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Biden To Speak On Supreme Court Ruling On Trump Immunity; Supreme Court Says, Trump Has Immunity For Official Acts As President; Biden Races To Shore Up Support As Debate Fallout Intensifies; Steven Bannon Begins Serving Four-Month Sentence In Federal Prison; Biden & Family Back In D.C. After Weekend Weighing His Future. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And breaking news, we're just learning that President Biden will give remarks this evening about today's Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity. It's unclear whether he will take questions. You should stay tuned to CNN for that. And until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, X, formerly known as Twitter, on the TikTok @jaketapper. You can follow the show on X @theleadcnn. If you ever miss an episode of the lead, you can listen to the show, all two hours, whence you get your podcasts.

And the news continues on CNN with Pamela Brown in for Wolf Blitzer, but still right next door in a place I'd like to call The Situation Room. I'll see you tomorrow.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. We're learning that President Biden is expected to speak soon about the Supreme Court immunity ruling that delivered a serious blow to the January 6th criminal case against Donald Trump. Stand by for new reaction to the historic high court decision that Trump has immunity for official acts he took his president. We're breaking it down, what it means for Trump's prosecution, the 2024 election and for the power of the presidency.

All of this coming as the president is scrambling for ways to try to ease the growing fallout from his debate performance that is widely viewed by Democrats as a disaster. Stand by for new reporting on the president's strategy and the panicked finger pointing within his party.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer off today. I'm Pamela Brown and you're in The Situation Room.

And we began with breaking news on President Biden set up to speak tonight about the Supreme Court's ruling in the Trump immunity case. Let's go right to CNN's M.J. Lee at the White House. What are you learning, M.J.?

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Pam, we've just learned in the last five minutes that President Biden will be giving remarks here at the White House addressing the Supreme Court's ruling on the question of presidential immunity. This is so significant, of course, because this is the first time that the president will be giving remarks ever since he returned to Washington, D.C. after Thursday night's debate. And importantly, we are learning that this is going to be a pooled event, meaning that only a select number of reporters will be in the room.

We don't know, of course, whether the president is going to be in the mood to answer any questions from reporters. Of course, we know that our colleagues will be prepared to throw questions his way. This could be, Pam, the first time that we get some fulsome answers from the president about his political future ever since last week's debate that, of course, has set off so much turmoil within the Democratic Party.


SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): I'm with Joe Biden.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It's not about performance in terms of a debate. It's about performance in a presidency.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): They have confidence in Joe Biden. They think he's our strongest candidate.

LEE (voice over): Democrats are in full crisis mode.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Dealing with everything we have to do with -- look, if -- we finally beat Medicare.

LEE: On the heels of President Biden's poor debate performance against Donald Trump, Democrats gravely concerned about what comes next for their party.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): There are very honest and serious and rigorous conversations taking place at every level of our party.

LEE: While the president and his campaign are fighting for survival.

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

LEE: Huddled at Camp David over the weekend, the president's family giving him their unequivocal support.

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

LEE: The first lady telling Vogue Magazine that the family will not let those 90 minutes define the four years he's been president. The Biden clan undeniably frustrated with the president's senior aides in the fallout of the CNN debate and privately discussing whether any advisers should be fired.

JOE BIDEN: I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't debate as well as I used to.

LEE: Top campaign officials and party leaders fielding a flurry of worried phone calls and public criticism pouring in from lawmakers, surrogates and donors, but for now, insisting the president is staying put.

GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): Joe Biden is not going to take himself out of this race, nor should he.

LEE: But the next stretch of day is crucial for the president's political future. The Biden team is collecting and awaiting polling and research to get a fuller sense of the post-debate damage.

One Democratic congressman telling CNN that Congress is the party's so-called firewall and suggesting that if data comes out showing Biden is not just going to lose the presidency, but he's going to lose the House, then the dam will likely break, prompting Democratic officials to publicly call for a plan B.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): I do not believe that Joe Biden has a problem leading for the next four years because he's done a great job of leading for the last three and a half years.


LEE: Amid the panic, the campaign doing its best to spin last week's presidential debate to their advantage, namely pointing to the 90 minute face off showing Donald Trump's true colors.

JOE BIDEN: I know I'm not a young man, but I know how to do this job. I know right from wrong. I know how to tell the truth. And I know what communities of Americans know when you get knocked down, you get back up.


LEE (on camera): And in addition to working the phones to try to really calm the nerves and dampen the panic, the campaign is trying to figure out what other ways they could change the narrative on the bad debate performance last week. One thing we are hearing is that advisers are considering the possibility of a big profile sit-down for the president to show his fitness. But as we wait these remarks from the president this evening again to address the issue of the Supreme Court's ruling today on presidential immunity, we should note this could be another opportunity for him should he decide to take questions from reporters that are in the room to show that he is nimble, to show that he is fastened with it, and also to show that he has good answers to all of the questions that are swirling about right now, about the political future and what will happen going into November.

BROWN: All right. M.J. Lee, thank you so much for that. Let's bring in our political experts joining us now with much more analysis.

David, I want to go to you with this news. We're just finding out about President Biden speaking tonight at the White House in the wake of this historic Supreme Court ruling. But it's not just what he's going to say tonight. It's going to be everything else. It's going to be analyzed as well in the wake of his debate performance last week. How does he come out tonight and allay some of those concerns? DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, the first thing, certainly everyone's going to assess how he seems physically, mentally, everything like that, no doubt, Pam. But also, is he going to take a question? Because, you know, the White House says he's coming out to make a statement about the Supreme Court ruling. While that's an interesting news of day topic that I'm sure everyone would like to hear the president of the United States on, it's not actually the first question on people's minds right now about Joe Biden. It's about the state of his candidacy for reelection that is top of mind.

And so I'll be curious to know if they are going to sort of entertain, if the president is going to entertain a question, knowing that it will be about his debate performance and what it means for the campaign going forward to allow him this opportunity if obviously all the reporting suggesting he wants to sort of grind through this problematic moment and remain the nominee of the party if he gives sort of the assurances that he's fully in that mode and pressing forward, no doubt about it, kind of thing, if he wants to give that supreme confidence that we saw the day after the debate in Raleigh, North Carolina, my guess is he probably will seek for an opportunity of that.

But they've set this up as a statement about the Supreme Court, which shows me exactly they want to be on the contrast with Trump every day. They don't want to be talking about Joe Biden, not about his debate performance, not about anything related to just Joe Biden alone. They want the president to be on contrast with Trump day in and day out.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And let's see if he's on prompter. Let's see if he's just extemporaneous. Let's see, as David was pointing out, if he takes questions, because the questions may not just be about the Supreme Court decision. They're going to be about him and how he handles those questions off-the-cuff and what he has to say about Democrats who say that he ought to leave the race.

I mean, those are questions I think he needs to answer head on and we haven't heard anything from him other than off a teleprompter after the debate.

BROWN: I think you make a key point about the controlled environment, right, making remarks at the White House, presumably in front of a teleprompter. Will he take questions? We don't know. How pivotal of a moment is this for Joe Biden to change the narrative given the wins for Donald Trump at the Supreme Court and Biden's political weakness?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. I think it's just going to be difficult to change the narrative with one single appearance. I mean, this is going to be a months-long effort of theirs. 50 million people were watching that debate on Thursday night. You can't just easily reverse that. You know, a lot of the blame has been pointed at the media or at pundits or podcasters, I believe is one of them, but 50 million people voters watched that debate on Thursday night and got to see President Biden for themselves.

So, I do think David makes a key point that it's in how voters see him and how they take what they believe in assess of his performance and how he does. There is a key distinction when he's on prompter and when he's not, it's being able to speak off-the-cuff in that manner.

And that is what his allies have been encouraging him to do more. I mean, President Biden is very often, if you cover him, you know, in a bubble sometimes with his staff and with his aides. And a lot of his closest allies have always kind of Brushed back against that and asked why they were so protective of him and said, he should be doing more press conferences and interviews and moments with reporters because some of his allies believe that's when he's at his best.

Obviously, in light of Thursday night, they have a real crisis point to address that.


Everyone in the White House, I think, understands that.

BORGER: During the last campaign, the staff was always saying, let's put him in town halls, because he's so good at town halls. Remember that?

COLLINS: Interacting with voters.

BORGER: In 2020, that was the thing. And they put him in plenty of town halls. We haven't seen that lately.

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And, Pamela, I think we see why they have not put the president before interviews, before adversarial journalists, before more town halls. We saw it Thursday night. And I think Democrats are walking on thin ice here, and the ice is cracking beneath their feet, and they don't appear to realize it. We continue to hear people that are saying, well, the president's fine. He's working hard every single day. And now we have reporting that the president only works from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Well, the president of the United States is a 24/7 commitment.

And so while the president's going to make comments about the former president and what just came down from the Supreme Court, the American people actually want to know that the president is capable not only of currently leading the country forward, but is he really up to the task for another four years, where a whole host of people saying they don't think so? And that's a real problem for Democrats.

COLLINS: Well, and a key thing also is Biden often is very frank and blunt when he's in front of donors, when he does these fundraisers, and that's what he did this weekend. That's when he was candid in his assessment of, of his debate performance. The first lady, Jill Biden, was as well, talking about their conversation that they had on Friday night at a congressional Democrats fundraiser. And so that's another thing. Is he like that on camera? If he does take a question from a reporter, does he also offer that assessment to where everyone can see? And he's saying, yes, I had a bad night, but here's what's going to be different. I do think that will be a key thing to watch.

I'm not totally sure he'll take a question, though. Biden doesn't always take questions, I mean, or at least his staff doesn't always want him to. Sometimes reporters shout questions and he will respond. BORGER: But that'll become a thing, right?

BROWN: Well, I mean, we're all going to be watching for every little thing, right? Kate Bedingfield, I want to bring you in. As Kaitlan noted, maybe sometimes the staff doesn't want to take questions. Perhaps you were, you're one of those staffers back when you were covering -- you know, you were working for the White House. I want to get your take on this. Because we keep hearing publicly from the Democrats who are coming out to support Biden, this was just one bad night. This was just one bad night. Was it really just one bad night?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it was. I think it was admittedly a very bad night, but it was one bad night. And I think that Biden's task now is to go out to -- I think it's smart for him to do this tonight to both drive the conversation back to Trump. I mean, by the way, we had a really monumental decision handed down from the Supreme Court today that really illustrates what's at stake in this election, given that we have Donald Trump running for the Republican nomination, who has been very clear that he intends to use the office of the presidency for retribution and his own political gain.

So, the stakes here, I think, are enormously high, and it's smart for President Biden to come back, drive the message back to Donald Trump and to what's at stake in this election. And then, look, I'm of the mindset he should take a question tonight. He should have a snappy, good response, take a question, you know, show people that he's engaged, that he's loose. I would argue he shouldn't do a long, extended press conference tonight that will ultimately wind up being about him. He wants to drive the message back to Donald Trump. And so from a strategic communications perspective, that's what he should do.

But I'd argue he should take a question and then and then head out, show people that he's engaged, that he's comfortable and I think that will go a long way.

BROWN: All right. Thank you so much, by the way, I appreciate the dog's feedback in the background. I really wanted to get in there. I know. We need a dog on the panel.

All right, thank you all so much. Just ahead, we're going to dig into the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Donald Trump has some immunity from criminal prosecution and the January 6th case, the implications for Trump and the presidency, up next.



BROWN: Breaking news, President Biden is preparing to deliver remarks on today's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that presidents have absolute immunity for official acts. The ruling shielding Donald Trump from criminal prosecution for some, but not all, actions related to the federal election subversion case.

CNN Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid has more on the high- stakes opinion and what happens next.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Presidents have to be given total immunity. They have to be allowed to do their job.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Supreme Court partially siding with former President Donald Trump in his ongoing January 6th case, ruling that former presidents are entitled to some immunity from prosecution for official actions but not for private conduct.

In the 6-3 opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority, at least with respect to the president's exercise of his core constitutional powers, this immunity must be absolute. The president enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the president does is official. The president is not above the law.

The high court, though, leaving it up to lower courts to determine which actions are official and, therefore, immune. Roberts writing, other allegations, such as those involving Trump's interactions with the vice president, state officials, and certain private parties, and his comments to the general public, present more difficult questions, meaning District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing Trump's January 6th case, will need to decide whether Trump's pressure campaign to get Vice President Pence --

TRUMP: If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.

REID: -- Georgia state officials --

TRUMP: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more that we have, because we won the state.

REID: -- and others to overturn the 2020 election results were official acts.

Trump celebrating the decision on social media, posting big win for our Constitution and democracy. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting from the majority opinion, writing, the relationship between the president and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law, something she and other liberal justices warned about during oral arguments in April.

JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I'm trying to understand what the disincentive is from turning the Oval Office into the seat of criminal activity in this country.


REID: The decision today likely to hamstring Special Counsel Jack Smith's election subversion case.

JACK SMITH, SPECIAL COUNSEL: Charging Donald J. Trump with conspiring to defraud the United States.

REID: Roberts making clear in his majority opinion that Trump's discussions with Justice Department officials and his official conversations with the then-vice president are immune. And in another blow for Smith, Roberts says Trump's official acts cannot be considered even as evidence at trial, a trial in this case, though, now highly unlikely before the November election.


REID (on camera): Now, President Biden is, of course, not a party to this case. The special counsel operates mostly independent of the Justice Department, but the White House today seizing on this opinion, spinning it politically as a reason that Biden should be re-elected, because they say he respects the rule of law and won't tear it down.

Now, as for Trump, he and his lawyers will spend the next few months using this opinion to attack the criminal cases that he's facing, including his conviction in New York. Pamela, it's unclear how successful they will be, but at this point, it appears unlikely he will face another criminal trial before November.

BROWN: All right. Paul Reid, thanks so much.

Let's bring in our legal and political experts on this. Elliot, to you first? Lay it out for us. How does this ruling impact the power of the presidency? Why should every single American at home care about this?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is much harder to hold a president accountable for misconduct right now than it was 12 hours ago, and that's a simple fact. I think that the issue here is that the court has left more questions than they've answered. And so, for instance, in drawing a distinction, as Paula had talked about, between presumptive immunity and absolute immunity, how do you that distinction? Those questions have to go to a court now to be sorted out.

And when you look at any series of acts that a president engages in, whether it's speaking to his attorney general to pursue prosecutions of opponents, or whether it might be even ginning up electors, could all be deemed official acts. That's confusing. It's going to require months, if not years, of litigation to sort out. But the simple fact, as Justice Sotomayor speaks about a little bit in strong terms, far stronger than I would use in her dissent, that it is just much harder, if not impossible to hold the president criminally accountable now.

BROWN: And we have a quote right here in the dissent that she wrote, saying when he uses his official powers in any way under the majority's reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution. Orders the Navy SEALs Team Six to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold on to power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune, immune, immune, immune. Is that how you read the decision?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I respectfully dissent from that. BROWN: Okay.

HONIG: I don't think that's the case, because I don't see any court, I don't see Justice Sotomayor, saying that ordering a hit on your political opponent through SEAL Team Six is an official act. I think she's right to raise the concern. I think this decision does open up a lot of unknowns, a lot of very weighty, important unknowns. But the key question here is, is it an official act or not? How could any judge or justice realistically say any of those things fall into the realm of official act?

So, I think it's a little bit alarmist, I think it's a little bit hyperbolic what Justice Sotomayor is saying, but I understand the frustration. I understand the warning bell that she's sounding.

WILLIAMS: We can chuckle about how absurd the hypothetical is, but the simple fact is, as a matter of common sense, of course, the president is not immune from that, but that now has to be a matter of litigation. No one can say for certainty, Justice Sotomayor can't, the majority can't say for certainty that necessarily it is an improper act to order a drone strike on an opponent. That's the challenge.

COLLINS: Attorney General Bill Barr was weighing in, who obviously has been highly critical of Donald Trump, though he said he's still voting for him in November, and he was saying, you know, for example, receiving a bribe as president would be illegal, that you don't have the authority to receive a bribe, so saying that that example, he believed, was too farfetched there.

The other interesting part of this, and why the Trump team is viewing this, is not only they didn't get what Trump has been arguing that he had, which is full immunity, but they got more than what they argued for, even in court with the presumptive immunity decision, the kind of three buckets that they put them in. But the other thing that Chief Justice John Roberts noted in this opinion today that could be very important to the case here in Washington is saying that the official acts, what it does count as an official act cannot be used to bolster accusations related to unofficial acts.

That's incredibly important. Because if they decide that what Trump said during the January 6th speech on The Ellipse before the rioters broke into the Capitol on January 6th can't be used to overall prosecute his case and to speak to his mindset, that can really hamper the special counsel in how they're going to ultimately argue this case.

CHALIAN: Which begs the question, and I defer to the lawyers on this, if Jack Smith has to make a move here before things get adjudicated in court in any way, do we hear some revision of the indictment in some way, or is that not likely to be the case?


HONIG: Yes. So, this aspect of the ruling really shocked me. The court, we knew, it was not a big shock to see the court say, well, official acts, you're immune. But what I couldn't believe is they said, but you can't even use an official act as a piece of evidence. I mean, you have to tell a story as a prosecutor.

For example, the Supreme Court said, almost certainly, Donald Trump's efforts to infiltrate DOJ, to weaponize DOJ in relation to the 2020 election, those are official acts. And not only can you not charge them, you can't even mention them as evidence. How do you tell the story? There's a big hole in the middle of the story now.

So, Jack Smith Has to decide either, A, do I just release some of this stuff and say, I'm not going to use it anymore as evidence, or, B, does he fight for it with Judge Chutkan? But Amy Coney Barrett, actually in her concurrence, is with me on or I'm with her on this. Let me be respectful of the office (ph). That would never happen. But she says that it's too much, that you should still be able to introduce evidence even if it's not charged.

WILLIAMS: Think of an even more down to Earth example. The former president was prosecuted in New York City with some of the evidence in the trial being a conversation with Hope Hicks, a senior White House staffer.

Now, one can make an argument that any conversation with senior White House staff counts as an official act of the presidency. So, now do prosecutors in New York have to reopen that prosecution? Certainly, and we've talked about it earlier today, certainly, the defense attorneys there will move to --

CHALIAN: Yes, the Trump team, without a doubt. But I just want to go back to the Sotomayor dissent for a moment, because your point that it may be a bit over the top and what have you. I think apart from the legal, it serves a political purpose here. I think she probably put in that very strong language to sort of ring the alarm bell to Democrats to rally around this.

This is why I also think you're seeing President Biden address the American people tonight on this case. Do I think this is going to have the same kind of rallying effect for Democrats that the Dobbs decision did of overturning 50 years of precedent? No, I do not, politically. But I do think that Democrats see an opportunity. I think Sotomayor was sort of painting a path for them here to rally around this notion of this totally unaccountable, not just any president, but specifically Donald Trump as a rallying cry for Democrats in this election season.

WILLIAMS: Speaking of politics, you know, look, the solution is Congress, the political body of government, could, with the stroke of a pen, fix all of this. The simple fact, though, is that Congress is a polarized, broken institution that, in practice, is not going to.

COLLINS: Even though Senator Mitch McConnell, after Donald Trump's second impeachment, said this is actually where Donald Trump should be held accountable in the courts. Of course, now the Supreme Court has issued this ruling that is going to make that that much more difficult.

BROWN: All right. You guys came with a lot to say. Thank you so much. Be sure to tune into The Source on CNN at 9:00 P.M. for more reporting from Kaitlan Collins, because she still needs more work to do today. She hasn't been working hard enough.

All right, coming up, we're going to have more on President Biden's race to save his campaign. Democratic Senator John Fetterman is standing by to join me in The Situation Room. We'll be right back.



BROWN: We're awaiting remarks from President Biden on the Supreme Court's landmark ruling today on Donald Trump's immunity from prosecution, this as the president scrambles to shore up support from Democrats after last week's debate with Donald Trump set off alarm bells inside the party.

Joining us now, Democratic Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania. Thank you for coming on, Senator. I first want to get to what we're learning tonight about President Biden speaking from the White House in the wake of this crucial ruling from the Supreme Court. This will be a controlled environment. President Biden could very well be using a teleprompter tonight. We don't know if he's going to take questions. Given that, do you think this will do anything to temper the fears about his fitness many Democrats and members of the public, frankly, are expressing?

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Well, I don't think one debate really means too much. I don't think a press conference or anything really means much. You know, Joe Biden has a career of 50 years in public service. He has been a great president. He has done a lot of great things, you know, against a credibly bad situation, whether it's the pandemic or whether it's the economy and all of those other issues, inflation and all those things, and the president has done a great job.

So, I don't think one kinds of a press conference or anything's going to change much and I'm proud to be a Joe Biden all-in kind of guy. And I don't think it's going to change much one way or the other.

BROWN: So, you're saying that this was just one night, it's not going to change much one way or the other. But I want to get your reaction in light of what you just said to this brand new poll conducted after the CNN debate. It says 72 percent of registered voters think Biden doesn't have the mental or cognitive health to serve as president and equal numbers say he shouldn't be running for president. You're strongly supporting President Biden, as you just pointed out. So why are almost three quarters of voters wrong here?

FETTERMAN: Yes. Well, polls are just a number that doesn't really determine the election as well. And those numbers are going to -- it's going to change one way or the other. Polls predicted me I was going to lose by two points and I won by a historic margin of five points as well. You know, Joe Biden understands that it wasn't his best night in the debate. But Joe Biden has made his case over the last four years and things (ph). That debate is not some kind of defining thing anymore than I've said that Trump being convicted is a defining kind of situation. That's the way the Republican wants as well, too. And that's why the Democrats have Joe Biden and that's not something we should apologize for or try to explain. I'm very proud to be a Joe Biden guy.

BROWN: And you say, you know, one night's not going to be a defining thing. We should note, according to this poll, 65 percent of those registered voters expressed concern about President Biden's mental and cognitive health before the debate. Now, it is 72 percent. So, there was already concerned before.

And you mentioned the polling, you know, that you were going to lose and you won, you know?


It should be noted for our viewers and to remind our viewers that you had a tough debate, right? You had a stroke and so forth. And I wonder if your personal experience of voters being able to look past what you went through, if that is kind of giving you more compassion for President Biden in this case.

FETTERMAN: Well, here's things that's true. Joe Biden has been a great president. You know, Joe Biden, he beat Trump in 2020, and that last conversation you had last segment, you were talking about all the legal kinds of problems. You know, I'm not really worried about that ruling today. I'm not actually surprised by it given the makeup of the Supreme Court. But stop -- you know, don't elect, you know, criminals. And then it's not really an issue you have to be worried about. And you don't have to worry about with Joe Biden. And Joe Biden is our guy. And it's going to be a stark choice, you know, Joe Biden or Donald Trump. It's going to be close.

I've been saying that same thing for the last eight years, you know, Trump or Clinton, Trump-Biden in 2020, or the same thing again in '24, it's going to be close, and I do believe Joe Biden is going to win. And like I said, it's not going to be easy. But I don't understand why there's other Democrats losing their minds over this and this. It's -- one debate does not define anyone. As I said, my own personal experience have proven that's just not appropriate.

BROWN: Right. We should note, though there is a difference between, you know, a man in his 50s, as you were suffering from a health issue, which voters have an expectation you would recover from, versus age, and this situation with President Biden, he would be 82 if he would be re-elected, 86 at the end of that another four years. And you have people like Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin saying, there have been very honest and serious conversations happening within the Democratic Party following Biden's debate performance. What do you know about those conversations? Do you think those conversations should be happening? FETTERMAN: I'm a gigantic fan of Representative Raskin. Just in that situation, I don't necessarily agree with some of those views on that. You know, I have disagreed with Joe Biden often, whether it was the Israel war or whether that is with the border. I made that that's a major issue here. And just if I didn't believe exactly what I'm saying right now, I wouldn't be on your show right now talking about that.

And let me just say this too. If you think you're a friend of the president there, that you're -- you know, you don't say that, you know, on national television, or you don't put that in the nation's biggest paper. You reach out in private. But if Joe Biden doesn't call you up and ask your opinion, you know, then maybe you're not the kind of close friend that you might think you are. But Joe Biden has the right, and he's earned that right to have his support, and he's been a great president throughout all that. I would take Joe Biden any day over the kind of a terrible president who's now demonstrated he's immune to all the criminal behavior that he is now up to trial for now.

But it comes down to that choice that we have right now in November. Whose side are you, chaos and revenge or a good president who's done a good job? And it's going to take our nation in the right direction.

BROWN: All right. Senator John Fetterman, thank you so much for coming on.

FETTERMAN: All right, thank you for having me. Just ahead, a former member of the January 6th House Select Committee weighs in on the Supreme Court's immunity ruling and its impact on the prosecution of Donald Trump.



BROWN: We are standing by for President Biden to speak on the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Donald Trump has limited immunity in the January 6th federal criminal case.

Joining us now, a former member of the January 6th House Select Committee, Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California. What does the president need to say tonight, do tonight, not just about the Supreme Court ruling, but to reassure Americans that he is fit to be president? And do you think he needs to take reporters' questions?

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, I, you know, I don't know what he needs to do because the decision really is radical. It's extreme. And I think he probably needs to explain why that's the case. I'm sure he'd like to take questions. I'd like to hear that as well. But I think the focus ought to be on Donald Trump and what this means for the rule of law.

I mean, basically, the court, while saying it was limited immunity, in fact, said for the core functions of the presidency was absolute immunity. And, for example, core functions are acting as the commander-in-chief, making appointments, pardoning, and they cannot be questioned in any way. So, I mean, that's radical. That's extreme. It's a big departure from historical norms.

And I know people have criticized Justice Sotomayor for saying, you know, SEAL Team Six. But if you take the majority's opinion at face value, they said, if a president acts with his core duties as commander-in-chief, nothing he does can be questioned. He has absolute immunity.

BROWN: I want to ask you because, you know, what you're laying out, the argument you're laying out is that this just shows how high the stakes are when it comes to Donald Trump getting re-elected. What do you say, though, to Democrats who say because those stakes are so high, that is why we need another Democratic nominee, especially in the wake of last week's debate? You have a new CBS poll out today that says 72 percent of registered voters believe he is not mentally fit for office, that that is why. What do you say to that?

LOFGREN: Well, I mean, obviously that was a bad debate. There's no question about that. But it was a bad debate for Donald Trump as well. Here's a guy who lied every time his lips moved, who refused to say that he would accept the results of the election, who said that the January 6th insurrection was really nothing, who, I mean, basically upended the Constitution and rule of law in his comments. That was radical.

He's the guy who ought to step down from the race.


It's really terrifying.

BROWN: And as you well know, it's public perception, right? It's public perception. It's the reaction I'm sure.


BROWN: And, you know, you even have your colleague, Congressman Jamie Raskin saying, there are, quote, honest, serious, and rigorous conversations happening at your party right now about President Biden's future and a lot of those conversations have to do with Donald Trump and, hey, do we have the right guy to beat Donald Trump?

What are those conversations like? Bring us in if you could, and privately have you worked in the Democratic if support for Biden leaving the race?

LOFGREN: I've not been involved in any such conversations, but I'll say this, President Biden has accumulated the delegates to be nominated at the convention and I think the only way that that would change would be if he decided that he didn't want to proceed, and I see no evidence of that.

He's been a good president. He had a bad debate, but that doesn't undercut the fact that he's done a lot as president and especially if you contrast his decency and his agenda that focuses on the well-being of the American public, with Trump who really is a radical, who says that he intends to terminate parts of the Constitution whose focus totally on himself. I don't think its a close call, honestly.

BROWN: All right. Representative Zoe Lofgren, thank you.

LOFGREN: Thank you.

BROWN: Coming up, Steve Bannon boasts about his power as he reports to prison, unable to delay his contempt of Congress sentence any longer.



BROWN: This hour, Steve Bannon is behind bars. The former Trump strategist and MAGA firebrand reported to a federal prison today, beginning his four months sentence for defying a congressional subpoena.

CNN's Kara Scannell is outside the prison in Connecticut.

Kara, Steve Bannon, unsurprisingly I guess, was defiant today.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was, and he was defiant and he was rolling up the handful of supporters that were standing here outside the prison before Bannon went in, revving them up with these parting words.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIST: It's Nancy Pelosi and Merrick Garland. That may be a martyr, right? But martyrs die, and I'm far from dead, baby. And this right here --


SCANNELL: Now, Bannon said that he had no regrets about define this congressional subpoenas, saying that he's prepared to serve the four months here behind in bars.

Now, once inside Bannon's treated just like any other inmate. He went through a metal detector, he was stripped surge and he was assigned to his housing. I mean, this political firebrand who produces this podcast, was going live from outside the prison before he went in. His communications will be severely limited inside will be limited to a certain number of hours of telephone calls a month, and his email communications will be monitor.

Now, Pam, this is not the end of Bannon's legal troubles. He is also facing criminal charges in New York for allegedly defrauding donors in an effort to build a wall along the U.S. Mexico border. He is expected to go to trial in that case later this year -- Pam.

BROWN: All right. Kara Scannell, thanks so much for bringing us the latest there.

And coming up, we're going to take a closer look at President Biden's inner circle. The close-knit group of family and advisers who could help make or break his political future.



BROWN: Breaking news, President Biden just landed here in Washington after a weekend away at Camp David, weighing his political future following last week's debate against Donald Trump.

Our Brian Todd is taking a closer look at the president's inner circle of family and advisers.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The people hunkering down with Joe Biden right now, who have, according to CNN sources, encouraged the president to stay in the race despite a poor debate performance are a tightly knit, fiercely loyal, and surprisingly small group of confidence.

PROF. LARRY SABATO, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: For such an outgoing politician. Biden really does have a very small group of people. He relies on for the most important things.

TODD: Closest to the president among his inner circle, his wife of 47 years, Jill Biden.

HANS NICHOLS, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: She has a lot of sway. The president trusts her implicitly, and they talk about a lot of issues. She gives the president political advice, but also gives him just broader advice.

TODD: The only other person who comes close to Jill Biden when it comes to having his trust analysts say his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, three years younger than the president, who was involved in Biden's earliest presidential campaigns and helped him raise his two young sons after his first wife and their daughter were killed in a car crash.

NICHOLS: Crucially, she can tell the president like, I imagine, most sisters can tell the president when he's doing something that might not be in his best interest, or frankly boneheaded.

TODD: Outside the immediate family, longtime Biden friend and steady adviser Ted Kaufman, is believed to hold a great deal of influence.

SABATO: Ted Kaufman, remember, was his chief of staff for many, many years and got Biden Senate seat when he resigned to become vice president. Ted Kaufman was in his mid 80s. So I'm not sure he thinks of the president as his meal ticket.

TODD: There's also Anita Dunn, senior advisor to the president, a longtime Democratic strategist, who said to have a keen sense of the political winds.

NICHOLS: Anita inside that room has a great deal sway especially on where the president should be spending his time, how she'd be spending his time, and what states he's going to visit.

TODD: Ron Klain, who served as Biden's chief of staff when he was vice president, and in the same capacity during the first two years of Biden's presidency and Mike Donilon, a top political strategist, are also part of the Biden brain trust.

Could the president be considering a staff shakeup after his debate performance?

SABATO: They were the people surrounding him at Camp David preparing for the debate. So I guess it's possible he has a little less confidence in them now than he did a week or so ago.

TODD: Still, analysts say the president's loyalty to his inner circle might well remain steadfast.

NICHOLS: One thing that happens in Biden land as he get yelled out a lot, but you don't necessarily get fired.


TODD (on camera): Are there any signs of fractures among members of President Biden's inner circle?

Analyst Hans Nichols says at the moment, there are no outward signs that there are, but he says that will be one of the crucial developments that political operatives and journalists will be looking for as we head toward the Democratic National Convention in august -- Pamela. It will be in a couple of months ahead.

BROWN: All right. Thank you so much. All right. Brian Todd, thanks so much for that.

I'm Pamela Brown in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Thanks very much for watching. We'll be back here tomorrow night.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.