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Confirmation fight kicks off for Trump's Supreme Court pick; Trump: "Don't come to our country illegally"; Trump: Putin meeting "may be easiest of them all."; Boys and Coach Rescued, Four Rescue Workers Still Inside Cave. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2018 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Our Ivan Watson, our senior international correspondent who has been there covering throughout, and then we will take you to the hospital where these boys are.

But, Ivan, I was watching as you broke the news just about an hour ago that it happened. It's rare to get to cover something so miraculous.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And any time you get to prove your kind of pessimistic instincts wrong is a wonderful, wonderful moment. This has been a remarkable national effort here in the kingdom of Thailand and multinational effort with divers from around the world, rescue workers from around the world. The U.S. Military on the ground here, the Australians, and they have worked and successful freed the 12 boys, their coach, from deep within the mountain here, a depth of two and a half miles. They've gotten them out of here.

I think there's a Facebook post in English from the Thai Navy SEALs who played such a critical role here that sums it up very well. They wrote, quote, "We are not sure if this is a miracle, science, or what. All 13 Wild Boars are now out of the cave." The Wild Boars, of course, the name of the youth soccer team here in this corner of rural Thailand in the north of the country.

The Navy SEALs have also posted that we should keep our support for the Thai doctor and three Navy SEAL officers who have spent more than a week in that same cave helping keep up the morale, the physical health of the trapped boys since authorities were able to initially reach them days after they disappeared on June 23rd. So we want to make sure that they get out safely. We want to make sure that the people who are helping get everybody out, that they get out safely because it is the Thai Navy SEALs who lost one life here tragically last week.

One of their divers, a former Navy SEAL diver who came in and volunteered who died in the narrow corridors, flooded corridors of the cave system in what is really a perilous operation. Divers that we've spoken to say that they have to navigate razor sharp rocks, rushing currents that get even faster, believe it or not, when the water levels get lower, tight bends, they have to supply extra tanks for air along the way. The boys themselves had to be dressed in wet suits to keep their body

temperature up in full air face masks as well and the prime minister of Thailand says they were administered basically anti-anxiety medicine to help get them through the whole claustrophobic operation. But the news is good, the team is out and now we're waiting to make sure that the rescuers are out safely as well -- Poppy.

HARLOW: This is -- this is the headline everyone was waiting for and we are waiting to hear about those other four that you rightly note, Ivan, are still in there, those that help save these young boys.

Thank you, Ivan, for the reporting.

Let's go to the hospital now where they're being treated in isolation. Our international correspondent Matt Rivers is there.

What do we understand about the health, the condition of these boys and their coach?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the last four boys, nine, 10, 11, 12, they are -- we're not sure about their conditions yet. We're not sure about the coach's condition yet. We know nine, 10, and 11 are here inside this hospital. We are still waiting on the final young boy and the coach to arrive here in the hospital where they will be immediately treated the same way that the first eight were treated.

They're going to be put in an isolation unit up on the eighth floor, Poppy. They're going to be given a battery of tests. They're going to make sure that they're properly hydrated then they're going to start giving them hopefully reintroducing them to solid foods. In terms of the first eight boys that are in that hospital now, we got some more updates on their conditions and it's good news.

Generally speaking they are quite healthy. There were some issues when they first came in. Five of the eight have lower body temperatures that were dangerous, two of the eight actually had lung infections but all of that was treated very quickly, they responded very well to treatment and so officials are now saying that these boys are in good shape. The first four boys actually were given a quick visit by their parents on Monday evening. They couldn't go into the isolation unit. They could only wave through the glass on the other side but that is the kind of reunion that we're expecting to see.

You know, this is a place that's going to treat these kids over the next week or so. They're going to remain in isolation but what this hospital will turn into, Poppy, is the scene of reunions. Remarkable, remarkable improbable reunions. You know, we've been talking for several days now. I've been here since last Thursday and this was so far from guaranteed. It was an incredibly dangerous mission. The odds of this happening were probably pretty small.

You heard Ivan talk about it and yet here we are awaiting on word of conditions for the last people that were taken out of that cave. And hopefully they mirror the healthy state of the first eight boys that were rescued -- Poppy. [09:05:06] HARLOW: Those hugs are going to last a really long time

when those parents are able to see their kids. Thank you very much, Matt.

Right now President Trump is in the air. He's on his way to Brussels for what could be and will likely be a very tense meeting, like last year's, with our NATO allies. Allies he's repeatedly targeted ahead of this trip. And as for that one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, the president has quite a different take. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have NATO, I have the UK which has been somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly Putin may be the easiest of them all.


HARLOW: Kaitlan Collins joins me now from Brussels. The president is on his way there. What are you hearing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you see, Poppy, right there quite a stunning statement from President Trump that he thinks his meeting with the Russian president is going to be easier than his meeting with U.S. allies here at the NATO summit in Brussels or meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May while he is in the UK.

Certainly a stunning statement from the president because that is the leader of the country, of course, that meddled in the United States election, that the United States has said agrees with the UK that it is responsible for the poisoning of that former Russian spy, but the president saying that they are -- and that exactly feeds into what these European leaders feared. That the president was going to come here to Brussels, have a very tense and divisive summit, lecture them about defense spending and then go meet with Vladimir Putin, a meeting that they expected to be much friendlier.

The president kind of hinted that when he said this when he was asked if he believes that Vladimir Putin is a friend or a foe.


TRUMP: He's a competitor. I think that getting along with Russia, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing.


COLLINS: So you see there, Poppy, he held back from calling Vladimir Putin, someone who has meddled in the United States elections, a foe and you see the language he's using. They are mirrored that with a much more combative language he used when he was asked about NATO.


TRUMP: NATO has not treated us fairly but I think we'll work something out. We're being taken advantage of by the European Union. We lost $151 billion last year on trade and on top of that we spend at least 70 percent for NATO and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us.


COLLINS: The president there, Poppy, saying the United States spends 70 percent. Recently he said 90 percent. He doesn't always get the numbers right when it comes to NATO saying essentially that the United States should spend less on defense spending this morning and that NATO countries -- even though the United States is a NATO country -- should spend more, so you can see there, he has very combative language when he is talking about NATO and we are essentially setting up for a showdown here in Brussels. Quite stunning as the president is going to be meeting with U.S. allies and then going to meet with an adversary.

HARLOW: You know, and a number of those key NATO members have stepped up their defense spending as a percentage of GDP since the last NATO meeting a year ago but clearly it's not enough for the president.

Kaitlan, thank you.

Let's discuss all of this with our chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour.

Good morning, Christiane. I am so glad you're here to go through all these headlines. First just -- how is it playing out over there that this morning the president chose to say that the conversation on Monday, the sit-down with Vladimir Putin, should be the easiest of all of them?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, look, you can imagine from Europe and particularly from the United Kingdom that doesn't go down well at all because as you know the United Kingdom blames the Soviet Union, sorry, Russia, of using Soviet tactics in the Novichok poisonings and the Skripals, if you remember, ex-Russian spies, were poisoned a few months ago. They survived but this last week others were poisoned, we believe it was an accident and a follow up from the debris of the Novichok.

Nonetheless one of them has died and now it's a murder investigation so this is part of the very tense atmosphere not to mention the involvement and the exacerbation of internal affairs and Putin acting the way he does in Syria and around in Europe as well. So that part of it doesn't go down well. The president might think it would be easier to talk to Putin than it would be to his allies.

On the other issues that you just brought up, again, the statements don't bear any resemblance to the facts. The president has said, as you saw that statement, that frankly the NATO benefits the rest of the world more than it benefits the United States.

HARLOW: Right.

AMANPOUR: That is clearly untrue because in the 70-year history of NATO, the only time that the Article Five has been called for and implemented, in other words an attack on one is an attack on all, was after the United States was attacked on 9/11.

HARLOW: On 9/11, right.

AMANPOUR: And NATO came to the U.S. rescue in Afghanistan and, you know, partly in Iraq as well.

[09:10:08] So that part of it bears no relation to fact. Then the other part that bears no relation to fact is that somehow the United States is getting taken for a ride, the budgets are determined as a percentage of the nation's GDP so yes, the United States pays more as a percentage to the NATO budget but that's because it's the biggest economy. And as you mentioned all the nations have been creeping up much, much, much more rapidly to the 2 percent that's required after under President Obama in 2014 right here in the United Kingdom there was a meeting that demanded NATO countries all pony up their 2 percent and that has been happening.

HARLOW: So, Christiane, I think one interesting look and take at this "New York Times" from the head of the Marshall Fund, the German Marshall Fund, in Berlin said they're caught between dependency and outrage. Talking about European NATO members. And when you look at this meeting and then he heads to the UK and meets with Theresa May, when he was asked about that this morning, he pivoted to talk about Boris Johnson. The Foreign secretary of course resigned yesterday. Listen to what the president said.


TRUMP: Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He's been very, very nice to me, and very supportive. And maybe we'll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson, I've always liked him.


HARLOW: And then when he's asked about Theresa May's future as prime minister he says well, it's up to the people of the UK. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, right?

AMANPOUR: Well, yes, you know, it is extraordinary. I mean, hopefully, let's be an optimist and say well, the president is going to ask Boris Johnson to support his prime minister and not stab her in the back. Let's say that is what he plans to talk to Boris Johnson about but the notion that he would choose to speak to somebody who is generally considered as a backstabber of the highest proportions, of a totally selfish political backstabber, instead of his ally, the elected prime minister of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, is going to be taken yet again with, you know, a raised eyebrow at the very least so that for that.

But I would also say that, you know, in terms of the NATO, when you -- the other quote that you mentioned from the German Marshall Fund.

HARLOW: Yes. AMANPOUR: Of course Europe and the other countries depend on the --

you know, the United States and the umbrella, but they also pay into this, so to speak. They I provide all sorts of softer elements that the United States doesn't provide. The United States by and large provides the heavy lifting capacity, of the military capacity of NATO. The rest of NATO provides troops, as well as the U.S. But troops, diplomacy, humanitarian, all sorts of other parts of a big military alliance, not to mention Turkey as well, which is part of NATO.

HARLOW: Christiane, thank you very much. I'm so glad to have you here this morning.

Again the president lands in Brussels in just a few hours.

Get ready for a confirmation fight. The president's Supreme Court nominee set to make the rounds on Capitol Hill in less than two hours from now. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch is here. He has voted in the confirmation hearings of all nine justices currently on the high court. So how ugly does he think this fight will get?

Also, deadline day for the administration to reunite the youngest immigrant children separated from their parents? But will that happen for more than 100 kids under 5 years old?

And the president's former national security adviser makes his first appearance since admitting to lying to investigators. Michael Flynn set to arrive in court at any moment. We will take you there live.


HARLOW: Just hours after his primetime reveal in the East Room of the White House, President Trump's nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is set to go to Capitol Hill for what is essentially several dozen additional job interviews.

Brett Kavanaugh is a D.C. Circuit Court judge and former George W. Bush staffer who can now expect to spend the rest of the summer trying to win at least 50 Senate votes for confirmation.

Let's go to Jessica Schneider. She is in Washington. Jessica, for people waking up this morning who had no idea who Judge Kavanaugh is, tell us about him.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Poppy, first off, this is going to be a rough battle on Capitol Hill and it's a very tight timeline here. In fact, White House legislative director Marc Short, he says they expect Kavanaugh's confirmation by October 1. That's less than three months away.

And you can see there, Judge Kavanaugh has an extensive history inside the beltway. That, combined with his extensive paper trail and history working for President George W. Bush, that could be the biggest holdup in this nomination fight.

There are really millions of pages of documents that crossed Brett Kavanaugh's desk when he was staff secretary at the White House for George W. Bush at some very momentous times, like September 11 and also during Hurricane Katrina. So, Democrats will no doubt be pouring through those.

Brett Kavanaugh's history extends for the past 12 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. That is the most prominent appeals court in the country.

His resume really extensive. He was a clerk for the justice he could replace, Anthony Kennedy. Interesting, he was the lead author of the 1998 Ken Starr report that detailed Bill Clinton's involvement with Monica Lewinsky. It also laid out the grounds for impeachment.

But it's interesting here, and Democrats will likely seize on this, after working for the George W. Bush administration, Kavanaugh also wrote a law review article saying that he had new appreciation for the demands of the presidency and then recommended that presidents should be shielded from litigation until after they leave the White House. So, that was an interesting take on things there.

[09:20:10] Kavanaugh, he really tried to quiet the outcry from Democrats when he spoke last night saying that he will first and foremost uphold the rule of law. Take a listen.


BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: I will tell each senator that I revere the constitution. I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. I will keep an open mind in every case.


SCHNEIDER: And Judge Kavanaugh also talked about his background. Both of his parents were lawyers. They went to law school while working full-time jobs when he was a kid.

He also talked about the fact that he has employed a number of female clerks. So, really trying to broaden out his resume, but Democrats are definitely in for a fight. And the fight, Poppy, starts today.

Judge Kavanaugh, he'll be on the Hill with Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That all starts at 11:15 for what will be, like you said, a very long summer in this heated confirmation battle. Poppy?

HARLOW: No summer at the beach to say the least. Jessica Schneider, thanks for bringing us up to speed.

HARLOW: My next guest is not only the longest-serving member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he's also been part of the confirmation process for every member of the current Supreme Court as well as half of all federal judges who have served.

Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, it's good to have you this morning.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Nice to be with you, Poppy.

HARLOW: You call Judge Cavanaugh an outstanding choice. So, what is the most important question that you plan to ask him in the confirmation hearings?

HATCH: Well, I'll reserve that probably until we get into it and see what the Democrats raise.

HARLOW: Oh, come on! Come on! Let us know your number one question. Let's leave politics out of it.

HATCH: The number one thing that I'm concerned about is does he understand the role of judges and, of course, I know he does. And that is not to make the laws, but to interpret the laws. And I think establish that right off the bat. And he'll come through with that on very, very good terms.

HARLOW: OK. So, one of your Democratic Senate colleagues, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, tweets this this morning. "Brett Kavanaugh was the only nominee on Trump's shortlist who has written that a sitting president should not be indicted. It's not a coincidence he was selected."

Of course, he's referring to the 2009 Minnesota Law Review opinion that he wrote. And let me read this to you. He wrote, "The indictment and trial of a sitting president moreover would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility either in the international or domestic arenas."

He's referring to, should the president become entangled in the Mueller probe, should these key questions come before the court, like can a sitting president be indicted or can a president pardon himself or can the president be subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, that these are all very important questions that, as a sitting justice, he would have to face.

Do you have concern about that?

HATCH: No, I don't because I think it's pretty clear that what he was saying is let's not interfere with the presidency and what has to happen in all of these various problems that the president has to face, but I would think he'd have no difficulties at all if the president was really committing crime and doing -

HARLOW: Right. But the issue is your Democratic counterparts say, isn't that an issue that he's already laid out in his 2009 writing that he does not believe that a sitting president should be indicted.

He then went on to say, as you know, there is the impeachment process.

HATCH: Well, I'd hate to have every item that I've written over the last 42 years examined because, some of them, I found I was wrong on.

HARLOW: But do you think he was wrong on that then? Do you think he was wrong on that? HATCH: No, I don't think he was wrong, but I'm saying I think that - I think that he basically was just saying that, look, we'll decide those things once we're confirmed.

HARLOW: That is exactly what happens when you're up to be a Supreme Court justice. Everything you've written in the last decades is closely examined, as it should be.

Just quickly, before I move on to immigration, some of your Republican colleagues in the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Rand Paul, did express - our reporting is - concern to the White House in the days leading up to the Kavanaugh nomination about Kavanaugh.

Some feeling that some of his dissent on key issues like abortion, for example, or the Affordable Care Act when he was on the circuit court didn't go far enough. Do you share any of their concerns?

HATCH: I share every concern because, naturally, I'd like to have the justices that we confirm to the court be people who answer all the questions. But let's face it, that isn't the way the real court system works.

He'll have to answer individual questions when they come up. I have no doubt he can do it. He's a very intelligence man. He's a very honest person. He's a very articulate and straightforward guy. And, frankly, I know quite a bit about him. And all I can say that's all you really can ask for in a justice on the court.

[09:25:13] HARLOW: Although it has been hard to get very, very straight and clear answers from these nominees since Bork, as you know.

But let's move on to immigration. The president, this morning, was asked about the separated families at the border. The deadline is today to reunite children under five with their parents.

And when asked about a solution to it, here's what the president said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That's the solution. Don't come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.


HARLOW: That is not a solution to the already-separated families. And your fellow Republican senator, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Ron Johnson, told CNN yesterday it "boggles his mind that these families are still separated." He said they are human beings. We are not making progress reuniting them and that he's not, senator, getting answers to his questions.

Do you share in his frustration?

HATCH: I do. And I agree with Sen. Johnson. I think that these are very important issues. I think the president knows that too. He's hit with these questions on the spur of the moment and he answers them the best he can.

And I'm sure if he had a little more time, he would have explained even more than he did.

HARLOW: Here's the thing, senator. He had all the time he wanted. It's up to him when he went to board Marine One and head to Air Force One. He could have said more on this, and he didn't. Should the president be saying more to push his administration to speed up reuniting these kids with his parents?

HATCH: Well, I would like to see that. I have no doubt that he is 100 percent in favor of reuniting those kids with their parents. We all are. But he also has to deal with reality and that is - sometimes that's more difficult to do and it's going to take some real effort on all of our part to make sure that gets done.

HARLOW: But when it's your practice that separates them, then it's on you to reunite them.

HATCH: I agree.

HARLOW: But you say the president should do more. Before you go, the president heads to Brussels for the NATO summit. Then he sits down with Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Interestingly, this morning, he said, of all those meetings with our NATO allies, with Prime Minister Theresa May in the UK and then Vladimir Putin in Russia, he said Putin may be the easiest of them all. His critics say what? That plays right into the hands of Vladimir Putin. What say you?

HATCH: Well, I think what he's doing is setting up Putin to think that he can push the president around. Listen, the president is not going to be pushed around by Putin. And neither are his counselors who advise him.

Let's just be honest about it. We know that Putin is a dangerous man, not a really good person and that he stands for a lot of things that we don't believe in. And the president knows that.

HARLOW: Do you like the president - do you like hearing the president say that that's going to be an easy meeting?

HATCH: Yes, I like that because I think what the president says is I can take him, I can do the job and I'm going to make sure that we get our points across.

HARLOW: Sen. Orrin Hatch, it's nice to have you. Thanks for being with me.

HATCH: Nice to be with you.

HARLOW: Judge Brett Kavanaugh is about to be scrutinized like never before. I will speak with one of his former law clerks next. And we're moments away from the opening bell. The Dow set to open

higher on Wall Street this morning. Investors brushing off trade fear, focusing on corporate earnings. Those start coming out this week.