Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Administration Criticized for Lack of Policy to Reunite Separated Immigrant Families; Democrats Visit Immigrant Detention Centers Near U.S.-Mexico Border; South Carolina Congressional Candidate Katie Arrington Hospitalized after Car Accident; Polls Indicate 42 Percent of Americans Favor Impeaching President Trump. Aired 10-11a.ET

Aired June 23, 2018 - 10:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

[10:00:10] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Breaking at the border right now, dozens of lawmakers are visiting immigrant detention facilities in part to make sense of the confusion around President Trump's immigration policies.

PAUL: It's been nearly three days since President Trump did sign that executive order stopping the family separations, the family separations he started. But thousands of kids are still waiting to be reunited with their parents. Government agencies say they have no clear directives on how to proceed, how to make this happen. And a senior Republican aide admitted to CNN that even members of Congress don't know what happens next.

BLACKWELL: We're covering every angle of this story like only CNN can. Boris Sanchez is at the White House with the latest on what the Trump administration is saying. But we're starting on the border with CNN's Polo Sandoval and Dianne Gallagher. Polo, you first. Dozens of members of Congress are visiting the facilities around you right now. Tell us what you're expecting, what they're expecting to see.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, they are on the ground already. This is the latest wave of legislators who have travelled to what is one of the busiest sectors in the country when it comes to some of these apprehensions of people crossing the border illegally. These lawmakers you may seeing right now entering one of the various border patrol facilities here in the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost tip of Texas. As we've heard from border officials they lead the way in apprehensions across the country in this particular region, and also in prosecutions as we heard from a U.S. attorney yesterday. They have seen a 266 percent increase in the prosecution of these illegal entry cases, misdemeanor cases that we didn't often see. However, because of zero tolerance that mean those courtrooms, we were seeing bigger numbers there, and we're also seeing that at some of these border patrol facilities where they get processed and eventually where some of the people are held at this local center in McAllen, Texas.

We expect the rest of this delegation to make their way here to see firsthand exactly what kind of conditions these people are being kept in, and then, most importantly, try to find -- come up with a way of answering that key question, when will that reunification happen for all the people who were separated, those parents and children who were separated before the president's executive order this week?

BLACKWELL: All right, Polo Sandoval. Let's go to Dianne Gallagher now. Dianne?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And right now, at this point, Victor, we're waiting for Senator Bill Nelson. He's going to be touring the homestead temporary shelter. There are children ages 13 to 17 who are in this particular shelter, about 1,200 of them. About three days ago Bill Nelson was turned away from this facility. He couldn't get in. They told him to go ahead, come back at another time. He scheduled this appointment to come today and tour this facility.

Now, he accused them of trying to hide something at that time. I went inside this facility yesterday. Granted, it was a very guided tour. It was extremely controlled. I can tell you that it sort of looks like a rundown community college. It has dormitories. Boys out number girls here two to one. But they stay in this facility until they can either reunite them with a family member, be it a parent or some other relative in the United States, or permanent sponsor.

Some of the kids do age out and go into ICE custody. Others, they end up putting with permanent foster families if they can find them in that manner. Most of the kids, though, Victor, it's important to point out, came across the border unaccompanied. We were told yesterday that fewer than 70 were actually separated at the border under the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy from their parents. We asked about reunification and they said it's something they actively work on every day.

PAUL: Diane Gallagher, thank you so very much.

We have Representative Katherine Clark apparently making her own statement after we saw Melania Trump of course there in McAllen earlier this week with a jacket that said "I don't really care. Do you?" And now here is Katherine Clark saying, yes, essentially, I really do care. It looks like a homemade shirt there in response to what we saw earlier this week that had a lot of people questioning who was targeted at that comment. Of course, the first lady's team saying that there was nothing to it, it was unintentional, so to speak.

But listen, as we watch what's happening at the border we have to be very honest about the fact that it's not just lawmakers who are confused about how these children are going to be reunited. Last hour I spoke with the president of the Texas Civil Rights Project who told me hundreds of their clients have no idea what's coming next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIMI MARZIANI, PRESIDENT, TEXAS CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT: Our lawyers have been on the front lines in south Texas working with families. To date we've interviewed 381 parents, and we have no knowledge that any single one of those parents has been reunited with their children, nor have we been given any information about the process for reunification.


[10:05:03] PAUL: Erik Hanshew is with us now. He's an assistant federal public defender in El Paso, Texas. Mr. Hanshew, thank you for being with us. You wrote an op-ed recently. And in it you describe the conversations you are having with your clients, with these undocumented workers that are coming over the border, that those client meetings are crushing is how you described them. How so?

ERIK HARSHEW, ASSISTANT FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER IN EL PASO, TEXAS: You can only imagine. This is their first encounter with a lawyer that's there to help them. They're being charged with felony illegal reentry. And these folks have no criminal history. They've never been brought into an American jail.

So I'm there to meet them, and I'm finding out for the first time from them that their child has been taken from them. They can't understand it. They aren't even asking questions about their felony case because they have the most basic questions any parent would ask. They're asking where is my child? Who is taking care of it? Why did they take my son? Why did they take my daughter? Where did they put my child? Who is going to give them medicine? All these questions. And you can only imagine it's an emotional -- it's a trauma. They're traumatized.

PAUL: Not only are they traumatized, but you also write about a recent hearing where a colleague of yours asked an agent who was on the stand about the whereabouts of your client's child. And the prosecutor objected to the relevance of that question. At that moment you saw a reaction from the federal judge in this case that you had never seen before. Tell us about that.

HARSHEW: You can imagine. Any human being should be shocked at the conscience with this entire episode, and so was this federal judge. He was hearing these words that we shouldn't talk about, we should ignore the fact that here is a parent in a federal criminal court in the United States of America who had their child taken, and everyone should act like that hasn't happened. He was upset. Thankfully, that was a reaction that we saw from that judge.

PAUL: There are people who certainly say, well, then these people shouldn't have cross the border illegally with their kids. You're an attorney. I know that you have respect for the law, but what would you say to the argument?

HARSHEW: I think the simple response to that is we here in the United States have an entirely different paradigm. The notion that we can understand where people who come from a third world country where they have no education, not even first grade education, whose plight in life is to become as a child themselves, a farmer, a laborer. This is their inheritance. They don't have the benefit of an inheritance of millions of dollars and living in a penthouse towers in Manhattan. They live every day to try to live.

And if that's not enough, what's happening now in Central America, Guatemala, Honduras, the countries that my clients are coming from, is absolute violence. There's infiltration of gangs. These parents are having to make the decision, do I stay? Do I allow my son to be taken in by a gang to start committing crimes? Do I stay where my children can't eat? Do I stay where they'll die? Of course not. So their decision is a decision of life. Their decision is to come here to try to find the hopes and dreams that this country to be about.

So they understand the risks they take when they come here. But that's what we're supposed to be about. We're supposed to be welcoming them. We're supposed to take them in, not kidnap their children and take them away from them. That's the choice they have. And the choice we're making, at least our executives right now, is upending everything that I think this country is supposed to be about.

PAUL: Erik Henshaw, we appreciate your insight. Thank you for taking the time to be with us.

HARSHEW: Thank you for hearing everything. I really appreciate that our clients' voices are being heard. Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez. And let me just say for the record here, CNN has reached out to a number of Republican lawmakers to talk about this issue, but none accepted that invitation. Congressman, good morning to you.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D) ILLINOIS: Good morning to you, too.

BLACKWELL: Let me start with just the basic question, are you aware, has the administration detailed, outlined a plan on how to reunite these children with their families, with their parents?

GUTIERREZ: No. There is no plan in place. There's a lot of confusion. There's a lot of contradiction between what the White House and first lady, statements that they make, and then what officials at DHS, at the Department of Justice and Homeland Security say.

[10:10:00] I will tell you that yesterday Congressman Jared Polis and I went to the detention center here in Denver, the Aurora detention center. We met with three women who fled Guatemala with their sons, five, six, seven-year-old sons, separated. I wish America could have been in that room and seen the incredible pain, suffering, anguish that these women are suffering.

I wanted to say one of them said to me, thank you for helping. Tell everybody thank you, because in order for them to speak to their children, and in this case these three women have connected with their children. One of their children is in El Paso, another one is in Arizona, the other one is in Harlem in New York City. They said thank you, because you know how they get to talk to their kids? Because the American public is providing funds so that they get $20. And with those $20, they pay the private prison that they're in jail in, the private prison that they're in jail, they pay them these exorbitant fees so they can talk to the children that have been kidnapped from them. It's incredibly painful.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this, because we had an ardent supporter of the president on earlier who said it is Congress' job, it is your job to reunite these families. Is it?

GUTIERREZ: Look, the administration -- OK. President Donald Trump said it is my policy to deter those from coming to this country. The attorney general of the United States said we are going to change the way we treat immigrants when they come to our borders as a deterrent. Here is what he said. We're not going to allow them to come before an immigration judge seeking asylum because they're raped, because they're tortured, because they fear for their lives because of their husbands, number one. Or number two, they can no longer claim asylum because there is violence, endemic violence in their countries, gangs and drug lords, and they come in fear for their lives and the lives of their children. This administration has turned people fleeing, that's asylum seekers, into criminals. I want the American public to know --

BLACKWELL: We understand that, congressman. But I need a quick answer here because we have to move on to some breaking news. But on the question of is it Congress' job to reunite these families, is it Congress' job? Quickly, please.

GUTIERREZ: Yes. And 192 Democrats have already joined Congressman Jerrold Nadler. We have a bill that will settle this once and for all. But understand something. These children can be reunited without any action of congress. Should we take action so it never happens again? Absolutely. Come and join us, Republicans. Let's work together across the aisle.

BLACKWELL: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you so much. We'd talk more but we've got to get to this breaking news. Thanks so much.

And let's get to that right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: GOP Congressional candidate Katie Arrington is in the hospital with serious injuries after a fatal car wreck accident last night.

PAUL: Her campaign says she was hit by a driver going the wrong direction on a South Carolina highway. The other driver was killed. Arrington has fractured her back, broken ribs, and partial collapse of the main artery in her legs. This crash comes two weeks after she won the Republican primary against former governor Mark Sanford. He has tweeted his hopes and prayers for Arrington. Her Democratic opponent has suspended his campaign out of respect for her recovery. We will keep you posted as we learn about her condition as the day moves forward. President Trump, meanwhile, is on his way to Las Vegas to rally his

base and he'll likely continue trying to change the narrative here after spending yesterday doubling down on some misleading rhetoric about immigrants and telling Republicans to stop work on immigration policy. CNN's Boris Sanchez is live at White House. Boris, with everything that we're hearing from the border, with the Democrats that are there today touring some of the facilities, can the president really get away from this?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Definitely not, Christi. He is likely going to be asked about this as he speaks to the Nevada Republican Convention today. Unclear exactly what he may say, though if yesterday is any indication, he will likely try to shift the narrative. Yesterday he took to the podium with a number of families who have lost loved ones at the hands of undocumented immigrants. And the president essentially made a comparison to their pain and the permanent separation that those families feel to the separations that are being caused by his administration.

He didn't really do much to try to clarify the strategy for the administration moving forward. In fact, he muddied the wort waters after weeks of calling for Congress to act on the immigration issue, saying that his hands were tied when it comes to family separations and that only Congress could come up with a solution.

[10:15:00] Yesterday, he tweeted out that House Republicans should essentially punt and wait until after the midterm elections to try to strike some sort of deal on immigration. If you read that tweet closely, it reads like a call to action to his supporters to send, in his words, a red wave to Congress during the midterm elections. And the president is doing his part to try to make that happen. Part of the reason he's going to Nevada today is to campaign for the only Senate Republican running for reelection in a state that was won by Hillary Clinton. That's Dean Heller. So we'll see what President Trump says during a fundraiser for Heller later tonight and what he says at that convention as well, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Boris Sanchez, appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And CNN poll shows that President Trump is now close to Richard Nixon on one key number, those who support his impeachment. Coming up, what does that mean politically?

PAUL: Also, incredible body cam footage shows police rescuing victims from a house explosion. We'll show you more.

BLACKWELL: And just a few weeks after the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain, his mother is now opening up about her plans to pay tribute to her son.


[10:20:13] PAUL: Well, 42 percent of Americans say President Trump should be impeached. This is according to a CNN poll, that is just one point shy of the 43 percent total who said the same for Richard Nixon. That was a poll that was taken in 1974, Harris poll, same year, we point out, that he resigned. Joining me now to talk about this and what it means, Timothy Naftali, CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. So with that said, Tim, what does the number mean for the president politically?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: This is really interesting because Richard Nixon's impeachment numbers didn't get up to 40 percent until he fired the special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in the famous Saturday night massacre at the end of 1973, and President Trump has managed to hit that number this early.

But the most important issue really is the poll numbers in the districts of House members, Republican House members. And the Republicans control, I don't need to remind everyone, the House and the Senate. The Democrats controlled the House and Senate in 1973, 74. And even when they controlled the House and Senate, the Democrats were not assured of both impeaching or removing Richard Nixon. You need a simple majority in the House but you need two-thirds in the Senate. So at the moment it doesn't look to me as if a Republican House or Republican Senate would ever move on impeaching the president.

The next point you have to keep in mind is, what would the articles of impeachment say? What would the indictment be? So the fact that the public has moved in this direction is significant. I would have expected this only to occur only after the President Trump fired Mueller, if he does. That's interesting. But that alone doesn't mean anything politically because, frankly, impeachment is a political process and it doesn't look like the Republican Party is at all interested in even looking at the issue.

PAUL: So Tim, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, has said I don't think impeachment is a policy agenda. It would have to be partisan otherwise it would divide the country. She's not really on board with it necessarily unless there's a bipartisan effort. Will this idea of impeachment, however, be something that the Democrats latch onto leading into the midterms? Could it hurt them?

NAFTALI: I'm not in the business of giving policy advice, but I don't think it's a smart move unless you have the basis for impeachment. You don't impeach the president for being incompetent. You impeach a president for engaging in obstruction of justice that you can prove, for abusing power, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

I think one would have to wait until the Mueller investigation ends. It would be a political mistake in my estimation for people to start making impeachment claims. Let's not forget that Democrats had a very good argument in the late '90s that the Republicans had cheapened the notion of impeachment by going after Clinton. The impeachment process against Nixon was founded in incredible evidence of criminality. The Nixon tapes laid bare the conspiracy to cover up. So if the Democrats are true to the arguments they made in the '90s, and why not, they should be, they should look for Nixon-level evidence of abuse of power and obstruction of justice before they move on impeachment.

PAUL: Tim Naftali, always appreciate your insight, sir. Thank you.

NAFTALI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Take a look at this video. It's bodycam footage showing the moments police in Ohio rescued two victims from a house explosion. This was in Columbus. And neighbors say they felt the ground shake out of nowhere.

PAUL: A man and woman were inside that house when it exploded. Neighbors and police frantically pulled off bricks and debris to try to get to them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shook my whole truck. And I looked up and I see a mushroom cloud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All my front windows are blown completely out. The top window was coming out the frame. It was just about to fall out of the house, the whole window. I've got a big old crack in my ceiling upstairs.


PAUL: I'm happy to be able to tell you those victims are expected to be OK. Firefighters think a gas leak caused the explosion, but investigators say the house was supposed to be empty.

Ahead, a car drives into a crowd of protesters, demanding -- the protesters were demanding justice for an unarmed teen shot and killed by police.

BLACKWELL: Plus, dozens of lawmakers are at the Texas border right now trying to figure out how thousands of families will be reunited. Will they get some answers today?


[10:29:27] PAUL: Updating our breaking news this hour, GOP Congressional candidate Katie Arrington is in the hospital. She has serious injuries after a fatal car wreck last night.

BLACKWELL: The Charleston County Sheriff's office has confirmed to CNN that it was a vehicle driving in the wrong direction on a highway there in South Carolina. The other driver was killed. The crash comes two weeks after Arrington won a Republican primary against former governor Mark Sanford.

And right now, dozens of lawmakers are on the border. We expect to hear from them at any minute now. This is after a tour of immigrant detention facilities in Texas.

[10:30:03] PAUL: The lawmakers say they still have no clue how these kids and their parents are going to be reunited nearly three days, of course, after President Trump signed that executive order stopping family separations at the border. We're going to bring you those comments live as soon as they exit the facility. BLACKWELL: Joining me now to discuss, CNN political commentator,

Scott Jennings and former Washington D.C. Democratic Party Chair A. Scott Bolden. Welcome back both of you. And Scott Jennings, let me start with you. The question here, how could the administration come to this point where they have now signed this executive order, the president sign this had executive order, and there's no plan to reunite these families, even without the executive order at some point you have to bring them back together. How did they get here?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. It was a series of unfortunate errors. And the policy to separate the families in the first place was wrong. The policy to try to keep these people apart is not going to hold. So my prediction is eventually they will bring all these families back together. And in a situation like this where you've had a series of unfortunate mistakes and events that nobody is happy is, you try to say what can do better, and what we make out of this? And out of this I hope that we all understand that the immigration laws in this country are really broken. And the border security is broken and the way the federal government handles all of this is really broken. And so if I'm a member of Congress, I know that there are Democrats down there grandstanding today, maybe they should think hard about how to join with Republicans in reforming our nation's immigration laws so we can stop stupid events like this past week from ever happening again.

BLACKWELL: Let's also point out and remind people that this was a decision that the president made to enact this zero-tolerance policy that separated these families as a requirement of prosecuting every person who crossed the border illegally, and Scott Bolden, let me come to you. I understand what Scott Jennings is saying, but it may not be consolation for the families that this was simply a series of unfortunate errors. These people don't know where their children are.

A. SCOTT BOLDEN, CHAIR, NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION PAC: It's devastating. And I agree with Scott that these are errors, but they're not unintentional. These are intentional errors. The president drove this narrative with zero policy. And on top of that raised the rhetoric on these policies and how to treat these immigrants. The system cannot afford 100 percent enforcement. There are not enough judges. There are not enough facilities. And so not only was it an error but it was impractical politics. But they went forward with it anyway.

And now you have chaos and confusion, including the executive order that was completely unnecessary. The executive order now is inconsistent with what Donald Trump spent a week saying these were the laws. You didn't need to do that. All you had to do was pick up the phone and say stop the 100 percent enforcement. Keep these families together, and let's move forward.

Lastly, if I may say so, the Democrats would love to talk to the Republicans. They're still waiting on that Republican phone call, though, because the Republicans are trying to do it all themselves without the Dems because they know the Dems are not going to stop with the diversity program, they're not going to stop with chain migration, and they don't really want the border wall. So Republicans are on their own because they choose to be on their own. We've got to get together, though, and we've got to fix this problem because it is a problem. Our laws need to be fixed.

BLACKWELL: Scott Bolden, let me interject here. And I keep saying Scott like that differentiates between the two of you. But Scott Bolden --

BOLDEN: You can call me Alan this time.

BLACKWELL: I can call you Alan this time? Thank you so much. So Scott just said that there is a degree of grandstanding here. We have got a group of Democrats that are soon going to hold a press conference down near the border. We had Luis Gutierrez on a little while ago. He brought children onto the House floor. We all know what 10-year-olds look like. How much of this is grandstanding on behalf of the Democrats?

BOLDEN: The Republicans love to use the term "grandstanding," but the president is the superhero of grandstanding, if you will. Listen, these Democratic congressmen have a responsibility to this country, to their constituents, to see for themselves, to do a fact-finding mission to see for themselves what's going on at the border versus listening to reports that are usually unreliable. They have every right to go and see and to talk to the family, to talk to border patrol agents, to get a better sense on really how they should be acting and how -- what positions they should be taking. So this is information.

I can't help and neither can the Democrats help that the Republicans and the president have completely screwed this up, and it's a screw-up of intentionality because of this zero-tolerance policy, and then having no program and then insisting to -- having no program and then insisting to separate these families, because listen to what the president told us. Let me just say this. Look at what the president told us this week. He described illegal immigrants coming across that southern border as vermin, as infestation. He has no respect for them. He thinks they're criminals even though coming across the border is a misdemeanor. So that's the problem in this country, his rhetoric.

[10:35:13] BLACKWELL: I hear you. Scott, let me come to you with the request that we know has come from the administration to a judge to get clearance to hold children more than 20 days, which was the result of a settlement 20 years ago or so, with their families so these family units can be held as part of this zero-tolerance policy. And the Pentagon has been told to prepare to house 20,000 people. Is that the imagery, the optics that this president, this party is prepared for, tens of thousands of families being held at military bases as part of this zero-tolerance policy?

JENNINGS: Well, I think the administration wants to put these families together. And I can't think of an organization better equipped to be humanitarian and to do a job like this than the U.S. military. It's not exactly what the military is designed to do but we've seen them do humanitarian missions around the world. And I do consider this to be a humanitarian issue. We want these families to be together and we certainly trust the military to do the right thing.

Look, I've got to respond to something that my friend, Scott Bolden, said that the Democrats that are on the border today don't trust the reports. I'm surprised to hear you saying that you don't trust -- the Democrats don't trust people like CNN who are doing a great job of covering this issue, that they have to go and see it for themselves. Do you not see what's on the television? This is outrageous. You want to talk about chaos and confusion? Yes. We have chaos and confusion, and throw in a few dozen congressmen and mayors. De Blasio is down there. Do you think that helps? Do you think that helps? It does not help.

BOLDEN: Yes, I do. I do.

JENNINGS: What we need here is levelheaded ideas to get us out of this mess and move us forward. This grandstanding does not help.

BLACKWELL: Scott Jennings and A. Scott bolden --

BOLDEN: Their vision helps us make them better representatives.

BLACKWELL: Thank you very much, we have got to wrap it up.

PAUL: A car drives into a crowd of protesters. Police are looking for that car right now. The protesters you see there were demanding justice for an unarmed teen shot and killed by police. We'll tell you what we know now.


PAUL: Right now police in Pittsburgh are looking for a black Sedan that drove through a group of protesters overnight. Thankfully no one was hurt. The protesters shut down the street for a third night after an unarmed teen was shot and killed by police.

BLACKWELL: Seventeen-year-old Antwon Rose was shot by an officer three times as he was running from a car that had been pulled over. That car matched the description of a vehicle involved in an earlier shooting. Four people were arrested in last night's protests. Rose's death has been ruled a homicide.

Back to our big story earlier this morning. I spoke about the chaos created by the president's family separation and then the reversal through that executive order with Amy Kremer. She's the co-founder of Women for Trump. Here is part of that conversation.


BLACKWELL: The administration has outlined no clear process here on how to reunite the children with their parents. Typically the onus is on the parents. Does this administration have a responsibility to change what is the typical formula of the parents working to get their kids back, and they have to take the lead on reuniting the children?

AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Actually, it's not the administration's responsibility. It's Congress' responsibility. They are the ones that legislate and make the laws. The administration enforces the laws. And so this is upon Congress, on both parties. And I'm not saying that it's the Democrats fault or the Republicans' fault. It's incumbent upon both of them to fix this so it stops happening. But Victor, let's get --

BLACKWELL: But this is the policy of this administration. Congress did not put into --

KREMER: They're trying to fix --

BLACKWELL: The Congress did not put into law instituting zero- tolerance. The president changed the priority. The president's requirement that every person who crossed the border --

KREMER: Victor, enforce the law. That's what the president's policy --

BLACKWELL: So that led to the separations.

KREMER: The president's policy is enforce law. Enforce the law, that's zero-tolerance.

BLACKWELL: So he created the separations.


BLACKWELL: And now says --

KREMER: He's saying enforce the law.

BLACKWELL: -- it's Congress' job to get the families back together?

KREMER: Victor, every day in America, children are separated from their parents because they commit crimes and the adults are incarcerated. We enforce the law on American citizens. Why is it that we enforce the law upon American citizens but we should not enforce the laws upon people coming here illegally? Tell me the difference. Do they have more rights than we do?

BLACKWELL: There's no suggestion that the law should not be enforced.

KREMER: Are you saying --

BLACKWELL: My question was whose responsibility is it now --

KREMER: It's Congress' responsibility.

BLACKWELL: To reunite the families separated by the president's policies?

KREMER: It's Congress' responsibility to fix the problem. This was going on, it was going on during the Obama administration. It was going on --

BLACKWELL: This was not happening to this level during the Obama administration. KREMER: It absolutely was, Victor.

BLACKWELL: It absolutely was not. That is just a clear fact, Amy.

KREMER: No. It's a fact, it was happening.

BLACKWELL: We can talk about perspectives, we can talk about -- but there are numbers. There's research. There were people who worked in the Obama administration. There were immigration attorneys who were working then and are working now. Any nonpartisan, objective fact checker says that what you are telling people right now is not true.

KREMER: You are wrong. Jeh Johnson from --

BLACKWELL: There was absolutely no policy of zero tolerance that required families to be separated.

KREMER: Victor, you're wrong. Jeh Johnson, the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama said on Thursday that they were separating families and they actually were asking Mexico to enforce their border.

BLACKWELL: Jeh Johnson said that he could not say that there were no families separated.

[10:45:01] KREMER: That's not correct. That's not correct, Victor.

BLACKWELL: The interview was here.

KREMER: Victor, that's not correct. Go read the transcript.

BLACKWELL: We'll play it. The control room is watching this. We'll get the soundbite and play it for the viewers.

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There's no policy or practice, at least on my watch, to separate women, parents from their children.

BLACKWELL: There might be individual cases of it?

JOHNSON: I'm sure there were individual cases for reasons of health or safety, but we did not have that policy or practice, and it's not something I would have adopted. It's not something I would have permitted.


KREMER: Victor --

BLACKWELL: Amy Kremer, thank you so much.

KREMER: I don't have the ability to pull up what I read, but it happened.


PAUL: The news here, the drama of the World Cup today, yes. More drama, Andy Scholes.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, three games today. If you're a Belgian fan, like these guys right now, your Saturday is off to a pretty good start. We'll have the highlights for their match against Tunisia up next.


[10:50:45] BLACKWELL: Some dreams came true this week for several players drafted in the NBA.

PAUL: One person who has experienced that special moment, Pelicans Anthony Davis. His greatness extends far beyond the court, so says Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: Good morning, guys. This is Difference Makers. It's brought to you by Ford, going further so you can. Selected first overall in the 2012 NBA draft by New Orleans, five-time NBA all-star Anthony Davis has a passion for his adopted hometown. He's a big man with a big heart.


ANTHONY DAVIS, NBA PLAYER: I would like to be involved in the community. I want to be involved. I want to be the one that people see when they show up to a community event. That's what I tried to do when I came here. Whether it's with kids or having a Thanksgiving feast with the homeless, or whatever it may be, I can do all that here in New Orleans. You'll see all the stuff that happened -- that is happening in New Orleans and in Chicago, and it's very similar. And so I feel the more I'm in a community and the more I can reach out to not just kids but adults as well, and get them away from that by doing a fun, exciting, and active community event, the less time they have to be within all that's going on. The city of New Orleans has given me so much. I learned a lot. I'm going to try to represent them to my best ability.


SCHOLES: Anthony Davis is a recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award, honored for setting a great example for the new players entering the league.

World Cup action is off and running today. Belgium just blitzing Tunisia, scoring two goals in the first 16 minutes of the game. They poured it on the rest of the way, scoring five goals in the impressive win. They are the third favorite right now behind Brazil and Spain to win the entire World Cup. And guys, for the first time since that huge win over Germany, Mexico is going to be back on the pitch in just a matter of minutes. I know that's a game a lot of their fans are getting ready to watch and are excited about.

PAUL: Andy, thank you. Appreciate it.

We have been talking about immigration all morning. But what a story we have for you after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:22] BLACKWELL: A former CNN hero is running 1,700 miles from Seattle to San Diego to raise money for -- or rather to pay for children's rides to chemotherapy treatments when their parents cannot afford it. Meet Richard Nares.


RICHARD NARES, CNN HERO: Say, good morning.

My son, Emilio was diagnosed with leukemia.

I love you, Batman.

We were fortunate we had rides to the hospital to bring Emilio. Many of the families don't have that support.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to blow a kiss to the camera?

NARES: They can't start the fight without getting to the hospital. We get them here in a nice, clean environment, and on time. No child should miss their treatment due to lack of transportation.


BLACKWELL: To learn more about Richard's run and nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero at

PAUL: Listen, Anthony Bourdain's mother is revealing her plans for a lasting memorial to her son. Gladys Bourdain told the "New York Times" that she will have Tony tattooed in small letters on the inside of her wrist. The chef and celebrated host of CNN's "Parts Unknown" died by suicide while filming in France earlier this month. And his mother said she wasn't a fan of her son's many tattoos that recorded his culinary adventures, but now she's going to use his tattoo artist to get her very first tattoo tribute there from mother to son.

And tomorrow Anderson Cooper is hosting a CNN Special Report "Finding Hope, Battling America's Suicide Crisis." That's tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. eastern.

We've been talking about immigration all morning. We want to leave you with a hopeful moment this week.

BLACKWELL: Just imagine what this mother from Guatemala was feeling when she finally reunited with her son. This was yesterday. She had to sue the Trump administration after her seven-year-old was taken from her nearly a month ago when they crossed the border.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you. I love you. We are together. You are the only thing I have.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: She said they planned to seek asylum but were stopped when they crossed the border because it was not a point of entry.

PAUL: And of course continuing the conversation now, we want to thank you for watching and hope that you make some good memories today, but this is a conversation that needs to keep going.

BLACKWELL: So there is much more in the next hour of the CNN Newsroom. We hand it over to our colleague Fredricka Whitfield.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It continues right now. Thank you so much, Christi and Victor. Good to see you guys.

PAUL: You, too.

WHITFIELD: It's the 11:00 eastern hour. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Newsroom starts right now.

And we're following breaking news this hour, Republican congressman -- congressional candidate, rather, Katie Arrington of South Carolina is hospitalized with serious injuries after a fatal car accident last night.