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One World with Zain Asher

President Biden Talks To Close Ally About Recent Debate Performance; Hurricane Beryl Batters Jamaica; Extreme Weather Hits Parts of The U.S.; British Voters On The Verge Of Bringing An End To The Conservative Party's 14-Year Rule In The U.K.; U.S. Justice Department Plans To Pursue Criminal Cases Against Donald Trump Past Election Day Whether He Wins Or Not. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired July 03, 2024 - 12:00:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, coming to you live from New York. I'm Zain Asher, Bianna is off today. This is "ONE WORLD". For the first time,

we are getting some signs that Joe Biden may be wavering about whether to stay in the race for president. President Biden has told a close ally that

he knows he may not be able to save his candidacy in the wake of that poor performance in last week's debate on CNN.

CNN has learned that Biden is pinning his hopes on several key events over the next few days, including an interview with ABC News on Friday. He also

has a meeting tonight with Democratic governors who are concerned that his debate performance has doomed his campaign.

Let's go now to the White House and CNN's Arlette Saenz is standing by with more. So, Arlette, just walk us through what more we know about this

conversation that President Biden had with an ally about the fact that he may not be able to save his reelection bid come the end of this week.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, President Biden is aware that he is entering a critical stretch in his candidacy,

acknowledging that in a private conversation with a key ally just yesterday.

This ally relayed that the president is clear-eyed and is aware of what could help him determine whether his efforts to save his reelection

campaign are working or not. This ally telling CNN that the one scenario in which perhaps the president's attempts might not be working would be,

quote, if the polls are plummeting, the fundraising is drying up and the interviews are going badly.

This person added he's not oblivious. You've seen President Biden and his team both privately and publicly really try to reassure voters that he is

up for a second term in office. But it comes as you've started to see these cracks within the Democratic coalition.

Just yesterday, Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first lawmaker to publicly call for President Biden to step aside in this race.

There are other congressional Democrats who have openly said that they believe Biden would lose against Trump in November.

And then there are concerns among many Democrats about what keeping Biden at the top of the Democratic ticket could mean for his own candidates, not

just for his own candidacy, but also the impact it could have on Democrats in competitive House and Senate races.

Now, the Biden -- President Biden, privately behind the scenes, has started working the phones to key congressional leaders, including House Minority

Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as one of his top allies, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.

Those calls are expected to continue throughout the day. And a bit later this evening, he will have a meeting here at the White House with

Democratic governors who have expressed concern behind, privately, about President Biden's performance in that debate.

Now, the president's also sketching out a public schedule where he can try to make his arguments to voters. He will have a major sit-down interview

with ABC News on Friday. And then he will also be traveling to Wisconsin on Friday and Philadelphia on Sunday, two key battleground states.

But here at the White House and on the campaign, they have really doubled down on the fact that President Biden is remaining in this race. Just

yesterday, Karine -- White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fielded many questions about the president's debate performance and his health at

this moment. Take a listen to what she had to say.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The medical team said it is not warranted in this case. We have put forward a thorough, transparent

annual report on his health. So, they have said that is not warranted. It is not necessary. Again, we understand. We understand. We're not taking

away from what you all saw or what the American people saw. We understand. It was a bad night.


SAENZ: The White House trying to explain a little bit, not just about President Biden's performance, but also their belief that he is up to the

job serving in a second term. Now, in just a short while, there are two key phone calls for staff that are about to take place. White House Chief of

Staff Jeff Zients is going to hold a call with staffers here at the White House.

We're told that it's a conversation to just kind of touch base, as there are all these concerns about President Biden's future in the race. And then

the campaign is also having a call at 12:45 with its own staff.

One of the things that they really are trying to emphasize to their staff is telling them to stay focused, keep pushing and promoting the work that

President Biden is doing in this race, even as there are some cracks within the Democratic coalition about support for President Biden and questions

about whether he should remain in this race.


So far, the White House has not indicated the president has changed his mind either way.

ASHER: So, just in terms of the next couple of days being crucial, I mean, he's got the interview with ABC News. It's obviously critical. He's also

got the meeting with Democratic governors. I mean, what does it look like, just in terms of him being able to win this moment? What does he need to

say and do to really convince people that what we saw on Thursday was just a one-off, that it will never, ever happen again? I'll never see anything

like it. How does he move the needle here, Arlette?

SAENZ: Yeah, I mean, I think President Biden is trying to use each of these events, each of these meetings to make his case that he is up for a

second term in office. You have started to hear some top Democrats openly question and saying that the president must be more transparent when it

pertains to his health and mental and stamina to remain in this race.

And so, Biden's really trying to, one, go out there, convince voters that he is up to a second term. But then we are also seeing the campaign really

trying to refocus attention to centering this race against Donald Trump. That is something that they've been eager to do in recent days, especially

in the wake of that Supreme Court ruling relating to presidential immunity.

This morning, the campaign rolled out a new advertisement criticizing not just Donald Trump, but also the Supreme Court. So, that is something, from

their messaging standpoint, that they really want to try to draw attention to, even as so much of the thunder or so much of the conversation recently

has been focused on President Biden himself.

And he's really entering this very critical stretch in the coming days where he's going to be answering questions on national television, be in

front of voters. And his hope is that he'll be able to quell their concerns to stay in this race come November.

ASHER: All right, Arlette Saenz, live for us there. Thank you so much. I want to bring in our senior politics reporter, Stephen Collinson. So,

Stephen, here's the thing. America knows Joe Biden really well. And if he is elected for the next four years, you sort of know what you're going to

get, right?

This is a man who's been in politics since 1973, right? Senator from Delaware, elected at the age of 29, 30, really, really young, ended up

becoming vice president, and then obviously has run presidential campaigns at least twice before. Just talk to us about the risks at this point in

time, at this late stage, of actually bringing someone in to replace him who is effectively untested. I mean, that is a huge gamble.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Yeah, and there is absolutely nothing like a U.S. presidential election campaign. The

scrutiny, the pressure, the travel, the way that everyone's background and everything they've ever said will be dug up. The fact that you are

constantly on guard 24 hours a day, whatever you say can suddenly turn into a huge scandal or even an international incident.

So, while some of these people, people are talking about governors like Gretchen Whitmer or Gavin Newsom of California, are very skilled

politicians, were they to walk into the tsunami of a presidential election campaign, they would never have experienced anything like it.

The issue here, though, is that is a great risk, as you say. But is the bigger risk sticking with the president if it seems like there's no way he

can beat Donald Trump? Because we know that a second Trump presidency would be like nothing we've ever seen before. So, it's almost like this is a

colossal mess for Democrats, whatever happens in the next few days.

ASHER: And with that point, you brought up such a good point about the risks that Democrats are weighing here. I want to bring in CNN contributor

Lulu Garcia-Navarro. She's a reporter and podcast host for "The New York Times", joining us in this sort of three-way conversation.

Stephen Collinson just brought up a really interesting point, this idea that is it a greater risk just to go with what you know, tried and true,

Joe Biden, even this late in the game, even despite the performance we saw last week? Or is it a bigger risk for Democrats to actually bring in

someone you don't even know what you're going to get with, you know, a Gavin Newsom or a Kamala Harris?

Yes, they have held high political office in the past, but becoming president of the United States is a different universe entirely. That is

not an ordinary job. It's extremely high pressure. Just talk to us about which is the sort of lesser risk at this stage for Democrats.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think Democrats know which is the lesser risk. I mean, I think that's really what they're grappling

with. They're trying to figure out if at this stage they can really put in somebody else, whether it be Kamala Harris, which is probably the most

likely. She is the vice president. She has been vetted. She ran for senator and then she ran for president and then was made the vice president.


So, I think that seems to be an alternative that most people are sort of betting on if indeed this drastic step was going to be taken. But, you

know, the question here is really not only can President Biden win reelection, but can President Biden actually govern for another four years

after that if he manages to win?

And that is what has everyone so concerned. It's not only can he beat Donald Trump, but if he wins, is he actually in the position to rule and

govern in a way that the American people want to see their leaders govern? And that is an open question at the moment. This is a full-blown crisis.

ASHER: The presidency can really aid you. I mean, just the stress alone. Stephen, let me bring you back in. Everyone's been talking really just

about the fact that, yes, it will likely be, I mean, if there is a sort of contested situation where they end up replacing President Biden, that it

will likely be Kamala Harris atop of the ticket.

I remember sort of four years ago, there was just so much excitement around Kamala Harris, you know, woman vice president, woman of color, a black

woman at that, you know, child of immigrants. Just explain to us why that excitement around her seems to have dissipated over the last four years.

People just aren't excited about her as they once were back in 2020.

COLLINSON: Yeah, she's had a difficult time, especially in the first few years of the administration. The vice presidency is actually a very

difficult job. Many people before Kamala Harris have found it difficult to adapt, to carve out a lane.

I think you can make an argument that the White House in many ways didn't really help her that much. It gave her an assignment to try and fix the

immigration problem, people coming from overseas into the United States. That is a real poison chalice, and that exposed her to a lot of early

attacks from Republicans.

But it's true, she isn't, if you look at her approval ratings, very popular at all. I don't think if there was an open contest for the nomination that

she would necessarily win it, you know, if it was, you know, all fair and square and she wasn't anointed. So, she has that problem. Her campaign in

2016, in 2020, wasn't very successful -- her presidential campaign, and she didn't have a deft political touch.

Having said that, lately, I think there have been signs that she has been adapting to the role quite well. She was very effective in defending the

president immediately after the debate. So, politicians also evolve, and if she was the person in the situation, maybe she would rise to the challenge,

to the moment of her life. I don't think you can really know until it happens.

ASHER: Lulu, now that we know that President Biden is privately open to the possibility that he may not be running for re-election here, obviously,

we don't know how likely it is he's going to step aside, but it's possible. I don't know if it's probable, but it is certainly possible.

Now that we know that, does that make it easier for more Democratic elected officials to come out publicly and say, you know what, we also do think

it's time for Joe to go? Does that provide them with some cover here?

GARCIA NAVARRO: I think you are going to see more and more Democrats saying publicly what they have been saying privately. We have seen

reporting after reporting from CNN, from "The New York Times" and others basically saying that the donor class, which is incredibly important, this

is where the money comes from, this is where all the support comes from for these very expensive elections, is up in arms.

We know that down-ballot Democrats are increasingly worried that this is going to hurt their chances to act as a check on a potential second Trump

administration. They need to win the House. They need to hold the Senate. And so, all these questions are not just about the future of President

Biden. It is about the future of the Democratic Party and the future of American democracy, as far as the Democrats see it.

And so, there is a lot of pressure and a lot of discussion right now about what to do. And so, I think after this very public meeting that is going to

be held with Democrats, Democratic governors, we are going to hear, I think, more and more about what was said and what the way forward might be.

ASHER: The meeting with Democratic governors and then also that interview with ABC News at the end of the week, clearly two major sort of inflection

points when it comes to where the re-election bid goes from here. Stephen Collinson, Lulu Navarro Garcia, thank you both so much for being with us.

Appreciate it.


All right, still to come. Fishermen in Jamaica prepare for the worst as Hurricane Beryl closes in. We'll have a live report from Kingston on the

storm just ahead. Plus, British voters are just hours away from choosing their next government, and the ruling party is in major, major trouble.

We'll take a look at what lies ahead for Britain.



ASHER: All right, Hurricane Beryl is hurtling towards Jamaica this hour. While latest forecasts show the storm center could skirt the island nation

instead of making landfall, it's still expected to deal a devastating blow.

The Category 4 storm is packing ferocious winds and torrential rains as well as it nears a densely populated nation of about three million people.

Jamaica is, of course, a top tourist destination and many travelers are actually now stranded there, unable to get out. Earlier, residents

scrambled to stock up on essential supplies. A nationwide curfew is in place.

Only two hurricanes have made landfall in Jamaica over the past 40 years. We had, of course, Gilbert in 1988. The storm has already left a deadly

trail of destruction in the Caribbean. It's in St. Vincent and Grenadines, especially hard. The unusually massive hurricane for this time of year has

already killed at least seven people.

CNN's Rafael Romo is in Kingston, Jamaica. He joins us live now. Rafael, just talk to us about how people are preparing. Obviously, as I just

mentioned there, there is a chance that the eye of the storm could actually avoid Jamaica or it could make landfall. And of course, residents there

really do have to prepare for the worst.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Zain, is very true that there's still a possibility that the eye of the storm may avoid the island altogether.

But we just heard an update from the U.S. National Weather Service saying that even if that is the case, the impact from torrential rains and very

strong, devastating winds is going to be felt throughout Jamaica. That's what we heard in the last hour.

And let me tell you, people have been preparing for well over 48 hours now. We saw people flocking supermarkets, trying to get necessities, food,

water, and other things. The prime minister here, Andrew Holness, has been asking people, imploring them, urging them to seek shelter because he was

saying the time to hunker down is now, especially for people who live in low-lying areas, people who also live in areas that historically have been

prone to landslide.


And I want to share with you part of the information that Michael Brennan, the director of the National Weather Center, shared about an hour ago. He's

saying that, yes, those two risks, torrential rains that can cause flooding and landslides, and also destructive winds, are part of the equation. But

there's also another major risk that people need to be mindful of. Let's take a listen.


MICHAEL BRENNAN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: We're also very concerned, the potential for life-threatening storm surge inundation,

especially along the southern coast here with the strong flow in the northeastern eyewall of the storm, is going to push water levels of six to

nine feet above normal tide levels into these bays in places like Kingston.


ROMO: The eye of the storm, still 75 miles away from Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, here where we are, moving at about 18 miles an hour. As

hurricanes go, that's pretty fast. So, that's a little bit of good news there because the devastation and the risk of flooding may be lessened by

the fact that its moving very, very fast.

Also, what the director of the National Hurricane Center said was that, it's still a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles an

hour. So, it means that for the people here, again, people who haven't evacuated, it may be a little too late already. But again, authorities say

they're ready for the storm, and that they have opened more than 780 shelters for people who need them. Zain, back to you.

ASHER: Rafael Romo, live for us there. Thank you so much for keeping an eye on things there in Jamaica. Appreciate it.

All right, turning now to extreme weather in the U.S. where nearly 90 million people are under heat alerts and the soaring temperatures are

expected to rise even higher in the coming days. California has been especially hard hit with wildfires, making the situation even more

treacherous. Temperatures are about 10 to 15 degrees above normal in what is being described as an exceptionally dangerous and lethal heat wave.

Death Valley can see the thermometer spike to nearly 50 degrees Celsius.

CNN's Stephanie Elam joins us live now in Sacramento County. So, across the state we're seeing wildfires breaking out but also just the heat itself,

the heat itself, Stephanie, is incredibly life-threatening.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a very awful combination that we're seeing here in California, Zain. You were talking about these

dangerous high temperatures, which of course does not help the fire situation. I flew up from Los Angeles yesterday and across the state as I

was flying north, I saw several fires and I can tell you where I'm standing now at the McClellan Air Force Base.

This is where they're launching these planes out here so that they can send out fire retardant, some 75,000 gallons of fire retardant they dropped from

these aircraft from here at this Air Force Base yesterday on what is called the Thompson Fire up near Oroville. That is the concerning fire right now

that they are battling. There's some 13,000 people that have been evacuated. It's turned through some 3000 acres. There have been some

structures that have been built, but at this point no one's been hurt.

But still, there is concern about the winds today and about them picking up, and that could also make this fire grow even more. Also worth noting

that they've been fighting this fire overnight with helicopters. So, all of this that they're doing, pulling out all the stops to make sure that

they're that they can get the handle on this fire. CAL FIRE just telling me that.

But just to take into perspective how rough of a fire season this already is, I checked in with CAL FIRE and they told me that so far this year, more

than -- there's been a 1600 percent increase in the number of acres burned this year versus last year already by July 1st.

So, if you're looking at that, that's 7500 acres burned last year at this time. And right now it's above 130,000 acres, just to put that into

perspective of what they're battling with. You add in the fact that with this heat you also have 4th of July and that means people want to use

fireworks which most -- lots of part of California they're not even illegal.

And then in San Francisco they're completely banned but then you take a look at this video and it shows you why fireworks are banned in the Golden

State because it takes just a little bit along with winds and here you take a look at this video and just a whole hillside burning in just a few

minutes of a firework. That's why they are not allowed here. This is the concern. They do not want people to play with them at all.

Some parks closing down because they don't want people to spark those fires. And then on top of that, that heat that you mentioned, Zain, which

is a real concern here, that it could be very dangerous. There could be records that are going to be matched or that are going to fall over the

next week. This heat here in the Sacramento area is expected to be over 105 degrees over the next entire week.


That would break a record that was set in September 2022. All of this is very concerning as we're seeing climate change starting to affect the

weather patterns out here and how hot it is getting. We've seen two deaths already, one person down hiking around the Grand Canyon, and somebody else.

These are temperatures not to play with. Parts of Redding, California, way up north, are looking at 118 degrees this week. So this is why they're

asking people to be very concerned and also, don't do anything outside you don't need to whether it's fireworks or just staying out there too long and

that goes for your animals, as well. That that's what they're saying here, Zain.

ASHER: Good advice. That's Stephanie Elam, live for us there. Thank you so much. We'll be right back with more.



ASHER: All right, welcome back to "ONE WORLD", I'm Zain Asher. Joe Biden is finally admitting that his reelection campaign may be in deep trouble. A

person close to the president tells CNN that Biden knows that the next few days will be crucial to deciding whether or not he will stay in the race.

Biden is hoping an interview on Friday with ABC News, as well as a few campaign stops, can really quiet the growing calls for him to step down in

the wake of that disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump last week. Later today, Biden is scheduled to speak with Democratic governors in

an effort to sort of allay their fears that his campaign is certainly in problematic territory.


If Biden does pull out, several of the governors would be among the top choices to replace him as the Democratic nominee. But for now, very few

Democrats are publicly calling for Biden to step aside.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Have you heard from other Democratic governors who do believe that he should drop out of the 2024 race?

GOV. J.B. PRITZGER (D-IL): No, nobody said that. There was, you know, again, we had a call the other day, yesterday actually, in which people

just expressed that they wanted to hear more from the president, that they certainly were concerned about the debate performance, but they just want

to make sure that this is the right direction and that the president reassures them.

I have not heard any of the governors express that, you know, he's not the right guy. It's just that I think there are questions that got raised by

that debate. And hopefully that's just a one-off situation that the president can rectify by letting everybody know, once again, all the great

things that he's done for working families across America.


ASHER: The numbers look damning for Mr. Biden. A new CNN poll shows three quarters of U.S. voters believe Democrats would have a better chance of

beating Donald Trump with a different candidate. You may recall that on Wednesday, Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first Democratic

lawmaker to publicly ask the president to step aside. Take a listen.


REP. LLOYD DOGGET (D-TX): My concern is that a criminal and his gang are about to take over our government, and we may never get it back. What we

need is the enthusiasm and the excitement that has been missing there that President Biden has lagged for a year behind Trump.

The debate instead of adding momentum, added disappointment and disillusionment. The idea of having a new person who might excite all those

double haters that there's another alternative out there and bring us together would give us a much better chance in the fall than we have right



ASHER: All right, let's take a closer look at Mr. Biden's situation. CNN's senior reporter, Edward Isaac Dovere, joins us live now from Washington.

Edward, thank you so much for being with us. The thing is, it's one thing for people to say in theory that Donald -- Joe Biden should replace --

should be replaced at top of the Democratic ticket.

It's another thing for Democrats to actually go through the mayhem, right? The confusion, the disorder, the pandemonium that would ensue if President

Biden was replaced this late in the game. Is this, at this point, a lose- lose situation for Democrats, Edward?

EDWARD ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: It's a difficult, difficult situation. I don't know lose-lose, but look, no one is, among Democrats,

feeling super confident about Joe Biden and his chances of winning in November at this point.

Obviously, this has just been a couple of days. We'll see where it goes and maybe it'll change. But the issue is that this is not -- there's no easy

fluid fix here for it. It does seem like the most likely person, the person who'd have the edge if it went open, would be Kamala Harris, the vice


But look, we are about six weeks from the Democratic convention when this would all have to be settled officially, even a couple of weeks before that

because of some technicalities in the rules. And about 123 days, I believe, until the election for all of this to change so suddenly would be a lot.

And it doesn't necessarily happen smoothly or calmly at all.

ASHER: And just in terms of Kamala Harris, I mean, obviously she's the obvious person at this stage, at this point in time. If there was to be any

kind of contested situation, she'd be the obvious person to replace President Biden.

But I was talking to Stephen Collinson about this a few moments ago, the fact that Kamala Harris started off this presidential term as vice

president with just so much excitement around her. A woman, a black woman at that, child of immigrants, but yet some of that excitement seems to have

dissipated. Does she have what it takes to win against Donald Trump.

DOVERE: Well, it's not just that it dissipated. She had a very troubled start to her time. Many people have felt that for the last year or so that

she's been in an upswing, especially in the last few months. And when I spoke with her myself as part of a campaign swing that she was doing in

Nevada and Arizona in April, she reflected on that and how she has felt a difference in even in her own perspective of how much better things have

been going.

But that has come at a cost that she and people around her know would be an issue whenever she would try to run for president, which was always the

expected goal here. If we are coming to it much sooner than anybody was anticipating, then that's something that she's going to have to deal with.

And it'll be one more thing in the mix here. It is one of the topics that you hear.


Democrats turn to when they say, are we really going to move on from Joe Biden? He is the one who beat Donald Trump once. He has knit the coalition

together for all of it in the past. Maybe he can recover and do it again the way he's been able to come back from big defeats before. But if he

doesn't, how does that look compared to the idea of moving to Harris?

ASHER: All right, Edward, Isaac Dover, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it. All right, time now for The Exchange. Joining me live

now is CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. So, Ron, just the fact that we're even having this conversation.

I mean, I honestly thought that after last week's really difficult to watch presidential debate, that Joe Biden would stay the course and defend

himself and dig in his heels. And obviously we saw that in the initial aftermath. There was a campaign rally the next day. But the fact that it's

been basically less than a week and Joe Biden is actually sort of having these private conversations that maybe his reelection bid is doomed to

fail. Does that surprise you already?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not, not really after the magnitude of what we saw. I mean, the Democratic Party in the days since

the debate has been paralyzed between apprehension and action, but that paralysis, I think, is somewhat lifting. I mean, there is a widespread -- I

mean, I've talked in the last few days to prominent pollsters and strategists, the leaders of multiple Democratic constituency groups, top

fundraisers, members of Congress, and there is a widespread belief, you know, glung belief, Zain, that by this, this is -- this is an all

likelihood not recoverable from -- for Biden.

Don't forget the only reason this debate existed was because his campaign recognized it had to change the dynamic. They went into this needing to

improve because they were not on a trajectory to win. And of course, instead of improving his position, it magnified the problem. I saw high

quality private polling last night that had him trailing beyond the margin of error in Michigan and Pennsylvania which are the states that are most

likely to be the tipping point in the election.

So, that conviction is out there. It's been, you know, people have been frozen from saying that in public for a variety of reasons, including

concerns about whether Harris would be a better candidate. But I think that logjam is starting to break, both in terms of people expressing publicly

what they are saying privately about Biden, but also even among Harris critics, a sense that turning to her better option despite all the risks

that entails.

But isn't this a lose-lose? I mean, just speaking to our Stephen Collinson about this as well, just the risk of sort of staying with Biden this late

in the game, you know, risking it all despite the debate -- debate performance we saw last week, obviously very painful to watch.

Some people that I know described it as actually quite sad to watch versus then having someone who is untested in the presidential role. You have

Kamala Harris, who is vice president, that certainly, very close to the presidency, but it's not the same thing as you and I know. Having someone

who is untested is also a risk, too.

BROWNSTEIN: Oh, yeah. I mean, the Democrats are in an extraordinarily difficult situation, you know, brought on by the refusal of Biden and his

close advisors to kind of acknowledge the headwinds he faced even before this debate. I think that, you know, from the perspective -- the kind of a

sentiment that I feel I am hearing is that, yes, all options are difficult.

But continuing with Biden at this point, at least for a growing number of Democrats, looks like, you know, that there's no way to overcome what

voters saw. At least with another candidate, you would be kind of shuffling the deck. And I also think, at least in the last 48 hours, you know, there

are other, there are certainly many in the party who would prefer that if Biden steps aside, that the party go past Harris as well, because of

concern in particular about whether she can win enough white working class voters in the Rust Belt states.

But I think that even many who believe that are starting to conclude that if you can somehow scale the first mountain of kind of, you know, nudging

Biden out of the race, scaling another mountain by bypassing her in a contest that would be so racially fraught within the party might be too


And it seems to me possible that the figures who are seen as a potentially better general election bet than her, like Michigan Governor Gretchen

Whitmer, would choose not to challenge her if Biden steps aside because of the risk of, you know, experiencing damage in their own long-term brand in

the black community. So, it's possible that if Biden steps aside, there may be more coalescing behind Harris than I would have expected a few days ago.

ASHER: So, what is your prediction just in terms of how the next few days are going to go?


I mean, you know, it's one thing for Biden to privately acknowledge that, you know, things don't look too good for his reelection bid. It's another

thing altogether to actually go through with it and say, you know what, I'm not going to do this anymore. How do you think that this is -- this is

going to play out?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the conundrum is, like I said, despite the widespread conviction that this is very difficult for him to recover from, there's

enormous reluctance to say so publicly. I mean, one top Democrat said to me, you know, there's a first mover problem, you know, and the figures who

have come out so far are on the periphery, you know, second tier figures in the -- in the party, the main -- the main players have not. I mean, they

have an ironclad in their support of Biden, but certainly, no one of great consequence has called for him to step aside.

You know, most people are putting their hopes in polling that shows him slipping of the kind that I saw, that prompts, in particular, the seven

Democratic Senate candidates running in states that he is now at high risk to lose, to put pressure, as well as the House Democrats in competitive

districts, who I am told, quote, are "melting down". And the hope is that those vulnerable members pressure the party leadership in the Congress to

put pressure on him in the White House. It is worth noting for audiences that in the last two presidential years, 2016 and 2020, exactly one senator

out of 66 has won a race in a state that voted the other way for president.

So, those seven Democrats in states where Biden is at real risk are absolutely on the front line of this, as is the prospect that Republicans

could establish a big enough Senate majority that it would be very hard for Democrats to overturn it anytime in this decade.

So, the stakes could not be higher. Ultimately, I think Democrats are pretty pessimistic about their ability to influence this decision, but

it's, you know, it's clear that there is at least some fluidity now after that sense of paralysis in the first few days following the debate.

ASHER: One very, very quick question and I do have to go after this. I mean, you mentioned that it's really difficult for Biden to recover from

this. But, you know, with enough time, could voters eventually move past this? I honestly thought in 2016, there was no way that Donald Trump was

going to recover from the Access Hollywood tapes. I thought, oh, he's done. But obviously, we saw what happened. He got elected despite the fact that

that was way later in the game. So, couldn't the same thing happen to Biden?

BROWNSTEIN: Sure. And Biden is benefiting for the reversible Donald Trump -- said. You know, when Donald Trump said, I could choose somebody on Fifth

Avenue and not lose any support, he really was referring not only to himself, but to the dug in polarized nature of American politics. Biden

will not collapse as a result of this, as we're seeing in national polls.

The point, though, the important point is that going into the debate, he was on a trajectory to fall short. He needed something to improve for him.

And I think the concern among Democratic strategist, it's not that the floor falls out underneath him.

It's that where does he go to get those last tens of thousands of votes that he needs to win Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which are his

really his only realistic path at this point in 270 Electoral College votes, the Southeast swing states, Georgia, North Carolina, the Southwest

swing states, Nevada and Arizona look out of reach. He's got to sweep those three in the Rust Belt. And this only makes it that much harder as

pollsters I've talked to in those states have said to me.

ASHER: All right, senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, still to come here on "ONE WORLD".

Britain is on the cusp of ushering in a new era as the ruling party is on the verge of losing its 14-year reign in government. What the future looks

like ahead for the U.K. That's next.



ASHER: All right, British voters are on the verge of bringing an end to the Conservative Party's 14-year rule in the U.K. on Thursday. Opinion

polls show that this man, Labour Party's Keir Starmer, is expected to oust Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when voters cast their ballots tomorrow.

Sunak is getting some last-ditch support from Boris Johnson. The former British Prime Minister made a surprise appearance at a Tuesday night rally.

I want to bring in CNN's European Affairs commentator Dominic Thomas, who's joining us live now.

So, Dominic, this is quite a big milestone, right? This could be the end of 14 years of Conservative Party dominance in U.K. elections. Just talk to us

about why voters are making this pivot. I mean, it's not so much about falling in love with the Liberal Party all of a sudden as much more about

feeling very much disillusioned with some of the Conservative Party's decisions. Take us through that.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more, Zain. I think that, you know, what you have here is really a

story about the sort of, in five chapters, each of them defined by one of the successive leaders that we've had of the Conservative Party over the

last 14 years.

So, with Cameron, you start off with the whole context of Brexit and ultimately capitulating towards that far right fringe of the department,

which ended up defying his prime ministership. And ultimately he stepped down because he had not supported withdrawing from the European Union.

And then with Theresa May, trying to sort of get the process done. She called a general election, lost the majority, closed a range of vote no

confidence votes, and ultimately Boris Johnson was able to win a historic election on one single issue, the issue of Brexit.

But by the time he eventually forced a withdrawal at a time when the U.K. needed such desperate leadership during the COVID pandemic, he failed

dramatically, passing and imposing rules on people that he did not respect himself. I think that by the time we thought things had hit really rough

bottom. Then along came Prime Minister Trust, of course only lasted seven minutes.

And of course, by the time Rishi Sunak came in, it's five-point plan to train to sort of ship around with a general election coming along, it's too

much too late. And I think you're absolutely right, that this election is really about holding them accountable for their 14 years in power rather

than 14 years star.

ASHER: So, in the aftermath of this election, obviously the assumption is that it's going to be Labour, that it's going to be Keir Starmer. The

Conservative Party is going to have to really do some soul searching. And what's interesting about this election is that the Reform U.K. party has

really emerged as a factor. You think about what happened in 2019. They didn't even win one single seat. Nigel Farage really rebranded it.

And so if you were disillusioned with the Conservative Party, but you still had issues when it came to the U.K.'s immigration policies, Reform U.K. was

the way you go in this time around in these elections. Just talk to us a bit more about whether or not the Conservative Party's sort of policies

will move more to the right or more to the sort of center right as a result of these elections.

THOMAS: Yeah, well, we've seen this throughout Europe that these quote center-right parties have actually been moving increasingly towards the

right, trying to encroach upon and sort of take over that far-right vote. And in very few cases that's actually worked, because in this kind of

populist moment and the appeal of these dangerous far-right parties, they've had an inclination to go through with this.


The danger really is, or the question is, what will be left of the Conservative Party after this election? And I think that the other way of

looking at it is the great danger that the Labour administration will face, is that if they are unable to address the questions of inequality in U.K.

society, they can't simply rely on anti-immigration rhetoric, xenophobic and unrealistic narrative.

They're going to have to find ways. to address those issues or they will continue to provide oxygen to those who embrace the far-right, emotional

kind of debate that the Conservative Party has relied upon for so long and that the rights and far-right in Europe are so successfully capitalizing

upon at the moment in history.

ASHER: All right, Dominic Thomas, live for us. We'll see what happens tomorrow, right? Dominic Thomas, thank you so much. And make sure you tune

in to our CNN special coverage of the U.K. elections with my colleague Isa Soares and Richard Quest. It starts tomorrow at 4:55 P.M., that's Eastern

time in the United States. That is almost 10 o'clock -- 9.55 P.M. in London.

All right, if Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election, would the cases against him disappear? After the break, we'll talk about how U.S.

prosecutors stand to answer that question.



ASHER: All right, the U.S. Justice Department plans to pursue the criminal cases against Donald Trump past election day, regardless of if he wins or

not. That's according to "The Washington Post", whose sources say the rules against charging or prosecuting a sitting president would not kick in until

inauguration day in January 2025.

A New York judge postponed Trump's sentencing in his hush money case until mid-September to consider Monday's ruling by the Supreme Court on

presidential immunity. Let's go to CNN's Katelyn Polantz. So, aside from the fact that you've got a Justice Department policy against prosecuting a

sitting president, there's also the fact that Donald Trump, once he becomes president, could click his fingers and make these cases go away, even going

so far as to pardon himself. Just take us through that.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah, but that might not even come to it, Zain, if Donald Trump were to win the presidency, because

the reality is the Justice Department thinks ahead into these sorts of hypotheticals. And in this situation, "The Washington Post" is reporting

the Justice Department officials would plan to continue pursuing the two federal criminal cases they have pending against Donald Trump as a criminal

defendant in Florida, in Washington, D.C.

Those would go on if he were to win the election into the transition period when he would formerly be the president-elect, but not the sitting

president. That's because Justice Department policy only is about not having the sitting president be prosecuted by the department. That is when

things would stop on January 20th, when the inauguration would take place for the presidency if Donald Trump were to become the next president.


But this is all hypothetical. There are these Justice Department policies, and a lot is in the hands of the court. A court could shut things down, as

well, if Donald Trump were elected. It is a very, very hypothetical situation where we will not have a lot of answers about the election or

even how these cases are going to be playing out in the coming weeks and months in the situation we are in now. Zain?

ASHER: And the biggest legal news that we got this week was of course, the Supreme Court decision on Monday. I mean, how is Donald Trump using that to

his political advantage?

POLANTZ: Yes, exactly. And that is the reason that we just don't know how the next couple weeks and months are going to go, because Trump is saying,

and his lawyers are trying to argue in a lot of different places, that he should be exonerated.

He shouldn't have to face charges, that all of the charges, including the conviction in New York State against him, not a federal case at all, that

that should be dismissed because the immunity decision and there should be a sentencing that is not even happening right now except for September.

ASHER: All right, Katelyn Polantz, live for us there. Thank you so much. And that does it for this hour of "ONE WORLD". I'm Zain Asher. Appreciate

you watching. "AMANPOUR" is up next. You're watching CNN.