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U.S. Intel: North Korea Has No Intentions of Full Nuclearization; Democrat Theme Emerging: Get Rid of ICE; GOP Sen. Collins in Spotlight over Supreme Court Vote; Government Faces Deadline to Reunify Families. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired July 2, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[11:30:00] JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they're cooperative, we can move very quickly.
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BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: If they have the strategic decision made to do that. The Trump administration has been saying ever since the Singapore summit, all is well, the North Koreans are going to denuclearize. Again, not so fast. It's been Defense Secretary James Mattis that's one of the voices of caution. He has said publicly he hasn't seen any signs of them doing it yet -- Kate?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Barbara, thank you so much.
Joining me to discuss this, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline, of Rhodes Island. He sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congressman, thanks for coming in.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE, (D), RHODE ISLAND: My pleasure. Good morning.
BOLDUAN: With what you hear Barbara Starr reporting, does this mean that what was discussed and agreed to, they say, in Singapore is now just completely dead?
CICILLINE: I think this is an example of the -- what happens when you don't have a strategy. The president sort of has been kind of doing this reality show diplomacy, a lot of theater, lots of pictures, lots of handshakes. The truth is, there was no agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. The president said, the threat of the nuclear North Korea is over, was very premature. We were hopeful these talks would produce the outlines of some agreement. The North Koreans have a very long history of doing this, making promises they will meet international demands to dismantle their nuclear program, all the while, engaging in discussions, speeding up the program, which is what our Intelligence Community is reporting. This is I think an important lesson that this is a serious issue, which requires lots of careful thinking, lots of preparation, lots of oversight. This idea of sitting down and being able to tell in the first 30 seconds what he will do might work for a television show. It doesn't work for real life. This is a real threat. It's a serious challenge for the United States and much of the world. It's clearly not resolved despite the president's optimistic presentation.
BOLDUAN: I'm curious, Mike Pompeo could not have been more clear going into all of this: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. They came up with an acronym for it they were so serious about repeating it over and over. How Singapore changed anything?
CICILLINE: Well, I mean, if you try to look for something positive that came out of it, what it did for Kim Jong-Un sadly is it elevated him, it brought him on the international stage. There's some reporting that the president's contemplating inviting him to New York. This is the most brutal dictator probably on the planet, right now, who has murdered his own people, murdered his own family, starved his own people. The idea the president called him an honorable man and elevated him and praised his leadership of the country, which isn't a leadership. It's a dictatorship. One thing that's accomplished from the North Korean perspective is he elevated Kim Jong-Un, the regime, given them -- standing on the world stage, having a meeting with the president of the United States, is something he, his grandfather, father all sought and didn't get. That's been the outcome. What we were hoping was the beginning of some dialogue that would resolve this. It shows that --
BOLDUAN: Do you think dialogue is still open? Do you think this closes the dialogue if they now all of -- all signs point to they're doing the same thing they have always done?
CICILLINE: I mean, I think we have to engage in diplomacy. But we have to make sure they make commitments and they are verifiable, we hold them to it. We can't accept it on Mr. Trump's impression of Kim Jong-Un. I think that's the mistake they have made.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about immigration and what to do about ICE, if we could. I want to play for you two of your colleagues on this emerging theme from Democrats promising to get rid of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Listen to this.
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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 --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE UNION: So, no, you don't support abolishing ICE?
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, (D), ILLINOIS: I think there's a lot of other things we can do before we get to that point. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Where are you on this? Do you want to abolish ICE?
CICILLINE: The thing we have to stay focused on is this family separation policy. What's really at stake here is a terrible policy that is ripping children from their families. The people who execute it are not the challenge here. It's the underlying policy.
But having said that, we have a completely broken immigration system. We need to fix our immigration system. We need to do reforms on a number of our agencies that execute those laws.
But we should really stay focused on one thing I hope everyone can agree on, children should not be taken away from their parents. We should stop that practice immediately. Then we should work together in a bipartisan way to pass a comprehensive immigration bill and reform our agencies. That's what we ought to stay focused on.
[11:35:17] BOLDUAN: All Democrats who are speaking out would agree with the things you said. But they are taking it a step further saying, because, in their view, none of that is happening, and what they saw was the separation of families, that they want to abolish ICE. Do you think that is smart?
CICILLINE: Yes. I don't -- I think you can't -- I think we -- I don't want to speak for other Democrats. I believe we need to have -- we need to have Customs and Border Control. We need to be able to secure our border. We need to have immigration laws that reflect our values, that is done humanely, recognizes asylum and people to claim asylum. There's enormous amounts of reform. There's a function that needs to take place. How that is done and in what agency --
BOLDUAN: With this, do you think this is misguided that you see more and more Democrats calling for the abolishment of ICE?
BOLDUAN: Donald Trump is jumping on it very happily to ride this through midterms.
CICILLINE: Yes. I think --
CICILLINE: I think people have been speaking about it saying that ICE needs to be replaced with an agency that shares our values and needs to be built from the ground up. I don't think anyone is saying stop the functions of ICE. I think it's the way it's being characterized. We understand --
BOLDUAN: That's the point. They want to wipe out ICE and start with something else. Do you want to wipe out ICE and start with something else? (CROSSTALK)
CICILLINE: Right. I think you have to have something else before you wipe out an agency. You have to put forth the reforms, functions are important, they need to be done in a way which reflect ours values, that is done in a humane way. More than anything, we need to stop the policy that's separating children from their families. That wasn't a policy developed by ICE. That was developed by the Trump administration and the president. He put it in place. He needs to end it. Then we can have a real conversation about comprehensive immigration reform, reform of our immigration agencies, and lots of change that needs to happen at ICE and Border Patrol.
But I think this notion of --
BOLDUAN: Do you think Democrats fall for a trap in not having a fuller conversation? Just saying --
CICILLINE: Yes --
BOLDUAN: Elizabeth Warren said it. I mean, are Democrats falling for a midterm trap?
CICILLINE: I don't know if it's a midterm trap. I think some people feel very strongly that the current operations at ICE require immediate action, such as getting rid of it and starting from scratch. However, most Democrats understand that we have a responsibility to secure our borders, to execute our immigration laws in a humane way, that recognizes the right to seek asylum, that doesn't separate children from their families, and that fulfills important functions at the border. I think broadly Democrats support that. We've always have supported that. We want it done in a way that reflects our values as a country, that made America's example to the world of how we accept refugees and those seeking asylum. I think it's a question of the way people are talking about it. I think the fundamental recognition that we need real change in our immigration laws and real change in the agencies that are executing those laws is right.
BOLDUAN: It comes down to word choice at this point, Congressman, which is
CICILLINE: Absolutely --
BOLDUAN: -- is replacement and reform different from abolish?
CICILLINE: Yes. I don't -- I think people use it in different ways. I think we should be very careful not to oversimplify this.
CICILLINE: I think people are -- we just have to understand that that agency provides important services and does very important things that we want to continue to do. We still can recognize that lots of reform needs to take place. But we shouldn't lose focus over what the real problem is, that is children being ripped away from their mothers and fathers.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, always great to have a conversation with you. Thanks for coming on.
CICILLINE: Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, with the whole country standing by to stand by to see who President Trump will pick to be his next Supreme Court nominee, it could all come down to one Senator's vote. What that Senator says she wants to hear from Trump's nominee, next.
[11:43:23] BOLDUAN: President Trump is trimming his list of potential Supreme Court nominees. He is vowing to announce his pick in one week. But with a razor-thin margin in the Senate, some crucial Republican votes are speaking out about who they would and would not support and why.
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SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R), MAINE: I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law.
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BOLDUAN: Let's talk about this right now with Scott Mulhauser, a Democratic strategist who helped run the Senate Finance Committee for a long time, head of the newly founded Aperture Strategies, and Eric Beach, co-chair of the pro-Trump Great America Alliance.
Guys, let's get to it.
Eric, what is your message to Senator Susan Collins right now?
ERIC BEACH, CO-CHAIR, GREAT AMERICA ALLIANCE: I don't think it will be a litmus test just about Roe v. Wade. I think there's judges that interpret the Constitution and enforce what the Constitution says as judges. I think it will be a big mistake for Susan Collins. But I'm going to be interested to see what the Democrats do, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp. What are they going to do? Are they going to try to go with a judge more on the activist side as we have seen in the last week? Four judges voted against what should have been a unanimous decision in the Janus case. We will see what happens on July 9th. I don't think it's a litmus test. And the reality is 43 states have a least some provisions that are detailed out about abortion. I don't think this is something that is going to be overturned holistically. We will have to look at it as we see it in the fall.
[11:45:11] BOLDUAN: When it comes to Susan Collins, Scott, let's listen to -- here is what John Oliver has to say. Let's listen to that.
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JOHN OLIVER, HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: Let's play the Democrats' favorite game, Hope Susan Collins Flips and Be Disappointed When She Doesn't.
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BOLDUAN: That's a really long name for a game show.
He is talking about health care, tax cut. What is a Democrat to do with Susan Collins?
SCOTT MULHAUSER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST & DIRECTOR, APERTURE STRATEGIES: The Senate has 100 votes and only one that matters, and that is Susan Collins. With her, there's not only Lisa Murkowski and a bunch of potentially swingable Republicans, but swing Democrats. It's the gravity everyone is focusing on. Play the history. You say to her, as we said during health care and other, folks who got Republicans at times, when history calls, history calls.
BOLDUAN: You have been in charge of running big votes like this before. What goes on behind the scenes?
MULHAUSER: In smaller votes, you look for ways to see if you can convince them on policy, see if you can -- there's something pliable that plays to their state or other like-minded members can convince that Senator to flip. In a moment like this, it's about the gravity. It's all about health care. I think a lot of people are hanging their hat on a word that she used this weekend, which is demonstrated. That's where people are trying to figure out what that means and if Donald Trump is smart, he is playing to her.
BOLDUAN: Probably is.
Eric, if Roe v. Wade is one question for a nominee, Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell has a list of suggestions of other questions she's like to have answered. Listen to this.
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SEN. MARIA CANTWELL, (D), WASHINGTON: I'm so anxious to hear whatever this nominee has to say. Is the president able to pardon himself? Do you believe that there should be a conflict of interest that if there's one, the president shouldn't be able to participate in special self-interest. I want to know what he thinks about the Mueller -- the process of how far the Mueller investigation needs to go and will they fight to protect that.
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BOLDUAN: Eric, should a nominee have to answer those questions, too?
BEACH: No. Look, it's not a political process. I'm sorry. Judges -- it's one branch of government. They will enforce the Constitution. That's what they're supposed to do. I think what we're see here over the course --
BOLDUAN: Very different ways of viewing it. Hence, there's a range of --
BEACH: Well, we'll see the Democrats --
BOLDUAN: -- philosophical opinions of it on the bench.
BEACH: The Democrats are in this process, if they become unhinged and overreach, I think it's going to backfire on them. They will have to put pressure on Senators, like Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp, because they need to protect seats in red states. I think if they overreach too much, they will overplay their hand, and I think the president will win this battle.
BOLDUAN: Quick, Scott, I see where Eric is focusing so much on those Democrats.
MULHAUSER: He sure is. I think that's right. I think there may be Democrats that are thinking about this vote and they will be watching Collins, too. They play to get a judge that respects existing precedence. They have to respect rule of law, respect health care and precedence and the votes that exist already.
BOLDUAN: The fun is just beginning.
Great to see you, Scott.
Great to see you, Eric.
Thank you so much.
BEACH: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Still ahead, the clock is running down on a judge's deadline for the Trump administration to reunite thousands of migrant families separated at the border. Coming up, the head of a group who set up its own hotline to try to bring families back together. What they are hearing, that's next.
[11:52:50] BOLDUAN: The Trump administration is up against a court- ordered deadline to reunite thousands of immigrants reunite them separated at the border or else. The judge ordered the government to reunite all of the children with their families by the end of this month.
Here's one of the lucky few. A 7-year-old girl who had been separated from her family for nearly two months. She was finally reunited with her mother in Miami, just yesterday. The girl had been taken from her father as they crossed the border the day after the administration announced the zero-tolerance policy. That little girl and mother, very emotional when they were able to see each other for the first time in Miami.
And that's just one mother and one child. There are more than 2,000 other children still waiting for the very same.
My next guest leads a nonprofit group that is trying to help families get back together, Jonathan Ryan, executive director of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, also known as RAICES.
Jonathan, thanks for coming in.
JONATHAN RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REFUGEE AND IMMIGRANT CENTER FOR EDUCATION AND LEGAL SERVICES: Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.
So you all announced you're setting up a hotline last week in order to try to help families reunite, help everyone out. What kind of calls are you guys getting?
RYAN: We are receiving calls from families here in the United States mostly who are terrified. They're at their wit's end. They have been trying for sometimes months to locate their family members who have been lost into this black hole of the detention system that has served the purpose right now of separating families. Not protecting us and causing terror to them and to people around the world, frankly, who are looking in shock as the United States does this.
BOLDUAN: Jonathan, I mean, a judge in California has now said that the federal government needs to get this done, needs to reunite these families. It seems no one is happy we the pace of the reunification. Are you guys able to do this faster?
RYAN: Well, in many ways, we are because we actually have an intent and desire to see these families reunified here stateside so they can follow their immigration cases. What our work in this one specific task amounts to is really being like private investigators involved in some kind of bizarre game of hide and seek as we receive information about family members and work every channel, every relationship, and every angle we have to locate them and bring pro bono lawyers to them so they can be represented and be truly reunified. We have to decode what the government is saying when it speaks about reunification. And what we're seeing here on the ground often what that translates into is families being deported because they've been threatened they may never see each other again, threatened to accept deportations. But also kind of following this gaslight strategy that our government has been following to make family detention, potentially inside military installations or in private prisons, somehow seem like a solution or more appealing than this horrendous sight we're seeing before us.
[11:55:47] BOLDUAN: Jonathan, you call it kind of a black hole of what's happened here. How many families have you been able to connect?
RYAN: We are doing that in a continuous basis and we're working with other non-profits and attorneys around the country. We have aggregated right now approximately 450 referrals in addition to the phone calls we're getting. And we have volunteers and staff who are working the phones right now to try to connect those dots. We get some information from the families, but one of the cruel jokes about this is that people are assigned what's called an "A" number when they're detained. Something like a Social Security number. In order to find the person, you have to have the "A" number. In order to the get the "A" number, you have to find the person. So there's a bizarre kind of circular logic at play with the government that really is just used to make connecting with these people all the more difficult. But this is work that our agency has done since 1986 with connecting families. We just need to streamline them and ramp them up to meet this challenge.
BOLDUAN: Definitely have a challenge before you. I'll stay in touch to see how it's going.
Jonathan, appreciate your time. Thank you.
RYAN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up, actually have some breaking news to get to quick. The rescue teams have now found all 12 boys and their coaches alive in a cave in Thailand. This is according to a high-ranking person involved in the search-and-rescue operations. They've been missing for nine days now. And it has been a desperate search to try to reach them, get to them, and figure out where they are and how they are doing. They're reviewing the boys' health. We have much more on this ahead.
We'll be right back.