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CNN This Morning

Biden & Trump Escalate Attacks Over Immigration; 5th Congressional Virginia GOP Primary Too Close to Call; Extreme Heat in the East, Wildfires in California and New Mexico; Putin Holds Talks with Kim in North Korea. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 19, 2024 - 06:00   ET



MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, June 19. Right now on CNN this morning, President Biden taking new action on immigration, while Donald Trump threatens to blow it all up if he wins.

Wildfires in New Mexico spreading so quickly some people escaped with only seconds to spare.

And remembering the Say Hey Kid, a look at the impact of the legendary Willie Mays on and off the field.

And Kim Jong-un welcoming Vladimir Putin to Pyongyang in style, a meeting the West is watching closely.

Six a.m. here in Washington. Here's a live look at the Lincoln Memorial on this Juneteenth national holiday.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Manu Raju, in for Kasie Hunt. It is really great to be with you. Thanks for joining me.

President Biden and Donald Trump attacking each other on immigration, an issue that is dominating the narrative eight days out from the first presidential debate.

The president taking executive action on two fronts to deal with the crisis: restricting access to most asylum seekers while protecting hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants from deportation.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When he was president, he separated families and children at the border. And now he's proposing to rip spouses and children from their families and homes and communities and place them in detention camps.

But he's actually saying these things out loud. And it's outrageous. Folks, I'm not interested in playing politics of the border or immigration. I'm interested in fixing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: The former president and his followers not impressed. Trump holding a rally in the suburbs of Milwaukee, a city he called, quote, "horrible" a few days earlier.

He's vowing to undo everything Biden has done on immigration if he wins in November.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to send Joe Biden's illegal aliens back home where they belong. We have no choice. We have no choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send them back! Send them back! Send them back! Send them back!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send them back! Send them back! Send them back! Send them back!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send them back! Send them back! Send them back! Send them back!


RAJU: All right. Let's bring in Alex Thompson, national political reporter for Axios; former DNC communications director Mo Elleithee; and Bryan Lanza, a former deputy communications director for the Trump 2016 campaign.

Good morning, guys.


RAJU: Thank you all for joining me this morning.

So I guess how does this play in -- you look at the -- how Trump versus Biden on who would do a better job of handling immigration, 52 to 41 percent. The rate now. That's our national polling, shows the Quinnipiac poll. So 52 to 41 percent.

"The New York Times" op-ed -- of course, liberal op-ed -- goes on to write about how they view this would play politically. They say, "The move to protect undocumented spouses is politically savvy." They call it "a family-oriented policy that makes a priority of the needs of American citizens, unlike those of his policies that allowed nearly 2 million asylum seekers into the country in recent years. Despite get the fever dream of conspiracy theories, they can't cast a ballot to thank him."

So is this good politics for Joe Biden when he's underwater on immigration?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: Listen, he's underwater with immigration, and he's losing a lot of ground with Latinos. So it's a hail Mary to try to bring them back. Because the last three years, his economic activities, his economic messages, economic deliveries have been a failure to Latino communities, specifically working-class Latinos and middle-class Latinos.

So he needs something. He needs -- he needs a hail Mary, and this is it.

I don't think it's going to be enough, because I think Latinos have passed judgment on Joe Biden with respect to how he helps them economically. And he doesn't. He's failed them for -- for nearly 36 months in tackling inflation. So he doesn't help them there.

We'll see if it works. I don't think it's going to work. I don't think offering amnesty to anybody at this particular moment is going to work, especially when the public views Joe Biden as someone who started this immigration fire by reversing 94 executive orders that President Trump put in order.

So you know, you can't have the guy who started the fire come up with a solution to put out the fire. That's just not -- they don't have the trust, and they're not going to have the common sense to fix it.

RAJU: I mean, he talks about -- Bryan died about the Hispanic vote. Look at the choice for Hispanics among voters. Choice for Hispanic voters among, for president, Biden versus Trump from 2020 till now.

Exit polls in 2020 on your left there: 65-32, Biden to Trump. Now 52- 47, if you believe the public polling. And that's really been consistent with a lot of the national polls. Should Democrats be concerned about that?

ELLEITHEE: Sure. And we've been saying that. A lot of us have been saying that now for a couple of cycles, as we have seen the Hispanic vote become more and more competitive.


So I do think that this is sort of a long-term thing that Democrats need to be concerned about.

And Hispanics are not single-issue voters either. And I think that is one of the problems Democrats have had in the past, was whenever they were going into the Hispanic community, they were essentially talking just about immigration. There needs to be a more holistic message to them.

And I think the president's campaign knows that. They're engaging with the Latino and Hispanic community much earlier this cycle than they have in the past. But it's something to keep watching.

I do think this executive order is going to be an important one. It is part of that outreach. The idea of keeping families together, as opposed to separating them, that is a potent message in the Hispanic community. And I think you're going to see them aggressively arguing it.

RAJU: And just -- I want you to -- before you jump in, Alex, I want you to weigh in about Trump. He's talking about how he views the impact of this election when it comes to immigration, and what would happen if he is elected or not elected.


TRUMP: You haven't even seen it yet. You haven't seen the terrorists yet. You haven't seen the killing yet that's starting to take place. Again, it takes them a little time. They want to get accustomed to the country. They're not going to start from day one, because they don't know.

Then they see our laws, which are so weakened and so pathetic, and they probably can't believe them. But you're going to see things that will be horrible, unless you elect me president.


RAJU: I mean, this has been Trump's calling card since he entered the presidential arena back in 2015 ahead of the 2016 election. He has not shied off of it, but obviously, he thinks this is going to bring him back to the White House, as well.

ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Absolutely. And, you know, one thing he's talking about, which is a little bit distinct from 2016, is he's really talking about a terrorist attack happening from someone that crossed the border illegally.

He's actually been sort of hinting at this for months, saying there's going to be at attack; there's going to be an attack. And obviously, you know, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that, you know, things are more dangerous than ever in terms of a potential terrorist attack. You've seen them warn.

And so he's really sort of setting the -- if there is any sort of attack by anyone that comes across the border, he's already sort of trying to set the stakes for him to rebound to his political benefit.

RAJU: Is that going to be effective?

LANZA: I mean, I would say there are attacks now. It's just not a terrorist attack. Their attacks on public by these illegal immigrants coming across the border and, you know, raping women, abusing them, you know, hitting them. So the attacks are taking place.

Whether it's a terrorist attack, that's a serious concern. I think President Trump's talked about it. We've had this concern for the last 20 years of somebody -- somebody coming across the border to create these types of attacks. There have been movies about it.

So it should be -- come as no surprise that, if you liberalize the border policies, that people across the country are going to see this as an opportunity to come in. And they have.

And we've seen that the FBI has talked about, I think, there's been raids and arrests related to people crossing the border who are part of terrorist organizations. This should not be a surprise. This is -- this is a direct result of Joe Biden's border policies when he -- when he reversed most of President Trump's executive orders when he took office.

RAJU: How does -- how does the Biden campaign respond to that? Because that's been the criticism; that this is the result of Biden's decisions when he came into office?

ELLEITHEE: Yes. Look, I'm -- I remember when a president said, quote, "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally." That president was Ronald Reagan.

This approach, this -- what he did this week, is in that same tradition of understanding that, when people have lived here for a long time, they've become part of the community, right? This executive order is only going -- it's only going to -- only goes into effect for those who have already lived in the country for ten years or longer.

The fact that they've been here, they're part of the community. There's a way to bring them in and to give them a pathway to citizenship. That is not a controversial position with most of the American public.

Most of the American public looks at these two executive orders that the president has signed. One, tightening controls at the border. Two, showing some compassion for families and those who have been here for a long time. And most Americans say, well, those two things sound reasonable, hand in hand.

And so I think the president has an opportunity. Contrast that with the former president, who shut down the one shot we have had at bipartisan immigration or border control in recent memory. Now they've got at least an argument to step out onto the battlefield with.

RAJU: Yes. And we will see that in next week's debate, June 27. Make sure you tune into that. And we'll talk more about this later on the show. Because California Senator Alex Padilla joins me live onset to talk about all of this.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This fire is dangerous and fast-moving. The winds are strong.


RAJU: A raging wildfire spreading in New Mexico this morning. Is there any relief in sight?

And tributes pouring in for the Say Hey Kid. Remembering the life of baseball legend Willie Mays.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the pitch to Willie. A hard hit, deep to the left! That one is way back, way back! Way back! That is number 600 for Willie Mays!


RAJU: the closely watched Republican primary in Virginia's 5th Congressional District, still too early to call this morning.

The race is between Congressman Bob Good and his Trump-endorsed challenger John Maguire. And with a margin of less than 400 votes, the race is too early to call.


But Maguire decided to declare victory anyway.


JOHN MAGUIRE (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, the votes are in, and the people have spoken. It is -- it is an honor to be your Republican nominee for the 5th Congressional District.


RAJU: Good, who's the chairman of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, is not giving up hope, posting to social media, quote: "The entire D.C. swamp was aligned against us, with over $10 million in attack ads. But with your help, we were able to make this race too close to call."

So if this margin does stay this close, the second-place finisher could call for a recount.

My panel is back.

It's interesting, I guess, is that going into this, it's not just -- also Donald Trump was coming after Bob Good.


RAJU: And there was a lot of expectation that Bob Good was going to lose pretty handily, given Trump's opposition, but he's hanging on here. What does it tell you, I guess, about that? And also the power of incumbency?

THOMPSON: Well, absolutely.

But the thing is, it's going to make anyone scared to challenge Donald Trump. This all happened because Bob Good endorsed Ron DeSantis early.

And then the thing is that you had a case where Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump were both going against him. Now some other people like Nancy Mace have survived the Kevin McCarthy

back challenges, but both of them together, you saw them unite. And I think it's going to just make -- even if he survives, the fact that he had to go through this is going to be a warning sign to any Republican thinking of crossing Donald Trump.

RAJU: And also, as you mentioned, Kevin McCarthy. Bob Good was one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy, which is one reason why so many Republicans are going after him.

But this has really been a trend in this Republican conference. And they are going after each other in primaries. Typically, that never really happened. But now it's happening with increased frequency.

LANZA: Well, listen, you have President Trump willing to step in, so you have members of Congress who sort of have their personal beefs. And they figured out how to message the president and get him involved in these races.

What I would say about the race last night, the interesting thing is both candidates ran, you know, with Trump's support and one trying to imply Trump's support. So probably the real winner of this race as Donald Trump, because both -- most likely, both voters (ph) got the vast support of Donald Trump, and that shows an influence.

Incumbents win. They just win at a rate of 98 percent. So the fact that we're this close, and it looks like Bob Good's going to lose because of the margin, that tells you something.

But don't cross Donald Trump. I mean, he has a long memory. Staff around him has a long memory. If you make the wrong decision at the wrong time, you're going to have $10 million dumped on you just to say hello.

RAJU: Why doesn't Joe Biden get involved in cases like this?

LANZA: In Republican primaries?

RAJU: Well, no, in Democrats -- Democratic primaries. He's really not trying to tip the scales in Democratic primaries.

ELLEITHEE: I mean, look, Donald Trump got into this race and injected himself into this race because he felt betrayed. And that's the main reason why he got into this race.

That's not Joe Biden's style.

Look, you know, the -- the McCarthy wing and the Trump wing of the Republican Party don't always see eye-to-eye, right? Bob Good is one of those figures who was able to unite them in opposition.

And it shows that relationships actually matter in this business. He's not a guy who has a lot of good friends on the Hill. There were even -- he's chaired the Freedom Caucus, and even Freedom Caucus members had endorsed his opponent.

RAJU: Yes, yes.

ELLEITHEE: Like, we can read some stuff into this. But that is one big takeaway. Relationships matter.

RAJU: This is a personality-driven business. No question about that.

All right. Next, high winds fueling wildfires out West. The conditions fire crews can expect today.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will always cherish the memory and life of the great Willie Mays.


RAJU: A look at the life and legacy of the legendary Willie Mays.






RAJU: Dangerous heat ramping up from Indiana to the Northeast this morning as cooling temperatures out West give crews a bit of help with two fires in California.

The Post Fire in L.A. County is now 31 percent contained. The other, North of Sacramento, about 5 percent contained.

Flames and smoke from a pair of New Mexico wildfires painting the sky orange and black, damaging more than 1,000 structures. At least one person is dead and thousands evacuated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the craziest fire I've ever seen with my own eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. I mean, we get fires out there quite a bit, but this one's --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixteen-thousand-acre fires.


RAJU: Let's go to meteorologist Elisa Raffa. Elisa, any relief in sight?

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: By Thursday, it looks like parts of New Mexico could get some tropical downpours from what's headed into Texas.

But even if you get a lot of rain all at once, that could be a problem for flash flooding on burns scars.

But I mean, look at how just massive this is. All of the smoke in parts of New Mexico. Part of the problem is that we have some of the highest levels of drought, especially for the Southern part of the state, where we're finding some of these fires breakout.

Extreme and exceptional drought. That adds fuel that's more dry matter that can burn more easily.

Fires so big that we were able to see it from space via satellite image.

Also had some fires continuing to burn in parts of California overnight, as well. Those fires that we're watching, one just outside of Los Angeles and then another one just near Sacramento.

Also -- also watching a heat dome for the Eastern part of the U.S. And that is that dry, sinking air that just sits in place, sweltering in some of that heat. That we're looking at some unprecedented heat for a lot of New England.

More than 82 percent of Americans, 260 million people, will find temperatures above 90 degrees. This comes after we broke plenty of records yesterday.


Caribou today, we're watching out. You could have your hottest temperature ever recorded today --Manu.

RAJU: Two hundred sixty million people affected by 90-degree or more temperatures. My goodness.

Elisa Raffa, thank you for that.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, thanking North Korea's Kim Jong-un for his, quote, "unwavering support" in Pyongyang this -- Pyongyang this morning.

The two leaders looked overjoyed to see each other as Putin received a hero's greeting: crowds lining the streets, chanting, quote, "Welcome, Putin," 24 years after his last trip.

A visit being monitored very closely by the U.S. and its allies.

Kim, though, expressing his solidarity with Russia and its, quote, "special military operation" in Ukraine, while Putin invited Kim to visit and also said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We highly appreciate your consistent and unwavering support for Russian policy, including the Ukrainian strand. I'm referring to our fight against the hegemonic policy imposed for decades, the imperialist policy of the United States and its satellites against the Russian Federation.


RAJU: CNN's Mike Valerio joins us live from Seoul.

So, Mike, they both know they're being watched very closely here. So what message are they trying to send?

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Manu, you know, we're looking at the translation between Korean and Russian very closely at this minute, because we are trying to discern the historical context right here, Manu. We're going all the way back to 1961 when a mutual defense treaty was signed between Khrushchev and Kim Il-sung in July of 1961 that said, if something happens to North Korea, the USSR would come to Pyongyang's defense.

So, right this minute, Manu, a statement session just ramped up between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. And we are trying to work through the translation to see if, essentially, we're back to where things were in 1961 in terms of mutual assistance.

So I have the transcript right here, just came out a few minutes ago. So Vladimir Putin says with this new rapport, this new strategic partnership, quote, "The agreement on comprehensive partnership that was signed today includes the provision" -- this is key -- "of mutual assistance in case of an aggression against one of the signatories to this document."

So provision of mutual assistance. That's not the same thing as strong language in the treaty from 1961: "shall come to the defense, shall defend." It says "assistance."

And then Kim Jong-un, for his part, were trying to see if this agreement has codified an alliance between the two countries.

Kim saying, "Relations between our two countries had released -- reached" -- excuse me -- "a new high level of allied ties."

So we're working through this, Manu, to try to figure out what exactly this means for the rapport and the relationship between the two countries and what that means for us in the United States, Manu.

RAJU: Yes.

VALERIO: Still more to come.

RAJU: Yes. High-level ties and mutual assistance. A lot to discern. I suspect we'll be digesting that in the day ahead.

Mike Valerio, thank you for that report --

VALERIO: You're welcome.

RAJU: -- from Seoul.

Coming up, new video from Justin Timberlake's DWI in the Hamptons.

Plus, remembering the Say Hey Kid. How Willie Mays impacted baseball and America.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Way back in left field. It's going, going, and it is a homerun!

Willie Mays gets a great ovation from the crowd and in the dugout from the Mets.