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Erin Burnett Outfront

Supreme Court: Trump Entitled To Some Immunity In January 6 Case; Biden Campaign Holds Calls To Reassure Donors After Debate; Biden On Trump Immunity Ruling: "No One Is Above The Law". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Breaking news, President Biden about to speak on the Supreme Court's ruling that gives Donald Trump some immunity in the January 6 case. We're going to bring you the president's remarks live

Plus, tone deaf. New CNN reporting that that's exactly how some Democrats are describing the Biden campaign's response to calls for the president to drop out of the 2024 race. I'll speak with the top Democratic donor about whether he plans to stick by the president.

And Trump's take. Does a former president believes he's better off facing off against Joe Biden in November or someone else. We have new reporting tonight.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, President Biden about to break his silence on that major support Supreme Court decision, which gives Donald Trump sweeping immunity for some official actions during his presidency.

And that may include some of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Biden's speech from the White House expected to take place this hour. And we will bring that to you live.

Today's decision by the Supreme Court essentially puts a stop to Donald Trump's January 6 case. You're recall it was scheduled to start back on March 4th. Of course, that didn't happen. This ruling though could also affect his other cases.

The former president celebrating tonight, writing the Supreme Court decision is a much more powerful one than some had expected to be. It is brilliantly written and wise, and clears the stench from the Biden trials and hoaxes, all of them that have been used as an unfair attack on crooked Joe Biden's political opponent, me.

Now, I probably don't need to say this again, but I will. There is absolutely no evidence that Biden is behind Trump's legal problems. Also important to note to these opinion does not clear Trump from most of the charges he is facing.

Our Ryan Goodman with "Just Security" says Trump could actually still be prosecuted for his false electors scheme , his ellipse speech on January 6, and for possibly putting pressure on Mike Pence to overturn the election.

As for special counsel, Jack Smith, well, his team now grappling with what charges and what evidence could actually be considered an official action of the president.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing: Like everyone else, the president is subject to prosecution in his unofficial capacity. But unlike anyone else, the president is a branch of government. And the Constitution vests in him sweeping powers and duties.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a scathing dissent, calling the majority, quote, deeply wrong, added the court effectively creates a law-free zone around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding.

Katelyn Polantz is OUTFRONT live outside the Supreme Court tonight.

So, Katelyn, what happens now in terms of the January 6 trial and the charges that Donald Trump was facing with the immunity decision now coming into play?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Erica, what's next is that the trial court where this case still exists against Donald Trump. There's a lot of work to do. That is what's going to be happening next. It's going to go back down to the district court judge in Washington, Tanya Chutkan, who oversees this proceeding.

The special counsel's office is going to have things to say about this opinion and what it means for the case. Trump's team also is likely to have a lot of arguments to the judge as well. She'll have to make sense of it. But one thing that is also clear here, and this is clear, not just from the majority opinion, but from the concurrence from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, she spells it out in the plaintiffs language that she believes the court, these six justices that came together for the majority here, that they believe more appeals are going to be needed if the case proceeds forward in the way that it is shaped right now.

They cut out the part of the case today where Donald Trump is facing charges related to what he was saying to justice department officials such as Jeffrey Clark. That's not part of it anymore. But there's going to be further appeals very likely on all of the other pieces of the indictment.

If the special counsel wants to keep trying to take Trump to trial on those, there are several different pieces of them. One, communications with the vice president. That's going to be the hardest thing for the court to work through here, Erica. That's the thing that could lead to hearings even witnesses or testimony coming into play before Judge Chutkan and lots of other questions on appeal. Is that protected speech or protected under this presidential immunity decision.

And then there are other things that the court is a little bit even clearer on where they say the fake electors scheme, the pressuring of state officials, public campaign speech of someone like Donald Trump running for president, and also the efforts he took with private advisers, people like Rudy Giuliani or Sidney Powell, those to the Supreme Court. That's all pretty clearly not part of what can be a protected official acts of the presidency.


So timing is going to be a big question. How quickly it gets back down to the court. That's the next step. And something we're going to be watching every single day.

HILL: Yeah, absolutely. Katelyn, appreciate it. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now, Ty Cobb, former Trump White House lawyer.

Good to have you with us.

So, you actually signed onto a brief earlier this year arguing presidential immunity should not shield Trump from prosecution over his actions while in office. So how do you feel about today's decision?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I think today's decision for the most part, in largely anticipated that they would draw a line that was pretty clear from the oral argument and from the precedents that they were working with, particularly U.S. versus Nixon and Fitzgerald that that line would have something to do with the official acts that they were going to do, something like that.

I think they went a little further than I anticipated. I'm disappointed a little bit and confused bit by the elimination of the Jeffrey Clark piece of the case and also the inability to use evidence pertaining to official acts with regard to some of the crimes. But they were always going to draw a constitutional line here, a separation of powers line, and they drew it, and it's a tight line, but it's not aligned that eliminates this case. Jack Smith can proceed, you know, should he decide to? I'm sure he will in some form.

Whether he streamlines the case, whether he does a superseding indictment, those are all strategic decisions that well see in the upcoming weeks. But this case is not dead.

POLANTZ: I was struck by I think number of people were just how sharp the dissent was from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote, in every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law, orders the Navy SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune, immune, immune, immune.

What's your reaction to her very strong dissent?

COBB: So I thought her dissent was a little hysterical and it really offered no analysis. A lot of -- a lot of screaming, no analysis. And I think that was unfortunate. I'm disappointed that Justice Kagan didn't write a dissent that sharply focused on the separation of powers issues which are the core issues here.

You can't design a rule that is solely about Trump without putting the democracy at risk and eliminating some of the restraints that have historically gotten us through 250 years. Separation the powers is the cornerstone of the Constitution and as much as I wish, Trump would get his come up and sin is due for his evil conduct the reality is you just can't go out and have a result-oriented effort by the Supreme Court needs to be based on principle and precedent.

And I think for the most part this is, I'm -- I was disappointed that Justice Sotomayor didn't address at all the separation of powers issue, which is what the case was decided on.

HILL: Sources are also telling my colleague Paula Reid, Donald Trump's team for its part, is likely to use this ruling today, this opinion, as part of its challenge, part of their challenge, the New York hush money criminal verdict. They also didn't come into play in the Mar-a- Lago case.

But I know you see the biggest impact especially to talking about evidence here in the Georgia case. Walk me through why.

COBB: Well, I think, you know, one of the issues obviously wasn't presented today, but his now starkly out there is how does a state court judge rule on the federal issues of official acts?

I think that's -- I think that's going to be a complicated dance for Judge McAfee, who is a very competent, very good judge. I think that they're going to be motions to dismiss based on immunity in that case that will further drag that case out and it's already complicated, of course, by the compromising conduct of the district attorney and her and her former chief prosecutor.

So I think that case is really, really struggling, and I think they immunity issues here on the federal side will be very complicated to apply there. I also -- also think, you know, you'll see Trump uses emotions everywhere. But as far as the New York case goes, keep in mind the whole picks, conversations the White House conversations were not the gravamen of her evidence. The real -- the real focus of her evidence was the impact on the campaign, which is pre-White House and pre-immunity.

HILL: Right. Ty Cobb, great to have you tonight. Thank you.

COBB: My pleasure. Nice to be with you.

HILL: OUTFRONT now, noted constitutional scholar and Harvard law school professor Laurence Tribe.

So I know you just heard Ty Cobb's assessment, his thoughts on the ruling. What's your reaction tonight?

LAURENCE TRIBE, CONSTITUTINAL LAW PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, my reaction is to agree entirely with Justice Sotomayor and Justice Jackson in their dissents.

I'm afraid, much as I respect Ty Cobb, I couldn't disagree more with his characterization of the dissents as hysterical.


It's a little bit like what the chief justice said. He called it fearmongering. That sounds pretty sexist to me.

There was plenty of analysis, much more analysis. As a law professor, I would grade the analysis of separation of powers in the dissenting opinions A plus in one case, A in the other, I won't say which.

And I would give my former student, John Roberts, B-minus. His opinion doesn't rely on any intelligent dissection of a separation of powers. He makes it up as it goes along. He has nothing absolutely nothing to say about the important hypotheticals that the justices in dissent pointed out.

And they weren't just hypothetical. They came up in the oral argument. The immunity that the majority granted was even greater than that, which the president's lawyer, John Sawyer, asked for.

To begin with, the delay itself gives the president de facto absolute immunity. More than that, the dissenters especially Justice Jackson, pointed out that the court has it upside down almost like the upside down flag that Alito flew has an upside down when it says that if the president uses as a official powers to commit crimes all crimes, apparently including murder, then he gets either absolute immunity if the power is at the absolute core or presumptive immunity, which is a vague notion if the immunity is for official act.

But as the justice of pointed out, Justice Jackson, it's all the worst if the president uses power is available only to him to commit crimes. The court never explains why it has turned things upside down that way there is no precedent supporting with the court did. There has never before been any immunity from criminal prosecution suggested in any court decisions, state or federal in the history of the United States of America.

This is a sad day, not just because of the license it gives to Donald Trump should he ever become president again to get rid of this case all altogether and commit all manner of crimes without ever being held accountable. But because of what it does to the future of the country.

Let's assume that we've somehow I've gotten past the MAGA plague and that we don't have a Trumpefied government. There will be future presidents who will take it as very tempting to become president knowing that its a get out of jail free card for everything except purely private behavior and even there when many of us believed and as a former professor of evidence as well as constitutional law, when I was confident that you could at least use evidence of official acts, even though you might not be able to prosecute for them, you could use that evidence to show a pattern and to show the motive of the wrongdoer here. The court says, you can't look at motive. It doesn't matter if the

former president is trying to benefit himself rather than the country. And only Justice Barrett -- only Justice Barrett disagreed with the men on the court when she said that at least the evidence should be used.

HILL: Exactly.

TRIBE: So, this is disastrous (ph) decision.

HILL: Evidence certainly coming up a lot. I'd love to get your take as well. Justice Clarence Thomas raised some questions about whether the Attorney General Merrick Garland had actually violated the Constitution when he appointed Jackson as a special counsel. I know you've heard this argument before. It's one that Donald Trump's team has made.

What do you think of that coming in Justice Thomas's opinion?

TRIBE: I think it's ridiculous, honestly. Every other judges rejected it. No other justice found it even worse commenting on. The lawyers for Donald Trump didn't press it in the argument below. It makes no sense.

The laws make it clear that the attorney general has the power to promulgate regulations and according to the Administrative Procedure Act delegating partial authority over particular matters subordinates. The special counsel is a subordinate. He's not supervised day-to-day, but the regulations specify that any major decision he makes needs the approval of the attorney general.

So Justice Thomas just got it completely wrong in that bizarre, separate concurrence.

HILL: Laurence Tribe, always good to have you with us. I have a feeling as you noted, you were in your grading. I have a feeling this will come up quite often for you as you move into the fall.


Thank you again for being with us tonight.

OUTFRONT next, breaking news, we're standing by for President Biden to address the nation this hour after the Supreme Court's immunity decision. We're going to bring you his remarks lets live when they happen.

And more breaking news at this hour, Democrats tearing into Biden's campaign for its response to calls for the president to step down after that disastrous debate performance. What they are saying just ahead.

Plus, the new reporting tonight about the discussions taking place inside Donald Trump's inner circle, whether they believe Biden will actually be Trump's opponent come November.



HILL: Breaking news, we are minutes away from President Biden addressing the Supreme Courts ruling on presidential immunity. This as my colleague, MJ Lee, is reporting some angry Democrats are now describing the Biden campaigns at times dismissive response to calls for Biden to drop out after the CNN debate as tone deaf. Aides also reportedly considering a high-profile sit-down interview for the president in the coming days and launching this new campaign ad in an effort to convince voters he is fit to be president.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know I'm not a young man but I know how to do this job. I know right from wrong. I know how to tell the truth. I know like millions of Americans know, when you get knocked down, you get back.


HILL: First Lady Jill Biden, also vowing in a new interview with "Vogue" that the family, quote, will not let those 90 minutes define the four years he's been president. We will continue to fight.

MJ Lee is OUTFRONT at the White House.

So, MJ, what else are Democrats saying about the campaign's response so far to these concerns?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, as you just noted, the Biden campaign has really been digging in since Thursday night, saying that the president isn't going anywhere. He is staying in the race and that Thursday night was really just one bad debate. But some of the language and the tone that the Biden campaign has been using in its defensiveness has really angered and dismayed some top Democrats.

One term in particular that I've heard from a lot of Democrats is the term bedwetting. You might recall on Saturday night, the campaign released a fundraising email that basically started out by saying, look, we know that a lot of your concerned right now and later in the message, it said, quote, the bedwetting brigade is calling for Joe Biden to drop out. That is the best possible way for Donald Trump to win, and for us to lose.

Well, top Democrats have told me and, Erica, to be clear: these are Democrats that are fully supportive of the president. They said that that kind of language is, quote, disgusting. Somebody else said that it was disrespectful and basically their point has been that this is totally tone deaf and doesn't sort of take into account just how much panic there is and how widespread and serious the concern is coming out from the Democratic Party.

The Biden campaign, of course, has been in a bit of survival mode I think over the last couple of days and forcefully of rejecting any calls for the president to drop out has been a part of that strategy. Now, as we wait for the president to deliver those remarks on the Supreme Court's ruling on presidential immunity. I think we're about to see, of course, whether he seizes that as a potential opportunity to take some questions from reporters that are going to be in the room and a address any of the concerns that we have seen coming out of the Democratic Party.

HILL: Yeah, we'll certainly be watching for that. MJ, appreciate the reporting as always. Thank you.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan, a key swing state, of course, that could very well decide who wins the White House in November.

Congresswoman, it's good to have you here tonight. I know you just heard some of MJ's reporting that the Biden campaign is being tone deaf, other words, disrespectful disgusting, in the wake of the debate and concerns. I know you yourself have him having a lot of candid conversations about the future of the campaign.

I'm wondering if what you are hearing matches what MJ is hearing in her reporting.

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): Look, I have this attitude, Thursday night was a bad night, and the president now has to go out and show the American people he can do the job, he's got the stamina and he's up to it.

I think President Trump, former president Trump also had a bad night. I think he doubled down on a lot of issues that the American people have concerns about from Roe versus Wade, women being able to make their own health care decisions, giving his billionaire friends, tax cut to quite frankly January 6. And thinking that January 6 was okay and I'm not quite sure what today's Supreme Court cases going to how that can impact people.

That's what I can impact, making sure people know what the choice is. Donald Trump being president again, of this country is a danger to democracy. And that's what I'm telling all of my colleagues. We've got to focus on what that contrast is, and stay united in making sure we know what the choice people have is in the potential devastating consequences are in November.

So to your point then, MJ's reporting also is that the president, the White House at the campaign rather is considering a sit-down interview for President Biden, to show people that in their view, that was just a one-off. It was just a bad debate night.

Do you think that is the right path forward? And should they you have done it sooner?

DINGELL: Look, I think they've got to do a lot of stuff. They've got to get him out there this week. He has to show people that he is strong. This should have prepared us for a raspy voice on Thursday night, to be perfectly frank, and nobody did.


So, one interview isn't going to fix this either. So, I think it's just really important. There only one person can do this and that's Joe Biden, though I think the campaign's got to listen to people. And by the way, I think the campaign needs to listen to us.

I want to say something. Somebody today said that Michigan was gone. Michigan's not gone. We know how to when the state. We're going to win the state and the campaign needs to listen to people like Governor Whitmer and me, and my other colleagues who know how to win this state. That's very important for this campaign to do right now, to listen to people.

HILL: To your point, speaking of Governor Whitmer, who has been frugally mentioned of course, over the last several days is a possible alternative on the ticket it to Joe Biden. She has strongly pushing back on that, pushing back against new political report that claims she told the Biden campaign Biden could not win Michigan after the debate.

She tweeted, quote: Anyone who claims that I would say that we can't win Michigan is full of S-word. Let's go.

To that point, so you're saying if this election were held today, you believe Joe Biden would in fact take the state, not Donald Trump.

DINGELL: We got to go out and work. We've got to do what we got to do to win this race. They were election isn't today, it's in November. We know what its going to take.

I talked to the governor. Ive talked her several times today since all of this has begun, she's a close friend. You know that.

And I know what she said on Friday night because she told me right after she had the conversation and she was very clear, listened to us. We know how to win Michigan.

I said that the other night on Wolf when he asked me a question about the campaign says are going to stick to their strategy.

I don't even know -- you know, I wouldn't campaigns. I know how to win campaigns. My strategy is to stick my ear to the ground and know what people are saying. So Gretchen Whitmer has done a very good job winning the state. She's the most popular figure in this state, and she knows how to win it.

I know how to win my district. My district has more Democratic votes than any other district. The two Detroit once included, we had almost 100,000 votes, more than one of the Detroit districts did in 2020 to listen to us and we will win Michigan.

HILL: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, appreciate you being with us tonight. Thank you.

DINGELL: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT now, Van Jones, former special advisor to President Obama.

Look, you hear the passion. You hear exactly what Congresswoman Dingell is saying. She wants the campaign to listen better. When you look at where things stand today, Van, what do you think the bigger gamble is for Democrats? Is it sticking with Joe Biden or is it actually replacing him?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, we just don't know yet because we don't know what the polling is going to show. This just happened Thursday. It's Monday and so everybody is making their different assessments.

I tell you this. People are talking about bedwetters, I'm sitting here wearing Pampers, Huggies, and Depends. Okay? Call me a bedwetter. I'm scared. I'm worried. I'm nervous and a lot of people are.

And you get people who come -- who come out and, you know, they -- everybody has the party line, but behind closed doors, what people are worrying about is what are the poll is going to show in the battleground states a week from now. You've seen some rallying to Joe Biden. You've seen some people just like when Trump got in trouble, they relate to him. People were rallying to Joe Biden.

You're seeing some people using some fundraising numbers going up. You're seeing some positive things, but we don't know what that's going to look like.

So, number one, where the pole is going to show in a week. Number two, are they going to be -- can Joe Biden survive at unscripted scenario? Can you sit down for an interview? Can you do one? Can you do three?

If so, then there right. It was a bad day. But if you can't, it's not a bad day. He's in a bad way. If you're in a bad way, that's different.

So right now, we -- we're trying to figure this out.

HILL: So, we just heard for the congresswoman, one interview is not going to fix everything, right? To your point, there needs to be multiple, but also the clock is ticking here.

So I mean, what is the timeline, Van?

JONES: Well, listen to our convention isn't for another month or so, until our convention is over, and we had a formal vote of those delegates, there is still the opportunity to have this conversation. And I think that it's important that people not be dismissed. There's a reason people are concerned. There's a reason that people are scared and people need to be convinced that there's a way forward here with Joe Biden.

He's got to show he can survive in an unscripted, either debate or series of interviews. And then everybody goes back to work.

HILL: The president's family also reportedly placing a lot of blame on his top advisors. Is it your sense, right, based on what you know, and having been similar roles, right, is it your sense that it is the people around the president or the president himself who is more the issue?

JONES: You know, he was obviously over -- over prep. Something went wrong in that debate. He -- Biden spent six days --


HILL: Is that over prep or not prepared enough?


JONES: Well, I mean, they said he was off for six days working on the thing and then he comes out. He can't do his opening. He can't do his close. He can't knell the abortion issue.

So something absolutely went wrong. I'm not a part of the inner circle, so I don't know if you blame him, if you blame the advisors, but you can't have that happen again. He's got to be able to get through because I love him coming out doing those rallies, but those rallies are scripted, is a teleprompter and he's working the crowd.

You take the teleprompter away. Can he do it? If he can do it, everybody is going to calm down and get back to work. If you can't do it, we've got a problem.

Until we see him in an unscripted environment, until we get a week out from the polls. Nobody knows whether we should stick with Joe Biden or tried to move away from him yet, so we're in the in-between.

HILL: Van, good to you as always. Thank you.

JONES: Thank you.

HILL: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, live pictures here of the White House. President Biden set to speak at any moment about the Supreme Court's immunity ruling issued this morning. We're going to bring you those remarks live.

Plus, new reporting tonight from inside Trump world, whether they believe Biden will be the nominee or are they now bracing for Trump to face off against someone else?



HILL: Breaking news. We are just moments away from hearing from President Biden, who will be speaking from the White House shortly. We are going to bring you those remarks live.

The remarks, of course, coming as former President Trump has dismissed any scenario where he doesn't run against President Biden in the general election. This has some Democrats are panicking over Biden's dreadful debate performance.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They say getting him out is very hard because he has the delegates, he has the votes, and that if he doesn't want to get out there's not a thing they can do about it.


HILL: New reporting for my next guess, it details exactly what some Trump insiders think about that drumbeat of calls for Joe Biden to drop out of the race.

OUTFRONT now is Marc Caputo, national political reporter at "The Bulwark".

Good to have you here tonight, Marc.

So what is that feeling in Trump world about the possibility that's been floated of Joe Biden being replaced by someone else? Perhaps someone younger, potentially someone who may seem like a tougher opponent to team Trump? Is their concern?

MARC CAPUTO, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE BULWARK: No, it's more like elation at the fact that Democrats are tearing themselves apart at what Trump world things is an unlikely scenario and thereby damaging President Biden. That is, the folks in Trump's orbit from Donald Trump on down, say, look, not only does Joe Biden have the delegates to be the nominee under the rules, he also has the money.

Joe Biden is the candidate who has the campaign structure and the federal campaign finance rules that apply to him, which means the $91.6 million in the campaign belongs to Joe Biden, the candidate. It doesn't belong to anybody else. There's even an argument it doesn't even belong to Kamala Harris. Now some dispute that.

But the reality is if Democrats somehow tried to jettison Joe Biden, number one, how they would do that at a convention would be very messy and possibly not even possible. Then on top of that, if they somehow succeeded, there's a big question as to who would get the money? Maybe Kamala Harris would, but beyond that, no one else would. And $91.6 million is a lot of money.

HILL: You know, I can understand why they are happy to see Democrats tearing themselves apart over this. There is a sense of the result, even some polling it, we've seen some early polling that this may be hurting Joe Biden, maybe hearing the Democrats in the moment, but it hasn't exactly been a bump for Donald Trump either.

Is there any concern within team Trump that they're not seeing a boost in that way?

CAPUTO: No, they believed that this is going to be a close race regardless and Biden's campaign believes that as well. In Trump's world, it's not whether he gets 50 percent or 51 percent. Donald Trump could live with 49 percent of the vote in the swing states as long as Joe Biden is at 48 percent or less. And right now, that's what the polling looks like. And Trump has been

essentially marginally ahead in the various swing states in most of the polling. And therefore, it is incumbent on Joe Biden to move ahead of Donald Trump. And instead, at best, Joe Biden is falling a little bit right now.

So, for Trump world, again, there's sort of a sense of elation like, oh my God, this is happening. Just think about this. Donald Trump is known as the chaos candidate Joe Biden was supposed to be the normal boring guy. Right now, there's nothing normal or boring about Joe Biden's campaign or scandalous.

HILL: Marc, good to have you tonight. Thank you.

CAPUTO: Thanks.

HILL: OUTFRONT now, Charles Myers, a major Biden donor who is sticking by the president.

Charles, good to have you here with us in studio, especially because you just got off a call. So this was a very important call with the campaign for donors. You told me in the break, you found that call reassuring.

What specifically was it about that call that made you feel were good to go moving forward?


I think the message was very clear to the national finance committee, which is Biden is all in, it's all about moving forward. He's going to get out there on the campaign trail. He's going we continue doing his job as president. But it's all systems go.

He is fully aware that the debate performance was very weak but his performance as president for three-and-a-half years has been very strong. And it's all about moving forward. So it was very reassuring, I think.

HILL: In terms of moving forward, I wonder if they addressed we talked about a little bit earlier this a fundraising email that went out, the bed wetting brigade, essentially jumping cold water in and being very dismissive of concerns that people have had over the last several days about the president and whether he is the best choice for the ticket moving into November.


Was that address?

MYERS: So it was not addressed on the call specifically. I think the strategy is better. It's better to just sort of ignore that and just keep moving forward. He is the nominee. He is going to be the nominee.

But on the fundraising email and using the bed wetting, you know, term, it's not a phrase I would've used, but I have been saying to my fellow donors out there, Democratic donors, stop hyperventilating, right? This was one really bad performance. We understand that concern.

But in the end, the president has done a great job for three-and-a- half years. He just won the primary and at the end of the day, he is the only Democrat in the last 18 months that has beaten Trump in any polling. He is our best shot to win.

Lastly, on a contested convention, or should he drop out, I think some Democratic donors are living in fantasy land. That is not going to happen. Going to a contested convention would be a terrible idea. We would expose all the divisions within the party and whoever won that would, would emerge weaker like they did in 1968, I think in that Democratic convention.

HILL: In terms of all the divisions within the party, it has not been smooth sailing over the last few months. I think we can say that. But how concerned you about how deep those divisions may be today versus what they were say last Wednesday?

MYERS: I think that -- I would say that the divisions or any more pronounced. The Democratic Party, have an umbrella coalition party, frankly. It's just that now we have after one very bad, very weak debate performance concern about, you know, will polling start to deteriorate? Will donor start to back off?

I don't think donors will. And secondly, on the polling, they did talk about some internal polling on the call just now that actually showing that the president is flat, which is very interesting. So I think the bigger issue is that a contested convention, you would have some for the vice president, some for Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, that's where the division would really emerge. And it would be very, very painful for the party and ultimately for the nominee.

HILL: As you can see we have the live shot up. We're going to be hearing from the president in just a few moments. But before I let you go talk of, he's going to sit down for an interview.


HILL: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has just on, basically saying, hey, that's great. But one interview is not going to change everything. Is the campaign prepared to get him out there in more unscripted moments on a more regular basis, put them in front of more reporters?

MYERS: I think they will. I think you'll see him out on the campaign trail even more now, I think you'll also see a lot more surrogates -- the Obamas, the Clintons, the first lady, the vice president, members of Congress out there on the campaign trail, but the president, especially.

But you'll also see him doing his job. And so I'm 1,000 percent behind him. I think he's going to -- he's going to turn this around.

Yes, we may see a slight dip and polling, but looking out three weeks from now, I think the polling will improve. The fundraising is incredibly strong and I think he still has things. He has a lot to prove to the American people over the next couple of weeks, I think he will.

HILL: Charles Myers, good to have in studio. Thank you.

MYERS: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

HILL: And stay with us. We're going to take a short break here? Of course, live pictures, as I noted, of the White House. President Biden set to address the nation following the Supreme Court's decision on Donald Trump's immunity claim.

Stay with us. A quick break, we'll bring you the president's remarks on the other side.


HILL: Breaking news, President Biden about to address the Supreme Courts ruling on presidential immunity. He actually returned to Washington from Camp David earlier for those remarks.

I want to bring in my colleague, MJ Lee, from the White House.

What more are we expecting from the president tonight? Any chance he'll take questions, MJ?


LEE: Well, Erica, I mean, first of all, on the issue of the Supreme Court's ruling on the presidential immunity topic, we actually have a pretty good idea of what the president is likely to say, given that we've heard from the Biden adviser saying earlier today that the ruling today doesn't change the facts around January 6, that it showed that Donald Trump, the former president, sat idly by this adviser said as a mob violently storm the Capitol.

We also heard from the White House counsel's office which put out a short statement saying the president believes nobody is above the law. So I think it wouldn't be surprising if the president took this opportunity to make clear that he has no objections to this ruling that came out of this Supreme Court. But, of course, we are also watching to see --

HILL: MJ, I'm going to step here, the president walking out to the podium now. Let's listen in.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The presidency is the most powerful office in the world. It's an office that not only tests your judgment -- perhaps even more importantly, it's an office that could test your character. Because you're not only faced with moments where you need the courage to exercise the full power of the presidency, you also face moments where you need the wisdom to respect the limits of the power of the office of the presidency.

This nation was founded on the principle that there are no kings in America. Each, each of us is equal before the law. No one -- no one is above the law, not even the president of United States.

Today's Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity that fundamentally changed for all, for all practical purposes, today's decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what the president can do. This a fundamentally new principle and it's a dangerous precedent because the power of the office will no longer be constrained by the law, even including the Supreme Court in the United States. The only limits will be self-imposed by the president alone.

This decision today has continued the court's attack in recent years on a wide range of long established legal principles in our nation, from gutting voting rights and civil rights to take it away, a woman's right to choose to today's decision that undermines the rule of law of this nation.

Nearly four years ago, my predecessor sent a violent mob to the U.S. Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power. We all saw it with our own eyes. He sat there and watched it happened that day, attack on the police, the ransacking of the Capitol, a mob literally hunting down the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, gallows erected to hang the Vice President Mike Pence.

I think it's fair to say it's one of the darkest days in the history of America. Now, the man who sent that mob to U.S. Capitol is facing potential criminal conviction for what happened that day, and the American people deserve to have an answer in the courts before the upcoming election.

The public has a right to know the answer about what happened on January 6 before they ask to vote again this year. Now, because of today's decision, that is highly, highly unlikely. It's a terrible disservice to the people of this nation.

So, now, now that the American people will have to do what the court should have been willing to do but will not, the American people will have to render a judgment about Donald Trump's behavior. The American people must decide whether Donald Trump's assault on our democracy on January 6 makes him unfit for public office in the highest office in the land. The American people must decide in Trump's embrace of violence to preserve his power is acceptable.

Perhaps most importantly, the American people must decide they want to entrust the president once again, the presidency to Donald Trump, now knowing who will be more emboldened to do whatever he pleases whenever he wants to do it.

You know, at the outset of our nation, it was the character of George Washington, our first president, to define the presidency. He believed power was limited, not absolute, and that power always resides with the people, always. Now, over 200 years later, today's Supreme Court decision once again, it'll depend on the character of the men and women who hold that presidency that are going to define the limits of the power of the presidency because the law no longer do it.

I know I will respect the limits of the presidential powers I have for three-and-a-half years, but any president, including Donald Trump, will now be free to ignore the law. I concur with Justice Sotomayor's dissent today.


Here's what she said, she said she said an every use of a visual power the president is now a king above the law. With fear for our democracy, I dissent, end of quote.

So should the American people dissent. I dissent.

May God bless you all and may God help preserve our democracy. Thank you. And may God protect our troops.

REPORTER: Why are you the best Democrat to beat Trump?

HILL: President Biden speaking there. You did hear a few questions shouted at the end but were not answered.

I want to bring back in my colleagues, MJ Lee, Jeff Zeleny, Van Jones, also with me.

MJ, a short but forceful seats, talking about how today, how no one was above the law, not even the president of the United States. The president go going on though to say today that fundamentally changed the only limits of the office will now be self-imposed and MJ saying that he agreed with the dissent, the very strong, forceful defense from Justice Sotomayor, who said the president is now a king above the law.

Just walk us through. We had had as you noted, MJ, we had a sense of what he might say, but really driving this home in terms of its impact, MJ, on democracy.

LEE: That's right. And just so remarkable coming from the president, given the events of the past few days just as we had expected, he used this ruling to take Americans back to four years ago. He said the former President Donald Trump sat back and watched a violent mob attack the Capitol. And then he talked about the ruling. In particular saying that this means that there are now virtually no limits on what a president can do, even though he said this is a country where no one person can rule as king.

He said, in really remarkable statements that this sets, in his view a dangerous precedent for the country. He said the decision today continues the court's attacks on a wide range of principles that are fundamental to this nation. And he said it undermines the rule of law.

He said the public has a right to know so what exactly happened on January 6 and really lamented the fact that as a result of this decision that the public is likely not going to get the full answer. And that is when he pivoted to say it is now up to the American people to make a judgment.

It is essentially up to them to vote against Donald Trump something, make sure that he doesn't come into office come back into office, I should say and in one of the more remarkable moments from this speech, the president said the American people should descend. I dissent.

I just want to stress here this is a president and a White House that have been so careful whenever we have talked about legal decisions and rulings to make sure that he makes clear -- he says he respects very much the judicial system, and this is the closest that we have ever heard him. I think walk right up to the line of saying, I just fundamentally disagree.

Obviously, the president made clear that he is resigned to the fact that there's nothing he can do about this ruling, but that he vehemently opposes and disagrees with this decision. And again, use this as a rallying cry for American voters to use their power to vote in November. And again, just incredibly interesting, given what kind of political trouble he is in right now after that very poor performance at the debate last week.

HILL: He's also started by bringing up character, right? And talking about how being president will test your judgment and your character, that you need courage and your decisions, but also the wisdom to respect the limits of the office, and talked about how George Washington, right, had found define the presidency based on character, noting that the power was not limited, was limited, rather was not absolute and believed the power rests with the people.

And then, Jeff, he went on to say, but the law -- because the law will no longer do it, now, it is up to the people as he then made a very forceful argument as MJ just pointed out. Is it surprising to you at all Jeff, that he did go as far as he did tonight?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Not at all. I mean, it certainly the context of this, of course, is that his campaign and indeed his White House is in political crisis. So he is trying to turn the page, refocus this conversation on the campaign at hand and standing in the Cross Hall of the White House, a spot that has been used so many times and places in recent and long history to reframe this conversation.

What the president did not do, of course, was take questions. What he did not do was talking about himself. But again, trying to redirect this campaign conversation and the American people to what he views as the stakes are in the election.

This is the first step in what will have to be a series of steps to claw back attention on this campaign and just show Democrats, first and foremost, that he is up to this task.


This has been a very dark moment for the campaign and the words of Democrats alone. So the president clearly using this Supreme Court ruling today to make this not about him, but to try and make this about Donald Trump, which she failed to do at the debate on Thursday.

But this, I'm told, is what his advisers hope is the beginning of several appearances that will try and reframe that argument.

HILL: Van how was this for step one?

JONES: Well, if he was weak and uncertain last week, he's the opposite this week. That was strong. That was clear. That was decisive.

And was history-making in its own way. It is very unusual for a president to be that direct, I dissent in the face of a Supreme Court decision, but I think he's pointing to a fear in an alarm that exist in this country right now because it does look like the Supreme Court just handed a license for lawlessness to whoever happens to be in the Oval Office, and if Donald Trump, who ran over every norm, every rule, every tradition before, when he thought he might face consequences, what would he do now?

And so, this is not a tangential issue to the president -- to the presidential campaign. It -- the Supreme Court just threw down the gauntlet and said, a president can be as long as he wants to be and that makes us a choice much more stark.

I think that that Joe Biden, that we just saw talking about character, talking about judgment, talking about American tradition, talking about George Washington is the Joe Biden that deserves to win and the question is, is the public going to see that Joe Biden, as the guy they're voting for, or the person from last week? That's the question.

HILL: We know that they campaign is working, right? Perhaps over time because they want it to be that guy, who the American public just saw tonight.

MJ, you have some reporting as well that there's also talk with the campaign about getting the president out there for a sit-down interview, a high level sit-down interview. Any more sense of when that could happen, MJ?

LEE: Well. Erica, first of all, Van was talking about how these remarks and seeing him in this setting was a President Biden that was decisive and forceful. I think we have to know that that was the version of the president that the campaign had very much hope to show on display last Thursday night and it wasn't the version of the president that we ended up seeing. And furthermore, this was the issue.

One of the top issues that they believed that he could be the most forceful on the most impactful on in terms of driving at that contrast between himself and his predecessor, of course, this is a very different setting. He is back at the White House. Certainly, he was using the prompter for remarks that were pre-written.

So it's hard to compare the two, but I think obviously that toothpaste is already out of the tube. It was a bad debate. It has been a couple of days and we've seen the full range of the panic and, you know, you were referring to advisors discussing whether he should sit down for a high-profile interview.

I mean, that is just one of the many things that Democrats and the advisers that are close to him are discussing as different ways to make amends for the fact that the party is really in panic mode right now. They saw a president that many said they were actually shocked to see. And it was not the performance that they had hoped to give again, when they felt like they had issues like this one that they see as being so black and white, such a potential for there to be that stark contrast between himself often the former president, and he wasn't able to do it in the way that the campaign had hoped a few days ago.

And I think the question is going to be, will these moments that again Van described as just being decisive and forceful, will those, if you string them enough of them together, will they be enough to erase the panic that has been caused by the debate performance that we saw a couple nights ago. I think we just don't know the answer to that yet.

HILL: Right. And to your point, MJ, about a prompter versus a live interview versus an unscripted moment, Jeff, that is going to wear a little tight on time, but, Jeff, that is really what people are going to be looking for. It is not can you read the prompt or well, with lots of energy, its how do you do when you're facing that tough question?

ZELENY: Exactly. And we will see its not one event that will erase Thursday night, but, Erica, just to put a button on this -- President Biden made clear the stakes of this election. He delivered a warning about what a President Trump would do in a second term, but that is also what gives some Democrats unease because if this election is such high stakes, if he -- if this is so imperative, is he the best candidate to run the baton through November?

That is something he must prove and prove again because again, Thursday night set this party and many voters into so much unease. Again, one speech will not do Thursday, but this is what they're trying to do to make this about Donald Trump.

HILL: And we'll be watching all of that.

MJ, appreciate the new reporting tonight. Thank you for sticking around through this as well, Jeff, Van, always good to have all of you with us. Thank you for your insight.

Thanks to all of you for joining us this evening. I'm Erica Hill.

Stay tuned. "AC360" starts right now.