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President Trump Blames Democrats for Policy of Separating Immigrant Children from Parents at U.S. Border; Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Imprisoned for Witness Tampering; Taxi Cab Runs over Pedestrians in Moscow During World Cup; Rudy Giuliani Suggests Presidential Pardons Possible for Those Arrested in Mueller Probe; Man Who Has Been in U.S. Since He was 13 Detained by ICE for Deportation; President Trump to Speak with Kim Jong-un Over the Phone. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 16, 2018 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:17] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, and thanks so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Now to the growing outcry as families are ripped apart along the southern U.S. border. In just six weeks ending in May, Department of Homeland Security official say nearly 2,000 children were separated from their guardians. That number has likely risen well over 2,000 in recent weeks. Their faces say it all, families now caught up in a legal system they don't know or understand. Border Patrol agents now charging every adult crossing illegally with federal crimes. President Trump blasting his political opponents, tweeting this morning "Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the border by working with Republicans on new legislation for a change." Trump is suggesting Democrats could end the practice immediately, but only if they agree to full funding for a border wall, ending catch and release, ending the visa lottery program, and implementing merit-based immigration.

CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is standing by in Washington, and we'll check in with CNN political commentators Maria Cardona and Jack Kingston in a moment. But first let's go to CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera near the border in McAllen, Texas. And you had a chance to see what happened when a group of people tried to cross the border.

ED LAVANDERA: Hi, Fredricka. And we should say that the goal here with the zero tolerance policy might be to prosecutor 100 percent of the people entering the country illegally, but in practice, at least based on what we have seen here in south Texas over the course of the last week, that is far from happening. So not everyone who is being captured as they cross across the border illegally even with children is being prosecuted and separated from their family, so federal officials that we spoke with yesterday will not say exactly how it's determined how some undocumented immigrants are prosecuted and separated from their children while others are not. So that is one of the arbitrary things that we seem to kind of notice here on the ground in our reporting throughout the last week. And we have seen these scenes play out quite a bit. Yesterday we were at a scene in public park just across in the town of Mission, Texas, right on the edge of the Rio Grande where we saw two adult women and four children apprehended by Border Patrol agents. It's not exactly clear what will happen to them. No one can tell us. Once they get taken away it's hard to understand what might happen with them. But we do know that some of these children and the numbers have increased dramatically since this zero-tolerance policy went into effect, from April 19th to May 31st, federal officials tell us that almost 2,000 children have been taken into custody. So that 2,000 number doesn't even take into account how things have progressed and changed over the course of the last two weeks.

So more of these changes. The Trump administration remains unapologetic about how all of this is rolling out. They have repeatedly said, several officials have said that they hope this serves as a deterrent to immigrants in Central America and in Mexico where most of these immigrants are coming from. But when we ask immigrants that we've seen in shelters and on the ground, some of them have said they didn't know about the policy and others have said that even knowing it, it was still a risk that they were still willing to take. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: And so Ed, what are families that you've encountered telling you about their understanding of the sequence of events, what happens after they get in the van, what do they know?

LAVANDERA: Most are very much in the dark about what is going to happen. What we have seen happen, and there is a couple interesting moments that we witnessed here. There is a federal courthouse here in McAllen, Texas where nearly 200 undocumented immigrants are being brought into federal court. These are the people who are being prosecuted, many who have children have been separated from their children as those children have been put into detention centers.

But literally just across the street there is a shelter that caters to these people, gives them a place to shower, clean up, new clothes, meals as they wait for their bus ride out of town. And many of those people tell us that they had not been prosecuted, they had not been separated from their children. But when you kind of ask them why, if they were given any reason why that could have happened or how it could have happened, they really don't know.

WHITFIELD: Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.

[14:05:00] So President Trump says he hates seeing parents and children separated from each other at the border, but he claims it's not his fault and continues to falsely blame the Democrats. For more on this let's bring in CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House. Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, the president continued his tirade against Democrats for what he calls a law that forces the separation of these children from their parents at the border. It is simply factually inaccurate. There is no law that forces the separation of these kids from their parents. The White House enacted this policy some six weeks ago, and the legal basis for it that the Department of Justice is using as justification was a 1997 court case that was settled, something that lawmakers didn't actually weigh in on. Congress didn't actually vote on that policy.

We should point out that the person who is behind enforcing this policy, Jeff Sessions, has not blamed Democrats. The attorney general is owning this, saying that he believes that these policies will help deter more migrants from crossing the border. He even used Biblical scripture to defend his policy. The president, though is continue to attack Democrats, suggesting even that Democrats could fix this by working with Republicans on these compromise bills that Republicans have been trying to work out over the past several weeks. There is skepticism here at White House that these bills will actually pass not only because of the division between Republicans and Democrats, but divisions within the GOP itself, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez at the White House, appreciate it.

Let's bring in our political panel, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign Jack Kingston. Good to see you both. So Maria, President Trump is blaming Democrats for the separation of families. Do they share the blame?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, absolutely not. The president is a big, disgusting liar that is pushing a big, disgusting, inhumane, pure evil policy that rips babies from the arms of their mothers. Let's be very clear, Fredricka. What this president and this administration is doing has been done throughout history by the biggest purveyors of evil that we have ever seen. Slave traders used these tactics. Nazis used these tactics. Terrorists used these tactics, and now the president of the United States is using these tactics through his own decision.

Boris and what you guys have reported are absolutely right. Democrats have nothing to do with this. This is a zero-tolerance policy that was purely the decision, the voluntary decision by this administration and this Department of Justice to their own admission to try to deter people from coming over the border and to use as leverage against Democrats to pass their draconian anti-immigrant policies. And they have admitted as much. It's disgusting and it is shameful and Americans are not going to put up with it.

WHITFIELD: So Jack, the president makes it sound like he is powerless in this, it's something that has to be legislated. But that's not true. Why is he doing that?

JACK KINGSTON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Actually to fix our total legislative broken system you do need the legislative branch. And I have to say to my friend Maria, that kind of rhetoric comparing the president of the United States with the Nazis that keeps immigration from being seriously addressed. This isn't about the issue, it's about the policy.

And let me say this, this policy has been in place for years. President Obama did have to do this on occasion. There were 1,000 of them under him. So let's don't say that this is only Trump. But here is what we do know, Fred, is that the current policies

haven't been working. The border is porous. When people come to our country illegally, many of them break laws. Right now according to the Department of Justice almost one-fifth of the criminals who are in the federal penal system right now are illegal aliens, are here unlawfully. And so we do --

WHITFIELD: What does that have to do about this, though? We're talking about the separation of children and parents or their guardians, because that is what is at issue here. And this is different.

KINGSTON: Yes, and here is where the Democrats own it. If we're going to do political finger-pointing, which I don't think solves the problems, but in January, this year, the president offered the Democrats in the Senate a deal, a DACA compromise that would have, by the way, legalized 1.8 million children, and the Democrats only had been talking 700,000. The president nearly triples the number of amnesty of people that they were talking about and they rejected it because he also wanted a wall.

WHITFIELD: So Jack, are we conflating the issues? How come we're not sticking to the point of the children who have been separated from their parents, and there's an exponentially high number just within a six-week period ending in May.

[14:10:00] So if we're just talking about this, and the president himself for a moment conflated the issues on the White House lawn, and then his staff came back and said, oh, wait a minute, he was mixed up on that one. But just on this issue, if the president has the power to do something to fix, correct, change what is happening before everyone's eyes, why is it that he is putting the blame squarely on lawmakers?

KINGSTON: The president is not trying to separate children from families.

CARDONA: Sure he is.

KINGSTON: What the president is trying to do is secure the border. There are people, and I think Maria is one of them --

CARDONA: By using babies.

KINGSTON: -- who are open border people.

CARDONA: I never said that. Jack, come on.

KINGSTON: I believe that we have to secure our borders.

CARDONA: That is a big fat lie itself. I'm not going to let you put lies into my mouth because I have never said that.

KINGSTON: You compared the president to a Nazi. I was very offended by that. I don't think that is very -- CARDONA: There is no Democrat that has ever talked about open

borders, so keep your facts straight, Jack. Come on, I know you hate facts, but --

KINGSTON: Maria, I'm sorry to disrupt you, but there are a lot of Democrats who have talked about open borders and there are some Republicans --

CARDONA: No, they have not. That is a lie.

KINGSTON: My friend Jeff Flake for example is a Republican talked about open borders.

CARDONA: Jeff Flake never talked about open borders either. Stop lying.

KINGSTON: Let me say this, Fred. Here is what has kept us from a resolution of our immigration problem. For many years, we've talked about comprehensive. And then Republicans have said, no, let's do it incrementally. Now it appears that the Democrats want to do it incrementally and the Republicans are saying we need to have a comprehensive --

WHITFIELD: But Jack, this is on what is -- this is a new zero- tolerance procedure or whatever you want to call it, a practice, that has just started a few weeks ago. That is the issue right now.

KINGSTON: Ask yourself this then. These families coming here seeking asylum. Well, traditionally asylum laws are about one race, one religion, one group of people who are being specifically targeted for persecution by a government. I would say to you one of the questions is here do they really qualify for asylum. And then they are breaking the American laws to come in here. If you break the law --


WHITFIELD: I'll give you 10 seconds and then we have to go because we have breaking news.

CARDONA Thank you. Again, Jack is ignoring the facts because the facts do not play into his lies, and the president's lies.

KINGSTON: Well, I'll say this --

CARDONA: Jack, it's my turn. Jack.


CARDONA: Jack, it is my turn.

WHITFIELD: All right.

CARDONA: Boris talked about this.

WHITFIELD: Except we're out of time.

CARDONA: The court --

WHITFIELD: I'm going to have to leave it right there.

KINGSTON: Let's just have non-emotional --

CARDONA: Obama never did this.

CARDONA: We can end this whole thing.

WHITFIELD: This is still unresolved.

I do want to give you a quick programming note. Next hour CNN's Ana Cabrera will go be going one-on-one with former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. That is coming at 3:00 eastern right here on CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

WHITFIELD: This breaking news now. More on that accident that we reported on out of Moscow right in the middle of this World Cup. Police there investigating what they are saying may have been an accident involving a taxicab hitting pedestrians on the sidewalk. CNN's Matthew Chance is there live for us. Matthew, what more do you know?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you joined me actually at the exact spot where this incident took place. You can see just behind me here on the wall, there is a big black scuff mark with yellow paint work from the yellow taxi that smashed against that wall, plowing in to a whole pavement full of pedestrians including many World Cup fans. It seems that there were lots of Mexican fans here when the taxi, according to eyewitnesses, sort of came out of the traffic, mounted the pavement, and drove quite quickly through this pavement before coming to a halt after hitting numerous people, before coming to a halt. The driver then got out of the car and attempted to escape. But he was captured by some of the pedestrians, including some of the Mexico fans who then held him until the authorities arrived and detained him.

In terms of the casualties, it is not entirely clear yet, but already the Mexican authorities here, diplomats in the Mexican embassy here in Moscow, have confirmed that at least two of their nationals have been injured, neither of them seriously according to the embassy officials who have tweeted this on social media and spoken to state media. Certainly we're expecting to see more clarity in the future. We don't know, just briefly, whether this was intentional or if it was indeed an accident, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, very important points. Matthew Chance, let us know when you know. Appreciate it.

Next, Paul Manafort is behind bars as Trump's legal team says he can challenge any subpoena from Mueller. What's the new strategy?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:19:04] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now in jail. His $10 million bail on foreign lobbying charges was revoked after Special Counsel Robert Mueller also filed witness tampering charges. CNN obtained exclusive video of this van transporting Manafort to a Virginia jail. President Trump once again appeared to distance himself from Manafort after the news.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. But I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago.


WHITFIELD: I want to bring in Shan Wu, a legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, and also a lawyer for Rick Gates formerly who is Manafort's co-defendant. Dave Jacobson is a CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist. And John Thomas is a CNN political commentator. Good to see all of you.

[14:20:03] So Shan Wu, first, Robert Mueller is apparently trying to ratchet up the pressure on Paul Manafort, letting him know we mean business, you can't talk to people who are potential witnesses. Do you think there is a chance now that Manafort may think again and potentially cooperate with this investigation, try to cut a deal?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It certainly ratchets up the pressure just enormously on him, and it is a very tough blow for his lawyers. It is so much harder to work with your client when they are incarcerated. There's lots and lots of document review that needs to done. This makes it much harder.

In terms of, can we see into the future whether we will cause him to cooperate? It's hard to know. He has a very tough defense team, and right from the beginning they have been very adamant that they're going to go to war on this. But Mr. Manafort is not a young man, and the physical strain of being in jail is also very hard. So it remains to be seen.

WHITFIELD: And given that you have been an attorney for Rick Gates, Manafort's co-defendant, what kind of signal does this end up sending to others who are facing charges?

WU: Well, that is a very consistent signal. Mueller's investigation has been very, very aggressive, very tough. The speed at which they have proceeded, they are really treating it like a mob investigation. The classic technique of looking for lower level people and flipping them as they try to move up. So I think that continues to send the signal this is an extraordinarily aggressive and very tough investigation.

WHITFIELD: And then Dave, Trump is distancing position from Manafort, saying he was only working with the team for a short amount of time even though it was really more than four months. At the same time the president is also using the I.G. report, inspector general's report, to help justify that the Mueller probe should go away.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. I think what this underscores is yet again the president lying, trying to distance himself from the Mueller probe and from Paul Manafort, trying to disassociate himself with any of the taint associated with both of them. The fact of the matter is Paul Manafort played a key role in the Trump campaign. He ultimately helped propel Donald Trump to get the Republican nomination. He served from March until August of 2016. That is quite a long time and quite different from what the president said in which I think on Friday he said only 49 days Manafort served on the campaign, which was totally disingenuous.

WHITFIELD: It was something like 144 days.

JACOBSON: Yes, precisely, almost half a year. And not only that, but this was the key role in the primary campaign, ultimately running in the primary to get the Republican nomination, he helped secure it.

WHITFIELD: And John, wouldn't that ultimately make Manafort a little uneasy or feel a little angry, maybe want to cut a deal if now the candidate who benefited from his work is now saying we weren't that tight?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm not surprised. I don't think Manafort is surprised at all to see the president wanting to distance himself. But what is fairly egregious here is Mueller sweating a witness by throwing him in the clink for an unknown period of time. I'm reading reports today that he could be in there potentially for the rest of his life.

WHITFIELD: But reportedly he went to great extents, great lengths to talk with witnesses.

THOMAS: Well, Alan Dershowitz says this is unfair because a judge made this decision unilaterally and did not bring it into the public for giving Manafort an opportunity to have his case heard. This to me seems nothing more than a desperate Mueller saying how can we turn up the heat on these people close to Trump to get them to flip.

I think Manafort is, although I guess -- I'm sure it is terribly uncomfortable to be incarcerated, Manafort also has the financial resources to endure a certain level of prosecution over something that Donald Trump was right, happened 12 years ago. We are talking about not registering as a lobbyist. That's what we're talking about.

JACOBSON: Let me just say really quickly, though, this isn't the first time that Paul Manafort has violated a court order. He violated the gag order early on helping to craft --

THOMAS: By writing an op-ed.

JACOBSON: Right, but it was a violation of the court. And this is him once again --

WHITFIELD: One of the conditions on being able to get house arrest. So listen to Rudy Giuliani who, Shan, you as well, who now keeps bringing up the issue of pardons. And help us read between the lines, what does this mean?


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: My advice to the president of the United States, as his lawyer, not as a government lawyer, is no pardons. It would completely change the momentum that we have right now because it is very strong right now. You can see the polls moving in the president's favor and against Mueller.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Then why did you suggest it?

GIULIANI: I didn't suggest it. I said he shouldn't pardon anybody. And the president said to me he shouldn't pardon anybody. What I said was after the investigation is over, then it has to be considered as a governmental matter, not by me. And what the history has been is these things get cleaned up. Ford did it. Reagan did it. Carter did it. Clinton did it, and Bush did it in political investigations.

[14:25:00] CUOMO: So you are saying after the probe is over, it may be cleaned up with any pardons?

GIULIANI: If people were unfairly prosecuted.


WHITFIELD: So Shan, what do you interpret here and how wise is this?

WU: Giuliani continues to try to send this message with regard to pardons even though it is a little bit of a mixed message at times. In terms of the wisdom, there is talk that this could sound like obstruction, but the pardon power is within the president's jurisdiction. He has got the discretion to do it. I don't know how much effect that is going to have on Paul Manafort sitting in jail talking about a pardon later down the line. But I think they're trying to reassure people through that public message, anybody else, don't worry about it, we're still watching this, despite the president's contradictory remarks about it.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks, gentlemen. Shan Wu, Dave Jacobson, John Thomas, Good to see all of you, appreciate it. Thank you.

Straight ahead, a father of four who has been in the U.S. for nearly two decades is now in ICE custody and could be deported. His family including his American born children are fighting to keep him in the U.S. I'll speak to his ex-wife next.


[14:30:37] WHITFIELD: As the national outcry against the Trump administration's immigration policies grows, we're seeing more examples of how families are being broken up, and not just at the border, like this Wisconsin man, a father of four, American-born children, who is in federal custody and is set to be deported. Franco Ferreyra was brought to the U.S. from Argentina when he was just 13 years old on a visa which later expired. That was back in 2001. As we say, he became a father, a family man. But then over the years he has had several traffic tickets, including driving under the influence, a broken taillight, and driving without a valid license. His family and activists are fighting to save him from deportation. His ex-wife spoke at a rally to support him.


ALYSHA FERREYRA, EX-WIFE OF MAN DETAINED BY ICE: This is not OK, taking a father away from their children. My kids are young and they don't understand right now. And trying to explain to them, they just cry.


WHITFIELD: So that was Alysha Ferreyra who now joins me live with their three kids, Gianna, Elia, and Franco Jr. Good to see all of you. So this is a very difficult circumstances. You just met with Franco who is still in custody. How is he? What is the status of this deportation?

FERREYRA: Well, when we visited Franco, he was very happy to see his kids. Tears of joy, a lot of tears. He is scared. He just wants to be with his kids. And it is very emotional, mentally hard just to be taken away from your kids all of a sudden. So he is doing his best to stay strong.

WHITFIELD: So Alysha, if you could, explain how it got to this point while we mentioned that he came as a kid and he had the visa, it expired, but then how was he apprehended, detained, what were the circumstances that have him now in custody facing deportation?

FERREYRA: Yes. So he came when he was 13 in 2001 and his visa had expired when he was 13, he was in middle school, and not able to really follow up with the papers himself. And so that kind of went to the side just so he could finish his education, finish high school. When we were together, we were married, and we applied for his papers, his legal residency, and it fell through.

So he got some really bad legal advice saying he didn't qualify for DACA, so his was advised not to apply for that due to the DUI he obtained in 2013. So he obtained a different lawyer to try to figure out what he could do, and he has worked tirelessly trying to hire different lawyers and figure out what other ways that he can get legal status, a legal work permit and driver's license to be here and support his kids. He has his whole life has been trying to do that, to be here legally. So we are just praying and hoping that the DACA in July will follow through with that and be able to set him free and be with his kids again.

WHITFIELD: And what were the circumstances that put him in custody right now? Was he surprised by being told that he is about to be deported? How did that happen?

[14:35:00] FERREYRA: So he was driving. He was taking actually my kids, dropping them off to my house because it was my placement time. He did have a broken taillight, and he got pulled over. He got a ticket for that which he paid. And from there everything kind of went south, and the immigration, ICE, was looking for him, came to his work and was trying to find him.

WHITFIELD: And he's been told he will be deported. What is the time line now as a result of being in custody? What is your understanding?

FERREYRA: We're not sure.

WHITFIELD: Do you feel like you have any options that will assist his situation?

FERREYRA: I feel like our hope for my children and for any other families in the situation is that Ricardo Wong is the person who can help my family, Christina Newman, they can help my family. They can help our family stay together. My kids need their father. They are devastated. When we went to go see him, they are just devastated, they are torn, they don't understand. They just want their dad. They want for spend their Father's Day with their dad and they don't understand why, they really don't.

WHITFIELD: Very tough situation.

FERREYRA: And it is heartbreaking. We're praying and hoping that DACA can be -- we can move forward with that in July.

WHITFIELD: I know that you and your family are holding out hope, Alysha. Thank you so much to your, your children, Elia, Gianni, and Franco Jr. Thanks for your time.

FERREYRA: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.



[14:41:36] CHRIS BABU, AUTHOR: A lot of people have a lifelong dream of writing a novel. That was not one of mine.

I worked on Wall Street. I was a bond trader for 19 years. Working as a bond trader was an intense existence. It started to take a toll on my health. I was starting to experience high blood pressure, sleep apnea, constant tension headaches, constant upset stomach, chronic severe backpain. Every little additional piece of stress feels like a two-ton weight on your shoulders, and for me that thing was the subway. It's severely overcrowded.

In December of 2015 I got sick. This persisted for weeks. When a doctor told me that my problem was stress, that was when I knew I had to make a change.

I wanted to try being a writer. On one of these commutes I got the idea for my book about teens that go on a hellish journey through the subway system. Writing was a great escape from real life. In the spring of 2017 I got a publishing contract for three books.

I am much healthier now. I don't have any of the lingering stress effects. I'm pain free. Who would have thought I could start writing after a career doing something totally different, but it is possible.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

WHITFIELD: I want to go back to that breaking news we have been following out of Russia. A car jumps a curb, plowing into pedestrians. I want to warn you this video may be disturbing to some viewers. CNN's Matthew Chance is at the scene and joins me now to tell us more about this image you see right there, that cab careening right off the street into the curb and hitting all of those pedestrians. What more do we know?

CHANCE: Well, I mean watching that absolutely horrific video, Fredricka, it is amazing, isn't it, that no one was killed. At least that is our understanding at the moment in it terms of the casualties. We know at least two or three people according to eyewitnesses appeared to be injured quite seriously as a result of that.

The Mexican embassy here in Moscow, the Russian capital, say that at least two of their citizens were caught up in this and were injured. We understand from state media here as well, there were other nationalities, Russians of course, some other nationalities may have been involved also. But just take a look at that image of that yellow Moscow taxicab coming up to that traffic on this road right here, then mounting the curb just about here, and plowing through all of those people.

You can even see the scuff marks on the wall, the big black scuff, some yellow paint as well that came off the taxi as it rammed against the wall and went on and hit a road sign just over there. If you keep on watching the video, and I've watched it a few times now, you can see the driver then tries to get out of the car. He gets out and he runs as fast as he can in that direction before he is apprehended by some fans, and he is held down and the police come and arrest him. You can see it's extremely busy along this pavement, it is one of the main thoroughfares towards Red Square. And it is where all the fans are congregating now at this time as Russia hosts this 2018 World Cup, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: So Matthew, also extraordinary, before the driver runs, you see the other two people, two pedestrians perhaps, who try to open up the car door quite aggressively, and then he takes a run for it.

[14:45:13] So how are police trying to explain or help surmise his intention here, what the appearances are of this driver wanting to get away like this? Does that make investigators begin to think that plowing in to the crowd like that was intentional?

CHANCE: It has to be something that they are looking at, doesn't it? When something like that happens and it's an accident and you inadvertently lose control of the car, if that can happen, you shouldn't just get up and try to run away. And so it doesn't do much for the case that this was an accident.

In terms of what the Moscow police are saying, remember all eyes in the world are watching the security situation here, watching how the Moscow authorities handle this massive influx of people. And what they are saying at the moment is that they have opened a criminal investigation in terms of a traffic violation that they are treating it at the moment as a traffic violation. But again, these images look much more serious than that.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And I'm just reading that the Moscow mayor using the terminology it's under control, the situation is under control. But no other detail in terms of the direction of that investigation that you speak of. Matthew Chance when you learn more, bring to us. Appreciate it.

We'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: Following their historic summit, President Trump and Kim Jong-un are planning to speak by phone tomorrow after the president revealed he gave the North Korean leader a direct phone number. The news comes as the president defends a bizarre remark he made while praising the dictator and the way North Koreans treat their leader.


[14:50:07] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey, he is the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head, don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.


WHITFIELD: President Trump tried to backtrack a bit later, claiming he was kidding, just being sarcastic, but you'd be excused not knowing that because his comment comes after a week of praising the North Korean dictator. Take a listen.



He has got a great personality. He is a funny guy. He is a very smart guy. He's a great negotiator. He loves his people. He loves his country.

His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor, they have a great fervor.

I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea.

He wants to do what's right.

He was really very gracious.

I think he trusts me and I trust him.


WHITFIELD: I'm joined now by Balbina Hwang, she is a former senior adviser at the U.S. State Department, And CNN's global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. Good to see you both. So Balbina, you first. The president said he was being sarcastic about that sit up at attention remark, knowing, everyone knows there are North Koreans who have been starved, put into camps, and others murdered. Did he forget about those things?

BALBINA HWANG, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: This is a president who speaks cavalierly. And he is a man that uses rhetoric, uses hyperbole, and does not speak carefully. And just, again, uses rhetoric and speaks cavalierly about leaders, and speaks off the cuff and offing speaks emotionally, and does not -- uses words often without thinking. And I don't think that we should take his words very carefully.

WHITFIELD: So does that mean when he says problem solved with North Korea so to speak, you're not buying that?

HWANG: Again, I think we have to take actions more seriously than his rhetoric, especially when it comes to North Korea.

WHITFIELD: Well, this is the president in his own words.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You remember the sit- down with Barack Obama, I think he will admit this. He said the biggest problem that the United States has and by far the most dangerous problem that he said to me that we've ever had because of nuclear is North Korea. Now, that was shortly before I entered office. I have solved that problem.


WHITFIELD: So, Elise, how does the U.S. diplomatic community take a that? He got a warning, details, coming from his predecessor, but then he says he doesn't really -- he doesn't really, I guess, appreciate that kind of information because he can read somebody.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Look, I agree with Balbina. I think that the president uses rhetoric, and I don't think we have to take what he says literally. Clearly he is trying to butter up Kim Jong-un just as he is trying to butter up his base to let people know and let people know that he is working on the North Korea problem. I don't think anybody in the diplomatic community or the international community or in the United States thinks that the North Korea problem is really solved. I think we should take that to mean that the president is working at it and we don't know what is going to come of it.

There is a lot of skepticism of the process, but clearly the rhetoric has kind of been toned down. The fire and fury of six months ago is now talk of -- there was this summit and now the president and Kim Jong-un are going to talk tomorrow. The South Koreans just announced that. I thought it was a little weird that the South Koreans announced it, but President Trump said he was going to be calling North Korea tomorrow. And it looks like he's going to have a conversation with Kim Jong-un, that they have a direct channel now.

And I think that is a good thing. I think my colleague is right that we need to just kind of disregard the rhetoric. This is someone who speaks with a lot of flourish, but I think we should look at the actions and see how these negotiations proceed. I think nobody has rose-colored glasses, but if they were able to get some progress, it would be a good thing.

WHITFIELD: And Balbina, what are you hoping would be discussed or what kind of parameters in this conversation tomorrow between these two men?

HWANG: Well, I would certainly hope that President Trump would emphasize that if Kim Jong-un does not proceed with the process of denuclearization, that President Trump would certainly not continue with this favorable kind of commentary, and that in fact that he would return to the fire and fury rhetoric, and that in fact he is not going to lift the sanctions and that he is not -- that in fact he is going to proceed with some pretty serious actions that he was promising earlier.

[14:55:00] WHITFIELD: And so, Elise what about this approach that the president says getting to know, showing respect for someone you are trying to negotiate means that it will likely lead to something fruitful?

LABOTT: Well, that is how the president tries to have these personal relationships. One of the criticisms of President Obama is that he didn't have any relationships with world leaders. Clearly President Trump is trying to develop, whether it's with a dictator like Kim Jong-un or with someone who is more of an ally, like Japanese Prime Minister Abe trying to form that bond.

I think we need to look at the results. I don't think that -- clearly the rhetoric, praising Kim Jong-un is very tone deaf. But he is -- obviously this is -- the president likes to hear this kind of rhetoric from other leaders about him. He loves to be buttered up. And he thinks that he can butter up other leaders.

But I think again we need to look at what it's going to produce. I think the president thinks by buttering up Kim Jong-un he is going to get him to denuclearize. That is not going to be what turns Kim Jong- un around. It's going to be whether he sees it's in his country's interests to abandon nuclear weapons. And that is what the negotiations over the next several months hopefully will produce.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there for now. Elise Labott, Balbina Hwang, thank you so much, ladies, appreciate it.

And thanks so much for being with me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the Newsroom with Ana Cabrera starts right after this.