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Biden: Will Only Drop Out If "The Lord Almighty" Tells Me; Biden On Debate Performance: "I Just Had A Bad Night"; Election Officials: Reformist Wins Iran's Presidential Runoff; Keir Starmer Now Prime Minister After Labour Landslide; Beryl Makes Landfall As Cat 2 Hurricane Near Tulum, Mexico; Grenadian PM: Small Nations Bear Burnt Of Climate Injustice; Trump Campaign Sizing Up Possible Biden Replacements; Israel Says Gaps Remain After Ceasefire Talks In Doha; Orban Facing Blowback Over Talks With Putin; Job Market In U.S. Staying Steady and Broad-Based; Several People Injured By Fireworks At July 4th Show; Soaring Temperatures Cause Torment In Western U.S.; Mount Stromboli Volcano Erupts Over Italy. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 06, 2024 - 01:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, U.S. President Joe Biden back at home in Delaware after saying he won't be taking a cognitive test in that highly anticipated taped interview.

The interview did little to calm fears and frustrations among Democrats with more coming forward calling on him to step aside.

And Beryl, now a tropical storm, but back over open water and expected to return to hurricane strength as it approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast.


HOLMES: More Democrats are calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 race or rethink his candidacy, but Mr. Biden vowing to fight on.

He sat for an exclusive interview with ABC News Anchor George Stephanopoulos. That coming as the President faces sharp criticism over his debate performance last week. He says he's talked to some of the people said to be considering asking him to step aside.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If the lord almighty came out and said, Joe, get out of the race. I'll get out of the race. The lord almighty is not coming down. I mean, these hypotheticals, George, if, I mean, if -- I mean -- if all -- GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: But it's not that hypothetical anymore. I grant that the -- they have not requested the meeting, but it's been reported --

BIDEN: But I met with them. I've met with a lot of these people. I've talked with them regularly. I had an hour conversation with Hakeem. I had more time than that with Jim Clyburn. I spent time with, many hours off and on the last little bit with Chuck Schumer. It's not like -- I had all the governors. All the governors.


HOLMES: ABC says the 22 minute long taped interview was broadcast in full and unedited. Under further questioning, Biden took responsibility for his debate performance, but said again that it was just a bad night.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you ever watch the debate afterwards?

BIDEN: I don't think I did. No.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I what I'm trying -- what I want to get at is, what were you experiencing as you were going through the debate? Did you know how badly it was going?

BIDEN: Yeah. Look, the whole way I prepared, nobody's fault, mine. Nobody's fault but mine. I prepared what I usually would do sitting down as I did come back with foreign leaders or National Security Council for explicit detail. And I realized about partway through that, you know, all -- I get quoted the New York Times had me down at 10 points before the debate, nine now, or whatever the hell it is. The fact of the matter is, what I looked at is that he also lied 28 times. I couldn't -- I mean, the way the debate ran, not -- my fault, no one else's fault, no one else's fault.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it seemed like you were having trouble from the first question in, even before he spoke.

BIDEN: Well, I just had a bad night.


HOLMES: Biden addressed supporters in the battleground state of Wisconsin on Friday. CNN White House correspondent, Arlette Saenz was there.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden's aide expressed confidence after the interview and his day of campaigning in Madison, Wisconsin. Aides really viewed the interview as the first step in a long process to reassure voters and top Democratic party officials that the president is up for a second term in office. But even as campaign aides are expressing optimism, the calls for Biden to step aside from within his own party grew on Friday. CNN has learned that senator Mark Warner, a Democrat of Virginia, is leading an effort to assemble a group of Democrats to try to get on the same page about the future of Biden's reelection.

Sources tell us that Mark Warner himself is starting to get to a place where he believes the president needs to step aside in this race. It all illustrates the heightened tension within this party as at the moment as the president and those top party officials are trying to chart the path forward where they want to try to beat Trump in November.

But so many questions still swirling for president Biden about the future of his candidacy. He will be in -- at his home in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday before campaigning in two stops in Pennsylvania on Sunday. Arlette Saenz, CNN, Madison, Wisconsin.


HOLMES: More Democrats openly calling for Biden to leave the presidential race. Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey was 1 of the governors who met with Biden earlier this week. On Friday, she issued a statement urging him to, quote, "carefully evaluate" whether he is the best hope to beat Donald Trump.


Meanwhile, a house lawmaker telling CNN that minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, has scheduled a meeting with party leaders for Sunday. But 1 house lawmaker telling CNN that Biden can't make up lost ground in the race.


REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): What we need right now, and I think what takes us fine, is to step aside and recognize, the president of the United States doesn't have the vigor necessary to overcome the deficit here and it's going to affect us all.


HOLMES: CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein joins me now live to talk about this. Ron, the president would have no doubt like to use that interview to talk policy and the dangers of Trump, talk about his achievements, but the focus was on his own ability to do the job. What was your assessment of how he did?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. I thought it left Democrats kind of in the worst possible position. I mean, it wasn't so bad that it was going to open the floodgates of more officials, you know, coming out demanding that he resign -- not resign, step aside. And it wasn't so good that it's going to, you know, resolve the doubts of voters. And I'm not sure, really, Michael, there's anything that could. I mean, once you saw that performance at the debate, it's far from clear that even subsequent good days would undo the impression that made. I mean, once voters know that card is in the deck and might come out, you know, once every 3 days, once every 5 days, even once every 10 days, it -- you know, is that something that that Biden can recover from?

I do think that the intransigence, the refusal to acknowledge that there's any reason for concern is something that may force many of those Democrats who have been hoping that he would kind of get to the point on his own of seeing where things stand, it may force them to be more public. And I would be shocked if there weren't more public calls for him to step aside in the next few days.

HOLMES: And if the consensus to step down is growing, and it appears it is, why do you think Biden is so determined to stand firm? What could change his mind other than the Lord Almighty?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the why -- the long term why. This is a guy who went to the University of Delaware in Syracuse, you know, and he's been surrounded by ivy league hotshots his whole life and he feels that he's been underestimated since he got, you know, international politics over 50 years ago. And also feels, you know, I'm the guy who beat Donald Trump.

Barack Obama talked me out of running in 2016, and Hillary Clinton lost, and all of these other Republicans have lost to Donald Trump twice. I'm the only guy who -- you know, who can beat, who has beaten him. And I think that there's -- you know, there's that kind of very personal view about why he is digging in his heels.

But I also think, you know, there is the dynamic where he has always felt that kind of the party is in a dilemma if he steps aside, where people around Biden have always been uncertain that Kamala Harris could beat Donald Trump, but they've also been uncertain that the party could rally and unify, behind anyone if they go through the process of replacing the first female woman of color, you know, on the on the national ticket.

So they've convinced themselves there's a lot of reasons to dig in. But the obvious, you know, the obvious concerns about where they're going is a real big point on the other side of the ledger.

HOLMES: And to that point, if you had to look at the contenders were he to step aside, who does look the strongest? Kamala Harris, obviously, has pole position by virtue of being vice president. But there are others who many think could do a better job with the right visibility and time, campaigning. Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer or someone else. Who do you think could jump in and do the job?

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. I doubt that any of them are going to run against her. I mean, I think, you know, your point, there is a demand side for an alternative to Kamala Harris if Biden steps aside. I mean, there are certainly a lot of strategists and even a lot of rank and file Democratic voters who do not feel that she would be the strongest candidate. But I am dubious that a top tier candidate who most Democrats would think would have a better chance would actually get in the race against her, and risk their long term standing with important constituents in the party, including women's groups and civil rights groups and Black voters.

If Democrats, who are skeptical of Biden going forward, can scale that first mountain of nudging him out of the race, I'm not sure there's going to be a lot of appetite for climbing up the second mountain of getting past her. I actually think it could consolidate behind her to a much greater and much faster extent than anybody would have thought possible a few days ago.

And the only issue would be which of the various governor options she might take, as her vice president. I think that would actually happen fairly quickly.

HOLMES: Yeah. What a situation, Ron. Ron Brownstein in Los Angeles. Always a pleasure. Good to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: And we are following breaking news out of Iran. Election officials there confirming that reformer Masoud Pezeshkian has won the presidential runoff beating his ultraconservative opponent, Saeed Jalili.


The moderate lawmaker won by almost 3 million votes. Analysts say he's unlikely to bring major changes though because most key decisions, of course, are made by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But the reformer could push for more dialogue with the west and possibly introduce some social changes at home.

A busy day for the UK's new prime minister after the Labour Party's landslide victory in British Elections. Sir Keir Starmer fielded congratulations from world leaders, including President Joe Biden. The men spoke by phone on Friday and will meet next week during the NATO summit in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Starmer also named his cabinet including the UK's first female finance secretary. CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson with more from London.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Britain's new Prime Minister Keir Starmer, and his wife, Victoria, taking their long awaited steps to number 10 Downing Street, 14 years since his Labour Party was last in power.

KEIR STARMER, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Whether you voted Labour or not, in fact, especially if you did not, I say to you directly, my government will serve you. Politics can be a force for good. We will show that. ROBERTSON (voice-over): His party securing a massive landslide majority in parliament. They needed 326, got 412.

STARMER: With respect and humility, I invite you all to join this government of service in the mission of national renewal.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A hard reality though. Only around 35 percent of voters supported Labour, and turnout was low, less than 60 percent, many in the U.K. losing faith in their politicians.

Outgoing PM Rishi Sunak stepping down as PM and Conservative leader.

RISHI SUNAK, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Sunak's conservatives handed a long anticipated, humiliating blow. 365 seats won at the last election, shredded to less than half that this time. Significantly, Liz Truss, who served a disastrous 49 days as prime minister in 2022, became the first former British leader in nearly a 100 years to lose their seat.

This election, not so much an endorsement to the Left, but a rejection of incumbents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am very sorry --

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The pro-independence Scottish National Party cut from 48 seats to 9. Nigel Farage, a major Brexit advocate and friend of Donald Trump, winning a seat for the first time along with a record 4 additional seats for his anti-immigration party.

And the centrist liberal Democrats, 71 seats, 63 seats up on the last elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a Labour landslide.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But nowhere were the celebrations bigger than among Labour supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir Keir Starmer, Your Majesty.

STARMER: Your Majesty.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Keir Starmer, known by some as no drama Starmer, a lawyer and former director of public prosecution came late to politics. Now the hard work of governing begins. Ministers arriving to be handed their new portfolios. Rachel Reeves, the U.K.'s first female Finance Minister or Chancellor of the Exchequer. David Lammy, once very critical of Trump, the new Foreign Secretary.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): Yet despite all the change and what it may mean inside the U.K., U.K. foreign policy is unlikely to change significantly. Lammy has reversed his comments about Trump, the party promising to work with whomever is in the White House on NATO, Ukraine, and Israel. Nic Roberson, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Still to come, I'll be speaking with the Prime Minister of Grenada, one of the island nations pummeled by Hurricane Beryl on the recovery efforts and the issue of climate injustice.

Plus, negotiations get underway on the specific details of a Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal. Israeli officials give an update on the state of the talks. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: Hurricane and storm surge watches have now been extended eastward along the Texas coast as Tropical Storm Beryl heads over the southern Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane on Sunday. The storm made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula on Friday as CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports.


GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of Mexico's main tourist destinations is getting back to normal after Hurricane Beryl went through the Yucatan Peninsula without creating any major damages to the region. This is according to local authorities in the State of Quintana Roo that says that Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, some of the major tourist destinations in the area are getting back to normal.

They say that they have ended all the storm warnings. They've lifted travel restriction, and they're slowly recovering power. There are areas in Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres where up to 50 percent of the population lost power during the height of the storm, but now things are getting back to normal.

It's moving through the Gulf of Mexico, and it is projected to make landfall somewhere in Northern Mexico or Southern Texas. For Northern Mexico this could be welcoming relief, all the rain coming with this, for areas that have suffered of severe drought for many years, and the rain could be beneficial. But also the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Veracruz have seen a couple of tropical storms already this year. So some of the dams, some of the reservoirs in the region are already filled up.

So more water could be beneficial, but also create area of problems in some areas like the city of Monterrey, Mexico's third largest city that just a few weeks ago experienced severe damage because one of their main rivers overflowed and damaged major streets in the metropolitan area.

Gustavo Valdes, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: At least 9 people are dead after Hurricane Beryl tore through the Caribbean. Small island nations, especially Grenada, have borne the brunt of Beryl's wrath thus far. And the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies warned that, quote, "this is the new reality of the climate crisis faced by those in the Caribbean."

Joining me now Red Crescent Societies warned that, quote, this is the new reality of the climate crisis faced by those in the Caribbean.

Joining me now Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada. Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for making the time. You have spoken clearly and strongly about the issues of climate injustice. You're forming a task force on that issue. I mean, the fact that island nations who contribute the least to climate emissions like Grenada are directly in the line of fire of these increasingly powerful hurricanes. What do you hope from that task force?


DICKON MITCHELL, GRENADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think we are hoping to galvanize and mobilize international action to ensure that, in fact, climate justice begins to happen. I think there are two sides to that. One, they need to ensure that the emissions are in fact reduced, or curtailed. And two, to ensure that there's financing for small island developing states like Grenada, whether they be in the Caribbean or in the Pacific, who are at the brunt of the climate injustice.

Because the reality is, in Grenada's case, Hurricane Beryl has essentially wiped out two islands. We are literally going to be rebuilding from scratch. We are talking everything from electricity to telecommunications to public buildings, whether they be police stations, health centers, hospitals, schools, housing. I mean, virtually all of the homes in Carriacou and Petite Martinique have been damaged or severely destroyed. So our very way of life is at stake as a result of these powerful storms.

HOLMES: Given the losses for countries like yours who do contribute the least to climate change, what is the responsibility of the main carbon emitters? I mean, or as you put it this week. You said the countries that are responsible for creating the situation and exacerbating the situation sit idly by with platitudes and tokenism. How difficult is it for small countries like yours to be heard by those bigger countries?

MITCHELL: Well, it's difficult because I think, you know, oftentimes they have their own agenda. And the small island developing states, it's difficult to get your agenda either on the agenda at all or to be taken seriously. And oftentimes, you know, your agenda perhaps gets some attention when your vote is required by a larger country at the United nations to pass some issue that is in their interest. And so you sometimes have to leverage your vote to get your agenda taken seriously.

So the reality is, you know, it is not just about the fact that the Caribbean or the Pacific islands are at the brunt of this, but it's really about our globe. Many persons who live in the U.S. or in Europe come to vacation in the Caribbean. I was actually just looking at some tourists from Texas who had to ride the storms out. Ideally, I would want them to come to the Caribbean and enjoy the vacation without having to be holed up in a hotel or having to find that the hotel roof has blown over their heads. So we also require citizens who live in the big industrialized countries to be part of this fight, to hold their governments accountable, to hold a big petroleum producing companies accountable to say action needs to be taken on this issue.

HOLMES: Absolutely. I mean, I remember covering Hurricane Maria in 2017 and seeing firsthand what it did to Dominica, Barbuda, Antigua and so on. Absolute devastation, particularly in Dominica.

What is the lasting cost to places like those nations and yours as these hurricanes grow in strength? Because the impacts are ongoing and long lasting, aren't they?

MITCHELL: Absolutely. I mean, the economic impact is devastating and it leads to oftentimes retardation or stagnation in economic growth, in social improvement, improvement in the general lives of our citizens. Because instead of spending money to fast forward on -- I would give a perfect example. Digitization or the use of technology or ensuring that our young students have the opportunity to excel in digital skills, be educated so that they become students of the future.

We have to spend large amounts of money simply building back basic infrastructure, and that's resources we can then deploy towards human capacity or human development or education or health care. So that's really the cost in many instances, sets the countries back by decades and the environment takes a significant battery.

If you fly over Carriacou, you would see there's absolutely no vegetation now as a result of the hurricane. The mangroves are destroyed. So we rarely push back, sometimes light years by these terrible storms.

HOLMES: We're almost out of time. But I wanted to ask you this. Are you surprised to still hear climate change deniers, those who say it's not real or not as bad as the scientists tell us, what do say to them?

MITCHELL: What I would say to them, if they experience the Hurricane Beryl, I'm absolutely sure that they will be converted. It would be on the road to Damascus experience, really, if you didn't believe that climate change and the negative impacts of it are real.

HOLMES: Big challenges ahead. But I'm sure you're up for it and your message is a strong one about climate injustice. Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell of Grenada, thank you so much.

MITCHELL: Thank you, Michael.

HOLMES: I'm Michael Holmes. For our international viewers, the "Journey Matters" is next. For those of you in North America, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM after a quick break.


HOLMES: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM with me, Michael Holmes. Now, an embattled Joe Biden vowing to stay in the presidential race as he dismisses concerns from some members of his own party.


In his first televised interview since his jarring debate performance. The U.S. President telling ABC News that he is the most qualified person to defeat Donald Trump. And he says he will only drop out if the, quote, "Lord Almighty tells him to."

The taped, unedited interview is seen as a key moment for Mr. Biden's political survival as he battles questions over his age and stamina. During the one on one, he offered a number of excuses for why he lost control during the debate, including sickness, fatigue, and Trump speaking while his microphone was muted.

In the exclusive interview with ABC News Anchor George Stephanopoulos, he addressed the idea of having an independent medical evaluation.


BIDEN: Watch me between. There's a lot of time left in this campaign. It's over 125 days.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So the answer -- the answer right now is no, you don't want to do that right now.

BIDEN: I've already done it.


HOLMES: In an effort to put the debate behind them, the Biden campaign is looking to schedule the president for more casual, unscripted events. Here he is answering questions from the press before getting on Air Force One.


REPORTER: How (inaudible).

BIDEN: Completely ruling that out.

REPORTER: Mr. President, how can you persecute your case that democracy is at risk, that you are the best candidate to beat Donald Trump?

BIDEN: Because I've beaten him before and I've gotten more done than any president has.


REPORTER: Have you spoken to Members of Congress (CROSSTALK) Mr. President? BIDEN: But you've been wrong about everything so far. You were wrong about 2020, you were wrong about 2022. We were going to get wiped out. Remember the red wave? You were wrong about 2023. You said all the tough races, we won them all but two. So look, we'll see.

REPORTER: Have you spoken to members of Congress?

BIDEN: I have. I have spoken.

REPORTER: Who have you spoken to?

BIDEN: At least 20.

REPORTER: What are they telling you?

What are they telling you, sir?

BIDEN: They're telling me to stay in the race.

REPORTER: What about the people who have called for, they're gathering together to call for you to step aside. I think Senator Mark Warren --

BIDEN: Well, Mark Warren, I'm saying is the only one considering that. No one else is calling for that.

REPORTER: Do you value --


REPORTER: -- former President Trump again?

BIDEN: I hope he'll debate me. I wouldn't be surprised.

REPORTER: And if he's in will you commit to --

BIDEN: I'm committing now, absolutely, whether he's in or not.

REPORTER: Do you value the thoughts of members of your own party when it comes to your decision to stay in the race?

BIDEN: Sure I do. That's why they've said -- you guys saw the governors, every one of them in that room. All those governors said, stay in the race.

REPORTER: Maura Healey?

BIDEN: Maura Healey didn't say anything when I was in the room. OK?

REPORTER: Sir, will you make changes to your campaign staff at all after the debate?

BIDEN: We're adding -- look, we've just added another 120 staffers. We have the most extensive staff operation in the states.

REPORTER: And are you pleased with your advisers, now they are seeing you (inaudible) campaign. BIDEN: Any mistake made. My fault. Thank you.

REPORTER: Are you confident you can serve another four years?

BIDEN: I'm positive.

REPORTER: Sir, last question. You always talk to young people. You're so committed to talking to young people. Why not let someone younger take the country forward? You have to ask, why not let every -- CEO has a succession plan?

BIDEN: Well, by the way, you do have succession plans, but what do I need a succession plan for now? And by the way, you know, I mean -- anyway.

REPORTER: No, no, go ahead, please.

BIDEN: Thank you.


HOLMES: U.S. Senator Mark Warner is said to be leading an effort to get Democratic senators on board with replacing Joe Biden or getting him to step down. Sources tell CNN that Warner is planning to meet with other senators on Monday. Meanwhile, a House lawmaker telling CNN that Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has scheduled a meeting with party leaders there for Sunday.

Now, Sunlen Sefaty with more on that.


SUNLEN SEFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The concern among Democrats on Capitol Hill is only intensifying. A handful of House Democrats now saying they believe it is time for President Joe Biden to step aside. Here's Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley.

QUIGLEY: What we need right now, and I think what takes a spine, is to step aside and recognize that president of the United States doesn't have the vigor necessary to overcome the deficit here, and it's going to affect us all.

SEFATY: And privately, many additional members are expressing their concern about President Biden's viability behind closed doors. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, he's called a virtual meeting for Democratic committee ranking members. That will be a key meeting for leadership to get a sense of how their members are feeling.

The House and Senate will be back in Washington on Monday and Tuesday, and sources telling CNN that will be something of an inflection point of sorts. Members have been home. They've been hearing from their constituents, and they will bring those concerns back with them here to Washington.

[01:35:00] Certainly, a consequential moment for Democrats here in Washington, House Democrats attempting to retake control of the House. And certainly even as he digs in and recommits to the race, a consequential moment for President Biden.

Sunlen Sefaty, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is, of course, a neurosurgeon, and he reached a conclusion after watching Biden's debate performance. He says, quote, "It's time for President Biden to undergo detailed cognitive and neurological testing and share his results." Here's more now from Sanjay.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, it's certainly up to the president and frankly, any patient, whether or not they want to have this sort of testing. But I should point out that the testing shouldn't be thought of as something that would embarrass or malign, but rather -- maybe provide some answers to what is driving some of the signs and symptoms we've seen with President Biden and maybe even provide an opportunity for some early treatment.

It could provide a baseline something that could be tracked and followed over time so that you could find early signs of any kind of deficit, maybe even before the person themselves recognized it. Or sometimes this testing just provides peace of mind that there is nothing to worry about.

I should also point out that in the United States, there is a cognitive exam that is usually recommended for anyone over the age of 65 as part of their annual wellness checkup. Anyone over the age of 65 going through about an hour's worth of cognitive testing, physical exam, patient history to try and figure out are there cognitive deficits that can be addressed early?

What I think has been driving some of the concerns since the debate among many of my colleagues in medicine was some of the things they saw for a sustained and sort of protracted time during the debate, the differences in speech, the halting of speech, the confused rambling, sometimes that occurred.

But also what they saw when President Biden seemed to not have any facial expression. I think it's why so many people have said cognitive testing as well as movement disorder testing could be potentially beneficial.

As you certainly heard by now the White House said, look, it was a bad night. That's basically what it was. It was a bad night. He was jet lagged to some extent. He had not been getting enough sleep and he had a cold. And those things certainly can cause episodes like we saw. But again, the question is, is this episodic or is this reflective of something that is more significant? We do know, finally, that he did have a fairly complete exam back in February. But a cognitive test was not part of that exam. They ruled out things like stroke, like multiple sclerosis, and they made note that he did not have Parkinson's disease. But there are other things that can cause Parkinsonism besides Parkinson's disease, and they didn't really mention that.

So I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions. But again, it is up to the president and any patient whether or not they want to have this sort of testing. But there are many reasons it could be beneficial.


HOLMES: And our thanks to doctor Sanjay Gupta for that.

Now, as the debate about Mr. Biden's future plays out, his Republican opponent, Donald Trump is doing something he rarely does, keeping quiet. CNN Steve Contorno with more on that.


STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Donald Trump spent Friday lying low at his Bedminster resort in New Jersey, continuing a remarkably quiet week for the former president, at least by his standards.

His campaign has been content to allow the spotlight to remain on President Joe Biden's debate performance and the Democratic hand wringing over what to do about their presidential nominee.

At the same time, they are preparing potential contingencies in the extraordinary event that the president of the United States decides ultimately not to run for President after all. They have been pouring over briefing books, looking at some of the potential Democratic contenders who may emerge as a replacement for Joe Biden, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and California Governor Gavin Newsom.

At the same time, we're seeing a bit of a strategy change from the Trump campaign and his allies when it comes to Vice President Kamala Harris. Both the Trump campaign and an aligned Super PAC called MAGA Inc. have attacked Harris in recent days. They are suggesting that she would carry as much of the burden from the past 4 years as Joe Biden would, and they would attack her equally on crime, inflation and immigration.

We've also heard an interesting line of attack from a Trump advisor who said that they would probably try to knock Harris down by suggesting that she was hiding information from the public about Joe Biden's mental acuity and his physical decline. Steve Contorno, St. Petersburg, Florida, CNN.


[01:40:00] HOLMES: Donald Trump's legal team now aiming to put the Supreme Court's decision on presidential immunity into effect for their benefit. In a filing on Friday, Trump's attorneys say they want an updated schedule in the federal classified documents case in Florida. They want to argue points related to the Supreme Court's decision last Monday, which conferred broad immunity to presidents for official acts. The new filing is likely to further delay an already slow road to trial in Judge Aileen Cannon's courtroom.

The Trump appointed judge has yet to decide a number of pretrial matters. They include a motion from the former president's team to dismiss most of the charges. Trump's lawyers claim he has immunity for his decision to remove classified records from the White House in the final hours of his presidency, and then not return them.

Israel says gaps still remain in a proposed ceasefire and hostage deal with Hamas. An Israeli delegation is set to return to Doha next week after meeting with mediators in Qatar on Friday. CNN's Jeremy Diamond with the latest from Jerusalem.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Mossad Director David Barnea flying to Doha, Qatar, and back on Friday to begin this next phase of negotiations with Hamas via those Egyptian and Qatari mediators for a potential ceasefire and hostage release deal.

He flew there at a critical time as it appears that Israel and Hamas now have a basic understanding around a framework for that potential deal. For months now they have been negotiating, trying to reach that framework, and a senior administration official in Washington now saying that it appears that there is indeed a framework agreement in place.

And so now they're entering this phase of detailed negotiations, Barnea traveling to Doha, Qatar on Friday, but an Israeli negotiating team will head back next week to continue those negotiations, a positive sign that there is momentum behind this.

Now these detailed negotiations are going to focus on the implementation of the ceasefire agreement, the sequencing of the release of the hostages and the Palestinian prisoners, as well as the identities of those Palestinian prisoners. These are all very thorny issues.

And so it should be stated that even as it appears that Israel and Hamas are further along now in these negotiations than they have been since the last truce collapsed at the beginning of last December, it should be noted that the outcome of these detailed negotiations, which are expected to take several weeks is far from assured.

The devil will certainly be in the details as Israel and Hamas appear to be trying to now close out a deal, as the White House has said. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is facing political blowback over his talks in Moscow. He met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, discussing ways to end the war in Ukraine. Mister Orban is the Kremlin's closest ally in the European Union, and his country just took over the rotating presidency of the EU Council.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen slammed the visit, saying appeasement will not stop Putin. The U.S. ambassador in Hungary said the trip is not about peace but about profit. While Kyiv said there can be no peace deals without Ukraine at the negotiating table.

The wife of a jailed Russian opposition figure claims her husband was transferred to a prison hospital. Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison after publicly condemning Russia's war in Ukraine.

In a series of social media posts on Friday, Kara-Murza's wife says her husband was moved from a maximum security penal colony to a prison hospital in a different district. She says his lawyers have not been allowed to see him, adding that her husband suffers from a disease caused by too severe poisonings.

The western United States is suffering from the harsh effects of extreme heat, and temperatures are still rising. We'll have more on that when we come back.



HOLMES: U.S. labor market is staying mostly steady with job gains cooling slightly, but overall employment stable. The economy added 206,000 jobs in June with the unemployment rate up for the first time since November 2021, but only from 4.0 to 4.1 percent. And with interest rates at a 23 year high, economists say a bit of cooling could help reduce inflation.

It was supposed to be a night of celebrating America's independence, but in Utah, the partying was paused on July 4th after stray fireworks went into a crowd of people on the campus of Brigham Young University. Several people were injured.

All of that while evacuations are underway in Central Washington State, where a wildfire covering several hundred acres was sparked by fireworks early Friday morning. The fire is burning in Wenatchee, and that's about 150 miles east of Seattle. To make matters worse, temperatures in the area are expected to reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


And a sigh of relief now after a dam on the Little Wolf River in Manawa, Wisconsin, came under threat from heavy rains on Friday. With floodwaters spilling over and rushing around the dam, the city asked residents downriver to evacuate. Hours later, the police chief said the dam appears to be intact and residents can return home. There was flooding throughout the city, vehicles awash in roads, motorists stranded, and a number of roads closed. Manawa is a town of about 1,400 people located 50 miles west of Green Bay.

Record high temperatures being posted all throughout the United States, some areas as much as 25 degrees above normal for this time of year. Meteorologist Chad Myers has the details.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Another hot day today across a lot of the east, but mainly in the west. 300 or so, record is going to be broken over the next few days. It was 106 degrees in Raleigh, Durham yesterday without the heat index, that's just way hotter than they've ever been on any day on any month. So they broke that all-time record.

Look at New Orleans for a heat index later on today, 105 tomorrow, 107. So, yes, very, very hot. The heat advisories have shifted a little bit farther toward the east. But the big advisories, the warnings are out here in the west where temperatures will be between 20 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than you should be at this time of year. Sacramento today will be 111 degrees. That's not a heat index. And there's not a lot of humidity out there right now. We wish there were more humidity because there are forest fires burning out there and grass fires as well. The humidity might help at least a little bit.

Palm springs going to make a run at 120. Even Las Vegas could break their all-time high for a couple of days. The old time high, 117, they're looking at 118. So yes, heat all the way through the valley, all the way through the valley floor. Also now red flag warnings, which means that the wind will be blowing and the wind is going to be blowing over 59 active wildfires with more lightning strikes or possibly even some fireworks from last night causing some more of these numbers. These numbers could certainly go up with this type of weather out there.

HOLMES: Thanks to Chad Myers there. Now, those soaring temperatures in the western United States, obviously, causing discomfort, but also danger and even death. Plus, they're increasing the threat and ferocity of the dozens of wildfires burning in the west of the country seen.

CNN's Natasha Chen reports from Los Angeles.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The West Coast is racing toward dangerous, record-breaking heat this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hot and we have to stay cool.

CHEN (voice-over): It's about 100 degrees at this pool in Northern Los Angeles County where people are waiting in line to cool off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got here, like at 10:50, and the lines were already really long. We still got a way to go. CHEN (voice-over): Government agencies mark this spot as a major heat risk area in red on this map. But several counties slightly more inland are in extreme heat risk. Purple, meaning likely significant increases in ER visits and power outages. The homeless are among the most vulnerable to heat related injury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got water here and I'm freezing the Otter Pops. We're literally trying to keep people alive.

CHEN (voice-over): A 69 year old man living on the streets has died due to extreme heat in San Jose, California.

MAYOR MATT MAHAN, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: I want everybody in our community to be safe, and not all deaths are preventable. This one was.

CHEN (voice-over): In Arizona, a 10 year old boy died from a heat related emergency while on a hike. The heat is also stoking dangerous wildfires. Near Yosemite National Park the fringe fire erupted on July 4th, prompting mandatory evacuations for more than a thousand residents.

Evacuations are also underway in Central Washington state, where fire officials say fireworks sparked a Friday morning blaze.

JANELLE KINSKI, OPENED BUSINESS TO EVACUEES: We were extremely anxious that night because we could see the fire out here coming over the ridge.

CHEN (voice-over): The Thompson Fire north of Sacramento is now almost half contained.

ASST. CHIEF TIM RICHER, CAL FIRE: Down here in Branch 15, every resident outside of the fire perimeter has been repopulated. But the speed of flames initially rushing through was terrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen the fire coming from the west, and it was coming fast.

NANCY CHRISTANSEN, THOMPSON FIRE EVACUEE: It's the most scariest thing in the world. But being right here, this community has come together and has helped everybody out here, unbelievably.

CHEN (on-camera): It's about 100 degrees at this pool in the north part of Los Angeles right now, which is why you're seeing so many people trying to cool off. And we're expecting more than a thousand people at this aquatic center today. The temperature can swing upward, though in just a short distance. 30 minutes north of here we're already seeing temperatures of 114.

Going eastward in the state to Death Valley we're seeing temperatures that could reach 125 by Sunday or Monday. So authorities are concerned. But it's not just the high temperatures but also the duration of this heat wave going into next week, which could create more dangerous situations. Natasha Chen, CNN, Los Angeles.



HOLMES: Residents and tourists in Italy are taking in the spectacular scenes as the Mount Stromboli Volcano spews a large ash cloud into the sky. You can see it there. The eruption raising concerns, though local civil protection has heightened warnings from orange to the highest level red.

The volcano is on an island north of Sicily where Mount Etna is also erupting. Thermal imaging showing Mount Stromboli's powerful flow of lava gas and ash pouring into the sea. See that there spectacular. The eruptions forced Sicily to close the Catania Airport on Friday as authorities warn the situation could deteriorate further.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Don't go anywhere, CNN NEWSROOM continues with my friend and colleague Kim Brunhuber after a short break.