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Democrats Turn Toward Harris; Framework for Ceasefire and Hostage Release; U.K.'s Labour Party Wins Control; Trump Ridicules Biden and Slams Harris. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 05, 2024 - 06:30   ET




PAULA REID, CNN ANCHOR: Aamid the ongoing fallout from Joe Biden's concerning debate performance, talk in many top Democratic circles has already moved to who Kamala Harris would choose as a running mate. That's how certain a widening group of leading party officials, operatives, and donors are that the president's slow start to salvage his campaign just isn't working.

Here is his office updating her schedule yesterday to have her appear with the president for the Fourth of July.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, as we celebrate freedom, as we celebrate the promise of America, we also celebrate and express our gratitude to our service members, to our veterans, to our military families.

And we give thanks to our commander in chief, the president of the United States, the extraordinary president of the United States, Joe Biden.


REID: CNN's senior reporter Isaac Dovere joins the panel.

Isaac, you have new reporting about the vice president.


REID: What can you tell us?

DOVERE: Well, look, Joe Biden, oh, he says, don't compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative, but his problem right now is that a lot of Democrats are doing that as they're thinking about Kamala Harris. They have been really frustrated with a slow start to the way that Biden has tried to salvage his campaign. That the not seeing him or hearing him much over the course of last week. And this has turned to a triage situation for Democrats where they feel like they need to move on. It's not going - they don't think it's going to work out for Biden, a lot of them, and they think the most realistic shot that they have of beating Donald Trump is to move quickly toward Harris and to get moving on that right away.

And that is yet another problem as Biden tries to hold onto his position here. But for the Harris world themselves, they are very deliberately ignoring a lot of phone calls and a lot of emails and a lot of texts that are coming in, but there have been a lot of them.

REID: But it's not just Kamala Harris who's being considered, right? If not her, then who else is in the realm of possibility?

DOVERE: Well, look, there are other people who get talked about. A couple of the governors. But the reality is that very few people in the Democratic Party believed that they have a path to victory if they were to pass over her because of what it would lead to and because of the drawn-out process that it would be. And she is there, ready in a lot - a lot of minds to go.

And, by the way, I talked to a lot of people who have been very skeptical over the years of her. A lot of people who are way beyond skeptical, who I have heard say things to me about her that had been pretty awful actually over the past couple years, who are now saying, I'm ready, I'm ready.

I talked the - a leader of one Democratic organization. I said, look, for all of it, are - you see Biden's poll numbers. They're not great. Her numbers aren't great. Which would you rather? And the person said mean, are you kidding? At this point, that person, and many others, says, it's time to go to Harris.

REID: Well, some of this is also reflected in our recent polling, which has Harris inching closer to Trump in a hypothetical one-on-one match here with about 2 percent separating them.

What do you make of that in the larger context of things? Is it easy to be a hypothetical candidate in a one-on-one match with this extend to the election itself?

DOVERE: Sure. It's always easy to be a hypothetical, right? And if she gets into it, then the attacks are going to come landing on her.

Look, one of the things that differentiates her from other potential Democratic prospects, which is important here, is that she was through a presidential campaign, through a vice presidential campaign. She has been vice president. Yes, that's built up a lot of bad feelings towards her among some, but it also means that a lot of the things in her past that have already been gone through. They would definitely get a fresh look, but it's different from a candidate who would be new to the national scene, who would be going through that, and who everybody would be going through at a very fast pace.

REID: And the Trump campaign already taking shots at Harris. Isn't that sort of the ultimate compliment? I want to watch the new ad that they're putting out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you know who's waiting behind him, right?

Vote Joe Biden today, and Kamala Harris tomorrow.


REID: So, does this suggest that they're nervous about Harris taking that spot on the ticket?

DOVERE: They're certainly paying attention to it. When I - the people that we've been talking to in the Trump campaign have been a little bit flabbergasted by what happened over the last week. They were not expecting that performance from Joe Biden. And they were not expecting things to snowball in this way over the course of the week.


But they are now looking at this situation that everybody's looking at, which is that Joe Biden is in trouble. He has this interview today. We'll see how it goes. He has campaigning that he's doing. We'll see how that goes. But this may be a campaign that changes in a major, major way very quickly.

REID: But, Lance, I want to ask you, if they were to replace President Biden, that has enormous political fallout. Can you lay out the consequences of switching someone at the top of the ticket?

LANCE TROVER, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, DOUG BURGUM PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: It - I mean we haven't seen anything like that. I certainly cannot even remember when we had something like that happened.

For Republicans, the problems Democrat - the Democrats are going to have a lot of problems putting that coalition together and making sure they're unified. That's number one. That's first and foremost the problems they're going to have.

The also have the underlying issues, which haven't been on their side, the border, the economy, cost of living. And if it is the vice president, she is going to be tied to, who else, Joe Biden. There are going to be questions about the border. There are going to be questions about the cost of living. She has been his number two.

I also think there are going to be questions for her, what did you know and when did you know it about the president's fitness for office and that will constantly dog her throughout that campaign.

REID: How do you think President Biden, knowing him as well as you do, would handle, right, his - having to - handle himself having to be removed from the top of the ticket? Would he just still fall in line? He's often been underestimated. Hard not to take this personally. How do you think he would respond?

MEGHAN HAYS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: You know, he carries himself with a lot of dignity and a lot of class. And if that is what he chooses to do, he will do that with the utmost dignity and he will - and people will give him that grace. I do think the party will actually give him a lot of grace here, and I think the media will as well.

But if you look back to 2015, when he decided not to run, that was handled with such care and such respect, and he handled himself so well during that entire process, I would expect nothing less. He is a statesman, at the end of the day. He wants what's best for this country. And so he will do nothing that would - he will not jeopardize the Democrats', you know, ability to beat Donald Trump in November by - he will not - his ego will not take center stage here.

REID: Well, the pressure certainly mounting.

Stephen, I want to get to some of your latest reporting where you write, quote, "the problem with the president's argument is that the debate debacle has forced voters to consider not just the success of his administration, which are comparable with those of any other modern Democratic president, but all also whether they can imagine an even slower and more fragile president being in office years from now."

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Yes, the president makes his argument, as his staff do, that 90 minutes on the debate stage shouldn't define his presidency. And a lot of Democratic readers have made that argument to me, that we're concentrating too much on what happened on the debate, on the president's health.

The problem is, voters are selecting a president for the next four years. Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term. It's very difficult knowing what we do how people age at that advanced age to think that this is going to get any better. There's going to be moments and there's going to be plateaus and things are going to get worse. And that, I think, is a concern a lot of voters are saying and they've been telling pollsters this for two years. Neither party has really listened to what voters are saying about the identity of the two nominees on the tickets this year

REID: Now, I also want to talk about the pressure from donors because, as we know, things get real when the donors start either freezing their money or redirecting it.

Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy Disney, who co-founded the Walt Disney Company, told CNBC that she plans to withhold donations to the party that she has funded for years until Biden drops out. This is where things get serious.

DOVERE: Yes. And, look, I talked to a Democratic senator who asked not to be identified, who gave me this long, extended metaphor that's in the story where - talking about how this is like the quarterback getting his bell rung. They don't know whether the quarterback's going to be able to get back on the field. And then people from the stand start shouting, hey, put in that guy from Alabama. The guy who won the Heisman last year. And the people on the field are saying, hold on, let's go with the back-up quarterback here. And this is, obviously, very much with Harris in mind, say, just because the backup through an interception the last time she was up doesn't mean that we switch it out now. She knows all the plays. That - so - so there is this frustration that is - that I get into the story too of a lot of people saying to the donors, you need to maybe back up here and not be putting the pressure on.

I think the other thing is that it is hard to believe that Abigail Disney and a lot of these donors, no matter what happens, are not going to be there with their money to fund the effort to stop Donald Trump from coming back. So, this is, yes, maybe over the course of the next couple days we'll see more of this, but let's see where that is in November.

REID: But who would be able to get the president to step aside if - if that's where things got? For example, "The Wall Street Journal" has new reporting about Dr. Jill Biden's dilemma right now, writing, "locking arms against the world has long been the Biden way.


But the scrutiny of that approach is intensifying as more Democrats call on the president to withdraw from this year's contest citing concerns he will lose to the former president. As President Biden pushes to keep going, some Democrats think Jill might be the only person who could persuade her husband to exit the race."

Does this come down to her?

HAYS: No, I think it comes down to the family and his advisors around him. Look, the president is not a stupid person. He is very smart. He also will do what's best for this country. But again, I think that people need to give him space to do that. We need to see this interview. He needs to go out on the trail and do this press conference, et cetera.

But the one point I would like to make about the donors is, they've already raised an unprecedented amount of money. And if - if it is anyone else but the vice president, that money goes away. And so that the Democrats have really put themselves in a situation right now where we don't really have a lot of options if the president is to step aside.

REID: So, Biden keeps saying it was a bad night, but some Democrats and voters aren't buying it.

I want to play a sound bite from Representative Jared Huffman from California. So, let's take a listen to what he said.


REP. JARED HUFFMAN (D-CA): So, we need a reset. We need a course correction. We've got to acknowledge that this was not just one bad night.

If President Biden decides that in the interests of defeating Donald Trump and saving this democracy and the free world from everything he represents, that he is ready to pass the torch, it needs to be, and I think should be, Vice President Harris. (END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: So, does the Biden campaign need to change the messaging?

TROVER: They need to change something. And they need to do it fast. I'm - far be it for me to give them advice on what to do. But certainly as a PR person, yes, they need to - they need to do something really fast because you're going to hear more and more of this come out. It - every single day, with each passing day, because members of the House who are in competitive districts, who are saying - especially those ones who are in the Biden districts that they won - are looking and saying, Donald Trump is leading by six points in the polls right now. As we said earlier, that is a blowout of epic proportions that could be coming towards them. And that's why I think you're going to see more and more of these types of comments coming.

REID: All right, my panel, you are going to stay with me,

Isaac, thank you so much for getting up early to share your new reporting.


REID: I've been following your insights since the debate.

All right, we are shifting to overseas, where a ceasefire deal in Gaza is moving closer to reality. A senior White House official telling CNN the framework for an agreement is now in place. Talks between Israel and Hamas could resume as early as today. This coming on the heels of a call between President Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now from Abu Dhabi.

Paula, what do you know about this framework?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, what we know at this point is, this is effectively the proposal that has been on the table for some time. So this three-stage proposal when it comes to the ceasefire hostage deal.

Now what we've heard from a senior administration official is that the progression from phase one to phase two has been problematic. That's really where these talks have fallen down before. And that's effectively going from a six-week ceasefire with some hostages, some Palestinian prisoners released, evolving into a more permanent ceasefire with the rest of the hostages being released. That has really been the stumbling block, we understand, as Hamas has said, that they want a complete ceasefire. And we have heard consistently from the Israeli prime minister up until recently that he was not ready to agree to any kind of more long term ceasefire.

But now, as he is saying, that the operation and the more intense fighting phase in Rafah is starting to wrap up. It does appear as though he is more willing to look into this at this point. So, an Israeli source close to these talks has said that they, at this

point now, the prime minister will be deciding whether or not to go to the next phase. So, the more detailed phase. The fact that we know from a source that the Mossad director, David Barnea, is heading to Doha. Those talks could start as early as today, this Friday. It does appear as though we are further along than we have been for some time.

It is important to note, Paula, we have, though, been here a number of times over recent months. It has appeared that we have been close to a breakthrough only for these talks to stall at the last minute. But the fact that we are hearing from a senior Biden administration official that's - that this stumbling block between the temporary ceasefire potentially to the more permanent ceasefire appears to have been bridged is giving hopes. And we're seeing protests on the streets of Tel Aviv as well, hostage families saying, please sign the deal.


REID: Paula Hancocks, thank you.

And coming up, a shark attack at a Texas beach during holiday celebrations.

Plus, a landslide win for the U.K.'s Labour Party. All coming in your morning roundup.



REID: Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Here's your morning roundup.

A suspected drunk driver kills at least three and injured six others after crashing into a crowd in a Manhattan Park during Fourth of July celebrations last night. One other victim remains hospitalized, in critical condition.

And two people bitten by a shark off Texas' South Padre Island on Independence Day. One of the victims is being treated at a hospital and Brownsville. The other had to be airlifted to an unknown facility for further treatment.


And a Fourth of July shooting in Yellowstone National Park leaves a ranger injured and the shooting suspect dead. The incident taking place near a collection of lodges within Yellowstone known as Canyon Village. The shooter's identity has not been released.

And Alec Baldwin set to stand trial next week for the fatal "Rust" movie set shooting. A New Mexico judge denying Baldwin's last attempt to have his criminal case dismissed. The actor alleging key evidence has been mislabeled.

Now to the U.K.

For the first time in over a decade, the conservative party will no longer control the British government.




REID: Overnight, the Labour Partys swept into power with a landslide victory. Labour leader Keir Starmer becoming the next British prime minister. British tabloids telling the story. "Keir we go" reads one paper. The stinging defeat ends Rishi Sunak's time as prime minister. He officially left Downing Street and turned in his resignation to the king just moments ago.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now with the latest on the big changes unfolding in the U.K.

Nic, how shocking is this margin of defeat for the conservative party?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's not unsurprising. The polls were predicting it. It is not as bad as they might have fear, but bad enough for Rishi Sunak to come out and apologize and say he'd done everything that he could and he was sorry and accept responsibility, enough that he is stepping down, obviously, not only as prime minister, but said he was going to step down as party leader.


RISHI SUNAK, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Following this result, I will step down as party leader, not immediately, but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place. It is important that after 14 years in government, the conservative party rebuilds, but also that it takes up its crucial role in opposition professionally and effectively.


ROBERTSON: And that's going to be the big challenge for the conservative party, is to make up their multiple differences which have really ripped them apart and perhaps lead in a large part to their defeat.

There were 650 seats up for grabs. Two are still being counted. Labour coming in at the moment with 412 conservatives with 121 Labour, only needing 326 to have a majority in parliament. They have got a raft of changes they want to make, improve the economy, improve the health care system, improve justice and crime, also provide jobs in new energy, a green energy sector.

So, their ambitions are big. The problem Keir Starmer, the new prime minister, is going to face, of course, is that the coffers are more or less empty. Where is the money to do everything he wants - wants to achieve. Right now the handover happening. Rishi Sunak's been to see the king, to tender his resignation. Next, Keir Starmer will be going in and the king will ask him to form a government. And within half an hour or so, Keir Starmer will be here in Downing Street giving a speech, laying out his plan.

REID: Nic Robertson, thank you.

And my panel is back.

So, a big night over in the U.K. The prime minister moving in already. What does this mean for the U.S., Stephen?

COLLINSON: Very interesting. If there's a message I think for the U.S., it's that incumbents are in trouble all over the world. We've seen the far rights sweep to power in a lot of European countries. The British voters have decided to go left. Not necessarily out of any great love for the Labour Party, it's because the conservative party has obliterated itself. It was once seen as the world's best election- winning machine. There have been three conservative prime ministers over the last parliament, as it's ribbed itself apart.

So, Keir Starmer has a huge job, as Nic was saying. It's not like in 1997 when Tony Blair came to power on a wave of euphoria after years of conservative rule. The electorate is in a very sour mood. There are huge problems with public services, the national health service, transport. Voters are very unhappy. And the public finances are in a real mess.

So, I don't think that Starmer, notwithstanding the massive size of his mandate, is going to have a very long honeymoon.

REID: What do you think this means for U.S.-U.K. relations, particularly on key foreign policy priorities like Ukraine?

HAYS: I don't think this changes our relationship with them. We've always been strong allies. It's been one of our longest allies. But I do think one thing I found interesting is, when the former prime minister kind of took a shot at the U.S. by saying, we're going to - I'm going to participate in a peaceful change of power, and I definitely think that was a shock to us.


And so I think that people should pay attention that people around the world are watching the United States and sort of watching what's happening here and sort of, you know, taking note of this and kind of making a mockery of like our political system right now.

REID: And they transition so quickly over there. (INAUDIBLE).

HAYS: Yes. Exactly.

REID: We should consider - well, we talked earlier with one of our correspondence about how 40 percent of people over their sat this election out. Is that something we should be concerned about here in the U.S., this sort of apathy that seems to be infecting some elections around the world?

TROVER: I think voter apathy is something we've dealt with for a long time here in the United States. That's nothing new. It's where a lot of countries are dealing with.

I think part of the issue for the conservative party over there, I'd welcome Stephen's thoughts on this, is you had a party that kind of lost its way. They've been in power for a long time and that -- you see that a lot when one party controls things for a very long time, sometimes they lose their guiding north star and you have a bad economy and look what happened, voters sent a strong message.

REID: And so I want to turn back to the U.S. now. President Biden and former President Trump delivering very different political messages to the people. Here's the president at the Fourth of July barbecue at the White House. Let's take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All those who served as members of the military were heroes, genuine heroes, heroes for freedom and democracy and America. Look, now, decades later, we have to look at ourselves and ask the question, will we stand for freedom again? Will we stand for democracy? Will we stand together, as Americans? I believe we will and we can.


REID: A decidedly different tone from former President Trump, who use the Fourth of July to attack his opponents, posting this. "Happy Fourth of July to all, including our highly incapable president who uses prosecutors to go after his political opponents. Also, respects to our new potentially new Democratic challenger, laffin' Kamala Harris. She did poorly in the Democrat nominating process, starting out at number two, and ending up defeated and dropping out."

Our panel is back.

What do you make of that?

COLLINSON: There's a holiday tradition, whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas or July 4th, that Trump uses it to attack his opponents.

On a more serious note, that comparison right there is what the White House wants and the campaign wants us to see. And that's what we haven't been seeing because of this furor over the debate. If they did move on to a different nominee, a younger nominee, maybe that becomes, you know, more of the focus, and that is what the Democrats would really like.

REID: Lance, how notable is it that Trump is turning his airing of the grievances, a different holiday I realized, towards the vice president?

TROVER: I was going to say, Donald Trump's going to Donald Trump, right? Where this is - this is what we've seen in - yes, it goes back like ten years of, you know, happy - you know, happy Fourth of July to the haters and the losers. This is what he does. I mean no one is surprised by it. And this is the Donald Trump. But everybody - that's really the difference, right? Voters go into this knowing Donald Trump. They knew who he was in 2016. They knew who he was in 2020. They certainly know who he is now. And he's up by six points against Job Biden. What does that tell you?

REID: All right, tonight, the big interview. Portions of it will air this evening. What do you hope to see?

HAYS: I hope to see the Joe Biden that's clear and concise and can deliver his message and deliver that contrast. I think that, you know, it's not just about proving that he's capable of doing the job. He needs to continue to draw the contrast message with Donald Trump. That's what they were doing before the debate happened. And that's what he needs - they need to turn back to that. Regardless if he steps aside or not, they need to get back to this contrast message because voters have a real serious choice here and I think that they need to be able to see that and I don't think we're seeing that right now.

REID: Quickly, what do you think you're going to see?

COLLINSON: I think we're going to see a huge political moment, whatever happens. You know, in the - we're in a situation, four months away from an election. We're talking about a potential change of presumptive nominees. We've been through an extraordinary run over the last few years and this is even greater than that, I think.

And, Lance, the last word before this highly anticipated TV moment.

TROVER: The president has a very heavy lift in front of him tonight, and I'm not sure it's going to solve all the problems that he has.

REID: All right, thank you so much to my panel and thank you to you for joining us. I'm Paula Reid. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right now.