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The Situation Room

White House On Post-Debate Defense Amid Barrage Of Questions About Biden; New Poll Shows Biden Approval At New Low, Race With Trump Unchanged; Trump Hush Money Sentencing Delayed Until September; Biden Blames Poor Debate Performance On Grueling Travel Schedule; Rudy Giuliani Disbarred In New York Over Election Interference Efforts. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 02, 2024 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Later, Foxx pointed to his head and said a doctor told him, quote, something was going on up there, unquote. Foxx then said he didn't want to say what it was on camera. Jamie Foxx has still not publicly said what exactly caused his hospitalization, but, of course, we're all glad he's feeling better.

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

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, the White House goes on defense amid a barrage of questions about President Biden's border bay performance and whether he should step aside from his high- stakes rematch with Donald Trump. The Democratic governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, joins us with his take on this controversy and whether he's open to being drafted for the ticket.

Also tonight, CNN's exclusive new poll gauges President Biden standing after the debate, finding his approval rating at a new low while his race with Trump is unchanged.

And more breaking news tonight, Donald Trump's sentencing for his criminal conviction and the Hush Money case has been delayed, the legal landscape changing after the Supreme Court's historic immunity ruling.

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

And let's get right to the breaking news. Team Biden ramping up its defense of the president and his leadership as Democrats anxiety about his debate performance is reaching a new low. CNN's M.J. Lee has more from the White House.


M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, the Democratic firewall around President Joe Biden is beginning to fracture, Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett becoming the first Democratic lawmaker to publicly call on Biden to withdraw from the 2024 election following last week's poor debate performance. The congressman saying in a statement, President Biden's first commitment has always been to our country, not himself. I'm hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw.

Today, the White House facing a barrage of questions about the president's debate performance.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was a bad night. He was not taking any cold medication. That is what I can speak to. I've asked his doctor, and that's what he stated to us.

LEE: And urged to release more medical records.

JEAN-PIERRE: We have released thorough reports from his medical team every year since he's been in office.

LEE: The White House press secretary digging in and saying Biden's accomplishments speak volumes.

JEAN-PIERRE: With age comes wisdom and experience.

LEE: Other Democrats beginning to publicly express concern that the president could hurt candidates in down ballot races.

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): It's his decision. I just want him to appreciate at this time just how much it impacts not just his race, but all the other races coming in November.

LEE: As Republicans are ready to pounce on Biden's debate showing to attack their Democratic opponents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a lot of confidence in his leadership.

LEE: Even the president's most staunch defenders giving credence to the flurry of questions about his health.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He has a vision. He has knowledge. He has judgment. He has a strategic thinking and the rest. He has a bad night. Now, again, I think it's a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition.

LEE: New CNN polling showing no immediate damage from Biden's halting debate performance, the president trailing Donald Trump by six points, 43 percent to 49 percent, the same numbers as April. But Biden's approval ratings declining to a new low, with just 36 percent of Americans approving of his job performance. And in a hypothetical matchup, Vice President Kamala Harris is polling better against the former president. She is within striking distance, 45 percent to 47 percent.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): I will support her. if he were to step aside.

LEE: Some prominent Biden supporters also expressing support for Harris, but insisting for now that the president remain at the top of the ticket.

CLYBURN: I want this ticket to continue to be Biden-Harris. And then we'll see what happens after the next election.


LEE (on camera): And there are many questions swirling about Vice President Kamala Harris right now, particularly given that CNN poll showing that she is within striking distance of Donald Trump. And the vice president just made these comments about the 2024 race to CBS News. Take a listen.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Look, Joe Biden is our nominee. We beat Trump once and we're going to beat him again, period.

REPORTER: Are you ready to lead the country if necessary?

HARRIS: I am proud to be Joe Biden's running mate.



LEE (on camera): And the president himself will have an opportunity to try to prove the critics wrong on Friday when he sits down for an extended interview with ABC News. He is currently headed to a fundraiser in McLean, Virginia, and so we are about to learn how he addresses concerns about his age and his health to donors in this setting, many of whom of course are very nervous after last week's debate. Pam?

BROWN: All right. M.J. Lee, thank you so much.

Well, the White House also is expected to hold a meeting tomorrow with Democratic governors as part of its post-debate damage control. Joining us now, the Democratic governor of Kentucky, my home state, Andy Beshear. Governor, thank you for making time. We appreciate it.

Let me ask you, do you accept this explanation from the White House just today that the president had a cold and it was just a bad night for him during the debate?

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): Well, first the president has been very good to both me and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He provided the largest infrastructure grant in our history, which is helping us build the Brent Spence Companion Bridge, something multiple presidents have promised but only he's delivering. The bead money is going to help us to connect every home and every business to high speed internet. And we've used about a half a billion dollars in ARPA money to bring clean drinking water to places that have never had it.

I think we've all, though, got to be upfront and honest that what we saw in the debate, it was rough. It's a rough night and regardless of polls that you see it, it's going to hurt the campaign. But 34 felony convictions certainly hurt former President Trump's campaign. And the idea of an angry or even a vengeful president is very concerning and is something that we should not allow to happen.

BROWN: There are some though that argue in your own party that because of what you just pointed out about Donald Trump and their concern about here and how high the stakes are, that there should be serious consideration of someone else leading the Democratic Party, another nominee, and that should not be Joe Biden. What do you say to that? Do you agree? You just had a Democratic representative today saying Biden should step aside. What do you say?

BESHEAR: Well, Joe Biden is our nominee, and, and ultimately that decision on continuing or not will fall to him and his family. But I don't think that there's anything wrong with asking the president to talk to the American people a little bit more about his health or that debate performance. In many ways, and in our terms, it's like seeing somebody that you haven't seen in a while, and they seem a little off. And you asking how they're doing and then listening to their answer is both showing concern for them but also just trying to make sure that things are okay.

BROWN: Then on that note, do you think the White House should have been more forthcoming not just before the debate, so it wasn't such a surprise when he showed up on that debate stage, but also even after, as you know, that's it's sticking to the -- it was just a bad night, he had a cold? So, the before and then the after, do you want to see the White House to be, you know, more forthcoming right now, including President Biden?

BESHEAR: Well, Pamela, as you know, we're from Kentucky. We're from the South. When you see somebody, one of the first things you ask is, how are you doing? And oftentimes we get way too much information in that response. It's something that we are used to talking about. That's part of our culture. So, I don't think it's an attack on the White House or an attack on the president, who is a good man and a nice man, to just say, tell us a little bit more about how you're doing.

I think the American people would respond positively to it and the president has formed a relationship of empathy and of direct communication to the American people. So, I think it would be a wise decision in whatever way they would choose to just address it directly and straightforward. He's the president of the United States. If people have those questions, it'd be great for him to answer them directly.

BROWN: You have Nancy Pelosi saying, we have to figure out if this was just an episode or a condition. She also said that both Biden and Trump should take cognitive tests. Where do you stand on that? Do you think that there should be some sort of cognitive test for both candidates, but for Biden in this context, in the, in light of what happened in the debate and the concerns among Americans? And are you concerned that, that it was more than just a bad night?

BESHEAR: Well, when I think about some of those questions that people ask, and when they talk about age, I think about both of these candidates being the age of grandparents. And those of us with kids, mine are a little bit older now, it really comes down to a simple question. If you've got two separate grandparents that you can leave your kids with, one is kind and has been good to them, maybe stiffer, may have had a bad debate, and one is angry and talks about getting revenge on people, who are you going to trust your kids with?


And should we entrust the country with any less?

BROWN: We should note that allies of Vice President Harris are floating your name as a potential running made option for her if the president were to bow out. Your name has also come up as a potential nominee if Biden steps aside. What do you say to that?

BESHEAR: President Biden is our nominee and I don't want to speculate. I've got a good relationship with the vice president. She is a good person. I've been happy to work with her on a number of initiatives, including decriminalizing marijuana. Who would have ever thought on their bingo card you'd end up with the vice president, the governor of Kentucky and Fat Joe at an event in the White House pushing for something that needs to happen?

Now, my name coming up, it's flattering as a person to hear, but I think it's more about the good things going on in Kentucky. We've lowered the temperature. We have Democrats and Republicans working together. We have record job growth, record exports, record tourism. We've seen low recidivism. We've seen our drug overdose deaths go down two years in a row, which means we're taking care of our people better. And so while it's nice to hear your name in things like that, I'm just proud of what we have done as a state. And the president and the vice president have been very helpful in making a lot of that happen.

BROWN: And you talk about, you know, how the president has been helpful over the last several years while he's been at the White House. I think it's more about the next four years. Does he have the mental and physical fitness to actually, you know, do the job, this very demanding high pressure job? It sounds like, and from our reporting indicates a lot of Democrats have expressed that concern. Can he? Is that something that you want the president to address during tomorrow's meeting with governors? What exactly do you want to hear from him? What do you want to ask him directly?

BESHEAR: Well, I think the, the governors just want a direct and candid conversation with the president. We want to make sure he's doing okay. We all know him. He has formed a personal relationship with us, and he says he is, and we take him at his word. But it's always good to see somebody in person. I think we also want to talk about strategy.

When governors get out there, we put our own credibility and brands on the line. We are more directly connected to the voters in our area than many other elected officials who maybe have to go to Washington a lot of the week. We're here every day. And so I think that these governors who want to be helpful just want to make sure when they're talking one-on-one with people in our communities, that we are giving them accurate and reliable information, because as a governor, your credibility is so key to getting different things done.

BROWN: But it sounds like, Governor, there's not a lot of satisfaction among your colleagues about what the White House has been providing to date in terms of how the president is doing and what happened at that debate. Is that, is that fair?

BESHEAR: Well, I think governors like to be included. I think we like to be heard. And I think given that each of us lead a state, we like to be at the table. So, I think people want to ask questions. They want to listen and they want to offer advice. And that's part of being a governor. But I think they're also very vested in this election. They recognize that we can't allow someone to become president that overturned Roe v. Wade, that claims that they are for -- he claims that he is for exceptions for rape and incest, but then he leaves it to the states, which, Pamela, means my state, our people, those individuals who have been violated and suffered the worst of the worst have no options. I think if you are truly for that, you're for a federal law that will protect individuals that have been violently assaulted everywhere, regardless of the state they live in.

BROWN: Governor Andy Beshear, thank you very much for your time.

BESHEAR: Thank you.

BROWN: And just ahead, our political experts react to what we just heard from the governor, as well as the other headlines from the 2024 race and President Biden's future.



BROWN: More now on our top story, the White House is trying to fend off growing doubts about President Biden amid calls for him to step aside from his re-election campaign, this as The New York Times reports the president's lapses have become increasingly common behind the scenes as well.

David Sanger of The New York Times is joining us now. You have some reporting out that really sheds light on what's been going on behind the scenes. You're kind of piercing that bubble as it pertains to President Biden. And I want to read part of your New York new reporting, quote, asked if one could imagine putting Mr. Biden into the same room with President Vladimir Putin of Russia today, a former U.S. official who had helped prepare for the trip went silent for a while, then said, I just don't know. A former senior European official answered the same question by saying flatly, no. I mean, that is devastating. This directly speaks to concerns about President Biden's ability to actually do the job of president. DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Pamela, this story, which was written by most of the members of our White House team, in fact, I think all of them, and a good number of people from reporters around the world who've encountered the president in the past few months really tried to go focus, as you can imagine, on whether or not this is really a one-off event, as the White House says, or whether there's been a pattern here.

And that's one of the reasons that we asked that question about Putin. In memory, it was only three years ago this month that President Biden and President Putin had their one meeting was before the invasion of Ukraine was in Geneva. I was covering it for the Times. It was mostly about the colonial pipeline hack that had happened in the United States led by a Russian group, and the president needed to warn Putin about the dangers of letting this continue to go on.


And so, you know, I think it was a reasonable thing to ask, would you have that kind of encounter again today? And I think the hesitance is sort of telling.

BROWN: And we should also note there were other anecdotes in your reporting about how officials around President Biden said he was very strong as commander-in-chief as it pertained to issues dealing with Iran and Netanyahu and he was very firm on the phone with Netanyahu as well. We have to leave it there, but, David Sanger, your reporting is excellent in helping us better understand what's going on behind the scenes. Thank you so much.

I want to bring in our political experts. They are joining us now. David Chalian, first to you. First, I'd like to get your reaction to my interview with Governor Beshear of Kentucky.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It was an astonishingly honest interview, I thought, coming from a Democratic ally of this White House. Obviously, he wasn't calling on Biden to step down, but he was clear that the questions being asked in Governor Beshear's mind are totally valid questions to be asked right now.

He was also quite clear, he said, you can cite whatever polls you want, anybody that tells you that that debate performance didn't damage the president's campaign is wrong irrespective of the polls. Thank you. He said that they, the Democratic governors that are going to meet with the president, they want to check in and see if he's okay.

I mean, those are just not welcome words to a White House, as you heard from the press secretary today, which is scrambling to try and turn the page from this. You just heard a Democratic governor from a red state, no less, you know, the kind of Democrat that wins in places Democrats haven't been winning, saying we can't turn the page yet. There are questions to be answered.

BROWN: Yes. And it's clearly, it seemed as though, that a lot of the Democratic governors are perhaps unsatisfied with what they're seeing from the White House today. And I thought it was notable when he said, you know, in Kentucky, Pamela, where I'm from, obviously he's the leader of, he said, we say, how are you? Check in. How are you? It seems more like not just a how are you, but how are you? I mean, that is kind of how they're approaching this.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think, as he said, it is a fair question based on the president's performance at the debate, and I think it is the right thing, frankly, that the White House has been working, you know, between talking to allies and talking to donors and talking to electeds to try to, well, connect.

BROWN: But has it been up-to-date? I mean, have they been aggressive enough in doing that?

FINNEY: I don't think we know the answer to that question yet, and here's why, I mean, they are still early on. I mean, it's Tuesday. This happened Thursday, right? And they have a plan that they are executing on. The president's doing this interview with ABC News on Friday. Let's see by the time we get to the weekend. Has it worked? I mean, the American people are the ones who have to tell us whether or not it's working.

But there's one other quick point I want to put in here that nobody seems to understand except for those of us who understand the rules of the Democratic Party. It is not so simple as a swap out. It would throw things into absolute chaos to try to just flip things around, which is why I think a lot of people think this president has earned the right to execute on this plan, to see if he can change public opinion. But I want my Democrats, even Lloyd Doggett, who, frankly, wouldn't even get to vote until the second round of voting based on the rules of our party for the nominee, right.

It would take a lot in terms of the way the rules work, in terms of the delegates, the pledged delegates, the super delegates, the unpledged delegates. And by the way, after that chaos, that person would then have to turn around to the American people and say, hey, trust us, right? You can trust us.

So, I want people to be very mindful about, you know, you can flip this argument either way to also say --

CHALIAN: But, Karen, isn't that the exact risk assessment that Joe Biden, his family, and those closest to him need to actually engage in, the risk assessment of total chaos, a completely sort of unmoored party, just heading into the fall campaign season, trying to figure its way forward with a different nominee, versus a damaged nominee, perhaps who may be able to rehabilitate and turn around, but perhaps not, isn't that the actual risk assessment that the president should be engaging?

BROWN: And are they being honest with themselves about that?

FINNEY: Well, two things. Yes, that's part of the risk assessment that they have to ask themselves. But what I'm saying is, even in that process, that's not a one-week process. That's not a two-week process. That's a much longer process than I think people are recognizing. That's really what I'm saying.

MATT MOWERS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think we're just seeing various stages of grief. After Thursday night, you had a bunch of Democratic strategist saying, well, Joe Biden has to go. Maybe Gretchen Whitmer can take his place. Maybe Andy Beshear could take his place. They then came around to exactly what you're saying, Karen. There are rules around this. It's unlikely that anyone's going to pass over the sitting vice president, let alone the first vice president who happens to be a woman of color of the Democratic Party, to possibly go to another candidate.


So, that's why you're seeing all this talk about Kamala Harris now.

At some point that final stage of grief, they're going to look at the popularity numbers. Yes, there was a new poll today that showed she's doing slightly better against Donald Trump, although still losing, than Joe Biden is, but her favorable ratings are still worse than Joe Biden's right now. That's not a risk the Democratic establishment would want to take. If they did, it would start ticking at a year-and- a-half ago in the beginning of this process, not here in the final hours.

BROWN: And I think the polls also show that the independents, those who haven't decided, would be more likely to go for Kamala Harris than Biden, I believe, on that poll.

FINNEY: But that's today in that four days, five days after a debate. That is not September. Like let's also keep that in mind, too. Let's take a beat here.

BROWN: To take it -- to put it all into perspective. And as you point out, President Biden will be speaking to ABC on Friday. It's notable, though, that his vice president, Kamala Harris, did an interview today, three days before, he's going to be sitting down.

But, everyone, thank you for that, interesting discussion, we appreciate it.

Coming up new details on a major postponement and Donald Trump's money case with the judge significantly delaying the sentencing date of the former president.



BROWN: Breaking news, the judge overseeing Donald Trump's hush money case won't hand down his punishment until the fall. That postponement comes after a landmark Supreme Court ruling threw a wrench into multiple Trump criminal cases.

Our Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid has more.


PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The first fallout from Monday's Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity, Trump's sentencing in the Manhattan hush money case now delayed until September.

TRUMP: This is bigger than Trump. This is bigger than me. This is bigger than my presidency.

REID: Trump's team plans to use the Supreme Court's historic decision granting Trump some immunity from criminal prosecution to attack his recent conviction in New York on 34 counts related to hush money payments to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The only voice that matters is the voice of the jury, and the jury has spoken.

REID: Both sides are now asking to brief the court on how they think the Supreme Court's ruling impacts the New York case. Trump's legal team believes this decision bars evidence related to Trump's official actions.

WILL SCHARF, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: We believe that that corrupts that trial, that that indicates that that jury verdict needs to be overturned. And at the very least, we deserve a new trial where those immune acts will not come into evidence.

REID: The opinion is likely to reverberate in Trump's other criminal cases, too. A source tells CNN his team is confident it will help them gut the federal January 6th case.

TRUMP: We caught a sham indictment.

REID: The high court outlined parameters for presidential immunity and then told the trial court judge, Tanya Chutkan, to decide how that applies to the Trump case, making a trial before the election nearly impossible.

TRUMP: We did nothing wrong at all, and we have every right, every single right, to challenge an election that we think is dishonest.

REID: The decision may also have implications in Georgia. That case is currently paused to determine if D.A. Fani Willis should be disqualified. But if it resumes, the judge would have to go through the same analysis to determine which of Trump's acts were official and therefore immune, like this call to pressure Georgia state election officials.

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

REID: The Trump team is also expected to try to undercut the Mar-a- Lago documents case.

TRUMP: I had every right to have these documents.

REID: A source tells CNN they plan to argue that how classified material ended up at the Florida resort stemmed from official presidential acts.

TRUMP: Whatever documents the president decides to take with him, he has the right to do so. It's an absolute right.


REID (on camera): And it's not clear that Trump will even be sentenced before the November election. In his letter today, Judge Juan Marchan wrote that that sentencing will happen if it's still necessary. Remember, Trump's team is using yesterday's Supreme Court opinion to attack that conviction specifically focusing on pieces of evidence that were introduced at trial. And remember, the judge in this case, he made decisions not to wait for the Supreme Court to rule on immunity and instead allowed that evidence in that could now potentially prompt the need for a new trial. Pamela?

BROWN: All right. Paula Reid, thank you so much.

Let's get more analysis from our legal and political experts. Elie, I want to start with you. Judge Merchan now has to essentially decide the future of the hush money conviction, right, after each side submits their arguments. What will he be weighing? How do you expect him to rule?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Pam, Judge Merchan has a remarkably difficult job ahead. He is about to become the very first judge ever to apply this whole brand new doctrine around presidential immunity, which is all of one day old as we sit here right now.

Here's how things are going to play out over the next couple of weeks. Next week, Donald Trump's team will submit their brief on July 10th. They're going to argue that some of the evidence introduced against Donald Trump at the hush money trial related to conversations and actions Donald Trump took while he was president, therefore, he's immune for that, therefore, that evidence was improper.

The D.A. will then respond two weeks later on the 24th. I think they will argue that those actions were not official actions. They were personal actions. They were political actions. Judge Merchan has said he will decide the case by September 6th. And then if Judge Merchan does not throw the conviction out, he will impose sentence on September 18th.

All things being equal, I think Judge Merchan is unlikely to grant Donald Trump this relief, but it is possible, and if Judge Merchan denies Trump's motion, this will absolutely become an issue that Trump will continue to raise on appeal, which potentially could end up back at the U.S. Supreme Court.

BROWN: Tim, I want to bring you in on this. You, we should note to our viewers, again, that you formerly represented Donald Trump, but Judge Merchan says, this sentencing will happen in September if still necessary. So, how likely is it that Trump could ultimately get his conviction thrown out, in your view?


TIM PARLATORE, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's very unlikely. And, you know, that is standard language that you'd expect the judge to use, so, you know, it doesn't appear that he's prejudged the motion. But, you know, given the Supreme Court's decision and, really, we're talking about an admissibility issue, that if there are certain things that are alleged to be criminal but are in fact immune that that's not something that can be used in a trial for things that are not immune, I think that the reasoning that the Trump team is kind of going for here, at least so far as I can tell, seems to be a bit strained. And so I don't think that the idea that, well, you can't introduce anything that a president ever does while they're president, I think that goes a little bit far.

So, I think that just Merchan is doing the right thing of at least having a hearing. So, he makes sure he has a full record, but the likelihood of success on this is extraordinarily low.

BROWN: Gloria, Trump is having a remarkable week. I mean, that's just the bottom line, right? I mean, you have this delay of his sentencing, the two blockbuster Supreme Court rulings in his favor, to Biden's performance in the debate, and now calls from Democrats, at least one elected Democrat, for him to step aside. Just how safe significant is this moment for Trump?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's usually significant. I mean, look at our poll today, which shows that that he's now six points ahead of Joe Biden. You've got the Democratic Party in complete disarray, trying to figure out what to do, if anything, about Joe Biden. On his legal cases, I think the Supreme Court's decision on immunity all but ensures that the January 6th case may never be held and that the others are going to be delayed. I think that, that he was very lucky this week.

And nobody's talking about his performance at the debate, you know, there were lots of untruths told by Donald Trump at that debate, but that is not the focus. The focus is on Joe Biden. Remember, this campaign, according to the Biden playbook, was supposed to be about Donald Trump and disqualifying Donald Trump. And now it's been turned on its head. And it's about a question of disqualifying Joe Biden. And that is exactly where Trump wants to be and Biden does not.

BROWN: All right, everyone. Thank you so much. We'll be back.



BROWN: Breaking news, President Biden is speaking out about his poor debate performance amid growing calls for him to drop out of the race against Donald Trump.

Our Senior White House Correspondent M.J. Lee has all the details. M.J., what are you hearing? LEE: Yes, Pam. The president just spoke at a fundraiser in McLean, Virginia, and he really took ownership for the bad debate performance that we saw last week offering some explanations for the first time as to why he believed he performed so badly. And Pam, I should note, these are from pool reports and pool reporters who are in the room. So, we should just caveat that these should be taken as paraphrases from the reporters in the room.

But the president apparently in this setting apologized to the group for the poor performance last week. He said, this is not an excuse, but it is an explanation. And he largely blamed the extensive travel that he did, the foreign travel that he did right before the debate. He apparently said that that was not a smart decision on his part. I'll just remind everyone that he traveled to France for the D-Day anniversary. And then he went to Italy right after for the G7 summit.

And he apparently said in the room, I didn't listen to my staff. And at one point, interestingly, he said, I almost fell asleep on stage. I don't know how comforting that is going to be for any donors or Democrats that have been looking for anything reassuring from the president himself.

He apparently also discussed the stakes of the election, saying that it is so critical that Democrats win this election, and that he felt good about the fundraising numbers that we have seen for Democrats and for his campaign since Thursday night. He also, at one point, talked about the economic recovery, but this was all but just six minutes that he spoke at this fundraiser, so not very long remarks.

But, again, just very interesting that we are getting some of these explanations from the president himself for the first time on why he performed so badly. Obviously, that's been a little bit evolving starting with the campaign saying on Thursday night that he was suffering from a cold. But, again, the news here is that the president says he is blaming the foreign travel that he did right before the debate for why he performed so badly. Pam?

BROWN: Wow, insane, I almost fell asleep on stage. Very candid remarks from, from the pool reports coming in about President Biden speaking to these donors.

M.J. Lee, thank you so much.

Just ahead, the youngest member of Congress weighs in on the age concerns around President Biden, Florida Democrat Maxwell Frost joins us next.



BROWN: We're getting more reaction to President Biden's attempts at damage control as he is now blaming his poor debate performance on a grueling travel schedule.

We're joined by Representative Maxwell Frost, Democratic of Florida, and the youngest member of Congress.

Thank you for coming on.

So, President Biden just told donors that he nearly fell asleep on stage during Thursday's debate because of all of his international travel. Does that raise any concerns for you if you can hear me, Congressman?

Oh, I don't think he can hear me, unfortunately, I -- the drinking from the cup should have clear.

Thanks so much, Congressman. We'll try to reconnect with you.

We'll be right back.



BROWN: And we are back with Congressman Maxwell Frost.

Sorry about that.

President Biden had just told donors that he nearly we fell asleep on stage during Thursday's debate because of all of this international travel. Does that raise any concerns for you?

REP. MAXWELL FROST (D-FL): Yeah. Well, I just read about that like everybody else. I know this is hearsay or could have been paraphrased from people in the room. So unsure exactly what he said.

But, you know, the president does do a lot of travel. I mean, he was traveling, crisscrossing the entire world, then going right to Camp David, obviously, prior to the debate, so I would want to hear more or about what he said.

But what I can say having been in the room with him multiple times is he was fine those times. And I think the really important thing we have to look at in terms of the election ahead of us is what future do we want? I mean, do we want someone like Donald Trump running the country who incited an insurrection, or somebody who objectively speaking has had one of the greatest presidencies we've seen in a long time.

And so, I think it's important that we focus on a lot of the dangers coming in, in November, and I'm very worried about someone like Donald Trump being president of the United States.

BROWN: So, then, what do you say to other members of your own party? Such as Representative Doggett who come out and say, look, it's important for the Democrats to beat Donald Trump, to continue, you know, power in the White House, to have the House and the Senate and because that is so important, because the stakes are so high, President Biden needs to step aside and there needs to be another Democratic nominee. FROST: This is one of the great things about the Democratic Party is we allow people to say how they're feeling and we take them in consideration and we actually have a debate in our party. Unlike the Republican Party, were after their guy, after Donald Trump became a convicted criminal, with felonies, no conversation or anything like that just behind that guy.

And so, of course, we're going to have conversations. Of course, there's going to be some people, you know, coming up with different ideas. And that's because we are a big tent party. And that's not just in terms of political ideology, but in terms of strategy and the way we move forward.


And we're not an authoritarian party that's going to look to shut people up because we disagree with what they're saying. And so, I actually view that as a plus for the party. The fact that people can say how they feel and the fact that we have an environment with President Biden being the leader of this party that allows people to feel comfortable to say how they it really feel.

But what I'm focused on are things like the Supreme Court decision that just came out yesterday that essentially says the president of the United States is completely immune from any criminal charges after they leave office. Imagine someone like Donald Trump.

We already saw what he did, what he was in office without the Supreme Court ruling. Imagine what he'll do if it gets back to the presidency. It's some scary stuff and I always encourage people to look at what's going on in my home state of Florida with someone like Ron DeSantis who has stacked the judiciary, has lapdogs in the legislature and has cronies that are running at the state departments.

Look at what he's doing here and the suppression of political speech and our freedoms and rights that we've seen that can be the nation. So we all got to make sure that we prevent Donald Trump from getting a second term.

BROWN: All right. Thank you so much, Congressman Maxwell Frost. Appreciate it.

And we want to note this programming, Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett will be a guest on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.

Also tonight, Rudy Giuliani just took another blow in his home state of New York. The former Trump attorney and New York City mayor now stripped of his law license over efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Brian Todd is on the story for us.

So, Brian, this is a really stunning downfall for Giuliani.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stunning and heartbreaking, Pamela. We have new information tonight on why New York Supreme Court decided to disbar Rudy Giuliani, a development few could have imagined when he was at the apex of his legal and political stardom.


TODD (voice-over): Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's former attorney, disbarred today by the New York state Supreme Court for his role in the former president's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a larger sense, this is a pretty extraordinary development in that kind arc of Rudy Giuliani's fall.

TODD: The New York Supreme Court says, Giuliani, quote, flagrantly misused his prominent position as Trump's attorney, that he repeatedly, intentionally made false statements to courts, lawmakers and the public, and that he actively contributed to the national strife that has followed the 2020 presidential election, for which he is entirely unrepentant.

Giuliani has been criminally charged in two states for his actions. In Georgia, he faces several felony charges for trying to overturn election results there, including an effort to install fake electors. Prosecutors say Giuliani made false statements to the Georgia House and Senate.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: It does cast doubt on the entire legitimacy of the vote.

TODD: Giuliani also has been charged with election subversion efforts in Arizona, where he smiled for his mug shot.

YASMEEN ABUTALEB, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: It was people like Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, John Eastman, who are really getting their hands dirty trying to figure out how they might be able to overturn the election. And I think that's why they're facing these charges, these lawsuits and are more at risk than Trump himself.

TODD: Giuliani held a news conference shortly the after the 2020 election saying the vote was rigged.

GIULIANI: It's enough to overturn any election. It's disgraceful what happened.

TODD: Black liquid thought to be hair dye streamed down the sides of his face.

ABUTALEB: And that was almost like a visual encapsulation of how far he had fallen.

TODD: Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him in those criminal cases, but he also owes nearly $150 million after losing a defamation case brought but by two Georgia election workers who he falsely accused of corrupting the vote count.

GIULIANI: Surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine. TODD: For many, this is a dramatic heartbreaking demise of a man who

as New York's mayor bravely led the city through the calamity of 9/11, and earlier as a prosecutor took down immensely powerful New York mafia figures.

SETH HETTENA, ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE: He did some serious damage to the mob. He was targeted for assassination. He had a security detail with him. He went after Wall Street titans, took them down. He was fearless.


TODD (on camera): A spokesman for Rudy Giuliani, forcefully condemn the disbarment, saying in a statement that members of the legal community should speak out against what he called a polar politically and ideologically corrupted decision by the New York Bar Association. The spokesman said that Giuliani will be appealing this decision, Pamela.

BROWN: And this also comes as Giuliani is facing a number of financial problems as well, right?

TODD: His financial problems are almost endless, Pamela. He's got that $150 million judgment against him from the case involving the Georgia election workers. He's got legal fees in the millions of dollars. He's got other fees like unpaid telephone bills.

He has had to try to sell his expensive New York apartment for millions of dollars to raise some money. He also for a period of time at least did these greetings on the app Cameo for money. He also has apparently recently lost a job as a WABC commentator in New York.

So, he's got all these financial problems, and he's struggling to raise money for all of these things, and the lawsuits and everything else, legal fees.

BROWN: Yeah, talk about a fall from grace.

TODD: Right.

BROWN: To say the least.

Brian Todd, thank you for bringing us that reporting.

I'm Pamela Brown in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'll be here with you the rest of the week here in THE SITUATION ROOM filling in for my colleague, Wolf Blitzer.

Thank you very much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.