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12 Kids, Coach Found Alive After 9 Days Trapped in Cave; Michael Cohen Says Loyalties to "Family and Country, Not President Trump"; Democratic Division as Calls Grow to Abolish ICE; John Bolton: U.S. Could Recognize Russian Annexation of Crimea; GOP Sen. Collins in Spotlight over Supreme Court Vote; Scaramucci Warns Against Trade War as Canada Strikes Back; What Will Trump/Obrador Relationship Look Like. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 2, 2018 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: I suppose as the hours and days go on, we'll get these details, and it'll be a remarkable story.

What can you tell us about that?

MARK PHILLIPS, CNN PHOTO JOURNALIST: The problem is we know very little. We know they went up there after playing -- after soccer practice. They were near the cave. We do know they went to a shop and bought some supplies. They were only going in there for the afternoon. So we don't know how much food they had. But one reason why the Thai authorities knew they would find these boys is because the boys were local boys, they knew the area, they've been to that cave before, and they were strong young men. Of anybody to get lost in the cave, as terrible as that is to say, they were the best because they had the best chance of survival. But now it's how bad they are at the moment. They're sending in a doctor. They're sending in a nurse to assess the boys and see how they can bring them out.

ACOSTA: All right. Well, Mark Phillips, that is an amazing story. We'll see how this develops. Of course, we want to hear from these kids and see how they're doing and hear from them, of course..

Thanks for bringing that story to us. Mark Phillips, with a very good story when we need one. Thanks very much.

Coming up, in a new interview, the president's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, says his first loyalty is to his family and country, and not to President Trump. So how worried is the White House that he could flip on the president? A Democratic congressman reacts.

Plus, Democrats divided as calls grow to abolish ICE. Is this all about? Does the stance actually help the president? He thinks so. We'll have more on that when we come back.


[13:35:58] ACOSTA: "Family and country," that's what President Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, says is where his loyalties lie. His comments come as some within the president's circle think the president could be turned against by Cohen and potentially put the president in legal jeopardy in a series of matters, including the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.

Joining me now from Los Angeles is Congressman Ted Liu, a Democrat, on both the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees.

Congressman, what do you make of Michael Cohen's comments? They seem to be carefully choreographed this morning. But they do seem to indicate the possibility that he may turn against the president. What do you make of that?

REP. TED LIEU, (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you for your question. It is not remarkable that he said he would put family first. But when he added that he would put country first, I found that very interesting. Because it suggests that Donald Trump was not putting country first. And then looking at this entire interview, as a former prosecutor, it seems he's signaling to the president he's going to flip on him. I hope the president does not pardon Michael Cohen, because if he does, that's crossing a red line for Democrats and also some Republicans.

ACOSTA: Do you think it also could be a flair to the president that if you're going to pardon me, do it now? Is that how you're reading between the lines here potentially? What do you think, Congressman?

LIEU: Reading between the lines, it absolutely seems like he is telling the president that he will likely flip on the president if he is charged, and he's hoping, in his own mind, I think, to try to get a pardon. I think that would be a grave mistake. I hope the president does not go down that path.

ACOSTA: And moving onto other topics, as you know, we found these massive immigration demonstrations over the weekend. Tens of thousands of Americans taking to the streets around the country protesting the zero-tolerance policy of the president, the policy that forced family separations. With that as a backdrop, as you know, I don't have to forecast this too much. There's a growing call among Democrats who want to abolish ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Where do you stand on eliminating ICE? There are a number of Democratic congressmen in both the House and the Senate who are starting to come forward in saying this. Are you joining that core, I suppose you can call it, of Democrats who want to see ICE eliminated?

LIEU: I have called for the resignation of Secretary Nielsen of Homeland Security. We just put in a new ICE director. I think he should be given some opportunity to try to change the culture of ICE. Then we need to change the policies of ICE so they don't terrorize communities. If none of that happens, then I would support abolishing ICE and replacing it with an agency that is more consistent with America's values.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you this. Because the president seems to be delighting in this possibility that you're going to have a lot of Democrats calling for the elimination of ICE. He seems to think that this is a winning issue for him going into the midterms. You've been hearing this for a couple of weeks, positioning himself against the Democrats saying he's for border security. He's for -- he's against crime and that Democrats are for open borders. And an increase in crime. Obviously, there's a lot of political hyperbole in that. But this notion of eliminating ICE, are you concerned the Democratic Party could be portrayed as being anti-law enforcement going into the midterms? And doesn't that concern you somewhat?

LIEU: I'm not concerned because ICE actually doesn't deal with borders. That's customs and Border Patrol. No one is calling me for elimination of Border Patrol. What happened to ICE is it was an agency with multiple missions including tackling child pornography, sex trafficking, things people can support. But part of the mission went beyond what they were supposed to do and they started terrorizing communities. That's the part Democrats are concerned about. And the president, since his inauguration, has been bashing immigrants this entire time. At the same time, Democrats won 43 special elections, flipped Alabama, flipped a seat in western Pennsylvania. So we're happy to talk about immigration as well as the economy and jobs. Clearly, people are not experiencing the benefits of this economy, especially middle-class families.

[13:40:15] ACOSTA: I want to ask you about this upcoming summit, President Trump sitting down with Vladimir Putin. The president's national security adviser, John Bolton, will not rule out the possibility that they could recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea. What do you make of that?

LIEU: That's a grave mistake because that only incentivizes Russia to attack other countries as well. We need to continue pushing back against Russia. I agree with Nikki Haley, our U.N. ambassador, that Russia should be sanctioned more for what they've done. I'm glad the administration has taken some steps towards that. They need to fully implement the congressional sanctions that we all passed on a bipartisan basis.

ACOSTA: What would it say about the president, do you think, if he says that Russia can keep Crimea, that he essentially is recognizing Crimea as part of Russia? What does that say about the president, do you think?

LIEU: I do not understand why the president is so close with Vladimir Putin. He seems to do everything Putin says. That is a mystery to me. I don't really understand how the president of the United States is taking all Russia's talking points and making them into American policy. It is very, very concerning.

ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it. We'll see you next time.

LIEU: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Thank you, sir.

Anthony Scaramucci, who normally defends the president, is now warning the trade wars are going too far. This, as Canada is striking back in a way that will hit Americans. Plus, an anti-Trump leftist is elected president of Mexico. So how

does all of this impact relations with the U.S.? We're going to be live in Mexico coming up straight ahead.


[13:46:19] ACOSTA: And today, the White House announced it will temporarily reshuffle some of its staff to work on the Supreme Court nomination full-time. President Trump says he'll announce his pick to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court July 9th. Just one week from now. The staff reorganization is a signal of the gravity of the situation over there at the White House of Republicans only having a razor-thin majority in the Senate.

Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, is a key vote in the confirmation fight. Her vote could hinge on whether the top court nominee supports precedent of Roe v. Wade, the decision to legalize abortion nationally.

Listen what she told our Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION" yesterday.


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.


ACOSTA: And to discuss this, I'm joined by senior political reporter, Nia Malika Henderson, and CNN political analyst and congressional reporter for "Politico," Rachael Bade.

Nia, give me some thoughts on Susan Collins. She indicated she does not want a nominee showing hostility to Roe v. Wade. But she talked about it in ways of legal precedent, that this is law of the land.

NIA MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: We've been here before in terms of Susan Collins. She's voted with the president's agenda about 80 percent of the time. But she is known for being a pretty pro-choice in terms of her voting in the Senate. I think the question for her is, how does she determine in the questioning either privately as she meets with the nominee or in the Senate confirmation hearings, where does she find where they are on Roe v. Wade. We've seen that with Gorsuch. She voted for Gorsuch. In the questioning he was like, Roe v. Wade is precedent. It's the law of the land. That doesn't necessarily tell you how he would vote if it were to come down to whether or not Roe v. Wade should be overturned. So it's a question. You know, we're all going to watch Susan Collins. We'll watch Murkowski as well. Those Democrats up for re-election in red states also important to watch as the president proceeds on this.

ACOSTA: We know what conservatives are looking for in a nominee. The president, I can't imagine he thinks of himself being caught in a box here. as much as Collins was trying to create one over the weekend. Because if the president does not nominate somebody who would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, he would have conservatives in Washington screaming. Right? If he doesn't do that?

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. This is -- so you're going to see conservatives' interest and Collins' interest collide here in the next few weeks. Even the president said on the campaign trail said a litmus test on picking a Supreme Court would be somebody who would overturn Roe v. Wade. So they know Collins is a key vote. They have to get her. They have a razor thin majority. They can only lose one person since John McCain is out. They've had her to the White House. The president has spoken to her personally. Don McGahn, one of the top lawyers at the White House, has made phone calls to her. The president has said, oh, I'm not asking anybody about Roe v. Wade. Come on. Of course, he is.

ACOSTA: He doesn't need to ask.

BADE: Yes.

ACOSTA: The list presented to him, has been cleared by this community in Washington that wants to see their return.

Turning to trade issue. Nia, trade issues back on the forefront. Canada officially firing back at U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. How important is this? The president is showing some signs that he wants to support this legislation that would essentially pull the U.S. out of the WTO. I guess we are all watching the Dow on a daily basis to see how it reacts.

[13:50:16] HENDERSON: It reacted and sort of corrected. I think the test will be jobs. Whether or not you start to see jobs being impacted in some of these states, particularly red states, manufacturing states. We saw some of this with Harley-Davidson. Some of them saying they are going to basically move production to Europe when it comes to exporting some of their motorcycles. That's the big test. He has dug in pretty firmly. Even in the face of Harley- Davidson's decision he said you waved the white flag. You should hang tough and see what happens. You see the markets reacting. We'll see what happens with jobs and others, Republicans who don't like this course the president is on. What do they say and whether or not he blinks.


ACOSTA: Rachel, as unbelievable as this may seem, Anthony Scaramucci has an issue with the president's ideas on trade. I'm sure you have seen this tweet. "WTO has its flaws but the United States fair and reciprocal Tariff Act, aka" -- I don't want to say this word on television--



ACOSTA: -- but you can read it on screen -- "stinks. American consumers pay for tariffs." It reads better than it sounds. I don't know to say it. "Time to switch tactics."

Rachael, I don't know if the president is going to listen to Anthony Scaramucci, but as someone who into branding, at the very least I can see him rebranding this piece of legislation.

BADE: Yes this legislation is dead on arrival. There was a story when axis reported it. They had a nugget about how mark short in the White House said to Peter Navarro in the White House, this is dead on arrival. It's not going anywhere. There's no way Republicans are going to pass any sort of legislation that backs the U.S. Away from the WTO. They see the WTO as an ally. Actually when the United States thinks another country is implementing unfair trade practices against us they go to the WTO, who regularly rules in favor of the United States. There's no way the Republicans will support this. I think this is bluster. But we thought a lot of the tariff stuff was bluster on the part of the administration, and look we are engaged in a trade war right now.

ACOSTA: Tactical bluster. Nia, a lot of this for negotiating position.

HENDERSON: But if you are in business, the uncertainty of a negotiating tactic doesn't work. That's why you have seen U.S. Chamber of Commerce basically come out and say tariffs are taxes.


ACOSTA: Farmers in Iowa.


ACOSTA: That's part of the Trump base.

Interesting to bring up the tension among conservatives over the trade policies, one of the few areas where they will buck the president.


ACOSTA: Nia and Rachael, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Coming up, Mexico elects a left-wing president who is no fan of president Trump. What does that mean for Mexico's relationship with the U.S.?

Plus, stunning video of an unmanned rocket crashing to earth. And also see how the control room reacted.


[13:57:31] ACOSTA: His fiery rhetoric, combative personality and attacks on the status quo have earned him comparisons to Donald Trump, but Mexico's new president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a Trump critic. He is a leftist populist who is promising a new era of U.S./Mexico relations. President Trump congratulated Lopez Obrador in a late-night tweet, saying there's much to be done that will benefit both countries. CNN correspondent, Leyla Santiago, joins us from Mexico City.

Leyla, what will a Trump/Lopez Obrador relationship look like? Will it be any better? Doesn't sound like it.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We'll have to wait and see. I can tell you, Jim, Lopez Obrador, known by AMLO here, went on TV very early saying message received. He appreciated President Trump's tweet congratulating him, saying, they look forward to working to together. The tone so far has been polite, one of mutual effect. How long will that last, I don't know. AMLO said he would tackle corruption and violence. Early on, he also said he's the man to take on Trump. This is a man who wrote a book called, translated means, "Listen Up, Trump." He pushed back on the idea of building a wall, saying that is not a solution to immigration.

The next big issue that could be a point of contention in this relationship is trade. Initially, AMLO said he wasn't a big fan of NAFTA. During the campaign, he softened under pressure from the business leaders here in Mexico. But he sort of has that same tone as President Trump saying, look, I'm not going to accept anything that's not a good deal for my country. In this case, it will be Mexico First. That is why so many analysts out there have said this is a new era in which it will be interesting to see if they sort of clash. Because they are very similar, and saying I am going to protect my country's interests first -- Jim?

ACOSTA: How will he differ from EPN, Enrique Pena Nieto, the outgoing president of Mexico? He did not seek to confront President Trump very much. He did from time to time. It seems like AMLO, as they call him down in Mexico, is going to be much more pugnacious.

SANTIAGO: We will have to see. Every now and then, we would see Enrique Pena Nieto whose approval ratings are still very well low. We saw a lot of that back and forth between him and President Trump on Twitter. We'll have to see what platform AMLO uses in communicating with President Trump in his new relationship.

[14:00:06] ACOSTA: OK, Leyla Santiago, thank you very much.

That's it for me. I will be back at 5:00 Eastern on "THE SITUATION ROOM," later on today.

The news continues right now here on CNN.