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Inside Politics

Today: Trump Holds Virtual Meeting With NY Probation Officer; Polls Show Slight Movement To Biden After Trump's Conviction; Poll: Most Biden Supporters Backing Him "To Oppose Trump"; Trump Refers To January 6 Rioters As "Victims"; Now: Closing Arguments In Hunter Biden Gun Trial; Trump: Undocumented Immigrants Are "Destroying Our Country". Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 10, 2024 - 12:00   ET




MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today on Inside Politics, breaking news. Closing arguments are about to begin in Hunter Biden's federal gun trial, which means the first son's face will likely be in the hands of a jury as soon as today. CNN is inside the courtroom to bring you all the developments.

Plus, Donald Trump is about to do something no former president or presumptive presidential nominee has done before. Meet with a probation officer. We have new details on his pre-sentencing interview and what it could mean for potential prison time.

And they're destroying our country and turning it into a dumping ground. That's exactly what Donald Trump is saying on the campaign trail about undocumented immigrants. How are those comments playing with the Latino voters, he's trying to win over?

I'm Mana Raju in for Dana Bash in Washington. Let's go behind the headlines at Inside Politics.

First up, presidential candidates usually have meetings with donors, post voters and strategists, not probation officers. But that's exactly what's on Donald Trump scheduled today. He'll have a virtual interview with the New York probation department, which must submit a pre-sentencing memo to judge one merchant before Trump is sentenced next month.

CNN's Kristen Holmes is talking to our sources in the Trump campaign. So, Kristen, tell us more about that meeting and what else Donald Trump has on his schedule today?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Manu, I'm going to start with reiterating what you just said that there's absolutely nothing standard or routine about the fact that a former president is sitting down with a probation officer.

But that being said, it is pretty routine for someone who has been convicted of a felony before their sentencing to sit down with this probation officer, have this pre-interview. That is going to form really the report that is sent to Juan Merchan that could impact how Donald Trump is sentenced or what his punishment actually looks like.

So, Donald Trump will be down in Mar-a-Lago. They're doing this virtually, sitting with his attorney Todd Blanche, talking to a probation officer in New York as they put together this report before that July 11 sentencing.

Now, the rest of his day looks like kind of a campaign trail. He's going to be delivering remarks at the Danbury Institute event. Now this is a bar right Christian conservative group who one of their goals is to quote unquote, "eradicate abortion completely."

Now, I am told Donald Trump's remarks are very brief. They don't touch on abortion. They just talk about religious freedoms and freedom of the press. This is more of an introductory video. But that really goes to show you how Donald Trump still continues to try and walk this fine line, talking to these far-right Christian conservative groups about being anti-abortion, but not really talking about abortion and itself.

We know he wants to take credit for it, while at the same time trying to distance himself from it. Now, this is a pivotal moment for the campaign. They are trying to separate the legal from the campaign. We saw him on the campaign trail in Las Vegas over the weekend, making promises to voters. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I get to office, we are going to not charge taxes on tips -- people making tips. We're going to do that right away first thing in office because it's been a point of contention for years and years and years. And you do a great job of service. You take care of people.


HOLMES: Now, Donald Trump, they're obviously talking in Las Vegas, a place where it's critical to talk about taxing tips since it is an industry or a place that relies on the hospitality and entertainment industry. Again, another big part of what they did in Las Vegas was lunch Latino American voters for Trump as they tried to siphon voters away from Joe Biden. Manu?

RAJU: We're going dive more into that in a minute. But first, let's dive into the numbers. Voters have now had a chance to sit with the 34 guilty verdicts against Donald Trump for more than a week, but the jury is out on the impact. Those verdicts will have on the voters will decide this election.

CNN's Harry Enten joins me now. So, Harry, what are the numbers telling us?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yeah. I think you hit it right. You know, basically, that's a slight movement towards Joe Biden after Trump's conviction. But of course, the race was so close that even a slight movement towards Joe Biden could make a very big difference. We've had three polls that have been conducted since the conviction. We had them from Reuters/Ipsos. We had them from New York Times/Siena College, CBS News/YouGov.

And what you see in all those polls is moving towards Joe Biden. Reuters/Ipsos a two-point movement. Now Biden leads by two well within the margin of error. New York Times/Siena College is a recontact survey, respondents who had previously answered a poll, three points pre-conviction now one point for Donald Trump. CBS News/YouGov with the largest move of any of them.


But again, only a three-point movement from a four-point Trump lead to a one point Trump advantage well within the margin of error. The way we might describe this as a race that is way too close to coal nationally.

Now, you may be asking yourself, Manu, why did we not see an even larger movement towards Joe Biden after Donald Trump was convicted in those 34 counts? Well, as voters, you know, essentially, what would be a major factor in your vote come the 2024 election. Number one is still the economy at 81 percent, inflation number two at 75 percent. This data democracy number three at 74 percent.

You have to go all the way down to the seventh major factor to see the Trump convictions and that comes and get this at just 28 percent. Far less than the economy or inflation in the state of democracy, which are all in the 70s or 81 percent in the case of the economy. So, the Trump convictions not a major factor. But then again, we have such a close race.

So, what's exactly going on given that Joe Biden's approval rating, his favorable rating is so low at this particular point? Well, take a look here. Is your 2024 vote more about judgments about Joe Biden, which is all the way down at the bottom at 22 percent.

You normally wouldn't see that for an incumbent in fact, slightly more likely voters say, their judgments are about Donald Trump at 26 percent. Or the majority 51 percent say their 2024 vote is about comparing Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Perhaps that's not too surprising, given we have a quasi-incumbent and Trump against an actual incumbent Joe Biden.

And then you look at how well like these guys are, or perhaps better -- but how well this like these guys are. And what do we see on the positive and negative views of Joe Biden versus Donald Trump? Well, look at this. Negative views dominate the day. 55 percent of voters have a negative view of Donald Trump. 56 percent have a negative view of Joe Biden.

Far less have a positive view of either one of those gentlemen, and ultimately, the election will come down to voters who don't have a favorable view of either one. And we'll just have to see how they go, Manu? RAJU: Yeah. So interesting. That conviction -- maybe a small impact, but maybe a significant one. We'll see. All right. Harry Enten, thanks for that.

ENTEN: Thank you.

RAJU: I want to bring in my great political panel on this, CNN's Jeff Zeleny. CNN's Melanie Zanona, Laura Barron-Lopez of PBS NewsHour, and CNN's Kristen Holmes is back with us. Nice to see you all. Happy birthday, birthday boy. Yes, absolutely. And since you are the birthday boy, I'll start off with you.

One of the things that was interesting in this is -- in this, these numbers is about why people are supporting Joe Biden? Why his supporters are moving in his direction increasingly? This is a shift between March and now about why they are backing Joe Biden. His supporters back then to oppose Trump 47 percent. That is a seven -- now its 54 percent.

Is 7 percent uptick about why they are supporting Trump? Is that the Biden -- is not because they like him. In fact, he's down among voters as they like him. But it's because they are out -- because they're supporting -- they just want Trump to lose. Is that enough for Biden to win the election?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we'll see if it keeps heading in that direction perhaps. But look the -- this is what the Biden campaign has been hoping for, for voters to sort of pay attention to the choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, as opposed to having this election be a referendum on the Biden policies.

But as I travel across the country and talk to a lot of voters, it's still very much a mix. One thing is constant on both sides, the exhaustion and fatigue factor with both candidates. But as we head into the summer here, the Republican convention is next month, the Democratic one in August. People are realizing that, you know, this is the choice that they have.

So that's I think explains some of the top line number there. But look, these are on the margins. These are effectively just slightly outside the margin of error. But we know that this is going to be a extraordinarily tight race. But that's what the Biden campaign. That's why the president is talking about these convictions. That's why he is sort of going hard after Trump.

But voters that I talked to still talk more about the economy. They still talk more about immigration, inflation certainly. So, it's not clear that voters actually want either of Trump or Biden to be talking about each other's problems.

RAJU: Right. As we are, you know, facing this first ever meeting between the president -- former president and a probation officer today. What's interesting about those polls is that Trump convictions are laying around lower on the list 27 -- seventh most important issue among voters behind the economy, the inflation, state of democracy. So, if you're the Biden campaign, do you take look at that, and say, all right, let's focus just on the bread-and-butter issues. But do you still hammer home the fact that they're going out there campaigning against a convicted felon?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR & CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, their main focus is going to be on the pocketbook bread-and-bread issues. I mean -- but add abortion to the list that Jeff mentioned. So, they'll be talking about economy. They'll be talking about the rest of democracy. They are talking more about immigration now. But abortion is going to be a big thing for them to motivate their base.


And in addition to that they will talk about the convictions. Now there are some reformer Republican lawmakers who are siding with Biden in his campaign who would like to see the Biden campaign even more aggressively hammer the convictions and talk more about that on a regular basis and use them to talk more about that. And so, it remains to be seen how much they are going to lean into that.

RAJU: Yeah. And you mentioned abortion and Trump. As Kristen was reporting, he's meeting with virtually with an anti-abortion group today. This is how the CBS poll talks about whether this has an impact among likely voters, the kind of impact. Major factor 50 percent of likely voters, probably most of them are Democrats in that. But minor factor, some effects are about not a factory, you see 25 -- 25 percent.

Trump's comments have not really moderate. He's sort of been always all over the place a little bit of during the primary. But he was asked about his -- how -- you know, he was responsible for the fact that he appointed 3 point -- three conservative Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.


TRUMP: I was able to get it done with the appointment of great justices -- three great justices, plus others that joined them, as you know, and we don't have to go into all the names, but they're great. And they had the courage to end Roe v. Wade. I think it's working the way that people wanted it to work. And it's going to bring the country together.


RAJU: So, it's going to bring the country together. I don't think we've heard abortion has really brought the country together. But I guess what's interesting is that he's not moderating on this message. And this is, of course, what Democrats hope can sway voters in some of these key battleground states.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yeah. Because he wants the credit for overturning Roe v. Wade. And that's why you hear him talking about it. He's addressing, as Kristen mentioned earlier, an anti-abortion group. He wants that as part of his constituency. But at the same time, he has said, he's not going to sign a federal abortion ban. He said this should be left up to the states.

We're also hearing that message reflected and what Republicans are now saying on Capitol Hill in terms of what they're going to pursue legislatively. But this is a big political vulnerability for Republicans. And we're getting a sense of how Democrats are going to message on this as well, because of the Senate, they're having a number of show votes, trying to force Republicans to take tough positions on issues like contraception, access to IVF, all those things. So, it is clearly going to be a big issue, and none of the Republicans frankly haven't figured out how to talk about.

RAJU: And just Trump ever since he's come into the political, scene has really been all about base. It's always a base -- base strategy, whether it's about abortion, whether it's about talking about the January 6 attack on the Capitol. This is what he said, oh, just that it on Saturday in Las Vegas about the attack on January 6.


TRUMP: Those J six warriors, they were warriors, but they were really more than anything else. They're victims of what happened. All they were doing is protesting a rigged election. That's what they were doing. And then the police say, go in, go in, go in. What a setup that was. What a horrible, horrible thing. And you know, that blows two ways.


RAJU: OK, that was Sunday. But OK, first of all, they're protesting a rigged election. It wasn't rigged as we -- as we know, he says the police were facilitating them to come in. He wasn't -- they weren't facilitating their entrance. He says that this -- they were essentially set up. Facts aside, is this what the Trump campaign wants him to be talking about? Because obviously, the Biden campaign is using this as a core of their message.

HOLMES: Yes. So, I would put this an abortion in two separate categories. One, no, they don't want I'm talking about January sixth. And two, you can see Donald Trump's shift. I mean, since after the attacks on January 6, how far he's really bought into these far-right conspiracies and perpetuated them.

I mean, there was a time in which he was saying, he wasn't involved. Now he's saying that he's going to pardon everyone who was involved in January 6. So no, that's not really the rhetoric that they want Trump focused on. They want him focus more on campaigning on issues, like the economy that we've talked about, like immigration. But this is something he's doing throwing red meat subbase.

I will say on abortion. I know that we're not seeing him moderate, but he's really been saying the same thing. He is not going all in on abortion. He wants, as Mel said, the credit for overturning it, so that he continues to have his base. But he doesn't want to talk about abortion because he believes that it's not a political winner. And so, that's why you see him kind of dance around this because he wants to take the credit for it. But then he also wants to be more moderate on it, but you can't have both.

RAJU: It's hard to have it both.

HOLMES: Exactly.

RAJU: And as your Donald Trump, it's hard to have nuance too -- that Donald Trump's rhetoric to say the least. All right, more coming up. We'll go to live to Wilmington, Delaware, where jurors in the Hunter Biden trial are about to hear closing arguments and then start delivering.




RAJU: Breaking news, closing arguments have just begun in the Hunter Biden federal gun trial. The president's son did not take the stand. He's facing multiple charges related to a 2018 gun purchase and his pleaded not guilty. CNN's Paula Reid is live outside the court. Paula, what can you tell us about what's going on?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Manu, this is it. Sources telling me each side will take roughly an hour to present their closing argument before this jury. And then the judge says, she has a few more instructions she wants to give them before they begin their deliberations this afternoon.


And Manu, this is a historic task for this group of 12 people to decide that they -- this is the first time that the child of a sitting president has been criminally prosecuted. And Hunter Biden's verdict, whatever it may be, will be in their hands. It is possible certainly that we could get a verdict today, but it's almost impossible to say how long it will take them to deliver it. You never really know what a jury is going to do.

I was in court for a few hours this morning. And of course, the big question was whether Hunter Biden was going to take the stand. Never any defendant, this is a risk reward calculus. When sources told me, they believed that the possible reward was that they believe Hunter would play well before the jury.

They thought because he did well in his recent appearance on Capitol Hill before some pretty at times hostile lawmakers. They said he held up well there. They believed he would do well on the stand here. They also thought that maybe he could add some additional context, to some text messages that have been presented in this case.

That suggests during the time he owned the gun at the center of this case, he was texting his sister-in-law, Hallie Biden, things that appeared to possibly be related to using drugs. He was going to add context, I'm told to say no. He was just making things up because he didn't want to see her. But ultimately, he decided not to take the stand because, Manu, we know -- we know that the appearing before lawmakers on Capitol Hill quite different than appearing before some of the top federal prosecutors in the country.

RAJU: Yeah, no question about it. But we'll be on verdict. Watch as soon as this afternoon, Paula, thank you for that report. So, all right -- so let's just say that the verdict comes down today, tomorrow. How is the Biden campaign going to deal with this?

ZELENY: Look, I mean, this is deeply personal about as personal as it gets for the president. The first lady has been in the courtroom every day, but one flying back and forth from Paris. So, look, the campaign is largely treating this as a family matter. But Democrats sort of outside the campaign are using it as Exhibit A about how the Justice Department is not weaponized.

There is justice under the law for both sides and using him as an example that the president's son is on trial here by his own DOJ, obviously, there's a special prosecutor. But the campaign, it's very hard to hear anyone at the campaign headquarters, which ironically is just a couple blocks from this courthouse in Wilmington. They're not talking about it publicly.

RAJU: Yeah.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And when it comes to the actual impact on voters, I mean, I don't think we've really just seen any impact in terms of voters. And focus groups I've sat in on even to time Trump voters, even voters who swung from voting Trump in 2016 to voting Biden in 2020. They feel like it's a family matter. And they say that they've dealt with addiction in their family, and it's not something that they necessarily attack President Biden on.

RAJU: We'll see how Trump deals with the verdict as well. All right. Coming up. Trump says that undocumented immigrants are, quote, destroying our country. But rhetoric like that does not seem to be hurting him with Hispanic Americans. Why not? A Republican governor of Nevada thinks he knows the answer. That's next.





TRUMP: They're changing the fabric of our country. They're destroying our country. The illegal immigrants are turning and they're turning at a level that nobody's ever seen before. They're fighting our families.


RAJU: That was Donald Trump in his first post-conviction rally yesterday in Las Vegas. He's learning to rhetoric, targeting undocumented immigrants. As poll show, despite a rhetoric like that he's actually making inroads with Latino voters. Yesterday, Trump launched a new group called Latino Americans for Trump and sought to tie the migrant surge to broader economic problems facing Latino voters in Nevada.


TRUMP: They're totally destroying our Hispanic population. And you know what else they're destroying. And for you, it means a little bit less, but it means quite a bit. In this state, they are killing unions, they're killing unions because the unions are not able to survive. They're not able to survive this onslaught.


RAJU: So, look, in Nevada 19 percent of likely voters are Hispanic voters. 17 percent in Arizona, obviously a key demographic in key swing states. Is that the rhetoric that -- what do you make of the strategy by using that hardline rhetoric?

BARRON-LOPEZ: I mean, in the past, it hasn't necessarily worked. We saw that -- I mean, Trump has made immigration a big part of his campaigns, even during the 2018 midterms, when he was warning of a migrant caravan that wasn't coming to the U.S. It didn't work, then it worked in 2016.

I guess there are some Latinos at the margins that are particularly men that are starting to move a bit more towards him and it tends to be on the economy. There are even some Latinos who are much more democratic traditionally, that appear to be curious about Trump because of how they're feeling about the economy, despite the fact that there are a lot of good economic markers.

So, President Biden, his campaign hasn't cut out for them. They can't win states like Arizona and Nevada without turning out Latinos in similar numbers. If they don't grow, they're white or their senior vote. So, if Trump siphons off and off at the margins, it could be a problem.

RAJU: This is why the Nevada governor believes that that kind of rhetoric is works well in his state with voters. He believes it's about the economy ultimately, why Hispanic voters in particular, are turning increasingly towards Trump. Today's pocket budget issues have transcended traditional voting box, allowing voters to evaluate how their vote impacts their wallet and vice versa.