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Crisis on the Border; Rocket Fired From Lebanon Into Israel; HIV Returns to Child Thought Cured; Space Junk Creates Fireball Over Australia; Two California Towns React Differently to Border Crisis; New developments in the death of a Georgia toddler Left in a Hot Car; House Speaker John Boehner Moving Forward with the Lawsuit

Aired July 11, 2014 - 11:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Breakdown at the border. Republicans blame the president for the immigration crisis. He blames them back. Now Congress is getting ready to sue. Washington a work.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Their child died in a hot car. Dad is charged; Mom of Cooper Harris is now making moves that look like she's distancing herself from her hsuband.

BERMAN: And oh the wait. Fans in Miami, fans in Cleveland on hold as LeBron James, well, he's kind of taking his time. Is he staying in South Beach? Will he return to Cleveland -- the team, the city, he spurned four years ago? The answer could come @THISHOUR.


PEREIRA: I feel the urgency and the drama building there.

BERMAN: At any minute. You can't possibly turn away.

Hello, I'm John Berman.

PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira. Those stories and so much more, right now, @THISHOUR.

BERMAN: We are going to begin with the political battle over the border crisis. You take a contentious issue, add into that a deep, partisan divide, throw in some heated rhetoric, and you have a recipe for nothing, which is exactly what the country doesn't need right now.

PEREIRA: Republicans are doubling down on President Obama. House Speaker John Boehner has already been blasting him over his handling of the immigration crisis.

Now he's ready to go forward with a lawsuit. Boehner says that the president violated the Constitution when he changed his signature healthcare law.

BERMAN: The White House calls this a stunt. The president says Republican leaders would rather trade blame than come up with solutions. Administration officials say they think things could get worse on the border unless they get the $3.7 billion in emergency funding they requested.

PEREIRA: Caught in the middle of all this, tens of thousands of children. At last count, some 57,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, have crossed the Texas border. That number is expected to go up to about 90,000 by September.

BERMAN: They're willing to make this long and dangerous trek, many of them, to escape bigger dangers facing them at home. We're talking crime, violence, corruption, extreme poverty.

PEREIRA: We have a reporter standing by covering the crisis as only CNN can. Ana Cabrera is in Artesia, New Mexico, but we begin first, though, with Alina Machado who is on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Alina, you've been following their journey. Tell us what you're seeing.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, we know that many of these children, many of these immigrants, have to cross the Rio Grande to get to the U.S., and we have been talking all week about how much law enforcement presence there is in this area, especially the closer you get to the river.

But as you're about to see, it's very difficult to keep up with what's going on here.


MACHADO: This is the Rio Grande, nearly 1,900 miles long and now the battleground of an immigration crisis hitting the U.S. It's where a flood of undocumented immigrants are crossing into Texas every single day.

We wanted to get a firsthand look, so we headed out on a boat with Johnny Hart who has lived on the river for more than three decades.

JOHNNY HART, TEXAS RESIDENT: It's just a routine deal when we're out here touring the river that we see the crossings.

MACHADO: It didn't take long to find a path used by undocumented immigrants to cross the river. A man in the heavy brush even appears to hide from us.

HART: It's mainly adults that we see. Lately in the last several months, it's been women and children.

MACHADO: You have seen them on the river?

HART: Yes.

MACHADO: On rafts?

HART: Yes. MACHADO: U.S. law enforcement boats, whether state or federal, are

never too far away, but when they are, we see this, people on rafts hurrying to cross the river. In this case, they seem to be headed back to Mexico after a drop-off on the U.S. side.

While we can't say for certain what they're up to, it's clear the men on the rafts are not happy to see us.

We wanted to see where those rafts were coming from, and just a few feet away, look at what we saw on the U.S. side, several border patrol agents, two vehicles, four people who appeared to be detained.

Not long after, a bus shows up, perhaps suggesting more than just four were in the hands of U.S. Border Patrol.


MACHADO: Now locals in this area describe the situation as a constant battle of wits between Mexican smugglers and U.S. authorities. They say that what we saw yesterday is something they see nearly every day.

BERMAN: Alina, what an interesting look, truly on the front lines now of this as it's going on.

These patrol boats, how often are they out there on the river?

MACHADO: Very often, John. We have been here for several days, and I have to say probably every hour we see several boats coming up and down the river.

And I have to say I don't think I have ever seen such a strong law enforcement presence in a town, in an area. I mean, you can't go very far in town without seeing either a local police officer, a sheriff's deputy, a border patrol agent in the area, so it's very significant, John.

PEREIRA: And that's just one area that Alina is. There's a lot of area where our U.S. border touches the Mexican border. We know that there are areas that are more porous than others. The president wants more resources sent down there, so does the Texas governor as well.

We want to talk more about this. This afternoon, the Homeland security secretary will get a firsthand look at this crisis at the border.

BERMAN: Jeh Johnson is visiting a facility in New Mexico that's being used to house undocumented immigrants.

PEREIRA: Ana Cabrera joins us now from Artesia, New Mexico. You had a chance to tour this facility. What can you tell us about this?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela and John, we do know that Jeh Johnson will be arriving here to see how things are going.

This is one of those temporary facilities set up to accommodate the overflow of the undocumented immigrants that are going into Texas illegally, coming from Central America, and they just can't be turned away.

So we know they have set up facilities at military bases. They've set up temporary housing facilities at warehouses. And this is one of them, a federal law enforcement training center here in Artesia, New Mexico.

It's actually a couple hundred miles north of the border, so this is not a facility that's dealing with the initial immigration. It's the secondary facility where they're being bussed from Texas to here.

Women and children are coming here. Already more than 200 have arrived in the last couple of week since this facility opened to them. They can sleep up to 672 people at this center, and so we're being told by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials that they anticipate a lot more to come here.

Here's the big difference from what we are seeing at some of those facilities in Texas where you see those crammed holding or processing centers that have really created a lot of outrage about the humanitarian crisis.

Here it's much more like a dorm-like campus feel. We're told that they get to have their families together. They sleep in a dorm room. They're given food. They have access to refrigerators, snacks. They have clothing. Children can play outside. here are even teachers who come here and help to educate the children for the duration of their stay.

Important to note, it's a temporary facility, so these women and children only staying, Michaela and John, until they're either deported or they have their day in immigration court.

PEREIRA: All right. Ana Cabrera there, looking at this immigrant facility that's been set up, a temporary one, as she said, housing some of the people that are in the midst of the process.

Thank you so much for that. Obviously we'll stay on top of the story.

We want to look at some of the other headlines that are making news @THISHOUR.

Violence in the Middle East escalating, a rocket fired into Israel from Lebanon today. It landed near a northern Israeli town. No damage or injuries have been reported.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE SITUATION ROOM": You can hear the sirens have just gone off, so we're all being told to get to a shelter. So we're running --


PEREIRA: And near Israel's border with Gaza, our Wolf Blitzer had to run to an air raid shelter to escape rockets fired by Hamas.

We'll have live -- or more details coming up, later this hour.

BERMAN: In a series of letters released by the military, it has been revealed that would the prisoner swap for Bowe Bergdahl was supported by top military leaders, pretty much all of them.

President Obama's decision to exchange five Taliban detainees for Bergdahl came under criticism from some Republicans. The letters show it was backed by the chairman of the joint chiefs and all the heads of the five military branches.

PEREIRA: Sad news to report about a child that was said to have been cured of HIV. The virus has returned. That little girl in Mississippi, now 4, got a powerful drug cocktail when she was first born, and until last week she had no signs of HIV.

The doctor who first treated her at a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, says finding out it returned was like a punch to the gut.

Doctors say the little girl's case is still important of what they learned.

BERMAN: You could hear these researchers just being crushed by this. They were so, so hopeful.

Australians talking about their junk. No! They looked up in the sky, and they saw a fireball hurtling toward Earth last night. Check this out, some thought it was a meteor, but it turned out to be space junk from the Russians' Soyuz rocket.

It burned up in the atmosphere. Check it out right there. That's an amazing thing to see.

PEREIRA: That really is.

BERMAN: Space junk's a big, big issue. You usually you hear about concerns about re-entry. You used to get that from the space shuttle, also, depending on where the orbiter was.

They try to keep their eyes on it. It can come back into the atmosphere. Almost always burns up when it comes in before (inaudible).

PEREIRA: You get a sight like that, it's really something else to see.

Ahead @THISHOUR, disturbing details emerging, hundreds of push-ups, chin-ups, sit-ups, that's what the 12-year-old Detroit boy found in his basement is saying he was forced to do, every day, twice a day, seven days a week.

Now the state wants to take away his father's parental rights.

BERMAN: Then, we could find out any second. Will LeBron James be headed back to Cleveland? Is he going back to South Beach? That is the major question.

We'll speak to a Cleveland fan who burned LeBron's jersey after he left four years ago. Now he says, oh, he'll dig up those ashes if he comes back. That's ahead @THISHOUR.


PEREIRA: Good to have you back with us @THISHOUR.

A big question this week is what to do with tens of thousands of undocumented children that have crossed the border.

BERMAN: Some people obviously extremely angry about busloads of these children coming into their towns.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not right. Now billions of dollars want to be borrowed from the White House to help feed and house them. What about the (BLEEP) kids here in our neighborhoods, in our country?


PEREIRA: She's not the only one feeling this way.

Our Kyung Lah has a look at two cities that are housing undocumented immigrants with two drastically different reactions.



KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The indelible image of the immigration battle in Murrieta, California --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go back to Mexico!

LAH: -- blocking the front of the border patrol station from three buses of Central American undocumented immigrants, the buses forced to turn around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in Murrieta! Not in Murrieta!

LAH: Almost 200 miles away, planes from Texas land, bearing mostly undocumented women and children. They move to buses which arrive to the open and quiet border patrol station in El Centro.

In this town, they're moved to local charities, temporarily sheltering the women and children, and even helped toddlers like Rudy and mother board buses to families waiting in Washington state.

Two cities in the same state, same issue, two completely different reactions. Demographics may help explain why.

Murrieta sits more than 85 miles from the international border. Seventy percent of the city is white. The bedroom community of San Diego is relatively affluent with only seven percent of households below the poverty line.

El Centro sits a stone's throw from the border, only several miles away. Over 80 percent of the city is Latino. Its economy relies on Mexican tourists and immigrants and struggles with 25 percent below the poverty line.

When you watch television and you see what's happening in Murrieta, what is your impression of that?


LAH: El Centro's mayor pro tem is himself a Mexican immigrant. His city, he says, is on the front line of the border crisis and sees the desperation up close.

Are they thinking of the people on the bus in your opinion?

SILVA: They're thinking about them but in the wrong way from my perspective.

I don't necessarily condone the activities, but again, it's not us to decide what happens to them. It's up to us to provide them with an environment that's safe and healthy.

LAH: Why is it in towns like El Centro that they're not having the same sort of reaction as Murrieta is?


LAH: Murietta's mayor says you can't compare the two cities; they're too different.

He also believes the ugliest elements of the protests are not from his residents, but outsiders coming in.

LONG: The world never got to see the compassion that Murrieta has and what we're known for.

LAH: Is it possible that the buses will come and that we will see compassion here?

LONG: Well, you know, right now we're still a destination point. Border patrol is still not talking to us much.

LAH: A tale of two city, two reactions to a border crisis that's not going away. Kyung Lah, CNN, Marietta, California.


PEREIRA: The San Diego area will not be getting any more buses full of undocumented immigrants for the time being. San Diego's border patrol says there is a reduced backlog and that can Texas can handle the overflow. He says it doesn't have anything to do with the protests that were held there earlier this week.

BERMAN: Israeli troops lining the border, Hamas saying it's ready for battle. Have we reached the tipping point in the Middle East?

PEREIRA: And ahead also, she's hired a lawyer now while her husband is behind bars, charged with murder of their toddler. The latest in the hot car death of Cooper Harris, next.


BERMAN: New developments in the death of a Georgia toddler left in a hot car. The child's father, Justin Ross Harris, has been fired now from his job at Home Depot. Meanwhile, hundreds of newly discovered Internet postings are emerging.

PEREIRA: Also new, the child's mother, Leanna Harris, has hired her own lawyer and she has reportedly left Georgia. I wanted to discuss all these new developments further with former criminal prosecutor Dan Schorr. Good to have you back with us. We have been , sort of, following this along with you. You give us your insight. What is your insight about the fact tat he has now been -- his employment has been terminated by Home Depot and then we'll get to the Internet postings? Because they're mind-boggling.

DAN SCHORR, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: Seems to be a no-brainer to fire him. First of all he is sexting at work with an underage girl, in addition to other women, while he's supposed to be working. That enough is a fireable offense and then add to it what he did to his child, leaving his child in their parking lot all day, where he died. I couldn't imagine them keeping him on the payroll.

BERMAN: Yes, you don't even need the child stuff to dismiss him. And it's come about the sexting --

PEREIRA: The activities, if you will.

SCHORR: There is no office that would tolerate that behavior. Sexting at work, with other people. He's supposed to be working. It was an underage girl. Of course they are going to fire him.

BERMAN: And this Internet stuff. The more we see of it, again, this gets to the second life, the possibility of motive, or more of a motive. But none of it a slam dunk in and of itself, or a smoking gun.

SCHORR: Right, but it adds to the whole picture. He was someone who was unhappy with his life. He was looking up Internet postings about having a child free life, obviously looking to date other people. So he was trying to change his life, it adds to that. It doesn't prove that he committed murder. But it is another piece of evidence.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the mother for a second. She has a lawyer right now. Now, there are people who look at this and go, oh, she's lawyering up, this is suspicious. What does she have to hide? But as a lawyer, you would say this is something that's essential to do, I would imagine.

SCHORR: Of course. And whenever someone hires a lawyer, people think they have something to hide, as you said. But she's being investigated for a murder, her husband is being prosecuted for murder. She would be a fool not to retain an attorney who could advise her, whether or not she is innocent she needs legal advice about how to proceed, what to say to the police. BERMAN: Different lawyer than her husband?

SCHORR: It has to be a different lawyer, there would be a conflict if it was the same lawyer representing both of them, because she may testify against him at trial, or in another space.

PEREIRA: I was going to say, you wonder what the lawyer would have told her about going to visit her husband and the fact that those conversations between her husband, who is in jail, and she who is out of jail, would be recorded.

Let's turn to another story. Do you mind if we ask you about one more? We have been watching this story for several weeks now, this disturbing story out of Detroit about the young boy who was missing for something like 11 days and then he was found in his father's basement. We want to play with you the reaction. He was live -- the father was live with our Nancy Grace when he was told that his son was found in his basement. Then we'll discuss some developments.


NANCY GRACE, HOST, NANCY GRACE: And you're telling us that you searched your basement and your wife searched your basement?

CHARLIE BOTHUELL, FATHER OF THE MISSING BOY: I searched my basement, my wife searched my basement. The FBI searched the basement. The Detroit police searched my basement.


PEREIRA: So we watched that the day after it happened, and we all, sort of, felt certain ways about that. But now that we're hearing from the documents that we're getting from investigators about what this little boy had to endure. He had to do a hundred sit-ups, 200 push-ups. Something like this. This incredible amount of workout for a 12-year-old boy, twice a day, seven days a week. That he may have been beaten with a pvc pipe. When you hear all that, it's so upsetting. You look at that father's reaction. How do you reconcile this?

SCHORR: It's a bizarre case, I have never seen anything like it. The child saying that he was beaten with a pipe. There are injuries that corroborate that. There was blood found on a pipe in the home. But the fact that the FBI and the police searched --

PEREIRA: The basement?

SCHORR: -- Multiple times and didn't find this child who was there for 11 day, apparently the stepmother, according tot he child, ordered him to hide behind a barricade, it's a very, very strange situation here.

PEREIRA: Neither have been arrested yet. They're being investigated at this point, both parents.

SCHORR: Right. But there seems to be powerful evidence of child endangerment here. You have injuries to the child that are corroborating this child's story of being abused. The police will take their time to put everything together, but I'd be surprised if there is not some kind of child endangerment charges if the police believe the child is telling the truth here.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. And that little boy will have a long road ahead of him to recover from this. And learn how to trust adults again and know that he was betrayed by family if this all proves to be true.

SCHORR: Absolutely. He will need therapy. Because how do you overcome such an ordeal that he's allegedly experienced and it seems like he did.

BERMAN: All right, Dan Shorr, great to have you with us. Even thought the stories arefar from great.

SHORR: Thanks for having me back.

PEREIRA: Ahead @THISHOUR, President Obama says so sue me. Well, House Speaker John Boehner is. He's moving forward with the lawsuit. But the question is will it help or will it hurt the Republican party?


BERMAN: Welcome back. He's going to sue. House Speaker John Boehner said he is planning to sue the President along with house Republicans about the issues involved with Obamacare.

PEREIRA: The President is not impressed. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's -- there's a great movie called The Departed. A little violent for kids but there's a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg -- yes, they're on a stakeout. And somehow the guy loses the guy that they're tracking. And Wahlberg is all up a upset and yelling at the guy. And the guy looks up and he says, well, who are you? Wahlberg said I'm the guy doing my job, you must be the other guy.


BERMAN: President Obama luckily choosing one of the few lines that mark Wahlberg used in the film that wasn't filled with swears. The President obviously says that he believes he's doing his job and Republicans don't think the same. The Speaker's lawsuit will focus on the President's changes to the health care law. The decision to delay the employer mandate that was passed in the legislation the President decided to put it off for a year.

PEREIRA: The House Speaker says that should have been left to Congress. Let's bring in our political commentators, back with us, Maria Cardona and Reihan Salam. Who, I think he is in L.A., speaking of Hollywood and movies, I don't know what he is doing out there, working on his sun tan perhaps. Maria, why don't we talk to you. Let's start here at home, since you're in the studio with us. What should the course of action be for the President? Does he counter- sue, what are his options here?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think he does exactly what he's doing now, which is focusing on what he's trying to get done for the American public. Look, I agree with one thing that Boehner said when he talked about his suit against the President. He said that this isn't about suing the President. He's right about that. This is not about suing the President. This is about a very focused, get out the vote campaign for Republicans in November. They are talking to the most extreme base in their party, and this is something that gets them riled up. They did a fund-raising letter right after Boehner decided to sue.

The issue is not the issue. Because, in fact, Republicans in Congress were trying to pass legislation to do exactly what the President did and delaying the employer mandate. So Republicans -- Americans see this for what this is. They see this Republican party as obstructionists. We have seen poll after poll. Their numbers are in the toilet. They do not do anything other than oppose and obstruct this President as he's trying to find solutions to the problems that are facing this country.

BERMAN: The President's numbers not so great either. You know?

CARDONA: Republicans would kill for those kind of numbers though, John.

BERMAN: Maybe not as deep in the toilet, but still around the rim --

CARDONA: Kill for where the president is right now.

BERMAN: Reihan, is the speaker giving the President, though, an opportunity to make some political hay? We saw him speaking last night when he was quoting The Departed. he looked to me more energized and more in the game than he has been in the last few weeks. Almost as if he welcomes this fight. We have seen presidents going back to Truman attacking a do nothing Congress. Does this give him the ammunition that he may want here?

REIHAN SALAM, CNN PLOITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that makes a lot of sense for the President because he doesn't have any agenda any more. The fact that Republicans tried to pass actual legislation delaying the employer mandate is different than taking a pure executive action.

That is actually exactly why it's important that Congress does this. The reason why the Senate didn't take it up, despite the fact that many Democratic senators would have embraced the proposal, is that the President, and his allies in the Senate were very afraid of what would happen if you opened up Obamacare again. Why were they afraid?