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Trump Considers Dumping Sessions; Trump Calls Attorney General Sessions Beleaguered; Kushner Confirms He Had Four Meetings With Russians; Crucial Health Care Vote In Senate Tuesday; McCain Returning To Washington For Senate Vote; German Teenager Found Alive In Mosul; Opposition Newspaper Journalists On Trial; Parents Of Terminally Ill Baby End Legal Fight; Manhunt For Chainsaw Attacker In Switzerland; Fighting Child Trafficking in Cambodia; Fans Outraged Michael Phelps Didn't Race a Real Shark. Aired 1-2a

Aired July 25, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, he was one of Donald Trump's earliest supporters but a new report suggests that might not be enough to save Attorney General Jeff Sessions' job. Plus, the parents of a terminally ill British baby are giving up their fight to keep him alive. Why they now believe Charlie Gard cannot be saved? And a tragedy near the U.S. border with Mexico is raising difficult questions about the issue of human smuggling. Hello and thank you very much for joining us. I'm Isa Soares and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

Well, if you remember Jeff Sessions was the first U.S. Senator to endorse Donald Trump for President. Now, the man he backed reportedly is considering replacing him as America's top cop. The Washington Post reports that President Trump and his advisors are privately discussing the possibility of replacing Sessions as Attorney General and that some Trump confidantes are suggesting potential candidates already to fill Sessions' job.

While Mr. Trump has made no secret of the fact that he's furious with Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. While, the President seems to be much happier with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the White House's Mr. Trump thinks Kushner did "a great job," when he met privately Monday with Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, including into the -- looking into the Trump campaign's alleged contacts with Russia. CNN's Manu Raju puts it all into context for you.


JARED KUSHNER, SON-IN-LAW AND ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: All of my actions were proper. Let me be very clear, I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Jared Kushner, the President's Son-in-Law and Senior Advisor, tried today to put to rest mounting questions about his interactions with Russian officials that are now a key part of investigations into Russia meddling in the elections. Kushner spent more than two hours behind closed doors with the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and released an 11-page statement proving new insight into four meeting with Russians last year.

KUSHNER: The record and documents I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper, and occurred within the normal course of events of a very unique campaign.

RAJU: Kushner reveals his role in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians at the invitation of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. A meeting, now, under investigation since Trump Jr. was promised dirt on the Clinton campaign, after being told the Russian government wanted his father to win the presidency. While Kushner said "I did not read Trump Jr. e-mail exchange ahead of the meeting," he did acknowledge Trump Jr. contacted him twice about it, and he dismissed the brief meeting as irrelevant with no discussion of issues. Saying, he e-mailed his assistant 10 minutes after walking into the room saying, "can you please call me on my cell -- need an excuse to get out of the meeting."

Kushner also confirms sitting down during the transition with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, along with Trump's former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who is also under scrutiny in the Russia probes. The men discussed whether a secure line of communication could be set up to transmit sensitive information between Washington and Moscow to discuss the war in Syria. But he said the idea was tabled until after the inauguration. Kushner said in his statement, he did not discuss easing Russia's sanctions in meetings with Kislyak and with the ahead of a Russian bank last December. But some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who did not participate in today's session also want a chance to question him. Do you want to personally question him?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Oh, yeah. I have questions. We all have questions to ask.

RAJU: Yet some Senators are holding their fire.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I'm going to read the transcripts first when they become available and we'll go from there. I think that's what you'll see most Senators say.

[01:05:02] RAJU: At the White House, the President continues to focus on the Russia investigation. This time, taking aim at his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, calling him beleaguered, and questioning why he isn't looking into crooked Hillary's crimes and Russia relations. This, after the Washington Post citing classified intelligence, reported that Kislyak told his superiors, he spoke with Sessions about campaign issues last year, something the Attorney General continues to deny. The President told the New York Times last week, he would have picked a different Attorney General if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Today, Trump offered this reaction when asked if Sessions had resigned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did Jeff Sessions resign?

RAJU: Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


SOARES: Christina Bellantoni is Assistant Managing Editor of the Politics for the Los Angeles Times; she's here with us now. And Christina, you know, that the eyes roll that we saw there from President Trump. We heard him talking about the fact that he recused himself, Sessions that he was beleaguered. Now, the Washington Post saying today they are private -- President Trump is privately discussing the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Would this, you think, be a huge mistake of the President? What would be the repercussions?

CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR OF THE POLITICS FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, it would be on unprecedented this earlier, nothing is unprecedented with President Trump. We're still learning what he's like as President. And you saw, particularly, with his communications staff, he was kind of openly criticizing members of that staff. Everybody thought Sean Spicer would be fired. He ended up resigning of his accord six months into the presidency. His Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, there've been many, many rumors circulating in Washington, especially that he would be out the door whether he's quitting or getting fired, and that hasn't happened.

So, a lot of this is Trump raising this specter, he seems to get very agitated over this issue, particularly when he watches television news when they're reporting about it. But at the same time, Sessions is clearly under fire here, and Trump has been very public, telling the New York Times, you know, talking about it in many different settings that he doesn't think Sessions made the right decision by recusing himself from this investigation.

SOARES: And this makes it almost very difficult for Sessions to be able to work if he's constantly being beaten up, you know, were the words between -- by the President of the United States. I mean, what would this mean for the Russian investigation?

BELLANTONI: I mean, it could mean something very big. If President Trump were to replace Sessions with someone who did not recuse themselves from the investigation, that person could say, Robert Mueller, the leader of this special investigation, he's done. We're either going to end the investigation entirely or appoint someone else. That could happen. Trump himself has said, you know, he thinks Mueller is making a mistake, it's a witch hunt. You've seen that drum beat over, and over, and over again for many weeks now, so that's clearly what the President wants.

And if somebody is appointed that again they would have to face Senate confirmation, and that person sees eye to eye with President Trump, it's possible that could happen. At the same time, there are the four Congressional Committees looking into this. It's not an issue that's going to go away for President Trump. So, this might not be the right move for him. And of course, it's very distracting, you know, Attorney General Sessions is trying to run a department. He's got of things to look at, everything from pot policy, this big opioid-fest they did a couple of weeks ago, and everything on down. He is America's top cop, as he introduces him. SOARES: And also the man that will serve -- you know, he's one of his

most loyal supporters right from the get-go. Let's talk a bit about Jared Kushner, Manu Raju talked about that in his piece because today we heard from him two hours or so, he had a very lengthy statement. But he said, he was one of the aspects -- he said, it was one of his assistants who mistakenly omitted his meetings with the Russians. I want to get of you some of the sense of what he said.

This is what he said, "Before joining the administration, I worked in the private sector, building, and managing companies. My experience was in business, not politics. And it was not might initial intend to play a large role in my father-in-law's campaign when he decided to run for president. However, as the campaign progressed, I was called on to assist with various tasks and aspects of the campaign, and took on more and more responsibility." I mean, it does sound like he's making excuses for the job, isn't he? Not doing the job?

BELLANTONI: He's not a political ham. This is somebody that used to business, probably, used to having many more assistants than you're afforded in government. You know, they don't make a lot of money at the White House, and they don't have a whole giant staff at the White House either. So, in some ways you can kind of understand how he would -- that would slip through the cracks. But at the same time, it's a very carefully worded 11-page statement that his lawyers helped him write, you know. Clearly, he has gotten very high-powered attorneys to help him through this matter, because it doesn't look good.

SOARES: Do you think it provided enough clarity, though?

BELLANTONI: That's not a question for us to really answer. He's going to have to provide the same questions to the House Intelligence Committee that's going to be questioning him on Tuesday, and it's not the end of those questions. Donald Trump Jr. is going to have to answer some questions, as well as Paul Manafort, former Campaign Manager, going to have to answers. So, you know, Kushner is kind of saying this is the end, I'm telling you everything. But we already know that pieces of this did not come out until he was sort of pressured to buy report in the press.

SOARES: So, we heard from the other two on Wednesday, perhaps, other questions will arise from that.

BELLANTONI: And we won't hear from them publicly.

SOARES: Of course.

BELLANTONI: It will all be behind closed doors.

SOARES: Meanwhile, we have been hearing from President Trump today who gave a rather impassioned argument support of the Senate health care bill ahead of this vote on tomorrow. This is what he said in West Virginia about loyalty, take a listen.


a scout is trustworthy, loyal -- we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.


SOARES: And he -- besides talking about loyalty, Christina, he also directed this comment at Tom Price, trying to get him to be behind the support when it comes to the health care bill and helps them with the Republicans vote. Take a listen.


TRUMP: And hopefully, he's going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare. By the way, you're going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them! Oh, he better -- otherwise, I'll say, Tom, you're fired!


SOARES: Well, he's clearly not joking about that. So, you know, I'm taking that seriously but how much is riding on this for President Trump?

BELLANTONI: I think very little, actually.

SOARES: Oh, really?

BELLANTONI: You have seen almost no public support for this issue. He instead went to talk about infrastructure or his own agenda. He wasn't out there tweeting or holding rallies. When President Trump wanted a bill passed, he would go to the states that Senators -- he needed their votes. He would -- for example, the stimulus package, right, in his first few months in office. You know, he had to go and say we need this money to build this road right here and clean up the economy.

Trump has done very, very little of that. And in fact, called after celebrating with House Republicans, and then called that bill they passed "mean." So, it's been a lot of really conflicting statements. And Tom Price, as the Health and Human Services Secretary, like, he's not the one trying to get the votes. I mean, these are his former colleagues in Congress, but it comes down to Senate leadership, and they've already said that they don't have the votes to get there. So, the procedural thing that's going to happen tomorrow is really for show, to be able to say yes, we cast a vote on something even when a bill is ultimately not going to pass.

SOARES: It is to show, but you know, optics matter to this president.


SOARES: So, how much pressure will he be pushing on others, on Republicans to actually approve this, put it the next step, if there's a next step? BELLANTONI: Sure. You know, it's unclear. We don't know what he's

going to move forward with. We do know that the bill that came forward is incredibly unpopular. And so, for all the campaigning on, you know, we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Republicans have done now for many, many years. Actually, when push comes to shove and you have a bill, people don't like -- it's that bill and they actually like what they do have with Obamacare, even though, as Trump showed, that there are people that were hurt under this measure, here are premiums that went up. Those are some tangible things that they can point to, but supporters of Obamacare are pointing to a whole lot of things that actually they don't want to get rid of.

SOARES: And we saw that Senator John McCain is returning to Senate tomorrow for this vote. And viewers will know because we've covered this, he was diagnosed with brain cancer last week -- a few days ago. How important is this? Do we know where he stands on this?

BELLANTONI: He's going to come back and vote for this bill. But it's effectively not even voting for the bill. It's voting to start a debate on the bill. And we don't know that's going to go. We don't know how long it will last. We don't even actually know what there is that's going to be asked.

SOARES: And we don't know will there be asked.

BELLANTONI: Yes, exactly.

SOARES: And you know, what struck me now is listening to President Trump today, he was in great form, great energy; he spoke about 40 minutes or so. And something that really struck was that he kept talking about one person in particular. This is after six months he's been in office. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We won. One vote. I went there because I kept hearing we're 269. But then, Wisconsin came in. Many, many years, Michigan came in. So -- and we worked hard there. You know, my opponent didn't work hard there because she was told --



SOARES: This is President Trump talking about to the boy scouts.

BELLANTONI: 40,000 young men.

SOARES: Young men, about Hillary Clinton. Talking about loyalty and continue talking about Hillary. Why are they still talking about Hillary Clinton? What kind of message should he be giving these young boys?

[01:15:07] BELLANTONI: I mean, that's not for me to determine, but I will say, most Presidents have spoken to this jamboree. It happens every four years. When George W. Bush spoke to this same group he talked about fishing and kayaking and the spirit of togetherness that the boy scouts brings and sort of a yearning for discovery. When President Obama addressed them via video in 2010 he talked about their own history and the importance of that, he actually declined invitation to go for a political reason because he was opposed to their policy of not allowing gays into the scouts of the time it hasn't happened in the four years since that invitation that he declined. You know, this is not a political event and you saw parents of these kids reacting very unhappily, particularly on Twitter today but in other forums as well, just saying why did this become a political event. It was a very unusual form - he would start it off saying you don't want to hear about all, you know, the terrible politics of Washington but then he proceeded to talk about Washington, you know, killing Obama care, his old opponent, you know, making a joke with Tom Price. It was -

[01:16:14] SOARES: So why Hillary Clinton? Why is he still talking about Hillary Clinton?

BELLANTONI: You know, he still tweets about her regularly, there's lot of good analysis, you know, all of the different things that he's talking about, he's talking more about her than a lot of other things that he's White House says is important on the agenda. And, you know, it's hard to know, right? The election is long over and he is the President, so time to move on.

SOARES: And often he goes off script. So Christina Bellantoni, thanks very much. Now, the legal battle is over, the parents of terminally ill Charlie Gard say they will let him go. Coming up, we'll give you the heartbreaking words from Charlie's father to his baby boy. Plus how did a 60 year old girl from this German town end up in Mosul in Iraq, that's what police are after now.


SOARES: Israeli crews have begun dismantling the metal detectors at the entrances to one of Jerusalem's holiest sites, Temple Mount or noble sanctuary. Now Israel installed those detectors after two Israeli police were shot and killed about two weeks ago. Installation of the detectors set off violence clashes and a diplomatic crisis with Jordan which administers the holy site. Now Israel plans to install a different kind of inspection technology. To Turkey now just facing what's being pulled a major test of press freedom, 17 journalists and staff from one of the country's last remaining opposition newspaper are on trial. They have been charged with terror-related offenses following last year's failed coupes and could face up to 43 years in prison if convicted; activists say the case is politically motivated with protesters condemning the treatment of journalists right across Turkey. Now the parents of terminally ill British baby say they will need to let their son go, Charlie Gards parents have given up the legal to bring their boy to the U.S. for experimental treatment. The new testing shows it's just too late, our Erin McLaughlin has more now from London.


[01:20:25] ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Charlie Gard's parents have made the emotional decision to let their baby go, this after a full body MRI scan analyze by independent experts showed that Charlie's muscles have atrophied to such an extent that the experimental treatment the parents were hoping for would ultimately be futile. Charlie Gard's father, Chris made an emotional statement outside the court saying goodbye to his baby boy.

CHRIS GARD, CHARLIE GARD FATHER: To Charlie, you saw mommy and daddy, we love you so much. We always have and we always will and we're so sorry we couldn't save you. Sweet dreams, baby, sleep tight, our beautiful little boy. We love you.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well Charlie's parents are clearly still extremely angry with the hospital treating Charlie as well as with the court system. Justice Francis the judge presiding over the paid for his part paid tribute to the parents saying no parent could have done more for their child. He also was extremely critical of what he characterized to be outside interference which included "The absurd notion which has appeared in recent days that Charlie has been a prisoner of the National Health Service or that the National Health Service has the power to decide Charlie's fate. This is the antithesis of the truth and these country children have rights independent of their parents." And it has been the court system three separate occasion taking the decision that this experimental treatment would be futile for Charlie Gard, now in light of this new full-body MRI scan, the parent are in agreement and they are now working with the hospital to decide Charlie's end of life care. Erin McLaughlin CNN, London.

SOARES: Well I'm joined now by Stuart Finder he's the Director of the Center for Health Care Ethics at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Thank you very much Stuart for being here.


SOARES: I mean it's such a hard story because you just cannot imagine what these parents have had to go through. But I was -- as I was listening to some of the comments the parents made, and what the what high court judge said really struck me and Justice Francis said today he'd hoped lessons to be learned from the tragic case and the parents made a very similar point. I just want to play that now. Let's take a listen.



GARD: That there is one simple reason why treatment cannot now go ahead, and that is time. A whole lot of time has been wasted, we're now in July and our poor boy has been left to lie in hospital for months without any treatment while lengthy court battles have been fought.


SOARES: He's talking about time and the high court justice France is was talking about the legal battle, how difficult it was. What lessons would you say could be learned from this? FINDER: I think one of the key pieces here is that balance between

what can be done medically and how to then respect the values and goals of a family. And as this case really shows, that's not an easy balance to do. And in a real clinical situation like that, it -- it's not as sort of fitting as sometimes we think things are. There's so much at stake among the various elements. It's not easy to be a care provider, who's trying to do the best thing for a child like this. Clearly, to be a parent whose child is devastated this way, it's overwhelming, so it's trying to find that balance between what can actually be done medically and at the same time how to support a family in that situation.

SOARES: One, you're talking about the parents, not only are they dealing with this horrific decision, but also in trying to keep their son alive, you it became such an international case where everyone felt they had an opinion. Also, we saw doctors and careers being threatened as well because of this. I mean, I know you said that each case is very different depending on what the situation is to the child, but can any laws whatsoever, Stuart, be created around this? These type of situations.

FINDER: I think the only kind of laws are really the laws we already have, which is one, certainly families are always entitled to refuse types of intervention. That's if something that law has established for quite some time now. I think it's also the case that families do have the right to be able to pursue medical interventions but that's always within the confines of what can be done and I think that's the key piece. In this particular situation, there is an experimental protocol here in the United States but as with all experimental protocols, you have to be in the right place at the right timing. It's not open for everyone and it's recognizing those limitations.

[01:25:18] SOARES: I mean, you talked about this on your first answer in terms of the balance because, you know, we had at one stage President Trump chipping in. We had the Pope as well had a say. I mean, everyone had an opinion. How do families who have been in similar situations, how do they balance the medical facts or what you hear from the medical field and how do you respect what the parents want? How tough is that?

FINDER: Extremely difficult, especially in these high-stakes situations where media does get involved and you have political elements involved. It's really hard to keep the people who were directly taking care of the child, both the care providers and family, focused and screening out all those other things. That's really the goal. You have to keep people focused on what's actually before them. What are the real choices and what you have as your options and not to get led astray by the kinds of political agendas that people may pursue. as we know, people will use this and other kinds of situations for their own agendas. We need to screen that out and recognize people are in crisis, people are suffering, and we have to help them.

SOARES: It does raise the question, but should parents be the ones at the end of the day who have the final say when they're treating their critically ill children? FINDER: In some sense, it's a yes and a no. Parents have the final say in the sense of given the array of options that they're presented, they are the ones that get to say this, that, or the other thing. But it's no, in the sense of that array of options is not up to the parents. The parents can't go in as if these were a restaurant and say I want that or I want this other thing. It is in some sense circumstance described by what medical technology, goods until judgment can make available. It's helping people see what those limits are and what their choices look like.

SOARES: Very briefly. When you saw this case in the last few weeks, I mean, what did you make of it?

FINDER: My first thought, because I get involved in situations like this in my work, was just that sort of gut wrenching accepts of to be a parent in this kind of situation is just devastating. Nobody gets pregnant and wants to have a child and is thinking that this is the outcome. So it's really how to support this family. To me, that was the most important thing, how to support them. As any good parents, they're going to grab and look for anything they think might help.

SOARES: Thank you very much.

FINDER: Thank you.

SOARES: In Switzerland, a manhunt is under way after five people were wounded in a chain saw rampage. Authorities have identified the suspect as a 50-year-old Swiss national with no fixed address who lives in a forest. Police believe the attack which began in an insurance office in Northern Switzerland is not linked to terrorism.

Now, to an extraordinary story now that stretches from a small town in Eastern Germany to the brutal warfare of Mosul in Iraq. After months of desperate uncertainty, a teenage girl who allegedly ran away to join ISIS has been found alive. Atika Shubert has more now.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Iraqi soldiers pulled a 16- year-old girl out of the rubble in Mosul, they had no idea she came from here in Germany of about 7,500. Up till now, its claim to fame was Christmas ginger cake. As per German privacy laws, he would not give us her full name.

LORENS HAASE, GERMAN PROSECUTOR (through translation): We know that Linda is in Iraq. She has been identified there. We don't know where exactly she has been arrested and we don't know the circumstances leading to her arrest.

[01:29:14] SHUBERT: We spoke to the mayor of the town and she told us that the family was a totally normal German family with no connection at all to any extremist Islamist groups. This was Linda's school. The first warning signs may have come from here. Teachers told her parents that she'd made a sudden request to wear a hijab or a Muslim head scarf to school. And her parents found in her room the Koran and a prayer rug. This is according to an interview of Linda's mother did last year. We've tried to get a response from the family. They will not give us a comment. Part of the mystery here is just how this teenager went from this quaint town in Germany to the war torn streets of Mosul. There are some reports that she was lured on line and married to an ISIS fighter. The German prosecutor would not confirm that. Both police and the prosecutor's office are still investigating what exactly happened. If, however, she is proven to be a member of ISIS, then she could face charges both in Iraq and in Germany.

Atika Shubert, Germany.


SOARES: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from L.A.

Human trafficking in Texas. A truck driver has been charged after 10 immigrants died. We'll talk about the dangerous and the harsh rhetoric migrants face when they are crossing into the United States.


SOARES: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isa Soares.

Let me bring you up to date with the main news headlines this hour.


SOARES: Now the driver of a sweltering truck full of undocumented immigrants found in San Antonio, Texas, has been charged. Ten immigrants have died. Four were from Mexico. Dozens of others suffered heat-related injuries. The driver told authorities he didn't know what he was transporting. Officials say he didn't call for help even after seeing at least one person dead inside.

This case of human trafficking in Texas is highlighting the dangers immigrants face when crossing into United States.

Our Leyla Santiago takes up to Mexico's border with Guatemala where the rhetoric from President Trump is having an effect on migrants.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day, hundreds cross this river. No questions asked.

[01:35:03] UNIDENTIFIED IMIGRANT: It was very easy.

SANTIAGO: This is the other border affecting U.S. immigration policy, Mexico's southern border.

It's so easy to cross here, we found people from Guatemala openly crossing to buy cheaper groceries in Mexico.

What we didn't find, the flood of migrants that once crossed here, fleeing violence and poverty in the South America. The reason? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the new president of the United States, many

people forget about a American dream. They don't want to go all the way up there because they know they're going to have problems.

SANTIAGO: For years, migrants who cross the river came from here, about three hours north. This was just two years ago. Migrants on their way to the U.S., packing a freight train known as "The Beast."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only way the immigrants got to get to America.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Standing on top of the train today, it's empty. But months ago, you would have seen hundreds of immigrants filling the tops of these train cars. So what's changed?

You ask anyone around here they'll tell you part of it is Trump talk. The other part, Mexico is cracking down on immigration coming in from the south.


SANTIAGO (voice-over): The Mexican government now patrols train stations, forcing smugglers to find new routes. The smugglers are also charging more money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since Donald Trump being president, he -- they raise the price up to like 7,000.

SANTIAGO (on camera): But before President Trump how much was it?


SANTIAGO: So it has more than doubled?


SANTIAGO: Since President Trump?


SANTIAGO (voice-over): Riding "The Beast" costs her much more. This 13-year-old from Guatemala lost her leg when she fell off the train in January. Her dream was to one day make it to the United States. She's given up on that, not because of her injury but --


SANTIAGO: -- because she's heard the U.S. is deporting everyone.

Her family now symbolizes migrants in the Trump era, many choosing to make Mexico their final destination.

(on camera): So then the talking is working?


SANTIAGO: Impacting Mexico? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-huh. Now the problem is going to be here

instead of in the United States.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Mexico has seen a 150 percent increase in asylum applications since Trump was elected. But many here don't consider his tough talk to be lasting policy, believing the flow of migrants will soon return.

For Jose Merchado (ph), that time is now.

JOSE MERCHADO (ph), GUATAMALEAN MIGRANT: I beg for money to try to get into America.

SANTIAGO: He begs for money to get to Tennessee where the two-month- old daughter he has yet to meet is waiting.

MERCHADO (ph): I'll go, try to see my family.

SANTIAGO: Family ties for some make it worth risking the odds that Trump's tough talk will not turn into action.

(on camera): And when we last checked in with Jose, he survived "The Beast." He made it to the U.S.-Mexico border. But he's been stuck there for about a month.

And this is why so many, like those who died in San Antonio, take those risks. They become so desperate at some point in their journey that they then turn to smugglers.


SOARES: David Kyle is an expert in human trafficking and human smuggling. He's also a professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. And David joins us now via skype.

David, thank you very much for taking time to speak with us on the show.

We just showed our viewers really some of the stories we've seen from Mexico, but talk to us about what you've seen. What happened in San Antonio today is absolutely shocking and horrific. But how common is it.

DAVID KYLE, HUMAN TRAFFICKING EXPERT & PROFESSSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORINIA, DAVIS: Well, this is absolutely terrible. Fortunately, this kind of powerful image of migrants dying in the back of a truck is uncommon, as we know. However, migrants are dying every day. We're set to meet last year's statistics, which was 400 dead last year. Right now, we have about 160 and climbing. So this is an ongoing problem at the border and there's no end in sight.

SOARES: When I was reading about this, one of the people that was in that truck paid $707 for protection, first, in Mexico. Then he paid an additional $5,500. So, you know, there's so much money that these guys are making off these migrants. But we've also heard President Trump take a very hard line when it

comes to undocumented immigration. And we saw that piece there from Leyla Santiago talking on this. Has smuggling has increased that? Have you seen human smugglers and cartels adapting to these changes?

[01:40:09] KYLE: Overall, migration levels are down since 2010, kind of leveled at in 2010, so they've been down. But the number of deaths have remained the same. I look at it as migrants are still taking very dangerous routes because of the piece you just played, and that there's still family ties, that there's still jobs. Our countries are still co-mingled in a way that we're never going to get rid of the demand that's there. With these border enforcement strategies, tough talk on the border, it's not going to stop a certain minority of people who are going to come no matter what. The prices will go up, they're going to be in danger, and more will die.

SOARES: How do you deter people from paying these people smugglers?

KYLE: I don't know that we can. I wish that there were some simple way to take people out of harm's way. I think, once again, as long as that demand is there, there will be -- especially, these are mostly young men wanting to be reunited with their family. Most of the time these operations are successful. And I think it's interesting to also think about how, even in this operation, there were some migrants who got across successfully as well.

SOARES: David Kyle for us. Thank you very much, David. I appreciate your expertise on this.

KYLE: You're welcome.

SOARES: Now, the future was grim for many of the girls in one community in Cambodia, but an aid group is teaming up with police to make a difference. The battle against child trafficking, ahead.


SOARES: Four years ago, CNN traveled to Cambodia to report on the battle against child sex trafficking. And that fight isn't over but gains are being made.

Alexandra Field reports on the raids that are making a difference in Phnom Penh.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the fight to rescue women and girls, children in Cambodia's capitol city, Phnom Penh.

ERIC MELCHER, AIM WORKER: There's a brothel. They were selling coffee, so you got customers also, and the way young girls take them upstairs.

FIELD: Eric Melcher is working with AIM, an anti-human trafficking organization that works alongside police to track down criminals. He's part of the coffee shop operation.

(on camera): It was clear to you that there were children inside there?

MELCHER: Yes. We knew there were children there. This had been an investigation that had been ongoing on for about three months.

FIELD (voice-over): Three suspects all charged with trafficking- related offenses are taken into custody. Two girls, minors, and six women are found working inside. They are taken to the police station where AIM will offer to provide help to all of them.

(on camera): You've done this before. What's it like when you go in there and meet these girls?

[01:45:16] MELCHER: Right now, they're more afraid than anything else. It takes time.

FIELD (voice-over): Time is something Don Brewster has to give. He founded AIM in 2005 and has been fighting child sex trafficking in Cambodia ever since. To date, Brewster says AIM has rescued more than 700 people. Most of his efforts are focused in the small community of Swipak (ph), just outside of Phnom Penh.

DON BREWSTER, FOUNDER, AIM: When we first got here, you see how these businesses when walking by. They literally had girls out front. And I mean, little girls out front dressed up, dressed sexy, if you can think of a little girl as sexy.

FIELD (on camera): You've spent years fighting it now. How much has changed here.

BREWSTER: We would say when we came it was like 100 percent. If you were a girl born here. you were going to be trafficked. And we would say today it's significantly below 50 percent.

FIELD (voice-over): An annual U.S. State Department report on human trafficking shows that Cambodia continuously fails to meet minimum standards for prevention but the same report points to a clear sign of progress, an increase in prosecutions of traffickers.

MELCHER: The police are doing a good job. We've got very good cooperation with them.

FIELD: The rate of child sex trafficking in brothels has dropped from 30 percent to about 2 percent since 2002, according to the Ministry of the Interior. In the last three years, Melcher says he's helped rescue 130 girls, minors, in more than 50 different raids.

MELCHER: This is still a poor country and people are still looking to get money. Unfortunately, with the lack of education, lack of jobs, that sex industry is one of the routes.

FIELD: The eight taken in the coffee shop raid have a choice now. AIM will take custody of the two minors, giving them treatment, schooling and care. And AIM will offer the other six women help, housing, jobs. An offer all six accept.

BREWSTER: I don't know how to explain it, but there's such a -- there's a joy and there's like a whole different -- like a new dimension of hope.

FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, Phnom Penh.


SOARES: Tomorrow, the "Freedom Project" will introduce you to the brick kiln workers whose work is empowering Cambodia's booming economy, but at what cost?


FIELD (voice-over): It all starts here in the factories, largely outside the capitol of Phnom Penh, where life looks very different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): I hope that they close this kiln when they run out of clay so I can get out of the debt and stop working here.

FIELD: Conditions are tough. Toilets are rare. So is running water. Entire families live right here at the factories. The work is seasonal, and most of the meager wages these workers earn at the kilns they tell us they have to return.


SOARES: Cambodia's government tells CNN there's no debt bondage in the kilns but others disagree. Find out for yourself tomorrow right here on CNN.

We'll be back with more news after this.


[01:50:01] SOARES: It is the hottest song of the season. Once it gets into your head, it's guaranteed to stay there.




SOARES: Catchy. The singer behind the Spanish-language hit, Luis Fonsi, praises those who cover his wildly popular tune. When it comes to the Venezuelan president, it seems he draws the line. Nicolas Maduro uses an altered version of the song to promote a controversial referendum that opponents say would strip the last signs of democracy from the Latin-American country.

Fonsi released a statement, saying, "My music is for all those who want to listen to it and enjoy it. But it's not to be used as propaganda that tends to manipulate the will of the people that's crying out for liberty and for a better future."

While, Justin Bieber features on the remix of this, many of his fans won't hear him sing it live this year. They won't even see him live at all. The singer suddenly canceled the remaining dates of his tour. Bieber was due to perform across parts of North America and Asia. It's unclear why he's pulled out. It's not the first time his tour has run into trouble. Last week, Bieber has banned from performing in China. Beijing's culture official said the following, "His series of misbehaviors while living abroad and during his performance in china have caused public resentment. To regulate the domestic entertainment market and purify the environment, we find it inappropriate to bring in performers with bad behaviors."

Now, a matchup between the great white and the great gold. Discovery Channel kicked off "Shark Week" with a much-anticipated race between a great white shark and 23-time Olympic gold-medalist, Michael Phelps.


ANNOUNCER: One trained to be the best since the day he was born. The other has been perfected by evolution. The great white shark meets the greatest of all time.


SOARES: I bet you couldn't wait to watch that, right? However, some viewers who tuned in to the race felt cheated. Phelps didn't actually race a shark. Instead, he competed against a computer-generated image of one. Take a look.




SOARES: Well, that finale by the shark was amazing.

Joining me is entertainment host, Alexander Nez.

Nez, we are laughing because -- and I tell you why I've been laughing about this. Since I've got to L.A., I've seen that promo so many times, you know, shark versus Phelps. It's really -- they've spent a lot of time and energy promoting this.


SOARES: But it seems that a lot of people feel they've been cheated because I know that the Discovery Channel, every year they focus on shark week.

This is how people felt when they realized there was no real shark. Let's look at the tweets. "I honestly feel so robbed. I watched an hour of a stupid show to see Michael Phelps race a fake shark. #fakenews." Then this one from this other person who watched. "My face, when I realized they weren't going to bring Michael Phelps in one lane and the shark in the other."

People need to relax.

SOARES: Hold on. The majority of people really believed there was going to be a real shark?

NEZ: That's what I'm saying. You mean to tell me that somebody in their right man said, hey, 23-time gold medalist, Michael Phelps, is going to say, I'm jumping in the deep ocean with the massive great white and I'm going to race him. It's going to be super mellow, super chill. No harm done to me. If you believe that, look up the word "gullible" in the dictionary --


SOARES: But I'm just saying, some people on Twitter have been able to argue, they could possibly have put a shark in one lane, timed it, and done the same thing. This is how some people are saying this is how they really pitched it, isn't it, in terms of promoting it.

NEZ: They promoted it as if it was going to be a shark against Michael Phelps, Mayweather versus McGregor, a one-on-one thing. But it wasn't. If people bought into that, shame on you. One of the scientists on the program say that a shark can't really -- it's not traditional for them to swim straight. They had to collect a whole bunch of shark speed daddy to simulate a shark going a straight distance next to Michael Phelps. There's so many variables already that made this project so unrealistic.

[01:55:09] SOARES: You think of people are being gullible. But don't you think also the show had a responsibility to say from the get-go, in terms of advertising, by the way, I'm not putting a real white shark against Phelps? Honesty here.

NEZ: Sure. Honestly, OK, but --

SOARES: That wouldn't sell.

NEZ: Right. They'd say, OK, well, look, it turns out he was racing a simulated shark. Marketing is everything. You got to get ratings. "Shark Week's" my favorite week. And I didn't even know about it until I heard about this video.


NEZ: Now I'm watching "Shark Week" every single day thanks to this marketing. OK. So I don't care if he was racing a fake shark. It was entertaining.

SOARES: And we don't know in terms of how many viewers tuned in. It wasn't even a race because Phelps, first, he swam alone.

NEZ: Right. SOARES: In a time trial, right, in South Africa.

NEZ: You go to South Africa to race a picture?

SOARES: Then a computer-generated video image of a shark supposedly simulating a real shark.

NEZ: Yes.

SOARES: But you see the shark leaping out of the water at the finish line, a spectacular visual.

NEZ: Sure.

SOARES: This is what some people have been tweeting about this. This has been a heated discussion on social media. "Turns out Michael Phelps race with a shark was really just Michael Phelps swims alone and then compares his time to a shark's time."

Why do you think some people feel -- look at this one, "Michael Phelps said rematch next time? Warmer water."

NEZ: He's just stirring the pot. He's just stirring the pot. He knows this was a hoax. People got to lighten up and realize, yes, you might have been duped, but it's all for fun and games. Really? Somebody's going to race a great white shark? You think the shark is going to say, OK, I'm ready to go now.

SOARES: What is interesting, it was only revealed it wasn't a real shark 50-something minutes into the piece.

NEZ: Well, got you.



NEZ: I'd like to meet the CGI designer of that shark and I'd like to design him, but have me racing King Kong and we can call it "Keep Up with Kong" and sell it to Universal Studios.


SOARES: How you said the shark didn't swim straight so maybe Phelps could have won.

NEZ: Maybe he was two seconds short. One of my favorite tweets was, "If I wanted to watch animated sharks, I would have watched 'Sharknado.'"

SOARES: Nez, thank you very much.


SOARES: Well, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isa Soares. We'll be back with more news after a short break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)