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DNA Tests Being Used on Separated Migrant Children; Cops Called on Black Lawmaker Campaigning; Some Conservatives Now Saying Republican Party Should Be Destroyed. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired July 5, 2018 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's continue on, hour two. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me here.

We begin with this, the Trump administration's race to reunite migrant children who were separated from their families at the border.

The Department of Health and Human Services holding a call just a little while ago to update reporters on the troubled process and answer these questions, like, how many kids have been reunited and how many are still detained and where the heck are they?

And the big one today, this revelation that DNA testing is now being conducted to apparently speed up this reunification process.

The president, though, today wants you to blame Congress, and apparently to also forget last week for the decisions made by the administration in the past 17 months for that matter.

The president tweeting this: "Congress must pass smart, fast, reasonable immigration laws now. Law enforcement at the border is doing a great job, but the laws they are forced to work with are insane."

He goes on: "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 they were standing on your front lawn."

Sunlen Serfaty, CNN congressional correspondent, you were on that call with the HHS secretary. What did he say?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have some new information here, Brooke, but it's certainly far from a full accounting of what exactly is going on with these kids that have been separated from their parents, and honestly a full scope of what is still going on.

The HHS secretary on this call gave a new data point. He said that under 3,000 children in total, children who had been separated from their families, remain in their custody as of today.

Now, among that approximate 3,000 figure, it includes 100 children under the age of 5. Now, the word choice is very specific here the HHS secretary is using, but certainly it is very important he said under 3,000 children.

So that it's not a real number yet. The last data point, of course, we had was that last Tuesday he said there were 2,047 children who had been separated from their parents still in custody. So that begs the question, had the number gone at all, considering there's two different data points here.

Now, on that call, he kind of tried to explain that he said because of that a court order, that they have had to go back years before and really scrub thousands and thousands of cases before even the zero tolerance policy was started back in May, so that potentially could have added to the number.

But it's very clear, Brooke, that they're not fully pulling up the number. They're saying it could be as much as 3,000 kids, but still far short from giving us an exact number to give us a full accounting of what exactly is going on.

BALDWIN: What about also, Sunlen, just the news today about the DNA testing, right, that they're testing to identify basically which kid belongs to which parent?

What's the explanation behind that?

SERFATY: Yes, this is interesting and something that we just got confirmed from HHS today.

We had heard, of course, from our teams down at the border and then reporting from these centers -- center -- excuse me -- some anecdotal information that they were using DNA tests to connect kids to the parents.

Today, the HHS secretary did confirm that they indeed are doing this. And he said that's because they're trying to really speed up the process, and that there -- that potentially will contribute to kids being reunited with their families after.

And this of course is all in the context that they are looking down at three huge deadlines coming up. You have tomorrow, there's deadline, parents have to have made some sort of telephone contact with their kids. Then you have the July 10 deadline next week. Kids under 5, all kids need to be reunited. We still know there are at least 100 that remain.

Then July 26, that's the big deadline, where all parents need to be reunified with their children. They say today, Brooke, that they will comply with these deadlines by the court, but hard to see how they actually will meet that. It seems like we still don't have a lot of answers and a lot of -- and certainly a lot of questions about these numbers and about the full scope of what's going on.

BALDWIN: Sunlen, thank you so much.

A lot to discuss.

Let me bring in Jennifer Falcon, communications director for RAICES, a Texas nonprofit offering free and low-cost legal services for immigrants and refugees.

Jennifer, welcome.

JENNIFER FALCON, RAICES: Thanks for having me, Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, let me just get your reaction to some of the headlines coming out of this call with the HHS secretary.

Secretary Azar says fewer than 3,000 kids currently in custody are being looked at as possibly separated minors. What does possibly mean? It's like either you're separated or you're not. How do you read that?


FALCON: We'd like to know as well.

We've essentially had to become our own private investigators trying to locate families. Last -- two weeks ago, we launched a Web portal for NGOs and other attorneys to refer children that they have been able to find that were separated from their families to us.

We have about 450 children so far, the youngest being 2 months old and the average being 8 years old.

BALDWIN: This is their mess, right?

However, couldn't it be considered -- could it be considered a good thing that DNA tests are being done? Because you can eliminate the fear that someone else would try to claim a kid who isn't theirs.

FALCON: I would like to see the numbers of how often that happens so that they could really say that this would be a good thing.

I think that this just one violation of their civil rights, especially for minors, who are -- 100 of which being under 5, it's unfortunate that it's not the best fix.


BALDWIN: What's the alternative to that?

FALCON: They need to look at their policies.

I think that this also shows that they did not have the right intake process in the first place when separating these families.

BALDWIN: Just makes you wonder, right, because we were hearing stories of kids having their parents 'phone numbers in sharpie across their chest, if they were lucky, right, having that kind of contact number.


BALDWIN: So it just makes you wonder what were they thinking at that time. There is also, Jennifer, this issue of how many kids -- how many of these kids are with families who actually don't share their DNA, right, because these parents out of desperation giving their kids or allowing their kids to be with friends or relatives through marriage, in hopes they would have a better life.

What happens in these cases?

FALCON: That's a good question. That was not something that HHS was able to answer. They said that they would still be trying to reunify those families as well.

I think this proves the point that they really don't know how to reunite the families, and they're just trying to find and grasp at any straw they can to be able to do this.

BALDWIN: I was referencing a second ago too -- I don't know if you caught it or how closely you read the president's tweet -- but we showed everyone his tweet, basically using the get off my lawn analogy to describe immigrants. Your reaction to that?

FALCON: Well, I think that the current administration is breaking international and domestic law by not giving asylum seekers the right to submit a credible claim when fleeing their home countries in fear.

BALDWIN: Get off my lawn. What does that say to you?

FALCON: I would say that our president is treading water here and breaking the law, and they don't know what to do about it.

BALDWIN: Before I let you go, I'm familiar with RAICES, only because that's what -- when the Twitter back and forth between President Trump and late-night host Jimmy Fallon happened, it was Fallon who said he was remorseful sort of for a segment involving the president's hair, right, during the campaign.

And Trump had tweeted at Fallon, saying Fallon is now whimpering to all that he did, the famous hair show with me. So there's this tweet. And then Fallon had responded saying that he would be making a donation to your organization.

Did he make good on that pledge?

FALCON: Yes. Jimmy Fallon definitely did make a donation to RAICES in the name of Donald Trump.

BALDWIN: He did.

FALCON: I can't share the exact amount, but we're thankful just for Jimmy support.


FALCON: We all had a great laugh at the beginning of his show when he mentioned us.

BALDWIN: Jennifer, thank you very much for joining us.

FALCON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next: A conservative columnist says the Republican Party must be destroyed it before it can be rebuilt. Why he's now rooting for Democrats to take over both houses this November. And how many other Republicans feel the same way?

Plus, the White House officially hires a former FOX News executive who resigned after criticism of his handling of sexual harassment claims.

And a visit that is perhaps long overdue. President Trump and Queen Elizabeth now days away from their first face-to-face meeting. What can we expect? Will he receive that royal welcome? And the unusual object that was just given permission to fly over London while President Trump is there.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.



BALDWIN: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

A conservative columnist is getting a lot of attention today after boldly publishing this piece in "The Washington Post." You see the headline: "I left the Republican Party. Now I want Democrats to take over."

I know. But his reasoning seems to be speaking to a larger dilemma a number of Republicans are currently facing. This is part of what Max Boot writes -- quote -- A"The entire Republican platform can now be reduced to three words: whatever Trump says. But a vote for the GOP in November is also vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America's allies, the end of free trade, and the appeasement of dictators."

So, let's start there, two CNN political commentators, Tara Setmayer and Ana Navarro.

And, ladies, it is no secret that both of you, as Republicans, have your issues with this current president.

So, Ana, first and then Tara, I want you to answer, are you rooting for the Democrats to take over?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm kind of trying to reconcile myself with the idea.

Part of it -- look, I think part of the thing that's happening with me is that I'm in a district that for almost 30 years have been represented by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, despite being a Republican, has stood up time and again and confronted Trump, has made no qualms about her disagreement with Trump. [15:15:07]

I think keeping both Republican voices that are shouting into the darkness, that are the guiding light in the middle of this darkness that we are living through, it's very important.

The problem, though, is that in so many races around the country, the issue is not what your policies are, the issue is not what you're offering. The only issue that is getting debated in Republican primaries is just how close you are to Trump and how much you're going to be of a rubber stamp for him.

At that point, I don't know how anybody with a conscience can bring themselves to vote for that kind of Republican.

BALDWIN: Tara, same question to you. Do what Democrats to take over?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As a conservative, wanting Democrats to take over anything, we have a different world view. The way our approach to governing and our policy differences make it hard for me to want Democrats, per se, to take over.

The Democrat Party seems to be moving more to the left and more progressive, to Democratic socialism and the Bernie Sanders wing. And I don't feel that that's good for the country from a policy perspective.

But then there's the other part of me who looks at what happened to the Republican Party and looks at the Trump takeover, which I believe is a perversion of what conservatism is, it's a perversion of what the Republican Party used to stand for, and I say that perhaps the only thing that can right the ship is if Democrats take over and Republicans pay a price for this behavior, because they have become hypocrites.

And this is not good for the health of the political system in this country, when you have two parties that are dysfunctional.


NAVARRO: You just asked Tara and I a question. And both of us had a hard time answering it directly.



BALDWIN: And neither of you have a hard time answering questions.


NAVARRO: I'm going to tell you, it's an emotional-laden question. It is a difficult question. It's a painful question.

And when you hear -- when you hear what you just read at the beginning of all the reasons why we shouldn't vote for Republicans, I can't find one of those reasons that I disagree with. It's true.

Look, what I do know is that, for the next two years, unless Bob Mueller pulls off some sort a Hail Mary, we are going to have -- we are stuck with Donald Trump.

And we want to provide any sort of checks and balance to Donald Trump, it cannot be this Republican Congress, because, for the last two years, they have proven complete and abject failures at checking and being a balance to the obstruction, to the abuse...

SETMAYER: That's true.

NAVARRO: ... to the verbal divisiveness. They have been completely negligent.


SETMAYER: And that's been the problem.


NAVARRO: It's not that you're voting against the Republican Party. It's that you're voting against this despicable, lame excuse for a Republican Party that can't stand up for principle because they can't stand up against a guy who wasn't even a Republican a few years ago.


BALDWIN: Tara, hang on, hang on. Let me get another question in, because, Tara, you talked a second ago about the perversion of the Republican Party.

Have you or really either of you, like Max Boot, who will be with us tomorrow to discuss this, have you seriously ever had, as we would say in the South, come to Jesus about leaving the Republican Party?

SETMAYER: Well, I know, for me, I -- it was hard after Donald Trump won, and I watched what happened. It was very difficult. And I even wrote about this out shortly after the election, the dilemma, the inner dilemma I had about it.

But I felt as though that there were enough number people that were still sane in the Republican Party that were -- that needed to know that they did not have to be politically homeless, that there are people out there that can try to bring the party back to where it needs to be.

And unless you have people that are sentinels in the watchtower, that are willing to call it out and willing to hold these people accountable, you need to have those people if there's any chance of the Republican Party coming back to the party that we, that I know that Ana and I both felt comfortable with.


NAVARRO: There is nothing that Trump apologists would like more than to see people like Tara and myself and so many others leave the party.

SETMAYER: Right. That's right.

NAVARRO: Because then they would not have to be confronted with the fact that they have sold out traditional Republican principles.


SETMAYER: Somebody has got to hold them accountable.

NAVARRO: They would be to love to be able to say that they got us to leave our party, abandon our party.

I also think that look, Tara is an African-American. I'm a Hispanic. I think what this country really needs, and particularly minority communities, is two parties that are fighting hard to earn our support and court our vote.

The last thing I want is one party that takes us for granted and another one that openly antagonizes and attacks us. And somehow there's there's this thing that still motivates I think some of us of wanting to get back to a place where there are two, if not healthy, at the very least, sane parties that are courting of for the support of all Americans, but particularly people who are, like Tara and I, either a black or a Hispanic woman.


And so, look, it's -- I think it's a very personal choice. I don't fault people like Steve Schmidt for having left.

SETMAYER: Yes, I don't either.


NAVARRO: He's a friend of mine and I understand.

But I also think there's people who are staying begrudgingly. It would be easier to leave. It would be to leave than to right now carry what is the scarlet letter of being a Republican.

BALDWIN: OK, OK, ladies, I'm so glad we had this conversation

We're going to have it. I think we're going to continue to have it tomorrow.

Let me move on, though, to this other piece of new on the White House.


NAVARRO: Felt like a psychiatric therapy session.



BALDWIN: It's emotional for both of you. It's emotional.



The White House. The White House today officially hired that former FOX News executive, Bill Shine. He, of course, resigned amid the criticism that he faced his handling of sexual harassment allegations over at that network.

Ana Navarro, this tells me that his recent past doesn't really concern this White House.

NAVARRO: And I can tell you that I don't know anybody who should be surprised at that. We have seen that time and time again.

Look, there was a guy who was a domestic abuser working in the Oval Office who did not get fired on the spot. What else do you need to see? What else do you need to know to know that Donald Trump and his White House don't care about such allegations?

BALDWIN: Do you think -- Tara, to you. Is this a liability for President Trump?


I mean, of all the things that have been liabilities for Trump that we thought would be liabilities haven't been, this is not going to be one of them. I mean, Bill Shine is not Anthony Scaramucci, OK? He's a professional. He worked at FOX for many years. He knows what he's doing.

Trump obviously doesn't care about the scrutiny he's going to get over the sexual harassment allegations and problems at FOX. He doesn't care. Bill Shine at least is competent.

I don't agree necessarily with rewarding someone who has engaged in what he was engaged in at FOX and what he oversaw. But at least he's competent. And it's clear that Donald Trump wants someone who's very good at producing television. That's what this is about.

Every day is a new episode of the Trump reality show. And what better person than someone who has decades of experience in producing rather successful television. So I'm not surprised at this. This is what we're going to see.

There is no moral standard in this White House. They're hypocritical on lots of thing. So this is no different.

BALDWIN: All right, ladies, we will all bring me out the therapist's couch next time.


BALDWIN: Tara and Ana, thank you both so much. I truly appreciate both of you. NAVARRO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next: Is it another case of living while black?

Police called after a woman was seen canvassing a neighborhood. Well, guess what? It turns out she was doing what all lawmakers should be doing, knocking on doors and getting to know her constituents. We will tell that story next.

And the latest challenge involving that youth soccer team trapped in a cave -- their health, exhaustion, malnutrition now complicating efforts to get them out. We will take a closer look at the complicated layout of this cave and why it takes rescue divers at least 11 hours to make each-round trip.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.



BALDWIN: These stories are never-ending, but the outrage and social media attention surrounding these so-called incidents of living while black are on the rise.

Here's the latest example posted on Facebook. You have this African- American woman who is in Oregon state lawmaker. She says someone called the police on her while she was out and about canvassing door to door in her own district.

Add to that in the last couple of weeks these other incidents making headlines. Police were called on an Oakland, California, fire inspector making rounds in an upscale, predominantly white neighborhood. A 12-year-old Ohio boy who started his own lawn mowing business to make money for the summer interrupted his yard work after officers showed up, and also members of the historically black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi just filed a discrimination lawsuit against an Alabama restaurant.

So, let's go to Sara Sidner, our CNN national correspondent with more on specifically this incident involving this Oregon state lawmaker.

And who -- so, who called the cops?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, some people are calling this canvassing while black. And you have heard all of the other while black incidents that have happened. This one is the latest state representative, Janelle Bynum.

She was going door to door. She was trying to talk to potential voters in her district. And she got, she says, to the next to last house. She was almost finished in that particular area, and one of the neighbors watched her as she was canvassing.

And what she was doing is going up to the door. If she had a conversation with someone, she would write down kind of what their concerns were, what they were saying, things that she needed to pay attention to as a political candidate.

And then she would move on. And all the sudden, the police show up and start asking her questions.

I want to let you hear why the police showed up in the first place after she was canvassing this neighborhood.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like, for no apparent reason, is walking from house to house, and she's not in, like, any business or have any badge or anything.

JANELLE BYNUM, OREGON STATE LAWMAKER: I live in this neighborhood. I feel like I should be able to walk anywhere I want without being second-guessed.


SIDNER: Now, what's interesting about