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Trump: Deport Migrants Without Judges Or Court Cases; More Protests Expected Today Over Family Separations; Gallup Poll: 90 Percent In GOP Approve Trump's Job Performance; Is Civility Dying In The Trump Era? Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 25, 2018 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:10]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. If you woke up this morning wondering what is happening with at least 2,000 immigrant children still separated from their parents, and scattered throughout the country, the answer still is we still don't know.

Despite a plan released from the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, those 2,000 kids still spent the weekend away from their families and in detention centers, and the president now has got another policy in mind with a tweet. We must immediately with no judges, he writes, or court cases, he writes, bring them back from where they came. What does this now mean?

CNN's Abby Phillip is live at the White House for us. So, Abby, any word from the White House, exactly what the president wants now?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, this is an interesting development considering just days ago, he signed this order saying that families would be reunited, now he seems to be indicating that he doesn't like the way the system works at all.

Instead of adjudicating these cases more quickly, the president is saying now that the only way to deal with the immigration problem is simply to deport immigrants without any sort of due process whatsoever.

Now, that really does fly in the face of something that even Republicans have been proposing, which is the hiring of hundreds more immigration judges to help get these families through the system faster.

Some of them might be deported at the end of the process, but the president believes they all should. But meanwhile, he's saying that on Twitter, his administration is scrambling to get a plan together, to reunite the families that have already been separated.

There are about 2,000 children still separated from their families. And what they're saying right now is that those cases, their parents' cases, will go through the process and at the end of that process, if the parent is ordered deported, then they have the choice.

They can be departed with their children, or they can be deported alone, and their children might remain without their parents. If the parent is released, then they can apply to have -- to be a sponsor for their child. That is a process that they would go through with HHS that could take weeks.

So, still a lot of uncertainty here for these parents in detention. The president seems to be kind of back tracking on the principle behind this, which is that there should be heart in the immigration policy, it sounds very much like he believes that most of these immigrants if not all of them, should be deported immediately.

BOLDUAN: Seems to be going back and forth, one to another, back and forth and how he feels about how this all plays out. Also, Abby, talking about the detention centers what are we hearing about Secretary James Mattis talking about detention centers being built on military bases?

PHILLIP: Well, there is clearly a need to find space for these families if they are going to be detained together. There are potentially thousands or tens of thousands in the coming months that will need a place to be. The executive order the president signed last week ordered the Defense Department to find spaces.

And now James Mattis is saying they're going to identify some places at military bases here in the United States. Now, we don't know exactly where they're going to be, but we do know that in recent weeks Health and Human Services officials have been touring bases in Texas and in Arkansas, and those sites could potentially house what Mattis is calling camps.

They have been used in the past by previous administrations as temporary housing and now we're hearing that this is likely where they'll be setting up a place for these families to stay in the coming weeks and months -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Abby, thanks so much. Abby Phillip from the White House for us.

Concrete, cages and crying, that's how Democratic lawmakers are describing the immigration detention centers they visited over the weekend. Outside of those centers, protests at the border. Those are growing as the crisis that Abby is laying out has no quick fix in sight.

Let's get to the border. CNN's Polo Sandoval is outside a detention center in South Texas. Polo, what are you seeing there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, obviously these Democratic lawmakers have continued to call on the Trump administration to get this plan together and begin that reunification process of these families. The government for its part, though, says that has already begun.

For its part saying that at least 538 children separated because of the execution of the zero-tolerance policy have already been reunited with their children. In fact, here, in Cameron County, Texas, a facility you see behind me, many of those reunifications have been taking place here.

We can't show you those because our cameras have not been allowed on to this facility, which is really what we face across the country with many of these not only government facilities, but also some of these privately-run government contracted locations that are tasked with caring for these children.

There is clearly still much more to be done, the latest numbers that were put out by officials now suggesting that about 2,037 children separated because of zero tolerance, and the president's policy, still have not been reunited with their children.

And about -- we do know there is still a large percentage, of course, that many of these undocumented and unaccompanied kids also are being housed in some of these facilities.

[11:05:05] But as you mentioned a while ago, Kate, clearly Democrats, many lawmakers stopping at these locations are asking the Trump administration to come up with a policy and a definite answer on how these reunifications or at least the ones that are left, how are those exactly going to happen.

BOLDUAN: Yes, Polo, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

So, what are lawmakers doing to fix this in the absence of hearing from the White House? And as they work out their policy. The House is expected to vote this week on the immigration proposal that they were supposed to vote on last week.

Delayed in order to try and win more support. Republican leaders say the White House supports it, which is interesting, because just days ago the president told lawmakers not to waste their time on it.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill with the very latest. Where are we right now?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, despite some work over the weekend, Kate, lawmakers up here on Capitol Hill are in large part exactly where they were late last week. You have Republican leaders in the House still pushing and promising a vote on that compromise legislation that addresses the broader immigration problems and also addresses family separation.

But the reality of this is they still do not have the votes to pass that bill and certainly the president's tweeting essentially saying that Republicans are wasting their time on this. Aides up here acknowledge, they're certainly not helping that effort.

So, when and if that bill over in the House fails, the conversation will very quickly shift towards passing some sort of very narrow, very targeted, very focused bill, just addressing family separations.

Now, over here in the Senate, there is work already on a few different proposals, but there they have a 60-vote threshold where they're going to need Democratic support to get that through. Over in the House, Speaker Ryan has not wanted to address the idea of a very targeted bill yet. He says I'll cross that bridge if I come to it. But very clear, Kate, he likely will have to cross that bridge this week as potentially that immigration, that broader immigration bill fails, and they have to start discussing this very targeted narrow standalone bill to just address the idea of family separations -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It almost feels like we're already on the bridge, not just getting to the bridge at this point. Sunlen, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. A lot to watch there.

But joining me to discuss all of this is CNN's senior political reporter, Nia Malika Henderson, and CNN senior political analyst, Mark Preston. So, Mark, is this crisis in a substantively different place than it was last week?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, absolutely not. I mean, look, where we were last week and where we are right now is, we're not seeing these detentions and separations on such a mass scale, but, you know, as was just laid out there, there is no legislative fix now on Capitol Hill.

President Trump doesn't seem to have a plan, doesn't seem to be working with Congress other than trying to goad them and give them quite frankly very poor political advice, telling house Republican, senate Republicans, to forget about immigration.

And we'll deal with it after the election when we win. That is terribly, terrible, terrible, terrible advice now to fellow Republicans. This is a very, very important issue. If it looks like Republicans are walking away from it now, Kate, that will hurt them more so in November.

BOLDUAN: Nia, the president said last week, and again this morning that putting more judges on the job to speed up the process isn't what he wants. He says it won't work. That is what a lot of Republicans are actually calling for here as part of a fix and something that I've heard Democrats voice some support of when talking about maybe a bipartisan effort here. So, do you see Republicans just ignoring the president here, is that the strategy?

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, it certainly could be. As you said, you had some Republicans call for this. Ted Cruz has introduced a bill and it would basically speed up the process here, the hearing of asylum cases.

I mean, if you think about the backlog here, there are 700,000 immigration cases that are backlogged here. Judges are getting more cases at this point than they can hear and so a lot of these folks including Jeff Sessions has said, well, why don't we add to the roster of immigration judges, something like 320, calls for as many as 150 additional judges with funding to go along with that.

But the president, I mean, as you noted, he has said this won't work, even though there is pretty much bipartisan agreement of -- this will be something that can speed up this process, so folks wouldn't be lingering in this system for months and months and months and sometimes years.

So, we'll see what happens with this. You know, I think more broadly, none of these proposals that are coming out of the House or the Senate really would fix really what is the real problem in these countries, right?

Honduras and El Salvador, these drug-plagued and gang-plagued really neighborhoods that are run by drug cartels that are sometimes in cahoots with police and local governments and officials.

[11:10:07] And so until you kind of figure out how those countries can get a handle on that, and obviously part of the reason that drug cartels are so popular there, is because Americans have an addiction problem. So, it is such a multifaceted problem that it is unlikely there will be any quick fix coming out of either Congress or this White House anytime soon.

BOLDUAN: I mean, on this -- on the policy that created the problem at hand, you know, in the most immediate sense, Mark, we know that the zero-tolerance policy is unpopular, talk to lawmakers, we know -- maybe it is the fallout from the zero-tolerance policy is unpopular.

We know it was created by the administration. We know that it is nowhere from being resolved. Add to that, though, this, that politically the president is doing fine. The president's approval rating at 45 percent, which is roughly the same as other presidents at this time in their presidency. Roughly the same as the week that he took office. How does this all go together?

PRESTON: Well, let me try to explain the unexplainable and see if I'm even slightly correct. So, you two tell me if I'm right on this. One is we have an incredibly low employment, an economy, you know, that is doing well, not helping everyone, we have to point that out, but certainly the perception is we are getting our mojo back. We also don't have a nuclear showdown right now.

You go back six, seven months ago, I mean, we thought that Iran perhaps was going to be the target of a North Korean missile. We thought that Seoul perhaps was going to be wiped off the earth, well, right now it looks like there could be some reconciliation on that.

So, I do think people's fears are going down a little bit. I also do think, Kate, people are becoming desensitized. We're heading into the second year of a Donald Trump presidency. We're not going to turn the corner anymore. This is exactly what we're going to expect out of President Trump. I do think when you look at his numbers, a lot of people are resolved to that at this point.

BOLDUAN: That's an interesting take. I mean, Nia, give me your take, among Republicans, when you look at this Gallup poll, at 90 percent, I mean, no matter the images out of the border, is this the only data point that you need to make a judgment on whether Congress gets anything done? HENDERSON: In terms of whether -- I mean, in some ways, yes, I mean, it certainly goes to explain why Congress has been so unwilling to book this president because they know that by and large rank and file Republican voters are behind this president. I think it is because of all of the reasons that Mark laid out there.

The idea of peace and prosperity, right? The peace part, there is no nuclear showdown at this point with North Korea at least that's what the president says and the prosperity part, 3.8 percent unemployment rate.

If you look back in June of 2010, similar point in President Obama's term, the unemployment was 9.5 percent. At that point, he was about 45 percent. So, I mean, a counterargument is maybe the president should be at 50 percent, right?

Given among -- given how well the economy is doing at 3.8 percent. But, listen, I think Republicans are behind him, I think, you know, you'll have probably some different approaches to the midterms if you are in one of those swing districts in Virginia, Colorado, New Jersey, and Florida.

But yes, I mean, the president has a right to feel good and I think it goes to why he's, you know, he feels unbridled at this point, the numbers for him, at least among Republicans, are good and have been good for quite some time.

BOLDUAN: So, my judgment, because it is Monday, we're going to start the week in an optimistic tone, you're both right. Mark, in addition to the White House schedule today, there is -- a White House briefing was added to the schedule. Is Sarah Sanders going to -- does she need to answer the question what if anything will the president sign?

PRESTON: Well, certainly, she'll be asked, but she won't be able to answer because no matter what she answers from that lectern could change when she walks, you know, behind the door when it closes. So, we don't know.

Should we ask the question, we really don't know what role he's going to play in trying to get this legislation through the House. But, look, even if it does, Kate, we all know it gets to the Senate, it is going nowhere. So, we really are at gridlock right now.

BOLDUAN: Stop asking the president what he's going to sign and just do it and then let's see. Let's try something different. Great to see you guys, thank you so much.

Coming up, America divided, tensions are high. That won't surprise anyone, but are we now at a new low? Whose job is it to call things down? We'll be right back.

Plus, all American company, Harley-Davidson says it is moving some production overseas. The company says President Trump's tariffs are to blame.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:18:56]

BOLDUAN: Is civility dead? Here is why I ask.

(VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 10-year-old girl with down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage, I read about a --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless (inaudible).

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Since more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: And that's just from the past month. Most of it from the past week. Over the weekend, another run in was added to the list. White House Press Secretary Sarah sanders asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia.

Sanders did not miss the opportunity to tweet about it afterward, with this, "Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, to leave because I work for the president and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people including those I disagree with respectfully and will continue to do so."

[11:20:10] And Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters had this advice over the weekend as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you -- and you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So, I'll ask it one more time, is civility dead? Is anyone trying to pretend anymore at this point?

Joining me now, CNN political commentator, former press secretary for President Clinton, Joe Lockhart. Ned Brian is here, CEO of American Majority, grassroots conservative group.

All right. Gentlemen, existential questions today. Ned, in the least surprising twist of this, President Trump found it important to tweet his support of Sarah Sanders, attack the restaurant, calling the restaurant dirty and Sarah a fine person, and also offering up one of his restaurant rules. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside. So, is civility dead and who killed it? NED RYUN, FORMER WRITER FOR PRESIDENT G.W. BUSH: I think that civility is definitely on life support at this moment, in regards to the Red Hen incident if the owner wants to play mean girl politics, that's fine. I told people this, she's free to serve anybody or not serve anybody based off political differences, and she can enjoy or, you know, any financial gain or actually losses she may incur by that behavior.

I'm totally fine with that. What I'm concerned about especially seeing Maxine Waters comments is now appears that there is a certain juvenile element of the left that decided we're going to be intolerant, we're not going to have rational debates, we're going to use physical intimidation and bully people who we disagree with.

I think that's a dangerous trend. I was hopeful that after the Steve Scalise incident last year that all of us would take a step back and say, let's have a rational conversation, we're all Americans, let's have a rational debate about our political differences.

And it appears there is elements of the left that are putting their foot on the gas pedal and accelerating what I think is a very dangerous trend here in this country.

BOLDUAN: I think it is fair to say, gas pedal being pressed on the left and the right, though, I know you would agree if we're all being honest.

RYUN: No, and Kate, really quick, I think Donald Trump's Twitter feed, 85, 95 percent I agree with. When he's having tweets about bloody face-lifts and things like that, I think that is deeply unhelpful to the dialogue here in this country.

And so, I always encourage the president, stick to the facts, stick to these conversations about policy, that's extremely helpful and push back against things where he thinks people are being dishonest but leave the personal attacks alone.

BOLDUAN: It is never going to happen, though. I mean, Joe, you were the press secretary for President Clinton, did you ever run into problems when you were out and about then?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. People would come up and express their opinion and sometimes in very polite ways, disagreeing with you, sometimes not so polite. And that's part of the job. I think it is part of anyone who is in the public eye has to put up with this.

I disagree somewhat with the idea that I don't think a restaurant owner should be able to say, because of your political beliefs, I'm not going to serve you. This is what much of our history was about, to make sure you couldn't be denied service if you were African- American, or Hispanic, or denied rights as a woman or based on your religion.

So, I think that's wrong. I think Maxine Waters is wrong. But let's be honest here, this is a strategy that is being deployed by the White House. Sarah Sanders didn't put out on her Facebook feed or her personal Twitter feed, she put this out on her government handle, @presssecretary.

And this is about, it goes to everything that Trump administration is about, which is dividing people as much as they can, about making it us versus them. So, yes, civility is on life support, I agree.

But it is the president's obligation to try to bring the country together. That is a tradition that has been around for hundreds of years in this country, and Donald Trump is unique in his idea that he only governs for people who voted for him.

BOLDUAN: So, in the absence of that, because it is not going to happen, I'm sorry, to be -- I don't know if the word is fatalistic, it is not going to happen when it comes to President Trump, whose job is it then? Everybody takes a civility vacation until 20 whatever?

RYUN: No, I don't think so. I think it is all incumbent upon each of us on the right or the left to police ourselves. I can't control POTUS Twitter handle. I can only encourage him on tv for more civil. For example, with Maxine Waters, I think it is incumbent upon Nancy Pelosi and others to say, we do not agree with the sentiments she expressed yesterday.

BOLDUAN: You know what, Ned, she actually just did, she just tweeted, as we were coming on air --

RYUN: Excellent.

BOLDUAN: She tweeted about Maxine, putting out a story about Maxine Waters and wrote, "Trump's daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable, but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea."

RYUN: And I think this was very helpful and a applaud Nancy Pelosi for doing that, a rare thing coming from me.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

RYUN: But I think if we continue down this path, the amazing thing about all of this debate that really seems to have gone to the next level over this immigration debate, we can't seem to have rational conversations about who we want to be as a people 10 or 15 years from now.

And this conversation about immigration, what are we going to do on the borders, about illegal immigrants coming in, what does this mean for the American taxpayer, these are important conversations and now we just devolved into saying borders, to have borders is bigotry.

For an American president to prioritize the American taxpayer somehow a holocaust and I disagree completely, Kate. There should not have been family separation. There was a huge misstep by the White House.

At the same time, for us to continue down this path of not having real immigration reform is deeply troubling because I think there are serious financial and societal implications for us in the very, very near future.

BOLDUAN: It is a broad generalization that always traps you, right. There should be no border, there should be big Berlin wall. I mean, you know, like it is the -- that is --

RYUN: There should be a wall.

BOLDUAN: Those are the terms, those are the terms that President Trump speaks in because they are, they fit nicely on -- always has and fits nicely in the Twitter feed. That's part of it.

Joe, part of this I find interesting, in "New York" magazine, hits on it, they have an interesting question kind of in light of all of this, where is Barack Obama? Outrageous things happen, people are very upset, they're moved, they wonder where the country is headed.

And what they see as maybe president -- former President Obama retweet something or put something out on a Facebook post. Do you think that Barack Obama is what is missing in this conversation?

LOCKHART: I think the kind of leadership that Barack Obama and in some respects George Bush, Bill Clinton before him, represented, this idea that we are one country, and sometimes you have to put your party second and your country first, that is missing.

I don't think it is the former President Obama's job to be a daily political commentator, though. He's come out and said things that at key moments and I think he's using his voice appropriately.

You know, I think ultimately, we can have -- we can have fights over this sort of petty politics, much more serious debate over policy, but my advice for Democrats and progressives and independents and people who oppose Trump is, you know, join the protests.

But more importantly get to the polls in November because the scandal is the Republicans and Congress who are so afraid of Trump or the Trump voter that there is no oversight at all, no pushback.

The only members of the Republican Party in Congress who will take on Trump are people who already decided not to run for re-election. And I think that's what the people who are the enablers, send a message to them, the best way to do that is at the polls.

BOLDUAN: Some of them are not running for re-election because they weren't going to win, because they have been outspoken critics of the president. It is a tangled web. I'm glad we solved an existential crisis now, civility, on life support. Good luck. We'll be here hoping for you. Joe, Ned, thank you.

Coming up, can't get more all American than Harley-Davidson, but that American company now says it is shipping some production overseas all because of American trade policy. That's next.

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