Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Biden Won't Budge, Dems Won't Push... Yet; Biden Announces New Air Defenses For Ukraine; Flash Flooding Triggers Evacuations In New Mexico. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, July 10th.

Right now on CNN THIS MORNING:

Big concerns about Joe Biden's ability to beat Donald Trump, but still no consensus among Democrats about what to do about it.

The NATO summit ramping up in the nation's capital with President Biden under the microscope.

And evacuation orders in New Mexico. Entire neighborhoods paralyzed by flashfloods.


HUNT: All right, 5:00 a.m. here in Washington, a live look at the Capitol dome on this Wednesday morning.

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

President Biden isn't budging and Democrats in Congress aren't shutting him out, at least not at this writing. Despite his poor debate performance, the president insists he gives Democrats the best chance to beat Donald Trump in November.

Congressional Democrats, not all convinced party leaders holding closed door meetings yesterday in both chambers, emerging with no consensus on whether Biden should remain at the top of the ticket.


REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): I've come to the final conclusion that president Biden is not ready to be rolled into an old full-time.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): President Biden is doing what he needs to do. He's not just the president, he's our president.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): I'm enthusiastically supporting Biden. I'm not going to comment on what I said on a private call. REP. MAGGIE HASSAN (D-NH): I think it's really important that we

focused on the fact that President Biden has been a really excellent president. He had a bad debate.

REP. MARC VEASEY (D-TX): But I do think that at this point that there are definitely other candidates that will be stronger.


HUNT: Senate Democrats meanwhile, have largely rallied around Biden. But just last night, one Democratic senator told CNN, he doesn't think Biden can beat Trump.


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): This race is on a trajectory that is very worrisome. Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win the selection. And maybe win it by a landslide and take with him the Senate and the House.


HUNT: All right. Joining me now is "Axios" Capitol Hill reporter Juliegrace Brufke.

Juliegrace, good morning to you.


HUNT: So, those comments from Michael Bennet, senator from Colorado, very direct and obviously the way we think of a landslide is a little different. Now than perhaps in the past it could, be three points instead of what we might otherwise think of that way.

But he was pretty stark in his assessment there and he's not alone. Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown, our Dana Bash reporting, also share his concerns about Biden potentially losing to Trump. But the reality is, Biden is not really going anywhere.

We almost seems like were in this place where Democrats are just kind of saying, well, if this is what he's going to do, we're just going to have to make the best of it.

BRUFKE: Yeah. I mean, I've talked to a lot of Democrats over the course of the past few days who definitely privately have a ton of concerns. And I mean, we've kind of heard a pivot with a lot of these members during private discussions, including House Judiciary ranking member Jerry Nadler, who during a ranking members call with Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday, was kind of sounding the alarm there, kind of pivot back to give a strong endorsement to Biden.

But I think there's a lot of concerns of if they go too far on criticizing him, and he is going to remain on the ticket at this point in time, that it could hurt him in the general and that could be used against them down the line. HUNT: So, Axios, you're out outlet is reporting this. Quote, just

before House Democrats Tuesday morning come to Jesus meeting on President Biden's path forward. A smaller group of swing district Democrats held what sources described as a despondent gathering with actual tears -- and I mean, these are the people whose jobs are on the line if Biden remains on the top of the ticket and basically drags them down, who stand to lose their seats in Congress entirely.

What did you hear from them up on the Hill yesterday?

I mean, I think there's some people that are really despondent once again today, they're worried about they come out too strongly against him, that it's going to kind of further hurt his odds in November.

So I think right now, there's definitely a lot of strong concerns post the debate. The polling probably could have been worse for Biden, was kind of expected to be, but they're hearing from donors, they're hearing from constituents and they're worried about it and you kind of look, Cook Political Report kind of shifted some states in a more competitive races in the past couple of days and those few of those fears are real.


HUNT: Especially key ones in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada.

So, Juliegrace, we heard from President Trump for the first time at a rally since the debate. He's basically been letting Joe Biden have the spotlight since it's been a tough place for Biden to be. But here's a little bit of what he said about the divisions in the Democratic Party that we've been seeing.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The radical left Democrat Party is divided in chaos and having a full scale break down all because they can't decide which of their candidates is more unfit to be president, sleepy crooked Joe Biden or laughing Kamala.

If Joe had picked someone even halfway competent, they would have bounced him from office years ago, but they cant because she's got to be their second choice. He has no choice and no chance.


HUNT: President Trump, of course, mispronouncing Kamala Harris's name there. It's a tactic we've seen him use before, and now, you are reporting also that the -- what's going on with President Biden is affecting Donald Trump's vice presidential pick. You write: The sources noted Trump is shifting gears several times while picking a running mate. They say he's likely feeling more leeway to select someone he likes personally rather than whoever he thinks could be more -- the most politically beneficial.

How is this affecting the veepstakes, so to speak? BRUFKE: So, I mean, I feel like the veep stakes, its still kind of

moving there and Donald Trump kind of, I mean, he's fickle, so we'll see where he ultimately goes with that. But I've talked to some lawmakers and people within the Trump orbit that feel he's feeling bullish right now, he's feeling better than ever with the state the race and I've talked to their take was on it was that he they could see him picking somebody that's a little bit more of a firebrand whereas before to kind of help tighten the race, somebody maybe Marco Rubio or Doug Burgum, may have had a stronger shot on that front.

I mean, they're definitely not out of the running at this point in time, but somebody that might be able to help with minority and swing voters and suburbs that may go to Biden otherwise.

HUNT: So basically you're saying that he could feel more freedom to pick like a JD Vance, who may bring a specific constituency, but who may jibe better with him personally, as opposed to Marco Rubio or Doug Burgum who you need to bring along, ask those more independent voters.

BRUFKE: Absolutely.

HUNT: All right. Juliegrace Brufke for us this morning, Juliegrace, thank you.

BRUFKE: Thanks for having me.

HUNT: Appreciate it.

All right. Coming up next, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is in Washington this week and he's a got a plea for world leaders, we'll show you that.

Plus, President Biden trying to use this week's NATO summit as a campaign opportunity. It's definitely a risk regardless.

And flash floods prompting evacuations in New Mexico.

We got and more coming up in your morning roundup.



HUNT: All right. Welcome back.

President Biden opening his NATO speech by announcing plans to supply new air defenses to Ukraine just a day after Russian strikes killed at least 22 people and devastated Ukraine's largest children's hospital. Biden's message to world leaders and members of his own party, he's up to the job. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meeting with Biden on the sidelines of the summit, and in a speech calling for decisive action to resist Vladimir Putin.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Now, everyone is waiting for November. Americans are waiting for November, and Europe, Middle East, in the Pacific, the whole world is looking to go on into November and truly speaking, Putin, he waits November, too.


HUNT: I wonder what could be happening in November.

Joining us now live from London is CNN's Max Foster.

Max, good morning.

A remarkably candid assessment there from Zelenskyy about what everyone in the world is waiting for right now. And I want to play a little bit more of what he had to say because he talked about both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the men who will face each other in the American election in November, because it does seem to pre-stage what a lot of us are talking about here in Washington, the increasing possibility that it's newly elected President Donald Trump, when we reach that point.

Listen to a little bit more of what Zelenskyy said.


ZELENSKYY: Biden and Trump are very different, but they are supportive of democracy and that's why I think Putin will hate both of them. I hope that if people of America will vote for President Trump, I hope that his policy with Ukraine will not change. I don't know very well him.


HUNT: Really interesting, Max, that he says, that he thinks Putin will hate both Biden and Trump. It seems to be already thinking about what that relationship is going to be like.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, preempting you know, obviously the U.S.'s crucial -- the most crucial ally to Ukraine right now, he doesn't want that changing. He doesn't want Putin to build a relationship with Trump I'm sure.

So China very much get on side with Trump effectively because whether Trump is President or Biden is president, America is going to be just as important to Ukraine.

I think, you know, what's interesting about those sound bites is that one of the issues with this NATO summit, huge issues, particularly Ukraine to deal with, but it's all being overshadowed by the U.S. election on two fronts. Obviously, just the fact that every press conference, everyone's talking about President Biden's wellness. That's overriding things every time he appears in even with their world leader, the discussion is going to be about Biden and whether or not he's going to pull out of the race.

And then secondarily, you know, if the Democrats losing November to Donald Trump, what that means for the NATO alliance, everyone there is fully behind it, particularly from Europe. It's so central to their security, their hugely concerned that Donald Trump would come in and change that.

But you're in a better position I think, Kasie, to say whether or not he's planning to -- you know, he's never suggested dismantling NATO has these just talking about this issue with everyone recognizes that most European countries don't pay their fair share.

HUNT: Yeah. No. I mean, you definitely focuses on that. I do think that there is nervousness among -- a lot of the foreign policy establishment hear that in unleashed second Trump term, he might go farther than he is already discussed going in the past.

Max, let's talk for a second about obviously the election, so important to world leaders hinging on President Biden's performance in the wake of the debate every move he's making is being scrutinized, and he went and made this address to NATO last night, people were watching very closely.

Let's just take a look at a little piece of what we saw from Biden yesterday.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My friends, it's good that we're stronger than ever. Ukraine can and will stop Putin.


Especially for collective support -- they have our full support. Americans, they know we're stronger with our friends, and we understand this is a sacred obligation.


HUNT: So I have to say, Max, these forums are some of the places where we have seen kind of Biden at his most focused. These are things that -- I've covered Biden in Washington for a long time. He's always prided himself very much on his role on the world stage when he was in the Senate on the key committee that dealt with these issues.

We saw some of this same president that you saw there when he went abroad last month he is also holding it up as the reason why its important that he stay at the top of the Democratic ticket. He points to the expansion of NATO.

What is your sense? What are you seeing in terms of how this is being covered where you are? Ands kind of the optics of all of it, how it's playing out as the president tries to continue to show that he's up to his job?

FOSTER: I think it's a shame for a lot of international governments flying in because, for example, Keir Starmer, the new British prime minister, has been given this big honor that he's going to have a full bilateral with president Biden when he's over there, the focus in the past would have been on I've got this seat in front of America, but it's been watered down in a way because so much attention has gone on to President Biden's, you know, how well he is, you know?

So, the focus coming out of that bilateral won't be as much on the policy and what they decide or even Keir Starmer, who's trying to raise his profile on the global stage, is going to be on how Biden came across. Everything's being seen from Biden's perspective.

So the whole event, you know, has been weakened to some extent because when its all about security and policy and what's going to be decided, it's really just how President Biden has got to perform.

But as you say, did perform well there and he is appreciated I think certainly amongst European leaders because he is an internationalist and he is taking these meetings and he is taking it -- takes Europe very seriously and democracy very seriously, and America's role in the world very seriously. And they are concerned that that's going to change either because he is weakened in his position or that Donald Trump takes over.

HUNT: Right. All right. Max Foster for us this morning, I will say, Max, I think everyone's going to be asking Mr. Starmer how was the president today? How did that meeting go? So he may be at the center of attention maybe for the wrong reasons I suppose.

FOSTER: Indirectly.

HUNT: Yeah. Right, Max, thank you very much. Always great to see you.

Coming up next here, Beryl bringing tornadoes to Indiana, now threatening New York state.

Plus, opening arguments now just hours away in Alec Baldwin's movie set shooting trial. That's ahead in your morning roundup.



HUNT: All right. Twenty-three minutes past the hour. Here's your morning roundup.

The Manhattan D.A. presenting new indictment charges against Harvey Weinstein. Prosecutors working with alleged victims who claim the former Hollywood producer raped and sexually abused them. Weinstein's attorney insisting the D.A. is wasting his time.


ARTHUR AIDALA, HARVEY WEINSTEIN'S ATTORNEY: So once again, they are doing the 1800-get-Harvey. They're trying to find someone else to come forward because I guess they feel that their cards case is not strong enough.


HUNT: Weinstein remains in custody in New York, pending a retrial, which could start in November.

Threats of continued flash flooding, forcing evacuations in New Mexico this morning. Flood watches are in effect and the radio so region remains under a state of emergency.


Opening statements begin today at the involuntary manslaughter trial of Alec Baldwin, the actor on trial for the fatal shooting of cinema photographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie "Rust". The jury was seated on Tuesday.

The remnants of Hurricane Beryl bringing heavy rain to the Northeast today after moving across the Midwest where a large and dangerous tornado touchdown in southern Indiana, leaving widespread damage. It ripped the roof off this warehouse in Mount Vernon.

All right. Up next here, President Biden, under intense scrutiny as world leaders gather for that NATO summit.

Plus, will Democrats rally around the president and stick with him through November.