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Exclusive: Former VP Joe Biden Sits Down With CNN; Dorm Explosion Reported at University of Nevada-Reno; 15-Year-Old from U.S. Wins Again at Wimbledon; Trump Pushes for Citizenship Question on Census. Aired on 6-7p ET

Aired July 5, 2019 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:01]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Seeking consensus. The Trump administration says it's still figuring out how to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Will the president use an executive order to get his way?

Biden exclusive. The Democratic presidential front-runner sits down with CNN, opening up about his debate performance, his clash with Kamala Harris, and now he would take on President Trump. Stand by for that in-depth interview.

And aftershock. Southern Californians are shaken by more than 1,200 new tremors, after the biggest earthquake there in decades.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar.

And this is a SITUATION ROOM special report.

We're following breaking news on President Trump's fight to add a controversial question about citizenship to the 2020 census. A federal judge just rejected the Justice Department's attempt to delay reopening the case. The DOJ says it's still determining how to move forward after being blocked by the Supreme Court. President Trump says he's considering using an executive order.

Also tonight, the president is firing back at Joe Biden, dismissing his description of him as a bully. In an exclusive CNN interview, Biden admits he wasn't prepared for Kamala Harris to attack him on issues of race in the first Democratic presidential debate.

Our correspondents and analysts are standing by, as we cover those stories and more.

First, I want to go to CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

And, Jim, the president is determined to get this question into the 2020 census. But he's still not sure exactly how he's going to do it.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. President Trump says his administration is weighing its options and may actually try to defy a Supreme Court decision and seek a way to insert that citizenship question into the upcoming 2020 census.

The president went on to defend the conditions at detention facilities down on the border with Mexico, and he even responded to by the president Joe Biden calling him a bully.

But when he spoke with reporters earlier today, some of the president's claims didn't add up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): President Trump is still trying to get his way on inserting a citizenship question into the upcoming census. But after the Supreme Court rejected the president's request, there is still no administration consensus on what to do next, as his own Justice Department lawyers have just told a federal judge they will reevaluate all available options.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We could also add an addition on, so we can start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision. So we're working on a lot things, including an executive order.

ACOSTA: Leaving for his golf club in New Jersey, the president praised his administration's border detention facilities, despite photos out this week showing some holding centers are being pushed to the brink.

TRUMP: And I've seen some of those places, and they are run beautifully. They're clean. They're good. They do a great job.

Border Patrol did not train to be doctors and nurses and janitors. That's not what they trained to be.

ACOSTA: That was in response to the onslaught of criticism from Democrats, who say migrants are being subjected to unsafe conditions, including some detainees saying they were told to drink toilet water.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Nothing could erase what I saw or any of my other colleagues saw. What we saw was inhumanity. It was immoral, what our country is doing.

ACOSTA: The president tried to deflect criticism by falsely claiming former President Barack Obama had a family separation policy, a statement repeatedly knocked down by fact-checkers.

TRUMP: President Obama had separation. President Obama, in 2014, built the cells that you always show on television. They weren't built -- they were built by President Obama. But he had separation.

ACOSTA: Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, told CNN Mr. Trump is a bully.

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's the bully that I have always stood up to. He's the bully who used to make fun of as a kid and I would stutter, and I would smack them in the mouth.

ACOSTA: The president's response?

TRUMP: I don't think I'm a bully at all. I just don't like taking -- being taken advantage of by other countries, by pharmaceutical companies, by all of the people that have taken advantage of this country.

You look at what Joe Biden has done with China. We've lost our shirts with China.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump is also defending his salute to the military on the National Mall, with the unproven claim that a speech is already leading to a jump in new investments.

TRUMP: You know, it was really a recruitment situation. A lot of people are going to be going our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard.

ACOSTA: The president is also explaining why he mistakenly said George Washington's forces seized airports during the Revolutionary War.

TRUMP: Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports.

And I guess the rain knocked out the Teleprompter. So -- but, no, it's not that. I -- I knew the speech very well.

ACOSTA: The president's comments as he departed the White House overshadowed another strong jobs report, numbers that he insists could have been even better if only the Federal Reserve would follow his instructions and lower interest rates.

[18:05:01]

TRUMP: If we had a Fed that would lower interest rates, we'd be like a rocket ship. But we're paying a lot of interest, and it's unnecessary. But we don't have a Fed that knows what they're doing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: When asked why the citizenship question is important, the president told reporters it's needed in part to help draw congressional districts.

But that's what the president's critics fear, that the citizenship question will be used as a political tool to make sure congressional districts are drawn up to favor Republicans.

For now, the administration says the census forms are being printed without that citizenship question. But you heard the president there, Brianna, say that he hasn't given up on all options, including perhaps an addendum to the census -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Jim Acosta at the White House, thank you. Now to CNN's exclusive new interview with Joe Biden.

The former vice president and Democratic presidential front-runner sat down with our colleague Chris Cuomo in Iowa, and they covered a lot of ground, including Biden's clash with Kamala Harris during their first debate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I was talking with you and Jill.

You said you were expecting to have a target on your back, but the intensity of some of it -- did you see the questions about your past positions from the perspective of race being as relevant as they are?

BIDEN: No. And I don't think they're relevant, because they were taken out of context.

And what I didn't see is people who know me. I mean, they know me well. It's not like it's somebody who just came out of the blue and didn't know anything.

But it's so easy to go back and go back 30, 40, 50 years, and take a context, and take it completely out of context.

And, I mean, you know, I -- I get all this information about other people's past and what they've done and not done. And, you know, I'm just not going to go there. If we keep doing that, that's -- I mean, what we should be debating what we do from here.

For example, this whole about race and busing. Well, you know, I think if you take a look, our positions aren't any different, as we're finding out.

CUOMO: Senator Harris...

BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: ... who said she sees it as a tool, not a must in all circumstances.

BIDEN: Yes. Well, look at my record. And...

CUOMO: I don't think busing's about policy, Mr. Vice President.

BIDEN: No, it's not.

CUOMO: I think it was about principle. When you look back at your record on it, you were not in favor of busing. It was a different time. There were different applications. Why not just own it and say, "I was against it, but now I have changed"?

BIDEN: By the way, here's -- I was -- I was in favor of busing that was de jure busing. That is, if a court ruled that there was a law passed or circumstance that a county, a city, a state did that prevented black folks from being somewhere, then that's wrong. You should bus.

I even went so far in the middle that busing controversy, was saying, I would use helicopters if that was necessary, to make the point. And we really got in a town meeting that was -- got very hot.

But what the issue is now is, for example -- and it was then -- voluntary busing. We supported it then. We supported it then. And, by the way, Barack as I, as president and vice president, we provided money for voluntary busing, if cities want to do it.

CUOMO: I'm not questioning any of that.

BIDEN: No, no.

CUOMO: I'm saying, when you look back in the '70s, you said, "I think busing doesn't work. It's an asinine concept."

BIDEN: Well, by the way...

CUOMO: You tried to pass bills that weren't for it.

BIDEN: ... busing did not work. You had overwhelming response from the African-American community in my state.

My state is the eighth largest black population in the country, as a percent of population. They weren't -- they did not support it. They did not support it.

Look, the question is, how do you equalize education in every area? And I put forward the most -- the most aggressive plan to do that, and I have been pushing it for a long time.

For example, in you know, Title I schools, schools that are disadvantaged, we should -- I proposed we go from $15 billion a year to $45 billion a year. We should bring people in, have preschool from 3, 4, 5 years old, before kindergarten.

We should have -- look, every child out there, every child out there is capable, but they live in circumstances that make it difficult. By the time they get to school, they've heard three, four million fewer words spoken. They're at a disadvantage.

CUOMO: I totally accept all of that.

BIDEN: That's number one.

But, number two, the idea, right now, 65 out of 100 jobs in a study I did for the president point out, you need something beyond a high school degree.

CUOMO: It's true.

BIDEN: So, what are we doing?

We're sitting around here as if it's an insoluble problem.

CUOMO: I'm -- I -- I get it on the policy.

I never have viewed the busing back and forth in that debate as about policy or application of how to effect civil rights. It's about consistency, improving if you'll be better than what we're doing with now in the White House, which is people won't tell the truth about things.

If busing didn't work, then it made sense that you weren't for it back then. But why say you were for it? Why not just be straight about it and move on?

BIDEN: Because there's three different pieces. I was for voluntary busing, number one. I was for busing where the court showed that, in fact, a legislative body took an action preventing black folks from going to a school.

That is the de jure -- I know you know -- de jure segregation.

The difficult piece is, this is 50 years ago. People don't understand the context.

[18:10:05]

The third one is, do you have an administration, through their non- elected officials, Department of Education, decide every school should be equally balanced across the board? That's a different issue. And the way to deal with that problem is what I did from the time I was a kid.

I got out -- I got out of law school, came back, had a great job, became a public defender. I -- I fought for putting housing in and low-income housing in suburbia. I talked about eliminating red lining. I talked about school districts should be consolidated in ways that made sense. So in fact --

CUOMO: Why didn't you fight it like this in the debate?

BIDEN: In 30 seconds?

CUOMO: What happens most in a debate, Mr. Vice President? People blow their time cue. You're the only person I have ever seen on a debate stage say, "I'm out of time."

BIDEN: Well, we never had a place where you have 30 seconds, man.

What I didn't want to do was get in that scrum. Do you think the American public looked at that debate -- take me out of it -- and thought, "Boy, I really like the way that's being conducted. They're really showing themselves to do really well"?

Come on, man.

CUOMO: They're going to come after you.

BIDEN: Sure, they were going to come after me.

CUOMO: Were you prepared for them to come after you?

BIDEN: I was prepared for them to come after me, but I wasn't prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me. She knew Beau. She knows me. I don't -- anyway, but here's the deal.

What I do know -- and it's the good and the bad news -- the American people think they know me, and they know me. Since that occurred, I had the most sought-after endorsement for the mayor of Atlanta, a black woman who's a great leader, Mayor Bottoms, endorse me. I have had numerous numbers of the Black Caucus support me.

CUOMO: Are you worried about the polls slipping with African -- African-Americans after the debate?

BIDEN: No, no. These folks just came. I'm making the point to you, I don't see it. People know who I am. I don't believe there's anybody out there believes that I have anything other than a keen and consistent interest in making sure every child -- these are all our children.

CUOMO: Here's a tough -- here's the question. Did you rewatch the debate?

BIDEN: No, I didn't.

CUOMO: Why not?

BIDEN: Well, I didn't have an opportunity to rewatch it. And besides, you know, my measure is how people react outside, getting on a train, getting on plane, walking through an airport, walking in a parade, just going to the grocery store.

I got no sense -- I really mean it -- no sense.

CUOMO: Here's the tough question for Democrats. They need a warrior, OK, because, not to aggrandize, not to lionize, but this president knows how to fight in the ring one-on-one.

Kamala Harris is friendly fire. Cory Booker is friendly fire. How can Democrats have confidence that you can take on the biggest and the baddest, when you're having trouble sparring in party?

BIDEN: I don't think I'm having trouble sparring. It's how you want to spar.

Look, I'm the guy at the time everybody talks about things they're changing. I took on same-sex marriage. I took on a whole range of issues. I took on arms control. I took on dealing with Russia with the arms control agreement. I took on Putin in terms of Iraq -- I mean, excuse me -- in terms of what was going on in Ukraine. I have taken on these leaders around the world.

I'm the guy that's gone in and met them. I have taken on all these things. I mean, I -- this is ironic. I have never been accused of being -- not being able to spar. I have been accused of being too aggressive. CUOMO: But the game has changed.

BIDEN: Well...

CUOMO: And you think that what's happening with Harris is anything compared to what would happen with you...

BIDEN: No, but everybody knows who this guy is. Come on, man. Come on.

CUOMO: How do you beat him?

BIDEN: I would beat him by just pointing out who I am, and who he is, and what we're for and what he's against. This guy's a divider-in- chief. This guy is acting with racist policies. This guy is moving to -- to foment hate, to split. That's the only way he can sustain himself.

CUOMO: Nothing about him worries you?

BIDEN: Oh, sure it worries me, in the sense that I'm looking forward to this, man. You walk behind me in a debate, come here, man. Don't you think I -- you know me too well.

I mean, the idea that I would be intimidated by Donald Trump. He's the bully that I knew my whole life. He's the bully that I have always stood up to. He's the bully who used to make fun of as a kid and I would stutter, and I would smack them in the mouth.

Look, this is not -- but that -- I think the American people want a president who has some dignity, who has a values set, who is actually trying to restore the soul of this country, so, when they turn on the television they look up, and their kids say, "I want to be like that guy or that woman."

CUOMO: There are domestic agenda items I want to tick through. But you have made a big point of saying, the threat here with the current administration is abroad.

What exactly bothers you abroad?

BIDEN: What bothers me abroad is, look, the idea that we can go it alone who no alliances for the next 20 or 30 years is a disaster. How are we going to deal with stateless terrorism without doing what I have been able to do with the president, put together a coalition of 50, 60 nations to take it on?

[18:15:03]

I come out of a generation where we were trying to be the policemen of the world. We can't go in every place. We need allies. He is absolutely dissing them. He's embracing thugs. He's embracing Kim Jong-un, who is a thug. He's embracing Putin, who is a -- who is a flat dictator.

He's embracing people who, in fact -- and he's stiff-arming our friends. He's threatening NATO, to pull out of NATO. I mean, come on.

CUOMO: He says he's gotten NATO to give in more money for their defense because of his tactics.

BIDEN: Oh, give me a break. Oh, Come on, man.

And by the way, the idea that NATO -- let me put it this way. If he wins reelection, I promise you there will be no NATO in four years or five years.

CUOMO: You think there will be no more NATO if he's reelected?

BIDEN: No more NATO.

Look, I went to the conference in -- that we have. It's called the Wehrkunde Conference, used to be. The first speech, stood up, the chancellor, the former chancellor of Germany stands up.

She says: We have to go it alone. We can't count on the United States.

Why did we set up NATO, Chris? So no one nation could abuse the power in the region in Europe, would suck us in the way they did in World War I and World War II. It's being crushed.

Look at what's happened with Putin. While he -- while Putin is trying to undo our elections, he is undoing elections in -- in Europe. Look what's happened in Hungary. Look what's happened in Poland. Look what's happened in -- look what's happening.

You think that would have happened on my watch or Barack's watch? You can't answer that, but I promise you it wouldn't have, and it didn't.

CUOMO: So, with North Korea, the idea of reaching out, President Obama, Vice President Biden wanted to do more than that. The Republicans used to whack you on the head. You can't be nice to people who are our enemies.

Hasn't this president done what you wanted to do by reaching out to Kim?

BIDEN: He did the exact opposite. He gave Kim everything that he wanted, legitimacy. He gave Kim -- he ended our relationship, as a practical matter, with South Korea and Japan as a united front, and let China off the hook.

He put us in a position where we say: By the way, I love the man. I know what he's doing.

He hadn't done a thing. He hadn't done a thing, Kim Jong-un.

And what have we done? We've suspended exercises.

Look, I come out of the arms control era. Guess what? There's two ways you do this. You work or you defend. You say, hey, man, don't screw with us. You move, this is what's going to happen. This is going to happen.

But, in the meantime, what you do is you deal with your allies. And also those who don't arm with you. Do you think China wants any part of North Korea becoming a nuclear power?

CUOMO: So what do you do differently with North Korea and China?

BIDEN: With regard to North Korea, with China, I make it clear that we're going to move our defenses up, as we did before, and we're going to make sure we have the capacity to deal with it near term.

I'm going to let South Korea and Japan know we're there for them. We are their nuclear umbrella. We're there for them. And China understands, if you don't want us in your throat, if you don't want us in your face, do something.

CUOMO: Do you stop the trade battle with China? Do you go back to TPP?

BIDEN: By the way, the idea that this trade battle makes any sense, is benefiting anybody, is absolutely ludicrous. And just ask the farmers here or around the world -- I mean, around the United States, and the manufacturers. It's killing us.

What we should do is, we deal with China. I had a conversation with Xi before I -- Xi Jinping before we left. And he said: "Well, you know, remember, they set up their no-fly zone."

I said, "We're not going to pay attention to it."

He said, "What do you want me to do, just withdraw it?"

And I said, "No, but just understand we're just going to fly through. We'll fly a B-52 through it. We are a Pacific power. We're not going anywhere. Understand that's the reason why you have security is because we've allowed stability in the region."

They get it. But what they're doing now is, we're not dealing with China's problem, for us. China's problem is, they're stealing intellectual secrets.

CUOMO: Yes.

BIDEN: There's cybersecurity. Deal the same way. You say you've got to invest here in the United States, and you want to be able to invest here, and you say, "We want to invest in China, but you've got to have a 51 percent owner."

No deal, man. Deal for deal.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: This administration is fighting that same fight, isn't it?

BIDEN: But they're not, no. They're fighting in trade. Trump thinks it's about trade deficits and trade surpluses. It's not about that. Look, while he's like tweeting, China's going to own the 5G market,

while, in fact, he -- they're spending billions in artificial intelligence.

What are we doing? They're doing a whole lot of things that make no sense for us to stand still.

CUOMO: What would you do differently with North Korea? Would you slam the door on them again?

BIDEN: Yes, I would make it real clear. Look, you want to talk, you want to deal with us, you want sanctions lifted, show me something ahead of time. Show me.

CUOMO: They haven't tested a big, bad missile.

BIDEN: And the reason why they haven't tested is, they have it all done. They're sitting there with missiles that are -- have capacity and nuclear capacity right now. So they're not giving up anything.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[18:20:01]

KEILAR: And just ahead, more of CNN's exclusive interview with Joe Biden. He weighs in on the leftward tilt of the Democratic Party and whether he would choose a woman as his running mate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: We're back now with more of CNN's exclusive new interview with former Vice President Joe Biden.

He spoke with Chris Cuomo in Iowa. And he expressed skepticism about the Democratic Party's tilt toward the left.

[18:25:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: You vs. the rest of the field on the economy. They're all going big, 70 percent tax rates, free college, re-architecture of the economic, forgiving debt for college, which happens to be the biggest asset on the American government's balance sheet.

You do not believe in those things.

BIDEN: I don't believe in the way they're doing that.

For example, I think every -- there should be health care for everyone. I have a plan how to do that that's rational and will cost a hell of a lot less and will work. In terms of...

CUOMO: Too incremental?

BIDEN: No, it's not incremental. It's bold. CUOMO: Would you bring back the individual mandate?

BIDEN: Pardon me?

CUOMO: Would you bring back the individual mandate?

BIDEN: Yes. Yes, I would bring back the individual mandate.

CUOMO: You think that will be popular?

BIDEN: Well, it's not -- yes, now it would be, compared to what's being offered.

And here's the deal, Chris. We're in a situation where, if you provide an option for anybody who, in fact, wants to buy into Medicare for all, they can buy in. They buy in. And they can do it.

But if they like their employer-based insurance, which a lot of unions broke their neck to get, a lot of people like their -- they shouldn't have to give it up.

The flip of that is, if you don't go my way and you go their way, you have to give up all that. And what's going to happen when you have 300 million people landing on a health care plan? How long is that going to take? What's it going to do? And, in the meantime, a lot of people are going to be in trouble.

In terms of the economy, Chris, I have been proposing for a long time, and I have -- look, I know I'm middle-class Joe. I get that part. It's not meant I'm sophisticated. It meant I'm -- you know, the middle class built there country. You didn't have Wall Street build this country.

And how did they do it? You gave people a chance. You allowed them to maintain their dignity.

And how'd they do it? How can you have dignity without having health care? How can you have dignity without having access to an education? How can you have dignity unless you can live in a neighborhood that's not fouled by the environment and what's going on?

CUOMO: How do you convince the party that these more advanced ideas, all in on Medicare for all, that matter to them...

BIDEN: I wouldn't call them advanced. I would call them...

CUOMO: But they're popular in the party.

BIDEN: Well, by the way, watch. That's what this election is about. I'm really -- I'm happy to debate that issue and all those issues with my friends, because guess what?

Again, look who won the races. Look who won last time out. We had -- and, by the way, I think -- I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman. But she won a primary. In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are

very progressive on social issues and very strong on education, health care.

Look, my North Star is the middle class. When the middle class does well, everybody does well.

CUOMO: How do you do better for them economically, if not with these 70 percent tax rates?

BIDEN: Well, three things.

One, I do raise the tax rate to 39.5 percent. I do, in fact, eliminate the ability for them to write off capital gains, the way they do now. I would raise the -- and raise billions of dollars, raise the corporate tax rate from 20 to 28 percent. It was 36 -- to 28 percent.

I would raise billions of dollars.

CUOMO: Trump will say, but that's what brought the economy up to the were it is, is those tax cuts.

BIDEN: Ask these people who work in this restaurant how the economy came up for them. Ask how good they feel about it. Ask them how the stock market is really helping.

Ask how driving us $2 trillion greater in debt has done anything for them.

CUOMO: On health care, do you believe that undocumented people should have health care in this country?

BIDEN: I think undocumented people need to have a means by which they can be covered when they're sick.

And so the idea is, that's what I think we should be doing by building more clinics around the country, not just for undocumented, for other people, when they're ill, when they're sick. People need -- this is just common decency. You're not going to let somebody...

CUOMO: It's unpopular.

BIDEN: Well, I know it.

CUOMO: Well over 50 percent of people polled say undocumented America -- or undocumented people shouldn't here have health care on our dime.

BIDEN: Well, I mean, I will tell you something. In an emergency, they should have health care. Everybody should, anybody here in the country.

How do you say, you're undocumented, I'm going to let you die, man?

What are you going to do? You know, I mean, the idea that -- you know, I hear the stuff about how, you know, they're killing Social Security, et cetera. Those who have jobs, guess what? They've increased the life span of Social Security by close to a dozen years.

I mean, we got this -- this is part of what Trump is playing on. He's playing...

CUOMO: It works for him, this issue, the issue of law and order vs. a left that seems like it's open borders, because it means it's lawless.

You have people who are running close to you now who are saying, decriminalize coming into the country illegally. Do you believe that should be decriminalized?

BIDEN: No. No, I don't. No, I don't. I think people should have to get in line.

But if people are coming because they're actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case. I would be surging, as we did and Barack and I did, surging folks to the border to make those concrete decisions.

Look, the other thing, Chris, is, why are they coming? The reason the vast majority of these people coming from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador is because they're in trouble. Crime rates are high. Education is terrible.

[18:30:02]

In Guatemala, you can't turn on a light switch and half of them are out (ph).

And so, what do we do? I've put together a $74 million program with republicans, I might add, at the very end and say, we'll make a deal with you. You do the follow things to make your country better so people don't leave, and we will help you do that, just like we did in Colombia.

What did we do in Colombia? We went down and said, okay, and I was one of the architects of Plan Colombia. I said, here's the deal. If you have all these crooked cops, all these federal police, we're sending our FBI down, you let us put them through a lie detector test, let us tell you who you should fire and tell you the kind of people you should hire. They did and began to change. We can do so much if we're committed.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What do you say to the people in party right now when polled who say, yes, I like Joe Biden but I think his ideas are the old ideas. The new ideas, I see a Warren, I see a Sanders, I see a Harris. You poll lower than them.

BIDEN: I have not seen that.

CUOMO: You poll lower than them on ideas for the future. What do you say to them?

BIDEN: I say to them, take a look at my ideas. Take a look at my ideas. I've been seeing those polls. I've been seeing where people say, what I've seen around the country is the vast majority of democrats where I am on the issues. We've got to be aggressive.

And the big ideas, the big idea on education, on healthcare, on dealing with the environment. I mean, it's just -- I love how, you know, all of a sudden, I wish I had been labeled as moderate when I was running in Delaware back in the days when it was --

CUOMO: 80 percent of your party says it's center-left.

BIDEN: No, I am center left.

CUOMO: You know, farther left is getting more attention. It's getting amplified. It's a disconnect.

BIDEN: Look, it's center-left, that's where I am. Where it's not is way left.

Now, look, but that's what we can find out. That's what this debate is about.

CUOMO: Do you think you need, if you went the nomination, to have a female V.P.?

BIDEN: I think it'd be great to have a female V.P. And if I don't, well, it'd be great to have a female president. But the question is whose issues are best prepared in their wheel house they've demonstrated they know deal with them?

CUOMO: Would you consider not having a woman as a V.P.?

BIDEN: Look, here's the first thing about being a V.P. I've learned. And that is in today's environment. there's so much a president has on his or her plate. They need someone they completely trust, that they're simpatico with, have the same approach, political approach, and you can delegate significant authority.

The president, when he delegated authority to me, from the moon shot to Ukraine, he gave me the authority to make this because he knew I knew where he was, he knew that I knew something about it and he knew we are simpatico. And so that's what I'm looking for.

CUOMO: Do you think the democrat ticket can win without a woman in one of the two slots?

BIDEN: Yes. Well, the answer is yes, but I don't think that -- I think it helps having a woman on the ticket, and there's a lot of really qualified women out there.

CUOMO: Is Kamala Harris, assuming she doesn't win outright, is she still somebody you would consider a running mate?

BIDEN: Look, one of the things I'm not going to into because it got used before is when I was asked -- I don't even have the nomination and I'm presuming who I might pick as the Vice President. That's easily flipped on me in saying, well, Biden is being arrogant. Biden thinks I'll have him as my Vice President. So I'm not going to comment on any individual. A woman came up to me. I guess it was, I don't know, a month ago, I guess, I was in New Hampshire, said --

CUOMO: All right, I'm almost done.

BIDEN: -- why shouldn't I vote for a woman? And I said, you should, if you think that person is most qualified at the moment right now to deal with our problem. Well, I'm not suggesting you vote for a woman.

Look, I have spent my career from writing the Violence Against Women Act before that to say, my daughters and granddaughters can do anything, and I mean anything, anything that a man can do, anything. And so I don't have a doubt in my mind.

And if I started naming some of the people around the country, women who are not running for president as well, who are fully qualified to be vice president, again, with these awful presumptions, man, awful presumption. So there's a lot of really qualified women out there.

CUOMO: In terms of -- last question, in terms of what we haven't seen from Joe Biden yet, I remember your -- hey, Jill, last question. Last question, I promise. Okay.

BIDEN: Okay, I will be there in a second.

CUOMO: Last question, I promise.

The last thing I remember talking to him about politically with you, Beau, was you know, what is the quality, you know, because he was asking me about what do you take from your father and this, what your take? Beau Biden said to me, nobody fights like my father.

What does that mean to you, to fight harder than anybody else?

BIDEN: It means two things.

[18:35:00]

One, to fight without being personal, to fight and convince. The role of a president is to persuade, persuade, not just go out and fight. If they want someone to clench fists, bare-knuckled fight, closed hand, closed heart, they got one of those guys right now. That's not me. I have been pretty good bringing people together.

The whole idea of America is that when we're together, there's not a damn thing we can't do. And it's -- look, the most incredible response I always get for the last three years is when I talk about how optimistic am I about the future. People know it. They feel it. They know it. They understand it. And we can't stay in this state.

What are we going to do? What are we going to do if we can't get along better? And part of it is persuasion.

And people looking at you say, I know what he means, he'll stay with what he says and he'll do what he says he's going to do. And I think that's part of leading. We'll soon find out. CUOMO: Thank you for the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM: And you can see all of our exclusive interview with Joe Biden on AC360 tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

Our experts will break down Biden's exclusive interview ahead. This is a Situation Room special report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Well, we've just heard from Joe Biden. Let's break down his exclusive new CNN interview with all of our folks here. And I want to ask all of you really quickly just if you think that he's -- has he regained his footing from the debate?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: I think a little bit. Biden, from the beginning, has been taking this sort of directly to Trump. He doesn't view the other democrat. Democrats are sort of his primary competition. He's really about sort of running for the general right out have the starting gate.

And I do think that that is a format that works well for him in interviews. It's much harder to maintain that on the debate stage. So we'll see what happens in the next round.

KEILAR: What do you think?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we know yet. I mean, the Harris campaign, I think, is still enjoying the fact that they are getting this back and forth. And it's more on talking about the two of them right now. But this format is definitely for him. He's very comfortable in an interview format. He wasn't so much at the debate.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he's much better in the interview. I also the Harris campaign -- the candidate, Kamala Harris, is actually helping him by not really being firm on where she is or being closer to him on busing than perhaps we knew when she was taking it to him during the debate.

So while he is better in this format, as you've said, I think he's also being helped from some outside forces as well.

KEILAR: Interesting.

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think Senator Harris and Vice President Biden have to get off of busing if they want to help themselves. I agree with everybody else that he's better in this format with the one-on-one interview. But our colleague, Harry Enten, took the poll numbers and Quinnipiac, Washington Post and CNN poll averaged together, Biden down five, Harris up ten, not a good look for Biden.

KEILAR: he seemed personally hurt by Kamala Harris attacking him in the debate. I mean, he brought up his son, Beau Biden. They had a close relationship.

KUCINICH: I think -- so you hear Joe Biden say, you know me. You know me. It's very personal for him. That said, the Harris campaign said this isn't personal. This is political. And she was drawing a contrast. Now, how she did it, she talk about her own personal experience. She was drawing a contrast about policy with Joe Biden during that exchange.

So politics can be personal but what are you going to do.

KEILAR: It stings for sure sometimes. And he's trying to draw, as well, we noticed this in the interview, Susan, on his foreign policy experience, which he has a lot of. He painted a pretty dire picture of another four years for the Trump administration.

HENNESSEY: Well, certainly, Trump has impaired our relationships even with our closest allies. He's cozied up with dictators. And we've seen actually Trump sort of chasing at the constraints in his first term. I think Biden is right, that this election is a referendum. And if President Trump wins another term, we are likely to see an even more unconstrained foreign policy vision.

This is an opportunity for the democrats. For a long time, the republicans really have had a hold on being the national security party. We have seen Trump sort of disavowing core republican tenets on things like being tough on Russia, being tough on North Korea. That is going to open an opportunity for whoever is the ultimate democrat nominee to really make that case that are progressives are the party of national security.

KEILAR: Did Joe Biden sell a picture of the future? We'll be discussing that in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:48:41] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And we're back now with our analysts talking about that exclusive Joe Biden interview that Chris Cuomo did.

When you listen to him, David Swerdlick, did you get a sense of what a Biden presidency would look like?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I got a sense of what a Biden general election against President Trump would look like. He gave a lot of answers of raw meat for the president to come at him. In terms of a Biden presidency, he wants to basically go status quo.

The problem for him is that the last administration that he was part of, they did the low hanging fruit -- don't ask, don't tell, got out of the recession, got out of Iraq. Now everything is difficult and I didn't hear him say he would dig into the difficult thing.

KEILAR: What do you think, Jackie?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it would be a lot like President Obama's administration and you can see that when you look at Joe Biden's Website, which isn't obviously the end-all/be- all for someone's campaign. But it has a lot of mentions of what he and President Obama have done.

Yes, as he talked about tax rates, things he would do differently? Has he talked about undocumented immigrants getting health insurance in that interview? Yes, h did. It isn't clear how different from the administration he just came out of.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think the debate in the Democratic primary is between Biden who represents a restoration and people like Warren and Sanders, they represent a sort of revolution, right? That's the debate in the Democratic Party.

You know, you have people like AOC in the House and have people like Nancy Pelosi.

[18:50:04] And, you know, Biden is obviously in the restoration camp. And his whole -- his whole agenda here is let's just go back to the way it was pre-Trump.

Now, he has moved to the left on a bunch of issues along with his party. But he only moves when he is really, really shoved.

SWERDLICK: Yes.

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: Look, at the end of the day, Biden is making the case is the electability case, that what really matters is being the person who can actually beat President Trump in the general. And I agree that he is trying to paint the picture that his administration is looking a lot like the Obama administration. The problem is that sort of campaigning and restoration rather than hope and change is going to be really hard to capture some of that sort of Obama magic when it comes to election.

KEILAR: He said he hadn't looked at his debate performance, but he needs to be ready for the next one.

SWERDLICK: Right. And to Ryan's point, if he wants to be the restoration candidate, then he's got to lean in harder to the Obama record, talk about how much the stock market went up and how much unemployment went down, killing bin Laden, saving the oil industry -- I mean, the auto industry, excuse me.

He used to do that all the time and he doesn't do it anymore. And I think it's going to hurt him if he doesn't do that in the debates.

KUCINICH: And the idea he wasn't prepared for Kamala Harris's attacks or have someone take it to him is surprising, because he was the front runner. He's still the front runner. You have a big target on your back when you're the front runner no matter who you.

SWERDLICK: Right.

KUCINICH: So, to be able to be parry with some of the other candidates without coming off defensive is something that -- I think we might see more of. KEILAR: He needs to be ready for that. And he doesn't know where

it's coming from in next time.

LIZZA: He doesn't. And everyone -- there will be nine people on the stage who a incentive to take him out and do something like Kamala Harris did to him. And look, this is what happens with front runners, especially front runners spending eight years as vice president. They're not used to this kind of combat.

And, you know, he -- he was -- he looked like someone who did not prepare for a very obvious attack. I mean busing was in the news. Kamala Harris, everyone knows her history if you read her autobiography he would have known. So, he should have been prepared for that.

KEILAR: Do you think he is preparing.

HENNESSEY: I hope so. I certainly hope he is recognizing his own weaknesses. We saw him not committing to who he might pick as vice presidential candidate. Not answering fully a question about how he was thinking about future Supreme Court justices.

So, moving forward, we certainly should expect Joe Biden to put some concrete policy ideas on the table.

KEILAR: All right, guys, thank you so much.

Just ahead breaking news: There are reports of an explosion at a university dorm.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:57:15] KEILAR: More breaking news this hour. Reports of an explosion at a dorm on the campus of the University of Nevada-Reno. There appears to be as you can see significant damage to the building. Windows blown out. There's debris on the street.

Police are calling this a utilities accident and they're advising people to stay away. Authorities say there are no reports of fatalities, only minor injuries at this point. Witnesses say the blast had a powerful impact that shook a nearby apartment building.

Now to southern California, where residents are on edge as strong after shock rock the region after the biggest earthquake in two decades. Fourteen hundred aftershocks are now being reported since the 6.4 quake hit yesterday, including a powerful 5.4 tremor this morning. Residents in Ridgecrest near the epicenter have suffered the worst damage. A hospital was forced to close and may stay shuttered up to a week.

We have breaking news ahead on the teenage giant slayer at Wimbledon. We'll tell you if Coco Gauff won again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: We have some very good breaking news. A 15-year-old tennis phenom keeping up the historic winning strategic at Wimbledon. Coco Gauff staged a remarkable comeback in the third match of her first grand slam tournament, defeating Polona Hercog of Slovenia. The American getting off a stunning start at Wimbledon by defeating her idol Venus Williams in the first round of the women's singles.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

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