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More Time for Family Reunification; Trump Mocks Me Too Movement; Trump Takes Swipes against McCain and Bush; June Jobs Report; Trump Launches Trade War; Pompeo Looking for Details. Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired July 6, 2018 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:00:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Jim Sciutto, in today for Wolf Blitzer. It is 1:00 p.m. here in New York. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks so much for joining us.

It is deadline day for the Trump administration on reuniting families separated at the border. The first of three deadlines defined by court order demanding the federal government reunite parents and children separated there, but the Trump administration won't say exactly how many children they've separated. All they will say is that the number is under 3,000.

Our Sunlen Serfaty, she's in Washington. She's been covering this story.

Do we have any more details today, Sunlen, about not only how many children are still separated but how many have actually been reunited since this court order was made law?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't, Jim.

There was a conference call yesterday which -- with the HHS Secretary Azar and they, put simply, would not -- they do not know or they're not telling us how many kids have been reunified. And certainly in that call they specifically said that they know of zero new reunifications that have happened since the last time we had this metric nine days ago. So certainly incomplete numbers at best and certainly at worst signs of not a lot of progress as they work towards this goal to reunify kids with their parents.

You know, today we're talking a lot about these deadlines that are looming for the administration today. They do believe that they're in compliance with that first deadline, the deadline being today, that they will have had to make contact between parents and kids by the telephone. But for those next two deadlines that you just referenced, by Tuesday, that's the deadline for kids under five to be reunified. And we know that's a hundred kids. And the next deadline, that larger deadline, July 26th, all parents and children need to be reunified.

It does not look like they're going to hit that deadline at all. We know that there is a hearing in San Diego this afternoon about the update on this progress. And going into that, we know, according to DOJ officials, that they are going to set -- seek an extension likely for those last two deadlines. They will likely lay out the challenges that they've had in reunifying kids with their parents. The fact that they say the DNA testing, as they are indeed using, is taking a lot of time. Notable, though, of course, those are challenges of their own making, given that this is all coming from the zero tolerance policy.

But it's certainly interesting, Jim, you know, as this scramble to make these reunifications and the scrutiny on them under -- over their immigration policy, was an interesting moment just a short time ago we saw Vice President Mike Pence travel to the ICE headquarters here in Washington, D.C., with Secretary Nielsen at his side. And it certainly comes at a time when that agency is facing a lot of scrutiny from many members of Congress, many Democrats, some calling for the abolishment of the agency. And we saw a political message coming from the vice president. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The hashtag abolish ICE has now taken its place on the Internet. The sad fact is, though, it isn't just the expression of the radical left that's been speaking out against ICE lately. The truth is that opposition of ICE has moved to the center of the Democratic Party itself. Just when you thought the Democrats couldn't move farther to the left, leading members of the Democratic Party, including candidates for higher office, are actually openly advocating the abolition of ICE, an agency that protects the American people and our communities every single day. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: So certainly interesting there, Jim, that he is calling out a few of these Democrats and very few who have actually called for ICE to be abolished out by name.

SCIUTTO: Right.

SERFATY: Certainly trying to move that to more of the commonplace in the Democratic Party. There have been many Democrats who have called for changes for ICE, but only just a few who have called for the abolishment of the agency.

SCIUTTO: And you might read into that a temptation, a desire to turn the page from the family separation issue to the ICE issue.

Sunlen Serfaty, thanks very much.

Well, President Trump is sharpening his attacks ahead of the midterms on a number of fronts. Just listen to his barrage on several Democrats, but also Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 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 injure her arm.

[13:05:00] And even though we got a little surprise vote that evening -- you all remember that evening. Somebody came in with a thumbs down after campaigning for years that he was going to repeal and replace.

Thousand points of light. I never quite got that one. But, 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?

Democrats want anarchy. They really do. And they don't know who they're playing with, folks. I said it the other day. Yes, she is a low IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day. I -- I mean, honestly, she's somewhere in the mid-60s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, one in a long list.

Joining me now, CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash. Also, senior White House correspondent for "Bloomberg," Margaret Talev.

Dana, you know, certainly a lot to unpack here. I got to tell you, watching those comments again of the way the president dismissed the Me Too movement, even some of the physical motions he was making there, what do you make of those off-the-cuff comments? And does that work politically for this president?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, it works politically for this president, until it doesn't. But I think what I make of those comments is those were vintage Donald Trump, Jim. I mean the way that he has dealt with allegations in his own life, particularly since he has, you know, began running for president and since he's become president, is to do just that, deflect and defend and ignore and almost project on others. And it is classic, classic Trump --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

BASH: In that he, you know, he kind of disparages a movement where -- which I think it's kind of the modern day or the 2018 version of the 2016 line that we're so politically correct. I mean it's the same kind of thing. It doesn't make it right. It doesn't make it, you know, palatable for a lot of the independent voters, swing voters. Female voters who are going to really make or break some of the elections this November, particularly in the suburbs. But this is Trump.

SCIUTTO: But isn't it more than unpalatable? Isn't it just outright offensive to dismiss a movement with substance to it?

BASH: Sure.

SCIUTTO: We've seen a number of men accused of this, and the president himself accused of this, in the midst of ongoing litigation related to this kind of treatment of women if you think of the case with Stormy Daniels and other women who have accused him. BASH: No question. I mean you can, you know, come up with as many

adjectives as you want. And you certainly will -- would and should run the spectrum and the gamut. But I guess my point is, is that it is -- it is important to call him out on it. It is important to say what we're saying. But it is not a surprise that he would do this.

SCIUTTO: Yes. No, fair point.

Margaret, of course there were a lot of targets last night. Two of them were Republicans. One of them a favorite Republican punching bag for him, John McCain, calling out the vote against the repeal of Obamacare, but also going after George H.W. Bush on the thousand points of life (ph). Of course, a man in his mid-90s now, a former president, facing, like John McCain, his own health issues, serious health issues.

I just wonder, what is the constituency for those kinds of attacks on members of his own party?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, look, this seems like sort of core base messaging. The Trump base, which is not the same as establishment Republicans, not the same as George H.W. Bush's party, or literally anyone in the Bush family or like a 50-mile radius around the Bush family, is, you know, is who the messaging is for. And the president seems to be signaling that he believes that this base messaging will enthuse turnout, will perhaps keep moderate or bubble Republicans at bay. It's sort of a veiled warning for folks like Murkowski or Susan Collins, who have big votes coming up on other things, like there are no sacred cows. If George H.W. Bush and John McCain are not off limits, like, literally nobody is off limits.

And the test is all going to come down to November. But right now the president feels like this kind of message, like, number one, he's shifted from governing to campaigning. He loves the campaign and he is back in it with both feet. And, number two, that he thinks this will be effective. So it's -- it's quite a gamble. And the H.W. comments made a lot of Republicans in Congress uncomfortable.

SCIUTTO: I'm sure uncomfortable, but, Dana, not a lot of public expression of that discomfort. I mean Republicans, particularly with the midterms just a few -- four months away now, they've made a calculation, have they not, that going after this president can be politically dangerous for them.

BASH: Sure. It can be politically dangerous and has been politically dangerous. I mean look at Mark Sanford in South Carolina.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

BASH: It was -- it was fatal for him. Politically fatal for him.

Having said that, you're right that I think in part it's because this is July 4th week and Congress isn't around. But if you look at Twitter, there have been a lot of -- of comments expressing outrage from former Bush staffers, from people who have --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

[13:10:15] BASH: You know, from people who worked as ambassadors to elsewhere in Bush White Houses and beyond the Bush White Houses.

SCIUTTO: A heck of a lot easier when you're a former, right, when you don't have your electoral fortunes in danger.

BASH: Sure is.

SCIUTTO: Well, this is happening after the White House just announced yesterday the hiring of the former Fox executive, Bill Shine, now deputy chief of staff for communications. He, of course, resigned from Fox last year after being accused of covering up several sexual harassment scandals there.

Margaret, you cover the White House very closely. Did you, in last night's speech by the president, see some influence from Bill Shine's messaging now that he's got a communications role?

TALEV: I mean, it's a great question. I think we are all really homing in on this because the question is, was the president completely acting on his own, letting Bill Shine know he's going to keep doing things his way, or was Bill Shine encouraging these things? And I think it's going to take a few days, really, to see this settle.

On some level, we watched this play out with John Kelly. Remember about a year ago when John Kelly came in as chief of staff, everyone was looking to read the tea leaves on every action of Trump's --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

TALEV: Whether that was authorized by John Kelly or a reaction against John Kelly. But I think we will certainly begin to see Bill Shine's influence.

BASH: Also remember the Trump White House, Trump himself, and what you see on Fox are so symbiotic. Like, who knows which came first, the chicken or the egg, right?

SCIUTTO: Right.

BASH: But I do think that this was vintage Trump again. If you -- if you met somebody from mars and that person said, what's Donald Trump like? You would put them in the audience at that rally last night because that was across the board Donald Trump.

TALEV: Shockingly so.

SCIUTTO: No question. He's his own communications director, right?

BASH: Bingo.

SCIUTTO: Dana Bash, Margaret Talev, thanks very much.

TALEV: Thanks, Jim. SCIUTTO: Well, the president's trade war against China has officially begun with China now retaliating. Now prices of more than 1,300 products will rise here in the U.S.

Plus, a tragic development in the urgent rescue attempt of those trapped boys in a cave in Thailand. A diver helping out with the rescue, he's died. And now the commander says that time for those young soccer players is running out.

And also, even though Russia has attacked the U.S. many times and continues to, the president once again praised Russia's resident Vladimir Putin. And there's growing concern about what the president might promise Russia at their one-on-one meeting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:16:49] SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

The June jobs report is out today, and, again, more encouraging signs for the U.S. economy. Unemployment ticked up very slightly from the first time in nearly a year to 4 percent from 3.8 percent in May. But employers crucially added another 213,000 new jobs.

CNN Money chief business correspondent Christine Romans crunches the numbers.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Jim, another strong report. A 213,000 net new jobs created in the month, and April and May were revised higher. So the past three months, a strong spring and summer for hiring. Employers need workers, and they're hiring when they can find them.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 4 percent, went up a little bit, but the reason why is pretty interesting. About 600,000 people came off the sidelines and started looking for work. These are people who were not officially counted in unemployment statistics. Now they're coming back into the labor market. And that's why the jobs number -- that job number rose.

Where are the jobs? Business and information services, Jim. Manufacturing. Almost 300,000 new manufacturing jobs created in the past year. That's a bit of a renaissance there. And health care. Consistently we see health care as a job creator in this country.

You know, Jim, when you look at these numbers, there are more jobs available than there are people looking for them. I suspect you'll see more people coming off the sidelines to try to get those jobs, and you will see companies hungry for workers, but they're not paying more. You saw wages rise just 2.7 percent. That's been a real riddle.

Jim.

SCIUTTO: Christine Romans, thanks very much.

Well, the biggest trade war in economic history, that's what China says the U.S. is launching now with the imposition of some $34 billion in new tariffs on Chinese goods. China quickly fired back with an equal amount of new tariffs on American goods. They include SUVs, meat, agricultural products.

But this may be just the beginning. President Trump says another $500 billion in tariffs could be on the horizon, half a trillion dollars.

Joining me now is Gary Locke. He's the former commerce secretary in the Obama administration. He was also U.S. ambassador to China. And from Washington is CNN's senior economics analyst Stephen Moore. He's a former economic adviser to Trump.

Ambassador Locke, if I could begin with you.

You have a lot of experience directly with China. China's unfairness on trade, right? You know, cheating, making it very difficult for American companies. Do you think it's fair for the Trump administration to go after China with these tariffs?

GARY LOCKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Well, obviously, we have legitimate concerns about the trade and economic policies of China, it's long-standing complaints by businesses and the United States government. But not just the United States government but many other businesses and governments from around the world.

I don't think that tariffs are an effective way to get at these underlying issues because it also sends a very mixed message. The president, at times, is talking about the trade deficit. Well, is it the trade deficit or is it the forced transfer of American technology? Trade secrets that we're really concerned about. Ultimately, in having tariffs, we're going to have a tit-for-tat and it's going to be the consumers and the workers of both countries that suffer.

SCIUTTO: Stephen Moore, I know that your position has been that, listen, it's justified to go after China because of their misbehavior, unfairness, et cetera. Not a smart idea to go after close U.S. allies, Europe, Canada.

[13:20:06] I wonder, in your view, do you think Trump is missing an opportunity here to build a coalition, as it were, between U.S. allies and others against China's trade practices here?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, he may be missing that opportunity. And, you know, history teaches us you don't want to, you know, fight a three or four-front war at the same time. If China is the adversary here, and I think -- I think China is the adversary, although I have to admit, I'm a little intimidated because Ambassador Locke knows more -- a lot more about China than I do.

But, look, I don't think that they've been playing by the rules. I think that they've been cheating and stealing. And I think Trump believes -- like when you said -- you started this segment by saying China is saying this is the biggest trade war ever. I think Donald Trump would say, wait, we've been in a trade war for 15 years with China and they're winning and we're losing.

And so something has to stop here. If it's not going to be tariffs, I wonder what the ambassador thinks we could do that would force them to buy more American products, stop stealing our intellectual property and things like that, because I think most Americans think that this is an untenable situation and the status quo can't go on.

Ultimately what Donald Trump would like to see is China reduce their tariffs so we have freer trade between the two countries.

SCIUTTO: Right. So, fair question from Stephen Moore, if tariffs -- and you make a fair point that at the end of the day you and I are going to be paying for tariffs, right, because there's a lot of Chinese-made stuff here. Those prices go up. We're going to pay more for, whether it's clothing, electronics, et cetera. So if that's not the right way, what's the best way to pressure China?

LOCKE: Well, one of the ways that we can do it is by requiring a level playing field. And for U.S. companies and foreign companies to operate in China, oftentimes you have to have a Chinese partner, whereas Chinese companies operating in America don't have to have a partner.

For instance, Amazon, if they want to offer -- or Microsoft want to offer cloud computing services in China, they are forced by the government to have a partner. Whereas, Alibaba and the other tech giants of China don't have to have a partner in the United States. Many sectors of the Chinese economy are off limits to any type of foreign participation, whether American companies or French or German companies.

I really believe that all the foreign countries should band together and say, hey, China, in you're not going to allow our companies to operate freely in your country, we should put restrictions on your companies operating in ours.

SCIUTTO: Reciprocity. And that's -- I mean, Stephen, what's your answer to that because, you know, I mean you must admit that the trouble with trade wars, right, is that you fire a shot at them, they're going to fire a shot back, and eventually both sides are paying. And, sadly, that means you and I are going to be paying, right? We're going to be paying more for a whole host of things.

MOORE: That's right. Look --

SCIUTTO: So why not -- why not just band together and say, you know what, here's the deal. If you're going to -- if you're going to make us play by those rules, we're going to make you play by the same rules here?

MOORE: Well, I like that idea. You know, I think we found some common ground here. Maybe we should take it to Donald Trump.

Look, I think --

SCIUTTO: Wait, that's a problem. That can't happen. That can't happen.

MOORE: I -- no, I think you're exactly right. The only thing I would question is whether that's going to work with China. You know, they are becoming more powerful. They're becoming a first world economy. They're challenging the United States for supremacy. This has been going on for a long time. You know, I would just wonder why this didn't happen under the Obama administration because these abuses didn't just start in 2017. They've been going on for ten years.

SCIUTTO: True. Or the Bush administration.

MOORE: Well, that's true. So why --

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this question.

MOORE: Why haven't we done this?

SCIUTTO: Well, it's a fair question and, you know, we're all paying for it.

Ambassador Locke, you spent a lot of time in China. It seems that part of the president's calculation here is that he will win in this game of chicken, right? That we're going to impose -- in effect, they need us more than we need them, right? And we'll impose and eventually they're going to back down. Do you have any indication when you go to China, from Chinese businessmen and leaders, that they're going to back down on this?

LOCKE: Well, just as President Trump is trying to appeal to his base and has to stand and look firm, the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, also has his constituents that he has to worry about. And there's a great sentiment of national pride in China right now, that they're not going to be pushed around by the United States or any other country. Of course, you know, they're -- they've been reasserting themselves. You know, the 2008 Olympics, putting a man in space, going to the moon, all these things. So they're really trying to reclaim their place in history. They're not going to back down.

MOORE: But, you know --

LOCKE: And, obviously, if the president goes through with an additional possibly $500 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods, that's virtually everything that comes into America from China. That's going to raise the price of all the components that American companies pay as they manufacture. It's going to force them to raise their prices as they sell their products. Great American-made stuff around the world. It's -- they're going to have to be competing against those French companies, German companies, and even Chinese companies as they sell their products around the world.

SCIUTTO: Right.

Stephen, before I let you go, what's your response to that concern?

MOORE: I think China is more dependent on us than we are of them.

Look, there's no question that both sides are going to lose here if this continues to escalate. But I would -- I would submit that, you know, China's economy, which has been amazing for the last 20 years, it can't grow if it doesn't have access to American markets. [13:25:09] By the way, you're right, $500 billion, that's about the

amount that China's -- that would basically be a tariff on everything that they sell us. I hope it doesn't come to that.

SCIUTTO: All right. Stephen Moore, thanks very much.

You know, imagine that, we had some agreement here on trade issues. Thanks very much.

MOORE: (INAUDIBLE).

SCIUTTO: Ambassador Locke, I would like you to stay for a moment to talk about something else. The news, of course, today is that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has now arrived in North Korea. Once again, further discussions on nuclear negotiations. A follow-up on last month's summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

Secretary Pompeo says, quote, on this trip I'm seeking to fill in some details on those commitments and continue the momentum towards implementation of what the two leaders promised each other and the world.

Back with Ambassador Locke.

You know, it's interesting, kind of a subtle, fill in some details, because God knows the details were lacking in that kind of milquetoast statement that came out of Singapore. How big is the challenge there now? Because North Korea really hasn't given up anything at this point.

LOCKE: Well, there's a huge challenge facing the United States. Obviously we want to build on the momentum of Singapore in which we saw the rhetoric being lowered, and that's good. It's better to talk about peace than it is to talk about war.

But it's going to be really difficult because the secretary knows, with his days in the CIA and the Congress, that the North Koreans have always never kept their promises, have always failed to come through on their promises. And North Korea is not about to completely disarm unless they know that the United States is not going to invade or take military action against them or that they want to know that the United States will ease up on all the sanctions.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

LOCKE: They're really afraid that if they go down the road of what Muammar Gaddafi did, that the west and the United States will then later on turn against North Korea. And what do they have to protect them? So they see their nuclear arsenal as an ace card, as a negotiating element, a chip of strength. And so they're going to be very reluctant to give it up.

SCIUTTO: Who has -- who has the upper hand now in these negotiations between Trump and Kim based on what you've seen? LOCKE: Well, we've seen reports that North Korea's continuing to

perfect their technology. They're not dismantling things. And I think they're trying to really build up their arsenal as much as possible.

They don't need to do more testing.

SCIUTTO: Right.

LOCKE: They have that capability now.

And so the question is, who's going to prevail in these negotiations? The United States is saying, we're not going to give up on sanctions or take our foot off the pedal until you completely disarm. North Korea is not going to do that. So it's going to be very difficult to have this kind of staged denuclearization matched by some sort of economic relief to North Korea.

SCIUTTO: Ambassador Locke, thanks very much, on trade and North Korea. Good to talk to you.

LOCKE: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Time running out for that Thai soccer team and their coach trapped in a cave. As conditions deteriorate there, rescuers are forced to consider risky options to get everyone out alive. A live report from Thailand is just ahead.

Plus, a mother and daughter separated at the border reunited after nearly two months apart. That was the moment right there. The emotional reunion you'll see only here on CNN.

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