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Biden camp holds ‘difficult’ calls with donors; Trump seeks delay of criminal sentencing after immunity ruling – live | US elections 2024


Biden camp holds ‘difficult’ calls with donors; Trump seeks delay of criminal sentencing after immunity ruling – live | US elections 2024

14.57 BST

Top Biden campaign officials downplayed the political fallout of last week’s presidential debate during the Monday evening call with wealthy donors, according to reports.

“Everyone just needs to breathe through the nose for minute,” the New York Times reported that Chris Korge, the finance chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said during the call.

After presentations from campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon and pollster Molly Murphy, roughly 500 members of Biden’s regional and national finance committee had the chance to submit questions, which the call moderators controlled. According to the Times report,

One donor asked the campaign how it would respond to a significant erosion of polling; the campaign largely dismissed the concern. ‘The media has spent a ton of time blowing this out of proportion,’ said Mr. Fulks, the deputy campaign manager. ‘We are not going to be in a defensive posture on this campaign.’

Some of those who joined the call described it as almost facile and rudimentary, the Times said.

Updated at 14.57 BST

14.34 BST

James Carville, the strategist who has been one of the few establishment Democrats to have been warning about Joe Biden’s age issue before the president’s disastrous debate performance Thursday, has called on his party to “deliver change” and replace the president as its nominee for November’s election.

In an interview with the Guardian, he also said it would be in the US’s best interest for Biden’s Democratic presidential predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton to help persuade him to half his re-election – and support an open nomination convention in Chicago in August to select a new ticket for the party.

“If it’s too hard for the Democrats to deliver change, then they’re going to hurt themselves bad – really bad,” said Carville, who led Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign.

Change is messy. But you have to listen to the vox populi. We want something new. I see staggering talent in the Democratic party. Let them speak their minds.

James Carville in Manchester, New Hampshire, on 8 February 2020 Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Carville’s comments come after he has spent months saying Biden was too old, should not run again – and that the party’s governors were among the most “breathtaking talent”, as he put it in a 16 December interview. He added: “We’re keeping it bottled up.”

Read the full Guardian interview: James Carville calls on Democratic party to ‘deliver change’ and replace Biden

Updated at 14.34 BST

14.26 BST

Joe Biden is “probably in better health than most of us,” Biden’s campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, told top fundraisers during the Monday conference call, according to NBC News.

“He’s also 81,” O’Malley Dillon added. “He knows that he has to prove that he can do this job from a stamina standpoint, but also from substance.”

During the call, she made reference to Barack Obama’s lackluster performance in his first debate with Mitt Romney in 2012, telling donors “every incumbent president that I can remember in my lifetime has had a shit first debate.”

“Obviously, the stakes are higher for us because we are up against Donald Trump,” she continued.

Obviously, we have more work to do because the president is 81, but it was also a terrible debate in 2012. I was there. I remember it clearly.

But one donor told the outlet that they were not convinced by the campaign’s reassurances, and that if Biden stays in the race, they will redirect their money to outside get-out-the-vote groups. The donor said:

I won’t sit on the sidelines, but it’s hard and getting a lot harder to donate directly to the campaign given their judgement.

Updated at 14.26 BST

14.17 BST

In a Monday evening conference call, the Biden campaign sought to reassure top Democratic donors and fundraisers who questioned whether the president should stay in the race and why they should keep donating.

Senior Biden officials, including campaign senior adviser Jen O’Malley Dillon, deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks and pollster Molly Murphy, conceded that Biden had blown an opportunity to improve his chances but that early polls showed little damage from the debate.

“The message was, ‘We are not seeing any change in polling,’” a source told Reuters. The “campaign will not win if the focus remains on his age.”

Updated at 14.17 BST

14.03 BST

Trump seeks to challenge hush-money verdict after immunity ruling

Donald Trump’s lawyers have asked the New York judge who presided over his hush-money trial to set aside his conviction and delay his sentencing, scheduled for later this month, following the supreme court’s ruling this week on presidential immunity.

The letter asks judge Juan Merchan to delay the former president’s sentencing while he weighs the high court’s decision and how it could influence the New York case, AP reported.

In the letter, Trump’s lawyers ask for permission to formally argue that the conviction should be overturned. The former president was convicted in New York of 34 counts of falsifying business records, arising from what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up a hush-money payment just before the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 14.03 BST

13.58 BST

Biden campaign holds ‘difficult’ calls with donors after disastrous debate

Good morning US politics readers. Joe Biden’s reelection team held difficult phone calls on Sunday and Monday with top campaign funders in an attempt to reassure them that the 81-year-old president should stay in the race following his car crash debate performance last week.

Senior campaign officials held a call on Monday evening with hundreds of top Democratic donors and fundraisers to tamp down the panic that has gripped the party since the CNN debate, multiple outlets reported. “Can the president make it through a campaign and another term?” One donor asked during the call, according to Reuters.

The Biden campaign has been engaged in full-on damage control, while many Democratic officials and strategists are privately mulling whether Biden should remain on the ticket of step aside in favor of a younger candidate who might stand a better chance of defeating Donald Trump.

Amid calls for the campaign to make Biden more visible, the president added public remarks to his schedule on Monday evening where he issued a full-throated denunciation of the supreme court’s decision to grant Trump broad immunity from criminal charges of trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

  • Biden will receive an operational briefing and deliver remarks at the DC emergency operations center. In the evening, he’ll attend a campaign reception in McLean, Virginia.

  • The White House’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, will brief at 2.30pm ET.

  • Kamala Harris will speak at an event in San Francisco.

Updated at 13.48 BST

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