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EARLY START

Why Trump Is Digging In On Separating Families At The Border; North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un To Visit China; Trump Threatens China With New Tariffs On Another $200 Billion Worth Of Goods; Trump Orders Pentagon To Create 'Space Force.' Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 19, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Letting children and parents come across the border unbounded illegally is not a policy either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House defiant but still struggling to quiet the outcry over those kids separated from parents at the border.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: If $50 billion weren't enough, how about tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods? The escalating trade dispute sending Dow futures plummeting 400 points.

ROMANS: Breaking overnight, Kim Jong Un with another round of diplomacy in China. What's on President Xi's agenda after that Singapore summit worked out so well for the Chinese?

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 5:30 eastern time.

We'll check in in Beijing live shortly, where Kim Jong Un will make his third visit in three months, but we start with this ongoing feud over separation of children at the border.

President Trump has some explaining to do when he meets with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill today to talk about immigration. His zero tolerance policy at the southern border has already separated thousands of children from their parents.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders delaying her Monday briefing for nearly four hours so Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen could fly in from New Orleans to face reporters.

ROMANS: Once she arrived things got very contentious, Nielsen claiming there's little the president can do about the border situation. She insisted only Congress can stop the breakup of migrant families.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Rather than fixing the law, Congress is asking those of us who enforce the law to turn our backs on the law and not enforce the law. That's not an answer. The answer is to fix the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you intending for this to play out as it is playing out? Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? Are you intending to send a message?

NIELSEN: I find that offensive. No, because why would I ever create a policy that purposely does that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps it's a deterrence?

NIELSEN: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: While Nielsen claims it's not a deterrent, just last year her mentor and ex-boss former DHS secretary John Kelly told CNN that was precisely the plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER": If you get some young kids who are coming in from -- manage to sneak into the United States with their parents, are Department of Homeland Security personnel going to separate the children from their moms and dad?

JOHN KELLY, THEN-SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes, I am considering it. In order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network, I am considering exactly that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Now, despite Sec. Nielsen's denial, Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions says deterrents is a central component of the practice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS "THE INGRAHAM ANGLE": Are you trying to deter people from bringing children or minors across this dangerous journey? Is that part of what the separation is about?

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. Hopefully, people will get the message and come through the border at the port of entry and not break across the border --

INGRAHAM: Yes.

SESSIONS: -- unlawfully.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: The zero tolerance border policy has not deterred immigrants from trying to enter the country illegally, but internal DHS documents obtained by CNN show Homeland Security officials were confident it would.

ROMANS: The president appears determined to stand his ground. He and his allies spent most of Monday defending the zero tolerance policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility -- it won't be.

SHORT: We have a crisis at the border. These are difficult choices. We don't like the binary choice, Wolf. We want Congress to help us fix this problem.

INGRAHAM: Since more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: I will drop my daughter off at camp on Friday. We'll be on the lookout for cages and mattresses on the floor.

Some prominent Republican lawmakers speaking out against the zero tolerance immigration policy.

Arizona Sen. John McCain tweeting, "The administration's current family separation policy is an affront to the decency of the American people, and contrary to principles and values upon which our nation was founded. The administration has the power to rescind this policy. It should do so now."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz introducing legislation to keep immigrant families together after they cross the border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: All of us who are seeing these images of children being pulled away from moms and dads in tears, we're horrified. This has to stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Also speaking out against the practice, every living first lady -- Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Rosalyn Carter joining Melania Trump in condemning the separation of children and parents.

Mrs. Bush's op-ed in "The Washington Post" calling the separation "cruel and immoral." It was retweeted by Michelle Obama who added, "Sometimes truth transcends party."

All right. Microsoft is urging the Trump administration to change that practice. Will other companies weigh in and do the same?

Microsoft is speaking out about immigration after its working relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- or ICE -- was revealed. ICE uses Microsoft software to help with facial recognition an identification. ICE isn't a new Microsoft client but a blog post about their relationship resurfaced Monday.

[05:35:10] In a statement, Microsoft weighed in. It denounced the zero tolerance policy. It called on "Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families."

The past few years have seen the rise of so-called conscious capitalism. Companies wading into political debates, putting their support behind social issues like gay marriage, climate change, gun control, and immigration.

For a long time it was all about shareholder value. That was all that mattered --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: -- and companies did not weigh in on these thorny disputes and debates. But they are -- they have lately and Microsoft waits here.

BRIGGS: The times are a changing.

Let's bring in Philip Wegmann, commentary writer for the "Washington Examiner."

ROMANS: Good morning, Phil.

BRIGGS: Good to see you, sir.

So, the White House only had 15 months to get on the same page. You can understand why they're still not.

John Kelly, in March of 2017, made clear this was as a deterrent. And yet, still yesterday, Jeff Sessions, Kirstjen Nielsen can't agree.

Can you describe -- how would you describe the White House communication or lack thereof on what they want here and why they're doing it?

PHILIP WEGMANN, COMMENTARY WRITER, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, you know, what Nielsen condemned in the evening we saw Jeff Sessions endorse as official U.S. policy in the afternoon.

The fact of the matter is that we're learning a lot about this White House. We're learning a lot about their character. And it shows not just that they're pretty callous. It also shows that they're schizophrenic.

I mean, you have the White House saying two different things in the same day and they're not going to be able to win at this political fight, let alone solve the policy issue if they can't even get on the same page.

ROMANS: Let's talk about some of the polling -- brand new CNN polling about what Americans feel about this situation.

Sixty-seven percent disapprove of children being separated from their parents at the border -- 67 percent. Only 28 percent approve.

When you break it down by party, the Republicans -- 58 percent approve it. Democrats, only five percent. Independents, 27 percent.

Phil, when you see these images -- the little girl in the red shirt comes to mind and there are so many more like that.

You hear the sounds of these children crying -- one little girl begging, crying. She wants to -- she has the phone number for her aunt. Her mother has been taken away from her.

She has the phone number for her aunt. She is begging someone to call for her aunt. It's heartbreaking.

I know that we have to enforce laws in this country. I know that it is the parents who brought them here and sort of put them at the mercy of the American -- the American legal system.

But how can this president -- this reality show president, this visual optic media president be able to survive another couple of days of this?

WEGMANN: Well, we know that kids crying behind chain link fences are not good fodder for political ads for Republicans who support -- sensibly support getting tough on the border and being a law and order administration.

I think that what we're seeing is a lot of the Republican electorate, they're not able to disentangle the current crisis right now from some of the systemic failures that we've seen with immigration. I think it's going to change the more you see these images on cable news.

And look, I think Republican legislators are ahead of the curve on this one. That's why you see Cruz joining the call with other Democrats to fix this issue and set aside dealing with larger systemic, more difficult things until you can fix this issue.

I think going forward, Republicans are going to have to get something done because this is not something they want hanging over their heads this entire summer as they campaign.

BRIGGS: Yes. "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page said they will lose the House if they don't change this policy.

You've got Murkowski, McCain, Ted Cruz, all the former first ladies.

It's all pretty much lined up against them. We'll see what they do as both House policies on immigration actually address it -- the separation. But I want to ask you about what happened yesterday with the grilling of Inspector Gen. Horowitz from Republican senators, in particular, about bias in the FBI in the 2016 campaign, in particular with the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.

Here's Sen. John Kennedy grilling the I.G.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: Do you honestly believe that the American people are going to look at this report and look at those e- mails and not believe that there was bias and people acting on bias and that the fix was in at the FBI?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Now, that did not include my favorite question of the day which was do you believe in the tooth fairy, to the inspector general.

But, we thought this I.G. report from the DOJ would be the end. It looks like it's just the beginning of this. Where are we headed next?

WEGMANN: Well, I think that the biggest hit that came out of the I.G. report is the reputation of James Comey as the last Boy Scout in Washington, D.C. I think that we see a lot of folks are now realizing on both the left and the right that he made incredibly questionable decisions when it came to the handling the Hillary Clinton investigation.

But still, does that exonerate this president from any possible collusion with the Russians? No, it does not.

[05:40:15] Does this exonerate this present from firing James Comey? No, it doesn't because if he wanted a different FBI director he could have had a different FBI director earlier on in this administration.

So this is not going to go away. The grilling is helpful but still, we have more questions.

ROMANS: All right, Phil Wegmann.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

BRIGGS: In particular, for Peter Strzok and he will testify before Congress and that will be must-see T.V., oddly.

Thank you, Philip. Appreciate it.

WEGMANN: Thanks, guys.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

BRIGGS: OK, minutes can make the difference between life and death when you call 911, so Apple wants to help first responders find you. "CNN Money" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:45:00] BRIGGS: All right, some breaking news.

Kim Jong Un visiting China today and tomorrow. The North Korean leader expected to brief President Xi about his summit with President Trump.

Let's go live to Beijing and bring in CNN's Matt Rivers.

Matt, we expect sanctions to be on the table or discussed at least, I assume?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, what China and North Korea want, frankly, is for sanctions to be eased.

I mean, that's one of the things that China has pushed for a long time now, saying that sanctions are not the ultimate solution to this issue even if they begrudgingly signed on to the toughest rounds of sanctions ever imposed on North Korea led by the Trump administration.

And so, that's one of the reasons why people are saying that China ended up being a big winner after that summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un because China could use the fact that the summit went well -- that President Trump thinks it went well -- to maybe push for some sanctions relief eventually at the U.N. Security Council.

So you can bet that's something that both China and North Korea are on the same page with.

The other thing you can expect these two men to talk about are what happened with that conversation with President Trump and Kim Jong Un? What didn't make it into that joint statement -- that declaration that was put out after the summit was over? What does denuclearization actually mean to the North Koreans?

And, China is also going to continue to push its own strategic interests and this is just a continuation from what we've seen from this North Korean leader over the past three months, step after step, going place to place to place doing this kind of diplomatic effort and normalization of diplomatic relations with a number of different countries all over the scale, frankly, that just six months ago would have seemed absolutely unprecedented.

BRIGGS: Unthinkable -- total normalization.

Matt Rivers live for us in Beijing. Thank you, sir.

ROMANS: All right. "NEW DAY" is about 12 minutes away. Alisyn Camerota joins us now.

And, Alisyn, we're at this real leadership moment for this president and this White House.

Oh, my goodness.

BRIGGS: She's in a tenuous spot, though.

ROMANS: And for Phil, and for Phil. A real leadership moment for Phil. He'll fade there.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: But seriously, I mean, the president can't just say that well, he got handed this big problem and it should have been fixed by other presidents. This is his moment to lead and it is his administration that's chosen to do this separation at the border. I mean, don't -- I find this as a total leadership moment for this president.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you're right. This is a policy that they have decided to take up. This is their policy. This didn't exist before Jeff Sessions announced it in April. This is the Trump policy.

It's not a law. There is no law that says you must separate children from their parents at the border -- no law.

So, as you know, he is urging Congress to pass a law now to stop his own policy.

Now, we have Congressman Bob Goodlatte coming on. He has one of the immigration bills that could put a stop to this.

But obviously, the wheels of Congress churn more slowly than just picking up the phone and saying OK, no more of this policy while we work on a law. But that's not what's happening.

And their explanations for why they're doing this -- I mean, if you listen to Kirstjen Nielsen it's one thing and if you listen to Jeff Sessions it's another. If you listen to John Kelly it's another. If you listen to Sarah Sanders it's different.

So, this morning on "NEW DAY" we're going to try to get to the bottom of why they're doing this, what the real point is. Is it really deterrence, which is the first explanation --

ROMANS: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- and what they're going to in Congress about that.

So we have again, Congressman Bob Goodlatte and we have just all sorts of analysts and experts on --

BRIGGS: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- for debates and for their position.

We also have Dan Pfeiffer who was the head of communications for the Obama administration and what the Obama folks are thinking about what's happening today. BRIGGS: My understanding is that Goodlatte's proposal in the House and Paul Ryan's compromise if you will, both address this problem. And the head of the RNCC campaign committee, they are telling members that they don't have to back this policy. So it's interesting as political issue for Mr. Goodlatte.

We'll see you in just a bit. Thanks, Ali.

CAMEROTA: OK, thanks, guys.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning -- this Tuesday morning.

A big sell-off to tell you about in stocks around the world overnight as the U.S. and China inch closer to an all-out trade war. Four-month low for Asian stocks. Dow futures, right now, down more than 350 points.

The president is now threatening tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. That follows the $50 billion announced last week.

Beijing immediately retaliated to that $50 billion, outlining its own tariffs on U.S. exports. So the president is promising to impose these additional $200 billion if Beijing follows through on its retaliation.

So, retaliation on retaliation, right? That's what starts -- is a trade war and that's what sent Wall Street lower.

The Dow was down about five days in a row now. That nearly wipes out all the gains for the year. The biggest losers are U.S. companies with big business in China -- Intel, Boeing, Caterpillar, and 3M.

Amazon shareholders are concerned about government surveillance so they are asking CEO Jeff Bezos to help stop it. Nearly 20 investor groups demanding Amazon stop selling facial recognition technology called "Rekognition" with a "k" to the police. The concern, mass surveillance could violate civil rights.

The shareholder -- the shareholders join groups like the ACLU, asking Amazon to stop selling this tech.

[05:50:03] Customers include law enforcement in Florida and Oregon.

When calling 911, minutes can make the difference between life and death, so Apple wants to help first responders find you faster. Apple will introduce a feature to help 911 operators locate cell phone callers. You know, the majority of 911 calls are now made on cell phones.

Unlike a landline, the location is hard for 911 to pinpoint, so Apple's new software will send emergency responders instant, precise location information. Apple plans to push out that update later this year.

I found this story so interesting. People who want Amazon to stop selling facing recognition software because they don't want to be spied on --

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: -- but people want to make sure that 911 knows where you are.

BRIGGS: It can be used for good.

ROMANS: That's right. Tech for good.

BRIGGS: That's the IOS 12 update coming.

Ahead, the president has a lofty goal for the Pentagon, a space force. More on the president's plan to create an agency that already exists, in large part.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:55:22] BRIGGS: President Trump ordering the Pentagon to create a new Space Force. He wants it to be the sixth branch of the armed forces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The Pentagon says it will begin working on the president's request and is seeking input from multiple stakeholders.

ROMANS: It takes an act of Congress to establish a new branch of the military. Great strides have been made in international diplomacy to avoid the militarization of space. Also, the U.S. already has a space force of sorts in the form of U.S. Air Force Space Command.

BRIGGS: It could really shake up that military parade.

Controversial voting maps in Wisconsin and Maryland will stay in place for the midterms. The Supreme Court sidestepping two major cases that challenged partisan gerrymandering. The justices dodging the question of whether controversial voting maps are legal.

The unanimous ruling in the Wisconsin case is a blow to Democrats who argue the Republican-drawn maps prevented fair representation. In Maryland, Republicans challenged the district map drawn by Democrats.

The justices said a lower court did not act improperly by leaving the map in place.

Rapper XXXTentacion gunned down during an apparent robbery in Florida. Police say the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was leaving a motorsport store around 4:00 p.m. Monday when two men in a dark-colored SUV shot him. XXXTentacion rocketed to fame after his song "Look At Me!" went viral on social media. His later album premiered at number one when it was released in March.

ROMANS: Michigan's governor issuing a disaster declaration in two counties after devastating weekend floods in the Upper Peninsula. The National Weather Service says some areas were hit with six to eight inches of rain. Heavy downpours creating dozens of sinkholes and washouts, leaving water and sewer lines exposed.

In neighboring Wisconsin, one death being attributed to extreme weather after this pickup truck was found in a ditch. Governor Scott Walker declaring a state of emergency in five counties. Severe thunderstorms, damaging winds, and large hail causing downed trees and power lines, mudslides, and flash flooding.

A Florida mother arrested after leaving her 3-year-old daughter in a hot car overnight. Thirty-three-year-old Casey Keller charged with child neglect.

Police say she took her three children with her to a local liquor store in Sanford, Florida Saturday night. When she returned home she did not take her youngest child out of the car.

Sunday morning, deputies discovered the 3-year-old overheated, in and out consciousness, and rushed her to the hospital. She is, though, expected to make a full recovery.

The high temperature in Sanford Saturday was 92 degrees.

The mother was released after posting a $15,000 bond.

A Walmart shopper arrested for alleging make $1.3 million worth of fraudulent returns at 1,000 stores across the country. Officials say 23-year-old Thomas Frudaker raised suspicions when he tried to return a computer to Walmart in Yuma, Arizona. The store reported it appeared Frudaker had taken parts out of the machine before making this return.

He faces six felony charges. Bond was set at $40,000.

I think he could have actually had a full-time job that paid rather well given the effort he paid to this scheme.

ROMANS: A 1,000 Walmarts. You've got to work real hard to get --

BRIGGS: That's a lot.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us this morning -- this Tuesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SESSIONS: Hopefully, people will get the message and not break across the border unlawfully.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE AND FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are a better country than one than treats frightened children as a means to a political end.

NEILSEN: Congress is asking us to turn our backs on the law. It's not an answer.

CRUZ: All of us who are seeing these images of children in tears, we're horrified.

TRUMP: The United States will not be a migrant camp -- not on my watch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, June 19th, 6:00 here in New York.

A lot to talk about this morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The White House having an interesting time getting its story straight.

CAMEROTA: That's right -- its explanation for its policy and what it's doing.

So let's dive right in. Here's our "Starting Line."

President Trump and his administration are defiant about their policy of separating children from their parents at the border as the situation spirals into this humanitarian and political crisis.

The White House is struggling to stick to one explanation for their new policy. The nation's Homeland Security secretary claims they're not doing it as a deterrent. The attorney general says it is meant as a deterrent.

The White House falsely claims that only Congress has the power to end these family separations.