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Hundreds From California And From Los Angeles Have Gathered To Demand Action, To Demand That Families Separated At The Border Be Reunited; Cases Of Alleged Migrant Child Abuse At The Border Revealed; A Comedian Claims He Pulled Off A Prank Call On The President On Board Air Force One; Justice Kennedy's Announcement That He Is Retiring On July 31st. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 30, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: This moment I want to share with you from a short time ago in Washington, some school girls as young as seven years old reading personal letters they wrote to other children being held in detention centers in this country without their parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not think of America as a cruel place where people hate you. There are people, good people, who are going to help you find your families again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish I could give you a big hug. I know that kids should be with families. My family will keep fighting to make sure that happens.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not alone and if you ever feel alone, just think of me and all the other people in the world that want to help you and your family get back together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: A gathering in Washington got a boost from some entertainers who lent their passion and their personal stories to today's march.
LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, ACTOR: We are here because there is the parents right now who can't sing lullabies for their kids. And this is for those parents. And we won't stop until they can sing them again. Don't give up until these families are reunited.
ALICIA KEYS, SINGER/SONGWRITER: This is all of our fight because if it can happen to any child, it can map to my child and your child and all of our children.
AMERICA FERRERA, ACTRESS: If it was my family being torn apart, if it was my brother being arbitrarily criminalized, if it was my sister being banned, then someone would stand up for me and my family. This fight does not belong to one group of people, one color of people, one race of people, one gender. It belongs to all of us. DANE GUERRERO, ACTRESS: It is a denial of children's humanity to say
that because they were born in difficult or dangerous place at the wrong time, that they don't deserve a second chance.
CABRERA: Those voices in Washington. Now to Los Angeles and actress Laura Dern.
LAURA DERN, ACTRESS: Introduce my friends, our state's most progressive and extraordinary mayor, our current lieutenant governor with his gorgeous family, my dear friend his wife Jennifer, ladies and gentlemen, our next governor of California, Gavin Newsome.
LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOME (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you. Morning, L.A. good afternoon, L.A. Laura, thank you for the introduction.
I just, first of all, let me just thank each and every one of you for taking the time for stepping up and stepping in and being here today. And I want to tell you why I'm here. I'm here most importantly as a father of four young children.
As a father of four young children that is sick and tired of the chaos, the cruelty, the cages, the concrete, sick and tired of zero tolerance, sick and tired of the policies coming out of the White House, Trump and Trumpism.
I'm also here as a proud Californian. In downtown Los Angeles, the most diverse city and the most diverse county in the most diverse state, California, in the world's most diverse democracy. And I don't know about you, but I think the world looks to us, looks to each and every one of you to see that it is possible to live together, to advance together, and prosper together across every conceivable and imaginable difference.
What makes California great, Mr. President, what makes California great today is that our best we don't tolerate that diversity, at our best we celebrate that diversity.
CABRERA: Again Gavin Newsome speaking there.
Let's head to the ground in Los Angeles and our Nick Watt now.
Nick, big crowd there today. We have heard from many speaker. What are you hearing?
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. Perhaps the next governor of California appealing to his base right now. But the biggest cheer of the day went to representative Maxine Waters who has been involved in a quite public spat over the past little while with the President. She was just up on that stage. She said other members of Congress are intimidated. I am not scared. Here is a little bit more of what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: I am prepared to make whatever sacrifices are needed to be made. I'm not about to let this country go by the way of Donald Trump. We are sick and tired of him. He's been there too long. They dare me to say impeach him. Today I say impeach 45. Today I say Donald Trump, this is not your country to do with whatever you want to do. This country belongs to all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:05:06] WATT: The L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti also spoke. He spoke in Spanish. He was telling to drowned out by chants ever get ICE out of Los Angeles.
We also have a mix of speakers from different religions. We had an imam up on that stage saying Donald Trump is not my President. We have a rabbi quoting the Prophet Muhammad from that stage. I saw a Muslim woman wearing the hijab of stars and stripes.
This is a group of about a hundred different organizations that are united together to talk today on this issue, the main issue which is about people coming across the border and separation of families.
Now, even though the President has now said that, you know, families in the future will not be separated, this crowd is not satisfied. They want more. They are vocal and they haven't even started walking yet. We are still listening to these speeches. There was I think one of the speakers this morning who generated the most silence among the crowd which is a good thing, is a young woman from Guatemala and who was nine years old when she came to this country. She is undocumented. She stood there in public and she said I'm undocumented, I'm unapologetic and, Ana, I am unafraid.
CABRERA: Wow, unafraid. Nick Watt in Los Angeles. Thank you.
I want to head north from where Nick is to the city of Portland, Oregon. At this very moment, protesters are heading for Portland ICE field office where tensions erupted just a day ago. We have federal offices in riot gear clashing with protesters who set up a tent city camp there couple of days ago forcing authorities to shut down the operations inside.
Let's get to the ground and CNN's Dan Simon in Portland.
Dan, what is the latest there?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hello, Ana.
Well, the formal protest has ended, but we do believe that some marchers are headed this way. And let me explain where we are. This is the ICE headquarters here in Portland, Oregon. And you can see these federal police officers, DHS police officers, they are here because for the past 13 days, you have seen protesters basically take over this area. At one point we did see officers make some arrests a couple days ago about eight people. But you have a 24/7 encampment that is encircling the ICE headquarters here.
If you see behind this kind of wooden fence area, there are about 90 or so tents over there. And these people say they are in it for the long haul. That they will not leave. And you have something of a mini city that has taken shape in there. They are having all their meals in there. There is actually a shower in there. There is a place for kids to kind of hang out. And so this is quite an extraordinary scene that we have seen here in Portland.
Now some have asked will this continue indefinitely, and right now, Ana, the answer is yes. That's because the Portland mayor is supporting the efforts of the protesters. And he says as long as they remain on city property and not federal property like you see over here where the ICE headquarters is, as long as they stay on city property, they will be left alone.
And so now you see these people who are basically living here. They have been here for the past two weeks. And again they don't seem to be going anywhere -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Dan Simon, keep us posted.
Now I want to bring in Republican congressman Jeff Denham of California. He is here with me in New York. Thank you for joining us.
REP. JEFF DENHAM (R), CALIFORNIA: You guys, thanks for having me.
CABRERA: I know immigration is an issue that is personal to you. It is close to your heart. You have been working hard to try to get immigration reform up for a vote in the house. And we did see a vote last week which failed miserably. The legislation that was put up, it was crafted by Republicans alone, went down in a ball of fury, of flames. How do you go back home now to your constituents on recess and explain to them as these families remain in limbo there is nothing happening right now in Washington?
DENHAM: Well, first of all, I did have the language in that bill that actually would keep families together. As a father, I don't ever want to see kids pulled away from their parents. I know I would always do whatever it took to keep my kids with me as a family unit. And so we did have that language in the bill. Unfortunately, we did not get one Democrat on this. Even though most of the bill was the same as the gang of eight that every democrat in the house and Senate supported.
So, you know, we have got some work ahead of us. I mean, a lot of this is political. It is up to people like me to find like-minded people in both parties to get a bipartisan bill, one that not only keeps families together, but we have to address the overall issue with dreamers that you have court decisions coming out this summer that puts the whole DACA issue -- creates a lot of uncertainty for kids who have job, kids who are in college now, even kids that are getting ready to graduate from high school next year.
CABRERA: So what is going to happen at this point? Because the President has sort of gone back and forth saying Republicans should just wait until after midterms to even take up additional immigration legislation. But that won't help these families who are separated. And you mentioned you yourself are a father. Is that OK with you?
[16:10:09] DENHAM: No. In the short term we are going to do a standalone bill. Something that should be extremely bipartisan, one that just says you can't separate kids from their parents, having more family units along the border as they go through due process. We have to make sure that that moves forward as soon as we get back from this week back in our district.
CABRERA: Does the buck stop with Congress or with the President?
DENHAM: With Congress. We have to do our job. You are elected to lead. You know, I didn't agree with the last President doing executive orders. I don't agree with this President doing executive orders. Congress has to do its job. It there is a broken immigration system or even if there is an issue in current law that needs to be fixed, then you pass legislation. Congress is where laws are created.
CABRERA: Is your leader in the House, Paul Ryan, doing enough?
DENHAM: I don't think either party is doing enough.
CABRERA: But Republicans have the majority right now. Let's be honest.
DENHAM: Well, sure. But Democrats had the majority by much, much larger numbers and couldn't even pass the clean dream act. So, you know, there is enough blame to go around multiple Presidents. It this has been broken to 30 plus years. This is the first time we have Republicans on record with a majority of Republicans saying we want a fix for DREAMERs.
So while I didn't get the numbers that I wanted to see on this bill last week, I think we still moved the debate forward quite a bit.
CABRERA: How is it going to come back up?
DENHAM: We are going to have to force a vote just like we did on this discharge petition. So we are looking for new ways to bring this up. But ultimately I think the court is the one that forces a vote. July 17th is when Texas brings this issue up like the ninth circuit already did. The Supreme Court are going to have to deal with this rather than make this an issue in the courts, it creates more volatility, Congress just needs to come together and get it done.
CABRERA: And you talk about the dream act or DREAMERs. But when it comes to the families who are being separated at the border, and now what is going to be happening in terms of reunification? I want you to listen to what the senate minority whip Dick Durbin said after he had a meeting with DHS, HHS and the DOJ who are all involved as far as the governmental agencies in trying to execute the reunification. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), MINORITY WHIP: We asked a very basic question. How many children have we separated from their parents and have in our custody? They said we don't know. Well, how many are under the age of five? Because the court order that was issued out of San Diego two days ago said within 14 days they have to be reunited with their parents. We don't know. Well, how many parents can you identify that have given up their children into our government? They said ten. Ten, under ICE in custody. Where are the rest of them? Those are for parents under the age of five. We don't know. There is no way that they are working to comply with that court order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Congressman Denham, how confident are you that these families will be reunited?
DENHAM: It is something that just has to get done. I'm actually visiting one of the facilities close to my area in California where a number of these kids, these minors have been moved to. Part of the challenge, these unaccompanied minors get a bus ticket or plane ticket to New York, California or anywhere else in the country.
But health and human services does have a list. They do keep track just as -- this is nothing new. Just as they did under the previous administration, you know. There is a lot of talk about cages or fencing in these different facilities. Those aren't new. I'm welcoming members of Congress both Houses to actually do what I have been doing for years and go visit these facilities. Because they are not brand new facilities. The last two administrations have dealt with the same issue the same way.
CABRERA: Well, in fact, on my show just a couple of weeks ago, we showed the cages and pictures from 2014 when unaccompanied minors were coming across the border in much greater numbers at that time and creating a lot of attention and outrage at that time. More Democratic lawmakers are now calling for the abolition of ICE. I want you to listen to what Senator Elizabeth Warren said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The President's deeply immoral actions have made it obvious. We need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality and values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: What do you think?
DENHAM: Yes, disappointing. You know, many on the progressive side are talking about open borders, they are talking about getting rid of ICE which means lawlessness. Law enforcement needs to work together. We need to make sure that if you are creating crimes in our on community, oftentimes those crimes against the immigrant community or the undocumented or those who are in the shadows, we need to make sure that law enforcement is able to actually create safe communities. Because number one job of government is to create safe communities and ICE is a big part of that public safety.
[16:15:11] CABRERA: Is ICE doing a good job?
DENHAM: ICE is doing their job. Immigration and customs enforcement is there to enforce the same way it did under the previous administration to deport those that in sanctuary cities and areas in California to make sure that they are actually working with local law enforcement. And if you are a felon preying on our community, then yes, be deported.
CABRERA: Right. But even HSI which is the homeland security investigation, have formed a group and has sent a letter to Kirstjen Nielsen, the DHS secretary saying ICE is actually making their job harder in some ways to go after those criminals you speak of.
DENHAM: Yes. I certainly think that there is some duplication in government and there is always the ability to streamline. But ICE has a specific job in making sure that they are coordinating with local law enforcement and actually creating safer communities.
CABRERA: Let me ask you one final question because you have about 40 percent of your district that is Latino.
DENHAM: Forty-six percent.
CABRERA: Forty-six percent to be exact. So even more. I mean you are in a tough reelection fight here. Do you think if you were to lose it is because of the President's policies?
DENHAM: No. I'm very vocal in my district. It is an area I have represented for quite some time now. Very diverse actually. Not just high Hispanic population, but a lot from the Middle East, a lot of Syrians, a lot from India. So it is a very high immigrant population as well as a very diverse district. I'm there focusing on the issues.
Immigration is not only an issue that is important to resolve for my community, but it is a personal issue that I just node that we have to get done. We also need water storage. I mean, there are specific issues that are district focused that we have to solve to make sure that we continue to have a vibrant economy. You can't just sit back on tax cuts alone. We actually have to move the ball forward on a variety of other issues.
CABRERA: Congressman Jeff Denham, thank you very much for coming in and spending time with us.
DENHAM: Thank you. ``
CABRERA: And as we head to a break, let's listen into singer John Legend who is performing for crowds earlier in Los Angeles.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:22:06] CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
These are live pictures now from California and from Los Angeles where hundreds have gathered to demand action, to demand that families separated at the border be reunited. Besides the fear and trauma being taken from their parents, young immigrant children are now being ordered into court. Many are appearing at their deportation hearings by themselves, 3-year-olds in some cases.
Joining us now is Christina Jewett. She is an investigative reporter for Kaiser Health News. She broke this incredible story.
Christina, we are talking about toddlers going to court without their parents or guardians as you point out in your story. This is not entirely new, but it is happening more often now because of the separation of parents and children. How can these children go through a deportation hearing without a parent?
CHRISTINA JEWETT, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, KAISER HEALTH NEWS: That is a big question that is out there right now. What these kids are expected to do is go to court and basically tell the story of why they have credible fear of persecution in their country. And as you can imagine, that is incredibly difficult for a very small child to do. Much less do they even know because as a parent we often sugarcoat these things for our kids.
CABRERA: Talk us through what happens in these hearings. What kinds of questions are they asked and what is the interaction like typically between the child and the judge or whoever is the presiding officer?
JEWETT: Well, if the child is seeking asylum, there is an interview that sort of non-adversarial. It is in an office. And the child has to sort of explain why they have credible fear of persecution in their home country. And like I said before, this is a really unique situation. These kids are separated from mom and dad. May or may not be in contact with them and may or may not really understand why their family took this journey.
CABRERA: (INAUDIBLE) officer. You know, one lawyer you cite in your article this quote stood out to me. I want to read. We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents and the child in the middle of the hearing started climbing up on the table.
I mean that image. I know there is no legal representation that is supposed to be mandated for immigrants. Is the expectation that children can mount their own legal defense?
JEWETT: Right, I mean this isn't like the court where you or I would deal with if there is a dispute with your neighbor or like the courts you see on a detective show. This is a court that is part of the executive branch of the government through the justice department. So this issue of minors not being appointed an attorney, it has been an issue for a few years. There was a big lawsuit over this and the plaintiffs lost. So this is a problem and lawmakers have introduced legislation to make it so the kids are a pointed an attorney, but that legislation just hasn't gone anywhere.
CABRERA: We only know of about a half a dozen children now who have been reunited with parents, 2,000 more are still separated. A federal judge in California has now set time lines for these reunifications. Fourteen days with kids under five, 30 days for the rest. But in the meantime what is going to happen over on the next couple of weeks before the judge's decision actually goes in to effect?
JEWETT: Well, you know, I imagine the attorneys are going to be just kind of pushing things down the road because if the child is reunited with the parent, those cases can be consolidated and the child can go forward with the parent. But the kids you really sort of wonder about, what about the children whose parents have already been deported, what about the cases if, you know, time just sort of drags on between to the match between the parent and the child. So something that journalists are definitely going to be looking at.
CABRERA: Christina Jewett, thank you for joining us.
JEWETT: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: We will be right back.
[16:30:21] CABRERA: A short time ago these are the images from Los Angeles. Just a little bit ago, it gives you a sense of how large some of these protests are that are happening from coast to coast today. More than 700 rallies big and small calling families together are taking place across the country. And as we watch these marches nationwide, we want you to hear directly from one of these immigrant families as to why they were willing to risk everything to come to America.
Nick Valencia was there on the U.S./Mexico border as smugglers brought them across the Rio Grande.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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 are filming us he says.
Along with agent Rodriguez, we followed the raft downstream. It is there we see this, six Central American migrants, some of those who were on the raft, one of them traveling with his father is just three years old.
What are you looking for here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: He is asking for asylum. Strangers would show up to his house, they would ask for money. And they would threaten him in front of his child, threatening to kill him and they were even -- he said they would even kill the 3-year-old.
You know there is people here that are very much against illegal immigration. They don't want people like you in the United States. What do you say to them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: He says those people don't know what I have been through. They don't know what I go through nightly. They don't know what it is like to fear death.
This mother and her 13-year-old were also in a group holding back tears, she says she never wanted to leave Honduras. If it wasn't for MS-13, her son says they would have never left. Why are you crying?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: He said he didn't want to leave Honduras. That is why he is crying. He is really sorry for putting his mom in this position. She said of course I would never let my son be captured there. So she is saying even though there is zero tolerance still in place, she said they would still cross. That's how much they have.
From here, the group would be taken to a processing center joining hundreds of others just like them. Even still, they are the lucky ones. Had they crossed just last week, the parents and children would have assuredly been torn apart by the U.S. government.
CABRERA: Out thanks to Nick Valencia reporting.
Coming up, cases of alleged migrant child abuse at the border. One Guatemalan teen says he was mistreated while he was detained and he witnessed countless other cases of physical abuse too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They would tie them to a chair. They would bind their ankles. They would bind their wrists, their waist. They would put a mask over their head and would forcibly give them injections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:37:58] CABRERA: All day long we have been covering the crowds protesting the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy on immigration. These demonstrators are giving voice to people like 16- year-old David of Guatemala. David says he crossed the U.S. border in Arizona last summer to seek asylum after receiving death threats. He was arrested by border patrol almost immediately, but instead of treating him like an immigrant seeking asylum, David says he was detained and labeled a gang member.
Our Drew Griffin has his story.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He crossed the border last summer just 16 years on old and alone. He says he was escaping violence and death threats in Guatemala.
DAVID, UNACCOMPANIED MIGRANT TEEN (through translator): My family had been threatened and I knew there was a possibility that if I didn't leave, I might be killed.
GRIFFIN: He says his family paid nearly $4700 to a coyote to debt him through Mexico to the Arizona border. He was arrested almost immediately.
DAVID (through translator): We were walking and all of a sudden border patrol showed up and caught us.
GRIFFIN: And that began a nine month ordeal where David was continually stepped up as it is called, held in more and more secure facilities according to documents viewed by CNN. He still faces deportation, which is why he has asked his face be concealed. But he wants the people of the United States to know how he was treated when he crossed the border seeking asylum. Immigration attorney, Becky Wolozin, says his case is typical.
BECKY WOLOZIN, ATTORNEY, LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER: The administration says you are a gang member, you are a danger to society. It is not the way to treat kids who have already been through so much trauma and so much abuse and violence.
GRIFFIN: On his eighth day in custody, he says he was a woken at 3:00 a.m., told to hurriedly dress, eat and be ready.
DAVID (through translator): I thought because of my experience in my country that they might be kidnappers, that they might want to hurt me or rob me. I wasn't sure. I wanted to escape but was scared. And the only way I could think to escape was to find a police officer and tell them what was happening.
[16:40:03] GRIFFIN: He was actually being transferred to a higher security facility on the east coast. David says he told his new case manager about his thoughts of running to a police officer. He was labeled a flight risk.
DAVID (through translator): As soon as I got there, they placed restrictions on me for a week.
GRIFFIN: Turns out when David spoke to his therapist or case manager, the information was being used against him. When he had shared fears of violence, he was determined to be potentially violent. When he shared fierce of gangs and death threats in his homeland, he was labeled a gang member.
DAVID (through translator): The therapist told me she was going to help me. Hopefully make things better for me. But instead, she reported me to the government.
GRIFFIN: And David was moved yet again. This time to what seemed like prison.
DAVID (through translator): All of the security people there wore uniforms. They all carried radios. They all had handcuffs.
GRIFFIN: His story is similar to what a CNN investigation found at facilities all across the country. Mixed in, he says with tougher kids, he witnessed forced medications including injections, suffered being hit by other detainees and watched he says as guards strapped uncooperative teens in to a restraint chair.
DAVID (through translator): They would tie them to a chair, they would buy their ankles, they would bind their wrists, their waist. They would put a mask over their head and would forcibly give them injections.
GRIFFIN: You saw this?
DAVID (through translator): Yes, I did. They would strap them into the chair in front of everyone.
GRIFFIN: In the middle of the room?
DAVID (through translator): Yes. All the cells were in a row. They would go in, grab the boy, tie him up in front of everyone.
GRIFFIN: A counselor saw David drawing on his hand and wrote in a report he was trying to cut himself.
What were you draw something.
DAVID (through translator): I was writing a word like my God.
GRIFFIN: David turned 17 in detention. Feared he would be held until he was an adult and tossed in real prison, he finally got access to new lawyers and a judge. And this past May that judge reviewed his record, determined that he was not a danger and ordered his release. It took nine months.
CABRERA: That was Drew Griffin reporting.
Coming up in the NEWSROOM, a comedian makes a prank call and ends up talking to President Trump. And that is not even the craziest part of the story. Don't go away.
[16:46:53] CABRERA: Holiday in mile high security breach. A comedian claims he pulled off a prank call on the President on board air force one. The comedian, John Melendez aka stuttering John, managed to convince the White House switchboard that he was New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. Well, before long he got a call back from the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I have a good relationship with the party. You have a good relationship with the party. And I think we can do a real immigration bill. We have to have security at the border. We have to have it. I mean, look, you got 60 percent of the country says you have to have security at the border. And that is good for the Democrats too. It is not like it is good for you or good for me. It is good for both of us.
JOHN MELENDEZ, COMEDIAN: No, I understand that, but --
TRUMP: Go ahead.
MELENDEZ: No but -- I'm Hispanic, so I have to -- I'm sure you understand. I have to, you know, I have to look into my, you know, my people as well. You understand.
TRUMP: I agree, I agree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN's Boris Sanchez in New Jersey near the President's Bedminster golf club.
Boris, we are now hearing from that comedian directly. What is he saying?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana.
Yes, stuttering John Melendez revealing that his team actually previously called the White House and openly identified themselves, but they were told that President Trump was busy and they were hung up on. This time he says he was able to get through to President Trump getting a call back from the President on air force one. He says it only took about an hour and a half of time to get through to the President. He could not believe that this was taking place. He says that if anyone had asked him along the line who Senator Bob Menendez, what state he was from or what party he was affiliated with, he wouldn't have been able to answer those questions can. Here is more from stuttering John.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELENDEZ: I get a call from air force one and it is Jared Kushner. And I know it is Jared. I'm a political news junky. I actually do watch CNN all the time and I know Jared's voice and it was definitely him. And he said to me I'm going in and out of my English accent. I'm like -- I answer, hey, hello. And then I go, oh, yes, hello, how you doing Jared. And then he says, well, I can get the President out of a meeting now or I can have him call you back in a few minutes. I said, oh, no, please have him call me back, you know, because I knew I had to call my friend in New York to record it. He said no problem. We will call you back. Now I'm getting nervous. Now, I'm like this can't be happening. And
sure enough, 20 minutes later, I get a call. It is from, you know, again I answer with my bad Long Island accent. And hello. And then, oh, yes, let me get the senator on the phone and I call my friend in New York. I get on the phone with Trump and Trump is just like Bob, I want to congratulate you. I didn't even know that Senator Menendez was in any legal problems. And really if they would have just screened me and asked me what party affiliation senator Menendez had or what state he represented, I would have been stumped because I had no idea anything about senator Menendez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:50:22] SANCHEZ: You could add stuttering John Melendez to the list of things we never thought we would be discussing when covering this administration. Ana, we have reached out to the White House for comments. They have not publicly said anything about this phone call nor confirmed its authenticity -- Ana.
CABRERA: It is so bizarre.
Boris Sanchez, thank you for filling in some of the mysterious gaps in that story for us.
Now, the President this weekend is focusing on his next Supreme Court nominee. Justice Kennedy's announcement that he is retiring on July 31st came as a shock to some, but not to others. The 81-year-old is one of the oldest justices on the U.S. Supreme Court second only to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
CNN's Tom Foreman explains why age is more than just a number when it comes to Supreme Court justices.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you look closely at the ages of the sitting justices, you begin to understand why this change is so momentous. So let's start by rearranging everyone in order of their age.
And you can see that down here we have Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the top at 85, Justice Kennedy almost 82, and then comes Breyer and Thomas and Alito, Sotomayor, the chief justice John Roberts is here, and then Kagan and last but not least, the newest arrival, Neil Gorsuch.
Now let's put those appointed by Democratic Presidents on this side and those appointed by Republicans on the other side and consider this. The average age on the Democratic side is 71 1/2. The average age on the Republican side is nearly 66 1/2.
And look what happens when Kennedy leaves. Suddenly the two oldest justices are both on the Democratic front. And according to an analysis by the Pew research group, they have already been on the court longer than expected based on their age when they were appointed. So has Clarence Thomas. But he is the only one on the conservative side and he is still about nine years younger than Breyer.
Furthermore, look at Neil Gorsuch, the first justice chosen by President Trump. He is just 50. The Pew center found when a justice is appointed around that age, he or she will tend to serve close to 19 years. So you see what is shaping up here.
If Kennedy is replaced with a much younger justice, the Republican nominees will certainly dominate this court for at least several years and if either of the two most senior Democratic appointees retires or leaves for any reason, the math says Republican dominance could extend for a decade or more.
And remember, President Trump has been loading the lower courts with conservatives. He is doing it at a very rapid pace. And many of these are younger judges who could be around for a long time. Meaning if Democrats are counting for the courts to support their agenda, they could be heading into a rough spell.
CABRERA: That is our Tom Foreman. Thank you, Tom.
Coming up, all the big highlights from the coast to coast immigration protests, including a powerful speech from the daughter of an undocumented immigrant parent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our government also continues to separate people like me from their parents every day. This is evil. It needs to stop. It makes me sad to know that children can't be with their parents. I don't understand why they are being so mean to us children. Don't they know how much we love our families? Don't they have a family too? Why don't they care about us children? Why do they hurt us like this? It is unfair that they got to spend time with their families today while there are children in detention centers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:58:32] CABRERA: It was the case that dominated the headlines and airways ten years ago this summer, if you can believe it. 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, remember this, she vanished from her Orlando home only to be found dead months later. Dead in a Florida swamp to the surprise of many. Her now infamous mother Casey Anthony was later charged and acquitted of her daughter's death.
And tonight in a new CNN Special Report, our Randi Kaye travels back to Orlando in search of answers to this enduring mystery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you look back at something, you have better perspective. And looking back ten years, I realized that what I was most appalled with the case was -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't trust this evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This lack of the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the ultimate deciders of what the facts are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a way Jose Baez before Trump came along was Trumpian.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a murder case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you say it loud enough and often enough --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no evidence of murder in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People start believing him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was not a murder. This was an accident that snowballed out of control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally think there was an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't buy it for a second. But there was room for that argument because with her remains in the condition they were, you couldn't exactly tell how she died.
CABRERA: CNN's Special Report "Casey Anthony And Similar Of Lies" airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.