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Death During Cave Rescue Effort; Immigrant Children Still Separated; Trump Slams Bush; Pompeo in North Korea. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 6, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Equipment. They (INAUDIBLE) these boys have been -- as we've been speaking about as the officials come in, they've been speaking about getting them out with no training or very little training at all.

Now, they managed to get a lot of water out of those caverns, John. If they can come through, wade through a lot of that cavern and just dive a small amount, that is a better scenario. But with heavy rains in the coming days, that window's going to close and they're just going to have to do it, it seems, any moment now.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: David, just when you think the stakes can't get any higher and it can't be any more treacherous, we get this news.

Thank you for being there and staying on it. We will check back with you repeatedly throughout the show.

Meanwhile, as you know, we've been covering this for weeks now, Health and Human Services does not have an exact number for the amount of children who have been separated from their parents. However, they did just increase their estimate by about a thousand. Why is this happening?


[06:34:57] CAMEROTA: OK, so as we've been reporting for many, many days now, a federal judge has ruled that parents must be reunited with their children who were separated at the border. But that is not happening. In the past week, no parents have been reunited with their children. HHS officials have been stonewalling on answering any questions about this. But yesterday, for the first time in more than a week, Secretary Alex Azar told reporters -- he gave them a number but it was a very rough enough and it was a striking number. He said under 3,000 children are still separated. OK, so that's a higher number than we had heard. He said under -- in other words, there's no specific number and there appears to be no plan.

So let's bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis and CNN political analyst Brian Karem. Hey, Errol, it's been pointed out that when you check your coat at a restaurant, you have more of a tracking device than what they did for these parents and kids. They didn't even give them a piece of paper with a number on it like you do when you get your coat at a coat check.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is -- it is shocking. You know, your dry cleaning, all kinds of places, right, where you get some kind of indication that there's a connection, there's a transaction, there's a relationship that has to be maintained.

In this case they did it sort of willy nilly, split up these people, pretty efficiently, by the way. Really just scattered them to the four winds. Thousands over the course of just a few weeks. Now they have to try and sort of undo that.

And this is, I think, sort of a warning, generally speaking, for people who say that we need outsiders. These insiders don't know how to run government. Well, you know what, insiders have a way of getting stuff right when it comes to something important like keeping families together. In this case, it looks like there was such sloppiness and such incompetence that it felt indistinguishable (INAUDIBLE).


CAMEROTA: And, by the way -- yes, and mean spirited. I mean, in other words, they didn't think it out --

KAREM: That's --

CAMEROTA: Because they didn't -- they didn't want to reunite them. That wasn't their -- their concern. Their concern, Brian Karem, was to the deterrent and the mean spiritedness and that worked.

KAREM: That's -- and it didn't work. And -- well, the deterrent isn't going to work because even --

CAMEROTA: Right, but I mean the mean spiritedness.

KAREM: The mean spiritedness, absolutely. And let me tell you, the depravity of the Trump administration is on display with this issue for the entire world to see. This is antithetical to everything that we stand for. It's a violation of the Eighth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment. What they've done was done by design. They wanted to separate these children. They had no intention of putting them back together. We haven't gotten numbers because either, a, they were too incompetent to count, or, b, and probably more likely, they don't want us to know the number because they're higher than they've estimated.

It's a very scary situation, Alisyn, and I've got to tell you, there is no way that this was done willy nilly. This was done with a purpose in mind. It was designated, designed by Stephen Miller. It was -- and John Kelly, I understand, had his hand in it. And it is part of the authoritarian design of this government to rip people away from their families and keep them out of this country. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's listen to Secretary Azar. And, quite frankly, I was surprised that they sent him out there with as little information as he provided. So, let's listen.


ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: First, again, I want to be really clear. A couple of you have said the word 3,000. I want to be clear, it is under 3,000. I want to give you an outer bound, under 3,000, and that is the maximum set. It will not be. 3,000, it will not be close to 3,000, it will be under 3,000.


BERMAN: I thought it was stunning, John.


BERMAN: I just thought it was stunning. You know, you can argue the merits of the policy. Brian obviously feels one way about why it was done and how it was done. I -- no matter how you feel about protecting the borders, the idea that they don't have account. They separated children from their apartments, but they did not count. And now he's using phrases like "we estimate," "the outrebounds is 3,000."

AVLON: Outer bounds.

BERMAN: We're talking about children.

AVLON: We are -- the secretary is ball parking babies because they don't know the number. When the secretary says, yes, the outer limits of 3,000, that's cabinet speak for, we don't have a clue how many we're really talking about.

And, guess what, they have until Tuesday, under court order, to reunite children under five. So this clock is ticking, as we've been talking about.

CAMEROTA: And what happens if they don't meet that deadline, because it doesn't look like they're going to?

AVLON: Well, I -- you know, I think --

BERMAN: I don't think there is any real enforcement.

AVLON: That's the problem. There won't --

BERMAN: I think that is part of the issue. They're going to tell them -- they're going to tell the court, well, we tried. You know, we tried but --

KAREM: Yes, exactly.

AVLON: We tried. But as government lawyers have said previously, there was never a plan to reunite. So now they are scrambling to try to do the right thing. CAMEROTA: But there's no teeth in this --

KAREM: And it's --

CAMEROTA: Hold -- hold on, Brian.

LOUIS: Right, I mean this -- this is -- this is what -- why we -- we used the boring word "policy" when you have all of these different mandates. The court says to do one thing. The law says to do something else, right? You know, it's unclear how you're supposed to make all of this work and this is why you hire people in government to try and figure it out, make a policy before you start.

KAREM: And, John -- John, let me make --

AVLON: And -- and to build -- to build on that just quickly. You know, you can't say you're tough on law and order and then ignore the rule of law.

KAREM: Well, that's exactly right.

And, John, let me push back just a bit. I'll take umbrage with this is how I feel. This is what people are telling me inside the system who are saying, look, we never had a plan. I'm just telling you what they've said.

BERMAN: Right.

KAREM: I mean the scary part about it is, is they have, as John Avlon said, they're avoiding the rule of law. When you have the president of the United States saying, hey, we don't need judges, just take them, get out, he's like the old man standing on the lawn going you get -- get those kids off my lawn. Well, there -- there's a rule of law --

[06:40:13] AVLON: I mean --

BERMAN: He literally -- he literally said that.


KAREM: Yes. He literally --

BERMAN: He usually literally used the get them out --

KAREM: You're absolutely right. And --

BERMAN: I actually think -- I actually think that that's a good segue to something else the president said yesterday. He was at a rally in Montana overnight.

KAREM: Uh-oh.

BERMAN: And the president who put out that tweet about immigrants yesterday, he choose to attack the line used by George H.W. Bush, first at his convention speech, then at his inauguration speech when he was talking about volunteerism around the country and civic duty around the country. And he talked about a thousand points of light. And just to remember what George H.W. Bush said, he said he wants volunteerism in these people who want to spread like stars like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. George H.W. Bush. And then this is what I think -- I hope we have what Donald Trump had to say about it last night.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, all the rhetoric you see and the thousand points of light. What the hell was that, by the way, thousand points of light. What did that mean? Does anyone know? I know one thing, make America great again we understand. Putting America first, we understand. Thousand points of light. I never quite got that one, I'll tell you. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? Aye (ph). And it was put out by a Republican, wasn't it?


BERMAN: I figured it out, Errol. It was -- it was, again, it was a speech written by Peggy Noonan, a lovely speech, for George H.W. Bush. A man who was shot down in a plane in World War II, calling for Americans to rally together and help each other in civic organizations, in charities.

CAMEROTA: It was not a simple slogan. It was not a simple enough slogan.

But beyond that -- I mean, for him --


CAMEROTA: For his case, was what he's saying.

BERMAN: Well, he's also running down the 90 plus year old George H.W. Bush, who's recovering.

CAMEROTA: That -- yes.

LOUIS: And this is -- this is --

KAREM: Well, and more to the point is just -- go ahead, Errol. I'm sorry, go ahead.

LOUIS: This is a -- sort of a -- the Trump presidency sort of rite small, right? This has been an invitation -- from the very beginning, from the time he came down the escalator, he's invited Americans to turn their back on our own deeply held cultural traditions. He had -- you know, people have talked about -- foreigners have talked about the volunteer spirit in the American culture since the 19th century. It's a big, deep part of who we are.


LOUIS: And he's inviting people to sort of, you know, disregard it, denigrate it, turn your back on it and so forth. I don't think it works in the end, but it's one more piece of ugliness that we've heard from this administration.

KAREM: Well, let's be even more pointed than that.

Mr. President, just because you're too stupid to not understand what George Bush meant doesn't mean the rest of us don't understand what he meant.

CAMEROTA: But, Brian, furthermore, I mean I think that -- what is the strategy in mocking a former Republican of your own party, president, and war hero. What -- who does that work with?

KAREM: Well, it works with his base. I mean let's --

CAMEROTA: They don't like --

KAREM: Let's be honest, there is no longer a GOP. There is a Trump party.


KAREM: And the members of the GOP, including Flake and members of the Tea Party segment of that party have fled. The people that are left in the GOP are those who (INAUDIBLE) to Donald Trump and those who worship Donald Trump. And he's appealing to those people.

AVLON: And a large -- a large part of the base is simply people enjoying the spectacle of an insult comic as president. The argument that conservatives have traditionally made in favor of smaller government is that the American spirit of volunteerism is supposed to offset that.

KAREM: Volunteerism.

BERMAN: Right.

AVLON: So he's denigrating a 94-year-old war hero, former president.


KAREM: His own party.

AVLON: He's also denigrating a conservative tradition.


BERMAN: Right.

KAREM: His own party.

CAMEROTA: OK, we have to get to another topic, and he's also mocking the Me Too movement last night. So he made a joke, listen to this, about Elizabeth Warren.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pocahontas. They always want me to apologize for saying it. Let's say I'm debating Pocahontas, right? I promise you I'll do this. I will take -- you know those little kits they sell on television for $2, learn your heritage. We will take that little kit and say -- but we have to do it gently because we're in the Me Too generation. So we'll have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injury her arm.


CAMEROTA: Errol, this is a man who has somehow been able to be Teflon against all of the accusations of sexual misconduct and even assault against him and so now he can mock the Me Too movement.

LOUIS: I don't know if I would call it Teflon.

KAREM: Oh, geez.

LOUIS: I mean, and let's not ignore the racist slur, which is what Pocahontas is, right?


LOUIS: I mean he does this all the time. And here, again, just an invitation to the public, do you want to go down this dark road with me, turn our back on everything that we held sacred, that we sort of held dear, and going into this new place. And people have to make a choice. I mean that's what you do in the voting booth. That's what you do every day of the week. That's what you do at a rally like that. Donald Trump is taking us into some new kind of ugly place.

[06:45:02] If the Me Too movement has enough strength, that it means enough to people, I think they're going to reject this.

BERMAN: You know, it's interesting, I was actually on TV last night while this was -- while this was happening --

AVLON: As you sometimes are.

CAMEROTA: As you always are.

BERMAN: As I often are.

KAREM: You were on TV?

BERMAN: And we had -- and we had -- we had some Trump supporters, Steve Cortez (ph) and other people supportive of the president, who actually cringed when they heard this because they know the political reality, which is the in the last ten, you know, live caller polls, the president's got a 26 percent gender -- there's a 26 percent gender gap between Republicans and Democrats. Now, 26 percent as you head into the midterms, John. With that kind of gap, with that kind of energy among women, making Me Too jokes not good politics.

KAREM: Yes, not at all. AVLON: No. But this president -- this isn't -- that's not a gender

gap, that's a gender chasm, but the president doesn't care, and that's core to his appeal.

KAREM: Exactly. Don Rickles had better insult material. To John Avlon's point, it -- our president simply wants to be an insult comic and he's not very good at it. He'd get -- he'd get yanked on open mic night.

BERMAN: All right, Brian Karem, Errol Louis, thank you very much, gentlemen. I do appreciate it.

Mike Pompeo is now in North Korea. The secretary of state there for crucial meetings with the North Korean leader. Crucial meetings to find out if Kim Jong-un is actually genuinely serious and will deliver on denuclearization.


[06:50:17] BERMAN: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in North Korea, set to meet with Kim Jong-un and his team. Will he get any proof to substantiate President Trump's claim that the nuclear threat is over?

Joining me now, CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger, author of the new book "The Perfect Weapon."

David, these crucial meetings, there was the summit in Singapore where they signed a document. There was nothing really concrete in that document. Now Mike Pompeo is in North Korea. What does he need to leave with?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he needs to leave with an understanding, John, that what you and I saw happen unfold in Singapore actually meant something, because, of course, Kim Jong-un's father and his grandfather had signed or agreed to much more specific denuclearization pledges that Kim Jong-un himself had agreed to in Singapore.

So now the question is, can Mike Pompeo, in the next day and a half, work out with the North Koreans sort of three big things. The first is, a timetable to actually begin to implement this that would make clear that the pledge meant something. Secondly, a system that would begin to build in verifiability. The ability to check that the North Koreans are doing what they're saying they're doing, even if they don't turn over their nuclear weapons at the opening stages. And I think the third thing is, provide the North Koreans with some concrete assurances that the U.S. actually is going to guarantee the North's security.

BERMAN: Right. Because since Singapore, what we've seen from the satellite photos and what we've heard from the Defense Intelligence Agency is that Kim does not intend to fully denuclearize. We've seen these photos of missile plant manufacturing still up and running in some places accelerating. It does not look that the evidence is that North Korea is series about denuclearizing. And the president, what he says, and he said this on Twitter and he said it at a rally overnight is, well, since Singapore, North Korea hasn't shot any missiles. They've stopped their missile testing. So, we're winning here. It's working.

Is there merited in that, David, or is North Korea not testing missiles anymore because they tested them and they work. They're not testing nuclear weapons anymore because they tested them and they have them.

SANGER: That's right, they don't need to do much more testing now. But at some point they would probably need to conduct at least enough tests to ensure themselves that they could reach a city in the United States and achieve the reentry of a nuclear weapon through the atmosphere, that it could survive. So they're not entirely done.

But, remember, compare what the president is saying and what he said last night to what his former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, used to say when he still had the job of secretary of state, which was a mere freeze on testing and -- of both rockets and, of course, of the nuclear weapons themselves, is a nice first step, but it doesn't actually achieve what we need to achieve.

Full denuclearization means they have to give up the production of new nuclear fuel. Because it's not very hard to turn tests back on at any moment. The only real test here is the one the president himself and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have laid out, which is complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. And that's pretty hard to achieve.

BERMAN: The president, in this administration, seems to be putting a whole lot of eggs in the personal diplomacy basket. And to wit (ph) South Korean media is reporting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought with him a Elton John CD of "Rocket Man" to deliver to Kim Jong-un. That Kim didn't know the song, didn't know what the insult was when President Trump was calling him little rocket man. So showing up with a "Rocket Man" CD for the North Korean leader.

Personal diplomacy, how effective can it be and what are the limits, particularly when you're dealing with North Korea, David?

SANGER: Look, the -- it's a start. If you don't have personal diplomacy with the North Korean leader and some trust built in, then the rest of this isn't going to happen because we know that North Korea is a very top down society. But we also know that personal diplomacy alone does not outstrip national interests.

You know, something I wrote in "The Times" yesterday, I made the point that if John F. Kennedy had emerged from his first meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in 1961 and said the Cold War is over, we're no longer under threat, we would have been in for a pretty big surprise when the Cuban Missile Crisis happened the next year.

[06:55:06] And the problem was not the meeting in Singapore. That was a very good first step, as we discussed when we were there, John. I think the problem is that when he came back, he pretended the problem was solved, rather than saying, you know, we have very good chemistry and now it's all about whether or not Kim Jong-un delivers.

BERMAN: And Mike Pompeo is there to see if Kim Jong-un is ready to deliver.

David Sanger, always great to have you with us. Thanks so much.


CAMEROTA: OK, John, as of midnight last night, the U.S. is now in a trade war with China. The U.S. has imposed tariffs on China and China is retaliating. We have more.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

The breaking news, the trade war, it is on. President Trump launched the first salvo overnight, imposing tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. China hit back with its own tariffs on U.S. goods, accusing America of starting the biggest trade war in history. U.S. farmers and manufacturers on high alert this morning, worried this hits them right in their wallets.