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More Boys Rescued from Cave in Thailand; Some Boys and Their Coach to Remain Overnight in Cave in Thailand as Rescue Operations Suspended. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 9, 2018 - 8:00   ET

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


[08:00:00] IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- hours, but probably in the last three to four hours, according to a member of the rescue team at the mouth of the cave, we've now seen three boys come out from depths of about 2.5 miles, around four kilometers, brought out today. Three rescues today. This comes on top of four boys brought out Sunday evening out of a total of 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach.

So there are still people trapped inside to the best of our knowledge. But this has been a day of rescues. One of those boys is already been med-evaced to the hospital in Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, which is about an hour's drive away, flown by a military helicopter. The latest we've gotten on the two more recent rescues is that the boys are in field hospital near the mouth of the cave.

I can't stress enough how difficult the rescue operation is, and deadly, because last week a Thai former Navy SEAL diver actually died trying to ferry provision supplies on the perilous narrow and flooded tunnel to and from where the boys have been trapped now for more than two weeks. That's part of why this rescue effort is so difficult and why, frankly, the rescuers are such heroes.

We've heard the boys have been outfitted with full open-air face masks since none of them are trained for this kind of delicate dangerous work. But again, out of the 13 people who initially had been trapped, we're hearing of seven rescues between Sunday and Monday. I'm going to turn it back to you guys and my colleague Matt Tivers who's waiting at the hospital.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Ivan, please keep us posted what you hear from the mouth of that cave, appreciate it.

As Ivan was saying, the three boys rescued so far this morning on the way to get medical treatment at a hospital near that cave. That's along with the four who were rescued yesterday. Our Matt Rivers live for us at the hospital. Matt, give us the very latest.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, what we're expecting this hour will likely be if all things go well at the field hospital Ivan just talking about, is kind of a repeat of what we saw during the 6:00 a.m. hour where the boys are initially treated near the cave. They are put in a helicopter. They are flown to an airport, an old airport just south of our location here, and then they are put in an ambulance where they drive right along the road behind me heading into the hospital just over my shoulder there going into the emergency room and receiving treatment. We have seen that scene play out five times already and we expect to see it a sixth and seventh time relatively soon.

Once inside the hospital we are getting more details in terms of how they are treated. They are immediately brought to the eighth floor where a section of the eighth floor has been turned into a sterilized isolation unit that has been set up specifically for those people trapped in this cave. There is a concern their immune systems have weakened and they would be more susceptible to illness, and there's also a concern they could infect others based on what kind of illnesses they picked up while in the cave. So out of an abundance of caution the boys are being kept in isolation for one to two days. And that also means that if their parents come to this hospital, they won't be able to give their kids a hug. They'll have to stay two meters away from them at all time.

BERMAN: Matt Rivers, stand by, because we have more breaking news. We understand that an eighth child, the fourth today, has been pulled from that cave. Our Ivan Watson near the scene. Ivan, what are you learning?

WATSON: That's right, we've just heard from a member of the rescue operation who's at the mouth of the cave who says he's now seeing an eighth boy emerge from the cave in the hands of rescuers. So just a remarkable number of hours where one after another they've brought people who were trapped for more than two weeks out from deep, deep beneath the mountain behind me from the network of tunnels, and brought them out into the waning minutes of this Monday here in northern Thailand.

We have seen in the past half hour an ambulance go past. We've seen a helicopter fly overhead in the last hour or two. And we assume that some of these movements are for moving some of the boys around to getting them to medical attention. The eighth boy that was brought out was taken promptly to a field hospital up at what you can describe as the base camp at the mouth of the cave complex to be looked over by medical health professionals before he would be med-evaced further.

But again, eight people now emerging from the cave between Sunday and Monday. That brings it to four more still believed to be inside, four more boys, and as well as a 13th member of the group which was a 25- year-old soccer coach. And of course we'll bring you the latest if and when we hear more, John and Erica.

[08:05:06] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Ivan, I want to ask really quickly. We know the families have said they will stay together there at the cave area, at the staging area. As far as we understand they do not yet know the identities of the eight children who have been pulled out. Are they at a point, Ivan, if you know, where they can actually see these kids being brought out?

WATSON: The press, and it is a massive contingent of international media journalists who have gathered for this incredible vigil, were moved down from the base camp at the entrance of the cave within the last 36 to 48 hours. So we don't have eyes on. And not hard to blame the authorities because they have delicate, hard work to do. So we can't see what access the families have at the mouth of the cave.

But clearly there's been an effort to, perhaps in solidarity, for the families to kind of pull and be patient. It has gone on for more than two weeks, and to be patient a bit further, and they've said they will not leave until everybody has been saved.

And we've been in contact with a lot of families between yesterday and today who said they did not know if theirs were among the lucky ones who had emerged. And I spoke with a relative of the adult soccer coach who's in there, and she said she didn't know and probably wouldn't know until everybody had emerged safely. So this is being very carefully managed by the Thai authorities. The information that's being given out is being kind of carefully distributed out in press conferences, and the management of the information flow extends to families as well it seems.

HILL: And to your point understandable. Ivan, appreciate it. We'll continue to check in with you obviously throughout the morning.

Also with us now former Navy SEAL John McGuire, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. John, I want to start with you. We look at this, and it is four boys brought out yesterday, and now we're learning about four more in a very short period of time this morning. It would seem as if things were picking up rapidly. Can we say that's a good sign or is it too early?

JOHN MCGUIRE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Good morning, John and Erica. Before I answer that, I speak for the world when our hearts go out to Sergeant Gunan who gave his life to rescue these people. Rest in peace frogman. Yes, it's a good sign. I think we have Great Britain, the United States, the Thai Navy and several others. These guys are the best in the world and they're working very hard. So it's looking good, it's not over yet.

BERMAN: Optimistic signs here, but I do not think anyone will breathe a sigh of relief until the remain five people, the four children and the coach trapped inside are removed.

And Sanjay, we don't know if they are done for the day. Yesterday there were four out, today four more. Maybe they got past that barrier and they needed to get extra oxygen in. Maybe they figured out a way to get more oxygen in and they could try to finish the efforts today. But saying they don't, saying they're up against the same limitations, I have to imagine the trauma of being one of the four kids and coach left under for another day, that's just got to be grueling.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's no doubt. Obviously you go back now to put a time line on this, back to June 23rd, so we're talking about this real time but June 23rd is when they went missing. July 2nd was when they were first found alive, and now the days have been ticking by.

It's countermanded, though, John, this sort of grueling nature of staying their longer, with the fact that maybe they are getting this information that their predecessors have successfully been rescued. So that certainly could lift their spirits. And more pragmatically speaking, this is an extraordinary rescue. Each time they do it, they are probably learning a couple more things and conditions may change a bit. So all of those lessons could be of benefit to the remaining boys and the coach in the cave.

BERMAN: No question. Again, we've all seen the pictures coming out of northern Thailand. It's not raining. They've been lucky. One more day on the weather, last several days they've had enormous luck. These monsoon rains seem to have held off. John McGuire, to Sanjay's point, as they continue the rescues, you do have to imagine they are learning. Do you think perhaps they did figure out a way to get beyond that barrier, get more oxygen tanks down in the caves so that they to get the five other people out now and not have to wait another day?

MCGUIRE: In perfect weather conditions this would be a very difficult rescue. The fact that we have the rains coming in, you're right, time is an issue. And you're right, they adapt, they improvise, they learn. But these guys are, obviously as Navy SEALs we're combat divers. These master divers, these dive experts from around the world have come together. This is what they practice. So they are learning and getting better.

But I'll tell you who things we haven't mentioned too much, trying to teach young people how to scuba dive. There's something called a gas embolism where you can send a bubble of gas to the brain and it causes an embolism, or you imagine as pressure increases, volume increases, you could pop a lung.

[08:10:07] So you've got to be relaxed. And the current, we've heard about the Navy SEAL, Thai SEAL that died. I don't know what conditions are, none of us do. But water is a very powerful thing. And so fighting current and having that rope and having that team to help young guys, it's a big effort.

HILL: I should put out we're just learning, CNN has just confirmed that operations have now finished for the night. Sunsetting there in Thailand, to answer one of your questions earlier, John, about when they could go back out.

And John, I just want to throw this to you as well. We're looking at what is an 11-hour in best case, from what we know, an 11-hour roundtrip for these divers as they make their way in and then have to get back out. How much down time would they need before they could go back in? What's safe?

MCGUIRE: This is a question for me?

HILL: For you, sorry, yes, John McQuire, to you.

MCGUIRE: So, what down time. The thing is none of us know the situation on the ground and I don't know if they have substitute divers, but obviously you want to be clear in your thought process. So I would hope they could rotate divers on schedule. And also is it water all the way or did it have pockets taking a break. We don't know the situation on the ground, but these guys know what they are doing.

BERMAN: We do know it isn't a swim, it isn't a four kilometer swim. There are areas where they can walk and get air. We also do seem to know the limitations, that four seems to be the limit, four yesterday and four today. They suspended operations. It might be because they have to get oxygen tanks down there, Sanjay. So we do know they are four children and coach still inside that cave. How would you treat them medically? What's the right way to deal with them, not just psych logically but medically to make them feel as if this is going to be OK.

GUPTA: There is a doctor, my understanding, they are getting a medical checkup before actually beginning the rescue part, actually beginning the arduous journey that you just described, the four- kilometer one. And here, in this sort of situation, the basics do apply. You want to make sure that -- and this is unusual, again, as John was talking about, because of the full mask and scuba diving, some of these kids haven't swam before. Anxiety is not just a concern long term here. It's a real concern in the short term because as someone becomes anxious, starts to have panic attack or something, that could put their life in danger and put the rescue diver's life in danger as well as they try to rescue that person. So that's going to be a big part of it, obviously making sure physiologically that they have enough hydration, they have enough strength that they can deal with any potential hypothermia, all of that as part of the rescue mission. That's what you have to do at the beginning, at the end. There's another triage as they exit the cave to basically determine how quickly now do they need to get them to the hospital. All of that applies.

But the doctors and nurses at that point have been preparing for this, really understanding most likely the shape these kids are going to be in, but also ready for any surprises.

BERMAN: Sanjay Gupta, John McGuire, thanks so much for helping us understand this. I have to say, what an extraordinary operation. We now have eight kids pulled from this cave in two days. But it has taken the two full days, four more and the coach still inside there. It is remarkable.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. The degree of difficulty, as John pointed out, one Thai Navy SEAL losing his life at the outset. You have to feel for the four kids who are left with the coach. This is going to be a long night for them, but extraordinary what they've accomplished in the last few years.

HILL: And we're going to hear directly from one of those rescuers perhaps coming up in a little bit. We'll get a better sense of the challenges that they are facing, what it's like to be down there. That's also to come this morning.

BERMAN: Also the Supreme Court pick, the president poised to make it. Who will it be? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:17:27]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Less than 12 hours from now the president will make this public prime time announcement revealing his nominee to the Supreme Court. Want to bring in CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN political analyst, David Gregory.

We're getting some fresh reporting from Ariane de Vogue, who covers the Supreme Court for us and she is saying, again, let's put up the four finalists that we know are the people, at this point, the president is choosing from Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge.

We're hearing from Ariane that sources pushing Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh was someone who worked inside the Bush White House, is seen as being close to the Bushes, sources behind him felt a setback.

They felt deflated when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that Kavanaugh might have difficulties or at least a challenging confirmation process, Jeffrey. So, if you're reading the tea leaves this morning based on our reporting, Kavanaugh supporters not as happy as they were perhaps on Friday.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I think it was significant that Mitch McConnell, who obviously plays a very big role here, talked about the difficulties of confirming Kavanaugh. I think it is worth pointing out how this notion of being an experienced person with a long pedigree has become a detriment in Supreme Court confirmations is really a relatively new phenomenon.

You know, the court that decided Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, not one of the judges, justices had ever been a judge before, before being confirmed. These are people who had big complicated lives, Earl Warren was governor of California and Hugo Black was a senator from Alabama.

These people, you know, they have long paper trails and they could still be confirmed. Today, it's become like this weird stealth process where if you actually have led a distinguished public life, you are less likely to be on the Supreme Court. And I just think that's an unfortunate development on the left and on the right.

DAVID GREROGY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Some of that is timing, right? I mean, in this case they've got a more compressed schedule because of mid-terms that they don't want to play around with. It's tough enough for McConnell with 50 senators. In fact, 51, he can't afford a defection, more than one defection and still get this nomination across.

But it is interesting, and it goes to the point about Judge Hardiman as well, who some of his allies felt like he was used as a stalking horse last time and was passed over. It would be pretty cruel if they did that a second time.

The setback that the Bush folks are talking about is the fact that he got renewed attention perhaps in the president's mind over the weekend as he was asking more questions about him being lobbied by his sister who's a federal judge in Pennsylvania.

[08:20:06] And he's an interesting choice, right, his biography, the politics around it coming from Pennsylvania, didn't go to an ivy league law school, makes him a little different. Has led a different life. He was a partner at a law firm, for example, which gives him some interest and still reliably conservative.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And you know, look I think the biography point which apparently plays -- I think it's healthy that three out of the potential four picks did not go to Yale or Harvard. That's a degree of diversity that we could use on the court.

But I think to Jeff Toobin's point is that the paper trail, a person's expertise being held against them is a sign of the times. It's about the depth of expertise for political reasons.

And when you harken back to Brown v. Board, it's not only the depth and breadth of life experiences, but also you could have as contentious a decision as that shepherded through 9-0, and the increasing partisan tenure of the court, the ideological approach to these nominees is also a departure from some of our best traditions it seems to me.

GREGORY: It's also this idea that it has to be somehow results oriented as opposed to qualifications and judgment. That's what you should be reviewing here instead of being able to divide a particular result. That's where there's so much focus.

TOOBIN: But that's where I actually think -- I think being results oriented is a good idea. I think we should be talking about whether Brown v. Board of Education -- I'm sorry whether Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned. I think that's what matters on the Supreme Court.

You know, I think it's wonderful that Thomas Hardiman drove a cab to get through law school but ultimately so what? You know, I mean, what really matters in what these justices do is how they vote.

And we go through this process and you know, we hear this biographical stuff and Sonia Sotomayor, you know, grew up poor in the Bronx, and Neil Gorsuch is a wonderful skier. Who cares about any of this stuff?

GREGORY: Then you get into a cycle of you're going to punish people because of their views. This is why we have presidential elections. If the president wants to appoint somebody who may overturn Roe v. Wade, I mean, that's why we have elections.

BERMAN: Exactly. Take the skiing things -- once you go to skiing, Gregory gets really upset here.

TOOBIN: I agree with -- I would agree with that that elections have consequences but let's talk about them. Let's have a confirmation process where we talk about whether we want Roe v. Wade to be overturned or the fact Samuel Alito is a big fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, I mean, that's what these confirmation hearings are about.

We should have confirmation hearings. Do we want Roe v. Wade overturned? Do we want shopkeepers to be allowed to keep gay people out of their stores if they have religious objections? I mean, that's what the Supreme Court does that's what I think we should talk about in these hearings.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: There's a lot going to be said in the next eight or nine weeks to iron this out once we have the nominee. David, what are you going to be watching most closely? Because we have been told Phil Mattingly, this is an all-out war and frankly, we could say that on both sides.

GREGORY: Well, of course, it will be. I mean, because this really matters. Jeffrey made this point earlier this morning. Let's remind people, this really does change the direction of the court because Anthony Kennedy, who has been in some ways a huge disappointment to conservatives because of his ruling on the Casey case upholding Roe v. Wade and gay rights has really moved the court.

And so, his successor will do that as well. So, that's why these matters, and you know, this goes to Jeffrey's point, this is just another means of politics deciding the future of the court, deciding these issues and being able both sides being able and wanting to kind of weed out their political enemies.

Instead of focusing on whether these are people who have the right judgment to apply the law to the decisions that come before them, which is what we're supposed to be deciding.

BERMAN: All right. David Gregory and Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much.

Coming up, one of the men who helped craft this list of 25 candidates for the Supreme Court, one of these people involved in the selection process, Leonard Leo joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:28:42]

BERMAN: So, who will it be? A 9:00 p.m. announcement tonight prime time. President Trump says it's down to four finalists for the Supreme Court. The names rising to the top are Federal Appeals Court Judges Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge.

Joining me now is Leonard Leo. He is President Trump's top Supreme Court adviser, who helped craft the shortlist of potential nominees. Leonard, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Appreciate your insight here. Let me just ask you flat out, has the president made a decision?

LEONARD LEO, TRUMP ADVISER ON SUPREME COURT: Well, it's the president's prerogative to say when he's decided and who he's picked. I'll tell you this, he worked extremely busy over the weekend talking with lots of people and making sure his White House counsel was reaching out to members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle. It's been a very thorough process and it's very exciting to see that he'll be announcing tonight.

BERMAN: Would you know if he had made his decision?

LEO: That's up to him. That's up to him. I don't know.

BERMAN: Well, I'm asking you, if you would know he has made his decision. That wouldn't be up to him, that would be up to you.

LEO: Well, it would be up to him if he tells you.

BERMAN: Right. And I'm asking you --

LEO: I haven't heard yet.

BERMAN: You have not heard yet whether he's made a decision?

LEO: I have not heard yet no.

BERMAN: OK. So, 8:29 a.m., you have not heard whether or not he has made a decision. Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader over the weekend suggested that perhaps Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman might have an easier path to confirmation. Do you believe that to be the case?

LEO: I think any of the nominees that the president has been considering right now are confirmable in the Senate.