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Protests Denounce Immigration Policies; James Goes to Lakers; Calls to Abolish ICE; Court Deadline for Reunification. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 2, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:26] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets over the weekend to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating parents and children at the border. More than 2,000 children are still separated from their parents this morning.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is live in McAllen, Texas, with more.

What have you learned there, Dianne?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, so, basically, Alisyn, those protests, not just calling and protesting against the Trump zero tolerance policy, but they were called under that hash tag families belong together. They wanted a quick reunification of these parents and these children who were separated from each other when they crossed the border. That's exactly what a judge called for as well on Tuesday, saying that the U.S. government has a -- they have a 30 day deadline to reunite all of those parents and children who were separated under the zero tolerance policy, unless the child is age five and under, then they had a 14 day deadline. So, tomorrow, we are halfway through that particular deadline.

Now, I wish I could tell you how the government is going in there, what the process is, and if they are somewhere in there, but we don't have any updated numbers. We've literally not received any update on how many children are in the custody of HHS who were separated under that policy since Tuesday. Almost a week since we've received anything. At that point, it was 2,047.

Now, we know there have bene a few reunions here and there, but these kids are spread out across the country, Alisyn. So we're not exactly sure how many reunions have happened since then.

This is something that at least before the zero tolerance policy was announced widespread appears to be the government's intention. A Department of Justice attorney testifying or telling a judge that basically this sort of scrambling process for parents who were in custody, looking for their kids across the country, is how the process was designed to be. So, we're still demanding answers. We're asking daily, Alisyn and John. But right now I don't have an update for you on just how many kids remain in custody who were separated from their parents.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: No update, Dianne, because the government will not tell us.


BERMAN: Dianne Gallagher at the border. Thanks very much.

CAMEROTA: Look, it's so troubling, I don't even know if the government knows. This is the problem, is that we've heard that there is no tracking system, OK.

BERMAN: But -- but it's a feature, not a flaw, of this system right now. It was by design, what Dianne is reporting and what we've seen over the last three days is that this chaos was designed in the separation process.

Want to bring back Brian Karem and CNN political analyst April Ryan joins us now. And as far as we know, April, there's every reason to believe that there are still 2,000 children who have been separated from their parents by the U.S. government. Two thousand children. The government won't tell us how many. They won't tell us how they're getting them back together again. And this has gone on for weeks now.


This is not a winning picture for this administration. Of course they're not going to let you see. They're going to try to hold the numbers, or hold as much information as close as possible to their chest, because, again, this is not a good situation.

But you have to remember, at the very beginning, this administration said, if you cross the border, this is an illegal act and it's a crime and they will treat it as such. And this process was meant to sting. They wanted people -- they wanted to thwart people from coming across the border, so they did this.

But this administration is talking to congressional leaders saying, look, we are going to unify. They're giving assurances. We are going to reunify parents with their children. That remains to be seen. But this is not a good look. The optics are not good. This is not a winning picture for the president of the United States of America.

CAMEROTA: Brian, this is madness, OK? I've been gone for a week. And before I left a week ago I was saying this is coskesque (ph).


CAMEROTA: It's so haunting to me that these parents show up and don't know for months where their 18 month old babies are, who's feeding them, who's taking care of them, how they're sleeping, who's --

KAREM: And they may not (ph).

CAMEROTA: I can't fully --

KAREM: They may never.

CAMEROTA: Can Americans have any confidence that the government knows how to restore, even if they wanted to, these parents, (INAUDIBLE)?

KAREM: No, they -- no. I have -- I have sources that -- that I cite sources inside the Department of Human Sand the DOJ who go, look, there is a really good chance that these people may never see some of them. May never see their children again.

CAMEROTA: Why? Why? Because they've lost them? They can't keep track of them? Why?

KAREM: Because the U.S. -- well, on both ends, the children have been spread out, but, in fact, some of the parents may not even be in the country anymore and finding them may be difficult. The simple fact of the matter is, this government tries to use it as a deterrence. It won't work because these people are leaving far worse conditions than their finding in the U.S., even if they're separated from their children. They're just trying to give their children a little bit of hope. So even if they don't see their children again, there's the hope that they will be in a better situation than they were as refugees. That's the -- that's the reality that this administration never factored into its really duplicitous policy authored by Stephen Miller and actually probably one of the worst things that this government has ever done or could do.

As April said, the optics are bad. The reality is worse.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: But it's even worse than that because we know from newly release court documents that a government attorney admitted that there was never a plan to reunify these families.

KAREM: And their never -- and there couldn't be.

AVLON: This is a -- this is, as John said, this is a feature, not a bug, of the policy.

KAREM: Exactly.

AVLON: Before it was widely understood. There was never a government plan to reunify these children with these families.

KAREM: And they didn't want to. They didn't --

BERMAN: And I will tell you -- and I will tell you this -- I will tell you this, what were Democrats largely talking about over the weekend, or some Democrats, abolishing ICE, right?


KAREM: Probably the stupidest move they could do. They would just hand the midterm elections to -- actually the president would love it if they eliminated ICE, then he can go back and shout again that they're the ones for open borders and that they want ramped crime. And, again, proving that in D.C. the only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat. That is probably the dumbest idea that you could come up with as a Democrat.

RYAN: But you know --

KAREM: And --

BERMAN: Go ahead, April.

KAREM: And it plays -- it's just politically wrong.

Sorry, go ahead, April.

RYAN: But you -- I think about, you know, our situation with immigration and reunification of immigrant children with families. I'm going back to like 2000, April of 2000. Remember a kid by the name of Elian Gonzalez.

KAREM: Oh, yes.

RYAN: We have had this issue -- yes, we've had this issue in our midst for a long time. We have been grappling with how to deal with immigration for a long time. And this is before ICE even happened in 2003 --

KAREM: Right.

RYAN: With George W. Bush.


RYAN: SO this is an issue that we've got to figure out, how to reunify. And during the Elian Gonzalez time, that was under heavily armed immigration agents who pulled Elian out of that closet.


KAREM: Right.


RYAN: SO now we've got this situation. So we've been grappling with this for a long time. How do you successfully reunify and do this without a lot of pain and anguish and --


RYAN: And the morality issue in our face.

BERMAN: Well, this --

CAMEROTA: Well, you start by not separating them. I mean that's a start.

KAREM: Yes. Exactly.

RYAN: That's true.

KAREM: And this admiration does not care about that.

RYAN: That's very true.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, the president came around to that and decided not to separate them, but we don't know how to now reunify the ones who were separated.

KAREM: But those are empty words, Alisyn. Those are really empty words.

CAMEROTA: I hear you. I -- yes.

KAREM: And this is an issue that's been going on since the '80s, even longer.


KAREM: He politicized it. He's the one who did it as a deterrent. And it's not working. It's only bringing pain.

CAMEROTA: All right, Brian, April, thank you both very much.

RYAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Now to something much lighter. There's this newcomer in basketball named LeBron James. Am I saying that right, LeBron James.

BERMAN: LeBron James. You got it right.

CAMEROTA: And he's, I guess, some team wants him?

[06:40:01] BERMAN: He's going to a different basketball team.

CAMEROTA: He's going to a different basketball team.

BERMAN: In Los Angeles. The Lakers. They're a basketball team.

CAMEROTA: And I think -- and will he be well paid, well compensated?

BERMAN: He will -- he will be compensated for this move. He'll get expenses and a little bit more on top of that.

CAMEROTA: All right. I look forward to you both telling me about this.

BERMAN: Oh, great.



CAMEROTA: OK, LeBron James is taking his talents to Hollywood, John. Stick with me. I'll tell you all about it.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Andy, even I know this is huge news. ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, you know, Alisyn, I know you've been waiting on the edge of your seat for when LeBron was going to make his final decision. And it looks like the final act of LeBron's career, it's going to be in Los Angeles. He agreed to a four- year deal with the Lakers, which is much longer than anyone expected. And decision 3.0 much different than the previous two. LeBron's agency, Klutch Sports, just sending out this one paragraph release last night saying that LeBron would be signing with the Lakers. There's no press conference scheduled. No big fan rally planned. LeBron even reportedly going to be leaving the country soon to go on vacation.

Now, LeBron posting this picture to Instagram last night thanking northeast Ohio, saying this will always be home. And when LeBron left in 2010, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote that scathing letter criticizing LeBron. But, this time, again, much different. Gilbert said, in part, LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you've put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous number 23 Cavs jersey one day down the line.

[06:45:23] And the fans in Cleveland, they're also handling this much better this time around.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any qualms about it. I mean he -- the man did deliver on, you know, saying, hey, I'm going to deliver something here in Cleveland, give you guys a championship. And it was amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not just about Cleveland, right? It's about him and what he wants to accomplish as a man and as a basketball player. So, I'm OK with it. A little disappointed that he didn't bring us one more, but I'm OK.


SCHOLES: Yes, John, so no burning jerseys this time around.

You know, you're sad for Cleveland, but LeBron going to the Lakers is great for the NBA because it makes them relevant again.

CAMEROTA: OK. Thoughts?

BERMAN: They're not -- they're not better than the Warriors. They're not better than the Rockets. They're not better than the Celtics.


BERMAN: But LeBron James delivered on his promise. He brought a championship to Cleveland. He can go do whatever he wants right now.

CAMEROTA: I agree.

AVLON: Yes, a lot of Ohio pride there. Very decent about this (ph). BERMAN: All right, the Democratic Party, what are they doing this morning? The argument that ICE should be abolished, is that a winning political message?

Stick around.


[06:50:42] BERMAN: A growing number of Democrats calling for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, ICE, to be abolished. This as the president is writing about his defense of the agency, saying in part -- without evidence we should add -- that crime would be rampant and uncontrollable without ICE. So is this a winning message for Democrats there?

Want to bring in CNN political commentator, former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.

This has been going on for a few weeks, but it gained new traction, Joe, with Ocasio-Cortez winning the primary here in New York. She wants to see ICE abolished. Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand hopped on as well.

Do you think that is a winning message for Democrats?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that it does to, you know, the politics of passion and tapping into passion.

You know, the president, on one side, has talked about all immigrants coming from Mexico and central America as criminals and rapists and MS-13 members. And I think Democrats looking at this are looking for a way to tap into the passion among progressives, and this is it.

You know, the answer, at the end of the day, is not going to be abolishing an agency. It's going to be providing leadership and a policy framework. But as we get closer to the election, we get away from sort of detailed policy plans and statements that try to tap into, you know, how people feel and, you know, what will motivate them.

BERMAN: Look, I was watching these demonstrations take place over the weekend and I feel as if the message I was hearing more frequently was about ICE, abolish ICE, rather than, where are the 2,000 children. The fact that the government separated 2,000 children from their parents. We still do not know how or when they will be returned. That's a message that has resonated across party lines, yet you feel like as if the Democrats have walked into this situation where they're allowing it to be about ICE.

LOCKHART: Well, I don't think they -- I don't think it's completely -- it's a -- it's one element of an overall critique of the president's immigration plan, or outlook. I think it's getting a good bit of attention because some prominent Democrats have come out.

But this really -- the underlying issue still remain that we need immigration reform. And the horror of separating parents from their children, that isn't going away. We have a court date -- or a court deadline coming up. This story just won't go away. I don't think it's ultimately going to be about, you know, ICE abolished or reinforced.

BERMAN: I will say, immigration reform -- major immigration reform won't reunite these 2,000 children with their parents. Confidence will. You know, government competence will get these kids back together with their parents. It's astounding that it's gone on as long as it has. And it --

LOCKHART: Well, I --

BERMAN: And it's also, and I will say it's surprising to me, that Democrats haven't focused on it even more.

Go ahead, Joe.

LOCKHART: Well, I -- I don't think it's a question of competence. I think it's a question of priority. I think -- I worked in the -- in the government when you put all the resources behind the government and the president gets behind it and you solve problems that seem totally unsolvable in a matter of days. I don't think they -- they don't believe this is a priority. And, at worst, I think they might think it is the right policy because somehow they think that it deters people from coming to the United States, which is just not true. People who are sitting -- you know, being tortured and oppressed are going to come and take the chance. So it -- the government can do this. The government can reunite the families. But they're choosing not to. And that's -- and I think you're right, that is the ultimate bottom line issue that we have a government that chooses to first separate parents from their children and then makes a choice, a deliberate choice, not to bring them back together.

BERMAN: Very quickly, Joe, where do you think Democrats should position themselves on the Supreme Court nomination?

LOCKHART: Well, I think it's -- you're right in highlighting Roe v. Wade. I mean this is a critical choice. It is a question of whether we're going to turn back the clock a half a century. And, you know, Democrats, you know, to borrow from Ronald Reagan, they can't trust that settled law or precedent is going to get by. They have to trust and verify. And it's very hard to see how anyone on the list that Trump has floated will get past Senator Murkowski or Senator Collins. And it will be a real test for them on how serious -- you know, how strong their convictions are on this issue. It's almost impossible to see them voting for someone on that list.

[06:55:25] BERMAN: Joe Lockhart, a pleasure to have you with us. Thanks so much, sir.

LOCKHART: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, we have some breaking news. President Trump's long time attorney and personal fixer Michael Cohen is breaking his silence this morning. He is revealing what he plans to do about the future and about President Trump and whether or not he would cooperate with the special council. So we have all of that for you when we come right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. John Avlon here with us as well.

We do begin with breaking news.

What could be a major development in the investigate surrounding the president. The president's long time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is breaking his silence and seems to be saying he's willing to cut a deal with the government. Cohen tells ABC News, quote, my wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.