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State of the Union

Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Interview With Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Interview With Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX); Interview With Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass; Interview With Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 28, 2024 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Campus crisis, dozens of arrests at universities overnight...

PROTESTERS: Free, free Palestine!

BASH: ... as colleges, police and politicians take sides.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): We have to bring order to these campuses.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): The American people are fed up.

How should leaders respond? Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders joins me, then Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.

And sounding off. President Biden pokes fun at Donald Trump's legal troubles.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald has had a few tough days lately. You might call it stormy weather.

BASH: But what does a brand-new CNN poll reveal about the state of the race? Our panel of experts is here.

Plus: order in the court. With more delay likely in his January 6 case...


BASH: ... are Trump's legal and political strategies working?

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is next.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is deeply divided. We begin this morning with new numbers in the presidential race.

Donald Trump is spending hours each day in a New York courtroom in his criminal hush money trial, but, on the campaign trail, a brand-new CNN poll out this morning shows Trump sustaining his lead over President Biden among registered voters, 49 to 43 percent, with more saying they consider Trump's presidency a success than Biden's.

Last night, Biden sought to capitalize on his opponent's legal woes at the White House Correspondents Dinner.


BIDEN: Age is the only thing we have in common. My vice president actually endorses me.



BASH: Here with me now is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee and a supporter of Donald Trump.

We have a lot of developments to talk about in the Middle East, Senator, but I do want to start on the unprecedented week for the former president.


BASH: The fate of Donald Trump's claim of absolute immunity is now in the hands of the Supreme Court.

And during oral arguments on Thursday, Trump's lawyer suggested that any former president should not be charged for ordering the military to stage a coup unless he was impeached and convicted first. Do you agree with that?

GRAHAM: Well, I think the court's going to find that presidential immunity exists for President Trump, like every other president, but you have got to be within the scope of being president.

And I think they will send it back to the lower courts to find out exactly what actions fall within presidential immunity and what are considered personal. I think that's the way this will end. It will be some immunity for some of the actions.

BASH: So it sounds to me like you're saying that that scenario does not justify immunity, that kind of scenario, an attempted coup, but that there should be immunity.

GRAHAM: Well, there's no absolute -- yes, there's -- well, there will be immunity. There's no absolute immunity in the Constitution. It will be a legal analysis.

The president needs to be protected. We don't become a banana republic here where we prosecute our political opponents, which is going on really in many jurisdictions. But I think the immunity question will be decided partially for Trump, and some legal -- some factual analysis as to when and where it applies.

BASH: You said that it's likely to go back to a lower court, which seems to certainly be what people are thinking...

GRAHAM: I think so.

BASH: ... yes, watching and listening to what the justices were saying.


BASH: That certainly means it's more likely that the American people won't know how this is going to sort of end before they go to the polls.


BASH: Does that worry you? Should they know?

GRAHAM: They know. They know, yes.

No, not at all, no. Why don't you ask me, would any -- if he's convicted in any of these trials, would it change my view? No. I think all these trials are political. I think it's selective prosecution. I think what's going on in New York is an outrage. The case is eight years ago. They created a crime just for Trump. I think it's selective prosecution for political purposes.


I think the Jack Smith trial is selective prosecution. They didn't go after Clinton, they didn't go after Biden on classified information breaches. So I think most Americans are not going to decide how to vote based on Trump's legal troubles, but the troubles they face, inflation, crime, a broken border.

Your poll tells me everything I need to know about these legal problems for Trump. People are looking at their problems, not Trump's legal problems.

BASH: You mentioned the case in New York. Of course, that is something that is that is ongoing.


BASH: And I just do want to ask you one specific question about what we heard this past week.

And that is David Pecker, who ran "The National Enquirer"'s parent company, testified that he paid to catch-and-kill stories about Trump specifically to help his presidential campaign. You don't have any concerns about that?

GRAHAM: Apparently, a lot of people do this, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods. No, I think the whole thing is a crock. The statute of limitations has

long shut out the misdemeanor cases. So this liberal prosecutor in Manhattan came up with a federal campaign violation that the state of New York, Southern District of New York, looked at, the Federal Election Commission, looked at, Jack Smith looked at, and decided not to prosecute.

Alvin Bragg took a case that was rejected by the federal government to resurrect these misdemeanors. I think it's a political hit job on Trump six months before the election. That's what I think.

BASH: All right, obviously, Tiger Woods is not running for president. And the allegation is about -- at least not yet -- about campaign...


GRAHAM: Yes. No, I got it. Yes, I think the whole thing is B.S. Yes, I think it's all B.S, yes, political B.S.

BASH: OK. And just to...

GRAHAM: I'm sorry. Just go.

BASH: No, no, just -- and just to underscore something you said earlier, if he is convicted, you will still support him and vote for him?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. I think what's going on with Donald Trump is weaponization of the law. He's been prosecuted in Manhattan, one of the deepest blue state -- cities in the country, Georgia in Fulton County. Jack Smith is going after Trump, but Clinton and Biden -- anyway, I think most people have written this off.

They're going to focus on their problems, not a bunch of cases brought by liberals against Trump.

BASH: Senator, I want to talk to you about the Middle East because Secretary of State Blinken is on his way to Saudi Arabia...


BASH: ... after he said on Friday that he thinks it is possible to strike a deal to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, even without a cease-fire in Gaza.


BASH: You were in Saudi Arabia very recently, last month.


BASH: And you were pushing for this normalization deal.


BASH: Is there a deal close at hand, a deal that Prime Minister Netanyahu should accept?

GRAHAM: I hope so.

So, I have been working with Tony and Jake, and I have talked to President Biden twice. I want to help them normalize Saudi Arabia and Israel. Saudi Arabia wants a mutual defense agreement with the United States. We have been working on this for weeks. To Tony and Jake, get on with closing the deal on the treaty.

Without the treaty, MBS cannot recognize Israel, and part of the deal will be coming up with a solution to the Palestinian problem. Saudi Arabia wants a defense agreement with the United States. They want to enrich the 7 percent of the world's uranium they have, but we will control enrichment.

And they will recognize Israel, but we have got to deal with the Palestinian problem. We're running out of time. This would be an historic agreement, building on the Abraham Accords, and I'd like to see it happen. I'd like to help President Biden get this done.

Without this deal, there is no solution to the Palestinian problem. Without this deal, everything gets worse. So let's get the deal done. We're running out of time.

BASH: My colleagues here at CNN have some reporting that you and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a short conversation with Donald Trump while you were in Saudi Arabia.


BASH: What does Donald Trump think about this? You said building on the Abraham Accords.


BASH: He hasn't necessarily been keen on President Biden getting things done and getting credit for that. Are you worried he will kill it or try to kill it?

GRAHAM: Well, I talked to President Trump not very long ago. He wants the killing to end. He would like to see peace reign.

We're going to have an election here in November, but can we save some lives before November? I'm confident that the Abraham Accords put in place the possibility of this deal. If we can get a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, it ends the Arab-Israeli conflict. It isolates the Iranians. It creates some hope for the Palestinians.

It provides security in a real way to Israel. Yes, I don't think anybody on the Republican side is going to undercut the deal. I'm here on national television telling the Biden administration, if you can land this deal, I think you will have a lot of Republican support in the United States Senate for a treaty between Saudi Arabia and the United States, because it would be good for Israel, it'd be good for the world.


And I think President Trump will get his fair share of credit by having the Abraham Accords as the foundation of this. So I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about getting the deal done before the clock runs out.

BASH: Senator, thank you so much for joining me. I hope you come back because I do want to talk more about whether or not you the Israeli prime minister will sign on to that. But I guess that's putting the cart before the proverbial horse.

Thanks again for coming on.

GRAHAM: Yes. I'm hopeful people in Israel can get there and will get there. I think they want to.

Thank you.

BASH: OK. Thank you.

And up next: Some colleges crack down overnight on campus protests. Senator Bernie Sanders is here to respond next.

And, later, the funniest jokes at Washington's political dinner last night.


COLIN JOST, ACTOR: But before I begin tonight, can we just acknowledge how refreshing it is to see a president of the United States at an event that doesn't begin with a bailiff saying, "All rise"?





BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Dozens were arrested on college campuses overnight from Arizona to St. Louis, as some universities are cracking down on protests in response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Here with me is independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Thank you so much for being here, sir.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that college protests in the U.S. are being led by -- quote -- "antisemitic mobs."

You responded by accusing him of -- quote -- "attempting to distract us from the immoral and illegal war policies of your extremists and racist government." And you said -- quote -- "It is not antisemitic to hold you accountable for your actions.'

Senator, can't both things be true? There are legitimate criticisms of the Netanyahu government,but some of these protests have also clearly tapped into a deep undercurrent of antisemitism?

SANDERS: Look, Dana, antisemitism is a vile and disgusting ideology which has resulted in the deaths of many, many millions of people in the last 100 years. And we have got to oppose it in every form.

And do I doubt for a moment that antisemitism exists, that it's growing in the United States, that it's part -- that exists among some people in the protest movement? Of course.

But here is the reality. Right now, what Netanyahu's right-wing, extremist and racist government is doing is unprecedented in the modern history of warfare. They have killed in the last six-and-a-half months 33,000 Palestinians, wounded 77,000, two-thirds of whom are women and children.

They have destroyed over 60 percent of the housing. They have destroyed the health care system. They have destroyed the infrastructure, no electricity, very little water. And, right now, we are looking at the possibility of mass starvation and famine in Gaza.

When you make those charges, that is not antisemitic. That is a reality. So, our job is to condemn Hamas, a terrorist organization that started this war, condemn in every form antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry. But we do have to pay attention to the disastrous and unprecedented humanitarian disaster taking place in Gaza right now.

BASH: No question there is a humanitarian crisis. And, as you know, the Israeli government would argue that, just in the hospital example that you gave, that it is Hamas' fault that they're being bombed because Hamas puts tunnels underneath and puts their own civilians, innocent women and children, at risk, knowing full well that this is going to happen.

But go ahead.

SANDERS: Hamas is -- look, Hamas is a very difficult enemy to fight. That is true.

But "The New York Times" just reported a few days ago -- and I have talked to doctors, American doctors, who have been over there. There has been a systemic -- systematic effort to destroy the health care system, to destroy the infrastructure, to destroy housing.

They are completely demolishing Gaza right now, and God knows what happens in the future.

BASH: I want to ask you a little bit more about these protests that are going on here in the United States. And listen to one of the leaders of the Columbia protest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KHYMANI JAMES, STUDENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Zionists, they don't deserve to live comfortably, let alone Zionists don't deserve to live.


BASH: I want to be clear, that protester was just banned from campus. But it isn't an isolated incident.

SANDERS: Well, that's a...

BASH: Some Jewish students say they face threats.

SANDERS: That's a disgusting and stupid...

BASH: But it's not isolated.

SANDERS: That's a disgusting and stupid remark, and it's -- all right, but -- it's not isolated, but you have -- Dana, let's take a deep look beyond the protests.

How do the American people feel about U.S. military aid to the Netanyahu government? Poll after poll shows...

BASH: But that's not about military aid. That's about Jews.

SANDERS: What this guy said was disgusting, period. And I would hope that every American condemns antisemitic discussion.

But what I am talking about right now is -- what Netanyahu is trying to do, very clearly, is to say, anybody who criticizes what Israel is doing, you are antisemitic. Well, are some antisemites? Well, you just saw one, yes.


But what I am saying is, if you look at the polling, the vast majority of the American people are disgusted with Netanyahu's war machine in Gaza. And they do not want further U.S. military aid to his government.

BASH: You know, I have gotten texts from students, one in Michigan in particular, who said that he has to take his Jewish star off, because people aren't asking him about his view on Israel, which might be just like yours, but they're just looking at his Jewish star and they're attacking him because he's Jewish.

So how do you square that circle?

SANDERS: Dana, let me say for -- let me say that for the third time, all right?

I'm Jewish, all right? My father's family was wiped out by Hitler. Antisemitism is a disgusting and vile form of bigotry which has killed millions of people. I would hope that every American condemns antisemitism. We condemn Islamophobia and all forms of bigotry. (AUDIO GAP) from what he is doing in Gaza right now, which is, in

terms of a humanitarian disaster, unprecedented in modern American history. Five percent -- in six-and-a-half months, 5 percent of the population has been killed or wounded, two-thirds of whom are women and children.

And Netanyahu has got to be held accountable for those actions.

BASH: Senator, I do want to ask you about something that your friend and colleague Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said when she visited Columbia this week and she supported the protests.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I think it is really unfortunate that people don't care about the fact that all Jewish kids should be kept safe and that we should not have to tolerate antisemitism or bigotry for all Jewish students, whether they are pro-genocide or anti-genocide.


BASH: Some Jewish students are pro-genocide.

Are you comfortable with that?

SANDERS: I'm sorry, some what -- please repeat your question.

BASH: She said some Jewish students are pro-genocide. Is that something that you're comfortable with that?

SANDERS: Well, I don't know exactly -- look, what I think the essential point that Ilhan made is that we do not want to see antisemitism in this country.

And I think the word genocide is something that is being determined by the International Court of Justice. But this is what I will say. I don't think there's any doubt that what Netanyahu is doing now, displacing 80 percent of the population in Gaza is ethnic cleansing. That's what it is, pushing out huge numbers of people.

And now we're looking at the possibility of an attack on Rafah, where people have gone for so-called as a safety zone. So, what's going on there, again, to my mind, is outrageous. And, as you have indicated, I strongly oppose U.S. funding for Netanyahu's war machine.

BASH: OK. One last question.

I know that you said that to President Biden that you were very concerned about the U.S. continuing to send aid and weaponry to Israel. What was his response?

SANDERS: I'm not going to talk about the personal conversations I have with the president. But I just would say that I think I and a majority of the American people do not want to be complicit in the humanitarian disaster that Netanyahu is causing in Gaza right now.

BASH: Senator Bernie Sanders, I really appreciate you coming on this morning. Thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you very much.

BASH: And up next: Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, she set a goal to end street homelessness by 2026. Is that close to happening?

Mayor Bass is right here. We will talk about that and, of course, the rising tensions on California's college campuses.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Overnight, the LAPD issued a tactical alert amid protests at the University of Southern California, where the commencement ceremony for this year's graduates has been canceled.

Here with me here in the studio is Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.

Thank you so much for being here. It's nice to see you.


BASH: We're going to talk about that and other issues, but I first have to ask about how you are, how your family is.

A man broke into your home last weekend in between police shifts. Your daughter, your son-in-law and newborn grandson were there.

BASS: Yes, we're all doing fine. Thank you so much for asking. It was definitely very, very disturbing, especially with the family there. But he was captured on site, and so we're doing much better.

BASH: Good. I'm glad to hear that.

Let's talk about what I led into the segment with, which, of course, are the protests going on, on college campuses, including at USC. Almost 100 people have been arrested. The campus temporarily closed overnight. Protesters damaged a statue, a fountain on campus, and the school abruptly canceled commencement ceremonies there.

BASS: I know. I know.

BASH: This is the same class that had their high school graduation canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. As a USC alum yourself, was that the right decision to cancel graduation?

BASS: Well, actually, they didn't cancel everything. So the main graduation is canceled, but the individual schools have graduations as well. So there's a lot of ceremonies that will be taking place.

But, like you said, I share that also, the idea that they missed their graduation four years ago. But, hopefully, their individual schools will go forward peacefully. [09:30:00]

BASH: And the main graduation being canceled, do you support that?

BASS: The main -- well, I believe that that was a decision that they had to make.

They were expecting about 65,000 people on campus, and they just did not feel that it was going to be safe. And the job of the president, just like my job as mayor, my number one job is to make sure that Angelenos are safe.

BASH: So, some protesters are opposing alleged human rights abuses from Israel inside Gaza.

Some are just outright supporting Hamas, calling for the elimination of Israel. Jewish students are saying that they're scared for their safety. Are you comfortable with the messages that you're hearing? And if not, what can you do about it as mayor?

BASS: Well, I mean, as mayor, people have the right for free speech.

BASH: Sure.

BASS: But hate speech, antisemitism, all of that is just -- it is unacceptable.

All students on the campus need to feel safe. And there's protests going on at USC and at UCLA. It seems to be a different picture at UCLA.

BASH: How so?

BASS: But, again, my job is to make sure that Angelenos are safe, and I will continue to do that.

BASH: Do you support the notion of the arrests that we have seen?

BASS: Well, I mean, if somebody is committing a crime.

I know that one of the things that was happening at USC yesterday was vandalism around the campus. And, obviously, that is unacceptable.

BASH: Protesters are calling for universities to divest from companies linked to Israel.

What do you think of that?

BASS: Well, I mean, that is a movement that is taking place. But my focus in Los Angeles has really been on the 46,000 people that are sleeping on the street who are homeless.

We have people on the street dying, three to five a day. And that is my focus. That's the reason why I ran.

BASH: Yes. BASS: And it's the reason why I'm here in D.C. right now.

BASH: So let's talk about that. You did lay out a new plan this week to fight homelessness by asking wealthy residents and philanthropists for more funding, focusing on veterans, like you're doing -- and talking to people like you're doing, as you mentioned here, in D.C.

So why do you think this plan is more likely to work than what we have seen in the past?

BASS: Well, the problem is so extensive in Los Angeles, as well as in other cities, that we have to have a variety of strategies.

So let me just be clear. I'm here this week with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. There's probably going to be about 50 mayors here from about 18 different states. And we have found that there is policy, old, outdated policy that actually contributes to veterans, people who fought on behalf of our country to be on the street.

So, for example, a veteran in many cases has to choose between their veteran benefits or housing, because, if they take all their benefits, then their income is so high that they don't qualify for housing. And that is just unacceptable. Housing is there, but they can't access it.

So we're calling on our federal partners to close that loophole, so that veterans can get their benefits and be housed. The strategy that we have been using over the last year, we call it a program Inside Safe, where we move people immediately from tents into housing.

And one of the most important things that we saw in the last year is that people are willing and ready to leave the streets. So we have destroyed the myth that people choose to be on the streets and that they won't leave. The other thing is, is that we called for a capital campaign, a traditional capital campaign. Buildings are built at universities, hospitals, faith institutions.

And so when we called upon the wealthy to contribute, it's to a capital campaign. That is one of probably 12 different strategies that we're using to address this problem in Los Angeles.

Let me say one other thing too. One problem that we really have to solve is how to prevent people from falling into homelessness to begin with. On any given month, we can get hundreds of people off the street, but then hundreds call -- fall on the streets as well.

Have to have a comprehensive approach. The mayors, bipartisan group of mayors, because this is a bipartisan issue, are here to meet with the administration, the Senate and the House, to say, please close this veteran loophole.

BASH: We are out of time, but before I let you go, on the show a year ago, you said you hoped to eliminate street homelessness by the end of your first term in 2026. Is that still...

BASS: I still hope to do that.

BASH: And it's still achievable?

BASS: Well, we shall see.


BASS: We have done pretty well so far. A lot more to do.

BASH: Mayor Karen Bass, thank you so much for being here.

BASS: Thanks for having me back.

BASH: Appreciate it.

And for years, Republicans have criticized safe spaces on college campuses. Has that changed? I will ask Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin next.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

We are six months from the presidential election. My next guest decided against making a run himself, and he's backing former President Trump.


BASH: Here with me now from Germany, where he's leading a trade mission and meeting with American service members, is Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

You are there on your third international trade mission since becoming governor. You have made building business ties overseas a priority. You know that many in your party do not see it that way, including your party's nominee, Donald Trump. He doesn't share your views.

Why do you think this is so important?

GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): Well, first of all, Dana, thank you for having me today.

And it's amazing to be here at Ramstein Air Base to visit with these extraordinary men and women who are on the front line of projecting America's capabilities around the world. It is the gateway for America's military here.

And it's so important for us to come and support them, an honor. And I saw great Virginians here as well today. And global economic strength is national security. And it's critically important for us to have deep relationships with our trusted allies.

[09:40:02] I think we have done a great job in the Commonwealth of Virginia in bringing companies to Virginia, but also developing relationships around the world. Last year, I was in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, and now I'm going to be in Germany, in Denmark, in Finland.

And it's an incredibly important opportunity for us to deepen these relationships. And I think it also represents the fact that our economy is not performing as it should be. I mean, the reality is, we have low growth and high inflation. It should be flip-flopped. We should have low inflation and high growth.

And it's part of our economic mission to build that. I do think President Trump built that when he was president. I think we're suffering under Joe Biden's leadership economically. Virginia has done incredibly well over the last couple of years, as we have rebounded aggressively, with more people working than ever.

And I'm going to continue to work to bring jobs to Virginia, but also to make sure we have great relationships around the world.

BASH: me just follow up on trade. And, specifically, Trump is threatening to impose a new 10 percent tariff on all foreign imports to the U.S. Is that something that you support?

YOUNGKIN: So, I believe, first of all, that we have trusted allies around the world that we must develop even deeper relationships with.

And, as I said, it's one of the reasons why I was in Asia last year and am in Europe this year. And those relationships must be strengthened. They must be deepened, because the reality is that China particularly is trying to dominate the world at America's expense. And we must build these trusted allies and supply chains into the most important industries, like semiconductors.

And that's something that we're continuing to work for in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And I think President Trump strongly believes in building America business -- America's business. And that's part of bringing so many companies home to America, the pharmaceutical industry, the manufacturing industry, and, of course, the semiconductor industry.

BASH: So...

YOUNGKIN: We have seen a lot of that in Virginia, and that's what we're building there too.

BASH: So, no on the 10 percent tariffs on all foreign imports?

YOUNGKIN: Yes, I -- I think that the specifics of combating unfair trade practices are going to need to be levied against particular countries that are not trading fairly.

But we also, as I said, need to strengthen relationships with our most trusted allies. And that's part of, I think, not only having a successful economic strategy, but also a successful national security strategy. BASH: Governor, I want to ask you. You are obviously in Germany, but

you're no doubt keeping close tabs on what's happening here in the U.S., including in your home Commonwealth of Virginia.

And that is protests on college campuses. It includes Virginia Tech in Virginia. Back in November, you met with university leaders. And you said -- quote -- "When it comes to freedom of expression, we have to create an environment that protects the ability to challenge conventional thinking."

How does that guide your approach to protests now?

YOUNGKIN: Well, first, we have to begin with the fact that freedom of expression and peacefully demonstrating is at the heart of our First Amendment. And we must protect it.

But that does not go to, in fact, intimidating Jewish students and preventing them from attending class and using annihilation speech to express deeply antisemitic views. And, therefore, I have been working with our attorney general, Jason Miyares, our university presidents, law enforcement at the state, local, and campus level to make sure that, if there are protests, they're peaceful.

We're not going to have encampments and tents put up. And, yes, we will protect the ability to peacefully express yourself, but we're not going to have the kinds of hate speech and intimidation that we're seeing across the country in Virginia.

BASH: Governor, I really appreciate your time.

It is a very, very windy there -- day there in Germany. And thank you so much for coming out and spending some time with us. Appreciate it.

YOUNGKIN: Dana, thank you for having me.

And, once again, God bless our troops around the world that are keeping America safe.


BASH: You know that old saying about, if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog? Well, that might not be an option for one of Donald Trump's V.P. hopefuls.

That's next.




BIDEN: The 2024 election is in full swing. And, yes, age is an issue. I'm a grown man running against a 6-year-old.

JOST: My "Weekend Update" co-anchor, Michael Che, was going to join me here tonight. But, in solidarity with President Biden, I decided to lose all my black support.

BIDEN: Donald has had a few tough days lately. You might call it stormy weather.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

A lot of jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. We will talk about that with my esteemed panel here.

Nice to see you all. I'm glad you're awake.


BASH: I don't see any coffee on the table. That's shocking to me.


BASH: What did you think -- and I will start with you -- about -- I mean, the jokes, they were funny -- but that last part there, where the president talks about stormy weather.


He actively avoids all discussion about the trials. And this is a way to get it on the record, while doing it through humor.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And there was a lot of trial jokes, right, not just from the president, but also from the comedian. I thought both of them handled it very well.

Look, obviously, Republicans and Donald Trump is trying to make this a Joe Biden trial. It's a Joe Biden leading a witch-hunt. So I think the less he talks about it in a serious way, in a campaign way, the better. Why get in the middle of Donald Trump when he's hurting himself at this trial?

But I thought, as far as poking fun at him, it was hilarious.


BASH: Congresswoman?

REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): I agree, especially when they started talking about him farting his way through everything. It was...

NAVARRO: Oh, it's 9:00 in the morning.


NAVARRO: We were doing so well.

CROCKETT: How stinky it must be in that courtroom.

But, nevertheless, I think it's really important that the American people see the president being able to hit back, because, when I talk to Democrats, what they want to see is someone who's strong.

And a lot of times, people characterize Trump as being the guy that's the bully, and he's punching. And Democrats end up being punching bags. And I think that it's important, ever since the State of the Union, that the president show up and that he cannot only take a punch, but he can deliver a blow as well.

And I think you heard that last night.


The interesting part, though, that nobody laughed at the Colin made a joke about was -- and our polling shows today Trump's winning, right?

BASH: Well, let me pull that out.

URBAN: So Colin Jost jokes makes a joke. He's like, this guy's up there. This guy's this. And, Mr. President, you're still losing.


URBAN: ... doing that.

BASH: David, hold that thought, because I want to show our viewers. This is the sort of top line for a new national poll of registered voters, 49 percent Trump -- I think we have it -- 43 percent Biden. There you go.

Continue your thought.


So, while the Boston, Washington, megalopolis crowd, the people in New York and D.C., the liberal...

CROCKETT: What did Boston do to you?


URBAN: The liberal -- the kind of liberal elites, right? Let's just say this, the liberal elites think that last night was hilarious, right?

The flyover states, right, the thousands of counties across America that voted of Trump didn't watch that last night. And their sentiments are reflected in that poll. And the Biden administration and team Biden, they're whistling past the graveyard here.

They're whistling past the graveyard. So you can have a great night last night, but they're going to be back on the trail. And they're pushing a big rock up a hill in a lot of states. Interestingly, no networks showed what was happening outside the Hilton last night, tons of protesters.

CUPP: We did. URBAN: Tons of protesters.

CUPP: We did. I was on air.

URBAN: I missed it. I missed it. I didn't see it.

BASH: Because you were inside drinking.


URBAN: Maybe a network showed it.

But so, convention coming up in Chicago, the party's got to get -- they're going to have to get an answer for a lot of questions that people want to hear, the economy, the border, on and on and on. So we will see. It's going to be -- it's a close race.

CUPP: Sure. I don't know what one has to do with the other. Last night was a night for comedy and supporting the First Amendment in journalism. Mission accomplished.

BASH: Yes.

CUPP: It was not a forum or a venue to put out policy. It wasn't the State of the Union. It wasn't even a chance to say, look, we know the American people are hurting. It was a night of fun and celebration. And we deserve it. Journalists deserve it.

Joe Biden deserved a night out. And we are living in such absurdist times that...


BASH: ... if the president of the United States did not make fun of his opponent for spending his time on trial for hush money payments to a porn star, then he is not living in reality.


CUPP: This is where you go, if that's what's happening.

BASH: Yes.

NAVARRO: And you know what else I found yesterday I was thinking? It was kind of a return to normalcy, right?

CUPP: Yes.

NAVARRO: Because, during the Trump years, this is yet another one of those events that was ruined because of Trump.


BASH: Right.

NAVARRO: We ended up with a historian, instead of a comedian, because he's thin-skinned and can't take a joke and has no sense of humor.

BASH: Congresswoman...


URBAN: That's not true. I was there for some of those. And the historian -- the comedian that was there, as I'm sure you might remember, has since been excommunicated from the comedian world.

BASH: OK. Let's talk -- let's turn back to the campaign trial and what you brought up, David.

CROCKETT: And I was going to say, the polling.

BASH: Yes, that's exactly what I was just saying.

CROCKETT: No, I was just going to say.

BASH: Are you worried about it, Congresswoman?

CROCKETT: Here's the deal. Polls don't vote. People do, number one. Number two, if that was the case, Hillary would have been the president. I mean, I'm just saying.

So here's the deal. Do I think that there's issues that we need to deal with? Absolutely. You talk about the fact that protesters were outside. That is a real issue, especially for young people and people of color, as well as the Muslim community. So it is going to have to be dealt with. And it's something that we can't just avoid.

But, unfortunately, we need this war to actually progress to the point that it should have progressed to a long time ago. It needs to end. We need to make sure that people stop dying over there, right? But...

URBAN: I'm from the John Fetterman school here. I agree with my...

CUPP: We need hostages returned.


URBAN: ... with Senator John Fetterman from Pennsylvania. It could end tomorrow. Hamas, just turn them over. Turn over the hostages and end. It's over. Over.


CROCKETT: Listen, I don't necessarily disagree with that, obviously, but it's not necessarily easy to deal with people like Hamas.

We're talking about a terrorist organization. And that's part of the problem. But, right now, as we see what's happening on our campuses, as we see the division that's taking place in this country, it's going to be absolutely important that we address this head on. There is no avoiding it.

I think ultimately, though, as it relates to the polling, people aren't going to come out really because of either one of them. I'm going to be honest. Obviously, MAGA is always going to come out for Trump.

But, right now, people are voting based on issues such as abortion.

BASH: OK, I have to ask you all to weigh in on Governor Kristi Noem's book.

CUPP: Mm-hmm.

BASH: This is something that she wrote in her book, that she killed a 14-month-old puppy and a goat on her family farm.

CUPP: And three horses.

BASH: And three horses. She said: "It wasn't a pleasant job, but it had to be done. And after it was over, I realized another unpleasant job needed to be done."

And then she went on to talk about her goat. This has definitely gone viral, and that is an understatement.

NAVARRO: OK, Chacha stands in solidarity with...


BASH: Chacha, your dog.


NAVARRO: Yes, I can't -- I -- I -- you know, when I first heard about this, I really thought this was made up, because I -- number one, I couldn't believe somebody would do that, kill a puppy. Who kills a puppy?

CROCKETT: And then admit to it.

NAVARRO: And then write about it in her memoir? I mean, is it something that she thinks is so normal that you actually write about it?

I'm old enough to remember when Mitt Romney got the bejesus beat out of him because he tied a dog to the car.


CUPP: I hunt over dogs, OK?

This is not a thing. There are 592 other things you can do with a dog that won't hunt besides kill it in front of your kid and construction workers.


CUPP: I don't know if this was an attempt to look tough on a farm.

Remember, Joni Ernst was talking about castrating pigs...

BASH: Castrating pigs.

CUPP: ... when she came in, was running for Senate. Like, it's a thing some women feel like they have to do.

BASH: But she actually did that.

CUPP: This does not land. I don't know if someone at Hachette, her publisher, hates her for letting her put this in.

My publisher would say, S.E., I cannot, in good consciousness, let you keep this in the book. It is awful.


NAVARRO: Maybe she's auditioning for Cruella De Vil, for the sequel.

BASH: We're out of time, guys.


BASH: Thank you so much for being here, especially after a late night.

Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us.

Fareed Zakaria picks it up next.