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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
U.K. Officials: Search for Poison Source Could Take Months; New Program Helps Veterans Grow New Startups; Idol Impact Highlighted In New CNN Series, 2000s. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired July 6, 2018 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I want to talk to him.
[16:30:01] By a federal judge's order, the Trump administration has until today to put detained parents in regular contact with their kids. Parents and lawyers representing them say most have had at least one phone call, some speak regularly, others not at all.
It's not clear the administration will meet other deadlines like reuniting kids 4 and under with parents by next Tuesday. A delegation from El Salvador visited their citizens in detention yesterday at Port Isabel yesterday. One mother had this stunning claim.
Some parents still don't know exactly where their children are, he says. A mother here only knows her 3-year-old is somewhere in New York.
In documents filed in federal court, the government says it is trying to verify parentage through DNA tests and likely won't make deadlines to reunite all families.
MARQUEZ: Now, the Trump administration has said over and over again that they have a process for reuniting parents but the woman, the young woman, the 39-year-old Guatemalan woman at the top of the story, Lesvia, she got out of a facility in Taylor, Texas, yesterday. She's now in Austin trying to figure out how she contacts HHS to get her child. She's not getting anywhere with that.
And I have just spoken to her and her -- the people who are helping her out right now. They're going to come here to this place in Brownsville tomorrow she says to knock on that door and try to get her 10-year-old back. She thinks he is here.
Back to you.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: She thinks he's there. And that's the key.
Thanks, Miguel. We'll continue to stay on that. Thank you.
As we look at this now, we're learning bits and pieces from this hearing that is still ongoing. One of the things that we've learned of these 100 or so kids who are under the age of 5 that we know of, we're just learning from the attorney for Department of Justice, 19 of those parents of children under 5 had already been deported. This is a chaotic tragedy of this administration's own making.
The question is, John, is there any sense that it is a priority? The president himself said this has been good for me, at a rally.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Let's take the president at his word. Yesterday, the HHS secretary gave a ballpark number for children, because they don't know how many kids have been separated from their families. The next major deadline is next Tuesday where they have to by court order reunite children under 5 with their families.
There is no sign they have a handle on that problem. We have two children under 5. The idea they could be separated from us is so horrific and the fact that people don't have the moral imagination, the empathy, to say those could be my kids and that we know from government lawyers that there was never any plan to reunify. That is outrageous. And there's no sign the government has capacity to make it better.
HILL: It's remarkable that we are still asking the same questions too how many weeks in, right, Margaret? The fact that it hasn't even been dealt with, not only does that speak to the chaos in the administration, but it paints a picture, a disturbing picture of whether there's any will here in some parts of the administration.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The directive is not coming from the top and we all know tone comes from the top, right? It is not the attorney general, it is not the president of the United States and head of the HHS saying by golly find every child and put them back with their parents.
The only reason they're dragging their feet to do is because there's a court order, there are judges saying it. That's equal part of -- equal and separate branch of government and the press. And between the media and the courts, these are going to be the mechanisms for accountability because it's not coming from the executive branch.
HILL: There was a moment today when Vice President Pence was asked about this situation. Take a listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. Vice President, do you think child separation is a Christian thing to do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: The vice president asked if child separation is a Christian thing to do. He did not answer this question. But this is an administration whose own attorney general cited Scripture to justify this policy of separation. Can they continue to pick and choose how they answer questions like that? How they bring faith into this equation. AVLON: They can try. But I think it speaks to the extent to which
they're willing to use faith to pursue partisan political agendas. When Jeff Sessions --
HOOVER: Moral agendas.
HOOVER: Partisan political agendas? How about moral agendas?
AVLON: That, too.
HOOVER: Sorry, sorry.
AVLON: Right. But I mean, you know, let -- if you're going to try to use faith politically and if faith drives you sincerely, as I believe it does Vice President Pence, then have a hue of moral clarity to your he politics. Have it say, you know what's a fundamental principle not separating children from families, compassion for refugees. Like Jesus, like Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem.
If you're only going to pick certain sections of Leviticus and have that be driving your political agenda, reexamine your faith and maybe get out of public service.
HILL: This is a question that's not going to go away, right? It's going to continue to be there. This is not something that Republicans want to answer leading into November.
Really quickly, how do they handle it?
HOOVER: I mean, Republicans need to stand up and say this is unconscionable.
[16:35:04] There's a policy here that was not clearly thought out but has had repercussions. Pass a law. I mean, that's what Paul Ryan said. Republicans in Congress said we could fix this if we pass a law.
Why don't you move a law to fix some of the elements of the law that would allow for a quicker reunification or put pressure on the president? Use your influence in Washington, your friends and fellow Republicans to fix this.
This is true. It's not going to help Republicans in the ballot box and I don't -- Donald Trump doesn't see that when he's at the rally.
HILL: We will continue to follow it. Margaret, John, appreciate it. Thank you both.
The search is on for the item that contained a deadly nerve agent which left a couple in critical condition. So, is anything else at this point contaminated with poison?
HILL: We're following some breaking news in the world lead.
U.K. officials say the investigation into how a British couple came into contact with a military grade nerve agent known as Novichok could actually take weeks or even months.
[16:40:01] It is believe the pair were poisoned by touching a contaminated item. Right now, though, police have yet to narrow down just what that item may be, and that's left a small English town even more on edge.
CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the last time we see Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley before they fell ill, exposed to a deadly nerve agent.
CNN exclusively obtained this footage of the couple arriving at a corner shop near Sturgess' home in Salisbury. It's time stamped Friday, June 29th, 9:54 p.m. You see Sturgess walks in. Her boyfriend Rowley waits outside, drinking from a bottle. She picks up four cans of beer and two bottles of wine, pays the cashier and then leaves with Rowley.
(on camera): This is the shop where the couple bought alcohol before continuing into the night. You can see just over that way, the street where Dawn Sturgess lives currently cordoned off by police. It's unclear where the couple went next exactly. But the footage shows them walking in this direction toward the center of town, where four months ago a former Russian spy and his daughter were found poisoned by Novichok nerve agent.
(voice-over): Authorities confirm the couple was exposed to the same substance listed as a weapons of mass destruction by the U.N. The leading line of inquiry that they handled a contaminated item somehow connected to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Authorities have yet to establish a direct link.
Most concerning right now, authorities are not located the contaminated item, retracing Rowley and Sturgess' steps from that Friday critical to the investigation.
A friend told local media earlier they visited stores in Salisbury, bought some food and purchased a blanket from a local charity shop. Midday surveillance footage captured Sturgess making an alcohol run in the center of town, before the couple and their friend enjoyed the afternoon drinking at a park in Salisbury.
At 10:30 p.m., they took the bus to Amesbury and spent the night at Rowley's home. By 11:00 a.m. the next morning, Sturgess was critically ill. By 3:30 p.m., Rowley was in a similar state.
Now, forensic experts have moved in to scour Rowley's home, looking for clues to solve this mystery. Even a small trace of the nerve agent can be deadly. (END VIDEOTAPE)
MCLAUGHLIN: Authorities warn that it could take months for them to figure out what exactly happened here. We were just chatting a short while ago to the shop owner here next to Sturgess' home. He told us that about an hour ago, two investigators walked in to his shop, demanding a copy of that surveillance footage of the couple now part of some 1,300 hours of footage. They're now scouring to figure out the source of that contamination -- Erica.
HILL: Erin, thank you.
I want to bring in now, CNN counterterrorism analyst, Phil Mudd, who served in both the FBI and the CIA for decades.
When you see these developments here, what does this tell you? Is the Kremlin brazenly going after people on foreign soil or is this a sign that this operation was fumbled and there could impact be perhaps some more nerve agent out there?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: To me, it's a simple sign of recklessness. Look, if you look at how many people have developed this agent, the only people who are known are the Russians and before them, the Soviet Union. How can you experiment on human beings, how can you experiment in a public place so that you know if you're going to poison somebody in public place, what's going to happen over months if this agent is left in a public environment?
That's what we're seeing, Erica. The Russians did this without considering the consequences and these two individuals are paying the price right now four months after the initial poisoning.
HILL: As the former investigator/analyst yourself, how do you think British officials are handling this? Approaching this?
MUDD: Yes. Boy, this is almost impossible. Again, it's been four months since the initial investigation. You only need a small amount of this material. You're talking about maybe a quarter cup to contaminate a lot of space.
So, in that space of four months, they've got to look at every location, the individuals who placed this might have been at but think of another scenario. The friends of the individual who are just poisoned in the past couple of days said they were dumpster divers, that is people who are looking at dumpsters for valuables, for wine. What if the material was discarded and it's gone to a dump now? What if it's still on a park bench? What if it's on a door handle?
Trying to recreate that sort of scenario where it could be anywhere in that town is almost impossible.
HILL: NATO summit coming up. This is something one would imagine it should and likely will come up with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. The question is also whether this will come up with Vladimir Putin.
What should those conversations in your mind be like? MUDD: They're not going to happen. The simple conversation would be
whether you're dealing with the election meddling or whether you're dealing with this poison issue, the United States with its allies, people like the Germans, the French, et cetera, would be talking together and saying, what's our collective approach? So, if you choose to go down the role of things of like sanctions, we do it collectively.
But the British can't trust Trump to do that. The president has already said on election meddling, I trust Vladimir Putin. So, I think the conversation should be tough to the point of saying, we're going to increase sanctions. I don't think the president's going to do that and he signaled that in his rally last night when he praised Putin.
HILL: Phil Mudd, always appreciate it, thank you.
MUDD: Thank you.
HILL: One number that may sound alarming but could actually be good news for President Trump next
HILL: The Labor Department says the U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June even though the unemployment rate ticked up to four percent. Experts say that shouldn't be too alarming. It's the strong economy bringing people back into the workforce. Well, some of these new job seekers are already highly skilled and trained, they're America's veterans. And now these heroes are getting a boost to be their own bosses. Jake Tapper reports.
[16:50:14] MIKE CANTY, CO-FOUNDER, ARC: I'm a former Army Major.
RENETTE DALLAS, FOUNDER, LIFE BY DALLAS: -- former Senior Airman --
ANDA GREENEY, FOUNDER, AL MOKHA: I was a lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: These veterans are on a mission and this shared office space in Washington D.C. is their new training ground. They're among the first participants of the veterans in residence program created by start-up supporters WeWork and Bunker Labs. The new initiative provides six months of free workspace and mentorship to select veteran entrepreneurs nationwide.
MIKE CANTY, CO-FOUNDER, ARC: The shared background in the military is a huge trust builder upfront.
TAPPER: Mike Canty deployed to war zones three times before co- founding Armaments Research Company or ARC. CANTY: My first deployment to Iraq, there was a platoon of about 20
soldiers that were pinned down in some tents palm groves but we couldn't see our guys. We didn't know where the line of fire was and we didn't know where the threat was. We were able to piece together that information but by that time the enemy had already slipped away.
TAPPER: Now he and his partner are developing technology that traces weapons usage in real time including location and firing direction.
CANTY: That reduces response times pretty significantly for our operators on the ground.
ANDA GREENEY, FOUNDER, AL MOKHA: The military really teach you how to grab that opportunity and just -- and try to make something of it.
TAPPER: Anda Greeney is brewing up a plan to create sustainable farming jobs in war-torn Yemen with his coffee company Al Mokha.
GREENEY: We look at Yemen coffee sector 100,000 farming families that affect the lives of 650,000 people. It's an opportunity to have a really big impact.
DALLAS: Anda is going to have 100 coffee shops in the future. I know that 100 coffee shops will be selling true pop popcorn for sure.
TAPPER: Renette Dallas left a full-time engineering job to join the Air Force. Now she's working to protect her fellow Americans in a new way, nutrition.
DALLAS: It's a different kind of war, the amount of deaths that are happening in the United States that can be preventable, cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease --
TAPPER: She says the veterans at residents program has been huge for her healthy popcorn brand.
DALLAS: I was in 18 stores. Now, we're in nine states and covering close to 68 stores in the last six months. According to bunker labs, a full quarter of active duty service members want to own their own company but fewer than five percent of post 9/11 veterans have started a business. These entrepreneurs say this space and the support of fellow veterans have been critical to their success.
CANTY: I would be at a coffee shop fighting for an outlet to plug my computer into. This has been hugely valuable to our business.
GREENEY: Once I have cafes you can you know.
CANTY: Yes, I got that one for you, man.
DALLAS: Mike would be out of the coffee shop because I feel like you're way too loud behind your private office.
TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HILL: Check it out, Dawg. CNN is taking it all the way back to the 2000s and American Idol's Randy Jackson is here to relive sitting on the panel with Simon Cowell
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:55:00] RANDY JACKSON, JUDGE, AMERICAN IDOL: Dawg, man, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: You know that guy. American Idol judge Randy Jackson, one of the originals on the singing show that really changed the face of reality T.V. Idol crush ratings created superstars incident Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. Well, now a new CNN special series The 2000s looks at just how influential the show was. And Jake recently spoke with Randy about that.
TAPPER: American Idol was the first reality competition show of its kind when its date -- when it debuted in 2002. You were a judge for 13 years of the longest-lasting of the original judges. Why do you think the show was such a huge success?
JACKSON: I think you hit it on the head. It was the first of its kind ever. It was a true singing competition where you weren't just being nice to people. You know, Cowell -- me, Paula, Cowell, we're being honest with people. Some people have the talent. If you don't, you telling people you don't have the talent. I see these shows now everybody's being nice. The business is not nice.
TAPPER: The show led the way for other shows a whole series of things like the Biggest Loser, The Apprentice, Top Chef, Dancing with the Stars, do you think Idol has overall created a positive impact on television?
JACKSON: I think it's been an amazing impact on television. I think it's been one of the greatest impacts ever because as I said, no show including now gives you that honesty but Paul and Simon and I are all had different views, we didn't always agree. So I mean you know, no show gives you that real banter.
TAPPER: The 2000s didn't only bring viewers American Idol and reality T.V., it introduced us to Tony Soprano and Michael Scott, Jack Bauer. What were some of your favorite shows of the decade. The Sopranos were amazing but you know what sticks out of my head about 2000, those MTV Movie Awards or the video Awards. I remember Britney performing Oops I Did It Again and I remember The Real Slim Shady. Those were iconic music moments along with The Sopranos. I mean The Sopranos, my god.
TAPPER: I remember all of those. Thank you so much. Grammy Award- Winning Producer Randy Jackson, great to have you on. JACKSON: Thanks, man.
HILL: CNN's new original series The 2000s premieres this Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. Be sure to tune in the Sunday to State of the Union. Senators Jeff Flake and Doug Jones join the show. It starts at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Eastern. That is it for THE LEAD on this Friday. I turn you over now to Jim Acosta in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Happening now, breaking news, missing the deadline. The Trump administration says it may need more time to reunite separated migrant children --