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Bipartisan Effort To Pass Law Protecting Journalists; Airlines Don't Want To Fly Separated Migrant Children; Immigrant Shelter's Head Among Highest Paid Charity CEOs; Trump Administration Repeatedly Changed Its Story On Family Separations. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 21, 2018 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You pressed them on a lot of different issues.

Will you call them and say how are you going to get these 2,300 kids back with their parents?

REP. JIM JORDAN (D-OH), MEMBER, FREEDOM CAUCUS, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We're going to -- we'll find out about it, yes. Like I said, I had ICE and borders and customs in my office --

BERMAN: Yes.

JORDAN: -- last week.

What I do know though, John, is the last year and a half has been a good year for the country on so many fronts. I mean, you can't -- the lowest unemployment in 20 years, taxes are down, the economy -- lots of good things happening out there. We need to focus on that sometimes instead of some of the other things that get talked about in the news.

BERMAN: I appreciate it. And when you do contact the administration let us know what they say.

Listen, Congressman Jordan --

JORDAN: Yes.

BERMAN: -- you are sticking around. Why? Because you are trying to help me --

JORDAN: That's right.

BERMAN: -- and a lot of people -- a lot of people are going to find that hard to believe.

JORDAN: You were in the Boston Marathon and did so well and I haven't congratulated you. This is the first time I've been on with you since then -- congratulations.

BERMAN: I do appreciate that. You can do nothing for my knee but you can do something for my profession and that's what we'll talk about, next.

JORDAN: Looking forward to it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: There is a renewed bipartisan effort to enact a federal law shielding reporters from revealing confidential sources and documents. This comes after the Justice Department revealed it seized years of records from a "New York Times" reporter in an effort to track down leaks.

[07:35:02] Republican Congressman Jim Jordan is back with us now, and joining him is Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

Suffice it to say, the two of you agree probably on very little, politically. Congressman Jordan, very conservative; Congressman Raskin, very liberal. I am glad that journalism can bring you together.

Congressman Raskin, what are you trying to do here?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), VICE RANKING MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: Well, Thomas Jefferson said if you have to choose between having a government without a newspaper or a newspaper without a government, he wouldn't hesitate a moment to choose the latter.

And, you know, we -- presidents come and go -- we have different administrations -- but we really cannot survive as a republic without a free press.

And when Attorney General Sessions came to our committee I asked him the question of whether he would commit not to prosecute reporters or jail reporters demanding that they turn over confidential sources and he wouldn't commit to do it.

So I went and I found that there was legislation actually introduced by then-Congressman Mike Pence and now vice president which passed overwhelmingly in the House on a vote of 398 to 21 back in 2007. I said let's dust that off and see if we can get it through the House side, which should be easy, and then get it through the Senate side.

And I was looking for somebody who was a fighter, a brawler, who'd be willing to go into the trenches with me for the Bill of Rights and I thought about Jim Jordan. This guy fights and so he's going to get 3,200 kids reunited with their families later today.

And then, I think we're going to go and defend the First Amendment and the role of the press as the central watchdog for the American people.

BERMAN: This act, the Free Flow of Information Act, shields journalists from testifying, revealing sources, revealing documents unless disclosure is necessary to prevent terror or other possible intervening issues there.

Congressman Jordan, why is this important to you? JORDAN: Well, for the same reasons the professor just talked about but most importantly, what you just referenced in your opening comments.

Ali Watson (sic) had all her material just grabbed. This whole situation with Ali Watson, who is a reporter for "The New York Times" and Mr. Wolfe, a former staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee -- it is not supposed to work that way. That is not how the First Amendment operates.

And my concern is we've seen so many encroachments on our liberties from the government. I mean, I was concerned when the IRS went after conservatives -- Tea Party conservative groups out there and targeted them. I'm concerned about what I see at the FBI.

And so when Jamie came to me and said look, let's shield reporters from having their First Amendment freedom of the press rights violated, I said I'm all in. And then, we have this situation which developed just two weeks ago with Ms. Watson and the former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer.

So this is why this is so important. We're looking to have hearings on this. We're looking to get this passed and we're picking up co- sponsors each and every day.

BERMAN: Congressman Jordan, it's interesting because I know and I've heard you talk about leaks before. Everyone is critical of leaks. But you were mostly critical, if I understand it correctly, of the people doing the leaking.

You do not feel it's a problem for journalists to report what we learn, correct?

JORDAN: Of course, not.

The government should go wholeheartedly with everything they've got after people who are leaking information, particularly if it's classified. Let's go get those if they do. Bring the full force of the -- of the government and the law on people who do that.

But you cannot go after the reporter. This is his fun -- freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of practice your faith. This is the First Amendment for goodness sake, so you cannot do that.

But go after the person who leaked, I'm all for that. But not the reporter.

BERMAN: Now, I can all -- we can all support this embrace of journalism here and I think we don't hear it quite enough. In fact, Congressman Raskin, what we often hear from the administration is an attack on the media --

RASKIN: Yes.

BERMAN: -- talking about what he calls fake news -- the president does -- suggesting that journalism is an enemy of the people. Do you think that has muddied the waters here?

RASKIN: The media is not the enemy of the people. The media is the people's best friend and the founders of the Constitution understood that. We needed to have a free press in order to be a watchdog against government corruption and violation of the rights of the people.

So fake news has always been with us. There have always been lies and deceptions told. But the worst fake news is when it comes from the government and when it's propaganda.

And so, that means that we need a press in order to have whistleblowers so people can tell the truth. And reporters simply should not be the subject of criminal investigation and intimidation and harassment by the government.

And again, this (INAUDIBLE) pass the House with Vice President Mike Pence pushing it a decade ago. We should be able to get this through quickly in the House. And then, let's hope that our friends in the Senate do the right thing.

BERMAN: You know, journalists make mistakes. We all know that. I think that it's fair game --

JORDAN: No -- come on, John.

BERMAN: It's fair game to criticize the story, Congressman Jordan. But when you call journalists the enemy of the people, which the president has, does that go too far?

JORDAN: Look, John, this is -- this is about the First Amendment, plain and simple. This is about protecting everyone's First Amendment liberties.

[07:40:01] And as I said before, every single one of those -- freedom to practice your faith the way you want, freedom to speak out the way you want. So the president has a right to speak out. You've got a right as a journalist to cover that and cover it in the way you think is most appropriate for the American people.

That's how the system works. Let's protect that.

That's what our bill seeks to do so that you can have your sources. You don't have to reveal your sources. You can get the information you need that you think the American people should hear.

BERMAN: Congressman Raskin, it's interesting because "The Wall Street Journal's" reporting overnight that the Justice Department, in one of the investigations into Michael Cohen, has subpoenaed the "National Enquirer" to find out information about its relationship with Karen McDougal. The "Enquirer" paid Karen McDougal money to keep her story quiet about her alleged relationship with the president.

So it's interesting because you get into these murky areas here. Do you feel that the "National Enquirer," Congressman Raskin, needs to

reveal the source of the funding? Whether Michael Cohen was involved in paying them or involved in the decision-making. How do you feel about that?

RASKIN: Well, what's murky there is the question of whether or not the newspaper is being investigated for its sources as to another story or whether it's being investigated because it, itself, is potentially a suspect in a crime.

Obviously, just because you set up a newspaper doesn't mean that you've got the right to commit murder or espionage or any other manner of crime. So if a newspaper commits a crime, of course, you can investigate the people who are involved in it.

But what we're talking about here is reporters who get sources and are able to write a story, and then the government wants to come and force them to divulge what their confidential sources are.

And we're saying that's not acceptable unless there's some matter of extreme national security or terrorism, or there's imminent death being threatened because that is what the role of the press is and it is in the Constitution, as Jim says.

It's in the First Amendment. The press has identified itself explicitly as something that we're protecting.

BERMAN: Congressman Raskin, Congressman Jordan, I say this without an ounce of cynicism.

Thank you for this. Thank you for standing up for journalists. Thank you for sitting together and having a civil conversation on this.

I hope it can happen on many different issues going forward. I really do appreciate it.

JORDAN: Thank you.

RASKIN: Now we're going to go save those kids who can't find their parents.

BERMAN: Well, Congressman Jordan, after you do, call the administration and get answers. Call us back and let us know what they say on that.

JORDAN: We'll do that.

BERMAN: Twenty-three hundred kids still separated from their families.

Thanks so much, guys.

JORDAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Erica -- ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Commercial airlines taking a stand. What are they saying when it comes to some of those children and others? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:46:14] HILL: We are following breaking news.

The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we're learning, has been charged with fraud. The indictment alleges Sara Netanyahu misused nearly $100,000 to pay for hundreds of meals from gourmet restaurants.

Why is that an issue? It's in violation of rules at the prime minister's residence.

Prosecutors also say Netanyahu paid approximately $10,000 for a private chef.

CNN has reached out to the Netanyahu family and we are waiting for a comment.

An unarmed 17-year-old gunned down by police in Pittsburgh. Police stopped a vehicle in East Pittsburgh which matched the description of a car linked to a shooting. When the driver was ordered out of that car two people ran off.

One person identified as Antwon Rose was shot by officers several times. He died later at the hospital.

Protesters turning out in the rain on Wednesday to demand justice for the teenager.

BERMAN: The organizer of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia is now planning to hold a white civil rights rally this summer in front of the White House. It would take place on year after the violent protests in Charlottesville.

The National Parks Service has approved Jason Kessler's request for a civil rights rally in August but "The Washington Post" says it has not yet granted a permit for the event.

Kessler is expecting hundreds to join him to protest what he calls civil rights abuse in Charlottesville.

It's time for "CNN Money Now."

Major airlines taking a stand on the immigration crisis, asking the government to stop using their planes to fly immigrant children separated from their families.

Chief business correspondent and star of "EARLY START," Christine Romans in the Money Center with more -- Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Good morning, guys. American, United, and Frontier Airlines, they don't want to fly migrant children away from their parents.

American telling the U.S. government it has no desire to be associated with separating families or worse. They don't want to profit from it.

Frontier promised it will not knowingly transport children away from families.

The problem is none of the airlines really do know. Many have contracts with the U.S. government but they have no idea who uses those tickets.

The Department of Homeland Security says it is "unfortunate that the airlines no longer want to partner with the brave men and women of DHS to protect the traveling public."

Now, the airlines are not the only ones protesting their association with this issue. Walmart is disturbed a former Texas store is now a shelter for migrant children separated from their parents, tweeting it had no idea the building would be used for that purpose when they sold it in 2016.

Before President Trump reversed his practice of separating families at the border many companies spoke out against the policy -- Facebook, Uber, JPMorgan Chase, and Apple -- Erica.

HILL: There's so much. It's fascinating when you think about all of the layers as we're starting to hear more and more people weigh in.

BERMAN: You know, it's interesting. I think the airlines' decision was part of the pressure that led to the president caving.

I mean, he didn't like the pictures. He didn't like the statements being made. It was really interesting to see.

Romans, why couldn't they take it? Was it bad imagery for the airlines, as well?

ROMANS: It was and -- but think about it. It used to be that companies only cared about shareholder value, right, and making money. But since, really, the past 10 or 15 years, starting with same-sex marriage, you have seen companies come out more on the side of some of these social issues because their employees want it and in many cases their customers want it, too.

So whether it's climate change, whether it's on immigration, whether it's on gay marriage, companies coming out and making a stand which is something new we've seen. I call it corporate conscience or conscience capitalism, but that's what we've been seeing more and more and this story plays right into that.

HILL: There's also more a direct line, too. When you look at social media and what has changed in the last 10 years or so, customers have a voice in much a different way --

ROMANS: Right.

HILL: -- and so they had to be listened to.

BERMAN: Using money morals, also.

ROMANS: OK, I'll take that.

HILL: All right.

Still to come, who's behind the shelters housing migrants? You'll meet the CEO, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:54:12] HILL: Have you ever thought about who's behind the construction and the upkeep for many of these facilities which are housing and caring for thousands of migrant children who have been separated from their parents?

CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin went to find out. He's got more now on the charity's CEO who is under the microscope.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He calls himself el presidente. His staff once played "Hail to the Chief" and applauded when he arrived at one facility.

It may be all tongue-in-cheek humor but there's nothing funny about how much Juan Sanchez is being paid to run Southwest Key, a nonprofit housing half of all the migrant children separated from their families.

According to the latest tax filings in 2017, Sanchez' Southwest Key nonprofit paid him $1.47 million, doubling the $770,000 he made the year before. Is that a lot, even for a nonprofit of his size? Apparently, yes.

[07:55:07] DANIEL BOROCHOFF, PRESIDENT, CHARITYWATCH: The head of the American Red Cross receives a $600,000 salary. It's a multibillion-dollar charity. They control half of the blood supply -- a lead disaster provider.

You've got this charity -- the budget is like a tenth of its size. Not nearly the size of the responsibilities. So it does appear high.

GRIFFIN: CNN analyzed nonprofits as large as Southwest Key and operating under similar classification and found Sanchez paid among the very top. He operates 83 shelters or schools or detention centers across the country. The federal government contracts in the last 10 years add up to $1.5 billion.

By many accounts, Southwest Key does provide safe housing to unaccompanied minors, though they have been cited in the past for some violations.

In an interview with Austin's KLRU-TV, Sanchez said the new Trump policy left him inundated with children.

JUAN SANCHEZ, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOUTHWEST KEY, INC: We never imagined that we would have this many kids. We never imagined that we would see the kind of policies that we're seeing now.

GRIFFIN: Sanchez' defense of his high salary, the early years were a struggle.

SANCHEZ: When we started, we started with nothing. Very low salaries, no health insurance, no 401(k)s, nothing. Over time, our board have got to a point where they say we are now in a position where we can pay you a decent salary.

GRIFFIN: That history doesn't quite match with the group's own tax filings. CNN went back to 1997 where Sanchez was paid nearly $130,000. Nearly every year since, except for two gaps years showing no income, his salary has increased.

That doesn't even include his wife, listed as the vice president who in the latest filings made an additional $262,000.

Marc Owens, who for 10 years ran the IRS Department on Nonprofits, says compensation should be adequate to what Sanchez could make in the private sector performing similar work. He sees nothing comparable.

MARC OWENS, FORMER DIRECTOR, NONPROFIT DIVISION, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE: The salary is extraordinarily high for a charity -- even a large charity. It's a complex organization with a lot of for-profit and tax-exempt subsidiaries and the president is making a lot of money.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: As we said before, so many different layers as we look at this. Who's involved, what could be happening moving forward, far from easy. A solution worse for it.

BERMAN: And we're talking about children.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: We're talking about still, 2,300 children. There needs to be incredible levels of accountability --

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: -- and it's just not clear there is.

HILL: No, and that's the one question that many people want answers today that we still don't have.

We are following a lot of news on this Thursday morning, so let's get to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a disgrace. It shows a moral deficit in this administration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For better or worse, this is his comportment. This is how he campaigned.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BERMAN: All right, good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, June 21st, 8:00 in the east.

Alisyn is off. It's her birthday.

HILL: Happy birthday.

BERMAN: Erica Hill with us this morning.

The president did not like the pictures, so he caved. After deciding to separate children from their parents at the border the president reversed course and he signed this executive order.

So in his mind, he stepped in to alleviate the situation but it's a situation that he created and a situation where he claimed for days he could not do anything to fix it. That was clearly not true.

The most pressing question this morning though, is what happens to more than 2,300 children who are already separated from their parents?

One administration official, overnight, said nothing. The government would do nothing to get them back to their parents. They tried to backtrack that overnight and to suggest well, they're going to try but they didn't say how.

So, 2,300 children are waking up in limbo this morning. How could they not be a top priority here?

HILL: Also new this morning, "Time" magazine out with a stinging new cover. Take a look at this. The president being hit there for separating children from their parents at the border.

On the cover it says, "Welcome." It features the now-famous photo of that crying 2-year-old Honduran girl. The caption, "Welcome to America."

BERMAN: All right. The president's abrupt about-face here is really emblematic of the whole saga, a series of reversals and contradictions stacked up as the crisis grew deeper. Direct contradictions and things that were not true.

At one point, Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters the president's policy was not a policy at all.