Kamala Harris Defends Biden Amid Calls to Step Down After Debate Performance

Jimmy Williams

Vice President Kamala Harris has strongly defended President Joe Biden, pushing back against calls for him to step aside following his shaky debate performance. Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas recently urged Biden to leave the race, but Harris made it clear where she stands.

“Look, Joe Biden is our nominee,” Harris said in an exclusive interview with CBS News. “We beat Trump once, and we’re going to beat him again, period.”

Harris expressed her pride in being Biden’s running mate but did not directly address whether she’s ready to lead the country if necessary.

Speaking with CBS News’ Nidia Cavazos after a fundraiser in San Francisco, Harris’ comments come amid growing concern among Democrats about Biden’s fitness for another term and his ability to defeat former President Donald Trump. Doggett was the first Democratic lawmaker to call on Biden to step down, and other lawmakers are also urging him to reconsider his candidacy.

When asked if she is ready to lead the country if necessary, Harris reiterated, “I am proud to be Joe Biden’s running mate.”

While Harris continues to campaign, Biden is also fundraising, recently apologizing for his poor debate performance during an event in McLean, Virginia. He attributed his performance to extensive foreign travel in early June, saying, “I wasn’t very smart,” and mentioning he had been in at least 15 time zones. He admitted nearly falling asleep on stage during the 90-minute debate.

Despite the debate mishap, Biden and Harris have maintained regular communication, according to a source familiar with their interactions.

Harris’ name has been suggested as a potential replacement for Biden if he were to step down, but this would need to be a voluntary decision by Biden. Democratic Party officials cannot force him off the ticket now that primary voters have made their choice.

Harris also commented on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that Trump has some presidential immunity for his official acts. “It’s one of the foundational principles of our system of justice that no one is above the law,” Harris said. She emphasized the importance of the upcoming election, noting Trump’s statements about wanting to act as a dictator and weaponizing the Department of Justice against political enemies.

The Supreme Court’s opinion does not grant former presidents absolute immunity from prosecution. It divides presidential conduct into three categories regarding immunity: official acts that are part of presidents’ “core constitutional powers,” other official acts outside their “exclusive authority,” and unofficial acts. Presidents have “absolute” immunity for the first category, “presumptive” immunity for the second, and no immunity for the third.

Special counsel Jack Smith now faces the challenge of proving that prosecuting Trump for allegedly pressuring Pence would not interfere with the authority and functions of the Executive Branch. D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan will then make a determination on the matter. The court also pointed to a broad range of conduct that the lower court will need to examine, including claims that Trump worked with state officials, private attorneys, and supporters to subvert the transfer of presidential power.

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