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New Poll Shows State Of 2024 Race Post-Debate; New CNN Poll: Trump Maintains Lead Over Biden; Rep. Quigley: Biden "Has To Be Honest With Himself"; New CNN Poll: RFK Jr. Gets 14 Percent Of Vote In Six- Way Matchup; Manhattan D.A. Open To Delaying Trump's Hush Money Sentencing; Lower Court To Decide Which Of Trump's Acts Qualify For Immunity. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 02, 2024 - 12:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on Inside Politics, the numbers are in. This hour, we are revealing the first CNN poll since the CNN debate. And the president's performance that's led to mass panic in the Democratic Party. You're going to see what voters think moments from now as the Biden campaign calculates its next move.

Plus, it wasn't just a horrible night. That's the message from Congressman Mike Quigley who is now the first Democratic lawmaker to openly discuss if President Biden should be replaced as the party's nominee. He's concerned is not just about the presidential race, but all the House and Senate candidates also on the ballot this November.

And supreme consequences. The Manhattan district attorney is now open to delaying the former president's hush money sentencing. As CNN learns that President Trump's federal election subversion case may not resume for another month. We're tracking all the fallout from the high court's bombshell ruling on presidential immunity.

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

Joe Biden is attempting to use the monumental Supreme Court ruling on presidential power to warn about the dangers of a second Trump presidency. But in this crucial first week after the debate, the president's delivery was just as focused as his words.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: No one. No one is above the law, not even the president United States. But today's Supreme Court decision and presidential immunity, that fundamentally changed for all, for all practical purposes. Today's decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits, or 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 and United States.


BASH: Of course, it all comes down to what the voters think. CNN's David Chalian is here to break it down. Show us the numbers from this new poll.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah. This was fielded entirely after our debate, as you noted, and I think there are some data points in here that the Biden campaign will use to try and push back on some of this democratic concern. And I think there's some data points in here that those elected officials and donors who are concerned about Biden moving forward, will use to push back on the president.

Take a look overall at the state of the race in our brand-new poll. 49 percent Donald Trump, 43 percent Joe Biden. This is a six-point lead, Dana. And this is unchanged -- unchanged since our last poll in April. In fact, it's been a remarkably consistent race with Joe Biden trailing Donald Trump just outside the margin of error for quite some time. If you look back in our trend here, you see it was identical in April 49, 43. You see, nothing has really changed since last August. By last fall, this race is kind of locked into place.

BASH: That's remarkable to look at that even just from April to now, exactly the same.

CHALIAN: Identical, and the Biden campaign will say to folks, see the debate didn't change the state of the race. Of course, when you're six points down, you kind of needed the debate to change the state of the race. You would -- I was talking about what was locked in here. So, 65 percent of the electorate say their mind is made up.

If your mind is made up in this poll, you're splitting 53 percent for Trump, 45 percent for Biden. However, 31 percent of voters in the poll say they are movable, either they don't have a first choice, or they're not locked in. They're willing to move off of who they're saying their choices right now.

31 percent of the electorate is movable. They split more evenly. 39 percent for Trump, 37 percent for Biden. Obviously, Joe Biden needs to be working on this movable crowd of nearly a third of the electorate, whether those that don't have a choice or actually with Trump right now but could move to improve his standing.

BASH: And talk about what is driving the voters on these numbers.

CHALIAN: This is going to be welcomed news to Biden, because the race is still largely about Donald Trump as the motivating factor, right, even after the debate. This is among Biden supporters, Dana. What would your vote be more to vote against Trump or for Biden? 63 percent say against Trump, 37 percent say for Biden.

I will say this 37 is actually a slight improvement for Biden, where a bit more of his voters are saying they're actually voting for him. But overall, the thrust for Biden supporters is they want to vote against Trump, not for Biden. It's the complete reversal for Trump supporters.

[12:05:00] Two thirds of Trump supporters are casting their ballot for Donald Trump. 34 percent say they're casting against Joe Biden. Again, we see a slight uptick here for Trump among those voting for him too, so we're seeing both Trump and Biden sort of consolidate their fellow partisans.

BASH: What about the debate performance? Let's talk about that. Because we really want to know what voters thought and whether the debate performance actually impacted how they perceive Joe Biden.

CHALIAN: I mean, overall, in this poll, we see that people say Donald Trump won the debate. We saw that in our instant poll on the night of the debate among debate watchers, that's true broadly with the electorate. But take a look at these numbers. And this is going to keep the conversation going inside the Democratic Party.

Nearly three fourths of American voters say someone else, not Joe Biden should give -- would give Democrats their best chance that they were at the top of the ticket. Only 25 percent of voters say Joe Biden gives Democrats their best chance of winning in November.

And take a look at these numbers. Joe Biden's approval rating is down to 36 percent in this poll. That is his lowest approval rating of his entire presidency in CNN polling. His lowest number nearly four months out from the election. That's not welcomed news for any incumbent.

And we tested, what would it look like if Vice President Kamala Harris was in a matchup against Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. And the vice president actually does a little bit better against Trump than Joe Biden does. She pulls the race within margin of error, no clear leader Donald Trump at 47, Kamala Harris at 45 percent.

We also tested Gavin Newsom, Pete Buttigieg, Gretchen Whitmer. You see here, those Democrats, they kind of perform like Joe Biden. Donald Trump is beating them right now outside the margin of error. Only Kamala Harris, in this poll -- of these Democrats tested is getting this race within the margin of error, Dana.

BASH: All right, David. Poof, I'm over here now. I will see you here in a minute. Thank you so much for all of that very, very interesting reporting from our poll. Let's talk about more about all of this with my great group of reporters, The Washington Post's Yasmeen Abutaleb, CNN's Eva McKend, and Olivier Knox of U.S. News, again David will be here in a moment.

Olivier, I want to start with you, your sort of takeaway from these numbers that David just revealed?

OLIVIER KNOX, SENIOR NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Well, I have two thoughts. So, the first is I have not seen the Democrat -- Democratic Party, this agitated in this much of a panic since 1998, really 1988 when the Lewinsky scandal erupted. And we saw a prominent Democrat saying that Bill Clinton should resign, right? That didn't happen. And Democrats did just fine in those -- in those midterms that year. The second thought I have is that we really should be polling the four or so states that are actually going to decide this election now. If '24 -- but if 24 goes the way 20 and 16, we're talking about tens of thousands of voters in a handful of states. And so my theory of the case is that literally any issue can swing with this election.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: I think that this is certainly instructive. But I think the most telling thing will really to be continuing to talk to voters. I was in conversation with some of them this weekend. There was a rally here in D.C. in support of low wage workers.

And I thought that there would be more pushback after the debate performance. I thought that they would raise issues with a whole number of things concerning President Biden because this is really the left flank of the coalition. And instead, it was the exact opposite.

They really rallied around him. They said that all of the response was not fair. They seem to take a really pragmatic response to all of this. And say, listen, he's ultimately going to be our nominee. The alternative is former President Trump, and we're going to stand by him through this difficult period.

BASH: David, do you want to -- I'm going to move on to some of the things that are going on in the -- in the Democratic Party with regard to the debate. But is there anything else that you really want to emphasize your big picture takeaway from everything you just gave us?

CHALIAN: Well, I think the biggest thing here is Joe Biden is not on track to win this race right now. And he needed a debate performance that was going to upend the trajectory of the race. That did not happen here. I mean, inside these numbers of him being six points down from Donald Trump is that he's down 10 points among independent voters.

Obviously, that was not the case four years ago, when he won the race nationally by four percentage points. So, if this is what the result is, that would be, you know, a 10-point swing in the other direction. It's notable that Kamala Harris's performance with independent voters in this poll, she's almost even with Trump, Biden's 10 points down with independent vote.

BASH: All right. So, I mentioned I want to talk about kind of the what's going on behind the scenes with regard to Democrats and the Biden campaign. And something that went from behind the scenes to on TV this morning, which is an interview with our colleague, Kasie Hunt, Mike Quigley, the congressman said the following.



REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): His four years are, you know, one of the great presidencies of our lifetime, but I think he has to be honest with himself. This is a decision he's going to have to make. He clearly has to understand, I think what you're getting to here is that his decision not only impacts who's going to serve in the White House the next four years, but who's going to serve in the Senate, who's going to serve in the House, and it will have implications for decades to come. It's his decision. I just want him to appreciate at this time, just how much it impacts not just his race, but all the other races coming in November.


BASH: Now, what's notable about that isn't what he said. It's that he said it in public. We have all talked to people who have said that and much more in private, but they have been kept at bay by the Biden campaign. He decided he wanted to say that publicly.

YASMEEN ABUTALEB, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah. I mean, I think this is really what has the potential to maybe swing the conversation in a more public way from sort of pundits and columnist to more democratic elected officials, who may start to call for there to be another nominee is if polls -- the Biden campaign will point to polls like today is to say, it didn't change the race.

I think that's a bit of a problem because like David said that they needed to change the dynamics of the race, being six points down is not an especially strong argument. But if polls show that Senate candidates, House candidates are now at risk of losing their races, more than they were before because they're being dragged down by Biden.

And this was a concern, while before the debate that a lot of people didn't want to in tough districts and tough states, didn't want to campaign with Biden, didn't want to appear at events with him. If now it looks like Democrats are a bigger risk of not being able to flip the House. You losing the Senate, then I think that could really start to change the public conversation.

BASH: Yeah. And then there is, you know, the question about how the campaign is dealing with the fallout. And you mentioned the late 90s, with the Bill Clinton scandal after his alleged affair with Monica Lewinsky. Should I say that.

CHALIAN: I don't think it's a --

BASH: OK, fine. Whatever, whatever happened with Monica Lewinsky that -- and I remember that when we were cub reporters at this time, very cub. But I remember it was definitely the same kind of thing, like who -- which Democrats are going to say what and is it going to matter? And who's going to go talk to him? And a few senators did (inaudible) for example, was one of them. The same kind of thing is happening. Very, very different subject.

Peter Welch, the Democratic Senator from Vermont, said the following. He said, I really do criticize the campaign for a dismissive attitude towards people who are raising questions for discussion. That's just facing the reality that we're in. The campaign has raised the concerns themselves. So then to be dismissive of others who raise those concerns, I think that's inappropriate. I'm just going to paraphrase backoff campaign is what he said. KNOX: A lot of people are taking the back off campaign approach, most of them quietly, Peter Welch, evidently in public. People are pointing back. You know, the Biden campaign in the White House have been using the term breadwinners to describe the people who worry about the impact of this debate performance on the election in November. That was, of course, coinage from 2016, when the Hillary campaign pushed back against skeptics of her presidential bid. We all know how that ended up.

I can tell you from having talked to a couple of people who are in the camp, I support Joe Biden, but boy, they need to have an honest conversation. They're very upset with the tone from this White House. They're upset with the tone for the White House. And they're upset that the White House has not done more to put Joe Biden forward in a press conference or in an interview or something like that.

BASH: Yeah, yeah. You know, Adrienne Elrod was just on last hour with Erica Hill and was asked about that, whether he -- the president is going to go out more. I'm told we're going to hear more about that. I just don't know what that means. And maybe you all have reporting, whether that does mean an interview. It's hard to imagine more off the cuff events, but maybe that's going to happen.

CHALIAN: Yeah. Our colleague Jeff Zeleny reported in an interview is certainly part of the conversation on the table as an option here. But again, I think if that's the question, is an unscripted format. What the campaign wants to put Biden out doing, given what occurred on Thursday night? Or do they want him in more scripted environments? You know that is the clear question that they're dealing with inside.

BASH: I just want to get another part of the poll. And while we can, and that is -- it's not just Donald Trump and Joe Biden, in a lot of states and maybe even more state soon, there are others. And so, we look at the matchup with RFK Jr. in particular as part of this, and he's got 14 percent.

CHALIAN: Yeah. And now notice, it's still a six-point lead the Trump has over Biden when you add in the others. But to Olivier's point about this is going to be decided in four states. If they happen to be states where Robert F. Kennedy is on the ballot and he's pulling that level of support. Given the numbers of the margins, we're talking about that could be extraordinarily significant in the outcome of the race.


MCKEND: And I can say from covering his campaign that they certainly see an opening in the wake of that debate performance. But there's always going to be a challenge for third party candidates to get their message out. He was not on that debate stage. But they're definitely trying to leverage this and put him out there on social media.

BASH: And there's one other important data point that I want to get into this discussion, which is money, because people were -- its polls and money. That's what the campaign was telling everybody privately. We'll see how it goes. Money is pretty good. They released their fundraising numbers, 127 million raised in June, 240 million cash on hand.

ABUTALEB: They've had remarkable fundraising numbers. And that's something that campaign -- the Biden campaign has pointed to as strengthen energy behind their campaign. I do think it's worth noting, all this money they've raised has not fundamentally changed the dynamics of the race for several months.

And one of the other arguments are starting to make as if there were to be a new nominee, especially one who were not Vice President Kamala Harris, the money would be a complicating factor. It's not like all of the Biden campaign money can just be handed over to a new candidate. So, they've tried to say, look, getting a new nominee is not going to be a super simple process. There's all these -- it's going to be messy. It's going to divide the party right before the election.

And one other thing I just note on the interview is I've spoken to a number of Democrats who have said, if Biden would have just gone out and done an unscripted TV interview right after the debate, that would have quelled a lot of concerns, but he didn't do that. And I think that's heightening concerns that why didn't they just put him out there in that kind of setting to try to tamp down some of the anxiety.

CHALIAN: That could have caused those concerns --


ABUTALEB: Right. Yeah.

BASH: And one other bit of reporting before we go to break. And my colleague Jake Tapper is reporting that some Democratic governors are trying to get a meeting with the president, so that they can discuss concerns that they have with him directly. We'll see if that actually comes to pass.

Everybody stick around. The Supreme Court handed Donald Trump criminal immunity when it comes to his official acts as president. What does that mean for the cases against him? We have new reporting on that just ahead.




BASH: Welcome back. We have new reporting on Donald Trump's hush money conviction. After yesterday's landmark Supreme Court case, the Manhattan district attorney indicated he is open to delaying Trump's sentencing, which is supposed to be a next week.

Joining me now is CNN legal analyst Steve Vladeck and constitutional. He is also a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas School of Law. Here with me is CNN's Katelyn Polantz. Katelyn, let's start -- first of all with the New York development. Tell us about that. KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah. So, the district attorney's office in New York, they are open to moving the sentencing. So, it might not happen next Thursday when Donald Trump was set to be sentenced because everybody needs to hash out where they stand on this immunity decision and how it affects that case.

In that case, there was evidence that was presented to the jury about things Donald Trump was doing while he was president, things like tweets, some testimony from Hope Hicks. His team wants to argue all of that should be thrown out -- the whole case should be thrown out.

The district attorney's office say we don't think the whole case should be thrown out. But let's write about this to the judge. And we are open to moving to sentencing. But of course, Dana, as you know, it's going to come down to what the judge says and when that date will actually be.

BASH: Yeah. I know. So, this Supreme Court case is so incredibly important, in fact, so many things on that. One of the things that affects is the indictment that led this whole case to the Supreme Court in the first place. What are you hearing? You have some new reporting about what Jack Smith is going to do?

POLANTZ: Yeah. Well, right now, as things stand, we do not look like we're going to see anything happen in this case in Washington, D.C., the federal case against Donald Trump related to the 2020 election for 32 days. As of today, 31 days. That's because the Supreme Court rules say that's how long it takes for the Supreme Court to then send their judgment back down to the lower courts.

So, the judgment is like a hot potato, whoever is holding it, gets to do what they want to do in the case. Right now, it's with the Supreme Court until it goes back to the trial court. And Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, D.C., she's not going to be able to do anything until that gets back to her.

And that's when we would start hearing very likely from the special counsel's office saying, you know, how they want to proceed in this case against Donald Trump. But they asked the Supreme Court to put the judgment back in the hands of the trial court forthwith, or immediately, it didn't happen yesterday.

BASH: Steve Vladeck, I'm going to bring you in. Can you just give us your big legal brain and tell us what your analysis is? First and foremost, about what Katelyn was just reporting about what's going on in New York. What's going on in Jack Smith's case? And sort of more generally, your thoughts.

STEVE VLADECK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah. I mean, Dana, I think the common theme across all of this is uncertainty, and uncertainty that's going to take time for the courts to hash out. It's going to take time for Judge Merchan in New York to figure out what if any impact the Supreme Court's discussion of evidence.

In the majority opinion and yesterday's case is going to have on the proceedings there. It's going to take time for Judge Chutkan and for Special Counsel Jack Smith to sort out. You know, are we going to see a new superseding indictment in the January 6 prosecution. Is Judge Chutkan going to now have to hold an evidentiary hearing to figure out which of the charged acts are and are not prosecutable. What evidence can and cannot come in.


And Dana, I think that's the real takeaway here, which is, you know, folks are going to read yesterday's opinion, you know, in ways that are going to not necessarily align with each other, but this is all a mess. That lower courts in each of these cases, we're going to have to sort out. And just to put one more point on that, once those lower courts have ruled, of course that will just trigger another round of appeals. Making it that much less likely that we're going to have any conclusive resolution between now and the election in November.

BASH: Can I ask you about that? Because when you say trigger another round of appeals, does it just end right back up in the lap of the Supreme Court, or does it stop after there -- after the district court decides? Let me actually put a specific example on what I'm asking you. So, it doesn't sound sort of legal and theoretical.

I'm going to go back to John Roberts, majority opinion yesterday. And this speaks to the question of a president's conduct. The president's conduct in particular in and around January 6. He said the district court must carefully analyze the indictments remaining allegations to determine whether they too involve conduct for which a president must be immune from prosecution.

And the parties and the district court must ensure that sufficient allegations support the indictments charges without such conduct. Testimony or private records of the president or his advisers, probing such conduct may not be admitted as evidence at trial.

So that speaks to some of the confusion that you were just talking about. But is it the district court that's going to have the final word?

VLADECK: No. I mean, I think the district court obviously is going to go first. And you know, Katelyn is exactly right about the timeline for that. But Dana, you know, presumably, whatever Judge Chutkan rules, whatever Jack Smith files to try to ward off some of these questions.

Donald Trump will appeal that, and he'll appeal it back to the D.C. Circuit. If he loses in the D.C. Circuit, the federal appeals court, he'll surely go back to the U.S. Supreme Court. And this is the critical point. Even if those appeals are resolved quickly, even if they're dismissed as being borderline frivolous, they will still take time.

And so, I just -- you know, there's no scenario at this point in which the January 6 prosecution is going to be able to go to trial before the election. And of course, that means the obvious point, that the future of that case is going to depend entirely upon what happens at the ballot boxes in November. BASH: Absolutely fascinating. Steve, thank you so much for being here and putting that all into important context as much as we can with so much unknown. And Katelyn, thank you so much to you for being here.

Coming up. On the defensive days after President Biden's debate performance, the growing divide between the Biden campaign concerned donors and even some Democrats.