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Trump Offers No Preference on Immigration Bills; U.S. Pulls Out of U.N. Human Rights Council; Breathing Teen Declared Dead. Aired 4- 4:30a ET

Aired June 20, 2018 - 04:00   ET



[04:00:013] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He indicated that he would support --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to do something about it, and doing some being it we are.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president wants an immigration deal done, but a closed door meeting left House Republicans wondering which bill he would actually support.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The United States pulls out of the U.N.'s Human Rights Council. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the body made a mockery of itself by protecting human rights violators.

ROMANS: And questions for first responders in Chicago. A teenager shot on the street declared dead covered with a sheet while he was still alive.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is Wednesday, June 20th, 4:00 a.m. in the East.

We start once again with the ongoing feud over separation of children from their parents.

President Trump wants an immigration reform bill on his desk fast, but after meeting for one hour with House Republicans, lawmakers emerged confused about their marching orders. Unclear whether the president would endorse a compromise bill or a more conservative measure. One Republican in the room commenting, quote: It's always nice to see the president, but this didn't move the ball.

President Trump keeping it brief on the way out --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are laws that have been broken for many years, decades, but we had a great meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: The Republican-controlled House is preparing to vote on two dramatically different immigration bills this week. Outrage over these images -- images and audio of terrified children in cages lighting a fuse under lawmakers. The president was greeted sort of on Capitol Hill by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quit separating the kids, separating the children! Mr. President, don't you have kids?


ROMANS: One Republican in the meeting tells CNN's Dana Bash the president only talked about separating children from their families in the context of political optics, not the actual policy.

We get more from Kaitlan Collins at the White House.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPOTER: Christine and Dave, the president went to Capitol Hill. He met with House Republicans and he spoke at length for about an hour during a meeting that was supposed to be a pep rally for immigration. But members seemed to walk away confused at which bill exactly it was that the president was putting forth support for if either of those House immigration bills that the president was there talk about. The confusion was so great that the White House had to issue a statement after clarifying that the president did support both bills as they have said in the last few days.

Of course, that meeting came after the president was getting more and more criticism, some from members of even his own party over that family separation issue that is happening on the border as we've seen these images play out on the news and front pages of newspapers throughout the country. That is something that the president spoke about during that meeting with those Republican lawmakers, but it wasn't the focus of the meeting, CNN is told by several sources.

But he did go back to the family separation issue, saying he had spoken with his daughter, Ivanka Trump, about it. She had shown him the pictures and she told him that was a practice that needed to end. The president agreed but said he believed it was a legislative solution that they were looking for.

So, the president walked out of the meeting not offering a lot of momentum for either of those bills, leaving House members a little confused as to what they're going to support and leaving a lot of questions about what's going to happen with immigration -- Christine and Dave.


BRIGGS: All right. Thank you, Kaitlan.

Before that meeting with House Republicans, President Trump remained defiant, lashing out again at Democrats, claiming they want illegal immigrants to, quote, pour into and infest our country, and added his --


TRUMP: We don't want judges. We want security on the border. We don't want people to come in. We want them to come in through a legal process like everybody else that's waiting to come into our country.



BRIGGS: That came after Senate Republicans rejected the president's policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I support and all of the members of the Republican Conference support the plan that keeps families together while their immigration status is determined.


ROMANS: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the entire Republican caucus wants the practice stopped.

Senator Marco Rubio adding in a tweet: If every senator is willing to support it by unanimous consent, the Senate could pass a bill before the end of the week. It would allow families charged with illegal entry to be kept together while awaiting an expedited hearing. I truly hope that is what we do.

BRIGGS: "The Associated Press" reports that the Trump administration is sending babies separated from their parents to at least three facilities in South Texas known as tender age shelters.

[04:05:05] "The A.P." says there are plans to open a fourth tender age shelter in a Houston warehouse previously used for displaced victims of Hurricane Harvey.

ROMANS: City leaders in Houston denouncing the move, but the Department of Health and Human Services tells the "A.P.", we have specialized facilities that are devoted to providing care to children with special needs and tender age children. They're staffed by people who know how to deal with the needs, particularly of the younger children.

BRIGGS: The homeland security secretary said kids and parents are being treated humanely at the border, but the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked by Wolf Blitzer would not say if he thought the Trump policy was humane.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Is this new zero-tolerance policy that the president has supported, that the attorney general announced, is it humane?


BLITZER: It may be the law -- it's the policy, but is it humane?

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


BRIGGS: Homan went on to say, quote, if you want to blame someone for separating families, blame the parents who choose to break the law.

ROMANS: Corey Lewandowski is defending the administration's zero tolerance border policy.

Listen to this exchange between the president's former campaign manager and a Democratic strategist on Fox News.


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 MALE: I read -- did you say "womp-womp" about a child with Down Syndrome being taken from her mother?

LEWANDOWSKI: What I said is you can think you --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How dare you? How dare you? How absolutely dare you, sir?



Creative talent from 21st Century Fox are condemning the company over coverage of the border crisis. Steven Levitan, the co-creator and executive producer of "Modern Family" tweeting Tuesday he would leave the network due to the Fox News coverage. "Modern Family" is on ABC but owned by Fox TV Studio.

ROMANS: Corporate America is condemning the Trump administration's practice of separating families at the border. Top executives urging the government to end this border policy. Companies like Facebook, Uber, JPMorgan Chase, YouTube, Microsoft, Apple, the list goes on.

Apple CEO Tim Cook calls the practice inhumane and heartbreaking, telling "The Irish Times" that Apple will work with the government as a constructive voice.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jaime Dimon calls the policy cruel, says his heart goes out to those families, telling employees in an e-mail that immigration is a critical part of America's economic and cultural vitality.

Other CEOs offered ways to help. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg donated money to a nonprofit that provides legal aid to immigrant families.

Uber also donated $100,000. Uber exploring how its legal team can help migrant families. Rival Lyft is offering free rides to organizations that help such families.

This is not the first time corporate America has raised its voice against this administration like when President Trump, remember, abandoned the Paris climate deal. Many executives quit Trump's business council last year after he blamed both sides for the violence at a white supremacist rally.

BRIGGS: The U.S. pulling out of a U.N. Human Rights Council. The Trump administration claiming the group is biased against Israel and fails to hold human rights violators accountable.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley calling the council a cesspool of political bias and a protector of abusers.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: This step is not a retreat from human rights commitments. On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain parity of the hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.


BRIGGS: The U.S. withdrawal comes one day after U.N. Human Rights office criticized the separation of children from their parents, calling the policy unconscionable.

ROMANS: President Trump's 2020 campaign manager says it's time to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and terminate the special counsel's Russia investigation. Brad Parscale claims last week's report from the inspector general at the Justice Department gives the president the truth to do both. Even though the report focused on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe while containing nothing about Robert Mueller's investigation.

A source tells CNN, Parscale and other GOP operatives want more attention paid to the I.G.'s findings and they are frustrated about the headlines of undocumented migrant children being separated from their parents. BRIGGS: FBI agent Peter Strzok escorted out of the FBI Friday as part

of an ongoing internal investigation of his conduct. He is still an FBI employee, though. Strzok played a lead role in the Hillary Clinton email probe. He later worked on the Russia investigation until his disparaging text messages about President Trump were discovered.

[04:10:01] Strzok is under increased scrutiny following a critical report by the Justice Department's inspector general. His attorney says Strzok, quote, played by the rules and respected the process, and yet continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks. He claims the disciplinary process is tainted by political influence.

ROMANS: The president's longtime personal lawyer might be ready to flip. One of Michael Cohen's New York friends telling CNN he knows a lot of things about the president and is not averse to talking in the right situation. Sources confirm Cohen is planning to hire attorney Guy Petrillo, the former chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan.

"The Wall Street Journal" reports Cohen wants the president to pay his legal fees. We're told Cohen feels increasingly isolated from the president. He's concerned about his family as he faces possible indictment.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, the largest ICE raid at a U.S. work site in at least a decade. More than 140 arrests at a meat supplier in Ohio. The charges and what the company's saying next.


[04:15:08] ROMANS: Fifteen minutes past the hour.

Chicago police and fire officials are investigating the paramedics who covered a shooting victim with a sheet while he was still alive. Seventeen-year-old Erin Carey was shot in the head multiple times early Monday on the city's West Side. Police say paramedics thought he was dead only to be told by witnesses the teenager was still moving. You see him moving under the sheet there. Carey was eventually taken to a hospital in critical condition and died nearly a day later.

One other person was killed. At least 56 people were shot last weekend in Chicago, making it the most violent of the year so far.

BRIGGS: ICE agents rounding up more than 140 workers during raids on meat plants in Ohio. The workers hail primarily from Guatemala and are suspected of using stolen or fraudulent IDs to gain employment. The unannounced visit at four plants operated by Fresh Mark are being called the largest work site raid the federal government has conducted in more than a decade.

ROMANS: The arrested workers could face federal identity theft charges among other offenses. In a statement, Fresh Mark says it participates in a federal program to ensure its employees have proper documentation. BRIGGS: Charleston, South Carolina, apologizing for its role in slave

trade. The city council approving a resolution Tuesday, also known as Juneteenth, a day that celebrates the abolition of slavery. Forty percent of all slaves brought to the U.S. entered the country in Charleston. The two-page resolution goes beyond a mere apology.

ROMANS: It says the institution of slavery did not just involve physical confinement and mistreatment. It also sought to suppress, if not destroy, the cultural, religious, and social values of Africans by stripping Africans of their ancestral names and customs, humiliating and brutalizing them. According to the International African-American Museums, some 80 percent of African-Americans can trace their roots back to the city of Charleston, 80 percent.

BRIGGS: Southeast Texas slammed by heavy rain, flash flooding. The downpours forcing roads and schools to close in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, due to high water. The streets flooded in the Port Arthur area were also scenes of devastation during Hurricane Harvey. An additional three to six inches of rain is possible today.

ROMANS: CVS has a new prescription for those long pharmacy lines. The chain is rolling out home delivery, allowing customers to place their orders on an app or by calling the store. And for a $5 fee, you can have your order brought to your door the next day. CVS partnering with the U.S. postal service to make the deliveries. The move comes as competitors like Amazon explore entering the health care sector. Potential game changer for senior citizens who can't get out to get their prescriptions, too.

BRIGGS: Sure is.

OK. Ahead, who holds the cards in the battle for influence with North Korea? Kim Jong-un's latest trip to China could give some answers. We're live in Beijing, straight ahead on EARLY START.


[04:22:22] BRIGGS: Four-twenty-two a.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrapping up his third trip to China in as many months. His latest meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping happening a week after the historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore and just hours after President Trump threatened China with $200 billion in new tariffs.

The timing of Kim's trip sends a message about Beijing's stranglehold on diplomacy in the region.

Matt Rivers is live in Beijing for us, 4:22 p.m. there.

Matt, what do we expect from this latest meeting?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're expecting is North Korea and China to kind of get what they're hoping for from each other in terms of how these negotiations are going to play out moving forward, and how each side can be put in a stronger position to negotiate with the United States. So, what you're going to see from Kim Jong-un is coming here to China and say, look, can you ease up on those economic sanctions that have been so detrimental to the North Koreans?

And what China could very well do is say, look, the summit was a success, Donald Trump thinks it was a success, let's go back to the U.N. Security Council and ease up on those sanctions. But at the same time, China wants to make sure that as these negotiations continue between the United States and North Korea, that China's strategic interests are being represented. And what analysts are saying that we're speaking to here in China is they could be using that economic leverage to make sure that Pyongyang represents Chinese interests at the negotiating table.

So, what you're seeing overall as to how it pertains to the United States is China and North Korea getting on the same page. These negotiations over this nuclear program are going to be protracted, they're going to take a long time, and if China and North Korea, traditional allies, are on the same page, they believe that their collective negotiating position will be stronger when going up against the more traditional other side of the equation, the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

BRIGGS: Fascinating developments there.

Matt Rivers live for us, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Turkey is set to receive its first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters tomorrow, despite opposition from Congress. Turkey has been a longtime participant in the development of the F-35 program, but Congress attempted to block the deal because of tensions with the Turkish government. Lawmakers expressing concern over Ankara's planned purchase of anti-aircraft system from Russia and what it calls Turkey's unlawful and wrongful detention of U.S. citizen Andrew Brunson.

BRIGGS: OK. Coming up, House Republicans facing more uncertainty on immigration. The president leaves lawmakers guessing on what bill he'd actually support. Can the deal-maker in chief get all sides on one page?


BRIGGS: -- he was still alive.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. Just about 30 minutes past the hour this Wednesday morning.

Let's begin with immigration and the president. President Trump wants an immigration reform bill on his desk fast. But after meeting for one hour with House Republicans, lawmakers emerged confused about their marching orders.