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Biden, Trump Court Voters & Donors at Dueling Events; Trump Confuses Doc's Name While Bragging About Cognitive Test; Dangerous Heat Wave Gripping Half the U.S. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 17, 2024 - 06:00   ET


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: It's Monday. June 17. Right now on CNN THIS MORNING, Biden and Trump courting votes and cash on the campaign trail, with the first debate less than two weeks away.


Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolving his six-member war cabinet, insisting it does not need to exist.

And over 1,000 people forced to evacuate as a raging fire North of Los Angeles continues to spread out of control.

Six a.m. here in Washington. Here's a live look at the White House. Good morning, everyone. I'm Manu Raju, in for Kasie Hunt. It's great to be with you.

We begin with President Biden warning Americans not to vote for Donald Trump while Donald Trump warning black Americans not to vote for Joe Biden. A busy weekend for both candidates, raising cash and courting votes, with just ten days to go before the first presidential debate, right here on CNN.

President Biden attended a big money fundraiser at a star-studded event in Los Angeles, warning a second Trump term could mean a hard shift further right for the Supreme Court.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The next president is likely to have two new Supreme Court nominees. Two more, two more. He's already appointed to that are -- have been very negative in terms of the rights of individuals.

JIMMY FALLON, FUNDRAISER HOST: Could this be -- could this be the scariest part of all of it?

BIDEN: Well, I think it is one of the scariest parts of it. Look, the Supreme Court has never been as out-of-kilter as it is today.


RAJU: Now, Trump spent part of his weekend in Detroit, trying to exploit signs of waning enthusiasm for Biden among some black voters.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The crime is most rampant right here and in African-American communities.

We don't want to get robbed and mugged and beat up, or killed, because we want to walk across the street to buy a loaf of bread.

But the black population wants law enforcement more than any other population.


RAJU: All right. Let's bring in David Frum, staff fighter with "The Atlantic"; Jesse Hunt, former press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee; and former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield. Good morning.


RAJU: Thank you all for being here. Kate, I want to start with you about just Trump's trying to win over black voters, just to get a sense on -- so viewers remember how black votes -- voters came down for Biden in the 2020 election.

The exit polls there showed Biden won overwhelmingly: 87 percent to 12 percent, Biden versus Trump.

And then you break it down. It is much tighter, the margins according to public polling right now.

How much concern is there in the Biden camp right now that the margin is getting tighter?

BEDINGFIELD: Yes. Look, I think they believe it.

RAJU: Do they believe it? Do they believe those polls?

BEDINGFIELD: Do they believe those polls is maybe a little bit of a tricky way of framing it.

RAJU: Yes.

BEDINGFIELD: I think they certainly believe their own data, and I think that there's a recognition that the base is not as solid for Biden as it was at this point in 2020. I think they're very eyes-open about that.

You can see that in the way that they're campaigning. I mean, you can see they've done a lot of work to put together outreach efforts to black voters. You see their spending. You know, if you want to know --

RAJU: Probably more than before, that they were investing earlier. BEDINGFIELD: But also, if you want to know where a campaign is

focused, look at where they're putting their dollars. And they've done a lot of advertising to the black community. So they -- they know that this is -- needs to be a -- they need to shore these numbers up. This will be a significant piece of his winning coalition if he's reelected.

So I think there's definitely an acknowledgment.

I don't know that the public polling -- I don't know that they believe the public polling, as it stands right now, captures where things will be in October and the first week of November when people are really facing the choice of going into the voting booth and choosing Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

But they definitely recognize that this is a space where they need to keep doing work. And I think you're seeing them do that.

RAJU: And just to get viewers listening -- to listen to what Trump was saying to voters in Michigan as he is trying to attack Joe Biden and his handling about issues affecting the black community.



TRUMP: Biden wrote the devastating 1994 crime bill talking about super predators. That was Biden. You know, he walks around now talking about the black vote. He's the king of the super predators.


RAJU: I mean, he didn't actually coin the phrase "super predators." But is that -- is that an effective strategy?

DAVID FRUM, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Look, if Trump were making inroads into what the black vote, in reality, and not just in bad polls, you'd expect to be able to get some people to show up for him in Detroit, but he couldn't. That he created.

RAJU: There was -- reporters said it was mostly a white audience.

FRUM: He created a completely fake media event. He rented a church. He bussed in people who are wearing not church clothes, but rally clothes. They are obviously not locals. They're obviously not attendees. You don't have to do that if you have support.

And then he told a series of preposterous lies. Detroit has recovered this year, is having a magnificent turnaround. The first population growth in half a century, the lowest number of homicides in half a century.

That fake notorious derelict train station, I broke into it about ten years ago to tour the ruins of the train station. And it was a tragic thing. It has just been restored beautifully, and it's about to reopen. Detroit is now a magnet for attracting new artists. It is -- it is a

great American turnaround story.

So when you have to tell so many lies, when you have to bus in people, it tells me you probably don't have a lot of indigenous support in that town.

And that tells me that, probably, these polls are reflecting a kind of disaffection with people who are bearing the brunt of price rises, but Trump just lies all the time.

And we have to be very careful because, because of the code of our profession -- and it's a good code -- where the candidate speaks, and you report it. But when you've got a candidate who lies all the time, I mean, it raises a question that CNN is going to face with this coming debate, which is you're going to have this unprecedented event.

You're going to have a president of the United States on a stage with a convicted criminal. I worry about the security implications of that. Are you going to do some kind of special pat-down to make sure he hasn't brought some kind of weapon with them that might harm the president? He's a convicted criminal on the stage with the president, and he lies all the time.

RAJU: I mean, well, I would just get back to the discussion that you are raising about his pitch is a not effective one to court black voters. But he is -- Trump is trying to talk about crime, talking about immigration as a way to win over that key voting bloc.

What do you make of his argument?

JESSE HUNT, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE: Yes, well, I think honestly, to -- to Kate's point, like the proof is in the pudding. Clearly, the Biden campaign is a little concerned about the slip that they've seen among Biden's standing with minority voters, black voters.

I think it's quite appealing. Obviously, the issue that's top of mind for every voter, regardless of their demographic, is inflation. You know, cumulative inflation under Joe Biden is at almost 20 percent. That's not something that any working-class American wants to deal with. And I think that's what's fueling some of the support for Trump.

As it relates to these specific topics, you know, there was a recent poll that came out from CBS that showed that over 60 percent of voters, Hispanic -- voters in general supported Trump's immigration policies. Over 50 percent of Hispanic voters support Trump's immigration policies.

So I think that's something that's -- that a lot of minority voters are attracted to, and clearly, it's working.

BEDINGFIELD: But I also think the super predator line of attack is sort of a bizarre one for Trump, right?

First of all, I mean, to your point, super predator is not a term that the Joe Biden coined. But also, that's -- it's a line of attack that is less --

RAJU: It was sort of used in the last election, too, right?

BEDINGFIELD: But it's rooted in the crime -- in the crime bill, right, which Trump and the Republicans tried to make a divisive issue in the 2020 campaign.

In a moment when people are concerned about crime, focused on crime, Trump is sorted. This is sort of -- this is a weirdly discordant argument, to argue that like Joe Biden, who authored the crime bill, which by the way was effective in bringing crime down, at a time when Trump himself is trying to argue that he's the law-and-order president. You know, I'm not sure that the super predator line of attack, it really sticks or has any intellectual consistency.

But I guess that's never been Donald Trump's big concern, has it?

FRUM: Between -- between 1990 and 2014, we saw the steepest reduction of crime in American history. By 2014, we probably had the lowest crime rates in the history of organized American society.

Unfortunately, after that, things -- things went wrong. And especially under Donald Trump, we saw the steepest increase in crime in America since the 1960s.

The Trump years saw a terrible crime wave, partly because of lax gun -- gun laws. In the year 2020, we saw more guns bought in a single year than ever bought before in American history.

The good news is, since Trump left town, the crime rate has begun to come down. And this year, it's coming down very dramatically.

So Donald Trump -- look, Donald Trump's genius -- and he does have one -- is he's the world's leading marketer of crap products. Anybody can sell a good steak. He sells a terrible steak. Anyone can sell a good vodka. He sells a terrible vodka.

And he's doing that now. The guy who presided over the steepest increase in crime since the '60s is saying vote for me, I'm anti- crime.

The guy who starts -- saw the steepest increase in the number of guns out there is saying, I will make you safe when you go buy a loaf of bread.


If you -- if you're in danger, you're probably in danger from a gun that was bought under Trump, stolen under Trump, and is now being used against you.

RAJU: Oops. I knocked over my water as I was turning to you, Jesse.

HUNT: You're OK.

RAJU: Real quickly, just on Biden and -- or Trump and -- HUNT: Well, I'd say, first of all, like the spiking crime that you saw was predominantly under Democrat-run cities and Democrat policies that they were implementing on the local level.

I'd also point out that it took burning cities. It took a massive spike in crime in these cities that we're talking about to get Democrats to wake up. They saw the polling and started to course correct.

I don't necessarily think voters are -- are that interested in somebody being reactionary with their policies.

RAJU: At the end of the day -- at the end of the day, of course, it depends on what the voters are going to feel, come November.

We're going to talk much, much more. We have more to get to.

Next chilling warnings from Steve Bannon, if Donald Trump retakes the White House.

Plus, evacuations near Los Angeles as wildfire continues to spread.

And Donald Trump bragging about his mental fitness while confusing a key point.



DR. RONNY JACKSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN: I've got to know him pretty well, and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or his -- you know, his neurological functions.

The reason that we did the cognitive assessment is plain and simple: because the president asked me to do it. He came to me, and he said, is there something we can do, a test or some type of screen that we can do to assess my -- you know, my cognitive ability?


RAJU: That was former White House physician, now Texas congressman, Ronny Jackson, talking about the cognitive test he gave former President Trump in 2018.

Now, over the weekend, Trump challenged President Biden to do the same, right before confusing his former doctor's name.


TRUMP: I think he should take a cognitive test like I did. I took a cognitive test. And I aced it. Doc Ronny, Dr. Ronny Johnson [SIC]. Does everyone know Ronny Johnson [SIC], congressman from Texas? He was the White House doctor. And he said I was the healthiest president, he feels, in history.

(END VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: It's Ronny Jackson, not Johnson.

My panel's back. OK. What is your reaction to that?

HUNT: Who among us, right?

RAJU: I mean, look, I'm -- we all make mistakes. I make mistakes. But you know, you do it when you're ridiculing the cognitive ability of your opponent, that's different.

HUNT: Yes. That's certainly a fair point. But I do think the -- honestly, the biggest test that we're going to see is this debate that's coming up, right? This is the earliest presidential debate, general election debate that, you know, we'd ever seen, at least in modern memory.

So in terms of a, you know, cognitive test or whatnot, the proof is really going to be in how each candidate handles himself on the debate stage when they're contrasting ideas with -- against each other and seeing who performs the best.

So, you know, we would have a true test coming up in the next week or so.

RAJU: I mean -- go ahead.

BEDINGFIELD: No, I broadly agree with that. But I mean, look, the entire -- the entire thing is preposterous. Like, the fact that you have Donald Trump up here arguing, you know, you should take a cognitive test. My dear, dear friend whose name I can't remember or accurately repeat while I'm trying to dunk on Joe Biden.

I mean, it's just like -- it's embarrassing, honestly. It's embarrassing. It also kind of shows the futility, I think, of this line of attack.

I mean, people see Joe Biden. They saw him on the world stage. They saw him at the G-7. You know, you had the -- you had the chancellor of Germany talking about how sharp, you know, Biden is, driving the allies, you know, forward as you know, Russia is on the march.

I mean, these are -- these are -- there are serious people attesting to Biden's capability in the job. And then you have Donald Trump up, you know, arguing that they should take take a cognitive test, and he can't even remember his doctor's name. It's embarrassing.

FRUM: So --

RAJU: The viewers, of course, will assess that, come the debate time.

FRUM: We all admire the U.S. Navy. So when you put a clip of someone in a naval uniform on television attesting to the mental fitness of Donald Trump, of course, we believe it.

And only some of us will remember, wait a minute. Was that the guy who was busted from admiral to captain because of alcohol and sexual misconduct? Was that the guy who, as White House doctor, was prescribing dangerous drugs --


FRUM: -- at a rate 10, 100 times ever before seen in a White House?

I worked in the Bush White House. The idea that I would go to the White House doctor and say, give me opioids, unimaginable. But lots of people, including maybe the president, were getting massive quantities, unprecedented quantities of drugs from that doctor's office.

That was the doctor who signed his name to obvious lies of what Trump's height and weight. We can all judge height and weight. Anyone who has been to a county fair, and we can see that Donald Trump is not a prize heifer. But he signed his name.

So -- so it is amusing that Trump can't remember his name, but it's -- it's alarming what that person said. And we -- when we play the clip, we have to have the context. That is not a person whose word you can take.

RAJU: I mean, we'll see. I mean, it's all about expectation-setting, and Trump keeps setting these very low bars about Joe Biden. And Joe Biden may easily clear those bars in the debate.

We're going to have to -- we'll jump in more about this much later in the show, I assure you.

Ahead, what V.P. frontrunner J.D. Vance just said about being Donald Trump's running mate.

Plus, another rough foul against Caitlin Clark, one of the five things you have to see this morning.



RAJU: All right. Twenty-three minutes past the hour, five things you have to see this morning.

Twelve hundred people forced to evacuate as a wildfire burns out of control North of Los Angeles. It has already burned nearly 15,000 acres. It was only 2 percent contained as of late Sunday.

Police in Germany shooting a man who threatened officers with a pickaxe. The suspect is recovering in the hospital. This happened in Hamburg, hours before a match in the European -- European football championship.

And nearly 30 people trapped upside-down for nearly 30 minutes on an amusement park ride in Portland, Oregon. The ride, The Atmosphere, had to be manually lowered and is shut down until further notice.

And Caitlin Clark roughed up again, fouled hard by the Chicago Sky's Angel Reese in Sunday's WNBA game in Indianapolis. Reese was called for a flagrant foul, but Clark's Fever won the game.

And take a look at this new brew from Milwaukee: (Not So) Horrible City IPA. It's a local brewery's response to Donald Trump calling Milwaukee a horrible city.


The beer rolls out right next month before -- before the Republican National Convention.

And an oppressive, dangerous heatwave engulfing much of the country. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us to break down how bad it's going to be for so many people, Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's right. Over 80 percent of the U.S. population is actually going to see a temperature above 90 degrees in just the next five to seven days. So you're talking a pretty widespread area here.

But it's not just having those temperatures be on the warm side, or it will be slightly above average. For a lot of these areas, it's actually going to creep into record territory.

In fact, nearly two hundred record high temperatures can be expected over the next week. The bulk of them, yes, are going to be across portions of the Northeast and stretching into the Midwest.

But you'll notice some dots down here in the Southeast, also some dots farther out to the West. So this is not really limited to just one particular area.

This is why you do still have, though, the bulk of the heat alerts focused, however, over portions of the Northeast and the Midwest, because this is where the bulk of those records are going to be set. Now, for some, it's not just daily records, though. We're also looking at all-time records possible. Caribou, Maine's, forecast for Wednesday, 99 degrees. Their all-time record only 96, so they could beat that previous record by three degrees.

And a lot of the Northeast is going to be feeling that heat. Take a look at Albany: looking at 90s for the next several days, those temperatures about ten to 15 degrees above average. Same thing for New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, all looking at these highs about 15 to 20 degrees above where they normally would be.

RAJU: Oof, 195 record high temperatures, just so brutal. All right. Allison Chinchar. Thank you.

And up next, the FAA is investigating a Southwest flight that came dangerously close to crashing into the ocean.

Plus, Trump ally Steve Bannon vowing prosecution and prison time for the former president's enemies.