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Isa Soares Tonight

Biden Vows to Stay in Presidential Race Despite Calls for Him to Step Aside; Hurricane Beryl Batters Cayman Islands; Hezbollah Fires Over 200 Rockets into Israel After its Senior Commander was Killed; Biden Campaign in Crisis; Democratic Governors Questioning Biden's Mental Fitness; Biden Seen by a Doctor After Debate; First Lady Jill Biden Continues to Support President Biden; Boeing Whistleblower Alleges Serious Boeing Safety Violation; Former Boeing Manager: Scrap Parts Ended Up on Assembly Lines; Heat and Wildfires in U.S.; Thompson Fire Now 7 Percent Contained; July Fourth Holiday Being Celebrated Around the World. Aired 2- 3p ET

Aired July 04, 2024 - 14:00:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Paula Newton in for Isa Soares. Tonight, no one is pushing me out.

President Biden is defiant as Democrats remain divided over whether he should stay at the top of the ticket.

Deadly Hurricane Beryl is now battering the Cayman Islands, but Jamaica was spared the worst, that's according to the Prime Minister on CNN. And there

is another surge of fighting in the Israeli-Lebanon border. We will be live in Tel Aviv.

Now, while the United States celebrates its independence this July 4th, President Joe Biden is trying to salvage a re-election campaign now on the

brink, amid calls from some in his own party to drop out, he sat down for two new radio interviews.

Mr. Biden admits his debate performance last week on CNN was a disaster, but he vows to stay in the race. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had a bad night, and the fact of the matter is that, you know, it was -- I screwed up. I made a mistake -

- that's 90 minutes on stage. Look what I've done in 3.5 years.


NEWTON: So, the White House is now telling CNN, the president was examined by a physician for a brief check at some point following the debate. Press

Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday that Biden had not seen a doctor since his physical in February.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez now from the White House with more on all of this - - happy 4th to you, Priscilla, and no rest for the weary there at the White House or elsewhere. I mean, what more is the White House saying at this

point in time, especially given the recent calls and meetings, interviews that he's had? And what more can we expect from him today as he will have

some July 4th events?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, happy 4th to you as well. Look, the President is still in damage control, and what it hasn't

made it any easier is that there has been muddled messaging from the White House. Now, part of the reason that was given for the President's poor

performance on the debate stage was that he had a cold.

So, he has been asked repeatedly, or rather the White House has been asked -- or has been asking about that cold and whether he did receive any

checks. Now, the White House Press Secretary had initially said that he was not examined by a doctor after the fact.

But then that changed and the White House is now saying that he was given a brief check, this is separate from a physical, the last physical that he

had was in February. But this has sort of been the narrative over the last week. There have been evolving reasons for his poor debate performance from

the cold that officials said that he had at the time, jetlag, he said that himself in a fundraiser to donors, saying that he had a lot of foreign

travel, which is true.

He traveled across multiple times zones earlier in the month before the debates, so, he has given that reason. But then again, he did have about a

week at Camp David preparing for the debate. So, you can see how all of this gets quite confusing. The different defenses that the White House is

trying to explain now when it comes to the President, and why he was the way he was on the debate stage.

And all of this is unfolding because Democrats continue to be very concerned about what they have seen from the President, and concerned about

what this means for the trajectory of the presidential race, particularly when polls show that the president has slipped when going up against former

President Donald Trump.

And so, just yesterday, the President met with Democratic governors along with Vice President Kamala Harris. And we're told that it was an honest and

candid conversation. Some governors came out afterwards and said that they are still backing Biden, that they still see him as the candidate at this


The president also doing a call with his campaign staff, telling them much of the same. And we've also seen that in fundraising evils, but none of

this has really calm the nerves of Democrats of -- in all corners of the party. Lawmakers, strategist, who still worry about whether he is a viable

candidate this year going into November.

Now, we will see the President today. He is going to have July 4th celebrations here at the White House over the course of the afternoon and

evening, he will later have a travel blitz, going into the battleground states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.


And of course, that high-profile interview with "ABC", all of these are seen as critical moments for him to prove himself. And that's what the

President himself acknowledged to a key ally according to our reporting, that he also sees the next few days as crucial. So, it is certainly all

eyes on the President both tonight and in the days ahead to see if he can indeed salvage this re-election bid.

NEWTON: Yes, so much more to parse there as they continue to celebrate July 4th there at the White House. Priscilla Alvarez for us, thanks so

much, really appreciate it. OK, we are entering the final hours of a momentous U.K. election. The polls are open and voting is now underway for

about 12 hours there.

The moment follows a six-week campaign from all major parties, much of the debate has revolved around the economy, the cost of living and immigration.

Labor leader Keir Starmer cast his ballot in London and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak voted in Yorkshire in northern England.

Now, he called the snap vote to be held early in a move that caught much of the party by surprise. The polls are set to close at 10:00 tonight local

time. CNN's Nada Bashir joins us now live from a polling station in London. Having lived in London, I do understand that the weather is always a

concern, hopefully they're getting some Summer there. What more can you tell us about how this vote day is unfolding?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, the weather has actually uncharacteristically been nice today, we have seen voters come to the

polling station here behind me. There're just under three hours left until polls close for the day. We've had the whole entire day for voters up and

down the country to cast their ballots.

Tens of thousands of polling stations, and of course, the all important vote-count begins at 10:00 p.m. local time. That's 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time

in the States. And that count is expected to go on overnight. We'll be seeing the results come in constituency, come by constituency.

Now, important to remember, of course, that there are 650 seats up for grabs in the House of Commons. All parties involved in this year's

elections will be looking to gain a majority. So that crucial 326 figure in order to secure an election win, in order to form a government.

And of course, we are expecting to see early exit polls overnight since the early hours of Friday morning. But those official results won't be

announced until Friday morning, but we may all get a sense of exactly where the country is swaying and leaning towards in just a few hours really.

So, many will be waiting for that. Many will be staying up all night to watch those results come in. Of course, there are huge number of issues at

the forefront of voters' minds. We can't get into the details of course, because of the very tight restrictions on coverage around the election

during polling hours.

We can't really discuss any of those policy matters, but they're certainly local, national and even international issues that will be of huge concern

to voters at taking part today, casting their ballots today. And of course, this is the first general election that we've had since 2019 when Boris

Johnson was elected.

So, this is an important moment for the country, for voters to express their views. Of course, we have seen a number of Prime Ministers, there are

no general elections held in the United Kingdom. So, this is definitely a significant moment, but again, we still got just under three hours left

until those polls close.

And then of course, all the action begins. That's when the count begins, and then we'll be bringing more details, more analysis crucially once those

polls close.

NEWTON: We certainly will be. Nada, I want to thank you for your update and for giving us the context there on the reporting restrictions. We will

see you soon along with everyone at CNN special election coverage of the U.K. election anchored by Isa Soares and Richard Quest.

It starts just before 10:00 p.m. in London. That's just before 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon here on the U.S. East Coast.

Now, Hurricane Beryl is pulling away from the Cayman Islands after tearing a path of destruction through parts of Jamaica. Now, the Category 3 storm

is bringing heavy rain, destructive winds and a potentially dangerous storm-surge as it heads towards Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

At least, nine people have been killed by the storm across the Caribbean. Communities in Jamaica are picking up the pieces after Beryl pounded the

island with 12 consecutive hours of powerful gusts and multiple months -- think about that, worth of rain. Earlier today, CNN spoke with Jamaican

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who warns that these catastrophic weather events are becoming much more frequent and destructive. Listen.


ANDREW HOLNESS, PRIME MINISTER, JAMAICA: The damage was not what we had expected, and so, we're very grateful for that. But there was damaged

nonetheless. We had damage to some coastal infrastructure in southern parishes.


We had damage to agriculture and housing in two parishes, Manchester and Saint Elizabeth. We have had some roads cut off or blocked, but outside of

that, I think Jamaica was spared the worst. If there are any doubt as to climate change, well, this should certainly dismiss any doubts.

This hurricane happened very early in the season, reached a Category 5, the first hurricane to reach a Category 5 so early. It went through the

Caribbean, it caused damage to our sister islands in the eastern Caribbean. And it caused damage to us, which we are now assessing.

The impact of this is not just unaware infrastructure, but on our fiscal affairs. We have, you know, made significant changes to all our fiscal

management to be able to deal with high-frequency, low severity weather events. But what we're seeing happening are events that we would formerly

say that they are low frequency, but high severity.

We're seeing that these weather events are happening with greater frequency.


NEWTON: Rafael Romo is in Kingston, Jamaica for us, where apparently there's a huge cleanup job. I know, Rafael, that you had been surveying

some of the damage, but we just heard from the Prime Minister as well, just saying, look, that perhaps Jamaica got off easier than it thought it would.

But this is kind of a warning shot for the entire hurricane season.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, that's a very good point, Paula. And let me tell you, even before the Prime Minister has

said that, there was a conversation here, not only here in Jamaica, but in the Caribbean about the fact that how early in the hurricane season this

happened, people here telling me that yes, they're used to going through hurricanes and getting hurricane warnings.

But that doesn't happen until August, September, maybe October. We're here at the beginning of July, the storm actually formed at the end of June. And

so, people are wondering what's going on, and then part of the answer, according to meteorologists and also our very own weather department is

that the ocean waters are much warmer than normal, and that's creating the kind of conditions that lead you to have not only a storm like Hurricane

Beryl, but to make it a very active hurricane season.

Again, we're only at the beginning the hurricane season began on June 1st, it goes until November, so, people are wondering what's going to happen in

the next few months. And yes, you were right. We have been going to different communities today here in Jamaica.

Earlier, we went to the Dallas community. It is east of Kingston, the capital, where we saw some works, some infrastructure, a construction

project. They were building a road, it was half built, now we're going to have to start over, people cleaning up as best they can.

We also went to a fishing community on the opposite side of the bay here, where people lost many of their stand, the fishing stance that they depend

on for their livelihoods. So, this country is going to face many days, if not weeks, perhaps months of cleaning, trying to recover.

But at the same time, I can tell you, there's a collective sigh of relief because this could have been much worse. I had an opportunity to talk to a

legislator, former state legislator from Georgia who happens to have been born here. And as she was telling me about a case, she's very concerned

about how her country, her native country is going to face what comes ahead. Let's take a listen.


DONNA MCLEOD, FORMER GEORGIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I'm going to cry because this is the place I was born. And it's been nine years since I've

been back. And Jamaica is beloved around the world, and so for me right now, it's very emotional. And so, we're just praying that we can get

through this.


ROMO: So, very hard for many people there. I wanted to also share with you some information that the Prime Minister gave us. It is the fact that 500

people had to go to shelters because of the storm. And one more piece of information, Paula, that puts in context what happened is that, they got in

a span of 24 hours, the rate that they normally get during the entire month of July.

It was just incredible. Paula, back to you.

NEWTON: Yes, and as you point out, still people trying to recover, even though it was not hit as hard as it could have been. Rafael Romo for us

live in Kingston, Jamaica, I appreciate it. Now, CNN weather anchor Chad Myers has been following this storm since inception, essentially, where is

it going next because it's not done yet?

CHAD MYERS, METEOROLOGIST: It is certainly not done. It is going near the town of Tulum in Mexico, Quintana Roo. This is the area here from Cancun

all the way down south to Cozumel, and farther south to get all the way down towards Belize down here.


But I don't think we're going to go that far south. Most of the damage in Jamaica was actually -- if you want to look at a map, look at the town of

Treasure Beach, and along the southern shore right there. That's where most of the damage actually occurred. That's where the eye-wall was actually on

land for quite some time, where our Rafael Romo was about 80 miles from the center of the eye, where those areas were about 20 miles from the center of

the eye, putting that part of Jamaica right in the eye wall.

Yes, we have this gusts on break on kind of situation right now, because for most of the life of Beryl, it was gusts on only. But now we actually

have some shear in the atmosphere trying to slow the progression, trying to slow it down from becoming stronger.

So, maybe a Cat 1 too, making landfall there just south of Cozumel and Cancun. But there will be tremendous waves there, and they will be

dangerous waves to be in. That same story all the way along the Gulf Coast, even into the U.S. It's a weekend here, it is going to be a busy weekend

with the holidays, people are going to be wanting it to be in the water, but the rip currents are going to be tremendous along the coast.

We've already lost more than a dozen people in the Gulf of Mexico from those rip currents this year. Let's not lose any more, stay out of the

water if you see anything out that you don't want to be in. Up to 10 inches of rainfall right there along the peninsula there. But most of this area --

I mean, we have cenote days in the peninsula, and most of the rain actually will soak into the ground either with 10 inches, we don't really get

significant flooding here.

It's possible some of the towns could certainly see some flooding, I'm more really concerned with the coastal erosion, with the storm surge, and of

course, those winds are right around Cozumel of 100 miles per hour. And then eventually, we could possibly get toward maybe Brownsville, but that's

still may be the beginning of next week. We'll have to keep watching, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, this storm will be something to remember. I mean, look at that track and the --

MYERS: Yes --

NEWTON: Amount of countries it's spanned --

MYERS: Yes --

NEWTON: Chad Myers for us, thanks so much, appreciate the update. Now, CNN has gathered a list of vetted organizations that are on the ground helping

the victims of Hurricane Beryl. You can find details on how you can help, go to special section of our website,

OK, still to come for us, Israel's Prime Minister is sending a delegation to a new round of indirect talks with Hamas. Why there's cautious optimism

tonight that a ceasefire deal may be reached. And more military aid is coming to Ukraine as Russia keeps up its offensive. Where is it coming from

and what is being sent. That's after the break.



NEWTON: For the first time in weeks, real progress is reported in efforts to secure a ceasefire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a negotiating team to enter a new round of detailed talks, now, he briefed U.S. President Joe

Biden on those efforts in a call earlier today.

Now, Mr. Netanyahu is holding a cabinet meeting to discuss Hamas' latest response to that ceasefire proposal. Meantime, Hezbollah and Lebanon has

vowed to keep up its attacks on Israeli positions until the war in Gaza stops. It says it fired more than 200 missiles and explosive drones at

Israeli military sites today.

That's retaliation for the killing of a senior Hezbollah commander. Israel responded to the barrage with new attacks of its own. The violence fueling

concerns about a possible all-out war. Jeremy Diamond is following all of these elements for us from Tel Aviv. And Jeremy, let's just start with what

is your assessment of these latest ceasefire talks? Does it represent real progress here?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: There's no question about it, Paula, this is real progress. It is probably the most progress that we have

seen in several months now. And the reason for that is that over the course of these last several months, what we have been watching is Israel and

Hamas via the mediators negotiating over a framework agreement to try and reshape final agreement for a hostage and ceasefire deal.

We have watched those efforts come very close to a conclusion in terms of that framework agreement. But we have never seen them enter the phase of

detailed negotiations. And that is exactly what is about to happen today. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approving his Israeli

negotiating team led by the Mossad Director David Barnea to enter into detailed negotiations with Hamas via those mediators to address the issues

that have been left to the side for now.

And that indicates very strongly that both sides are satisfied at this point with the progress and where they stand with that framework agreement.

It comes after the United States over the weekend submitted new language to try and get Israel and Hamas on the same page as it relates to two key

clauses relating to the sequencing and the scope of the negotiations that would happen during the first phase of the ceasefire deal in order to get

to the second phase, the one during which you would see the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and a long term ceasefire.

And so, that indicates that these two sides again are closer than they have been in months now to actually reaching an agreement. The caveats -- to

state them very clearly, two to three weeks expected of negotiations on these details. And of course, no outcome is actually assured. The devil

will indeed be in the details.

And that next few weeks of negotiations are going to be difficult. They will be contentious and they will be technical. And it is not clear yet

whether or not they will be successful. Paula.

NEWTON: And I do think we have to return as well to what's going on in the northern border. I mean, for months, this has been a concern that could

turn into another war front if it isn't already between Israel and Lebanon. I mean, how do you see these latest movements especially with Hezbollah?

You know, obviously, concerned about the assassination, they say of their senior military commander.

DIAMOND: Well, look, over the last nine months, we have watched as Israel and Hezbollah have traded fire over that border between Lebanon and Israel.

But today, we saw Hezbollah firing more than 200 rockets at northern Israel, at the Golan Heights in this case.

That is not the highest number they have fired, but it is certainly one of the highest numbers in a very significant escalation at that. It was, of

course, in retaliation for Israel killing a senior Hezbollah commander in a drone strike yesterday in Lebanon. And so, we have been watching, it's not

only Hezbollah fired these 200-plus missiles at the Golan Heights, but as well as drones, but also as Israel has now been continuing to carry out

heavier airstrikes in Lebanon over the last day.

So, certainly an uptick in the violence. We are still short of what would be an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah. The kind that has been

foretold, that has been perhaps expected by some, but so far has yet to come. And it is, of course, important to tie this to what we were talking

about just before, which is the fact that a ceasefire agreement in Gaza would not only unlock a period of calm in the Gaza Strip, much needed

relief for the people in Gaza, but it could also potentially unlock an agreement, a negotiated agreement between Israel and Hezbollah as well.


NEWTON: Yes, very important for those residents that have had to leave their homes there in northern Israel. Jeremy, for us, thanks so much,

really appreciate it. Now, to the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine, drones and missiles pummeled the city of Dnipro Wednesday morning, killing at

least six people and leaving several others injured.

There were several other Russian attacks in other regions. Ukraine's President said only two things can prevent strikes like these, modern air

defenses and long-range capabilities for Ukraine to hit back. And now, some of that new military assistance will be coming from the United States.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has our report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Pretty big military aid package for Ukraine coming from the U.S., and

essentially, all this is divided into two parts. Part of it is from the presidential draw-down authorities, meaning that the U.S. gets these

weapons directly from American military stocks.

Now, a lot of that $150 million worth is ammunition. Some of it is interceptor missiles for surface-to-air missile systems, very important for

the Ukrainians to keep their city safe, but also around the frontlines as well. And then, a lot of it is also artillery ammunition, 155-millimeter

and 105-millimeter, the Ukrainians obviously have been saying that they are in bad need of that as well.

A lot of it is also HIMARS artillery rockets, which the Ukrainians have said have been very effective, especially trying to fend the Russians off

in the northeast of the country. Now, the other part of this assistance package that is gear -- that the U.S. is going to acquire directly from

U.S. defense companies.

A lot of that also is going to be air defense. The U.S. has been saying that it's going to prioritize air defense weapons going to Ukraine,

especially of course, the JASSM system, which is a medium-range system, but also the Patriot system, which is a long-range surface-to-air missile

system that is really important for the Ukrainians, not just to fend off missiles flying at their cities, but also to try and stop the Russian Air

Force from bombing Ukrainian frontline troops.

All of this comes as the Ukrainians say that they've been managing to stabilize the frontline in many areas. However, there's one particular area

in the Donetsk region called Chasiv Yar, where the Russians have said that they have made some gains towards a very key town. Fred Pleitgen, CNN,



NEWTON: Still to come for us tonight, it's anything but a typical Independence Day in the United States. President Biden wrestles with a

decision that many in his party believe is critical to the future of the Republic. And questions about the first lady's role in the 2024 election

race, we look at the criticism Jill Biden has been facing following the CNN debate.



PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: And we are tracking breaking news at the White House. Sources say U.S. President Joe Biden told Democratic governors

during a meeting that part of his plan going forward is to stop scheduling events after 8:00 p.m. so that I can get more sleep. Sources tell CNN that

comment left several of the governors in the room frustrated.

Now, President Biden plans to spend part of this Independence Day holiday in the U.S. with family members who will be critical in deciding whether or

not he continues his re-election bid. Publicly, Mr. Biden remains defiant getting the backing of a group of those Democratic governors who met with

him at the White House, but there are those from within his own party questioning the president's mental fitness and calling for him to drop out

following his poor debate performance last week.

Dr. Sandra Weintraub is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University at Mesulam. Now, that is the Mesulam Center for

Cognitive, Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease. And I thank you for joining us today. As we all try and parse, you know, some of the latest

developments here, we are not going to try and get into a situation where we're trying to diagnose the president.

What is happening, though, is that for millions of people around the world, they recognize what happened during that debate, either in themselves or in

loved ones. So, I want to start from where you would want to start, and that's what the research tells us. You know, you say that any kind of

cognitive issue is a matter of age, biology, and luck. Can you explain that?


NEUROLOGY AND ALZHEIMER'S DISEASES: Sure. Age is the greatest risk factor for cognitive decline. However, as people get older, we know that there are

great differences in the way that people age. And so, most of the research that's been done talks about average aging. But as you go up the age scale,

when you get into 80-year-olds, you're -- you have a lot more divergence. So that there are some people in their 80s that are thinking as well as

they did when they were 20 and others that are not doing as well.

We don't really understand why age is such a factor in this, but that's how it is. And, of course, luck has to do with where you land up on this curve.

NEWTON: I know it's been quoted about the president that he's had both the worst luck and the best luck in the world. But leaving that aside for a

moment, the White House is now reporting that he was checked briefly by a physician. But in terms of the kind of research that you do, how in depth

is the testing if anyone wants to know what exactly is going on with their cognitive abilities?

WEINTRAUB: Yes, that's a very good question. I'm a neuropsychologist and what I do is cognitive testing and I happen to specialize in older adults,

but neuropsychology applies to all kinds of questions about brain functioning. And the testing is very detailed. It can take four hours to

conduct a complete examination, which includes not only the testing, but also the history. Because history is very important for how you're going to

interpret the test scores that we get.

NEWTON: Meaning that you need some kind of a baseline there. I have to ask you, though, how -- now that the president is saying he needs to get more

sleep. Now, on prior medical reports, we do know that the president -- it's been disclosed that he does have trouble sleeping, perhaps some form of

sleep apnea. In your research -- he's now saying he's going to get more sleep, perhaps not schedule events after 8:00 p.m.

In your research how can lack of sleep really affect cognitive abilities in the next days?


WEINTRAUB: Yes, my research doesn't directly address the relationship between sleep and cognition, but I do work with a lot of people whose work

does. And you can behave in a very scattered way if you haven't had a good night's sleep. It's astonishing how important sleep is for everybody,

especially as you get older.

NEWTON: Yes. It is interesting that he, you know, discloses that he does have trouble sleeping no matter any kind of jet lag or anything like that.

In terms of where this research is going forward, and again, I ask this because many people saw what happened to the president and said, either

recognize it in themselves or see it in their loved ones.

Is there a straight line to this or do you sometimes have trouble with cognition and then things can turn around in the following months?

WEINTRAUB: Oh, very definitely. There are so many factors that can affect cognition including, like you say, lack of sleep, worrying about something

that's on your mind that just distracts you internally. Lots of -- for example, if you have kidney functions are off kilter or your blood pressure

drops. So, there are many, many things that can episodically affect cognitive function, not just what's happening to the neurons in your brain.

NEWTON: Interesting.

WEINTRAUB: But of course, they are getting affected by whatever else is happening.

NEWTON: Yes, interesting though, because you say that it's episodic, but as well, obviously, age is a factor. Doctor, we'll have to leave it there

for now, but really invaluable insight from us from an educated position, we should say. Thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

WEINTRAUB: You're very welcome

NEWTON: Now, as questions grow about whether President Biden should step aside before the November election, First Lady Jill Biden continues to be

his fiercest supporter. This as Ms. Biden -- Mrs. Biden, I should say, Dr Biden faces mounting criticism over her role in shielding her husband from

the public. CNN's Some Safari reports.


JILL BIDEN, U.S. FIRST LADY: Joe, you did such a great job.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the most critical moment of President Joe Biden's political career, it is Jill Biden

who is assuming the mantle to save him.

JACKSON: You answered every question. You (INAUDIBLE).

SERFATY (voice-over): The first lady is all in, a source tells CNN, saying that she is still committed to her husband remaining in the 2024 race.

JILL BIDEN: I loved him from the start. I saw in him then the same character that I see in him today.

SERFATY (voice-over): In the six days since the debate, her flurry of campaign events and out-front public statements has signaled that resolve.

JILL BIDEN: There is no one that I would rather have sitting in the Oval Office right now than my husband.

SERFATY (voice-over): Waging a public display of damage control. Telling fundraisers that her husband said at the debate, I don't know what

happened. I didn't feel that great. In attempts at narrative setting, telling Vogue they will not let those 90 minutes define the four years he's

been president. We will continue to fight.

This is a role Jill Biden has had for nearly five decades.

JOE BIDEN: My name is Joe Biden. I'm Jill Biden's husband.

SERFATY (voice-over): As the president's chief confidant, staunchest advocate, and fiercest defender. After nearly 50 years of marriage, all in

the political arena, where they have been battle tested together.

KATE ANDERSON BROWER, AUTHOR, "FIRST WOMEN": She does not want to give up this position, and she doesn't want her husband to give it up. And I think

it says a lot about her belief in him, that she was the first person we heard from.

SERFATY (voice-over): But that outsized influence in this crisis is being scrutinized as questions over President Biden's fitness for office are

mounting. Some are pointing a finger at the first lady. A Texas Republican musing, who is the commander in chief, with a video of the Biden's hand in

hand after the debate. Another Republican member of Congress accusing Jill Biden and the campaign of elder abuse. And a Wall Street Journal opinion

article says, Jill Biden should ask herself whether her admirable loyalty to her husband will serve the best interest of her country. Adding that,

fate has given Mrs. Biden the power to shape history, may she use it wisely.

Presidential historians drawing comparisons to past first ladies, protecting the legacy of their husbands around sensitive issues.

ANITA MCBRIDE, AUTHOR, "REMEMBER THE FIRST LADIES": There were allegations or rumors of, you know, President Reagan's condition or some signs of

cognitive difficulty or perhaps, you know, early dementia. She dismissed that, and again, was focused on his legacy, what he could contribute in his


SERFATY (voice-over): The White House says that is not what is happening here. Asked if the first lady is covering up a medical condition of the

president? The first lady's communications director tells CNN, no, an emphatic no.


NEWTON: And our thanks to Sunlen Serfaty for that report. Coming up for us, a former manager for embattled plane maker Boeing meets with CNN for

his first televised interview and alleges serious safety violations against his former employer.


NEWTON: A former quality control manager at Boeing is speaking out. He says the plane manufacturer routinely took unsafe parts from a scrapyard

and put them onto factory assembly lines. Now, in his first network TV interview, the 30-year-old veteran of the company told CNN an elaborate off

the books practice was used to meet production deadlines. CNN's Pete Muntean has our report.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Everett, Washington is a Boeing company town, then Merle Meyers was a company man. A

30-year veteran of Boeing, Meyers says his job as a quality control manager put his kids through college. It is a family tradition. His late mother was

a Boeing inspector, able to unilaterally decide if a new airplane just off the factory line was fit to fly.

MUNTEAN: What would she think about what is happening at Boeing?

MERLE MEYERS, BOEING WHISTLEBLOWER: She'd be absolutely livid.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Meyers' new allegations detail an elaborate off- the-books practice centering on parts deemed not safe to put in new

airplanes. He is the latest whistleblower to come forward with claims of quality control lapses at Boeing. This is his first TV interview inspired

by the January 5th door plug blowout on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9.

Spray painted red, bad parts deemed not up to Boeing's standards are taken from Boeing's Everett plant and sent to its scrap facility in Auburn. But

then one day in 2015, Meyers says a crate of bad parts were improperly sent back from Auburn to Boeing's Everett factory. Meyers alleges the practice

continued for years, telling that more than 50,000 parts escaped Boeing quality control.

MUNTEAN: 50,000 parts?

MEYERS: That's what we counted at the time.

MUNTEAN: It seems like a heck of a lot.

MEYERS: It is a heck of a lot indeed.

MUNTEAN: What does that say to you?

MEYERS: Well, that says it puts people's lives at risk, not just passengers, but flight crews. And a lot of these are flight-critical parts

that made it back into the production system.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): Company e-mails show Meyers repeatedly flagged the issue to Boeing's corporate investigations team, pointing out what he says

were repeat violations of Boeing's safety rules. But Meyers insists investigators routinely failed to enforce those rules. In a 2022 e-mail, he

wrote that Boeing investigators ignored eyewitness observations and the hard work done to ensure the safety of future passengers and crew.

MUNTEAN: Why would they do this?

MEYERS: Schedule, the schedule. To get planes out the door, to make money. Yes.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Meyers believes he was forced out of Boeing last year and is concerned there are still problems at the company.

MEYERS: Well, I think they need to punish. They need to fire people that blatantly violate the process and endanger the flying public. It's a huge

problem. And a core requirement of a quality system is to keep bad parts and good parts apart.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): In a statement, Boeing says it encourages employees to speak up and that to ensure the safety, quality, and conformance of our

products, we investigate all allegations of improper behavior such as unauthorized movement of parts or mishandling of documents. We then work

diligently to address them and make improvements.

Meyers says he is coming forward now because of the pride he has in Boeing. He goes so far as to call it a wonderful company, one he says has been

going astray and is in desperate need of change.

MEYERS: But you have to care, leadership has to care to do that. But if you can't even keep parts segregated from good parts, what else aren't you

doing right?

MUNTEAN: The mystery here is that we did not have an exact accounting of where these parts are. They range from the superficial like fasteners to

the critical wing flaps used for landing. If these parts weren't returned to the scrap yard, our whistleblower is worried that they ended up on new

planes delivered to airlines and other customers in the last decade or so. How big a deal is that? Also, hard to know, since we don't know exactly how

or where they were used. But there is no question that these scrap parts should not have been put on planes.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.


NEWTON: Still to come tonight, the 4th of July isn't being celebrated in the U.S. -- isn't only being celebrated in the U.S., but also in places

right around the world. Spectacular fireworks there. Including at a special base in South Korea. We'll have those details ahead.

And heat alerts impacting millions in the U.S. We'll have the latest on that and what it means for wildfires in California.



NEWTON: So, the Fourth of July holiday will be a hot one for many in the United States. More than 140 people across at least 22 states in the west

and mid-south are under heat alerts. Northern California is expected to see record high temperatures for each of the next five days. And that could

make things even worse for firefighters battling the Thompson Fire north of Sacramento. Joining us now from California, CNN, Stephanie Elam.

Stephanie, good to see you. And once again, you are covering weather in the Western United States. I mean, can you try and put in perspective for us

how, you know, record-breaking this actual heat wave will be and what it does mean for this fire?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, it is a bad set of circumstances all coming together at one time, because I can tell you I was up within the

Thompson Fire environment yesterday, the winds are whipping so fast, and that wind is so hot.

We're looking at expected temperatures of over 105, 110 degrees for several days in a row. And then, on top of it, just this fire that's raging up

there. It's all a bad mix of circumstances. And that is why they're really asking people to stay vigilant.

We have thousands of people, like some 12,000 people in and around Oroville where this fire is burning, asking them to stay evacuated while they're

battling this. They're also saying there's some 12,000 structures that are threatened. We already saw yesterday, when we were up there, we saw at

least two homes that were burned. They said so far four structures have been lost in this fire.

And part of what is at issue here is we've had two wet winters, and I know that that sounds like that means things should be better. But I want you to

take a listen to an official from Cal Fire explain why that is actually part of the problem.


NICK SCHULER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, CAL FIRE: This winter we had a significant amount of rain, but with rain brings growth and the

challenge with that is that fuels and vegetation continues to dry out. And in California that spells the next large wildfire.


ELAM: So, what that also translates to is that this has just been a very active fire year so far. Even just from the beginning of year to now, we've

seen a 1,600 percent increase in the number of acres burned this year versus last year. So, this year, we've already had more than 131,000 acres

that have been churned up by wildfire.

This is also why on the Fourth of July people would love to see fireworks. And in lots of California, they're not even legal, but in some places they

are. But officials are saying to people don't spark them at all because it can happen so quickly that that will spark a wildfire, so they don't want

people to play around, especially in this heat.

And this heat is deadly. We've already seen some people lose their lives. The National Weather Service out here saying that this is a lethal heat

wave that we're experiencing here, and it is rivaling the worst heat waves that we've seen in the last 18 years. So, they're asking people to stay


I know 4th of July means stay outside, summer, all those things here in the United States, Paula. But right now, they're saying people should really,

really be careful and don't light any fireworks.

NEWTON: Yes, especially, as you described to us, the wind that you witnessed yourself there. Stephanie Elam, happy 4th to you anyway, and

thanks for being with us and giving us that update. Appreciate it.

Now, as Americans do try and celebrate Independence Day wherever they are, U.S. troops around the world are also marking July 4th overseas. There are

the incredible fireworks display at U.S. Camp Humphreys in South Korea. CNN's Mike Valerio is visiting the camp, which happens to be the largest

overseas U.S. military base. Here's his report.


MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right where we're standing, we're about 40 miles away from the heart of Seoul, South Korea, about 60 miles

away from the border with North Korea. But you would never know it. Quintessential Americana all around us.

A couple minutes ago, we had a splash pad over my left-hand shoulder, American barbecue over my right-hand shoulder, mixed with a Korean twist,

Korean barbecue, K-pop bands as well. But, you know, this is so important for a whole multitude of American families. As you mentioned, this is the

largest U.S. overseas military post, 40,000 people connected to the U.S. Department of Defense are on this base right now.

And for a lot of new families, it's about a baby a day born at this hospital on base, they are need an experience like this. Celebrating the

4th of July, not having the opportunity to celebrate back home, again, with their new families.

Playing today are the band members from Hoobastank that released the 2000 and three hit stink single "The Reason." We had an opportunity to talk to

them before they went on stage. Listen to what two of the band members told us.



DOUG ROBB, LEAD VOCALIST, HOOBASTANK: There's a lot of just gratitude and everybody seems so thankful and appreciative, both ways, you know. And it's

something that you can't replicate just going to play a show, you know, at a theater somewhere, and it's really cool. I look forward to it. It does --

I can feel it for sure.


VALERIO: So, what else the base will be hosting today? We're going to have fireworks as soon as the sun goes down. Notably, two names that we have not

heard all day throughout the base, Biden or Trump. I think it is not an understatement to say that people who are based here certainly are

motivated by a unique steadiness of purpose to be a bastion preserving the security posture of the Korean Peninsula and the region at large.

Mike Valerio, CNN, Camp Humphreys, South Korea.


NEWTON: Now, nature is creating its own fireworks. This spectacular drone footage you're going to see here is from Italy's Mount Etna on Sicily. It's

Europe's tallest volcano, and in fact, one of the world's most active. UNESCO says Etna's eruptions can be traced back half a million years.

So, I'm sure you're wondering, how hot is the magma? Well, scientists believe between 700 and 1,300 degrees Celsius, that's 1,300 to 2,300

degrees Fahrenheit. I cannot even fathom that. Look at those spectacular pictures. Lovely.

All right. I want to thank everyone for watching. Stay with "CNN Newsroom with Jim Sciutto" is up next.