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Trump Calls for Drug Test Ahead of Presidential Debate; Special Counsel Defends Handling of Mar-a-Lago Docs; Flooding Expected in Upper Midwest After Heavy Rainfall. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 25, 2024 - 06:00   ET


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: It's Tuesday, June 25. Right now on CNN THIS MORNING, Donald Trump demanding a drug test for President Biden and offering to take one himself, with just two days to go before the CNN presidential debate.


New evidence released by the special counsel in Trump's classified documents case, including never-before-seen photos from the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.

Voters in New York heading to the polls for a primary election that pro-Israel groups are watching very closely.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Florida Panthers have won the Stanley Cup!


HUNT: Celebrations in South Florida, the Panthers capturing their first NHL title, avoiding a historic collapse.

All right, 6 a.m. here in Washington. A live look at the White House on this Tuesday morning. Good morning, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's wonderful to have you with us.

Drug tests for everyone. That's the request from Donald Trump two days before the historic CNN presidential debate.

Trump has been making claims about President Biden needing to be, quote, "jacked up" for the big night, suggesting that his rival will be taking some kind of performance-enhancing drug. Again, with zero evidence making these claims. But here they are.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, Crooked Joe has gone to a log cabin to study, prepare. No, he didn't -- he's sleeping now, because they want to get him good and strong. So a little before debate time, he gets a shot in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). (END VIDEO CLIP)

HUNT: Trump offering to take a drug test, too, boasting on Truth Social, "DRUG TEST FOR JOE BIDEN??? I WOULD ALSO IMMEDIATELY AGREE TO ONE!!!"

Well, the Biden campaign not really taking the bait. The president is hunkered down at Camp David preparing for Thursday night. His campaign did release this new ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump loves to attack Joe Biden.

TRUMP: Joe Biden.

Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's focused on revenge, and he has no plan to help the middle-class. He'd just give more tax cuts to the wealthy.

Here's the difference. Donald Trump is only out for himself. Joe Biden is fighting for your family.


HUNT: There's also some new reporting out this morning on Biden's debate strategy, advisers urging the president to focus on Trump and not his own first-term achievements. Interesting.

All right. Our panel's here. Let's bring in CNN senior reporter Isaac Dovere; Meghan Hays, former special assistant to President Biden; and Matt Gorman, the former senior adviser to Tim Scott's presidential campaign. Welcome all.

You know, another day on the 2024 campaign trail, another conversation about drug testing for a presidential debate.

Isaac, kind of big picture here, what are we seeing from the Trump team and the Biden team, too, if you want to go there, on the preparations here? Because the Biden -- the people that surround Trump, excuse me, do seem to be kind of throwing everything at the wall.

EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It would suggest that they think that there are reasons to doubt how well Donald Trump will do on Thursday night.

And this is something that we've seen before. It's every time that there is a moment where Donald Trump or the team around him thinks he's not going to do well, they throw things like this into the water.

And even famously, when he didn't win the Emmys for "The Apprentice."

HUNT: I thought about that, yes.

DOVERE: This is a -- this is a long pattern that predates his time in politics.

But, look, they will be onstage together on Thursday night. This is the first time that the two of them have debated anyone for four years. And the last people that they debated were each other.

And you remember what happened then. It was intense. But also, I think, you can go back and look at the video from either of those debates and see that both of them are changed men from that time.

HUNT: Oh, yes. For sure. I mean, look, let's take -- let's take a walk down memory lane to one of these debates from 2020. We put together a little compilation that may take you back. Watch.



TRUMP: You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don't ever use the word "smart" with me. Don't ever use that word.

BIDEN: Oh, give me a break.

TRUMP: Because you know what?? There's nothing smart about you, Joe.

BIDEN: The question is --

TRUMP: -- Supreme Court justice, radical left --

BIDEN: Would you shut up, man?

TRUMP: Listen, who is on your list, Joe.

BIDEN: This is so --

CHRIS WALLACE, JOURNALIST: Gentlemen, I think --

BIDEN: This is so unpresidential.

TRUMP: And you don't know her --


HUNT: Matt Gorman, if that Donald Trump shows up on Thursday, is that a problem for Republicans?


HUNT: Appreciate the honesty.

GORMAN: Yes. The line -- the line he needs to walk is, in 2016, there was a little bit of a charm, and there was a cuttingness in a lot of it. And it was -- it was a little bit targeted, and it was effective.

HUNT: He was also, like, relatively new to the political stage. GORMAN: Yes, but not new to TV, not new to TV. And I think -- you know, I know Hillary has --

HUNT: I just mean -- I didn't mean -- I didn't mean it that way. I mean, like, he was fresh to voters.

GORMAN: That's fair.

HUNT: In a way that he's not anymore.

GORMAN: I think -- and there's also probably less baggage in his mind, right? There was less -- a little bit less grievance in his mind.

And I think that is the Trump I'm looking for in '16, and I think going back to the point we were making earlier. I think of the famous scene from "I Love Lucy," where the chocolates are coming down the conveyor belt and Ethel and Lucy are trying to get them all up in their mouth.

What the Trump team has done since he came on the scene, to very good effect, is throw those chocolates on the conveyor belt. And you can't put them all in your mouth at one time. You have to, like, pick and choose.

And I think what they are very good at is blotting out the sun, controlling the narrative and I think what you're trying to see. They want people talking about Joe Bidens performance. Will he be jacked up as they -- you know? And they want that to be the focus going into the debate.

MEGHAN HAYS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: They're really good at creating chaos. Like, let's be clear, they're creating chaos here, because they're sowing doubt in people's minds.

Like have doubt where Joe Biden's not going to do well. So because of all these other reasons, so therefore, Donald Trump will be better.

GORMAN: I would put a little line between chaos and just like causing media frenzy. I don't think that's you know --

HAYS: Chaotic.

GORMAN: Like, it is a little different.

DOVERE: It can be really difficult to deal with. Like I wrote a book about the 2020 election. And one of the things that I got into is what happened in the debate after Joe Biden walked offstage.

And what he -- the first thing he said to the aides who were -- came to him was that was embarrassing. And he was really worried that he did not come off well. He kept saying, I couldn't get a word in, right?

And they had to show him videos of some of the moments, including some of the coverage that was pretty negative about how the debate had gone and reassure him that people were actually attacking Donald Trump, that the analysis was tilted against Trump. And it wasn't just about him.

Because remember, we can sit here from the sidelines. It's different when you're on stage and trying to deal with this.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, look, it's also one of the things about, when you're experiencing a presidential debate in person, that's very different from what happens on television, right? It's like it's actually most important to kind of go back and watch it and see what Americans saw. Because you'll feel different and differently in the moment.

Meghan, one of the elements of this, I mean, look, we know there are some swing voters left in America.

HAYS: Right.

HUNT: They're out there. And many of them will likely be watching the debate. It could make a difference on those edges.

But the country's also incredibly divided and very set in their camps. And one of the sort of overarching themes about this debate, "The New York Times" kind of framed it this way.

The voters watching the debate with a hand over their eyes. They quote one of them who says, Jay Bodenstein (ph), a life-long Democrat, says that he "plans to sit down this week for night of television he regards with terror. He will not be watching a horror movie. He'll be watching the debate."

And then one of the other people quoted in the story says, quote, "It has all the makings of a train wreck with chemical spillage that is lethally toxic." That was Jeffrey Marshall, an Arizona Democrat.

There are also, I think -- I think in the story there's an account of them playing, you know, bingo, drinking games like -- oh my gosh. There's this sense, I think, for people who are committed on either side of fear of how it's going go.

HAYS: Yes, there's a little of you're going to hold your breath.

HUNT: And it's a question about Biden.

HAYS: Yes, you're going to hold your breath to see what happens. But this is why I think the optics matter, right?

To your point, President Trump is out there -- or former President Trump's out there just throwing that Joe Biden can't even make it to the stage. He'll be like a bumbling idiot.

So it's like the optics here matter almost more than the substance in a lot of ways.

Both of these men have to get up there and be -- give strong performances and be strong and give their delivery with such conviction that I don't think that's been judged before in a debate. So it will be interesting to see. But I do think a lot of people are going to be watching, holding their breath.

DOVERE: There are questions, right, are either of these guys up to the job? That's what it really comes down to. More than, for a lot of people, I think at this point, policy, other than people who are dug in on it. But, like, those swing voters, can we really see either of these guys as president for four more years?

GORMAN: And that's why its concerning what you read in the teaser about the Biden team focusing more on Trump and not the first policy -- first kind of term policy accomplishments. I mean, we were talking about this a little bit yesterday. I think that that would concern me if I was a Democrat.

Like I -- there does need to be an affirmative case there. Certainly, Trump is going to make one. It can't just be all Trump.


I think that was the hole Hillary fell into to her kind of demise in 2016.

HUNT: Quickly.

HAYS: I think -- I think what they mean there is that they're trying to create the contrast there and remind voters how chaotic his presidency was and some of the things that he created chaos around.

I think that's what they mean there. I don't think they mean focus on his policies.

HUNT: All right. We've got a lot more to dig into this morning.

Coming up next, new photos from Mar-a-Lago just released by the special counsel in Donald Trump's classified documents case.

Plus, Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan is here to talk about reproductive rights two years after the fall of Roe versus Wade.

And China's lunar probe returning to Earth with the first rocks ever recovered from the far side of the moon. It's one of the five things you've got to see this morning.



HUNT: All right. New this morning. Special Counsel Jack Smith's office is defending his investigators' handling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

In a late-night filing, the special counsel's office rebuffing Trump's attempts to have the entire case tossed based on the fact that some of the documents are no longer in the order that they were found in. Jack Smith noted that his investigators found boxes with their

contents spilled onto the floor and insists, "Nothing has been lost, much less destroyed, and there has been no bad faith. The court should see Trump's newly invented explanations and his motion for what they are: his latest unfounded accusation against law enforcement professionals doing their jobs."

Isaac, there are pictures that we now have of these classified documents being stored with her. Let's put this up. That appears to be -- are those golf shirts, I think? Pillows, classified documents.

Our reporting says that, according to the filing, Trump personally chose to keep documents containing some of the nation's most highly guarded secrets in cardboard boxes, along with a collection of other personally chosen keepsakes of various sizes and shapes from his presidency. Newspapers, thank you notes, Christmas ornaments, magazines, clothing, and photographs of himself and others.

Now classified documents aside, like that could be my basement, but like what -- I mean, like -- this also -- this filing was pretty sharply worded. I mean, clearly, things are, you know, escalating.

DOVERE: Yes. I mean, I feel like I packed up my college dorm room after freshman year a little bit more cleanly than this. But --

HUNT: You're -- not packing up the Oval with all this stuff.

DOVERE: Yes. Look, I think one of the things that we're seeing here is that Jack Smith and his team very carefully documented every part of this.

And they did it in a way, knowing that they would get these kinds of motions and arguments from the Trump team. And now, as the Trump team is making them, they've got new photos. They've got new bits of it. They have more information than they put out initially to undercut this.

And I think part of the lesson here would seem to be for Trump's team, as you go forward and make these motions, they might have more things that will undercut it. Because they clearly thought this through.

HUNT: Yes. Meghan, I mean, this -- this would be sort of some hasty packing as Trump is on his way out of the Oval Office. You guys were on your way in at the time. You were working for Biden.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, when we got there, everything was clean as, you know, the White House team does a really great job of doing that. I mean, I just think that this is not unlike when people are moving quickly. So clearly, he was moving pretty hastily out.

But let's not forget, it's not that he has then; it's that he didn't want to give them back. And he didn't want to admit that he had them. So it's -- you know, I can see if this is their packing job, how you accidentally took some documents, but very chaotic.

HUNT: It seems, Matt -- go ahead. GORMAN: It looks like my second bedroom. I just moved, and I have a lot of crap I've got to clean out of this room. It's reminding me of some things I need to do.

I mean, look, I will say this. I mean, look, Jack Smith is not above scrutiny. He need -- he needs to be accountable for these things. And he needs to make sure he's defending these things. And Trump's going to challenge these things.

My first thought reading this is also you look at the dichotomy between Jack Smith and Fani Willis, where like, look, regardless of what you think you're going to prosecute the president [SIC] of the United States. There's a high bar, obviously, not just legally, but in the eyes of the public.

You need to have your stuff in a row. And you need to have everything together. You can't do this haphazardly. And you can't go into it just willy-nilly.

And it almost makes me more think of more like, wow, like the Georgia folks, like --

HUNT: There's a guy that I used to work for, used to say, you've got to play error-free ball.

GORMAN: Exactly. Right? And so, you know, you're going up against just again, not a court of law. You're going against, you know, a ton of things. And it just -- the dichotomy could be more clear, no matter what you think of the cases.

HUNT: All right. Coming up next here, how Donald Trump says he's preparing for Thursday night's CNN presidential debate.

Plus, Minnesota officials on high alert. A dam on the brink of collapse. This is definitely one of the five things you have to see this morning.



HUNT: All right, 23 minutes past the hour, five things you have to see this morning.

Honest Abe meeting the same fate as the Wicked Witch of the West. He melted. This is not the famous statue on the National Mall. It is a wax sculpture outside a D.C. school.

And as the temperatures hit triple digits around here, poor Abe was left looking like this. Oh, dear.

All right, China's lunar probe returning to the Earth with the first samples ever recovered from the Moon's unexplored dark side Scientists are hoping the samples will answer key questions about how planets are formed. We're going to have to get some Pink Floyd going for this. All right. A fire at a recycling plant outside Wichita, Kansas,

sending smoke into the air that could be seen for miles. The fire started Sunday. A state of emergency has been declared for the area.

And then there's this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Florida Panthers have won the Stanley Cup!


HUNT: The Florida Panthers earning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, beating the Edmonton Oilers in seven games. It's now been 31 years since the Canadian team won the cup.

And local officials say a dam in Minnesota is in danger of total failure after massive flooding in the area. A press conference set to be held later this morning on the condition of the more -- the 100 -- more than 100-year-old structure. Yikes.


And another day of devastating river flooding in the Upper Midwest after heavy rainfall last week. Let's get straight to our meteorologist, Elisa Raffa, for more on this.

Elisa, good morning.


You can see where there has been a partial break or breach of the dam on the West side. I mean, look at the debris that's kind of lining parts of this river in Minnesota, where you've got some heavy rushing water, violent water, and it's taking some of that debris with it.

Look at how it overcame part of that dam. The rest of it's still intact. But again, we'll need that update from officials.

You can see that we've got the flood warnings still in effect, South of Mankato over to Sioux Falls in South Dakota, Northwest Iowa, down the Missouri River from Sioux City towards Omaha.

Because in the -- over the weekend, we got about ten to 17 inches of rain in this corner right here. Parts of South Dakota and Northwest Iowa. Another cluster of some heavy totals just South there of Mankato. Widespread totals over up four to six inches.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, got about 6.5 inches, which makes it its wettest two days on record ever.

Here's a look at some of the rivers that are still at moderate or major flood stage. Still 24 of them at major flood stage right now in parts of South Dakota. That's northwest Iowa. And then Southern Minnesota. In Sioux City last night, the Big Sioux River crested at nearly 45 feet, which is way above the record of 37 feet. And 70 people needed to be rescued -- Kasie.

HUNT: Wow. All right. Elisa Raffa for us this morning. Elisa, thanks very much for that.

Coming up next here, Vice President Kamala Harris marking two years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade.




HUNT: Plus, why astronauts on the International Space Station just had a sudden change of plans.