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Americans Largely Believe Biden Was Involved with Son's Business Dealings; Judge Orders Texas to Remove Buoys; Will Hurd is Interviewed about his Presidential Run; Americans Dominate U.S. Open. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 07, 2023 - 06:30   ET



DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: The Republicans are trying to gather evidence and somehow really connect the dots. Again, largely driven by partisanship. You see Democrats may not be buying this. Republicans certainly are. And independents are being convinced that there's some Joe Biden involvement here.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Something doesn't smell right.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Right. And it's the third group that I think is most interesting to me.


MATTINGLY: Because if you look at what's happened in terms of the investigations on Capitol Hill, there has not been a direct connection showing, a, the legality or, b, the president knew very specific things, was on calls but even -

HARLOW: In fact, you had testimony to the contrary for Devon Archer.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And the White House has said repeatedly, and the president has said repeatedly, that he did not have direct involvement, did not have knowledge of. Those dots have not been connected, even if it looks ugly and bad. And yet independents, based on this poll, are saying, we think there's a big problem here.

CHALIAN: Yes, there's no doubt. And so obviously this conflates the personal and the political for Joe Biden.


CHALIAN: And so - but clearly the Biden White House is going to have an effort here to try and reframe Americans' understanding of this. To you point, Phil, that no direct evidence has yet been put forth to the American people. And yet he's got a perception problem.

HARLOW: One interesting thing, David, is these calls with his son on the speakerphone during business meetings and meals was as vice president, right? And so this push by some Republicans to potentially impeach him is also interesting because they're for actions largely when he was vice president.

CHALIAN: Right. And, again, according to our poll, 42 percent of Americans think as vice president he may have acted illegally in these dealings.

But you are right to note, it's the now as president that would apply to any kind of impeachment process.

HARLOW: Yes, it's just sort of another unchartered territory that we wade into.


HARLOW: This is really interesting. Guys, thank you very much.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, guys.

MATTINGLY: Well, a federal judge has just ordered Texas to remove those floating barriers -- you see some of them right there -- that have been injuring migrants as they try to cross into the U.S. We'll take you live to Texas.

Plus --


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MUSICIAN (singing): And you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young any more.


HARLOW: Oh, that voice, Bruce Springsteen, postponing the rest of his concerts this month as he deals with a gastrointestinal condition. The 73-year-old says he's been treated for symptoms of peptic ulcer disease. He and the E Street Band had eight remaining concerts scheduled through the end of September. His team is working to reschedule those dates and we are wishing him all the best.

We'll be right back.



MATTINGLY: Well, new this morning, a federal judge has given Texas until next Friday to remove the large floating barriers in the Rio Grande. The controversial border buoys are part of Republican Governor Greg Abbott's initiative to deter migrants from crossing into the U.S. Now the judge has also barred the state from placing new buoys in the river, calling them a threat to safety.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Houston this morning.

A lot of interesting writing in the judge's decision here, the judge's order here. What stood out to you, Rosa? ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there is two sentences

actually that stand out to me, Phil, because it really gets to the crux of this case, and also to the position of this judge. And I want to read them to you because this judge wrote, quote, "Governor Abbott announced that he was not asking for permission for Operation Lone Star, the anti-immigration program under which Texas constructed the floating barrier. Unfortunately for Texas, permission is exactly what federal law requires before installing obstructions in the nation's navigable waters."

Now, the state of Texas tried to argue the self-defense argument, saying in court and also in their closing arguments that were written and submitted to this court, that the state of Texas was being invaded by migrants and by the cartels. And this judge was simply not having it. He was not having it in court and he was not having it in this order either, saying that that was, quote, "unconvincing."

Now, Governor Greg Abbott, for his part, he has said that he plans to appeal this and take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. So, it's unclear exactly if and when these border buoys will be removed and how long this fight could take.

Now, I've got to mention, I have been texting with residents of Eagle Pass, Texas, because these are the people that are being impacted personally by what is happening in their town and on the river. And they say that they're thrilled by this decision. Now, they know that Governor Abbott plans to appeal it, but, to them, what this decision means is that no one, not even the governor, is above the law.

HARLOW: That is so interesting given the questions of where this was going to go in the courts.

What's also really interesting is just south of the border, what Mexico's supreme court decided yesterday, just decriminalize abortion. And what they said is that to do so basically violates the human rights of women in the country. Saying to block that would be unconstitutional.

You've covered this issue extensively in Texas. I wonder what reaction you're getting.

FLORES: You know, this is extremely interesting, Poppy, because there is this Texas angle.


FLORES: There is this U.S. angle because of this post Dobbs world that we live in now. And I can tell you, after Dobbs, I remember talking to a clinic in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and them telling me that their patients were actually going to cross to Mexico to get abortions.

Now, historically, and, Poppy, you and I have talked about this before, historically women in Texas have crossed the border for other types of medical treatment and medication.

HARLOW: Right.

FLORES: Well, this decision in Mexico, this could mean that more women could do that at this point in time. Now, I've been texting with the executive director of the Women's March, and what she points out is actually fascinating because it speaks to the bigger, broader picture. The fact that Mexico and other Latin American countries have been expanding and progressing their reproductive rights and - and the reproductive rights of women and the rights of women, and that the U.S. is regressing, which is really fascinating based on where we are now.

Now, women in Mexico, I have to point out, have been looking at the United States as a beacon of human rights and women's rights.


And when you look at where Mexico is right now, and you look at this decision by their supreme court saying that a ban on abortion is unconstitutional because, quote, Poppy, it is contrary to the right of human dignity.

And I have to leave you with this. The two frontrunners for Mexico's presidential election, they're both women. So, the likelihood that Mexico will have a woman president is really high.


HARLOW: Yes, it's all really fascinating.

Rosa, thank you for the excellent reporting.

MATTINGLY: Well, the next Republican presidential debate less than three weeks away and the candidates are once again trying to meet the requirements to get on to that stage. Our next guest missed the first one. Will he make it this go around? Republican Presidential candidate, former congressman, Will Hurd joins us live in studio. That's next.

Stay with us.


HARLOW: So, in just under three weeks, the Republican presidential candidates will be back on the stage debating for the second time.


Who's going to make the cut this time? The requirements are tougher. Candidates will need to hit at least 3 percent in two national polls, at least 3 percent in one national poll and two polls in early nominating states. They'll also need at least 50,000 donors with 200 unique donors in 20 different states to qualify.

With us now is Republican presidential candidate, former Texas congressman, Will Hurd.

It's great to you have.

The people - the American public didn't get to see you on the debate stage the first time.


HARLOW: And now it's tougher to get there. We're looking at the polling here. You're polling at an asterisk. You know this. I don't have to bring you that difficult news. You've always said this is going to be an uphill battle. Do you think in three weeks you're going to be on that stage?

HURD: We're working hard to make that happen, right? We're cleared - we've already cleared one of the polling thresholds in New Hampshire, a state that I've spend a lot of time in. You know, I -- I have the opposite effect of one of the other leading candidates in this race. When more people meet me, they actually like me. And that helps my numbers. So, I've just got to be able to get - get my message out more.

And the donor thresholds, you know, we're going to be hitting it.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

HURD: And if your viewers want to see someone like me on the debate stage, then I need you to go to right now and donate at least $1.

HARLOW: Can I just ask if you yourself are genuinely surprised at how hard it's been?

HURD: We always knew the difficulty of the task, right? I knew it was hard when I moved back to San Antonio, Texas, after living there for 15 years and nobody knew who I was, right? And so this is the - the thing that is fascinating though, in a place like New Hampshire, they actually care about their role. They take their role seriously. They know they're a small state, but they're going to interview and go to places and hear about candidates. That was the part that actually makes me feel good that there are people that take that job seriously.

I wasn't expecting, you know, entities like, you know, the RNC want to - people at the RNC - some people at the RNC, let me be clear about that, want to keep me off the last debate stage. You know, I - I was polling, you know, I had some - I had eight of the national polls, but it was - it was only independents and Democrats that were voting for me, right?

Hey, news flash, that's how we're going to win in November, to have independents and Democrats be able to come over.

So, it's an interesting process. To me, it's been fun. I love people and being able to learn about folks. And I've also been shocked. The three biggest questions I get, one question is always on Ukraine. And it's, why should we be there. Another question is about, what is the real threat of China. And the third question I get, I get a question about artificial intelligence. And a lot of people are shocked that those are the things that people are asking someone like me about.


MATTINGLY: Congressman, you and I share an affinity for New Hampshire, its voters and their kind of political process leading into their primary. However, their primary is not for several months. And I've covered many a candidate that said, just wait until New Hampshire.

HURD: Right.

MATTINGLY: And they stay in the race and they end up sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth. I think the concern here, when you talk to Republicans who agree with you on a lot of things, is, we can't have people staying in the race five, six, seven months from now given the dynamics of things. How cognizant are you of that? How much does that factor in to your approach here?

HURD: Look, I recognize it. I think Chris Sununu, governor of New Hampshire, said it best, there needs to be a consolidation coming around winter, right? That's, you know, winter is coming. And we need to be prepared for that.

But also to those voters that want to see something different, right? Y'all just did some polling that showed Democrats want somebody different than Joe Biden. Republicans want somebody different than Donald Trump. Those people, you've got to get engaged now, right? It - that -- it's too late to wait until when voting starts in Iowa or in New Hampshire. Folks do not want to see a rematch from hell in 2024 - pardon my language -- between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. They need to start getting active now. They need to start getting behind candidates now.

But, yes, you know, there's no question that Donald Trump is the frontrunner in this race, but is not unbeatable. These -- his numbers are not insurmountable. And the country wants something different. And we deserve something different.

HARLOW: We were really struck by -- former Vice President Mike Pence is going to join us on the show a little later -- struck by the speech that he gave yesterday in New Hampshire talking about populism and warning against it.

Let's listen to part of that. I'm interested in your reaction. Here it is.


MIKE PENCE (R), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A populist movement is rising in the Republican Party. The growing faction would substitute our faith in limited government and traditional values with an agenda stitched together by little else than personal grievances and performative outrage.


HARLOW: (INAUDIBLE) some similar sentiment. What I'm just interested in, though, is why you think what Pence is saying, what you've been saying on this does not seem to be resonating with the majority of Republican primary voters?

HURD: Well, so I would say it's resonating with those folks who are more worried about putting food on the table, a roof over their head or taking care of their kids.


They're not doom scrolling on social media all day long. They're not consuming cable news, great shows like this show, you know, all the - all the time, you know.

HARLOW: You trying to butter us up. Congressman?

HURD: Well, look, it's, you know, I speak the truth, right? I speak the truth.

And so - so like there -- the disconnect is often times November - most people are thinking November 2024, right? That's a long way away. The fact that only 23 percent of Americans engage in primaries is another problem. Usually we have about 67, near 70 percent engaged in that in the general election. So that - that 40 percent or so - 44 percent of Americans that don't - that participate in November but don't participate in primaries, those are the folks that we have to engage. Those are not the people that you all were talking to in these polls. Those are not the people that professional, political class are talking to.

But if we want to change this country, if we want to make sure that we're dealing with a thriving economy, or having a thriving economy at a time when new technologies like AI is going to upend every industry, this is now the time we have to engage. At a time -- if we want to have unprecedented peace, at a time when the North Koreans and the Russians are working closer together and the bricks nations are trying to de-dollar-ize the world, then now is the time that we have to start having these (INAUDIBLE).

MATTINGLY: Can I just ask real quick, though, before we run out of time, you're running in a primary.

HURD: Yes.


MATTINGLY: And the point that Pence was making yesterday and your point, you've lost that battle in the primary.

HURD: There's still more people in the primary that would like someone other than Donald Trump, right? That's the number. And so we've got to consolidate that vote, right, and we've got to inspire that group of people. And there's also still a good majority of people that right now today say, hey, we like Donald Trump and they voted for him twice but they know he has so much baggage that it's going to hurt his chances in November, even against someone like Joe Biden, whose numbers are so terrible. MATTINGLY: All right, Congressman Will Hurd, "Game of Thrones"

reference was in there too. I don't know if you picked that up.

Thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

HARLOW: I didn't.

Thank you very much. It's nice to have you.

MATTINGLY: Well, thousands of kids in New York will return to school this morning and they'll be joined by some new classmates. Over 19,000 students have registered for the first day of school according to the school's chancellor David Banks. Many of them coming from migrant families and temporary housing. Last night New York Mayor Eric Adams delivered a stark warning about the larger impact the influx of migrants will have on the city.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK: Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don't see an ending to this. I don't see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City.


MATTINGLY: It's such a stark - I mean when our team said that along (ph) this morning, I hadn't seen it last night, just the framing of that and just the stark and the most visceral words were jarring, to some degree.

HARLOW: They were jarring for so - I mean as a resident of New York City for now 20 plus years -


HARLOW: To hear a mayor say it that starkly, to hear a Democrat say that, and he's been calling on the Biden administration, by the way, for a lot more federal aid and help to the city. But we should have a conversation with him about it and get more information.

MATTINGLY: Yes. No, if you - if the mayor would like to come on, we'd like to talk to him about it.

HARLOW: We'd love to have him on.

MATTINGLY: This is a significant issue that, as he says, is not going away. He says it in very stark terms.


Also something happening here in New York. The U.S. Open. Americans have been dominating. But could they take it all the way? A preview of the semifinals, ahead.


MATTINGLY: Well, we are inching closer to the U.S. Open finals this weekend. We're inching closer to the weekend, which is good.

HARLOW: Are you excited about this, Mattingly.

MATTINGLY: I never want to leave this space.

However, I do want to watch the U.S. Open, which has been amazing, particularly for some of America's youngest and biggest stars. Some of the biggest moments of their careers are now just hours away.

Joining us now, CNN sports analyst, "USA Today" sports columnist, fellow Ottawa Hills Green Bear alum high school, got to mention it ever single time.

Christine, it's been so much fun to watch. The women - U.S. women have always been dominant and wonderful. The men are finally seeming to catch up to some degree.

HARLOW: Finally.

MATTINGLY: What's your sense of things right now as we head into this critical weekend?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Phil, Poppy, great to be with you.

Yes, go Green Bears. Poppy, you'll be an honorary Green Bear by the end of this.

You know -

HARLOW: You know, I didn't even know what he - this is the high school you guys both went to?


BRENNAN: Exactly.

HARLOW: I'm learning about him daily.

BRENNAN: Yes. Yes. Suburban Toledo.

Anyway, let's talk tennis.

You know, I am really excited to watch the women's semifinals, which are later today. And especially Coco Gauff. I mean you've got Coco Gauff and you've got Madison Keys, two American women in the semifinals. And I really think that this is Coco Gauff's tournament to win. And I do think she's going to pull it off.

Madison Keys, surprising that she's back, although she's been a steady player now for quite some time. And she made the finals of the U.S. Open back in 2017. That's Madison Keys. But Coco Gauff, 19 years old. She is so poised, so articulate, so -- such a great role model and just a - such a wonderful representative of U.S. tennis. So, I think this is really going to be fun the next few days with these two women.

Obviously, they both were inspired by Venus and Serena and now you can see, as Billie Jean King says, if you can see it, you can be it. And that's exactly the case for Coco Gauff and Madison Keys.

HARLOW: Amen to that and so young. Think about the careers that they have ahead.


Just quickly before you go, Christine, Naomi Osaka with a big announcement. She's going to come back.

BRENNAN: Exactly. She's had a baby. Obviously working so much on mental health issues.