Return to Transcripts main page
U.S. Flying Armed Droves over Iraq; Obama Asks Congress for Money to Fund Syrian Rebels; Obama Says Stop Sending Children to U.S.; Mississippi Tea Party Leader Found Dead; Family Legacies Affect Political Policies; Team USA in World Cup Showdown.
Aired June 27, 2014 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The crisis in Iraq appears to be escalating by the hour. Armed U.S. drones are now flying over Baghdad, while Iraq has turned to Russia and Belarus to buy fighter jets. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch says two mass graves have been found with bodies of Iraq soldiers and civilians.
Let's get some more on these late breaking developments. Aaron Miller's a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center here. He's author of several books on the Middle East.
Aaron, thanks very much for coming in.
AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: A pleasure, Wolf.
BLITZER: U.S. armed drones with hellfire missiles now flying over Baghdad. What does that say to you?
MILLER: Protect the 180 that are there and position for possible military action and collection of intelligence if they have --
BLITZER: How do drones with hellfire missiles protect U.S. military advisers -
BLITZER: Who may be in the green zone or whatever in a very, very heavily populated area? Are you going to start firing -
MILLER: Because if we're going to do intel and collect intel, they're not going to stay in the green zone. I mean, in fact, forward operators will need to be in the northern area to gather intelligence and they need protection.
BLITZER: You wrote a fascinating piece this week, basically saying a cohesive Iraq or cohesive Iraq strategy, it's all a fiction right now.
MILLER: It's tough because Iraq confronts two major problems that no nation, even functional nations, can't really alter. One is its demography. And what it is. You've got a country that's sectarian in nature. You have a prime minister who wants to preserve Shia exclusivism. You've got jihadis, ISIS, capitalizing on Sunni disaffection. You've got Kurds protecting their own interests and going their own ways. How do you create -- the Iraqi army collapsed. If you're an Iraqi Sunni, why do you want to die for Nouri Maliki?
BLITZER: 300 U.S. military advisers, drones flying over Baghdad? Even if there are air strikes, in the end, will that make a difference?
MILLER: The reality is we have to get real. There are no comprehensive solutions to this problem. There are only outcomes. The real question is, can what the president is doing affect and shape an outcome that pushes it in the right direction. But I fear, as you know, Iraq's going to get worse before it gets worse.
BLITZER: It's going to crumble into their separate divisions, Sunni, Shia, Kurd?
MILLER: It's already decentralizing. That was the reality frankly in '03. It's been the reality since Saddam was overthrown. And the Pandora's Box opened up. We weren't able, perhaps understandably, to control it.
BLITZER: What do you make of the decision by the White House to ask Congress for $500 million to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels who are opposed to Bashar al Assad?
MILLER: I think it's overdue but it puts the United States in the position of trying to provide sophisticated weaponry in a very porous environment to groups whose interests may not be its own. Think about this, we're going to be supplying Sunni moderates with sophisticated weaponry, on one hand, which will weaken Assad, but we may end upped striking ISIS targets in Syria, which will strengthen him. I think all of this attests to the fact that we're going to have some very strange bedfellows in this enterprise. We're already cozying up to the Iranians and recognizing a certain reality, that they, in fact, are the most important external power on the block now.
BLITZER: We learned today Martin Indyk, the former U.S. ambassador, now special Middle East negotiator for John Kerry, the secretary of state, he's resigned today. He's stepping down as far as the point man on the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. You worked in that area for a very long time. Your reaction?
MILLER: I empathize and sympathize. I used to be a lot taller before I started working on this process. The reality is, you don't want to park an envoy, let alone a secretary of state in a region or even give him a role when there's not much to do. The fact is, after a year of well-intentioned, skillful efforts on the part of the secretary, there's just not enough "there" there to come to an agreement.
BLITZER: He worked really, really hard. The secretary of state made many trips to meet with the Israelis and the Palestinians. Martin Indyk did as well. That didn't go anywhere.
MILLER: No, nobody ever lost money betting against Middle East peace, Wolf. (CROSSTALK)
BLITZER: It's a pity, so sad. Unfortunately, there could be the potential for two states, Israel, Palestinian, living in peace. It would be excellent if that were to happen.
MILLER: Love to see it.
BLITZER: Let's hope they can get their act together and do it.
Stop sending your children to the United States, that's the message from President Obama, as thousands of undocumented children crowd border detention centers. We take a closer look at the problem through the eyes of one remarkable woman.
But up next, the 2016 presidential race. Could we see another Clinton versus Bush matchup? We're examining how a family legacy might affect political policies.
BLITZER: Pretty shocking development, an important update on a story we've been covering in Mississippi where the Tea Party unsuccessfully targeted the long-time Republican Senator Thad Cochran. Attorney Mark Mayfield, a Tea Party leader involved in the effort to oust Cochran, has died of an apparent, an apparent, self-inflicted gunshot wound. A note was found in his home. Police are investigating the death as a possible suicide. Mayfield was one of three men charged with conspiring to take photos of Cochran's wife in a nursing home and using those images in a political ad.
Let's bring in our panel, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. Our senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, is joining us from L.A.
Ron, let me ask you first, this is a pretty tragic situation. It was a bitter runoff. What do you make of this?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. Well, first of all, it's obviously a tragedy for the friends and family. That really is the first point.
Second, it's a reminder of how intense the emotions are at this moment in American politics.
Third, I think it is also a reminder that after some indications earlier to opposite, the Cantor race and the Mississippi Senate race reminded us there's going to be no quick end to the conflict in the Republican Party to what some call the establishment and the Tea Party. I call it the managers and the populous. There is a real divide in what they want and what they're looking for. We'll continue to see it fought out. Most dramatically, perhaps in the 2016 presidential race.
BLITZER: Gloria, Chris McDaniel, the challenger to Cochran, he has not conceded. He says there were irregularities. He's threatening to go to court. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, he just yesterday
charged irregularities and he wants an investigation. It's very difficult for me to see how this election is going to be undone. But it's clear that he believes he was robbed of a victory in this election. As Ron points out, the emotions are really running high in that state.
BLITZER: Yeah, apparent suicide, it's really a tragic story, going on in Mississippi right now.
Let's shift gears a little bit and talk about the Clintons and the Bushes. Their family names represent political dynasties. For Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, future political ambitions could mean breaking with the past.
Ron, you wrote an important article entitled "The Irony of the Dynasty" in the "National Journal." Explain what the bottom line means.
BROWNSTEIN: The irony is that obviously the family tradition and the family name provide enormous practical advantages for both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush if they run in terms organization, fundraising and name identification.
The irony comes in that each would be seeking to lead parties that have largely abandoned the policies that are associated with their family name, the new Democrat agenda of Bill Clinton, the compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush. Each party has moved largely away from that because their electoral coalition, I would argue, has significantly evolved in the last decade and made the parties less receptive to the policy legacy that Bush and Clinton would bring to a race if they're in. They may face more pressure than they now expect to adapt themselves to the new dynamics in the party rather than the other way around, of putting their stamp and direction on the party.
BORGER: There's another irony here too, Ron, which is that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are more alike than they are different. Both of them understand what it takes to run for the presidency. They're both kind of the policy wonks in their family. Right? Not that Bill Clinton is a policy wonk, but Hillary Clinton is. Jeb certainly is a policy wonk, particularly when it companies to education.
The irony is if the two of them ended up running against each other -- yes, there are the issues of all the money they could raise and the name I.D. that gives them unfair advantages -- I think you'd actually have a very serious substantive race. But Jeb Bush, as you point out, might not be able to get nominated by the Republican Party right now.
BLITZER: Well, we'll see if both, or neither, decides to run. If they do, could be fascinating.
All right, guys, thanks, very, very much.
In just four days, millions and millions of eyes will be glued to the TV sets watching Team USA take on Belgium in a must-win World Cup match. So how are these soccer super stars preparing for the big game? We're going to hear from the USA goalkeeper, Tim Howard.
Plus, thousands of kids make the dangerous trek often without their parents to get a better life here in the United States. Illegal immigration through the eyes of one woman who's trying to make a difference. Her story, when we return.
BLITZER: On "This Day in History," June 27, 1944, U.S. troops capture and liberate the French city of Cherbourg from German occupation. It was a pivotal moment, signaled the end for Hitler's forces.
It's a dangerous journey, but what's more frightening is that they make the trek alone. Thousands and thousands of unaccompanied children, mostly from Central America, are flooding into Texas through Mexico. The numbers are so huge that U.S. facilities clearly are overwhelmed. They're struggling to feed and house those who are detained.
President Obama issued a plea to parents in Central America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, our message absolutely is don't send your children unaccompanied on trains or through a bunch of smugglers. That is our direct message to the families in Central America: Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: One interesting statistic, the Obama administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other previous immigration, 400,000 annually since 2009. That's double the number under President George W. Bush. But still they are coming.
Our Miguel Marquez is joining us now with the story of one remarkable woman who hasn't let her status slow her down at all.
Miguel, tell us about her.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She has not, indeed. The reason or one of the reasons that all these young people may be crossing the border is because of President Obama's deferred action some years ago, allowing younger people to have status here in the U.S. legally. We met this woman who -- she worked for that. She took advantage of it. And she has not stopped working yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: How complicated have immigration politics become?
GABBY PACHECO, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: They're extremely complicated. They change every day. MARQUEZ (voice-over): Gabby Pacheco knows. Brought to the U.S. as a
child, she's one of millions of young immigrants raised here, acting, feeling in either way American. Except, she's not.
(on camera): Who are you? What do you consider yourself?
PACHECO: An American. I'm from Ecuador. I was born there. I acknowledge and understand that I don't have papers and I ask for the opportunity to be able to right that wrong.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Taking a cue from the civil rights movement, the top student with three degrees from Miami-Dade College came out as undocumented in 2009. Now she's all in on immigration politics.
PACHECO: We're still meeting at the Hill.
MARQUEZ: Like a steely eyed Washington lobbyist, her politicking done from her stoop. She plots and plans immigration reform. She's had a taste of success.
OBAMA: To amend our nation's immigration policy --
MARQUEZ: In 2012, the president signing an order that allows millions like her to get temporary legal status, a provision of the Dream Act. The Dreamers, as they're called, say part of their come true.
(on camera): There's almost a feeling of celebration at this center today and trepidation because it's a brand-new world for a lot of these people.
(voice-over): Now she fights for others. A trait she picked up on the playground.
PACHECO: Being the bully of the bullies in a way. Hey, you can't be bullying other people.
MARQUEZ (on camera): As a child, you bullied the bullies? Is that what I'm hearing you say?
PACHECO: Not really, but yes.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): In "Documented" from CNN films, the story of Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former "Washington Post" journalist, who risked it all coming out as undocumented. Gabby Pacheco plays a small but critical role.
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Guess who my first phone call was, Gabby.
MARQUEZ: She says people like Vargas, having the courage to face authority and say no more, will eventually force change.
PACHECO: He's a game changer and what is the immigrant rights movement.
MARQUEZ: Because of his powerful story?
PACHECO: Because of his story.
MARQUEZ: So there are millions out there like Gabby Pacheco and like Jose Antonio Vargas. And for a lot of them, a lot of frustration, because while things seem promising while the president allowed for deferred action for younger people to become of legal status temporarily, it's turned into great frustration to see the fighting in Washington today -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Is Gabby at all hopeful that comprehensive immigration reform could happen?
MARQUEZ: The short answer is no. They're looking toward more local or state measures in order to move their agenda forward -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Good report.
Miguel, thanks very much.
And an important note to our viewers. Don't miss CNN films' "Documented," the story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who is living in America illegally, risking everything by coming forward, telling you his story. Watch "Documented" Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN.
Cutting-edge innovation is creating one of the most environmental- friendly cities in the world, where cars take people where they want to go. See today's "City of Tomorrow." That's next.
BLITZER: All right. So imagine a city with 100 percent renewable energy, producing close to zero carbon emissions. Then imagine the city in the middle of an unforgiving desert, hot, humid, without water.
Erin Burnett went just outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for a closer look at today's "City of Tomorrow."
ERIN BURNETT, HOST, ERIN BURNET OUTFRONT (voice-over): About 20 miles outside Abu Dhabi, the city striving to be the greenest city on earth.
TONY MALLOWS, CITY DIRECTOR: I think the city of the future is going to be based on people walking to where they live, to where they work and to where they play.
BURNETT: And if you aren't walking, city director, Tony Mallows, says you can take a magnetically controlled car wherever you go.
(on camera): This is the car?
MALLOWS: Yeah, this is a personal rapid transit. This is how you get around the city. Driverless, electrical, solar powered. It comes when you want it and takes where you want to go and leave it alone.
BURNETT: So it's driverless.
BURNETT (voice-over): Navigating the city is relatively easy.
(on camera): This is a dream of what the future could be. But is it really going to happen? I mean, is this going to be anything more than a demo.
MALLOWS: It's a model for open development. But it's really sustainable, because it's not only environmentally sustainable, socially and economically.
BURNETT (voice-over): Fewer than 500 people live here. That falls far short of the original goal of 40,000 by next year, a goal set at the peak of the economic boom. Right now, about 1,200 people work here every day, in buildings specially designed to help reduce water and energy consumption by as much as 40 percent, according to city officials.
(on camera): You've learned over time with some of the successes and failures you've had, right, that zero emissions is a goal. But that's not reasonable at this point, right? It's just extremely low emissions. But there's some.
MALLOWS: Low emissions. Zero emissions has been proved to be very, very difficult.
BURNETT (voice-over): With more than 87,000 solar panels, the city produces its own electricity, offsetting 15,000 tons of carbon emissions a year. City engineers say that's the equivalent of taking 3,300 cars off the road in Abu Dhabi. And walking around the city, innovation can be seen everywhere.
(on camera): So you're looking at a wind tower, which is a traditional Arabic design to cool, right?
MALLOWS: Yes, absolutely. So you take a traditional Arabic element on cooling, totally passive energy, totally sustainable, and then you use modern technology to make it even more efficient.
BURNETT (voice-over): The Masdar Institute is also partnered with MIT to develop new renewable energy sources, like making jet fuel from the seed of a weed that gross grows here in the desert.
(on camera): This is obviously happening here in the middle of the desert. Your ambition on what you're trying to prove is much bigger?
MALLOWS: Absolutely. Globalization is the key issue for the future. Not only because cities are going to attack global warming. We have to understand how to build cities that are low carbon. And that's why this city is such an important contribution to globalization and urbanization.
BLITZER: Very impressive. Thanks, Erin Burnett, for that reporting.
Back here in the United States, excitement is building for a do-or-die World Cup showdown. It's Team USA versus Belgium. Kickoff just four days away.
And Amanda Davies joining us live from our World Cup headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Amanda, this will be an elimination match. How is the U.S. team, mentally, physically, as far as we know right now, preparing for this critical match?
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the day after the match is traditionally a lighter training session. And we know today from the U.S. Soccer website that the friends and family of the team have been to the training session in Sao Pao to watch Jurgen Klinsmann, and then having a Brazilian barbecue this afternoon. The match takes place Tuesday. It's just a trip north of the coast to Salvador. A much easier trip than some of the journeys the team have undertaken in the last couple of weeks. The challenge, really, will be to keep the momentum going.
And one of the team, Tim Howard, who has been putting in sensational performances so far in this tournament, he's been talking about how he stays in the zone. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM HOWARD, TEAM USA GOALKEEPER: The zone isn't sports-specific. I think it's when you're a competitor and when the game starts to slow down and you read things quicker, I think you feel like you're in a zone. You know, I've felt like all season I've been in good rhythm with my club team, and I feel like it's carried over. So hopefully it can last a few games longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: Wolf, this is going to be a tough ask against Belgium. They're full of players who play across Europe in the champions' league and the premier league. But the U.S. have gone from underdogs to the ones to watch. They have been surprising us all over the last couple of weeks. So who knows how much more there is to come.
BLITZER: A lot of excitement over there in Rio. Give us a little flavor. I assume there's tons and tons of Americans on hand.
DAVIES: There are. It's absolutely fantastic. The number of fans with their faces painted and their flags waving who are all across Brazil. Those who have followed the team to their matches in Recresiva (ph), and a large number of fans basing themselves in Rio. We have the fan fest on Copacabana Beach. There's not a bad spot to watch football here.
BLITZER: Have fun there, Mary (sic). Thanks very much. Amanda, I should say. Amanda, thanks very much.
That's it for me. I'll see you at 5:00 p.m. in "The Situation Room."
NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf Blitzer, thank you.