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Biden debate performance

Biden tries to rally following debate debacle as Trump awaits Supreme Court

Programming note: We only have AM editions this week. We’ll be back to our regular schedule next week.

Happy July. It’s the July 4 recess. The House and Senate are out of session. President Joe Biden is at Camp David today and will return to the White House tonight.

We’re going to focus this morning on two issues — the continued fallout from Biden’s disastrous debate performance on Thursday, plus the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on former President Donald Trump’s immunity claim regarding his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection. That decision is expected today.

The Sunday shows were full of Democrats trying to downplay, dismiss or explain away what happened to Biden during the Atlanta debate. Their answers weren’t great, and it underscores the lose-lose situation Democrats now face.

Here’s House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to MSNBC on whether he “opened the door” to replacing Biden on the ticket:

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), national co-chair of Biden’s reelection campaign, was pressed repeatedly by ABC’s Jon Karl on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” whether Biden is the only Democrat who can beat Trump. Coons’ response:

Yet look at this CBS News post-debate poll. When asked whether Biden has “the mental and cognitive health to serve as president,” only 27% of respondents said yes, versus 72% who said no. This is down dramatically from early June.

Perhaps more stunningly, only 54% of Democrats said Biden should be running for president, while 46% said no. Again, that’s registered Democratic voters. This should be incredibly alarming to Team Biden.

It’s not like Trump is doing that great, either. Only 50% of respondents said Trump has the cognitive health to be president, versus 49% who said no. The only reason that Trump number isn’t the headline here is because Americans have soured so much on Biden.

What’s the Biden campaign response? They don’t want to talk about it or they blame the media. Privately, there was speculation that Biden was “overprepared” after spending a week at Camp David getting ready.

Others said the Biden family “trashed his top campaign advisers and urged the campaign to fire staffers. Some surrogates slammed CNN moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper for not fact-checking Trump during the debate, although that was in reality Biden’s responsibility.

AP’s Steve Peoples reported that DNC Chair Jamie Harrison and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden’s campaign manager, held a call with DNC committee members on Saturday. Harrison and Rodriguez didn’t take questions during the call, which upset many DNC members:

Meanwhile, the Bidens spent part of Sunday getting their pictures taken by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz at Camp David. This weekend apparently was chosen because Hunter Biden was available.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) gave a frank assessment of the situation.

“Obviously there was a big problem with Joe Biden’s debate performance,” Raskin said Sunday on MSNBC’s “Velshi.”

While Raskin noted that there’s “a tremendous reservoir of affection and love” for Biden among the Democrats, “there are very honest and serious and rigorous conversations taking place at every level of our party” about what happens moving forward.

SCOTUS and Trump. If it wasn’t for Biden’s missteps, this is all we’d be talking about. At 10 a.m. today, the Supreme Court will issue its final decisions of the session. This will include the case in which Trump is seeking immunity for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

But check out what the AP’s Mark Sherman wrote this weekend about the dynamics of the late-term decision:

In other words, the decision is momentous, but it may not have an immediate impact.

Perhaps the biggest blessing for Democrats is that Congress is out of session this week.

John Bresnahan, Andrew Desiderio and Jake Sherman

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