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Trump Calls for Deportation; Setting up Calls between Parents and Separated Kids; Legislation on Immigration; Trump Hits Waters for Harassment Call; Harley-Davidson Moving Jobs. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired June 25, 2018 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
With 2,000 children still waiting to be reunited with their parents, President Trump escalating his rhetoric on immigration, calling for deportation without due process.
Also, the crash of civility as Sarah Sanders gets kicked out of a restaurant. One Democratic congresswoman calling on supporters to confront Trump officials in public.
And, despite the president's high disapproval ratings, a new poll shows 90 percent of Republicans approve of his performance. We'll explain why.
All that coming up.
But up first, send him back. That's what President Trump proposes as a solution to the crisis involving undocumented immigrants. The president says those who enter the country illegally should not be entitled to due process. The administration is scrambling to reunite families separated at the border under his policy.
In his latest tweets, the president ramped up his hard line rhetoric. Among other things, he tweeted this, quote, we cannot allow all of these people to invade our country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no judges or court cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and law and order. Most children come without parents, closed quote.
Let's go to our senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
Jeff, so what more are you hearing from the president and his top aides?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, behind the scenes here at the White House, we are told the president is still indeed fuming about last week's immigration matters here at the White House. And, of course, as we saw him campaign all weekend long in Las Vegas, doubling down on his hard line immigration stance, he is trying to make the point that the border needs to be resolved.
Now, he's not necessarily talking about the reunification of families and children, which we saw so many images of last week, which ultimately led him to sign that executive order. And he's not talking about how the House should pass its immigration bills. He's talking about simply campaign themes, returning to things he's talked about for a very long time, building the wall, stopping people at the border, but not exactly saying how he would do it or anything new about this.
Look at a tweet he sent out just a couple hours ago this morning, Wolf, giving a window into what he's thinking about immigration. He said this, hiring many thousands of judges, going through a long and complicated legal process is not the way to go. Will always be dysfunctional. People must simply be stopped at the border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally. Children brought back to the country.
So he's saying, stop people at the border. Not exactly saying how, Wolf.
So nothing really new today from the president in terms of solving immigration, just simply pointing out it's a problem and one he is seizing upon.
BLITZER: According to "The New York Times," Jeff, the president is having some second thoughts about signing that executive order the other day, last week, extending -- ending, I should say, ending family separations. What can you tell us about that?
ZELENY: Wolf, we are hearing that as well. This was certainly something that the president signs, you know, essentially in the wake of public pressure. And we are told he did not like how it was essentially viewed, that he was doing an about-face, which is something he rarely does, a reversal. And he certainly did not want to look soft on immigration.
So, in a meeting on Friday, and then again in conversations over the weekend, as his administration was scrambling to essentially put these things into place and try and move beyond this, he was fuming about the fact that he was signing the immigration order. And he even went as far as wanting to do the entire immigration bill, building the wall, other matters, by executive order. He was told by lawyers here and others he was unable to do that. He needed the act of Congress to do that.
But, Wolf, there's a lot of fuming going on here, but there's not much progress in terms of getting House Republicans and certainly not Democrats behind any type of bill that would accomplish this. So a lot of talk on immigration, very little action, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jeff, thank you. Jeff Zeleny at the White House.
There will be a White House press briefing, by the way, later this afternoon with Sarah Sanders. We'll have coverage on that, of course.
From that politics in Washington to the pain in Texas. We learned today that ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, officials inside the Port Isabel Service Processing Center are just now setting up phone calls between parents and their children. But the problem is, many families are unable to speak to their children because they don't know where they are.
Let's go to our correspondent Polo Sandoval. He's outside a facility in Los Fresnos in Texas.
Polo, what are you learning over there?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we heard just one of those examples a little while ago. I spoke to an attorney who was leaving the premises here. This detention facility in Cameron County, Texas, who told us that her client, a Central American father, was separated from his nine-year-old daughter two weeks ago. Today, he was given a piece of paper with a phone number to a holding facility in Arizona where it is believed that his daughter was.
[13:05:13] He called that number. It rang and rang. No answer. So it just goes to show you that in spite of these efforts to try to not only get these kids back with their parents, some of these parents, who may have a phone number, it's still leading them nowhere. So it really does address the challenges.
In spite of that, though, the government saying that reunifications, they are happening, at least 538 kids reunited with parents in the last few weeks. These are children who were separated from their parents because of the zero tolerance policy. But it appears that there's still plenty more work to be done with at least another 2,000 children still in the care of the federal government who are not with their parents quite yet.
Many of these parents have been deported to their original countries without their children. The U.S. government addressing that over the weekend saying that these parents are often given the adoption or either deport with their children or allow their children to remain in the United States in the care of perhaps a relative so they can go through the immigration process.
Clearly, though, we are seeing, of course, plenty of criticism here. Both Democratic lawmakers and members of the public descending on south Texas and other key locations for -- to protest the president's zero tolerance policy. In the last 48 hours, even witnessed a fairly tense moment outside a holding facility in McAllen, Texas, where these pro-immigration supporters essentially rushed towards an -- to an immigrant detention bus, blocking its path. Eventually authorities able to de-escalate that situation, Wolf. But it really does go to show you that people are certainly passionate about this topic, not just here in south Texas but other parts of the country as well.
BLITZER: Polo Sandoval reporting from south Texas for us along the border. Thank you very much.
Many of the detained immigrants say they're trying to escape violence and hopelessness in their own countries. They see the United States as their best chance to start new lives and secure a future for their children.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren visited detainees at a processing center in McAllen, Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I talked to mothers who just said -- from Honduras in particular -- who said there's nothing there for us. We have no jobs. We have no money. We have no food for our children. And America is our last hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia is joining us. He's the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, author of an immigration bill. It came up short in the House last week. They're going to try again presumably this weeks. He's joining us from Capitol Hill.
Mr. Chairman, thanks so much for joining us.
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: Good to be with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, so let me get your reaction, first of all, and then we'll move on, to what we just heard from Senator Warren, her comments about what she saw and heard from these detainees. They're trying to escape awful situation, whether Honduras or Guatemala or Ecuador or other countries in Central America and they're seeking refuge here in the United States. What's your reaction?
GOODLATTE: Well, my reaction is, this is the wrong way to go about doing it. First of all, they should apply at the U.S. embassy in these countries. If they feel the need to escape the country, the first country they escape into is Mexico. And they can apply for political asylum there. Or even at the U.S. embassy there.
But to bring your children across 1,000 miles of danger, often using human smugglers who are engaged in drug trafficking at the same time and other things, and then across deserts and rivers to illegally enter the United States, it's the wrong way to do it. Once they're here, if the only crime they've committed is that of misdemeanor, illegal entry into the United States, they should be kept with their children. If they've committed other crimes, if they're smuggling drugs themselves or this is not their first time, because if you attempt to reenter the United States after having been deported, that's a felony, then I don't think your children should remain with you under those circumstances.
But most of these people are not in that circumstance and they should be with their children. The problem that we have is that the administration is up against court decisions and a 10, 12 year old piece of legislation that makes it extremely difficult to keep the children with their parents for -- in the case of the Department of Justice, more than 72 hours, in the case of the Department of Homeland Security, more than 20 days. So legislation that we have in the House right now does address that problem and we think it should be addressed.
BLITZER: And I just want to be precise on this, because you correctly point out, if you cross the border illegally, the first time it's a misdemeanor, you want the parents to be together with the children, they can then go through the process of seeking asylum here. But the president now says he wants to immediately kick them out, the kids, the parents, immediately, without due process and not even allow them to go before a judge. I assume you disagree with the president?
GOODLATTE: Well -- well, I do agree that people who are unlawful present in the United States are not entitled to the same civil liberties, due process standards that United States citizens and lawful permanent residents are. However, courts have given rulings on this and there's a limit to what can be done at the border. In some instances you can return them immediately across the border.
[13:10:23] But if they ask for political asylum, if they make other requests, they are then afforded the opportunity to be heard by an immigration law judge. Those laws need to be reformed as well. There are loopholes. And everyone coming in is now claiming political asylum. So we have a backlog of 600,000 cases when historically we have granted about 5,000, maybe 10,000 political asylum cases a year.
It's a good -- it's a good thing to protect people who have a well- founded fear of persecution by their government or by their government failing to protect them. But a lot of the folks have extended this well beyond that. So we could debate each and every one of these folks, whether they want to come here because they want to find economic opportunity, whether they're avoiding domestic violence, or whether they're confronting gangs. Some of them have been approved for political asylum. But the vast majority of them are not approved when they do get that hearing.
BLITZER: The first immigration bill you put forward the other day, last week, a conservative bill, it got more votes than expected, but not enough to pass. Where do things stand this week? I take it you're going to try once again to get some sort of Republican-backed comprehensive immigration reform passed through the House of Representatives.
GOODLATTE: We are hard at work on it. We worked over the weekend. What happened with that vote was, that -- we were not allowed to perfect that with the changes that we had negotiated with a number of members of -- of the House over the six months since we had originally introduced it. And I think a lot of people were surprised that it still came within about 20 votes of passing.
So what we agreed to do is rather than offer the second bill was to work on that second bill and make some improvements to it, taking things from the first bill that we hope will gather enough votes to pass it.
BLITZER: You know, Mr. Chairman, the president says you're simply wasting your time. The other day he tweeted this, Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congress men and women in November. So you're going to go ahead with this vote this week even though the president is telling you it's a waste of time?
GOODLATTE: That's the plan, because we have a crisis right now. We can't wait until after the election. And members want to address this problem. And we address it in a balanced way. We do something for the DACA population, but we also address the border security issues, the interior enforcement issues, the issues related to moving toward a more merit-based immigration system. All of those things are in our legislation and we think it's important that it be brought up now. And that doesn't assure what will happen to it in the Senate. But we think we should put it back over to the Senate.
BLITZER: All right, one final, very quick question, because I've got to run.
BLITZER: But if it fails, and a lot of the congressional watchers think it will fail once again, are you ready to introduce stand-alone legislation that will prevent the U.S. from separating kids from their moms and dads?
GOODLATTE: That language is in the bill we introduced. Whether it's --
BLITZER: But if it fails -- but if it fails in the comprehensive immigration, let's say that whole piece of legislation doesn't get 218 votes --
GOODLATTE: And I understand --
BLITZER: Will you then go ahead and introduce a much more narrow, standalone piece of legislation to just make sure that kids aren't separated from their parents?
GOODLATTE: I understand your question. And the answer is that discussions are going on about that right now. The focus is on passing the larger bill because this is a two-sided issue. But we do want children to be reunified with their parents. And if they need to be detained, they need to let the children stay with the parents for a longer period of time. And that's what this legislation would accomplish.
So, one way or another, we need to address that.
BLITZER: Congressman, Mr. Chairman, thanks so much for joining us.
GOODLATTE: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: I appreciate it very much.
Members of the Trump administration being heckled in public places, including Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, getting kicked out of a restaurant in suburban Washington, northern Virginia. And how one Democratic congresswoman is now calling on more people to confront Trump administration officials. Plus, what happened to the former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He's now accused of racism after this tweet involving Nancy Pelosi.
And federal prosecutors abruptly cancel their interview with Stormy Daniels, the porn star suing President Trump. You're going to hear why her attorney thinks this interview was called off.
[13:18:52] BLITZER: A series of incidences raising some serious questions about why a lack of civility in politics is now spilling out into everyday life. Recent public confrontations include, among other things, protesters yelling "shame" at the Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant here in Washington over the administration's immigration crackdown.
Also, Pam Bondi, the Florida attorney general, confronted by protesters at a movie screening in Florida for her support of President Trump's policies.
Also, Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the president, one of the architects of his immigration policy, was heckled and called a fascist at a D.C. restaurant.
And, of course, there's the case of Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, being asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia because she worked for the Trump administration. Following the Sanders incident, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California urged her supporters to keep it up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:20:09] BLITZER: All right, let's discuss that and more with conservative commentator Erick Erickson. He's the editor of theresurgent.com website.
Eric, thanks so much for joining us.
ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR, THERESURGENT.COM: Thanks for being here.
BLITZER: Let me read to you, the president, just moment ago, tweeted this about Congresswoman Waters. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, he said, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the make America great again movement. Be careful what you wish for, Max, closed quote.
Your reaction? ERICKSON: You know, it would be great if we had a president who tried
to deescalate these situations, but he's actually a master of escalating things and it typically works to his advantage. This is a dangerous game for both sides to play. And I'm more and more convinced that the James Hodgkins' mass assassination attempt of Republicans is not an anomaly but an inflection point in American civic discourse, and that's a dangerous thing for all of us.
BLITZER: The -- why are we seeing this surge in public confrontation? And I just mentioned a few examples.
ERICKSON: You know, I really think it has a lot to do with underlying cultural phenomenon of, as the company becomes more secular, it's not like people become less religious, it's that their religious beliefs shift to other things. In some cases, politics. And people are trying to find their salvation and sense of faith in moving the public needle. And that ends badly for people because in real religion there's a concept of grace, and in politics it's about beating the other side.
BLITZER: In his tweets going after the Sarah Sanders incident at that restaurant in Virginia, the president called the restaurant dirty. He's using his bully pulpit creating some of this controversy, as you know. The latest Gallup poll shows that, among Republicans nationwide, he's got a 90 percent approval rating. Are you surprised by that?
ERICKSON: Not really. I think a lot of people gravitated to the president in 2016 because they felt an existential threat against their culture. Democrats, I think, are, to some degree, washing away their wave in November that they otherwise would have because they're reminding people that the other side in politics deeply dislikes them at a personal level. And so there are people gravitated to the president who don't necessarily like the president, but they're scared of what the other side will do to them. And that's not a healthy way to have discourse in the country.
BLITZER: How much of a blunder was it, if you -- if you believe it was a blunder, for the president to sign off on that zero tolerance policy, in effect also separating kids from their parents without completely working through the ramifications of what was about to unfold?
ERICKSON: It was a huge blunder on his part. The administration did not think it through. They caused a lot of this controversy themselves. They exacerbated it. But, honestly, I don't think it matters. We've still got about 2 billion news cycles between now and November.
I'm not sure you know this, but we had a summit with North Korea two weeks ago. Everybody's going to forget about these things by November. I think the real thing that matters is the president and tariffs and what happens to the economy. That will be what makes or breaks Republicans in November.
BLITZER: All right, he's going full speed ahead with these tariffs against Canada and Mexico and the E.U., China. He's moving all -- he's moving on this.
ERICKSON: I've talked to multiple Republicans in Congress who were terrified of the tariffs and nothing else. They disagree with him on immigration, but they say what's happening to their local economies is going to be what hurts them.
BLITZER: Do you think it's a given that the Democrats are going to be the majority in the House of Representatives?
ERICKSON: I think that in the off year elections, the party out of power tends to do well. I think the Democrats are hurting themselves with their aggressive culture war critiques, forcing people out of restaurants and harassing people. In blue states, I think Democrats will do very well. In divided states and red states, I don't think so. There's polling out now in Florida that Rick Scott is ahead of Bill Nelson. And I think if that trend continues, Democrats aren't going to see the wave they might once would have had.
BLITZER: Well, we've still got, what, several months to go before -- before November.
ERICKSON: And lots of news cycles.
BLITZER: Erick Erickson, thanks for coming down.
ERICKSON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Appreciate it.
There's more news we're following.
The president calling the coverage of his summit a couple weeks ago with North Korea's Kim Jong-un almost treasonous. This as the U.S. lays out some new demands for North Korea.
Plus, as we just mentioned, the Dow, look at this, taking a dive, down 385 points right now. As tariffs from the European Union goes into effect, one American company, Harley-Davidson of Wisconsin, now moving jobs overseas because of the president's tariff war. Which companies may be next?
[13:28:33] BLITZER: President Trump's trade policy appears to be backfiring for motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson. It was just last year when the president met with executives at Harley-Davidson to champion its U.S.-based manufacturing and said this at the time. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to make it easier for businesses to create more jobs and more factories in the United States. And you're a great example of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Now, Harley-Davidson says some of its motorcycle production for Europe is moving out of the United States to Europe to avoid retaliatory E.U. tariffs. Harley-Davidson is based in House Speaker Paul Ryan's home state of Wisconsin.
And just a little while ago, he put out a statement criticizing the president of the United States. Ryan saying this, quote, this is further proof of the harm from unilateral tariffs. The best way to help American workers, consumers and manufacturers is to open new markets for them, not to raise barriers to our own market, closed quote.
I also want to show you how the markets are doing right now. There you see the Dow Jones down 368 points right now on growing fears of an escalating trade war between the United States, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, China and several other countries.
Let's bring in Richard Quest. He's joining us now. He's at the New York stock exchange.
Richard, this seems like a pretty swift reaction to these retaliatory tariffs.
[13:29:59] RICHARD QUEST, CNN MONEY EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes, because the European Union very cleverly knew exactly where to hit the United States. Going for Harley-Davidson, 20 percent tariffs, which means that the average tariff on a single motorbike is over