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President Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Family Separation; WAPO Reports The White House Will Propose Merging Labor And Education Departments; Flash Flood Emergencies In South Texas. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 21, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:59] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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


RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: The president now wants families kept together at the border. But getting families back together after separation -- well, that's a whole nother story and there's no plan for that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, 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.

NOBLES: 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. I'm Ryan Nobles.

ROMANS: It's good to have you here. Just for one day?

NOBLES: Just for one day.

ROMANS: All right, nice to have you, anyway. I'm Christine Romans. First day of summer with Ryan Nobles and 31 minutes past the hour.

Let's begin with immigration -- the president's dramatic reversal here. Families divided at the border still face a long road to reunification, even after that reversal for President Trump.

You know, he signed the executive order ending his policy of separating children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Remember, this is the president ordering an end to a practice he started -- a practice he said, last week, he could not fix with an executive order.

Sources tell CNN the president was frustrated by contradicting messages from his administration and frustrated with Republican allies questioning his heart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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.


NOBLES: First lady Melania Trump has been working behind the scenes for the past several days encouraging her husband to change course on family separation.

The Trump executive order solves one political issue but leaves many others unsettled. It does not address the families that have already been split. Existing policies put the onus on parents to reunite with children in custody of Health and Human Services.

More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents at the border since last month.


You know, even though families will now be kept together at the border there's a legal issue. An earlier court decision says kids can't be detained longer than three weeks, so it's not clear what happens if their parents' cases take longer.

NOBLES: And 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.

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?

ZELENY: So, the president taking some familiar jabs at Democrats about immigration, clearing trying to keep this an issue that will drive his base into the midterm election campaign. But 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 dwelling 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.


ROMANS: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you, in Duluth.

[05:35:00] Hundreds of children separated from their parents at the border have been quietly taken to New York City, thousands of miles away. Mayor Bill DeBlasio says as many as 350 kids have come through one facility, alone. Most of them are still there in New York, including a 9-month-old infant.

Cameras from "NY1 NEWS" caught five girls being brought to a foster agency shortly after midnight Wednesday.


BILL DEBLASIO, MAYOR, 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? How is the federal government holding back that information from the people of this city and holding back the help that these kids could need?

This has been a traumatic process for a lot of these kids. The mental health issues alone, they make clear to us are very real, very painful.


NOBLES: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sharing that outrage in an op-ed, calling family separation "a dark stain on the history of our nation.

Saying, quote, "You can't un-abuse the more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their parents. The administration's family separation policy has already done potentially irreparable harm to those children who were used as pawns in the president's political agenda."

ROMANS: All right, let's bring back Daniel Lippman, a reporter and co-author of "Politico Playbook."

You know, this is the president reversing something that he did in the first place that he said couldn't be reversed with an executive order.

This is how "The Wall Street Journal" editorial says it. "In classic Trumpian fashion, the president took credit for reversing a policy he had previously said he couldn't reverse. But this was a problem of his own creation and zero tolerance is part of it."

Do you see anything that suggests that there is a fix here? You've got 2,342 children who are still separated from their parents with no real way forward for how to get them back together.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, CO-AUTHOR, "POLITICO PLAYBOOK": Yes, they're still trying to figure that out and you can bet that Democrats are going to be hounding the president and the Republican Party until every single one of those kids are back in their parents' custody. And so, we're going to wait until that actually happens.

I think Trump, himself -- he probably regrets doing this in April. He thought that the public would not pay attention as much or that there would not be a huge outcry. But he should remember that just because your base supports a policy does not mean that there's not going to be a huge firestorm.

Something that is as fundamental as taking a person's kids away, that makes it much more real than just deporting illegal immigrants. No one is saying that we shouldn't do any deportations but the fact that it just seemed a little heartless -- or a lot heartless to a lot of Republicans and Democrats -- that was the bridge too far.

NOBLES: And the other thing, the president and John Kelly had hoped that it was going to become a deterrent and that certainly did not happen.

But it was interesting -- you know, the big question raised yesterday was what finally put the president over the hump here to try and reverse on this because usually, it takes quite a bit to get him in that position. And the president alluded to one -- gave us at least a clue to that last night in Minnesota. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Ivanka feels very strongly, my wife feels very strongly about it, I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it. We don't like to see families separated.

At the same time, we don't want people coming into our country illegally.


NOBLES: That's obviously in the White House, not in Minnesota.

But, Daniel, I mean, we've known in the past that his daughter and his wife have a big influence on the president. It appears that they played a big role in getting him to move on this executive order.

LIPPMAN: Although Ivanka Trump did not speak out until after Trump reversed himself on this.


LIPPMAN: And so --


LIPPMAN: -- the -- you know, a lot of people were waiting for Ivanka or Jared to actually say something. Melania had put out a statement to CNN a few days ago about this.

And so -- but when Trump says anyone with a heart would not want to see this, that almost admits that their policy did not show much heart in the last couple of months. And if they had continued this there would be many more kids taken away.

And so, I think Ivanka's role here in this was important because the president, himself -- you know, when you're a president you have to go back to your family every day. You know, have dinner with them to catch up and it is -- well, it's kind of an embarrassing situation when his own wife was distancing herself from a major policy of the president's.

ROMANS: To have him reserve though -- you know, he doesn't -- he doubles down, he triples down. I mean, this is really rare to see the president back down in any way, shape or form.

But you still have a problem. You still have detention centers -- we've had them for years. You still have detention centers along the border.

You still have this issue with how to deal with a rush of asylum applications from Central -- from Central America and people entering the country illegally who are desperate. These parents are desperate and they don't want to go back where they came from.

[05:40:12] Anything in this two bills -- the moderate GOP bill and the conservative GOP bill -- what do you see happening today in the House that could help fix any of this?

LIPPMAN: So, they could very well be defeated and a lot of Democrats say the bills don't do enough to actually address the problems at their root. And so you would want a bipartisan solution where everyone is on board, but this is Washington, D.C. and so that is very unlikely.

But I think Republicans are going to be continuing to work on this if these bills get defeated because it's a huge political headache for this issue to be talked about. Remember, Republicans wanted to be talking about the tax reform bill but we have not heard about that for weeks.

ROMANS: Or the economy, right?


NOBLES: Or North Korea -- yes, yes.

And this is demonstrated in our latest poll. I mean, Republicans in this last poll when we did this a month ago had crept back up and made at least the House races appear competitive on a generic ballot. But now, Democrats are gaining steam once again.

I mean, this is something you can imagine, Daniel, that Democrats are going to use over and over again in campaign ads as we head into the fall.

LIPPMAN: Yes. Tom Steyer and also the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, they both released ads with that audiotape of those kids crying for mommy and daddy --


LIPPMAN: -- and you can bet that that audio is going to be used in a lot of ads.

And that's a reversal from before when Democrats were often on the defensive on immigration. Maybe they had part of the public with them on the topic but it's very hard to sometimes make the intellectual case for immigration in a country that's becoming more populist.

But, you know, you've seen a reversal in the roles and Democrats feel like they can go on the offensive on this topic and really try to protect these people.

ROMANS: Daniel Lippman, co-author of the "Politico Playbook." Thanks for stopping by this morning. Nice to see you.

LIPPMAN: Thanks, guys.

NOBLES: Thank you.

ROMANS: The sun was rising there in D.C. behind him.

NOBLES: Yes, looking nice.

ROMANS: All right, the first day of summer.

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


[05:49:04] NOBLES: Breaking overnight, "The Washington Post" reports the White House will propose 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.

Any consolidation would need Congressional approval, making success a longshot.

ROMANS: All right. "NEW DAY" is about 10 minutes away. John Berman joins us this morning. I like your tie. It's very good.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Is that -- wait, is that checks and stripes?

BERMAN: I have checks and stripes. I choose to bend the rules and sometimes just flat out break the rules.

NOBLES: John can pull that off. Yes, John can pull it off.

BERMAN: Listen, guys, 2,300 children -- what happens to them this morning? When do they get reunited with their parents?

There is no answer from the administration this morning. In fact, when I went to bed last night the answer was nothing. The administration and the government was going to do nothing to reunite these kids.

[05:50:02] A little bit later they tried to backtrack and that and say well, we want to. That's our intention to get it done.

But do they have a plan? We're trying to figure out this morning and right now, there is no coherent explanation. In a way, that is emblematic of this whole crisis.

You get the sense that the administration did not go into this with a clear strategy and now, look at those headlines right there. Now -- what does that say, Romans?

ROMANS: "Now Free Your Hostages." The New York "Daily News," the president's hometown tabloid, asking the president to free the hostages that the American government has -- 2,342 children.

Even the sometimes more friendly "New York Post" -- "OK, Fine, I'll Fix it."

BERMAN: Yes, yes.

ROMANS: So he's not getting any love this morning from his hometown papers.

BERMAN: Maybe this is bureaucracy but you would think that the fate of 2,300 children would not be low on the list of priorities here when you're trying to solve this. You'd think it would be one, two or three.

We've got some terrific insight into how the president's big reversal ended up happening.

Maggie Haberman joins us right at the top of the show. She's got insight and news that developed all night. She was telling me how late she was up working on this story and the answer is very. So stick around 10 minutes to see that. ROMANS: All right, John Berman, checks and balances. Checks and balances for John Berman in the fashion department. Thank you, sir.

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

What trade war? Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Netflix hitting all- time highs. Nasdaq record high close -- never been higher -- helping the broader S&P 500 brush off those concerns over tariffs between the U.S. and China. Tech companies largely immune, so far, to trade threats.

Not immune, the Dow. The average closed lower yesterday, now seven days down in a row. The Dow 30 contains big companies that do big business in China, like Boeing and Caterpillar.

Looking at stocks right now, global stocks are mixed at the moment.

The critical spring home-selling season in real estate 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. This is the big selling time.

But this year the housing market seems stuck in neutral, even with a booming overall economy. You've got tight inventory, high home prices, and rising mortgage rates. That's locking our many homebuyers, especially those first-time homebuyers, Ryan.

NOBLES: That's right.

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


[05:57:00] NOBLES: Protests in Pennsylvania after an unarmed 17- year-old was shot and killed by police. We do want to warn you the video is disturbing.

It happened in East Pittsburgh. That's when police stopped a car matching a description of the car they were shooting. When the driver was ordered out two people ran off.

A teen identified as Antwon Rose was shot by officers. He died later at the hospital.

The family lawyer says it's difficult to find justification for the shooting.

ROMANS: Flash flood emergencies ravage South Texas. More than a foot of rain falling in the last several days.

Heavy rain was reported in Victoria, Corpus Christie, and McAllen. That's where a 91-year-old woman was rescued when water rose in her home.

In the city of San Juan, cars nearly submerged. Some stranded drivers had to be rescued by kayak.

Parts of South Texas remain under flash flood watches through this afternoon. The situation should slowly start to improve, we're told, today.

NOBLES: All right, move over MoviePass. America's largest movie chain, AMC Theatres, unveiling the AMC Stubs A-List. This allows members to see up to three movies each week in any format, including IMAX and 3D for $20 a month.

MoviePass offers customers one free movie a day for $10. That's $10 a month, I should say.

And they threw some shade at AMC with this tweet saying, quote, "Heard AMC Theatres 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!"

ROMANS: And, congratulations to New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, giving birth to a baby girl. She posted a picture on Instagram saying, "Feeling very lucky to have a healthy baby girl."

The baby shares a birthday with former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who, by the way, was the first and until now, only other world leader to have a baby while in office back in 1990.

A lot of people --

NOBLES: It looks like they planned it.

ROMANS: Yes. A lot of people this morning talking about how important it is for her take her six weeks of maternity leave to be that example to men and women --

NOBLES: Exactly.

ROMANS: -- to take the time for the baby.

NOBLES: Right.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

NOBLES: And I'm Ryan Nobles. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


TRUMP: We're going to keep families together but the border is going to be just as tough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a crisis the president created and then he said he fixed it, but he didn't really fix it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Agencies have no idea what to do with these plus-2,000 kids that we already have.

ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: They're working to be always in touch with the parents to ensure placement with relatives or appropriate sponsors.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We should take a look in the mirror and are we still the United States of America?


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

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, June 21st, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me now. It's been three weeks with Alisyn and she already needs a break from me.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I didn't want to say anything but she did give me some pointers ahead of time.

BERMAN: I'm glad you're here.

All right, this is the "Starting Line."

The president blinked. Really, in a way we have not seen before, he blinked.

After first choosing to separate parents from children at the border the president reversed course, signing an executive order to keep it from happening.