Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Representative Debbie Dingell, (D-MI), Is Interviewed About Presidential Debate; WH Official: "Everyone Is Deflated" By Biden's Debate Performance; "Painful": Voters In Biden's Birthplace React To His Shaky Debate; Biden's Disastrous Debate Sends His Re-Election Bid Into Crisis; Supreme Court Limits Obstruction Charges Against Jan. 6 Rioters; International Reaction To Biden-Trump Presidential Debate; Supreme Court Denies Bannon Bid To Avoid Prison. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 28, 2024 - 17:00   ET


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: NASA is trying to understand why its thrusters necessary for a safe return aren't performing as expected. Well, coming up on Sunday State of the Union with Dana Bash, Democratic Congressman James Clyburn and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. That's Sunday morning at 9:00 Eastern and again at noon here on CNN. You can follow the show on X at The Lead CNN. If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you could listen to the show wherever you get your podcasts.

The news continues and it is a lot of news on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, the one and only, in "Situation Room." Have a good weekend.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening Now President Biden tries to bounce back from his struggles out there on the debate stage holding a fiery campaign rally today and vowing to win the election. But many Democrats are in panic mode right now suggesting at least privately, he should consider stepping aside I get reaction from a key House Democrat this hour.

Also tonight Donald Trump is seizing on President Biden's performance and slamming in as incompetent. The Trump team celebrating as their candidates and many debate lies were overshadowed by President Biden's troubles.

This hour, we're getting a new read on how CNN's historic presidential debate played in key battleground states that could decide the election talking to voters in the pivotal swing state of Pennsylvania.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the Situation Room.

We begin with a seismic reaction to CNN's historic presidential debate. President Biden and former President Donald Trump both on the campaign trail today, one on a desperate damage control mission, the other taking something of a victory lap. Our correspondents are covering the candidates and their post-debate spin. First, let's go to CNN's Arlette Saenz. She's with President Biden in New York right now.

Arlette, how is the President attempting to clean up his widely panned debate performance?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, well, President Biden just finished delivering remarks at the Stonewall Inn it historic site in the gay rights movement. He made no reference to his debate performance simply portraying this campaign as a battle for the soul of the country. But a bit earlier in the day, President Biden was on the grounds in North Carolina, a critical battleground state, and it was there where he tried to offer an attempt at a reset acknowledging his poor performance in the debate and trying to offer some explanation of where his head is at to voter. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't walk as easy as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't do bad debate as well as I used to. But I know what I do know. I know how to tell the truth.


SAENZ: Now the President was much more fiery and impassioned in those remarks in North Carolina, perhaps something that his advisors had hoped to see on the debate stage last night, but instead Biden really offered a stumbling and halting performance that raised some concerns among some parts of the Democratic Party. Here is a little bit of a few clips of what President Biden's performance last night was like.


BIDEN: I'm the only president this century that doesn't have any -- this decade, that don't have any troops dying anywhere in the world like he did. What I've been able to do with the COVID or should be with dealing with everything we have to do with -- look, if we finally beat Medicare, there's a lot of young women to be raped by their in- laws, by their, by their spouses, brothers and sisters, by -- just -- it's just ridiculous, and they can do nothing about it.


SAENZ: Now publicly, you have seen Democrats offering their support to President Biden acknowledging some of the stumbles but still believing that he presents a very stark choice for the country compared to Donald Trump. You have Vice President Harris, President Obama, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was on hand at this event here in New York City shouted out into the crowd that he's a fighter, but privately, there are some Democrats who are expressing quite a bit of anxiety about the President's performance and the path forward in this race against Donald Trump. Sources -- various Democrats telling CNN over the past 24 hours, quote, "We are asked, calling the President's performance incoherent, horrific," all of those sentiments being expressed privately from many donors. Now the -- or from many Democrats.

Now the Biden campaign today did hold an all staff meeting with their team and so far, Biden's advisors has had said that there's no change in his plan regarding the race. He plans to stay in it. He is also planning, we're told, to participate in that next debate which is slated to take place in September. But all eyes will be on President Biden over the course of the coming days weeks and months to see how he performs, to see how he performs, to see how he charged this -- the path forward in this campaign as he is still hoping to be running against Donald Trump and defeating him in November.


BLITZER: Arlette, I want you to stand by as we bring in CNN's Kristen Holmes. She's covering Donald Trump and his rally in Virginia today.

Kristen, Trump spent the rally capitalizing on his debate performance. Tell us about that.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, it wasn't that surprising he took a victory lap. This was coming as senior advisors have been downright eerie about his performance last night. One thing I want to mention that this is not just about President Joe Biden when it comes to how exciting this team is. A lot of this is about the former president and himself the fact that he stayed on message. Take a listen to what he had to say about last night's debate.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Despite the fact that crooked Joe Biden spent the entire week at Camp David resting, working, studying, he studied very hard, he studied so hard that he didn't know what the hell he was doing. He got the debate rules that he wanted. He got the date that he wanted. He got the network that he wanted. With the moderates he wanted.

No amount of rest or Reagan could help him defend his atrocious record.


HOLMES: Now, one thing I want to point to there is that while his team has been all over social media saying that Biden is senile, old and weak, we never heard that from Donald Trump when he was responding here. He actually specifically said that it wasn't about age likely because as we know, Donald Trump is very sensitive to conversations around age given that he is just a bit younger than President Joe Biden.

The other thing that he said is that he had heard that Donald -- that rumors that Biden might drop out of the race, but he didn't think that was true because he believes Biden polls higher than any of the other Democrats names that will be floating around to be the potential nominee.

I will say one thing I want to point out here, this was not an entire hour and a half of personal attacks on Joe Biden. I had spoken to a number of Donald Trump's allies who said that they had hoped he would take this victory lap and stay on message like we saw last night. And for the most part, despite this cheering crowd, Donald Trump has done so. Wolf. BLITZER: Kristen Holmes and Arlette Saenz, to both of you, thank you very much.

Joining us now, Representative Debbie Dingell, a key Democrat from the Presidential battleground state of Michigan.

Representative Dingell, thanks so much for joining us. CNN has learned that even among some White House officials, some group text chats about the debate are quote, and I'm quoting now from these text chats, "abysmal, everyone is deflated," end quote. Do you agree with that assessment?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat it, President had a bad night. That debate was not a good debate. But he acknowledged that today. But I, by the way, don't think it was a good debate for Donald Trump. In that one -- I want to be very clear, a campaign should have told us that he had a cold, should have prepared us for that raspy voice.

So from the very beginning, you're like, what's with the voice? But Donald Trump doubled down and everything that so many of us were concerned about, starting with he's proud of overturning of Roe vs. Wade, meaning he doesn't think women should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies. He -- what he said about January 6, he continues to say he's going to release people that have been found guilty, that he doesn't see anything wrong with it. He even attacking policemen or people wanting to hang his own vice president, he's continuing to call for tax cuts for his billionaire friends and corporations. But what's he doing for the middle class?

He has no specifics. We all have to talk about the economy, every last one of us from now until November. He took shots at seniors, took shots at Veterans. This is a man who's got a record that's nothing to be proud of. And he double down on many things that we have a responsibility. And Joe Biden's got a responsibility to remind people up between now and November.

BLITZER: The First Lady, Jill Biden, said and I'm quoting her now, "Last night on the debate stage was Joe Biden," close quote. If that's the best President Biden can do, why should Democrats have confidence he can actually wind up beating Trump in November?

DINGELL: Look, he's got -- I'm not going to sugarcoat it as I said before, he has to -- in the next few days, he's got to every single day. For this Fourth of July week show people he's strong, he's capable, he's got the ability to do it. He's doing it today. Jill is a loving wife and she believes in her husband. I believe in Joe Biden.

I think he's done a good job. And I'm scared to death of what will happen to our democracy. What will happen to so many issues I care about if President Trump is reelected again. But President Biden has to show people he is up to the job, which I believe he is. He had a bad debate night.

[17:10:13] Other people have had the bad debate nights. We all have bad days. But this does increase the pressure on him to show people he can do it. But I don't have a lot of confidence in Donald Trump and he double down, double down triple down on things that I think are dangerous to this country.

BLITZER: The Biden campaign says their strategy won't change at all post-debate, that public statement, won't change at all post-debate. Is that a mistake?

DINGELL: I don't know what that means when they say. You know, there's been a lot of hand wringing, you and I both know. You know what's interesting, Wolf, is, I'm home, I got home, I couldn't wait to get out of Washington today. And there's a lot of hammering in Washington, a lot of drama. We all know, today's the got you day.

But interestingly, I'm not saying this is a massive, a few people, an African-American male that I know had doubts about Joe Biden said to me, after I listened to Donald Trump last night, I'm beginning to understand better why we need to reelect Joe Biden. I want to be home this week. I want to see what people are thinking. But I also hope -- I got a message for the Biden campaign, listen to the people that are home in their battleground state. We know what you've got to do on our states to win.

BLITZER: And we know Michigan is a key battleground state. Is President Biden, Representative Dingell, the best, the strongest Democrat to beat Trump in November?

DINGELL: You know what, look, that's a got you question. I'm just not going to go there. He is the candidate. He's the person that's going to get nominated at the convention in August. And I will do whatever it takes to protect our democracy, to continue to protect our workers, to protect the middle class, to protect every woman and Joe Biden is the person that's going to do that in a race against Donald Trump.

BLITZER: Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, thanks so much for joining us.

DINGELL: Thank you.

BLITZER: And coming up, what voters in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania are now saying about President Biden after watching him debate. And Steve Bannon is expected to be behind bars within days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to let the former Trump advisor avoid prison.



BLITZER: Tonight we're getting new battleground state reaction to the CNN presidential debate as many Democrats are sounding the alarm about President Biden's performance. CNN's Danny Freeman spoke with Pennsylvania voters in Scranton, that's the city where the President was born. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Zummo's cafe in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the coffee flowed Friday morning. And so did the post-debate emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was painful to watch.

LEXIE DEWOLFE, PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I feel like the candidates were two kids taken out in preschool.

ROBIN BURNDT, ZUMMO'S CAFE, OWNER: I feel disoriented. That's the word that I've been trying to come up with.

FREEMAN (voice-over): Robin Burndt is the owner of the cafe just blocks away from where President Biden grew up.

BURNDT: We love Biden. Were Scrantonians.


BURNDT: And we want him to be successful. And we want to feel that connection like we have felt over the last four years.

FREEMAN (voice-over): An Independent, she voted for Biden in 2020. But is now left hoping Biden gets a second chance to prove he can do the job.

BURNDT: They just don't think that was really well represented last night. So I'd like him to have an opportunity to give it on the go.

DONNA DEVITA, PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: Well, he stumble. I don't think it was his best night, really. You have to be truthful about that.

FREEMAN (voice-over): Lifelong Democrat Donna DeVita was disappointed by Biden's performance but still said she wouldn't vote for former President Trump.

DEVITA: That debate did not spark any concerns in Joe Biden or President Biden and his ability to spend the next four years leading our country.

FREEMAN (voice-over): But Lexi DeWolfe disagrees.

DEWOLFE: I don't know what four more years would look like for somebody who's already at that point.

FREEMAN (voice-over): Dewolfe voted for Biden in 2020. But now fears he doesn't have what it takes for the job.

FREEMAN: Did you have concerns about Biden's capacity in your words before last night?

DEWOLFE: Yes, yes. But I think last night was worse. FREEMAN (voice-over): Here in typically blue, Lackawanna County, Biden won by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2020. The margins here crucial as Biden won Pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes.

ROBIN MEDEIROS, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I was thrilled. I couldn't have been happier.

FREEMAN (voice-over): Republican activist and avid Trump supporter Robin Medeiros loved the debate and thinks Trump's performance will galvanize the former president's base.

MEDEIROS: It certainly will help. Biden was in such deplorable condition that it certainly will help.

FREEMAN (voice-over): Mike Manzano turned off the debate early.

MIKE MANZANO, PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I think President Trump performed like President Trump. There's a lot of, let's say, inaccuracies and details and a lot of broad statements.

FREEMAN (voice-over): But the registered Democrat who voted third party in 2020 said Biden did not win him over either.

FREEMAN: Did the debate alleviate any concerns that you might have had about his age?

MANZANO: No, no, they more confirmed my concerns have alleviated any concern.


FREEMAN (on camera): Now, Wolf, I just want to add even among those people who we spoke with off camera, the debate very much was on people's mind today, especially a big topic of conversation in that cafe that we visited. And you heard it in the piece, even though there were different perspectives, the majority of people told us that this debate was crucially important and that it will have an impact on this race. Wolf.

BLITZER: Danny Freeman reporting for us from Scranton. Thank you, Danny, very much.

Let's get some more debate reaction from our political experts who are here with us. Ana Navarro, you heard those voters can see earns. Even if President Biden keeps up the energy out there on the campaign trail as he clearly did today, is that enough to overcome the rough debate performance that was seared into Americans minds last night?


ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We don't know the answer to that. But the bottom line is that the Biden campaign has no wiggle room left, right? Look, he can't have another performance like he did last night. He needs to have a lot more performances like he did today in that rally in North Carolina. Right now as we speak, he's here in New York for the commemoration of Stonewall. He's got a gala this evening that I'm attending, so I'll be able to tell you what he was like there. And it's just it's hard to reconcile the Biden we saw at that debate stage, he had a terrible night, he had a terrible night. It was disturbing and worrisome. It was painful. I agree with those voters with the Biden we've seen since just an hour after the debate, he was at a waffle house and being a completely different person.

At two in the morning, he was greeting supporters at the rally in Durham airport and was completely different than at the debate. Today, he's been completely different. I mean, to me, it's rather inexplicable.

BLITZER: Kristen Soltis Anderson is here with me in another situation room. Democratic leaders, as you know, Kristen, they're clearly rallying around President Biden right now, including the former president, Barack Obama, who issued a statement saying this, "Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But at this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life, and someone who only cares about himself. Last night didn't change that and that's why so much is at stake in November. Is the Democratic Party seemingly out of touch right now?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This decision to circle the wagons around President Biden 24 hours -- less than 24 hours after the complete debacle of last night is somewhat baffling to me. In some ways, it seems like an extreme vote of no confidence in the entire rest of the party and Vice President Harris to pick up the reins and run in the face of what was truly disastrous. And it's possible that voters walk away from last night and that doesn't actually change the race. But fundamentally by saying, well, this was just a bad night, this was just a one off, maybe he can recover. Assumes that voters did not go into last night, already assuming that Joe Biden has lost a step and is perhaps not capable of being commander in chief.

And yet in every poll that I've seen, that is the worst criteria on which he does, that he has the stamina and energy and coherence to be the president. He did nothing to allay those concerns last night. I do not understand why the Democratic Party is not breaking the emergency glass right now.

BLITZER: Yes, much better speech today, though.

ANDERSON: I am sure that he will have his ups and downs. But last night 90 minutes unvarnished told a very revealing story.

BLITZER: Karen Finney, the Biden campaign public view says they aren't going to change their strategy at all post-debate. Is that a mistake?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Probably. I mean, look, I'm going to stipulate to the facts that last night was not good. But I will also say that does not also change the fact that Donald Trump spent 90 minutes lying. And what we have heard from voters is that was troubling to them as well. I mean, I think we have to wait and see if the fundamentals of this race changes. We knew going into last night that voters were unhappy with their choices.

It made me that that is exactly where they remained today. Look, I think they should think about what changes need to be made, and particularly in advance of a second debate, you know, some of the answers that the President gave, as honest, I was baffled because I've heard the President talk about these issues numerous times and be very facile on the issue. So I was surprised. But I disagree a little bit, though, with this idea that Democrats shouldn't be circling the wagons. He's our nominee.

He's our candidate. That's our job. And I would not want to be in a foxhole with any of the people who, you know, were clutching their pearls all of a sudden, and you know, that's not how elections work. And I think we got to stand behind our guy until he -- until and if he tells us he's going to do something else, which he hasn't.

BLITZER: Brad Todd is with us as well. Brad, we -- our CNN fact checking team, as you will know, did some serious fact checking. And we discovered the Trump lied at least 30 times in a 90 minute debate. That would be one lie every three minutes or so if you do -- if you average it out. That may have worked with his base, with his MAGA base, but how does that impact swing voters and undecided voters?

BRAD TODD, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I mean, Joe Biden said he defeated Medicare last night. He also said he had a golf handicap under 10. I mean, I don't think the veracity was on display in the Biden presentation last night. And let's not forget, he had problems before last night he had a 38 percent job approval last night. Karen, suggests this didn't change the trajectory of the race, but Democrats needed it to change the trajectory of the race.

Joe Biden has been heading for defeat before this debate. And now he just verified a lot of the things that voters already believed about of.


BLITZER: We go back to Ana Navarro. Ana, President Biden says the stakes of this election are American democracy itself. If voters start losing confidence in him after this debate, would they be putting the country at risk by staying in the race?

NAVARRO: You know, I don't think Joe Biden believes that and I don't think Jill Biden believes that. Unlike Donald Trump, Joe Biden's wife was actually there. And I think that if they actually believed there was something seriously wrong that couldn't keep -- could keep him from being president, they would say something different because they do believe in putting party over their own ambition.

And I would say to Kristen this idea of why are Democrats circling the wagons, I have the same question about people supporting Trump. How in the world could Republicans be circling the wagon against a convicted felon, twice impeach who has to pay billions of dollars in fraud judgments, who we now know slept with a porn star? First time we hear it mentioned in a, you know, on a debate stage. I mean, it's -- so I think it's a question and it's a binary choice. And that hasn't changed. It's a question about a very old, good man, and a slightly less old, very bad man.

And those are the choices that America has.

BLITZER: What do you think, Kristen?

ANDERSON: I think that it is true that these are two very old men who are very flawed. At the same time, I think Republicans went into choosing their nominee clear eyed, they know all the nonsense about Donald Trump and they said, here's our guy. The White House and the Biden campaign have misled and gaslit voters, including Democratic voters about the condition of the president for months now. And so now Democratic voters having concluded their primary presses but not yet formally selected their nominee. Really need to have a conversation about what information didn't we have a few months ago that we now have, and need to know if they're going to make a different choice now in what they know.

NAVARRO: Kristen, a few months ago, we didn't have the information that Donald Trump was a convicted felon, the guy got convicted. He's a felon. The first former president in history to be a convicted felon, and dumb -- and Republicans and Trumpers did not bat an eyelash. That's not information that people has.

ANDERSON: I was agreeing with you on the -- Republicans nominated Donald Trump, knowing warts and all. My suggestion is that for a lot of Democratic voters, they did not know how bad the warts were for Biden until 24 hours ago, which is why.

TODD: Dean Phillips said it though. Dean Phillips ran against President Biden because he said he was too old, because he said he wasn't up to it, he couldn't beat Donald Trump. And the Democratic establishment in Washington thwart at him. They knew the truth and they knew Dean Phillips is saying the truth and they thwart at him.

FINNEY: Stop guys. You get -- no, no, no, no. Come on now. Let's bring this back in a little bit. Trying to suggest that people were gaslit about Joe Biden is absurd. And you know that, Kristen, come on.

Again, the guy's allowed to have a bad night. Let's remember a couple of things. This is a pattern we have seen over and over again, the first debate of an incumbent president they have a bad night, they tend to come back strong in a second debate. And, you know, look, I think the -- again, it does not change the fact that you had Donald Trump's and this is the things that voters are going to ask themselves, Donald Trump was gleeful about killing Roe v. Wade, Donald Trump doubled down on economic policies that our own reporting has said, will raise prices for middle class Americans. I don't think people knew those facts of the case when they actually nominated him for the Republican nomination.

So I think it's a little absurd to suggest that somehow, you know, yes, Joe Biden's old. We knew that. But as Ana said, we also know he's a good decent man who has been trying his hardest to lead us out of a COVID epidemic, to help get this country back on track, to help strengthen our economy. And I'd say also as a black voter, what's a black job? I guess I'm doing the black job right now. I would love for Donald Trump to explain that as well. And I want to remind us that a lot of the content that we saw last night is playing very differently online than in the conversations we're having right now.

BLITZER: Let's see how all of this unfolds. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

Up next, a major ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court which now says the Department of Justice overstepped by filing obstruction charges against hundreds of January 6 rioters. What it means for defendants already convicted and the more than 240 cases still pending.



BLITZER: Today, a major six to three decision from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. Justice Department overstepped by charging hundreds of people who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th with obstruction. Here's CNN's senior justice correspondent Evan Perez is with me here in the Situation Room. So Evan, what does this really mean?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it means for a subset of the, you know, under 1,400 people -- over 1,400 people who have been charged in the Capitol riot. There's a subset that this potentially could affect. And what the Supreme Court said in this very interesting six-three decision that included by the way, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the newest justice. They said that the way the Justice Department has interpreted this law is too overly broad. And so this could potentially affect about 249 cases.

There's 52 people who have been sentenced on obstruction only. And so those people could have their sentences relooked at by the judges. Some of the judges already started reopening some of these. There's 27 people who are serving prison sentences related to this. And those people could be have their sentences shortened.


Now, we know that the Justice Department says that they're disappointed. We have a statement from Attorney General Merrick Garland. He says that he is disappointed that the Supreme Court has struck down or put -- change this law which they see which he says has been very, very useful for the Justice Department to hold people accountable for things that happened in on January 6th.

BLITZER: Yes. He says I'm very disappointed. Evan Perez, thank you very much for that update.

I want to bring in our experts right now, CNN's senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe and CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig. Andrew, do you agree with this ruling from the Supreme Court? And what will it mean for the January 6th rioters who are already convicted? ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Wolf, it's a reasonable ruling. I think people can still disagree about the interpretation of the statute. I'm surprised that the court went in the direction they did, because this court tends to take a very traditional textual approach to their interpretations. And just on the text of the statute, I think things would have gone the other way for the Justice Department.

Nevertheless, this is the decision we have, it will have a big impact on any January 6th defendant who's already been convicted of an offense under the statute, 1512(c)(2). I suspect that the Justice Department will go back in each of those cases in which the defendants challenged their convictions, and then certainly they all will, and will make a case by case determination as to whether or not they should just agree that those convictions should be vacated, or they'll actually fight to keep those convictions on the books.

If the defendants have had any involvement or if there are facts or allegations in their cases that they were involved in fraudulent elector schemes, for instance, it's possible the Justice Department will try to fight to maintain those convictions. But we'll have to see it's going to be a long process and a lot of work.

BLITZER: And Elie, as you know, Trump's legal team is now going to try to get these specific charges, obstruction charges against him dismissed, charges leveled by the Special Counsel. How likely do you think that is to happen and how should the Special Counsel respond to this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, on the surface, Donald Trump's lawyers have an argument to make here. They're going to say, well, the Supreme Court just ruled that this obstruction statute does not apply to the physical attack on the Capitol on January 6th, therefore those two charges should be dismissed against my client, Donald Trump. There are two other charges still in the case.

However, Jack Smith, I think is going to have a powerful response to that, which is the Supreme Court also said that this obstruction law does apply where somebody tries to submit forged or false documents. And as Andy mentioned, I think Jack Smith's response there could be, well, part of this scheme here was submitting false slates of electors, therefore, were OK within the statute. So the first decision point here is going to be Jack Smith's. Does he agree to dismiss the two obstruction charges and not have to deal with this? Or does he try to fight to save them? If he tries to fight to save them, then it's going to go to the trial judge, Judge Chutkan in here. I think overall, though, Jack Smith probably has the better of the arguments.

BLITZER: Andrew McCabe, we're now expecting the Supreme Court to issue its ruling on Trump's presidential immunity case, this coming Monday. How do you think they will rule?

MCCABE: Well, Wolf, no one knows. And we're all on bated breath to see how this one comes out. But I would I'd have to say, if you force me to bet, my bet would be that the court finds some scope of immunity for presidents will be what the former president had asked for which is total immunity? I highly doubt that. I think they'll come up with some limited scope of immunity for presidents that protect them in the execution of their constitutional duties, things of that nature.

The question for this case becomes how is that standard applied to the indictment currently outstanding against the former president? And the resolution of that question, could really add a significant delay to the proceedings, if they get back on track at all.

BLITZER: The court heard disability case, Elie, what more than two months ago and there's been this delay in getting a decision. Why is there been this delay?

HONIG: Well, Wolf, we always get the big decisions at the very end. Often we get the biggest decisions on the last day, really important to know. We will get the immunity ruling on Monday morning. The Court has announced that is our last day for decisions. They only have three left to drop immunity is one of them.

And Wolf, we're going to get some answers to the biggest questions out there that we've never gotten answers to before. First of all, is there even such thing as criminal immunity for former presidents, former federal officials, never been answered by the court. I agree with Andy. I think they will create some form of criminal immunity. But then the second big question is, what are the contours of it? And the third and final question will be, does it apply to Donald Trump? And if it does or doesn't who gets to decide that? Is the Supreme Court going to tell us, yes or no he's immune? Or they're going to kick it back to the trial court to decide if that's the case then that will probably delay this well past the election?


BLITZER: We'll see if this long standing position that no one is above the law still stands as of Monday. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, from concern to ridicule, the reaction from U.S. allies and foes around the world to last night's presidential debate. That's right after this.


BLITZER: Allies and adversaries of the United States. We're also watching CNN last night as President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump went head to head in their first debate. CNN Nic Robertson brings us this closer look at how the world is reacting.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In Moscow, state media lampoon President Joe Biden's debate performance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking in Foreign Language).


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Congratulating him for not falling over, criticizing him for what they called a 22nd freeze up, saying he had trouble remembering who and where he was. If Russia was gleeful, Europe was shocked. Newspapers agreeing, Democrats panic, British tabloids, Biden bombed, even this kick from the populace "Sun," Joe- matosed. In France, Italy, Germany headlines much the same, Greek and Middle East newspapers suggesting Biden step aside.

Leaders were silent. Several met him two weeks ago at the G7 in Italy, where he also seems slow and kept them waiting. The growing reality for them now, a Donald Trump redux in more dangerous times. Many of them will remember those bruising days, not just physically but verbally too. His tone and topics on NATO unchanged, suggesting Putin is Europe's problem.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, I got them to put up hundreds of billions of dollars. It has a bigger impact on them because of location because we have an ocean in between.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've never heard so much foolishness. This is a guy who wants to get out of NATO.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): According to the Kremlin, President Putin didn't stay up to watch the actual debate, because --

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: I don't think you expect that the Russian president could have set an alarm clock woken up in the early morning hours.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He will likely now be up to speed if only through the unfriendly filter of his own media, and likely pleased too. Trump who also hinted at cutting funding for Ukraine potentially shortened his odds on winning the election. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also likely feel relieved, a Trump reelection good for him, given what Trump's saying about Israel.

TRUMP: You should let him go and let him finish the job.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): And falsely accusing Biden of tying Israel's hands in its fight against Hamas.

TRUMP: He doesn't want to do it. He's become like a Palestinian.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But like America, substance not the big takeaway overseas, everyone judging performance, policy, a worry for another day.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


BLITZER: And thanks to CNN's Nic Robertson for that report.

Just ahead, it's the last weekend of freedom for another close ally of Donald Trump, as the U.S. Supreme Court denies Steve Bannon's last minute bid to avoid prison.


BLITZER: Tonight, former Trump White House official Steve Bannon is learning they'll have to report to prison by Monday. The United States Supreme Court just denied a last minute bid to put his sentence at hold while he appeals this contempt of Congress conviction. Bannon now become the latest ally of the former president ordered behind bars. Here CNN's Brian Todd.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: They're not going to shut up Bannon and they're certainly not going to shut MAGA.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Steve Bannon remains under a federal judge's order to report to prison by July 1st.

BANNON: There's nothing that can shut me up and nothing that will shut me up. There's not a prison built. There's not a prison built our jail built that will ever shut me up.

TODD (voice-over): The former Trump campaign CEO and White House counselor to the former president has been fighting his conviction on contempt of Congress charges.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If Trump gets elected, guess what happens? Bannon is on the really I think shortlist for a pardon.

TODD (voice-over): As the former president himself awaits sentencing for his conviction in the hush money case, Steve Bannon becomes one of at least eight former Trump aides or employees in the public and private sectors to serve jail time or at least be sentenced to jail.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think it's going to be the hardest and most dangerous issue for a reelection of Trump will be how does he just associate himself from unsavory characters.

TODD (voice-over): In jail now, Peter Navarro, a former Trump trade adviser who like Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the house January 6th investigation.

PETER NAVARRO, CONVICTED FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: I will walk proudly in there and do my time.

TODD (voice-over): Navarro is serving his sentence at a federal facility in Miami that's next to a zoo.

SAM MANGEL, PETER NAVARRO'S PRISON CONSULTANT: Five o'clock in the morning or 5:30, you heard the lions. And every morning you would hear the lions roar.

TODD (voice-over): Serving time in a much rougher place, Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, the 76-year-old is behind bars in New York's notorious Rikers Island prison serving two sentences for tax fraud and perjury. Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer went to jail on campaign finance and fraud charges and flipped on Trump.

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, spent about two years in prison for fraud crimes related to his work in Ukraine. Manafort, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone all received pardons from Trump. Stone was pardoned without serving any jail time. Then there were former Trump aides like Hope Hicks, Rhona Graff, and Cassidy Hutchinson, who didn't serve jail time, but were hauled into court for congressional hearings without even being accused of crimes.

JACKSON: The course is exorbitant just to be involved in the entirety of an investigation that doesn't even involve you. You just have information you're imparting to authorities, and you have to come out of pocket by lawyering up.


BLITZER: Our thanks to CNN's Brian Todd for that report.


Coming up, we'll have more on the fallout from last night's presidential debate. One of the President's biggest supporter, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, joins me here in the Situation Room to share his reactions to the growing concerns from Democrats over President Biden's performance.


BLITZER: Happening now, President Biden works to fire up supporters as many Democrats despair over what they're calling his disastrous debate performance. I'll ask a Biden campaign co-chair, Senator Chris Coons, about the fallout and the calls for the President to exit the race.


Meantime in Trump world, the mood is very upbeat right now as the former president takes a post-debate victory lap after he was widely considered the winner of the debate despite a litany of lies he told on stage. Trump also is declaring a big win in the U.S. Supreme Court after the justice has ruled some January 6th defendants were improperly charged. We're breaking down the decision in what it could mean for the special counsel's election subversion case against Trump.