Return to Transcripts main page


North Korea Hands Over 55 Cases Of Remains; S0urces: Cohen Has No Evidence To Support Claim; Official: Trump Angry Longtime Associate Subpoenaed; Trump: Sessions Recusing Himself Was A Mistake; Imran Khan Declares Victory In Pakistan Election; Deadline Passes for U.S. to Reunite Children and Parents; Amazon Makes $2.5 Billion in Q2 Profit; U.K. Grapples with Summer Heat Wave. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 27, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, a solemn ceremony 55 years late as North Korea hands over the remains of U.S. troops killed through the Civil War. From fixer to foes, sources tell CNN that U.S. President's former personal attorney Michael Cohen is ready to testify that candidate Trump knew all about that infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016 when Russians promised to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton. And record profits as Amazon making the world's richest man even richer while many of his workers barely get by on minimum wage. Hello everybody! It's great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

North Korea has just handed over 55 cases to the United States believed to hold the remains of servicemen missing since the Korean conflicts in the early 1950s. The ceremony on airbase in South Korea coincided with the 65th anniversary of the Korean Armistice. Alexandra Field join us now from Osan Air Base. So Alexandra, how long before there is confirmation of the identity of the remains which have been handed over in this 55 cases?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jon this could really be a very long process depending on the condition of those remains, depending on what exactly the U.S. has (AUDIO GAP). Initially, a team did go into North Korea this morning. U.N. command officials went over there to collect the remains. There was a preliminary review of what North Korea was handing over and then those boxes were flown right here to Osan Air Base. This is the closest U.S. airbase to the DMZ. This was the initial point of return for the remains of those fallen soldiers killed in the Korean War so many decades ago. The cargo plane touched down. Each of the 55 boxes carefully taken off of that plane. An honor guard was present (AUDIO GAP) servicemen and women from Osan and from all around South Korea were invited to attend to watch this important moment.

From here though, the remains are taken to another hangar on the base, that's where some forensic investigation will be done in a week. We'll see a full ceremony and then these boxes will be sent on to Hawaii. That's where a lot of the work needs to happen inside a military laboratory as where you'll see more of the DNA and forensic testing. That's the process (AUDIO GAP) months but really making all of these identifications bear warrants could take years. Still, there is some hope for some family members that they could be getting good news that the remains of their loved ones killed so long ago (AUDIO GAP) have been recover and return, John. This is the day a long time in the making.

VAUSE: Yes, Alex, these remains -- the handover of the remains of missing U.S. servicemen had been put on hold for about a decade. Why had this process stall for so long?

FIELD: Yes, this is a process that we have seen happen repeatedly through the decades. There have been different times when North Korea will return a couple hundred sets of remains at a certain time, but those happenings usually coincide with times where there is not a lot of tension to what you have seen since there has been a breakdown in communication or since there was a breakdown in communication with North Korea. The tensions rose is that there was an end to this program of returning these remains.

It was very important to President Trump. He sat down with Kim Jong- un in Singapore to work to get a commitment from North Korea not just to return remains of some of the service members that they say they had already discovered but to work to unearth more of those remains. So this is something that you do see happen at times when there is dialogue (AUDIO GAP) right now (AUDIO GAP) it's looked at as a step forward from North Korea even as we see no apparent progress (AUDIO GAP) in terms of an agreement on denuclearization. This is something that North Korea had committed to and this is something that they have now followed through. John?

VAUSE: Alex, thank you. We appreciate the update. Alexandra Field there live in Osan Air Base in South Korea. Well, after decades of heartbreak and uncertainty, some families they finally get closure once the service members remains are identified. CNN's Will Ripley reports on how this historical moment came about.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And to clear the entire Korean problem and bring about world peace --

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Any hope for peace after the 1953 armistice gave way to bitter cold war. 65 years later the communist North and democratic South are still divided along the 38th parallel. Very few people crossed the DMZ dead or alive. Korean war dead are no exception. Some three million people were killed including tens of thousands of Americans. Thousands of those U.S. troops are believed to be buried in mass graves. Some just miles from the South but impossibly out of reach for their families. Ruth Hebert came to the DMZ searching for her father First Lieutenant Karle Seydel. The Colorado Marine died on December 7th, 1950.

[01:05:16] RUTH HEBERT, DAUGHTER OF A FALLEN SERVICEMAN IN NORTH KOREA: My mother here, she had two little babies when he was killed so it was very hard. My brother was 13 days old when my father left. RIPLEY: Grief made harder by the fact families may never have

closure. North Korea has returned the remains of just 340 U.S. service members since 1990. Pyongyang has identified another 200 sets of likely American remains more than 7,000 fallen U.S. troops may still be buried somewhere in North Korea. The search for the missing dead abruptly ended more than a decade ago as nuclear tensions escalated, repatriation efforts stopped. But this year's Korean detente revived the hopes of military families. After the historic Singapore summit, President Trump declared missing Korean War remains would soon be handed over possibly in days. More than six weeks later, Ruth Hebert is still waiting for news about her father.

HEBERT: His bones are still here in the North with so many that died there that they weren't able to recover but our hearts are really comforted and strengthened being here

RIPLEY: Strength and hope for closure, hope for a final end to the never-ending Korean War. Will Ripley, CNN.


VAUSE: President Donald Trump's former Attorney Michael Cohen is now offering the Mueller investigation what could be a possible political bombshell. Sources say Cohen is prepared to testify that then- Candidate Trump approved in advance of a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a group of Russians. The premise of that meeting was to hand over political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The attendance was a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin. If Cohen's account is true, it directly contradicts numerous denials from the President and others within his family, his legal team, and his administration. Well, for all of this, Democratic Strategist Caroline Heldman, Republican Strategist Luis Alvarado and CNN Legal Analyst Areva Martin. OK, with the legal expertise, Aretha first to you. I want to read a little bit more about our reporting out there about what Cohen has and does not have. To be clear these sources said Cohen does not have evidence such as audio recordings to cooperate his claim but he is willing to attest to his account. So without that corporation, when it's just his word, what is the value of this testimony?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The testimony is incredibly valuable. In a court of law, the testimony by a single witness can be believed by a trier of fact and can be enough to convict someone so it doesn't matter that this isn't a tape recording and I don't think we can lose sight of how significant this is. This is the attorney's personal lawyer. The guy that said several months ago that he would take a bullet for the President, who pledged his you know, undying loyalty to the President who is now talking about cooperating with the special counsel and to be the first witness in the Trump's inner circle to testify about something. This meeting which could be the linchpin in terms of this investigation as it relates to collusion.

This is an incredible piece of news and reporting and if this is true, and it could be corroborated by others who we have been told we're in the meeting so it doesn't matter that it's on tape if other witnesses will come forward in that same meeting and we don't know. A lot of these witnesses have already testified before special counsel so we don't know what they've said to the special counsel because he's been so professional and you know so quiet about his investigation as a prosecutor should. But I think this is incredible evidence and potential evidence that could be you know, the death nail of Donald Trump and could be what we've been looking for in terms of this whole collusion argument.

VAUSE: And Luis, even the choice of you know, attorney by Cohen, he had -- you know, Lanny is very close to the Clintons so it's a in some ways it's a very obvious message to Donald Trump that you know, he's kind of change sides here.

LUIS ALVARADO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There's no question. Cohen has says you know, you didn't come and help me out, I'm going to come out with everything that I have and save my own skin. And that's unfortunate because we don't -- we're not going to know exactly what happened until we see the evidence that's presented in a true -- when Mueller comes out with the investigation. From a political perspective, America knew they were going to send a bull to the China shop, they knew who is going to be a nationalist, they knew who is going to be an isolation -- isolationist and he's delivered on those promises. The question is will the lies or will the untruths or where the behavior of this administration suffer from the investigation and still that's very unclear. We're getting drip, drip, drip, and we don't know exactly what's going to happen.

[01:10:17] VAUSE: I think -- I think you made a very good point in the sense that voters knew what they were getting in terms of Trump, what he said on the campaign but Caroline, do you think they expected somebody who you know, may have allegedly directly colluded you know, with Russian operatives and knew all about this meeting to get over research and whatever else is out there?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. And if Mueller does connect those dots then I think the American public will respond in kind and will not put up with this. But at the end of the day, this -- the question is what did Trump know and when did he know it. So this is the first account we have of confirming from one person as you noted right, his attorney that he knew beforehand. But this is a man that we know micromanages things so it's stretched believability that this could have taken place in Trump Tower to begin with calling in the highest levels of his campaign including his son-in-law and including his son. I mean, it's just -- it stretches believability that he didn't know about it.

VAUSE: Paul Manafort was there as well.

MARTIN: Absolutely. So any claim that they were neophytes is you know, undermined by the fact that Paul Manafort was there. And I just wanted to say, to Luis' point, it wasn't baked into the equation that Donald Trump would be possibly implicated in criminal activity. If you remember during the campaign it was locked her up, it wasn't locked him up. And he said Hillary Clinton would be the most investigated president in modern time and as it turns out he is the most investigated president in modern time.

VAUSE: He is. The President's lawyer Rudy Giuliani tried to essentially go up to Cohen about his credibility and you know, denying this possible claim from Michael Cohen.


RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I mean, we all make mistakes about people who turn out to be disloyal to us. You know, Benedict Arnold was disloyal to George Washington and the greatest president right? So anybody can brutish and seize it. I mean, you can go back to ancient classical literature and you can find people who you think you trust and they turn out to these scoundrels.


VAUSE: Luis, I mean, I love it. So you're comparing Donald Trump to George Washington but maybe Cohen is (INAUDIBLE) to Donald but maybe he's Daniel Iceberg or you know, maybe a (INAUDIBLE) of the Pentagon Papers Fame. I mean, but you know, it could be seen that if Cohen does actually tell the truth, he's doing the nation a great service.

ALVARADO: Well, I think what's important is when we just heard was a few days ago there was a tape that was released and I think that brought a body to -- that was brought up from the swamp that kind of gave the people a sense that these guys are dirty. You know, these guys don't operate at a higher moral level. But that's what we knew Donald Trump was in New York City as a realtor guy. So to say --

MARTIN: We didn't expect that in our president. You keep saying we knew that, I don't think the American public knew at all the depth and breadth of which these scandals would continue to erupt on, not just a daily basis, almost an hourly basis.

VAUSE: Well, this is -- this is some reporting from The Washington Post. Cohen's actions appear to driven more by his outrage of the President's indifference and feelings of betrayal coupled with his personal and financial weight of a criminal case being assembled by federal prosecutors than by a legal strategy to help his case. So Caroline, you know, just -- you're bringing the President to one side this, is how they break down the ball. You know, it's always the ultimate loyalists the insider who you know, gets caught on something and eventually turns and rats out the mob guy right?

HELDMAN: Indeed and Michael Cohen is a -- he's a scoundrel. He is. He went into these meetings and he recorded them and in fact he had this pattern where he would actually play recordings to Donald Trump that he had made of other people for leverage but Donald Trump, it never occurred to him that his scoundrel would use the same techniques on him. I mean, at the end of the day, this really is lies at the feet of Donald Trump for not being smarter about who he surrounds himself with.

VAUSE: OK, (INAUDIBLE) I know, you mentioned this recording between Cohen and Trump. At one point on that recording, he refers to someone called Allen.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that -- I'm going to do that right away. I've actually come up and I've spoken --


COHEN: And, I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with --

TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this?


VAUSE: OK, and a source close to Trump Organization described Allen Weisselberg as the number two in command of the Trump Organization. There wasn't a big deal that didn't get approved without Allen, the source says. According to the source, Weisselberg probably knows the most about the business aside from President Trump's children. Weisselberg, the source added, was one of the few executives at the organization who knew what everyone was working on.

[01:14:55] And you, Areva, now according to our reporting, Weisselberg has been subpoenaed as far as the Cohen criminal investigation. If the President was concerned about what Michael Cohen could say, how would it be feeling right now about Weisselberg?

MARTIN: Very nervous.


MARTIN: Because if you recall so much of this has been about the money, and following the money and here's the money guy.

VAUSE: There is no attorney, there's no accountant compliance here in privilege.


MARTIN: No, there is no privilege, you are subpoenaed, you have to tell the truth, you have to answer questions, or face contempt of court yourself. This guy works for Trump's father, this is how close he is and how better he is in the Trump Organization.

And we -- what we know from reporting is Trump's personal finances and his business finances are inextricably linked. And so, this Allen guy, not only knows about the deals to silence women who were going to come forward to tell about their extramarital affairs as we heard on the tape, but he also knows about all of the financial dealings that Donald Trump was involved in.

So, Donald Trump has been worried about Michael Cohen, he's probably on steroids. Now that, that worry is probably on steroids as it relates to Allen being subpoenaed and having to answer questions and give information about Trump finances which have pretty much been in the dark. And the American people have been kept pretty much in the dark about these finances. So, we may be getting closer to those tax returns, to Trump was never disclose.

VAUSE: One day.

MARTIN: We're maybe getting closer.

VAUSE: CNN's Jeff Zeleny, reports that "Official describe the president's mood as angry. A point that was reflected in his grievance leased afternoon speech in Illinois. The president said time on the phone with lawyers and others learning details about the subpoena. It's getting closer and closer to his inner circle. How do you think he feels a Republican close to the White House," told Jeff.

I say, Caroline, buckle up, get sets of some all cat tweets of the coming days, right?

HELDMAN: Yes. And it's clear that the grip is getting tighter.


HELDMAN: Mueller, kicked to the investigation into Cohen over to the Attorney General of New York, and that's where the Weisselberg subpoena comes in. So, it's very clear that the finances are also a big focus here.

And it's important to point out that Weisselberg also took over the Trump Organization after Donald Trump assumed the presidency. So, he can also speak to these issues with emoluments and conflicts of interest in addition to -- you know, basically every financial and other body that might be buried.

VAUSE: OK, we think is the emoluments but that's another story which is going on. It's always on the Twitter investigation because it's May last year, the U.S. president has described the Russia inquiry as a witch-hunt on Twitter more than 90 times.

Now, Robert Mueller special counsels, saying in close to look at tweets and negative statements the president has made about the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as former FBI director James Comey.

According to New York Times, "Mueller is trying to determine whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry."

Tweets like this one, "James Comey is a proven leaker and liar. Virtually, everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked classified information for which he should be prosecuted.

He lied to Congress under OATH," all caps. "He is a weak and untruthful slime ball, he was at times has proven a terrible director of the FBI. His handling of the crooked Hillary Clinton case," goes on and on. "It was my great honor to fire James Comey."

And then, there's this one, "James Comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press."

Luis, anything wrong with that? Just thinking possible -- you know, impression or intimidation being put on a government official?

ALVARADO: What certainly not, what we aspire to have our president say or do. But so far, he has become the tough on gun in Washington, D.C.

The question is how effective would the investigation be? From a legal perspective, from a political perspective, how long will Republican leadership stand by him? Because it's very clear that Republican leadership can also turn in a dime and become just like Cohen.

And you know, one day -- you know, say that they're going to take a bullet for the president, and the next day, they're going to be looking out for their own election. So, a lot of things --


MARTIN: They're very quiet on the tapes. We haven't heard senior leadership from the GOP Party said, look at all about the tapes.


ALVARADO: So, it's still very young. I know there's going to be fallout. The question is who's going to stand strong by the President? And that's still a political question that we don't understand.

VAUSE: OK. Well, we -- there was a full sample of what the president would -- James Comey, though. Here are some choice words he said to Jeff Sessions.


TRUMP: Sessions should have never recused himself. And if he would think he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.

I'm very disappointed with the Attorney General. The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself. He made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.


VAUSE: Caroline, it -- you know, they say it is often difficult to prove obstruction of justice because you need to -- you know, have some kind of criminal intent -- you know, of actually work that out and prove that. From what we've seen, what do you -- what do you think?

HELDMAN: Well, he goes on live television and says, "Yes, I hired Comey because of the investigation." He then spends a year and a half beating up on Jefferson Beau regard Sessions the third, which you know, I'll never get over the fact that Trump makes me feel bad for his attorney general who otherwise has passed some very racist and draconian policies.

But he's doing in a broad daylight and it's interesting that Giuliani is saying, "Well, no, it's not -- he's not doing it because he's doing it so publicly."

[01:20:21] VAUSE: Yes.

HELDMAN: But that's exactly what he's doing. He's using his public office and Twitter, the combination of the president -- presidential power and Twitter to bludgeon his opponents into silence and to back off from this investigation.


VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) official status. I just want to ask Areva, the legal defense being put up by Giuliani is that a copy of obstruction of justice? Because it's all out there in the open, and you know, obstruction of justice happens in the (INAUDIBLE).

MARTIN: Let's play for the records that pretty much everything Giuliani has said, he's continues to say -- is questionable, and oftentimes just downright wrong.


MARTIN: And that statement included that you can't obstruct justice unless you're doing it in secrecy is an absurd statement. We know that Trump uses Twitter for the sole purposes of bullying people, of intimidating people, of sending messages sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle as those tweets that you just read.

And I think, it's a brilliant move by Mueller and his team to go to every tweet he's ever posted.


VAUSE: They going to be dizzy.

MARTIN: Because they tell a story. And one thing to keep in mind about prosecutors, it's not going to be like we see on television.


MARTIN: One smoking gun, it's going to be -- you know, tons and tons of evidence that they've amassed which now has taken place over a year's time. They're going to -- their tweets, their e-mails, there's testimony from live witnesses, their documents. There is so much that we don't see that Mueller has already gathered.


MARTIN: That's building the case towards obstruction, and I believe who --

VAUSE: Yes, we're out of time, but someone described, Mueller is like the submarine to surfaces every now, and then, you get a bit of a clue in it back down for the water.


MARTIN: But he know, pieces to the puzzle together.

VAUSE: Exactly.

ALVARADO: And the question is, will a torpedoes hit tomorrow?

VAUSE: Nice way to finish. Luis, thank you very much. Areva and Caroline, thank you as well.

OK, we'll take a short break, but next here on NEWSROOM L.A., he's being called a lot of things, cricket star, Playboy, much light, his next title verb will likely be prime minister. Imran Khan, rise to power in Pakistan, in just a moment.

And falling short, the Trump administration says it's done its job of hundreds of families separated at the U.S. border with Mexico still did not have their choice.


[01:25:00] VAUSE: The official results aren't out yet, and his rivals alleged vote rigging. But Imran Khan is declaring victory in Pakistan's general election. He rose to fame as a cricket star, but he's no newcomer to politics. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more now on Khan's rise to power.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An historic height in an extraordinary journey. Cricket star turns socialite, turned political firebrand, Imran Khan is close to becoming Pakistan's new prime minister after a bitterly fought election that's upturned Pakistan's tightly controlled political order.

And casting the sporting icon at a sometimes anti-American force for change. Born into a wealthy family in the hall, Khan soon discovered his gifts as a fast bowler, leading Pakistan to its first and only Cricket World Cup victory in 1992. And Khan to become the national hero in a country where cricket is always worshipped and politicians often reviled.

He retired from the sport and after a spell as an international playboy, he married his first wife, wealthy London social life, Jemima Khan. A family man, he raised money for charities. One, building a cancer hospital in his home city Lahore.

But, back in the turmoil and injustice of 90s, Pakistan, his political ambitions grew. Founding a new party, The Pakistan Movement for Justice. His central pitch, to end corruption among the country's ruling elite. Pakistani politics has few umpires or rules though and is often marred by violence and coups. He was briefly arrested in 2007 for criticizing military leader General Pervez Musharraf. In just a month later, a political rival, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on the campaign trail.

But still, Khan kept his sights on the Premiership. By 2013, it could marshal huge crowds and win the vote in one Pakistani province. He remained a distant third, however, nationwide. His conservatism grew was well religious, planning American interference and favoring Pakistan's drastic and sometimes brutal blasphemy laws.

This year, he wrote a populist wave, promising to fight for equality and get tough on terror. His vision he says it's the renew Pakistan. Quite what that means, his critics don't know.


ZAHID HUSSAIN, CORRESPONDENT, THE TIMES, LONDON: It's not very clear what really he wants to do. He wants to change the system but nobody knows exactly what kind of change could he bring.

WALSH: His supporters think, any change is good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are supporting Imran Khan, because of his promise to stop corruption in Pakistan. We are hopeful that we will have a better future, our children will have a better future.

FAKHIRA JAN, SUPPORTER OF IMRAN KHAN (through translator): This is the first time anyone has treated us as human beings. But we have rights too, somebody is finally saying we also need medicine, and education, and other things.

WALSH: Yet this is just the first innings you'll need to form a stable government, handle a looming economic crisis, and navigate the powerful army who really decide the winners in Pakistani politics and may still be unsure about this charismatic reformist outsider. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Islamabad.


VAUSE: Well, next on "NEWSROOM L.A. Despite a court order deadline, hundreds of parents still do not have their children after they're taken by immigration officials on the U.S. border with Mexico.


[01:31:07] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back -- everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Sources tell CNN the former Trump attorney Michael Cohen alleges Donald Trump knew in advance about that 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. The President and others have repeatedly denied that Mr. Trump had any prior knowledge of this meeting. But Cohen says he was present when then candidate Trump was told about the upcoming get together by his son, Don Jr.

North Korea has just handed over 55 cases of what's believed to be the remains of U.S. troops killed during the Korean War. It's the first such handover in more than a decade. The ceremony coincided with the 65th anniversary of the Korean armistice.

Imran Khan is declaring victory in Pakistan's disputed general election. His party's leading in early results but the official count isn't out yet. The former cricket star is seen as being a favorite of the military and his opponents are now alleging the vote was rigged.

A court-ordered deadline just passed demanding the Trump administration reunite parents with their children who were taken when they crossed the U.S. border illegally from Mexico. More than 1,400 families have been reunited, but more than 700 children remain in detention centers, and it's not clear when or if they'll actually see their parents again.

Excuse me.

Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Areva Martin once more and Republican strategist Luis Alvarado. Thanks for sticking around.

Ok -- 1,400 reunions down, 700 more to go. We're hearing this claim of sort of success or victory coming from this administration. The chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday, "We expect to be able to reunify all eligible parents -- eligible parents who are within ICE custody this evening by the court order."

And you know, the key word there is eligible. They've sort of rewritten the rules here. And they still didn't kind of meet -- they still didn't meet their targets and they're kind of redefining and moving the goalposts.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. They didn't meet their target at all, John. And if anything, they want to be credited for the mess that they created. And really it shows the incompetence from the top to the bottom in terms of how these children and these families were handled. They were taken away from their parents, no tracking mechanism put in place, oftentimes not even knowing which child belonged to which parents.

And now trying to reunite those families has proven to be the nightmare that anyone would have expected it to be given the way the process was carried out. And this whole concept of them -- them being the government defining who's eligible to be reunified with their parents. And what we're hearing from the ACLU lawyers and other activists is that they are selectively choosing families --


MARTIN: -- and say you're ok. So you meet the standard so get your child back. But you -- we don't like you over here so you're not going to get your child back.

VAUSE: We'll get to that sort of the criteria and the standards in a moment. But we're also hearing from the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit in the first place. Their leaders are already saying, "The government should not be proud of the work they're doing separation. This is a disaster that they created.

You know, Luis -- so, you know, the leaders point here -- Areva's point, they created this mess, why can't they fix it.

LUIS ALVARADO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it was a political mess and one of the dark side -- one of the dark moments in the White House administration so far when President Trump allows the far right inside the White House, Steven Miller, to lead then this is what's going to happen. It's going to be a disaster in the words of Donald Trump. It was a disaster.

VAUSE: Bigly.

ALVARADO: Very bigly. And they have tried a fix. But we know that government is not going to always land on a dime, and it's not -- and so they're moving in the right direction but yes -- to answer your question, it was something that was created from the White House.


ALVARADO: Now, the government is trying to fix it. The government should not be political. They're trying to do the best they can knowing that the mission that was given to them was faulted and was going to cause a problem from the get-go.

[01:35:08] VAUSE: But you know, when you hear -- when the President is asked about this and he says I've got a solution. Tell them not to come in the first place. You get the impression quite strongly that this is a president who doesn't care. Because if the President was invested in fixing something like this, Areva, it would be fixed.

MARTIN: I mean not only does he not care, we haven't even heard the President talk about these children in the last --

VAUSE: We haven't heard Republicans talk about these kids.

MARTIN: We haven't had Republicans but the President himself has not addressed the nation and has given us any sense of confidence that they are really trying and that they have resources and the competency to reunite these families.

And what we're hearing on the ground is that it is chaos -- that kids are showing up, there are no parents; parents are showing up, there are no kids. Some kids are showing up with bruises, with illnesses. People are being stranded in bus stations and at airports.

And that there's no coordination at all and that really the government can't be trusted in terms of even what they're telling the courts about how quickly the process was working. How many families have been reunited. And then let's talk about those parents that were deported --


MARTIN: -- and kids are still here in the United States. So essentially they are orphans. They will have to go into some kind of foster care system. And that's hundreds of kids who've been ripped away from their parents and not able to be reunited because the government has no way of finding those parents that they have deported. That's deplorable.

VAUSE: Ok. We've had 13 Democratic senators who've released a video. They're reading a letter which was signed by some of the detained parents. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the United States public. July 15, 2018.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please help us. We're desperate parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Por favor, ayudamos. Somos madres de sesperados (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not criminals, but we need your help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not criminals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we need your help.


VAUSE: Luis -- I'm just wondering, as we head up to the midterms, is this an election issue which the Democrats can actually, you know, capitalize on? Is this a winning issue for Democrats?

Because, you know, I think they're being just -- you know, it will be a winning issue for Republicans just as much on the other side.

ALVARADO: Well, it's going to be the issue that's going to energize both sides of their own bases. And I always go back to the middle. How are the persuadable Independents going to react to it?

And there's an opportunity for Democrats to capitalize not just with Latinos to get them to come out to the vote. But also for the suburban women who understand the pain of separating a child from a mother.

And that is going to give pause. Maybe they're not going to show up and vote for a Democrat but they'll probably just stay at home. And that's what many strategists are trying to figure out. How's the effect -- how's the polling looking?

And the other danger is that Democrat's may overplay their hand --

VAUSE: Yes. ALVARADO: -- and make it look too political.

VAUSE: Like calls for abolishing ICE which is really stupid.

ALVARADO: -- because there was no message strategy, there was no message discipline. And that's one of the dangers that then becomes a negative on a negative for the Democrats.


Very quickly, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he admitted this policy error as we've known all along -- it was meant as a deterrent.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: But is it a deterrent -- sir? Are you considering it a deterrent?

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I say the fact that no one was being prosecuted for this as a factor in a five-fold increase in four years in this kind of illegal immigration. So yes, hopefully people will get the message.


VAUSE: We have discussed those numbers in the past -- Areva, how basically they're dodgy, rubbery figures but, you know, is anyone actually being deterred by this?

MARTIN: Not at all. And that's what's so insane and absurd about the whole policy. People are coming to the United States because they are fleeing unthinkable violence in their countries. And they're risking their lives to travel to the United States because it's safer than staying in their countries where their children are being raped, where they're being murdered.

And Jeff Sessions has no credibility. He was very clear that this policy was designed to separate children from their families for deterrent purposes. And then when his base came after him, the Christian right, he then says, well, we never intended to separate children from their families.

He has absolutely no credibility on this point. And the way the government has handled this is just the most anti-American thing that I can think of.

And to your point about women, I think women are going to respond in November and they're going to send a strong message to Republicans that you can't tear babies -- infants and children -- apart from their parents and expect to be reelected.

VAUSE: You know, I thought that that would be kind of like just an obvious statement. But I don't know anymore.

Anyway, we're out of time. So, you know, I'm not entirely convinced about anything at the moment. So we'll see. ALVARADO: November is just so far away.

MARTIN: Trust me, as a mother, this is an issue that resonates with parents.

VAUSE: There's what -- 90 days to go. That's like 180 scandals to go.

MARTIN: Trust me -- John, I'm hardly ever wrong. I'm right on this point.

VAUSE: I always -- I always trust you, Areva. Where would I -- I would always trust you. Thank you.

[01:40:04] ALVARADO: I trust the numbers.

VAUSE: Ok. Thanks -- Luis.

Ok. Next up here on NEWSROOM L.A. as Amazon breaks corporate records and the CEO gets even richer -- some employees are asking, hey, how about a bigger piece of all that money?


VAUSE: All thumbs down on Thursday for Facebook stocks -- the social media company lost about $120 billion in value. That's actually the equivalent size of the GDP of Kuwait. It's the biggest single-day loss for any public company ever.

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a bit of hit himself. His net worth dropped $16 billion, which lost him the title of the world's fourth richest man. He's now number six.

Investors aren't happy that Facebook is looking at revenue growth to grow while it focuses attention and resources on user privacy.

Meantime Amazon is seeing big earnings and a bright future. On Thursday, the company reported a quarterly profit of $2.5 billion, crossing that $2 billion mark for the first time ever. Most of that profit comes from its cloud computing business, giving competitors Google and Microsoft a run for their money.

And while Amazon's sales hit $52.9 billion this quarter, it's slightly lower than what some on Wall Street had in fact expected. The rise in Amazon's share price means the richest man in the world, CEO Jeff Bezos is actually, you know, even richer. Good for him. But some Amazon workers are complaining they're not actually feeling the love.

Clare Sebastian has more.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was the other side of Amazon's best sales day to date. At a warehouse near Madrid, around a thousand walked off the job complaining the company should increase pay and vacation time. There were similar scenes at six facilities in Germany.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure what to make of those reports. We offer very competitive wages and benefits.

SEBASTIAN: The strikes didn't stop Prime Day from breaking records. As sales rolled in, Amazon's stock hit new highs and CEO Jeff Bezos became the richest man in modern history. His wealth topping $152 billion.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: If this were not so pathetic it really would be laughable.

SEBASTIAN: Over in the U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders also picked Prime Day for a live town hall on corporate inequality.

SETH KING, FORMER AMAZON EMPLOYEE: The pay is not only not worth it but --

SEBASTIAN: Seth King, a former Amazon employee, was on the panel.

[01:45:02] KING: You're not allowed to sit down. You're not allowed to talk to people.

SEBASTIAN: King worked at an Amazon facility in Virginia last year where he says he earned $13 an hour.

KING: I was not in a good place mentally, and the isolation of the job made it even worse. And I felt suicidal.

SEBASTIAN: After two months he says he had a breakdown and stopped showing up. The company fired him for tardiness and denied his assertion that employees can't speak to their colleagues.

KING: People are not drones. You know? We're not mindless bodies that are just swarming to like do this task.

SEBASTIAN: In 2016 the Institute for Local Self-reliance compared Amazon's warehouse pay against other warehouse jobs in 11 U.S. metro areas.

STACY MITCHELL, INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL SELF-RELIANCE: We found that on average across these 11 metro areas, Amazon pays about 15 percent less than what workers are normally paid for warehouse jobs.

SEBASTIAN: Amazon told us "Our number one priority is to ensure a positive and safe working environment." The company also told us it encourages employees to compare their pay and benefits to other retailers. The average hourly wage for a full-time associate in our fulfillment centers including cash, stocks and incentive bonuses is over $15 an hour."

Amazon also told us they added 130,000 new jobs last year. Still experts say it's all adding up to an image problem for the company.

PETER SHANKMAN, MARKETING EXPERT: As someone who advises major companies I would tell them, hey, you know what -- one of the richest companies in the world, your CEO is the richest person in the world. You can do something about this.

Think about what having the backing of all the employees would do for the company, for the stock, for the morale, for the brand itself.

SEBASTIAN: Amazon now employs more than half a million people worldwide. It seems more and more want their voices heard.

Clare Sebastian, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: Ok. For more on this, Scott Perry joins us now. He's the founder of L.A. Tech Digest and author of "Snapchat 101".

Ok. Let's stick with that issue of the income disparity between Bezos and his workers.

Here's a headline from back in April. "The median Amazon employee's salary is $28,000. Jeff Bezos makes more than that in ten seconds." I think he makes like $3,200 a second which -- you know, it's impressive.

But he doesn't live this flashy lifestyle. Britain's "Independent" newspaper reports, "In general he has set a frugal tone at Amazon. He doesn't throw perks like massages or free lunch at employees. There's one after-dinner ritual Bezos always adheres to -- washing the dishes. Other than watching 'Star Trek' Bezos has another space-related hobby, gliding about in a submarine looking for old NASA rockets. He doesn't bring the kids along for the adventure."

Ok. So he has this sort of low profile. He seems kind of cheap. So could this become a problem though for Amazon apart from the basic, you know, inherent immorality because there's a lot of, you know, company's out there where CEOs earn, you know, a hundred times more than what everyone else does.

SCOTT PERRY, L.A. TECH DIGEST: Well, right. I mean the visual is what's really bad but, you know, the person simply -- it's good to be the king, right.

And so it's great that he makes that much money per second but if the stock comes down, he loses that much more per second. So a lot of the money that he has is tied up in stock and stock options and it's nice to think that he's worth - you know, the richest man on the planet.

But at the same time, Amazon does offer a lot of jobs on a lot of levels. Whether it's engineers in Seattle, if it's warehouse workers in Virginia -- now those aren't the kind of jobs that I would want because of the pressure in Seattle or the pressure on the floor in Virginia. But these are jobs.


PERRY: In fact if I were a 20-year-old kid right now, I would forego college altogether. Amassing $40,000 a day for four years and instead just getting a van and delivering packages for Amazon every day and just hustling. I mean that's just all there is to it.

VAUSE: Don't tell my kid that.

PERRY: Please.

VAUSE: Ok. In a letter to shareholders back in April, Bezos, to your point, said Amazon created 130,000 jobs last year covering a wide range of professions from artificial intelligence scientists to packaging specialists to fulfillment center associates.

So are we suddenly going to (INAUDIBLE) Amazon's here? Because if you're assigned to specializing in artificial intelligence, you're going to earn about $100,000 which is a lot more than someone working in a fulfillment center.

PERRY: Oh, yes. I mean you're making a lot more if you're doing the A.I. type initiatives or anything that's forward thing because now they have this health initiative between Bezos and Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett.

All the innovations that are coming with Alexa which has about I think 80,000 skill sets being independently built on top of this voice platform. So at some point, either you're going to be working for Amazon or with Amazon.

I've been a direct beneficiary because my book "Snapchat 101" sold a ton on their platform. And their bots took over the advertising for me when it reached certain thresholds and they know how to turn a nickel into a dollar.

VAUSE: Yes. And that's the thing here. They've always been good at the innovation, I think but if you look at these earning reports, the results show that they've actually managed to keep a lid on expenses while also investing in new businesses, new devices. And that -- that's not easy.

PERRY: Yes. And are you going to blame Jeff Bezos for being so rich. Or even look at the mirror and blame yourself because you're paying Amazon to provide you lower prices and better convenience. You are buying Amazon stock because you like that return on the investment.

[01:50:01] So whose fault is it really? You know, it's putting mainstream out of business. It's emptying shopping malls but that's because that's what the consumer is wanting right now.

Me, personally, I like the personal experience of going into a brick and mortar retailer, talking to somebody in my community about whatever product it is I buy. But for a lot of people who are stressed for time, strapped for cash that's the way they go.

So who's to blame?

VAUSE: Great experience -- thank you Jeff Bezos.

You're also seeing Amazon, you know the big profit opportunity is now sort of being found away from the online retail operation. It's in places like cloud computing. It's in advertising.

PERRY: Oh, yes.

VAUSE: So how is this company -- how do you see it changing, you know, as it sort of moves forward? And you know, will we ever get away from that retail online business?

PERRY: No, that's always going to be the core.

VAUSE: It's the --


PERRY: It's going to be a pencil thin margin business but it drives everything else because if you didn't have the Amazon retail consumer experience, do you really need Prime?

VAUSE: Right.

PERRY: And all of a sudden you're paying $120 a year for something you may or may not use on a regular basis. Like I don't watch Amazon Prime programming.

VAUSE: Well, I do.

PERRY: There you go.

VAUSE: "The Man in the High Castle".

PERRY: There you go. Awesome. Awesome.

But it's rare when they're original programs come up, it's going to go head to head against other stuff. So for the meantime this is -- I mean all the other services that come with an Amazon Prime subscription are great but how many of those are actually used? And when they pull the triggers on all those and when you have everything that's going on with the advertising platform or Amazon as an advertising platform that they use to sell more advertising, to sell goods as well as other initiatives.

I mean, we're just at the beginning stages of they could go into travel just like Costco does. They will go with the health care. There are so many other triggers to pull for them to make money in so many other areas.

VAUSE: It sort of feels like it's a race to control the world, doesn't it?

PERRY: That's the scary part.

VAUSE: Yes, exactly.

Scott -- thanks so much.

PERRY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Appreciate here.

Well next here on NEWSROOM L.A. the U.K. struggling to cope with a relentless heat wave and the high temperatures could actually become more common in the years ahead.


VAUSE: Well, the U.K. is enduring one of the driest and hottest summers on record. Experts warn this extreme weather will become more common and the country is not prepared.

Erin McLaughlin reports.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Utter devastation in Greece and wildfires in Sweden, near the arctic circle no less; across Europe temperatures so hot entire landscapes parched. Here's Denmark last month and then today.

Scientists say it's all been made worse by climate change.

PETER SCOTT, U.K. EAC OFFICE: So what we're seeing is part of the effects of climate change, the background levels of temperature rising. And then we're seeing the effects on natural weather variability in such a way that when we have heat waves they're being additionally reinforced and the chances of getting extreme temperatures have been raised due to climate change.

MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): Now the British government is sounding the alarm. A report by the U.K.'s Environmental Audit Committee warns that heat waves such as this one are now ten times more likely than they were in the early 2000s. And as heat waves become more frequent the number of deaths by heat could triple by 2050.

(voice over): The recent weather echoes the tragedy of 2003 -- temperatures in the U.K. reached a 500-year record, 38.5 degrees Celsius, the most severe heat wave Europe has ever seen with over 20,000 heat-related deaths.

The U.K. is ill-prepared to deal with these sweltering temperatures, the report warns. Hospitals, care homes, trains, roads, even the building people live and work in -- all vulnerable to overheating.

Public awareness or lack thereof of the potentially deadly risks also an issue. One member of Parliament saying people are more likely to treat heat wave warnings as barbecue alerts than life-threatening events.

[01:55:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not quite like a U.K. thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because our weather is quite rubbish. So when we have hot weather, it would just tend to top off and have barbecues in the parks and don't really worry about the bad things that people get into (INAUDIBLE) and fires and things like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, recently the weather seems so extreme like over the past two years. Like winter was -- our winter was so long this year and it was dark for so long. So I think people are just enjoying the summer.

MCLAUGHLIN: And it's that unpredictability that has scientists concerned.

SCOTT: The climate that we've had in the past that we may be used to in the past is not anymore reliable indication of what could happen in the future.

MCLAUGHLIN: Erin McLaughlin, CNN -- London.


VAUSE: Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us with more on the conditions in the U.K. and across Europe. You know, Derek -- the joke used to be how do you know it's summer in London? It's because the rain is warmer. But I guess, that those days are gone.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The rain is pretty much nonexistent in London. In fact, get a load of this. At London's Heathrow Airport they have only had -- get this -- less than one millimeter of rain over the past 58 days. Extremely dry across the United Kingdom as we speak; so dry that you can see it from outer space.

This is May 20th of this year. Look how green and lush the landscape is from Denmark right through southern England. And then we fast forward to a few days ago and look how dark brown this area just because of the drought that continues to immerse the region. We have had hot temperatures. That with very dry conditions and that leads to wildfires in Sweden and as far north as the Arctic circle.

You saw the brown landscape that Erin was standing in on her package just a moment ago. And look at this impressive temperatures. We're running 10 to 15 degrees above average, above where we should be this time of year.

There is a massive difference however between that of a rural environment where we have more trees and more grass, for instance compared to that of an urban environment where the majority of the population lives. Lots of concrete leads to absorption of heat from the sun, not (ph) enough heat in temperatures within the city landscape like London, for instance, can be anywhere from 3 to 6 degrees Celsius warmer than what you would experience if you were in, let's say a relatively lesser populated area, more of a rural region.

Quite amazing to see this but the good news is that London does have a bit of a break. We're going to be 23 degrees by this time tomorrow -- John.

VAUSE: Ok. Derek - appreciate the update. Thank you.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. The news continues on CNN right after this.