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Trump Lays Low As Biden Campaign Looks To Ease Concerns; The Evolution Of The Biden-Harris Campaign; Framework In Place For Ceasefire And Hostage Release Deal. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 05:30   ET




PAULA REID, CNN ANCHOR: Five-thirty a.m. here in Washington. Here is a live look at the White House. Good morning, everyone. I'm Paula Reid. It's great to be with you.

We are just over one week removed from the presidential debate and both campaigns seem to be shifting strategies.

The Trump campaign largely laying low over the past few days, but the former president did make one notable remark. He was caught on camera speaking about his opponents and the debate at his golf course. The video was obtained by The Daily Beast, and you may find some of this language offensive.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How did I do with the debate the other night?


TRUMP: I kicked that old broken-down pile of crap. He's so pathetic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's so amazing.

TRUMP: It's just so (bleep) (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just can't imagine.

TRUMP: But can you imagine that guy with -- dealing with Putin and the president of China, who is a fierce person?


REID: Meanwhile, the Biden campaign is saddled with doubts about the president's ability to remain at the top of the ticket. Part of the strategy includes a sit-down interview today with George Stephanopoulos that will air tonight.

Joining me now, Stephanie Lai, politics reporter for Bloomberg. And Stephen Neukam, congressional reporter for Axios. Thank you so much for being with us.

Stephanie, I want to start with you because it seems that the Trump campaign is making a deliberate choice to cede the spotlight -- something they don't do a lot.

And I want to read from some of your latest reporting. You write that, "Aside from a celebratory rally last Friday, Trump has largely gone silent -- even canceling a planned television interview with a Virginia network, according to local outlet 13News Now. After flirting with announcing his vice-presidential pick in the day before the debate, his campaign reverted to their original plans to unveil the pick close to the Republican convention."

So a rare less is more strategy from the Trump campaign?

STEPHANIE LAI, POLITICS REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: We're seeing a very different side of former President Donald Trump unlike in the past where he has injected himself into controversies that didn't necessarily concern him and in turn, causing himself some own controversy.

He's ceded the spotlight, as you mentioned, and in doing so he's been able to focus the negative attention on President Biden's debate performance to show the Democratic infighting and to project Republican strength. They don't have the same problems and it seems like the polling has been helping them ever since the debate. And so we're seeing that the campaign has largely allowed the advisers to do the talking for President Trump.

And instead of potentially unveiling a vice-presidential running mate, he's decided to hold off on that announcement, which is something that we were expecting but there was discussion among sources that had told me that there -- they might have unveiled it earlier should the debate not have gone the way that they were hoping it to go.

REID: And Stephen, the boost to Biden this week was the meeting with Democratic governors. But your latest reporting takes us inside that meeting where, look, they laid out some tough realities here.

You say, "The governors were clear-eyed about the current political reality reflected by polls: Democrats, as it stands, as poised to lose the White House and potentially both chambers of Congress to Republicans in November."

What else are you hearing from your sources?

STEPHEN NEUKAM, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Yeah. A source that was briefed on that meeting that I spoke to said that the feedback from Democratic governors was blunt to former president -- or to President Biden. But they also said that President Biden signaled that he was not getting of the race. That there was very little wiggle room in him dropping from the campaign. That he's in it to win it.


Now, that's the public posture that we've seen from the White House and Biden surrogates for the past few days. That's what they're going to say publicly until a different decision is made anyway.

But look, they came out and they said that they supported the president, and that's a boost to him in the sort of environment that he's in right now.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. But, of course, if he does step aside, that has repercussions -- not just obvious immediate ones for Democrats but also for the Trump campaign.

We have some new CNN reporting. It talks about how Republicans are trying to determine what the Democratic incumbent stepping aside would actually mean for the Trump campaign and trying to determine what the Democratic -- what this would mean. And they believe that the path back to the White House would likely be easier with Biden at the top of the ticket.

So are you hearing anything about contingency planning? Are they thinking that far ahead?

LAI: I think from what I've heard from advisers so far is that they are prepared for any circumstance -- any candidate. Even President Trump has said that he's ready to take on whoever is on the top of the ticket. And so, it seems like they're not too concerned just yet in terms of who it would be if it's not Biden. And the polling that we've seen so far suggests that no one else does as well as Biden does.

REID: Now, the former president -- he is suggesting that they should do another debate, but he had some ideas about exactly what that would look like.

Yesterday, he wrote on Truth Social -- excuse me, on Thursday, he wrote on Truth Social, "Let's do another debate, but this time, no holds barred. An all-on discussion with just the two of us on stage talking about the future of the country." He went on to say, "What a great evening it would be -- just the two of us one-on-one. A good old-fashioned debate the way they used to be. Anytime, anywhere, any place."

OK, politically map out what would that look like for both of the candidates?

NEUKAM: Well, consider me skeptical that if you put those two men in front of a camera with no holds barred that they would talk about the future of the country. It would be very nasty. We saw it in the last debate talking about unserious things, and their golf scores, and --

REID: Yes.

NEUKAM: But politically -- look, I think why -- that there's a risk for both campaigns. Why would either do it at this point? I mean, why -- I know he's saying that publicly. I think that's to put pressure on Biden to sort of drive in his narrative that he's not fit for office and won't debate. But the president -- the former president won the last debate, and the last debate was a disaster for the current president. So from either of their perspectives I don't understand why they would do it again. REID: Right.

So the next 24 hours critical, right? You have the rollout of this ABC News interview -- high-stakes.

Let's talk about, first, the Trump campaign, right? How do they view the next 24-48 hours? I mean, it seems like they want to keep quiet. Can they continue to keep quiet or are they going to see how the ABC News interview goes?

LAI: Well, I guess we'll see. You know, even after that video leaked of President Trump on his golf course, it was interesting to note that the president himself had posted that video on Truth Social. And so it seems like they're just rolling with it. They're going to see what happens. And perhaps if something catastrophic does happen we might see his main campaign advisers weigh in.

REID: Fair to say this is one of those critical moments for the Biden White House.

NEUKAM: Biden -- the folks that we're talking to -- he has a very small window here to clean up this mess that he's in. To convince party leaders, party donors, and people down the ballot that he is ready to take on this task.

So, yes, starting with the interview tonight and to early next week, and through the next week we're going to see polling -- more polling come back as well, and that will give us an idea of what the electoral map looks like. It's critical.

REID: Critical, indeed.

Thank you so much.


REID: With President Biden's reelection bid in doubt, a lot of attention shifting to Vice President Kamala Harris.

CNN's Brian Todd shows us the evolution of Harris' partnership with the president and the challenges she's faced along the way.



BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The public face of Kamala Harris' relationship with Joe Biden started on a contentious note.

HARRIS: I'm going to now direct this advice to President Biden.

TODD (voiceover): At a Democratic primary debate in 2019, Harris challenged Biden for working with segregationist senators in the past, telling Biden it was hurtful to her. HARRIS: You also worked with them to oppose busing. And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.

I'm suspending --

TODD (voiceover): Harris would later drop out of the 2020 race before a single vote was cast, but she'd impressed Biden enough with her toughness that he asked her to run with him.


HARRIS: The answer is absolutely yes, Joe. And I am ready to work. I am ready to do this with you.

TODD (voiceover): Harris fought hard with Biden through a bruising campaign and emerged as the first woman, the first Black American, and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the office of vice president.


HARRIS: We did it, Joe.

TODD (voiceover): But there were setbacks early in the administration.

In 2021, after Biden assigned Harris to handle relations with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America to help address the immigration crisis, Harris gave an awkward, heavily criticized answer in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt.

HARRIS: We've been to the border. We've been to the border.

LESTER HOLT, ANCHOR, NBC NEWS: You haven't been to the border.

HARRIS: And I haven't been to Europe. I mean, I don't -- I don't understand the point that you're making. I'm not discounting the importance of the border.

TODD (voiceover): CNN reported that year that the president's team was annoyed with that and with other fumbling answers she gave about the border crisis. But CNN also reported that Harris' team had its own complaints that the president's aides were leaving her exposed.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION: It was like the other side where people were complaining there was too much being put on her plate that wasn't setting her up to succeed.

TODD (voiceover): But since Roe versus Wade was overturned in 2022, it's been Harris who has emerged as a key voice for the administration on reproductive rights.

HARRIS: This is a fight for freedom. The fundamental freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body and not having her government tell her what to do.

TODD (voiceover): She's also been one of the president's fiercest defenders since last week's disastrous debate performance.

HARRIS: Look, Joe Biden is our nominee. We beat Trump once and we're going to beat him again.

TODD (voiceover): A Harris biographer says those who've run against Kamala Harris have underestimated her at their own peril.

DAN MORAIN, AUTHOR, "KAMALA'S WAY: AN AMERICAN LIFE": She won statewide three times in California. That's no small feat. You don't do that if you're -- if you are a lightweight.

TODD: In recent days, Donald Trump and his MAGA surrogates have stepped up their attacks on Harris. Trump, in a Truth Social post, calling her "Laughing Kamala Harris." Harris biographer Dan Morain points out candidates usually don't do that unless they're worried about their potential opponent.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


REID: Up next, nearing a deal. The framework for a ceasefire in Gaza now in place. Plus, there's a new champ in town. Meet the guy who downed 58 hot dogs in 10 minutes. And as we got to break, fireworks from the Arch in St. Louis.



REID: This just in. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has left Downing Street for the last time. The Tory lost the general election last night to Labour leader Keir Starmer. It's been 14 years since the Labour Party has been in control.

Here is Sunak speaking outside 10 Downing Street just moments ago.


RISHI SUNAK, OUTGOING U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Good morning. I will shortly be seeing His Majesty the King to offer my resignation as prime minister. To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change -- and yours is the only judgment that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.


REID: We're expecting to hear from Starmer later this morning.

And also turning to other foreign policy news, a framework is now in place. Israel and Hamas nearing an agreement on a ceasefire and hostage release deal. Talks could resume within hours. And all of this comes on the heels of a call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

A senior administration official tells CNN the deal remains very consistent with the one President Biden proposed in May. A three-phase deal that would include the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the release of all living hostages, and the reconstruction of Gaza.

Here is what the president said about the proposal last month.


BIDEN: And after intensive diplomacy carried out by my team and my many conversations with leaders of Israel, Qatar, and Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel has now offered -- Israeli has offered a comprehensive new proposal. It's a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the release of all hostages. This proposal has been transmitted by Qatar to Hamas.


REID: It's important to remember though that a deal has not been finalized.

Joining me now, Joel Rubin, the former deputy assistant Secretary of State under former President Obama. Joel, thank you for being here with us.

So previously, the holdup was the transition between phase one and phase two.


REID: What happened here to change that? What was the breakthrough?

RUBIN: Yeah, Paula. Look, this sustained diplomacy that we have seen now for a couple of months between Hamas, through its intermediaries, with Qatar, Egypt, the United States all piling in is pushing Hamas to the position where they really are ending up with very little wiggle room now. They see they have no choice. If they want to get any kind of sustained quiet in Gaza they're going to have to come to the table with new changes and new ideas.

And also what's very interesting is that Prime Minister Netanyahu -- he has shown some willingness now to engage and re-engage despite getting pressure from his right flank. So to sustain diplomacy from all corner -- the United States. Our diplomats are out there in the region all the time pressuring.


And I think you're seeing now that -- the bearing of some fruit. We'll see. It's not done, obviously, yet -- and there are going to be more talks -- but it's moving in the right direction.

REID: But how likely is it that this will all come together?

RUBIN: You know, what I'm hearing from diplomats in different corners is that this is as close as it's been in some time. And they -- there is a lot of optimism about this that when Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to send the leader of the Mossad -- his chief intelligence official -- to Doha to have these talks, he authorized it. Now, this is the first real action he's taken since the collapse of the war cabinet, which had Benny Gantz and other moderate members in it.

So he is doing this now with his right-wing government behind him, and that means that he feels he has the ability to cut a deal -- and I think that's a very positive sign.

REID: So just how important is this deal for President Biden? I want to read something --

RUBIN: Yeah.

REID: -- from one of our colleagues, Barak Ravid. He's a political analyst --

RUBIN: Yeah.

REID: -- and global reporter for Axios.

He writes, "A deal in Gaza would be a huge accomplishment for Biden. A hostage and ceasefire deal would upend the new cycle and allow Biden to flex his national security and foreign policy credentials, which officials have long pointed to when rebutting questions about his age."

RUBIN: Yeah. There is no doubt that Barak is right on this.

Look, this has been a horrific war on the ground. So much suffering among the Palestinians and amongst the Israelis. And American diplomacy has had three goals: restore Israeli security, minimize Palestinian casualties and impact to civilian life, and prevent a regional war.

And this is President Biden's moment now on the Middle East. He is showing that his sustained diplomatic leadership while backing Israel will bear fruit. He also, I have to mention, sent an envoy, Amos Hochstein, out to Lebanon to try and ensure there is no war between Israel and Hezbollah.

So this is a president engaged. He has a NATO summit coming up next week. Prime Minister Netanyahu in a few weeks here. Despite all of the wildness of the political cycle and the presidential cycle, he is focused on this and it's very important that he stays focused and gets this win.

REID: Thank you so much for joining us.

RUBIN: Happy to -- thanks, Paula.

REID: And turning to sports now. There's a new Nathan's hot dog contest champion, but Joey Chestnut is still showing everyone up without even being in the competition.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yeah, good morning, Paula.

Yeah. So the Fourth of July -- it can only mean one thing for American sports fans and that's the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. But this year looked a bit different with 16-time and reigning champion Joey Chestnut not participating after a rift with Nathan's over his partnership with Impossible Foods.

And with the world record holder out, it was truly anyone's game on Coney Island yesterday. And it was tied up until the end with 39-year- old Patrick Bertoletti taking top dog in the end, polishing off 58 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Bertoletti had previously taken a 10-year hiatus from the event before returning in 2022. And he said without Chestnut to compete -- there to compete, he knew he had a chance.

And speaking of Chestnut, the face of competitive eating -- well, he didn't take the day off. He was down in El Paso, Texas competing against U.S. soldiers to help raise money for military families. And he devoured a whopping 57 hot dogs in just five minutes. That's one less than Bertoletti who had twice the time. And Chestnut also had more than all of his competitors combined.

And here's what he had to say afterward.


JOEY CHESTNUT, 16-TIME NATHAN'S CHAMP HELPED RAISE $106,000 FOR MILITARY FAMILIES: Oh, yeah, I -- I think the most I've ever done in five minutes. Even in practice, it's 55. And so this is -- they were pushing me, and I was -- I wasn't holding back. Runners have to run, fighters have to fight, eaters have to eat.


SCHOLES: What a quote.

Miki Sudo, meanwhile, showing she can hang with the men, setting a new women's world record with 51 hot dogs eaten. That beats her previous record of 48 1/2. She also beat her husband and fellow competitive eater Nicholas Wehry who had -- ate 46 on the men's side. And Sudo now a 10-time champ.


MIKI SUDO, 10-TIME NATHAN'S HOT DOG CONTEST CHAMPION: You know, that even 10 years into this I still have more to show. The women's record is just going to improve from here on out and there are a lot of exciting things to come.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES: All right. Lionel Messi in Argentina, meanwhile, taking on Ecuador on what was expected to be an easy victory for the reigning World Cup champs as they look to advance to Copa America's semifinals. But Ecuador shocking them with that goal there in stoppage time by Kevin Rodriguez. So this game would go to penalties.

And this is something you don't see very often -- Messi lining up for his penalty, but he misses it, kicking it off the crossbar. But luckily for Messi, his goalie, Emiliano Martinez, bails him out, stopping Ecuador twice.

Argentina moves on winning penalties 4-2.

And it was a tough night for the Minnesota Lynx. Potential MVP candidate Napheesa Collier leaving the game late in the third quarter with an apparent foot injury. So she's also set to compete in the upcoming Paris Olympic Games for Team USA. We'll have to keep an eye on that one.

The Lynx would go on to lose to the Sun 78-73.


And finally, Yankees and Reds engaging in an old-school standoff before yesterday's game. After the National Anthem, the Reds' Graham Ashcraft and Carson Spiers remained on the foul line, as did Yankees' Ian Hamilton and Cody Poteet.

The showdown lasting for more than five minutes as the Yankees warmed up behind them for the first inning. Players ignoring the umpires' gestures to get them off the field. But in the end, it was Ashcraft standing strong as he's the last one to move, winning it for the Reds.

Cincinnati outfield Spencer Steer said that set the tone for the game.

The Reds would win 8-4, sweeping the Yankees for the first time since the 1976 World Series.

There you go, Paula -- the old standoff. The Reds won that and the game. A big day for them.

REID: Thank you.

Well, up next, President Biden preparing for his first television interview since last week's dismal debate. Plus, swimmers attacked by sharks in Texas.