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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; North Korea's Kim Jong Un in China Again; Russia on a Roll After Second Straight World Cup Win. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 20, 2018 - 05:00   ET


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: 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.




[05:00:13] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quit separating the kids. You're separating the children! Mr. President, don't you have kids?


BRIGGS: That was Vargas there.

What 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 necessarily the actual policy.

More now 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.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kaitlan, thank you.

"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.": 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.

ROMANS: You know who else knows how to deal with the needs of those younger children?

BRIGGS: The parents.

ROMANS: Their parents.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer. He is a historian and professor at Princeton University, author of "The Fierce Urgency of Now."

Give us some historical perspective for what's happening here, because the United States has always been a country of laws with heart. We are also a refugee-accepting nation. We're a nation with some of the most liberal immigration policies in the world.

What is happening with these children at the border, and how does it fit in historically?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is certainly one of those moments we're going to look back to, I think, and wonder how we got there and how we ended up doing this through government policy. The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II which is another moment like this. You had in the 1920s when Congress imposed really severe restrictions

on immigrants coming into this country using all kind of nativist arguments. I think that's the kind of moment we're living through right now.

ROMANS: Legal but wrong.

ZELIZER: Legal but wrong. Absolutely.

BRIGGS: It is needless to say, a very emotional issue. But as you write on, President Trump is an electoral animal of the highest degree. You say his broader political objective is clear.

What is his political objective here?

ZELIZER: He wants to keep his coalition together. That means loyal Republicans, Trump fanatics, and disaffected Democrats and fighting against undocumented immigrants has been a core issue for him. I think he believes this is something that stirs up his support, and that has broad support in the GOP.

ROMANS: Let's listen to what the president said yesterday about this issue. You know, you heard Chuck Grassley, for example, and others say we need more immigration judges, we need to fix the process. This is what the president says --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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's why he was elected. You know, sometimes I think, you know, in this outrage over what's happening at the border, he was elected to shut down illegal immigration. Isn't that what he's doing?

ZELIZER: Well, he is. He is fulfilling a campaign promise. But I think when you see it, it looks different than when he's talking about it on the campaign trail.

ROMANS: Right.

ZELIZER: This is what it means to really crack down on undocumented immigrants. And the way he is doing is shocking, I think, to many Americans. And so, it's true that he's fulfilling his promise.

[05:05:02] And it's also true why so many people are horrified by what that actually means.

BRIGGS: A lot of people are also horrified by the way the story's being covered by some. Laura Ingraham referring to the detention centers as essentially summer camps, the other night. Then this gem from Corey Lewandowski last night.

Listen --


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: What do you make of that? Is this red meat for the Trump base? Do they want womp-womp about special needs?

ZELIZER: Well, I think it's a little red meat, but it's insight into some of the people who have surrounded President Trump and President Trump himself. It reflects the kind of callousness about what people are reacting to. That suggests they know what they're doing, this is what they want to do, and they will move forward with doing policies like this until the, quote/unquote, optics are so bad they have to pull away.

ROMANS: And some of the reporting is that the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump went to him, showed him pictures, said this can't be happening. And he's more concerned about the political optics than the policy. He also, reporting from "The New York Times" and "Washington Post," shows that -- and our own reporting, too, that inside the White House, he feels as though we, the media, the enemy, are orchestrating all of this to make him look bad.

It's unclear if the president understands that this is the heart and the soul of a nation on display here.

ZELIZER: I think he understands it. I think he knows what the policy's about. I think he's pursuing this policy with the intention of forcing Congress to send him a bill that he wants. And he's working with hard-line elements in the GOP who have grown in numbers over the decades and want to get a bill that cracks down on the border, that builds a wall, and this is leverage. This is his idea of leverage in legislative negotiations.

BRIGGS: Well, when it comes to legislation, there are two bills in the House this week. One, a conservative approach that doesn't appear to have the votes. One, a more compromised bill, backed by Paul Ryan. It's not certain it has the votes either. So, the president goes and speaks with the House Republicans, and they

walk away going, we're not sure which if anything he backs. This is his party, but is he the leader of the party in the traditional sense? Is he saying here is my bill, here's what I believe, here's what I need?

ZELIZER: No, he doesn't have that kind of leverage yet. But he still is the leader of the party. Look, he shifted the debate, even the two bills that are the compromise, bills being debated, both are pretty tough --

BRIGGS: Is he leading it legislatively is my question?

ZELIZER: No, he doesn't care about that --

BRIGGS: The rhetoric --

ZELIZER: No, he's an executive president. He likes executive action. He's not totally invested in legislation.

And I don't think that's his major concern. He likes presidential power, and he uses it ruthlessly. I think legislation is secondary to him.

ROMANS: Yes, he got the big spending bill through. After the fact, he was like, wait, this -- he didn't like the things that were in it.

We'll come back in a few minutes and talk about Jeff Sessions' big op- ed in "USA Today" this morning where he's saying that the kids are cared for so well, they're cared for better than a lot of American kids are --

BRIGGS: Yes, a billion dollars of taxpayer money, he says.

ROMANS: We'll talk about that when you come back. Julian Zelizer, thank you.

BRIGGS: Thank you, sir.

ROMANS: The U.S. is withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council. The Trump administration claims the group is biased against Israel, 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: 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.

BRIGGS: FBI agent Peter Strzok escorted out of the bureau Friday as part of an ongoing internal investigation of his conduct. He is still, though, an FBI employee. Strzok played a lead role in the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. He later worked on the Russia investigation until his disparaging text messages about President Trump and his supporters were discovered.

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 he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks. He claims the disciplinary process is tainted by political influence.

ROMANS: 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.


[04:13:58] BRIGGS: Chicago police and fire officials are investigating paramedics who covered a victim with a sheet while he was alive. Seventeen-year-old Erin Carey was shot in the head multiple times Saturday 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, died nearly a day later. One other person was killed in the shooting. At least 56 people were shot last weekend in Chicago alone, making it most violent weekend of the year so far.

ROMANS: Charleston, South Carolina, is apologizing for its role in the slave trade. The city council approving a bill on Juneteenth, the day that celebrates the abolition of slavery. Forty percent of all slaves entered the country in Charleston. The two-page resolution goes beyond a mere apology. It says the institution of slavery did not just involve physical confinement and mistreatment it 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.

[05:15:08] BRIGGS: According to the International African-American Museum, some 80 percent of African-Americans can trace their roots back to the city of Charleston.

CVS has a prescription for those long pharmacy lines. The chain rolling out home delivery service, allowing customers to place 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. ROMANS: 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. 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.

And, certainly over the last week, a lot of times for the Chinese to ruminate on all of their successes at that Kim-Trump summit. I mean, the president mentioned he would pull troops eventually out of the Korean peninsula, saying he would stop the war games with Seoul. Those are things that the Chinese wanted.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and that's why it was pretty much a uniform view of things here amongst the experts that we speak with regularly that the summit went well for China. So, it's going to be interesting what else didn't come out in public. What else can Kim Jong-un brief Xi Jinping on while he's here, to kind of give him a more full context of exactly how that summit went.

Do they talk, for example, about what North Korea's actual definition of denuclearization is, for example, and do the Chinese come back to the North Koreans and say, you know what, in -- do the Chinese, rather, come back to the North Koreans and say an exchange for us trying to lobby for easing of economic sanctions that hurt your regime, are you going to represent our interests at the negotiations moving forward?

So, really kind of a fascinating back and forth here, what looks like, what it looks like as China and North Korea getting on the same page before the negotiations continue which will be long, protracted issues over the nuclear issue. One thing we should mention, is that sometimes I think the North Korean leader gets underestimated with his ability to chart his own path. And at the same time that China and the United States have significant trade tension, is there wiggle room there for the North Korean leader to say, you know, maybe I can play both sides against each other right now because there is a little bit of tension there.

It's something to consider as we watch these developments very closely.

ROMANS: Interesting.

All right. Matt Rivers for us in Beijing -- thanks, Matt.

BRIGGS: All right. Coming up, World Cup host Russia on the brink of a surprise spot, the knockout round.

Lindsay Czarniak here with the "Bleacher Report".


[05:22:08] BRIGGS: Russia on the roll at the World Cup on the brink of advancing to the knockdown stage for the first time since the Soviet era.

ROMANS: Lindsay Czarniak has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Guys, they're celebrating so much, they're out of beer, literally.

ROMANS: Really?

CZARNIAK: That's a rue story. The host nation is becoming one of these stories at the World Cup.

Russia came in to this World Cup as the lowest ranked team at 70. So, now, host team has ranked up more goals than anyone in the tournament. Russia brightening up a rainy night in St. Petersburg, beating Egypt in convincing style 3-1, scoring three goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half. They have scored eight goals in their first two games.

Listen to the fan reaction --


CZARNIAK: So, it's not official yet, but Russia will likely advance as long as Saudi Arabia does not beat Uruguay later today. And get this, some bars in Moscow are already running out of beer. That is true according to reports.

Some locations near the Kremlin in Red Square are struggling to meet the demand, and we are only seven days into the month-long tournament. So, they better switch to vodka. Exactly, just like Christine said.

BRIGGS: Nice, Romans.

CZARNIAK: To other World Cup action, Senegal's victory came with controversy. Look at this, highlight on the circle here, he was on a sideline with an injury was waved on by the ref at the same time a polish player kicked the ball back to the goalie. It turned out to be the winning goal, right? Can you believe that?

You would get heated at that. It's been 16 years since the Lions have made it back to the World Cup. So, the party on the streets of Senegal's capital Dakar probably still going strong.


CZARNIAK: And fresh off a three-goal performance against Spain on Friday, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo will be back in action later this morning, arguably the best player in the world. He's going to be leading his side against Morocco in just a couple of hours. He's 33. So, that means Ronaldo is the oldest player ever to score a hat trick at the World Cup. Kickoff for 8:00 a.m. Eastern.

And a couple of baseball oddities this morning, both involving closers. The Cubs' Brandon Morrow had to miss yesterday's game after he hurt his back upon returning home from team travel in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The strange part was the way he hurt himself. He tweaked his back taking off his pants.

Morrow said it's frustrating any time you can't get out there, especially when you can't go because of something stupid like taking your pants off. So, that was bad, but this is worse -- San Francisco Giants' pitcher hunter Strickland was so angry after Monday's loss to the Marlins he punched a door in frustration, breaking his pitching hand.

He's going to miss around two months at most after having surgery on the hand yesterday. Strickland did post a lengthy message about his regret on Instagram, citing remorse for letting his team and his family down, as well. That more serious.

BRIGGS: Which is worse --

ROMANS: Meditation is what she head do. Not, hitting a door -- meditation.

CZARNIAK: A little Zen, head space.

BRIGGS: Head space. What's worse -- getting the injury punching the wall or the pants injury?

CZARNIAK: Well, the pants -- I mean, the wall. The pants, that's just an everyday --

BRIGGS: Torn on that, man. I mean, putting on your pants?

CZARNIAK: You can take off the pants -- you got to do that, right?

ROMANS: I don't know what the other part of the story is either. So, let's --

CZARNIAK: Let's keep it clean, people.

BRIGGS: You tried. You did it.

ROMANS: This is a breakfast show.

BRIGGS: Vodka, pants. Good "Bleacher Report."

ROMANS: I'm in the gutter, all right.

House Republicans facing more uncertainty on immigration. The president leaves lawmakers guessing on what bill he'll support. Can the dealmaker-in-chief get all sides on one page?



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.


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