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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Says Biden Should Be Tested For Drugs Before Debate; Arizona Community Feels For Migrants, But Rattled By Destruction, Drugs; Most Expensive Democratic Primary In U.S. History Gets Ugly. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 24, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Trump demands of drug tests before the debate, as we are getting new report into OUTFRONT this hour about a possible shift in strategy for Biden tonight.

Plus, the most expensive House primary race in American history, with everyone from AOC to Hillary Clinton weighing in. Who is favored to win in this crucial race tomorrow?

And we'll take you to the southern border tonight where a small community straddles both sides of a dangerous part of the border, what they're witnessing every day and what they fear is still to come.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, demanding a drug test.

So for President Trump now says President Biden should be tested for drugs. He's saying this three days before the presidential debate right here on CNN. In all caps, Trump tonight writing online, quote, drug tests for crooked Joe Biden, three exclamation points, I would also so immediately agree to one, three exclamation points.

Trump upping the ante on a distraction campaign in the final hours before the debate, making up a campaign out of thin air to accuse Biden of using drugs so he could stay alert during the upcoming debate. Just listen to what he's saying.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, crooked Joe has gone to a log cabin to study, repair -- no, he didn't -- he's sleeping now because they want to get them good and strong so a little before debate time, he gets a shot in the ass, and that's -- they wanted to strengthen him up. So he comes out, he'll come out -- okay, I say he'll come out all jacked up.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Okay, it is not just Trump who is pushing this dangerous line. So is Congressman Ronny Jackson. You may remember him, right? Because he started out as Trump's White House doctor, Obama's White House doctor actually back at one point.

Listen to him.


REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TX): I'm going to be demanding on behalf of many -- millions of concerned Americans right now that he's submit to a drug test before and after this debate, specifically looking for performance enhancing drugs.


BURNETT: It's quite ironic, but these calls for drug tests are coming from these two particular men. I mean, one is a doctor who always gave Trump a glowing bill of health, saying at one point it could live to 200, a doctor who actually do withdraw his nomination for the secretary of veterans affairs after being accused of writing prescriptions for -- well, what could have been illegal scripts for ambient and Percocet while serving as the White House doctor in Trump's administration.

As for Trump, if he is willing to take a test before the debate, that is new. I mean, remember Trump-allied after testing positive for COVID three days before the September 2020 debate between Trump and Biden, went out there with COVID right on stage in front of everybody, knew he had it, lied.

Days later, you'll remember Trump -- Trump was really sick. Trump had to be rushed to Walter Reed medical center for treatment, spent days there. It all comes as he is going all out to raise expectations for Biden, now maybe worried that he has set them too low.

Just listen to Trump now.


TRUMP: I watched him with Paul Ryan and he destroyed Paul Ryan -- Paul Ryan with the water. He was chugging water left and right. I didn't think a human being would be able to drink so much water at one time, and he beat Paul Ryan.

So I'm not underestimating him. I'm not underestimating him.


BURNETT: He's talking about a shot in you know what? And then trying to act serious as if he doesn't want underestimate him and look, it's all been part of a move for Trump, because just last month when it came to underestimating Biden, it was a very, very different thing. Trump wrote on May 15 on social media, crooked Joe Biden is the worst debater I've ever faced. He can't put two sentences together. Perhaps Trump is remembering what happened last time when he

successfully set the bar so low for Biden that it backfired. Just listened to the aftermath on Fox News.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think that Joe Biden clear the very low bar that had been set for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a very low bar that he was able to go over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bar should never have been set that low.


BURNETT: As for Biden, our Kayla Tausche has new reporting right now on the decisions taking place inside Biden's debate inner circle, and the preparations ongoing as we speak.

Kayla is OUTFRONT live outside the White House.

And what are you hearing right now about Biden's strategy and the shifts happening, Kayla?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, several prominent Democrats tell me that they've urged the Biden campaign to have the president take a different tack on the economy during Thursday's debate, moving away from his tendency to tout his accomplishments, instead focusing on the contrast of his plan with Trump's planned because they acknowledged that the messaging so far has not worked with voters.


The first sources that I spoke with who requested anonymity to describe some of these private deliberations with the campaign said that Biden is a lifelong politician, is perhaps too inclined to take credit where it's due, and recently he's been talking about the 15 million jobs created, the wage growth, the economy's ability to resist a recession. And while all true, voters and their feelings -- or feelings of deep frustration about the higher cost of living, which has persistently been among their top issues. And one of the reasons why they give Trump better marks on the economy.

Now, one of these sources when I asked how the campaign received that feedback, said simply, Klain gets it -- a reference to Ron Klain, Biden's longtime aid and his debate coach at Camp David right now. And Klain himself in recent months has made comments that Biden talks too much about all the bridges he's building around the country and doesn't spend enough time empathizing with the average voter.

To be clear, Biden's approval rating on the economy remains quite low. The campaign for its part points to a recent an ad that the president rolled out talking in -- to voters in battleground states about these struggles they faced to make ends meet. But he's going to have a delicate balancing act on Thursday to prove some of that progress while also acknowledging that voters don't necessarily feel it -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kayla, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, Tim Pawlenty, no stranger to big debate stages. He's, of course, the former Republican governor of Minnesota, 2012 presidential candidate. Also with me here, David Urban and Van Jones.

And since you're here, let me start with you. Van, Kayla's reporting on the economy. I was with President Biden a few weeks ago in Wisconsin when we were -- we began talking about the economy.

And I expected him to have more of that empathy and he didn't. He got defensive. He started listing the positives. Even when you would list all the things that people see, he didn't want to hear it.

I believe that prior to that interview, people had counseled him to change his message on the economy. He didn't want to do it. Do you think he will and do you think he can successfully?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think he is going to do the right thing. His great strength is empathy. He deeply cares about ordinary people and he's a proud man and he's proud because it's hard to land the economy where you -- where it is right now, as (INAUDIBLE) as he is, you do have inflation coming down, unemployment going up, that's called a soft landing.

He wants his credit, but trying to get credit yourself is a wrong way to go. I think what you're going get from Joe Biden is a proud defense of his record. He's going to go after to Donald Trump. He's also going to show you where he's going forward -- where he's going to go on the economy going forward. And that will be winning combination.

BURNETT: Well, that's crucial. And maybe this is the question, is Trump, who we know is pairing in a non-normal way, in non-standard way --


BURNETT: Non-traditional, but on something like this, traditional can matter because you want to be able to stand up there and know that the five points Biden's going to make in economy and you want to come back with every single one. By the way, anybody should be able to do that. The question is, will Trump be able to do that because he's not preparing in that way?

URBAN: No, but he's preparing -- listen, we kind of gloss over and forget the fact there was a second debate in 2020, right? Donald Trump didn't do so great in the first debate. That's what was referenced here earlier in the second debate, Donald Trump had commanded the facts. He did incredibly well and he won that debate, by all accounts he won that debate, but people weren't tuning in.

That Donald Trump I expect to show up on Thursday night and that Donald Trump will robot point by point by point. To Van -- Van makes this point all the time. If Joe Biden doesn't empathize with people who can't -- 56 percent of Americans can't put their hands on 1,000 bucks. And when the check engine light comes on to your car, as Van talked about this before. It's a crisis of those people. If Joe Biden can't empathize, they make those people out there feel like he understands their pain --

BURNETT: But if you can.

URBAN: That's going to a challenge, right?

BURNETT: So, Tim, Governor Pawlenty, what do you think Joe Biden needs to do? I mean, especially on this issue of the economy where he does tend to get defensive as opposed to empathetic recently, how can you change that?

TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, he's been talking about the economy for a long time and I think one of the problems is while the rate of inflation, if increase in inflation is slowing down, it's coming off a much larger base after raging inflation for the last two years.

BURNETT: And prices are still going off is what you're also saying. Yeah.

PAWLENY: Well, there's still going up, but they're also in absolute terms up dramatically compared to a couple of years ago. So when you buy bread, milk, gas, other thing in your life that's sort of core to you. It's a lot more expensive and people aren't stupid. They feel that. So you could say the rates come down from 7 percent to 3 percent, but they still feel -- they're paying a lot more and that's why he's losing that argument.

On the another issue though, Erin, the ante for him is he has to show in this debate that he has the requisite physical and mental energy and strength to be president for four more years. And if you look at the polling on -- in swing states amongst independent and persuadable voters, that's still a big issue.


So if he goes in there and does not repeat a performance like the state of the state, those questions are going to linger, and it's going to matter.

BURNETT: I mean, Van, that is the thing. Everybody is going to be watching him. Watching him. They're going to be watching his blinking. They're going to be watching that, but they are, right?

URBAN: Our colleague Jamal made that point on Sunday, truthfully, arresting old man face.

BURNETT: But they're going to be staring at that. Here's a good thing about that Donald Trump is a force of nature. Donald Trump is a runaway train. Donald Trump is a grizzly bear. If you can go in there and hold your own with him for an hour-and-a-half, you couldn't -- I couldn't. If you're Joe Biden, you pull that off, then you are fit to be president.

This goes both ways but --

BURNETT: It's like tortoise and the hare.


JONES: It goes both ways.

Trump is making a big mistake here. He is setting expectations so high for himself but don't forget, you're taking away a lot of stuff from Donald Trump. He's used to.

He loves to have the oxygen of that crowd. He won't have it. He loves to be able to run over people. They're going to mute him.

This is the first time you get to see Donald Trump without the crowd and without his ability to bully people, and Donald Trumps got some challenges, too. Now, he loved to talk about Joe Biden. Donald Trump --

BURNETT: Let me ask you about that because -- he had a self-awareness that he does not often display about this issue. He gave an interview to Byron York at "The Washington Examiner". He said about this exact issue of not having an audience. He said you have no audience to read to me, the audience is easier because its telling you so what is going on in directly with applause or not applause.

So, he knows this is an issue to him.

URBAN: Yeah. So at the rally, that you guys didn't watch, I watched on Saturday night. Trump would out to the crowd, said, how should I taught, how should I interact with Joe Biden? Should I be nice to him? Boo. Should I mean to him? Yay, right?

So he gets it. He understands politics at a visceral level. And so, by not having that crowd, you're exactly right. He's not going to get a sense of if those punches are landing or are they not, right?

JONES: He doesn't -- he doesn't -- he doesn't read books. He reads people. That's Donald Trump.

And so that's why him not preparing doesn't matter, in his mind because you're just reading a crowd. There'll be no crowd.

BURNETT: Right. So, Governor, let me ask you about that because he was asked in a podcast how he's preparing and he answered in what seems to be pretty honest way at least, and what everyone around him and who knows him seems to say, let me play it for you, Governor.


TRUMP: People say, how are you preparing? I'm preparing by taking questions from you and others if you think about it, we had a great meeting just now and Philadelphia with the -- at the -- at the shop. You saw that with all the wonderful people. We just left, Faith and Freedom in D.C. And that was incredible. We

had an incredible crowd.


BURNETT: Governor, actually telling there that while he's talking about how he prepares, which is to sort of have conversations with people and do interviews. He brings up the crowd and the incredible -- uses the word incredible to talk about crowds twice. I mean, he's going to be feeling it in that room.

What do you think about his style of preparations such that he's always done it in this environment where the mics get cut and he has no audience? You might get very bored in that room. There's only three people.

PAWLENTY: Well, keep in mind, Erin, the most important thing for this race, for these candidates is not all the people that are already commenting or made up their minds. It's just those people in the swing states who are independent or persuadable.

And if Donald Trump, because of the reasons you just mentioned, has to dial back his tone 10 percent or 15 percent or 20 percent, for those people, the people who are wondering is Joe Biden too old? Is he wrong on immigration? Is he wrong on wokeness? Is he wrong on crime?

Or is Trump too crazy to be president again? When it faced see a more subdued Donald Trump for that sub-segment of the electorate, it might actually be helpful.

BURNETT: Right, if he doesn't -- you know, now all the memes going around him about talking about sharks and whatever it is that he does on his verbal cul-de-sac at rallies, basically, if he avoids that book, look, is that his hurdle?

JONES: Sure. But just don't forget, his base expects him to go out there for and whip some butt, and the expectations for Trump are so higher. Everybody talked about the low expectations -- he's got to somehow, Donald Trump now, be this entertainer, this wrestler type of a guy for his base. He's also got to be calm and measured to deal with people --

BURNETT: He's got to have all those facts, ready and be prepared.

JONES: He's got to do 50 different things. So everybody is going to be expecting it the problem to all be on Biden side. All Biden has to do is be Joe Biden. We already know that he's old. We already know the --


JONES: We already know his deficits. But what we haven't seen from him is that big heart, that big empathy, and his ability to see it across the table from Donald Trump as you people can or ever have and deliver.

(CROSSTALK) URBAN: That's probably my money still on Trump. Despite all the hurdles Van's laid in front of him, my money is still on Donald Trump.

BURNETT: But you just got to hope that some people in this country --


URBAN: -- shown up with the W on Thursday night.

BURNETT: Some people watch and say, you know what, maybe I'm just not going to cry about the two choices I have it.


Some people walk away feeling positive in some way, I guess we should all take that as a win for the country.

JONES: I got my money on Biden.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all.

And next, breaking news on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, just striking a deal with the Biden administration. So what does it mean?

Plus, tempers fly in Trump's classified documents case. Judge Aileen Cannon hearing after hearing today, appearing skeptical of placing a gag order on the man who appointed her and made her a judge in the first place.

And it is the most expensive Democratic primary ever, with AOC and Bernie Sanders putting everything on the line to save one of their own.

But are the progressives turning off voters?



BURNETT: And breaking news, we are learning of a plea deal for Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder that would allow him to avoid prison in the United States, a major development. The WikiLeaks founder agreeing to plead guilty to a felony charge related to his alleged role in one of the largest ever breaches of classified material in American history.

Now what that deal would do would be to allow Assange to leave that high-security London prison where he's been for years stuck in London, and he would be allowed to return to his native Australia.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

And, Evan, what more can you tell us about what looks to be from what I just laid out, at least, right, a huge win for Julian Assange.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Erin. Look, the fact is that the Julian Assange under the terms of this agreement will be pleading guilty to one count. He was facing 18 counts in total in the Eastern District of Virginia. But under this deal, he will present himself in a federal court in Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory. And if everything is approved by the judge on Wednesday, he could be very soon after that on his way to his home country of Australia.

And that's something that the Australian government has been pushing and has gotten some, certainly some tentative approval of the former -- President Biden who expressed some sympathy for the idea of dismissing these charges.

Now under the terms of this deal, Assange will essentially get time served. He's been in a British prison since 2019, since he was charged and has been fighting extradition to the United States. He was -- he was opposed to presenting himself to a federal court in the continental United States, according to a letter that was just filed in federal court in Saipan.

BURNETT: So, Evan, you know, interesting that political layers to this. He has become a political lightning rod, the Assange case, for quite some time, Trump is implied is a political prisoner its said that he would seriously considering pardoning him if he wins.

How controversial is this Assange decision coming at this time from the Biden administration? Given the fact again that what this goes back to is his role in one of the largest breaches of American classified material in history?

PEREZ: Right, exactly. And for those reasons, there was a lot of opposition within the Justice Department within the FBI about any deal to send him back to Australia without at least some kind of resolution of the charges here in the United States. And so, what I'm told is the fact that he is going to plead guilty to a felony, obviously, has assuaged some of those concerns, but Erin absolutely as you pointed out, this is a deal that also he was -- he was indicted during the Trump administration. So the former president has been on all sides of this yes.

BURNETT: Yes, important to point that out.

All right. Evan, thank you very much.

And also tonight, quote, I don't appreciate your tone. Those are the exact words from the Trump-appointed judge, Aileen Cannon. She was scolding the prosecutor in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case today, also today appearing skeptical about placing a gag order on former president Trump in the case. A gag order that two other judges notably not appointed by Trump had imposed on him and other cases.

Well, today is the second of three days of hearings Canada is calling for and these hearings are on various issues. The basic legality of the special counsel's appointment is actually one of them that is a question that other courts have refused to even take up. This is all coming in a case the judge cannon has delayed indefinitely. There is no trial date and that has come much to the delight of Donald Trump. OUTFRONT now, conservative lawyer George Conway.

So, George, just to start with this gag order hearing, as they pointed out, there is a gag order, in other cases, and again, today, Judge Aileen Cannon refusing to impose one in this one. How significant is that?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: Well, I think it's disturbing. I think it's disturbing in that the dependent here, a criminal, a convict actually went out and made statements that were so inflammatory. They presented a danger to FBI agents.

He made statements through his campaign that the government --

BURNETT: They came to assassinate him, right?

CONWAY: He came to assassinate him and given his history, given the fact that he was held in contempt of court ten times in the New York case, given the fact that he's already a convicted felon, given the fact that he was subject to a gag order in the D.C. case before Judge Chutkan and given the fact that he incited an insurrection on January 6, 2021, would seem to be there are very compelling case which -- in which the court should consider fashioning some kind of an order designed to restrict his ability to make statements.

I think if he had been any other defendant let alone one with such a megaphone and let alone with such a track record, let alone, but convicted felon, I think he might already be in jail. The order might have already been entered, modifying his conditions of relief, at least any probably would've violated already.


So it's really, really hard to understand her skepticism here. I understand it can be difficult to draft these orders and to make them clear and make them consistent with the First Amendment. But here, they are showing --

BURNETT: That's the judge's job. That's the judge's job.


BURNETT: So, George, let me ask you these hearings because now there's a whole bunch of them, right? Second of three days of hearings on various topics, including whether Jack Smith should even be allowed to be a special counsel or not, right, whether that's even constitutional.

When you take a step back and I know, obviously your feelings on Judge Cannon's behavior all the way through this, but are any of these hearings in your view, would any of them or any of them necessary? Would any of them be heard by another judge?

CONWAY: Well, I think the motion to disqualify or to hold the special counsel's appointment was unconstitutional. I mean, that might have warranted like a 30-minute hearing. It certainly didn't warn an all day hearing. It certainly didn't warrant the introduction of amicus curiae, both briefs and argument.

And it certainly -- I mean, it's just a meritless argument the definition of what an inferior officer is, is somebody who reports to somebody else. And if you're an inferior officer under the Constitution, which the special counsel clearly is because by regulations created by the attorney general, he reports to the attorney general and can be removed by the attorney general, there's just no question that under the Constitution of the United States Senate confirmation is not required.

And the notion that she spent all day fussing around with this is absurd, particularly, there's an on-point D.C. Circuit opinion where the D.C. Circuit roundly rejected the challenge to special counsel Mueller's appointment of few years ago.

BURNETT: So let me ask you because I know that if she were to rule against Jack Smith in these cases, faces or his appointment that would give him a chance to move to have her removed. You might succeed. This case could continue.

I saw something interesting though that was a little bit different. I wanted to ask you about, George, was a professor at George Washington Law School. It was a tweet and I was reading it, wanted to get your thoughts.

So he had another suggestion for the DOJ to work around him and if she rules, Smith was constitutionally -- not constitutionally appointed and he can't serve.

So he said, it says -- the government should not appeal. Instead, have the U.S. attorney in Florida refile the same charges in a new case. Hope the case is reassigned to a different judge and then have special counsel prosecutors designated as special assistant U.S. attorneys in Florida to continue their prosecution of Trump.

He says that but end up being a much quicker process. What do you make that argument?

CONWAY: I mean, I think it's an interesting gambit and actually Randy Eliason and I had an exchange about this on X, and I think the problem with his suggestion is that the next case that would be filed by the U.S. attorney in lieu of the special counsel could also easily under the local rules, as I read them, go to Judge Cannon because there arguably would be it would be efficient to have the same judge handle that next case.

Let's leave a part the question of whether or not she's competent and biased. So, you know, the argument on the professor Eliason is suggesting is that the rule only applies to the assignment of cases where there's an existing present case already before the court, but I think the rule actually could go beyond that.

And so, I wouldn't -- I'm not all sure that that Professor Eliason's gambit would work.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate this context to it. It's an interesting idea to consider as we are, we are in this sort of Alice in Wonderland world where these are the kinds of conversations were happening.

All right. George, thanks. Great to see you.

CONWAY: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, with over 50 years of practice, Biden has had is ups and downs on the debate stage.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey.


BURNETT: One of his favorite words.

Plus, Trump facing new backlash tonight after proposing what he's calling a migrant league of fighters, UFC style.



BURNETT: Tonight, blanketing the airwaves. President Biden ripping into Trump's 34 felonies and Trump's tax breaks for the rich and nonstop ads ahead of the debate in Georgia.


AD NARRATOR: In the courtroom, we see Donald Trump for who he is. He's been convicted of 34 felonies, found liable for sexual assault, and he committed financial fraud.

AD NARRATOR: Those of us in the middle-class are getting crushed right now. The biggest corporations jack up prices on everything, and then they don't even pay their share of taxes. Its total bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to be honest.


BURNETT: Are these a preview of what's to come on the debate stage this week?

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT with the ups and downs of Biden's many debate performances.


FORMER GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: Thank you. Thank you. May I call, Joe?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a stage Joe Biden knows well. BIDEN: Would you shut, man?


SERFATY: For over 50 years of public office he's appeared on numerous debates, stages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates increase growth. Ronald Reagan --

BIDEN: Now, you're Jack Kennedy.


SERFATY: As a multi time presidential candidate, vice presidential candidate, Senate candidate, and now incumbent president.

BIDEN: You know who I am, you know who he is. You know his character, you know, my character. You know, our reputations for honor and telling the truth.

SERFATY: Creating memorable moments by seizing an opening.

BIDEN: Rudy Giuliani, there's -- there's only three things he mentioned in the sentence, a noun and a verb and 9/11.

SERFATY: Showing off his folksy personality --

BIDEN: With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey.

MODERATOR: And why is that so?

BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate.

SERFATY: Pushing his opponent --

TRUMP: I'm willing to do anything -- I want to see peace --

MODERATOR: Then, do it, sir.

BIDEN: Say it. Do it. Say it.

TRUMP: Do you want to call 'em? What do you want to call 'em? Give me a name, give me --

MODERATOR: White supremacists and white --


BIDEN: Proud Boys.

BIDEN: Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.

SERFATY: And punching back.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago. He's still right today.

BIDEN: I'm still holding on to that torch.

SERFATY: Moments, which went on to help him.

BIDEN: I'm the only one in this stage that actually got anything done on health care.


SERFATY: But Biden has also had plenty of harmful moments.

BIDEN: We can do this by making sure that were in a position that we in fact allow people.

SERFATY: Backing away from a direct challenge from his future vice president.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You also worked with them to oppose busing.

BIDEN: I agree that everybody wants -- in fact, my time is up. I'm sorry.

SERFATY: Stepping into scrutiny with his penchant for gaffes.

MODERATOR: "The Los Angeles Times" said: In addition to his uncontrolled verbosity, Biden is a gaffe machine. Can you reassure if voters in this country that you would have the discipline you would need on the world stage, Senator?


MODERATOR: Thank you, Senator Biden.

SERFATY: And more enduring dents that still haunt his reputation.

BIDEN: My ancestors who worked in the coal mines in northeast Pennsylvania, new come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours.

SERFATY: From nearly 40 years ago when he was accused of plagiarism on the debate stage.

BIDEN: It's because they didn't have a platform upon which to stand.


SERFATY (on camera): And many believed that that debate performance in those accusations of plagiarism was what sunk his first bid for the White House. Now, fast forward nearly 40 years later here, Erin, this debate he's facing, one of a kind for him. He has acknowledged in the past that he says all debates are tough and certainly this will be no exception.

And tomorrow, we will be looking at former President Trump and his past debate performances over the years.

BURNETT: All right. Sunlen, thank you. And that, of course, is tomorrow night here.

Tonight, now, though, CNN anchor Chris Wallace, who's been covering politics for decades, moderating debates, including, we heard your voice there, Chris, of course, because you were involved in the Trump- Biden debate, the last one in 2020.

So covering Biden a long time and let's just start that last sound bite that Sunlen played, you know, a Biden that too many is not even recognizable, but that gives a sense of how long he has been doing this, you know, 40-plus years he has been doing debates. What strikes you the most about his debating style?

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, what strikes me most just watching all of those clips and good evening, Erin, is how much he quite frankly has aged even from 2020, when you watch him in the debate with Swalwell, and Kamala Harris back in 2020, he's definitely -- the years I'm taking something of a toll and I think it's going to be one of the biggest issues.

You know, people talk about his mental acuity, his physical vigor. You know, I think so often and one experience I've had from almost 50 years of covering presidential debates, it's often not -- you know, people aren't sitting there with a legal patterns and say, well, here are the pluses for this candidate and here are the pluses for that candidate. They're just getting a sense and that's one of the things people have got to get a sense from Joe Biden on Thursday night that he's up to the job for four more years.

BURNETT: And you talk about the change in his physical appearance and his I guess just even his ability to hang in there and that honestly, Chris is what we hear from everybody. I don't think anybody watching hasn't heard that from people they talk to.

However, there's also this conversation out there about, well, maybe Trump is just as bad, but in a different way and no ones looking at it the same way. I mean, he makes a lot of gaffes. He makes a lot of nonsensical cul-de-sac statements that we even read them are completely -- there's absolutely no point that anyone can ascertain from them.

Here are some examples.


TRUMP: The Biden border will -- well, you know this, right? The Biden border bill.

Did you just see Maduro, Venezuela (ph) -- unbelievable.

We are a nation that should that just recently heard that Saudi Arabia and Russia will repeat -- will be reducing.

He's a man. Viktor Orban, did anyone ever hear of him? He's probably like one of the strongest leaders anywhere in the world and he -- he is the leader of -- right, he is the leader of Turkey.

Nikki Haley, you know, they -- do you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it, all of it, because of lots of things like Nikki Haley is in charge of security.


BURNETT: And obviously, Chris, just a point in Nikki Haley, he meant Nancy Pelosi, Viktor Orban, he meant hungry, not Turkey. There were some slurring there.

Lately, there's been sort of stories he's been telling about water. You've probably seen them on Twitter and how nobody has any water and he goes on this long thing about washing machines and showers and something. And it literally is nonsensical.

Do you think people just see that differently because he presents it with so much energy?

WALLACE: Yeah. I mean, look, as we see the debate and we're going to sit there and watch it together, I'm happy to say, on Thursday night, you know, people will get a sense -- but optics are important. I mean, if somebody makes terrible misstatements or terrible gaffes, that's part of it, but also just physical optics. And there's no question that Biden presents strong, stronger, younger, more energetic, even though as you point out he has had his share of gaffes.


Just to give you an example, though the first presidential debate in 1960 between Kennedy and Nixon, Nixon's greatest strength was that he had been vice president for eight years, that he had an experience gap, gravitas gap over John Kennedy.

They went into that first debate. Kennedy had a dark tan. He had a dark suit against a gray background. He looked terrific. Nixon was still recovering from a serious staph infection. He lost ten pounds. He was sweating, his eyes were shifty, and the gravitas gap went right out the window in that one debate.

And I don't think Nixon never recovered. That's -- it's so often and I've been covering this debates, not since 1960, although I watched that one, but since 1980, and so often it's not some big declaration of policy or some great choice of words. Its just your sense of who do I feel more comfortable running the country for the next four years, particularly with, as we say, this is down to about 6 percent of the voters and six swing states.

And, you know, where a lot of us have made up our minds because of issues, these guys, these voters haven't particularly, and a lot of it will just be their impression of who they feel more comfortable with that the end of those 90 minutes.

BURNETT: I mean, it is -- it is really incredible and you talk about that Nixon moment. I mean, right. Studied in schools and every sign of constitutional class, right? Everyone studies at that moment, right, as a telling moment for the power of television.

You know, just thinking here about Biden today, I've mentioned right coming into you about these ads calling Trump criminal and a felon. And they have hinted his campaign, Chris, that he's going to bring this up at the debate, the 34 felony counts I don't know how he would do it, calling them a felon do you how do you think that will play? Because I'm thinking about moments like that in the context of there being no audience.

WALLACE: Well, you know, the problem with that from Biden's point of view, as you certainly can and probably will bring that up. But, of course, then the president, President Trump can hit back on Hunter Biden and his convictions, and the Biden crime family.

I said suspect that there will be a lot of moments of serious policy in this debate. And I think they're also going to be some moments that are going to make people quite uncomfortable with just how personal and mean it gets.

That's just the nature of these of these two candidates, and the fact that they've had so much experience with each other. And frankly, both of them have some vulnerabilities that can be hit.

BURNETT: Right. And they truly, truly despise each other. I mean, it's hard to hide that when you're in front of a camera for 90 minutes, they will be heat with no one else in the room.

All right. Thanks so much, Chris, and, of course, I'll be with you.

And next, we're going to take you to one community that essentially straddles the U.S. border with Mexico, and what they're seeing tonight will surprise you.

Plus, it is the most expensive Democratic primary ever, one that is putting some of the biggest names in politics like Hillary Clinton and AOC against it each other. Who will win?



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump doubling down on what he calls a migrant league of fighters. His proposal, an ultimate fighting championship style match fought by migrants who have crossed the southern border into the United States. The mind-boggling proposal comes as our David Culver tells the story of a community in Arizona that essentially straddles both sides of the border, one community, and the impact of the migrant surge is being felt in a huge way.

David has the story you're seeing first here OUTFRONT.


CHAIRMAN VERLON JOSE, TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION: Here, of a mile, you're going to start to see a lot of debris, a lot of trash.


JOSE: Just the migrants. The migrants because their -- they just leave all that. I see clothes, I see trash.

CULVER (voice-over): The Tohono O'Odham Nation's sacred land is bearing the brunt of migration.

JOSE: Your heart feels for the migrants and so forth like that, but then other part says, look at the destruction that they're causing us. Look at the trash that they're leaving -- what that jargon --

CULVER: About 30 miles west of Tucson, Arizona, the reservation essentially straddles the U.S. southern border, which is marked by a simple cattle fence.

JOSE: This is a semi-go gate, traditional crossing.

CULVER: The tribe's chairman, Verlon Jose, says a border wall here would ruin their traditional land.

JOSE: This is where the Creator had put us.

CULVER: You don't see a boundary.

JOSE: And we don't see a boundary.

CULVER: But migrants do. And so do cartels, which used the Tohono O'odham's land as a profitable crossing ground.

JOSE: There's an area right up here where they just turn around, drop them out of town (ph), just go across there.

CULVER: We see that for ourselves.

Oh, look, crossing, write your company this right there. Go ahead.


CULVER: To request asylum. They're from Mexico.

Dropped off with her three kids, Norma says she was told to walk towards a makeshift camp, even in the scorching desert heat. She believes where she's headed will be better than what she's left behind.

She works for a political party directly in Mexico and she says her political party lost. She said the surge in violence and danger is so much so that she and her --


CULVER: Her kids have decided to cross than to the U.S.

So, the tribe allowed to Border Patrol to set up a structure for the folks who do come over until they're processed.


Everyone we meet here, mostly families from the same country.


CULVER: Even the chairman intrigued with how they ended up in such a remote part of the border.

JOSE: Where exactly --

CULVER: I asked and that's the thing. I said, do you know where we are? She didn't even know --


CULVER: She has no idea where -- where we are right now.

Chairman Jose believes cartels are behind it.

JOSE: It's a business. It's a business that doesn't play by the rules.

CULVER: It's in part where the tribe coordinates with Customs and Border Protection, allowing them to set up substations on Tohono O'odham land, along with several towers armed with far-reaching high- definition cameras. So they're searching from the air as well as the grounds here. The border patrol often deploying to stop threats or to rescue stranded migrants.

Members of the tribe have noticed an increase in violence and crime, motivating some to turn to their Catholic faith. Prayers for safety and security echoed more than 1,000 miles south of tribal territory in the outskirts of Mexico City.

It's here we again meet Norma, days after we watched her and her kids cross the border good.

It's really emotional for her the Virgin of Guadalupe and she carries this card with her and her constant prayer to the virgin was to protect her kids more than anything else.

Forty-eight hours after crossing into the U.S., Border Patrols send Norma and her kids back to Mexico just days after the Biden administration took executive action on the border, allowing for swift deportation of most migrants after a daily cap is reached.

And it wasn't until they were physically at the border that she realized they were going to be sent back to Mexico.

The sixth day journey cost Norma more than $8,000 and ended where it started, back in the neighborhood where she still feels the threats of political oppression.

She says she feels okay going out right now because we're here and we're together, but she was by herself like normally she would only go out on Saturday in the middle of the day.

She says that her recommendation for others who may want to try to cross the way that she did is don't try it.

While Norma has no plans to cross again, back on Tohono O'odham land.

JOSE: Sometimes I'll come up here by myself just going to need a little solitude.

CULVER: Chairman Jose fears without Congress coming together across party lines, migrants and drugs will continue to cross his sacred land.

JOSE: It has a major impact on us. We're not here to lay blame on who's -- who's responsible for this because I think we all do whatever it is. Get protect this land, yeah.

That's all I got, my blood, sweat and tears, I got nothing more.


CULVER (on camera): Perhaps not all that surprising, Erin, going into this presidential election, the big issue for many of the members of the tribe is going to be immigration. Now the chairman says he's open to both candidates personally coming down and touring the border, width him. In fact, he invited both Biden and Trump is yet to hear back.

One thing he is adamant about is having a border wall divide that tribal landscape. He said, if there was a wall that were to have been built, there would have been done say 500 years ago to stop the original migration surge from Europe -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And next, the most expensive Democratic primary in history. And what happens in this one race could have major ramifications for the party in November.



BURNETT: Tonight, the future of the Democratic Party is on the line. New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman a progressive member of the so- called Squad, facing unrelenting attacks in what has become the most expensive race in the country. Allies like AOC and Bernie Sanders showing their support in any way they can.

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Closing arguments in a brittle and pricing Democratic primary.

GEORGE LATIMIER, NY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY CANDIDATE: Progressive champion at some ultra-conservative old white guy.

MARQUEZ: Pitting George Latimer, a moderate, longtime local politician against progressive incumbent Jamaal Bowman.

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): We're going to show them who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) we are!

MARQUEZ: Many in his suburban New York district mostly in wealthy Westchester County, and a small slice of the Bronx have had enough of Bowman's progressive politics.

What's motivating your vote?

MARTY BLAND, DEMOCRATIC NEW YORK VOTER: My like for Latimer, number one. Number two, I just don't associate myself with that whole -- what do they call that? Crew -

MARQUEZ: Progressive, the Squad?

BLAND: The Squad.

MARQUEZ: Bowman voters say they prefer his youthful energy and progressive message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bowman has a better outlook on the future.

MARQUEZ: And bowman who also champions racial justice, including for migrants and Medicare for all, is a member of the squad and has major support from progressive heavyweights.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Let's win this election.

MARQUEZ: But Bowman's rhetoric around Israel and its war in Gaza --

BOWMAN: There's still no evidence of beheaded babies or raped women --

Seventy-five years of military occupation.

MARQUEZ: And his anti-Israeli openly pro-Palestinian stance attracting enormous amounts of money from pro-Israel groups to oust Bowman.

It's the most expensive Democratic primary ever, nearly $25 million spent from outside groups, and the campaigns themselves. United Democracy Project, the super PAC for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, alone has spent nearly $15 million on this one race.

The money being spent by AIPAC enraging the progress some left.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Because Jamaal Bowman dared to speak up for Palestinians.

SANDERS: This election is about whether or not the billionaire class and the oligarchs will control the United States government.

MARQUEZ: Bowman trying to turn this spending disadvantage into a political asset.

BOWMAN: We are going to show the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) AIPAC the power of mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) South Bronx.

MARQUEZ: But for many voters here, Jewish and otherwise, Bowman's take on the war in Gaza, the very last straw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to vote for Latimer because I would rather anybody in office than Jamaal Bowman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's an antisemitic piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


MARQUEZ: So what you hear in that voters voice is anger and that is driving a lot of people out and keep in mind Erin, these Democratic primaries, very, very small numbers, turnouts. There's about 250,000 Democratic voters total in this is driving a lot of people out.

And keep in mind, Erin, these Democratic primaries, very, very small numbers, turnouts. There's about 250,000 Democratic voters total in this -- in this congressional district of very small number will turn out. Bowman has tried to apologize and apologized for some of the things he said, but for many voters we're talking to, it's just not enough -- Erin.

BURNETT: That was incredible, the passion of that voter there.

Thanks, Miguel.

And thanks to all of you.

"AC360" starts now.