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Which Immigration Plan Does Trump Support?; U.S. Pulls Out of U.N. Human Rights Council; Breathing Teen Declared Dead; North Korea's Kim Jong Un in China Again. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 20, 2018 - 04:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

[04:30:04] But after meeting for one hour with House Republicans, lawmakers emerged confused about their marching orders. It is unclear whether the president would endorse a compromise bill or a more conservative measure.

One Republican in the room commenting: 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.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Republican-controlled House preparing to vote on two dramatically different immigration bills this week, outrage over 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. You're separating the children! Mr. President, don't you have kids?


BRIGGS: But 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.

Here's Kaitlan Collins with more 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.


ROMANS: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thank you for that.

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


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.



ROMANS: That came after Senate Republicans rejected the practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY 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.


BRIGGS: 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 that would allow families charged with illegal entry to be kept together while awaiting an expedited hearing. I truly hope that is what we do.

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

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

ROMANS: HHS officials still can't say how many separated kids have been reunited with their parents. Fortunately, some mothers and fathers who had their children taken from them at the border now have them back.

CNN's Polo Sandoval spoke to one of the families. He has more from McAllen, Texas.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Dave, amid all of this, there are some of those undocumented parents who consider themselves to be the lucky ones -- lucky because their family separation has been short-lived.

For example, we spoke to Ever Alexander Gonzalez, a 35-year-old man from El Salvador.

[04:35:04] He spent $6,000 to get to this point with his 7-year-old son here in McAllen, Texas. He told us that he crossed the border illegally, turned himself in to authorities, and was separated for a day and a half from his child.

ALEXANDER GONZALEZ, FATHER (through translator): In my country, I wasn't notified of this policy. Had I known, I would not have risked my son's life. I would have stayed in my country.

SANDOVAL: The only difference here is that Mr. Gonzalez, after a few days in custody, was released with a court date, an ankle monitor, GPS monitor, and the promise that he will return at a later time. Yes, there is that family separation that does continue to happen.

However, in some cases, in the case of Mr. Gonzalez here and many others like him, it is short-lived. For so many others, more long term. These families and these mothers and fathers who have been criminally charged waiting to see when their child will be by their side again. But Christine and Dave, short-term separation, long-term separation, these children certainly don't know the difference.


BRIGGS: All right. Polo, thanks.

Corey Lewandowski defending the administration's zero tolerance border policy. Listen to this exchange between the president's former campaign manager and Democratic strategist on Fox.


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?


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

ROMANS: The homeland security secretary has said kids and parents are being treated humanely at the border. The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he 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?

TOM HOMAN, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: I think -- I think it's the law. 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.


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

BRIGGS: The U.S. withdrawing from the 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 cress pool 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 the U.N. Human Rights Office criticized the separation of children from their parents, calling the policy unconscionable.

ROMANS: Trump officials rolling out new rules for small business health insurance plans, making it easier for them to skirt requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The so-called skinny health care plans let small businesses band together to buy health insurance.

The association plans cost less, less but they provide fewer benefits because they are regulated the same way as large employer policies, meaning they aren't subject to all of Obamacare's rules. So, they don't have to provide comprehensive health benefits like mental health care, emergency services, maternity services, and prescription drugs. That's one reason consumer groups oppose the skinny plans. Another, it could raise the cost of the Obamacare by drawing younger, healthy people from the exchanges.

But Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta defends the rule change, claiming that Obamacare makes health care coverage more expensive than small businesses than large companies.

Plans can start being offered as soon as September 1.

BRIGGS: 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 the 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 and Parscale that operatives want more attention paid to the I.G.'s findings and are frustrated about the reports of undocumented migrant children being separated from their parents.

ROMANS: FBI agent Peter Strzok escorted out of the bureau Friday as part of an ongoing internal investigation of his conduct. He is still an FBI employee.

[04:40:01] Strzok played a lead role in the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. He later worked on the Russia investigation. That is until his disparaging text messages about President Trump were discovered.

Strzok is now under increased scrutiny following that critical report by the Justice Department's inspector general. His attorney says Strzok played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks. He claims the disciplinary process is tainted by political influence.

BRIGGS: The president's longtime personal lawyer might be ready to flip. One of Michael Cohen's New York friends telling CNN, quote, 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 and is concerned about his family as he faces possible indictment.

ROMANS: All right. 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 says, next.


BRIGGS: 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. Carey was eventually taken to the hospital in critical condition and died nearly a day later.

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

ROMANS: It's awful.

All right. ICE agents are rounding up more than 140 workers during raids on meat plants in Ohio. The workers hail primarily from Guatemala and they are suspected of using stolen or fraudulent IDs to gain employment. The unannounced visits 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.

BRIGGS: 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.

ROMANS: Looks like they were taken right off the line.

All right. Charleston, South Carolina, is apologizing for its past. The city council approving a resolution apologizes for Charleston's role, key role, in the slave trade. They chose Tuesday, also known as Juneteenth, as a day that celebrates the abolition of slavery. The two-page resolution goes beyond a mere apology.

BRIGGS: 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 Museum, 40 percent of all slaves brought to the U.S. entered the country in Charleston, some 80 percent of African-Americans can trace their roots back to the city.

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

BRIGGS: CVS has a new prescription for those long pharmacy lines. The chain rolling out home delivery service, 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.

Change, it is acoming.

ROMANS: It sure is.

All right. General Electric has been booted from the Dow 30 after more than a century. The latest indignity for a company once considered a bellwether of the U.S. economy. We got that at CNNMoney, next.


[04:53:00] BRIGGS: Well, the late live night talk show hosts are not exactly letting up on the president for his policy of separating children from their parents at the border. Here's a sample.


policy. Sixty-seven percent of Americans oppose the policy. Even Melania released a statement saying she hates to see families separated, partly because it makes her jealous. Why can't I get separated from my family?

SETH MEYERS, LATE NIGHT TV HOST/COMEDIAN: Kirstjen Nielsen yesterday dismissed demands that President Trump unilaterally end the practice of separating families at the border and said, quote, Congress can fix this tomorrow. Really? Have you met Congress? They're still finalizing the Louisiana Purchase.

STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT TV HOST/COMEDIAN: Hucka-Sands didn't want to do the briefing amid questions on the child separation policy.

Sarah, you think you don't want to talk about child separation policy? Try doing it on a comedy show. Oh, you must love the Trump administration, Steve, the sadness just writes itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We even given Ted Cruz a hard time on the show, but let's give him props. He wants to solve the problem. Yes. And I think we need to solve it before Ted Cruz decides to go to these detention centers himself because these kids have been through enough.


ROMANS: Ba-dum-bump.

All right. 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 clear message about Beijing's stranglehold on diplomacy in the region.

CNN's Matt Rivers is live in Beijing.

So many moving parts on so many fronts. Matt, bring us up to speed.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, I mean, there was a question, right, when that summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un was first announced. Was China going to be left to the sidelines? Was its strategic interest not going to be represented?

And yet, this is the third time that Kim Jong-un has met with Xi Jinping in the last three months along -- in the last three months alone. So, any questions about that, they are all out the window. Kim Jong-un spending three days here, leaving, going back to Pyongyang.

But really, both sides trying to get on the same page, kind of relying on the traditional alliance that has usually been on one side of these kinds of negotiations while the U.S., Japan, and South Korea are on the other side. What do the North Koreans and the Chinese want from each other,

though? Well, the North Koreans want economic sanctions relief. That's going to come from the Chinese. The Chinese might well make that happen after the summit. They could say it's a success and try and argue for sanctions relief at the U.N. Security Council.

But in return, you can bet that the Chinese are going to go through the North Koreans and say, we want our interests represented at negotiations moving forward. And some of those interests involve U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula. They want to see those troops removed. They want to see the North Koreans argue that. So, that's what these meetings are all about.

Kim Jong-un briefing Xi Jinping on this summit, but also getting on the same page in terms of what each country wants when going up against the United States in these very high-stakes negotiations.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right. Matt Rivers, thanks for that in Beijing.

BRIGGS: Turkey 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 purchase of an anti- aircraft system from Russia and what it calls Turkey's unlawful and wrongful detention of U.S. citizen Andre Brunson who you see there.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check in CNNMoney this morning.

Wall Street falling as the U.S. and China move closer to a trade war. The Dow lost nearly 300 points, now erasing all of the gains for the year. President Trump threatening additional tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to be imposed if China retaliates against the $50 billion in tariffs promised last week.

Trade adviser Peter Navarro defending the China tariffs on a call with reporters, and Navarro arguing that the penalties are necessary to defend this country. The tariffs are punishment for China stealing U.S. tech and trade secrets. But right now, global stocks are rebounding, U.S. futures also a bit higher here.

General Electric has been booted from the Dow after more than a century. G.E. is an original member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and an original member of the Dow 30. So, its removal just the latest indignity for G.E., once considered a bellwether of the U.S. economy. Now it's dealing with a cash crisis after years of bad deals. Stock is down 25 percent this year alone.

Last year, it was the worst performing stock in the Dow. G.E. will be replaced by Walgreens in the Dow 30 on June 26th.

Starbucks closed 150 U.S. stores next year to fight slowing sales, three times as many as it typically shuts down in a year. Starbucks says sales this quarter will be lower than they predicted, and that's been the case for the past several quarters. Starbucks facing tough competition both from upscale coffee houses and chains like McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts.

Starbucks also lost tens of millions in sales when it closed for an afternoon in May for anti-bias training, prompted by the arrest of two black men at a store in Philadelphia. The stock fell 2 percent after hours.

BRIGGS: If it's going to shut down, you can probably go to the one --

ROMANS: Over there or the one over there or there. Right.

BRIGGS: All right. EARLY START continues right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He indicated that he would support --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He thinks we need to do something about it, and doing something about it we are.


BRIGGS: The president wants an immigration deal done. But a closed door meeting left house Republicans asking which bill he would actually support.

ROMANS: The U.S. pulls out of the U.N.'s Human Rights Council. Ambassador Nikki Haley says the body made a mockery of itself by protecting human rights violators.

BRIGGS: And questions for first responders in Chicago. A teenager was shot on the street, declared dead, and covered with a sheet while he was still alive. That story coming up in just a bit.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, June 20th, 5:00 a.m. exactly in the East.

Let's begin with immigration, the top story this morning. President Trump wants an immigration reform bill on his desk fast. But after meeting for one hour with House Republicans, lawmakers emerged confusing about their marching orders. It's unclear whether the president would endorse a compromise bill or a more conservative measure.

Both are supposed to be voted on this week. One Republican in the room commenting it's always nice to see the president, but this didn't move the ball. President Trump keeping it brief on the way out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: These are laws that have been broken for many years, decades. But we had a great meeting.


BRIGGS: Outrage is building over images and audio of terrified children in cages. The president greeted angrily by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus including California's Juan Vargas.




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