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Supreme Court Rules on Wisconsin Partisan Gerrymandering Case; Roger Stone Met with Russian Offering Clinton Dirt for $2 Million; Outrage Grows Over U.S. Separating Immigrant Families; Duchess Meghan's Dad Regrets Not Walking Her Down the Aisle. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 18, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: And the court is giving them time to address that.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Understood. OK. Michael Moore, we appreciate it. Again it is early here as we read --


SCIUTTO: As we read through this long statement.

We do have our Jessica Schneider. She is up at the Supreme Court. She has been -- she's been delving into this.

Jessica, what are you learning? Is it clearer now what the court's decision is here?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is clearer, Jim. And it appears that while many people were watching and waiting for the Supreme Court to weigh in on this whole issue of partisan gerrymandering, in two cases that we've gotten back today, the Supreme Court is really sidestepping the issue here, based on procedural issues, based on standing.

So this morning the Supreme Court not ruling on partisan gerrymandering, not putting forth a test as to when to determine there has been partisan gerrymandering, and really sort of punting this issue for another day. So we're dealing with two cases that the Supreme Court has issued rulings on. One out of Wisconsin, one out of Maryland. One in Wisconsin where the maps favored Republicans.

In Maryland, the maps seemingly favored Democrats and in both cases this morning the Supreme Court saying that the standing in the Wisconsin case was not there, so the plaintiff in this case just didn't have the power to bring this case. And in another case, in the Maryland case, they also ruled on procedural grounds.

Now what does this mean practically? Well, in both cases, the Supreme Court has really sent this back down to the lower courts and what that effectively means is that these maps that the challengers claimed were gerrymandered in a partisan way, these maps for now, they will stand.

Now just to be clear, even if the Supreme Court had issued some sort of more definitive ruling on this, those maps still would have been in place for the 2016 election. So I'm sorry -- the 2018 election that's coming up. So that would not have affected things. But, of course, many people have been watching and waiting, waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on this issue because it has become such an issue in many states throughout the country.

Just this morning, we're dealing with Wisconsin and Maryland, issues there. And you'll recall it was just a few months ago when this issue was percolating in Pennsylvania, the president weighed in multiple times on Twitter in that case. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court was the one who actually redrew the maps because the two parties couldn't come to an agreement.

We saw President Trump weigh in on this back in February. He talked about the fact that the -- that this should go all the way to the Supreme Court, that was one of the things the president said. Well, it has gone all the way to the Supreme Court. Now in two different cases. And today the Supreme Court deciding to really sidestep this issue, hold on to this issue, and this big decision for potentially another day.

It is important to note, while these two decisions, Wisconsin and Maryland, they have not been decided here at the Supreme Court, they have been kicked back to the lower courts, the maps there for now will stand, there is another case in the pipeline here. It comes out of North Carolina. So we're waiting to potentially hear something about that, not today, but at some point from the Supreme Court.

So this issue continues to be an issue. The Supreme Court not weighing in on this issue of partisan gerrymandering today and Jim, we'll see what happens in the coming weeks and the coming terms here to see the Supreme Court eventually does take up this issue on the merits -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. You heard the news there, Jessica Schneider, Supreme Court, that these two cases now we have a read on, one in Wisconsin, that was brought by Democrats challenging a Republican-drawn state districts in that state, and then one in Maryland brought by Republicans challenging Democratically drawn districts there. The Supreme Court in both of those cases in effect punting, saying they're not going to rule on it now five months to this midterm election saying that the plaintiffs don't have standing.

I should note that it's been commented often that the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, that he doesn't have exactly an excitement about ruling in these cases, that he finds them intensely political as of course they are because they affect the political process.

We have David Chalian here with me now.

So how significant is this? Because many Americans and both parties have wanted this issue addressed. It's one of the issues that leads to the divisive political environment we have now.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's exactly right. SCIUTTO: You draw these districts the way you do, you create the kind

of Congress we have with left and right and they don't talk to each other.

CHALIAN: A hundred percent. That's what we're talking about here. When you are talking to voters all across the country, one thing you constantly hear is, why can't those people get anything done? It's just this complete stasis and we're polarized and why is it that members of Congress are more concerned about the party -- the primaries for their job survival than they are about general elections and appealing to the broadest possible swath of people in their district or of the country?

SCIUTTO: And those primaries are highly partisan --

CHALIAN: And it's because of the way these districts are drawn.

SCIUTTO: -- because they're drawn. Yes.

CHALIAN: So when the districts are drawn, because Democrats want to keep as many Democratic seats, let's say, as possible, Republicans want to do the same, you draw a heavily Democratic district, well, then the only real contest is between two Democrats because no Republican is going to win this heavily drawn Democratic district.


[10:35:07] CHALIAN: And that helps create the polarization. Because you just have people who are concerned about the left or the right of their party and not about the center. So that is why this is such a big issue and why it's so disheartening for those of us that would love to see some potential change to this for the Supreme Court to just say, you know what, that's a hot potato, too political at the moment.

They -- I mean, they didn't say that, they said they don't have standing, but this hot potato is not something we're going to decide right now.

SCIUTTO: I mean, you look at some of those district maps, and they do look. I think this is the origin of gerrymandering because one of those look like a salamander, right, if you go back because they don't -- you know, there is no squares or rectangles or any kind of recognizable, you know, shapes there.

Let me ask you this --

CHALIAN: People trying to find their voters rather than appeal to the voters.

SCIUTTO: Exactly. Join this little Democratic neighborhood with this one way over here.

CHALIAN: Exactly.

SCIUTTO: If the Supreme Court doesn't decide on this, no one is, right?

CHALIAN: No. Right.

SCIUTTO: I mean, because you're not going to pass legislation in this House to address this. You're not going to --

CHALIAN: No. And that -- and again, self-interest. Legislators at the state level that do this, it is their own political survival, so of it is part of the political process, it is going to remain intensely partisan and political. That's why I think so many people are looking to the Supreme Court to weigh in.

SCIUTTO: Imagine a Congress person, you know, voting for something that's going to make their job less likely to hold it.

David Chalian, thanks very much for walking us through this. Jessica Schneider, she was up at the Supreme Court.

Still to come this hour, former Trump campaign associate Roger Stone, he is now admitting to meeting with a Russian operative who is offering dirt on Hillary Clinton for a whole lot of money. What could this mean for the ongoing special counsel investigation?


SCIUTTO: Trump campaign operative and longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone is now admitting to meeting with a Russian national before the election and crucially failing to disclose that meeting in sworn congressional testimony.

CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz joins me now.

So, Shimon, we now know that Stone met in May 2016 with a Russian offering dirt on Hillary Clinton in exchange for $2 million and yet somehow he forgot to mention this when asked by lawmakers.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right. Not only did he fail to mention it, but this meeting that was set up by another Trump adviser, and also a friend of Roger Stone, it was set up by Michael Caputo, who was a communications adviser to the campaign.

Now this Russian met with Stone in Florida. It was during the campaign and following the meeting Stone and Michael Caputo exchanged text messages after Stone completed the meeting and here's what they said.

[10:40:12] Basically, Caputo writes in the text, "How crazy is the Russian?" And then Stone replies, "He wants big money for the info. Waste of time." And then Caputo says, well, the Russian -- that this is the Russian way, and anything at all interesting to which Stone replies no. Now in a letter to congressional investigators, Stone's lawyers basically wrote that they only -- that Stone remembered this meeting and only learned of this meeting, quote, "it was not until after the interview," Mueller interviewed Mr. Caputo that Stone had a recollection of the meeting or the person's name. Caputo, as we know, was interviewed extensively by Bob Mueller's team

and it was during the questioning there that this was revealed, apparently what Caputo says is that Mueller knew a lot more about this Russian than he even knew. Clearly one person who has not been before the special counsel is Roger Stone. That is still ongoing. We know that others have been asked questions about Roger Stone and sort of some of his activity during the campaign.

SCIUTTO: Well, that's what they always said. The special counsel knows the answers to the questions before he asks you those questions. You better answer truthfully.

Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.

Scathing words from former first lady Laura Bush. She is slamming what she calls the, quote, "cruel Trump policy" that is splitting up families at the border.


SCIUTTO: More Republicans are now breaking with President Trump over separating immigrant families.

[10:45:04] A short time ago I spoke with California Republican Jeff Denham. He is among them. Tomorrow the president will come face-to- face with more Republican lawmakers in the House who are loudly criticizing his policy.

Lawmakers expected to discuss an immigration compromise with the president, then will provide what it seems that he wants, $25 billion for border security including his wall. However, it also calls for a path to citizenship and addresses this issue now with family separation.

Joining me now are CNN political commentators Doug Heye and Maria Cardona.

Doug, if I could begin with you. We heard from the DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen just a short time ago, moments ago really, and I did not sense any pulling back on this policy. She called the previous policy before this zero tolerance enforcement, a significant pull factor in her words for families coming here. She said that many illegal aliens fraudulently use children to get in the country. And she puts the onus really on some sort of legislation to solve this problem.

Do you think that's a mistake for this administration and the Republican Party?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's wrong. I don't know if politically it's a mistake for them. But ultimately, look, America is the ultimate pull. There is a reason everybody wants to come here and wanted to come here for centuries now. America is an ideal whether you're from Ireland or from Nigeria or obviously Mexico or Honduras or Guatemala. We represent an ideal that we're currently not living up to. That's

why we saw former first lady Laura Bush speak out today. It's why even Melania Trump, the current first lady, has distanced herself from her own husband's policy, and really starting to -- and we saw from reporting from, you know, CNN's Kate Bennett really step up in a way that we haven't seen first ladies do before.

And it's important that more and more Republicans speak out on this. They're going to have an important conference meeting tomorrow. I've been in a lot of those meetings in HC-5 in the Capitol, in the basement. We're going to see Republicans actually, hopefully, confront the president on this for first time. They've been reluctant as we know to confront him publicly. We'll see if they do so privately this time.

SCIUTTO: Maria, you -- I've seen your public comments on this. I know that you abhor the policies you're seeing at there. Do you believe those Republican voices -- they're not a huge number, but there are certainly more than we have seen on past issues, disagreements with the president. Do you believe they will move this president on this policy?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's the question, I think, Jim, because it doesn't seem like this president is moved by much. But, yes, let's leave aside that this is abhorrent, that I believe in many, I think including my friend Doug Heye, believe that this is completely immoral as a mother and as an immigrant myself, I put myself in the shoes of these families because I know exactly what they're going through.

I came from a country who has suffered those kinds of atrocities. I know that these families come here because the desperation is something that I hope no one has to ever go through. And they are going through it and living through it every single day. And so this is, first of all, not going to work as a deterrent. Secondly, it is a policy that can be ended today.

So I do think that more Republicans are going to start to speak out about this, especially because I do think they -- many of them believe it is immoral, but let's talk politics for a second. We're going into the midterm election cycle where Democrats only need to pick up 23 seats to flip the House. There are over 100 seats that are more progressive than the seat that Conor Lamb, the Democrat, won recently where a Republican should have won.

And when you look at the makeup of the Republican base, and you look at white suburban Republican, moderate Republican women, many of them are mothers, they look at this issue and they see that this is not, first of all, an American value. It is certainly not a conservative Republican value, if you really adhere to the fact that they are or what they say they are, the party of family values.

And so I think that this is going to continue to be a very politically perilous situation for Republicans.

SCIUTTO: Doug, you've said just then, you consider this straight up wrong, the policy is wrong, from a political perspective here so some polls have shown that if not a majority, a plurality of Republicans support this, support this as a necessary tool, right, to reduce illegal immigration at the borders.

Does this work for this president? Does this work for Republicans and some of those tough seats that Maria is describing there in 2018, in the midterms?

HEYE: Yes. I think it causes real problems for some Republicans. Maria said there are 23 seats that are -- that will decide whether or not the House goes Democratic or not. And to some extent, Jim, it plays into your earlier segment with you and David Chalian talking about redistricting and gerrymandering and so forth.

There is a reason why Congress hasn't moved on any kind of immigration reform in years and years. And I've worked on this, unsuccessfully, is because we can't get a majority of Republicans to agree on anything when it comes to immigration.

[10:50:07] So we remain stuck in the hold that we're in. I'm not optimistic on anything moving in the short term unless the president gets behind something. And, you know, paradoxically, with all of the rhetoric that Donald Trump has used, a lot of it I think is wrong, and you know, we've certainly talked about, Donald Trump is in a unique position to make something happen on immigration if he wants to. This is his opportunity. And we'll see if he seizes it unfortunately. I'm not optimistic. But if he wants to, he can.

SCIUTTO: Maria, just quickly before we go, do you see a chance of a substantive vote on substantive immigration reform before the midterms or is this something that lawmakers really just frankly, the political pitfalls, just they're going to punt on voting on?

CARDONA: Yes. I don't see that there is going to be any significant change moving into the midterm elections. Democrats would be happy to sign on to a bill that would give DACA recipients a path to citizenship that would end this atrocity of separating families and frankly, Chuck Schumer has already said that Democrats would also give this president the $25 billion he wants for his insanity of a wall, which majority of Americans don't want.

But we are willing to do that. So we are willing to make concessions. But everything else is so complicated and frankly completely anti- immigrant, that I don't think it's something that will be able to be voted on.

SCIUTTO: Maria Cardona, Doug Heye, thanks very much.

CARDONA: Thank you.

HEYE: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:57:21] SCIUTTO: Meghan Markle's father revealing this morning that his daughter cried when he told her he would not be at her royal wedding. In a new interview with iTV's "Good Morning, Britain," Thomas Markle says he absolutely wanted to walk Meghan down the aisle but could not because he was recovering from heart surgery, and he admits that he was jealous that Prince Charles got to do it.


THOMAS MARKLE, FATHER OF DUCHESS MEGHAN MARKLE: I was honored. I can't think of a better replacement than someone like Prince Charles, you know. He looked very handsome and my daughter looked beautiful with him. I was jealous. I wish I had been there. I wish it had been me. But thank God he was there and thank him for that.


SCIUTTO: Well, CNN Correspondent, Anna Stewart, she joins me now.

Anna, Mr. Markle touched on a lot in that interview. And you feel for him as you listen to him there. What else did have he to say?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a really wide ranging interview covering everything from Meghan Markle as a young girl and why he calls her Bean, all the way through to the time she told him that she was dating Prince Harry and all the secrecy around it. But what really strikes you when you watch that interview was how un-media savvy Thomas Markle is, because he looks down a lot. He doesn't really look down the barrel of a camera, he holds on to his ear piece a lot.

He's a lighting director. He's used to being behind the camera and not in the spotlight, which is possibly why we had such a furrow really around the media around him. But he did say how sad he was not to have made the wedding and how he had actually prepared for it. Take a listen to what he said about that.


MARKLE: I worked on a little speech and little speech actually had the phone calls that I talked about, talking to Harry and how Meghan introduced him as this guy, this nice guy from England, this prince. And that was part of the story and then I went on to basically thank the royal family for opening up to my child.

I feel bad she put all that work in and I didn't do it. But I couldn't do much about it laying on a couch with a bad heart.


STEWART: It puts to bed speculation that he didn't go to the royal wedding because of the embarrassment over those staged photos that he did with the paparazzi and he does bring that in, he says sorry for that, he says that he was just trying to reverse a very negative image that the paparazzi had of him and that they chased him for weeks before the wedding. But of course it won't help Meghan Markle necessarily because the palace really don't like anyone related to the family commenting to the media.

SCIUTTO: Well, hard not to sympathize. Father can't be at his daughter's wedding.

Thanks very much, Anna Stewart, in London there.

Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" with my colleague Kate Bolduan, that starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.