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Biden Family Encourages President to Stay in Race; Today: Supreme Court Expected to Release Opinion on Trump Immunity; Hurricane Beryl Weakens to Category 3 Storm. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 06:00   ET


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: It's Monday, July 1. Right now on CNN THIS MORNING, President Biden fighting to stay in the race as Democrats struggle to decide whether they're better off with or without him.


Plus decision day. The Supreme Court expected to rule today on Donald Trump's claim of absolute presidential immunity.

The Caribbean bracing for Hurricane Beryl, now a potentially deadly Category Three storm.

And how does this happen? A space rocket crashing into the mountains after it was launched by accident.

All right, 6 a.m. here in Washington, a live look at the White House and a new phase of the campaign to win the right to live there.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's wonderful to have you with us on this Monday morning.

Keep fighting. That's the advice for President Biden that's coming from his family after a weekend of reflection at Camp David. According to one presidential adviser, support from the first lady and other family members is, quote, "unequivocal."

Privately, the family's blaming the president's debate team for his disastrous performance Thursday night. And there apparently could be firings.

Still, many allies and party insiders want Biden to bow out. While they won't say it -- will put their name to it.

There is one Democrat who knows what the president is going through. He says, there's -- this is no time to hit the panic button.


SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Biden is one, and Trump is still zero. And he's the only person that's ever beaten Trump. And I really believe that Joe Biden will do that again, despite all of the Democrats wetting the bed over that kind of thing. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HUNT: The Trump campaign, of course, riding a wave of post-debate momentum. Senator J.D. Vance, who is in the running to be Trump's vice president, insisting that Republicans just don't care who Trump faces in November.


SEN. J.D. VANCE (R-OH): I actually don't care if Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee, because Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. And the contrast between Republican policies under Donald Trump and whoever the Democrats ultimately end up with is very powerful.


HUNT: Our panel's here: Molly Ball, senior political correspondent at "The Wall Street Journal"; former federal prosecutor, Elliot Williams; Meghan Hays, a former special assistant to President Biden; and Matt Gorman, former -- former senior adviser to Tim Scott's presidential campaign. Welcome, all.

Molly Ball, I actually want to start with you, because I want to try to capture the big picture of where we stand right now. And you write this in "The Wall Street Journal": "The fallout from last week's presidential debate has thrust the Democratic Party into a spiraling crisis. Yet many in the party view the current reckoning as sadly inevitable, the product of years of defensive refusal by the president and his protective inner circle to acknowledge the decline in Biden's public presentation that has long been obvious to voters."

And you quote a Democratic operative who says, "The shocking thing is that people engaged in this deception or delusion or both for so long."

What else are you hearing about how this is playing out here? Because I do think that you capture here what everyone feels, which is we knew that his age was an issue. But to actually see it this way when so many people will deny, deny, deny to you that this is happening at all, it feels like whiplash.

MOLLY BALL, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Yes. Well, the word that I kept hearing from so many people who are involved in the highest levels of Democratic politics was gaslighting. There was a feeling like people are tired of being gaslit and told that they cannot believe what they see with their own eyes and ears.

And it was so readily apparent on that debate stage that it sort of can't be denied anymore and now has been forced in the -- out into the open and has to be dealt with.


I don't think anybody is surprised that the first move is to circle the wagons and try to fight it out. The question is, does that prove sustainable? Can they sustain that position? Or are too many people now in their own party going to say, No, I'm

sorry, I can't keep doing this. I can't keep saying this. We need to make a change.

And that is the phase we're going through right now, is they are going to see if they can pull this off or if the world of Democratic politics is sort of going to collectively say, This isn't cutting it.

HUNT: Yes, so Meghan Hays, you have the unfortunate reality of joining us as a Biden insider on this Monday after the Thursday night performance. And we're just going to put up a couple of things, that clearly there are no elected officials out there yet, Democrats, elected Democrats, out there saying that he should bow out of the race. I think my -- our colleague here at CNN, Paul Begala, said that the first Democratic politician to do that would basically be shot. It would be political suicide.

But here was "The New York Times" editorial board, saying to serve his country President Biden should leave the race.

James Carville says, behind the curtain, the Biden oligarchy will decide the fate. We pressed Carville on whether he thinks Biden will be off the ticket. He said he thinks so.

And he invoked a famous quote by the late economist Herb Stein, which Carville paraphrased as "that which can't continue, won't."

There was Maureen Dowd, who said very simply, "He's being selfish. He's putting himself ahead of this country. He's surrounded by opportunistic enablers, and he has created a reality distortion field where we're told not to believe what we have plainly seen."

MEGHAN HAYS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you for having me today. It's really great.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Opportunistic enabler was the last word.

HAYS: I -- look, the president is extremely resilient. He -- this is not the first time that he's been in a situation where everyone has counted him out.

We were -- been in the same spot in '20 during the primaries. I mean, he got fifth in Iowa. Like, this is not unusual for him.

HUNT: So look, I've got to be candid with you. I actually interviewed him in South Carolina right after he came off that horrible New Hampshire loss, right? He pulled up stakes. He sat down with me. We talked for, I think, nearly 20 minutes on live TV.

The guy that I talked to you that night, he's not the same guy that was on the debate stage.

HAYS: And he's not -- the person who's on the debate stage is not the same person who showed up in North Carolina the next day. So what happened on the debate stage? I don't know. I wasn't there. He

just needs to spend the next 20 -- 120-something days proving that that was the anomaly and that North Carolina and the person you talked to is not.

I mean, he is in an uphill battle, without question. I just don't think that people should be so quick to count him out. I just -- he's a very resilient person. He's done a lot for this country and has a vision for the next four years.

So I do -- it's -- I totally understand. It's totally fair to have these conversations. I just think that people should not count the president out. This is not the first time.

WILLIAMS: On the count-out point. Totally fair point. It's a long campaign and so on.

I think the challenge here is that what we saw in the debate stage confirmed that which people are already concerned about the president.

It's as if -- you know, if the George W. Bush in '04 literally had pulled out a bong on stage and started smoking. The fact is people thought Bush was a frat boy, goofing around, and had to overcome that perception. Whether any of us like it or not --

HUNT: Sorry.


WILLIAMS: Just a second. But you see what I'm saying.

But the point is, whether we like it or not, we all have public perceptions that might not -- might or might not track with reality.

And the burden that Joe Biden -- the public thinks he's old. Even if he's running against a guy who's 78 years old, people think Joe Biden's old. And any performance that sort of affirms that is going to be hard to overcome.

HAYS: But he is old. No one's disputing that, and I just think that the voters will decide, right? So the voters are going to decide what whether or not they think he can do the job or not. Us sitting here talking about it doesn't really make a difference.


HAYS: So it's the voters in Wisconsin and Michigan and Arizona. And those are the people he needs to go talk to. And he needs to prove to them that he then -- that he could do the job.

MATT GORMAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR, TIM SCOTT PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: And the voters in a way, were ahead of the curve on this. I mean, I think the voters, if you look at the polls, instinctively setting up something's not right here.

Whether it's the media writ large or the pundits, elites, somebody's not playing totally straight with us on this.

I mean, we sat here about a month ago when "The Wall Street Journal" kind of published a long story detailing a lot of what we saw the other night. And Democrats acted, writ large, like it was written in crayon, like it was totally made up.

And it was really what we saw was confirmed. And we now can -- it's hard to hide behind that.

And so the idea that it's -- you know, it's too late now, or we should have had this conversation a year ago. The whole point was Democrats as a party wouldn't have this conversation a year ago, two years ago, three years ago. That's how we got here.

WILLIAMS: Now, the person winning in all of us is Donald Trump, who stood on a stage and put out patent falsehoods after falsehood -- falsehood after falsehood for an hour and a half. That's sort of -- now some of that is on President Biden.

GORMAN: There's a guy there who could have --

WILLIAMS: In real-time, but the simple fact is Trump's getting a bit of a free pass in all of this.

HUNT: We've got to bring this to a close, but Meghan, the one thing I keep coming back to is that the president has focused just on, and said repeatedly, that Donald Trump is a fundamental threat, not just to our country, right, in this moment, but to our democracy in the long term.


Is there anything, if it becomes clear to him that he just cannot beat Donald Trump, that would cause him to reevaluate?

HAYS: I don't believe, in the president's heart, he would be running if he did not think he could beat Donald Trump. I don't think that has changed in his heart.

He is a very -- I mean, he as you know, in '20 when he entered the race, this was very important to him. And he is -- he's a person who stands on principles and morals. If it was not in his heart that he could beat Donald Trump, he would not be in this race.

HUNT: All right. Up next here, we have this other major, major story today, a ruling from the Supreme Court on presidential immunity set to come down at 10 a.m.

Plus, Senator Chris Coons joins us to talk about President Biden's state of mind and his decision to stay in the race.

Plus, devastating flooding in the Southwest. This was one of five things you have to see this morning.



HUNT: All right, just a few hours from now, the Supreme Court set to hand down their final opinions of this term, which means that they will have to finally resolve the question of whether former President Trump can claim immunity in his federal election subversion case, which of course, touches on his actions before and during the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Trump's main argument is that he cannot be held criminally responsible for anything that he did while he was in office, because they were official acts as president.

Elliot Williams, let's walk through what the options may be when this opinion comes down. What are we all going to be scrambling to read in this opinion, as those interns run it out to us?

WILLIAMS: As they run it out. So I think, based on how oral argument went, it seems that there's a majority on the Supreme Court that wants to find that some acts of the president are immune from prosecution. That's probably acts that were committed or done in the president's official capacity: sending troops, for instance, into battle.

There's another sphere, I think, of conduct that will be seen as not immune from prosecution. Things carried out in the president's personal capacity.

Now, the court could have decided, and they can decide, we think these are official acts; these other acts are not official. It appears that they're not going to do that. It appeared -- it appear -- and this is all based on what a majority of the justices were saying at oral argument -- that they're going to send it back to the trial court to have hearings to figure out which acts fall into each bucket.

HUNT: And so the bottom line for that --

WILLIAMS: Bottom line.

HUNT: -- is that it will delay any trial for Trump in this January 6 situation until after the election?

WILLIAMS: It will delay any trial for Trump after the January 6th election [SIC].

Now, something we've talked about on this program is the -- the legal system exists outside of the political calendar. And it takes a long time to have hearings.

Now, many voters see it as important to have a decision on this prior to election day, but that's simply not what the Supreme Court, I think, cares about, for better or for worse.

It's a choice that they're making. They are choosing to take as long as they -- as they are and to kick it down and so on. However, it's not their obligation to rule on anything prior to a political deadline. HUNT: Yes. I mean, but do you think Americans view that as, like -- as

-- do they view it as plausible that the Supreme Court is above politics?

WILLIAMS: No, they do not, in any way, regard as plausible the Supreme Court is above politics. And considering that the Supreme Court has an approval rating now that rivals roughly what Congress's is -- it's pretty low. People don't have a high opinion of this Supreme Court. People see this Supreme Court as unethical, not policing themselves in an effective way, not -- and burdened by politics and so on.

Of course, the public holds the Supreme Court accountable for questions like this.

And like I said, it is still a political choice to rule in the manner that they're doing. Now, they can wash their hands a little bit and say that, well, no, we're not stepping in an election. We're not putting a thumb on the scale. But in effect, they are, and you know, that's where we are in the Supreme Court today. Yes.

HUNT: That's where we are.

All right. Stick with CNN. Our special coverage begins at 10 a.m. Eastern. It's going to be anchored by Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Kaitlan Collins. Don't miss it. I'll be joining, as well.

All right. Coming up next, an update on Hurricane Beryl as it takes aim at the Caribbean this morning.

And a scary scene in Texas. An 18-wheeler drove right into somebody's living room. Yikes.



HUNT: All right, 22 minutes past the hour, five things you have to see this morning.

A Chinese rocket crashing into the mountains after it was accidentally launched during a ground test. Officials say the rocket detached from its launchpad because of structural failure. There were no injuries reported.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews blocking a highway and clashing with police to protest Israel's new mandatory military service ruling. Israel's Supreme Court recently ordered the government to begin drafting Ultra- Orthodox Jewish men into the Israeli army.

In South Texas, the driver of an 18-wheeler is dead after his truck veered off the road and into a home. The home is for sale. No one is currently living there.

The driver's cause of death has not been released.

Residents of New Mexico waking up to more extreme flooding this morning. Water levels reaching up to six feet high in some city streets.

The state's National Guard has been called in to help after rescuers were unable to reach some of the victims.

All right. Take a look at this. A very patient sheriff's deputy in Eastern Oregon waiting for a group of baby skunk siblings to cross the road.

In a post on Facebook, the Baker County Sheriff's Office says the deputy gave the hardworking mama plenty of space -- smart -- while she was trying to wrangle per babies. That's actually extremely adorable.

OK. This morning, the Caribbean bracing for Hurricane Beryl. It is now a Category Three 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 later this morning.

Our meteorologist Elisa Raffa tracking all of it for us this morning.

Elisa, good morning.


Yes, it's a Category Three hurricane right now, but it's only come down just a little bit in that center intensity, because we are kind of resetting and changing the structure of the hurricane a little bit.


That also means that the wind field has gotten fatter, so more of these islands could see these hurricane-force and tropical-storm-force winds.

And we do expect that intensity to come back up a little bit more.

So here's a look at it, and you can see what I'm talking about with the eyewall kind of resetting itself a little bit, getting a little bit more clouded.

But we've got some of the outer bands already coming into some of these islands like Barbados and Granada. Category Three hurricane with 120-mile-per-hour winds is sitting East and Southeast there of Granada.

Seeing some of these showers starting to get into some of these outer bands, lashing as we look towards the Barbados radar here.

Winds have already gone (ph) up to 60 miles per hour in Barbados, 43 - miles-per-hour sustained winds right now. The core of that eye wall could create even storm surge up to six to nine feet.

Rain totals are looking at some three to six inches of rain. That could cause some problems on these islands.

There it goes, with the intensity coming back up to a Category 4. And then it continues to scrape a lot of these islands here in the Caribbean Sea, eventually making it to Mexico later this week -- Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Elisa Raffa for us with that update. Elisa, thank you very much.

Coming up next, a candidate arrested for allegedly using a tarantula as a weapon. Well, that's fun.

Plus, Dana Bash is here to talk about the dilemma facing Democrats after President Biden's debate disaster.