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Family Reunification Process Underway; Michael Flynn Appears in Court; Boys, Coach, and Four Rescue Workers All Out of the Cave in Thailand; Trump Approval Rating Ticks Down to 41 Percent; Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Imprisoned After Fire. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 10, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:31:16] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Breaking news. A source tells CNN that those migrant children who have been separated from their families and in HHS custody are now being transferred over to ICE custody.

This is significant because today is the deadline for the youngest of those children, those under 5 years old, to be reunited with their parents.

Joining me now is Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles.

And Lindsay, it's nice to have you back. Thanks for joining me again.


HARLOW: So when you were with me a few weeks ago, we were talking about the 3-year-old toddler that you represented in court being separated from their parents. Talking about today and now that we know that some of these -- these families are being reunited for the youngest kids today, what do you know about how exactly that's going to work?

TOCZYLOWSKI: Well, you know, this has been a very secretive process in terms of how the government plans to reunite this slightly more than half of the 102 children who were under the age of 5. So that we haven't received a lot of details on exactly how this is going to happen. But unfortunately, what we're really concerned about is that nothing in this process thus far has been done in a way that prioritized child welfare. So we don't have a lot of confidence that the government is going to even do these reunifications in a way that will really prioritize the safety and health of these families.

HARLOW: So let me play for you what the White House Deputy Press Secretary, Raj Shah, said to my colleague, John Berman, just this morning on CNN, defending how the administration has been handling this especially when it comes to the safety of the children.


RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: One thing that we're running up against is that we need to vet and ensure that the people claiming to be parents are actually parents. We've had examples in the last administration, there was an inspector general report in which children were given to people who came with them across the border illegally who were not their parents. These children were abused. These children were -- you know, were taken advantage of. That's not a situation we can repeat.


HARLOW: I mean, look, I think we can all agree the safety of the children is of the paramount importance. Is it more important as he's arguing than meeting these deadlines?

TOCZYLOWSKI: Well, obviously the safety of the children is the most important thing. But this entire process, separating children from their parents at the border, the way that it was done, the reckless disregard for the safety of these children during that process does not give us confidence that the government can now claim they can't meet these deadlines purely because of a concern for child welfare.

So what we're at this point really concerned about is that the level of resources that were put into taking these children from their parents should be put in now to reuniting them. The fact that the government could not reunite every single one of these children under the age 5 within the guidelines that were set by the court really makes us gravely concerned that they will not be able to do it for the thousands more over the age of 5 who remain separated from their parents today.

HARLOW: Are you and your team representing any of these children under 5 that are part of this group of about 100?

TOCZYLOWSKI: We are representing children under the age of 5 who are in that group of 100. But we don't believe that any of the children that we're representing will be part of this group of 54 this morning who will be reunited.

HARLOW: And why is that? I mean, what are the challenges that those you represent are facing in terms of, you know, getting to their parents quickly?

TOCZYLOWSKI: Well, one of the challenges is that some of the parents have already been removed from the United States.

HARLOW: Right.

TOCZYLOWSKI: And so we believe up to 12 parents are already in their home countries, and the government doesn't necessarily know -- they said in court yesterday they don't know where those parents are.

[10:30:01] So what we would call for is an immediate cessation of removing any further parents who have children here in the United States. Just this morning, we'll be representing a father who we believe is at imminent risk of deportation whose 5-year-old son is being held in a separate facility in New York. So we're concerned that even though the government knows this is problematic with these children under the age of 5, for children over the age of 5 they're going to continue to perpetuate this major issue of removing parents while they're children are sitting in detention shelters all across the country.

HARLOW: Lindsay Toczylowski, thank you very much for joining us, especially on such a busy day for you and your team with those cases. We appreciate it.

I want to get now to Scott McLean, my colleague in Phoenix. You're there, and we're just seeing these reports that these transfers of the youngest children are happening right now. Is that right?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. So within the last hour or so, we were outside of a children's -- a children's care facility for immigrant children. And we saw a white van pull up and about five small children get into the van and drive away. The van came to this facility where we are right now.

This is an ICE facility. My colleague Paul Vercammen, he was at another facility, another children's care facility, where he saw a very similar scene. He says about a half a dozen kids getting into a van, backpacks were loaded into the back. And he saw at least one adult carrying a large teddy bear which was also loaded into the car. That van was also taken to this place.

This is an ICE -- they call it an enforcement and removal office. It is the only one in Phoenix. They've also got taped up this police tape here. I asked an employee who put it up why it was there. He just said to keep people away from the building. Not sure exactly why.

Now, Poppy, the big unanswered questions with these reunifications which is a source has confirmed is part of the court-mandated reunification process that is set to take place today for at least some of those kids who are under the age of 5. The big question is whether or not they will still be detained with their families or whether or not they will be deported or put into some separate sort of proceeding. But we know that at least some of those reunifications have already started this morning here in Phoenix -- Poppy.

HARLOW: And also, Scott -- and thank you for being here. Let us know, you know, what you hear as this all continues because I know it's happening in real time. Thanks so much.

Breaking news, former Tramp national security adviser Michael Flynn has just left a courtroom in D.C. We'll have the latest on that next.


[10:41:37] HARLOW: All right. More breaking news this morning. Quite a busy morning. Moments ago, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn left the D.C. district court after what was supposed to be a routine sentencing hearing. It was his first appearance. First time we're seeing him in public really since he admitted to lying to investigators back in December.

Let's go straight to Evan Perez, our justice correspondent. He was inside the court.

So this was all about the judge saying what is taking you so long to get him sentenced after, you know, after admitting to lying to investigators. What did Mueller's team say?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. You remember that General Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI back in December. So six months later, the federal judge who's now overseeing the case simply brought everybody here, the prosecutors, the Flynn team, to ask them what's taking so long.

The answer came that he is still cooperating with the prosecutors from the -- the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, and so the government is not ready yet for sentencing. Essentially while he's continuing to provide information, whatever cooperation he's providing. The government did not exactly say. But while that is still happening, the government wants to delay the sentencing.

The judge expressed some concern because at this point the -- the lawyers, all the lawyers involved, had tried to do some procedural things that the judge said simply were not necessary now. It was a strain on the probation office. And so what we're looking at is another update in August when we may yet hear when Mike Flynn is going to be sentenced for lying to the FBI. He faces up to five years for pleading guilty to this.

We don't expect that he's going to get nearly that much. But it looks like for at least the next couple of months during the summer, Mike Flynn is going to keep working with the FBI and Special Counsel Mueller before he gets sentenced sometime later this summer -- Poppy.

HARLOW: OK. All right. Evan Perez, appreciate the reporting from inside the courtroom. Thank you.

We have more breaking news. Miraculous news to share with you this morning. Every single person inside that cave in Thailand has been rescued. We have just learned moments ago that the team doctor and those three divers have also been rescued. They are safe.

Ivan Watson joins me now with more. What a day.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, this has been a great day to be a journalist here in northern Thailand because the news has been so good. The commander of the Thai cave rescue operation is speaking to journalists. He's giving a press conference 30, 40 yards from where I'm standing right now and he has announced that the three Thai Navy SEAL divers and the doctors who spent more than a week in the cave where the Thai boys soccer team and their coach were trapped for more than two weeks, that they now, too, have also emerged to safety.

So that means all of the people, that means that the boys and their rescuers are now apparently out of harm's way. He prefaced his press conference by saying I would like to announce some good news today. And this is good news. Now we don't know the exact health of everybody who has emerged today. Four boys, their coach, and these divers. The doctor who so bravely stayed underground with them for so many days. But everybody's out, breathing fresh air right now -- Poppy.

[10:45:08] HARLOW: Thank goodness for that. Ivan Watson, thank you for being there. A remarkable day indeed. Of course, we'll wait to hear the condition of all of them. We'll be right back.


HARLOW: A new poll this morning shows the president's approval rating is down pretty low. 41 percent. This as the president also claims this morning he is the most popular Republican in the history of the party.

Let's get the facts. CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis is here. He did tweet this morning his approval is 90 percent. But this poll shows otherwise.

[10:50:04] ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. There are some polls, they're old polls. When he says new poll, that was the part I found confusing. There are some old polls that show that he is in that high percentage range among Republicans.

HARLOW: Within his party. Yes.

LOUIS: Right. Within his party. Second only to Ronald Reagan. That was fairly early in his term, though. Nothing recent comes anywhere near 90 percent. So unclear what he's talking about . There is an interesting question about why he continually says things that we can easily tell are not true. And that to me is sort of more interesting. Right? Sort of the Trump politics of deception.

HARLOW: This 41 percent is from a weekly Gallup poll. And it does show is that his disapproval rating of 56 percent has actually ticked up since like the news headlines were all about this immigration crisis at the border and the separation of family from -- children from their parents.

LOUIS: Right. His numbers are what we would call upside down, meaning the disapproval is substantially higher, beyond the margin of error, higher than the approval rating. For most politicians, this is a sign of real trouble, this is a sign of alarm. You know, if you're numbers are upside down, as you get closer to an election there's a real problem. If you're the president, as you get closer in this case to the midterm elections and your numbers are upside down, people who are running with you, members of your party, your allies, they also start to have problems.

But Donald Trump, you know, he sort of banishes it with a tweet, and just says, I am -- you know, I am popular, so pay no attention to those facts in front of you."

HARLOW: What do you make of his Supreme Court pick just in terms of what it tells us about the president's mindset?

LOUIS: Well, I -- you know, what I take from it is that interestingly enough, although he always talks about the deep state and complains, he hates the Bushes, he literally just hates them.

HARLOW: This is a guy from the Bush 43 White House.

LOUIS: This is a guy from Bushland. He worked actually for H.W. Bush and then he worked for the son.

HARLOW: Yes, and then --

LOUIS: And he comes -- I mean, he's been involved in every partisan warfare project of the last 20 years. So he's a political battler really. And in the end when the chips are down, this is who Donald Trump has to rely on. This is who he has to turn to. He has to make peace with some elements of the party. So while he kind of acts eccentric a lot of the time, the president is, in fact, a practical politician. He knows that he's going to need the support of the mainstream of the party.

HARLOW: Right.

LOUIS: That's what this pick represents.

HARLOW: As he heads to Brussels, the NATO summit tomorrow, he's in the air right now, he chose this morning to say that his meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday will likely be the easiest of all of the meetings. So easier than meeting with our allies in Brussels, easier than meeting with our key ally, Britain, Theresa May, tomorrow.


HARLOW: What do you make of that?

LOUIS: Well, I mean, look, who we say is the key ally and who the president thinks is a key ally may be two different things. I mean, and frankly showing up in Moscow and taking orders is actually not all that hard, right. I mean --

HARLOW: But that's a big statement. I mean, you may not like what the UK -- you know, what NATO members are doing on contributing to, you know, defense spending, but you've got to admit they're our allies and we need them. And they came to our aid because Article 5 after 9/11, for example.

LOUIS: You're talking --

HARLOW: Rationally?

LOUIS: Not even rationally, you're talking about the standpoint of what the broad majority of Americans believe. What Donald Trump believes with regard to Russia, a source of increasing alarm to a lot of people, is something completely different. And he has sort of been on the attack against NATO. And on item after item when it comes to the European Union, when it comes to NATO, when it comes to our trade relationships, he appears to be doing things that coincidentally or not are almost precisely what Vladimir Putin wants.

HARLOW: Just to be very clear, is he factually correct or incorrect when he says that, you know, we need NATO less than Europe needs NATO?

LOUIS: Yes, no, that's -- look, it's an opinion of his. It's a shocking opinion. Not surprising at this point, but shocking.

HARLOW: Thank you, Errol. Nice to have you.

President Trump issued two new pardons just moments ago. Guess who, next.


[10:58:18] HARLOW: Breaking news, President Trump using his pardon powers again. This time signing full pardons for two cattle ranchers who were sentenced to five years in prison for causing a fire on public land.

Our Sarah Westwood joins me now. This case certainly got a lot of attention when it was heard. And I know at least the elder has served three years. What is this pardon about?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously President Trump is not afraid to use his pardon authority. We've seen him do it in far more controversial cases. This one like you mentioned got a lot of attention because in 2016 the sentencing of these two Oregon men to five years in prison for their involvement in causing that fire sparked outrage in the local community and ended up causing an armed stand-off with federal officials in the area.

That got a lot of attention obviously at the time. A judge had originally recommended that these two men, Dwight and Steven Hammond, cattle ranchers in the area, receive a lighter sentence because of the way the community might react. They ended up getting sentenced to five years in prison. Dwight Hammond has served three, Steven Hammond has served four. And President Trump announcing those pardon comes after he's already used this authority to pardon people from Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona to Dinesh D'Souza, conservative activist. Clearly President Trump not afraid to use this authority more liberally than some of his predecessors at this point in his presidency.

HARLOW: Yes. But this won't -- correct me if I'm wrong, this won't be seen nearly as controversial as the Arpaio or the D'Souza pardons?

WESTWOOD: Absolutely not. But it's another example of a high-profile incident that President Trump has waded into.

HARLOW: Yes. Right. And he says he's considering from Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich. We'll see.

Sarah Westwood, thank you.

And thank you all for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. I will see you back here tomorrow morning. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan begins right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.