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North Korea's nuclear weapons; U.S. product tariffs; Mexico's frontrunner for President; MOMO-2 rocket crash; Supreme Court nominations; CNN Heroes; A Horrifying Attack Of Nine People Stabbed At 3-Year-Old's Birthday Party; Clock Is Ticking On The Trump Administration To Find And Reunite Thousands Of Families Separated At The Border. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 1, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:32] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right. Hello again. Thanks so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington, D.C.

At any moment, President Trump is headed back to the White House from his golf club in New Jersey where he spent part of the weekend interviewing possible Supreme Court candidates. Trump has a busy week ahead. In just eight days, he will announced his new Supreme Court nominee. He said that following Justice Anthony's announced retirement.

The President has the power to transform the U.S. Supreme Court for generations. And the looming nomination battle is already igniting a firestorm on Capitol Hill.

Republican senator Susan Collins will be a key vote for the President. She met with Trump to discuss the vacancy and she still has some concerns she says.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Are you comfortable with everyone on the list?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: No, I am not. Now, some of the people on the list, I have not vetted at all at this point. One of them I voted against years ago. And I would have to do a great deal more work on many of them.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's check in with the CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez in Brooklyn heights, New Jersey.

So, what can you tell us about what the President is examining while making a selection?


Yes, right now the White House has only confirmed that President Trump has spoken to a couple of close advisers and allies including the White House counsel Don McGahn over this nomination process. We have yet to get confirmation on whether he is actually spoken directly to any of these potential nominees. The White House is not answering our questions on that despite the fact that President Trump on Friday said to reporters that he would try to conduct one or two interviews this weekend.

We know that he has said that he would not ask directly of these nominees if they support Roe versus Wade, and that controversial Supreme Court decision on abortion. But because there are so many key lawmakers that sort of falling on the fence on this issue, notably Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, it is something that is going to be come up throughout the confirmation process. There are some key Republicans whose vote may depend on whether the nominee believes that Roe v. Wade should stand.

Collins actually spoke with Jake Tapper on "STATE ON THE UNION." You played some of that sound just a moment ago. She also told Jake that in part of the meeting with the President last week, she passed along a message to Trump suggesting that whatever nominee he picks, it should be someone that respects legal precedence. She said that part of the reason she supported the nomination of justice Neil Gursuch is because she had a conversation with him during that process in which he expressed to her that sort of respect for legal president.

Now other lawmakers including Tammy Duckworth, the senator for Illinois, are suggesting that this time around, lawmakers should be a little bit more skeptical in this process. Listen to this.


SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: I will say to my colleague who have shown some bravery, both Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have shown me some incredible bravery in this last -- my first couple of years in the senate to don't just trust that of what someone says to you in the conversation trying to get your vote is what is going to happen when they are on the Supreme Court.


SANCHEZ: And President Trump, as I noted previously, he told reporters he would not be asking these potential nominees about their stance of Roe versus Wade. But he said gain and again that these justices are conservative, many of them have been vouched for by the federalist society which is a conservative organization, So, it is kind of a read between the lines situation in that regard, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez, thanks so much.

All right. Joining me right now, former U.S. attorney Greg Brower. Good to see you.

The President says that he is going to be making an announcement a week from Monday. How much of this process is about who the President feels like he can connect with in these interviews? GREG BROWER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I think a lot of it and especially

for this President. I think that the putting together the short list that he will be examining is done by those who are thinking of issues and the Supreme Court jurisprudence every day for a living. But when it comes to actually making the final selection, I think it is a more or less personal choice on the part of any President.

WHITFIELD: So others, of course, will be thinking about the credentials and making sure that, you know, this person is up to snuff to be, you know, a Supreme Court justice. But at the same time, you know, I guess the President is looking for certain qualities that will say something about his own personal legacy, too, wouldn't h he?

[16:05:04] BROWER: I think that is right. I think the short list that the President will examine will be a list that is fully vetted for, you know, competence and for ethical considerations. And so at the end of the day, it is really up to the President to decide who does he you think he connects with and who does he thinks will be the best fit for the court going forward.

WHITFIELD: You know that Justice Kennedy. How will he looked at his legacy, I mean, his, you know, two or nearly -- what three decades on the high court?

BROWER: A long and distinguished record. And of course, he was on the ninth circuit court of appeals as a Ford appointee for many years before he joined the high court. I think it is a record to be proud of. He was the fifth vote in many, many important cases.

I think, you know, frankly, that many people would argue that he most closely resembles where most Americans are on the biggest legal issues of the day. And I think that he will be missed. He is going to be a hard act to follow.

WHITFIELD: Will he be at all worried that the next, you know, nominee might be very different from him and may not be as malleable, you know, on certain cases as he has exhibited?

BROWER: I don't know that I would characterize it as being worried, but I think any justice or other federal judge for that matter would like to see his or his successor kind of follow in their footsteps and approach the law and approach judging in the way that they did. So I think that Justice Kennedy would be, you know, an exception to that.

WHITFIELD: So we heard Senator Collins, you know, express concerns, you know, wanting the next jurist to really be thinking about precedent. This is Senator Cory Booker earlier this week.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: The Senate should push pause and just say that this investigation which we are already having in this investigation let this investigation to be completed and let's take ti up. Donald Trump has two to three years left, but we need to put a pause on this and avoid the conflict of interest and a constitutional crisis. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Is it a legitimate worry to try to clear it up things before managing yet one more thing.

BROWER: Well, if Senator Booker is referring to the special counsel's investigation, and I don't think that many senators are in agreement that they should put the confirmation process for this Supreme Court nomination on pause. I'm very certain that the senate will move forward. If the consensus pick, at least have a pick that can drum a majority of votes can be found, then I think the senate will move forward and confirm a justice.

WHITFIELD: All right. When the Presidents has these discussions or meetings with these potential candidates, he has said that he would not ask about the cases like the Roe v. Wade or even gay right. What do you believe they would talk about?

BROWER: Well, just judicial philosophy, I think what the President will be looking for is a discussion that satisfies him that the nominee would be viewing the role of the judge as one which includes interpreting the law and not making the law. I think that is probably the most fundamental issue for this President. And beyond that, I think it is more of the personal feel. What does he think of the person sitting across from him and what kind of feel does he get?

WHITFIELD: All right. Greg Brower, good to see you.

BROWER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much.

We have the update now on this breaking news that we have been following out of Boise, Idaho. A horrifying attack of nine people stabbed at 3-year-old's birthday party. Six of the victims are children. The stabbings took place at an apartment complex which houses refugees and the police have arrested this man that you are about to see. 30-year-old Timmy Kenney who used to stay at the complex.

Polo Sandoval is joining me now with more on this.

Polo, what are we learning?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, Boise's police chief clearly distraught, bringing us up to speed on the details of this investigation. And more on this, 30-year-old American man who was staying at an apartment complex. It is home for many refugee families, families from places like Iraq, Syria and Ethiopia.

Well, according to the latest information on the investigation, this 30-year-old man was staying at that location, was asked to leave on Friday. He did so peacefully. But according to police he then returned today with, rather yesterday, with a knife trying to seek out the person who had basically kicked him out. He could not find him, and instead, turned his attention on the 3-year-old birthday party. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BONES, BOISE POLICE CHIEF: Due to his behavior, he had been asked to leave. And he had done so. He returned last night to exact vengeance, not just on those who he had been with as they were not at the apartment, but any target which was available. The tragedy was that a 3-year-old little girl was having a birthday a party just a few doors down from where Kenney had been staying. Kenney attacked targeting the children initially. The 3-year-old girl whose birthday it was, she was one of those seriously injured including two 4-year- old, a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old.


SANDOVAL: The chief is saying that it was actions of this quick thinking first responders who were crucial in saving the lives of the injured here. It is important to point out here, Fred, that at this point, police do not believe that this was a hate crime. But nonetheless, unconscionable attack here, and many of these families had left war torn countries to live here in the safety of the United States, but instead found themselves the victims of this horrible knife attack.

[16:10:21] WHITFIELD: Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.

All right. Happening right now, some live pictures out of Morristown, New Jersey, where President Trump is getting ready to head back to work in D.C., back to the White House after spending a weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. We are told that while in New Jersey, he was to meet with potential Supreme Court nominees or at least have discussions with the potential nominees.

All right. Still ahead, a day after the nationwide marches of the family separations at the border, President Trump warns the de Democrats that take on ICE is a losing issue. Are the Democrats playing into the President's narrative that they are anti-law enforcement?


[16:15:10] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

Pictures right now of President Trump and the first lady headed back to Washington after spending the weekend at their golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The pair is departing moments ago. And of course now, we are getting these pictures that you are able to see, getting off marine one there. We are told that the President while in New Jersey did have an opportunity to discuss with potential Supreme Court picks. And he has promised that he plans to make the announcement a week from this Monday. There now boarding air force one in New Jersey.

All right. The clock is ticking on the Trump administration to find and reunite thousands of families separated at the border. Right now, more than 2,000 migrant children remain in custody. And last week a judge order the government to reunite them with their parent within 30 days. The process has been very slow. Recent court filing show the administration never actually has specific plans on reuniting families.

Let's bring in CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher at McAllen, Texas, which is where one of the processing centers is.

So Dianne, what is being done since that court ruling to reunite families?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, at this point, your guess is as good as mine. The government has not really given up a lot of details on how they are going about this process. I have been told by the HHS officials that they have every child tracked. They know where they are and they are working to get them back with their family members. But whether that is going to happen in that 30- day deadline for all children, and if the children are five and under, the deadline was set at 14 days.

Look, that is still to be determined if what we are seeing on the other side here talking to the parents and attorneys and charities that are working with them is any indication, it is going to be a race no the finish. And very few people seem to have a lot of confidence that it is going to happen.

We even received an updated number on the specific number of children who were separated at the border from their parents under the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy since Tuesday. Then, it was 2,047. But since then we don't know how many reunifications have happened. In part, Fred, because these kids are sprawled across the entire country. They are in New York, they are in Michigan, they are [in South Carolina, they are Florida, and a lot of the parents when they come out have said that they don't know where their kids are. They are given a piece of paper and told to do a phone call. Sometime they get through and sometimes they don't, but there is a lot of confusion here, and really a lot of anger on the part of some of the community organizations, especially the churches in trying to help and figure out how to overcome what happened with the zero tolerance policy.

And take a listen to the archbishop from San Antonio today.


GUSTAVO GARCIA-SILLER, ARCHBISHOP OF SAN ANTONIO: Yes, is immoral, is evil and is a sin to treat the families that way. And that was (INAUDIBLE). Who is doing it? And if is from the top-down, if it is the person right there and then to cooperate with evil, they are lost. And loss in a country of loss is for a good thing, but not every law that we have is good. There are also bad laws.


GALLAGHER: Now remember, the President did sign the executive order which was supposed to stop the separation of children from their parents under zero tolerance. As far as we know that is not supposed to still be happening. But again, we are not getting many details, Fred, so we can't really tell you with confidence what is going on.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dianne Gallagher, thanks so much.

All right. Joining me right now is CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "the Atlantic" Ron Brownstein and CNN political commentator and contributing editor for "the Atlantic" Peter Beinart. Good to see you both.

All right. So Ron, first to you. Yesterday we saw many Democrats joined in thousands marching nationwide against the current immigration policies and some are now joining the movement to say abolish ICE. Listen.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The President's deeply immoral actions have made it obvious we need to the rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality and --


WHITFIELD: And so, you know, Trump has said that to abolish ICE notion, you know, translation, this is anti-law enforcement, so his supporters of course are not going to like this idea. Is this a big mistake, a real losing battle for those on board for this abolish ICE?

[16:20:00] RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first, I don't think that abolishing ICE or if the idea is abolishing any kind of federal law enforcement at the border is any point soon going to be a consensus position among de Democrats. But does it hurt to have the voices out there stretching the debate in this way, I really don't think. I mean, I think that, you know, if you look at the idea of kind of kind of stretching the boundaries of the debate and mobilizing aspects of their base, I think that it is not, and it does not seem to me any different than 80 percent of the country supports legal support status for DACA, for the Dreamers.

Sixty percent of the country in poll are consistently opposes the law. And yet, the vast majority of the irrational Republicans, virtually all of them, have been willing to vote for the opposite position repeatedly, because they think it talks to whom they, you know, who is in their coalition and who is their potential audience. So I don't think you are going to see a Democratic Presidential nominee saying we should have no enforcement at the border, but could you have more criticism of the way that ICE is now constituted under President Trump and the way that it is affecting families? I don't really see how that hurts Democrats who have the problem of turning out this coalition of the younger and the non-white voters particularly in midterm elections.

WHITFIELD: Peter, at the same time, not every Democrat is really on board with this whole notion. Here is Senator Tammy Duckworth this morning.


SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: Well, if you are abolishing ICE as a reflective agency, it is reflecting the policies of the White House and the President. You abolish ICE now, you still have the same president with the same failed policies, whatever you replace it with just going to still reflect what this president wants the do.

I think there is a lot of other things we can do before we get to that point. First of which, which is, you know, you have somebody in the White House who has policies which are horrendous, which is still hasn't fixed. And the families are still separated. Children are still in cages. Nursing babies are still separated from their moms.


WHITFIELD: So Peter, should Democrats be fighting for something where there is consents as oppose to latching on to something like this where already there is a split?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the important thing is first understand that ICE does not work at the border, there is the division. The custom and border patrol isn't works at the border. ICE works in the interior of the United States.

What I think is really is this is a proxy of the debate over whether the United States should be going after undocumented immigrants who are already living in the United States who have not committed some other kind of crime. I think that is really the central debate here. What matters is not the name of the agency, it is what the government is doing.

The Obama administration basically did not do that much rounding of the undocumented immigrants in the United States unless they were doing something else that violated the U.S. law. Trump has shifted that. That is the really important debate, and I think the Democrats should lean into the debate, because it is what they believe. And I happen to think that is right as well.

I don't believe it is a good use of the government resources to go rounding up people who have been living as law abiding citizens in the United States for ten years, because they came in here without papers given that most Americans believed they should have a path to citizenship. That is the really important debate, I think.

WHITFIELD: But Ron, the President is going to spin that. I mean, he is going to turn it into something else. He has already done so by tweeting, you know, the liberal left and also known as the Democrats want to get rid of ICE who do a fantastic job. I mean -- and then he says and they want open borders. I mean, this is how he is going to conflate the issue and that is continuing to confuse people.

BROWNSTEIN: And really he would be in that position no matter what, almost no matter what the Democrats said.

Look, immigration is part of the complex of issues that I believe that fundamentally now the divide the parties between the Democratic coalition that is routed in the places that are most comfortable with the changes America is going through, demographically, culturally, economically, and Republican coalition that is centered on the places that are least comfortable with all those changes.

Just consider two fact. I mean, Hillary, 16 of the 20 states that Hillary Clinton won were among the top 20 in the highest share of the immigrant population, 26 of the 30 that the Trump won were in the bottom three. Eighty-five percent of the House Republicans are in districts where there are fewer immigrants than the national average us. Over 60 percent of Democrats are in districts that are above the national average immigration. The same kind of proportions in the Senate as well.

The Democratic Party is now the pa party of the portions of America that are most changing because of immigration or the demographic change and economic change. And ultimately to use Peter's phrase, they have to lean -- they are and will be leaning into that. And the Republican Party, we saw just, you know, in the last few weeks, over 80 percent of House Republicans voted for the biggest cut in legal immigrations since the 1920s. Over three-quarters of the Senate Republicans did the same earlier this year. This is a fundamental dividing line between the parties with very different visions about what America is, and what it is becoming.

WHITFIELD: So Peter, you know, talk about changes. I mean, just last week, we saw the stunning upset, you know, in New York, and 28-year- old Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, you know, defeating incumbent congressman Joe Crowley in the primary. And in the wake of this, "the New York Times" editorial board wrote, you know, to quote "make way for young Democratic leaders," arguing that Democratic leaders have, you know, clung to power too long and need to step aside for new leaders and new ideas. And then there is the issue of the browning of America. How much of this is, you know, evidence of those things.

[16:25:24] BEINART: This is not about age. And I think that when people talk about that in terms of the age, they are missing the point. The same people who were excited about Ocasio Cortez were also excited about Bernie Sanders who is older than methuselah, right.

The real issue here is ideology. It is a break from the more cautious pattern that defined the Democratic Party leadership under Clinton and to some degree under Obama. And it is about a Democratic Party that in terms of the gender and ethnicity and race looks more like the Democratic Party's voters. I think that is the fundamental shift that we saw. It was reflected in the race in Queens.

But it is also important to remember, the Democratic Party was moving left before Donald Trump. It started moving left just begins with the occupy movement. You can see it in de Blasio's win in New York. We have been seen this move coming for a number of years. And I think in large measure, it is because the government in some fundamental ways has failed the financial crisis, the Iraq war. That has radicalized both parties.

BROWNSTEIN: And it is also, it is also because the coalition itself is changing that they are responding to as Trump exerts this kind of magnetic poll on the blue collar whites who used to be on the conservative end of the Democratic Party. What is left is a more liberal coalition primary of young people, nonwhite voters and college-educated whites who tend to be more liberal, at least the ones in the Democratic Party. So there is a kind of -- this is in many ways an inexorable response to the way that the Trump is recasting both parties.

The only thing they would disagree with Peter is that as he got to it, I think this is also a generational reality. I mean, the Democratic Party is increased. The millennial generation 2018 for the first time ever will equal baby boomers has a share of eligible voters. So let's see them by 2020. But turning them out remains a challenge. And I think the challenge is compounded when you have a geriatric leadership in the House and the Senate and potentially on the top of the presidential ticket.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ron Brownstein, Peter Beinart, we will leave it there for now.

Thanks so much, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

BEINART: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, Is North Korea backing off its pledge to fully denuclearize? The new concerns the rogue nation may actually tempting to hide its nuclear stockpile less than a month after Kim Jong-un's historic meeting with President Trump.


[16:32:05] WHITFIELD: There are growing concerns North Korea has no intention of giving up this full nuclear stockpile. The Washington Post reports U.S. intelligence officials have concluded North Korea is actually trying to find ways to obscure how many weapons it actually has and even hide some of its nuclear production facilities.

Following last month's Singapore summit, President Trump claimed he had reached a deal with North Korea and its the nuclear threat had been eliminated. Earlier today, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton was asked about the Washington Post reports.


JOHN BOLTON, WHITE HOUSE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We are very well aware of North Korea's patterns of behavior over decades of negotiating with the United States. We know exactly what the risks them using the negotiations to drag out the length of time they have to continue their nuclear, chemical, biological weapons programs and ballistic missiles.

The President would like to see these discussions move promptly to get a resolution. That has been the advice that China's leader Xi Jinping has given us as well. So we're going to try and proceed to implement what the two leaders have agreed to in Singapore.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. With me right now, CNN Global Affairs

Correspondent, Elise Labott, so Elise, I don't know how many people would be surprised -- potentially North Korea is not compliant.

ELISE LABOTT, GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I mean Fred, I don't think anybody thought North Korea was automatically going to come clean and give up all of its nuclear weapons. I think what's so important now for U.S. officials is get a declaration by North Korea that it says it has all of the facilities that it says it has, how many weapons, does it have -- and then...


WHITFIELD: And in the honesty, and they would have reveal that.


LABOTT: Well, I think then the U.S. will know if they're serious. Because obviously, you know you see these reports the U.S. intelligence agencies have a pretty good idea of how many declared versus undeclared sites there are. I mean clearly they don't know everything. But I think once North Korea start to declare what it has, they will know if they are really serious about giving up their program.

WHITFIELD: And what about the continuing efforts and what about you know Mike Pompeo's efforts to try to and really move mountains here.

LABOTT: That is right. Well, Mike Pompeo, in charge of the negotiations now, and one of the envoys (Inaudible) has been talking to the North Koreans. There have been some reports that perhaps Secretary Pompeo might be traveling to North Korea in the next week or so. And I interviewed Secretary Pompeo last week to mark his first couple of months in office, and I asked him how long he is going give the North Koreans to show that they are serious about these negotiations.

What kind of timeline are you ready to give? He says he didn't want to give a timeline that he said it might take two months for them to get things going, to get something on the table. It might take six months, but as long as he felt there was continued progress, he wasn't going to give a time line. Now John Bolton, the National Security Adviser said today that once they get something going with North Korea, they feel that they could get rid of North Korean nuclear weapons and the entire program in a year.

[16:35:14] I think that's probably a little bit of an optimistic assessment, because North Korea really has not even declared what it has.

WHITFIELD: No matter what, nobody ever thought that it would be an overnight turnaround?

LABOTT: Well, I think when -- after the summit and they have talked about the denuclearization process. That kind of the process generally takes years when we're talking about the kind of program that the U.S. believes that North Korea has. And so we don't -- no one has even talked about what denuclearization means to the North Koreans.

So that is why it is important to get these negotiations going so they have a little bit more of a shape and a form of how these processes are going to be take place and how long it will take.

WHITFIELD: All right. Elise Labott, thank you so much. All right, so still so much straight ahead in the newsroom, but first a preview of the new CNN film American Jail, which takes a hard look of whether mass incarcerations are justified or a major injustice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my hometown of eastern Pennsylvania, nothing stood taller than the jail on the (Inaudible). Every family had been touched by it. We all had tales of broken men in and out of lock up. I just assumed I would end up there, too. How many of you know someone who has been in jail.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute, you have been in jail?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Americans knew what was happening in prisons and jails, they would demand change.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is inevitable to end up here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the jails were filled with white kids from the suburbs and then they were making the white kids work for no money, how long do you think that operation would be allowed to the last?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The criminal justice system in this country is only real function is really to controlling the poor people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I went away as a kid, it taught me nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American Jail, a CNN film premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. on CNN.


[16:40:00] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Canada has retaliated against U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs by slapping its own penalties on American exports. The Canadian government confirming today that it has imposed tariffs on U.S. exports worth more than $12 billion. More than 40 U.S. steel products will face tariffs of 25 percent, 80 other American items, including toffee, maple syrup, coffee, and strawberry jam will be taxed 10 percent.

The U.S. steel tariffs, which went into effect in June, are expected to be especially painful for Canada. It was the largest exporter of steel to the U.S. last year. Trade is one of the issues that are on the minds of voters in Mexico, as they head to the polls today in a historic election that could potentially reshape the country.

Their frontrunner for President is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He is a populist, Trump-like candidate who vows to bring an end to the violence and corruption in his country. Thousands of other political seats are also up for grabs in the single biggest election in Mexico's history. This campaign season has been marred by violence with more than 130 politicians killed across that country.

In the last hour, I spoke to the former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico who talked about why Lopez Obrador will likely win today's election.


ROBERTA JACOBSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO: I think that this time, this is his third try at the presidency. And this time, voters are pretty fed up with the traditional parties. They have tried two parties. They were not happy with either of them, and they are fed up with corruption, with the security situation. You mentioned the violence. This year is on track to have 30,000 people killed.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Leyla Santiago is in Mexico City where the voting is under way, Leyla?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Fredricka, it certainly is very a long lines at the polls, a lot of people making for a very big turnout. In fact, election officials have already said they have such a big turnout. They may not have enough ballots at all of the polling sites in Mexico to accommodate the ballots that are coming in from Mexicans abroad, also doubled from what came in the last election.

So really goes to show you what is at stake here. This could be a very transformative election with a lot of seats up for grabs, hundreds, including mayors, governors, congress seats, and of course, the Presidential seat where there is a very clear frontrunner.


SANTIAGO: Even in Mexico's largest stadium, he fills nearly every seat. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, once Mexico City's mayor, now a man on his third attempt to become Mexico's President. The leftist candidate just promised to crackdown on corruption and violence, and at a time when homicides which are at an all-time high.

And the current President's approval rating is remarkably low. The populist candidate's message for change is resonating with the voters. He has vowed to put Mexico first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is one more example of a populist wave that by the way, Trump was part of as well you. You have Trumps make America great again versus AMLO's make Mexico great again. [16:45:00] SANTIAGO: At a rally earlier this month, he carefully

chose his words. He called President Trump passionate and claimed he is the man to stand up to Trump. He's even a written a book called Listen, Trump, and which he is pushing back on (Inaudible), Trump's wall. Nothing can be resolved by building walls he says. And that is not that the only issue he will have to take on should he become Mexico's next head of state.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: If we don't negotiate a great deal with Mexico and Canada, we will terminate NAFTA, and we will start all over again.

SANTIAGO: NAFTA, the controversial free trade agreement that has become a point of contention. As Mexican business leaders urge AMLO to support the agreement, he has pledged much like Trump to make sure the good deal for his country, protecting Mexico's interests always.


SANTIAGO: And so, Fredricka, we are about four hours away from the polls here closing. We expect a few hours after that. And probably maybe around midnight local, we will get the first indication, the first numbers, official numbers that will indicate who has the majority and who could become Mexico's next President.

WHITFIELD: All right, Leyla Santiago, and keep us posted. And we will be right back.


[16:50:00] WHITFIELD: All right. Be sure to tune into an all new episode of the United Shades of America tonight on CNN. Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask us if we are completely self-sufficient and how do we dig into that and find those values and pull it into the 21st century context that benefits everybody. So the way that the farm works is that we recruit immigrants throughout the community to run the daily operations of the farm and in exchange for the sweat equity. We provide them a full tuition waiver to college and $500 a month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so it is the past, present, and future all in 100 yards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is our packing shed. I think (Inaudible) metaphor that we're trying to introduce (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've heard people say be colonized, but then they also indigenize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. To indigenize (Inaudible), it's like how do you then repurpose contemporary (Inaudible) to be a vehicle (Inaudible). (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, United Shades of America airing tonight 10, right here on CNN. Well, what goes up must come down, right, sometimes rather quickly. A pretty spectacular failure for a Japanese rocket company, oh, boy. Oh, my goodness. A Japanese news agency reports that the company was testing a MOMO-2 rocket when seconds after a lift off the device crashed and exploded.

The one ton rocket was meant to go up as high as 62 miles into space, but as you can see it just did not happen. The company behind the project, Interstellar Technologies uses commercially available parts to create low-cost mini rocket. No one was injured, and there is no word however exactly what caused that crash.

All right, in just eight days, we will know who President Trump is nominating for the U.S. Supreme Court, and if there is one thing that we have learned about this President, it is that we could expect the unexpected. That is this week's State of the Cartoonian.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Supreme Court is front and center once again, and President Trump needs to make a ruling fast.

TRUMP: We have a very excellent list of great talent and tremendous people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still, President Trump is hardly known for sticking to his script.

TRUMP: Go to the barbershop, grab somebody. Make them a judge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So here is a shortlist that might appeal to the President's more Trumpian sensibilities, the biggest judge in television, Judge Judy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the toughest judge in reality television is Simon Cowell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you're possibly the worst in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knowing how much President Trump values loyalty, however, his former personal attorney Michael Cohen might be in need of a job.

TRUMP: Michael is a businessman. He also practices law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, President Trump might just pull from one of his most trusted hiring pulls, Fox News. Weekend Justice Jeanine Pirro is ready to rule on the toughest of cases, and Don Jr. recently tweeted that she would be awesome. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So here I am in the woods in (Inaudible) looking

for Hillary. I can't find her. Hillary, Hillary, come out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But perhaps the President will go with the most Trumpian choice of all.

TRUMP: I alone, can fix it.


WHITFIELD: Oh, we shall see. All right, now to this week's CNN Hero. When Luke Mickelson learned that kids in his close knit community were sleeping on the floor, he went from businessman to bed maker. Take a look.


[16:54:53] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mattresses, sheets, I am just a farm kid from Idaho. I grew up here. What I didn't know was there are kids next door, who are struggling. They had kids sleeping on the floor. I was making a six-figure salary, but I fell into this need that I discovered wasn't being fulfilled by anybody (Inaudible).

I quit my job, because I wanted to do this full time. And the need I have is not financial. The need I have is seeing the joy on the kids' faces, knowing that, you know what, I can make a difference.


WHITFIELD: And you can see the full story, and nominate someone that you think should be a CNN Hero. All right, thanks so much for being with me this weekend in Washington, D.C. I am Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the Newsroom starts right after this.