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Biden's Sweeping New Border Restrictions Take Effect; Trump Again Floats Idea of Prosecuting Opponents if Re-elected. Aired 12:30- 1p ET

Aired June 05, 2024 - 12:30   ET



DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: What does he think of progressives warning they won't vote for Biden and what the president should do to pull up another win in his key battleground state of Pennsylvania?


BASH: President Biden is used to being criticized from the left, whether it be on his new border policy or more recently his stance on the war in Gaza. Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman once described himself as a progressive Democrat. Now, though he is among the president's chief defenders on issues that progressives are so mad about.

Senator Fetterman joins me now, live from Capitol Hill. Thank you so much for being here, sir.


The first question is about the president's border executive action. Was that the right approach? Senator, the president's border executive action, was that the right approach?

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Well, it's been very -- it's been very clear that the Republicans are playing politics on the border. And I was really -- I voted twice now for the bipartisan border deal. I was disappointed, but I was also very, very open to having an ongoing dialog to enact more and more, perhaps even more strict kinds of border kinds of issues as well to closer to hr too (ph). But now, because the Republicans don't want to have that conversation, now, the president was forced to do that and anything that makes our border more safe is a good thing that it has happened.

BASH: I want you to respond to something that your Democratic colleague over in the House, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said about the president's action.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We make the mistake of trying to out Republicans. They are not going to come over to us if they are fighting us on immigration. Using the same tools that Donald Trump used is actually a big problem for Democrats. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Does she have a point, Senator?

FETTERMAN: Well, of course, she is entitled to her own opinion, but it does also (ph) seems that some of the harshest words for the president in this situation seems to be more coming from very safe and blue very kinds of places. Now, in Pennsylvania, the border security is an important issue and we do all believe that we should have a secure border. And I never thought it was unreasonable for any Democrat to wanted to make our border more secure.

BASH: I want to ask you personally about your own sort of journey as the kids say, some progressives have criticized you for being a different Senator than you suggested you would be when you were a candidate for Senate. What do you say to that?

FETTERMAN: Well, I wasn't. I was very clear for saying that for years, I'm not a progressive and I just identified myself as just a regular Democrat. So it really wasn't any new news. Now, eight years ago, I was a progressive, but the situations change and I've been very clear that I didn't leave that label. That label leaved me and I think it is much more important to be focusing on Donald Trump instead of kinds of purity tests and those kinds of issues.

BASH: I want to ask about Pennsylvania. President Biden has been to Pennsylvania 39 times since he took office this year. He has been to the commonwealth seven times, three of those trips have been to Philadelphia. Is he taking the right approach to win Pennsylvania again?

FETTERMAN: Well, I really want to be clear that Joe Biden beat Trump and Pennsylvania in 2020. He is going to do that in 2024. It is going to be very close. Donald Trump is going to be strong in Pennsylvania, but I've also been clear that Pennsylvania, Joe Biden understands that Pennsylvania is a big state and showing up in Erie, showing up in southwestern Pennsylvania, and in places like York or Lancaster, and in the northeast. I mean, that is where he is going to show up because the Pennsylvania picks the president, just like it did in 2020 and in 2016, unfortunately, for Trump. But, that same situation now holds true in 2024.

BASH: So, it sounds like you're saying he should be more aggressive about branching out beyond Philadelphia?

FETTERMAN: Well, no, what I'm suggesting is that Joe Biden knows that and Joe showed up in Erie in 2020. He showed up in Cambria County at Johnstown and he showed up in Bucks County and he did that. And I know he is going to do that in 2024, and I really want to remind anyone watching, is that Joe Biden beat Trump in Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes and it is going to be close in 2024. But I absolutely say this, that Joe Biden is going to win again in 2024.

BASH: Senator, I -- before I let you go, you spoke at Yeshiva University's commencement in the last couple of weeks. I want to play a clip for our viewers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FETTERMAN: Discovered that last year's already, he invented iron dome and I don't belong in that company. I truly don't. I really don't. I'm just a senator with a big mouth that happens to be committed to standing with Israel.



BASH: Senator, is that a stage you ever thought you'd be standing on?

FETTERMAN: No, I was incredibly honored and the energy there was -- it was -- it's really incredible. And my message is that, of course, we all have to acknowledge the trauma after October 7th, but there is also a lot of joy in that arena as well too, to celebrate graduation. And that the lives are ahead of them as well. And that truth was true that time and I thought it was a beautiful event and I was incredibly honored to be there. And I'm going to continue to stand for Israel in this awful situation in Gaza.

BASH: Senator John Fetterman, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

FETTERMAN: Thank you for having me.

BASH: And up next, fresh off last week's historic guilty verdict, Donald Trump is openly talking about jail time for his opponents if he is elected.



BASH: Judge Juan Merchan will decide next month whether to send Donald Trump to prison following last week's guilty verdicts in New York. Last night, Trump suggested if he is re-elected, it could be his opponents looking at jail time.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a terrible precedent for our country. Does that mean the next president does it to them? That's really the question. It is a terrible, terrible path that they are leading us to and it is very possible that it is going to have to happen to them.


BASH: And this morning, one of Donald Trump's allies, one of his former aides, Steve Bannon, was more explicit. He told Axios that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg should be and will be jailed if Trump is re-elected. Back here with my friends and reporters.

Nia, you were talking before I spoke with Senator Fetterman about kind of the other side, if you will and the question about Donald Trump. You were talking about it through the frame of his age.


BASH: This is a very different question.

HENDERSON: Yeah, it is a question. It is a question about what kind of president he would be for his second term. And we have evidence from his own interviews. He gave a very lengthy interview for Time Magazine, his comments there. And even in some ways, how he ran in 2016, the whole lock her up chant against Hillary Clinton. He does seem to be out for revenge in a second term, he is explicitly sort of telling his supporters that they will be redeemed, he will be redeemed because he will seek revenge in a second term.

This would make America not a democracy anymore. It would make it an autocracy. The idea that the most powerful person in America would be jailing Alvin Bragg, as you heard Bannon say. It is very concerning. And I think the Biden Administration, obviously, wants to point to Donald Trump's own rhetoric around this to really raise the level of concerns among voters about the fragility of democracy under a Trump term.

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: It is a (ph) funny thing that we do with Donald Trump.


DOVERE: He says a lot of what he says he wants to do.


DOVERE: And a lot of it gets (inaudible) it's just Trump things. But, he was president. He is trying to be president again. He is saying what he wants to do and I think we are fair to judge it on that standard.

BASH: And then, it's the company that he is keeping and he just -- what he said was pretty specific, that came out of his own mouth and there are people like Charlie Kirk who is somebody who you might say, OK, he is fringe, but Donald Trump is going to an event with him at his Turning Point organization, one I think tomorrow and then another one in a couple of weeks. Here's what Charlie Kirk tweeted. "How many Republicans DAs or AGs have stones? We are in a serious political movement until we are ready to fight fire with fire, indict the left or lose America."

OK, so he's as I said, considered fringe even though he is very much connected to Donald Trump. Trump certainly listens or he has his ear, I should say. Then you have a United States Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, who said our current president is a demented man propped up by wicked and deranged people willing to destroy our country to remain in power. It's time to fight fire emoji with fire emoji.


(LAUGH) NICHOLS: I mean, again, I don't -- I think the question we're all asking ourselves is the kind of old literally or seriously question on Donald Trump. And when you have, you know, Steve Bannon told my colleagues, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen gave really explicit orders. Is Steve Bannon going to be in the administration, in a potential Trump White House? I don't know. But it's clear he's getting this advice.

I think big picture, what's been clear over the last eight years is that this is a country that's governed by a constitution, but also a lot of norms that are unwritten. And there are a lot of norms that just are established and maintained by the goodwill of the people that we elect. And there's no guarantee moving forward that norms stay as they are or-- and again, this is to the Rubio point. Rubio thinks norms are being violated. Right?

Let's -- I mean, Marco Rubio is a serious United States Senator. He thinks -- I mean, he's also potentially in the running for vice president. Let's like, you know, price him in there.

HENDERSON: Most importantly.

NICHOLS: Yeah. But, the anger on the Republican side is very real and they feel that norms have been violated as well. And that's why in a lot of ways they might feel justified in violating those norms in return. But again, I don't know where this ends and it's not (inaudible).


BASH: And then the question is -- we have to go to break. And then the question is, well, who started to violate the norms? The people who made the -- did the things that ended up in court?


BASH: Or the court process which worked like it works for other people, allegedly -- allegedly. Except in the case of New York where he was found guilty. All right, everybody. We're going to talk about something totally different and very important, and that is a tribute on the Senate floor for a beloved CNN colleague and friend. Stay with us.



BASH: Before we go, Senator Ted Cruz was on the Senate floor this morning sharing a touching tribute to his former campaign aide and our friend and colleague here at CNN, Alice Stewart. A few weeks ago, Alice passed away tragically and suddenly. Senator Cruz talked about her time before CNN when she worked on his campaign.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R-TX): I was very lucky to have her on my team. Alice fought passionately for me on the campaign trail. She was a joy to be around, always smiling, both personally and professionally. Politics can be a harsh arena, but Alice engaged with a light touch.


BASH: She sure did. We miss you, Alice. "CNN News Central" starts next.