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State of the Union

Interview With Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA); Interview With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI); Interview With Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD); Interview With U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Aired 9- 10a ET

Aired June 09, 2024 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Harrowing rescue, joyful reunions. Israeli forces free four hostages from Hamas captivity. As Gaza hospitals report that scores were killed during the mission, what more do we know?

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is next.

And turnout talk. Both parties focus on a key voting bloc, suburban women.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We were able to work on real solutions. Are we going to empower Americans to make their own health care decisions?

BASH: Is it enough to win in the fall?

Two governors, Republican Kristi Noem and Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, join me exclusively.

Plus: American way. Donald Trump calls for revenge as he awaits his felony sentencing. And now Vice President Kamala Harris says his response is disqualifying.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Cheaters don't like getting caught.

BASH: What do voters think?

Our political panel weighs in.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is looking overseas.

After eight long months, four Israeli hostages are back home safely, family reunions and tears of joy after they were rescued from Hamas captivity by IDF forces in a special operation Saturday morning. The raid of two separate apartments in a Central Gaza refugee camp took months of preparation, the military spokesman said, since Hamas moves hostages frequently and embeds them in areas packed with civilians, like this refugee camp.

Following reports of heavy shelling and artillery fire, Gaza hospitals said more than 200 people were killed in the operation. CNN has not been able to verify claims about the exact number of civilian deaths in what was the first successful hostage rescue since February.


BASH: Here with me now from Paris, where he is traveling with President Biden, is National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Thank you so much for being with me.

Let's start, of course, with the news about the rescue of four Israeli hostages inside Gaza. How specifically did the U.S. assist in the mission?

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, Dana, the United States has been providing support to Israel for several months in its efforts to help identify the locations of hostages in Gaza and to support efforts to try to secure their rescue or recovery.

I'm not going to get into the specific operational or intelligence- related matters associated with that because we need to protect those. I can only just say that we have generally provided support to the IDF, so that we can try to get all of the hostages home, including the American hostages who are still being held.

BASH: So, I understand that intelligence, U.S. intelligence, assisted, but will you say anything about U.S. personnel, U.S. weapons?

SULLIVAN: Well, the one thing I can say is that there were no U.S. forces, no U.S. boots on the ground involved in this operation. We did not participate militarily in this operation.

BASH: Jake, Hamas claims that other hostages that they are holding inside Gaza were killed as a result of the IDF's mission. Is that true?

SULLIVAN: We have not seen that verified or confirmed. I believe that the Israelis have said they do not have any information to that effect.

But, of course, that is always a risk with all of these military operations. Hostages have been killed over the last eight months. And so, Dana, the best way to get all of the hostages home and to protect Palestinian civilians is to end this war.

And the best way to end this war is for Hamas to say yes to the deal President Biden announced and that Israel has accepted, which lays out a road map to an enduring cease-fire and the return of all hostages. That's what we are driving for. And that's what we're asking the world to call upon Hamas to accept. BASH: Are you concerned at all, given what you just said, that the

ball is in Hamas' court right now, that the rescue that happened on Saturday will make it so that Hamas might walk away from the negotiating table?


SULLIVAN: It's a legitimate question. I -- it's hard for me to put myself in the mind-set of a Hamas terrorist. We don't know exactly what it is that they're going to do.

But the basic bottom line here is straightforward. To bring an end to this war, to get the hostages home, to get the full scope of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in a safe and effective way, we need this deal.

And all of the people all over the world, in the United States and in countries everywhere, who have been calling for a cease-fire, they need to train their attention on Hamas and put the pressure on, because this is the way to resolve this issue. And whatever the calculus is of Hamas coming out of this weekend, the reality remains the same.

This is the only credible path forward, and Hamas should say yes.

BASH: Any word either from Hamas or through Hamas' intermediaries about their stance vis-a-vis the cease-fire deal that the president endorsed a little bit more than a week ago since what happened yesterday?

SULLIVAN: Well, we have heard a lot publicly from Hamas over the last week.

We have not seen any official statements since what happened with the hostage rescue operation. And the two key Arab mediators who are standing alongside the United States in this process, Qatar and Egypt, have not yet received any official word from Hamas representatives as to their stance on the deal.

So we are awaiting that word. And it should come today. It should come this hour. Hamas should say yes, which would immediately put in place a cease-fire and immediately begin the process of bringing hostages home. This is the answer that the world is looking for, and it's time to act.

BASH: Jake, I want to ask you a little bit more about that mission. And one of the questions is what we're hearing from Gaza.

Two different hospitals in Gaza say at least 236 people were killed as a part of the Israeli operation to rescue hostages. What is your understanding of how many Palestinian civilians, not militants, but civilians, were killed in that rescue mission?

SULLIVAN: We, the United States, are not in a position today to make a definitive statement about that. The Israeli Defense Forces have put out one number. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has put out another number.

But we do know this, Dana. Innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number, we don't know, but innocent people were killed. And that is heartbreaking. That is tragic.

The president himself has said in recent days that the Palestinian people are going through sheer hell in this conflict because Hamas is operating in a way that puts them in the crossfire, that holds hostages right in the heart of crowded civilian areas, that puts military emplacements right in the heart of crowded civilian areas.

But every day that we see more innocent people lost is another horrible, awful, tragic day. And our hearts in the United States and across the world break for that.

But there is only one answer to stop that from happening going forward. And that is a cease-fire and hostage deal that ends the military operations, brings the hostages home, and puts us in a position to give the Palestinians an opportunity for a better future for their people.

BASH: And last, just about the mission, we're -- you don't want to specifically say how the U.S. involved, which I understand, but just broadly, big picture, no one can deny the amazing news of seeing these innocent civilians who were finally brought back to their families from Gaza after being held there for eight months.

But is the U.S. comfortable with the way that the Israelis carried out the mission?

SULLIVAN: Look, Dana, why is President Biden going out publicly and calling for a cease-fire and hostage deal? It's because he thinks the best way to get all of the hostages home is in a deal where they're brought out diplomatically, where there's no need for military operations to get every last hostage out.

So that would obviously be the best solution to this. In the absence of that, without Hamas saying yes to the deal, unfortunately, we are going to continue to see ongoing conflict and military operations in which Israel makes efforts to recover its citizens and, frankly, to recover American citizens.

What we would much prefer to see is a cease-fire, where the hostages come out peacefully. That is available. Israel has said yes to it. Now Hamas needs to say yes to it. That's where President Biden's full effort, energy and attention is.


And you heard yesterday from the French president here in Paris that France stands behind that, the world stands behind that, and Hamas should come to the table and say yes.

BASH: Well, you mentioned that you are in Paris.

I have to, before I let you go, ask about the trip that you and, of course, the president is making to Europe marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day. You are soon going to be part of the G7 in Italy. And the president gave a very big speech on democracy as he is trying to frame the 2024 presidential election here against Donald Trump as a discussion about the fate of democracy.

Do you think democracy is in jeopardy?

SULLIVAN: The president said in his speech that democracy is at risk all over the world from without and from within to a greater extent now than it has been in a very long time.

And what President Biden was arguing is that those brave men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, who scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, who liberated Europe and literally saved the world, they are calling us to step up to do our job in our time, which is to defend democracy, to stand with allies, to refuse to bow down to dictators, to push back against aggression.

That is what President Biden is seeking to do. That is the message that he gave here today. And it is something he will carry forward as long as he is president.

BASH: You said around the world. Is democracy at risk in the United States as part of this election?

SULLIVAN: Well, we do hear voices calling into question the basic democratic values and democratic institutions that have made our country great for 250 years.

And those voices have gotten louder in recent years, and that is a source of deep concern. But it's also a source of huge motivation, not just for the president, but for a lot of people who want to stand up to reinforce the things that have made this country great.

And we have had no better reminder, Dana, than getting to see some of those still-living veterans of World War II who came not to make any political statement in Normandy, but, rather, simply to reinforce the timeless values that have made America, America. And it's something we should all remember as we go forward.

BASH: Yes, those were remarkable images and reminders, no question about that.

Jake, thank you so much for being here. Appreciate it.

SULLIVAN: Thanks for having me.


BASH: Both the Trump and Biden campaigns are trying to turn out a key voting bloc, suburban women.

Republican Governor Kristi Noem and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer are coming up.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

We are five months from the presidential election. And, today, we're going to talk to two influential governors from both parties about the state of the race.

Here with me now from Wisconsin, where she is campaigning for Donald Trump, is South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem.

Thank you so much for being here, Governor.

I want to start with what we have heard a lot of from the former president since he was found guilty in his New York hush money trial.

And that is repeatedly suggesting that he would prosecute his political opponents if he is elected. Listen to part of what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (R) AND CURRENT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a terrible precedent for our country. Does that mean the next president does it to them? That's really the question. And it's very possible that it's going to have to happen to them.

Based on what they have done, I would have every right to go after them.

Well, revenge does take time, I will say that.


TRUMP: And, sometimes, revenge can be justified.


BASH: Governor, is that the message you think Donald Trump should be focusing on in this campaign right now?

GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): Well, his message has clearly been that his only vengeance will be America's success. He is not interested in going after political opponents.

He is interested in going back to the White House and working for the American people and their families, bringing down inflation costs. And that's what I'm hearing overwhelmingly here in Wisconsin, is that this swing state is so important.

And these people here, their number one issue right now is not that sham trial and not the verdict and the convictions and not what's going on as far as what a lot of people are talking about in the media. They care about what's happening to their families, how much grocery prices have gone up, how much better their lives were four years ago. So that's really their number one concern.

BASH: Yes, I mean, it seems clear what you're hearing from voters that is what their concern is.

But it is what we heard from Donald Trump this week over and over and interview after interview, that he is considering going after his political opponents. So should he stop doing that, given what you just said you're hearing from voters?

NOEM: What he has said is that he's warned the American people, if we start weaponizing the judicial system like they did against him, that it could happen to any president. It could happen to any political opponent.

What he's talking about when he's having those discussions is that be careful what you do because that opens the door in the future to anybody doing it. And that's what he's trying to shut down. He wants people to trust our judicial system. He wants to make sure that we still have law and order in this country.

If you look at conservative areas of this country, places where Republicans were in control, we have law and order. We have peace and stability. You go to Democrat states and cities, that's where you see destruction and you see judicial systems and trials and corrupt judges that prosecute their political enemies.


That's what New York was. New York, that was definitely a rigged election -- or a rigged judicial process against the president, politically motivated.

BASH: Well, he was found guilty based on a jury, 12 members of the -- 12 peers, 12 peers of his.

The other thing I just want to mention -- and I do want to move on -- is that, right now, the Justice Department is prosecuting the president's son, President Biden's son, is prosecuting a House Democrat, is prosecuting a Senate Democrat. So doesn't that fly in the face of the claim that the whole judicial system is weaponized against Republicans?

NOEM: I don't think anybody believes the whole judicial system is. I think they see places in this country where it is.

And New York was certainly one of those. And I don't know, Dana, if you read that letter from the judge in the New York City trial that came out that talked about the fact that some of these social media posts that came out before the decision and the verdicts even came out from that jury.

So there may be a mistrial coming here because it was handled so poorly by this judge. And that's what I think that will be eye-opening to the American people as they really, truly will have proof then that judge was corrupt. He never -- he should have refused himself, according to the ethics

and rules of New York.

BASH: Yes.

NOEM: He should never have resided over that whole process. And President Trump should have never been in that situation.

BASH: And I just want to say that those details have not been confirmed. Obviously, the trial is over. So I think you're probably referring to an appeal.

I want to move on to some of the politics that we're seeing in the 2024 race. Specifically, Donald Trump is actively starting to look for a running mate. CNN is told that there are seven potential Trump V.P. contenders receiving vetting materials so far. You're not on that list.

NOEM: Mm-hmm.

BASH: Do you have any indication that you're still under consideration to be Donald Trump's running mate?

NOEM: I have told President Trump over and over again he needs to pick whoever helps him win. I have been loyal to him since the very beginning, when he first started to run in 2016.

He's told me his priority is picking a running mate that can govern on day one, that has been loyal to him, that can -- has experience and run businesses, knows how to be a CEO, but also supports him and his policies.

I don't care. I love my job in South Dakota. I care about the fact that I want him to win, and he knows that I will do that. So I talked to him three times yesterday. I think he's doing great and fantastic. I'm proud of him. I have never seen anybody get out of bed and work as hard as this guy does just because he loves America.

And he's got some -- a lot of corrupt criminals and a lot of political enemies coming after him, and he still gets up and he fights for the average everyday American. And that makes me proud of him.

BASH: On that list that I just showed, there were six men and one woman.

Women, particularly suburban women, I don't need to tell you, could play a big role in who gets elected in November. Should there be a woman on the ticket, A? And, B, you said he just needs to pick somebody who will help him win. Would you help him win?

NOEM: Right.

Well, all the polls tell him in these swing states that a woman on the ticket helps him win. The polls just say that. People, one in four Republican women haven't made up their minds because they want to have a woman talking to them about the issues they care about. And women aren't monolithic. They don't care about just one issue.

They care about health care. They care about their children. They care about their futures. They care about having an opportunity to have a business and to have a career. And all of that is being threatened under Joe Biden.

But, yes, the women vote is extremely important. And I have spent the majority of my time here in Wisconsin talking to women and talking to those people that are independent and on the fringe, and they're leaning towards Donald Trump. But they also want to know that their perspective is going to be at the table when decisions are made.

BASH: So he should pick a woman? That's what you're saying?

NOEM: They want to know that there's going to be people involved -- I think that that would be beneficial, according to the polling that I have seen for him in a lot of swing states, is that having a woman that is helping him campaign makes a difference.

Listen, I could be home in bed or feeding my horses right now or rocking my grandbabies. But I'm in Wisconsin because I believe President Trump needs to win. His policies are right for America, and they're perfect for South Dakota. And I want him to win. And the polling tells me that he needs women out on the campaign trail carrying his message about how much he cares about them and their future too.

BASH: Let me ask you about a topic that is important to women -- well, actually important to a lot of people, and that is contraception.

Senate Republicans this week blocked a bill to protect access to contraception nationwide. As a matter of principle, do you think Republicans should support complete access to birth control?

NOEM: Yes, I do.

I think that bill was a joke. That bill was far-reaching in everything that was included in it. And it wasn't just a single-issue bill, which, in my book, I talk about the fact that single-issue bills actually would fix a lot of what's broken in this country.


But, absolutely, contraception is something that should be available to women. And why can't we just start talking about the fact that a lot of women, when they're in their situations, they're in a crisis situation? Why don't we support them and give them information and help them?

So I think that, whatever we're talking about when it comes to women's health care, that that's something that we, as everybody in this America -- in this America public needs to realize, is that these are difficult situations. And we need to love people and win their hearts and minds, as well as talk about policy. BASH: You mentioned your book, so I'm going to ask you about that,

because, in that book, "No Going Back," you came under pretty intense criticism even from some members of your own party because you shared a story about shooting and killing your 14-year -- 14-month-old dog, Cricket.

Now that you have had time to process all of that, in all candor, do you have regrets?

NOEM: That story is a 20-year-old story of a mom who made a very difficult decision to protect her children from a vicious animal that was attacking livestock and killing livestock and attacking people.

So it's in the book because it was difficult for me. And there's a lot in that book that I think people need to read. I don't know if you have read it or not.

BASH: I have read the whole thing.

NOEM: But it wouldn't be in the book if it wasn't a very hard situation.

Oh, good. Well, I'm glad you did. Thank you for doing that.

But there's a lot in that book that's very important. And I hope people will read it, because it's a how-to guide for the average citizen on how to get their government back...

BASH: Yes.

NOEM: ... and why I believe that we need to have President Trump back in the White House.

BASH: Yes, I did read the whole thing, and so I have the entire context of that incident.

NOEM: Good.

BASH: And so what I'm hearing is no regrets, not just about writing about it...

NOEM: We have covered this.

BASH: ... but about actually...

NOEM: Yes.

BASH: ... actually shooting the dog?

NOEM: We have covered this.

And I'm a mom and protected my children from a vicious animal. We just had a 9-year-old boy in South Dakota kill just days ago from a dog. That happens. And that 9-year-old boy will never be in his parents' lives again. He will never be in his family's lives again.

I think it's -- people are put in tough situations in life, and we learn from it. And we learn a lot from it.

BASH: What did you learn?

NOEM: And that's what -- I talk a lot in that book, Dana.

I have learned that challenging times and hard decisions are hard and that, when you get into public office, you learn from every single one of them, and you use that knowledge to go forward and to make wise decisions that are best for America.

That's why Joe Biden is such a train wreck. The guy is 80 years old and making the worst decisions I have ever seen him make in his entire life and destroying our country, not just on the foreign policy stage by what he's doing in the Middle East, but also what he's doing on our economy. And he's putting every other country and our enemies in front of America.

And I think that's just horrible right now. Do you realize, Dana, that what he did last week is that, when the Trump verdict came out in his trial, he actually -- Joe Biden held a press conference announcing a deal between Israel and a terrorist organization that was not agreed to? And he did it during Shabbat?

I mean, how disrespectful to the Jewish people...

BASH: Well...

NOEM: ... to hold a press conference that they can't even respond to for religious reasons.

BASH: That's a -- OK.

NOEM: I just believe that we have got people that -- I mean, we have got people that really we need to recognize how weak this president is.

And you were talking about hostages earlier in your show. You know, it was Jimmy Carter who Iran held hostages for 444 days under Jimmy Carter, because he was weak back in 1979 and 1980. And the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, they were released, because they recognized that Ronald Reagan would be a strong president.

We have got the exact same situation here in America. Why are we not there getting our Americans home?

BASH: Yes. Well...

NOEM: Why are we not telling to Hamas, give us our Americans back? Why -- why are we not telling Russia to give us our journalists back?

BASH: Well, yes, I think they...

NOEM: The number one thing that this president should be doing is getting -- is protecting Americans.

BASH: Yes. NOEM: Go -- go get our Americans and bring them home. That's what I'm upset about.

BASH: Yes. Yes, I think there -- there's a lot there. Maybe you can come back and we can -- we're out of time. We can talk more about it.

NOEM: Yes. Yes. OK.

BASH: But, obviously, President Biden is very aggressively trying to get the Americans back. It's a very complicated situation.

NOEM: I hope so. He's taking a long time.

BASH: Governor, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

NOEM: I pray for their families they come home alive. Thank you.

BASH: Yes, we all do.

Up next: Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of a state that could decide the next president. That, of course, is the great state of Michigan. You see her there. Governor Whitmer will be here live next.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Some encouraging news for Democrats in Arizona and Florida. A new poll shows big majorities in both states support abortion rights measures that will be on the ballot in November.

Now, this week here in Washington, Democrats tried to lean into that topic with a push to enshrine contraception rights nationwide.

Here with me now to talk about that and more is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Thank you so much for being here.

You just heard Governor Noem, your colleague from South Dakota, talk about contraception. She says Republicans are not trying to take away access to birth control, Democrats are making this political.

What's your response?

WHITMER: I think that we all know the truth here.

There's no question that, with the three appointments that Donald Trump put onto our United States Supreme Court, three people who lied to Congress, betrayed their oath of office, and put forward the Dobbs decision, we know that there are women in many states who cannot access fundamental health care, cannot make their own decisions about whether and when to bear a child.


We know that mifepristone is under attack, that IVF, surrogacy, and now contraception is as well. And when the U.S. Senate puts forth policy to ensure that they have an opportunity to enshrine access to contraception, and Republicans vote against it and kill that bill, it is very much at risk here in this moment.

And I think that what we're seeing out of the Republicans saying that they want to protect this is disingenuous, at best, and an outright lie, at worst.

BASH: I want to talk a little bit about what we heard from the vice president, Kamala Harris, who was speaking in your state last night in Detroit.

And she said -- quote -- "Donald Trump thinks he is above the law" and this should be disqualifying for anyone who wants to be president of the United States. What do you think?

WHITMER: Well, I think that the fact of the matter is, we know, under this democracy, no one's above the law. Everyone is held into account.

We have a system of jurisprudence that we have to have confidence in. And then when you take that oath of office, we expect our leaders to live up to that oath. And this former president is now a convicted felon. He is the standard-bearer, unfortunately, for the Republican Party in this moment.

And this is a high-stakes election where you have got someone who flouts the law and cheats and just got caught, and someone who has, over the course of his lifetime, made serving the public the only thing that he is focused on. He has delivered for the American people.

And we have got a stark decision in front of us. And I really think that people need to take this moment very seriously and get out and vote, because this is high-stakes.

BASH: I want to turn to a different, very different trial. And that is one that is going on in Delaware with the president's son, Hunter Biden.

He is on trial for obtaining and possessing a firearm while under the influence of illegal drugs, which was against the law. Republican Lindsey Graham says that an average American would not have been prosecuted for this.

WHITMER: Dana, are you there?

BASH: Yes, Governor, can you hear me?

OK, it sounds like the governor can't hear me. You know what? We're going to take a very quick commercial break and get this fixed, and we will be right back. Don't go anywhere.



BASH: Welcome back.

Before the break, you saw that Governor Whitmer lost audio. We are trying to get that back. And while we work on that technical problem, our panel is back here.

We're going to start first by listening to what the vice president actually said in Michigan yesterday.


HARRIS: Donald Trump openly tried to overturn the last election, and now he openly attacks the foundations of our justice system. Cheaters don't like getting caught.


BASH: That was Vice President Kamala Harris in Detroit yesterday.

My panel is here. Nice to see you all.

So you have her clearly leaning into using the verdict as a political weapon, and then you have Donald Trump leaning into the verdicts and using them as a political weapon, obviously, in a very different way, sort of for retribution.

Bryan Lanza, I'm going to start with you since you're the only one at this table who has worked for Donald Trump. I know it's probably hard to stop him from doing that, but should he?


BRYAN LANZA, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Yes, listen -- listen, I think the president's going to do what he wants to do at the end of the day.

And I think the thing is, is, the focus for him and the rest of the campaign is going to be focused on the economy and focused on the issues that matter. When I see an ad like -- when I see her -- Kamala talking about it, I almost want her talking more, because the public has such an adverse reaction to the things she says.

Now, talking about cheating, the only one feeling cheated here is probably the American public. They were promised something three-and- a-half years ago, a strong economy, a safe world. We have two wars overseas. We have a third one about to start between the Philippines and China, which the U.S. has military agreements with.

And we have inflation wiping out the middle class, wiping out savings, wiping out people's credits. I think the public feel cheated. So you have to be careful with the word she uses.

BASH: Congressman Khanna?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Well, the president has had a very strong record of bringing manufacturing back, of record job creation, lowest unemployment.

But here is the contrast. The president is out there on D-Day trying to bring this country together, speaking about our aspiration, invoking President Reagan, saying we have a unifying message, and Donald Trump is on "Dr. Phil" talking about retribution.

I think that's going to be the real case of, what type of country are we? Are we a country that's going to come together with the president's message, or are we going to want to tear each other apart?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It doesn't sound very unifying to me, I mean, Kamala Harris on the attack this week and, candidly, Joe Biden attacking, I think, Donald Trump during his overseas speech.

Normally, we're worried about people attacking presidents when they're overseas. We don't normally have to worry about presidents attacking their opponents when they're overseas.

I think it underscores the horrible week the Biden people had. "The Wall Street Journal" says he's slipping behind the scenes in a deeply sourced story. Politico says -- blows up the popular narrative that the Biden -- Joe Biden has nothing to do with his family's business dealings.


"New York Times" today is out with a piece debunking all the personal narrative myths of Joe Biden. There's chaos all around the Biden campaign right now. And to top it all off, somehow, Virginia is now a swing state.

So I'm not surprised to see Kamala Harris desperately on the attack because the campaign is totally flailing right now.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I so love listening to you talk about chaos, because I remember Donald Trump in 2016 warning us that, if Hillary Clinton were president, it would be chaos all the time. And guess what? We had four years of chaos with Donald Trump.

But, Dana, let's talk about what's really going on here. Internally, I'm assuming the Trump campaign is seeing what I'm seeing, which is, this talking about the conviction of Donald Trump on 34 felony counts is working.

We have a CBS poll out just this morning. We have other polls coming out that are showing Joe Biden starting to come ahead -- move ahead. And here's the problem for the Trump campaign. These things matter when they underscore something that people already sense and believe about someone.

They already sense and believe Donald Trump lied to them. He lied to them when he said he didn't sleep with Stormy Daniels. He lied to them when he said he was going to make all these things better. And guess what? His tax cuts helped the very wealthy. They harmed the middle class. And, in fact, "New York Times" -- I'm so glad you mentioned "New York Times" -- has a story out this morning about how so many of the promises that Trump is making, when he talks about mass deportations, guess what? That's going to increase our costs. When he talks about his trade policy, trade tariffs, guess what? That's going to increase our costs.

And that's consistent with our own...


FINNEY: Hold on. That's consistent with our own reporting that showed that Ryan -- sorry -- that showed the costs will go up about $1,700 for middle-class Americans.

And all Donald Trump can do is talk retribution, while his people do the best they can with talking points.

BASH: Can I just sort of frame this conversation in a tick of a different way? And that is how this race could change a bit, not a lot, but a bit.

He hasn't picked his running mate yet. And you just heard Kristi Noem saying pretty much point blank he should pick a woman. She would like for it to be her. I don't know if it's going to be her. We got the list of the people who have gotten their vetting materials. There's only one woman on that list, and that is Elise Stefanik of New York.

The woman who pretty much hands down could help him win more than any, of course, is Nikki Haley.

LANZA: I don't know if it would help with me. I mean, it's -- listen, I want us to...

BASH: But you're already going to vote for him.

LANZA: I'm a partisan Republican, but I think Nikki Haley would cause problems for me, because it would say the future of the party is not in good hands.

And I think that's what people are looking for with the president when he chooses a V.P., somebody who continues along with the policies and the priorities are important to him. And Nikki Haley just doesn't match those up. So I think that's the challenge you're going to have.

And she hasn't sort of shown a propensity to even move towards the issues that Trump voters care about. And what the voters are going to care about and this party are going to care about are more of these things that President Trump's talking about. They're talking about tariffs.

We've -- I mean, Scott's in shock here. I'm in shock here. We're now the party of tariffs. And our party wants more of it. Like, I have never predicted that.

(LAUGHTER) LANZA: So our party is moving. And the reality is, is Nikki Haley's not moving with the party.

KHANNA: I think the issue is abortion rights. I mean, that's why Democrats have overperformed.

When I was in Wisconsin, across the state, I mean, there's still an arcane law there that bans abortion. What people were talking about is the right to access to reproductive health, the right to -- access to contraception.

And the fact that there's only one woman candidate on the running mate for Donald Trump shows that they're still out of touch. And that's why women are going to win this election for President Biden. I think that's why his numbers are moving in the CBS poll. And that's why I'm optimistic that he's going to get reelected.


BASH: Go ahead.

JENNINGS: Well, I actually agree with Bryan. I think you need a running mate -- first of all, the number one thing is do no harm.


JENNINGS: Second is, you have to have someone who is going to unabashedly support your agenda.

Like, you cannot have somebody out there who is pulling their punches on a daily basis. And so the list that he has out right now are a group of people that have shown time and again they are willing to step up and defend him and fight for his agenda.

I -- Nikki Haley has a lot of positions that I agree with, but she has a big problem with Donald Trump. She has said it time and again. I'm not sure that makes the best running mate.

FINNEY: I think it's clear Donald Trump continues to have trouble with women voters and consolidating suburban women.

Kamala Harris, I think, has done an excellent job prosecuting the case for Joe Biden. I think they should consider -- I mean, if I -- I don't want to give Trump advice, but he might want to consider a woman, although I think the challenge for many women would be, how do I defend some of the misogyny of this man credibly -- I think this is Nikki Haley's problem -- while trying to get people to vote for him?

BASH: All right, we are out of time.


BASH: We didn't get to the fact that Donald Trump was raising money from Silicon Valley billionaires.

[09:50:01] KHANNA: Most...


KHANNA: ... still supports the president.


BASH: OK. All right, there you go. You got it in there. You got it in there.


BASH: Thanks, everybody.

And Governor Gretchen Whitmer is back. I believe we can see her and hear her, which is a great thing. And she's going to come back to finish our interview on the other side of the break.

Don't go anywhere.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. We are back with Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

Governor, the president's son, Hunter Biden, is on trial for obtaining and possessing a firearm while under the influence of illegal drugs. That was against the law.

Republican Lindsey Graham says that an average American would not have been prosecuted for this, suggesting that Hunter Biden's facing charges for political reasons. What do you think?

WHITMER: You know, I don't know how to weigh in on that, Dana.

I will just say this. I saw and I was happy to see, when the president was asked about this, he will have confidence in the judicial system. He's not going to undermine it. And I think we will see how it plays out.

But, right now, we know that, in this country, there is a stark choice in front of us between a president who respects the rule of law and a former president who is a convicted felon, who wants to use the implements of government to go after his enemies, and is running on vengeance and grievance as his platform, versus the sitting president, who has delivered for this country and respects the judiciary and wants to shore up this democracy.

It's a lot at stake.

BASH: Should the president lean in more on the kind of message you just delivered?

WHITMER: You know what? I think it's important for us to be talking about these things. You know, the American people are busy. They're good, hardworking

people who expect their government to work as hard as they do and to be as good, if not better than they are, to respect the oath of office, to respect our institutions, to fight for every American's right to make their own decisions about their bodies, to have a voice and a vote in this democracy.


And I think all of those things are very much at stake here. So I'm going to be talking about that. I'm going to be reminding people. And I'm confident that the average person in this country, who's just trying to get ahead, is ultimately going to be a part of the direction of this election and is going to weigh in and vote for Joe Biden.

BASH: Governor, I don't need to tell you how important your state of Michigan is going to be when it comes to who is going to be the next president.

In your state, there is a third-party candidate, and his name is Robert Kennedy Jr. He is going to be on the ballot there. He earned 9 percent support in one recent Michigan poll. That's more than enough to tip the scales in what is sure to be a close election.

How worried are you about having RFK Jr. on the ballot and what it means for President Biden's chances of winning there?

WHITMER: Well, this is Michigan. Dana, as you know, elections are always close here.

I remind people all the time, don't clutch your pearls when we are down a couple points. Do not celebrate when we're up a couple points. This is going to be a close election all the way through.

But here's what I know. When you get on the ground and you show up and you talk to people and you listen, it helps make sure that you stay focused on the things that matter. President Biden has a huge list of accomplishments. We're seeing onshoring of supply chains. We're seeing the growth of good manufacturing jobs.

This is the first president in a long time that has been able to deliver on infrastructure and has a real manufacturing vision that is being -- that is playing out every day in good-paying jobs.

Certainly, Kennedy and -- or any third-party candidate gives me some concern, and it's to be taken seriously. And that's why we're showing up and we're working hard in all 83 counties to earn the votes of the people. There are a lot of good traditional Republicans who don't feel at home with the convicted felon at the top of the ballot, who know that Kennedy has got lots of far-out, kind of wild ideas about science and the future, and doesn't even have the support of his own family.

All that being said, we can't make any assumptions. We got to earn every single vote. And that's what we're doing.

BASH: OK, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, thank you so much for being here this morning. I really appreciate it.

WHITMER: Thanks, Dana.

Happy Pride, everyone.

BASH: Great jacket.

And thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us.

Fareed Zakaria picks it up next.