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Israel Will Resume Military Operations; 15 Killed in Moscow Train Derailment; U.S. Deports Migrants Back to Honduras; Interview with Congressman Adam Schiff of California

Aired July 15, 2014 - 08:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, July 15th, 8:00 now in the East.

And we do have breaking news this morning.

Israel accepted terms of a cease-fire proposed by Egypt. However, Hamas kept firing. The militant group rejected the cease-fire and sent at least 35 rockets so far into Israel this morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Palestinian source tells CNN, Israel responded with an air strike but Israel told -- said on our air, Israeli spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that they have not launched any air strikes since they have accepted the cease-fire.

And in the last hour, Secretary of State John Kerry took Hamas for task for refusing to deescalate.

Let's talk more about this. Let's turn to Michael Oren. He's a CNN Mideast analyst and a former Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Ambassador, it's good to see you. Thanks so much for your time.

MICHAEL OREN, CNN MIDEAST ANALYST: Good morning to you, Kate. Good morning, Chris.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. So, Egypt step necessary, puts this cease-fire proposal on the table, Hamas rejects it, and now, we have rockets firing again. What's next?

OREN: Well, what's next has already happened. Last night, Egyptian leader, General al-Sisi announced a cease-fire to go in affect at 9:00 this morning, Middle Eastern Time, Israel accepted the cease-fire, Hamas rejected the cease-fire, a total of 50 rockets hit Israel from Gaza starting at 9:00, and just about a minute ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the resumption of military action by Israel Defense Forces against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

All this happened right now as we're speaking.

BOLDUAN: So, Mr. Ambassador -- yes, do we basically just declare the cease-fire, that proposal dead at this point?

OREN: Well, right now, it's not in effect. The prime minister -- Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the German foreign minister this morning and said if Hamas did not honor the cease-fire, if it continued to fire rocket necessary Israel, that Israel would have international legitimacy and justification for not just returning fire but escalating the fighting against Hamas.

The United States, Secretary of State John Kerry, has given support, has praised Israel for accepting that cease-fire, it was a big risk, but it does not appear to be holding.

BOLDUAN: So, I mean, it's the same question, but to push you further, what is then going to be the next step? Do you expect from your long knowledge of the conflict here that this is going go -- carry on for days and we may see another proposal put on the table? Because Secretary Kerry, he seems -- he is trying to suggest that these Egyptian proposal is still on the table and should still be considered. But it doesn't seem like that's the case at all now.

OREN: Well, it still should be considered, but Hamas has to be brought around to accepting it. Hamas is in a very difficult position, has no regional backers, no friends around. Its rocket supplies are being depleted. It's facing increasing discontent from its own residents within the Gaza Strip, many of whom have had to flee their houses because of Israeli retaliations.

No one's really coming up to the bat -- to bat for Hamas right now. Very isolated. So, maybe there is a considers that Hamas has to be backed a little bit more into that corner in order to accept the cease-fire.

That has been the pattern in the past rounds of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Hamas has to be brought around to that position. How long it's going to take, at what price, nobody knows. But politically, very dynamic situation here in Israel as well, as the prime minister comes under fire, certainly physically from Hamas, but politically from people in his own party who think he's been too forthcoming, too flexible in the negotiations.

BOLDUAN: Well, you talk about the price, that is actually something I wanted to get to earlier today, the prime minister said the following, that the purpose of the operation was and remains to restore the quiet and to severely damage Hamas. We have harmed them and foiled attempts to attack Israeli citizens.

But you almost pose a question I want to pose to you, at what cost? There's no -- no one is questioning the right for Israel to defend itself, but we are now looking at nearly 200 Palestinians killed and Hamas is still firing rockets.

OREN: Well, if Israeli army goes into the Gaza Strip, Kate, that number of Palestinian casualties would almost certainly go much higher. Israeli air force operates with surgical accuracy and even with surgical accuracy, you have what's called collateral damage, you have civilians who get hurt and even killed. BOLDUAN: Do you think that's the next step?

OREN: Moving army with tanks and artillery pieces and infantry into densely crowded area -- well, there are certainly a number of prominent Israeli politician and a large body of the Israeli politic here, the Israeli public, that says we cannot return to the status quo that existed after 2012, where there's a cease-fire that Hamas essentially uses as a shield to build up its weapons supply, to get bigger and longer range rockets into its arsenal, and then Hamas chooses the time to fire those rockets and disrupts life irreversibly.

So, people are looking to change the status quo. If that can be done through peaceful and diplomatic means, it will be much, much better. If it has to be done by alternative military means, again, an increasing portion of Israeli public is willing to take those risks.

BOLDUAN: Do you think Egypt is the right mediator at this time, considering it's a very different political situation then previously right now?

OREN: I do and I think that that opinion is shared by policymakers in Washington. You know, there was a tense relationship between General al-Sisi, not just in the White House, but with both houses of Congress and both parties in Congress. It was a pretty bipartisan, rare bipartisan issue in Washington.

The way that al-Sisi came to power, seen as far less democratic. It's smacked of a military coup. And again, people on both houses, both parties saying maybe America shouldn't be aiding Egypt to the degree it had over the past nearly 40 years.

Now, I think people in Washington and around the region are beginning to look to Egypt, Egypt leadership again. It has been lacking. There had been a big vacuum there. General al-Sisi is proving without Egypt, maintaining stability in this region is all that more difficult.

BOLDUAN: Seems that brief moment of hope that thing also could be deescalating with Israel accepting that cease-fire, seems those hopes are slipping further and further away as we are looking at very dynamic situation kicking back up as you and I are having this conversation with rockets being fired from both sides now.

Mr. Ambassador, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.

OREN: Literally.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Absolutely.

CUOMO: Right.

OREN: Have a good day.

CUOMO: Dynamic becoming a word synonym for destabilizing in that situation. But we have another situation we are monitoring where there may be a

promise of stability, a breakthrough for Iraq's parliament. Lawmakers there elected a new speaker. Could be a big first step in forming a new coalition government.

So, there was a closed-door vote and the winner was Sunni lawmaker, Salim al Jabori. Now, this is important, that he is Sunni, because that is a big gripe with the current administration. However, the government has not elected a new prime minister and the current one, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, is under intense pressure to step aside after his handling of the recent ISIS insurgency. So, we will keep watching that.

We do have more breaking news for you this morning, because at least 15 people are dead in Russia after a subway train derailed in the Moscow tunnel. The death toll is expected to rise because emergency officials say more than 100 people have been injured, 50 of them are in critical condition.

So, let's get to Phil Black. He is live in Moscow with more.

What do we understand now, Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, the emergency workers are beneath the ground here, just to the west of Central Moscow. The emergency rescue operation has effectively ended. What they are trying to do now are recover bodies, particularly those caught in the mangled front end of the wreckage of the subway car that was involved in this derailment this morning. They're cutting into that now, which gives an indication of just how significant that impact was.

As for the number of people that have been killed, it has been fluid, it has been changing through the morning. The most recent figure we have heard here on the ground from senior emergency workers and officials is 15, but there are reports on Russian state media that it could be as high as 20 people that have lost their lives here today.

And the number of injured, that is very high also. It's getting up close to 200, more than 100 in hospital. Some 50 of those fighting for their lives in some critical condition. The cause, we were told is a derailment.

We don't know if it is because of human error or because of a mechanical failure but I think the key point here is that we can rule out, the officials here are, they're saying it was not a terrorist strike, which is some small consolation in this city, when people hear about a subway disaster of some kind, recent history would suggest possibly that it was a terror attack. The most recent one here was in 2010, that killed dozens of people.

In this case, it looks like some sort of failing on this city's very hard-working subway system that carries as many as 10 million passengers a day. We don't know the cause but we do know there's been a very significant human cost -- Chris.

CUOMO: And that cost is not yet fully known, Phil, so we know you are monitoring the situation for us. Difficult there, because that subway also unusually deep. So, we'll get back to Phil when we have more details.

So, now, back here at home, the U.S. is sending the first wave of undocumented women and children back to their respective homes. Some are already vowing to make the long track back again, a continuing issue, obviously.

Meanwhile, just 12 working days left for Congress to handle the murder crisis before their big, long, August vacation. So, what are we going to do with the tens of thousands of children languishing on our border?

Joining us to discuss: CNN political analyst, David Gergen. He's been an adviser to four presidents. And also, CNN contributor and "Daily Beast" columnist, Ruben Navarrette.

It's great to have you both.

The main issue here -- again, subjective to me -- the kids. We had a congressman on today. He went and visited some of the kids. He says he was surprised by the conditions. They are good.

He also says, but there are other places the kids are being kept that are not as good, but we don't know what those conditions are.

Isn't this an unacceptable situation, Ruben?

RUBEN NAVARRETTE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is and absolutely, Chris, it is unacceptable because this was supposed to be about the kids to begin. It's become about politics, about expediency, about what you do in an election year when both political parties want to get rid of this problem by getting rid of these kids as fast as possible, and granting the White House the power it seeks to do away with constitutional protections and fast track their deportations.

David -- my friend, David Gergen, had a really nice piece --

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARETTE: -- that we're going to on CNN.com about safe zones. I think we need to have a safe zone around these kids to protect them from politicians.

CUOMO: Funny, but actually true.

So, explain to us what your idea is you write today in your op-ed about safe zones, David. How would that work and how plausible do you believe it is?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Well, I think it's plausible. It has been done before. There's plenty of precedent.

In the past, on two occasion, the United Nations has set up safe zone necessary areas to protect thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that happened first in Indochina as the war in Vietnam came to an end and, as you know, there were refugees all over the place and there was a lot of danger and the united nations set up what they called a safe zone, put troops around it and people were able to live within the zone peacefully and they escaped with their lives.

The same thing happened then in Iraq when they -- Saddam was going to go after the Kurds in northern Iraq and U.N. established a safe zone, put troops in, lo and behold, everybody came through it fine. We had one incident in Bosnia when the safe zone failed because there were insufficient number of troops to protect people and it was overrun.

CUOMO: So, you're saying the U.N. --

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: The U.S. could take the lead and -- well, they have been the U.N. in the past but no reason why the U.S. couldn't work with the host governments to do the same thing. The critical thing, as Ruben has been pointing out, is the children.

And yes, we want to stop new waves of children coming to our border. Yes, we want to stop children leaving our home countries. But we want to do that as humanely as possible. This is like, one of those moments that define who we are as Americans.

CUOMO: Right.

GERGEN: How compassionate are we? How generous are we? We have a great past in that respect. We ought to step up to it this time. Send the children back but put them in places where they and their families can live safely.

CUOMO: A member of the greatest generation came up to me on the street in tears, saying not since the internment camps of the Japanese after World War II has he seen America disrespect humanity in its most vulnerable form, which is the children, the way we're doing right now. Can you believe, David Gergen, as someone who's advised presidents, that these guys are about to go on vacation when these kids are being held in conditions that they haven't even bothered to check out yet?

GERGEN: I -- you know, hope springs eternal and I still have hope in the next 12 days, they will come to a resolution. But if we engage in mass deportation and send these kids back to very likely death in many, many cases, shame on us. We will live with that stain for many years.

And the piece I wrote on CNN, I recall that ship, that famous ship full of Jewish refugees that came here from Germany. They were trying to get into the United States. We denied them entrance, they had to turn around eventually, go back to Europe and a third of the people on that ship perished.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You know it's politically charged.

GERGEN: We should never forget that moment. CUOMO: We should never forget. And, obviously, it's politically charged when you draw any analogy to the Holocaust.

But without exaggerating the point, Ruben, when you see these kids down there --

NAVARRETTE: Right.

CUOMO: And I don't care what the lawmakers say some have tried to go, we know Congress can get into where they want to get into.

NAVARRETTE: Right.

CUOMO: The president was 240 miles away, he didn't go by.

NAVARRETTE: Right.

CUOMO: They are trying to forget these kids to focus on the politics. You think they are going to leave in 12 days without a solution, don't you?

NAVARRETTE: I think they will and I think that the reason is that, as you say the problem with seek the kids and visiting the centers, you feel compelled to do something about it.

CUOMO: That's right.

NAVARRETTE: The last thing a member of Congress wants is footage on the evening news of them touring one of the facilities and then getting calls from constituents, what are you going to do about it, protest their office and the like. David's right to bring up the analogy with the St. Louis, the fact that there was this ship that had been turned around, and people sent to certain death and never gotten over that.

Two years ago, I was in Jerusalem at the Holocaust Museum. There was an exhibit on the St. Louis. Americans have very short memories, but the world doesn't forget. The world is paying attention. They're measuring our character at this moment. We have to as David said, rise to this occasion.

We simply during the Cold War did not take kids pushed from the east to the west and throw them back over the wall. We don't do that.

CUOMO: So, who wins, the governor of Nebraska who says, I don't have the money this is illegal, don't bring them here?

NAVARRETTE: Yes.

CUOMO: Or Governor O'Malley who says you are going to send them back to a horrible situation unless something's done and then that's on us just as well?

NAVARRETTE: Yes, bully for O'Malley, he's opened up a new front against Hillary Clinton. He's given these pro-immigrant democrats a place to go and pressure Hillary Clinton to say why can't you be more like Governor O'Malley?

But the governor of Nebraska should have gone to law school. These kids aren't here illegally. These kids are refugees. The law says when you're refugee, you come and surrender. You don't evade authorities, you surrender to authorities. That's what they did

CUOMO: And the law at hand, David Gergen, correct me if I'm wrong, but certainly lobbied strongly by both parties but signed, endorsed by government Bush, provides for a hearing for each of these kids who maybe a function of trafficking, or looking for asylum. That part of the law has to be followed as well, no?

GERGEN: Absolutely. And these kids are due administrative due process, that should be accorded to each one of them and those who have qualified for asylum should obviously grant it.

I must say, Chris, I continue to believe in the good-heartedness of the American people. I think if appeals were made to families through churches and synagogues and mosques and the like, that there are a lot of families who would take in some of these kids.

I understand why some small communities in a Midwestern state may want to feel that a busload arrives and what are they supposed to do and that sort of thing, but I -- and why there's some resistance, but I think we can rise above this.

I honestly believe that there's still enough goodwill in this country, as divided as we are, as polarized as we are, I think there are moments when we come together and say, listen, let's do the right thing and we ought to be generous toward the kids who are here. We ought to set up a safe zone so we can send kids back and ought to have a deadline, all kids go back after that. We don't have this wave upon wave. That's not healthy for the kids either.

I think the safe zones give us a way to balance our generosity and humanity with the practical realities that you don't want wave after wave.

CUOMO: And that's obviously the reality. The only way you shore up the border for real is to disincentivize people to come illegally. If you don't take care of that part of it the other security part doesn't happen. That's what we've seen time and time again.

David Gergen, Ruben Navarrette, thank you very much for being here.

I'll tell you --

GERGEN: It's good to be with Ruben. He's a rising star, continues to rise. Wonderful.

CUOMO: We need his voice right now that's for sure, because he is speaking for these kids and not being heard, Mick. That's for sure.

PEREIRA: Well, the other part is we got to see what's going on in those host countries that are driving people away in such strong numbers. Chris, Ruben, David, all, such a great conversation. Thanks so much.

We're going to take a short break here on NEW DAY. New concerns this morning over foreign fighters in Syria. Why Attorney General Eric holder is calling threw net threats to the U.S. more frightening than anything he has ever seen.

Also, another deadly case of brain-eating amoeba. Officials are sending out a new warning this morning. We'll tell you what you need to know before you go into the water.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

U.S. officials are revealing growing concerns over the threat of U.S. and European citizens trained in jihad and then returning to their home country. In just the past few days, Attorney General Eric Holder has said he is scared, alarmed, by what is happening in Syria and what it could mean back here at home.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: In some ways, it is more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general.

This is a very real thing. I guess just last month or so, the first American became a suicide bomber. So this is not a theoretical problem that we are dealing with, this is something very real.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Well, how real is it? Why haven't we done anything more about it? What will we do now?

Congressman Adam Schiff joins us. He's a Democrat from California, who's also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

It's great to have you, Representative. Thank you for joining us.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: I remember sitting across from the president, talking about the crossed red line in Syria. At first, he said let's see what's going on. Then, all of a sudden, he wanted to bomb Syria and all of a sudden, we had found a solution where we would negotiate removal of weapons. Now, we have one of the biggest humanitarian crises going on in that country right now, but we haven't heard much about it until now.

Are you guys on top of the situation there?

SCHIFF: Well, we're on top of the situation certainly from an intelligence point of view and I think the attorney general was exactly right. This is probably the most significant threat since, you know, the core al Qaeda of the last decade. It's a metastasized threat.

It's now, as you point out, very much a threat in Syria, in Iraq, really across North Africa. Let's not forget AQAP in Yemen still trying to blow up our aircraft.

But the big threat, as the attorney general pointed out, is you have thousands of foreign fighters, some from the United States, many from Europe, many who could come back to Europe and then to the United States very easily. So, this is a grave concern that some of those people may come back from Europe on planes, attempting to bring bombs. Others may come back from Europe and attempt another kind of a Boston bombing -- low tech, but nonetheless, pretty devastating attack on our homeland.

CUOMO: So did we make a mistake with kind of allowing that situation to fester?

SCHIFF: I'm not sure that we made a mistake, but certainly, the situation in Syria has grown out of control. I don't know that we have the capacity to control all those events, particularly those that have come about as a result of the Arab spring.

We certainly can try, we certainly do try, but in the midst of this civil war, there just aren't a lot of good options, and putting in weapons, for example, which is one of the big issue, should we be providing weapons in Syria, that's not going to address the foreign fighter problem. We are still going to have that, whether we are arming the opposition or we're not, as long as these foreign jihadis are flocking to Syria, coming from the United States, coming from Europe and elsewhere, this is going to be a major threat.

Probably, Chris, the most significant things we can do are some of the things the attorney general enumerated and that is we got to make sure we partner with Europe so that we know who's coming back. We need to make sure that they take action against those that are providing material support to terrorism in Syria and elsewhere, because many of the European countries don't even have the laws to allow them to do that.

So, there are steps like that that we can and really must take together.

CUOMO: Well, it's frightening because, on one level, it sounds just like what happened in Boston, that you had Russia, who supposedly did or did not give information to the intelligence community here about the brothers and the risk and either we didn't communicate it well or we never really got that information, then you wound up having the bombing.

So, are we capable of dealing with this threat and if so, are we capable of deal with it the way we can?

SCHIFF: Well, we are capable of dealing with the threat but the challenge is they only have to get it right once and we have to try to prevent potentially hundreds or even more plots against the United States. So, you have all the people coming back, these foreign fights, others that might not be in the fight there, might be inspired by AQAP online and we have to defend against all those things.

And sometimes you just don't have the evidence to go out and arrest people that you may have a concern about, like we had with the Tsarnaevs. So, even when you get it right, it may not be enough 100 percent of the time. And that's probably just something we are going to have to live with.

The good news, and there isn't a whole lot out there, but the good news is that al Qaeda's ability to mount the massive kind of attack we saw on 9/11 has been seriously diminished. So, unlikely to see something like that again, but unfortunately, I think we are likely to see some of the smaller one-off kind of attempts, either self radicalized people in the U.S. or these foreign fighters coming back with easy travel, no-visa travel to the U.S.

CUOMO: Am I wrong to say that I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about this? I mean, when I talk to people in your community, not the political side, not the intelligence side, not so say you can't be political and intelligent, but when I discuss it with that community, they say, hey, look out for ISIS in North Africa, watch out what's going on in Iraq, but we got real trouble here with Afghanistan, it's bleeding in what we see in the Middle East, maybe even Lebanon -- never hear about Syria as something the U.S. is going to be very dependent upon.

Why now?

SCHIFF: Well, it's been certainly in the background, I think in the public consciousness all along and the foreground, from the intelligence point of view. We've very concerned about this.

But, Chris, think you are right, eye circumstance the Islamic state, whatever you are calling it now, its seizure of vast amount of territory in Iraq and Syria, the growing regional nature of that conflict, the potential of dominoing into a problem in Jordan, that has so sucked the oxygen out of the room that seems to be only where we are focused on internationally and now, of course, the fight between Israel and Hamas.

But nonetheless, in terms of the threat to the homeland, nothing really eclipses the threat of those foreign fighters coming back from Syria predominantly, now possibly from Iraq, and posing a danger to us here at home.

CUOMO: Obviously, what we are aware of in the media and reporting and what we are focusing on isn't as important as what you are doing in the intelligence community. So, it's comforting to hear you're aware of the threat and you're doing what you can.

Representative Schiff, thank you very much for joining us on NEW DAY.

SCHIFF: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Kate?

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, the NFL under investigation, accused of dishing out prescription pain killers to players to keep them on the field. Our experts are going to be joining us to talk about the allegations and what this could mean for the players and the league.

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