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Isa Soares Tonight

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Emergency Abortions in Idaho; Police and Protesters Clash Once Again on the Streets of Nairobi in Kenya; Biden and Trump Presidential Debate; What Issues Are Most Important to Voters; World Watching as Trump and Biden Set for CNN Debate; Israel Orders Palestinians to Immediately Evacuate Parts of Gaza; IDF Investigates Jenin Incident; Iran Elects New President on Friday; Bolivia Ex-Army Chief Arrested. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 27, 2024 - 14:00:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Joe Biden and Donald Trump prepare to go

head-to-head. It's a debate which could reshape the 2024 presidential race, we'll be live from the debate site in Atlanta in just a moment for you.

Then, more key rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court on emergency abortions in Idaho, and a crucial case involving the maker of a highly additive --

addictive, I should say, painkiller, OxyContin, those details just ahead for you. Plus, police and protesters clash once again on the streets of

Nairobi in Kenya. We'll explain why.

But first, tonight, one stage, two moderators and two candidates fighting for American voters. We are now just hours away from a crucial moment in

the 2024 U.S. presidential election, history will be made tonight right here on CNN with an incumbent U.S. President Joe Biden going head-to-head

with the former President Donald Trump.

And the stage, it's quite literally set in Atlanta at our headquarters right there, as you can see where the two candidates will have 90 minutes

to speak directly to the American people. But there will be no audience, as you know, in the studio. Moderators, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will hit on

those key issues that have been dominating this election, and that includes immigration as well as the economy.

U.S. President Joe Biden is en route to the capital of the state of Georgia for tonight's historic showdown with Donald Trump. A short time ago, Marine

One landed at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, as you can see there. He's due in Atlanta later this hour.

Now, sources close to Mr. Biden say he plans to make the January the 6th insurrection a key part of his attacks on Trump tonight. We know of course,

that President Biden has been framing a lot of his campaign around the fight for democracy, and that indeed puts it into shape for us.

For his part, Donald Trump is attacking President Biden on social media, calling him a threat to the country. Our reporters are in Atlanta for this

first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle. Joining us now is Kristen Holmes, and Kristen, you are, I believe in the spin room, is that

right? Just set the scene for us, set the mood for our viewers right here.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so, this is the spin room. This is where after the debate, you're going to see various

surrogates for both Biden and Trump trying to convince the American people and reporters who will be here, very many of them who are interested that

their candidate won this debate, talking about various issues.

Now, when you talk about the mood, the mood here and really around the campus in Atlanta is one of anticipation. People don't know exactly what to

expect. This is a very historic moment for a number of reasons, one of which you mentioned, the fact that you've never had a sitting U.S.

President going up to debate a former U.S. President.

Part of that is really clear when you talked to both of these campaigns about what they want their candidate to do. When you talk to Trump's team,

they say they want him to give a contrast between Biden administration and his former administration. When we talk to Biden's team, they say the same

thing, except they're looking at different issues, particular Biden's team is still looking at the economy, but they're also talking about abortion

and democracy.

Trump's team, they want to focus on the economy, particularly inflation, immigration and crime. Again, how these two interact. We have not seen them

interact since 2020. Donald Trump's advisors, the ones I speak to, say they want him to show up and stay on message.

Sure, will he level personal attacks, and we've seen him already started too on social media, that is generally how he tends to debate, but they

believe that if he can go back to those three core issues, he can be successful. On the other side, Biden's team wants him to control his

messaging, but actually, to be a bit more aggressive when it comes to Donald Trump.

So, you're looking at two very different men, but a lot of the same elements that fall into both of them as we head into this debate. Now, one

interesting part of all of this is the logistics themselves around this debate, where the podiums are, who gets the last word?

A lot of this was determined by a coin toss, which many people don't know. We know that Biden got to choose where his podium will be located, and

Donald Trump, in turn, got to have the final word. And talking to Trump's allies, they believe that this will help him.


Remember, Donald Trump is not someone who often stays on message. So, even if he veers off message, the hope is that he'll use that opportunity at the

very end of the debate to get back and focus on those core issues that they believe will help him come out of this debate. But it's a very exciting

time because there are a lot of voters turning in, some tuning in, some of them really haven't been following this race here in America.

If you look at the recent polling, most people are not excited about either of these candidates, but a lot of them still want to get out and cast their

ballots in November. So, this will be an opportunity for Joe Biden, for Donald Trump to try and bring some excitement back into a race where a lot

of Americans just aren't really uninterested in both of them.

SOARES: Yes, indeed, and we've seen that reflected in just the latest polls, the CNN polls, right, Kristen, and we're all under seven hours away.

We, of course, earlier in the day, we had a 10:00 a.m. Eastern roughly, we had a SCOTUS ruling, of course, several SCOTUS rulings.

But the Idaho abortion perhaps, the most important one here for -- around this campaign. How will these candidates frame this decision from SCOTUS,

from the Supreme Court?

HOLMES: Well, both of them were anticipating questions about abortion and reproductive rights from the beginning. The way they were going to handle

them are really very different. We know on one side, the Biden team was really planning on playing it up, talking about the fact that Donald Trump

is really the modern day architect of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

They want to bring back some of the passion that they've seen in voters in the past two election cycles when it comes to reproductive rights and

abortion. So, despite -- or even with the ruling today, they were still planning on really honing in on reproductive rights and attacking Donald

Trump over that.

Now, Donald Trump on the other side, they have spent a lot of time preparing for questions on abortion, on reproductive rights. But just

remember, for the last several months, even longer, we have seen Donald Trump tried to walk a fine line between one cleaning that he has

overturned Roe v. Wade, but also too, staying away from the topic of abortion overall.

He doesn't believe that it's a real strong political winner for himself or for the Republican Party. So, what you're likely to see tonight on Donald

Trump's side, and this is coming from some of the senior advisors, is, he's going to continue with that line. We've heard time and time again that yes,

overturned Roe v. Wade, but he kicked it back to the states, and that's the final decision maker.

What you're going to hear in a little bit of a change there is, after he is done, expect to see him doing some pivoting, to go back to focusing on

issues like inflation, like crime, like immigration, because they don't want him to spend too much time on the issues that they know are not

helpful to him with American voters. They want him to really hone in on that core messaging.

SOARES: It is going to be very exciting to watch indeed. Kristen Holmes, I know you'll be there as well, thank you very much, great to see you,

Kristen. Well, Sara Sidner is going to give us a closer look really at the stage where Mr. Biden and Trump will be debating in less really than 7

hours -- 6 hours and 52 minutes. Have a look at this.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am standing on the debate stage where history will be made in America tonight. This is a match-up that we

actually in the history of the United States have never seen before, because there is a president and a vice president going up against one


Now, give you some idea, just how intense this is going to be. They are merely 8 feet apart. Remember that these two men, former President Donald

Trump and President Joe Biden have not even been in the same room together since 2020. That was the last debate between the two men.

Now, they'll be closer than ever to one another as they battle for the American voters. They also have some new rules they will have to deal with.

There is no audience here. There are mics that will be muted if they are not the person who is asked the question.

They also are going to be looking at some of the lights on the cameras because they only have a certain amount of time to answer the questions.

They will have two minutes to answer the moderators' question, then they will have a minute for rebuttal and a minute for response.

And then if the moderators deem they need to clarify something, they will be given another minute. So, not a lot of time to get their message out. It

needs to be sharp and poignant. We will also be seeing President Biden coming from the right side of your screen, Donald Trump walking in from the

left, getting situated here.

They are not allowed to talk to their campaign folks to get some notes and ideas. They are allowed though, to write down notes. There is a sheet of

paper here that I will grab, that is for the candidates, and they'll have a pen to be jotting down notes for their responses to the other candidate's


But this is such a dramatic moment, in part because, yes, America has seen these two men debate before, but they have never seen them after living

through their administrations.


And this is the time for that, and what is most interesting here, in some ways, they are in a dead heat when it comes to the polling.


SOARES: Indeed, our thanks to Sara for that. I know Sara Sidner mentioned there CNN's latest poll of polls shows a very tight lead -- race, I should

say, ahead of tonight's debate. Stephen Collinson joins us now, who is live for us in Washington. Let me pick up then with those CNN poll of polls if

we just show our viewers here, Stephen, where the support lies, 49 percent for Trump in terms of choice for president, 47 for President Biden. I mean,

this is incredibly tight, so just frame for us this moment.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: This really is probably President Biden's best chance to turn around a re-election race, which is

in real danger of losing. Bear in mind, of course, the U.S. elections are not just the popular vote, they're won state-by-state.

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: In order to prevail in the U.S. election system, a Democrat really needs to be two or three points ahead in the polls. So, neck-and-

neck isn't good enough for Biden, and all the polls we have through many of the battleground states that will decide the election, maybe 5, 6 of them,

Trump seems to be in a more favorable position.

That's one of the reasons why Biden wanted this debate to happen in June which is far earlier than debates have been in previous cycles, usually you

get them in September and through October. So, the president is under real pressure to try and shake up this race, which has actually been pretty

stable ever since the candidates or Republican nomination started campaigning more than a year ago.

SOARES: Yes, and shaking up, perhaps is what is needed. If we look at staying with a CNN poll of polls here, there's clearly a sense of

exhaustion, Stephen, reluctance as well on the part of voters over their choices here. I want to show our viewers another element of this poll in

terms of -- 55 percent , as you can see on your screen, the majority of registered voters say someone other than Trump should be the GOP nominee.

While 64 percent say the same about Biden. I mean, given this, given what we're looking at here, what does this strategy, Stephen, need to be for

both men tonight?

COLLINSON: Well, the Biden administration has been very frustrated that they have not been able to have this comparison between the sitting

president and the former president, who Biden describes as a threat to democracy, American values and the Democratic way of American life.

So, that is exactly what he's going to try and do tonight, is to cast that comparison. What Biden over Trump is going to try and do is try to make the

election a referendum on Biden's first term. He's going to narrow in on high immigration, the sense of lost economic security among Americans.

He's going to paint a dystopian picture of a country soiled by violent crime, which if isn't true, it can still be a powerful message. So, as Sara

was saying, it's really interesting that we've got two presidents who are standing on stage and both of their first term legacies will be under the


The one that succeeds, I think, in making the election about the other is probably the one that's going to win in November.

SOARES: Yes, and you mentioned democracy on a stick for Biden, because we know, he's placed -- and we heard that from Kristen Holmes at the top of

the show, that he's placed democracy and the fight for democracy, I should say, right at the heart of his campaign. We're also seeing now, "Axios"

reporting that the Biden campaign is expected to use kind of today's debate, Stephen, to launch a new offensive against Trump around this

project 25. So, in the way it's going to transform the government, speak to that. What does that mean?

COLLINSON: So, this is a set of plans that would basically get the civilian civil service of the key departments and American government. The

State Department, the Justice Department, even some of the top echelons of the Intelligence agencies remove career officials and replace them with

highly politicized people who would be more likely to follow through on Trump's policies.

The far-right populist side of American politics believes that there is this entrenched bureaucracy that makes it even impossible for Republican

presence to carry out their most conservative policies. What Trump and his allies are proposing is to wash out that bureaucracy, what he calls the

deep state.

And this is something that could really transform American governance, and it is one of the reasons why Biden and a lot of Democrats are really

worried. They say that, you know, the threat to democracy is not --

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: Just the fact that Donald Trump doesn't accept the results of elections when he loses. He's going to make, you know, entrenching anti-

Democratic policies, you know, at the heart of American governance.


SOARES: Yes, we'll look forward to seeing how if President Biden, of course, continues with that messaging and the importance and the fight for

democracy, which we have seen, of course, for the last several months. Stephen, as always, thank you very much --

COLLINSON: Bye, dear --

SOARES: Always great to get your analysis. And of course, tune in to see the CNN presidential debate right here on CNN, that's coming up tonight at

9:00 p.m. Eastern, of course, we will replay the debate in its entirety, and we will replay it a few times. You can watch it at 7:00 a.m. if you're

up in London, 2:00 p.m. in Hong Kong, or you can watch in 12 hours later, 7:00 p.m. in London, 10:00 p.m. if you are watching us in Dubai.

Of course, we won't be on tomorrow because at the same time of our show, you'll get to watch the full debate. And just hours before the debate, the

U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision on abortion, a topic that certainty -- that's certain to really play a role as we head for Kristen

Holmes at the top in tonight's showdown.

Justices rule 6-3 to allow emergency abortions in Idaho, a day after the opinion was mistakenly posted on the course's website. We brought you that

breaking news just yesterday, three conservative members of the court sided with their liberal counterparts. In another major decision, the court ruled

that the family that owns Purdue Pharma cannot be shielded from further legal action against them involving the opioid crisis in the United States

under the terms of a multi-billion-dollar settlement, the Sackler family was protected from any future lawsuits.

A very busy day, of course. Justice correspondent Jessica Schneider has been keeping an eye on it all for us. So, Jessica, four opinions released

today, but let's start first with this Idaho abortion ban, which of course, you and I, we were talking about this inadvertently posted yesterday.

Just talk us through the ruling and what this could mean for providers and women in Idaho here.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty much an identical copy of what we saw, inadvertently released yesterday. So, what

this does is, it allows emergency abortions to continue in Idaho. And really, this is a decision that at least for right now, it holds this Idaho

law that was in near-total ban on abortion.

What it doesn't do though, Isa, is it doesn't definitively decide if this whole Idaho law is proper or maybe as the Biden administration had argued,

if it improperly conflicts with this other federal law that requires doctors in emergency rooms to perform abortions if necessary, to prevent

severe injury to a woman.

Because remember, conversely, the Idaho law only allows abortions if death is imminent. So, this is just an incremental win for the women and doctors

in Idaho.

SOARES: Yes --

SCHNEIDER: They had really voiced how difficult medical care had become there in the past few months, because this Idaho law was in effect. But

now, the Supreme Court putting a pause on the Idaho law while it continues to be argued at the lower courts.

One thing it doesn't do though, Isa, it doesn't affect these other dozen or so states that have very similar near-total abortion bans. Those are still

going to be in effect. This decision from the Supreme Court only halts the Idaho law. So, you know, as the Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said, this

isn't really a win for pregnant women.

This is just sort of putting a pause on one part of the problem that many see in the country.

SOARES: Yes, very much, just kicking the can down the road for so many women.


SOARES: Let's focus on the decision on Purdue Pharma. Just explain what this opinion could mean for those opioid victims, of course, who had been

trying, seeking compensation, I should say.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, it allows lawsuits to go forward for those victims. But at the same time, they're not going to get the benefit, those victims, of this

huge, you know, multi-billion dollar fund. Because what the Supreme Court did here, they rejected an attempt by the Sackler family to try to use a

bankruptcy settlement which agreed to this multi-billion dollar fund, to use that settlement to shield them from future lawsuits, you know, by --

from victims or families of opioid users.

You know, for people at home, the Sackler family was the head of Purdue Pharma. Purdue Pharma manufactured and distributed this highly addictive

OxyContin, and it has created millions of addictions throughout this country and others. And then, you know, they were sued repeatedly, and they

went into bankruptcy mode.

And as part of that, they agreed to put forward about $6 billion into states and other programs to help combat the opioid addiction. The exchange

was that they wouldn't be liable for any future civil lawsuits against them. I'll note, Isa, that some of the victims here, they had -- they had

wanted this settlement.

They had said we have gone through years and years of litigation, we believe it's the end of the road, let's just settle this now. But the

government stepped in and said this really isn't a fair deal for future victims.


So, those future victims and the Biden administration winning out today, and the Sackler family, it's a huge loss for them. They will continue to be

subject to lawsuits for the foreseeable future anyway.

SOARES: A busy day for the Supreme Court --


SOARES: And so, Jessica Schneider, and I know, I think we're still waiting for six opinions, of course --

SCHNEIDER: We are --

SOARES: We'll see what happens in case there, Jessica, appreciate it, thanks very much.


SOARES: And still to come, protests have erupted yet again in Kenya, but unlike demonstrations early in the week, it's no longer just about a tax

hike proposal. What protestors want from their government now. We'll bring you the very latest from Nairobi.


SOARES: Well, Kenya is being rocked by a fresh wave of protests following deadly clashes on Tuesday.




SOARES: Earlier today, riot police in Nairobi firing tear gas as demonstrators hit the streets in what activists are calling the 1 million

person march. And it comes despite President William Ruto's U-turn on a controversial tax hike bill just a day earlier. Protesters tell CNN, it's

now about more than just a bill. It's about government corruption, police brutality, and Ruto's performance. Our Larry Madowo has the very latest.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Defiant youth back on the streets, demanding to be heard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, tomorrow, every day from today, I will be here. Scared, maybe arrested, maybe killed, but let's do it.

MADOWO: Protesters in Nairobi, less than 24 hours after the country's president scrapped a controversial finance bill.


MADOWO: We just got hit by tear-gas right there, and so, we had to get out of there. We have to get -- and get closer to the police, that's been the

scene all morning as police throw tear-gas, we have to get past that as well.


MADOWO: We have to get past that and get closer to the police. Heavily- armed soldiers patrolling the streets alongside police.

EVANS MUGOYA, KENYAN PROTESTER: How do you bring military to defend the people you're supposed to protect. Understand that.


MUGOYA: First of all, are you killing us or you're protecting us.

MADOWO: The scrapped finance bill which included proposed tax hikes prompted violent clashes between police and protesters on Tuesday, leaving

at least 23 people dead.


CNN witnessed people being manhandled, beaten, arrested, some even lying lifeless on the ground as live rounds and tear gas tangled the air. The

remnants of the brutality still evident and what demonstrators are calling the million man march on Thursday. The anger and tension right now fueled

by Gen Z were at the steering wheel of this movement.

They say they're no longer protesting about the finance bill, but rather about a government they believe is not listening to them.

KEN MAINA, PROTESTER: We need a peaceful country, yes. But we need it to run in a proper manner. That's all we are demanding for its citizens.

SAMUEL GICHANE, PROTESTER: What we are doing is fighting for our country. We are fighting for our country because we have kids and we know that --

MADOWO: Yes --

GICHANE: This country is theirs, and we will make sure by the time we're handing this country to them, it's in one peace.

MADOWO: The protesters have won the first battle against Ruto, and now appear to have declared war on his government.


SOARES: Let's get more, Larry Madowo joins me now from Nairobi, more on what's happening on the ground. And Larry, as we just heard there, more

than just about the finance bill. Talk to us about what they want to see. Clearly, there's a lot of discontent in the streets of Nairobi.

From those you've been speaking to, what do they want to see from the Ruto government? Are they calling for Ruto to go? Are they calling for reforms?

Just talk us through it.

MADOWO: The short answer is yes, Isa, they're calling for Ruto to go. One of the most common chance we had throughout the streets today is Ruto must

go. This is about his -- the performance of his government. This is about corruption. This is about police brutality.

The 23 people at least who were killed in the protests on Tuesday, that anger goes beyond just the finance bill. The finance bill which Ruto was

forced to withdraw was just the trigger. The Kenyan National Commission on human rights said that there is some national anger in the country that

President Ruto has to address or it threatens to blow over.

And I think that's what you saw today. Again, mostly young people, some of them told me they have nothing to live for, I have to fight for my future.

And the disillusionment here, the disappointment is in President Ruto specifically, because he came into power on the back of young people's

votes, who saw him -- in him, a reflection of themselves.

He said he is the son of a nobody, if he was elected, he would make sure the country -- that Kenya is a country for everybody. And so, that hustler-

in-chief narrative was very popular with the young people who feel disenfranchised, who feel cheated when President Ruto has had to introduce

a raft of taxes to make sure that he can raise revenue and pay off debt.

And that is why people, even though after the finance bill was withdrawn, they still have much deeper disappointment in the President Ruto's

government and are still on the streets. This is far from over.

SOARES: And very briefly, As Ruto -- has Ruto met with any of these young people who are clearly very angry. Has he sat down with them?

MADOWO: He hasn't, but he did say when he withdrew the finance bill yesterday that he plans to engage them, there will be a national dialogue

in that. Part of the problem will be, this movement does not want to have leaders. They don't want to have anybody who says I'm the organizer, I'm

leading it. So, if you can figure out who to talk to, that will be a good start.

SOARES: I know you'll stay across it for us, Larry, appreciate it, thanks very much. And still to come tonight, U.S. voters consider their options

ahead of tonight's presidential debate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't feel comfortable with Biden's age and I feel comfortable with Trump's mouth.





ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome back, everyone. U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to arrive in Atlanta any moment, really, for

tonight's presidential debate. His rival, Donald Trump, is expected to arrive in a few hours.

President Biden has been out of the spotlight, as you know, for the past week, preparing for tonight. His advisers have been helping him get ready

for whatever, really, Donald Trump may throw his way tonight. Our Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will act as moderators.

The debate could be critical in this election, as recent polls show a very tight race. We brought you those polls at the top of the hour. With less

than five months, of course, until the election, the candidates will address issues such as immigration and the economy.

It is the same matchup as four years ago, but have voters' minds really changed at all? Our John King went to find out what's most important to

them. Have a listen to this.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Ray Flores owns a handful of restaurants in battleground, Arizona, and is unimpressed with both men who

will share the debate stage.

RAY FLORES, ARIZONA VOTER: At this juncture, they both had four years, and I'm just eight years more frustrated than I was before. I wish we had a

candidate that had more of a middle of life and middle of the road perspective. And I'm very uncomfortable right now with either choice,

KING (voice-over): We hear that a lot. Our all over the map project is at 60 voters and counting across 10 states. Yes, President Biden has his share

of true believers.


KING: Do you like him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. I think he's done a great job.

KING (voice-over): So, does Donald Trump.

CHRIS MUDD, IOWA VOTER: I liked what happened in our economy for four years when Donald Trump was president. I like the America first mindset.

KING (voice-over): But many voters dislike or have doubts about both, which makes this debate a critical campaign crossroads.

KIM CAVALIERE, GEORGIA VOTER: I just don't feel comfortable with Biden's age and I don't feel comfortable with Trump's mouth

KING (voice-over): For the incumbent, the cost of living is a giant challenge.

KING: Are your day to day costs the same now as a year ago?

FLORES: Oh no, they're higher.

KING (voice-over): Rising rents came up a lot in Milwaukee and in Las Vegas and in other places Biden must dominate, like Atlanta.

CAREY FULKS, GEORGIA VOTER: Everything here in Georgia is so expensive. I can only afford so much, you know, with whatever job I find.

KING (voice-over): Even strong Biden supporters complain of supermarket sticker shock.

WALTER ROBINSON JR., MICHIGAN VOTER: It's just me and my wife and it's $200 every time I go to the grocery store.

KING (voice-over): The president's age is already part of the campaign debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter how many Taylor Swift references you make, you'll never understand us.

KING (voice-over): A bigger Biden problem with younger voters is anger at his handling of the Hamas-Israel conflict.

IBRAHIM GHAZAL, MICHIGAN VOTER: I don't think anybody wants -- nobody wants to vote for Biden. If Biden wants to get certain votes, he needs to

change course.

KING (voice-over): Trump, though, also has a long list of weaknesses that could be debate flashpoints. Joan London just left the Republican Party and

registered as an independent.

JOAN LONDON, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I had a more of a positive vision, just a different emphasis. And I'm -- and what I'm saying in the national party

just didn't reflect my values the way it had.

KING (voice-over): Linda Rooney hasn't ruled out voting for Trump, but January 6th is an obstacle.


LINDA ROONEY, PENNSYLVANIA VOTE: I remember watching it on TV, and I couldn't believe that it was happening. And I was angry that he didn't --

that Trump didn't say something, that Trump didn't stop it.

KING: And yet, you still might vote for him?

ROONEY: I might, yes.

KING (voice-over): Matt Vrahiotes is a Georgia Christian conservative pondering a third-party vote because of doubts about Trump's character.

MATT VRAHIOTES, GEORGIA VOTER: Honestly, I wish that there was another candidate that would have come through the primaries instead of it being

just, you know, Donald Trump.

KING (voice-over): Yes, many minds are already made up. But for those with doubts about both Biden and Trump, this is a giant test.


SOARES: Yes, indeed, and it seems they have a lot on their minds. Joining us now is Tia Mitchell, the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta

Journal Constitution. Tia, great to see you. I mean, I don't know if you heard, then, John King's report speaking to voters across from Arizona to

Michigan to Atlanta. Clearly, a lot on their mind. Just give us a sense of -- from your conversations that you've had, what voters want to see. What

kind of clarity are they looking for here, Tia?

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Well, I think, number one, voters are just needing to tap in. And I think

that's something both campaigns are aware of. Democrats, of course, feel that voters aren't listening to Trump and what Trump has been saying about

what a second term could look like for him.

But I think Republicans also feel that if voters listen to Biden, they might find that the Biden vision is out of step with their reality and

their needs. So, on both sides, I think it's not so much that people have their own opinion -- well, people have their own opinions, but they're not

always based in what the candidates are actually saying. And that's why tonight's debate is so crucial.

SOARES: So, clearly policy here, they need to focus, very clearly, what you're saying clearly today, on policy and where they stand on the key

issues from -- for both men?

MITCHELL: Yes. I mean, I think ideally, particularly President Biden, he would like to focus on policy. He would like to focus on laying out what he

feels that he has accomplished since he became president in January 2021. What he would like to do if he can get Congress to work with him to address

some of the issues that are still, you know, on the table and that he knows would resonate with wide swaths of American voters.

Now, Donald Trump, we know is not necessarily the policy guy, but for him, he would like to have a chance to create a narrative about the Biden

administration, about Biden being an unfit president. That's something he believes and would like to communicate that to voters. But I think he would

like to also create a narrative of Biden's America, if you will, that's overrun by immigrants, that's high crime in cities and where people are

struggling to pay their bills and buy food. That is what Trump will describe as Biden's America.

SOARES: And in that piece from John King, we had one gentleman out of Atlanta talking about cost of living. I know you were recently in Atlanta.

What do voters-- what issues matter most to them, would you say?

MITCHELL: Yes. So, I'm in Atlanta now. I'll be going to the debate tonight and the AJC has been polling voters. We have a recent poll out and the

economy, inflation, cost of living remains the same really the biggest priority for most voters. They're just concerned about the fact that their

dollar just doesn't seem to stretch.

Now, we know there are very positive economic indicators, even, you know, CNN reports that the stock market's doing well to see. You know, CNN

reports that unemployment is down. CNN and -- you know, generally speaking, wages are starting to increase, but that doesn't change how people feel.


MITCHELL: And it doesn't change some of the realities that still exist about the rising cost of goods. And so, that's a big narrative. It is on

people's minds. It is top of minds.

SOARES: And you work, as we said, for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta, as we just showed viewers, the stage there where the debate is

taking place. Your colleague Greg Bluestein writes this, the fight for Georgia is one reason that both campaigns agreed to the CNN Debate.

Just explained, Tia, for our international audience the significance of Georgia and the 16 Electoral College votes up for grabs here, because it

was very close the previous one.

MITCHELL: Yes. So, we all know that Trump famously lost Georgia by 11,870 votes. It was a number that he, you know, was working hard to try to

overturn that election result. So, it was very close. There are several million voters in Georgia, less than 12, 000 was the difference between

Biden and Trump in 2020.


Trump needs Georgia. His coalition requires him to really carry states in the deep south. If he loses Georgia, that just won't bode well for him to

be able to build a winning coalition the way that, you know, in America with the Electoral College, with each state representing a certain amount

of electoral votes.

Now, things are different for Joe Biden. Yes, he won Georgia. Yes, he would like to win Georgia again. But if Biden is not able to carry Georgia this

year, he still can build a winning coalition. He's got to carry some other swing states, particularly in the northern states, we call it the rust belt

states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. So, it's not crucial for Biden. It is crucial for Trump.

SOARES: Do you think he'll win it? Do you think that Biden -- do you think Biden can hold on to Georgia, you think, Tia?

MITCHELL: I think it's a possibility. I think some of the circumstances are different this year. The big one is that in 2020, our U.S. senators,

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, were on the ballot, both Senate seats, which, you know, the more races that can bring attention, the more the

political parties can increase turnout.

On the Democratic side, there was a lot of energy around Jon Ossoff, the first Jewish senator from the deep south. And Raphael Warnock, the first

black senator elected as a Democrat in the deep South. And so, Biden kind of has to stand on his own. Again, we know that there's not the same level

of enthusiasm around Biden. There are people who are concerned about his age, just concerned that he's not as well in touch with their needs. So,

turnout is going to be a big concern.

SOARES: We should keep an eye on it. I have a feeling that you and I will be speaking more often in the coming months. Tia Mitchell, always great to

get your insight. Thanks, Tia.

And of course, tune in to the presidential debate right here on CNN, tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll replay the debate in its entirety a few

different times. You can watch them at 7:00 a. m. in London, that's tomorrow, 2:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. 12 hours later, set your alarms, 7:00

p.m. in London, 10:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi.

If you looked at your clocks, you'll see that we are not on. This show is not on tomorrow because we are airing the presidential -- re-airing the

presidential debate.

Now, war in the Middle East and Ukraine and China's rising power. Foreign policy could feature prominently in tonight's debate after a great

conversation with our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson and what the world will be listening for from both men. That's next.



SOARES: The Israeli military is ordering Palestinians to immediately evacuate parts of Gaza City as troops carry out new airstrikes there.

Residents also say tanks moved into the city today. Emergency crews say there are reports of people killed and wounded, but they can't reach them

because of the ongoing fighting.

The IDF, meantime, just released this video from Northern Israel, showing troops simulating combat scenarios near the border with Lebanon. Israel

said it's ready for war with Hezbollah, if necessary, as cross-border attacks have been escalating for the last several weeks.

Israel says a rocket attack from Lebanon sparked fires in the town of Metula that happened yesterday. And Lebanon's state news agency reports an

Israeli strike on a town in Southern Lebanon has injured 19 people.

Well, the IDF say an Israeli sniper team commander was killed today during a military operation in the West Back town -- West Bank town, I should say,

pardon me, of Jenin. It says 16 other soldiers were wounded when planted devices exploded. Islamic Jihad is claiming responsibility for an attack on

Israeli military vehicles.

Israel has dramatically escalated raids in the West Bank, as we've been told -- we told you just a week ago, and is drawing condemnation for this

incident last weekend. Video surfaced showing an injured Palestinian man strapped to the hood, as you can see there, of a moving IDF vehicle in

Jenin. Israel says it's investigating.

Turning our attention to Iran, Iran's presidential election is just hours away, and two candidates have dropped out ahead of the polls, opening on

Friday, leaving three conservative leaning and one reformist candidate in the race. The election was called after President Ebrahim Raisi died in a

helicopter crash last month, and it comes amid high tensions over the economy and of course, the politics.

Well, Israel and Iran are just two of the countries that we'll be watching closely to see who triumphs in the 2024 presidential election. Joining us

now for more is our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. So, Nic, just give us a sense of what some of these countries really will be

looking out for in terms of foreign policy from both these men.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, of course, the two are debating on domestic issues. But one of those domestic issues for

President Biden is Gaza. It's hurting his -- some of his vote base. So, that question will come up and will Donald Trump get a question on that,

too? Well, that seems very likely.

So, of course, Prime Minister Netanyahu will watch that closely because should he therefore just sort of carry on with his own policy and try to

run out President Biden's presidency? If that's the gamble that he wants to take. Does that seem attractive to him?

But also, let's say, the Saudis will be interested. This White House has really kept alive the idea that part of the end of the conflict in Gaza,

the day after is a two-state solution if President Biden -- if Donald Trump rather doesn't speak about that or says that's not an option, then where

does that put the Saudis?


ROBERTSON: He -- Trump like the Saudis. They were the first stop when he became president last time. He wants them for the Abraham Accords with

Israel. So, they'll be watching. And I think the other person who's really watching most of all will be President Zelenskyy in Ukraine. He'll be

really worried about what Donald Trump may say and then add on all the NATO nations and the rest of Europe because it goes the support for Ukraine, it

goes the support for NATO, and that's a concern.

SOARES: And the reality is that we haven't heard much from Trump on policy, not just domestically, but also on foreign policy. And what I've

heard on my show from foreign ministers are how worried they are, of course, about Trump 2.0 presidency We haven't even mentioned climate change

and climate accord, which is also another concern.

ROBERTSON: It will be. And what they say about that is going to affect people. Look, I think, you know, if you look at the -- in terms of European

politics at the moment, we got a good sense of how the climate issue plays in Europe and in the U.K., in the local elections recently, it's not

playing particularly well with the electorate.

They think the climate change is going to cost them out of their pocket. So, they don't like it, or avoiding climate change will. So, on that, while

the leaders may look at it and listen to what Trump says and recognize -- again, he may be an outlier as he was last time with the Climate Accord in

Paris. It's probably -- it might be closer to some of the real politics that they're living at home.

But in terms of the sort of right-wing in Europe that's slowly growing, they also will listen to Trump because if he gets in, then they can see

that --

SOARES: And we saw the results from the European Parliamentary elections and far-right gaining ground very much against some of those greener

policies that you were talking about. Nic, appreciate it. Thank you very much


Well, it's the coup that lasted just five hours. Bolivia's army -- ex-army chief, I should say, General Juan Jose Zuniga is now behind bars. And the

country's president has regained some order. But there are more questions than answers around the motivation behind the coup attempt.

Zuniga, accused of leading the attempted coup, accuses the president of staging it, but the Bolivian president denies it, calling on the country to

mobilize in what he says is the defense of democracy. Let's get really the mood on the ground with Cristopher Ulloa who joins me now from La Paz in


So, really two very different narratives here, accusations from the former army chief, the president ordered it. I mean, is there any evidence here of


CRISTOPHER ULLOA, CNN EN ESPANOL REPORTER: Good afternoon, Isa. There's still not concrete evidence about this. The investigation is still going

on, but there is uncertainty in the city. The people here is gathering around trying to protest and show their discontent against the authorities.

They say they do not support this decision by the military men. They say they are confused. They are scared about why they took this decision.

And I'm going to show you right now in the images of my cameraman, the Palacio Quemado, the government place where the military troop tried to

take down that main entrance, that green door. They tried to take it down. They tried to enter, but they couldn't do it.

Right now, there's -- the Bolivian police is trying to remain secure this place. They're also aware of many protests that are taking place in

different parts of the City of La Paz. But the situation is, it's very complex. The prices of the food are rising, the prices of the fuel as well

are rising, and the people is scared about what's coming up in the next days.

Right now, here in the Plaza Murillo, the epicenter of all of this situation is pretty calm, but there is still a lot of people trying to

protest, trying to show this good intent to the many authorities that have been coming to this place.

Edmundo Novillo, minister of defense, talked to CNN en Espanol hours earlier. Let's hear these words about this issue.


EDMUNDO NOVILLO, BOLIVIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): Let me be clear, the armed forces as a whole are not part of this. It's a few bad

soldiers who took advantage of their command, like the army chief and others, and attacked democracy and the will of the people. That's what we

call a coup d'etat. And it failed.


ULLOA: Until now, Isa, there are 17 people detained, as well as former military general Juan Jose Zuniga who is going to face an audience today

where he'll be charged for many counts. Right now, as you can see in the images, there's still police here in this place, and also, there's still

many people who is showing up, trying to protest, they're screaming in support of President Luis Arce and trying to show their support to the

government. But they say, very clear, they're scared, they don't know what's coming up to the next day. So, that's the situation so far here in

the City of La Paz, Isa.

SOARES: I know you'll keep a close eye on it, clearly tensions still very much being felt. Political tension is being felt there in La Paz. And of

course, important point out the political frame here, those elections for 2025 and Evo Morales is planning to run, of course, against his former

allies. So, that's really important. Thanks very much, Cristopher. Appreciate it.

And when we come back, a final thought on who needs to do what in tonight's historic debate.



SOARES: And with about six hours to go until the debate, political pundits are trying to sketch winning formulas, of course, for the presidential


As Olivia Nuzzi from the New York Times put it, and this is our quote of the day, in this debate, both candidates have much more to lose than they

have to win. For Biden to succeed, she says, he needs to, let's wait for that to appear, less old than Trump appears crazy as he did in 2020 by just

coming across as more -- as the more normal man. Very simple guidance here from "The New York Times."

And of course, we'll be watching closely to judge who came out on top. For any of you with any doubts, you know the times

Thanks for watching. Do stay right here for much more of our coverage as we count down to a historic showdown Joe Biden and Donald Trump going head-to-

head on CNN's debate stage. Do stay right here. "State of the Race with Jim Sciutto" is up next. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.