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North Korea Hands Over Remains; Weisselberg Subpoenaed in Cohen Case; Mueller Looks Through Trump Tweets, Judge Out for Three Weeks; Children Not Reunited. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired July 27, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:31:46] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea has handed over the possible remains of 55 Americans killed during the Korean War. The remains arrived in South Korea on the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting.
CNN's Alexandra Field is live outside Osan Air Base in South Korea with more.
What do we know, Alexandra?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, this is the first stop on a long journey. No one was certain it would happen until it did. A cargo plane left this U.S. air base, not far from the DMZ, made the trip into Wanson (ph), where it was loaded up by U.N. official with some 55 boxes. Those boxes were then brought back here to Osan where they were met by an honor guard. The remains of as many possibly as 55 U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War. We believe that North Korea has sets of as many as 5,000 remains of U.S. soldiers.
Why is this happening now? That's the big question, of course. This was something that was agreed to in Singapore between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. This is a step forward. It's something that North Korea has not done in more than a decade. The gesture comes later than many had expected it to. We thought it would happen closer to the date of the summit, just some six weeks back. But it does happen at a time where there has been more and more reports of frustration in Washington about the slow pace of talks with North Korea about denuclearization. This gesture certainly could keep the door for those talks open between North Korea and the United States. The gesture has already merited the appreciation of the president, who tweeted as much last night. Most importantly, of course, Alisyn, though, this is something that's been many decades in the making for some of the families of the fallen veterans of that war back home. They are hoping to soon have confirmation of the IDs here. It's a process, though, that could take months or even years.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I'll take it Alexandria. Yes, this is so important for so many of these families who have been waiting for such a long time.
You would think that the news that Michael Cohen reportedly wants to tell the special council that the president knew about the Trump Tower meeting was the only problem now arising for the president legally. Uh-uh. His long time conciliary (ph), so-called the under boss of the Trump Organization, his chief financial officer, apparently now called to testify about Michael Cohen.
Stay with us.
[06:37:56] BERMAN: The chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, has been subpoenaed to testify as part of the criminal investigation into Michael Cohen. That is according to "The Wall Street Journal." And I do want to note here that a former Trump Organization employee calls this the ultimate nightmare scenario for President Trump because Weisselberg knows anything and everything, we are told, about the Trump Organization.
So we want to bring back legal analyst Carrie Cordero and Michael Zeldin. And, to our audience, if you feel like you've heard that name, Allen Weisselberg, in the last few days --
CAMEROTA: You're right.
BERMAN: It's because you have. Because in the tape that CNN obtained of Michael Cohen talking to the president about covering up or perhaps buying the story of the Playmate that the president allegedly had an affair with, the name does come up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So what are we going to pay with (ph)?
COHEN: Funding -- yes. And it's all the stuff.
COHEN: All the stuff. Because, you know, you never know when that company, you never know where he's going to be --
TRUMP: Right. You never know and then he gets hit by a truck.
COHEN: Correct. So I'm -- I'm all over that. And I spoke to Allen about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: You know, Carrie, we know the president has long set a red lines for him, is that these various investigations go to his finances. Allen Weisselberg would seem to be the personification of the president's finances.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's exactly right. I mean if he worked for the president and the Trump Organization for many years, then he's familiar with all of the finances. And if investigators have documentary evidence, then he's the person who can verify it, who can explain it, who can explain what this dollar amount means or what this wire transfer means or what this check was issued to. He's the person who can put the context to the documentary evidence.
But, you know, it's interesting, listening to that tape one more time it can --
CAMEROTA: I agree. It struck me differently this time.
CORDERO: It continues -- it starts to sound like, why was Michael Cohen repeating his full name.
CAMEROTA: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).
CORDERO: This is someone that they worked with every day. It's just -- the more times you listen to it --
CAMEROTA: I agree with that. It just jumped out at me.
CORDERO: It seems to sound like --
BERMAN: Bread crumbs.
[06:29:59] CORDERO: He really was recording for a purpose of creating a record. But that's a little bit of an aside. I mean Weisselberg, absolutely he would know -- be able to document all of the financial information that took place with the Trump Organization. And a big questions that been whether or not investigators are conducting a criminal investigation, looking at the finances.
We know from the New York attorney general's office that they have been looking into the Trump Foundation. And so this would be the next step.
CAMEROTA: I can't agree with you more. That time, now that I hear it again, just now, that's what jumped out at me. Why -- I mean Michael Cohen is saying to Donald Trump, someone who has worked with Allen Weisselberg since the 1970s, I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg, w-e-i- s-s-e-l -- I mean he almost might be doing that.
CORDERO: Almost into the microphone, right?
CAMEROTA: And so, Michael, just to let people know, again, the context of Allen Weisselberg, he is considered the most senior person in the Trump Organization who is not a Trump, OK. He has worked with them since the '70s. So he truly is the financial gatekeeper. He truly knows everything. So if there were checks cut, it went through Allen Weisselberg. So the idea of him now testifies, what does that tell you?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It depends on the scope of the Southern District's case. If the Southern District is only looking at the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, yes, of course, Weisselberg is important because it seems as if he is the conduit through which payments are made.
If, however, this is a broader financial crimes investigation into the Trump Organization, then Weisselberg's role welcomes becomes even that much more important because of all the things that we've talked about, him starting with Fred Trump way back when and continuing on with the organization now.
We just don't know what the Southern District is looking at yet. I don't know even if the Southern District knows all of what it's looking at yet.
We talked earlier about, why hasn't Cohen been before the Southern District yet. And we have to remember that in this case, the documents which they seized from Cohen's properties and his computers went through a special master process where she determined what they could look at. Now they're just really getting access to that information. So they may not yet be ready to talk to Cohen because they haven't yet digesting all the stuff they have.
So Weisselberg is important for sure. But what is most important for us to learn is what is it that the scope includes. And if it's broad, then Weisselberg is going to be Witness A in this investigation.
BERMAN: I will say, I'm not sure it matters in terms of legal jeopardy which one it is because he's going to testify under oath and it's very possible that the Southern District, those attorneys, do ask something the likes of which the president would be very uncomfortable. That is why he confirmed to "The New York Times" way back last summer that this is an area that's a read line. I do not think the president's going to like to wake up and see this this morning.
There's another piece of news in "The New York Times" maybe the president won't like either, Carrie, and that's that the special council is looking into and very interested in the various social media comments that the president has made.
CAMEROTA: The tweets.
BERMAN: The tweets.
BERMAN: And the other things the president has said publicly since the beginning of really his presidency, particularly as it pertains to the Russian investigation. I'm not surprised by this. I think when you look at the totality of the statements on social media and the public and what you know happened behind closed doors, isn't that what do you to build a case?
CORDERO: Well, so it's interesting because the law in investigation haven't really caught up to where we can look to existing obstruction case that are solely based on tweets. So my take on the obstruction investigation to the extent we think one exists is that it would involve a pattern of activity by the president over time that was intended to derail, disrupt or obstruct the overall Russia investigation or also in the past the investigation of Mike Flynn. And so that involves a variety of actions that the president took, including firing people, including potentially trying to intimidate or affect what witness behavior is. That's where the tweets, I think, could come into play. They could be one aspect that demonstrates his intent to derail the investigation.
CAMEROTA: That will be fascinating to dissect and diagram all of those tweets.
Carrie Cordero, Michael Zeldin, thank you both very much.
BERMAN: All right, you know what we need on this morning? You know what we need every morning?
CAMEROTA: Well, I know what you need every morning, and it has to do with Tom Brady.
BERMAN: An adorable -- an adorable Tom Brady update. The "Bleacher Report" is next.
[06:48:36] BERMAN: Yankees slugger Aaron Judge will be out at least three weeks after getting hit by a pitch last night. That's too bad.
Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."
I mean it. I don't want to see a great player like Aaron Judge get hurt.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, even though you're a Red Sox fan, John.
BERMAN: Don't look at me like that. I mean it.
WIRE: You're a good man. You're a good man. I know this. New York's fight (ph) to catch your Red Sox just got a little tougher. The pennant race heating up. About nine weeks until the playoffs. And their home run leader, Aaron Judge, the all-star, taking a fast ball right in that little knob on your wrist there. And you know that hurts, let alone a 93 mile per hour fast ball hitting it. This was in the first inning against the Royals yesterday. He stayed in the game until the fourth inning. So there's that toughness, right? But, eventually, taken to the hospital for an MRI, which revealed that fracture.
The good news is, it won't require surgery. Bad news, four and a half games back are Berman's Boston Red Sox. The Yankees will be without Judge for at least three weeks before he'll be cleared to play again.
Now, an adorable set of twins named Tom and Brady travelled all the way from Hong Kong to meet, who else, Tom Brady.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: What's up, dude?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
BRADY: Tom. You're Brady?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's Brady.
BRADY: That's Brady and you're Tom. But I'm Tom too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's Tom too. You have the same name.
BRADY: We've got the same name. How cool, I got your name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Tom and Brady are three years old, born a few months after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2015. And their parents, Brian and Grace Caffyn, decided to name them after their favorite QB. But that's not all, their middle names, Killian and Edelman.
[06:50:05] Now, John and Alisyn, as parents of twins, I'm seeing like missed opportunities here. Tom and Brady would have been perfect for you, John. And Queen and Elisabeth, Alisyn, for you. It was too good.
CAMEROTA: Thank you. Thank you. Well, we missed opportunities. Why didn't you name your twin boys Tom and Brady? I'm doubting your devotion (INAUDIBLE).
BERMAN: In other news, though, I did just file papers to change my own name to Tom Brady. If that's what it takes to meet him, to meet him after practice when he's dressed like that in the pads, Tom Brady John Berman. I don't have any problem with that.
Your name's Tom. My name's Tom too. That's how it would go between us.
CAMEROTA: I know. That is so adorbs.
CAMEROTA: Coy, we have to have John Berman meet Tom Brady somehow, OK?
WIRE: You know, it's going to happen.
CAMEROTA: I think it is.
WIRE: It's going to happen.
CAMEROTA: Tom Brady, call me.
WIRE: And it will be epic television.
CAMEROTA: Fantastic. Thank you very much, Coy. All right, so, yesterday was the deadline to reunite those parents and
their children who were separated at the border, but all of the children are not back with their parents this morning. So we'll tell you the story of one woman still trying to find her six-year-old daughter.
[06:55:26] CAMEROTA: The deadline to reunite children separated from their parents at the border has now passed. The Trump administration says it has reunited 1,442 families, but there are still more than 700 children in custody. Another 370 children have been released to a family member or friend, they say.
Joining us now is immigration attorney Eileen Blessinger. She represents a mother who has yet to be reunited with her six year old daughter.
Eileen, thank you very much for being with us.
Why hasn't that mother been reunited with her daughter?
EILEEN BLESSINGER, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Right now we don't have any firm answers. We've been trying to find that answer out for a couple of days, whether she was going to be reunited or not.
CAMEROTA: Does she know where her daughter is?
BLESSINGER: She knows she's up in New York, in a center up in New York, but she hasn't been able to speak with her yesterday. She did speak with her on Thursday -- I'm sorry, Wednesday.
CAMEROTA: What are authorities telling her about what the delay is?
BLESSINGER: No one's telling her anything. I know there's one possibility, that there is a lawsuit going on up in New York for some of the children who are detained or are with -- or are in custody up in New York, but right now we don't know for sure that her daughter's included with that.
CAMEROTA: Well, what does that mean, a lawsuit? A lawsuit to reunite them with their parents or something else?
BLESSINGER: No, it's actually a lawsuit to stop the reunifications, to stop the children from being reunited with their parents just to be put into immigration custody.
CAMEROTA: Why? Why? Why would anybody want that to be the outcome?
BLESSINGER: Because these -- this -- the Legal Aid Society up in New York did a lawsuit to stop the children so that they wouldn't be put into a family detention center because some -- a lot of the parents are being put into family detention centers, especially like, in this case, where my client has a final order of removal, or a deportation order. CAMEROTA: I see, OK, so that -- that -- I see sort of that logic that
you don't want a child kept in a family detention center, but you're -- that -- then by definition they're still separated from their parents and that has to -- that has to be worse.
BLESSINGER: I mean my client thinks it's worse. According to my client, her daughter doesn't have an attorney. So we don't know who would have filed this lawsuit for her because my client doesn't think she's represented. It goes down to this whole secrecy. You know, my client doesn't know if she's represented. She can't speak with her daughter again until Monday. We don't really have any way of knowing what's going on or when that reunification is going to be happening.
CAMEROTA: So how can you solve this? What are you going to do for your client?
BLESSINGER: So I've been in touch with someone who's involved in that litigation to reunite the families. I've also been in touch with some people who work on The Hill to try to see if they can help us get them reunited. And also being in touch with the ICE officer, the deportation officer. We also did put in a written request for her release that we're hoping that one of these avenues will work out and be able to get them reunited.
CAMEROTA: And what have these weeks been like for your client as she's been separated from her six year old and hasn't known where she is?
BLESSINGER: It's been torture. Last week in particular she was told on Wednesday that they were going to be reunited. She told her daughter, we're going to be back together again soon. And over a week has gone by without any reunification. She's watched all the other parents in her dorm leave to be reunited with their children, and she's the only one who's remaining.
CAMEROTA: Why do you think it is that the government missed this deadline to reunite these 700 children who are still in limbo?
BLESSINGER: I don't think they really had a plan to put together all of the children back together with their parents. And the other issue that we're seeing is, some of the children, when they are reunited, they are injured. You know, one client was telling me that her son has a fractured wrist when he was returned back with her. So --
CAMEROTA: How? Why? What happened?
BLESSINGER: He said that he was just a victim of bullying in one of the centers and that no one was really watching them. So he fell down the stairs after he was tripped and fractured his wrist.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
BLESSINGER: And she wasn't made aware of that beforehand.
CAMEROTA: I mean this truly is a nightmare scenario. Your client, she was applying for asylum. Can you share with us anything about what was happening in her home country that prompted her to make this dangerous trip?
BLESSINGER: Sure. I mean in her home country, gang members were targeting her and her family because her husband wasn't able to pay this war tax that they're charging them. So she came here to try and avoid the gang members coming after her and her child. They threatened to kill them on several occasions.
CAMEROTA: And yet was her asylum request granted or denied?
BLESSINGER: It was denied. So it was first denied by the asylum officer and then also denied from the immigration judge. We did put a request in with the asylum officer to interview her again because she has been separated from her child since June 9th. So this is an extended period of time. I'm sure you can imagine what that must do to a mother being separated for her child for over a month, almost two months.
CAMEROTA: But, I mean, gang violence is a form of persecution. Why would they deny that asylum request?
[07:00:06] BLESSINGER: The problem is, is that they're not giving any reasons for denial, they're just checking off boxes and saying, see question and answer. And there's no reason for the denial.