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CNN International: House Democrats Remain Divided On Biden After Meeting; Tonight: Trump Rally In Miami Amid Growing VP Speculation; Biden Under Pressure To Perform Well For European Allies; At Least 43 Killed In Russian Strikes Across Ukraine Monday. Aired 3- 4p ET

Aired July 09, 2024 - 15:00   ET



REPORTER: You have a family, you got an important job. Why doesn't anybody in the president's family urge him just to go to get checked out to say the coast is clear?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Okay. So, just to step back just a little so bad because I think you weren't in a briefing room last week. I don't want to go backwards, but just to share a little bit about that night, the president said it was a bad night. He talked about it. He had a cold, right? He talked about his schedule, right, being abroad.

And so we spoke about what that night was like for him and we understand what the American people saw, what you all saw. We've spoken to that. And I also would say and I think you know this, Peter, you've covered a couple of administration at this point -- administrations at this point that the president, every president has a White House medical unit that is with him 24/7, that is available to him 24/7.

That is unlike any other American, right? That is not the norm. That is uncommon. Just down on the other side of the colonnade is where the medical unit is, and I did share in -- that the president checks in while he's exercising with his doctor on a couple of times a week.

And so, he has that. He has something that most majority of Americans all Americans, I would probably argue, don't have, which is a full medical unit that is with him at all times and he gets a full, full, full physical annual physical that we share with all of you and that is very different. Very different than an everyday American who sometimes they're lucky if they can go get a physical. They have to get into a car. They have to take public transportation. The president has, again, a medical unit that's with him here at the White House and travels.

REPORTER: So, the question is just -- this is not, you're saying this is not a situation where you would rather just not know if there is an issue with the president because --

JEAN-PIERRE: What I will tell you is --

REPORTER: -- if he does get a bad result, it is all over. He has to leave office right away, he can't run for reelection.

JEAN-PIERRE: First of all, its a hypothetical, right, you're giving me a hypothetical, but I will also say just to clear this up, his -- the White House medical unit, his doctor, they don't believe that he needs anything more than what we have been able to provide, a full, full detailed, very comprehensive physical that he had four months ago. It is their decision to make, it's not yours. It's not mine. It's the White House medical unit.


REPORTER: Hi, Karine. You mentioned that the Democratic Party was united. Perhaps the leadership, but a lot of rank-and-file Democrats have a lot of concerns. One of them Steve Cohen said today, not only is they're not on the same page, but they're not even in the same book. How does the White House -- is the White House concerned about that?

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, we -- I've said before. We respect congressional -- congressional members. They have their opinions, we respect their opinions. Many of them that we've got -- we had to opportunities to deliver really, really good results on behalf of the American people. But there is the whole Congressional Black Caucus, they support the president, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus support the president. Those are pretty impressive numbers.

Senator Coons, Senator Fetterman support the president. There's also another list here that shows support for the president.

You're going to have some congressional members who feel differently. It is -- that is -- that is up to them, right? The president wants to continue. He's going to have those conversations. He's going to engage were congressional members, he's going to continue to do that as he has. That's not going to stop.

Obviously, the campaign is doing their work. We're doing -- continuing our engagement with congressional members, as we do pretty much all the time on whatever issue we want to work with them on. So that's not going to change.

You heard from AOC, the congresswoman from New York. She said the matter is closed and I support him, right? You heard from Maxwell Frost, who was on CNN today, gave -- was very supportive on CNN.

So you do have others out there just today -- just today or yesterday, giving support to the president. I can't your mentioning one person, but there are others as well.

REPORTER: On the separate topics, Cedric Richmond this morning, he said that the -- that the debate stage was the words, debate stage was performance. I would say look at actions and accomplishments.

The president's allies have made some version of that argument and not pay attention to what he said on stage, but what his accomplishments are. But when you're -- when you're the president of the United States, don't words matter? JEAN-PIERRE: So, when you're the president of the United States, I think any, any leader, right, especially including a former president, your words do matter. You're 100 percent correct.

The president has owned up to that night. He said it was a bad night. He said this. He said this many times.


He's even said he screwed up. So those are the president's words. That's all I can give you at this time.

We do believe that we should not just look at the 90 minutes, the president has had -- has done more than any other modern day president's, administrations. Historic, historic things have gotten done.

When I was watching the Democratic Caucus, they talked about $35 insulin, right? Capping that when you think about seniors who were paying hundreds and hundreds and dollars, we were able to get that done because of a very important piece of legislation that we move through, right? And only Democrats made that happen. That's also because of the leadership of this president.

And that's just one. That's the bipartisan infrastructure legislation. There's the Chips and Science Act. There's the PACT Act for our veterans.

I mean, there are things that he's been able to do that elected officials, presidents before him had been trying to do and could not getting done -- get done, beating -- beating big pharma.

So there is a long list of impressive things that this president has been able to get done, getting us out of the pandemic that we do believe is important to note here as well as an accomplishment of this presidency.

REPORTER: Well, the question that I don't think has been asked, probably has been asked, the White House and also the campaign has said that he had a cold that night. He then went to a watch party afterwards, which you have brought up. I was at that watch party. If he did have a cold, why then pushed into another event where he spent some 45 minutes along the rope line?

JEAN-PIERRE: And not just -- and I would add to that, it wasn't just a watch party. We landed at 2:00 a.m. in the morning in North Carolina, he greeted hundreds of North Carolinians in North Carolina. He woke up the next day in North Carolina, gave a speech in front of, in front of thousands of North Carolinians. No, no, no. I'm just -- I'm just trying to lay your give you gave me an opportunity and I'm just using that opportunity, obviously to lay out what the president did in those two-and-a-half days.

Look, you know, one of the reasons that we shared that he had a cold is because during the debate in real time, everybody heard his hoarse voice and folks asked, and we were able to we were able to confirm right away that he had a cold, and that -- and that he was also tested negative for COVID. So we were able to share that in real time. So just also want to share that.

Look, he pushed forward, right? Many of us have colds and we still pushed forward. He's the president of the United States. He understands how important it is to continue to get up every morning, regardless of how you feel, right, to get things done.

That's how this president is. I'm sure that's how many presidents before him were as well when it comes to really not letting a cold get you down. And I think that's also why he pushed forward in the debate also on that night.

So, look, he pushed forward, try to get things done, wanted to make sure that he had an opportunity. People who watched him do a debate, who were waiting for him, people at 2:00 in the morning in North Carolina who will waiting for him. He wanted to make sure that he engaged with Americans.

REPORTER: Finally, Karine, this morning, House Speaker Mike Johnson said, as he has before, that Democrats are covering up the president's mental acuity for years. How do you respond to that? And has the White House been (INAUDIBLE).

JEAN-PIERRE: And so, I'll say this. Americans out there, folks who are watching, who would not normally in the day-to-day of what's happening in this world, there's a comprehensive medical, full comprehensive medical report on the website, I would encourage them to take a look, to take a look, read, read that report and they can also read for themselves what his -- his specialist, a group of specialists of coming out of the medical unit, decided on what they examine, what they saw, what they reported on. I think that matters as well.

It is a group of them that come together when it comes to doing their physical, it is extensive physical. And so there's something there for them. It's transparent, it's out there. It's for them to read. It's for the American -- not just for you, for the American people to take a look. And I think that's important to note as well, and that's what I would share with them.

I come to you in a second.

REPORTER: Thanks, Karine.

The president said yesterday, his letter, his interview that he talked to a wide range of voters, overwhelmed only heard from people that they wanted him to stay in the race. Our polling shows that 76 percent of Democrats think he is too old to run this year.

How is he coming to this conclusion? Are you sure that handful events is giving him a representative view of swing-state voters?

JEAN-PIERRE: So look, I mean, look -- that has been -- you all have asked me about polling in his age for like a year now, it's come up many, many times. And, you know, I'm not going to speak to polls, and that's something I'm going to do from here. I'm just going to let the experts, the pundits, and all of you --


JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, I was about to answer your question, just give me -- give me a second.


Look for the past 3-1/2 years, the president has been out there talking to voters. And if you think about, and I what he was referring to when we went to -- when he went to Atlanta right after the watch party, he saw -- he literally did a rope line. Some of your colleagues were there, some of your colleagues spoke to some of the folks who were there and heard from them directly.

He heard from folks at the rope line. I mean, these are every day -- engaging with every day people. That's what he did, landed at 2:00 a.m. in the morning in North Carolina, hundreds of people there. He did a rope line, engaged with every day people.

The next day, thousands of folks, thousands of people were at the North Carolina event. And you heard chants, let's go, Joe, we love you, Joe. I mean, that's something that you feel, right? That's something that you feel out there. And that's what he feels out there.

The next day, he went to New York and he was able to spoke to -- to speak to some supporters there. And then went to New Jersey.

So it is a continuation. On Sunday, 600 people at the church, the whole -- if you watched that service, you heard you heard from that congregation. If you watched him in Harrisburg, you saw people -- you saw him engaging with people.

I mean, that -- there's nothing that takes away -- all respect to the polling out there, but nothing takes away I don't think from engaging with everyday Americans, I think that matters, too.

And that's just -- I'm just laying out the last 10 or 12 days, right, that's just the last 10 or 12 days.

REPORTER: One more, over the weekend, "The New York Times" reported on a senior White House official who kind of worked with the president, his vice presidency, in a 2020 campaign, said he shouldn't seek reelection. They thought he was not up to that, was showing signs of his age.

Does the White House know who this person is or making the effort to find out? And are you comfortable having someone who apparently is traveling with him, working with him this way who thinks this?

JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, that is -- that is the first time I've ever heard that was in that reporting. You know, we -- this is not -- this is not the last administration where we tried to find who is speaking are leaking. That's not something that we do here.

Everybody has their opinion, but that is the first time I've ever heard anything like that. I've never heard any speak -- anyone speaking that way from here.

Get in.

REPORTER: So about something (INAUDIBLE) about congressional outreach. Has the president spoken to -- does he plan to speak with any of those that have publicly called for him to go?

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I don't have a list of people that the president is going to call. He's going to engage with congressional members. That's something that he's going to do. I can say, you know, I'm sure folks here in his office of ledge affairs has had regular communication with everyone, I just don't have a list of who he's going to speak to.

But the president is always willing to speak to people who agree with him and don't agree with him, you know that about him. If you've covered him, he's very much that type of a president. I just don't want to get ahead of his decision on who he's going to call and how that's going to look.

REPORTER: One thing I don't think we've gotten public clarification about here. In the interview Friday night, he was asked, did you watch the debate? He said, I don't think I did. No.

Did he watched the full debate or what of it has he watched?

JEAN-PIERRE: You know, that's a good question. I should -- I never followed up with him and I meant to. I have not asked him that question. I was there in the room and he was being asked that question. I just never followed up. You know, that is something that we can follow up with him on. I have not.


JEAN-PIERRE: I'm sure he's seen clips. I'm sure he's seen clips. I just haven't -- haven't had asked him that for question.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) One other thing that's come up --

JEAN-PIERRE: Getting round-the-clock coverage, right, from all of you.

REPORTER: One other thing has come up in the last little bit, the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, I don't know if you've seen this, issued a little while ago, saying in part in recent weeks, Iranian government actors are set to opportunistically take advantage of ongoing protests regarding the war in Gaza, the playbook we've seen other actors use over the years.

We've observed actors tied to Iran's government posing as activists online seeking to encourage protests and even providing financial support to protesters. She goes on later to urge Americans to remain vigilant as they engage online with accounts and actors they don't personally know.

But that's a pretty big charge to make that Iran maybe trying to influence these protests in the streets of the United States. JEAN-PIERRE: So, yes, I know what you're speaking of. What the DNI

warned about, obviously, for any specifics, I would have to refer you back to Director Haines and her statement, but broadly speaking, here, just bear with me for a second.

Iran is seeking to opportunistically take advantage of protest. So I want to echo the DNI's remarks today. Americans across the political spectrum acting in good faith have sought to express their own independent views on the conflict in Gaza, the freedom to express diverse views when done peacefully is essential to our democracy.


At the same time, the U.S. government has a duty to warn Americans about foreign malign influences, activities. This is -- this is important to help Americans guard against efforts by foreign powers to take advantage of or co-opt their legitimate but protests activities. We will continue to provide these warning as they arise.

And today, I just want to convey and a firm message from here to Iran and any other foreign actor that seek to conduct these types of influence activities, meddling in our politics and seeking to stroke division is unacceptable. And we will continue to expose attempts to undermine our democracy and our society just as we are today. That is something that we will continue to do.

The U.S. government will continue to vigorously support and defend Americans in their exercise of their First Amendment rights to protest and express political views peacefully. At the same time, we will continue to warn against exposed foreign efforts to meddle in our internal affairs and attempt to amplify conflict.

The former is an essential part of the robust functioning democracy. The ladders or threat, and it will not, it will not, will not be tolerated.

REPORTER: And the president's been read in to all this?

JEAN-PIERRE: He's been briefed.

REPORTER: The problem is being shared publicly.

JEAN-PIERRE: He's been briefed. He's been read -- read in. He is aware.

And if we believe as I just stated here, it is duty. It is our duty here as a U.S. government to share that.


REPORTER: I have question on the NATO summit.


REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) discussion about Ukraine, but also the southern front of NATO, countries like Italy and Spain. They want the summit to approve a new strategy to improve relations with countries in Africa, the Middle East, and work together in interest (ph) like migration, or instability.

So does the U.S. support these? And is the president trying to -- or planning to meet with any leaders of the southern front (ph)?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I think we announced some of the bilateral -- we announced the one with the UK prime minister. I just announced with the President Zelenskyy, we will do our best. You know, the president is hosting the 75th NATO summit. So he's going to be pretty busy engaging with global leaders and obviously hosting the event.

So if we have anything more to share, I know my colleagues at the National Security Council would do our best to share that with you. I'm not going to -- we're going to have some deliverables, we're going to have some you know, some statements to make declarations. I'm not going to get ahead of any of that. So I'm just going to let this -- let this summit began and let the president actually lead -- lead these next couple of days.

REPORTER: Does the president support this strategy --

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: We've been listening to the White House press conference there as the press secretary, Karine Jean- Pierre continues to answer questions about President Biden's plans.

In answer to that question, she said, definitively, President Biden is, quoting, more determined than ever to continue to get the job done. He's staying in the race, says the White House press secretary, she was also asked if he would serve a full second term if reelected. And she said, yes, he would he intends to do so. We should also note that Senate Democrats coming out of their weekly meeting, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer repeated the phrase, "I'm with Joe".

So for now, the White House very much committed to staying in the race and the Senate Democratic leadership behind him, House leaders showing no signs of abandoning the president either.

Joining me now for more on those conversations and what we heard from the White House podium, CNN's Jeff Zeleny and Sunlen Serfaty join me now.

Jeff, there's been a lot of talk since the debate of the possibility of the dam breaking in Democratic support for the president's continued candidacy. Does not appear today that dam is breaking. In fact, you what you seem to be hearing both from the White House but from Senate, at least Senate leadership and from House leadership is that Democrats are with him on that.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jim, the dam is holding. I mean, the Democrats may not be enthusiastic, our private conversations would show, but they are urgently trying to change the conversation back to Donald Trump. We heard at the House Democratic leaders' press conference a short time ago, of course, echoed by the sentiment of the Senate, they are trying to make this race once again about Donald Trump and not about Joe Biden. The challenge, of course, though, President Biden is still facing some

of the same questions about his candidacy that he was the beginning of the week. However, clearly, the White House has been intent on trying to buy some time this week, and it appears they have done that, getting the supported the Congressional Black Caucus last evening and getting the support and really not having the erosion go even further.

When I was talking to a senior Democrat yesterday morning, Jim, they thought that there could be a few dozen people, members of Congress had calling for the president to step aside by midweek.


That is not happening. So as of now, this remains a pivotal week for President Biden as he gives a speech this evening to NATO. And, of course, has world leaders here in Washington and a press conference on Thursday. But as of now, Democrats are sticking with him perhaps. It's the -- you know, just the sheer fact of the difficulty that it would be to replace him.

So all is still -- I guess it's still an open question, but as of now, as we sit here on Tuesday, the dam is holding.

SCIUTTO: Sunlen Serfaty on the Hill. Are you hearing similar unity at least publicly from Democrats on the president?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, definitely, Jim, acknowledgment that the conversation that's taking place on the Hill in public is very different than a lot of private conversations that members and staffers are having about the path that they go forward. Today on Capitol Hill, there was a series of huddles of House Democrats, Senate Democrats, and where, of course this was the main topic and Senate Democrats met for an extended period today and were somewhat tight-lipped following that meeting, calling it constructive.

But we know according to a source that a whole wide range of views on the path forward was talked about during that meeting, and that some stood up and he said that they have deep concerns about the path forward and potentially, Joe Biden's drag on the down-ballot races. But the path forward very clearly, not settled on. And you heard that as you referenced from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who emerge there and has just been a broken record repeating the same phase, "I'm with Joe here".

Now, earlier today, the House Democrats huddled outside of Capitol Hill and notably they said that meeting carried a sense of sadness according to one lawmaker, he says the sadness that comes with talking about someone you love who is in an obvious decline. There is a very real struggle and House Democrats specifically worried about potentially losing the house, losing their seats not been able to flip black the houses, which is their ultimate quest if Joe Biden stays on the ticket.

Here's just a little but what how some House Democrats told my colleague Manu Raju this morning.


REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): Biden has one before when people thought that he couldn't win. If you'll remember, he wasn't the guy that was running ahead of everyone. He can do this.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I think we're just continuing to listen to where everyone is and I think that the president is our nominee.

REP. RITCHIE TORRES (D-NY): We have to respect the well, the people and do everything we can to assure that he wins. That's -- I think I'm viewing it pragmatically.


SERFATY: And that's such an interesting comment and one we're hearing from many Democrats on Capitol Hill that the view right now is that they're going to take a pragmatic approach to this. This might be the option that they have to go with. And that's why we've heard these echoes of, up for right now, I'm with Joe Biden, and we heard that just moments ago from the Dem Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar. He said, for right now, Joe Biden's our nominee. Let's see how he does in this press conference.


SERFATY: Let's see how he does on the campaign trail.

SCIUTTO: Listen, it's a marked change from where many of this town were just a few days ago saying that the dam is about to break to Jeff's point, the dam is holding.

Jeff, I do want to ask you a question about -- this question about the neurologist visits to the White House. It would seem that question is now answered though with some difficulty over the last 24 hours, but the White House is saying the president met with the neurologist three times, but only at his annual, his physicals. So, that's once a year for the past three years during those annual physicals.

Is that answer now clear from the White House on those visits?

ZELENY: Well, they have the information, so it's certainly clear that it was 24 hours ago when there was a very contentious White House briefing where the press secretary would not acknowledge what the public White House visitors logs shows, but they did release that letter from the president's physician last evening, said he met with him three times at his annual physical. So, yes, it would seem to be answered based on what we know, based on our information, of course, this is a -- this is an unknowable fact from our end.

The White House though clearly did not do this the easy way. I guess I would say, just to -- after trying to halt some of the public relations damaged that was happening yesterday.


ZELENY: They put up that later, the letter last evening. It makes you wonder why that couldn't have been done earlier. In any case, the White House clearly is trying to move beyond this but we have not seen or heard from the president specifically. And this is on him.

One Democrat told me earlier today, Jim, that President Biden now is holding the shoulders of his campaign. He cannot be propped up by aides or advisors. This is on him, so we will see how this goes in the months ahead.


Again, a month until the Democratic convention, less than four months until Election Day.

SCIUTTO: Well, he will be asked questions at this press conference on Thursday, certainly, I imagined about this, and other topics.

ZELENY: Right.

SCIUTTO: So, Jeff Zeleny, Sunlen Serfaty, thanks so much to both of you.

ZELENY: You bet.

SCIUTTO: For a little more background, lets bring in our panel, Tia Mitchell of "The Atlanta Journal Constitution", and Aaron Blake of "The Washington Post".

Good to have you both.

Aaron, a DNC official told CNN the following, and I'm quoting here: I can't stress this enough. Dems need to make a decision and then move forward. The sniping won't stop until leadership officially puts an end to the uncertainty.

It would seem that the important folks have put an end to the uncertainty, at least in their answers today, that the president -- well, the president has said repeatedly, he's staying in the race. The Democratic -- the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, says repeatedly today, I'm with Joe and Jeffries, the House leader, saying similar. I mean, is that question answered whether -- whether some in the caucus like it or not, are they -- are they sticking with Biden?

AARON BLAKE, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I mean, practically speaking that is what's happening right now. But I think what we're seeing also is a pretty interesting split-screen. So, in the House, and among Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate, we've seen kind of a rallying effect then saying that this is our nominee. We're going to stand by him, even at the same in time we're seeing Democratic senators come out of their meetings today and really say anything but, you know, I love having Joe Biden at the top of my ticket, basically saying that he still has something to prove.

We saw this yesterday with Senators Warner, Klobuchar, Senator Murray, made a big statement about this. And then today, we're seeing more alone on these lines. I think there's a real question though, of whether these kind of loop

warm, he still needs to show me something type comments are actually going to move the ball forward, or if this is just kind of being overtaken by all these other even more high-ranking officials in the Democratic Party who are giving Biden more of a vote of confidence than these more skeptical members are.

SCIUTTO: Tia, to Erin's point, I spoke to Democratic Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado this morning. I asked him whether he's backing Biden to stay in the race. Listen to his answer.


SEN. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO): If you're trying to get me to take a position on whether he should continue his campaign I will collectively avoid answering the question just because, right now, that's a process of really listening. And I have great confidence whatever, whatever President Biden decides that he'll do the right thing for the country. He's spent the last 50 years not worrying about himself, but always putting the country first.


SCIUTTO: Putting the country first, doing the right thing for the country. To Aaron's point, Tia, he did not say, I want him to be the Democratic Party nominee.

I just wonder, you know, the leadership is backing the president here, but does that rhetoric disappear? I know you were staking out the House leader -- leadership meeting earlier today.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: Yeah. House Democrats met behind closed doors. It was one of those situations where cell phones went in a bag and weren't allowed in the room because they really want it to be able to talk freely. And we see that even as members came out of the meeting, widespread support for the president as far as praising him for doing a good job, saying how much they respect him, saying how much they want to make sure that they show him respect, moving forward, no matter what that is.

And quite frankly, a lot of people saying, if he's our nominee, I will support him. But that's different than saying I think he should be the nominee. I think we need to stop discussing alternatives because that should be off the table. Now there are some lawmakers who are saying that, but others are more where Hickenlooper is and they're saying, well, you know, we're discussing it. We want to leave it up to the president, but we're open to other options. I think no one is at the point where they're ready to force Biden's hand.

And that's where there's a -- there's a little bit of the lack of consensus and the conflict. There are people who think Biden should step down, but they do not want to force him out. And there are people who say its time to gather around Biden and move forward with him.

SCIUTTO: Well, there will be an opportunity this week. Well, multiple opportunities to discuss other issues, one being the NATO summit. Here in Washington, as well as the press conference, of course, when the president will be able to face reporters. Tia Mitchell, Aaron Blake, thanks so much to both of you.

And we will be right back live in Miami where Donald Trump is about to hold his first rally sense the day after the debate.



SCIUTTO: The Republican National Convention where the GOP will nominate Donald Trump as its presidential candidate, again, kicks off next week in Milwaukee, but before we get to that, the former president will be back on stage tonight at a campaign rally in Miami. It is the first public event for Trump since the CNN presidential debate. That, of course, ignited a firestorm of questions around President Biden. It will be the venue, perhaps where Trump announces his pick for vice president. We don't know.

Kristen Holmes covers the Trump campaign, joins me now from the site of the rally.

So I wonder, do we expect any news at the rally tonight?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, that's a great question, and what I've been asking non-stop, but can't seem to get a direct answer on according to some of his senior aides, this is not going to be the time he announces his vice president, but according to others, they just don't really know when he's going to announce that vice presidential pick.

So let's talk about who exactly is still in the running. As we have reported, there are three names that I've continued to float to the top of the list. That is Senators Marco Rubio and JD Vance and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Of those three, only one of them is here tonight, Senator Marco Rubio.

Now that's not that surprising. He's from Miami. This is hometown. It would seem strange that while he's in the running for vice president, that he wouldn't show up and speak at a rally that Donald Trump is giving in his hometown.

But obviously, we're reading all of the tea leaves, trying to figure out who exactly he is going to choose, and when exactly he is going to make that announcement. Donald Trump, not really doing any favors to any of us journalists because he seems to be the openly pondering. In a recent interview last night, he said he might be waiting to see what happens with Joe Biden, he might not. That could impact his choice. It could not, very Trumpian kind of remarks.

But one thing we do know is that this list keeps shifting. Every person you ask will tell you a different order among those three men. That's all because Donald Trump changes as his own opinion and his own decision-making by every person he talks to, and every person he talks to influences who they talked to in terms of reporters. [15:35:02]

But, of course, we are keeping a close eye on this. Here's the one thing we do know. He is going to announce before Monday. That could mean he announces on Monday morning, but that is the deadline.

So, right now, we're looking at a lead up to that. He has this rally tonight also on Saturday, he has a rally in Pennsylvania, obviously, battleground state, very important state, could be an announcement there.

But, right now, it's really a big question mark, not just to us, but even some of the people who are closest to him.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And no question that he's quite good at sometimes dragging out and his decisions and announcements to attract maximum attention to them. Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

Still ahead, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is attending the NATO summit here in Washington, D.C., hoping for a commitment to Ukraine's membership in NATO.


SCIUTTO: This week's NATO summit here in Washington marks the 75th anniversary of the alliance, with two new members in Sweden and Finland, and he focused not just on the threat from Russia, but also from China.

It is also a chance for President Biden to show that he is capable of taking the lead on the world stage.

More now from CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wasn't long after he took office that President Biden was in Europe, reassuring America's allies that there was a new day dawning, following years of contentious European relations with his predecessor Donald Trump.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At every point along the way, we're going to make it clear that the United States is back. But now, as NATO leaders gather in Washington for a summit marking 75 years of NATO, there seems to be renewed anxiety among the alliances leaders over Biden's health and his ability to lead.


In recent days, CNN's Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood, and Pamela Brown reported the diplomats around the world reacted with shock and concern over Biden's calamitous debate performance on June 27th, and cited multiple diplomats as saying the president will be under enormous pressure to perform well at the NATO summit.

ISAAC ARNSDORF, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: This is a huge test and actually one of the rare instances where he is going to be interacting with a lot of people who don't work for him, right? So four leaders and their staff who are going to be seeing him in these unscripted, candid moments? And making their own observations and impressions of how he's doing.

Asked by Wolf Blitzer about what NATO allies are most concerned about, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker said this:

KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: It's the leadership the United States in NATO. Is its going to be President Biden? Is he capable of that? Is he going to run for reelection? Is he going to get elected? If so, what does that look like?

TODD: Volker pointed out, many allies were already concerned about the level of commitment the U.S. has to help Ukraine defeat Russia.

CNN reports many NATO allies believed Donald Trump is a threat to the alliance if he's reelected because of his repeated threats to draw back American support of NATO.

ARNSDORF: Right? It's not an exaggeration to say that the future of the transatlantic alliance is on the ballot in terms of how -- how Biden approaches NATO versus how Trump approaches NATO, the war in Ukraine.

TODD: The White House today, pushing back on the notion that the president will have to reassure his NATO allies of his fitness for office.

JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: And we're not picking up any signs of that from our allies at all, quite the contrary. The conversations that we're having with them in advance is they're excited about this summit. They're excited about the possibilities and the things that we're going to be doing together.

And Biden himself in his interview with ABC News last week, sticking part of his comeback on highlighting his success with European allies.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm the guy that put NATO together, the future. No one thought I could expand it. I'm the guy that shut Putin down. No one thought it could happen.


TODD (on camera): Still, analysts and one former senior U.S. diplomat told CNN that those in attendance with President Biden at the summit will be looking closely at the physical signs, how he looks, how he moves around the room, and how he sounds when he interacts with fellow leaders, especially in unscripted moments.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

SCIUTTO: There's still, of course, a war in Europe, the largest since World War II, Russia invading Ukraine and at the NATO summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to push allies in particular for more air defense systems, as Russia continues to target civilians and civilian infrastructure.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We didn't expect it. We didn't think that the attack could be exactly on the hospital, if somehow unexpected. It's good that we were in the corridor. I thought that the child would go dead because the door near us flew open from one side and from the other.


SCIUTTO: This piece of civilian infrastructure, a hospital for children.

On Monday alone, 43 people were killed across the country in a series of daytime attacks launched by Russia, including a strike on Ukraine's largest his children's hospital. Just heartbreaking pictures shows some of the 600 young victims evacuated. Some of them are cancer patients being treated in the hospital.

Joining me now to discuss situation in Ukraine, including this latest attack, Tymofiy Mylovanov. He's president of the Kyiv School of Economics, a former Ukrainian minister of economic development.

Thanks so much for joining us again.

In a long history, Timothy, of Russian attacks on Ukraine, particularly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. This one particularly brutal, struck a children's hospital, deaths in the dozens, injuries in the hundreds, we've heard some Ukrainian officials say that there will be an answer for this attack, and I wonder, do you expect Ukraine to respond with further strikes inside Russia?

TYMOFIY MYLOVANOV, PRESIDENT, KYIV SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Yes, I think. You know, I'm not the military expert, nor I'm a military official. But I would expect that there will be a response. But this response already have seen a part of it, Russian oil deposits attacked this morning. So Ukraine, will target military and oil infrastructure in, in Russia as a response to that, too.

SCIUTTO: It appears in this particular attack, the Russian missiles overwhelmed Ukrainian air defenses and we've seen them attempt to do this before. It's how many they fired, in what time frame and in what groupings, et cetera, even trying to get the systems while they're reloading.

I just wonder, has Ukraine received any new defense systems, including for Kyiv since the renewal of U.S. aid or is it still waiting?


MYLOVANOV: Well, so I don't know. It's classified, but I can show you -- I can share with you my impression because I lived in Kyiv throughout the entire war and I have heard and I have seen patriots acting and intercepting. So, this time, it felt that there was one patriot, or maybe two, but it definitely felt that there was less air defense, than usual. Though it is a sign that the systems are delayed or maybe supplies that delayed.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, and it is something and I've been sent images of this videos as those patriots, the missiles go up to intercept the incoming missiles. So as you can see it from the ground.

I wonder how Ukraine is watching this week's NATO summit here in Washington. There's so much uncertainty now, right, because so much -- so much comes down to the U.S. election in the fall. Will it be a president who supports NATO and continuing aid to Ukraine are one who does not? And I wonder how you watch that, what nervousness you have about how the election will impact Ukraine?

MYLOVANOV: Well, so we wanted to say bipartisan or not to be involved in the politics of the United States. But, of course, we watch it with a lot of you know, a fear and a lot of anticipation, not only because of the NATO rhetoric during this week, but, you know, because the U.S. elections will matter profoundly, but the future of the foreign policy for this security in Europe, and in particular for Ukraine.

But we hope the U.S. will stay strong, will be a reliable partner for Europe and for NATO and for Ukraine. We are confident that us what the U.S. people want to but, of course, we're worried.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, I wonder it's so much of a roller coaster. It must be to be in Ukraine. I mean, you went through the long delay in U.S. military aid, six to seven months. That was finally approved a few months ago. And now the next question is, will the next president support whether it's a new president or reelected, Joe Biden, will they continue to be able to support Ukraine? And I wonder what the effect it is on the population there.

MYLOVANOV: Well, the mood, at least until recently, until this horrific attack on the children's hospital.

Actually there was an attack on two hospitals. It just being the main one is in the news, but, you know, there's much more than what we have seen in the news during that attack.


MYLOVANOV: The mood but somewhat better because even though there are blackouts, people are dying, military has been able to help the ground in Kharkiv. The Western supplies, in particular the U.S. artillery, has arrived and things have changed for the better relative to what it was in May.

And so, you know, there was some notion of hope. But it is a roller coaster and who knows what will happen in the fall.

SCIUTTO: Has Ukraine effectively stop Russia's offensive in the Northeast? Because there's a great amount of nervousness when it began during that delay, in fact, and in U.S. and Western aid. Has it effectively defend --

MYLOVANOV: Yeah. So, the official position is not necessarily there, but the fact that it appears from the open source information that Ukraine has been able to stop their offensive and has been able to recapture the critical territory -- I mean, there's still fighting going on in (INAUDIBLE) and in particular, that's why we're seeing now the Russian military moving the targets away from Kharkiv and hidden civilian infrastructure, something very, very visible, something very pronounced, basically terrorizing people and children now in Ukraine, because their Kharkiv offensive, their northeast offensive has been stopped. So they moved on.

SCIUTTO: It's a good point. Timofiy Mylovanov, please keep yourself safe. We know it's dangerous there.

Just after the break, the search for our next generation of great world leaders. It's, well, still going on.



SCIUTTO: From South Africa to India, Scotland, to France, even here in the U.S. perhaps, voters worldwide are expressing dissatisfaction with their leaders and poll after poll in this country shows voters are not happy with their two choices this November. So where have all the great leaders gone?

Garrett Graff, author of when the sea came alive and oral history of D-Day and a contributing columnist for "The Washington Post" is spending the next year exploring this question in a series of columns on leadership across politics, government, and business.

Garrett, great to have you on. It's a fact fascinating piece because I think this is a frustration that many people watching probably share, right? Where have all the great leaders gone.

And you pose this question. Let me ask you about this country if I can first. Can America still produce great leaders?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, I think that's a big part of the frustration with this presidential cycle is this sense of looking across this nation of 330 million people and saying, are these two men the best that we can put forward at this moment? And in fact, I think within the Democratic Party, a big part of the conversation right now about Biden's age, is this sense that there is a great generation of younger Democratic leaders who are waiting for this generation to get out of the way.

SCIUTTO: You speak to interestingly, an executive recruiter here in Washington who doesn't recruit for government, right? Separate process, but he recruits for a whole host of organizations, he pins downs three key qualities to great leadership -- integrity, vision, and a willingness to bring people along. I wonder why those qualities seemed to be so lacking particularly in progress, I will draw attention to integrity.

I mean, there are a lot of politicians with vision. Question is what that vision is, but also this willingness to bring people along. It would seem our politicians are willing to bring their own people along, right? But not to convince others.

GRAFF: Yeah, and this is this -- you know, this in some ways is a very age old recipe for leadership. I mean, Harry Truman summarized it similarly, as a leader is someone who has an idea of where to take people and people who want to go there, and I think again, one of the real challenges with looking at polls and looking at this election is the sense that, you know, I'm not sure that either one of these leaders feels like someone who's going to lead us into a brilliant new freak future for the country.

SCIUTTO: He talks specifically, and this extends to the corporate world, how leaders have to be willing to speak across the aisle as it were.


In other words, kind of like, it's -- it's like Thanksgiving table skills here, right? That you can imagine everyone agrees with you and you need that at corporation, it seems that businesses and so on, they're looking for leaders who can do that, and it seems like they have some success, right? But I guess in politics, sometimes the loudest voices, perhaps the most vitriolic voices have an advantage?

GRAFF: Yeah, and I think one of the things that you're seeing across all manner of leadership in corporate academia. I mean, look at the Ivy League president this year, look at politics, is that being in the public right now is such a nasty place to be. You know, the voices from social media, the voices from the culture wars, that there is a lot of reticence among the people that we would sort of traditionally in the past expect to be leaders in this moment, to put themselves forward at this time.

You know, a lot of good people are looking at its environment right now and saying, I don't know that this is the moment that I want to be doing this.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, it's interesting because you've heard that about politics for years, right? That it's so poisonous. Who wants to run for president, that kind of thing, but it's kind of interesting to hear that about the business world, too. Obviously, there are loads of people dying to run a lot of businesses, but he does describe the risk, how, you know, one tweet, right, or one public comment. And you can be done, right?

GRAFF: Yeah. I mean, a lot of these roles, I mean, whether its a university president, whether it's a Fortune 100 executive, whether it's a public electric official, comes with a much greater risk of reputational damage and lasting reputational damage than any of these jobs did, you know, 15, 20 years ago, you know, as the person that I spoke to, Nels Olson (ph) in this column said, these things go from zero to 100 in a second.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, Nels Olson was -- had some good commentary there on how -- well, you can find good leaders for a whole host of organizations.

Garrett Graff, I hope you make some progress in this -- in this project over the -- over the coming months.

I think we all need it. Appreciate you joining today.

GRAFF: Absolutely. This is something we all are wondering about.

SCIUTTO: Well, thanks so much all of you for joining me today. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington.

And "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.