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U.S. Teams in DMZ, Singapore to Clear Way for Summit; Rubio: Congress Could Block Trump's Bid to Help China's ZTE; Ivanka Trump Wins New Trademarks from China Amid Standoff; Partisans Pass Blame for Separating Families at Border; Ivanka Trump Mocked for "Tone Deaf" Tweet Amid Border Battle; Chelsea Clinton: Trump "Degrades What It Means to be American". Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 28, 2018 - 13:30   ET

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


[13:30:00] MAX BAUCUS, (D), FORMER SENATOR AND FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Countries look up to us. So as we work to try to denuclearize North Korea, it's important to keep in mind that we are the leaders, we have our values. And I hope the Singapore summit proceeds. But if so, Trump should be -- should be statesmanlike, not get rattled. He should reject gravitas. It may be hard for him, but that's what he should do. On Memorial Day, let's remember who we are and keep our basic values firmly rooted.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Do you have a read as you listen to this back and forth, though, where it seems at one point like the summit is off, but then you see that preparations on both sides are still being made? I mean, do you think that this is going to happen?

BAUCUS: I tend to think that it will. I think it's basically going to be a meet and greet and grin and shake hands, and each leader congratulates themselves. But that's not all bad. Kim Jong-Un will have achieved a great victory if the summit proceeds because they'll be with our president, the U.S. president, the president of the United States of America, on the world stage.

That's what he wants. It will give him leverage down the road as he tries to get sanctions removed. I think it's good for President Trump to be there, as long as no big mistakes are made, no big gaffes are uttered, not a lot of tweets to gum things up. It's good to the two will meet. And my hope is that that will set the stage for more realistic, more direct specific provisions later on.

KEILAR: Normally, a summit like this would be the capstone, right, to a diplomatic process?

BAUCUS: Right. Right.

KEILAR: You can see a lot of work on the front end and then you would see these leaders meet, right?

BAUCUS: Right.

KEILAR: You see this as something different. You see this as a meet and greet that will be -- that will then be followed, hopefully, by a lot of work to come to some agreement? BAUCUS: Well, we'll see exactly. Kim Jong-Un wants this desperately.

Donald Trump wants this personally, desperately. We're not usual in situation with ordinary presidents who worked the ordinary diplomatic process. We have what we have, Kim and Trump. I think it's good that they'll meet, they'll be talking. We'll see what happens next. I don't know. I'm hopeful that because at least they've talked --

KEILAR: Yes.

BAUCUS: -- that some people in the government will start thinking of ways to put things together. We'll see. That's all.

KEILAR: I want to get your perspective as the former ambassador to China on this situation with ZTE. The Chinese telecom giant, which even the Department of Defense says, hey, we can't sell these products on military bases, there could be security risks. ZTE, which has violated U.S. Sanctions. So Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, former colleague of yours, says that Congress would take steps to prevent ZTE from operating in the U.S. This coming, of course, after the president said he's reconsidering penalties on ZTE as a favor to President Xi of China. What does this signal to you? Do you think that we'll see this happen, even Republicans in Congress going against President Trump?

BAUCUS: Well, I certainly hope that very significant punitive action is taken against ZTE. I read the transcripts when I was ambassador of China, and it's clear, and right there in black and white. ZTE officials saying, oh, we're doing this, doing that. Second, how do we hide it from the Americans because they're on our case, and so forth. They're caught red-handed.

Also they do, I think, embed technology or at least have the potential of embedding a technology that harms our national security interest. I don't know that the seven-year suspension was the right penalty. Frankly, in a perfect world, maybe I'd have suspended them a couple years, maybe not a full seven. I think what the United States is talking about now, namely, a change of directors and officers.

I think that's insufficient. Even if there's a very severe penalty against ZTE, that company is so important to China that China would find a way to make sure it does not go under. Find a way to make sure it does survive. They'll prop it up one way or another. I think we need a very significant penalty. I also think it's wrong to mix enforcement action with trade actions. Once you start doing that, we'll let enforcement actions off, we'll not penalize bad actors as much as we should.

KEILAR: Ambassador Max Baucus, we appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.

BAUCUS: You bet. You bet. Thanks, Brianna.

[13:34:36] KEILAR: Coming up, significant ethical questions surrounding Ivanka Trump's business plans in China and her new trademarks approved by Beijing. We have a CNN report ahead. And in a new interview, Chelsea Clinton has some harsh words for the

president. Why she says he is degrading what it means to be an American, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: There are questions about a possible conflict of interest in the White House. Recently, China granted Ivanka Trump's company a number of trademarks. While Trump put her business assets in a family-run trust when she became a senior adviser to the president, some ethics experts are concerned that her businesses are getting extra consideration because of her family connections.

CNN money and politics correspondent, Cristina Alesci, is following the story.

Cristina, what can you tell us?

[13:39:40] CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: CNN has found seven new trademarks for Ivanka's company in China this month. Five earlier this month for things like kitchenware and carpets, two later this month for items like cosmetics and snacks. At the end of the day, Brianna, we knew that these applications were probably going to get approved because we actually reported on the applications back in March. But this is a reminder that the Trump family has financial interests in China and ambitions in China. That is going to open them up to allegations and concerns about quid pro quo or conflicts.

Look, the fact is China is giving the green light on trademarks at a time when Ivanka's father's administration is in the middle of some very heavy negotiations, one on the trade front to start. Wilbur Ross will travel to China in a few days to continue those negotiations. The administration is also trying to stop Chinese companies from allegedly stealing U.S. intellectual property. And it's still trying to figure out what to do about telecom giant, ZTE. You remember that's the company that the administration imposed very harsh punishments on and almost crippled the company. And now the U.S. and China are trying to figure out a deal on that front.

Ethics experts don't like this because they see this as -- they see this as an opportunity to question whether or not Ivanka is getting any special treatment in exchange for some kind of concession on the U.S. policy standpoint. And while there's no evidence that that's actually happening, ethics experts don't like the fact that they have to even ask the question or raise questions to begin with. So long as Ivanka's in the White House and she has a financial interest in her company, these questions will not go away -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Cristina Alesci, thank you very much for your reporting.

Coming up, they were supposed to be placed in safe homes. Now the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 undocumented children is unknown. And the government says it isn't responsible. Who is?

And Ivanka Trump being criticized for re-tweeting -- for tweeting, I should say, this photo of her and her young son. Some are calling it tone deaf amid the outrage about these border separations of parents and children.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:46:31] KEILAR: A pretty stunning admission. The Trump administration says it has lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children after placing them in sponsor homes within the U.S. This happening at the same time as another immigration controversy is unfolding. That's that families are being ripped apart at the border. Children, some of them very young, taken from their parents, something that the president is now blaming on Democrats.

CNN's Rosa Flores is joining us with a fact check on this.

So, Rosa, is this a case really of these kids are missing, is this a case of sponsors may not want the government to know where these kids are? Is it possibly both?

ROSE FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, the answer, Brianna, is that we don't know because the federal government doesn't know. We do know that the undocumented community usually lives in the shadows. So that's at play. We also know from a 2016 report that some children have been trafficked. This is a report by a Senate subcommittee. So that's a real concern.

Here is what we know about these lost, missing children. In the fiscal year of 2017, the Health and Human Services had about 40,000 children referred to them. Last December, they checked on about 7,600 of them, and they couldn't account for 1,500 of those children. They don't know where they are. And they are also not tracking them anymore because they believe it is not their legal responsibility.

Now, this weekend, President Trump tweeted the following, saying, quote, "Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from their parents once they cross the border into the U.S."

In essence, trying to blame Democrats for this.

Now, this isn't based on the reality because, if we learn from the policy that was just announced earlier this month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, this new policy actually is geared to separate parents from their children and will probably lead to more children being unaccompanied. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: If you're smuggling a child, then we're going to prosecute you. And that child will be separated from you probably, as required by law.

If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring him across the border illegally.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FLORES: To be clear, this is not an issue that is isolated to the Trump administration. Prior administrations have had the same issue. Families have been separated for many, many years as they come through the border for various issues and reasons. Again, immigration law is complicated.

Again, there are a lot of concerns. And members of the Senate are very concerned about the accountability here. How can the United States of America lose 1,500 children and then have no effort to try to find them, to track them down, given some of the dangers?

KEILAR: All right. Rosa Flores, thank you very much for that report.

Outrage erupting on social media over that story. Now the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, is facing intense backlash for something that she posted on Twitter. It's a photo of her embracing her 2-year-old son. And critics are saying that the post is really tone deaf amid the reports of families being separated at the Mexican border.

Joining me now to discuss, White House reporters, Sarah Westwood and Kate Bennett, with us.

Why do you think this is something that struck a chord with people, Sarah?

[13:50:13] SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It's the timing of this tweet that is generating so much criticism. It comes, as you mentioned, amid scrutiny of the administration's policies, letting the government separate children from their parents at the border. President Trump was tweeting about it over the weekend describing it as a horrible law.

It's not the first time Ivanka Trump has been accused of insensitivity on social media. In January of last year, right after her father was inaugurated, she posted a picture of her and Jared Kushner in fancy black tie attire right after her father signed that controversial travel ban. There was chaos and protests erupting all across the country. She weathered similar criticism. Once again, she's being accused of being out of touch.

KEILAR: Sarah, the policy is, it's become enhanced under the Trump administration. That's the case. I was speaking to one source who said, you are seeing more separations than you did. There used to be more of an effort to keep kids and parents together in foster situations near the border. Now they're getting kids in centers who are nonverbal. I mean, these are little kids. So that's also part of it, right? You're looking at a child who is young, with Ivanka Trump, and we're talking about people this age being separated from parents?

WESTWOOD: Right, for the Trump administration, they're highlighting this and trying to use it as a deterrent for future illegal immigration, rather than some sort of problem that immigration and law enforcement officers have to confront sometimes. They're enhancing it, highlighting it, trying to use it as part of their messaging, for future illegal immigrants. KEILAR: It's interesting. Ivanka Trump obviously, she is the

president's daughter. She's also a senior advisor. There's a question about, when it comes to his policies, what is her role when it comes to accountability.

Former first daughter, Chelsea Clinton, who is friends or has been friends with Ivanka Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: -- told "The Guardian," Ivanka's, quote, "An adult. She can make choices for herself. I mean, she's 36. We're responsible for our choices. In 2008, I was really proud to support my mom, but I disagreed with her fundamentally on a few things, particularly her then opposition to equal marriage rights for LGBTQ Americans. I never defended that position, because it wasn't what I believed was the right thing to do."

What do you think about her reaction there?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think it's interesting. They used to be friends. Let's not forget, Bill and Hillary Clinton went to Donald Trump and Melania Trump's wedding. They all used to be a lot cozier. However, I think it's an important point. Ivanka has played this role. She herself has called it unprecedented. I think a lot of people when she came in, when her father came into the White House, Ivanka would be the left-leaning position on social issues. It turns out, perhaps, she wasn't that. She's taken a lot of flak for it.

She said, I was surprised at the personal attacks that they were so harsh against me. However, she continues to put her foot in it in terms of optics. So after the Charlottesville riots, she and Jared Kushner were away for the weekend. She didn't tweet about it. She clearly -- she's Jewish. After her father made his remarks after that incident, people wanted her to come out more and say more. In Germany, she talked about her father's record on women's issues.

She was booed during her speech about it. So there's been times she's cultivated this lifestyle image with her kids and her branding. But at the same time, the political side can't be ignored, and people are going to come after her for it.

KEILAR: Can you give us an update on the first lady? It's been over two weeks since she had her procedure.

WESTWOOD: Absolutely.

KEILAR: And we haven't seen her.

WESTWOOD: We have not seen her.

BENNETT: She's tweeted a couple times, but she has not --

KEILAR: And today, about Memorial Day. BENNETT: Exactly. But her office tells me she's been taking meetings

in the White House, she's looking forward to the congressional picnic, the Fourth of July picnic. But she is still recuperating. She was in the hospital for about five nights. Certainly, she is recovering and -- but her office says she's at work at home, and we should likely see her toward the end of the month.

[13:54:03] KEILAR: It's a working recovery.

Kate Bennett, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much to both of you.

Just ahead, the president's lawyer making a really big admission about their strategy and suggesting impeachment efforts are inevitable.

Plus, stunning video. It's unbelievable the way a man's scaling a building to save a toddler dangling from a balcony. See this rescue and what happened to the hero afterwards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Finally, it's an astounding rescue in Paris that you have to see to believe. A man scaled four floors of an apartment building in a matter of seconds to rescue a child dangling from a balcony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: That is Mamadu Gosama (ph), a young immigrant from Mali who is being hailed as a hero. People calling him a real-life Spiderman. Today, he met with French President Emmanuel Macron. In addition to a certificate and a gold medal for performing an act of courage, Macron grated Gosama (ph) French citizenship. The father of the 4 year old was being investigated. He was reportedly out shopping when the incident occurred.

That is it for me.

For our international viewers, "AMANPOUR" is next.

For our viewers in North America, "NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.