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Inside Politics

Biden In Wisconsin To Tout New $3.38 Microsoft Project; Trump: Not Fair That I Can't Campaign Because I'm Stuck In Court; Trump Spending His Day Off From Court At Mar-a-Lago; Biden To Call Out Trump For Failed Foxconn Project In Wisconsin; Breaking Down Stormy Daniels' First Day On The Stand; Judge Cannon Indefinitely Postpones Classified Docs Trial. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 08, 2024 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on Inside Politics, presidential perks. Joe Biden is doing what only incumbents can do, heading to a must swing -- must win swing state rather with the gift of jobs. I'll talk to a top Biden campaign official about the latest strategy for taking on Donald Trump.

Plus, trials and tribulations. Stormy Daniels is back on the stand tomorrow after dishing salacious details about her alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump, right down to his satin pajamas. But does her testimony ultimately help or hurt the prosecution. And from vice presidential hopeful to admitted puppy killer. Kristi Noem political stop seems to be tanking as the Trump veepstakes enter a pivotal stage.

I'm Dana Bash. Let's go behind the headlines at Inside Politics.

First up, 20,682 votes. That was Joe Biden's 2020 margin of victory over Donald Trump in the critical swing state of Wisconsin. Four years earlier, Trump took the state by about the same amount.

Now for context, 20,000 people feels less than a quarter of the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field. Is it why Joe Biden is in Wisconsin today. For the fourth time this year, he's unveiling a 3.3 billion. That's right billion-dollar investment by Microsoft with a not-so-subtle shot at Donald Trump.

Now back in 2018, then President Trump was in the exact same spot to announce a huge manufacturing facility by Foxconn. Trump said it would be quote, the eighth wonder of the world. Instead, it was mostly abandoned.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is in Milwaukee. Jeff?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, Wisconsin is the closest of the blue wall states and you pointed out the numbers there. And there is no path to reelection without Wisconsin. President Biden at the White House fully aware of that. This is his fourth visit of the year, as you said. And each time he has come here to Wisconsin, he has brought something with him. If it's an investment in infrastructure, talking about building a new bridge and superior are replacing lead pipes here in Milwaukee.

The question is, are voters feeling these economic achievements of the Biden administration? It really is a match between job creation and inflation. And talking to voters here, you get the sense, they still are not feeling this economic success. Maureen Glynn, a Democrat who supports Biden, though, put a bit of context on it. Let's listen.


MAUREEN GLYNN, WISCONSIN VOTER: I feel a lot better now that we've had almost four years of Biden. Sound great, but it's better.

TOM OBERHAUS, OWNER, COZY NOOK FARM: To me inflation is over and among the people I talked to an inflation is the big overriding thing economically.

ZELENY: And who gets the blame for that, you think?

OBERHAUS: Oh, I think the administration that's in power because that's -- that's when it happened.


ZELENY: And Tom Oberhaus there, a farmer from Waukesha County. He said he will vote for Trump. He's not the biggest fan at all. But Dana, having conversations with these voters, it really makes clear. He said he would have been open to supporting Biden. He actually was happy when he was elected. He thought he would restore order. But the economy he said his driving his decision this year. He is sort of finally remembers the Trump policies. Of course, these are two voters.

But Dana, taking a bigger look at this. Both campaigns realize that Wisconsin will come down to just a sliver of votes. That is why President Biden is in Racine County, just south of me here in Milwaukee, making that big announcement. This county has been through a whipsaw of a political elections that have had local political fallout as well.

I recall being here with the former president as he was announcing that Foxconn development, it just shows that presidents always do not have the power to deliver on these. The question is, will Biden get credit for that? So certainly, an important visit. One of many that both candidates will be making here to battleground Wisconsin.

BASH: Yeah. Will Biden get credit, especially with the contrast that you and I both talked about what Trump promised and didn't actually come to be. Jeff, I love when you come out in the field, and you bring us back really interesting reports from actual voters. Thank you so much for bringing it to us.

Again today, now, to Biden's opponent, Donald Trump nearly every day over the past month, he's complained while he walks in and out of court about being stuck there during his weeks long criminal trial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I shouldn't be right now in Pennsylvania and Florida, in many other states, North Carolina, Georgia, campaigning. I should be in a lot of different places right now campaigning and I'm sitting here. And this will go on for a long time. And they've been sitting in this courtroom over this is just ridiculous. It's election interference at the highest level, never been done before in our country. And I shouldn't be out campaigning right now.



BASH: So, there is no court today. He's free to hit the campaign trail. CNN's Kristen Holmes covers the Trump campaign. Kristen, where is he?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Dana. You think he might be on the campaign trail but that is not the case. He is down in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago resort. I am told that tonight he's going to have dinner before of course, heading back to New York for court tomorrow, with a number of people, supporters who bought a large number of his NFT's.

Now, to be clear, none of the profit from his NFT's actually goes to his campaign. Those are all personal profits. Now, campaign advisors insist that this has been on the schedule for weeks. They also point to the fact that last week Donald Trump campaigned in both Michigan and Wisconsin. I will note the week before that on Wednesday, he played golf at Bedminster.

I also do want to point out that on Saturday, he has a rally, but this is interesting. It's in Wildwood, New Jersey, not exactly a critical battleground state. He lost it by roughly 16 points in the last election. But it is home, the area that he's going to be in a representative Van Drew -- Jeff Van Drew who turned from Democrat to Republican, while Donald Trump was in office, which Donald Trump still talks about to these days. There might be some of the connection there as well, Dana.

BASH: There's definitely a connection. I don't have any problem with anybody going to Wildwood, New Jersey or any place in New Jersey. But you're right. It's definitely not a swing state. Thank you so much, Kristen, for that reporting.

Here for now -- for more reporting, I'm now joined by my great political panel, PBS's Laura Barron-Lopez, Hans Nichols of Axios, and CNN's Eva McKend. Hi, everybody. Nice to be here on a Trump trial daybreak.

Hans, I want to start with you and the story that you wrote for Axios this morning. And the headline is Biden hits Trump with a major Microsoft announcement in Wisconsin. Talk about the significance of this announcement that he's going to make. And as it -- as I mentioned, to Jeff sort of contrasts with -- for the voters there in Wisconsin with the promise that Trump made there. HANS NICHOLS, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Yeah. Well, let's be clear. Biden is also just making a promise, which he's going to have to deliver on that, right? And that's part of the challenge. And he'll get credit for the construction jobs. And those are the easiest ones to do when you do. They're doing an AI facility in conjunction with Microsoft. But the overall strategy from the Biden campaign is inch- by-inch, town-by-town, step-by-step. And that's what you see the president doing.

Now, there are criticisms within the Democratic Party of that. Remember that Ron Klain sort of tape that was leaked out saying, you know, he -- like he's running for Congress. He's just talking about bridge announcements.

On the other side, if you're a politician, you say, would you rather go out and bring gifts and talk about job announcements? Or would you rather be stuck in court? I think we all know the split screen that -- that any politician would want.

What's interesting about the split screen dynamic, is it -- this split screen isn't actually the kind of most accurate way to describe it because it's a split screen. But Biden's background is always going to be changing and Trump is going to remain static. And that's just a challenge at the campaign and the Trump campaign is going to have to work around.

BASH: And it's not just Wisconsin today. I just want to give our viewers a broader picture of this part of the Biden campaign strategy, which is very much an incumbent strategy. The projects that he has announced in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon, $20 billion, Intel, Arizona, and then Wisconsin today, New York and Idaho. And it goes on and on and on.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: That's right. And the president is going around highlighting this part of his economic agenda, which is that he's adding jobs. He's trying to make sure that other parts inflation are going down, costs are being driven down. And while he's doing that, Vice President Harris, another thing that Donald Trump doesn't have right now a VP to go around campaigning with him, is going around in making the case on abortion.

And I was just in Wilmington, meeting with Biden aides. And they were saying that ultimately, they really see three big things that they're going to be making the case on economy, which you see the president doing, abortion which you see Vice President Harris doing. And then also they're that larger umbrella of extremism and democracy.

And they say that they hear from voters, a big fear, especially in suburban white communities about the potential for political violence. So, you're going to see the campaign hitting that over and over and over again, between now and November.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is the card that they have to play for him to get out there and talk about how he's investing in America. So, the strategy makes sense. But I'm not sure it is the victory lap this administration thinks it is because when I speak with voters, they are looking for a real immediacy. It's like what are you doing for me today? Not what are you going to do for me years from now in terms of job creation. So that is something that they will have to contend with.


BASH: And now let's shift to Donald Trump and the fact that, as you said, his backdrop isn't changing. Except today, where he isn't there and he is dealing with some of his personal business ventures as opposed to doing campaign stops. But while he is in court, he's doing some interviews around the country. One he did with spectrum news in Wisconsin yesterday. Let's listen.


BARBARA BARR, WGAL NEWS 8, REPORTER & ANCHOR: You won the primary, but Nikki Haley attained 16 percent of the vote. Are you concerned about that number? And what do you say to those voters?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're in New York for day-13 of your trial today. How have you adjusted your campaign to deal with that?

TRUMP: Well, you do the best you can. I have a judge who's taken away my First Amendment rights, so I'm not allowed to speak essentially. If you say anything slightly off, he wants to put you in jail. He's a partisan bias judge to terrible judge who's totally conflicted. He shouldn't be a judge.


BASH: Now, that first one we'll get back to, but that was what you just heard was in Wisconsin, talking about not having First Amendment rights while on television with a member of the press.

NICHOLS: Railing against the very judge who he says is squelching his First Amendment right.

BASH: Right. And we should just say, because I think it bears repeating what this gag order does and doesn't do. It does say, he can't talk about witnesses. It does say, he can't talk about the family of the judge. He can't talk about the case. He can't talk about the prosecutor and the judge, as you just did.

NICHOLS: Yeah. I think he will avail himself of the rights that he has within that -- within that lane. Look, anyone that covered Trump in the White House or elsewhere knows that the essential challenge of Trump is what he's going to say next and anticipating on what he's going to say in interpreting it. And I think we're going to have a lot of these comments, whether or not he's in and out of the courtroom or whether or not he actually gets out on the campaign trail.

But this is the grievance that he wants to talk about. And this is his case. And there is, like we've probably all heard it. There's a -- we should kind of air it out. And I don't know if I believe it is sort of renegade theory that Donald Trump is actually better served being in court and not out there talking all the time. And I don't know if I'm fully on board, and I'm curious to hear what everyone in the panel thinks. But there's that notion out there that Trump is actually does better in the polls when he's stuck inside of a courtroom.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, there -- I've talked to voters who seem to have forgotten the Trump years or those young voters who were in middle school or in early high school when Trump was in office, and they don't really know a world where that exists under him. They're not really familiar with it. And those young voters have said to me, well, I survived the first Trump term.

And so, because they aren't very familiar with what actually happened during that term. And that's what President Biden is battling with. And so, I think that when he is out of the spotlight, it can sometimes help him.

BASH: We've talked so much about the Biden coalition, and about whether he's going to be able to rebuild it enough to win reelection again. But we do pretty much every week, get a snapshot of a challenge that Donald Trump could have, maybe even will have. And that is because there are even though he's the presumptive nominee, there are still contests happening pretty regularly.

And this past Tuesday, we saw it in Indiana. Nikki Haley, who is not running for president, got more than 21 percent of the vote, almost 22 percent of the vote. Arizona was a little less, but still got a sizable chunk, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin. And I'm not going to play the bite. But part of what Donald Trump argues is, oh, they'll just come back. But does he have to work for them? And is he doing that?

MCKEND: He does not necessarily. If you are the Trump campaign, you should be worried about this group of voters. I was on the trail with Nikki Haley. I was speaking to these conservatives. And some of them said that if she didn't ultimately get the nomination, they would consider voting for Joe Biden. So, if you are Trump, these voters are still on the table and not something that you should take for granted that they will ultimately just put on the party uniform and come along.

BASH: Yeah. And in a place like Indiana, which is the state that had its contest last night. That's not going to matter because it's hard to imagine Indiana going anything other than Republican but Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.

NICHOLS: You know, a demographic matter. So, whether or not it's in Indiana, it's in Arizona, these are suburban areas, highly educated or more educated in the rest of the country. Look, this is the urgent task of the Biden campaign right now is figuring out whether or not these Nikki Haley curious voters are persuadable.

And I suspect if they're not happening right now, in the next, you know, 24 to two weeks -- 24 hours or two weeks, there'll be dozens of focus groups trying to figure out how to get Haley curious voters, how to get them to vote for the President Biden. BASH: And it sounds like those are the exact voters that the Biden campaign when you went up there recently said that they are trying to get.

BARRON-LOPEZ: They are -- they're obsessed with the Nikki Haley voters. Biden's campaign is and they're going to be heavily focused on them in the coming months.


BASH: OK, coming up. Court may be off today in Trump's hush money trial, but Stormy Daniels will be back on the stand tomorrow. We'll dive into where her testimony could and could not go next.


BASH: The explicit details potentially worth $130,000. Stormy Daniels left little to the imagination while testifying about her alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump. Well, I'm sure this day off from court is what we all need. It's just intermission. Sources tell CNN, Trump's defense team is planning a longer cross examination of the adult film star tomorrow.

CNN's Evan Perez and Elliot Williams are here to break it all down. I want to start with one particular exchange, Elliot, that might not have been a welcome one for the prosecution -- the defense.

Am I correct that you hate President Trump?

Stormy Daniels: Yes.


Do you want him to go to jail?

I want him to be held accountable.

You want him to go to jail if he is found guilty?


ELLIOT WILLIAMS CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, big picture. Stormy Daniels testified in the way the prosecutors needed her to, which is by making clear that there was some sexual encounter between her and the former president. Full stop, that's useful testimony.

All the stuff that came out on crossbow like that is devastating to her as a witness and the jury -- it'll be kicking around in the jury said. It speaks to bias and a motive for coming and speaking against the defendant. In their closing statement, they will say, ladies and gentlemen, the star prosecution -- the star witness for the prosecution literally says that she hates the defense. How can you trust a word she says. So yes, her testimony was overall valuable to the prosecution. But this really knocked the witness's credibility down.

BASH: How was it valuable to the prosecution? Aside from the salacious details, that's not what he's on trial for.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And that's the thing -- that's -- I think, my one -- I think my one quarrel with that is that I think she may have done damage to the prosecution's case by virtue of the fact that she just couldn't stop saying stuff. And so that's going to backfire on them.

I think we know now from some of the reporting more colleagues that they -- the cross examination is going to go longer, because they know that they did not -- they now have room to go after her for some of the suggestions she made --

BASH: The defense does.

PEREZ: That the defense, right, that the -- that the encounter was not consensual, which of course, is not something that has been really -- you know, her position until more recently. So, I think that that's where it poses --

WILLIAMS: I'm sure, I will not back down from this point at all, even in the face of my friend Evan Perez because at the center of the case is the allegation of a sexual encounter. Prosecutors have to establish a sexual encounter or else the case goes away. All the other stuff is critically important. And I think it makes it harder to believe her. But if the prosecutors didn't call her as a witness, it's over. Like, literally, you could file a motion -- the defense can file a motion to throw the case out at that point. So that's all I'm saying.

BASH: Let's talk about the checks. Yeah.

WILLIAMS: So, the checks are critical. Only insofar as -- so Deborah Tarasoff --

BASH: Can you explain what the checks are?

WILLIAMS: Certainly, Deborah Tarasoff, who was I believe accounts payable within the Trump Organization came and testified in excruciating detail about 34 checks. Each for I believe, $35,000. That were at the heart of this scheme. Now, it's boring testimony. It's not the splashiest testimony that people will hear, but critically important.

BASH: I know, that -- we see on the screen that looks various flash.

WILLIAMS: It's very splashy. And sort of like I was saying about Stormy Daniels, part of the task of prosecutors is to build a world around the thing there they're establishing. And if you're saying that 34 checks were written in order to further a criminal scheme, you actually have to introduce each of those 34 into evidence. In painstaking detail saying, is this true and accurate rendering of the check as you remember it, ma'am? Yes. And I think they'd spent 90 minutes --

BASH: Yeah. We were there for all of it?

WILLIAMS: I know. So, yeah. PEREZ: Well, I mean -- I think especially because the defense is refusing to stipulate this. So, they're having to do this the long way, which is kind of perhaps one strategy, which is to bore the jury.

WILLIAMS: And to clarify, the defense can agree to any piece of evidence.

PEREZ: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: And just say, we're going to let it into court. They just chose not to hear.

BASH: I don't want to talk about another very important decision and a different trial -- a federal trial -- a federal case, I should say, not trial. In the south --

PEREZ: Florida, right.

BASH: And the judge said that she was going to accept a motion by the defense. I'm distort handling this that effectively delays that trial, and this is about declassified documents. Even more. I want you to listen to what Ty Cobb, who was a lawyer for Donald Trump in the past said about that decision.


TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: She had no intention of getting this case to trial. And she wasn't competent to get this case to trial. She talks about her duty to fully and fairly considered the pending motions. She's had months to do that and give very little. She's had -- she's ruled on only three of the 12 motions to dismiss, all of which could have been easily resolved by now. This is a combination of bias and incompetence.


BASH: I mean, wow.

PEREZ: Yeah.

BASH: It's a big statement from somebody, again, who represented Donald Trump about a Trump appointee.

PEREZ: Right. Well, look, I mean, if you see what the judge ruled her order yesterday. What she's saying is that there is a backlog of items of motions that she has to go through. And that's why it's not appropriate to have a trial date at this point.

Well, what she doesn't say is that the reason why there's a backlog is because of her is -- you know, because she has refused to sort of take some of these very simple motions and just make a decision. Instead, she's wants to like slow roll them and she's scheduling hearings on some things that, frankly, most judges would just have them brief and then make a decision.

[12:25:00] And so, what we've seen, and you know, I have been hesitant to say that there's any malice in what this judge is doing because, you know, she's a new person on the bench. She's literally learning to be a judge on the job.

It just still happens that she got one of the most important cases in the history of the Justice Department. But you know, it's hard to sort of look at this stuff. And now, I wonder whether, you know, she is actually just playing into the effort to delay these cases as the defendant would like her to do.

BASH: Because we're six months from the election.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Oh. And I think Ty's point is well taken, whether it's a lack of competence or whatever it is, the judges not having a great time with this case. The problem is that any -- you're not really going to succeed an effort to get her off a case. It's very hard to get her federal judge removed, particularly when your basis for doing it as well. I just don't like the timing of something because there's an election coming. There's not, you know -- there would have to be some allegation of a clear financial conflict.

PEREZ: She's not giving them any of that evidence because she just --

WILLIAMS: She's not rolling, right. Yeah. And that's the thing.

PEREZ: Yeah.

BASH: Absolutely fascinating. Keeps you guys busy or not. Thank you both. Up next, President Biden has more time to campaign and more money to spend than his Republican rival. Why isn't it showing up so far in the polls. I'll ask a top Biden-Harris campaign official next. And RFK Jr's health challenges apparently include a worm that he says, ate a portion of his brain that is not a sentence I ever thought I would say. We're going to talk about that with our own Sanjay Gupta in a bit.