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Report: Trump to Talk About Syria, Election Meddling, Ukraine With Putin; U.S./China Trade War Begins at Midnight; Boys and Coach Trapped in Cave Too Weak to Escape; HHS Saying Number of Separated Kids Higher Than Thought. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 5, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, Jim, thank you. Hi everyone, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me here. Here is the breaking news this afternoon on the Trump administration's race to reunite migrant children who were separated from their families at the nation's southern border. The Department of Health and Human Services just held a call to update members of the media on the troubled process, and answering multiple burning questions with the court deadline looming, questions like how many children have been reunified and how many are still detained and where the heck are they?

And the big one today, the revelation, DNA testing is now being conducted to apparently speed up the process. But for a lot of folks, including now some Republicans, the question now remains, why are we even at this point? The president today wants you to blame Congress, and also apparently to forget last week or the decisions made by his administration in the past 17 months for that matter.

This is part of the president's Twitter feed here: "Congress must pass smart, fast and reasonable immigration laws now. Law enforcement at the border is doing a great job but the loss they are forced to work with are insane when people with or without children enter our country, they must be told to leave without our country being forced to endure a long and costly trial. Tell the people out and they must leave, just as they would if you were standing on the front lawn."

I want to bring in CNN political director -- forgive me, I was just told that it's Carrie Cordero for now, hopefully we will get David Chalian in just a second. Carrie, our CNN legal analyst and former counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security. What is your first reaction to this?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Look, the president is consistent with his policy which is that he wants to limit immigration and he doesn't really seem to care about the history of the United States in accepting refugees and providing asylum, he's ignoring the fact that asylum is a legitimate way to enter the United States. And he is conflating that with people who are crossing illegally or potentially have criminal violations and he is sort of putting those altogether.

But the bottom line is that the policy to separate the families at the border was a direct result of the Trump policy and the attorney general's policy to prosecute all individuals who entered the United States illegally. And what that did is separated the children from them as a result of that policy, because there was a court order that said you can't hold kids for more than 20 days.

Now the DHS secretary needs to take responsibility, the call is a positive development, in terms of the call with reporters, because the DHS secretary needs to take responsibility to reunite children who were taken from their parents. Which I maintain really has a very questionable legal basis on which children were separated from their parents. In the DHS secretary needs to find ways to reunite them with their parents, pending their immigration status being reviewed.

BALDWIN: I want to go back to some of the points you just made. David Chalian is with us now he is our CNN political director because I want to get to the substance of this call with reporters and the HHS secretary. So, David, let me go to you now on the headlines out of this call, including, what I saw, now they're saying the number is 3,000. So, it's up from the last time we heard. 3,000 kids possibly separated.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And potentially much larger. We were talking in the realm of 2,000, now it's under 3,000. That could be low as well in the 2,000s. The point is they were clearly setting a higher threshold, universe of the kids separated than we had known to be true. That is going to be a startling number for the administration to deal with, it is clearly a startling number for these families who were torn apart here.

And they went on to say they are committed to following this judge's order of getting these families reunited, first those with kids under 5 years old and then the rest of the population. But to me, this is going to put right back on to the front burner right now, what the president was feeling politically, which was a ton of heat which caused him to give that executive order, because there was a clear crisis and he was hearing from all corners, his party, Democrats, media, critics, all around, which is why he issued that executive order, but what's going exposed here is that executive order seems to be largely meaningless at this point. Because it was supposed to keep families together and it doesn't seem to be having that effect at the moment.

BALDWIN: When you also had the headline out of the call that no children have been reunited yet based upon last week's order, I'm wondering, Carrie, if they can't reunite in one week, how will they comply with this 30-day mandate?

[14:05:00] CORDERO: That's a good question, the executive order that the president issued really was not effective. It was something that was drafted in a few hours, which is not how an effective executive order gets drafted. He did it to calm a political storm that was going on, but it's not politically meaningful the executive order he signed. As a practical matter, the DHS and HHS have not developed a plan, they didn't have one in the beginning and they don't seem to have a very good one now to fix what they caused by implementing this 100 percent prosecution policy and putting the children back to their parents.

And as a result, it's really unconscionable. I think there's so much bipartisan agreement that the tearing of children away from their parents without any appropriate policy or legal basis in place, there's so much bipartisan support for understanding that that is such a problem, that Congress perhaps needs to create a position quickly that is tasked with the responsibility of having a task force to solve this specific problem. You know, there's lots of different calls to reorganize DHS, reorganize ICE and all of those are potentially downstream, but they need to focus on fixing this one problem, which is that children need to be reunited with their parent if they were taken at the border.

CHALIAN: I just want to put a fine point on it, I think what is also being exposed here is government incompetency. Clearly, they don't seem to have the tools or the will or the competence to be able to accomplish this task or otherwise the numbers would be going in the reverse direction. So, this is a clear competency test of government functioning.

BALDWIN: That's precisely what I was going to point out. David, you're reading my mind.


BALDWIN: No, no, I appreciate it. Let me just stay with you, because let's totally switch gears, because we're looking ahead to this meeting with President Trump and Vladimir Putin, we've got a little bit of reporting on what it is, topics of discussion, Ukraine, Syria and election meddling. These two are meeting in about two weeks from now. So, this notion of raising election meddling, it's something the administration claims has been happening every time there's a meeting with the Russians. What does that mean, when you're raising election meddling? Is that like talking about eight other things and oh, by the way stop the election meddling and then talking about the ninth thing. Or is that stop attacking our diplomacy?

CHALIAN: Let's look at recent history by that I mean the last few days. When the president recently raised election meddling, he did so by asserting that Vladimir Putin stands by his position that he didn't meddle in the American election. That was raising election meddling as an issue, but it was president from giving voice almost like a Kremlin spokesperson to President Putin's point of view on this.

We know when they last met, and President Trump emerged and talked to reporters and said, President Putin is adamant that they didn't do this. He really believes they didn't do this. So, it's one thing to say it's an issue that's going to get raised. What is President Trump going to say to President Putin that is actually going to stop President Putin from doing what Trump's own intelligence services say is already happening, which is meddling in our 2016 election.

BALDWIN: Yes, and let me take it a step further. We know this is a meeting between the two of them, it kind of reminds me of the Kim Jong-Un meeting, in the sense that everyone was wondering how will we ever know what really they were talking about if it is just the two of them and these translators. Carrie, pushing it forward, how will you how will we ever know if election meddling was ever discussed, how it is discussed, if it's just the two of them in a room? CORDERO: This is where the credibility of the president and the White House come into play. CNN has reported for a long time, how many times the president says falsehoods or tweets falsehoods or gives information to the American public that's not true. Why that becomes important is in a meeting like this.

[14:10:00] It's appropriate for a U.S. president to meet with a Russian president. There are all sorts of international, trade, defense, national security, international relations reasons for these two presidents to have a meeting. However, this president -- the president of the United States says his approach to Russia is clouded in my view, based on his unwillingness to accept the intelligence community's assessment on the Russian influence in the 2016 election and going forward.

Everybody else, U.S. intelligence community, the bipartisan Senate intelligence committee, President Trump's own director of National Intelligence, all support that intelligence assessment that Russia, both in the past intended to influence the election and is taking steps going forward to influence the U.S. elections and all other western democracies, so we don't know what the president is actually going to say, we don't know whether or not the readout will be accurate.

BALDWIN: Just so important, this conversation. Carrie Cordero, thank you, David Chalian thank you. Just hours from now, the president's trade war with China gets real. Find out what happens and who is impacted when Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods kick in.

And police were called in Oregon after a woman was apparently doing something suspicious in her own neighborhood. Turns out the woman is a state lawmaker and was simply canvassing door-to-door in her own district. You are watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin.


BALDWIN: It takes a grueling six hours to reach them, another five hours to get back as drivers navigate the dark underwater tunnels where 12 boys and their coach are still trapped. They're still trying to figure out the best way to get out. We're going to talk to a cave explorer, who some years ago spent 91 hours trapped in one of the deepest caves in the United States. We'll talk to her about what those 91 hours were like. And the moment when those rescuers were able to get her out.

Also, in minutes, Newsrooms will observe a moment of silence to honor the five journalists shot and killed at the "Capital Gazette" newspaper in Annapolis one week ago. That is at 2:33 Eastern time we will reflect that moment of silence here at CNN and we will tell you their stories coming up.

About 10 hours from now, it is game on for President Trump's trade war with China. The showdown between the world's two largest economies, set to begin with the clock strikes midnight. That is the moment of reckoning for President Trump's promised first wave of tariffs and China is prepared to counterpunch hard. So, let's talk it over with Lee Gallagher, she is the assistant managing editor of "Fortune" magazine. Nice to see you. So, let's just begin with what happens at midnight, how does China respond?

LEE GALLAGHER, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: At midnight, our tariffs will go into place, and they will immediately counteract. China has said clearly, we will not make the first move, we will wait for the U.S. to act, and if they act, we will counter act. Because the whole tit for tat in the escalation of trade wars is the retaliatory tariff, that's what really we are talking about here. And China had originally scheduled it for today, didn't realize the 12-hour time difference, they're going to wait for us to act. It looks like this is going to happen, there doesn't seem to be any reason why this will not happen tonight.

BALDWIN: How do you think markets will react?

GALLAGHER: This has been an ongoing discussion since March, April, the plans went into place several weeks ago, the tariffs went into effect in Canada, as they were previously announced, and that's what's happening now, July 6 was the original date. CEOs are not worried so much about the economy and interest rates and the things they are usually worried about, they're worried about policy, they're worried about a trade war, this is enormously significant for traders. It doesn't show any signs of abating.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you about gas prices. This is something that a lot of people are concerned about. Gas prices are at a four-year high, President Trump was actually blaming OPEC. This is his tweet from just yesterday: "The OPEC monopoly must remember that gas prices are up, and they are doing little to help if anything they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little dollars. This must be a two-way street, reduce pricing now." True?

GALLAGHER: This is about what's needed to supply to make up for Venezuela and Iran, which have come under pressure, obviously. And so, you can't just order 2 million barrels like that, as someone said, like a cup of coffee or something like that.

And actually, as it turns out, today, information came out for the weekend of June 29 and it looks like supply was actually up little bit. So, the numbers changed a little bit. This is just one of -- we have seen a lot of tweets over these many, many months, in particular the past several days that have just been off, and you know, there is a supply problem, there is oil prices up at $78 a barrel. But it looks like -- we don't know, maybe that's temporary, maybe they're going to come down based on this.

[14:20:00] BALDWIN: We thank you so much.

As the soccer team trapped inside a cave gets this crash course on scuba diving, why they are no closer to getting out.

Also, ahead a rendezvous with Kim Jong Un, the Secretary of State hopping a flight to North Korea with a big job, convincing a dictator to give up his nuclear weapons. We'll talk about that coming up on CNN.


BALDWIN: It is a race against the clock and the weather and in Thailand, where rescue crews are still trying to figure out how best to save those young soccer players trapped inside that cave. Yesterday we showed you video of the boys getting medical help there. They appear to be in good spirits. But a recent medical assessment shared by a member of the navy SEAL team saying two of the boys are exhausted and can hardly move. In addition to pumping oxygen into the cave, crews are pumping out floodwater. The governor saying, they are working against the water. Meantime remember the 33 Chilean miners being rescued inside that mine after being trapped for 69 days, one of the miners actually offered his words of encouragement.


MARIO SEPULVEDA, RESCUED CHILEAN MINOR (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I want to greet and send a lot of strength from afar to all the authorities and the families of these 12 children underground. I have no doubt that if we pray, I have now doubt if the government of that country does everything and carries out what is humanly possible, this rescue will be a success. And God bless you and we will be praying now for each one of you, for each of your families and for each of the children is facing this challenge.


BALDWIN: I have with me Emily Davis a cave explorer who was rescued after being trapped in a cave for 91 hours. Emily, welcome.


BALDWIN: Thank you for joining me. Take me back, there you were, you were trapped, leg broken, trapped with a team of five, it took 91 hours to get you guys out. How excruciating was that wait and the unknown?

Davis: Well, we actually weren't waiting, it was a 4 1/2 day rescue, but we were moving pretty much from about 20 hours in. It just took a long time because of vertical drops and various technical issues. So, we were really not trapped at all. It was just it took a long time to get out.

BALDWIN: How could you relate to his boys?

DAVIS: Well, the main thing is that they are not experienced. I was part of a cave rescue team, had been a caver already at that time for 20 years. They're having to face something that's new and very frightening for them. I'm sure that the people who are with them, that have gone in, are helping support that. They went without food for nine days. I got fed consistently. So, it's a whole different situation.

BALDWIN: I get the sense that you're a tough lady. But did you ever have a moment where you were truly worried? Did you want to give up hope?

DAVIS: Well, I was worried that the Park Service would shut down the expedition mapping the cave system we were in. I never doubted that I would be left behind because I was part of a team and that team was not going to leave me behind. They knew I would go get them if they did.

BALDWIN: What was that team telling you? Because we know the Thai Navy SEALS who have been able to get through to these boys, I keep thinking, what

is it you want to hear? If you're trapped in this dark cave, they don't know when they're getting out, unlike your situation. What was the best thing that was communicated to you that would help these boys?

DAVIS: I think that if somebody can help them keep a sense of humor and keep looking forward, those are the things they have to do to get their strength back, as they bring them food, get rest and help with their own rescue in the future. It's a very, very difficult situation with no easy answer.

BALDWIN: You mentioned food, here's my last question, Emily, you probably know where I'm going. But I like to be optimistic, so let's say when these boys get out, I have to imagine they're already like fantasizing over what their first meal would be, and I heard you had quite the hankering for pizza.

DAVIS: We had a running joke that it would be the perfect catered rescue if we had pizza and margaritas and with one of my friends called all the pizza places in Carlsbad, New Mexico and there were 30 something pizzas waiting for us when we got out of the cave. I am guessing those boys would want some sort of interesting Thai dish, but I don't think these boys will be eating anything too spicy right away.

BALDWIN: Emily Davis, thank you so much, I'd like to say when they get out, when they get out. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Coming up next, we will take you to the "Capital Gazette's" temporary newsroom, as journalists there and across America will mark a moment of silence for the victims of that attack one week ago today in Annapolis, Maryland.

Also, more in our breaking news, the Trump administration still refusing to give an exact number of immigrant children separated from their parents. In fact, there hinting the number may actually be higher than previously thought. Stand by.