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The Source with Kaitlan Collins

New York Times Editorial Board Calls On Biden To Drop Out; Trump Immunity Ruling Coming Monday; Court Limits Obstruction Charges Against Jan. 6 Rioters. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 28, 2024 - 21:00   ET



JESSICA ROTH, PROFESSOR: The standard, and then sends it back to the lower courts, to apply that standard to the conduct here.

If that happens, there has to be additional fact-finding by the lower court. And then, that decision could go up on appeal to the D.C. Circuit, and again, potentially to the U.S. Supreme Court.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Do you think the latter is the most likely scenario?

ROTH: I don't know.


ROTH: I think that there is -- there is a good chance that that's what the outcome is. But we really don't know.

COOPER: All right. Jessica Roth, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

The news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" starts now.


A fiery President Biden says he's not going anywhere, as The New York Times editorial board is calling on him to drop out of the race for the good of the country.

And the fallout, tonight, from Donald Trump's avalanche of lies, last night, a fire hose of falsehoods, really aimed directly at, now we've learned, more than 50 million viewers.

I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.

Even at this late hour, tonight, President Biden and his campaign are still scrambling like they never have before, to pull off what could be a Mission Impossible, un-ringing the alarm bells that are sounding within his own party.

This, after the President and the presumptive nominee's disastrous performance, in front of 50 million viewers, last night, right here on CNN.

If you're still processing what happened and what you saw, trust me, so are we.

And President Biden, today, was out on the campaign trail, attempting to tamp down the panic, among Democrats.



I don't walk as easy as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't deba- -- debate as well as I used to. But I know what I do know: I know how to tell the truth.


BIDEN: And I know like millions of Americans know: When you get knocked down, you get back up.


BIDEN: I give you my word as a Biden. I would not be running again if I didn't believe with all my heart and soul I can do this job.


COLLINS: OK. Well, that was about 10,000 decibels louder and clearer than what we all watched and heard, for 90 minutes, on stage, last night.

But at that rally, in North Carolina, today, I should note that President had a teleprompter. He was energized by that adoring crowd of supporters that you could hear in the background. It took place in the middle of the afternoon.

At one point during that speech, Biden did basically acknowledge that he blew the debate, last night, which I should note, with those ratings, could be one of the most watched events of this entire 2024 campaign.

Now, Biden is promising voters, he has four more years in him, to do this job. But it is still an open question, tonight, of whether those assurances that we are hearing from him, are going to be enough for those, in his own party, who are floating the idea of whether or not he should be replaced, on the ticket.

That includes tonight, The New York Times editorial board, with this headline, just publishing a short time ago, "To Serve His Country, President Biden Should Leave The Race."

We're going to talk more about that editorial board, and what they are writing there, what their argument is, in a moment.

But I should note, on the other side of all of this, President Biden does have quite a powerful ally, who is coming to his defense. It's his former running mate on the presidential ticket, former President Obama, who I should note, as we talked about on this show, last week, has faced his own crisis of confidence, on the debate stage.

And he said today, quote, "Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself."

Of course, the man that President Obama is referencing there is the one who was sharing the stage, with President Biden, last night, former President Donald Trump, who had this to say, out on the campaign trail, today.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did anybody, last night, watch a thing called the debate?


TRUMP: That was a big one.

Joe Biden's problem is not his age. It's not his anything really. It's -- he got no problem other than it's his competence.



TRUMP: He's grossly incompetent. You know, they keep saying old. I know people that are much older than him that are doing unbelievable things.


COLLINS: My source tonight knows the conversations that are happening inside Biden's inner circle. Mitch Landrieu is the National Co-Chair of President Biden's reelection campaign.

And Mitch, it's great to have you here tonight.

Just first, on this New York Times editorial board, the argument--


COLLINS: Yes. Thank you for being here.

They're calling for President Biden to step aside. And their basis for this is they're saying, that last night "He struggled to explain what he would accomplish in a second term. He struggled to respond to Mr. Trump's provocations. He struggled to hold" him "accountable for his lies, his failures his chilling plans. More than once, he struggled to make it to the end of a sentence."

Mitch, I just, it's the question everyone had, I think. What happened last night?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, the President politely declines The New York Times' offer to stand down. He's going to stay in this race and he's going to win.

President Biden, today, you just showed a great clip of him. That's the Joe Biden that I know. That's the Joe Biden that I worked with, for two years, in the White House, as we rebuilt the country, and build 15 million jobs, and created the lowest unemployment rate.


I think President Obama says it well. Doris Kearns Goodwin said it before. People have bad nights. That's the closest you're going to get to Joe Biden admitting that he had a bad night.

These things happen in campaigns. And I think everybody, who watched that debate, last night, kind of wondered like, why did he show up that way? But it has happened before. It will happen again.

The most disappointing thing to me though, last night, was not Joe Biden's performance. It was a fact that nobody fact-checked Donald Trump. And now that we've had a couple of hours, to think about what he did, we now know, factually, and this is from your network that almost everything he said was a lie.

Literally, everything was a lie, except when he told the truth, about doubling down on all the awful things he did, when he was President of the United States, and that he promised to do again. And so, you saw chaos. You saw the real Donald Trump. He's going to double down on it.

And the country is going to have a choice.


LANDRIEU: I will take Joe Biden's bad debate day against four years of another Donald Trump presidency, any day, anytime, anyplace.

COLLINS: We did fact-check Donald Trump, last night. We had Daniel Dale on. I talked about it, as soon as we got out of the debate. Of course, he was lying about January 6th, and many other things. And we're going to talk about that more in a moment.

But Biden is the candidate that you're working for. And today, you're defending him. I mean, he was reading off a teleprompter, during that rally, today. He'd go off prompter for a bit of that. But he was reading off a teleprompter.

And last night, 50 million people were watching. 50 million people were not watching that speech, in North Carolina, today. And so, I just -- the question is, can President Biden recover from that?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, I think -- I think you're going to hear today, and I don't think that you can really kind of, put lipstick on this pig. The President had a tough time, last night. He admitted that today. Bad debates happen from time to time.

The President has a record to stand on. It's a good thing that doing well in the debate is not the same thing as governing a country. And we actually have two records, and the receipts of two presidents that had served four years.

Donald Trump was cataclysmic for this country. After the pandemic, Donald Trump did an awful job. Donald Trump participated in an insurrection. Donald Trump lost 2.5 million jobs. We have 40 or 44 people that worked for Donald Trump that are begging us not to put him back in the Oval Office, again. He has now, as you know, been convicted of 34 felonies. And of course, he's got all these other legal troubles.

So, I'm not -- what I meant to say about not checking doing -- it was during the debate.

After the debate, and now that we've had time to look at it, I think people have now begun to say, wow, if you compare these two guys' records, and Joe Biden's success, I'd rather have Joe Biden than have Donald Trump. And the President is going to have to go out there and prove it, like he did today.

And I think you will agree with me. His presentation, today, was energetic. It was strong. It was forceful. It was at times humble. And it was at times leaning forward.

COLLINS: Yes. But it was a 15-minute speech.

LANDRIEU: And that's the Joe Biden that I know and the one that I've worked with.

COLLINS: It was a 15-minute speech, to be fair, off of a teleprompter, compared to 90 minutes, with no notes and no prompter, last night.

LANDRIEU: I have--

COLLINS: And I think when you look at that--

LANDRIEU: I have no doubt--

COLLINS: But, Mitch, just on the -- over on the point. You're talking about the style of that. But that is something that people remember in debates. I mean, President Nixon would like to point that out.

LANDRIEU: Correct.

COLLINS: That that was -- and obviously an issue for him that cost him dearly.

But on the argument that you just made, why couldn't President Biden, or why didn't he articulate that last night. In his closing argument, he didn't mention abortion. He didn't mention Donald Trump's conviction.

LANDRIEU: Correct.

COLLINS: He didn't mention the indictments against him.

LANDRIEU: Correct.

COLLINS: He didn't mention January 6th.

Why didn't he mention that in his closing arguments?

LANDRIEU: That's right. He -- because he whiffed the ball, last night. That's the only answer that you can have.

But whether you do well in a debate has nothing to do with how well you govern the country. That's when you look at the receipts. And there are receipts that both of these presidents have.

One guy, as the President said, is like a walking crime syndicate.

The other guy gets up every day working hard for the American people, and has delivered more than most presidents in the history of the country.

And the question is which one of these men is going to take America into the future? Because one of them wants to go forward. That's Joe Biden. And the other one wants to go backwards. That's Donald Trump.

COLLINS: You talk a lot about what's at stake in this election. We hear it from Democrats, all the time. We hear it from President Biden, saying he believes he's the only person best-equipped to beat Donald Trump, because he's the only one, who's ever done it before.

But if all of that is really at stake, based on what you saw, last night, and based on what voters, more importantly, saw, last night, do you still think that President Biden can beat former President Trump in a race?

LANDRIEU: Absolutely. Because whether you do well in a debate does not have anything to do with how well you govern the country. How well you govern the country is judged by how well you have done.

We have not had a president, in the last 40 years, that has created 15.5 million jobs, and created an economy the way that we have. Has built 57,000 projects, rebuilding the infrastructure--

COLLINS: But that's not going to be on the ballot--

LANDRIEU: --in this country.

COLLINS: --when voters go and vote. They're going to be--


COLLINS: --also thinking of what they saw on that debate. I mean, you have to--

LANDRIEU: No questions.

COLLINS: I understand the argument you're making. But you also have to think of how voters are perceiving this.

LANDRIEU: I don't know how many times I can say to you that the President did a poor job. But this race is four months from being over. And there's another debate to come. And there are a whole bunch of rallies and there a whole bunch of water still to go under this bridge.


You asked me, if I had confidence in Joe Biden. And I have a 100 percent confidence in Joe Biden. And by the way, it'll be his decision and his decision alone, whether he's going to continue. And I think he answered that question for the public, today, in North Carolina.

COLLINS: Is there any conversation about him not continuing?


COLLINS: And so, you're a 100 percent confident, he will be the Democratic nominee, on that ticket, come November?

LANDRIEU: As far as I know, today, and based on everything that I have seen and heard in people I talked to, I don't have any reason to believe that he will not be.

COLLINS: If he did decide to drop out, who -- whose counsel is he taking on that? Obviously, he has a very close inner circle. Is it the first lady? Is it his sister? What does that look like for voters?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, President Biden, as you know, has been in office, for a very, very long time. And he's got a close set of family, friends. They're the ones that he counsels with. But at the end of the day, he's the one that makes the decision, because the buck stops with him.

He said last night, I may not be a good debater, but I know the difference between right and wrong. I know how to get things done. And I know what the future of the country is.

And oh, by the way, he made the point that Donald Trump spent a good portion of his time, last night, just dogging out America, and making people think America was on her back leg. She's not.

The best is yet to come. And we have a great future, and a great opportunity. As the President said, as he ended his speech today, he's never been more optimistic about the future of this country.

COLLINS: Don't worry. We're going to talk about Donald Trump's performance in that debate as well.


COLLINS: Mitch Landrieu, thank you, for coming on, and joining us, tonight. Thank you for your time.

LANDRIEU: Thanks, Kaitlan. Can't wait to hear it. Thanks so much. Bye- bye.

COLLINS: And I've got an all-star political sources here tonight. We will be talking about everything. But I want to start with two Democrats, who have worked with and for President Biden.

And David Axelrod, when you see and you hear what Mitch Landrieu is saying in response that he is politely declining the nod, the push, from The New York Times editorial board that he should step aside. They're saying for the sake of the country. That he's been a good president. They're not arguing that he hasn't. But they're saying that for the sake of the country, it's time for him to step aside.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. But there's a difference between being in an editorial suite, and being in the real world of politics.

There's a lot of complicated steps between here and there. And what Democrats have to consider is, what is a greater risk?

There's no doubt, I think, the President is behind in this race. And it's going to be a struggle for him to win.

But the question is, can you nominate a candidate, without a primary, in a diverse party, between now and August, by some sort of consensual process?

And then, can you take someone, who's never been involved in a national campaign, at that level, and put all the pressure of the world on them? There's risk in that too. And I think that has to be considered.

COLLINS: Yes. And I think LBJ would note that.

But Kate, you were very blunt, in your assessment. And I should note, you worked for President Biden, when I was covering President Biden. You were the Communications Director. Obviously, you know him very well. You had a very blunt assessment of his performance last night.

And when we're talking about the first lady, obviously, she's deeply influential on President Biden. They were at a fundraiser, truly a block away from where we are right now.

And she just told the crowd there, and I'm quoting the first lady now. "And you know, after last night's debate, he said, 'You know, Jill, I don't know what happened. I didn't feel that great.'"

And Jill says that she responded, "Look, Joe, we are not going to let 90 minutes define the four years that you've been president."

But it's not necessarily about them, defining it. It's about voters, and how they define it.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And I think they're going to see him out on the campaign trail. They saw him today. They're going to see him over the next four months in this race.

It was -- last night was a significant moment. It was an important moment. It was not a defining moment, in the sense that that is all voters are going to take in, about Joe Biden, for the next four months. It's also not all they're going to take in about Donald Trump, for the next four months, who was also out today, doubling down on some of the things he said yesterday, about not disavowing January 6th, and a lot of the things that we know were really off-putting to swing voters, and were problems for him, in the debate, yesterday.

So, there is a lot of campaign left.

I would also say, just to The New York Times endorsement, I cannot think of anything that would make Joe Biden less inclined to drop out of this race than The New York Times editorial board, telling him he should.

If you go back to 2019, they were dismissive. They were haughty. They said there was no way that he could be the nominee. They, in a stroke of very interesting political wisdom, jointly endorsed Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren for President. They are divorced from the reality of politics.

COLLINS: Yes. And that's--

BEDINGFIELD: They don't understand Joe Biden. And there's nothing that would keep him--


COLLINS: I think that's fair. I don't think a lot of voters are checking to see what it says. But, I mean, it did--

BEDINGFIELD: Playing the great war (ph).

COLLINS: --it did come with a lot of--

BEDINGFIELD: Playing the great war (ph).

COLLINS: --a lot of Op-Eds today. Tom Friedman, who adores President Biden--


COLLINS: --who was saying that he was weeping at that performance last night.

Scott, what did you make of what Mr. Landrieu had to say about, about their defensive Biden?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he's playing a bad hand today. And he did about the best he could, given the performance that we saw last night.

The problem is it's not just about the 90 minutes. What the American people saw, and what they're going to extrapolate is, that's basically how it is every day. That's what they're going to take away from it.

[21:15:00] They're not going to remember much about the policy exchanges. They're just going to think does this guy look like somebody who can go, in and out of the office, every day, for the next four years, maybe for the next seven months. That's it. That's the bottom line.

And a comparison of records, a comparison of who told more lies? It's just it's not going to fly.

AXELROD: Can I just say one thing? First of all, I really, I love Mitch Landrieu. I think he's a great guy. He was a great mayor. He's a great politician. And he do -- he did an admirable job there. But what he said and what the first lady said is, it goes to something that bothered me about the debate, last night.

Elections are not about the evaluation of what you did the last four years. They are about what you're going to do the next four years, and what the other guy is going to do in the next four years, and so that people can get some sense of what's in it for them in this decision.

And that's what he -- that's another thing that the President didn't do, last night. We were told that he was going to do that. And he didn't really bring that to the debate. He became a lot more defensive than I think he should have.

COLLINS: Yes. And you were warning about that.

And -- but Leah, when you're looking at this, just from a historical perspective, I mean, watching that last night, we -- I heard a lot of people saying today, well, every incumbent president has a bad first debate. I mean, this takes the cake, for modern history, probably.

I mean, Obama saying, yes, I know how it feels? It wasn't quite this level. President Obama was finishing his sentences, in the debate.



But we also have a presidential candidate, who had Alzheimer's, and had dementia, and was on a debate stage, in 1984. And were -- his age was a constant, right, a constant reiteration of is he fit? Can he be president, right? And that's Ronald Reagan.

So, the person that Trump liked to bring up a lot, last night, in fact, had the same age questions that I think Biden is running up against. The difference, however, is that the age problem, in the past, has been one that I think both the candidates have addressed head-on.

Reagan does this, immediately, and says, you know, it's my -- it's my experience, and it's your age, your young age that differentiates me from Mondale.

We have it with somebody like LBJ, President LBJ, who takes himself out of the running because of his health and consideration. The difference is though, it was always been a backburner issue. It is now front and center in a way that we cannot ignore, and in a way that I think obscure, actually does real damage, in obscuring what is going on with Donald Trump, and the message that Donald -- the very alarming message that Donald Trump put out, last night.

COLLINS: Well, and Reagan's first debate was a disaster.


COLLINS: Something that Nancy Reagan acknowledged after that.

I want to talk a lot more about this, and just what the implications of this are, what you're hearing from Democrats as well, Kate.

Because of course, what matters most here is what the voters think, especially swing-state voters. Well, we went and talked to some of them today, including Scranton Joe's hometown crowd, and whether or not they're still behind him, in Pennsylvania. Hear from them yourself.

And also, not to be buried by all of the Biden drama, Donald Trump had a layer of lies, last night, at the debate.

We're going to talk about all of them, with Anthony Scaramucci, tonight.



COLLINS: Tonight, voters are bristling, after that debate that we all saw highlighted a choice that a lot of them, frankly, do not want this November.

CNN's Danny Freeman went to President Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to talk to voters, in the crucial swing state.


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.


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

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

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

BERNDT (ph): We love Biden. We're Scrantonians. FREEMAN (on camera): Yes.

BERNDT (ph): 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.

BERNDT (ph): I just don't think that that was really well-represented, last night. So, I'd like to -- him to have an opportunity, to give it another go.

DONNA DEVITA, PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: Well, he stumbled. I don't think it was his best night, really. And 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 Lexie 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 (on camera): 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.

[21:25:00] MANZANO: I think President Trump performed like President Trump. There's a lot of, let's say, inaccuracies, on 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 (on camera): Did the debate alleviate any concerns that you might have had about his age?

MANZANO: No. No, they even more confirmed my concerns than alleviated any concerns.

FREEMAN (voice-over): Danny Freeman, CNN, Scranton, Pennsylvania.


COLLINS: Quite notable, to hear from those voters, in President Biden's hometown.

And Kate, hearing from that last voter there, not only did it not alleviate the concerns, about Biden's age and capability, you know what, underline them, italicize them, and put them in bold font, for voters who may be middle of the road, and don't know who to support in November.

BEDINGFIELD: Yes, for some of them, it did. For some of them, you heard, they had those concerns coming in.

And so, I think we got to remember that a lot of the negatives, for both of these candidates, are baked in, for a lot of these voters. And so, over the course of the next four months, they're going to duke it out, on who can claim the sliver of those double-haters, who don't like both candidates, to decide this election.

But I think also, look, President Biden didn't have a great debate, last night. No bones about it. But I think in the discussion, over the 24 hours, 36 hours, on those -- now it's been 24, I guess, since the debate, we've also kind of lost sight of the fact in the conversation that Donald Trump has enormous vulnerabilities.

And there are voters, who say that his tone, last night, was unacceptable, obviously, the substance of what he said about not accepting the outcome of the election, about defending the January 6th, the people, who committed January 6th. Those are things that don't win him over with the voters that he needs.

And that's been lost a little bit, in this 24 hours, where everyone's been focused on Joe Biden. That is going to re-emerge over the next four months, as this campaign plays out.

COLLINS: But David Axelrod, Mitch Landrieu was talking about how great President Biden was today, in North Carolina. Obviously, as we noted, the clear differences in that.

But just to look at them side-by-side is also quite remarkable. AXELROD: Yes.

COLLINS: Look at this.


BIDEN: Making sure that we're able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with the COVID -- excuse me, with dealing with everything we have to do with.

Look, if -- we finally beat Medicare.

When you get knocked down, you get back up.


BIDEN: I know what it took to take our economy from the depths of pandemic to where it is today: the strongest economy in the world.


COLLINS: I mean, it's completely it's like night and day, to see the differences there.

AXELROD: It is. When I saw that today, it reminded me of the 2012, the first debate for President Obama, which didn't go well. And one of the things that we stressed was -- we had an event scheduled, the next day. You got to be pumped. You got to be pumped and show life and so on. So, this looked very familiar to me.

But it is, we didn't have that problem. We didn't have, you know, he was 50-years-old. The problem wasn't, is he with it? He was just buried in details.

But this is different, because it's very hard to -- I mean, they were different circumstances. But it's hard to recognize the guy we saw today, in the guy we saw last night.

JENNINGS: I mean--

AXELROD: And last night was a pretty consequential night.

JENNINGS: What I saw today, in North Carolina, is a guy, who's good for 15 minutes a day, if you tell him exactly what to say. That's not what people are looking for, in the President of the United States, right now. There are real problems.

No one -- by the way, most people don't believe we have the strongest economy in the world. Even that message is off, for most voters, who are hurting badly, and blame his policies for it.

The next president has to be strong. That's what people believe. And if you believe the President's only good for 15 minutes, off of a teleprompter, they'll never going to interpret that his strength, no matter how many times he does it.

AXELROD: I -- look, I agree on the strength versus weakness. That's the sort of -- that is the pivot line, in this campaign, right now.

But I do believe that Trump showed qualities, last night that reminded people why they didn't like him in the first place. And so, yes, they may acknowledge he's strong.

But the point that we thought the President was going to drive, that presumably he will drive, for the duration of the campaign, is who is he fighting for? Is he fighting for you? Or is he fighting for himself? And there is a predisposition to believe that Trump fights for himself.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, and on that, I mean, the fever dreams from those who were the most panicked, who were saying, Biden has to drop out, we have to have a new candidate on the ticket. Obviously, you talked about how complicated that is.

And there's no guarantee of success. I mean, Lyndon Johnson did it. And it cost his party the election.


COLLINS: And he did it earlier than President Biden--


COLLINS: --would be doing it.


WRIGHT RIGUEUR: So, the thing, right now, that I think is most important is for the Democratic Party to come together around messaging, and around a candidate, whether that be Joe Biden, or whether it be someone else, if Joe Biden decides that he's going to step down, and allow someone to take the place.

The unity, the solidarity, that is what matters the most, because the part of what we're trying to tap into, is not necessarily the swing voters or things like that. But it's about who -- it's about manifesting turnout. Who can generate the highest level of turnout? Who can get these people that who were vote -- likely voters in the past, who can get them to the stage?

And I think what we've seen in the past, 1968, 1984, these various years, is that when the enthusiasm isn't there, particularly united around a candidate, that's when Democrats lose.


AXELROD: We should point out--

COLLINS: And I don't--

AXELROD: --Lyndon Johnson's vice president was the candidate in 1968. And that was a problem for him, because he carried some of the burdens of Lyndon Johnson--

COLLINS: Of that--

AXELROD: --with him.

COLLINS: Of that legacy. Yes, I don't think anyone -- you know, everyone feels bad for the voters, at this point.

Leah, great to have you.

Everyone else is going to stick around, because we are going to talk about Donald Trump, and what he said today out on the campaign trail, declaring victory, after he lied, deflected and simply did not answer a lot of the questions that were asked to them -- to him, at least not directly.

We're going to speak with his former Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, about that and more, right after a quick break.



COLLINS: Tonight, Donald Trump is taking a victory lap, out on the campaign trail, speaking to a crowd in Virginia, where he continued to push some of the 30-plus lies that he told on stage, at that debate, last night.

As we saw, President Biden did little to fact-check him, in real-time, allowing Trump to peddle these lies and half-truths, if we want to call them that.

And also pivoting completely, doing a complete 180 at times, when he was pressed for answers to questions.


TRUMP: You had no terror at all during my administration.

You had Roe v. Wade, and everybody wanted to get it back to the states.

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

He gets paid by China. He's a Manchurian candidate.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Will you take any action as President to slow the climate crisis?

TRUMP: Well, let me just go back to what he said about the police.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to voters who believe that you violated that oath through your actions and inaction on January 6th and worry that you'll do it again?

TRUMP: Well, I don't think too many believe that. And let me tell you about January 6th. On January 6th, we had a great

border, nobody coming through, very few. On January 6th, we were energy-independent.

And as Nancy Pelosi said, it was her responsibility, not mine. She said that loud and clear.


COLLINS: She did not say that. And it was not her responsibility, as we have said many times, here on this show.

Meantime, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's former White House Communications Director, is here with us tonight, who is also the Author of the new book, "From Wall Street to the White House and Back."

And obviously, the headline coming out of this, Anthony, was that Biden did -- his performance did overshadow what Trump just did there, his own performance, last night.

I mean, it doesn't take away from the fact that he did lie, he downplayed January 6th, he refused three times, to accept the 2024 (ph) election results, without his conditions that he attached to them.

What did you make of Trump's performance, last night?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, he told a lie every 100 seconds, if you like factored in everything.

But the problem with Trump's performance was the split-screen.

And so, whoever prepped President Biden didn't explain to him that he had to be alert, and look right into the barrel of that camera. And he looked very distracted. He looked a little off.

And so, no matter what Trump was saying, I think most people were focused on the physical features of what was going on, on the other side of the split-screen.

So, yes, look, Trump has lied. Look, Trump's brand is that he's going to tell a lie every 100 seconds. In my book, we counted 30,450 lies. That's right out of the Washington Post Pinocchio alerts over four years. So, he's going to lie.

I mean, the question now is -- Joe Biden is staying in the race. I get that. So now, what is going to be the positioning of Joe Biden? And how are we going to prove to the American public--

COLLINS: Yes, but--

SCARAMUCCI: --that Joe Biden's up for this job, over the next four years? COLLINS: But 50 million people watched, last night. And if you're a voter, who doesn't watch Trump's rallies, like we do closely, or constantly cover him, I mean, you don't know what's a lie, and what's a truth, or what's an exaggeration.

And so, you may be watching that and thinking, OK, well, I guess this is actually what happened, on January 6th. The officers did usher in the rioters, which obviously also is not true.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, Kaitlan, listen, remember, this is about image. This is not necessarily about substance. This is a popularity contest. It's not a hiring decision, for the American people, if we have to call it the way it is.

But my message to the Biden campaign is Donald Trump, on October the 7th, 2016, was under the gun. That was the night of the Access Hollywood tape release. He had had an OK first debate. But he girded himself for that second debate. And I think the message here is to be relentless, and to get on the offense as quickly as possible.


SCARAMUCCI: He did a good job today. But he's got to build on that, over the next coming weeks, to let the American people know that he can do this job.

You're pointing out that 48 million people saw him, having a hard time, putting sentences together, saw him having a hard time rebutting.

And then, the last thing, which bothered me, is the -- he couldn't complete the two minutes. Jake kept saying to him, hey, you got 80 more seconds. What do you want to add?

COLLINS: Yes. You're -- you're referencing--

SCARAMUCCI: He didn't have anything to say.

COLLINS: Yes, President Biden on that.

And obviously, you would see Trump, whose mic was muted, sitting there.


And Scott Jennings, when you looked at that, and you saw how Trump was handling this, I mean, he didn't exactly cover himself in glory, either, last night. If you're watching it, just from his perspective, I mean they're counting is it a win but -- because they're grading it on a curve, essentially, because of how President Biden did.

JENNINGS: I mean what's a win? You get--

COLLINS: What was a new policy that Trump announced last night? Name one.

JENNINGS: He's not the president. He's the challenger to the incumbent.

COLLINS: He's running to be president.

JENNINGS: I know. And he's running, just like he was in 2016, against the de facto incumbent. This time, it's the real incumbent.

That's the beauty of being the challenger. You don't have to solve all the world's problems today. You just have to convince the American people that the incumbent is doing a bad job, and they should fire him and hire you.

Now, I think they've decided to fire Biden. It's obvious. Have they quite decided to rehire Trump yet? Close, but maybe not yet. And he still has to close that deal.

The problem with this debate is not Donald Trump. No one's going to remember anything he said. They'll only remember what they saw of Joe Biden.

AXELROD: You know, I was -- I was privy to some dial groups that went on, last night. And what was interesting was, on the substance of things, economic policy, health care, on abortion rights, on a whole range of things, Biden did much better than Trump. I mean, he -- people agreed with Biden's point of view.

Trump did very poorly. And he did particularly poorly, when he -- with his nasty asides. He did particularly poorly when he claimed things that were patently untrue that everyone knows, was un -- you know, this notion that he was playing the peacemaker role, on January 6th, was laughable. People understood that.

So, I think people pay more attention, Scott than you think.

BEDINGFIELD: I agree. And it does still matter if candidates lie. It does. I know we're in the Trump-era, where it's sort of the received wisdom that it doesn't matter, if the person, who's running to be President of the United States just openly lies.

But I think, as David said, we saw from some of the immediate data last night, that's not true. And I think that's going to continue to be a problem, for Trump, for the next seven months.

JENNINGS: I mean, did -- does--

BEDINGFIELD: Four months.

JENNINGS: --Joe Biden never lie?

BEDINGFIELD: He did not. And not -- he absolutely does not.

Donald Trump, willfully, willfully goes out, misrepresents.

JENNINGS: You're saying Joe Biden never lies?

BEDINGFIELD: He willfully goes out, and misrepresents things and is -- and intentionally, with no shame whatsoever. JENNINGS: OK.

BEDINGFIELD: And people don't want to see that in their leadership. They do not.

COLLINS: Well, at least we got to hear two people, who want the nuclear codes talk about their golf handicaps, and who has a better one.

Anthony Scaramucci, Kate Bedingfield, David Axelrod, Scott Jennings, great to have all of you breaking down what so many people are still trying to process from last night.

I should note, on the legal front, it is a nail-biting weekend, for Donald Trump, and for the Special Counsel, Jack Smith. That's when this Supreme Court is finally going to reveal its decision, on presidential immunity, on Monday.

But also the January 6th rioter ruling that came in today, how that could also impact Trump's case in Washington.



COLLINS: In just a matter of days, we are going to learn the answer to a major question that has loomed over the 2024 presidential election. Does Donald Trump have presidential immunity?

The Supreme Court is going to release its decision on one of the most consequential cases, in American history, on Monday. And not only could it impact Trump, but also the power of the presidency.

Another decision that came down, today, could also affect his ongoing legal cases, at least the one that's happening in Washington. That's because of the six-three decision, where the justices ruled that the Biden Justice Department overstepped, when it filed obstruction charges, against some of the January 6th rioters.

My top legal sources, here tonight, with me.

CNN Legal Analyst, and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson.

And retired New York State Supreme Court Justice, Judge Jill Konviser.

Judge, I mean, first off, what do you think we're going to hear, from the Supreme Court, on Monday?

JILL KONVISER, RETIRED JUDGE: I think it is going to be landmark. I think you're absolutely right. I think this is a very big decision.

You do know that both the District Court and the Court of Appeals did not share defendant Trump's position, with respect to immunity. So, he has said, I want the Supreme Court to look at this, and say I want absolute immunity for any official act that occurred while I was an office. So, the question will become what is an official act? And what are they willing to do?

They have options, right? They can send it back to say what is an official act, and go to -- or the fact-finder, down in the District Court again. They can say you don't have absolute immunity. Or, they can say you do have absolute immunity, which Judge Chutkan said quite clearly is a get-out-of-jail-free card forever, and that really can't be the law.

COLLINS: Yes. So, if they do split the baby and say, well, you have it for this, but maybe not for that. And it goes back to Judge Chutkan, after this ruling comes out on Monday. I mean, how quickly could that be resolved? I mean, she's known that this is coming. She's looked at what's an official act and what's not.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, not quickly at all, is the answer, Kaitlan, right?


JACKSON: And here's why. So, you have to look at this, I think, in the context of not just Trump, but in the context of a universe of presidents to come later. It is indeed a decision for the ages.

And so, when you look at it, I'll tell you what I'm looking for. I'm looking for number one, us lawyers talk about bright-line rules. What does that mean? Do they set a specific identifiable standard? Immunity. No immunity. Period. And that seems to be what Chutkan had done, right, at the District Court level. And it seems to be what the Court of Appeals has done to date, right? Set of rules saying you have no immunity.

The second thing, Kaitlan, is really, do you come up with some standard or tests? And if you do, how do you police that? It becomes a slippery slope. You're going to have immunity in some things, not immunity in others, which leads to the next thing. If you do that, it has to be the parsing of official versus unofficial acts. And that means you remand it back to the District Court, and they make further findings consistent with that.

And so, to your question, coming full circle, it's going to take a while, if they do that, to bring it back to the district level, and make consistent findings, with respect to this is official, this is not--


JACKSON: --this is official, this is not. We'll see if they do that.

COLLINS: And let's add one more layer of complication on that, which is the January 6th ruling that came down, today, about the rioters that they couldn't be charged with obstruction, in some of these cases.

[21:50:00] I mean, that could affect what Donald Trump is charged with, specifically. It seemed to leave the door open, for letting the Special Counsel, Jack Smith, continue with those charges.

But what do you make of it, for the rioters themselves, Judge? Because we're already seeing trial courts, in Washington, have to reopen some of these cases, because maybe they were charged with, with three felonies. And one of them was this. And now what, the Supreme Court is saying, well, they can't be charged with that.

KONVISER: Well, a couple of things.

One is, it's a big decision, but it's not quite as big as perhaps that we think. So, some small -- small-ish percentage, a small percentage of these individuals are charged with just that, that offense, where the -- you know, I think the prosecutor did a bit of a Hail Mary pass, and said, we want to expand this. And the courts are saying, no, we're not going to let you do that.

COLLINS: Yes. A 128 have, or were convicted of obstruction or another crime.

KONVISER: That's right. But or another one means that will still stand. So, it's a good day for someone who was just charged, with that obstruction charge. The other ones are going to stay.

JACKSON: Yes, I don't think, as it relates to Trump. Look, I think prosecutors charge culpable conduct, Kaitlan. And in English, that means if they think they could prove the charge against you, they'll charge that particular charge.

In terms of the obstruction, I think that in Trump's case, I don't think it impacts it. There's a lot of reasons why, which we don't have time to talk about. But I just think that it affects the rioters' case. As it relates to Donald Trump, I don't think it has an outcome determinative effect. No.

COLLINS: It's an important distinction. We'll see how it plays out.


COLLINS: Joey Jackson.


COLLINS: Judge Jill Konviser.

Great to have you both here on a Friday night.

Also, speaking of that, it's a gut punch, for law enforcement, defending the Capitol, on January 6th, as Trump is now back today, calling for the release of rioters, or as he affectionately refers to them, hostages.

One of the officers, who put his life on the line that day, is going to join me, with his response, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COLLINS: We were telling you about that Supreme Court decision, on January 6th rioters, today.

President Biden was -- or President Trump, I should note, was praising it, on the campaign trail, and again calling for the release of those, who have been charged with crimes, the rioters on January 6th, or as Donald Trump affectionately refers to them as hostages, all just 24 hours after he downplayed what happened on January 6th, at the presidential debate.

Joining me tonight is a man, who does not need that day downplayed, because he defended the Capitol, on January 6th. Officer Daniel Hodges.

And I should note, Officer Hodges is still with the Metropolitan Police Department, is speaking in his own capacity, here on THE SOURCE, tonight, not on behalf of the Department.

And Officer Hodges, it's great to have you back again.

Because this moment, last night, the first thing I thought of, was the officers who were there that day. And what you must think of what Donald Trump had to say, about this last night.

For people who missed it, in that 90 minutes of debate, I just want to play exactly what that moment was, again.


TRUMP: In addition to the speech I made, in front of, I believe, the largest crowd I've ever spoken to, and I will tell you, nobody ever talks about that. They talk about a relatively small number of people that went to the Capitol. And in many cases were ushered in by the police.


COLLINS: Is that how you would phrase it, "Ushered in by the police?"

DANIEL HODGES, D.C. POLICE OFFICER ASSAULTED ON JANUARY 6: No, it is not how I would phrase it.

We fought them. At every opportunity, we tried to repel them, gave them strong verbal commands, telling them to leave. And they refused. So, our defenses -- defensive tactics were ineffective. They fought through our -- any -- anything we threw at them, they broke our police lines, and beat us, used all kinds of weaponry against us until they were able to force their way inside.

COLLINS: And, I mean, it's searing to watch the video, especially a view. And I'm sorry to make you to relive it, to show it again. I know it's incredibly painful. But I think it's important, for people to see, what actually happened to you, because it's caught on tape, and your screams can be heard. This is what happened to you on that tape.




COLLINS: I mean, when the former President, four years later, is on a debate stage, calling those people, and defending them, what goes through your mind?

HODGES: It's absolutely incredible.

After January 6th, I was really hopeful that the GOP would finally take the off-ramp, from this Trump cult, because they had the perfect opportunity. And that seemed like that was what was going to happen. But sadly, they've all bent the knee, to their master, because they're afraid of the political blowback, of having integrity.

So now, we have to listen to Donald Trump try to whitewash, to lie, to shift the blame, do whatever he can, to make it so that he doesn't bear any responsibility, for the attack that day, when in fact, he bears quite a bit.

COLLINS: Do you worry that people believe him, when he says that it was -- he blames Nancy Pelosi. He downplays what he did or did not do that day. And there's a lot of people, who they don't watch the news every day, or they're not paying super-close attention. Does it worry you that people believe him?

HODGES: Oh, I know people believe him, because they believe anything he says. They believe him over their religious leaders, over doctors. They believe him in any realm of information, regardless of whether he has that -- expertise or not.

So yes, there's absolutely people, who believe him. And it's truly incredible to me that they do, because he's just -- he lies constantly. It's just a fire hose of lies, like we saw last night, in the debate. It doesn't matter what he's talking about. He just pretends to know what he's talking about, and says whatever benefits him the most.



Officer Daniel Hodges, I mean, you can speak to it better than anyone else can. So, thank you for joining, tonight.

HODGES: Thank you for having me.

COLLINS: And I should note. We were just talking with Judge Jill, and Joey, about that important decision that is coming, from the Supreme Court, on Monday. CNN is going to have special coverage of that immunity ruling, reading it live to you, from outside the Supreme Court, what that decision is. I'll be there, starting at 10 AM Eastern, on Monday. So, make sure to join us.

Thank you for joining, tonight.