Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Worried Democrats Discuss Replacing Biden After Abysmal Performance in Debate; U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on Trump's Immunity Bid in Election Interference Case; Caribbean Countries Brace for Powerful Hurricane Beryl. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, ANCHOR, CNN THIS MORNING: It's Monday, July 1st, right now on CNN THIS MORNING. Replace Joe Biden or keep him on the ticket? That tough decision facing Democrats this morning? Plus, in just a few hours, the Supreme Court will rule on Donald Trump's claim of absolute immunity.

And an extremely dangerous hurricane barreling towards the Caribbean. We are tracking Beryl's destructive path. All right, 5:00 a.m. here in Washington. A live look at New York City on this Monday morning, good morning, everyone, I'm Kasie Hunt, it's wonderful to have you with us.

After a debate performance that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, President Biden spent the weekend huddled at Camp David with his family discussing his political future. Biden advisors telling CNN, first lady Jill Biden, son, Hunter Biden and their grandchildren all implored the president to keep fighting in his bid for re- election.

One adviser saying the Bidens were frustrated with the team that prepared the president ahead of his alarming debate performance. So frustrated that people could be fired. This comes as a "CBS News" YouGov poll taken after the debate finds only 28 percent of registered voters believe Biden should continue running, with just 54 percent of registered Democrats saying he should stay in the race. And the reaction from many top Democrats, it's still coming in and it is decidedly mixed.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Let us not make a judgment about a presidency on one -- one debate.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Yes, it was a bad performance. I've been around these things. I've been a part of debate preparation before, and I know when I see -- what I call preparation overload. And that's exactly what was going on the other night.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): But obviously, there was a big problem with Joe Biden's debate performance, and there's also just a tremendous reservoir of affection and love for Joe Biden in our party. And so, this makes it a difficult situation for everybody. But there are very honest and serious and rigorous conversations taking place at every level of our party.


HUNT: All right, joining me now to discuss, Shelby Talcott, politics reporter for "Semafor". Shelby, good morning to you. This is quite a moment for Democrats, so there's this "CBS" YouGov poll that showed only 27 percent of registered voters think he has the mental and cognitive health to serve as president, 72 believe that Biden does not.

But our reporting out of Camp David over the weekend shows the family is doubling down on this. There's no question that replacing Biden would be very messy. They have two pretty bad choices here. How do you think this plays out over the next 48 hours?

SHELBY TALCOTT, POLITICS REPORTER, SEMAFOR: The ultimate question, I think the really important thing is the fact that the closest people to the president are urging him not to drop out. The second important thing to think about is of course, if Joe Biden did drop out, who would the party replace him with?

As you said, these are sort of a lot of bad choices here. The Vice President doesn't necessarily poll better against Donald Trump than Joe Biden does. And the key argument that I've heard for months, even last year when I would bring up the age issue to Democrats is, Joe Biden polls the best against Donald Trump compared to any of the alternatives. And so, that's sort of one of the really key things here to keep in mind.

HUNT: Yes, one of the issues here, as you point out, is Kamala Harris, the vice president. There are a lot of Democrats who don't seem to have faith that she would be the solution too, if at the end of the day, your goal is to beat Donald Trump, right? But of course, then the challenge is black Democrats are a huge part of the party.

And there are questions about, OK, who else could you bring into that? And it does seem like we would be headed for a really nasty split in the party between those supporting Kamala and those wanting to pass Kamala Harris, the vice president, and those wanting to find someone else were Biden to step aside.


TALCOTT: Yes, and again, it wouldn't just be in that situation that Joe Biden steps aside. She would also have to agree to step aside. And so, those are extra complications. And then the question, as you said, the president has -- is already struggling with minority voters. He's struggling with young voters.

Is there an alternative who could bring in more votes than he's currently bringing in. There's no easy solution here for Democrats. And you know, I think there's skepticism within the party, but also among Republicans over whether this is even going to come to fruition or if this is just sort of a really bad news cycle for the president. HUNT: One thing I think we've learned here is that it's unlikely

we're going to see another presidential debate this election cycle. And the Biden team is officially saying they are going to do it. But here was Steve Bannon yesterday speaking with "ABC News", basically saying, well, Donald Trump has no incentive to show up again. Watch.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: He should never get on a debate stage with Joe Biden again. Been there, done that, but he won't be around. As they try to -- my point is, we have a 100 percent certainty, we could beat Biden and beat him big.


HUNT: Is there any incentive for Trump to do it again?

TALCOTT: Well, it's interesting he said that, because when I talked to Donald Trump's aides after the debate, and we asked this question, they all said absolutely will be there. And I think the thinking is, listen, after the debate on Thursday, Donald Trump's team was feeling really good.

And so, I think the incentive is the assumption that Joe Biden will perform badly again, and why would that be a bad thing for Donald Trump if he again is able to sort of rein in those meandering thoughts and the anger that we saw back in 2020, that didn't help him.

HUNT: Yes, can we go back to what's going on at Camp David or what went on at Camp David for a second, because this other piece of reporting is that -- we have here, is that there are -- is deep dissatisfaction with how Biden was prepared for this debate and whether there might be some changes.

First of all, blaming the staff, not always the best look, however, he clearly was not prepared the right way. Do you think there are -- what are the ramifications there?

TALCOTT: I think it's up in part to the president, and we've also heard that he doesn't blame his staff. And I think whenever a situation like this happens, the blame game starts to go around, and there's always -- you know, people around the president who are going to blame his team and other people.

But at the same time, Joe Biden has been in this game for a really long time. He has done debates for years and years and years. So, it's hard to sort of make that argument, I think, and have it stick where his team was the only reason that he had the performance that he did.

HUNT: Yes, well, and the fact that he's been around as long as he has is also a big part of the rationale for all of it, right? Like his family views this as a long game, right? If he had billed out at the first time in trouble, he would have walked off the stage back in like 1988.

TALCOTT: Absolutely. HUNT: Right, Shelby Talcott, thank you very much for starting this up

this morning. All right, up next here, can a president be immune from criminal prosecution? That question to be decided today by the Supreme Court. Plus, a boost for the far-right in France in their first round of snap elections.

And a red level warning. Any moment now, a category three hurricane expected to slam into the Caribbean. We'll bring you the latest.



HUNT: All right, welcome back. The far-right is surging in France with weekend parliamentary elections, dealing a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron. Protesters taking to the streets of Paris, rallying against the projected lead for the far-right National Rally Party in the first round of voting there.

President Macron called the election just a few weeks ago, it was a big gamble and it seems to be backfiring his centrist party, ending up in third place in the first round of voting.




HUNT: The mood very different for Marine Le Pen and her supporters at a National Rally watch party in northern France. Her party gained more seats in the French National Assembly, but it's still just short of an absolute majority going into the next round of voting.


MARINE LE PEN, NATIONAL RALLY, FRANCE (through translator): However, nothing has been won, and the second round will be decisive.


HUNT: Joining us now to break it all down is CNN's Max Foster, he is live for us in Paris. Max, good morning to you. This was an incredible gamble for Macron when he called these elections, it seems like it may be looking like it was a mistake to do it in the first place. Why did he do it, and what's next?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: I've been speaking to members own party off the record. They say they feel betrayed, they don't know why he did this. It's been a disaster, a crushing blow. Ultimately, we might end up in a situation with him remaining as president, because he's still got that position for a couple more years.

But with the far-right prime minister, who will -- who will be running domestic policy and complete paralysis in the French parliament because no one can get anything through. So, they're really frustrated by what they've seen here, at the same time, you have seen a massive surge and support particularly amongst young people for the far-right.

They're suffering because of cost of living crisis, and this is really symbolic of what's happening across Europe, and you could argue across the West as well.


So, this is a really symbolic, profound moment. It's not over, of course, this is just the first round of voting, and now they're all scrambling to try to make sure there's different results in the second round. It's difficult to see that playing out. But Macron has got to do some sort of deal with the leftist parties to try to block out the far-right from getting a big dominant position in parliament. I spoke to a senator from the left a bit earlier.


HELENE CONWAY-MOURET, FRENCH SOCIALIST PARTY: No, it still remains a shock. We never thought that we would see the extreme right being so strong in France. Of course, the extreme right was in power just for a short time during the second World War, and we never had it since.


FOSTER: Under Marine Le Pen's father, it was a very different party. It has to be said, we've now got a 28-year-old leader, Bardella, who's really -- you know, he's very charismatic -- I was at his event last night, presents himself really well. I think he just appeal to young people in a way that even Le Pen -- Marine Le Pen couldn't do. But he's been really successful.

HUNT: Yes, Max, I mean, you mentioned that this is something that we've seen across Europe, there's sort of like rising trend of this, and you're right to point out that there's a similar trend here in the U.S. and even some kind of ties between the conservatives here in the U.S. and some Hungarian government in particular, comes to mind here. How are other European far-right parties looking at what's happening in France right now?

FOSTER: I think they're seeing it obviously as positive because it feels like an axis, and you know, ultimately, you could end up with leaders of countries who are far right. You could potentially have Donald Trump in the White House as well who have a similar worldview.

I mean, there's a lot of nuance within it. For example, you know, the very powerful far-right group in Germany has different views on the far-right group here, but there's certainly common ground amongst them. And if I look back at how Trump was elected the first time round, you know, I think that Bardella has done a similar -- given a similar argument to the people of France.

You know, within Paris, not a huge amount of support for the far- right, but in rural areas where people haven't got jobs and they're being told the economy is growing, but they're not feeling the benefits of that, they're the people that are really appealed by these arguments.

You talk about immigration and Ukraine and how these things have an economic cost, fundamentally, it's down to cost of living, not being able to afford everyday life, and the right, giving a much more clear argument to how to get out of that even than the left, which used to dominate that discussion.

HUNT: Yes, all right, Max Foster for us live in Paris, Max, always grateful to have you, thank you so much. All right, coming up next here, extreme flooding in New Mexico, rescuers unable to reach some of the victims. Plus, Steve Bannon reporting to prison today, that's coming up in our morning round-up.



HUNT: All right, 21 minutes past the hour, here's your morning round- up. More rain in the forecast this week after dozens of rescues from intense flooding in New Mexico, the state National Guard has been called in to help. Water levels reaching up to 6 feet high in city streets.

Steve Bannon is going to prison today for defying subpoenas from the January 6th Select Committee. The Supreme Court rejecting a last-ditch bid by the long-time Trump ally to avoid his four-month sentence. The Justice Department nearing an agreement with Boeing that includes a corporate monitor and a fine in exchange for guilty plea to criminal charges.

A lawyer representing victims' families from two fatal 737 Max crashes is calling it a sweetheart deal. Over 100 Dolphins stranded in shallow water off the coast of Massachusetts. It's the largest mass stranding that crews have ever seen, and at least 12 of the Dolphins have died.

Officials say most have made it back to sea. All right, this morning, the Caribbean bracing for Hurricane Beryl now a Category 3 storm. The National Hurricane Center says the storm weakened overnight, but still warns of potentially catastrophic wind damage as Beryl heads across the Windward Islands.

Our meteorologist Elisa Raffa tracking all of it for us this morning from Atlanta. Elisa, good morning.

ELISA RAFFA, METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. The situation is truly unprecedented. We haven't had a major hurricane this far east in this area this early in the season. And you can see where that eye just really intensified yesterday, peaking at a Category 4, it's weakened some overnight to a Category 3, but it's just because the storm itself is changing.

Some of that wind-field is getting wider, tropical storm-force winds extending more than 120 miles out. We're looking at Beryl right now, it's still a Category 3 storm, sitting 125 miles east in southeast of Grenada, but gust up to 150 miles per hour. Some showers starting to get into Barbados, we're able to get some radar data from there, starting to find some of the showers and some wind-gusts as well. Wind-gusts getting up to 54 miles per hour, the sustained winds are already at 43 miles per hour.

You could see there, the core of the hurricane still a little bit far off. We'll continue to find these wind increases, we go through the day today and they could be destructive. We're talking about potentially catastrophic wind damage when it comes to that eye-wall getting over these islands.


Rain totals could be, you know, 3 to 6 inches of rain over some of these islands like Grenada, St. Vincent, which could cause some flooding as well. So, here's the look at this track. I mean, we've got the hurricane warnings in effect for these Windward Islands.

We could still get back up to Category 4 intensity, like I mentioned, the storm is in just in the middle of changing a little bit, so that intensity could peak again, it maintains Category 2 strength as it swipes through Jamaica later in the week, we're talking about impacts to parts of Mexico. Kasie?

HUNT: All right, Elisa Raffa for us this morning, Elisa, thank you very much. All right, coming up next, today is the day the Supreme Court ready to head down its -- hand down its ruling on Donald Trump's claim of absolute presidential immunity. Plus, President Biden charting his next move as his party deals with the fallout from last week's debate debacle.