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DNA Testing Being Done on Separated Kids and Parents; Deadline Today for Trump Attorneys to Finish Review of Cohen Docs; New Poll Shows Dem Voters Likely to Vote; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 5, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- by July 6th parents need to have made some sort of contact with children, by July 10th, children under the age of 5 years old need to be reunited with their parents, and by July 26th, according a federal judge's ruling, all parents and children need to be reunited -- Dave, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Nick, Health and Human Services, HHS, said that, you know, the lawmaker visits to these facilities are getting in the way of the reunifications. Do we have any evidence that that's true?

VALENCIA: Well, you know, we talked about this last hour as well, Christine. The first lady was also down here. That begs the question, did she get in the way of this process? These visits from congressmen and senators have been few and far between. They usually happen on the weekends. There's a lot of work that can be done during the week. We've been asking and demanding answers. And we have not gotten answers to our many questions, including the processes that are taken. How fast this is happening.

We are told from most advocacy groups that we've been in contact with, the correspondents that we have here on the ground, that at the very least these children have been in touch with their parents in most cases via phone or letter, some type of communication. What we don't know is exactly where that number stands of how many children have been reunited. And we'd like to know the answer -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. So would we. Nick Valencia, thank you so much that.

You know, the president is tweeting about immigration policy. And he has said recently that, you know, America's immigration policy is just don't come here. That's what he would like our immigration policy to be. He's tweeting again, saying, you know, it should be like your front lawn. If somebody comes to your front lawn, you tell them to get off. That's what it should be like in this country. We shouldn't have immigration judges, we shouldn't have people coming with this, you know, due process at the border. They should just --

BRIGGS: That's one part of it but it started by saying Congress must pass reasonable immigration laws now. So this has gone back and forth because he pushed Congress to pass legislation. Then he said he did not push Congress to pass legislation. Now he is back on board. Are you with me? ROMANS: I'm with you for now.

BRIGGS: It's difficult to keep up.

Ahead all of this talk of a Democratic Party divided. But does that mean all bad news for the midterms?


[10:36:01] ROMANS: All right. This November, power on Capitol Hill is once again up for grabs. But a new CNN analysis of polls shows Democratic turnout may turn the tables this year.

BRIGGS: May. Harry Enter is the man who did that analysis, joining us now. He's a senior writer and analyst for CNN Politics. I'm the skeptic on your story.



BRIGGS: Yes. You are correct. Tell me what you found.

ENTEN: So basically Monmouth University has produced a bunch of polls so far that looked among registered voters and looked among likely voters, and what they essentially found on average across seven races was that Democrats gained 2 percentage point when you went from registered voters to likely voters. And that is extremely unusual in a midterm election.

If you look back, say, to 2014, in fact you saw Republicans gaining about 6 percentage points on average. It's on the screen right now. And you see it across a slew of races and a lot of different ones. The one that's highlighted there is New Jersey 11th, which is a very interesting race. That's in the New York City suburbs. It's a very well-educated district, historically Republican. But what you see there is that the Democrats are gaining among likely voters. A big reason why is because they're doing so well among white voters with a college degree who traditionally turn out in major numbers in midterm elections.

ROMANS: That candidate was at my Fourth of July parade yesterday and the energy was pretty noticeable, I will say.


ROMANS: Talk to me about Democratic turnout relative to Republican turnout in midterms, when there's a Republican -- I mean, it depends.

ENTEN: Right. Right. It really does depend. You know, the last two midterm elections, we obviously had a Democratic president, Barack Obama. And if you go back since 1978, in those situations when you have a Democratic president, Democratic turnout tends to be very depressed. But when there's a Republican president, it tends to even out a little bit more. But in this midterm, it looks like it will be even better for Democrats than usual.

BRIGGS: All right. Harry Enten, my friend, good to see you. Good analysis.

ENTEN: Nice to see you.

BRIGGS: Let's bring in now Lanhee Chen, former Mitt Romney public policy director, and Bakari Sellers, CNN commentator and former South Carolina House member.

ROMANS: Hi, guys.

BRIGGS: Bakari, what do you make of this?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: It's exciting but we know the blue wave is coming. Democrats have to be remain focused, they have to remain on message. What we've seen recently in the recent fundraising numbers is that Democrats running in these House races all across the country are out raising their Republican opponents. But the key is, can Democrats stay on message?

We know Donald Trump is going to meander in and out and off message. But can Democrats stay on message? Can Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, can they -- and Chuck Schumer, can they stay on message and make sure that voters are excited about coming out in the midterm elections?

ROMANS: You heard -- Lanhee, you heard Harry's analysis. Is this just wishful thinking for Dems?

LAHNEE CHEN, FORMER MITT ROMNEY PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR: Well, I think intensity is the key. I agree with Harry in that sense. And I think the question becomes which of the two bases is going to be more animated? And the reason why I still think Republicans have an excellent chance to retain the Senate and at least even odds to retain the House is because they are going to have greater intensity going into November, in part because of Donald Trump.

I think you see this in the Republican base. You see some excitement about Trump. A lot of that disaffection that may have been there for the president when he first got elected has washed away to a certain degree. And I do think that intensity is going to take over as we approach November.

BRIGGS: I look back a little bit. The most highly publicized primary night race, which was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who won in New York 14, there are more than 200,000 registered Democrats in that district, only 29,000 voted.


BRIGGS: So I guess that's my skepticism about this whole voter enthusiasm. But, Bakari, let me ask you. Democrats, what is the message they are rallying around in the midterms? Is it solely focused on immigration? And how much of a trap could that be?

SELLERS: No, it's not solely focused on immigration. In fact, Democrats are talking about things like the spiraling health care costs that we have, the rise in gas prices, bread and butter issues, the issues of economics that they should be talking about.

But the fact is, this remains a referendum on Donald Trump. And like most midterm elections, it boils down -- the intensity boils down to how people are feeling about the commander-in-chief. And we have someone who has deplorable numbers. He goes between 35 percent and 42 percent.

[10:40:02] And it depends on what poll you're looking at. I think he's hovering around 42 percent approval right now. So it's not an immigration issue. It's more a referendum on Donald Trump.

Now this House map is vastly different than the Senate map because Democrats have a much more difficult time because there are many more seats we have to defend when you are talking about Montana, when you're talking about South Dakota, Indiana. These are very difficult seats to hold on to. So that map is vastly different than the House map.

ROMANS: Lahnee, let's stay on immigration because I think you have this sort of split screen thing happening here. You have the optics, which I think are terrible at the border, of these kids being, you know, taken away from their parents and now the sort of chaos in getting them reunited using DNA, in some cases. And then the president tweeting just moments ago about how he wants an immigration policy, reasonable immigration, new immigration laws. And he appeals right to his base with a very simple analogy.

He says, imagine it's your front yard. And somebody steps on your front yard, you say, no, you're not -- you're not invited. Go away. He really I think appeals to his supporters when he makes it so plain. And there are a lot of Democrats and Republicans in the middle of the country who agree with that, who look at what's happening on the border and don't see bad optics and chaos, and bureaucracy. They say, why are people coming here in the first place.

CHEN: Yes -- no, you're absolutely right. Look, I think the optics of this are very, very bad. They're horrible. But you're right in the sense that for the base, again, it comes back to intensity and motivation. And immigration is one of those issues for Republican voters in particular. If you look back over the last several election cycles, this has been an animating election issue. I don't care if it's state elections or federal elections.

And what the president is trying to do is to appeal directly to the base in an effort to turn them out because he knows if Republicans do not turn out this November, Republicans do not retain the Senate and they do not retain the House. So that is why you're seeing this sort of split screen image. And I agree, the imagery is awful. And to a certain degree, the outcome of this has not been good either.


BRIGGS: For the president, though, Bakari, he's been effective at branding, at labeling, at marketing. And if he can market Democrats ahead of these midterms as open border Democrats and Republicans as wanting to tighten the border and protect their community, how do Democrats fight back against that narrative?

SELLERS: Well, I think the imagery is bold. The imagery is very pronounced. I mean, you have children who are being ripped away from their parents. You have children in cages. I mean, that imagery is so pronounced. Yesterday, you had a young woman, young black immigrant, activist, scale the Statue of Liberty and remain -- and say she was going to remain there until the children were reunited with their families.

I mean, this is a theme that's going to go on throughout the midterms. But this isn't the lone theme that the Democrats are running on. This is one of many issues the Democrats -- substantive issues the Democrats have to remain on message about. And we get kind of caught up in just being anti-Trump, anti-Trump, anti-Trump, but Americans many times when we're talking about intensity, we want people to give them a reason to come out and vote, not just something to vote against.

ROMANS: Lahnee, let's talk about this Supreme Court pick that's going to happen any day now. We think the president has narrowed it down his choice. He's finished seven interviews. Where is the wind blowing for you on this Supreme Court pick?

CHEN: Well, again, I mean, coming back to this question of intensity. If you look at voters heading toward November on the Republican side, a lot of them frankly -- they held their noses and voted for Donald Trump because they said look, at least he's going to give us a conservative Supreme Court justice. He did that with Neil Gorsuch.

This next list that we have that he is working off of for the pick. He's going to announce to replace Justice Kennedy, these are conservative jurist as well. So he's going to be able to use this not just to change the face of the Supreme Court, which is fundamentally important from a policy perspective, but he is also going to be able to use it again to drive that turnout, to drive that conservative base as we go toward November.

BRIGGS: Sure. Bakari, earlier you mentioned the math for Senate Democrats. Again those 10 Senate Democrats running from Trump states. How difficult will this be given the Supreme Court nomination, if they vote against that nominee it could cost them their political life.

SELLERS: Well, I don't see any of those 10 voting for the nominee. I mean, we have some things at stake like Roe v. Wade.

BRIGGS: Really?

SELLERS: That I just don't see how Manchin, or Tester, or Donnelly, vote for someone who would put women's health at risk. I just don't see that happening. I think that we are a big tip party. These individuals they represent their state. Bill Nelson represents Florida. Tester looks like Montana. So I think they'll be fine. And I don't think this vote will be the end all be all.

BRIGGS: I will bet you dinner on that one, Bakari. Some of those 10 have to vote for this guy or gal.

ROMANS: All right. Bakari Sellers, Lahnee Chen, thanks, guys.

All right. Remember that big FBI raid on President Trump's personal lawyer? Millions of documents now recovered. Lawyers have to tell a judge what should stay private, what could go public.


[10:49:25] BRIGGS: OK. It is deadline day in the case of the president's former attorney Michael Cohen. The Trump Organization and the president's attorneys have until tonight to finish reviewing thousands of items seized in the Cohen raid.

ROMANS: All right. Joining us to discuss, CNN legal analyst and national security analyst Asha Rangappa.

OK. What is significant here? What evidence are we going to see and what could it tell us?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So right now, what you have are documents being reviewed by both Cohen and the Trump team to see whether they want to claim that some of these documents are privileged and to assert their objections to those documents being passed on.

[10:50:07] Already we know that the special master, who's been appointed by the court to review the I believe four million documents that were seized by the FBI to see whether they are privileged, has already passed on about more than a quarter of them, about 1.3 million documents to the FBI -- to the prosecutors for use in the case.

So you know, it's going to -- we have to see on what basis they're going to assert any objections, given that it looks like Michael Cohen actually had very few actual legal clients which would form the basis of any kind of privilege.

BRIGGS: A lot of social media gossip about the fact that Michael Cohen removed Trump attorney from his Twitter bio. But that's just perhaps a bit of inside baseball.

Want to tap into your years of experience, though, as an FBI agent to get your take on this latest poisoning of two in the UK with that nerve agent, Novichok, same one that was used back in March. What do you make of the Russian reaction that this is all part of a UK conspiracy?

RANGAPPA: But that has been their claim since the attack back in March on Skripal and his daughter. And you know, it's disingenuous because the intelligence community has stated that this particular kind of nerve gas can be traced back only to Russia. In fact, something that was being developed as far back as when the Soviet Union was developing this kind of gas.

So, you know, they are obviously going to claim that they had nothing to do with it because this is a huge violation of nation sovereignty. It is, I think, quite astonishing that both in the midst of this and the intelligence community's assessment, which was validated by the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia interfered in our election, we have current U.S. senators in Russia right now and of course the president being willing to meet with Putin, you know, and not -- apparently not seeming to push back on either of these fronts.

ROMANS: And eating with Putin, we're told, at least one source saying one-on-one. He wants to meet with him, you know, one-on-one. One wonders how tough he can be on Vladimir Putin on these issues.

BRIGGS: And no real record there for -- of everything that was or was not discussed.

ROMANS: Right. All right. Asha Rangappa, it's so nice to see you. Thank you so much. OK. Finish your thought.

BRIGGS: All right. Still ahead -- go ahead. Go ahead, Asha.

RANGAPPA: We just saw this before so -- yes, we saw this before at the G20. So this is going to be a repeat of a bad private meeting.

ROMANS: Yes. Great.

BRIGGS: Will be watching interesting optics. All right, Asha. Thank you.

Still ahead the top dog, you might call him, the LeBron James of competitive eating, Joey Chestnut breaks his own nauseating world record. The latest in the "Bleacher Report." next.


[10:57:36] BRIGGS: Joey Jaws Chestnut laying a beat down on his opponents. And an eat-down on the hotdogs and buns on Coney Island.

ROMANS: Wet buns, gross. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report.".

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Nothing says Fourth of July like dipping hotdog, buns and water and eating them. Right, guys?

ROMANS: Gross.

SCHOLES: Perfect. Now Joey Chestnut --

ROMANS: God bless America. God bless America.

SCHOLES: That's right. God bless America. Joey Chestnut's domination has really just become is a July Fourth staple.

And Chestnut crushing the field in the 100-second Nathan's hotdog eating contest yesterday. He devoured a record 74 hotdogs in 10 minutes, beating his previous record by two. And if you are wondering, 74 hotdogs is more than 22,000 calories.


JOEY CHESTNUT, HOTDOG EATING CONTEST CHAMPION: It makes it so much easier when I you love the food, there's people supporting you. I was being supported today.

Growing up, I didn't want people coming out here but I felt in love with it. And I'm riding this wave. But I know -- I had no idea it would take me here and I would be back so many times. But I'm going to just keep doing it. It keeps pushing me to the next level.


SCHOLES: Now Chestnut has won 11 of the past 12 contests. Fun fact, one of his 45 eating records is down 55 glazed doughnuts in 10 minutes. Incredible.

All right. High schooler Victoria Smith winning gold in the 100-meter freestyle at the Special Olympics yesterday in Seattle. Smith was born with DiGeorge syndrome. She's missing both radius bones which make her arms much shorter. But that hasn't stopped her from accomplishing her dreams.


VICTORIA SMITH, GOLD MEDALIST: I'm so happy that I showed up for this. I can compete at this stage. People with my disability can compete because no matter what your disability is, you can compete. And if you train as hard as you have, you can compete and you can win gold just like I did. I would not be anywhere without my family, without their support, without their love. Mom, I love you.


SCHOLES: Now you see at the end of that interview, she gave a huge hug to ESPN reporter Victoria (INAUDIBLE) who has an incredibly story as well. (INAUDIBLE) was diagnosed with two very rare conditions and spent nearly four years locked inside her body aware of what was going on but unable to learn or communicate. And after learning how to speak he moved again so he competed as a Paralympian and then after a decade in a wheelchair, guys, she learned to walk again and now works for ESPN as a reporter. So just both those Victorias is such an inspiration.

BRIGGS: Bravo..


BRIGGS: Bravo. Sports are awesome.

ROMANS: Great stories. Way better than hotdogs. Thank you so much. Nice to see you.