- Transcripts (2024)

Biden Rejects Calls To Exit Race After Disastrous Debate; Democrats Question Whether To Replace Biden On The Ticket; V.P. Kamala Harris Defends Bide, He's A Profound Thinker; CNN Political Commentators Discuss The First Presidential Debate 2024. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 28, 2024 - 22:00 ET



DANIEL HODGES, D.C. POLICE OFFICER ASSAULTED ON JANUARY 6: 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.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes. 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 10:00 A.M. Eastern on Monday, so make sure to join us.

Thank you for joining tonight. CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip starts now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Could Joe Biden be replaced? That's tonight on NewsNight.

Good evening, I'm Abby Philip in New York.

Today, a North Carolina crowd saw a very different Joe Biden, but it will do pretty much nothing to contain the active and ongoing serious discussions that are happening inside the Democratic Party right now about the potential for another nominee. This afternoon, Biden looked at and sounded every bit what he did not look like last night, coherent, energized, different in almost every measurable way. And, yes, he did have a teleprompter, but if Americans were watching, they watched the Joe Biden that they saw at the State of the Union.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't walk as easy as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't debate as well as I used to. But I know what I do know. I know how to tell the truth.

When you get knocked down, you get back up.


PHILLIP: However, you simply cannot take that Biden and forget about the one that 51 million Americans watched opposite Donald Trump at CNN's debate.


BIDEN: We'd be able to wipe out his debt, we'd be able to help make sure that all those things we need to do, childcare, elder care, making sure that we continue to strengthen our healthcare system, making sure that we're able to make every single, solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with COVID -- excuse me, with dealing with everything we have to do with -- look, if -- we finally beat Medicare.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, President Biden. President Trump?

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he's right. He did beat Medicare. He beat it to death, and he's destroying Medicare.


PHILLIP: The Joe Biden America saw stumble and stumble some more is producing panic inside of the party, a problem that they cannot sweat out. Well-connected Democratic donors tell me the conversations about calling in another candidate to release Biden from the bullpen are intense right now. And this is not a media-created narrative. This is Democrats really reckoning with a decision and a deadline, basically a month before the convention to double down on Biden or to go with someone else. And they won't get to do that in private.

The cover of TIME Magazine simply says, panic, with an image of a meandering Biden walking off the page, The New York Times Editorial Board tonight publishing this editorial, to serve his country, President Biden should leave the race. And now, the Biden White House was quick to say that they have been here before, quote, the last time Joe Biden lost The New York Times Editorial Board's endorsem*nt, it turned out pretty well for him.

But this is new, and this is different. A public push and pull between Democrats over the president's fitness pulling him out the door are the bros who worked with both Obama and Biden.


JON FAVREAU, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think it was a f*cking disaster. I think it was like, maybe the worst debate I've ever seen in my entire life. Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. Donald Trump is just a despicable human being. He should not be president. We have to do literally everything we possibly can to make sure he is not president again. And that is why it was so f*cking awful because Joe Biden just, in every single way, failed at that debate. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: And pushing him to keep going is Jim Clyburn. He's the Democrat who sainted Biden in South Carolina.


REPORTER: What do you say to the Democrats who are saying Biden should quit after that?

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): Stay the course. Chill out. Chill out.


PHILLIP: David Plouffe, an Obama whisperer, he is somewhere in between.


DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: He's going to be the nominee unless he decides in a week from now that it just doesn't look winnable. I don't think that'll be the case.

Joe Biden can win this race and I think what voters are going to process is he's now on probation.



PHILLIP: But one man publicly holding the line for Joe Biden right now is the guy that Plouffe worked for, the former president of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama admits that last night's debate was bad. Bad debates happen, he says, but the choice, as it were, is still between Biden and Trump, someone the Democrats view as flawed, but decent pit hit it against a convicted felon that they see as a threat to democracy. Last night didn't change that. Obama says.

Joining me now is the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and that's Congressman Gregory Meeks. Congressman you know, if Democrats say that Donald Trump is a threat to democracy, why take a chance on a candidate who the American public has said time and time again they do not think is fit to run for president and be president another four years?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Because you look at the work that Joe Biden has done. You look at bills that we've passed. I've sat next to him. History is going to record Joe Biden as making NATO stronger than ever. You know, you just said, I'm on the foreign affairs committee. I look at -- he's got South Korea and Japan, two nations that never talked, people that he's bringing them together, just on the foreign services and the foreign affairs alone. You know, when he first got elected, individuals said, oh, aren't we glad that we are back Biden was there? And they said, yes, but for how long, because they know how bad Donald Trump is? PHILLIP: Well, now they think Donald Trump is almost certain to win. I mean, what we're hearing from our reporters who are in those European capitals and all around the world is a sense of panic and fear that they believe that Donald Trump is going to be the next president.

MEEKS: But that's because Donald Trump is so bad, because they know that Donald Trump --

PHILLIP: Well, it's also because of the fact that President Biden is losing the race right now.

MEEKS: But their fear is if it wasn't Donald Trump, they wouldn't have the great fear that they have. They have the great fear because they know that Donald Trump, as Marco Rubio said back in 2016, he's a con man. They know that they have the fear, as Lindsey Graham said, that he is a pathological liar. And we saw him and they saw him continuing the lie.

And so it was a terrible night last night for Joe Biden. No one is saying that Joe Biden had a good night, nobody. It was terrible. I sit, I had a debate watch with a number of members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Nobody was pleased. Why? Because we know what's at stake, but we also know who Joe Biden is. We've worked with him. I've sat on the opposite side of the table with him.

PHILLIP: But, Congressman, you know, I take what you're saying. Isn't it possible that things have changed? He, like every other human being, is aging. And that process of aging, it seems, is having an impact on his ability to do the job. Are you saying that Joe Biden really is the only person who can run this race and beat Donald Trump?

MEEKS: I'm saying Donald Trump is not the person that it should be, and you say, not able to do the job for the last three and a half years he has done the job. It was Joe Biden who started bringing back infrastructure working with the House Democrats. It was Joe Biden who passed the Chips and Science Act. It was Joe Biden who passed the PACT Act. It was Joe Biden that got us back into the climate. So, don't say he's not doing the job. He is doing the job. He has been doing the job and he will continue to do the job. He's had a terrible, terrible debate.

PHILLIP: So, what happened?

MEEKS: So, I don't know what happened, but here's what I --

PHILLIP: But, I mean, isn't that something that the American people ought to be able to take into consideration?

MEEKS: One night. You know, there's some nights the greatest baseball player in the world will strike out three or four times. He'll take them off the team. So, what we have here is, you know, what Joe Biden will do, something similar that you saw him doing in North Carolina today. Let him go before town hall meetings and have a conversation and dialogue with the American people. Let them ask him the difficult questions. Let him come before you in the press and let him answer those questions. Let him stand up there and you'll see that he has the ability (INAUDIBLE) to lead.

PHILLIP: Do you think that there is a possibility here that President Biden could decide to step aside and allow someone else to do it? If President Obama were to come to him, if Jim Clyburn were to come to him, Nancy Pelosi, Hakeem Jeffries, should -- and they say, if they say, Mr. President, with all due respect, you've done a service to this country, it's time to move on, should he listen to them?

MEEKS: That's clearly nobody's decision but Joe Biden. It was his decision to run and it would be his decision not to run, nobody else's. I think, though, the real thing that should happen is Speaker Johnson and other Republicans should go to Donald Trump and say, Donald, you're a convicted felon.


Donald, you have lost cases because you harassed women. Donald, you have continued to lie. We can't stay with you anymore. And I think that's the real question. Why do we have someone like that, or even consider someone like that to be the head of state of the United States of America?

PHILLIP: It's definitely a fair question. I think it's also a fair question. If you think Republicans are putting politics over country in that instance, some people are accusing Democrats of doing that too, except that the Democratic Party is arguing this is an existential threat, not just to this election, but to the entire democratic project.

MEEKS: Well, your argument is, or the argument of some is on one debate that --

PHILLIP: It's not on one debate, it's also how Americans have been saying in polls for many, many months, what they see of Joe Biden in public, they do not believe, that is something that they want to see for another four years. They have been saying his age, how it presents to them in public is a problem for them.

MEEKS: Okay. But we're talking about the ability to do the job. I'm saying he has done the job. There's evidence and facts. You can't change the facts that he has been -- you may not like how he looks. You may not like how he speaks, but the question is, can he do the job? The answer to that is yes. Why? How do I know that? Because the facts show that he has done it.

PHILLIP: He's done it in the past. The question is can he do it for another four years. Do you think it's certain that he'll serve out all four years if he is re-elected?

MEEKS: Yes. Why not? There's people of old -- he said it himself, so he may not run as fast as he did, but he thinks he's fast. He can get things done. As long as he's physically able to do it, why not?

PHILLIP: All right, Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York, thank you very much for joining us in studio. We appreciate it. And joining me now is Nicholas Kristof. He's a New York Times columnist and his new column is titled President Biden, I've seen enough.

Nick, you were hearing the conversation I just had with the congressman there. You take the other view, why does the president need to forfeit the nomination at this point?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I would make the point that it's not just one bad debate night, that there have been other incidents recently that have raised questions. And, you know, look, this was probably the worst debate night since modern presidential debates began on T.V. in 1960. I mean, this was really horrendous. And it wasn't just a question of performance, although it was, I think, largely performance, but it was also one of substance.

And we've been through this with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who I adored, so much respected, and she took a gamble and the country lost. And in this case, you know, President Biden, again, today in North Carolina underscored the stakes of this election, the degree to which Donald Trump presents a real threat to democracy, and if we see that, then I think it is incumbent on us to do everything we can to minimize that risk. And minimizing that risk means we may have the strongest candidate we can have.

PHILLIP: So, how did we get here? I mean, did the president's team do the country a disservice by telling everyone that everything was fine, that he's the same Joe Biden that he ever was over and over again?

KRISTOF: I really don't know. I mean, I was, I think, surprised as so many people were by the frailty and weakness that he showed yesterday. And, you know, I don't know whether the State of the Union Biden is the one that is much more common and this was something of a fluke. And, you know, there is a deterioration. I mean, in every household around the country, we have conversations with aging parents about taking away the keys to the car.

And it's not an argument that in the past that person was able to drive. Well, the question is at this moment, and in the four years to come, will that person be able to drive well? And I don't think we can have confidence that President Biden is going to be that person. It pains me to say that. And I also worry that President Biden isn't going to take that advice. And this conversation ends up weakening him and increasing the chance that President Trump is re-elected. That's a really painful, difficult thing to talk about.

PHILLIP: And that very thing is actually something that you hear from a lot of Democrats right now, too. I mean, you call for an open convention process to pick someone else. But one of your colleagues in the paper today, Lydia Polgreen, writes that Kamala Harris could win this election. Let her. Do you think that she can win?

KRISTOF: I don't know. I think though that she may well be a, a stronger candidate than Joe Biden.

[22:15:05] But I think if we have -- if President Biden steps down, withdraws from the race, then I think we should make sure we get the very, very strongest candidate we can possibly get. And I don't think it should be just a matter of fact that the vice president gets that. I tend to think that Michigan is a critical state for Democrats to win. And so for that reason, I tend to think that Gretchen Whitmer might be a good person.

PHILLIP: It was notable. I mean, you didn't name -- she's the vice president. You didn't name her in your piece. I mean, why?

KRISTOF: Simply because the polling on her has been -- it's been improving but it has not been fantastic. And what seems to me most important is that she -- is that the nominee actually wins the race.

Now, it may well be that Vice President Harris is the one who can rally people behind her and could win. But I don't think that's a foregone conclusion.

PHILLIP: Nick Kristof, thank you very much for joining us.

KRISTOF: Good to be with you.

PHILLIP: So, what exactly does the law that governs our elections say about this kind of really extraordinary, possible scenario?

I'm joined by Rick Hasen. He's a law professor at UCLA and the director of the Safeguarding Democracy Project there. He's also the author of a new book, A Real Right to Vote. Rick, thanks for joining us.

Can you walk us through what an open convention without a President Biden as the nominee would look like at this late stage?

RICK HASEN, PROFESSOR OF LAW, UCLA: Well, you know, the way that the rules work, they're pretty loose on the Democratic side. Even today, if Joe Biden continued to stay in the race and delegates wanted to vote for someone else, they'd have the legal ability. I mean, politically, it would never happen.

But the delegates would have the ability to choose a nominee. And because this is happening before the convention, there would be enough time for potential candidates to be campaigning, potentially debating, and then it would all be decided the summer at the convention. Once there's a nominee out of the convention, the rules in most states essentially say, whoever is the nominee of the major party gets to appear on the ballot. So, election law is not going to be an impediment if there is the political will to make a change here.

PHILLIP: So, just to underscore what you're saying there, there's what happens at the convention and then there's the question of whose name shows up on that Democratic line in all these different states. And you say it basically would be automatic. Would there be any potential for legal challenges?

HASEN: Well, yes, I think there are potential. And one thing you may remember, there was a fight in Ohio a few weeks ago because Ohio's rules required that the nominee be chosen before the date of the Democratic Convention, which is kind of late in August this year. And so the Democrats have been planning to do a kind of virtual roll call vote and officially nominate Biden before the convention. That would be somewhat up in the air. So, there could be states with different deadlines. There might have to be some litigation.

The other thing is, remember, when people are voting, they're not voting for the president. They're voting for electors. In some states, the electors are pledged to have to vote for the candidate who is named. In other states, they would they were not so pledged. So, things get complicated. It would be much more complicated if there was an attempt to replace a candidate after the nomination process. Before the nomination process, I'm confident that whoever the Democrats pick would be on the ballot in the lion's share of the states.

PHILLIP: All right, everyone bookmark this one because we will be revisiting this topic, it sounds like. Rick Hasen, thank you very much for joining us.

HASEN: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And up next, we're going to discuss the Democrats-Kamala Harris problem. Van Jones, Anna Navarro and my entire panel will join me live.

Plus, why didn't Biden's advisers see the potential issues that occurred during their week-long debate prep?

And January 6th insurrectionists, one of them, joins me now on the Supreme Court limiting charges against rioters.

This is NewsNight.




KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Joe Biden is a leader who always fights for the people of our nation. He fights, and he wins, and he wins, and he wins.


PHILLIP: You can call it the Kamala conundrum. If Joe Biden were to leave the race, shouldn't the obvious choice to replace him be his Vice President Kamala Harris? So, why aren't more Democrats talking about that?

Joining me now is CNN's Van Jones, former Trump Campaign Spokesman Bryan Lanza, former Ben Carson Campaign Adviser Jason Osborne, and CNN's Ana Navarro.

Ana, I want to start with you, because I think you know, part of the anxiety around what to do about President Biden is a question of whether or not there is an obvious next option that is a good next option. What are you hearing and what do you think about that?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I wish people knew Kamala Harris like I knew, I know Kamala Harris. I'm very comfortable with the idea of Kamala Harris. I'm also really impressed with the Kamala Harris that showed up last night to that interview with Anderson Cooper after the debate. And I'm very impressed with the Kamala Harris that's been showing up the last few months where she's taken hold of the issue of women's rights, for example.


And I think she's really come unto her own.

I think she had a hard time. The first couple of years, I think she had a very hard time. It was a difficult transition. She's been a prosecutor. She was terrific in the Senate, particularly when she was in hearings, which was questioning people. I think being vice president is a bad job for anybody, and she was no different. She's coming to her own. She's got issues now on her folder of work that are in her alley.

Yesterday, she showed loyalty. She showed that she's part of a team. She was able to say the things that Biden wasn't able to say on that debate stage. That's the Kamala Harris I want to see day after day after day.

PHILLIP: This has been something that they've described as a conservative talking point, a hit job, that she's really the one on the ballot. But it seems like at this very moment, that is true.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes because the -- look, Joe Biden did a great job today. And that was a relief for a lot of people. But it's hard to unsee yesterday. And it's hard to imagine the guy you saw yesterday making it four and a half more years. And so you do have to acknowledge there is a high likelihood that a Joe Biden victory ultimately means Kamala Harris will be president. So, people need to make a decision, do you feel comfortable, do you feel good about that?

The Kamala Harris you've seen for the past two months, I think any Democrat would feel great about. You are 100 percent correct. When it comes to women's right to choose, which is an issue that really the Democrats needed a champion on, she became that champion, she's done a good job. The problem is it's coming a little late. And so sometimes the public's opinion of someone isn't catching up to their performance. So, you're going to see now, can public opinion of her catch up to her performance? Her performance now has been great. Public opinion is lagging behind that.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, to your point, the latest polling shows 57 percent of registered voters have an unfavorable view of Harris compared to 41 percent having a favorable view. That is not in the least because Republicans have spent the last three and a half years -- more than that, four years, attacking her in a very specific way. It almost, you know, makes you wonder, I mean, is it really that you think she's so weak or is there a fear of what she is?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: No. Listen, I think always highlighting her has been a good thing for the Republican Party, because they always felt that, you know, Biden sort of created this bizarre pick. It's got to be a woman. It's got to be a black woman. Sort of, he created his own barriers of what a vice president is and he stuck with her. And people felt that she was picked not because she was capable for the job but because she fit a certain demographic that Joe Biden needed at that particular moment. And so, yes, we want to make them own that.

PHILLIP: Isn't that how vice presidential picks generally?

LANZA: I mean, listen, listen, Bill Clinton picked Al Gore, which is his neighbor's same age, and everybody was confused by that. That certainly didn't signal anything different. It signaled change. Kamala Harris doesn't signal change.

JONES: But I do think that it's weird because why was Sarah Palin picked? Why was Pence picked? Pence was picked because --

LANZA: And the left ripped him to pieces. And the left ripped him to pieces. Let's forget that.

NAVARRO: I had this conversation with John McCain. She was picked because he thought he needed a wow factor to counteract what was the Obama wow factor, except that Sarah Palin went from wow to wow.

JASON OSBORNE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: Well, I mean, I guess my question on the whole Kamala question the issue is Kamala, I apologize, is why aren't people embracing her? Why are we even talking about somebody else besides her? Because if you start looking at somebody else besides her I think you're begging for a floor fight in, like in '68, where people are fighting in the constituencies of the Democrat Party today, I don't know if that helps the Democrat Party beat Donald Trump.

And so I would think today that everybody would be wrapping their arms around Kamala. Did I say that right?

NAVARRO: Vice President Harris.

OSBORNE: Vice President Harris. And I mean all that with respect is, why aren't they embracing her today?

PHILLIP: I mean, that is a fair question.

NAVARRO: A part of the reason why they're not embracing her is because I think the right has been incredibly effective. And I always admire how the right wing kind of like always sings out of the same hymnal and everybody says the same thing, and they've been very effective, and, for example, making fun of her laugh. You know what? The woman actually has a sense of humor and she laughs easily and I relate to that. I guess some people have an issue with people laughing. There's a woman who feels, who's empathetic, who has laughter. They've turned that -- if you see the last ad that Trump put out, he has her laughing. They've made that a thing. And Democrats who are precious and exquisite and always want -- somehow always fall into the narratives that the right wing effectively builds. I respect them for that. I respect the right wing for being so disciplined in a way that Democrats are not.

PHILLIP: You know, Van, the, the risk here, though, is if -- let's say this all pans out and the Democrat -- Joe Biden steps aside, they leapfrog over the vice president.


NAVARRO: Oh, no, no, no.

PHILLIP: That seems like a complete disaster.

JONES: You know, I just don't know if that's true. I think that at this point, the party is desperate to stop Trump. And I think that people would try to figure out who would best stop Trump.

PHILLIP: Do you think black voters would countenance them passing over a black woman for that?

JONES: Listen -- listen, I think there's a myth that says Kamala is so popular with black people that if you bypass her, black voters would rebel. That could be true and could not be true. I think black voters are, if anything, pragmatic. Look at the choice of Joe Biden in the first place over Kamala. So, I would say that there is a strong fear in the party that if you leapfrog Kamala, you're going to get in trouble. That may not be true. I don't know.

PHILLIP: Well, we'll maybe find out.

NAVARRO: President Harris is not going to put herself out there until Joe Biden says he's not running. And Joe Biden is not saying that.

PHILLIP: We'll have a lot more to discuss about exactly that coming up. Biden says that he's actually ready for a rematch in September with Donald Trump. But why didn't his advisers see the looming train wreck that unfolded during their debate prep? We'll discuss that.



PHILLIP: Will President Biden and Donald Trump ever debate again? The Biden campaign says yes, absolutely. But the questions tonight are, what exactly did they do in that week of preparation over at Camp David? Did aides not realize President Biden's weaknesses?

Did his advisers not consider how, for example, he might come across in that split screen that was up for millions of people for 90 minutes? Ana, what do you think went wrong in the extensive debate prep that they had?

NAVARRO: I can't explain what happened. I really can't. I literally saw Joe Biden 30 minutes ago. I was at the DNC's LGBTQ gala. I had one-on-one time with him. The Joe Biden I saw last night after the debate at the Waffle House that we saw on T.V. The Joe Biden that we saw at two in the morning greeting supporters at Raleigh-Durham Airport.

The Joe Biden we saw today at a rally in North Carolina. He was then at Stonewall commemorating the 30th anniversary, and he finished the night at 9 o'clock at an LGBTQ gala that I was at. So, listen to all the things I just told you this 81-year-old did after that debate.

He was absolutely a different person. The person I've seen is the person that I saw tonight. I can't explain what happened last night. I do think anybody that prepped him for that debate should not be prepping him for the next debate. I think two things happened.

JONES: They should go to prison.

NAVARRO: One, you're sounding a little bit like Donald Trump. I'll tell you the two things that I think happened, all right? Let me tell you this.

PHILLIP: Is it really their fault? Or is it the candidate's fault?

NAVARRO: Well, I think two things happened. Because he actually listens to his advisors, and I think two things happened. One, I think they may have told him, listen, and this is just me theorizing, okay? I don't have any evidence. I don't have any inside knowledge. But I think they told him, you can't go out there and scream and be as energetic as you were at the State of the Union because the Republicans are going to say you're jacked up. And so, he didn't.

And I also think when he prepped, he had like, last night if you were listening, and we all were, he had like three different points that he wanted to get across for every issue. Number one, number two, number three. Well, if you're prepping a hundred issues and you have three or four points for each of those issues, you've got 400 points in your head, and I think it jumbles him up.

OSBORNE: How much do you need? The guy's been in politics for 50 years. I would look at him, if I was his campaign advisors, I would not focus on prepping him on policy because the guy knows policy. Half the stuff that he talks about that is passed into law, he's had a hand in passing or drafting.

So, I would have spent the time going after doing live, you know, feeds and focusing on Trump coming after him in many different ways, right? And recognizing that Trump in a debate where there's no audience is going to be a much different Trump than Trump is on the campaign trail.

And so, I think the make-up folks were bad because one of the things that we learned in campaigns for folks like Bryan and I that have been around forever is you always remember the Kennedy and the Nixon debate and how bad Nixon looked like on T.V. And so, we all think about what did the tie look like, what does his face look like, as you put him on HDTV and he looked awful. PHILLIP: Well, okay, look. Let me just play. I want to play a little bit of what happened in, well, actually, never mind. I don't want to -- I won't play it because --

LANZA: We have watched. I know.

PHILLIP: I know we all saw it. We remember it. The point I will just make is that the moment Joe Biden walked out on that stage, no words were said. You remember seeing it. That was the moment that everyone knew this was not going to be the debate that they had planned for.

JONES: Yeah, look, I think people are still shook up. There's a big push now from the establishment to kind of herd everybody back into the barn, get all these bunnies back in the barn, get everybody on message saying Trump sucks. Biden's good. Trump sucks.

But there is a dis-ease that is still out there about what people saw. And -- and what people, I think, are now trying to counterbalance, you know, a lot of people who have FaceTime with the President, like Anna, come back and say exactly that. And yet, we saw what we saw. And so, I think that what you're going to have to see is -- is Biden do what he did today for 15 days in a row.


He's going to have to -- he's going to have to get up.

LANZA: I mean he has to deliver every day between now and the end of the campaign.

NAVARRO: And I told him. I said to him, listen. And you --

LANZA: Listen, what took place last night, you know, was shocking to all of us. You know, we're all talking to reporters. We're all talking to each other.

But remember this, this important thing that we have to understand, is people -- and I don't want to be offensive, but people don't put spoiled milk back in the refrigerator. And what we saw yesterday before Biden said a single word was a spoiled -- was spoiled milk. And you can't get that image away.

And so, you know, whether it's Kamala, whether -- whatever it's going to be or even what Trump's going to do, every voter is now going to see the lens of this election through that first image of Joe Biden and then bumbling along the way. That's not good for him. That's what the campaign is now. It's his mental competency --

NAVARRO: But Bryan, I remember the first -- the first Obama debate against Romney.

LANZA: Yeah, but Obama wasn't reinforcing the issue.

NAVARRO: We were all shocked at how bad he did. I remember the first Kerry debate against George W. Bush. We were all thinking John Kerry was going to be the next president of the United States. So, he's got four months. I just said to him, I just said to Joe Biden, you screwed up last night. You don't get to do it again. You got one bad night and you have to prove yourself.

OSBORNE: But there's a big difference --

LANZA: I think voters have already made the decision that --

OSBORNE: There's a big difference between Obama messing up --

LANZA: -- that's the final screw up for them.

OSBORNE: - Kerry messing up. They messed up on policy and delivery. This guy messed up --

PHILLIP: Obama was 51 at the time. And there's a huge, you know, this is not getting easier for Joe Biden as he's getting older.

NAVARRO: You know, something that Van just said, which is interesting. So, Van just said there's unease, which I -- I felt uneasy last night. I, you know, I mean, I felt like I'd been hit with a stick after I watched that for 90 minutes. They had their biggest fundraising hour. The Biden campaign had their biggest fundraising hour between 11 P.M. and 12 A.M. last night.

Tonight, at this -- at this LGBTQ gala, it was at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The people from New York know there's three levels. It was full to the hilt. Elton John was there. Billy Porter was there. I mean, the enthusiasm -- you would.

JONES: Middle America didn't sound like --

PHILLIP: -- for you, Van.

JONES: There are these cross currents. Sometimes when your guy is hurt, people rally. Donald Trump got convicted. People rallied. Biden had a bad night. People rallied. So, we don't know how this is all going to sort out.

But I think that he probably permanently lowered his ceiling with a lot of people. And so, you know, the voters haven't spoken yet. I agree with you. There's cross currents here. It's not all one direction. But he hurt himself last night. Nobody can deny that.

PHILLIP: Okay, I lied. Very quick. Last word to Bryan. Will Donald Trump debate again?

LANZA: I don't think he should.

JONES: Why not?

LANZA: But I think the campaign is going to say yes to the very end. Why bother? I mean, why go through this pain again?

PHILLIP: The campaign will say yes just to show that they --

LANZA: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, why as a country, first of all, as a country, why would we want to go through this debate again? We're in very dangerous times in the international world. We have two wars. We have a potential third war started between the Philippines and China. We do not want another Joe Biden debate.

PHILLIP: Look, we I think the American people deserve to know what they are --

LANZA: They already know.

NAVARRO: You think Donald Trump is not going to debate because he's worried about Joe Biden is going to look?

LANZA: I just don't think it matters -- the debate.

NAVARRO: There's a difference between June and September.

PHILLIP: All right.

NAVARRO: I mean, you know, we've got the Olympics to get through.

PHILLIP: We've got the real Olympics. We've got the political Olympics. Everyone, thank you very much. Coming up next, he's correctly predicted nine of the last ten elections. So, did last night's debate change his forecast? Alan Lichtman joins me live.



PHILLIP: This man has correctly predicted nine of the last ten elections using his own model of 13 criteria. Allan Lichtman is the distinguished professor of history at American University, and he looks at factors including incumbency, the economy and social unrest. And in April, he was leaning toward Biden winning this election. So, let's see where he stands now. Alan, thanks for being here. What's your prediction?

ALLAN LICHTMAN, HISTORIAN: I haven't made a final prediction, but I can tell you a lot about this election. First of all, all of these pundits and pollsters and analysts that you see on all the cable channels and all the networks have no track record in predicting elections. And if they come on and they claim they know how this debate is going to affect the outcome of elections, they have no idea. It's sports talk radio. It may be entertaining, but it has no scientific basis.

PHILLIP: So, what is the what is the impact, do you think?

LICHTMAN: Zero. Debates are not predictive of outcomes. Hillary Clinton won all three debates, still lost. John Kerry won all the debates, still lost. Barack Obama got trounced 72 to 20 percent in the poll, worse than Biden, and went on to win. That's why we rely on the 13 keys, which tap into the structure of how elections really work.

And they show that Democrats really only chance to win, contrary to everything you've heard, is with Biden running. Look at the incumbency key. Biden checks that off. The contest key, he checks that off. He was uncontested. It takes six keys to count out the White House party.

PHILLIP: But you know, Allan --

LICHTMAN: That means of the remaining 11 keys, six would have to fully finish. Biden doesn't run. They lose the contest key. They lose the incumbency and only four more keys would have to fall.

PHILLIP: I think that that's actually kind of what I was trying to get at here, is that the problem right now is that the Democratic Party is considering replacing Biden, mostly because it's unclear whether or not he actually physically can carry out the rest of this campaign and put up a fight against his opponent.


So, that seems like a fundamentally different thing than some of the items that you have in your rubric.

LICHTMAN: It's a huge mistake. They're not doctors. They don't know whether Biden is physically capable of carrying out a second term or not. Remember, a lot of folks were saying the same thing about Ronald Reagan, who was, you know, 73, and age was very different then. And they said, you know, he's not capable of carrying out another term. He won 49 states.

So, this is all foolhardy non-sense. The same pundits and pollsters who led us down the primrose path in 2016 are giving the Democrats horrible advice. This proves what I've been saying for years. Republicans have no principles. Democrats have no spine. Republicans are sticking with a blatant liar who lied for every one minute and 20 seconds of that debate. Donald Trump put out a lie.

And by the way, lies stick. Debate performances can be overcome. And now the first sign of, you know, adversity, the spineless Democrats want to throw under the bus their own incumbent president. My goodness.

PHILLIP: Well, that's -- I bet that's something that's different from what you've seen in those last 10 elections that you've been looking at. Allan Lichtman, thank you very much. We appreciate you. And we'll be back with you a little bit later to see how your prediction holds up about the impact of this debate. Thank you.

LICHTMAN: And you can catch my live show every Thursday at 9 P.M. Eastern at Allan Lichtman YouTube and follow the keys.

PHILLIP: Thanks, Allan. And up next for us, a remorseful January 6th rioter joins me after the Supreme Court rules some of their charges and sentences should be changed.



PHILLIP: Tonight, a major Supreme Court decision may impact the sentences of hundreds of January 6th rioters. In a 6-3 decision, the high court ruled that the Justice Department overstepped by charging some of them with obstruction. Now, there are more than 240 pending January 6th cases that have an obstruction charge.

In addition to others, more than 50 people have been convicted and sentenced with only that obstruction charge. And of those people, 27 are currently behind bars. It's also worth noting that even though Trump was charged with obstruction related to his January 6th case, this decision will unlikely have an impact on that case.

Joining me now is Pam Hemphill. She was part of the January 6th mob and she spent time in jail for what she did on that day. But we should note that she was not charged with obstruction. Pam, I wonder what is your reaction to the Supreme Court ruling?

PAM HEMPHILL, SERVED 2 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR INVOLVEMENT IN JAN 6 RIOT: Well, I'm extremely disappointed, you know, with the riot that happened in Boise, Idaho, with them and Bundy. I went to the Capitol Police and I said, why weren't they arrested that day?

And he said, because it's all political. And that's how I'm interpreting this right now, which is sad because the statute clearly says obstructs, influences, impends any official proceedings or attempts to do so. So, we know they attempted to do that. It's obvious. It's really a sad day.

PHILLIP: So, I want to play for you what Donald Trump said at the debate last night about the January 6th insurrection when he was asked about it.


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


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: You will say right now that political violence in any form is unacceptable.

TRUMP: Well, I shouldn't have to say that. But of course, I believe that it's totally unacceptable. And if you would see my statements that I made on Twitter at the time and also my statement that I made in the Rose Garden, you would say it's one of the strongest statements you've ever seen. They talk about a relatively small number of people that went to the Capitol and in many cases were ushered in by the police.


PHILLIP: What's your reaction to that?

HEMPHILL: Reaction to his lies? They were not ushered in by the police. We already know that we have enough video to prove that point. But it's typical of a dangerous narcissist to cover up and avoid and gaslight you on what really happened on January 6th. That's his M.O. But that's I just have to laugh at him every time I hear him lying about January 6th.

PHILLIP: At one point, he also tried to say that January 6th was a great day for the American economy. He was trying to brush past the violence on that day. I mean, do you think that the American voter is going to buy this attempt to whitewash what happened?

HEMPHILL: Well, you know, first you need to remember that he's hijacked their brain with fear. They're coming after me, but they're really coming after you. So, they justified January 6th. They were patriots that day in their mind.

So, they weren't pushing on the officers. They weren't hurting the officers. You know, they were doing their duty as a patriot because you the Democrats were stealing the election. And so, they -- that's their mindset. And it's hard to get through to them.

PHILLIP: Do you ultimately think, Pam, do you ultimately think, Pam, that the American people will give Trump another term?

HEMPHILL: Unfortunately, yes.


Yeah, because he's done a great job of brainwashing them.

PHILLIP: Wow, that's a --

HEMPHILL: But it won't happen. But it won't happen. Biden's going to win. It's going to be close. But in my opinion, I don't even -- the way they think there won't be -- why wait for an election? Because the election will be rigged again. Remember how he answered that? Oh, yeah. Same way he did before.

So, because of what I'm learning and the connection now that they have with Ammon Bundy, I foresee a revolt happening before the election.

PHILLIP: All right, Pam Hemphill, thank you very much for joining us. And thank you for watching "NewsNight"."Laura Coates Live" starts right now. - Transcripts (2024)
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