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Democratic Rep. Doggett Calls On Biden To Leave Race; Criticism Mounts Ahead Of Biden, Netanyahu Meeting; Beryl Churns Toward Jamaica As Category 4 Hurricane. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, July 3rd.

Right now on CNN THIS MORNING:

One Democrat's public plea for Joe Biden to get out of the 2024 race.

Donald Trump's sentencing delayed. The judge hinting that it might not happen at all.

Plus, this. Hurricane beryl turning deadly, now threatening Jamaica as a category four storm.


HUNT: All right, 5:00 a.m. here in Washington. A live look at this beautiful sunrise on this July morning in New York City. Very nice.

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

This morning. The behind the scenes panic in the Democratic Party over President Biden's fitness is spilling out into the open. For the first time since last week's disastrous debate, an elected Democratic official publicly calling for Biden to bow out of the race as discussions escalate about among many more, about whether to do so, too.

Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett, the first to say it's time to go.


REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): I salute President Biden. I just feel that it's time for him to step aside if we were to be able to protect what he allowed us to gain in 2020. He delivered us from Trump, then he could be delivering us to Trump this year.


HUNT: With the Biden campaign on its heels, former President Donald Trump appears to be seizing the momentum. This week's Supreme Court ruling on immunity already getting results for him legally by delaying next week's sentencing for his felony convictions in New York.

Donald Trump posting, quote, Joe Biden should now call off his dogs.

Joining us is Stef Kight, the politics reporter for "Axios".

Stef, good morning to you.

It is starting to feel like something momentous is going on behind the scenes. The boulder is beginning to roll down the hill. What is your latest reporting on the conversations inside the Democratic Party about what President Biden should do next?

STEF KIGHT, POLITICS REPORTER, AXIOS: Yeah. I mean, the reality is, everyone is very unhappy right now in all corners of the Democratic Party. We've had reporting in the past 24 hours of, you know, White House officials, Biden campaign official is being upset inside over how things that have been handled following the debate, we are hearing from Democratic lawmakers, some on the record now, and also I'm sure we're all while hearing the same thing from lawmakers on background.

They're very concerned and feel like the White House and people close to Biden are not taking this seriously enough, are still trying to discount the gravity of this moment, and also Democratic donors are upset and that's a big one to be watching. They're already indicating that they're planning to move some of their focus to House and Senate campaigns trying to build some kind of a firewall as they're starting to see the possibility of a Republican trifecta after November.

HUNT: Yeah, that's the thing I have to say that when I have been having conversations with people behind the scenes, it's this prospect that Donald Trump might not just win the election, but that he might come to Washington with control of the House and the Senate as well. So something that could potentially have ramifications for years.

And we can put up, we had some CNN polling come out yesterday. The top line, unchanged in the wake of the debate, Donald Trump, 49 percent, Joe Biden 43 percent. But lets compare that top line of the choice for President Biden versus Trump to what we saw for Kamala Harris versus Donald Trump.

You have Kamala Harris at 45 percent, you have Donald Trump at 47 percent, and then we can put all these other Democrats up as well that we looked at. We looked at not just Harris, but also Gavin Newsom, Pete Buttigieg, Gretchen Whitmer.

You can see that they are all there both on par, Gretchen Whitmer at one point below where Joe Biden is against Trump. This is all leading to some Democrats, starting to openly talk about, okay, are they going to support Harris or not, which seems to be the second question if Biden is going to drop out.

Here was Tim Ryan with my colleague, Jack -- Jake Tapper yesterday. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIM RYAN (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I just think that that Kamala is the person. That's -- it's the cleanest way. She's a seasoned campaigner now, three-and-a-half years of experience. And so, I think people would be very, very excited and I think shed be good for down-ballot races, and energize our base.

So, to me, it's pretty straightforward.


But the fact that no one said it, I think was holding back and now it seems like the dams breaking.


HUNT: So it does seem like we are setting the stage for and in this way, maybe the conversation is really getting away from the Biden folks, a potential brief campaign period ahead of the Democratic Convention.

KIGHT: I mean, we're hearing all kinds of things at this point. I do think it makes sense that Kamala Harris would be the natural choice if Joe Biden does agree to step aside, if he actually feels the momentum building enough that he needs he needs to do something like that. Obviously, she's vice president. She's already on the campaign ticket, which may make it easier to use when those campaign funds moving forward.

And, of course, how are they going to say no to the first Black female president, someone who has been in office. This is it would be quite a move for the Democratic Party to try to find someone other than Kamala Harris. But also, if Biden makes a move like stepping down, you know, all bets are off.

HUNT: Yeah. So, one of the things that the Biden team is going to -- there's two major things on the horizon. One of them is today, which is, and let's start there, the meeting with governors.

So there are Democratic governors we learned overnight, several of them are flying here to Washington to see the president in person. You know, I think for obvious reasons, people want to see for themselves was what happened on the debate stage, just a moment? Or is this the ongoing reality for President Biden? And this ahead of a planned taped interview with ABC set to be taped on Friday right after 4th of July holiday. That's something that these Democrats have demanded.

What is the course of this day look like for -- for president Biden, especially considering some of these governors are people that are potentially on top to replace him?

KIGHT: Yeah. I mean, it'll be fascinating to hear what comes out of that meeting. Because as you point out, there are governors who are clear options to potentially be a presidential candidate -- if Trump, if findings to think where to step aside but also is this a moment where we see Democrats come to Biden's defense? Do we start to see any actual defense of the president, something that

we haven't heard very strongly from many Democrats at all? Outside of the Biden campaign, outside of the White House, it's been very tempered defense of the president. You know, maybe a few tweaks here and there.

So whether we see governors get in line here, whether this changes in favor of Biden or this just continues to escalate the concerns we are hearing across the party.

HUNT: All right. Stef Kight of "Axios", starting us off this morning -- Stef, thank you very much for being with us. I really appreciate it.

All right. Coming up next here, the world leader that soon going to get a chance to talk to President Biden one-on-one.

Plus, the FBI investigating nearly 200 graves that were vandalized in two Jewish cemeteries.

Plus, Hurricane Beryl about to slam into Jamaica.



HUNT: All right. Welcome back.

Later this month, President Biden and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plan to meet face-to-face in Washington but their relationships strained. Both men are facing mounting political pressure, Biden under pressure to exit the presidential race, Netanyahu under pressure to end the war with Hamas.

And there was this moment from last week's debate, Trump stoking the flames and poking it Biden for, quote, not wanting to help Israel finish the job.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only thing I've denied Israel was 2,000-pound bombs. They don't work very well in populated areas. They kill a lot of innocent people. We're providing Israel with all the weapons they need, and when they need them.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's become like a Palestinian but they don't like him because he's a very bad Palestinian. He is a weak one.


HUNT: CNN international anchor Max Foster is live for us in London.

Max, let's dig into any specifics we may have for the meeting between these two leaders, you know, candidly, what was President Biden's biggest problem in the race, which was how he deals with Israel and Gaza in the face of opposition from aggressive is now pretty far out of the center of the conversation because he's got bigger problems, but that doesn't mean that this isn't important.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: It's very important. I mean, you said it there, both these leaders are under huge amounts of pressure, you know, that Israel needs more weaponry from the U.S. and it ought to keep that weaponry coming in. But President Biden is obviously under pressure after that CNN debate, just to show that he has strong leadership, where Biden is seen by some as having an advantage is on policy and with the Middle East policy.

You know, this criticism, you know -- you've got, you heard the trunk criticism there, which some people would describe as very extreme, but the more legitimate criticism is that he has called on Israel not to do certain things such as a ground invasion into Rafah. Israel has gone ahead with that so he is seen, as seen as a one-way relationship for many people. Israel's getting everything that it wants. America isn't, you know, certainly the White House isn't getting what it wants when it comes to these negotiations.

So he's seen by some people as the week and he wants to show strength, particularly now. So presumably he's going to go into this meeting, wanted to show that he has shown a firm hand with Netanyahu, expressed American interests and got something out of it. The challenge right now is it just feels as though Netanyahu is playing this the way he wants to play it, and he's getting what he wants from America to continue that strategy.

HUNT: Yeah. So, Max all points well taken. But I have to say just keep coming back to this. And I'm sorry to throw this at you without having let you know in advance, but this "New York Times" story that came out yesterday afternoon. It was co-bylined by David Sanger, who is a CNN contributor.


He's a "New York Times" national security correspondent.

And you can see in the story some of the contributions that he made and they write this, quote, a senior European official who was present, and they're talking again about the G7 meetings that you and I talked extensively about that were hosted in Italy, right? Where we -- and we talked about this yesterday with these kind of -- seems like exiting -- many exiting leaders on that stage.

But a senior European official who was present at those meetings said there had been a noticeable decline in Mr. Biden's physical state since the previous fall and that the Europeans had been, quote/unquote, shocked by what they saw there. The president at times appeared, quote, out of it, end quote, the official said, and it was difficult to engage them in conversations while he was walking.

That sort of assessment, a very stark one here and course, there was video of President Biden seeming to wander. He was going to greet a paratroopers. Some of the edited versions of the video on the Internet didn't represent the entirety of the scene, but at the same time, that look, when given in the context of the the debate and what we saw happen in the debate is a very striking one.

I mean, what else are you hearing? How is the European media covering this? How is the UK looking at all of this, as we grapple with whether or not the president is actually going to be the guy leading the Democrats -- Democratic ticket for reelection in the fall?

FOSTER: Well, the most teach pick up on the debate and it was all about president Biden, not even some of the things that Donald Trump got confused about, and frankly lied about. The focus was very much on Biden and how he didn't look like a strong leader. And he was losing focus a lot. You know, I haven't spoken to any of those leaders and "New York Times" has that inside track there.

But what would frustrate them, obviously is that they don't have much time with these G7 meetings. They want to get things decided and push through and it doesn't happen without American support. If they cant get the focus of the U.S. president in that limited amount of time. It has a massive impact on global policy and policy a season, all of those nations, so the entire West is affected by it.

So that is the challenge and when we've looked at the reporting over the last 24 hours, it probably rings more true to what I've heard because a lot of people speak very highly about President Biden and his focus. And his focus on policy in meetings, but there are times when he's not focus, so you don't know quite what you're going to get.

And when you're a foreign leader, that's a problem because you don't get much time with U.S. president.

HUNT: No, it -- absolutely and that's actually a theme that I've been hearing from sources behind the scenes as well, that we talked about policy here yesterday as well, that the strengths you get from experience, from a long time on the stage. That is what applies when it comes to governing. And this could apply in cases of foreign policy for campaigning for these unscripted situations, though, it's a really, really a different story in terms of, you know, what, what parts of your brain you're applying to the problem.

Max Foster, thank you very much, My friend, always grateful to have you. See you tomorrow.

All right. Coming up next here, Hurricane Beryl just hours from making landfall in Jamaica and over 100 people killed in a crowd crush in India. We'll bring you that.



HUNT: All right. Welcome back.

The death toll from Hurricane Beryl now stands at 7. The monster storm producing powerful waves, flooding portions of Martinique seen here, it's packing maximum sustained winds of 145 miles an hour and it's expected to make landfall in Jamaica today as a category four hurricane. Jamaica's prime minister warning residents to take cover.

Let's get to our meteorologist, Elisa Raffa, with more on this, this morning.

Elisa, good morning.


Residents there really are trying to prepare clearing out storm drains, so flooding can be tried to be alleviated some, getting boats out of the water, grocery stores as well, just really trying to stock up because this could be one of the strongest storms that -- that Jamaica has ever seen make landfall. Were looking still at a category four hurricane, winds at 145 miles per hour, are still gusting up towards 175, sitting about 185 miles east and southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, got that I could go either on island or maybe just south of it.

And they don't really have too much experience with major hurricanes making landfall. They've had a lot of passes. But the strongest storm to make landfall was Gilbert in 1988. So it has been a very long time. Beryl could rival some of those stats that were left from Gilbert.

You can see today we're looking at the hurricane. You see that I again, could be the southern portion of the island. We're looking at intense winds, some of that storm surge up to nine feet, hurricane force winds starting as we get towards midday. And then could still keep hurricane strength as it heads towards Cancun, the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, and then back into the Gulf.

It gets either rain totals could be pretty hefty, especially there are mountains on Jamaica. We're looking at some totals up to a foot possible, will keep that hurricane strength. Also worried about some hurricane-force conditions and the Cayman Islands as well, watches already in place for parts of Mexico. And we could reach keep some of that hurricane strength and then we'll have to watch to see what can happen with this intensity as it gets back into the Gulf of Mexico.

We're watching this closely. The heat that has been building in the U.S. will try to keep Beryl as far south as it can.


We'll have to see how strong this heat dome can be. This heat dome could be really excessive, especially for parts of California where warnings last multiple days -- Kasie.

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

All right, 24 minutes past the hour. Here's the morning roundup.

More than 20 -- 120 people have been killed in a crowd crush at a religious event in India. Organizers say 250,000 worshippers showed up, leaving them with a crowd three times larger than they we had planned for. One hundred and seventy-six gravestones vandalized and knocked over into Jewish cemeteries in Ohio. The FBI is investigating. No suspects have been arrested or identified.

A rare fire burning out of control in Alaska's Denali National Park. It has been over a hundred years since that area has seen an active fire. Officials say it's only 10 percent contained. There is no word on when the park will reopen.

All right. Ahead here, a Supreme Court ruling giving Donald Trump a legal lifeline in New York.

Plus, growing pressure on Joe Biden to exit the race now coming from inside his own party.