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E.U. Countries Come Together to Solve Migrant Crisis; Five Journalists Gunned Down in Annapolis' Capital Gazette. Lawmakers Getting into Rosenstein's Skin; Trump and Putin to Have Their Formal Summit in Finland. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 29, 2018 - 03:00   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Forced to deal with the migrant crisis, European leaders find common ground on resettling thousands looking for a new home.

Five people have been killed in another mass shooting in the United States. This time, newspaper staff members targeted.

And new developments from Thailand this hour. Rescuers discover a potential entry point in their search for 13 missing hikers trapped in a cave.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers all around the world. I'm George Howell. The CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Around the world, good day to you.

European leaders have reached a deal on what to do with the migrants trying to get into Europe. In short, the 28 E.U. members have agreed to share responsibility for resettling migrants, increasing funding to manage the system and bolstering the fight against smugglers.

One key proposal is set to -- to set up migration centers outside of Europe is also being considered in North Africa. People seeking asylum can then be processed without risking their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean.

Let's get the very latest from our correspondents following the story. Nina Dos Santos, live in Brussels, and Atika Shubert, live for us in Berlin. Nina, tell us about this details from this deal. What's in it and how does it impact this issue?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: Well, I have to say that this communique that was eventually given out after about nearly 10 hours of fraught negotiations during which the Italians staunchly tried to block discussion on any other issue until they got the concessions they wanted on migration, the language is pretty vague. And it's also rather noncommittal in some parts.

But what it essentially does is give some countries that want the right to limit the flow of migrants, an acknowledgement that they need to do that while also giving countries like Italy and other southern European countries that are accepting thousands of migrants that say they can't cope with the ability, to disperse some of that migrant flow towards other countries that are willing to accept migrants themselves.

So in terms of the concrete measures that are proposed inside this document, we're talking about migration centers inside the European Union to process existing asylum claims, to try and weed out people who are instead economic migrants.

But this idea that you mentioned, George, in your introduction of disembarkation centers that could be set up outside the European Union to prevent people from actually arriving in Europe shores.

First their asylum claims can be processed outside the bloc, and that would help to prevent this issue that we've seen that's been devoted from tension, which is the migrant sharing issue.

Now Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, was one of a number of leaders who commented on the difficulties in reaching this deal, but the satisfaction that Europe finally has banded together to come up with this communique. She spoke a few hours ago.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, yes, it is just after 5 o'clock in the morning, and we've had very lengthy discussions. But lengthy discussions on the important subject of migration.

And we've come to positive conclusions, a lot of them around what the United Kingdom has been encouraging for some time, which is taking more action upstream in countries of origin so that we can ensure that people aren't having to make and aren't making these very dangerous journeys, often traveling many miles, often at the hands of the people smugglers and making the dangerous trips across the Mediterranean where we still see some people dying.


DOS SANTOS: Emmanuel Macron of France, he said that this showed that European cooperation was still alive and kicking and that was why they managed to reach this kind of a deal.

And Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister of Italy, the one who had taken that really unusual step for Italy of vetoing things right up until the end, he said that eventually the message coming from the statement is that countries like Italy are no longer alone. George?

HOWELL: All right. Nina Dos Santos, stand by one second as we cross over to our colleague Atika Shubert following a story in Berlin. And Atika, the German chancellor described this issue as make or break for the European Union. So given this deal, does it take some of the pressure off?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what this deal really shows exactly as Nina said is that this is about E.U. solidarity, and it's really a rebuke to some of the rhetoric we've been hearing from, for example, Hungary's leader, Viktor Orban who talked about an invasion of migrants coming to Europe or similar language coming from the Italian Interior Minister, Salvini.

[03:05:02] So what this agreement really says is it's all of Europe's responsibility to this and we all have to share in finding a solution. Now, the question is, you know, what are the concrete details that have come out of this?

They talk about processing centers and so forth. It's not clear how some of this will work. And for Germany, Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, it's not about E.U. solidarity but she can sell at home. She needs to bring this back on Sunday. She has a big meeting planned with her own party and with her sister party, the Christian Social Union which has threatened to mutiny against her unless she overhauls migration policy.

So she's got to bring this document back and say here it is, this is E.U. policy. And see if that's enough to keep her coalition government from breaking apart. So far she sounds optimistic. Take a listen to what she said.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Overall, after an intensive discussion on the most challenging theme for the European Union, that is to say migration, it is a good sign that we could agree on a common text.

The Austrian presidency will have a lot of work to do. We have agreed on five guidelines, but two are still lacking for a common European asylum system. But I am optimistic after today that we can really continue to work even though there is still a lot to be done so as to bridge the different views.


SHUBERT: Now, one glaring omission from this agreement which Nina noted is what to do with those refugees that have reached Europe, that have been processed here and need to be resettled. There are still thousands in Greece that don't have homes.

This agreement says, you know, the responsibility is shared. It's voluntary, but there's no clear explanation about where these refugees will be resettled, which countries will take them.

HOWELL: Atika Shubert, thank you. Now let's bring Nina back in. One other question, given the details that you've laid out is there any sense of how quickly this strategy might be rolled out?

DOS SANTOS: Let me see. There's some pressure points, time sensitive pressure points as Atika was noting there before, especially when it comes to the numbers of migrants that are already inside the European Union.

If they're going to set up these centers, they're going to have to set them up quickly. But we don't yet know which countries are going to have to set up the centers, who's going to pay for them. And also once those asylum claims are processed and if they are successful, which countries are going to take those asylum seekers.

And when it comes to the repatriation of people who aren't eligible for asylum status, so, for instance, economic immigrants that has been a real issue for the European Union, how are they going to get those people back towards their country of origin?

Currently only 36.3 percent of people aren't really eligible to come inside the European Union to stay inside the European Union as refugees are sent back, so how can they ameliorate those kind of figures. That's something that they're going to have to look at too.

This idea of disembarkation points is something that relief agencies like UNHCR have been talking about for some time. So there's a bit of work that's already been done on that.

But, again, that will take time. They'll have to negotiate deals with some North African countries, find funding for that at perhaps another E.U. summit that will take place in a few months' time.

All of these plans that are here inside this document are very much in their infancy, but the real important thing here is that they've acknowledged that migration is a huge issue, especially with the wave of populism sweeping up Europe from the new Italian government to Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere. George?

HOWELL: But, again, these E.U. leaders agreeing to a joint statement as you both indicated, showing a sign of solidarity. And we will wait to see how this plan is rolled out. Nina Dos Santos, and Atika Shubert, thank you both for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you both.

Moving on now to the U.S. State of Maryland, police there questioning the suspect in a mass shooting that took place at a local newspaper. Five people were killed there. Three others wounded. This after a gunman opened fire armed with a shotgun at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis on Thursday.

Our Brian Todd has details for you.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The gunman who opened fire on the Capital Gazette newspaper has been identified to CNN by multiple law enforcement sources as Jarrod Warren Ramos, believed to be in his late 30s.

According to our sources, Ramos did have a dispute with this newspaper, that he filed a defamation claim against the Capital Gazette back in 2012. That claim was dismissed.

Police also say there were threats directed at the Capital Gazette, social media threats of a general nature. Threats not necessarily, they say, directed at one person in particular. But we're still ferreting out some of that information. But the threats came as recently as possibly Thursday morning according to police. Also dramatic accounts from survivors of how the gunman entered the

building. One survivor, Phil Davis, an employee of the newspaper, says the gunman shot his way through the front doors, front windows, then came in. It's a fairly small newsroom area that he started opening fire on just about everybody he saw.

[03:10:02] Police say this was a targeted attack, that he walked around looking for his victims. But Phil Davis said as he and others were hiding under their desk, they could hear him reload. And they described it as a terrifying experience.

Victims in this case, the deceased victims have been identified as of late Thursday night by police, as Wendi Winters, who was a reporter or feature reporter for the newspaper, Rebecca Smith was a sales employee from Capital Gazette, Robert Hiaason, who was an assistant editor for the Gazette. Gerald Fischman, the editorial page editor, and John McNamara, who was a sports writer for the Gazette.

The police credited with basically interrupting this attack. Witnesses say that they saw police rushing in, some of their in their street clothes, pulling on bulletproof vests. They were able to interrupt the shooting according to authorities without exchanging gunfire with the gunman. But they are credited with interrupting this because they got there within about 60 seconds after the shooting started.

Brian Todd, CNN, Annapolis, Maryland.

HOWELL: Let's bring in Jim Maxwell. Jim, a retired FBI special agent and bomb technician joining us from Sonoma, California. It's good to have you with us on the show to talk about this.

Look, this has been described as a targeted attack. The alleged gunman had a dispute with the paper there, and there were numerous threats on social media. Given these different points, what do you make of this latest mass shooting?

JIM MAXWELL, RETIRED SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Well, it does seem like a targeted event. You know, recently published studies -- in fact, the FBI did a follow-up study this month and published it this month on active shooter. And it described a list of stressors.

The stressors are indicators or contributing factors to these shooting situations. Two of them mentioned on the list are civil litigation, and the other one would be mental health issues.

So I suspect based on what I've learned today that this may be a combination of those two stressors. And that combined with social media.

There were some clear indicators or layering here as far as seeing this coming. I know it's very easy to armchair quarterback these things after the fact, but this is starting to show or unfold indicators that show that this was a likely behavior.

HOWELL: OK, Jim. You point out these points, the social media. Were these missed opportunities? Were these red flags, and if so, you know, what should have been done?

MAXWELL: Well, this is a learning process. You know, what happened down in Florida, in Parkland, there were a lot of contacts with law enforcement authorities, a lot of contacts on social media with this individual. And I suspect it's probably the same here.

The problem is filtering this information. When this information is received, who receives it, and where does it go? And if the newspaper was receiving these types of threats, whether they're idle threats or direct threats, they should be passed on to the authorities.

I can tell you since the days of Columbine, the state and local authorities have gotten very good at nipping these things in the bud before they blossom into a violent event.

So I think what has to be looked at here is how we pass along this information, how it's digested, and how it's distributed to the people that need to know, especially if you're dealing with a company or any type of entity that deals with the public.

Those people at the front line who were checking passes, who are reviewing whether or not people enter buildings, they need to be armed with the right information.

I mean, this happens all the time with husbands and wives that have restraining orders placed against them. They come into businesses and act out and violate the restraining order. The right people need to know that this is a potential problem.

HOWELL: Jim, let's just take a moment here. I'll ask our director if we could just show our viewers again the images of the people who were killed in this shooting.

Again, five people were killed in this shooting at the Capital Gazette. But here's the thing, Jim. Police response, it was key. Very quick to prevent further casualties.

MAXWELL: Yes, absolutely. Responding to active shooter right now is a primary patrol responsibility, and the training is getting out there. I participated in training of police officers on this type of course, and they're taught to go right in, address the threat as quickly as possible.

And they're taught to move down hallways, in through doorways as effectively and quickly as possible, up and down staircases.

There are specific tactics involved in the way police officers approach these things. And I can tell you that it's a fairly new skill in the last couple of years, and it seems to be more and more important these days that we have adequate and very quick response on the part of the state and local authorities.

[03:15:07] They're our first line of defense in these things, and they need that necessary training, especially at the patrol level because these are the guys who are going to be on-scene first, and they need to know how to do that. I can see in Maryland, this department, based on what I've seen, they definitely have their act together based on their response time.

HOWELL: And, Jim, one other question, this being a soft target. And given the heated rhetoric that is certainly out there, just around journalism, around journalists, the places that they work, what can be done to protect these soft targets from potential attacks?

MAXWELL: It's situational awareness. You need to train your staff, whether you're running a business that deals with the public every day or you're running a newspaper.

You know, I think we're very foolish to assume that the press is immune from these acts of violence. You know, the press deals with the public every day just like public agencies and businesses do. And I think you have to train your staff to be aware of potential problems.

Does this guy show up regularly and complain? I mean, look what happened a few years ago in Maryland when the TV station was attacked by an individual. That individual regularly showed up at that station until he finally got frustrated and acted out.

So these things that we call layering, these things build up through a series of minor events, and they come to a head in some cases. But training the staff to be aware and to recognize these things and to pass the information along to the right people, that is key.

So training is not only important for the police departments, but training staff to be aware because this is just as important as responding to a fire alarm nowadays. And everybody knows what to do when the fire alarm goes off, but does everybody know what to do when there's an active shooter in a commercial establishment?

HOWELL: It's just truly sad to see what happened at this newspaper these journalists just doing their job.

MAXWELL: It's terrible. Terrible.

HOWELL: Yes. But you know, the thing about it, the paper did go on to print the next edition. Jim, we appreciate your time and perspective, and we'll stay in touch with you.

MAXWELL: Thank you very much.

HOWELL: Let's talk about that, some really powerful image in the aftermath of the shooting. This from Capital Gazette reporter, Chase Cook.

Despite his and all of his colleagues' heartbreak, a tweet for and about the fallen. "I can tell you this. We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow. And the result, Friday's front page with large bold headline there. Five shot dead at the Capital". Pictures of the victims there above the headline.

Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, the man overseeing the Russia investigation testified before Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Whatever you got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.


HOWELL: The testy exchange between Rod Rosenstein and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives still ahead.

And in just over two weeks, the U.S. president will shake hands with the president of Russia. Again, the big question, will Russian meddling be on the agenda? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll see.

And later, Africa's last hope for a World Cup victory is crushed when Senegal gets eliminated because of an unprecedented tiebreaker rule. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

The summit between the U.S. President Donald Trump and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, will be on July 16th in Helsinki, Finland. And it won't be the first time that the two have met, of course, but it will be their first formal summit.

And President Trump is apparently looking forward to it as our Jim Acosta reports for you.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It all must be music to Moscow's ears. Asked about his upcoming summit in Finland with Russia's Vladimir Putin, President Trump sounded eager to patch up a damaged relationship.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We could all get along. It's going to be great. The world has to start getting along.


ACOSTA: Earlier in the day the president tweeted on the Russia investigation, noting the Kremlin continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our election. That claim from the Russians and repeated by the president has been contradicted by the U.S. intelligence community time and again. Mr. Trump's own picks to run the intelligence community have all accepted the U.S. findings.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: I think the intelligence community's assessment, which I agree with, is that Russia attempted to sow discord in our country in an effort to influence the last election.


ACOSTA: But that's not stopping the president. Amid chants of lock her up at his rallies 18 months after the 2016 election, the president still insists it's Hillary Clinton who should be under investigation.


TRUMP: When do they get over it? You know, it is pretty amazing. Point after point, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. She's OK. And then they go after us for a Russian hoax. It's a witch hunt hoax.

It's -- isn't it incredible when you talk about a double standard? When you talk about a double standard, and nobody even looks at her. Nobody even looks. I don't think, unless we're going to be surprised someday. We'll see how that works out.


ACOSTA: The president's fixation on the Russia probe comes just days before an upcoming NATO summit with U.S. allies that are frustrated with Mr. Trump's rhetoric. Last year the president seemed to take Putin's word for it when it came to meddling, telling reporter on Air Force One, he said he didn't meddle. He said he didn't meddle.

I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. Every time he sees me, he says, I didn't do that, and I believe -- I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. A comment the president later tried to clarify at a news conference.


TRUMP: I said there that I believe he believes that, and that's very important for somebody to believe. I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election.


ACOSTA: Touting a new economic project in Wisconsin, the president is also defending his call for tariffs on Europe, part of a trade war that could prompt motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson to send some of its operations overseas, a move Mr. Trump warned the iconic American company to avoid.


TRUMP: We want to tell, by the way, Harley-Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the USA, please, OK? Don't get cute with us. Don't get cute.


ACOSTA: The president is feeling emboldened after the announcement that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring.


TRUMP: We're going to pick ourselves one great United States Supreme Court justice.

(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: He decided to do this during our term, and I think that showed confidence in us.


ACOSTA: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who blocked Merrick Garland from the high court in the last year of the Obama presidency insists this time it's different.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY, MAJORITY LEADER: This is not 2016. There aren't the final months of a second-term constitutionally lame duck presidency with a presidential election fast approaching. We're right in the middle of this president's very first term.


[03:25:08] HOWELL: Jim Acosta reporting there. And on Capitol Hill a fiery clash over the Russia investigation between House Republicans and top officials from the Justice Department.

CNN's Jessica Schneider explains.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I am the deputy attorney general of the United States, OK? I'm not the person doing the redacted.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: You're the boss, Mr. Rosenstein. Did you threaten staffers on the House intelligence committee? Media reports indicate you did.

ROSENSTEIN: Media reports are mistaken.

JORDAN: Who are we supposed to believe? Staff members who we've worked with, who have never misled us, or you guys who we've caught hiding information from us, who tell a witness not to answer our questions? Who are we supposed to believe?

ROSENSTEIN: Thank you for making clear it's not personal, Mr. Jordan.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Republicans on the House judiciary committee lashing out at the Trump-appointed Republicans who lead the FBI and the Department of Justice.


JORDAN: You haven't complied with requests from a separate and equal branch of government, that you haven't complied with subpoenas, and you got seven days to get your act together.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHNEIDER: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein responding in a rare display of frustration.


ROSENSTEIN: If you're interested in the truth, Mr. Jordan, the truth is we have a team of folks. They're Trump appointees and career folks, and they're doing their best to produce these documents. I'm not trying to hide anything from you.


SCHNEIDER: FBI Director Christopher Wray said hundreds of thousands of pages have already been provided to the Hill, including documents related to criminal investigations.


WRAY: For months, we've been working with your committees to make witnesses available, answer questions, and produce or make available to you and your staff over now 880,000 pages.

In just the past week, for example, we've had approximately 100 employees working day and night, dedicated to this project.

I didn't think I was going to be spending the first 10 months of my job staring down the barrel of a contempt citation.


SCHNEIDER: But the answers didn't seem to satisfy Republicans on the committee, who continued to work to discredit the Mueller investigation. Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, who spent more than two years investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, said it was time to end the Mueller investigation that's been running for 15 months.


GOWDY: This country is being hurt by it. We are being divided. We've seen the bias. We've seen the bias. We need to see the evidence. If you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. Whatever you got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.


SCHNEIDER: Republicans also continued to seize on the anti-Trump text messages between two FBI officials involved in the initial stages of the Russia probe to suggest the Mueller investigation was tainted.


GOWDY: For them, it was an investigation to stop Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHNEIDER: Democrats argue Republicans are only making document requests for sensitive materials now to give the president a pretext for firing Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller probe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to impeach you. They want to indict you. They want to get rid of you. They want to undermine this investigation. So, Mr. Rosenstein, good luck. We're in the minority.


SCHNEIDER: In the middle of this hearing, the House passed a resolution to compel the Department of Justice to turn over documents related to the FBI's investigation both of the Hillary Clinton e-mail server and the Russia investigation.

Now, if the Department of Justice doesn't comply, Rosenstein could be held in contempt or even impeached. Rosenstein said sternly, that won't happen, and he urged that there are other ways to resolve this dispute, like in the courts, if of course Congress isn't ultimately satisfied.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

HOWELL: In an unprecedented set of events, Senegal have been eliminated from the World Cup and, instead, Japan advances for being better behaved. The two teams were level across the board, but Japan earned fewer yellow cards.

This is the first time in the World Cup that a team has been eliminated on a fair play tiebreaker.

Let's bring in Kate Riley to tell us about this. I mean, wow, this is something that you just wouldn't expect, and here we are.

KATE RILEY, CNN SPORT ANCHOR: Yes, and you feel heartfelt sorrow for those fans, don't you? They're absolutely devastated. What an unfair way to go out. The beautiful game can be rather cruel, can't it, George? And this one was very cruel indeed to Senegal, Arica's last hope for the tournament crashed out with a 1-nil defeat against Colombia.

[03:30:03] And that was their fate sealed. It was, in fact, six yellow cards that did it. So it was Colombia who topped group H. Japan go through in second place. This is how the group looked at the start of the day before the last two games were played. It was Japan and Senegal that will progress. Poland were already out having already lost their first two games, but the next goal against Japan changed the landscape.

Now as Senegal were top of the group and Japan were going home, but the pitch had changed again 16 minutes from time when Colombia scored. Colombia knew they had to win. It was a goal that prompted scenes of wild celebration back home in Colombia. The (inaudible) players who hails from a City with just over 20,000 people has now got two goals at this world cup, and they can't get enough.

Meanwhile at the other game, in (inaudible), the most bizarre situation. Japan had the ball, and they were simply passing it among themselves. And when it came to it, well, the blue samurai scraped into the last 16. Spare a thought for Senegal. As we are saying, it's a horrible way to go out. It is the best time for (inaudible) play rules this time in the standings after the group's stage.

All right. That is how it looks. This is how close it got in the end. Japan and Senegal were identical on points. Goal difference and goal scores, it came down to a pair of late yellow cards in their second game.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: All right and we'll just have to look ahead.

RILEY: All right.

HOWELL: Kate, thank you so much.

You're watching "CNN Newsroom." We'll be right back after the break.


HOWELL: Live around the world, you're watching "CNN Newsroom." I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

Police are questioning a suspect in a shooting at a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland. Five people there are dead. Three others wounded. Investigators are looking into social media threats against the "Capital Gazette," some as recently as Thursday. One reporter described what happened. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once I started hearing that he was kind of making his way up the hall -- or up the alleyway or whatever you want to call it that runs through the pit of desks in our office, just trying to stay quiet, hoping that the glow of my computer screen didn't point out the fact that I was hiding under my desk, hoping that, you know, the various buzzing on my phone wouldn't put out my, you know, position to him and ultimately him try to find out where I was. You know, at some point when I was listening to him reload, it -- you know, are we all going to die? It's not necessarily, is he done. It's is he not going to leave until everyone in here is dead.


[03:35:06] HOWELL: We will of course, continue to follow the investigation there.

European leaders have reached an agreement on the migrant crisis. It followed an all-night set of negotiations after Italy threatened not to sign a joint statement unless other members agreed to do more. The deal bolsters Europe's defense, the fight against smugglers and also setting up migration processing centers in countries outside of Europe.

The U.S. Defense Secretary, James Mattis, is in Tokyo meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other officials there. Now it comes after a similar trip to South Korea. And very high on the agenda, what happens now after the summit between the United States and the North Korean leaders? Our Paula Hancocks is following the story live in Seoul, South Korea. Paula, Japan certainly wants to know the progress. What's going on with these negotiations with North Korea? Tell us more about what Mattis had to say.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, what we heard from the Secretary of Defense today in Tokyo was that he was really pointing out once again in his only press briefing during the whole trip to Northeast Asia that the diplomats are firmly in the lead, that the diplomats are leading the charge when it comes to North Korea.

And from a military point of view, saying that there was a necessity to suspend military drills with the South Koreans, which the U.S. President Donald Trump announced rather unexpectedly after meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, saying that was necessary in order to give a chance to breathe, a chance for the diplomats to step in and try to make something work.

Now what we heard from the South Korean counterpart on Thursday was that this is acceptable as long as North Korea is keeping to this path, is showing that it is willing to denuclearize. And we've heard a similar thing today from Secretary Mattis, saying that the U.S. and South Korea and Japan are all ready to defend themselves should that be necessary, but we did hear from his Japanese counterpart, though, saying that those drills would go on. U.S. and Japan will still carry out military exercises.

Japan also saying that they will continue to try and stop, for example, the sanctions busting that they believe North Korea has been trying to do. These illegal ship-to-ship transfers at sea, trying to get goods that they need and that they can't get from sanctions which Japan has been on top of in recent weeks. So we're seeing a more hardline approach from the Japanese, but really this trip was about the U.S. Secretary of Defense reassuring the allies as the U.S. starts to negotiate with North Korea. George?

HOWELL: Paula, Mattis has always described the relationship with Japan as essential, though at a time where China's influence is surely growing within the region. Was anything said on that front?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly what we saw from China was a very strong stance. They didn't appear to talk about North Korea in public as much. We heard from the President, Xi Jinping, saying that when it comes to the South China Sea, which is a bone of contention between the U.S. and China, that nothing would change, that China would continue to do what they have been doing.

So certainly in that respect, there is still that tension within the U.S.-China relationship, but of course when you look at trade tariffs as well, the U.S. President raising the potential of trade tariffs recently, but what we heard from Mattis was he said that it's important for that relationship that they can competitively coexist. George?

HOWELL: Paula Hancocks, live in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you for the reporting.

More than 1,000 women activists hit the streets of Washington on Thursday. Listen.




HOWELL: A crowd of people there demanding that the Trump administration stop its zero tolerance policy on immigration at the southern border with Mexico and to end the practice of separating children from their families. Protesters also filled the Senate Office building on Capitol Hill. More than 500 demonstrators were arrested there. All of this as the first lady, Melania Trump, visited the U.S. border area for a second time. She visited facilities that housed detained immigrants.

It's still unclear exactly when more than 2,000 undocumented children will be reunited with their parents, but the crackdown in the U.S. isn't stopping some migrants from trying to get to the U.S. in any way they can. Our Nick Valencia reports.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Through the tree brush, border patrol agent Robert Rodriguez spots what he says are three smugglers preparing to launch a raft filled with migrants. He says, they're filming us, he says.

[03:40:01] Along with Agent Rodriguez, we follow the raft upstream. It is where we see this, six Central American migrants who were on the raft. One of them traveling with his father is just 3 years old.

The dramatic scene unfolds along the Texas border as protesters across the country March against the zero tolerance policy. Stopping traffic in Washington. And in Wisconsin, where President Trump held a fund- raiser. At the same time, the first lady makes her second trip to an immigration facility on the border.

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: It's incredible, as young as 6 years old. You know, somebody would leave him. Very sad.

VALENCIA: Since the new policy rolled out in May, more than 2,300 immigrant children have been separated from their parents. The latest government numbers show six fewer children in HHS custody. What's not clear is if families are actually being reunited. Despite the latest court order mandating reunions within 30 days, an immigration lawyer at the border says the process hasn't improved yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is that reunification going to work? One of the things that the order makes clear is that the government began this process of separating parents from their children with no plan.

VALENCIA: One of the major worries for immigrant's rights groups is that young children will be without parents representing them in court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The concern is that they would be deported before their children were.

VALENCIA: A report from the Texas tribune describes a 3-year-old climbing on top of the courtroom table during a hearing. It's all underscore by heartbreaking conversations like this one, captured by vice news. In it, a 7-year-old boy speaks to his mother in Guatemala. He was separated from his father at the border in late May.


VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, Texas.


HOWELL: Nick, thank you.

Lebanon is now home to more than a million Syrian refugees, but with the Syrian government regaining control of more territory and with the encouragement of Lebanese leaders, Syrian refugees are now starting to head home. Our Ben Wedeman reports there is no certainty that their life will be any better.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Their life in exile is coming to an end. Loading up their truck for the drive over the border to Syria. When Omar and his family fled to Lebanon, they thought it might be for a week. That was nearly five years ago. He insists he has nothing to fear going back to live under regime rule.

He betrayed his country his (inaudible) fought the army. He is innocent. Omar is a construction worker, lives in a Lebanese town (inaudible) near the Syrian border. Its original population of nearly 40,000 swelled by almost 60,000 refugees.

I ask his neighbor if Actur Bedoh (ph) is she'd urge regime opponents to return. She hesitates and then says, if you return to your country, beloved Syria, to his excellency the President, god bless him, he'll be happy. It will be like a holiday.

War still rages in Syria, but (inaudible) where many of these refugees come from has been under Syrian government control since last year. Hundreds returned to Syria Thursday, and more are expected to leave in the coming days. The U.N. refugee agencies concerned about their fate, but can't stop them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The conditions inside Syria do not allow us to organize or encourage refugees to go back. However, we do respect people's own individual decisions. WEDEMAN: The Lebanese government is increasingly eager for the more

than 1 million Syrian refugees here to go home. And indeed some are packing up and getting ready to leave. There are others, however, who are hesitant and say that as long as Bashar al Assad remains in power, they may never go home.

Mohammed Bakur (ph) from Damascus makes Syrian sweets in a nearby camp. The profits help support the camp's modest school and other basic services. He has no illusions about what awaits him if he returns.

There's a 90 percent chance I'll be thrown in prison, he says. What good does that do me? It is better to stay here. (Inaudible) main concern is his mentally handicapped 6-year-old daughter, Selena. Once a French teacher, he also has no plans to go back.

There it's straight to execution, and if you have sons, they send them straight to the front lines, he says, adding that Syrian President Bashar al Assad is like Dracula, a vampire addicted to blood.

[03:45:12] This man represents a group of refugees from a largely destroyed town (inaudible). Almost all are staying in Lebanon. There's no way we can return to Assad's land without international guarantees, he says. There are no such guarantees. No guarantees for those who leave. No guarantees for those who stay. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Lebanon.


HOWELL: Ben, thank you.

Still ahead, the increasingly desperate search for a group of missing Thai teens. The very latest from the cave rescue site.


HOWELL: Thai authorities are still holding out hope as they look for 12 young football players and their coach. It's believed that they've been trapped in a flooded cave since last weekend. Heavy rain there has hampered the search efforts, but a second possible entry point has been found. Climbers are being lowered into the hole and to the jungle floor. British rescuers say this route is more promising.

Let's bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following the story live in Hong Kong. Given what you're hearing from sources so far, what's the latest on this search?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you said, there is hope, and they need it right now, George. It has been six days since this team of 12 boys and the coach have gone missing in this cave in northern Thailand, and the rescue effort has what's being called a promising new lead. The cave system is some ten kilometers across, and they believe that the boys entered the cave system on Saturday, and about three kilometers in, they hit a fork in the cave system. That was where they put their backpacks down and they made a decision to either go left or right. Right now British teams, they are investigating whether the team

turned right, heading north. Now, if the boys turned right, they would have moved up to the highest ground overall. So we have Thai's and British disaster relief teams are working together trying to access that area down through the jungle floor, through a naturally occurring chimney. This is said to be a more promising lead. Climbers are being lowered down this chimney hole. It is 1/2 meters in diameter across, it is 22 meters deep.

[03:50:00] And up to now, we know that the rescue teams, they were working under the assumption that the boys had turned left, heading south. If they turned left, they would have been at this other area called Pataya Beach or complex 3 and even trying to reach that area by pumping the water out and sending the cave diver in.

So that is where we have it right now. We have these two fronts in these rescue operation. A CNN team is there at the site of the more promising rescue operation focus, at the site of the chimney with the British team. Any updates, we'll bring it to you, right here on CNN. Back to you, George.

HOWELL: Kristie Lu Stout, live in Hong Kong. Thank you so much. We'll keep in touch with you.

Let's talk about the weather situation now. Our meteorologist, Derek Van Dam, is here to tell us more. Derek, weather has certainly been a problem hampering this situation. The muddy conditions just making this very difficult.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Extremely challenging for the rescuers and the divers as well. Kristie was mentioning that they are starting to find these access points outside of the main cave. This is important, because according to British rescuers at the scene, it negates a passage that has been blocked by floodwaters. So they want to try to get around the flooded part of the cave and get to the area where they believe or at least potentially those children and one adult could potentially be.

The satellite loop has been very active across this region. Reminder, this is the southwest monsoon. It really picks up in intensity as we head into the month of July, but of course we're only a couple of days away from changing over from June to July. We expect to see more shower and thunderstorm activity. Look at the specialized divers bringing their tanks and all the extraction systems to remove the water from the caves.

They're doing every possible scenario to try and alleviate the flooded waters, but in terms of the conditions they're dealing with in the cave, floodwaters coming in from all directions. That is a concern, because it brings in a lot of debris with it as well, leaves, mud, rock, debris. That is going to lower the visibility and make it very challenging for those divers to conduct their search and rescue.

This is the weather forecast going forward. We do expect more thunderstorms in terms of rainfall totals, easily another 15 to 25 millimeters, potentially more in a two-day period. That will lead to more localized flooding of the caving system. But the good news here is that George, it is not as heavy as what we experienced about three or four days ago.

But, again, time continues to be of the essence here, because we do expect the rainy season to just really pick up in intensity as the days go on. You can see just every effort made here to alleviate the flooding concerns and also bring in oxygen for the search and rescue operations there. George?

HOWELL: Let us hope they have some success there. Derek Van Dam, thank you.

Still ahead, you've seen this in the movies, but look at that. This is real life. Hanging on at more than 110 kilometers an hour, and he lived to tell about it. Wow.


HOWELL: Welcome back. I'm sure you've heard the phrase hanging on for dear life. The next story gives a whole new meaning to that phrase, and it's no wonder that no one was hurt. Jeanne Moos takes us on a wild ride. Buckle up.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not only did this guy cling to a car hood for 19 miles, he managed to call 911.

[03:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're on top of the car right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm on top of a speeding vehicle. Can you please help me?

MOOS: From his ex-girlfriend's point of view, driving the Mercedes --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get off of my car. Get off.

MOOS: From the point of view of a passing motorist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the actual (BEEP).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was blind blowing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a black male on the windshield. He is like spread out all over the hood.

MOOS: His name is Jr. Francis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was scared. I was terrified.

MOOS: His ex-girlfriend, Patricia Isadore, said she too was scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The guy is a psycho. He just won't leave me alone. He is an ex-boyfriend that just won't leave me alone.

MOOS: An officer confirms the two called police several times that day and even stopped by the station, but when Patricia wanted to use the car they shared to pick up her daughter, Jr. jumped on the hood. She drove off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop the car now! Stop the car! You're going fast.

MOOS: 70 miles per hour on interstate 95 headed towards Miami.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had chances of getting off my car and he wouldn't get off the car. So, I feel like he put his life in danger.

MOOS: The 911 call went on for more than 25 minutes, obliterated by wind noise.


MOOS: The call kept dropping. Directions miscommunicated. Eventually she pulled over. The police arrested her. She was charged with culpable negligence. While the internet obsessed over little things. How in the hell is that flip-flop staying on? Then there was the woman who tweeted, wondering if Mercedes had gotten a new hood ornament. He is no ornament. He is a guy who kept hanging on to a broken romance and ended up hanging on to a hood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just watch yourself and be careful who you love.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: I literally have nothing to add to that. Thank you, Jeannie. Thank you for being with us. Remember to connect with me anytime on twitter @georgehowellCNN. The news continues next hour with my colleague Hannah Vaughan Jones live in London. Thank you for being with us here on "CNN Newsroom."