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CNN TONIGHT

Children Still Being Taken From Their Parents At The Border As President Meets With House GOP; Seth MacFarlane, Judd Apatow And Other Fox Talent Slam Fox News Border Coverage; Trump Blames Dems For His Own Zero Tolerance Policy, Claims Illegal Immigrants Infest Country; Where Is Ivanka Trump?; Champions For Change. Aired 11p-12m ET

Aired June 19, 2018 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon. It is a little pass 11:00 here on the East Coast, it actually it is 11:00 on the nose here on the East Coast. We're live with new developments.

Children still being taken from their parents on the border tonight. As President Trump met with House Republicans behind closed doors calling on them to pass legislation to fix the mess he made. Sources are telling CNN that the President didn't take questions from members of his own party. Went on and on about his promised border wall and called for $25 billion to build it and said his daughter, Ivanka, talked to him about images of children.

Well over 2,000 of them so far being separated from their parents. Some of those children held in cages. Some housed in this Tent City along the southern border. That as talent from 21st Century Fox, some of the biggest name in Hollywood are slamming Fox News over the coverage of the crisis at the border. And that was before this heartless moment on Fox News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wa, wa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read about a -- did you just say wa, wa to a 10- year-old with down syndrome?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I said -- is you can think any --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How dare you, how dare you. How absolutely dare you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I want to bring in our CNN contributor, Michael D'Antonio, he is the author of "The truth about Trump." Also with us Peter Wehner, he is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times who work in the last three Republican administrations. It is always good to have both of you gentlemen. Thank you so much, what a pleasure to have you on. Peter, you heard that, right? Did you hear that moment on Fox News?

PETER WEHNER, CONTIBUTING OPINION WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I did. It was a sickening moment from a person who -- in his soul must be sick. It's extraordinary. It just goes to show that with Trump and his henchman there's really no bottom. There's nothing they won't say, and nothing that they won't do, no dehumanizing tactic that they won't reach for. I mean, when you begin to mock 10-year-old kids with disabilities, I'm not sure what the next stage is, but it is a window, Don, into the soul or the lack of soul of these people and this administration.

We have a person as President who is a deeply damaged and disordered personality. And it's not just him. It's the people who surround him, and it's really troubling. And even more troubling is that he is got a base that seems not only to ignore it, but to rally around it. So it's an ugly and disturbing picture all the way around.

LEMON: So you -- before I bring Michael in here, I think it's important that you just mentioned all of that -- I just want to read this is what you tweeted today, right? It really lays out what President Trump said his immigration policy reflects his character and you're right. Trump's casual cruelty is a product of his near total lack of empathy and sympathy. This attitude like others, for example, pathological lying eventually radiates throughout, begins to define an administration and a party. That is how corruption spreads, and it's why character matters. What do you say to that?

WEHNER: Well, that is right. You know, his supporters seem to separate and disagree and say character doesn't matter, but of course it does and it matters in a very deep way. And he doesn't -- Michael knows better than I, but from what I can follow about Trump's life, he is always lacked this empathy and sympathy.

It is like that he doesn't have that gene, that is bad enough, but when it's conjoined with the rest of this complicated consolation of issues, the narcissism, the cruelty, the pathological lying, that combination in an individual is troubling enough. That combination in a President is downright dangerous. And we're seeing it. And the damage that Donald Trump is doing to the civic and political culture of this country is astonishing. I don't think that we have a full grasp of that damage. It will take a long time to both process it and to eventually work our way out of it.

LEMON: What do you say to that, Michael?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I actually think we've now reached the point where we can say that there is sadism at work here. And there is something profoundly sadistic in this policy of doing this to children and their mothers and fathers. And there is a contagion that is going on where people are invited to take sadistic pleasure in this. This is what Cory Lewandowski was doing in that clip from Fox News. He was mocking the 10-year-old young woman with Down syndrome. LEMON: can we play that? Let's play it again.

[23:05:00] Let us play it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About a 10-year-old girl with down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wa, wa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read about a -- did you just say wa, wa to a 10- year-old with down syndrome?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I said is you take anything --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How dare you, how dare you, how absolutely dare you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

D'ANTONIO: This is the fellow who served the candidate Trump who mocked a reporter with disabilities and who mocked Senator McCain for his service and his great sacrifice. So, at some point you have to say, well, what is the leader of our country leading us to? And it is quite well documented that leaders can lead a country into a sadistic frame of mind and that people can be exploited. This is, remember, a President who before he ran for office talked about his genetic superiority. And when he declared for office, he demonized others as rapist and murderers. And now he is authorizing the ripping of children from the arms of their parents. At some point we have to call this, for what it is. And it is a sadistic, manipulative, run up to the midterm elections and I think things are going to get worst. This is mob boss saying, oh, you made a big mistake. I'm going to do this to you now, because it's your fault.

LEMON: Here's the thing with me, getting back to, I mean, Cory Lewandowsky, haven't you any shape? I mean, seriously?

D'ANTONIO: No, they don't have shame.

LEMON: He has no shame, because he went on to argue his point, which he had none for saying wa, wa about this child with down syndrome. I am sure you guys, I would see her for it. Remember Sarah Palin's kid, off-limits, I think someone made fun of her kid and I mean, got excoriated for it, rightly so. I mean, Peter, this is -- I know you responded to this. This is beyond the pale.

WEHNER: Yes, I mean, I go further. It's not just they don't have shame. They seem to take a kind of psychic delight in this. I think this is what Michael was getting at, the sadistic element of it. They seem to draw some kind of energy out of it. So it's a very problematic thing. This is cruel policy that is borne out of a cruel personality. And we're not done yet. There are a lot of years left for Trump and his people to do more damage. And it really underscores the importance of the rest of us. The rest of us, I mean citizens, I mean journalists, I mean politicians and I mean particularly Republican politicians. Who had been profiled as (inaudible).

LEMON: And they've had the chance. They've had the chance to confront the President tonight on the Hill about what many are saying is an appalling policy, and it seems like an opportunity yet again for them to have confronted him on this. I am just wondering and they didn't. Some of them released -- they released a strongly worded statement. What the heck is a strongly worded statement mean anymore when you're not going to take any action? I can give you a strongly worded statement and don't do anything. It means nothing. It's hollow, it's empty.

D'ANTONIO: Well, and this is moral emergency.

LEMON: Why won't they confront him tonight?

D'ANTONIO: Well, I think they're cowardly, and they have seen -- this is something else Cory Lewandowsky has talked about -- that they are trying to rev up the base to make them angry --

LEMON: For midterms.

D'ANTONIO: -- for mid-terms.

LEMON: Yes. I appreciate you gentlemen. Thank you so much for coming on tonight. And all I have to say is I know Cory Lewandowski. I know he has a family, he loves them, and he has kids. That was shameful, Cory. Apologize. It is awful.

When we come back President Trump trying to blame everyone, but himself for the mess he created at our southern border. Now he says Democrats are at fault for his own policy. I'm going to ask one Democrat what he thinks about that.

[23:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump trying to blame Democrats for his own zero- tolerance immigration policy that has separated thousands of children from their parents at the border. Tweeting, Democrats are the problem. They don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants no matter how bad they may be to pour into and infest our country like MS-13. They can't win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters. Wow. I want to bring in now Congressman, Hakeem Jeffries a New York Democrat. Congressman, thank you. What do you think of that tweet, first of all?

HAKEEM JEFFRIES, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, there's so much to unpack there, but once again Donald Trump is lying to the American people. The so-called zero-tolerance policy which by the way has zero credibility, has zero morality, zero integrity is a fully owned subsidiary of the Trump White House. It was created by Donald Trump and Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions. They cooked it up. Solely responsible for it, and Donald Trump can end it today.

LEMON: Infesting. That is what he wrote in the tweet.

JEFFRIES: That was particularly offensive even for Donald Trump. And it was an example of him trying to deflect the reality that it's his administration and his policy that has infant children being ripped away from the hands of (inaudible) mothers and then being castaway in a manner that the parents have no idea where their children are, in a way that is doing psychological damage that could be long-standing to these individual children in a way that is horrific and has shocked the contents of the American people.

LEMON: You know, in that tweet he says that Democrats are the problem and that Democrats see illegal immigrants and MS-13 gang members as potential voters. How do you respond to such an outrageous charge?

JEFFRIES: Well, this is an example of him again trying to fan the flames of hatred, which is something that Donald Trump has done consistently since prior to him sneaking into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016. We remember in the 1970s, it was the Trump organization that was sued by the Nixon Justice Department for racial discrimination against black and Latino housing applicants. It was Donald Trump who led the lynch mob against the Central Park Five, black and Latino individuals who were wrongfully convicted, wrongfully accused, wrongfully charged for a crime they did not commit, and even after being exonerated by DNA evidence Donald Trump continued to go after them.

[23:15:17] And of course, we know, Don, it was Donald Trump who for five years perpetrated the racist lie that Barack Obama was not born in the United States of America. So this current tweet, this current rhetoric, this policy is just par for the course.

LEMON: Congressman, my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, ask the acting Immigration and Customs, and personal director about the zero tolerance policy, here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, WOLF AND THE SITUATION ROOM, CNN: Is this new zero- tolerance policy that the President has supported, that the Attorney General announced, is it humane?

TOM HOMAN, ACTING DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: I think it's the law.

BLITZER: Look, it's the policy, but is it humane?

HOMAN: I think it's the law, and I'm in law enforcement and I'm going to follow the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So he couldn't really answer that question. He had to take a pause. And Wolf Blitzer went at him a number of different ways, but he would not say whether it was inhumane. Is that a problem?

JEFFRIES: It's absolutely a problem. What kind of people are these folks who had sign-off and implement a policy like this and then run away and hide. And can't even state explicitly that not only is it inhumane, it is immoral, it is un-American, it is unacceptable, it is unconscionable and it should be ended today.

The fact that these are folks who are rampant within the Trump administration, I think hopefully would give pause to the American people as to what type of government do we have, what kind of message are we sending to the world as the land of the free and the home of the brave? It's a sad reflection of the state that we are in America.

The good news is, Don, that Americans from across the country, Democrats, Republicans, people on the left and the right, people from the Christian conservative movement, progressives are rising up to say enough is enough.

LEMON: You mentioned some ways that the President, to put it lightly, has been disrespectful of minorities, but he started his campaign calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. There's a ban on people entering the U.S. from majority Muslim country in the Middle East and Africa. He said there were no people on both sides -- there were good people, excuse me, there were good people on both sides in Charlottesville. He called kneeling NFL player sons of bitches. There are thousands of estimated dead now in Puerto Rico from hurricane Maria after a slow response from the Trump administration, and now families are being separated at the Southern Border. Do you see a common thread here?

JEFFRIES: Well, the President appears to have a blind spot as it relates to compassion or the lack thereof for communities of color, for vulnerable communities, for people of diversity and that is entirely inconsistent with the nation that we are. And that is quite unfortunate. When you are elected as President you're not elected as President of white America or black America or Latino America. You're elected as President of the United States of America from day one, but litany that you just cited, Don, as evidence that he has refuse to try to govern and bring people together, that is been unfortunate. And hopefully the American people will recognize that we need to change direction.

LEMON: Congressman, thank you. I know that you visited a detention center in New Jersey and you met with parents who were seeking asylum and were separated from their children. And we heard some of those stories. I want to thank you for what you're doing and please continue to and report back to us on what you are finding. Thank you so much.

JEFFRIES: We will do. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: And when we come back, how is it that the President who prides himself on deal making, struggling to get a deal that stops children from being taken from their parents at the border?

[23:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump met with House Republicans for an hour tonight behind closed doors, but in the midst of the crisis of families being separated at the border. One GOP source said, the President did not move the ball on immigration. So let us bring in now CNN political commentator, Catherine Rampell,

political analyst, David Drucker, and Daniel Drezner, who is professor in International Politics at Tusk University. Hello to all of you. Thank you so much for joining us.

So, Catherine, I just want you to take a look at this, this is tweet from President Trump tonight, OK? And in the tweet he says, "thank you House GOP." And then he has a bunch of photos where they're all clapping. One photo of the president has his fist in the air. Does this seem a little tone-deaf or a lot tone-deaf when you think about the visceral reaction so many of us are having in the images of the children that we are seeing in cages and some being ripped away from their parents?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Absolutely. Look, the audio that has been released, for photos that have come out it is all stomach turning at this point. And Trump likes to claim that he has a big heart and he feels for these kids and he just wants those Democrats to repeal their imaginary law and then all will be well. And then you see these kind of propaganda photos coming out which suggests that he is reveling in the situation that we're in or at the very least is callus to it.

LEMON: So how do you feel if you're running, right and you are running in the mid-terms as a Republican, David, and then you see these photos coming out tonight. What are you saying? Are you going, wow?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's not the message they were hoping to run on. They wanted to focus on a growing economy. They think the tax cuts have done a world of good. They look at their GDP rates and immigration is really the last thing they wanted to get in an argument about. What's interesting about the photos Don, is that if any Republican is having an issue with the President's immigration policy, with the zero-tolerance separations at the border, it's House Republicans more so than Senate Republicans.

The house is going to be decided in battleground suburban districts where female voters are going to play an integral role in deciding this thing. They have been more apt to oppose President Trump, even though they tend to vote for Republicans in congress.

[23:25:07] And so there's a lot of concern on the Republican side of the aisle in the House that this sort of issue could go sideways, that the videos and the audio are going viral and that it is going to cause them a huge problem in the election if it doesn't just fade away as some of these issues tend to do.

So that is what I found really interesting about the meeting. Notwithstanding the fact that they have a meeting and I was talking to Republicans after the meeting and they said, look, the President focused on immigration for about five minutes and then he spent the rest of it almost like a campaign rally going down his list of wins on various issue. And there's not a lot of confidence that when they vote for this bill that is supposed to deal with this and the DACA issue, that he is not going to have changed his mind and it's not going to come back to haunt them.

LEMON: Dan, I just want to play this and then I want to do something else. Just to play a little bit of this. This is the audio that we got from last night from Republica.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

(CHILDREN CRYING)

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

LEMON: Ok, and now put the President's tweet up for me, please? So there it is. Thank you, House GOP. And the photographs. What do you say, Dan?

DANIEL W. DREZNER, CONTRIBUTOR WASINGTON POST: You know, I'm a political scientist and one of my jobs is to be able to dispassionately analyze what's going on both in the United States in terms of foreign policy in terms of international relations. And the simple fact is you can't hear audio like that and not have an emotional reaction to it. Which I'm enough of an analyst to realize that is exactly not what the House GOP wants.

The weird thing though, I guess, I would dissent somewhat from what David Drucker said before me. It is probably true that the House GOP does not want to run on immigration. But we've seen stories in the last 24 hours in fact the Trump people do want do in fact seem to want to run on this issue. I believe it was Cory Lewandowski who said that you don't get your base out with just good news, then you want to anger them somehow. I tend to think that this was miscalculation on their part. The reason that Trump did, you know, won in 2016 was not just his base was energized, but rather that Democrats were largely disaffected. I don't think they're going to be disaffected this time and certainly not going to be dis-effective after listening to that audio.

LEMON: So, I am going to ask you. I think I just gave unwittingly the Democrats their campaign ad. Because I guarantee you will see those pictures like that of the House member with the audio of those children in campaign ads. Am I wrong about that?

DREZNER: No, I mean, there was a poll that came out in Ohio last week that showed that most people who are going to be voting in mid-terms, you know, intend to cast their vote a check on Donald Trump. Now, Ohio State is turning Republican, but if that is the sentiment in terms of the vote, then the Democrats will do very well there.

And so, you might actually wind up with a situation in which, you know, a President overseeing an economy with less than 4 percent unemployment, you know, that has not somehow managed to start new wars, is potentially trying to negotiate peace with North Korea nonetheless gets wiped out, because no one trusts him at this point.

DRUCKER: Look, I think it's important to note that Dan is right about this. The President and Republicans and Congress have different ideas about how to win in the mid-terms. The President believes in a cultural war, in all of the issues that he pressed in the presidential election. Congressional Republicans want to focus on more topics, like the economy, things that they think are more unifying and so you have a clash of strategies there.

LEMON: Did you want to respond to that?

RAMPELL: I was just going to add that if you look at polling that came out yesterday, both from CNN and from Quinnipiac --

LEMON: Republican support.

RAMPELL: Yes, a majority of Republicans support the policy at the border. And the questions phrased whatever -- characterized the policy slightly differently. One of them referred to asylum, one of them didn't, but in any case --

LEMON: A majority of Americans don't support it.

RAMPELL: Well, a majority do not, right. But that suggests that at least Trump is not incorrect in assessing that Republicans do seem to approve of what's going on at the border. Of course, you can't win this only through Republican votes. You can't win these mid-term races only through Republican votes particularly if you have alienated a lot of Republicans as well.

[23:00:08]

LEMON: Yes. Dan do you want to get in, I want to read something from your piece, but if you want to get in or you want to respond after I read it.

DREZNER: Sure.

LEMON: OK, so your latest piece from Washington -- you had this headline, you said, Donald Trump is bad at negotiating. That is literally the antithesis to what the president ran on.

So, respond. Why did you say that and then respond to what you're going to say.

DREZNER: Well, basically, If you take a look at what Donald Trump has accomplished in terms of, you know, as president, almost all of his accomplishments are based on the notion that he's been able to get the congressional GOP in line with him, and he's been able to essentially engage in executive branch acts, whether it's judiciary appointments or the tax bill or now at least from his perspective, this incredibly cruel immigration policy.

But what he has failed to do is negotiate any kind of grand bargain with Democrats on any issue whatsoever. And he has also failed to any kind of grand bargain with almost every country in the world. You know, the one possible exception is the North Korea summit which was held in Singapore, but there was nothing binding signed there. He hasn't managed to, you know, exact new trade deals from Canada or Mexico in term of NAFTA. He hasn't somehow rewritten the trade rules elsewhere. He has managed to have a cosmetic renegotiation with the Korean trade deal. Besides that, nothing. And the reason for that is very simple. If you are someone who has to negotiate with Donald Trump, why would you ever trust him?

He can't credibly commit to anything, and essentially the way he negotiates is to insult you repeatedly, which of course makes it extremely difficult for you to make any kind of concession or any kind compromise because that hurts you within your own domestic base.

RAMPELL: I think fundamentally the problem is that Trump doesn't seem to understand repeated play, which is sort of a fundamental thing if you're in negotiating deals. And that's why, you know, he basically shafted a lot of his various business partners when he was running the Trump organization.

The small businesses that he refused to pay that despite having delivered on their services or products or what have you. He doesn't understand repeated play. He doesn't understand multilateralism, that sometimes it's not just about extracting concessions from the other side, it's about building coalition. It's not a zero-sum game.

There are mutual games from trade, right? He doesn't understand all the kind of fundamental things that are integral to deal making despite the fact that he calls himself a deal maker in chief.

LEMON: So, David, listen, we have seen the reporting that the president believes that taking on immigration is good for him. But you're reporting that senior Republicans are worried that separating kids from parents, at least you believe that, could cost them control of Congress. So, for everyone involved, this is all about optics here?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT AT WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, look, I think this is all about a difference of opinion. When you look -- when I was talking to senior Republicans yesterday about this and again today, the concern is that you have these pictures that have gone viral that are very emotional, and they're going to overshadow any argument anybody wants to have about immigration policy. It's hard to remove the president out of this equation for obvious reasons.

But if you take a look at Republicans beside the president and there are some of those on the hill that are arguing that you have to get tough at the border and you have to be willing to take steps like this, what Republicans worry about is that you cannot win the argument when you're separating children from their parents and where the House is going to be contested in suburban battleground districts where the female vote is going to be primary, you're simply not going to win the argument, and that's what Republicans are worried about.

The interesting thing, though, Don, and I think this is important here, when you look at the battle for the Senate, and I was talking to Senate Republican candidates today who tested in a lot of these red tastes where Democrats are vulnerable, they are sticking with the president because they look at the Republican electorate, they see support for the president and his immigration policies, and they're not doing what House Republicans are doing.

They're not contesting the president on this. Yes, Senate Republicans are. But the ones on the ballot in these targeted states are not. And that's a very interesting split you're seeing that is based on the playing field for the midterms.

LEMON: David, Dan, Catherine, thank you. I appreciate your time. When we come back, where in the world is Ivanka Trump? The first daughter still hasn't publicly spoken out as children are being separated from their parents on the border even though she's pledged to fight for women and children.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, one of his closest advisers and self-described advocate for women and families, has not said anything publicly about the separation of parents and children at the border. But the president says she is offering him some private advice.

So joining me now, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins and Olivia Nuzzi who is a Washington correspondent for New York Magazine. So, good to have both of you on this evening. Good evening to you. Kaitlan, you first. CNN is learning that Ivanka Trump made calls on behalf of her father to discuss the issue of child separation at the border. Which lawmakers did she call and do we know how those conversations went?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we are learning a little bit more about the role that Ivanka Trump has played in this because before all of this, you have to remember, she had been totally silent on this.

This is a senior administration official funded by taxpayer dollars that we hadn't heard from or weighed in on this issue just yet even though she is the one person in this administration that has fashioned herself an advocate of women and children which is why it raises obvious question of what she has to say about all of this.

[23:40:04] So we do know that she did meet with the president today to discuss this issue. He said that during that briefing with Republican lawmakers tonight behind closed doors. He said that she had spoken with him, showed him photos of those children being separated from their parents.

And now the White House is telling my colleague Betsy Kline (ph) that she also made calls to some lawmakers, saying that she would call whoever they needed her to call. We do know specifically that she called McCarthy and Senator Susan Collins. Those are two people she did speak with about this issue. And she told her father that she believed this is a practice that needed to come to an end.

Now, that is essentially a sentiment that the president echoed during that briefing, but he didn't say that it was going to be something he was going to end. Instead, some lawmakers have told CNN that he said -- he didn't believe there needed to be a legislative solution coming out of all of that.

But we are seeing a little bit more about the role that Ivanka played in all of this. But it does raise the question of, if this is how she feels and this is what she communicated to her father and these lawmakers, why hasn't she said anything publicly beforehand?

LEMON: Well, that's the question. We haven't heard anything from Ivanka herself. But one lawmaker confirmed her conversations with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: He mentioned that Ivanka talked to him about that and he agrees with it. The law today is the law. That's why this bill will keep the families together. It changes the timeline under which they can, you know, keep the kids. They want to keep the kids with the family through the duration of the processing time. So, this is, you know, the president is very sympathetic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, what do you make of the president offering details in that conversation? And it seems like maybe they are more worried about the children, maybe images than the children.

COLLINS: Yeah, you hit the nail right on the head right there with that last remark. That is essentially the vibe that the president gave off during that briefing, that he was talking about how damaging these images could be, these images that have been all over cable televisions and on the front page of newspaper headlines.

That is certainly something that the White House is thinking, and that seems to be the way that the president's advisers are framing it to him. Because, so far, Don, he's doubled down on this, essentially not backing down despite criticism coming even from members of his own party, these people who typically don't speak out against the president, speaking out against him on this.

And now we see the president speaking out his conversation with Ivanka happening. We have seen her do this before. You'll remember back with that whole situation with Syria over the gassing of the young people, Bashar al Assad's own people, Ivanka did go to her father with pictures of the children who had been affected by that in order to really get an emotional response out of the president.

And we've seen that happened to the president before. When he is shown pictures in situations like this, it can tend to sway him at times emotionally.

LEMON: It says a lot about the people around him that they're not actually showing him the real pictures and then Ivanka has to come in and actually show him what's going on. So Olivia, that said, why do you think Ivanka is not addressing the issue of migrant children being taken from their parents publicly? OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, for the duration of Donald Trump's political career, Ivanka Trump has tried to sort of float above the parts of his policy platform, the parts of his ideology that are uncomfortable for her. Recall, you know, before she was a White House advisor, she attempted to have a lifestyle brand. She had a fashion line. She had a website all about young working women, how to have a career when you have a family, giving out advice about this. She had a book come out last year about this subject.

She's really trying to fashion herself as somebody who is empathetic and understands the issues of women and children. And unfortunately for her, so many of the policies from this administration don't really fall in line with that.

So I think she's trying to walk a kind of difficult line here where she is part of this administration and obviously she is a Trump, but she is trying to not involve herself too much one way or the other on topics that are difficult for her.

LEMON: Olivia, Meghan McCain pointed out the -- mentioned the silence of the first daughter. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGHAN MCCAIN, COLUMNIST AND AUTHOR, DAUGHTER OF JOHN MCCAIN: Where is Ivanka in all of this? Because she's all for women and mothers and she has a White House role and a job. I'm sort of interested that her whole platform has been women and mothers, and she doesn't seem to have anything to say about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It's interesting that she says her whole platform is women and mothers. And one wonders exactly what she has done when it comes to those issues. That's why I said self-described advocate for women and children because her actions don't necessarily always line up with that.

NUZZI: Right. Kaitlan mentioned previously this is not the first time that we've seen these stories come out.

[23:45:01] People close to Ivanka, close to Jared talk about them working behind the scenes to influence the president by showing him images or making contrary arguments to what he has already decided he might want to do. And sometimes it seems to work. Sometimes it seems like it fails.

But I think it's an important point to also note that Melania Trump's statement was from her spokesperson. It's not as though the first lady has been out there talking about this issue or talking about the children and how they should be treated in this country.

And so I think there's been quite a lot of silence in the White House. And most of the statements from officials in the White House including the president have misrepresented this policy, I think, pretty consistently.

LEMON: She once had advocated -- this is quote, advocated for education and empowerment of women and girls on her Twitter profile, but it was taken down earlier this year. Do you think she's trying to play both sides to the middle here by saying oh, I'm an advocate for this but I also stand up for my dad's policies? And you really can't have it both ways, Olivia.

NUZZI: Yeah, I mean, I think it's pretty clear that she kind of built up her public image one way. She spent a lot of time and had a lot of resources for her company, for her fashion line, for her lifestyle brand, for that book. And now, of course, the Trump name means something quite distinct and it does not fall in line with that brand.

So I think she's trying to have it both ways. I also think that even with that said, she does seem to have a better sense of optics politically than the president does, which granted is not a very high bar. But I think that could explain maybe the stressing of these are the images that are in the press and showing him, you know, what the rest of us are watching and seeing kind of this slow burn coverage over the last few weeks.

LEMON: Olivia, Kaitlan, thank you. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: This week, we're telling the stories of extraordinary people and organizations that are making a difference. Our special series, "Champions for Change" is a way to highlight issues important to us.

I'm focusing on a program called "Oliver Scholars" which prepares high-achieving black and Latino students for success at the nation's best independent schools and colleges. By removing economic and social barrier, the program helps gifted, under-served students achieve their potential as the next generation of leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. Hi. You're here to be interviewed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it going? Hello. Good morning. Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm feeling a bit nervous, but I'm actually kind of excited to go through the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will I do good? Will I do bad? I don't know.

MANNY VEGA, DIRECTOR OF GUIDANCE AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, OLIVER SCHOLARS: We are looking at selecting 100 students. We had over 1,000 nominations. It's a very selective program. I'm not sure that I would have gotten in if I were applying at this point.

I'm Manny Vega. I'm the director of guidance and program development at Oliver Scholars. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The most important thing today is to have fun. We are asking question of you, but you should have questions of us.

LEMON: Anyone or any organization that gives access to children who would probably not have it, I think it's important. And to be quite honest, a lot of the kids look like me.

ARIANA JACOBS, OLIVER SCHOLARS STUDENT: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Barnard.

LEMON: Like Ariana, for example, who is going to graduate from Barnard College.

JACOBS: Wow. Ten years since my first introduction to Oliver. And this is where I am.

(LAUGHTER)

JACOBS: I'm so excited.

(LAUGHTER)

JACOBS: I went through two very rigorous summers with the program.

SUGEIDY FERREIRA, OLIVER SCHOLARS STUDENT: I had a similar experience. So my mom, she said that this program is the best shot that we've got to great futures.

LABEEBAH SUBAIR, OLIVER SCHOLARS STUDENT: They also teach you to be very well-rounded. So it's not just about academics.

VEGA: I give credit to Oliver for giving me the opportunity back when I was 12 years old for transforming my life to grow outside the boundaries of zip codes and area codes and connect with globe.

LEMON: Manny is the ultimate give backer. He actually walks the walk and talks the talk. He was so grateful that felt obligated, I mean in a good way, to go back and share and make those experiences happen for other people.

Manny, are you a 2004 graduate? Two thousand four graduate.

VEGA: I live and breathe Oliver. I grew up to the program. I have been working at Oliver for the past eight years.

JACOBS: One of the first things that's ingrained in scholars immediately is Oliver's three tenets of leadership, scholarship, and service.

SUBAIR: It's really like an essential part of like where my motivation like comes from in terms of leadership. What I'm doing now is going to work to like build like my future.

KEVIN PEPIN, OLIVER SCHOLARS STUDENT: My favorite of the three is probably leadership. I think there are so many different types of leadership. I play quarterback, and that's the leader of the team. Having gone to Oliver and having had experience in leadership kind of does prepare you in the classroom, on the field, just anywhere you go.

LEMON: I have to dig in the tunnel, in the tunnel, I had to go into the tunnel. Kevin, what was that?

PEPIN: You were walking down the stairs, and you fell, and I fell, this is a dog.

LEMON: Oh.

PEPIN: If you had gotten dog, then I would have said you fell.

LEMON: A dog is this.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: That's a dog.

Since you've been an Oliver scholar, do you feel different? Do you think you've changed?

PEPIN: I have changed. Oliver makes me proud of who I am. As a person of color, sometimes you doubt yourself every now and then. But having gone to Oliver, it makes you solidify yourself.

LEMON: I was eating and I got sick.

PEPIN: You can share. You understand the best parts of yourself.

LEMON: Do you speak Chinese? Are you fluent?

[23:55:02] FERREIRA: I'm four years into it, so --

LEMON: Give me a little.

FERREIRA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every Oliver scholar must complete at least 150 hours of community service. Sugeidy completed a total of 452 hours of community service in the U.S. and abroad.

MILTON SIPP, ASSISTANT HEAD, RIVERDALE COUNTRY SCHOOL: Sugeidy is one of my all-time favorite students. She's a leader. I have so many great stories of her, her decision to play on the football team. She is just incredibly fearless and has made her mark here.

SUBAIR: Oliver forces you to look into the future.

LEMON: Labeebah is getting the scholarship award tonight.

SUBAIR: An Oliver experience is truly a rare gem that every child deserves and would benefit from immensely.

You have like an idea like this is sort of like what I want to do with my future and these are the things that I need to do to like get help with it.

LEMON: Did you pick your college yet?

SUBAIR: Yes.

LEMON: Where are you going?

SUBAIR: I'm going to Yale.

LEMON: You're going to Yale? Oh, my gosh! Oh! Yale! Yale! She's going to Yale!

VEGA: Oliver opens those doors to provide the foundation, the mentorship, the support, the tough love knowing that the world is tough.

JACOBS: Anything can happen. Literally anything can happen. I'm at this amazing juncture right now, where this is the first time that I don't know what's coming next.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Since Oliver Scholars was founded in 1984, more than 1,000 students have gone through the program. All of them graduated high school, 99 percent continued on to college, with more than 30 percent attending ivy league schools.

We are sharing these inspirational stories all week. And you can watch our champions for change, hour-long special this Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.

That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.

[00:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)