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Isa Soares Tonight

Democrats Divided Over Support For Biden; Biden Set To Address Nato Leaders In Washington; Spain Faces France At EURO 2024 Semifinal; Dem Caucus Chair: "We Support The Nominee"; White House Holds Press Briefing. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 09, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, we are expecting to hear from top House

Democrats at any moment after their meeting on whether they should keep supporting Joe Biden as the party's 2024 nominee. We'll of course, bring

you that live.

Meantime, the U.S. President is preparing to address NATO's allies at the opening of a summit where support for Ukraine will be at the top of the

agenda. He needs to reassure them he can still lead. We are live in Washington D.C. and in Kyiv.

Plus, we are just what? Lesson hour away from the first UEFA Euro semi- final where Spain will take on Le Blue. We'll show you the atmosphere in Munich a bit later. But first tonight, we begin with divisions, doubts and

sadness in the Democratic Party over the future of President Joe Biden in the 2024 race.

Any moment now, we are expected to hear from top Democrats following their closed-door meeting to discuss whether Mr. Biden should remain at the top

of that ticket. The President has received both support and calls to step aside from members of his own party after his dismal debate performance.

And you're looking at the podium to hear from those Democrats. Of course, when that happens, we'll bring it to you. So, we're keeping an eye on this

podium, we're also expecting at the other side of the Pennsylvania Avenue, a White House briefing at any moment. We've got our eyes on both these

press conference, when they get underway, we will bring that to you.

The storm surrounding President Biden's campaign is clearly overshadowing a huge moment for Mr. Biden on the international stage as he hosts, as I

said, the NATO Summit. Mr. Biden will need to reassure world leaders at this week's summit he is fit to lead, and that he can beat Donald Trump.

NATO meantime is marking its 75th anniversary, this is a landmark summit. All eyes will be on President Biden today, but Ukraine, as you can expect,

is topping the agenda. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released this video to announce his arrival in Washington just short time ago.

This as sources tell CNN a draft of NATO's joint communique describes Ukraine's path to alliance as irreversible. But Mr. Zelenskyy still faces a

grim reality of the war at home. And his visit follows what can only be called the deadly wave of Russian strikes across Ukraine just in the last

24 hours that killed at least 43 people.

Among the sites that were hit, this Kyiv children's hospital. The U.S. Secretary of State spoke a short time ago with his Ukrainian counterpart

and he pledged support for Ukraine and spoke about the attack at that children's hospital. Have a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: Ukraine's success is a strong, independent, successful country, is the best possible rebuke to the

aggression that continues to be committed by Putin in Russia against Ukraine, including just 24 hours ago, an attack on the largest children's

hospital in Kyiv, a hospital that I visited a couple of years ago when I was in Ukraine visiting the children, some of whom have been victims of the

Russian aggression.

Others, cancer patients, suffering other illnesses, being treated with this remarkable facility. And it's particularly despicable that we would see

this attack.


SOARES: Secretary Blinken there, when images like this one you're seeing are a sobering reminder to NATO leaders about what happens if their aid to

Ukraine fails, and what could happen to their own countries if Trump potentially wins. And remember, the former president has actively

encouraged Russia to attack NATO allies not meeting their defense-spending guidelines.

And U.S. policy towards Ukraine and the alliance could shift dramatically if he gets a second term. So, a lot at stake, a lot for us to discuss. CNN

is covering NATO's -- today's NATO Summit from right around the world. Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in London, our senior

international correspondent Fred Pleitgen, you can see there is in Kyiv, and our politics senior reporter Stephen Collinson is in Washington.

And Stephen, let me start with you because we are keeping an eye on these two podiums. We are waiting, of course, for the White House briefing, but

we're also waiting to hear from Democrats who say, Stephen, that this is a make or break moment for President Biden.

Just talk to us in terms of what is your understanding of the tone behind this closed-door meeting, because I've heard someone describe it as a room

full of sadness.


STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Yes, I think this is a critical day for the president, is a test of whether up on Capitol Hill,

there is continued confidence in him being at the top of the ticket for Democrats in November. Reading between the tea leaves of what people have

been saying when they -- when they have been coming out of meetings and before meetings today.

I would assess that the President has stabilized his position somewhat in the last few days. At the same time, there is still deep concern over his

performance, the direction of his campaign, and a lot of dissatisfaction among Democrats about the person that will lead them into the election, a

critical election, as you mentioned against Donald Trump.

That is one reason why the President's performance at this NATO Summit, especially a solo press conference on Thursday will be watched so closely.

Any sign that he's slipping again, that he appears confused, that he's not in complete command, that could undercut a lot of the political work that

the President has been successful in doing, and shoring up his domestic political position in the last few days.

SOARES: And what stands out and we've been seeing that growing in the last couple of days or so, is that Democrats are now airing those concerns,

Stephen, as you say, kind of publicly. I want to play out before we get to this press conference when it does get started, two -- voices from two

House Democrats. Have a listen to this.


REP. SEAN CASTEN (D-IL): My take-away is great sadness that we are not having a conversation about the fact that we have two people running for

president, one of them has a record that anybody would be proud to have, and the other one is an adjudicated rapist, a twice-impeached-convicted

felon, who there is not a single American who would trust a baby sit their teenage daughter.

That is the conversation we have to be having over the next three months. We need to make sure that we can run an effective campaign on the political

side of this operation. But the stakes of this are not about elections. The stakes of this are about what is the future for our country in two

different scenarios.

And I think there's a lot of concern about will we be able to have that conversation in this media environment? That my God, that's the

conversation we have to have.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The President has determined that he is the best candidate, and given the fact that he's won the nomination, I mean, he's

got all the delegates -- only he can make that --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Democrats can -- in your heart of hearts, do you believe Democrats can still win?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you wish that President Biden would reconsider?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any concerns about the President's ability to serve out the next five months of his term?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have concerns about him serving the next four years?

QUIGLEY: I'm concerned about him dragging his feet.


SOARES: I'm concerned about him dragging his feet, in case you didn't catch that last one. We've also seen -- received this statement from Senator

Patty Murray, which I'm going to read out just for our viewers. "I have a deep appreciation and strong respect for Joe, who has led a historic first

term as President.

Still, we need to see a much more forceful and energetic candidate on the campaign trail in the very near future in order for him to convince voters

he is up to the job. At this critical time for our country, President Biden must seriously consider the best way to preserve his incredible legacy and

secure it for the future."

That last statement there, Stephen, is perhaps the clearest message I have seen from Democrats. Are you seeing that growing? Is this -- is this swing

-- is it moving at all to -- might convince Biden here to think twice?

COLLINSON: I think -- and you're right about the Patty Murray statement. She used to serve with Biden in the Senate. She's a very senior Senate

Democrat, and she wouldn't be speaking like that if it didn't reflect the thinking of other --

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: Senate Democrats. But the quote from Jerry Nadler you saw there is important because he was stating the fact, and he was someone that was

reported to be skeptical privately about the President carrying on as the Democratic nominee.

But he's coming out in public and now saying he supports him because the truth is that the only way for the President not to be the nominee is if

Biden decides he doesn't want to be the nominee. He's won the primary, he's got the delegates, that's his right.

The question going into today was, would there be a critical mass of Democrats on the Hill who want him to step down? And in that case, would

there be willingness from present and past Democratic heavyweights to go to the White House to tell him that the game is up.

So far today, neither of those questions seemed to be answered in a way that would push Biden out of the race.

SOARES: Stephen, stay with us, I want to bring in Nic Robertson who is with me and of course, just caveat, I might have to interrupt, Nic, as soon as

we see Democrats getting to the podium to speak. But you know, what we have here is almost like a two -- I don't know if I can call it a two-prong

crisis, but the attention clearly President Biden would have wanted to be on NATO in the summit.

A show of unity, a show of confidence, but it seems the conversations very much focused at least on President Biden and the scrutiny on President



Have you heard any of those concerns -- actually they're now just starting, let's listen in.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Lou and I heard from our caucus is we discussed how we can come together to solve problems on behalf of the American

people. Every single member of the House Democratic caucus is clear-eyed about what the stakes of this election are.

Donald Trump cannot be allowed near the Oval Office and his extremist allies must never be allowed to pass a national abortion ban or their

dangerous project 2025 which would erode our democracy and enable Trump's worst impulses. And we've seen firsthand what the Republican majority will

do if given an opportunity to govern.

Chaos and confusion are the order of the day, and the will of the American people is completely ignored. The extreme Republicans in charge have not

passed a single bill to create one job, but they have voted to roll back thousands of clean energy jobs.

They have not passed legislation to combat rising prices, but they have promised to repeal a $35 a month insulin guarantee for our seniors. They've

not done a thing to address the situation at the border, in fact, they have killed the most significant border security bill in decades while the

policies of President Biden have brought border crossings down to pre- pandemic lows.

The choice before the American people this November is moving forward with a stronger economy, lowering costs and safer streets, or the chaos and

extremism of Donald Trump. Together with the Biden-Harris administration, we'll continue to increase economic opportunity in every zip code and

deliver for working families. Vice-Chair Lieu.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you Chair Aguilar. Donald Trump campaigned and overturning Roe versus Wade. Trump then appointed extreme MAGA justices who

lied to the Senate and then proceeded to overturn Roe versus Wade. And then Trump bragged about overturning Roe versus Wade.

Now, Trump is trying to run away from that, but he can't. Why? Because the fact Roe versus Wade was overturned. That's a thing. That's a fact. And

millions of women have now lost rights. We also know that with Project 2025, this creepy document written by Trump's closest advisors and

confidants, that they want to ban abortion nationwide.

Project 2025 also wants to eliminate the Department of Education, and it wants to eliminate the National Weather Service. I mean, you're not going

to get AccuWeather forecast anymore. You're just going to get stupid weather forecasts. I mean, this document is creepy. It's a takeover of the

American form of government, and it's a collection of extreme MAGA ideas that's going to ruin our way of life. That is what's at stake this


AGUILAR: Questions. Nicole(ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much. Congressman Smith Cohen(ph) earlier told diplomats(ph) outside of the DNC, you know, it's not even an issue of

Democrats being on the same page. They're not even in the same book. So, these discussions that you're having, are they constructive or destructive?

And as leaders, at what point do you put your foot down and button this up? The President has been clear he's staying in the race.

AGUILAR: You know, I think any time we can gather together as members and House leadership can hear from the members, I think it's constructive. It

always is. I learned more from my House Democratic colleagues each and every day about their values, about their districts. And that's what this

is about.

It's been about -- this has not been an exercise to hear each other talk. This has been an exercise to genuinely listen to people, and to bring a

perspective to the table, but to listen to each other and to have that grace that goes along with that. So, that's what this has been about.

Every conversation we have had has been helpful. Our job as leaders, the vice chair and I, and everyone in the caucus is to take this in and to help

in any way we can -- leader Jeffries guide this caucus. That's what our efforts have been about, and that's what our efforts will continue to be

about from whether that was discussions about vacating the chair to the debt crisis that Republicans started time and time again, we have been

focused on listening to our members and that's what we have done over the past week and a half. Rebecca(ph)? No, Martha(ph).



AGUILAR: You know, some of that is, you know, campaign strategies and tactics. House Democratic caucus leadership is asking their members to do.

Our members is to, you know, talk about the importance of preventing Donald Trump from ever setting foot in the White House.

I don't want Donald Trump on the public tour of the White House. Many of us served when Donald Trump was here. We know the chaos that rains from that,

and we know what we have been able to do together. The Biden-Harris administration, 15 million jobs created, getting us through the pandemic.

We got shots in arms, money in people's pockets, bipartisan infrastructure bill, these are things that we can do together, and that's what we have

been focused on while we chart this path ahead, while the politics of the day continues on to November. House Democrats are very confident in the

agenda that we have been a part of for the past few years. And now it's implementing that agenda. Thank you. Chad(ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you sir. You say you are clear-eyed when it comes to making sure that Donald Trump is not near the White House, and that's

consistent with all Democrats. But it doesn't seem that everyone is clear- eyed about the future of this President. Can you address and characterize what those concerns are, and attribute how you do get everybody on the same


AGUILAR: You know, our caucus meeting today was about listening to members. There was no instruction to get on the same page that we were talking about

the importance, the twin goals that we have, preventing Donald Trump from ever setting foot at the White House and getting 218 votes for Hakeem

Jeffries on January 3rd. That is the focus of House Democrats.

You have heard us say before that unity is something that is so helpful to us. Unanimity is not the same as unity. House Democrats bring a different

thoughts and ideas and viewpoints each and every day to this House chamber, we learn from that. We accept that, we accept each member's perspective,

and our focus is to be unified.

And we're unified that Donald Trump cannot win, and we are unified that Hakeem Jeffries needs to be speaker to help the American public --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's more about Trump and not so much about Biden, isn't that the issue here? That you guys are talking consistently about former

President Trump and not advocating for President Biden. And he is the guy who has to beat Donald Trump.

AGUILAR: Right now, President Biden is the nominee. And we support the Democratic nominee that will beat Donald Trump. That is, that is the fact.

That is where we are, and preventing Donald Trump from a disastrous reign, where he can level Project 2025, where he can deport kids from families,

rip families apart. That's what we want to prevent here. And that is the focus. In addition to ensuring that Hakeem Jeffries is the speaker.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a number of Democrats in the party who want President Biden to come speak to the caucus directly, to put the Democrats

at rest. Should President Biden come and address the caucus?

AGUILAR: That's up to -- that's up to the president and his team. I can't speak to that. Our job today was to convene the House Democratic caucus to

hear different viewpoints, different ideas, and to be unified behind that message of ensuring that we do everything we can to win this November.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Robert Hur reports, Republicans have continued to ask from the audio -- report that you released because they want to make

sure that President presented himself in appear in manner and Democrats have said that this was conspiracy theory because he obviously is more

focused than he did present himself in a way.

What are your thoughts on that now considering what you've seen with the debate and the subsequent fallout?

AGUILAR: I'll defer to the vice chair here, too, but this is -- this is very clear, Republicans campaigned and have promised to impeach Joe Biden.

They were unable to impeach Joe Biden. And so now, they will do anything they can to distract away from their own reckless agenda.

That is -- that is who they are, that is all this effort is about and we see that continue. We see House Republican leadership seemingly not

supportive of this Luna resolution, but she may offer it, because it just shows how extreme House Republicans are.


LIEU: Robert Hur was appointed by Donald Trump. He is a Republican. And he has said that the written transcript is an accurate rendition of the audio

transcript. So, you can just read it. The transcript is fine. But you know what written transcripts are really crazy and not coherent. Look at Donald

Trump's transcripts from his rallies, he says crazy stuff, all sorts of radical stuff, and incoherent thoughts, incoherent messaging.

He talks about sharks and being on a boat and the boat sinks, and there's electric batteries on a boat, somehow you get electrocuted, it's bizarre

stuff. You should look at Donald Trump's written transcripts from his rallies, and you'll see that Donald Trump is not fit for office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you don't think his audio should be released at all?

LIEU: The Republican special counsel has said the written transcript is an accurate rendition of the audio transcript. It's not like they're making up

paragraphs that one said or rewarding paragraphs. I mean, he said this isn't --


LIEU: He said this is an accurate rendition of the --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of the prosecutor because he said that he was essentially a big old man who would be (INAUDIBLE) --

LIEU: Robert Hur is not a doctor and neither are you. But you know what? Look at Donald Trump's transcripts and then let's have a conversation about

the crazy things Donald Trump says. So, why don't you ever ask about that?

AGUILAR: Michael(ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Congressional black caucus says they knew -- about the President since the debate fallout, obviously as the

chair of the caucus, you understand how influential this bloc is. Can you just speak about the role of the black caucus' claim in this particular

issue, and for Americans who may not be familiar with the history of the caucus, what it means to you to have that bloc in the caucus that you


AGUILAR: You know, it's important for all of us, the strength and resiliency of the congressional black caucus, how they advocate for their

communities, how they advocate for Americans is something that I appreciate it, and I'm thankful for, I'm thankful historically to the work that they

have done, and that they have led on so many issues.

The black caucus is more than just one issue just like the Hispanic caucus is more than just one issue. These are individuals who have built tenure in

this dome advocating for working families, and advocating for the rights and the struggles of people who have been marginalized in their


And so, when they speak, the House Democratic caucus listens, I listen, the vice-chair listens, the leadership team listens. We listen to every member

though -- and I'll tell you, we had members from every single caucus imaginable speak to us today.

And each of us have had conversations with dozens and dozens of members across the political spectrum to better understand their districts, to

better understand where they are, to better understand the struggles of people in their communities and what they -- and what they face. And we're

going to continue to do that along the way. Yes.

SOARES: You have been listening there to the chair and the vice chair of the House Democratic caucus who of course as you know, have been meeting --

the Democrats have been meeting behind closed doors, talking about whether President Biden should remain at the top of the ticket.

Let me tell you briefly what we have heard from both men They're clear-eyed about what the stakes are this November, both of them saying, both the

chair and the vice chair saying that Donald Trump, the aim that members should really focus on preventing Donald Trump from setting foot in the

White House.

That is one of their goals. And then went to compare really Donald Trump with President Biden. Talked about what President Biden had achieved, his

achievements, and then talking about the chaos, confusion, extremism of Donald Trump and what could come with that.

But also saying very clearly midway through that, that President Biden is the nominee and we support the nominee. Also saying they are unified in

that position. Listening to this is our senior politics reporter, Stephen Collinson, Democratic strategist, Antjuan Seawright and CNN reporter Annie


Stephen, let me go to you, I heard unity there, but it doesn't match with what we had been hearing prior to this. What did you take away?

COLLINSON: I think what those two leaders were doing was the thing that President Biden failed to do during his debate. And that is make a strong

case against Donald Trump. The fact that the president wasn't able to come up with the arguments that the two leaders presented there is the reason

why there is so much concern in the Democratic Party about his candidacy, and whether he is indeed the best person as Pete Aguilar said to stop

Donald Trump getting back in the Oval Office.


He did say right now Trump is the nominee, Biden is the nominee to take on Trump. There's a little qualification there. I think there is a sense in

which these Democratic congressmen and women are being allowed to vent in the hope that this kind of passes on and it doesn't get to a critical


SOARES: And Antjuan, you were listening in, I believe prior to this, we had heard concerns, maybe a lack of unity, disunity from some members of the

Democratic Party. I wonder whether you feel that this press conference that we just heard, that's still ongoing, that puts -- if that puts to rest any

of those concerns.

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it certainly -- it certainly starts to lay the groundwork for a more unified front as

Democrats. Most of us who either helped or participated in some way, shape or form in the 2016 election realize in retrospect that without a unified

front, we cannot win as Democrats, and the residue of the 2016 election still lives on today when you consider the actions of this right-wing

activist court that the former president was able to appoint three members to.

I think what you heard today was from the leaders that we must be unified around a cause. We must be unified around defeating not just Donald Trump

at the top of the ticket, but Trump isn't -- that's on down the ballot. That includes the extreme policies that come along with Donald Trump baked

in Trumpism, including Project 2025, that also includes protecting the thing that Democrats were able to accomplish when they were in the


And those things still remain or hang in the balance because Republicans have already threatened them. What you did not hear, and I wish you would

have heard more from the leaders you heard from today is not only is the presidency on the ballot, but downstream.

The opportunity to elect the first African-American speaker. That's on the ballot. The first African-American assistant speaker, that's on the ballot.

The first woman majority leader, that's on the ballot. You heard from Ted Lieu, he would be the first Asian-American Pacific Islander as caucus


Pete Aguilar, who you heard from will be the first Latino Majority whip, and then Katherine Clark, woman Majority leader. All those things are on

the ballot, they hang in the balance with this election. That's why it's bigger than Donald Trump versus Joe Biden.

SOARES: Stay with us, Antjuan, let me to Annie Grayer, because Annie, of course, what we did hear very clearly was that President Biden is the

nominee and we support the nominee. And that, no doubt will be music to President Biden's ears. I wonder what the strategy going forward then from

the Biden camp will be.

Will they continue to try to put him out there among people, more press conferences. Talk to that. What the strategy is behind-the-scenes.

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN REPORTER: Well, the Biden campaign has been very clear what their strategy is, which is that they are moving forward. President

Biden is their nominee and they are going to continue to put the President out there to speak directly to voters. The question is, will that quell all

the concerns in the party?

I mean, what we saw happening today behind closed doors was House Democrats meeting for the first time back in person since Biden's disastrous debate

performance more than ten days ago, and those concerns are still not put to bed. Members left the meeting with the same concerns that they had, and

there's no clear consensus in the Democratic caucus about what the path forward is.

I mean, we're seeing in this press conference, this projection of unity, but we know behind the scenes, there is a lot more complicated concerns.

So, even just what the -- what the path forward is for the rest of this week is uncertain. We know there's going to be a lot of more meetings with

Hakeem Jeffries, the leader of the Democrats in the House and smaller factions are going to have their own meetings and kind of try and come back

together and see if they can get a consensus.

But the facts from the Biden campaign are not changing. The President has made it very clear, he plans to stay in this race.

SOARES: Indeed, he's made that abundantly clear. And he said early, the Lord Almighty could drive him to abandon his campaign. Annie, appreciate

it, thank you very much. Let me go back to Stephen, I mean, Stephen, just branching it out slightly, it has been what?

Some ten days or so since the CNN debate that obviously didn't go so well for President Biden, does led to all of this. And I wonder whether they

believe if the fact that everyone's still talking about it is still huge concerns, whether they believe this will go away. Because so much of this

is about perception here.

COLLINSON: Yes, and the image that was emblazoned on the minds of 50 million Americans who were watching that debate is a very unflattering one

to President Biden, and it's one that's going to be very difficult to dispel. Lots of voters don't tune in to politics all the time, so they

won't be watching him necessarily on the campaign trail.


So, there was a danger that their perceptions and their concerns about the president were baked in with that debate. I think what the Biden campaign

has been trying to do this week is to buy a little bit of time. If he can get through the NATO Summit, that will cast him in a very good light. If

the press conference on Thursday is successful, then the political attention will begin to turn to the Republican National Convention in

Milwaukee next week.

Donald Trump will be back on the stage, creating the contrast with Biden that the -- that Biden campaign wants to see. He'll be unveiling his vice-

presidential pick and we could see a convention that is -- projects quite an extreme picture of republicanism to many Americans.

So, if Biden can get to the end of this week, the picture could change a little bit.

SOARES: And, Antjuan, I find it really interesting that we heard from the vice chair of the caucus there saying that, you know, you have to -- I

couldn't hear the question, but I kind of guessed what the question could be just from the answer. He's talked about Donald Trump's transcript

saying, he's radical, he's got incoherent messaging, bizarre stuff being said. What you need to see is that Donald Trump is not fit for office.

I wonder if that needs to be more the messaging, that the Democratic Party needs to go on the attack on that point to make a big difference between

both these men.

SEAWRIGHT: Well, certainly we have to try. Unfortunately, the news cycle has -- or the oxygen in the room, if you will, has been sucked away focused

on a debate that's been almost two weeks ago. And part of that's responsibility on the media and part of that's responsibility on us as

Democrats to make sure we frame the narrative and not let the narrative be framed.

I think for us as Democrats, it is critical that people have some muscle memory about who Donald Trump was for four years, and there will be open

debate about the two presidents' record because they both would have had equal time in office, but also some muscle mass to add on to the muscle

memory about who Donald Trump will be going into the presidency if people do not vote in the country's best interest.

That includes extremism, that includes Trumpism, that includes rolling back Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security as we know it. Rolling back climate

changes that have been advocated for and passed into law. That includes democracy and freedom going away as we know it if Donald Trump is elected.

It's so important that we articulate a clear vision about who we are as Democrats, what we're for, but also what the other side is for, what

they've stood up to, and what they've stood against. It's a contrast, it's a binary contrast, that has to be the order of the day.

SOARES: Antjuan, really appreciate your insight. I know this is going to be a critical week for President Biden. The scrutiny is not going to end here.

There are showing signs of unity, but we have seen some of the fractures already this week. Antjuan and Stephen Collinson, as always, thank you very

much for both of you for your insight. We're going to take a short break. We'll see you on the other side.



SOARES: I'm going to actually interrupt. I'm just going to take you straight to the White House. I think a press briefing is on the way. That

press briefing, I was expecting. Let's listen in.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE SECRETARY: --overnight and we expect another 1 million to have their power restored today. The federal

government has also offered generators to help reduce the impact of the power outages. The president continues to take decisive action to help the

people of Texas recover, and he looks forward to working with the state to get more critical resources to the people that need them.

I also want to share one additional scheduling item with all of you as well at the top. In addition to many NATO meetings we announced yesterday, on

Thursday afternoon, President Biden will meet with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine to discuss our unwavering support for Ukraine as it continues to

defend itself from Russian aggression.

That meeting will be at 1:30 p.m. at the convention center, which, as you all know, is where the NATO sessions are being held, and it will take place

just before the NATO-Ukraine Council meeting. This will be the third meeting between both presidents in recent weeks following their sit down in

France and also a sit down at the G7 in Italy, and it will further demonstrate the strength and we can't wait to see the growth of the

partnership between our countries.

And finally, just a personal note here. I want to say a few words about Sam Michel here, who served as acting deputy press secretary for the part of --

a good part of this year. We are sad that today is indeed his last day. But we are so grateful for his service. And he has been an incredible

colleague. He is -- we were lucky to have him on our team, on our press team. His sharpness, his ability to stay calm under pressure, and his

strategic thinking has been a real asset to us all.

Sam, you will be greatly missed. Thank you so much for being on the team and stepping in when we really needed you.

OK. All right. Song Mei (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. I just wanted to get a clarification on the letter that was sent last night --

JEAN-PIERRE: Sure. Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- from Dr. O'Connor. And you can correct me if I'm wrong, but it didn't seem to explicitly describe the nature of Dr.

Cannard's meeting with Dr. O'Connor. So, can you say whether that one meeting was related to care for the president himself?

JEAN-PIERRE: I can say that it was not. It was not related.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And can I just ask why that information that was released last night just wasn't said at the briefing yesterday?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, no. Actually, a lot of what is in the letter was said at the briefing, to be very, very clear. I said many of the things that were

laid out in the letter was actually repeated right here behind this lectern at this podium yesterday. It was --


JEAN-PIERRE: Hold on. I said many of the things. Many of the things. And we got clarification obviously from Dr. O'Connor, but it was in line with what

I said when I said only three, right, I said only three visits that this particular doctor had. I said a neurologist.

What I was not able to confirm is the name and the reason why is because we do not share private information. That is something that we respect and we

wanted to make sure that we protected our consultants here that work with the White House Medical Unit, their security as well. And so, that is the

one thing that I was not able to confirm.


Obviously, Dr. O'Connor's letter confirms that. But we had to get permission from Dr. Cannard and also the president in order to put that

information. And it is not normal. And that also states that in Dr. O'Connor. But many of the things that I said right here at this podium is

in the letter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And can I just also ask a little, this is the second time in less than a week where the briefing had prompted a need for later

clarification on questions about the president's health. And I'm just wondering if you could speak to --

JEAN-PIERRE: So, I disagree. I disagree, Song Mei (ph). It's not. Yesterday, a lot of the things that I said right here in this briefing, I

know you were not in the briefing room. I actually -- it's in the letter. It was in the letter. It was being incorrectly assumed and insinuated that

the president had seen Dr. Cannard more than three times.

I said that it was only three times that the president had seen a neurologist. I didn't confirm the name, but I did say it was only three

times. It was being incorrectly assumed and insinuated that the president was being treated for Parkinson's. I said right here that the president was

not being treated for Parkinson's. I actually went a step further and said he wasn't taking medication for Parkinson's. I said that right here.

It was also being assumed and insinuated that Dr. Cannard was someone who only worked on Parkinson's when, in fact, he's a general neurologist. That

was something that Dr. O'Connor was actually able to confirm, that he was a general neurologist, not -- in fact, a general neurologist, and we also

wanted to set the -- we just wanted to set the record straight.

And so, you know, it is important, we believe it was important to all of you. I actually even said here at the podium, if there was more information

that we could provide, we would do that. We would do that. And we did. But many of the things that I said, right here, is in the letter. Is in the

letter. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the President feel like he's beat back this effort to force him to step aside?

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I, you know you heard the president yesterday when he called in to "Morning Joe." Did about 18 minutes of Q&A yesterday morning.

He spoke very, I think, forcefully, passionately about where he stands, about how he sees things moving forward, and we also have said many times,

we respect members of Congress, we respect their view, but I also want to say there's a long -- also a long list of congressional members who have

been very clear in support of this president, whether it's the CBC, who gave a full support, the Congressional Black Caucus, for folks who are

watching and are not sure what CBC is.

They were very much supportive. They said, we think that -- this is Representative Joyce Beatty, to be clear, we think that the call went

extremely well. The president was very responsive. Representative Troy Carter, who's also a member of the CBC. He was elated to hear directly from

the president, and that he is all in and we are all in with him. You heard from -- you got a congressional Hispanic caucus. They put out a statement

in full support of this president and there are others.

And so, look, he is going to focus on continuing to work on behalf of the American people, continuing to build on an unprecedented record that he's

been able to get done with many of these congressional members that he's proud to be -- to have worked with, but that's his focus right now. That's

his focus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you still talking to more people, more --

JEAN-PIERRE: He's going to continue to engage, as you saw him in Pennsylvania when he was on -- well, when he was in the Commonwealth, on

the road, he's -- he had two of -- the two of the senators, two of the congressional members with him, the House members with him. He's going to

be traveling later in the week. He's going to be engaging.

I've mentioned -- I mentioned yesterday his robust schedule for the next two weeks when he's in state. He certainly would continue to engage. I

don't have a list of additional calls to read out, but he did CBC last night, Congressional Black Caucus, and he's going to continue and engage as

he has been. Again, Mary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To follow on that, the president has made clear, he's done talking about the debate. It is time to move on. But some of his

allies have made clear, they're very much still in this weight and see mode. I mean, Senator Patty Murray saying he must do more to demonstrate he

can campaign strong enough to beat Trump. Senator Durbin saying he's concerned whether this is just a one off or a larger issue.

So, I guess, you know, how worried is the president that despite his best efforts, he's not going to be able to close the book on these concerns?

JEAN-PIERRE: And, Mary, I appreciate the question, but as you know, there are hundreds of members in Congress, hundreds, and I laid out a list of

folks who have supported him. We've heard from Senator Coons. We heard from Senator Fetterman. There's support there as well for him. And so, we just

want to make sure that we put that out there as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- party united.


JEAN-PIERRE: Absolutely. Absolutely. And look, Representative Gregory Meeks said coming out of the congressional Democrats meeting said that they're

united. And you just saw the Dem caucus leadership take questions from some of your colleagues over at the Capitol. So, that is important as well to


But look, he had a bad night. We've talked about it. He understands people's concerns. We have been out there, as we have been, in previous

months, but out there, obviously, in the past 10 days, more than 10 days now since the debate, and you see from his engagement with everyday people

on the ground, you see him with congressional members, having -- who are showing their support, speaking on behalf of this president while we're on

the ground in that respective state or commonwealth being -- where -- we were in Pennsylvania on Sunday. And so, we're just going to continue that.

But look, what we can say, what I can say is, look, we respect people's opinion. These are -- you just mentioned two senators that we were very

proud working with over the past three and a half years to get historic legislation done, and that's what we want to focus on.

You're right. We do want to turn the page. You heard me say this last week. We want to get to the other side of this. We want to continue doing the

work. And that's what the president's going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And just to be clear, does he have plans to talk with leadership again soon?

JEAN-PIERRE: I don't have any calls. We don't have calls to read out or to preview. He is going to continue to engage. I just don't have anything

right now to share at this moment. He talked to CBC, again, the Congressional Black Caucus, members yesterday. They had a very, very good

call. And so, he's going to continue to engage. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Karine. The White House has obviously fielded a lot of questions in recent days about the president's health, whether the

White House has been forthcoming or not about that issue. And I just wondered have the last 12 days made you reconsider any specific statements

that you might have made in recent months on that issue?

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I appreciate the question, I really do, and the opportunity. I think there has been moments here when I have said and I --

especially in the gaggle, I think and actually, yesterday, if I have, you know, said -- misled in something that I've said or haven't had the full

information, I actually own up to that, and I actually say, I will do my best to get you the information, hence the letter, hence the letter for Dr.

O'Connor, right.

And so, I will -- you know, I've always said, I've always been committed to doing the best I can to give you the information that we have, that is a

commitment from the team. It has been an unprecedented time. I think you guys could admit that, right? It is an unprecedented time. And so, we are

meeting the moment, a new moment that has never really existed before. And so, we want to make sure that we get you all the information that we have.

And when we don't have it, we do try our best to provide that information.

And so, that is something that I'm going to continue to do. And I've always said, it is an honor and a privilege to be standing in front of you every

day, exercising in the freedom of the press. This is a briefing that is watched around the world because we lead in democracy, right, we lead in

the freedom of the press and what that looks like. Honor and privilege, and I will continue to do my best to do just that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we certainly understand, you know, you speak on behalf of the president, and you defend him, his actions, his positions,

his policy positions included. Could I just ask you about one example, just going back that comes to mind? September --

JEAN-PIERRE: In the past? Well, you're talking about the last 12 days?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm talking about recent months.

JEAN-PIERRE: No, well you just said recently, it's been -- you know, we've been going back and forth. And so, in the last, you know, 12 days or so,

that was -- that's how -- I believe that's how you asked me the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was talking generally.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But if I could just ask you about one example that --

JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, if you're going to ask me about something from months ago, it probably would be fair for me to -- I probably won't be able

to answer that right away, whatever it is that you're going to say to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can come back to us.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, I'm happy to do that. But it's also to say, hey, from September of whenever year, right, that is something that I probably should

give a little space to kind of see exactly what you're speaking of.


JEAN-PIERRE: And that's fine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's fine. If not, it's --

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. Well, I just want to make sure that we kind of give some context here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And you'll remember this. This was an event where the president called out Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, looked for her in

the room, even though she had recently died. You told multiple reporters at the time, and this was asked in multiple different ways.

JEAN-PIERRE: She was top of mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. It was because she was top of mind for the president. I mean, would you -- on that example, would you offer a

different explanation?

JEAN-PIERRE: I would not. Because honestly, I spoke to the president right before coming out that day, and that is what the president told me. It's

not something that came from me, that is something that came from the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, he was saying even as he was looking for her in the moment? It wasn't --

JEAN-PIERRE: She was top of mind.



JEAN-PIERRE: That is coming -- as you just said in your question, I speak for the president. I speak on behalf of him. That was coming from him and I

was delivering directly from the president of what he was thinking at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great. A very different kind of example. And this is more recent.

JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, sure. Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the president was in Italy for the G7 and you remember he skipped one of the leader's dinner, which was a major event for

the summit. And I remember you were asked about it by reporters, and you said, you know, we shouldn't read too much into the fact that he's skipping

one dinner. I mean, what -- would the explanation actually have been that he was tired and that he needed to say something that was happening


JEAN-PIERRE: And my answer stays the same. I wouldn't read too much into it. It's not the first time that he has. He has a really busy schedule and

there's a lot going on. As you know, when the president is abroad, he has continued to do domestic stuff as well as meeting with global leaders. And

so, I truly would not read too much into it. And I will leave it there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I have a very final question on the annual --

JEAN-PIERRE: Sure, sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- letter from Dr. O'Connor. He said that the president continues to be fit for duty and fully executes all of his

responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations. Just because it's been a couple of months, do you know if that statement is still


JEAN-PIERRE: It's still accurate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, no exemptions, no accommodations?

JEAN-PIERRE: No exemptions, no accommodations.


JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Karine, there was announcement from the Department of Justice today about a crackdown, an effort to interrupt a Russian state

sponsored bot operation, A.I. fueled operation to denigrate politicians in the United States and elsewhere. Have you -- do you have any concerns right

now that this is the leading edge of any part of a Russian effort to interfere in the election? Has the president been briefed on this? And have

you seen any evidence that the Russians or other foreign powers have tried to seize on the debate performance, repeat some of the president's most

embarrassing moments?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, that's a very good question. I would have to talk to our team about those particular questions that you just asked. There were

multiple questions in your statement there. I would leave it to the Department of Justice as what they announced. Obviously, that's for them to

speak to.

Look, A.I. has always been a concern. That's why the president made some announcements recently, an executive -- to take executive action on how we

can deal with A.I. We want to see more action, more fulsome action legislatively from Congress. That is something -- it is a technology --

cutting edge technology that we need to get our hands on. And get a better -- you know, better understanding of what it could potentially do. And so,

that is something that the president certainly is looking to make sure that we deal with this in a full -- whole of government way.

On those particular questions, I would have to check in with our team here and obviously, whatever is related to the Department of Justice in that

statement, I would refer you to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great. You said just a minute ago that the president wants to turn the page on the last couple weeks and get to the

other side of this where the White House wants to. You know, has President Biden seen enough support over the last 36 hours from fellow Democrats in

Congress to now start turning the page and look ahead? I mean, what's his reaction been to what he's seen since Congress has gotten back?

JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, it's very similar to how I answered the question to one of your colleagues. He's very much focused on what's ahead, right? He's

very much focused. He has a fulsome, robust schedule next two weeks that we laid out for all of you. He wants to focus on that. The messages that he

wants to come out when he goes to Texas next week, when he goes to Vegas next week, he's going to be on the road on Friday as well.

I also want to say, look, you know, he is proud of the Congressional Black Caucus who said they have -- he has their support. The Congressional

Hispanic Caucus did the same. And other members of Congress, obviously. And so, look, he wants to move forward, as your colleague said, definitely

unite the party, continuing to unite the party.

We heard from Representative Meeks, who said the Democrats -- the Congressional Democrats came out of the meeting today united. I think

that's important to note. But the president's going to move forward. He's going to move forward and he's going to continue to go out there, engage,

engage with the American public, like you saw him do in Pennsylvania, and he's going to stay focused on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, do you feel -- does he feel like he's weathered this storm, so to speak?


JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I think that he is more determined than ever to continue to get the job done. To continue to build an economy that works for all. To

continue to make sure that we have a middle class, right, that is strong, right, that we don't have a trickle-down economy, the economy that's built

from the bottom up, middle out. That's what he wants to continue to do.

I think this week with the NATO Summit, the 75th year of NATO. Let's not forget, NATO has helped to protect Americans and for -- and also protect

the world and what it's been able to do for the past 75 years. You're going to see the president engaging with 32 leaders of this alliance. I think

that's really important. That's, again, on behalf of the American people. So, he wants to do that.

He has a lot on his mind as it deals with making sure we deliver for the American people. That's what he's going to focus on. Peter, I know we had

our chat yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Thank you, Karine. Does president Biden commit to serving a full second term if re-elected?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. We know the president says that his health is fine, but it's just his brain, and that he's sharpest before --

JEAN-PIERRE: He was joking, by the way. I just want to make sure that that's out there. And people -- he was making a light hearted joke as he

was speaking off the cuff and was making a joke. You know the president, he likes to joke a lot. He's the same guy who says, I know I look 40, right?

So, he likes to make jokes. It is a joke.


JEAN-PIERRE: I think people laugh when he says it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he also said he's sharpest before 8:00 p.m. So, say that the Pentagon, at some point, picks up an incoming nuke. It's 11:00

p.m. Who do you call? The first lady?

JEAN-PIERRE: He has a team that lets him know of any news that is pertinent and important to the American people. He has someone or -- that is decided,

obviously, with his National Security Council and who gets to tell him that news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Kevin McCarthy just said that when he was the speaker, many times when we had meetings in the Oval Office, Jill was there

as well. When the first lady is in these meetings, is she making decisions or is she just advising the president?

JEAN-PIERRE: No, the president is the president of the United States. He makes decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Another family member. President Biden has told me before, he and his son don't have any business dealings together. So, what

is Hunter Biden doing in White House meetings?

JEAN-PIERRE: Are you talking about the meeting where they came together from Camp David and the two of them walked to the president's meeting and

he was there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a report that aides were struck by his presence during their discussions.

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I can't -- I'm certainly not going to get into private conversations that occur. What I can say is and I talked to this -- I spoke

to this before, is that when they came back from Camp David, the president spent a couple days at Camp David with his family. He is very close to his

family, as you know.

It was the week of 4th of July, which is why his family members were here last week. They walk together and they walk together into the meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say if Hunter Biden has access to classified information?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And are you guys just not, since February, testing president Biden for Parkinson's or for dementia? Because if he gets a bad

result, it's all over that day.

JEAN-PIERRE: Again, as I've said many times before, the president has had a fulsome, comprehensive -- what we said -- what we shared with you was

comprehensive, but he's had a full physical. We've shown the results of those physicals this past three years. We showed it just four months ago,

and it is in line with what we have done similar to President Obama, similar to George W. Bush.

We're committed to continue to be transparent. We're committed to continue to show the results of those physicals. And look, it's the president's

medical team that makes a decision. We are not -- with all due respect, you're not a doctor, I'm not a doctor. It is the president's medical unit

that makes a decision on what the president needs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a doctor. Just play one on TV. But I know that --

JEAN-PIERRE: That's scary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is scary. But I know that, especially as adults get into their 80s, health conditions can pop up more than just once a year

when he's getting his physical. I think -- if my wife saw me on TV misspeaking, or saying the wrong thing, or seeing a change in my

appearance, she would probably say, let's go to a doctor just to make sure that you are OK, you have a family, you have an important job. Why doesn't

anybody in the president's family urge him just to go to get checked out to say, the coast is clear?