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Biden & Trump Intensify Preps For Next Week's CNN Debate; Hogan: Trump Endorsement "Not Something We Were Seeking"; Extreme Heat in East & Midwest, Storms Over New Mexico & Four Corners. Aired 6- 6:30a ET

Aired June 21, 2024 - 06:00   ET




MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR: It's Friday, June 21st.

Right now on CNN THIS MORNING:

Less than a week to go before the CNN presidential debate, and the one rule that team Biden believes gives the president an edge.

A huge fundraising haul for Trump in May, $50 million of it coming from one billionaire businessman.

Tropical Storm Alberto downgraded overnight after causing devastating flooding in Texas and Mexico.

And a first in America, New York's governor signing a new law to regulate social media algorithms that target kids.


RAJU: All right, 6:00 a.m. here in Washington and 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.

At this time next week, we'll all be talking about who won the big CNN presidential debate six days and counting until President Biden and former President Trump face off at CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

Next week's event will look and feel very different from the last debate between these two men. And after winning a coin flip, team Biden chooses preferred podium position on the right. That means Trump gets the final word at the end of the debate.

Team Biden is also pleased that mikes will be muted when a candidate is not supposed to be speaking. Now, the present hunkering down with close aides at Camp David preparing by debating against a Trump stand- in and he appears confident.


REPORTER: Mr. President, how is debate prep going?


RAJU: Now, for weeks, Trump has been ridiculing Biden, questioning his mental acuity, and even suggesting the president will be using drugs to make it through the debate.

But as the big day draws near, Trump is now lowering expectations for Biden.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched him with Paul Ryan and he destroyed Paul Ryan. So I'm not underestimating him. I'm not underestimating him. I assume he's going to be somebody that will be a worthy debater.


RAJU: All right. Let's bring in Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for "Reuters", Shermichael Singleton, former deputy chief of staff at HUD and the Trump administration, and Meghan Hays, former special assistant to President Biden.

Good morning to you all.


RAJU: Thanks for -- thanks for joining me this morning.

So, okay. I thought this guy couldn't string two sentences together. And now, he's a worthy debater? What is that?

SINGLETON: I mean, Manu, that actually should have been in the position from the former president and other Republicans like weeks ago, a month ago, is that Joe Biden is going to come in and gum into this debate, ready to go, strong --

RAJU: He's got decades of experience.

SINGLETON: Right, right, so if he didn't perform, whether it's like, oh, wow, he didn't meet expectations. I'm not certain if at this point, like days before the debate of this is really going to matter. But he should have had this tone before. Maybe we'll stick with this coming for the next debate.

RAJU: What do you -- it is obviously an expectations game going into it, how does the Biden team feel about everything that Trump has been saying about -- you know, that he may be needed drugs to prop himself up or that he cant string two sentences together, but now he's a worthy debate or how did they feel about this spin that's happening ahead of time?

MEGHAN HAYS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And he's also criminal mastermind that's controlling all the court. So I mean, I just -- the Trump campaign is setting expectations for Joe Biden. He doesn't have to do a lot to lower the expectations on our side and I do think Trump is going to come out that's wrong. I think they're all going to be well-prepared and everyone's going to come out and strong and it's going to be a good debate. Hopefully I think it'll be interesting with the muted mics to see how when they keep going, how that plays, when you can't hear them continue and how they get stumped themselves doing that.

But I do think it's helpful to the Trump campaign is sort of setting expectation so low for him.

RAJU: And just remind the viewers about what the 2020 debate look like the last time.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The question is, the question is --



BIDEN: Will you shut up, man?

TRUMP: Listen, who is on --

BIDEN: I'm not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he's a liar.

TRUMP: You know, Joe, I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama because you did a poor job.


BIDEN: He's a racist.

You're the worst president America has ever had.

TRUMP: We can't lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does.

BIDEN: It's hard to get any word in with this clown.


RAJU: I mean, does the Biden team thing that -- I mean, look, in a lot of ways, that was a good moment for Biden because people viewed it as now Trump ducking over Biden. And he didn't look particularly good in that moment. But now, Trump, can't do that. So how does that play with the Biden team?

JEFF MASON,WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Well, I think it changes the dynamic entirely and it certainly means that President Biden will need to be on and they'll have to have some lines and they'll have to look sharp and do all the things that make an impression on voters that he wants to come out and vote for him.

I think as far as expectations are concerned to your guys is point earlier, the state of the union address is actually kind of a good example to look at from the last several months, Republicans ahead of time, were painting the president as somebody who couldn't get words out and couldn't speak and was too old and doddering to be able to run the country. And then he came out swinging and really got a boost from that afterwards.

So the Trump team has that same risk by suggesting that President Biden is not going to be able to speak ahead of time and you kind of see that with a --

RAJU: Then, of course, a difference between the State of the Union as we all know, is that, you know, there's a teleprompter. These really problem, and now he's going to answer questions off the cuff.

I put the question to Mitch Landrieu yesterday. He is a top Biden adviser about what, how the president will deal with some of the controversies involving Donald Trump, including the fact that he has been convicted on 34 felonies.


MITCH LANDRIEU, BIDEN CAMPAIGN NATIONAL CO-CHAIR: So, the president is going to ask Donald Trump questions. He's going to want to know why he appointed three justices, that he eviscerated Roe versus Wade. He's going to ask Donald Trump why he threatened democracy in this company -- country. He's going to talk to him about why he continues to seek revenge and retribution and try to give his friends, his billionaire friends and other tax break, and why he hurt the country so badly when he was president.


RAJU: So how does Trump respond to that?

SINGLETON: Well, look, Manu, I think refuting your opponent on every single issue as less effective in terms of a debate strategy, then really highlighting your opponent's weaknesses.

I debated in college, as part of probably debate team. You'd sort of learn this in the early stages of college debate. And if I were Trump, every time president brings up one of those issues, whether it's January 6 or past election, or some of the trials, I would pivot and talk about the economy. I would pivot and talk about immigration.

I would pivot every single time or remind the American people while Joe Biden is focused on me, I'm focused on you.

And if you can do that effectively, that I think he'll be well- received.

RAJU: And then Biden pivots back and says January 6.

HAYS: Well, and also, do you think that Donald Trump is going to be disciplined enough to be able to pivot back to issues and not headed back to the 2020 election.

SINGLETON: I think it's very, very possible because the president, former president is preparing right now. He's -- he's acutely aware of how critically important this first debate is. And I know we give a lot of, you know, about Donald Trump's ability to be a disciplined person. But he understands that this thing will be one on the margins and content considered everything that he's facing with these potential other trials next year, if he doesn't win, I think he's going to try to go in his best behavior.

RAJU: But so much of the Biden campaign strategy so far has been trying to get under Donald Trump's skin, just to kind of needle him and the like, and assuming that's probably going to be how Biden approaches next week as well.

MASON: I'm sure. I mean, that usually has an effect that is advantageous to President Biden. But he also has an answer if the former president does show discipline and starts talking about the economy, the Biden team has message to talk about the economy. I'm sure that you'll hear that from the president, but it hasn't resonated as much as his criticism of former President Trump. So I think that's the focus.

RAJU: Yeah. All right. Well, this is going to be a very, very lively event. I'm sure you will all tune in next week.

And up next for us, there's a Republican Senate candidate who gotten endorsement from Donald Trump, but he wants to return it.

Plus, a $2 million smash and grab heist. One of the five things you have to see this morning.

And Smerconish is here with his unique take on the upcoming CNN debate.



RAJU: A Donald Trump endorsement can make or break most Republican candidates. But for Maryland Senate candidate Larry Hogan, well, that was not so welcome.


LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND SENATE CANDIDATE: It was obviously not something that we were seeking and didn't want and didn't have any interest in. It is not something we're going to be promoting, that's for sure, in a state that Donald Trump lost by 33 points. Doesn't really carry a lot of voters over to our cause. So I don't think we're going to have any interest in accepting it.


RAJU: Now, Trump's endorsement came after Hogan was chastised by the right for comments he made about the former president's hush money trial. Hogan urged Americans to, quote, respect the verdict before it was rendered, but here's what Republican National Committee co-chair Lara Trump had to say about that.


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Does the Republican National Committee support Larry Hogan for Senate?

LARA TRUMP, RNC CO-CHAIR: Well, I tell you one thing. I don't support what he just said there, I think it's ridiculous.


He doesn't deserve the respect of anyone in the Republican Party at this point, and quite frankly, anybody in America.


RAJU: All right. My panel's back.

Okay. So he says that we have no interest in accepting -- this is Larry Hogan -- we've no interest in accepting it. It is something that doesn't really. It's not something that were going to be promoting.

But I can assure you that Democrats will be promoting that.

HAYS: Of course, they are. They're going to -- yeah, to a very MAGA Republican Party and make sure that the Democrat wins. I mean, it's -- that just seems pretty obvious to me, and they want to tie him in with Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump ways, and that just shrink their candidate.

RAJU: Yeah. I mean, what's interesting about Trump in this cycle is that in the past he would be someone who has criticized him, he would throw him under the bus. I guess he still does that.

This time, it's been a little different. I mean, Larry Hogan has been critical of Trump and he's him, Mike Rogers in Michigan, a pretty establishment Republican. He was enlightened, endorsed Trump. Trump endorsed him as well.

What is up with that?

SINGLETON: I mean, a lot of people in the party, including some folks who are advising a former president have really tried to gear him in a different direction in terms of the types of candidates the former president endorses. We saw what just two years ago, former president endorsed a slew of candidates, most of them did not win, did not take back control of the fricking Senate because we endorsed crappy candidates.

RAJU: And a lot of people blamed -- a lot of people blamed Trump for doing that.

SINGLETON: They did, they did. So, I think it was smart for Hogan to say, look, we don't want the endorsement. The endorsements out there though. And there are some Trump voters in Maryland, hopefully they come out and vote for the former governor. But I do think its important considering the bend of the state to sort of be in a neutral Republican.

And the folks of Maryland know who Larry Hogan is. He's been a governor twice. So I think that's going to be to his benefit.

RAJU: Yeah. But luck, even though polls there's one from March saying that he was they had a high favorable rating, that was really before, you know, a lot of the onslaught of ads. This is certainly -- we'll see how it looks.

This is different. This is not running for governor in a blue state. This is a federal election, control of the Senate is on the line and Democrats are more than happy to nationalize it because of how the blue tilt in Maryland.

MASON: And that's why Larry Hogan said, no thanks.


MASON: Thanks very much, but no thanks.

RAJU: Yeah, right.

MASON: But I do think that dynamic is interesting in terms of messaging. I mean, I think it comes back to your point earlier about the debates from Michael that the president -- former President Trump is a little bit more disciplined than some of these things. And that, that is showing there.

But his party isn't necessarily, or at least his apparatus isn't. You see Lara Trump saying this guy deserves no respect from Republicans, or Americans at all. That's not on message in terms of trying to get a Senate to go Republican.

RAJU: And there are some Republicans who are just not happy on the right that Trump is backing is what they would say is squishy, moderates, and the like, not the MAGA folks.

SINGLETON: You know what, it's interesting when people say this, I did a focus group about a month ago and a whole different topic and I asked some of the Republican voters in that focus group how they felt potentially about more moderate leaning or Republicans winning federal offices. And they all came back with a very similar conclusion. If it means regaining control, we're okay with that.

So I think some of the leadership are completely opposed to what the actual base wants. And that is to have electoral victories.

RAJU: And that's what causes the tension, that's what caused some of the losses. That's called the fighting Capitol Hill about tension between --

SINGLETON: The Bob Good money, for example.

RAJU: Yeah, exactly, that brings it all, that brings it all home, still going on that district, a race in Virginia.

All right. Ahead, a man holding furniture from a New York City skyscraper, one of the five things you have to see this morning.

Plus, where Donald Trumps fundraising dollars are coming from.



RAJU: Twenty-two minutes past the hour. So five things you have to see this morning.

A brazen day time smash and grab robbery at a Sunnyvale, California jewelry store. Up to two dozen suspects stealing nearly $2 million worth of jewelry and less than three minutes. Five of them captured in a police chase that followed.

Thunderstorms in New Mexico causing flooding and mudslides. One of the burn scars left by recent wildfires. President Biden issuing a disaster declaration, parts of the state freeing up emergency funds.

Violent clashes between police and protesters breaking out in Kenya as the government folks votes on a controversial finance bill police have been seen using tear gas and water cannons on protesters.

A Florida man charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief after illegally entering a building in New York and throwing chairs, benches, and tables from the 24 floor into the street below. No one was injured. Now, police say the suspect of apparently visibly consulate general of Haiti inside the building to complain about housing and then snapped.

Tropical storm Alberto tripling normal rainfall totals for in cities across Texas and Louisiana. The significant coastal flooding along the gulf, up to three feet in some areas.

And oppressive heat hits the Midwest and East today with Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Newark set to break records and the southwest bracing for more flooding.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam tracking all of it.

Derek, any relief in sight?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No. And I'm wondering if you're ready for 100 degree heat where you are in D.C. that's coming your way.

RAJU: No, I'm not. VAN DAM: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, you're not alone because much of the mid-Atlantic is in the drips of this heat wave that is building. It's gotten some relief across northern New England but really over the next seven days as were talking, over 80 percent of the U.S. population experiencing temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you factor in the humidity levels that feels oppressive outside, that's why we have these heat alerts across the mid-Atlantic and it doesn't stop there.


Many portions across the west into California also experiencing extreme heat. So, 50 record highs through the course of the weekend, you can see, this is what I was talking about in a D.C. as well as Philadelphia, triple-digit heat by tomorrow lasting through the early parts of the weekend, lots of heat and humidity across the Southeast as well.

That's the big story, starting to sound like a broken record. We're also focusing on heavy rain across northern portions of the country, particularly across Minnesota and into new Mexico as well. The remnants of Alberto bringing excessive amount of rain to an area that's been very, very drought. Of course, you've had the wildfire conditions there.

So it doesn't take much to inundate that area. So flash flooding a concern. There's a current radar very active across the Four Corners region with additional rainfall anticipated through the next several days -- Manu.

RAJU: If this is June, what is August look like?

VAN DAM: Yeah, great question.

RAJU: All right. Derek Van Dam, thank you so much.

All right. Next, Donald Trump's latest attempts to derail his classified documents case.

Plus, why air travel controls had to issue an altitude warning to the crew of a southwest flight.