Return to Transcripts main page


Confusion Amidst Separated Families at the Border; Hurdles Ahead for Reunification of Immigrant Families; Peter Navarro Talks Trade War with China and Europe; Debate Over Illegal Immigrant Crime Rates; Bad Week for President Trump; Legality Issues Over Immigration Laws; Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 22, 2018 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, the man, Don Lemon, is off tonight. He'll be back on Monday, he promises. That means you get an extra hour of CUOMO PRIME TIME right now.

So, just two days after the president ordered an end of the separation of families at the border, thousands of parents are still desperately scrambling to find their kids. Can you imagine being in their situation? No word on when they will ever see them again.

The administration has no system in place to resolve this crisis of its own making. So, we're going to talk to a man tonight who is desperately trying to help hundreds of parents track down their own kids.

Does the law allow for the president to do what he did at the border? That's a big question. Or does the law demand he fix what he did?

We got Cuomo's court in session tonight. We'll get after that.

And we have new tariff threats from President Trump, could widen the riff with our allies. We've got his top trade adviser here, Peter Navarro, on Friday night.

What do you say? Let's get after it some more.


CUOMO: Doesn't matter what you hear there's only one truth. Mothers and fathers are suffering unspeakable trauma when they are separated from their children. You get that here as soon as you get it here, and it is not over.

The Trump administration says it is unified approximately 500 families separated at the border. Now, I think that's a qualified term. That means those that they get in that moment.

But what about the ones that have been farmed out? The thousands more? Unclear.

Ed Lavandera is in McAllen, Texas, tracking the effort to reunite immigrant parents with their kids.

Ed, thank you for being there for us on a Friday night. What do you know?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Chris, there's so much about this story that we haven't seen. Access to the detention shelters is very limited. Access to the immigrants who have been detained is more limited.

But a few hours ago, I got a phone call from one of those immigrants inside a detention center here in Texas.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): The phone call came from inside the Port Isabel Detention Center in Texas. On the line is an undocumented immigrant who asked that we not identify her by name. She's from Honduras and was separated by her 9-year-old son 11 days ago after crossing the Rio Grande illegally.

I asked her how she's feeling.

Not good at all, she says. It's a trauma we will never forget, all of the mothers who are here as well as the kids. The truth is we never imagined this would happen.

I asked her how she was separated. They betrayed us, she said. They told us they weren't going to separate us from them, and we never imagined it was going to be for so long.

Department of Homeland Security officials have vehemently denied that immigrants have been misled in any way.

JODI GOODWIN, ATTORNEY: There are things that you can do specifically to help out with the children --

LAVANDERA: From inside her South Texas law office, Jodi Goodwin is trying to find 22 children. She represents 25 undocumented immigrants who have all been separated from their children about two weeks.

(on camera): Most of them don't know where their kids are at this point?

GOODWIN: None of them know where their kids are. I don't know where their kids are.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Goodwin says her clients have tried calling the numbers provided by the federal government gave to track with the children have sent, but that doesn't work. Only three of her clients have even spoken to their children.

GOODWIN: This is not a system where you punch in a parent's name and it pop's out the child name. It just doesn't exist.

LAVANDERA (on camera): It's highly frustrating for them?

GOODWIN: Very frustrating, very frustrating. And each time I see them, you know, they ask, you know, any news, do you have any news?

LAVANDERA: Well, there have been a number of emotional reunions between separated families, there are still many families struggling to just connect over the phone. The Department of Homeland Security says there is not a publicly accessible database to track the shelters where undocumented children are being kept. DHS says the adult detention centers have phones where the parents can call their children.

The Honduran immigrant on the phone tells me she's in the wing of a detention center with 70 other mothers who are also trying to communicate with their children. I asked her what message she would like the world to hear.


She says, President Trump, for one second, put yourself if our place. The only thing we want is for them to give us our children back.


LAVANDERA: Chris, government officials say that one of the reason this database of children's names isn't readily accessible is for their own security. Concerns about trafficking and abuse and that sort of thing.

But the fact of the matter is, Chris, tonight, there are hundreds if not several thousands of parents in detention centers, trying to figure out how to connect with their children. I spoke with the second Central American immigrant over the phone just a few hours after we spoke with that woman earlier today, he says his biggest concern is trying to figure out where his 12-year-old daughter is and wondering how she's feeling and the anxiety, the insecurity and confusion about what this separation has done to her. That's what he's most concerned about tonight -- Chris.

CUOMO: I'll tell you, Ed, you're speaking the same language as they are, but we're not feeling the same pain. We both have kids. Can you imagine if you were in their situation?

Thank you for bringing us their stories, my brother. I appreciate it.

Ed Lavandera, everybody.

All right. I want to turn now to a man whose work is trying to help reunite families, hundreds of them separated at the border. His name is Zenen Jaimes. He's with the Texas Civil Rights Project. He's also in McAllen, Texas.

Zenen, thank you for being with us.

ZENEN JAIMES, TEXAS CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT: Thank you for having me tonight.

CUOMO: All right. So, give me some nuts and bolts here. Is it true that even if reunification is allowed in a case, that the onus, the responsibility is on the detained parent to track their kid down within the system?

JAIMES: Yes, very much so. And one of the things that we know for sure is that this is a very difficult process. You heard it for yourself.

You know, since May 24th, we have been interviewing parents who have been separated from their children here at the McAllen courthouse. We have spoken to 381 of them. We cannot confirm any of our clients have been reunited with their children. And so, that's the kind of magnitude of the crisis we're facing.

And, you know, every day that we pass is another day that our clients and people that we've interviewed are not going to speak or see their children. And for us, with the volume that we have and the amount of people we need to get to, connect with legal counsel and make sure they have everything they need to go through their immigration case and then also find their children, it's going to be a long drawn-out process because the administration made itself from the very beginning.

CUOMO: So, have you ever heard of another process where the onus is on the person detained to find their kid? I mean, even if you just think strait criminal justice. If somebody is incarcerated, the system keeps track of them, the system produces them for trials, you know, for hearings and court appearances and ultimately for release, but not here.

How do you understand the point behind the policy?

JAIMES: That's exactly right. And, you know, I think we have literally two different systems here they were never meant to speak with each other. The Office of Refugee Settlement was meant to address issues with unaccompanied minors, that means, you know, children who came here without parents or without family members. And while our immigration detention system is meant to basically keep people segregated.

And what we have now is basically the parent -- children who are separated by the government's actions, and now, we keep them in two different places, and we have literally no mechanism really to make sure we're going to connect them fully.

You know, we already heard there is no database, there is no process and that's what we have right now. We're not getting answers from the federal government about what the next steps are.

CUOMO: So, you got a sample of about six weeks and you got hundreds of cases. So, empirically, you're learning some things.


CUOMO: Customs and Border Protection says all children it has in custody will be reunited as of today.

Do you believe that and does that include any of the immigrants you're working with? JAIMES: Right, and no, so that's the thing right. In their custody

means something very different.

The 2,400 people that are already been separated, they are no longer in CBP custody. They are in ICE custody and the children are in Office of Refugee Settlement custody. So, that problem is still not addressed, right? You know, it might be that a CBP will unite them moving forward, but it does not address any of the people that are already been separated and what the process will be for them.

CUOMO: So, that is the new normal, that they're not going to separate so those people get release, what happens to them, we still don't know what the systems are in place. But once you're separated --


CUOMO: -- you're still stuck.

So, Zenen, thank you very much. Keep us in the loop with your efforts. How many people, how long it's taking and what the responses are.

JAIMES: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: We will get the word out. Thank you.

All right. And why are we going to get the word out? Because you care.


Six out of 10 Americans say it's more important for the U.S. to get along with our allies than it is to fight with them and getting tariffs.

These are the issues you care about. You care about what's happening with kids. You care about what's happening with trades.

So, we have a treat for you tonight. The president hours ago made a new tariff threat against Europe. We have Peter Navarro with us tonight. On a Friday night, the president's point man on trade. He's going to make the case to you about why the president's policy is better for America, next.


CUOMO: President Trump tonight threatening to escalate a trade war with our allies in Europe by posing a 20 percent tariffs on cars imported from the E.U. Take a look at his tweet, let's put it up for you right now.

"Based on the tariffs and trade barriers long placed on the U.S. and its great companies and workers by the European Union, if these tariffs and barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20 percent tariff on all their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here." Let's get after it with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Peter, welcome back to CUOMO PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: All right. Niceties aside, we're on a trade war, brother, and you started it. Fair point?

NAVARRO: I think that President Trump was right when he said that the trade war was over decades. The biggest part of that was when China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 with the help of President Clinton and Congress.


What happened in that trade war? We lost over several 70,000 factories. We lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs. The casualties in that particular trade war, Chris, were the men and women working with their hands in states like Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina.

CUOMO: Wasn't that about innovation?

NAVARRO: Not at all. It's more about China's unfair trade practices.

My office this week released a report --


CUOMO: I have it. Thank you very much for that.

NAVARRO: If you look at the chart in that report, you'll see China uses over 50, over 50 unfair acts policies and practices to extract wealth, jobs and factories from this country. And, Chris, the big challenge we face now with China, I don't know what you want to call it, trade, whatever, is that China is targeting the crown jewels of American technology. And they're taking it by theft.


NAVARRO: They're taking it by forced transfer. They're coming over here with bagfuls of money that they earned from ill-gotten gains from their unfair trade practices --

CUOMO: Buying stuff up. The idea becomes how --


NAVARRO: You and I are going to agree on that. You and I are going to agree that that's unacceptable --

CUOMO: Yes, the question is how to stop it.

NAVARRO: Schumer and Rubio -- well --

CUOMO: And the push back is that these tariffs won't stop it. It'll be tit for tat, the consumers are going to get hurt, the labor base is going to get hurt and things aren't going to get better.

NAVARRO: So, the purpose of that report was to explain principally why a combination for starters of tariffs and investment restrictions are the way to deal with China's theft over technological crown jewels. The tariffs are designed as a defense against China's predatory practices, Chris.

If you remember what's happened over the last 15 years, China has used unfair trade practices to go after steel and aluminum industries, our machine tool industries, appliance, shoes, toys, whatever it is, they dominate those things now because they cheat.

And the tariffs are a defense mechanism to protect our high-tech companies. What are we talking about here? We're talking about things like artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles. Those three industries alone, if we lose those industries of the future --

CUOMO: Understood.

NAVARRO: -- we're going to lose our future.

CUOMO: So, the question is how do you stop it, though, Mr. Navarro? And that's why it creates this weird situation where you have Republicans and Democrats lining up to oppose the president on this, for different reasons perhaps --

NAVARRO: Not on this, Chris. Not on China. Not on China.

CUOMO: Well, but on how you're dealing with China to address the problem. They don't say the problem doesn't exist. They say your remedy will hurt many of his voters and that you're going after allies at the same time as you're going after China, in the way that may spread our power as oppose to concentrating our power and they don't get how tariffs will make it better. And they're opposing --


NAVARRO: That's why I'm here, Chris, talking with you. And again let me reiterate.

Let's take by example the solar industry. We used to own the solar industry, we invented solar. We used to have over 30 companies in solar.

And what did the Chinese do? They used a combination of unfair trade practices to put some of those bankrupt. They used industrial espionage to steal the secrets of others.

And you know what? We have tariffs on solar now, and we're seeing the resurgence of that industry.

CUOMO: But they say sanctions are the real weapon that you should use. That's what the critics say. Stick with the sanctions, you want to lift the sanctions, it sends the wrong message and you'll embolden China or you will not scare China. NAVARRO: Chris, I don't know if you know this, but the Department of

Commerce, they have a unit that does what we call anti-dumping countervailing duties. And it's basically designed to raise tariffs against countries and companies that dump stuff here into this country.

And you know what, Chris? We have hundreds and hundreds of tariffs on those grounds. All we're doing here is to protect the ground jewels of American technology with the Trump tariffs, in China's case, is to defend ourselves against --

CUOMO: But you're removing the sanctions.

NAVARRO: And remember there's over 50 of them, Chris. And I'd love to have you show that chart to your viewers sometimes, and I'll go over them one by one. I tell you hour hair will curl after that more than --

CUOMO: It is curled --

NAVARRO: That's what I said, more than it ever would.

CUOMO: But the point just comes down to what the politics are here and whether it makes sense. The basic criticism is, Trump is doing this because it sounds strong, but in practice, it won't be strong, especially when you've dovetailed going after a perceived bad guy in China, right? And I know the case can be made for that, with going after your allies at the same time, especially when they represent such a small part of the steel market. And that it didn't make sense, except in political optics and you wound up putting America in a hole.

NAVARRO: Well, look, Chris, China's trying to steal our technologies. They're trying to force the transfer when American companies go on their soil and they're trying to buy up Silicon Valley. We're trying to do something about it.


Tariffs defend our healthy companies from Chinese predations. The investment restrictions that are being considered would prevent the Chinese from coming up and buy it.

Now, if you want to move over to the question of Europe and cars and things like that, I'm happy to talk about that. I would simply point out, for example, Germany sells us three cars for every one we sell them. Why is that? Because their tariffs on cars are four times higher than ours and they have non-tariff barriers and a bad tax which basically discourages the export of cars.

Now, we run a almost $70 billion trade deficit in goods with Germany. It's 6,000 jobs per billion dollars. That means it's almost a half million more jobs in places like Bavaria than Detroit because Germany cheats. They had -- they're our ally but they cheat.

And, by the way, the interesting thing about Germany, Chris, is even as they're extracting wealth from this country, and jobs and factories, they're not paying their fair share of NATO. It's outrageous that Germany is one of the lowest per capita per GDP contributions of NATO of any of the European countries when it's the wealthiest.

So, this is the kind of thing that President Donald J. Trump has encouraged to stand up to. And sure, he's going to take heat from folks, but he's doing the right thing --

CUOMO: Well, the heat won't be the ultimate measure. The heat is what guys like have to deal with in terms of policy and what the projection of the message is. We'll see the net results soon enough and then the judgments will come in.


NAVARRO: I'm trying to give you a little light on the subject, Chris.

CUOMO: And I appreciate it.

NAVARRO: I do appreciate the time you're taking on this. And we're getting down granular on that, and I appreciate that.

CUOMO: And this is an ongoing conversation as we find new details like what will come of the NAFTA fix with Canada and Mexico. Come back on the show and explain it why it's a right move for America and we'll test it.

Thank you, sir.

NAVARRO: All right. Have a great show.

CUOMO: All right. We're going to delve into the president's attempt to change the narrative in the immigration crisis today as well. Trade matters, so does immigration, especially with the crisis we have right now. We have great debaters standing by ready to go. It's Friday night, let's get after it, next.



CUOMO: All right, it is not uncommon for President Trump to go to feelings when he doesn't like the facts. He attempted to do so again today, while standing along side, so-called, Angel families, those are the people who had loved ones killed by undocumented immigrants.

Is this what separating families at the border is about? Or is this about exploiting another group in addition to migrants, victims' families.

Let's debate this with Angela Rye, and John Fredericks.

Thank you both for joining us, both of you for the first time here on a Friday night. Appreciate it.

So, Angela Wry, did we see today? Did we see the president say let's care about these people or did we see a distraction and more ugly politics?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's definitely more of a distraction and more ugly politics.

Do we have a responsibility to grieve with these families who have lost their loved ones, at the expense of no matter who committed the crime? Absolutely. Should we show compassion to these folks? Absolutely.

Should we set policy based on these deaths or these incidents that have occurred, that is broad-sweeping, impacting families all over the world? Absolutely not.

I think that the president has a responsibility to not only be careful with his word choice but to also be accurate with data. Today, Chris, he spoke and used data that has been debunked several times including by the Website Snoops, about from Steve King talking about the number of undocumented people in this country who commit crimes, that number has been disproven over and over again.

In fact, there's data that demonstrates that when undocumented people live in communities, the crime rate doesn't go up at all. So, what president has engaged in, Chris, is the very same thing that he's done since he announced his campaign, that is to fearmonger and to play on people's fears by otherizing other people. We just can't continue to allow that to happen.

CUOMO: So, John, why is the president right to sell the American people, that you got to be tough on the border, because if not, someone is going to try to kill you?

JOHN FREDERICKS, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO HOST: Well, Chris and Angela, look, this is the other side of the tragedy here. When illegals come into the United States and they're undocumented, here are the facts, right? You can -- you're all welcome to your own opinions, but there's only one set of facts. And the GAO has said, since 2011 --

CUOMO: GAO, but go ahead.

FREDERICKS: GAO, right, the GAO, right, that's the government, doesn't matter who the president is or whose in charge.

CUOMO: Right, right.

FREDERICKS: They have said, since 2011, with undocumented immigrants, illegals, 25,000 murders, 70,000 sex crimes, 40,000 robberies.

Now, this is tragic, it has to stop. And what the president has done with the policy is he's tried to put in a deterrent to stop people from breaking the law and crossing the border illegally. That's the policy.

Catch and release, Chris, is not a policy. It's looking the other way, and it's the 40-year unholy alliance of Democrats that don't care who comes in, because they want cheap votes, and Republican, big donors from Goldman Sachs and Wall Street that don't care about U.S. workers.

And what their wages are, they simply want cheap labor so your friends in Lower Manhattan can make more money. That's been the unholy alliance that this president has exposed for us all to see.

CUOMO: All right. So, let's get Angela back in here --


FREDERICKS: -- disaster.

CUOMO: The answer of the president is, to this unholy alliance that Mr. Fredericks just lined up, is to separate these families and create a crisis on the border that he was not prepared to deal with, with his own systems and procedures.


RYE: Chris, you know, there was such an important moment in what John just said. I hope that people all over this country, all the world play it over and over again. What this is about to conservatives who are heartless is the fear that there are people who are coming here who will vote for progressive policy, for people who will treat them as human beings. That's what he said.

His first point was that Democrats are going to use this for cheap votes. That is an incredible point. The biggest things you all are worried about is figuring out other ways to suppress votes. You did it by getting a North Carolina voter ID passed, and now you're trying to do it with the border.

What's interesting here is it is still very inhumane. You tried to go down these very dangerous road earlier this week and last week calling people -- it doesn't matter that these aren't our kids. But the reality of it is, what we should be doing as global citizens, Chris, you raised a great point in the earlier hour, we're global citizens, we are human beings first, we should be decent first.

So, we need to treat people with the respect they deserve. The immigration policies that we have don't work. What would have been amazing is for Republicans to have a backbone when the Senate was trying to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, that never made it to the House. That would have been incredible because then it would have been utilizing the base and a foundation for policies that may have worked. We haven't tried that.

Instead what you've done is demonize people and come up with this idea of a faux wall that Mexico was never going to pay for. And now, you're trying to get taxpayers to pay for this wall that has never worked. There was a contract for this wall through the Department of Homeland Security, through FBINet, the wall failed, it was physical and electronic wall. It doesn't work.

So, instead, why don't we stop with the hyperbolic talking points and say, what we have isn't working. What we're doing is inhumane. How do we come together to figure out how to make a better life for people who are trying to escape a nightmare? We should not put them in another one.

CUOMO: How is the president's policy making thing better, John?

FREDERICKS: Well, look, Angela is the noted queen of hyperbole. There was not a single fact, Angela, in anything you've just said.


RYE: Hold on, Chris, hold on, Chris --

FREDERICKS: Here's the bottom line, let me -- let me answer the question so Angela doesn't again get --


CUOMO: All right. Answer the question then. Don't take shots at Angela. Just answer the question.

The president -- the president doesn't want an open border system. Obviously Angela is for open borders.

We can't have a double standard justice system in this country, Chris, because right now in your city of New York, in Brooklyn, if a single mom that doesn't have any money right now, goes into the drugstore and steals two boxes of roman noodles to feed her children, and is apprehended --

RYE: It's called ramen noodles.

CUOMO: Excuse me, and she's apprehended --


RYE: I never heard of roman noodle.

CUOMO: Keep going, John.

FREDERICKS: If she steals food for her children, she's apprehended as she leaves for shoplifting to feed her family, guess what happens? She's processed, she goes in jail, and her children are taken away.

CUOMO: But that's a crime, it's not a low-level misdemeanor for covering the border or crossing the border.

FREDERICKS: Well, but crossing the border is illegal. If they wanted asylum --

CUOMO: And you have a system set up for that, John. You have a system of prisons, and courts and judges ready to go. You guys didn't prepare for your own success in these round ups.

FREDERICKS: We expected those that wanted asylum to follow the law and to go to the port of entry.


CUOMO: And the ones who are, you're locking up anyway. That's what the cases about in the ACLU, John.


FREDERICKS: They put their kids at risk by breaking the law.

RYE: John, I know you said I'm the queen of hyperbole, well, you're the king of verbosity.

So, let me just stop you in your tracks where you are, because you also had a lot of misnomers and false -- fake news in your talking points. Here's what I'll say to you, the most important thing because I know from what I understand about you, your proponent of criminal justice reform, so I know that you believe that the woman whether she stole roman noodles or ramen noodles, she probably doesn't deserve to be in jail because she was trying to feed her family.


RYE: So, I hope that we can agree as decent human beings, that someone seeking asylum, running for their lives, fearing or just trying to find another opportunity for their kids, a safe space for their kids -- they might not go to the process that you want them to. They may miss an I -- or forget to dot an I or cross a T. They may just be running to safety.

So, if we give asylum seekers the benefit of the doubt, how do we truly solve this problem? It's not by calling me the queen of hyperbole, it's by saying, wow, she might have had a reasonable point here.

What we have going right now does not work. What we just created and tried to do -- what we tried to do was separate families so that by the time we detain families in whole, people will see that as an acceptable solution, it's not.

What we've tried isn't working. What y'all have tried isn't working. Why don't we come together, grab some type of North American convention and figure out what people need to get ahead and to really succeed instead of otherizing people.


CUOMO: I like the positive suggestion of getting something done. That's why we keep the hashtag of #doyourdamnjob going here to get Congress to start working together because the problems are real and the solutions have proven elusive.

Mr. Fredericks, Ms. Rye, thank you very much for making the case on Friday night.

RYE: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

FREDERICKS: Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Angela. CUOMO: All right. The forced separation of families created such visceral disgust that some people are calling it President Trump's Katrina moment. I don't like these kinds of hyperbolic, to borrow a word from the last debate, situations, but it wasn't the only major problem for the president this week.

Chris Cillizza brings it all -- what a handsome figure he cuts. We'll get with him next.


CUOMO: All right. Objectively, not a good week for the Trump administration. We got to agree on that.

But CNN politics editor at large Chris Cillizza says he has a list of the three biggest issues of the week. I say we test it. What do you got Cillizza?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR AT LARGE: OK, I'm going to run through this fast and I'm ready for your testing.


OK. Let's go. Let's start -- let's start with Melania Trump.

Everybody knows about the jacket. Here's what I would say -- clearly, she was sending a message but her office went on the record said she wasn't, only to have Donald Trump tweet out, well, of course, it was a message, it was anti-media. Totally off message no matter where you come down on that.

Let's go to the next one. By the way, these stories are not ranked in the order I think of importance and you'll see why.

Obviously, the audio, Chris, the video, the pictures we're getting out of these detention centers -- Donald Trump says, I can't sign an executive order, I can't make it work. So did Kirstjen Nielsen.

Oh, whoops, they signed an order because they had to, because politically and for a humanitarian perspective, too much for them to possibly deal with.

Last one, Donald Trump in the new CNN poll, 42 percent of people think he should be impeached. Why is he next to the picture of Richard Nixon? Forty-three percent of people said in March, 1974, Nixon should be impeached.

Now, remember, he was a lot closer to it than Donald Trump. By August 1974, impeachment proceedings began, Nixon resigns.

So, Trump, in a very not good place I think those are your three big takeaways from the week. I'm ready, bring it on.

CUOMO: First you lose, you put them in no certain order. If you're going to have a list, why would not in an order? How do you defend that? CILLIZZA: Yes.

CUOMO: What?

CILLIZZA: Terrible preparation by me.

CUOMO: All right.

CILLIZZA: But I wanted you to categorize them.

CUOMO: Oh, OK. Well, so let's do with the first one with the jacket, OK?


CUOMO: Some people said, you know, don't diminish the main story by talking about something so trivial. But it just didn't make sense so you had to talk about it. And it seemed that we wound up in another lying situation.

Who was lying on this one? Her spokesperson or the president?

CILLIZZA: OK, there's a zero percent chance that Melania Trump went in her closet and picked out a jacket and just said, oh, I'll just wear this one. No way. This is someone who understands the message she is sending, what she wears, what she says and what she doesn't say. I actually think the president kind of glommed on to the story and say, yes, it was an anti-media message. It was an anti-media message.

So, I think the initial spin didn't sell. Trump -- Donald that is -- made it a bigger story, Chris, by tweeting about it.

CUOMO: All right. And the executive order back and forth, the vacillations, the fugazi nature of it, I'm with you on that.

The poll, I take the other side, because I think you would get these numbers on him no matter what the question that you asked.


CUOMO: Unless you say is the economy better for you right, which may be the dispositive issue anyway. I think we don't have any deeper insight into whether or not people want him to be impeached, which is going to be important because that's a political process and it's going to come down to voters and popularity. I don't think we know anymore now than we did before it.

CILLIZZA: All right. I'm going to make two points. One which backs you up, one which you doesn't. The one that that backs you up, huge partisan divide here -- 88 percent of Republicans think he shouldn't be impeached, 81 percent of Democrats think he should be impeached.

That goes to your point, which is, no matter where you asked about Donald Trump, Democrats take the anti, Republicans take the pro. Here's what doesn't back you up -- in the past, the last four or five

presidents, a question like this has been asked before, do you think they should be impeached. It usually, this is a little scary, but it usually ranked somewhere between 25 percent and 29 percent. Trump is -- that's George W. Bush, for Barack Obama. Even for Bill Clinton, who remember, in the House was impeached.

CUOMO: Was impeached.

CILLIZZA: He was around that same number.

So, already Trump is above that. I do think you're right. It's largely a reflection of partnership. But partisans, particularly, Democratic partisans are even more convinced of the nature of this presidency, they believe he should not have won. He needs to be out.

So, we're further along that road than we have been in the past, but you're right, it's still largely a partisan experiment.

CUOMO: And it's probably the only poll Trump is happy to be below 50 percent.

CILLIZZA: Yes, you don't want a majority on that one.

CUOMO: This was a good list. Thank you very much. I appreciate on a Friday night. Be well, my friend.

CILLIZZA: Happy Friday.

CUOMO: All right. The law of the land. What does it state? Migrant children cannot be held in detention with their parents for more than 20 days and they have to held in certain kinds of conditions.

So, what happens next? Let's take up the legal ramifications in something that we're calling "Cuomo's Court "for no good reason, right back.



CUOMO: All right. The president was right, this situation on the border is about the law, but not how he meant it. There are big questions about what his executive order means and doesn't mean, they're legal hurdles. They're cases.

So, let's take it to the court. Now in session with former federal prosecutor Laura Coates, and former White House lawyer, Jim Schultz.

Thank you both for coming on a Friday night. Appreciate it. Appreciate it.

All right, Coates, we start with you. Do you believe that an analysis of the law here empowers what the president did or empowers what he did to be fixed? LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, it's kind of a

circular argument to suggest he can solve a problem that he created and get full credit of doing so, as if it was legal. The executive order that he actually signed is one that doesn't have much teeth. And the reason for that is because you got the Flores agreement, the Flores settlement that back in the day --

CUOMO: 1997.

COATES: -- 1997 and, of course, solidified even in 2014 and '15 in the Ninth Circuit, talking about the limitations on which the government can try to detain for a lengthy time over 20 days or even to try to undermine the rights that are given to people, even if they're undocumented in this country.

CUOMO: So, didn't that force him to separate the families because he can't keep kids the same way he cannot keep the adults and what's what the Flores agreement said, so he was following the law?

COATES: In part, that is justification that because the law says you cannot detain for that lengthy period of time, the only end de facto result is to do so. However, we're talking about a misdemeanor based on a zero-tolerance policy. And so, the very fact it was implemented by the policy that required the result. It does not mean that the law actually contemplated that, or the courts did.

So, remember, Chris, the Flores decision was it was based in part on the abuse of children in detention facilities.

CUOMO: Right.

COATES: Those that were housing people that were unrelated to them, routinely strip-searched and forced to sleep in bed with men and women. So, the foundational principle of it was not it's in the binary choice between either you detain indefinitely here.

CUOMO: True, fair point.


COATES: But the fact the result was this with zero-tolerance policy.

CUOMO: Fair point, and, Jim Schultz, that's a problem for you. Get rid of this legal argument which is the idea that the law made us do it, the government brushed it aside in the May 7 hearing with the ACLU. The ACLU was coming at them at the law. They looked at the judge, the government did and said, hey, we're not here to talk about the law, this is a choice of how to executive immigration policy by the government. They were basically admitting this is a choice of policy, not a mandate by law, so they admitted this is something that they wanted to do, not what they had to do.


JAMES SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: So this president got elected on securing our borders. Part of our securing our borders is a policy that does not include catch and release, when people are trying to get into this country unlawfully. Now, that has --

CUOMO: Is that a legal point or a political point?

SCHULTZ: That's a political point that's teeing up the legal point.

CUOMO: All right.

SCHULTZ: Now, you have to follow the law.

Obama time and time again tried to do everything by executive order and circumvent Congress. We keep talking about a zero-tolerance policy. Right now, we have a zero action policy by Congress as it relates to this issue.

So, yes, in 2014 they applied to unaccompanied -- to accompanied minors, a policy that was applied or an issue that was applied in 2007 to unaccompanied minors. And that causes a real problem.

There's not an easy solution here. The solution lies with Congress. We have underfunded the border patrol. We have underfunded the wall.

We have -- we need to deal with chain migration. You need to deal with the visa lottery issue, and all these other issues can be wrapped up in it very simply. If you look at the executive order, this is just buying time for Congress to act as it should.

And for the Democrats --

CUOMO: I thought it was fixing the problem that he caused, saying that he would put families back together. I thought that was the point of the executive order.

SCHULTZ: This is not -- a problem he caused. This is an issue --

CUOMO: He absolutely caused it because of a policy choice. The government admitted it in that May 7th hearing against the ACLU.

SCHULTZ: So, the issue there is, OK, are we going to make a choice of saying, OK, instead of we're going to allow people to come into this country unlawfully and release them into this country so we'll never be able to track them and get them back. What makes you think that they're ever going to back --

CUOMO: Seventy-five percent show up at trial now. One of the programs that the Trump administration canceled had results up over 90 percent.

But your point is taken and then I come back to you, Laura Coates, which is the laws are a mess, the Congress has done nothing. We cannot have an open border. You must enforce the law.

How we enforce it, you may not like but that's a political decision, not a legal thing that should be censured. Settle it at the polls, not at the court.

COATES: Well, the key here is the word lawful, because the presumption that people have when they're trying to supplement policy with actual lawful and constitutional rights is that many people who are crossing the border are doing so in a lawful manner. They are presenting themselves lawfully to an affirmative and an asylum process, trying to gain refugee status.

And it's not necessarily a matter of policy that says that because a person comes from a country in Central America or a country like Mexico, that someone transforms their lawful attempt to cross the border into one that's far more nefarious as my colleague is speaking about.

And the Constitution time and time again has referred to and has confirmed that people who are undocumented are persons. And if they are persons which --

CUOMO: They get protection under the Constitution. I cut you short because of time.

COATES: Absolutely, and they should remain that way and have dignity in the same respect --

CUOMO: I get your point, and now I bounce it back to you for final word, Jim Schultz. The argument that Coates is making is, it's not about the head, it's about the heart. And you got to think about how you enforce the law and that's something that's going to reinforce what your culture and what America is about and what you were just doing down there on the border, you're making us look bad.

Is that who we're supposed to be?

SCHULTZ: I think it's incumbent upon Congress to act here. Yes, you do have to act from the heart. But there's a way to act from the act from the heart. An executive order is not the way to solve the immigration problem in this country. Executive order, there's no way you can solve the immigration problem by executive order.

It is incumbent upon Congress, the Democrats in Congress, to come to table and negotiate a deal that has a good result for DACA, has a good result for these folks that have these problems at the border.

CUOMO: Well, the bigger political question is, was this the way to provoke Congress to act by creating this kind of crisis? We'll take that up another time.

Jim Schultz, Laura Coates, thank you very much.

COATES: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up, I'm going to take you inside the country's most dangerous minds. You'll want to see this. Grab another glass or whatever you're drinking because this preview of "Inside Evil," you're going to need something for it, next.



CUOMO: All right. The Me Too movement has put a spotlight on sexual harassment and rightly so, but we've got a long way to go. This documentary we're going to show you a preview of right now how a series of cases go unpunished. Ninety-eight plus percent of cases perpetrators never spend a day single day in prison.

This Sunday, you're going to see why and hear how women have had to risk everything to get justice.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just a peaceful community. It's a place where everybody feels safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no witnesses. There was nobody around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, do you believe in God? And when I said yes, he said, then you're going to forgive me for what I'm about to do to you.

CUOMO: The depth of the depravity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taking the knife and dragging it across the back of my neck.

CUOMO: What did you see in his face?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Evil. And then he started to rape me. I just thought I was going to die.


CUOMO: The story of what they survived is only the beginning of their fight for justice. "Inside Evil: The Anatomy of a Rape", learn about why these cases don't get made, this Sunday 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only on HLN.

All right. That's it for us tonight. Thank you for watching. We're going to get after it again Monday night, 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

Enjoy your weekend.