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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Cave Rescue Efforts Continue; Immigration Deadline. Aired 4:30- 5p ET

Aired July 9, 2018 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:00]

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Expert divers lead them to safety. Then, each child is rushed by ambulance and helicopter to this isolation unit at the Chiang Rai Hospital, some wheeled in behind shields of white umbrellas.

Officials say the most recent arrivals are in better condition than the four rescued Sunday, adding they're doing well.

"They said they were hungry and asked for minced pork and fried rice," the mission commander said.

Relatives are glued to the news coverage, watching the missions unfold, in hopes that their boy is among the saved.

Still, once reunited, they will not hug their children for days. Doctors say there is a risk of infection, so loved ones will have to stay at least 6.5-feet away. The last four teammates and their coach remain inside and are expected to arrive at the hospital Tuesday if all goes well.

The coach's aunt tells CNN the kids are in good hands. "The children's mother trust him and he can take care of their children pretty well," she says, "because he loves those kids very much."

Officials say the 20-hour delay between rescues will allow them to replenish their oxygen tanks and give the elite divers a much-needed break. While the teams rest and reassessment conditions for the final push, all eyes are on the weather. Forecasted monsoons threaten to raise water levels in the cave, where any lost air could mean life or death.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCKENZIE: Jake, at this hour, the boys who have got out of the cave are in a hospital nearby my position, where they're resting in isolation.

Unbelievably, haven't seen their parents yet. And in darkness behind me, that mountain that's gripped our attention, inside the cave system, four more and their coach. In the coming hours, pretty soon, those elite divers will be getting up and going into the cave system again. Nothing is sure with this rescue. But they will be trying to get them out and to end this extraordinary sequence of events -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, David McKenzie on the ground for us in Thailand.

I want to bring in CNN's Tom Foreman in the virtual studio.

And, Tom, we know the same group of divers who pulled off so far these incredible rescues, threat the ones getting the last four kids and the coach. Do they have enough energy to complete this mission?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is a great question.

And it's one of the reasons why we may be in the most dangerous phase of the entire thing right now.

Look, inside the mountain, think about the kids and the coach who are in there. They have now spent more time than anyone else in conditions that are very cold and they're damp and they're cramped and they're uncomfortable.

And they had been in a position where they simply cannot have enough oxygen because it's been cut off a little bit down in there. What about the divers? We know that this team of 18 divers who have done basically all of the work inside the cave have been going and going and going.

Yes, they have come up with a fantastic system. They put each boy in a wet suit, into a full face mask. He is tethered to a diver who also carries the air supply. They follow a line out with another diver behind to helps make sure he gets out.

It looks simple enough here, but this is a gargantuan task taking place in an incredibly hostile environment inside this cave. Remember, by some accounts, there is fully a quarter of this cave completely underwater.

That means they're towing these kids out not merely the length of a football field underwater, but the length of 11 football fields. Whether it's all at once or spread out, we don't know, but we know there are currents, we know it's cold, we know they can't see much.

All of that together, everyone being tired, the challenge being just the same as it was in the beginning, that's why this may very well be the hardest part of this whole thing, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Tom, we keep hearing about more rain in the forecast.

Is enough rain being forecast that it might affect this last rescue?

FOREMAN: Yes, the unnoticed heroic moment in all of this has been the pumping of water here. They have at times been pumping more than 400,000 gallons of water out per hour.

That is the only way they were able to lower the level enough to make parts of this cave walkable and to effect this rescue. But as David mentioned a minute ago, as the rains come out, the real fear is that they start rushing in, that they come in earnest, and the pumps simply cannot keep up with that.

That's why, as tired as everyone is, as dangerous as it is, they're trying to get this done and get those boys finally out -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

The clock is ticking. A deadline is looming for those migrant children under 5 to be reunited with their parents. The deadline is tomorrow. So what if that doesn't happen?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:38:51]

TAPPER: In our national lead today, the Justice Department says just 54 children separated from their parents in the immigration crackdown will be reunited by tomorrow's court-imposed deadline, just 54.

That's roughly half of those who were split up who are under the age of 5. The Trump administration is not sure when the rest will be able to see their parents again, to say nothing of the other 2,000 or so kids over the age of 5 who are also separated at the border by the Trump administration.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is live near the border for us in Brownsville, Texas.

And, Miguel, I guess the big question, will the government face any repercussions for missing this deadline?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They could, but not at the moment. From the hearing we had today, the judge doesn't seem likely to punish the government in any way with fines or holding it in contempt or setting up some sort of constitutional crisis.

But it has raised a lot of questions for those under 3,000 kids and their families, when will their chance come to be reunited?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The Trump administration set to miss its first deadline to reunite all kids under 5 with their parents by tomorrow.

[16:40:03]

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: One of my biggest questions is exactly that. What's the plan to reunite these children with their parents?

MARQUEZ: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visiting a Brownsville facility caring for 1,400 unaccompanied minors, including 150 kids separated from their parents due to the president's zero tolerance president.

Reuniting kids with their parents far more difficult than claimed, when the president reversed the policy by executive order.

REP. MARC VEASEY (D), TEXAS: They had absolutely no, you know, vision, no thought to how this was going to play out.

MARQUEZ: The administration on track to reunite just over half of parents and kids under 5 by tomorrow's deadline.

Parents of kids over 5 now getting out of detention based on their asylum claims, and seeing little more than bureaucratic roadblocks to getting their kids back.

Lesvia from Guatemala got out of detention last week near Austin. She's already visited her son being held in Brownsville. She has documents to prove their relationship. They still won't give her, her son.

"It's very hard because my son cries when he sees me," she says. "He told me he doesn't want to be here anymore. It's too long to be away from my son."

CNN has spoken to five separated parents who made bond in their asylum cases and now desperately want their kids back.

Brenda Alvarado now out on bond can barely speak about her 6-year-old son, Jordie (ph).

"He says he wants me to be with him," she says, "and prays to God to make the days shorter so we can be together."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: So, these parents and kids, tomorrow, what we expect to happen is that they have already moved them sort of close to each other at the facilities in the U.S. At some point, they're going to move them together.

Then they will be in ICE custody, and it sounds like all of them will be released publicly. Some of them may be housed together as a family in some sort of unit yet to be determined.

But it sounds like that is going to happen for them.

Interesting, that woman Lesvia who is in the story, she just showed up here again at this facility in Brownsville to see her son for a second time. It is possible she will walk out with him today, but she's not holding out any hope -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.

President Trump heading to Europe with a packed agenda. Might it include hand-feeding a shark? We will explain.

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: In our WORLD LEAD now, friends or foes? President Trump heading to Brussels tomorrow for what's expected to be a tense summit with NATO allies. Mr. Trump spent the morning tweeting various attacks on them for insufficient defense spending and large trade deficits with the U.S. This could be a huge contrast with another meeting right afterwards in Helsinki, Finland where President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will be the first time the two will have had an official one on one summit despite having exchanged chummy words over the last few years here and there. CNN's Kaitlan Collins explains now what the White House needs to accomplish.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump spoiling for a fight trashing NATO and singling out Germany by name, just one day before heading to Brussels for what's expected to be a tense summit. Trump tweeting today, the United States is spending far more on NATO than any other country. This is not fair nor is it acceptable. They must do much more. The President rattling allies at a rally with this combative language.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to tell NATO, you got to start paying your bills. The United States is not going to take care of everything.

COLLINS: He already sent letters to several leaders last month threatening to cut them off if they don't boost their defense spending. European allies fear the President is losing his patience and leaving his commitment to the alliance in question predicting he will be even more aggressive than last year.

TRUMP: NATO members must finally contribute their fair share.

COLLINS: Trump isn't new to that rhetoric following past U.S. Presidents to some degree.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every NATO member should be contributing its full share, two percent of GDP towards our common security.

COLLINS: But Trump has taken the criticism to a whole new level, repeatedly questioning NATO's -value and claiming its members are ripping off the U.S.

TRUMP: Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.

COLLINS: After the NATO summit, Trump will head to the U.K. for the first visit since taking office as the British government is in shambles. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned Monday --

BORIS JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, UNITED KINGDOM: I fear that some people are becoming ever more determined to stop Brexit.

COLLINS: --- making him the second cabinet official to quit in less than 24 hours in protest of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans. Then the President ending his trip in Helsinki, Finland with a one on one sitdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

TRUMP: You know what? Putin's fine. He's fine. We're all fine.

COLLINS: A meeting even some Republicans fear will be too friendly.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: My expectations are low. Like I say, you're not going to convert Putin, you're going to have to contain him. Dealing with Putin is like hand feeding a shark. You can do it but you have to do it very, very carefully.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[16:50:01] COLLINS: So, Jake, the obvious concern here is that President Trump is going to be battling our allies while praising our adversaries, but what is clear is that European leaders are bracing for a showdown when President Trump shows up in Brussels.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much. My panel is back with me. So the President's going to meet face to face one week from today with Vladimir Putin. Take a listen to Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst with this advice for President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: And as we move forward, with any discussions with Russia, obviously, Russia is not our friend. I don't see that Russia would ever be a true friend or ally to the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Do you think President Trump thinks that Russia can be a true friend or ally of the United States?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, I think so right? I think the President believes that. I think that --

TAPPER: Do you?

URBAN: No. I'd like to think so. We fought a war against the Japanese. They're one of our closest allies now. We actually fought a real war against the Japanese if you remember. And so you know, what -- people who are friends -- listen, what they did in the election is not friendly. I think that there's -- that's been discussed and I believe this administration much to everyone's disbelief is working to preclude that moving forward. You know, just to rewind this quickly though talking about the President's to NATO, this administration has never once talked about backing away from NATO or Article Five, it's simply saying of the 28 NATO allies, right, of all the NATO allies, like they didn't meet two percent minimum threshold, right? There are -- of the countries that are doing that, there are only five. Two 2.1 percent, 2.2 percent. We are at four percent. Nobody else is coming close.

TAPPER: His voiced concern about Article Five and whether or not --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: The President just spoke very -- the President of Netherlands is here and spoke very supportive of NATO.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The word he used was obsolete.

TAPPER: He said NATO was obsolete during the campaign, yes.

BEGALA: And this is striking. And Kaitlan pointed it out in her report. Russia invaded the United States through cyber-attack. Russia is allegedly using nerve gas, nerve agents, chemical weapons in -- on British soil. Russia is unveiling people, killing people. It has invaded Ukraine, invaded Georgia and yet he wants to be nice to them. Meanwhile our NATO allies who should be paying more it is true, but by the way committed to two percent by 2020 not by today, by 2020. That was a commitment they made in 2014 when Barack Obama raised it. So it's a legitimate concern but it's nothing like murdering people on British soil or invading Ukraine or messing around with our elections.

TAPPER: I want to bring up the fact that H.R. McMaster, the higher Lieutenant General, classmate of yours I believe.

URBAN: Two years different.

TAPPER: Two years, OK so that was the same time you were and a friend of yours, former National Security Adviser. When he was there, according to the Washington Post, when he was at the White House he would say the President thinks he can be friends with Putin, I don't know why or why he would want to be.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND POLLSTER: I think the reason why President Trump wants to prove that he can do it is because everyone says that he can't. I think the same thing has happened with North Korea. I think that president after president tried to solve the North Korea issue and didn't. And so Trump said you know what, I'm special. I'm better, I'm different, I'm going to try to do it. And what makes me really nervous about this meeting with Putin is let's look at what happened with North Korea, President Trump went in, gave North Korea a lot of what they wanted which was the ability to have the North Korean flag on a stage next to the American flag, the ability to shake hands with an American president. That is a dividend that has been paid to them as a result of them having a nuclear weapon that's not good. When Pompeo actually shows up over the weekend and says no actually there is stuff that you have to do that gets called gangster talk and there's these mixed messages I'm worried that we're setting the scene for that again, mixed messages of the President going in trying to be friends with Putin wanting to be this ultimate deal maker but that not necessarily meshing completely with what is in the best interests of the United States.

URBAN: I just think look, I think it's a great thing to talk to your enemies, right? That's all I'm saying here. Good thing to talk to your enemies. Since the President is embarked in this North Korean diplomacy, no missiles flying across the skies. Last summer who's worried about a war on the Korean Peninsula, that's not happening.

TAPPER: They're still working on their nuclear program though.

ANDERSON: It's good to talk to your enemies but it matters what you say.

URBAN: I agree. And I think that -- listen, I think this administration has been tough on the Russians. We've kicked out a bunch of Russians. We've sanctioned a whole bunch of folks that are very close to President Putin and they don't like it I'd say that much.

TAPPER: And just announce right now, I'm going to be live from Helsinki, Finland for the Trump Putin summit. I hope you'll tune in to our coverage Sunday on "STATE OF THE UNION" and throughout Monday for our special coverage of the summit in Finland. President Trump says he's confident Kim Jong-un will keep his promise to denuclearize but the language out of North Korea is raising some serious doubts as we were just discussing. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: Before we go today we wanted to send our condolences to the friends and family of 27-year old Hunter Lurie. Hunter was in Michigan at the Electric Forest music festival last Friday when his family says he went into cardiac arrest. His father Rod Lurie is a noted film director. Rod was in Bulgaria at the time working to turn my book about Afghanistan The Outpost into a movie. Rob Lurie rush back to say farewell to his son. Hunter was surrounded by family and friends. He was an up-and-coming film editor. The Hollywood Reporter says he was proudest of his involvement with a series of animated short films created for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. May Hunter Lurie's memory be a blessing. You should have follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. That's it for THE LEAD today. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.