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CNN This Morning

Democratic Divisions Remain Over Biden. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2024 - 06:00   ET


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, July 10. Right now on CNN THIS MORNING.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail.


HUNT: the White House, pleased by President Biden's smooth performance, quote, unquote, "with the entire world watching."

Plus --


REP. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): As I've said before, I'm with Joe.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): We're riding with Biden.


HUNT: Top Democrats standing by the president, but cracks in his support may be widening.

And then, Beryl still kicking, battering Indiana with a tornado. Now targeting the Northeast.

And one plane taking off, another, trying to land, both using the same runway, and it's all on tape.

All right, 6 a.m. here in Washington. A live look at the White House on this Wednesday morning. Good morning, everyone. I'm Kasie hunt. It's wonderful to have you with us.

Don't count him out just yet. Joe Biden's refusal to heed calls to end his reelection bid has been a successful strategy for right now. As Democrats emerged from a high-stakes meetings on Capitol Hill Tuesday, the president received public support from key members in both the House and the Senate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you confident that President Biden has what it takes to win in November and serve the next four years? SCHUMER: As I've said before, I'm with Joe.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Trump would be an absolute disaster for democracy, so I'm enthusiastically supporting Biden.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): He's not just the president, he's our president. He's got strong support in the Senate Democratic Caucus and the House Democratic Caucus.

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Joe Biden is a great president, and he's the only guy that kicked Trump's ass in an election.

CLYBURN: We're riding with Biden. We're riding with Biden.


HUNT: Riding with Biden. From South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement, of course, helped deliver Biden the nomination in 2012 [SIC]. All but gave it to him, frankly.

Still, we are seeing those cracks persist in the president's support. On Tuesday, New Jersey Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill became the seventh Democrat to call for Biden to exit the race. She said, quote, "When I think of my four children and all of the rights that another Trump presidency endangers, the stakes are too high, and the threat is too real to stay silent. I am asking that Biden declare that he won't run for reelection and will help lead us through a process toward a new nominee."

A source familiar with Tuesday's meeting of Senate Democrats told CNN that three members of that chamber -- Jon Tester of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Michael Bennet of Colorado -- told their colleagues they simply don't think Biden can win in November.

Here was Bennet on CNN.


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election. And maybe win it by a landslide and take with him the Senate and the House.

And the White House in the time since that disastrous debate, I think has done nothing to really demonstrate that they have a plan to win this election.

It's a moral question about the future of our country. And I think its critically important for us to come to grips with what we face if, together, we put this country on the path of electing Donald Trump again.


HUNT: All right, our panel's here: Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for Reuters; former federal prosecutor, CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams; former State Department official, Hillary Clinton adviser Philippe Reines; and Matt Gorman, former senior adviser to Tim Scott's presidential campaign. Welcome to all of you.

Philippe, I just want to put this question to you, as someone who's inside one of these presidential campaigns. As you know, you guys went into the 2016 election not expecting to lose to Donald Trump.


Right now, there seems to be an expectation among many Democrats here in Washington that Joe Biden is going to lose to Donald Trump. Do you think that's what's going to happen?

PHILIPPE BRIGHTNESS, FORMER HILARY CLINTON ADVISOR: If the election were tomorrow? Yes. But thank God, tomorrow is not election day. And there are, you know, 125-ish kind of days where Joe Biden can really put his best foot forward, hopefully put what happened behind us. Not in a "it was just a bad night, there was a blip" kind of way.

But in a "OK, let's keep it in context. Let's keep it in context of what it was and what wasn't; in context of what Donald Trump suffers and what he doesn't and his medical history; and in context of them both being the same age; and in context of the unique situation we have here, which is usually we've got one person running for president and one person who's been president.

And then there's a lot of guessing going on. What is so and so going to be. What is Governor Bush going to be like as president? What is Senator -- but here, both these guys have been president.

We don't have to guess what Donald Trump has been like, and that's really an advantage for the American voter to see. And they booted him.

HUNT: Does the American voter have any advantages right now.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, but how does that explain the polling right now, or at least has it explained the polling over the last however year that it's had the former president on top of --

REINES: People are really, really unhappy with the choice between these two guys, except our choice is between these two guys.


REINES: And I think what's clear -- obviously, you know, there are people who are unhappy, but it's like ten. You could read every statement of every member of Congress, and it would take you five minutes.

HUNT: Yes.

REINES: And two of them took it back.

HUNT: Well, what we saw Jerry Nadler in that sound mash, basically take back what was reported over the weekend --

REINES: yes. HUNT: -- which was that he was out there saying, like, this is a disaster. We can't do this. And now of course, there does seem to be this rally round the flag effect.

Jeff Mason, let me bring you into this, just because you are someone who has been a member of the White House press corps for many, many years. You have seen a lot of different types of crises.

And we are going through one now where there is this grappling with was there essentially -- was this condition covered up? And the press secretary has really struggled to answer questions about the president's current health.

And I think when I'm thinking about the argument that Philippe is trying to make, the reason it's so hard for Democrats to make this argument is that OK, sure. Youve got this long laundry list of reasons why Donald Trump shouldn't be president again, but when you contrast that with someone where the question is can he do the job at all, it is a nearly impossible argument to make.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Well, and not to mention coming up to the debate, over the last several months and even longer, there -- there are instances, there are times when we've seen President Biden be a little bit shaky on his feet, not come up with a word right away. Things that are reflective of getting older.

And any time we would ask the White House questions about that, it would be batted away.

And now, because everybody saw that debate with her own eyes and the questions have come to a fever pitch, both in the briefing room and among Democrats and others, it's harder for them to that. And the messaging has been, I would say, probably not super effective.

And that's creating more doubts and more concern among the voters and among the Democrats who are looking at the stakes of the election and wondering, what are we doing here?

WILLIAMS: What about the idea that a lot of this is the White House press corps feeling burned by the former president. It's almost up -- by the current president. Pardon me. That it's really a function of reporters feeling like they weren't getting the straight story, right?

Rather than it actually being bad on its face, it's that you know, you all felt like you were getting okey-doked a little bit.

MASON: I mean, I don't subscribe to the idea that the White House press corps is a constituent.

WILLIAMS: Sure, no.

MASON: It's not --

WILLIAMS: But it's a human idea, right --

MASON: It is. WILLIAMS: -- that when you were asking for information that you didn't feel you were getting and don't feel like the entity that was being straight with you, that you sort of felt -- I don't know if cheated is the right word.

MASON: I think -- I think it leads to frustration, for sure.


MASON: And I think that is human, and I think you're seeing some of that frustration play out in the press room right now.


MASON: But I don't think it's about the White House press corps, as I've been repeating for the last couple of days. It's -- you know, we're standing there, sitting there, whatever, asking questions, not just on behalf of our news organizations or for the ability to write a story or to be on the air. But it's to inform the American public.

HUNT: Right.

MASON: And that's the responsibility that the press has in the administration slash the campaign, have the responsibility to answer.

HUNT: Well, I think -- I also think -- I mean, we had Molly Ball on earlier this week -- that there is this sense -- and look, you deal with this when you deal with any White House, when they're mad at you about a story, right? They come at you, right?

MASON: Sure.

HUNT: And you're writing something that they don't like. And so they're on the phone. They're yelling at you. They're telling you they're [SIC] wrong. They're sometimes belittling, depending on, you know.

MASON: It is.

HUNT: And look, this is not a partisan thing, OK? It's like --


MASON: Oh, yes.

HUNT: I -- you know this. You know this. I've been on the end of screaming phone calls from you.

REINES: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes.


HUNT: I don't know if it was ever screaming.

WILLIAMS: I was waiting for that revelation.

REINES: It's not my style. It's not my style. When she said you have experienced, I was like, please, God, don't say yelling at people.

HUNT: But hear -- here's the thing, is that at the end of the day, that can be a situation when, all of a sudden, the thing that you were right about is exposed for everyone to see.

REINES: But you won't -- you won't find a single article about NATO going really well. And that's a separate -- that's Elliot's point.

MATT GORMAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO TIM SCOTT'S 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: The White House has fundamentally misread this, because they treated this like this was the Obama debate in 2012. They have treated like this can be an occasion (ph) problem, not a lie or a deception that they've been trying to run out, run for three years. And it's finally caught up with them.

Now let's be clear, though. Biden has gotten -- he's going to weather this initial storm. If he steps aside, it won't be because of the debate solely. It will be because he has a bad press conference and the debate and something else, right?

So this will compound. Right? We're not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.

But the first ten days were the worst, first two weeks were the worst. And he's gotten through it.

HUNT: Philippe, how are Democrats going to live like this for the next however many days?

REINES: I was sitting in my mind, thinking about exactly that.

You know, the criteria for successful press conference tomorrow is him being on stage for four hours, doing push-ups, solving Rubik's cube. It's -- there's no definition in the media of it going well to a point of, oh, maybe. you know, what happened in Atlanta should be in some kind of context.

And again, I'm not diminishing it. I watched it, and it was jarring, and it was rattling. But if there's going to be this constant, you know -- it's -- after the press conference tomorrow, there's going to be something else. It'll be some memorial next Thursday. Always going to be some kind of event.

And there's the media aspect of it. But if Democrats keep living like that, there's a paralysis that sets in, with donors, with people who need to be out there fighting.

And by the way, this is like email in 2016. You can -- Democrats can say, what was she thinking? This was a mistake as much as you want in private, but go out there and say, you know what? The obsession about this is stupid. She is 100 times better than Donald Trump.

And one last point I would say about Jeff is when you were in the White House, Donald Trump on a Saturday afternoon just disappeared and went to Walter Reed; didn't explain why he was going; didn't brief after. His doctor never really explained why. It took a year for anyone.

And I don't remember this kind of frenzy. But because he's louder and tanner, we assume he's saner and healthier. And it's -- that is really a double-standard.

HUNT: Well, look, I just want to be clear that -- we've been talking with the White House press corps. The voters have been on this for quite some time.

REINES: On Biden, on Biden, on Biden.

HUNT: They have.

REINES: That's because there has been no coverage of note of Donald Trump's health.

HUNT: Well, I mean, I also think, you know, voters can -- voters are seeing -- we're seeing -- we're all seeing it.

REINES: But we didn't see it when -- when Biden was 78. And Donald Trump is 78. We might be seeing it in two years/.

HUNT: Because people age different -- at different rates.

REINES: He's tanner and louder.

GORMAN: Biden's pretty tan, though.

HUNT: OK. We're going to take a break.

Coming up next, Donald Trump challenging Joe Biden to another debate with a twist.

Plus --


BIDEN: Ukraine can and will stop Putin.


HUNT: President Biden on the world stage, trying to prove to doubters that he is fit for another term.

Plus, two explorers make an unexpected discovery at the bottom of a cave. We'll bring you that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment I picked her up, she just kind of, like, laid into me and leaned into me. And I think that was probably about the time she realized, OK, they're doing something to get me out of here.





BIDEN: In Europe, Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine continues. And Putin wants nothing less -- nothing less -- than Ukraine's total subjugation, to end Ukraine's democracy.


HUNT: All right, part of President Biden's opening remarks at the NATO summit here in Washington, but also a message for members of his own party and his detractors that he's ready for four more years.

All eyes on the president after that debate. White House officials tell CNN that his speech went, quote, "as planned," and that the team is hoping, with a smooth delivery under his belt Tuesday, they can go back to, quote, "business as usual."

But look, everyone's watching. In his remarks, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy stressed the importance of November. Now what happens in November?

Americans will go to the polls, and winter will begin to make Russia's war against his nation even more brutal.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Now everyone is waiting for November. Americans are waiting for November. In Europe, Middle East, in the Pacific, the whole world is looking to -- they're all looking to November.

And truly speaking, Putin awaits November, too.


HUNT: So this is really the thing, Matt Gorman, and this is something that, you know, Republicans are starting to talk about. The debate performance, obviously, Democrats are considering it in the context of the campaign. Should he remain at the top of the ticket to be reelected for four more years?

But there is a country to govern in the meantime. This was Marco Rubio in Miami on Tuesday.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Like, they're watching this thing in Beijing. They're watching it in Moscow. They're watching it in Havana. They're watching it in Caracas. They're watching it in Iran.

And they're saying that guy's the president, that guy? We're going to invade tomorrow. That's what I would do. You're thinking, that's the danger that we're in. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HUNT: So perhaps an invasion is a bit of hyperbole, but the bottom line here is the world is watching the president of the United States.


GORMAN: Yes. Absolutely. And look, when we talk about, you know, the ten to four work schedule, right? Like hours in the United States are one thing, but there are also -- there's hours in Beijing, right? That's the -- that's the middle of the night in Beijing. Russia, it's another set of time.

So -- so this has caused --

HUNT: Should we play Philippe's 3 a.m. phone call ad.

GORMAN: You should. That was good.

HUNT: For context?

GORMAN: More in the last, you know, five days than I had the last five years.

But no, so these have consequences. And I think, you know, I don't -- I don't get up early enough to watch the show when I'm not on. But yesterday, you had a good conversation with Kate Bedingfield and Jonah Goldberg talking about whether or not Biden could do it for another four years.

And I think, you know, I believe that Biden has the ability to gut this out now. But if there was a conversation yet again, that he needed to step aside, Republicans, I think, would rightly go and they'll go, Wait a minute. Why are you able to do the job for another seven months effectively? There might be a conversation about him, whether or not he can do the job right now. Let me put it that way.

REINES: I would --

HUNT: Briefly.

REINES: First of all, I think China looks at the deliverer of that message and probably rolls their eyes. But that aside, what they are looking at is how effectively President Biden has managed Ukraine and has managed what's going on in the Middle East and how, you know, we were a year or two ago talking about what the odds were of Taiwan being invaded by China.

And China's math has changed, because they see how effectively United States has come to -- you know, to the rescue of its allies. Obviously, it's a little different with Taiwan.

But I don't -- that's an oversimplification for someone who is auditioning to be vice president, to someone who the world would look at and say, this is ridiculous. He -- this guy does know what he's doing. MASON: It's interesting. I mean, therein sort of lies the rub of the whole debate. Biden has this record on foreign policy and domestic policy, which is why he's running again.

But he undermined that with that debate.

GORMAN: Exactly.

MASON: And that's Democrats have this crisis right now.

HUNT: Right. All right. Coming up next, the White House struggles to get the story straight about the president's health. We're going to ask Jeff about that. And --


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If I have, you know, said -- misled in something that I've said or haven't had the full information, I actually own up to that.


HUNT: The press secretary trying to clear up some confusion.

Plus, devastating tornado damage from Beryl. This is one of five things you have to see this morning.



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

Hurricane Beryl spawning a dangerous tornado in Southern Indiana, leaving major damage in Mount Vernon.

The twister tearing through this warehouse, overturning trailers and leaving a trail of debris. A line of train cars on a track nearby left lying on their side.

Police dashcam video capturing two commercial planes flying way too close to each other in the skies over Syracuse, New York on Monday.

One plane was trying to land. The other was just taking off from the same runway, the plane that was trying to land had to abort for the best.

The FAA is investigating.

Threats of continued flash flooding forcing evacuation orders in New Mexico this morning. Flood watches are in effect, and one region remains under a state of emergency.

A New Hampshire teen being hailed as a hero for stopping a runaway boat. The boat's driver was knocked overboard, spinning the vessel out of control. This is actually extremely dangerous.

But a 17-year-old leaped from a nearby Jet Ski onto the boat to get it under control.


BRADY PROCON, BOAT HERO: I don't know. It -- it just came to me. I didn't really think. I just did it.


HUNT: Wow.

And two explorers saving a dog from the bottom of a Virginia cave. The pair repelled 50 feet down, pulled the pup out three hours later.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I laid her down onto the ground, and a moment that she touched the ground, the tongue came out. You could tell she was -- it was -- it was a very clear excitement that she knew, you know, she was out of that -- that situation.


HUNT: Aww, yay.

All right. Coming up next here --


TRUMP: But this time it will be man to man, no moderators, no holds barred.


HUNT: Donald Trump challenging Joe Biden to another debate, trying to propose a new set of rules.

Plus, the maiden flight of Europe's Ariane-6 rocket ending with an anomaly.