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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Town Erupts Over Immigrant Transfers; Arthur Becomes Category 2 Hurricane; American Woman Arrest for Trying to Help ISIS; Federal Highway Trust Fund Running Out of Money; Latest Jobs Report Released

Aired July 3, 2014 - 11:30   ET

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


RUBEN NAVARRETTE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. So I've written about immigration 25 years, interviewed a number of board patrol agents. I know a number of agents and written complimentary things about the Border Patrol agents over the years. I've never heard any Border Patrol agent say anything like that. Given the fact that there's a gag order on Border Patrol agents in Texas, I'm surprised he's even on this show saying these things if he's with the Border Patrol at all.

To the point of the government losing control of the border, we lost control of the border some time ago when we decided we wanted cheap available labor. And that's the part of the discussion we never have. We always focus on the immigrants. We never focus on the employers. In this case, we're talking about kids from Central America, not coming here for jobs, but maybe coming here in the greatest traditions of this country to seek refuge as a safe haven. We've mixed apples and oranges. Folks in Murrieta did it. Your other guest has done it. We aren't thinking clearly about this issue.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Hector, can you respond?

HECTOR GARZA, BORDER PATROL AGENT (via telephone): Of course. I am a Border Patrol agent and spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council in the Laredo area. When I speak about the government facilitating the smuggling of these aliens, I'm going to paint a picture for you. You're at the river right at the border trying to protect our country from dangerous drugs and criminals, and when a smuggler hands over these children and these family units to you and all we're doing is basically getting their information, giving them a piece of paper and asking them to report back to an immigration hearing, based on the honor system, you know, that's what we're doing.

That's what's happening right now. They are being released into our country and the majority of the people will never report back to an immigration hearing. I know it is a crisis, we are seeing a lot of children, however, how do you expect a mother from Honduras crossing the country with three to five children and they're all, you know, young aged children how do you expect for that mother to come into this country and begin working? You know this illegal alien coming to the country with three to five kids that person is going to depend on our welfare system, government assistance and you know what, that is costing the taxpayer a lot of money.

PEREIRA: Hector Garza, Ruben Navarette, there's so much more to delve into. We'll continue the conversation with you both another day. Thank you so much for joining us. And thank you for trying to have a

reasonable conversation with us about something that is very passionately opposed on both sides.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You hear passion, but one of the things we need to be talking about more is solutions. Not a lot of talk --

PEREIRA: Action.

BERMAN: -- about that just yet.

PEREIRA: Agree.

Hurricane Arthur, it has some steam in it. Now becoming, or expected to become a category 2 storm. Where it's headed and, of course, how it's going to affect your Fourth of July plans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. What you're looking at live pictures at the coast of North Carolina. This as Hurricane Arthur's bands begin to come ashore. It's going to get a lot worse than this, folks.

PEREIRA: Right side of your screen, further south, Kill Devil Hills, further north, still calm there. You can see the difference in how that storm is moving. Fourth of July firework celebrations are being postponed in some cities from Ocean City, Maryland, to Boston. The biggest concern obviously is the force of this storm.

Alina Machado joins us from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where that storm is picking up steam. Indra Petersons, meanwhile, is in Kill Devil Hills were it's a little calmer. We can see the wind changing.

I've been watching Alina's outfit change through the course of the morning.

But, Indra, remind us what the latest advisory is telling us. It's changing in status.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This is the concern because each advisory we get continues to intensify the system more than we thought previously. Meaning even the forecast continues to come in as a stronger forecast.

The latest forecast brings us at 90-mile-per-hour steady winds but, more importantly, Arthur should strengthen to a category 2 hurricane with winds as high as 100 miles per hour when it makes landfall tonight into the Outer Banks. That's what's fresh on everyone's mind. Currently, it's still about 90 miles offshore of Charleston, South Carolina, but the conditions continue to deteriorate. But here the winds pick up as well, the surf starting to pick up more. A lot of people here in the water not really heeding the warning. They're going to feel that difference tonight because it is making its way closer. As it makes landfall tonight, still expected 100 mile per hour winds. The cat 2 system will be here. Past that, it's going to strengthen further now with the latest

advisory, about 105-mile-per-hour winds just south of Norfolk, Virginia. There it will be offshore. You feel some of those outer rain bands. It will move off to the northeast and move right now a little closer towards Cape Cod where they could feel the impacts by Friday evening as well.

BERMAN: And we're talking about a category 2 storm that will hit the outer banks if it continues on its path, which will be a concern.

Alina Machado, give us a sense of what the conditions are like now and what you expect to see over the next several hours?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, we've been seeing periods of very heavy rainfall and high wind gusts. We're seeing plenty of rain. The wind isn't as strong as it was earlier today, but the surf, though, take a look. It is definitely rolling out there. Very, very rough. Good news is that people are heeding the warnings and actually staying out of the water for the most part. We have seen some surfers in the water, which is exactly what people here, what officials here in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, have been telling people to stay out of the water because of the rough surf, because of the rip currents.

So right now, we're monitoring the situation. We're seeing periods of very heavy rain. We're expected to see this continue throughout the afternoon and we're just all bracing to see what Arthur does.

PEREIRA: All of the officials that we spoke to already today on "New Day" and our other shows have said -- even the governor said, don't put on your stupid hat and don't ignore the warnings. Be smart, be safe. You can replace items. You can't replace lives. Hopefully, people will heed the warnings.

Indra Petersons and Alina Machado, great work. Busy days ahead of you and a busy weekend.

BERMAN: Other news we're look at, a Colorado woman is accused of trying to help a member of the terror group ISIS, which is causing so much chaos right now in the Middle East. She joins a growing number of Americans attempting to join terrorist organizations abroad. How she met her terrorist suitor, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: To a strange, strange case out of Colorado. A 19-year-old woman is accused of trying to join a terror group that's creating so much chaos right now in Iraq and Syria.

PEREIRA: Yeah. This is Shannon Maureen Conley. She was arrested in April trying to board a flight to Germany. Allegedly she told the FBI she was headed to Turkey to meet and marry a man who she had said she met through the Internet. She works as a nurse's aide and, according to documents, she planned to work in an ISIS camp near the Turkish border. It was a pastor who first alerted authorities.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. GEORGE MORRISON, SENIOR PASTOR, FAITH BIBLE CHURCH: She was carrying a backpack and she had a notebook pad out taking notes at different places. So that alerts us right away.

She became a little more hostile. And then eventually we came and said, listen, it's just probably better that you not come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

We're joined by Michael Balboni, a former New York Homeland Security director.

Thanks so much for being with us.

This is a little bit of an unusual case because the FBI had their eyes on this woman for a long, long time. They interviewed her several times before they ultimately arrested her. Nevertheless, it really does speak to the evolution of ISIS and how they're trying to spread their tentacles throughout the world.

MICHAEL BALBONI, FORMER NEW YORK HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: You're correct. ISIS is better funded and more sophisticated when it comes to trying to do global recruitment. And we saw this with al Qaeda. "Inspire" magazine, it was looked at by the Boston Marathon bombers.

BERMAN: That's right.

BALBONI: ISIS is putting stuff out there across the globe and they're using Hollywood graphics. What they're trying to do is get people engaged in the concept of ISIS.

PEREIRA: Is she the typical victim to that kind of -- I don't know. I don't know. I don't want to say "brainwashing." It's hard to tell what's happened here. But obviously, she was convinced of something, or -- she's a young woman, 19 years old. Generally, we see young men getting radicalized. How odd is this to you that it's a young woman, a nurse's aide?

BALBONI: It goes to the fact that there are many motivations to get involved in this type of an effort. For her, it's love. But the real concern, obviously, is when you have fighters who come over from the United States or western societies get trained in bomb making and active shooter techniques and then, because they have a valid passport, come back to the Western countries. And we have seen ISIS in the statements they've made express an interest in attacking western assets.

BERMAN: How dangerous of an asset is it or valuable if you're ISIS to have a 19-year-old woman like Shannon Maureen Conley, someone like that?

PEREIRA: Especially with military training.

BERMAN: This nurse's aide? What can a nurse's aide from Colorado provide to ISIS? BALBONI: It may not be her skill set as identity. She can come back

and forth into the U.S. And there's really no way to pick them up. When you talk about the terrorist watch list, all the different ways and data bases we try to track people. Well, if you've never had any type of impact on the criminal justice system, don't have any type of file --

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: And she didn't.

BALBONI: She's absolutely clean in terms of any interaction with law enforcement or security. Therefore, she goes over there, she gets trained, and maybe it's not in explosives or other tactics, but maybe in terms of information, resources. And she comes back, maybe she'll have someone who inspires others. And now you get this person traveling back and forth.

PEREIRA: It just occurred what we were talking to you about the other day, when we were talking about the increased security at the borders and that intelligence says look at the bomber not for the bomb. She doesn't attract attention. She looks like a regular American gal, young lady, not a threat.

BERMAN: Although she did attract attention in the church --

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: She sure did. That's the key.

BERMAN: -- the pastor in this church. Scoping out this church, apparently.

PEREIRA: They had problems before, did they not?

BALBONI: They did. See, the challenge here, we all kind of think of the James Bond thing, someone who's sophisticated and bright get involved. No. You get all sorts of people with various intelligence, various motivations. And sometimes they just, you know, they kind of are lost souls and they're exploitable, which is what the challenge here is.

PEREIRA: Seems as though she might have been exploited.

BALBONI: Right.

BERMAN: Michael Balboni, great to have you here with us. Really interesting. Appreciate it.

BALBONI: Thank you.

PEREIRA: Really interesting.

We're going to take a short break. Ahead, we're going to look at our aging infrastructure -- bridges falling apart, roads crumbling. And if Congress doesn't take action, things could get worse. That could affect your next road trip.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: Take a look at these pictures. They were taken from underneath the Brooklyn Bridge last night. Huge heavy pieces of stone fell off of bridge's facade. Five pedestrians were injured. Thankfully those injuries were minor. Happened about 8:00 p.m. during an intense thunderstorm. No word on exactly what caused that collapse but transportation officials say there is no damage to the structural integrity of the bridge.

This happened just as we're getting a warning from the nation's transportation chief.

PEREIRA: Money is about to run out in the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and if Congress does not act quickly, something we know that Congress has a hard time doing, we could see some pretty major traffic snarls pretty soon.

Rene Marsh reports on the gridlocks, both kinds, in traffic and in politics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This summer, millions of Americans hitting the road will cross bridges and roadways in dire need of improvement and repairs. Getting to your destination likely won't be easy. Expect traffic jams because decades-old bridges and roads weren't built to handle today's traffic.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If this Congress does not act by the end of the summer, the Highway Trust Fund will run out.

MARSH: Dubbed the transportation fiscal cliff, a federal fund, used to repair America's crumbling infrastructures, just weeks away from going bankrupt. A potential crisis for commuters considering the American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure a "D"- plus. And one in nine of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient.

Look no further than Delaware for what the impact could look like. An emergency shutdown of the critical I-495 bridge. The problem? Cracks and leaning support columns. Old underground pipes breaking in cities across the country causing major flooding.

The president and transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, say failure to fund repairs and improvements will cost Americans in more ways than one.

(on camera): How many jobs potentially at stake here?

ANTHONY FOXX, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: So we're estimated 700,000 jobs at risk.

MARSH (voice-over): In 2011, commuters wasted $2.9 billion gallons of gas just sitting in traffic, costing the average consumer more than $800 per year, according to one study.

The Highway Trust Fund gets revenue from an 18.4 cent per-gallon gas tax. But the tax has not increased to keep up with inflation since 1993. Now the clock is ticking as Congress debates how to prevent the fund from going broke next month.

FOXX: We need to be able to get those investments moved into filling gaps, reducing congestion and lowering travel times.

Improving the ability of the American public to move around and for goods to move around, but that can only happen if Congress acts.

MARSH (on camera): Well, on Tuesday, states all across the country received letters saying, "Prepare for the worst, payments are about to slow down." What lawmakers cannot agree on is how to pay for our infrastructure. The ideas range from raising the gas tax to scaling back Saturday mail delivery to offset the cost.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Our thanks to Rene for that.

Ahead for us @THISHOUR, all the single ladies -- no, not a song. I will never sing as far as you know.

(LAUGHTER)

You're talking the new political powerhouse in Washington. Which party could benefit the most? That's just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: A whole lot of big stories happening @THISHOUR in politics. We have picked three of them to talk about with our political commentators today, the ladies' edition, Donna Brazile and Ana Navarro.

Good to see you both.

We're going to try something different, ladies. We're going to throw out a topic. You have 30 seconds each to weigh in. We'll call it, I don't know, a political speed bump or something.

BERMAN: OK.

PEREIRA: No pressure. put on your boots.

BERMAN: There's a lot of pressure.

Up first, today the grand finale in a week of reports on the economy. The June jobs report just released a few hours ago. 288,000 new jobs added. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent.

This is a good report, Ana, on the heels of several other decent jobs reports. Do you think President Obama will be able to make political capital out of this?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's a good report. The big two numbers -- job growth and unemployment -- have been good numbers for month, and for several numbers. And I think that's something all Americans should be celebrating. If there's a report you're in one party you say it's bad, the other party you say it's great. But there's also different numbers that do give us pause, which is that a lot of people are working part time, they've given up on full-time jobs, and people have given up looking for jobs all together.

BERMAN: Donna, a lot of people complaining about a lot of things with this White House right now. Will the jobs report help temper that?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. Look, any time we can add jobs in this economy, that's a good thing. Let's add more jobs, get more people back to work so they can pay for the services they need. This is an opportunity for us to even create more jobs. If we can get looking at our manufacturing sector, we can have jobs that pay people a good living.

PEREIRA: Second topic. Here we go. Donna, we'll start with you. A new political powerhouse in Washington. It is all the single ladies -- not to John and his favorite Beyonce. They account for one out of every four people of voting age. They don't usually, though, vote in midterm elections. Donna, we know they lean Democratic. How do we get them to the poll this is fall.

BRAZILE: You know, Senator Kay Hagen has a great program in North Carolina. She calls it "Heels to the Ground." She is making sure she identifies those women that voted in 2012 but didn't vote in 2010. If she can identify them and persuade them, you know what, not only will we retain control of the United States Senate, we will add more women to the United States Senate because Michelle Nunn will benefit. So this is a good program and Democrats are going to take care of it. Republicans just have a binder full of women.

PEREIRA: Ms. Navarro, how do you pry some of the votes away from the Democrats?

NAVARRO: I think we've got to try harder. I think we've got to micro target. This is something we can not give up on because "single women" is a growing sector. Frankly, we have to be smarter. Look, I saw this week -- I was flipping through the channels and I saw on FOX this guy talk about Beyonce voters. So I thought it was a lame attempt at humor talking about single women. But then he went on to say something which I frankly found offensive and I couldn't believe that the four Republican women sitting around him didn't bat one of their fake eyelashes and tell him he was saying something so stupid.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: There's fake eyelashes here, too.

NAVARRO: So Republican women need to tell Republican men when they say something stupid. BERMAN: Wow.

PEREIRA: I know.

BRAZILE: Amen to that, sister.

(LAUGHTER)

Amen to that, sister. We would have taken care of him. We would have taken care of him.

PEREIRA: Yeah, they would have.

NAVARRO: I wish he'd been on -- listen, Donna, I only wish he'd been on the panel with you and me.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: He feels -- it feels like a discussion I'm going to stay away from.

(LAUGHTER)

Last subject, Donna, any hope this infrastructure mess will get solved, Congress will weigh in on the Highway Trust Fund? Do you think there will be any action this summer?

BRAZILE: Yes, 100,000 projects, 700,000 workers. There's no question that when it comes to paving our roads we are going to get it done.

BERMAN: Ana?

NAVARRO: I think it's an important issue. It has a chance. Nothing is more local than potholes. And when constituents start going into potholes and they see bridges falling, people start screaming bloody murder and it gets to Congress and to government.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: You both seem so --

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: That's right.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: Smooth.

NAVARRO: In the meantime, buy a life vest. If you're going to cross a bridge, in the meantime, get yourself a life vest, OK.

BRAZILE: Happy Fourth of July, Ana.

NAVARRO: You, too.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Happy Fourth to all of you.

Donna Brazile, Ana Navarro, great to have you with us.

PEREIRA: That's it for us @THISHOUR. Thanks for joining John and I. Be safe, heed the warnings, keep with CNN to watch storm coverage.

It continues now with "LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield.