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EARLY START

Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Family Separation at the Border; House to Vote on Immigration Legislation; South Korean President to Address Russian Parliament. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 21, 2018 - 04:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:30:08] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I signed an executive order. We're going to keep families together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The president now wants families kept together at the border, but getting families back together after they've been separated is another story. There's no plan for that. It won't be so easy.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: The president reportedly wants to merge the Departments of Labor and Education. It's the centerpiece of a plan rolling out today to consolidate American bureaucracy.

ROMANS: And devastating floods in south Texas. Over a foot of rain in just a few days. A 91-year-old woman among those rescued.

Welcome back to EARLY START this morning, on the first day of summer. I'm Christine Romans.

NOBLES: And I'm Ryan Nobles. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

Families divided at the border still face a long road to reunification even after a major reversal for President Trump. He signed an executive order ending the separation of children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Sources telling CNN the president was frustrated by contradicting messages from his administration and with Republican allies questioning his heart.

Still, it was an abrupt decision for a president known for leaning in to his unpopular decisions than abandoning them.

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TRUMP: So we're keeping families together and this will solve that problem. At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border. And it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.

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ROMANS: First Lady Melania Trump has been working behind the scenes for the past several days encouraging her husband to change course on separating families.

The Trump executive order solves one political issue but leaves many others unsettled. Here's a big problem here. The families that have already been split, they're still split. And existing policies put the onus on the parents to reunite with children in the custody of Health and Human Services. Parents who don't know where their children are. Children as young as 9 months old who are separated by hundreds if not thousands of miles from their parents. More than 2300 children have been separated from their parents at the border since last month.

NOBLES: And HHS is also now walking back earlier comments of placing separated kids with sponsors will proceed, meaning they would not end up back with their parents. A spokesman now says they are awaiting further guidance. And even though families will now be kept together at the border, there is still a legal issue here to deal with. An earlier court decision says that kids can't be detained longer than three weeks. So it's not clear what happens when their parents' cases take longer.

ROMANS: Just hours after signing the immigration order, President Trump was back out on the campaign trail.

We get more from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Ryan, President Trump in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday night starting the beginning of a series of campaign rallies he'll be holding really throughout the fall, leading up into the midterm election campaign.

Of course immigration front and center in Washington. The president did not dwell on immigration much at all at his rally in Duluth. This is the entirety of what he said about that executive order.

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TRUMP: Today I signed an executive order. We're going to keep families together, but the border is going to be just as tough as it's been. Democrats don't care about the impact of uncontrolled migration on your communities, your schools, your hospitals, your jobs or your safety. Democrats put illegal immigrants before they put American citizens. What the hell is going on?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: So the president taking some familiar jabs at Democrats about immigration. Clearly trying to keep this an issue that will drive his base into the midterm election campaign. The one thing not mentioned at all the Republican criticism about that family separation issue. Now it should be noted this is a -- what many believe is a short-term fix. This is likely to be challenged in a legal sense. This is likely to be revisited again and again.

The White House has constantly said it did not want a band-aid. Well, that's what many people believe it is. But in the short-term at least the president moving beyond that. But certainly not drawing on that executive order.

And Ryan, as you know, covering Congress on Capitol Hill, this remains a major issue as House Republicans are still trying to get enough votes for that immigration bill today -- Christine and Ryan.

NOBLES: Thank you, Jeff.

Hundreds of children separated from their parents at the border have been quietly taken here to New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio says as many as 350 kids have come through one facility alone. Most of them are still there, including a 9 month old infant. Cameras from New York 1 News caught five girls being brought to a foster agency. This was shortly after midnight on Wednesday. De Blasio is wondering how this all could have happened without the city government being made aware.

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MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: What is happening here? How is it possible that none of us knew there were 239 kids right here in our own city?

[04:35:03] How is the federal government holding back that information from the people of this city? And holding back the health that these kids could need? This has been a traumatic process for a lot of these kids. The mental health issues alone, they made clear to us, are very real, very painful.

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ROMANS: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sharing that outrage in an op- ed, calling family separation, "a dark stain on the history of our nation," saying, "You can't un-abuse more than 2300 children who've been separated from their parents. The administration family separation policy has already done potentially irreparable harm to those children who were used as pawns in the president's political agenda."

Protesters expressing their anger overnight at LaGuardia's -- New York's LaGuardia Airport. Out West, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had to shut down the Portland office due to protests. And here in the "New York Daily News," they're calling these "Donald Trump's Hostages." These children are hostages of the administration.

NOBLES: Yes, this problem not going away for the president any time soon.

ROMANS: No.

NOBLES: And we'll have to see if Congress is going to weigh in at all as you heard Jeff talk about the battle now moves to Capitol Hill. The executive order to end family separation comes as the House prepares to vote on actual immigration legislation later today. On the table a moderate and a conservative bill. Ahead of the votes, tensions boiling over on the House floor. Look at this. That's the House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows

who says the compromise bill is not ready for primetime. And he is going after the House Speaker Paul Ryan. This is on the House floor. Congressman Carlos Curbelo who was nearby when the feud erupted says he thinks conservative critics of the bill are trying to blow it up at the last minute.

Let's get to Capitol Hill. CNN's Phil Mattingly has more.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Ryan, if the executive order related to the zero tolerance policy served as some sort of pressure release valve for Republicans on Capitol Hill, at least on the near term, another pressing issue very quickly came to the forefront. One that the Trump administration basically delivered a full court pressure on.

That's their broader immigration bill that they're supposed to vote on that today. Here's the reality. This is a bill that addresses DACA. This is a bill that addresses the president's border wall. This a bill that also had recent language that addressed family separation. This is also a bill that has been far short of votes for the last couple of weeks.

The Trump administration went all out to try and change that shortly after they released the executive order. The president bringing down more than two dozen Republicans to try to give them the hard sell, get them off the fence to yes. Attorney General Jeff Sessions meeting with Republicans in the capitol. DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen meeting with Republicans in the capitol.

Here's where the reality is after that, after House Republican leaders again whipped the votes, I'm told they're still short. At this point, there is no clear path forward to actually getting majority of votes to pass. The real question is, are they actually going to have the votes or are they going to pull them all together -- Ryan and Christine.

NOBLES: A lot of drama on Capitol Hill today. Phil, thank you.

Actor Peter Fonda is apologizing for a tweet that targeted President Trump's youngest son Barron. The tweet, which has now been deleted, said, quote, "We should rip Barron Trump from his mother's arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles." First Lady Melania Trump's communications director calls it sick and irresponsible, adding the Secret Service has been notified.

Fonda says his tweet was highly inappropriate and vulgar. He said he went way too far in voicing his anger over the Trump administration's practice of separating families at the southern border.

ROMANS: A key U.S. ally making good on a trade threat. The EU hitting U.S. goods with a 25 percent tariffs starting tomorrow. It's targeting $3 billion worth of quintessential American products.

NOBLES: Think motorcycles, bourbon, peanut butter, cigarettes, denim. Retaliation for President Trump's recent tariffs on aluminum and steel. And many tariffs are strategic hitting states governed by senior Republicans.

President Trump has threatened to hit back when the EU retaliates specifically with tariffs on European cars. Last month, President Trump asked the Commerce Department to look into whether car imports posed a national security threat. That of course the same rationale for the metal tariffs. But German automakers want to avoid a U.S. tariff on European cars. The "Wall Street Journal" reports the U.S. ambassador to Germany has met with the heads of the big German automakers, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, and they support abolishing a 10 percent tariff for cars coming into the EU for the U.S. -- from the U.S. That's the olive branch for President Trump that he has long complained about that tariff.

And there's some breaking news overnight. "Washington Post" reports that the White House will push forward with its plan to shrink the size of the federal government by merging the Labor and Education Departments. This would be the centerpiece of a long awaited proposal to make Washington function more effectively.

The plan also calls for streamlining the way the government provides benefits for low-income Americans. That's an area conservatives have railed against for years. There's no immediate word on job cuts. The Education and Labor Departments employ a total of 19,000 workers.

[04:40:04] It's important to point out, though, that any consolidation would need congressional approval and that makes the success of this plan a long shot.

ROMANS: President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen resigning as deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee. In a letter Cohen criticized the separation of children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border saying, "While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips."

Cohen faces a criminal investigation into his business dealings, including a hush payment before the election to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

NOBLES: And as part of the Cohen probe, federal authorities have also subpoenaed the publisher of "The National Enquirer." They want records related to their $150,000 payment to a former "Playboy" model for the rights to her story alleging an affair with Donald Trump. Investigators are looking into any potential efforts by Cohen to keep damaging information about Trump during the presidential campaign under wraps.

A teenager shot and killed running from police in East Pittsburgh. What police and the family lawyer are saying.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:45:20] ROMANS: Welcome back. The number of sexual assaults on commercial flights is increasing at an alarming rate. An FBI investigation reveals cases have increased by 66 percent from 2014 to 2017. As for a cause, the FBI says it's not sure why. Investigators say the numbers are likely higher since many cases go unreported. The agency says the bulk of the incidents happen on red-eye flights where -- and where alcohol is being consumed.

NOBLES: Protests erupt in Pennsylvania after an unarmed 17-year-old is gunned down by police. We do want to warn you. This video is disturbing. This happened in East Pittsburgh. That's where police stopped the vehicle matching the description of a car linked to a shooting. When the driver was ordered out of the car, two people ran off. One person identified as Antwon Rose was shot by officers several times. He died later at the hospital. Wednesday night protesters gathered demanding justice for the slain teenager.

ROMANS: A Chicago father whose son was shot and later died is demanding answers. Eric Carey says he wants to know why his son Erin was covered with a sheet when he was still alive. Officials said paramedics treating the 17-year-old at the scene maybe thought he was dead. Witnesses alerted first responders that Erin appeared to be breathing under that sheet. His father tells reporters emergency officials botched the response.

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ERIC CAREY, FATHER OF ERIN CAREY: Watching the video and seeing what happened with my son, that could not have been proper procedure. You know, just throwing a sheet over a person. If they had seen my son lying there with a gunshot wound to his head, you don't throw a sheet over his head and walk to the next person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: A spokesperson for Chicago's fire department acknowledges something went wrong, adding, "This is not acceptable."

Some 56 shootings that weekend in Chicago.

ROMANS: Weather now, flash flood emergencies ravaged south Texas over a foot of rain falling in the last several days. Heavy rain reported in Victoria, Corpus Christi, and McAllen. That's where a 91-year-old woman had to be rescued when water rose in her home. The city of San Juan, cars nearly submerged there while some stranded drivers had to be rescued by kayaks. Parts of south Texas remains under flash flood watches through the afternoon. There is some good news, though. The situation could slowly start to improve today.

For more on the flood threat along the Gulf Coast and the Midwest, let's get to meteorologist Derek Van Dam -- Derek.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Ryan and Christine. Get excited it's the first day of summer. Officially the summer solstice beginning at 6:07 this morning. That means the longest daylight hours today and often we associate summer with warmer temperatures but that will not be the case. In New York City this weekend, today will be warm. But look at Friday and Saturday's temperatures, below average for both of those days. We expect those temperatures back up by Sunday. Certainly feeling more summer like across the deep south. Hot and

humid conditions prevailing. The good news is that the flood threat is starting to diminish across southern Texas. That low pressure system responsible for the heavy rain, starting to meander to the south and west, away from Texas. But now we focus our attention on more of a broader area of low pressure that will bring the potential for heavy rainfall from Chicago right through the mid-Atlantic states.

Look at the rainfall totals over the next two days. Potentially two to upwards of four inches of rainfall for those locations. Temperatures today with the cloud cover and rain. 68 for the windy city. 88 for Nashville. 85 for D.C. Boston a comfortable 75. Back to you.

ROMANS: All right. Thank you, Derek.

Move over MoviePass. America's largest movie chain AMC Theaters unveiling the AMC Stubs A-list. It allows members to see up to three movies each week in any format including iMax and 3D. 20 bucks a month. It also allows movie goers to book tickets in advance.

MoviePass offers -- MoviePass offers customers one free movie a day for 10 bucks a month. Throwing some shade at AMC with this tweet, saying, "Heard AMC Theaters jumped on board the movie subscription train. Twice the price for a quarter of the theater network and 60 percent fewer movies. Thanks for making us look good, AMC."

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: I like it when corporate PR starts to learn how to use social media. You know.

NOBLES: Exactly. It's becoming more and more prevalent, that's for sure.

ROMANS: All right. What trade war? Big tech stocks surging to all- time highs helping Wall Street ignore concerns over a trade battle between the U.S. and China. "CNN Money" is next.

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[04:54:25] NOBLES: South Korean President Moon Jae-in making his first state visit to Russia. He is addressing Russia's parliament in a meeting with the Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev ahead of a summit with Vladimir Putin tomorrow. North Korea of course expected to be high on the agenda.

Let's bring in CNN's Matthew Chance. He's live in Moscow with more of this athletic diplomacy, I guess you could call it, of Vladimir Putin -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. World Cup diplomacy. This football tournament that's under way now, soccer tournament, loads of countries around the world taking part. It's provided cover or a motive for some world leaders, the latest one which is President Moon of South Korea to visit Moscow and to have high level contacts with the Russian leadership.

[04:55:07] That's taking place with President Moon. He's going to meeting, as you mentioned, the Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev. They've got a whole lot to talk about. Not the least of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Russia has diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, has a short border with North Korea. It's also got good relations with South Korea and is seen as a player when any final settlement is reached -- if any final settlement is reached for a peace deal on the Korean peninsula.

Russia also has strong and growing economic links with South Korea. There was talk of building a railway link between the two countries that run a lot across North Korea and a pipeline as well to carry energy from Russia to energy-hungry South Korea. And so they've got a lot of commercial interests that have been growing, that they're going to be discussing during these visit.

And back to the World Cup, President Moon is going to be watching his own team South Korea playing Mexico on Saturday. And so again, this World Cup providing a cover for these high-level politicians around the world to pay Moscow a visit.

NOBLES: All right. Matthew Chance live in Moscow. Thank you, Matthew.

ROMANS: OK. The World Health Organization no longer classifies transgender people as mentally ill. The U.N. Health Agency announcing what it calls gender incongruence. It's been moved out of the mental disorders chapter and into the sexual health chapter. The WHO says the change is expected to reduce the stigma surrounding transgender people. The change will be presented at the World Health Assembly next year and will go into effect in 2022.

NOBLES: President Trump set to meet with Queen Elizabeth when he visits the UK next month. The U.S. ambassador to Britain confirming the July 13th trip. Details are still being worked out. The president's advance team will be over there next week to sort out logistics for the visit. It will be his first trip to Great Britain since taking office.

ROMANS: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern giving birth to a baby girl. She posted a picture on her Instagram saying, "Feeling very lucky to have a healthy baby girl." The deputy prime minister will fill in for her during her six-week maternity leave. The baby shares a birthday with former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was the first and until now the only other world leader to have a baby while in office back in 1990.

All right. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning. What trade war? What trade war? Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, Netflix, all surging to all-time highs. That sent tech heavy Nasdaq to a record close and helped the broader S&P 500 shrug off worries about a brewing trade war between the U.S. and China. Tech companies largely immune to trade threats. Not immune, the Dow. The average closed lower yesterday, now down seven trading days in a row. The Dow 30 contains companies with big business in China like Boeing and Caterpillar. Right now, at this very moment, global stocks are mixed. \

The critical spring home selling season is showing signs of a bust. Existing home sales fell in May dropping for the second month in a row. Nearly half of homes in the U.S. are sold from March to June. But this year, the housing market is stuck in neutral. Even with a booming economy. A few things going on here. Tight inventory, high home prices and rising mortgage rates are locking out many home buyers especially first-time home buyers.

Disney sweetening its offer for 20th Century FOX. Upping its bid to $71 billion for FOX's entertainment company. That's higher that its previous offer. And it beats Comcast's all cash bid of $65 billion. Last week Comcast tried to crash Disney's deal for FOX prompting a high stakes bidding war but FOX says Disney's offer is superior and the two companies entered a merger agreement. That doesn't mean it's a done deal. FOX's executive chairman Rupert Murdoch says FOX is still open to better offers.

NOBLES: So is there still time for us to get a bid in?

ROMANS: Yes. I've got about $25. How about you?

(LAUGHTER)

NOBLES: I don't know who far we'd get.

EARLY START continues rights now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I signed an executive order. We're going to keep families together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: A reversal from the president. He now wants families kept together at the border, but what about those families already torn apart? That's another story. There is no plan for this.

NOBLES: And the president reportedly wants to merge the Departments of Labor and Education. It is the centerpiece of a plan rolling out today to consolidate American bureaucracy.

ROMANS: And devastating floods in south Texas. More than a foot of rain in just a few days. A 91-year-old woman among those rescued from those rising waters.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START this Thursday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

NOBLES: And I'm --

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

NOBLES: Thank you for having me, Christine. One day only. I'm Ryan Nobles. It's Thursday, June 21st. It is the first day of summer. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Families divided at the border still face a long road to reunification even after a major reversal from President Trump. He signing an executive order ending the separation of children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Now remember this is the president ordering to end a practice that he of course implemented and then even claimed last week that he couldn't fix by executive order. Sources tells CNN the president was frustrated by contradicting messages from his administration and with Republican allies questioning his heart.