shark nursery ground, the lemon shark refuge, and why they're such value in making sure that those areas are protected.

And then work our way up to maybe some of the larger sharks that they do have a bigger fear of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess I just found a love. And I hope that my love for it can reach out to people around the world and help them understand the sharks.

SMUKALL: When we see a student that changes their perception of, you know, going from one day being scared of sharks to, in a couple of days, super passionate, wanting to pursue this as their career, that's why we do it.


BROWN: Tomorrow, don't miss Discovery Shark Week, hosted by John Cena. Summer's biggest holiday starts tomorrow on Discovery and streams on Max.


We'll be back.


BROWN: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Great to have you with us on this Saturday night.


So President Biden is pushing forward with his reelection campaign despite growing calls for him to step aside.

Last night, more than a week after his shaky debate performance, the president sat down for his first televised interview with ABC News, where he, once again, dismissed the debate as a, quote, "bad night" and denied concerns from members of his own party.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every one of them, they all said I should stay in the race, stay in the race.