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CNN Live Event/Special

CNN Presidential Debate. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 27, 2024 - 21:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: We're live from Georgia, a key battleground state in the race for the White House. In just moments, the current U.S. president will debate the former U.S. president as their parties' presumptive nominees, a first in American history.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to our studios in Atlanta.

This is the CNN presidential debate.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: This debate is being produced by CNN and it's coming to you live on CNN, CNN International,, CNN Max, and CNN Espanol.

This is a pivotal moment between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in their rematch for the nation's highest office. Each will make his case to the American people with just over four months until Election Day.

Good evening. I'm Dana Bash, anchor of CNN's "INSIDE POLITICS" and co- anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION".

TAPPER: I'm Jake Tapper, anchor of CNN's "THE LEAD" and co-anchor of 'STATE OF THE UNION".

Dana and I will co-moderate this evening. Our job he is to facilitate a debate between the two candidates tonight.

Before we introduce them, we wanted to share the rules of the debate with the audience at home.

Former President Trump will be on the left side of the screen. President Biden will be appearing on the right. A coin toss determined their positions. Each candidate will have two minutes to answer the question, and one minute each for responses and rebuttals and additional minute for follow-up clarification or response is at the moderator's discretion.

BASH: When it's time for our candidate to speak, his microphone will be turned on and his opponent's microphone will be turned off, so if a candidate interrupt when his microphone is muted, he will be difficult to understand for viewers at home.

At the end of the debate, each candidate will get two minutes for closing statements. There is no studio audience tonight.

Pre-written notes, props, or contact with campaign staff are not permitted during the debate. By accepting our invitation to debate, both candidates and their campaigns agreed to accept these rules.

TAPPER: Now, please welcome the 46th of the United States, Joe Biden.


TAPPER: And please welcome the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump.


TAPPER: Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here.

Let's begin the debate. And let's start with the issue that voters consistently say is their top concern, the economy.

President Biden, inflation has slowed, but prices remain high. Since you took office, the price of essentials has increased. For example, a basket of groceries that cost $100, then, now costs more than $120. And typical home prices have jumped more than 30 percent.

What do you say to voters who feel they are worse off under your presidency than they were under President Trump?

BIDEN: We're going to take a look at what I was left when I became president, what Mr. Trump left me.

We had an economy that was in freefall. The pandemic are so badly handled. Many people were dying. All he said was it's not that serious, just inject a little bleach in your arm. It'd be all right.

The economy collapsed. There were no jobs. Unemployment rate rose to 15 percent. It was terrible.

And so, what we had to do is try to put things back together again. That's exactly what we began to do, and created 15,000 new jobs. We brought out in a position where we have 800,000 new manufacturing jobs.

But there's more to be done. There's more to be done. Working class people are still in trouble.

I come from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I come from household where the kitchen table -- if things weren't able to be met during the month, was a problem. Price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of housing, the price of a whole range of things.

That's why I'm working so hard to make sure I deal with those problems, and we're going to make sure that we have reduced the price of housing. We're going to make sure we build to 2 million new units. We're going to make sure we cap rents, so corporate greed can't take over.

The combination of what I was left and a corporate greed were the reason why we're in this problem right now.

In addition to that, we're in a situation where if you had to take a look at all that was done at his administration, he didn't do much at all. By the time he left, there's -- things have been in chaos, literally chaos.


And so we put things back together. We created, as I said, those jobs. We made sure we had a situation where we now -- we brought down the price of prescription drugs, which is a major issue for many people, to $15 for -- for an insulin shot, as opposed to $400. No senior has to pay more than $200 for any drug, all the drugs they can (inaudible) beginning next year.

And the situation is making -- and we're going to make that available to everybody, to all Americans. So we're working to bring down the price of -- around the kitchen table. And that's what we're going to get done.

TAPPER: Thank you.

President Trump?

DONALD TRUMP, (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have never done so well. Every -- everybody was amazed by it. Other countries were copying us. We got hit with COVID. And when we did, we spent the money necessary so we wouldn't end up in a Great Depression, the likes of which we had in 1929. By the time we finished -- so we did a great job. We got a lot of credit for the economy, a lot of credit for the military, and no wars and so many other things. Everything was rocking good.

But the thing we never got the credit for and we should have is getting us out of that COVID mess. He created mandates that was a disaster for our country. But other than that, we had -- we had given them back a -- a country where the stock market actually was higher than pre-COVID. And nobody thought that was even possible. The only jobs he created are for illegal immigrants and bounceback jobs, they're bounced back from the COVID.

He has not done a good job. He has done a poor job. And inflation's killing our country. It is absolutely killing us.

TAPPER: Thank you.

President Biden?

BIDEN: Well, look, the greatest economy in the world, he's the only one who thinks that, I think. I don't know anybody else who thinks it was great -- he had the greatest economy in the world.

And, you know, the fact of the matter is that we found ourselves in a situation where his economy, he rewarded the wealthy. He had the largest tax cut in American history, $2 trillion. He raised the deficit larger than any president has in any one term. He's the only president other than Herbert Hoover who has lost more jobs than he had when he began, since Herbert Hoover. The idea that he did something that was significant.

And the military, you know, when he was president, they were still killing people in Afghanistan. And he didn't do anything about that. When he was president, we were still finding ourselves in a position where you had a notion that we were this safe country, the truth is, I'm the only president this century that doesn't have any this -- this decade, any troops dying anywhere in the world, like he did.

TAPPER: President Trump, I want to follow up, if I can, you want him --

TRUMP: Am I allowed to respond to him?

TAPPER: Well, I'm going to ask you a follow-up. You can do whatever you want with the minute that we give you. I want to follow up. You want to impose a 10 percent tariff on all goods coming into the U.S. How will you ensure that that doesn't drive prices even higher?

TRUMP: Not going to drive them higher. It's just going to cause countries that have been ripping us off for years like China and many others, in all fairness to China. It's going to just force them to pay us a lot of money, reduce our deficit tremendously, and give us a lot of power for other things.

But he -- he made a statement. The only thing he was right about is I gave you the largest tax cut in history. I also gave you the largest regulation cut in history. And that's why we had all the jobs. And the jobs went down and then they bounced back and he's taking credit for bounceback jobs. You can't do that.

He also said he inherited 9 percent inflation. No, he inherited almost no inflation and it stayed that way for 14 months. And then it blew up under his leadership because they spent money like a bunch of people that didn't know what they were doing. And they don't know what they were doing. It was the worst -- probably the worst administration in history. There's never been.

And as far as Afghanistan is concerned, I was getting out of Afghanistan, but we were getting out with dignity, with strength, with power. He got out, it was the most embarrassing day in the history of our country's life.

TAPPER: President Trump, over the last eight years, under both of your administrations, the national debt soared to record highs. And according to a new non-partisan analysis, President Trump, your administration approved $8.4 trillion in new debt.

While so far, President Biden, you've approved $4.3 trillion in new debt.

So former President Trump, many of the tax cuts that you signed into law are set to expire next year. You want to extend them and go even further, you say. With the U.S. facing trillion dollar deficits and record debt, why should top earners and corporations pay even less in taxes than they do now?

TRUMP: Because the tax cuts spurred the greatest economy that we've ever seen just prior to COVID, and even after COVID. It was so strong that we were able to get through COVID much better than just about any other country. But we spurring -- that tax spurred. Now, when we cut the taxes, as example, the corporate tax was cut down to 21 percent from 39 percent, plus beyond that, we took in more revenue with much less tax and companies were bringing back trillions of dollars back into our country.

The country was going like never before. And we were ready to start paying down debt. We were ready start using the liquid gold right under our feet, the oil and gas right under our feet. We were going to have something that nobody else has had. We got hit with COVID. We did a lot to fix it. I gave him an unbelievable situation with all of the therapeutics and all of the things that we came up with, we -- we gave him something great.


Remember, more people died under his administration, even though we had largely fixed it. More people died under his administration than our administration, and we were right in the middle of it.

Something which a lot of people don't like to talk about, but he had far more people dying in his administration.

He did the mandate, which is a disaster, mandating it. The vaccine went out. He did a mandate on the vaccine, which is the thing that people most objected to about the vaccine. And he did a very poor job, just a very poor job.

And I will tell you, not only poor there, but throughout the entire world, we're no longer respected as a country. They don't respect our leadership. They don't respect the United States anymore.

We're like a Third World nation between weaponization of his election, trying to go after his political opponent. All of the things he's done. We've become like a Third World nation, and it's a shame.

The damage he's done to our country, and I'd love to ask him, and will, why he allowed millions of people to come in here from prisons, jails, and mental institutions to come into our country and destroy our country.

TAPPER: President Trump, we will get to immigration later in this block. President Biden, I want to give you an opportunity to respond to this question about the national debt.

BIDEN: He had the largest national debt of any president, four-your period, number one. Number two, he got two trillion dollar tax code, benefited the very wealthy. What I'm going to do is fix the taxes.

For example, we have a thousand trillionaires in America. I mean, billionaires in America. And what's happening? They're in a situation where they, in fact, pay 8.2 percent in taxes. If they just paid 24 percent or 25 percent, either one of those numbers, they'd raised $500 million, billion dollars, I should say, in a 10-year period.

We'd be able to right wipe out his debt. We'd be able to help make sure that all those things we need to do, childcare, elder care, making sure that we continue to strengthen our healthcare system, making sure that we're able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with the COVID. Excuse me, dealing with everything we have to do with more.

If -- we finally beat Medicare.

TAPPER: Thank you, President Biden. President Trump.

TRUMP: Well, he's right. He did beat Medicare. He beat it to death. And he's destroying Medicare because all of these people are coming in. They're putting them on Medicare. They're putting them on Social Security. They're going to destroy Social Security.

This man is going to single-handedly destroy Social Security. These millions and millions of people coming in, they're trying to put them on Social Security. He will wipe out Social Security. He will wipe out Medicare. So he was right in the way he finished that sentence. And it's a shame.

What's happened to our country in the last four years is not to be believed. Foreign countries, I'm friends with a lot of people. They cannot believe what happened to the United States of America. We're no longer respected. They don't like us.

We give them everything they want, and they think we're stupid. They think we're very stupid people.

What we're doing for other countries, and they do nothing for us. What this man has done is absolutely criminal.

TAPPER: Thank you, President Trump.


BASH: This is the first presidential election since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. This morning, the court ruled on yet another abortion case, temporarily allowing emergency abortions to continue in Idaho, despite that state's restrictive ban.

Former President Trump, you take credit for the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which returned the issue of abortion to the states.

TRUMP: Correct.

BASH: However, the federal government still plays a role in whether or not women have access to abortion pills. They're used in about two- thirds of all abortions.

As president, would you block abortion medication?

TRUMP: First of all, the Supreme Court just approved the abortion pill. And I agree with their decision to have done that, and I will not block it.

And if you look at this whole question that you're asking, a complex, but not really complex.

Fifty-one years ago, you had Roe v. Wade, and everybody wanted to get it back to the states, everybody, without exception, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives. Everybody wanted it back. Religious leaders.

And what I did is I put three great Supreme Court justices on the court, and they happened to vote in favor of killing Roe v. Wade and moving it back to the states. This is something that everybody wanted.

Now, 10 years ago or so, they started talking about how many weeks and how many of this are getting into other things, but every legal scholar, throughout the world, the most respected, wanted it brought back to the states. I did that.


Now, the states are working it out. If you look at Ohio, it was a decision that was -- it was an end result. That was a little bit more liberal than you would have thought. Kansas, I would say the same thing. Texas is different. Florida is different.

But they're all making their own decisions right now. And right now, the states control it. That's the vote of the people.

Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in the exceptions, I am a person that believes. And frankly, I think it's important to believe in the exceptions. Some people, you have to follow your heart, some people don't believe in that.

But I believe in the exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. I think it's very important. Some people don't. Follow your heart.

But you have to get elected also and -- because that has to do with other things. You've got to get elected.

The problem they have is they're radical because they will take the life of a child in the eighth month, the ninth month, and even after birth -- after birth.

If you look at the former governor of Virginia, he was willing to do this. He said, we'll put the baby aside and well determine what we do with the baby. Meaning, we'll kill the baby.

What happened is we brought it back to the states and the country is now coming together on this issue. It's been a great thing.

BASH: Thank you.

President Biden?

BIDEN: It's been a terrible thing what you've done. The fact is that the vast majority of constitutional scholars supported Roe when it was decided, supported Roe. I was -- this idea that they were all against it is just ridiculous.

And this is the guy who says the states should be able to have it. We're (ph) in a state where in six weeks, you don't even know whether you're pregnant or not, but you cannot see the doctor, have your -- and have him decide on what your circumstances are, whether you need help.

The idea that states are able to do this is a little like saying, we're going to turn civil rights back to the states. Let each state have a different rule.

Look, there's so many young women who have been -- including a young woman who just was murdered and he went to the funeral. The idea that she was murdered by -- by --by an immigrant coming in and he talked about that, but here's the deal, there's a lot of young women who are being raped by their -- by their in-laws, by their -- by their spouse's (ph) brothers and sisters, by -- just -- it's just -- it's just ridiculous. And they can do nothing about it.

And they tried to arrest them when they across state lines.

BASH: Thank you.

TRUMP: There have been many young women murdered by the same people he allows to come across our border. We have a border that's the most dangerous place anywhere in the world, considered the most dangerous place anywhere in the world. And he opened it up, and these killers are coming into our country, and they are raping and killing women, and it's a terrible thing.

As far as the abortion is concerned, it is now back with the states. The states are voting and in many cases, they -- it's frankly a very liberal decision. In many cases, it's the opposite.

But they're voting and it's bringing it back to the vote of the people, which is what everybody wanted, including the Founders, if they knew about this issue, which frankly they didn't, but they would have -- everybody want it brought back.

Ronald Reagan wanted it brought back. He wasn't able to get it.

Everybody wanted it brought back and many presidents had tried to get it back. I was the one to do it.

And again, this gives it the vote of the people. And that's where they wanted it. Every legal scholar wanted it that way.

BASH: Staying on the topic of abortion, President Biden.

Seven states -- I'll let you do that. This is the same topic.

Seven states have no legal restrictions on how far into a pregnancy a woman can obtain an abortion. Do you support any legal limits on how late a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy? BIDEN: I supported Roe v. Wade, which had three trimesters. First time is between a woman and a doctor. Second time is between the doctor and an extreme situation. And a third time is between the doctor -- I mean, it'd be between the woman and the state.

The idea that the politicians -- that the Founders wanted the politicians to be the ones making decisions about women's health is ridiculous. That's the last -- no politician should be making that decision.

A doctor should be making those decisions. That's how it should be run. That's what you're going to do.

And if I'm elected, I'm going to restore Roe v. Wade.

TRUMP: So that means he can take the life of the baby in the ninth month and even after birth, because some states, Democrat-run, take it after birth. Again, the governor -- former governor of Virginia: put the baby down, then, we decide what to do with it.

So he's in -- he's willing to, as we say, rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month and kill the baby.

Nobody wants that to happen. Democrat or Republican, nobody wants it to happen.

BIDEN: He's lying (ph). That is simply not true.

That Roe v. Wade does not provide for that. That's not the circumstance. Only when the woman's life is in danger, she's going to die, that's the only circumstance in which that can happen.

But we are not for late term abortion, period -- period, period.

TRUMP: Under Roe v. Wade, you have late term abortion. You can do whatever you want depending on the state, you can do whatever you want. We don't think that's a good thing. We think it's a radical thing.

We think the Democrats are the radicals, not the Republicans.


BIDEN: For 51 years, that was the law. 51 years, Constitutional Scholarship said it was the right way to go. 51 years, and it was taken away because this guy put very conservative members on the Supreme Court. He takes credit for taking it away.

What's he going to do? What's he going to do, in fact, if -- if the MAGA Republicans -- he gets elected, and the MAGA Republicans control the Congress and they pass a universal ban on abortion, period, across the board at six weeks or seven or eight or ten weeks. Something very, very conservative. Is he going to sign that bill? I'll veto it. He'll sign it.

BASH: Thank you. TAPPER: Let's turn now to the issue of immigration and border

security. President Biden, a record number of migrants have illegally crossed the southern border on your watch, overwhelming border states and overburdening cities such as New York and Chicago, and in some cases causing real safety and security concerns. Given that, why should voters trust you to solve this crisis?

BIDEN: Because we worked very hard to get a bipartisan agreement that not only changed all of that, it made sure that we are in a situation where you had no circumstance where they could come across the border with the number of border police there are now. We significantly increased the number of asylum officers. Significantly -- by the way, the Border Patrol endorsed me, endorsed my position.

In addition to that, we found ourselves in a situation where, when he was president, he was taking -- separating babies from their mothers, putting them in cages, making sure the families were separated. That's not the right way to go. What I've done since I've changed the law, what's happened?

I've changed it in a way that now you're in a situation where there are 40% fewer people coming across the border illegally. That's better than when he left office. And I'm going to continue to move until we get the total ban on the -- the total initiative relative to what we're going to do with more Border Patrol and more asylum officers.

TAPPER: President Trump?

TRUMP: I really don't know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don't think he knows what he said either.

Look, we had the safest border in the history of our country. The border -- all he had to do was leave it. All he had to do was leave it. He decided to open up our border, open up our country to people that are from prisons, people that are from mental institutions, insane asylum, terrorists.

We have the largest number of terrorists coming into our country right now. All terrorists all over the world, not just in South America, all over the world. They come from the Middle East, everywhere, all over the world. They're pouring in. And this guy just left it open.

And he didn't need legislation because I didn't have legislation. I said close the border. We had the safest border in history. In that final couple of months of my presidency, we had, according to Border Patrol, who is great and, by the way, who endorsed me for president. But I won't say that. But they endorsed me for president.

Brandon, just speak to him. But, look, we had the safest border in history. Now we have the worst border in history. There's never been anything like it. And people are dying all over the place, including the people that are coming up in caravans.

TAPPER: Thank you, President Trump. President Biden?

BIDEN: The only terrorist who has done anything crossing the border is one who came along and killed three in his administration, killed an al-Qaida person in his administration, killed three American soldiers, killed three American soldiers. That's the only terrorist that's there. I'm not saying no terrorist ever got through with the idea. They're emptying their prisons. We're welcoming these people. That's simply not true. There's no data to support what he said. Once again, he's exaggerating. He's lying.

TAPPER: President Trump, staying on the topic of immigration, you've said that you're going to carry out, quote, "the largest domestic deportation operation in American history," unquote. Does that mean that you will deport every undocumented immigrant in America, including those who have jobs, including those whose spouses are citizens, and including those who have lived here for decades? And if so, how will you do it?

TRUMP: Just one second. He said we killed three people. The people we killed are al-Baghdadi and Salamani, the two greatest terrorists, biggest terrorists anywhere in the world, and it had a huge impact on everything, not just border, on everything.

He's the one that killed people with the bad water, including hundreds of thousands of people dying and also killing our citizens when they come in. We -- we are living right now in a rat's nest. They're killing our people in New York, in California, in every state in the union because we don't have borders anymore. Every state is now a border.

And because of his ridiculous, insane and very stupid policies, people are coming in and they're killing our citizens at a level that we've never seen. We call it migrant crime. I call it Biden migrant crime. They're killing our citizens at a level that we've never seen before. And you're reading it like these three incredible young girls over the last few days.

One of them, I just spoke to the mother, and he just had the funeral for this girl, 12 years old. This is horrible What's taken place in our country, we're literally an uncivilized country now. He doesn't want it to be. He just doesn't know.


He opened the borders, nobody's ever seen anything like. And we have to get a lot of these people out and we have to get them out fast, because they're going to destroy our country.

Just take a look at where they're living. They're living in luxury hotels in New York City and other places. Our veterans are on the street. They're dying, because he doesn't care about our veterans. He doesn't care. He doesn't like the military, at all. And he doesn't care about our veterans.

Nobody had been worse. I had the highest approval rating for veterans, taking care of the V.A. He has the worst. He's gotten rid of all the things that I approved, choice, that I got through Congress. All of the different things I approved, they abandoned. We had, by far, the highest, and now it's down in less than half

because he's done -- all these great things that we did -- and I think he did it just because I approved it, which is crazy. But he has killed so many people at our border by allowing...

TAPPER: Thank you, President Trump.

TRUMP: ... all of these people to come in.

TAPPER: President Biden...

TRUMP: And it's a very sad day in America.

TAPPER: President Biden, you have the mic.

BIDEN: Every single thing he said is a lie, every single one. For example, veterans are a hell of a lot better off since I past the PACT Act. One million of them now have insurance, and their families have it. And their families have it, because what happened, whether was Agent Orange or burn pits, they're all being covered now. And he -- his group opposed that.

We're also in a situation where we have great respect for veterans. My -- my son spent a year in Iraq, living next to one of those burn pits, came back with stage four glioblastoma. I was recently in -- in -- in France for D-Day, and I spoke to all -- about those heroes that died. I went to the World War II cemetery -- World War I cemetery he refused to go to. He was standing with his four-star general, and he told him -- he said, "I don't want to go in there because they're a bunch of losers and suckers."

My son was not a loser. He was not a sucker. You're the sucker. You're the loser.

TAPPER: President Trump?

TRUMP: First of all, that was a made-up quote, "suckers and losers." They made it up. It was in a third-rate magazine that's failing, like many of these magazines. He made that up. He put it in commercials. We've notified 'em.

We had 19 people that said I didn't say it. And think of this, who would say -- "I'm at a cemetery," or "I'm talking about our veterans" -- because nobody's taken better care -- I'm so glad this came up, and he brought it up. There's nobody that's taken better care of our soldiers than I have.

To think that I would, in front of generals and others, say "suckers and losers" -- we have 19 people that said it was never said by me. It was made up by him, just like "Russia, Russia, Russia" was made up, just like the 51 intelligence agents are made up, just like the new thing with the 16 economists are talking.

It's the same thing. Fifty-one intelligence agents said that the laptop was Russia disinformation. It wasn't. That came from his son, Hunter. It wasn't Russia disinformation. He made up the "suckers and losers," so he should apologize to me right now.

BIDEN: You had a four-star general stand at your side, who was on your staff, who said you said it, period. That's number one.

And, number two, the idea -- the idea that I have to apologize to you for anything along the lines. We've done more for veterans than any president has in American history -- American history. And they now -- and their family. The only sacred obligation we have as a country is to care for our veterans when they come home, and their families, and equip them when they go to war.

That's what we're doing. That's what the V.A. is doing now. They're doing more for veterans than ever before in our history.

TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much.

BASH: Let's move to the topic of foreign policy. I want to begin with Russia's war against Ukraine, which is now in its third year.

Former President Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin says he'll only end this war if Russia keeps the Ukrainian territory it has already claimed and Ukraine abandons its bid to join NATO.

Are Putin's terms acceptable to you?

TRUMP: First of all, our veterans and our soldiers can't stand this guy. They can't stand him. They think he's the worst commander in chief, if that's what you call him, that we've ever had. They can't stand him. So let's get that straight. And they like me more than just about any of them. And that's based on every single bit of information.

As far as Russia and Ukraine, if we had a real president, a president that knew -- that was respected by Putin, he would have never -- he would have never invaded Ukraine. A lot of people are dead right now, much more than people know.

You know, they talk about numbers. You can double those numbers, maybe triple those numbers. He did nothing to stop it. In fact, I think he encouraged Russia from going in.

I'll tell you what happened. He was so bad with Afghanistan; it was such a horrible embarrassment, most embarrassing moment in the history of our country, that when Putin watched that and he saw the incompetence that he should -- he should have fired those generals like I fired the one that you mentioned. And so he's got no love lost. But he should have fired those generals.

No general got fired for the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country, Afghanistan, where we left billions of dollars of equipment behind. We lost 13 beautiful soldiers and 38 soldiers were obliterated. And by the way, we left people behind too. We left American citizens behind.

[21:30:17] When Putin saw that, he said, you know what, I think we're going to go in and maybe take my -- this was his dream. I talked to him about it, his dream. The difference is he never would have invaded Ukraine. Never. Just like Israel would have never been invaded in a million years by Hamas. You know why? Because Iran was broke with me. I wouldn't let anybody do business with them. They ran out of money. They were broke. They had no money for Hamas. They had no money for anything. No money for terror.

That's why you had no terror at all during my administration. This place, the whole world is blowing up under him.

BASH: President Biden.

BIDEN: I've never heard so much malarkey in my whole life. Look, the fact of the matter is that we're in a situation where -- let's take the last point first, Iran attacked American troops, killed, caused brain damage for a number of these troops, and he did nothing about it. Recently, when he was president, they attacked. He said, they're just having headaches. That's all it is. We didn't do a thing when the attack took place. Number one.

Number two, we got over 100,000 Americans and others out of Afghanistan during that airlift. Number three, we found ourselves in a situation where, if you take a look at what Trump did in Ukraine, he's -- this guy told Ukraine -- told Trump, do whatever you want and do whatever you want. And that's exactly what Trump did to Putin, encouraged him, do whatever you want. And he went in.

And listen to what he said when he went in, he was going to take Kyiv in five days, remember? Because it's part of the old Soviet Union. That's what he wanted to re-establish Kyiv. And he in fact, didn't do it at all. He didn't -- wasn't able to get it done. And they've lost over -- they've lost thousands and thousands of troops, 500,000 troops.

BASH: Thank you. President Trump --

TRUMP: I never said that.

BASH: -- come back to you for one minute. I just want to go back to my original question, which is, are Putin's terms acceptable to you, keeping the territory in Ukraine?

TRUMP: No, they're not acceptable. No, they're not acceptable. But look, this is a war that never should have started. If we had a leader in this war, he led everybody along. He's given $200 billion now or more to Ukraine. He's given $200 billion. That's a lot of money. I don't think there's ever been anything like it. Every time that Zelenskyy comes to this country, he walks away with $60 billion dollars, he's the greatest salesman ever.

And I'm not knocking him, I'm not knocking anything. I'm only saying, the money that we're spending on this war, and we shouldn't be spending, it should have never happened. I will have that war settled between Putin and Zelenskyy as president-elect before I take office on January 20th. I'll have that war settled.

People being killed so needlessly, so stupidly, and I will get it settled and I'll get it settled fast before I take office.

BASH: President Biden, you have a minute.

BIDEN: The fact is that Putin is a war criminal. He's killed thousands and thousands of people. And he has made one thing clear, he wants to re-establish what was part of the Soviet Empire, not just a piece, he wants all of Ukraine. That's what he wants. And then do you think he'll stop there? Do you think he'll stop when he -- if he takes Ukraine? What do you think happens to Poland? What do you think of Belarus? What do you think happens to those NATO countries?

And so, if you want a war, you ought to find out what he's going to do. Because if, in fact, he does what he says and walks away -- by the way, all that money we give Ukraine and from weapons we make here in the United States, we give them the weapons, not the money at this point. And our NATO allies have produced as much funding for Ukraine as we have. That's why it's -- that's why we're strong.

BASH: Thank you. Moving on to the Middle East. In October, Hamas attacked Israel, killing more than a thousand people and taking hundreds of hostages. Among those held and thought to still be alive are five Americans. Israel's response has killed thousands of Palestinians and created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

President Biden, you've put forward a proposal to resolve this conflict. But so far, Hamas has not released the remaining hostages and Israel is continuing its military offensive in Gaza. So, what additional leverage will you use to get Hamas and Israel to end the war? You have two minutes.

BIDEN: Number one, everyone from the United Nations Security Council straight through to the G7 to the Israelis and Netanyahu himself have endorsed the plan I put forward, endorsed the plan I put forward, which has three stages to it.

The first stage is to treat the hostages for a ceasefire. Second phase is a ceasefire with additional conditions. The third phase is know the end of the war. The only one who wants the war to continue is Hamas. Number one.


We're still pushing hard from -- to get them to accept. In the meantime, what's happened in Israel? We're finally -- the only thing I've denied Israel was 2,000-pound bombs. They don't work very well in populated areas. They kill a lot of innocent people. We are providing Israel with all the weapons they need and when they need them. And by the way, I'm the guy that organized the world against Iran when they had a full-blown kind of ballistic missile attack on Israel. No one was hurt. No one Israeli was accidentally killed. And it stopped. We saved Israel. We are the biggest producer of support for Israel than anyone in the world. And so, that's -- they are two different things. Hamas cannot be allowed to be continued. We continue to send our

experts and our intelligence people to how they can get Hamas like we did Bin Laden. You don't have to do it. And by the way, they've been greatly weakened, Hamas, greatly weakened, and they should be. They should be eliminated. But, you got to be careful for what you use these certain weapons among population centers.

TRUMP: Just going back to Ukraine for one second. We have an ocean separating us. The European nations together have spent $100 billion or maybe more than that, less than us. Why doesn't he call them so you got to put up your money like I did with NATO? I got them to put up hundreds of billions of dollars. The Secretary General of NATO said Trump did the most incredible job I've ever seen. You wouldn't -- they wouldn't have any -- they were going out of business. We were spending -- almost 100 percent of the money was paid by us. He didn't do that. He is getting all -- you got to ask these people to put up the money. We're over $100 billion more spent, and it has a bigger impact on them, because of location, because we have an ocean in between.

You got to ask him, as far as Israel and Hamas, Israel is the one that wants to go. He said the only one who wants to keep going is Hamas. Actually, Israel is the one, and you should them go and let them finish the job. He doesn't want to do it. He has become like a Palestinian. But, they don't like him because he is a very bad Palestinian. He is a weak one.

BASH: President Biden, you have a minute.

BIDEN: I've never heard so much foolishness. This a guy who wants to get out of NATO. You're going to stay in NATO or you're going to pull out of NATO? The idea that we have -- our strength lies in our alliances as well. It may be a big ocean, but we're ever able to avoid a war in Europe, a major war in Europe? What happens if in fact you have Putin continue to go into NATO? We have an Article Five agreement, attack on one is attack on all. You want to start the nuclear war he keeps talking about. Go ahead. Let Putin go in and control Ukraine and then move on to Poland and other places. See what happens then.

He has no idea what the hell he is talking about. And by the way, I got 50 other nations around the world to support Ukraine, including Japan and South Korea, because they understand that this was this -- this kind of dislocation has a serious threat to the whole world peace. No major war in Europe has ever been able to be contained just to Europe.

BASH: President Trump, just a follow-up, would you support the creation of an independent Palestinian state in order to achieve peace in the region?

TRUMP: I'd have to see. But, before we do that, the problem we have is that we spend all the money. So, they kill us on trade. I made great trade deals with the European nations, because if you add them up, they're about the same size economically. Their economy is about the same size as the United States. And they were with (ph) no cars. No. They don't want anything that we have. But, we're supposed to take their cars, their food, their everything, their agriculture. I changed that.

But, the big thing I changed is they don't want to pay. And the only reason that he can play games with NATO is because I got them to put up hundreds of billions of dollars. I said, and he is right about this, I said, no, I'm not going to support NATO if you don't pay. They asked me that question. Would you guard us against Russia at a very secret meeting of the 28 states at that time, nations at that time? And they said, no, if you don't pay, I won't do that. And you know what happened? Billions and billions of dollars came flowing in the next day and the next months. But now, we're in the same position. We're paying everybody's bills.

BASH: Thank you.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the issue of democracy. Former President Trump, I want to ask you about January 6, 2021. After you rallied your supporters that day, some of them stormed the Capitol to stop the constitutionally mandated counting of electoral votes. As President, you swore an oath to quote, "preserve, protect and defend", unquote, the Constitution. What do you say to voters who believe that you violated that oath through your actions and inaction on January 6 and worry that you'll do it again?

TRUMP: Well, I don't think too many believe that. And let me tell you about January 6. On January 6, we had a great border, nobody coming through, very few. On January 6, we were energy independent. On January 6, we had the lowest taxes ever. We had the lowest regulations ever. On January 6, we were respected all over the world, all over the world we were respected, and then he comes in, and we're now laughed at.


We're like a bunch of stupid people that -- what happened to the United States's reputation under this man's leadership is horrible, including weaponization, which I'm sure at some point you'll be talking about where he goes after his political opponent because he can't beat them fair and square.

TAPPER: You have 80 seconds left. My question was, what do you say to those voters who believe that you violated your constitutional oath through your actions, inaction on January 6th, 2021, and worried that you'll do it again?

TRUMP: Well, I didn't say that to anybody. I said peacefully and patriotically. And Nancy Pelosi, if you just watched the news from two days ago, on tape to her daughter, who's a documentary filmmaker, they say, what she's saying, oh, no, it's my responsibility, I was responsible for this. Because I offered them 10,000 soldiers or National Guard. And she turned them down. And the mayor of -- in writing, by the way, the mayor, in writing turned it down, the mayor of D.C., they turned it down. I offered 10,000 because I could see -- I had virtually nothing to do.

They asked me to go make a speech. I could see what was happening. Everybody was saying they're going to be there on January 6th. They're going to be there. And I said, you know what, that's a lot of people coming, you could feel it. You could feel it too. And you could feel it. And I said, they ought to have some National Guard or whatever. And I offered it to her. And she now admits that she turned it down. And it was the same day. She was -- I don't know, you can't be very happy with her daughter because it made her into a liar. She said, I take full responsibility for January 6th.

TAPPER: President Biden?

BIDEN: Look, he encouraged those folks to go up on Capitol Hill, number one. I sat in that dining room off the Oval Office -- he sat there for three hours, three hours watching, begging, being begged by his vice president and a number of his colleagues and Republicans as well to do something, to call for a stop, to end it. Instead, he talked -- they've talked about these people being patriots and -- and great patrons of America.

In fact, he says he'll not forgive them for what they've done. They've been convicted. He says he wants to commute their sentences and say that, no, he went to every single court in the nation, I don't know how many cases, scores of cases, including the Supreme Court. And they said they said -- they said, no, no, this guy, this guy is responsible for doing what is being -- was done. He didn't do a damn thing. And these people should be in jail. And they should be the ones who are being held accountable. And he wants to let them all out.

And now he says if he loses again, such a whiner that he is, that there could be a bloodbath.

TAPPER: Thank you, President Biden.

President Trump?

TRUMP: What they've done to some people that are so innocent, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, what you have done, how you've destroyed the lives of so many people. When they ripped down Portland, when they ripped down many other cities, you go to Minnesota, Minneapolis, what they've done there with the fires all over the city, if I didn't bring in the National Guard, that city would have been destroyed.

When you look at all of the -- they took over big chunks of Seattle. I was all set to bring in the National Guard. They heard that. They saw them coming and they left immediately. What he said about this whole subject is so off. Peacefully patriotic.

One other thing, the "unselect committee," which is basically two horrible Republicans that are all gone now, out of office, and Democrats, all Democrats, they destroyed and deleted all of the information they found because they found out we were right. We were right. And they deleted and destroyed all of the information. They should go to jail for that.

If a Republican did that, they'd go to jail.

TAPPER: Thank you, President Trump.

President Biden, I want to give you a minute.

BIDEN: The only person on this stage that is a convicted felon is the man I'm looking at right now. And the fact of the matter is he is -- what he's telling you is simply not true. The fact is that there was no effort on his part to stop what was going on up on Capitol Hill. And all those people, every one of those who were convicted deserves to be convicted. The idea that they didn't kill somebody, just went in and broke down doors, broke the windows, occupied offices, turned over desks, turned them over, statues, the idea that those people are patriots? Come on.

When I asked him about first of two debates we had -- debates we had the first time around, I said, will you denounce the Proud Boys. He said, no, I'll tell them stand by. The idea he's refusing -- will you denounce these guys? Will you denounce the people we're talking about now? You denounce the people who attacked that Capitol? What are you going to do?

TAPPER: I'm going to give you a -- a minute, President Trump, for a follow-up question I have. After a jury convicted you of 34 felonies last month, you said if re-elected, you would, quote, "have every right to go after," unquote, your political opponents. You just talked about members of the Select Committee on January 6th going to jail.


Your main political opponent is standing on stage with you tonight. Can you clarify exactly what it means about you feeling you have every right to go after your political opponents?

TRUMP: Well, I said my retribution is going to be success. We're going to make this country successful again because right now it's a failing nation.

My retribution is going to be success. But when he talks about a convicted felon, his son is a convicted felon at a very high level. His son is convicted. Going to be convicted probably numerous other times.

He should have been convicted before, but his Justice Department let the statute of limitations lapse on the most important things. But he could be a convicted felon as soon as he gets out of office.

Joe could be a convicted felon with all of the things that he's done. He's done horrible things.

All of the death caused at the border, telling the Ukrainian people that, we're going to want a billion dollars or you change the prosecutor. Otherwise, you're not getting a billion dollars.

If I ever said that, that's quid pro quo. That -- we're not going to do anything. We're not going to give you a billion dollars unless you change your prosecutor having to do with his son. This man is a criminal. This man -- you're lucky. You're lucky. I did nothing wrong. We'd have a system that was rigged and disgusting. I did nothing wrong.

TAPPER: Thank you, President Trump.

President Biden, you have said, I'm coming right to you, sir. You -- well, you want to respond? Go ahead. I'll give you a minute to respond.

BIDEN: The idea that I did anything wrong relative to what you're talking about is outrageous. It's simply a lie, number one.

Number two, the idea that you have a right to seek retribution against any American, just because you're a president, is wrong, is simply wrong. No president's ever spoken like that before. No president in our history has spoken like that before.

Number three, the crimes that you are still charged with. And think of all the civil penalties you have. How many billions of dollars do you owe in civil penalties for molesting a woman in public, for doing a whole range of things, of having sex with a porn star on the night -- and while your wife was pregnant?

I mean, what are you talking about? You have the morals of an alley cat.

TAPPER: Give you a minute, sir.

TRUMP: I didn't have sex with a porn star, number one.

Number two, that was a case that was started and moved. They moved a high-ranking official, a DOJ, into the Manhattan D.A.'s office to start that case. That case is going to be appealed in one.

We had a very terrible judge, horrible judge, Democrat. The prosecutor were all high-ranking Democrats appointed people and the -- both the civil and a criminal.

He basically went after his political opponent because he thought it was going to damage me. But when the public found out about these cases, because they understand it better than he does, he has no idea what these cases are, but when he -- they -- when they found out about these cases, you know what they did? My poll numbers went up way up. You know that because you're reporting it. And we took in more money in the last two weeks than we've ever taken in the history of any campaign.

I don't think any campaign has ever taken hundreds of millions of dollars came pouring in because the public knows it's a scam and it's a guy that's after his political opponent because he can't win fair and square.

TAPPER: Thank you, President Trump.

President Biden, you have said, quote, Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy.

Do you believe that the tens of millions of Americans who are likely to vote for President Trump will be voting against American democracy?

BIDEN: The more they know about what he's done, yes. The more they know about what he's done.

And there's a lot more coming. He's got a lot of cases around the road coming around. He's got -- he's got a whole range of issues he has to face. I don't know what the juries will do, but I do know -- I do know he has a real problem.

And so the fact that -- could you ever think you're hearing any president say that, I'm going to seek retribution? Do you ever hear any president say that, I thought it would write some good ideas?

What got me involved to run in the first place after my son had died, I decided -- in Iraq -- because of Iraq. I said, I wasn't going to run again, until I saw what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. People coming out of the woods carrying swastikas on torches and singing the same anti-Semitic bile they sang back in Germany.

And what did -- and the young woman got killed, they spoke to the mother. And she -- they asked him, they said, what -- well, what do you think of those people? The people who wanted to get killed, the ones who tried to stop it, and the ones who said, I think they're fine people on both sides.

What American president would ever say, Nazis coming out of fields, carrying torches, singing the same anti-Semitic bile, carrying swastikas, were fine people.

This is a guy who says Hitler's done some good things. I'd like to know what they are. The good things Hitler's done, that's what he said. This guy has no sense of American democracy.

TAPPER: President Trump?


TRUMP: Jake, both of you know that story has been totally wiped out because when you see the sentence, it said 100 percent exoneration on there. So he just keeps it going.

He says he ran because of Charlottesville. He didn't run because of Charlottesville. He ran because it was his last chance at -- he's not equipped to be president. You know it and I know it.

It's ridiculous. We have a debate. We're trying to justify his presidency.

His presidency, his -- without question, the worst president, the worst presidency in the history of our country. We shouldn't be having a debate about it. There's nothing to debate.

He made up the Charlottesville story and you'll see it's debunked all over the place. Every anchor has -- every reasonable actor has debunked it.

And just the other day it came out where it was fully debunked. It's a nonsense story. He knows that.

And he didn't run because of Charlottesville. He used that as an excuse to run.

TAPPER: President Biden?

BIDEN: And debunk. It happened. All you have to do is listen to what was said at the time.

And the idea that somehow that's the only reason I ran. I ran because I was worried a guy like this guy can get elected.

If he thought they were good people coming out of that all -- that for us, carrying those -- those woods, carrying those torches, then he didn't deserve to be president, didn't deserve to be president at all.

And the idea that he's talking about all of this being fabricated, we saw it with our own eyes. We saw what happened on January 6. We saw the people breaking to the windows. We saw people occupying there.

His own vice president -- look, there's a reason why 40 of his 44 top cabinet officers refused endorsing this time. His vice president hasn't endorsed him this time.

So, why? Why? They know him well. They serve with them. Why are they not endorsing him?

TAPPER: Thank you, President Biden.

We're going to be right back with more from the CNN presidential debate.



BASH: Welcome back to the CNN Presidential Debate live from Georgia.

Let's talk about persistent challenges you both faced in your first terms, and you'd certainly face again in a second term. President Biden, while black unemployment dropped to a record low under your presidency, black families still earn far less than white families.

Black mothers are still three times more likely to die for pregnancy related causes. And black Americans are imprisoned at five times the rate of white Americans. What do you say to black voters who are disappointed that you haven't made more progress?

BIDEN: They acknowledge he made a lot of progress, number one. The facts of the matter is more small black businesses that have been started in any time in history. Number two, the wages of black -- black unemployment is the lowest level of spend in a long, long time. Number three, we find them -- they're trying to provide housing for black Americans and dealing with segregation that exists among these corporate -- these corporate operations that collude to keep people out of their houses.

And in addition to that, we find that the impact of, on the -- the choice that black families have to make relative to childcare is incredibly difficult. When we did the first major piece of legislation in the past, I was able to reduce black childcare costs. I cut them in half, in half. We've got to make sure we provide for childcare costs. We've got to make sure -- because when you provide that childcare protections, you increase economic growth because more people can be in the -- in the job market.

So there's more to be done, considerably more to be done, but we've done a great deal so far and I'm not letting up and they know it.

BASH: You have 49 seconds left. What do you say to black voters who are disappointed with the progress so far?

BIDEN: I say, I don't blame them for being disappointed. Inflation is still hurting them badly. For example, I provided for the idea that any black family, first time home buyer should get a $10,000 tax credit to be able to buy their first home so they can get started.

I made sure that we're in a situation where all those black families and those black individuals who provided had to take out student loans that were ballooning, that if they were engaged in nursing and anything having to do with volunteerism, if they paid their bills for 10 years on their student debt, all the rest was forgiven after 10 years. Millions have benefited from that and we're going to do a whole lot more for black families.

BASH: Thank you. President Trump?

TRUMP: And he caused the inflation. He's blaming inflation. And he's right, it's been very bad. He caused the inflation and it's killing black families and Hispanic families and just about everybody. It's killing people. They can't buy groceries anymore. They can't.

You look at the cost of food where it's doubled and tripled and quadrupled. They can't live. They're not living anymore. He caused this inflation.

I gave him a country with no, essentially no inflation. It was perfect. It was so good. All he had to do is leave it alone. He destroyed it with his green news scam and all of the other -- all this money that's being thrown out the window.

He caused inflation. As sure as you're sitting there, the fact is that his big kill on the black people is the millions of people that he's allowed to come in through the border. They're taking black jobs now and it could be 18. It could be 19 and even 20 million people. They're taking black jobs and they're taking Hispanic jobs and you haven't seen it yet, but you're going to see something that's going to be the worst in our history.

BASH: Thank you. President Biden? BIDEN: There was no inflation when I became president. You know why? The economy was flat on its back. 15% unemployment, he decimated the economy, absolutely decimated the economy. That's why there was no inflation at the time.

There were no jobs. We provided thousands of millions of jobs for individuals who were involved communities, including minority communities. We made sure that they have health insurance. We have covered with the ACA has increased. I made sure that they're $8,000 per person in the family to get written off in health care, but this guy wants to eliminate that. They tried 50 times. He wants to get rid of the ACA again, and they're going to try again if they win.

You find ourselves in a position where the idea that we're not doing it. I put more -- we put more police on the street than any administration has. He wants to cut the cops.