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Trump Thanks Kim; TSA to End Screening; Immigrants Forced to Cheat Death; Miracle Plane Crash. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired August 2, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Poppy. First of all, that's not the extent of the remains in North Korea.


HERTLING: There is an estimated 7,500 remains still unaccounted for, 5,800 or so above the North -- the 38th parallel in North Korea. And that mission was stopped in 2005 because of the threatening actions of the Kim regime.

So these 55 boxes are a very good start. It will take months if not years to determine who these remains are and how they connect the DNA samples and what is in those boxes. So while it's a good start, it certainly isn't mission accomplished in terms of all the remains.

And, remember, this is one of the few areas in the world where the defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency does not have access on a daily basis. So they've been prevented from going into these areas for the last ten years.

Again, a good start. Very good for the families of these fallen soldiers. But it's probably not as big a deal as it could be if Kim really played ball in terms of returning the 5,300 remains that are in his country.

HARLOW: What about the timing of this? That this -- the praise of Kim Jong-un on Twitter, the, you know, thanking him for a, quote, kind action, comes the same week that "The Washington Post" broke that reporting that shows that North Korea is working on one, possibly two new missiles at a very critical location and factory and the fact that we just heard Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testify under oath before the Senate that, yes, North Korea is still producing this fissile material. We know they're still enriching uranium.

HERTLING: Well, and it's certainly appropriate for the president to thank Chairman Kim for these actions. That's -- could be part of a negotiating technique praising him, asking him to do more, continue to engage. But, truthfully, when you see the other more important elements of denuclearization, which have not been accomplished and there doesn't appear to be any movement toward that. In fact, all indicators from the intelligence community and the State Department is just the opposite of happening -- is happening. It seems to be a little bit strange that these kinds of effusive comments from the president to Mr. Kim are saying some of the things that -- are indicating some of the things that we're seeing.

And, again, the one part that troubled me a little bit was, "I look forward to seeing you again." Without any action on the part of the lower level officials, like some of the engagements with career diplomats to include the secretary of state, I wouldn't advice personally the president to go back again for another summit until more actions are taken by the Kim regime.

HARLOW: OK. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Wait until you hear this next story. The TSA may actually stop screening passengers, all passengers, at 150 airports in this country. Why would that happen, next.


[09:37:09] HARLOW: A cost-cutting move under serious consideration by the TSA, and reported first by CNN, would end passenger screenings at more than 150 smaller airports across the country.

Let me say that again, passengers flying out of more than 150 airports in this country could possibly not undergo any TSA screening before they get on the plane. If this happens, it would be to save money. An estimated $115 million a year. Some experts reactions, quote, a stunning proposal, and, confoundingly stupid say some.

Rene Marsh broke this story, as she always does, and joins me now.

This is for real.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is a real consideration. The reaction has been swift, Poppy, as you can imagine. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, they're already vowing to prevent this from becoming a reality. And the industry, including airports and flight attendants that I've spoken to, they're calling this proposal a huge national security mistake.

Now, CNN obtained these internal documents. They were all pretty recent, from June and July. The documents show that TSA is considering allowing thousands of passengers to board commercial airplane across the United States without being screened and it calls for the elimination of screening at specifically small and some medium-sized airports that operate commercial planes with fewer than 60 seats.

Now, TSA has done their own analysis and they found that this would save them some $115 million. Of course, they say they could use that money to bolster security at larger airports. But the proposal doesn't list which airports could be impacted, but we do know that it's estimated to be, as you mentioned, more than 150. And just for context, TSA currently screens passengers at 440 airports.

HARLOW: Oh, wow.

MARSH: Yes. HARLOW: So it's like a quarter of them?

MARSH: Right. And, you know, the way this would work is if -- if you're traveling through a small airport, you would, both you and your luggage, arriving at a major airport, would then be screened. And the whole operating theory here for this -- the authors of this proposal is that terrorists aren't interested in targeting small aircraft. They want the big payoff, like hundreds of passengers on large commercial planes.

HARLOW: Right. Right.

MARSH: But we spoke with several national security experts who say that's a flawed reasoning.

HARLOW: Because you could still get on the plane with a weapon.

MARSH: You could. I mean forget even about a rudimentary type explosive, there are guns, there are knives, other weapons, other dangerous things that could be brought on board. And that is the big issue.

I was speaking with one airline industry insider who said, this would never fly because flight attendants and pilots would probably refuse to fly the routes --

HARLOW: Right.

MARSH: That are leaving airports where passengers aren't screened. So that's going to create a whole other headache for the industry.

[09:40:03] TSA, I will say, after this story broke, they sent out talking points to their senior leadership at airport's nationwide and they said -- and making note in those talking points -- that no final decision has been made.

HARLOW: Right.

MARSH: And they make it clear that this is just a discussion that is happening now. But, still --

HARLOW: Got it.

MARSH: Even it being considered, some people are wondering, how is it even a serious consideration.

HARLOW: Yes. Rene, thank you for the reporting. Very important.

Ahead for us, a story you need to see. Almost all undocumented immigrants living in the United States don't have access, don't have health insurance, right? Some are showing up at emergency rooms, of course, on the brink of death and the need for treatment for chronic illness. And one doctor says these patients just don't have anywhere else to turn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For many of these patients, they'd rather risk having a near-death experience than being turned away from the hospital when they don't meet critically ill criteria. (END VIDEO CLIP)


[09:45:32] HARLOW: Moments ago, when interviewing the first daughter and adviser to the president, Ivanka Trump, Axios executive editor Mike Allen said family separation was a low point for some White House officials. Here is Ivanka's response.


IVANKA TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: That was a low point for me as well. I -- I feel very strongly about that. And -- and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children. We have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked, at risk of entering this country with coyotes or making an incredibly dangerous journey alone. These are incredibly difficult issues. And -- and like the rest of the country, I -- there -- there -- I -- I experienced them in a -- in a very emotional way.


HARLOW: All right, you'll have more from that interview in a little bit. But as the immigration crisis persists, there remains a stark disparity between the insured and undocumented immigrants in terms of getting much needed health care. Many undocumented immigrants living in this country do not have health insurance, but they are guaranteed care at an emergency room or an urgent health clinic. But what happens is that oftentimes they just can't get treated for chronic illness, like kidney failure, until they are really in a life-threatening emergency.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent, has been following one mother's hardship as she has been trying to get dialysis. And he joins me now.

I mean, obviously, Sanjay, we would think, yes, of course, undocumented immigrants often don't have health insurance, but I never before thought about what do people with chronic illness do in terms of getting treatment?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Exactly. And I think a lot of people haven't considered this. Even people within the medical profession.

A group of doctors, a doctor in particular out of Denver, really flagged this issue to give us some insight into what happens when someone has a chronic disease and gets health care but it's often very, very late.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA (voice over): In order to really understand what's going on here, you're going to need to suspend disbelief. Lucia is dying. Her lungs drowning in fluid. Her electrolytes are fluctuating wildly. And her heart is precariously close to shutting down. This 51-year-old mother and undocumented immigrant has end-stage renal disease, full on kidney failure.

DR. LILIA CERVANTES, DENVER HEALTH: The function of the kidneys is to filter blood of excess toxins and excess fluid. When both kidneys stop working, people, on average, will live anywhere from 10 to 14 days. And so to continue living, you need some process to filter blood, which is a dialysis machine.

GUPTA: For most people, that treats the problem. But here's the problem, Lucia is allowed treatment only when she essentially arrives at death's door. The Emergency Medical Treatment Act of 1986 says hospitals in the United States must care for anyone with a medical emergency, regardless of their citizenship or ability to pay. But they are not obligated to prevent that emergency from happening in the first place.

GUPTA (on camera): What is happening inside the body?

CERVANTES: For these patients, because they only come in once a week, instead of the three times per week, excess fluid, it stays in their body and it goes into their lungs, goes into their legs. Separate from that, the toxins build up. One of the most important toxins being potassium, which at high levels can make the heart stop.

GUPTA (voice over): This is no way to live. About as close to death as you can get. And what's more, research shows that treating patients with emergency dialysis versus standard dialysis is nearly four times more expensive because these patients, like Lucia, are so much sicker when they come in for treatment.

GUPTA (on camera): They're literally pushing themselves to the brink of death --

CERVANTES: They are.

GUPTA: To get this treatment. Am I overstating that?

CERVANTES: No, not at all.

GUPTA (voice over): There is no question it works.

GUPTA (on camera): Lucia.

GUPTA (voice over): Just look at Lucia now. After dialysis removed ten liters of fluid from her body.

[09:50:01] GUPTA (on camera): How are you feeling?

LUCIA (through translator): Right now, I feel good.

GUPTA (voice over): Still, Lucia is always worried. Mostly about her family. Especially her son, Alex. He watches his mother steadily decline every single week. This is their life.

GUPTA (on camera): How hard has this been one your family?

LUCIA (through translator): It's been really hard. It's been really hard for my family. The worst is for my son. He worries about me.

GUPTA (voice over): Because, just a few days from now, like clockwork, Lucia will once again go to the precipice of death just so that she can live.


HARLOW: It is stunning knowing this will happen to her, but having to get to the brink before you can get treatment.

Would she, for instance, be eligible for a kidney transplant?

GUPTA: No. No. Great point. Great question. A kidney transplant would be what she needs. And also, look, just from a pragmatic standpoint, it would be a lot cheaper than basically someone getting dialysis. That's why -- in part why we do kidney transplants, to improve quality of life and to reduce overall health care costs.

HARLOW: Right.

GUPTA: She would not be eligible for a kidney transplant, but she would be eligible, is she dies, for her kidneys potentially or other organs to be transplanted. Maybe not her kidneys, because they have failed --

HARLOW: Right.

GUPTA: But she is a donor but cannot be a recipient in this country.

HARLOW: Wow. All right, a whole other important angle to look at when you talk about the health of our -- the health and the costs of our health care system.

Sanjay, thank you to you and your team for the reporting.

GUPTA: Thank you.

HARLOW: Ahead, a miracle. Seconds after taking off, this Aeromexico flight crashes. It is all caught on camera. Miraculously, everyone lived. And now we are hearing the amazing stories of survival.


SANTIAGO (on camera): What will you tell people when you get home to Chicago?

HERRERA: That I fell from the sky and survived. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:56:25] HARLOW: This morning, the pilot and two dozen passengers from that Aeromexico plane that crashed on Tuesday are still being treated in hospitals. But even some of them are calling the fact that no one died in this crash a miracle. The Mexico City-bound flight had 99 passengers, 65 of them U.S. citizens, and four crew members when it was downed apparently by high winds after taking off in Durango, Mexico.

Our Leyla Santiago is with me and has the latest.

I just still cannot believe this.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. It's pretty amazing to know that everyone was able to walk away off that plane after it crashed. Now, the investigators are now going to focus on what led up to that crash. In the meantime, a lot of these survivors are still trying to make sense of what exactly happened and how they'll move forward. And many of those 65 U.S. citizens, as they make their way home now, Poppy, they're going to be asking themselves, how do I get back on a plane.


AL HERRERA, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: It happened yesterday, 24 hours ago. It's still fresh in my mind. I can't close my eyes right now. I still see the flames. I see everything.

SANTIAGO (voice over): Al Herrera still can't stop thinking about this moment, seconds after taking off, impact, screams and panic as passengers shifted into survival mode to escape the plane and smoke of the fallen plane in Durango, Mexico. All 103 people aboard Aeromexico Flight 2431 survived, more than half were U.S. citizens.

HERRERA: You're seeing first responders running at you with stretchers and I'm yelling at them to go to the more injured people.

SANTIAGO: Once off the plane, he says he joined a priest, who was onboard, in prayer. CNN talked to Father Esequiel Sanchez, director of the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe in Chicago, just hours before surgery for his injured arm. He was still counting blessings and giving thanks. The idea that nobody died, he says --


SANTIAGO: State officials have pointed at bad weather as a possible factor. Strong wind gusts knocked the plane down. Hours before its scheduled departure, officials warned of possible storms and hail. Overwhelmed with anxiety, Herrera and several other passengers boarded a flight to return home, stopping in Mexico City.

HERRERA: I cried.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Why?

HERRERA: The sentiment got to me. I saw my seat where I was sitting in front of me. I saw all the people. And like everything flashed back.

Well, when you're actually sitting there with your seat belt on, it all -- it all came flooding back. Like really hard. People die when planes crash and here I am, as a survivor, taking another plane. The lady in front of me held my arm because I was sobbing.

SANTIAGO (voice over): With bruises on his legs and a passport still filled with the mud from the scene, he hasn't found a way to leave it all behind.

SANTIAGO (on camera): What will you tell people when you get home to Chicago?

HERRERA: That I fell from the sky and survived.


SANTIAGO: A very fascinating conversation to have with him.

Investigators were able to locate the black boxes. Those are critical -- will prove to be critical in the investigation and getting to the bottom of this.

A few updates. I understand that Al is now back in Chicago, actually watching us right now, so he made it home safely. And as for Father Sanchez, he is now out of surgery and resting and recovering, Poppy.

[10:00:03] HARLOW: Both great updates. Very welcome news.

Leyla, thank you for the reporting and bringing that to us this morning.

Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.