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Confusion Persists After Trump Reversal on Family Separation; Melania Trump Makes Surprise Visit to Border Facility; House GOP Pushes Back Key Vote on Immigration Bill; Trump-Putin Meeting in the Works; Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 22, 2018 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:14] MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN ANCHOR: How can parents find kids taken at the border? Is the zero tolerance policy on hold? Many questions and little guidance from the Trump administration.

And Melania Trump's trip to the border in focus partly because of her wardrobe.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And tributes pouring in for legendary conservative commentator and columnist Charles Krauthammer, and whose words shape American politics for generations has died.

KOSINSKI: And also the "Roseanne" reboot gets a reboot. ABC will keep the show alive without the namesake comedian fired after her racist tweets.

Good morning. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Michelle Kosinski.

BRIGGS: Good to see you, Michelle.

KOSINSKI: Hey, thanks.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's Friday, June 22nd. It's 4:00 a.m. in the East.

Jacket statements. You'll have to use your imaginations for what they say on the backs.

KOSINSKI: Wait until you see what's on the back of my jacket.

BRIGGS: We'll tell you later perhaps. But we start with confusion and contradiction engulfing the White House and federal agencies following President Trump's order ending family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. Officials across the government trying and failing to provide clear guidance on implementation.

So what will happen to the more than 2300 children separated from their parents since early May now in shelters all over the country. Well, no one seems to know for sure right now.

KOSINSKI: The president insists zero tolerance is still in place, but e-mail traffic obtained by CNN shows the policy has effectively been curtailed for now. ICE has instructed field offices to stop referring parents for prosecution after they crossed illegally with their children.

BRIGGS: The Pentagon being asked to prepare to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied children on U.S. military bases. The Justice Department also asking a judge to modify a rule that limits children to 20 days in detention. It's an effort to keep kids with parents who may be detained longer. But it's certainly an uphill climb for the DOJ.

KOSINSKI: So the story keeps playing out in ways the White House would rather avoid. These are covers for new editions of "TIME" magazine and the "New Yorker." But the president remains defiant. He will hold an event on White House grounds today with families who lost relatives to violence committed by undocumented immigrants.

We get more from CNN's Boris Sanchez.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Michelle, the Trump administration still straining to answer even basic questions about how they plan to implement the president's executive order signed on Wednesday. There are still a number of questions out there. Namely how the administration plans to reunify some 2300 migrant children who were separated from their parents.

It is not going to be an easy task. They're scattered across the country in a number of different facilities. And their parents are currently being detained. The president himself sent some mixed signals on Thursday. Even suggesting that his executive order may not be that effective.

Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Democrat and court ordered loopholes prevent family detention and lead to family separation. No matter how you cut it. I sign a very good executive order yesterday but that's only limited. No matter how you cut it, it leads to separation ultimately.


SANCHEZ: It appears that the administration is still trying to figure out this crisis on the fly without a clear directive or clear strategy, with so many children's lives and their well-being still in the balance -- Dave and Michelle.

BRIGGS: All right, Boris, thank you.

Some families are managing to reunify despite the challenges. Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia was reunited with her son at Baltimore Washington airport this morning. The Guatemalan immigrant's 7-year- old boy Darwin taken from her at an Arizona facility back in May. She sued top Trump administration officials accusing them of violating her rights when Darwin was taken away screaming and crying. Lawyers announced in court Thursday an agreement had been reached just minutes before a hearing in the case was set to start.

KOSINSKI: So much emotion there.

First Lady Melania Trump taking a surprise trip to the southern border to tour an immigrant children's shelter in Texas. We'll have more on the substance of the trip, of course, but Mrs. Trump is getting lots of attention for her wardrobe choice. As the first lady boarded her plane from Joint Base Andrews, she wore an olive green jacket, but the back of that jacket read, "I really don't care, do you?"

BRIGGS: She was not wearing the jacket when she landed in McAllen, Texas, but after returning home and getting off the plane at the Andrews the jacket was back on. The first lady's spokesperson insists there was no hidden meaning, later tweeting, "If the media would spend and time and energy on her actions and efforts to help kids, rather than speculating focus on her wardrobe, we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children."

[04:05:06] KOSINSKI: OK. As for the trip itself, Melania Trump says, "Spending time with them, the children at the border, reinforces the fact that these kids are in this situation as a direct result of adult actions."

We get more right now from CNN's Kate Bennett.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Dave and Michelle. The First Lady Melania Trump making a surprise, unannounced trip to the border in Texas, visiting a facility that cares for kids who've been separated from their families. This was a decision the first lady made on her own about two days ago.

Her communications director told us, telling the president and her staff that she wanted to go see what was happening there in person. She was affected by the images she was seeing on television, by the audio. She has been very engaged in this process even before the president signed that executive order.

Now she did head to the facility where she -- a facility that shelters kids between the ages of 12 and 17. There were 55 children at this particular location. A percentage of whom had been separated from parents at the border.


MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We all know they are having -- they're without their families. And I want to thank you for your hard work, your compassion, and your kindness you're giving them in this difficult time. And I also would like to ask you how I can help to these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible.


BENNETT: Certainly she asked a lot of questions about how they were cared for, what the process is, whether they speak on the phone to their families, what they're allowed to do. Afterward she took a tour spending time with the kids. We weren't allowed to take cameras into this portion of the first

lady's visit. However, we watched as she asked questions, was friendly, where are you from, what do you like to do, have you made friends. Back to you.

BRIGGS: OK, Kate Bennett, thanks.

GOP leaders looking for a legislative fix to immigration will keep trying a few more days. Hours after a more conservative bill was voted down in the House, Republicans decided to postpone a vote on a compromise immigration measure.

Now to be clear it is relevant the votes are actually happening given threats of backlash from the base or fractures that could implode the Republican conference. But some hurdles do remain to getting anything passed.

The latest from CNN's Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michelle and Dave, the House Republican effort to overhaul the immigration system, one that was really teetering on the brink of failure, will live for at least another couple of days. After a lengthy behind-closed-doors briefing on the issue, members who've been working on a second immigration bill -- the first already failed on Thursday afternoon -- decided to keep working.

They're going to focus on two issues, specifically they said E-verify and agriculture farming visas. Those are the ones they're going to try and work out over the course of the next couple of days. The goal being that if you solve those two issues, perhaps you can get the votes needed to actually pass a broad overhaul.

Now a couple of points here that are important to remember. Whatever the House Republicans do, even if they do get the votes to pass, doesn't technically have a future. And Senate Democrats have made clear they won't support anything the House is working on. That said, Republicans are willing to keep giving this a shot, trying to get past where they currently are which is nothing.

Will they actually get there? Look, I've been talking to aides since this announcement was actually made and the reality is nobody is sure and they understand it's a long path. That said, leaders have decided to give their members a few more days to try and figure something out, a few more days to get a broad immigration overhaul one supported by the president across the finish line -- guys.

BRIGGS: All right. Capitol Phil, thanks.

"Washington Post" reports "National Enquirer" executives let President Trump's attorney Michael Cohen review articles and photos featuring Trump or his opponents before they're actually published. It reportedly happened during the 2016 campaign and after the president took office.

KOSINSKI: According to the "Post," the practice was part of Trump's close relationship with David Pecker, chairman of the "Enquirer's" parent company American Media. A source tells the "Post" the "Enquirer" would sometimes get requests for changes including flattering cover photos or headlines. American Media adamantly denies Cohen and Trump received advanced copies of articles or had any influence. Pecker and Cohen have not commented.

BRIGGS: Charles Krauthammer, a legendary conservative columnist and commentator, has died at the age of 68. Krauthammer had been battling cancer. He announced on June 8th he had only a few weeks left to live. He's a columnist at "The Washington Post" for more than three decades, winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1987. The "Post's" executive editor Marty Baron tweeting, "Krauthammer's death was a huge loss to vigorous and civil debate on public policy." Krauthammer was also a longtime commentator on FOX News. Its Web site calling him a dean of conservative commentators.

Today the "Post" publishing a full page dedicated to Krauthammer featuring some of his work over the decades. George Will also writing a column about Krauthammer's ability to overcome a multitude of daily challenges after he was paralyzed from the neck down in a college accident diving.

[04:10:11] His death being mourned nationwide. President George W. Bush releasing a statement, saying in part, "Krauthammer's work was far reaching and influential and while his voice will be deeply missed, his ideas and values will always be a part of our country. He was a wonderful man. He was a brave man. A voice that will be dearly missed." I will add to that.

KOSINSKI: Thirty years as a columnist.

BRIGGS: I enjoyed working with him. Yes. He is one of those people that every time he spoke, every time he wrote, you learned something.

KOSINSKI: Yes. It's such a sad loss.


KOSINSKI: Well, shopping online is about to cost you more. States can force online retailers to collect sales tax now. More on the pivotal Supreme Court ruling next.


BRIGGS: At 4:14 Eastern Time, a check of "CNN Money." Get ready to pay more for what you buy online. The Supreme Court ruling in favor of an Internet tax, meaning states can now force online retailers to collect sales tax.

[04:15:06] Right now many don't but the court said South Dakota can collect taxes from Wayfair, reversing a 1992 decision that kept states from taxing businesses without a physical presence. Big online retailers like Amazon do have a large presence in each state so they already collect sales tax. But now smaller Web sites will have to as well, meaning you will pay more when shopping on Wayfair, Overstock, Etsy and eBay. Shares of all those companies fell yesterday. That's because a sales

tax undercuts the advantage they have over brick and mortar stores. But for cash strapped states an Internet sales tax will mean billions of dollars in new revenue. State budgets have been under pressure for years due to slow economic growth.

KOSINSKI: It's "Roseanne" without the Roseanne. ABC announcing it will launch "The Conners," a spinoff of the rebooted "Roseanne" series. It will include the original cast, but not controversial star Roseanne Barr. The network says she will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series.

The move comes just weeks after the stunning decision to cancel television's number one series in the wake of Roseanne Barr's racist tweets. In a statement Roseanne says she regrets the circumstances that caused the show to be canceled and wishes the best for everyone involved.

BRIGGS: In Pennsylvania, the police officer who gunned down an unarmed teenager has been identified. The officer, Michael Rosfeld, has been placed on administrative leave. He had worked with other local departments for seven years and had been sworn in the day of the shooting in East Pittsburgh. Authorities say the officer opened fire after Antwon Rose and another passenger ran out of a car suspected in an earlier shooting on Tuesday.

Overnight, protesters took over a highway in East Pittsburgh demanding justice for the 17-year-old. One person was arrested.

KOSINSKI: Officials are trying to figure out why dozens of kids and at least two adults have fallen ill at a summer camp in Lake Placid, Florida. They say the group from the Cloverleaf 4-H camp is being examined after they started feeling nauseous Wednesday. Some were vomiting and suffered headaches, one even passed out. Local media reports none of the cases appeared to be serious.

BRIGGS: The NBA draft taking center court last night and there were plenty of surprises. With the top pick, the Phoenix Suns took seven- foot center Deandre Ayton who starts as a freshman not far away from the University of Arizona. Duke freshman guard Marvin Bagley went to the Sacramento Kings at number two. European star Luka Doncic was taken third by the Atlanta Hawks. But here came the surprises. They sent him to Dallas in exchange for the Mavs' fifth pick Oklahoma's Trae Young. The Mavs also gave the Hawks their first round pick in next year's draft.

One of the notable picks, the Philadelphia 76ers took Mikal Bridges at number 10. For Bridges this was a dream come true. He's from Philly. He played at Villanova, his mom works for the team. 45 minutes later, the dream ended. Sixers traded Bridges to the Suns.

KOSINSKI: That was fast.


(LAUGHTER) KOSINSKI: If you thought there was any chance late-night hosts would avoid the Melania Trump's jacket on her trip to Texas, you of course would be wrong.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": To try to humanize these child detention centers, the administration sent their most high profile detainee Melania Trump. This is what first ladies often do. You know, you go to a troubled area, they see the children, they show that we care. You can't mess that up. Guess what? I spoke too soon. On her way to show that she cares, Melania wore a jacket that says, "I really don't care, do you?"


COLBERT: That's what they settled on? What was her first choice? A jacket that says, "Womp, womp?"

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": She's on her way to meet children who've been separated from their parents, this is what she wore on the plane ride there. A jacket that says, "I really don't care, do you?" Is the president now tweeting on to his wife's clothes?

Her spokesperson said it's a jacket. There was no hidden message. Well, no one thought the messages was hidden. It was written in big letters on the back but --

SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": This is a true thing. First Lady Melania Trump was wearing a jacket today with the words "I really don't care, do you?" written on the back when she boarded the plane to go visit the border.

You know, a lot of people are giving her a hard time about it but I think it's nice that she had a jacket made to display her wedding vows.


BRIGGS: Well played.

KOSINSKI: There's so much to be said about this. I mean, I feel like we could discuss --

BRIGGS: Well, look, when a billionaire fashion model with a stylist wears a $39 jacket from Zara with the message in the back it's clearly sending a message. But no one knows what it really is.

[04:20:03] KOSINSKI: Yes. But you would think -- well, first of all the message wasn't even really noticeable. And like, what -- what is that even supposed to mean? What?

BRIGGS: I thought she was trolling --

KOSINSKI: A mystery to me. BRIGGS: -- her husband when I first saw it. But I'm still trying to

figure it out. I don't believe this business about the media. For one.

KOSINSKI: So what does it say on the back of your jacket?

BRIGGS: It just says I'm tired. You?

All right. The summer summit in the works. President Trump and Vladimir Putin meeting. They may have a few things to discuss. We're live in Moscow with just what.


BRIGGS: President Trump planning to meet next month with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

[04:25:02] First the president sending his National Security adviser John Bolton to Russia.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen live in Moscow with more.

Good morning to you, Fred. What issues are front and center between these two?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, I think that the main issues that we keep talking about every day are left, right to front and center in that meeting if and when it takes place.

Now of course first and foremost, it's Russia's meddling in the U.S. election but then also big geopolitical issues like, for instance, the situation in Syria and also the situation in Ukraine. Of course we also have to keep in mind that the Russians have been under U.S. sanctions since 2014 for essentially fueling the civil war in Ukraine. But then also for the annexation in Crimea.

And it's interesting, we've been looking at Russian commentary on TV the last couple of hours since all of this came out that there might be this meeting. And the Russians do hope that they will get some major concessions from the Trump administration especially regarding the situation there in Crimea.

Now of course a lot of this is not set in stone yet. And I do believe that the visit of John Bolton, the National Security adviser, is going to be very, very important. And the Russians have already said they understand that this is something that's going to happen. We believe he's going to be coming here some time after the 27th of June. So it's going to be very interesting to see whether or not they're going to be able to set an agenda.

It's looking as though the meeting could take place in Vienna some time after the 15th of July. Today, of course, Vladimir Putin also on the diplomatic offensive meeting the president of South Korea -- Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. Fred Pleitgen live, 11:26 there in Moscow. Putin obviously hosting the World Cup. Very busy with that at the moment.

KOSINSKI: There's a lot going on.

BRIGGS: Which is going very well for Russia.


BRIGGS: As of right now. Yes .

KOSINSKI: Well, from Washington to the southern border confusion and frustration over the administration's immigration policy. Anxious parents and the government unclear how to reunite thousands of families.