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How Biden will close out an unprecedented DNC

Thursday marks the final day of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, after a week of speakers, discussions and celebrations. To conclude the event, the party’s presidential candidate, Joe Biden, will formally accept his nomination. But President Trump is wasting no time in criticizing Biden's policies. Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor join Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest campaign news.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we turn now to our Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor.

    Hello to both of you.

    Lisa, you are in Wilmington.

    You have spent a lot of time looking at the career of Joe Biden, the trajectory of his life really. What are you expecting to hear? What should we be expecting to hear from him tonight?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You know, Judy, tonight's theme officially is this, "America's Promise."

    And that's an important word for Joe Biden, the word promise. In fact, the two autobiographical books that he's written have that word in it. One, he wrote in 2007, "Promises to Keep." The other, he wrote after the death of his son Beau, which was "Promise Me Dad."

    So, this idea of loyalty, keeping promises, I think, is what we're going to hear from him.

    But we're also going to hear more about that, what we have seen in his books and what sort of has sketched out his career, Judy, ideas of family. We know that's very important to Biden and his whole family, which he calls a family of strong personalities, also the idea of honesty, positive values.

    A positive vision for America is something that campaign is talking about for tonight, and, finally, resilience. That's something that we will see throughout Biden's kind of biographical sketch tonight. And we, I think, will hear him speak about his son Beau as well.

    But this is also a man, Judy, who is very ambitious. A lot of folks talk about him running for president back in 1988. But if you look into it, Judy, he filed the papers to run in the New Hampshire primary four years earlier, 1984.

    So, he's been seriously thinking about this night for 36 years. And here's his moment, and it's in his home state.

    So, clearly, this will be an emotional time, but this is a speech he has been thinking about almost his entire career.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And really in connection with all that, Lisa, what are you hearing about highlights, messages from the convention overall tonight?

    You're there in Wilmington. What do you expect to see there?

  • Lisa Desjardins:


    We will have a series of other candidates who were with — opposed Vice President Biden in the primary. Pete Buttigieg, someone that he's indicated he sees himself in, will be one of the last speakers before we expect sort of the Biden segment begins, also Cory Booker.

    Interesting, Judy. The program went a little long last night. Senator Booker was originally expected to speak last night. He will be speaking tonight.

    So, I think we hear about this idea of a positive — positive vision. We will see how much they go after President Trump or not.

    And speaking of that, Judy, we can say we have seen a few protesters here today. We have got a little bit of video earlier, just a dozen or so. They had some creative signs. Look at this, one of these signs saying, "Total Malarkey, Joe," again, just a dozen or so. Now that group is more like 50.

    And you can hear them a little bit from our position, really no clashes, no problems with police.

    Also, though, another creative Trump supporter hired a plane and is flying around the site of this speech with a banner that reads "Joe Biden Is Losing It."

    But, again, this is not like other conventions where we have seen clashes or sort of intensity. I have talked to some of these protesters. I talked to some Trump supporters. And, right now, there's a lot of sort of positivity. They don't want Joe Biden to be president, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of tension about it as they show up here.

    One other thing, Judy. We're expecting very soon to see cars roll into the parking lot behind me, this lonely parking lot we have been talking about, for the drive-in. So, we expect Vice President Biden may also come out after his speech and speak to the crowd gathered, pandemic style, in their cars.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, interesting. And I know we will want to come to you when all that is going on.

  • Lisa Desjardins:


  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, separately, Yamiche, the incumbent, President Trump, there was some news from his corner today.

    One of his former top advisers, strategists at the White House, Steve Bannon, was arrested, criminal charges against him. He's accused of fraud. Tell us more about that.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    That's right.

    Federal prosecutors in New York today indicted Steve Bannon, someone who was the former White House chief strategist, as well as someone who was a senior adviser to President Trump's 2016 campaign, along with three other conservative associates. Prosecutors say that they're charged with defrauding donors.

    They were using what prosecutors called a scheme. It was called We the People Build the Wall. And, essentially, it was telling people, donate your money, and we're going to use 100 percent of this money to go and build a wall on the Southern border.

    Of course, that was a chief goal and continues to be a chief goal of President Trump. He campaigned on it. He's continued to talk about it during his presidency.

    But prosecutors say Steve Bannon in particular used up to a million dollars, and maybe more, on personal expenses, and that would mean — that would mean hotels travel, personal credit card debt.

    Steve Bannon was in court today. He pleaded not guilty. That said, though, Steve Bannon is essentially being accused of defrauding the very voters that President Trump is now trying to win back.

    And the president, his son was also someone who was part of this fund-raising campaign, saying that he was someone who supported it. However, he is not part of this indictment. He is not someone who is charged at all.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And just quickly, Yamiche, what is the president saying?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, the president is saying that he had nothing to do with this, that he didn't like it when he heard about the idea of a private wall being built or private money being picked up or taken into account to build a wall. He said that Mexico would pay for this wall. He continues to say that, even though Mexico hasn't.

    We should say that a senior Trump adviser also tells "NewsHour" that this looks like political targeting of Steve Bannon. The other thing to note is that the president was in Pennsylvania today. It's very interesting, because he was in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is where Joe Biden grew up.

    He was making the case that Joe Biden is someone who is bad for Pennsylvania, that he's someone who will cancel family, cancel culture that will upend and destroy families. So, that was President Trump kind of hitting back at Joe Biden preemptively, as Joe Biden prepares to give his speech tonight.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    He has not been quiet this week. And he will have all next week to make his case.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:


  • Judy Woodruff:

    Yamiche Alcindor, following President Trump, and our Lisa Desjardins in Wilmington, we will be coming back to both of you throughout the night.

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