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Trump Slams Omarosa; Plan to Reunite Separated Families; Urban Meyer on Paid Leave; Poll on Mueller Probe. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Washington the other day and this alt-right Neo-Nazi rally. Do you honestly see them in the same light?

REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: You can't help but see him in the same light. He's not only exhibiting the same kinds of characteristics, but he praises them and he gives them the power and he emboldens them to mimic what he does and what he tweets out every day.

Omarosa is still a black woman. He has no right to call her a dog. I'm a black woman. He has no right to call me whacky. That's wrong.

BERMAN: Does it --

WILSON: He is the president of the United States of America.

BERMAN: I -- I agree that he is the president of the United States of America. I think you can make a compelling case that no president of the United States should call anybody a dog under any circumstances.

Does it matter -- and I'm hesitant to dissect this on a word-by-word basis -- but does it matter, in your mind, that he's also called white people and men dogs in the past?

WILSON: You should not call anyone dogs. But overwhelmingly, in my knowledge and my experiences, it has always been African-American people that he's called out of their names, names to embarrass them and to smear them. That has been -- that has been my experience.

BERMAN: Well, there's a list of people he's called dogs. They're not all --

WILSON: It's all -- it's all on one side. It's all on one side, as far as I know.

BERMAN: I'm not -- I'm not sure in this case it matters. I mean using the word dog, as we can say, we can argue it simply isn't presidential and I think you can make a compelling case that when you use it toward an African-American woman, it does mean something different than in other cases. But, just to state the case, he has said it about men and white men in the past as well.

Representative Frederica Wilson, we do thank you for your time this morning. Thanks very much. WILSON: Thank you.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: We have an update for you on the effort to reunite separated parents and children. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:36:00] HILL: Nearly two months after a federal judge ordered some 2,500 separated migrant children be reunited with their families, the government now says they have tracked down all but 26 deported parents.

Joining me now is Lee Gelemt. He's the deputy director of the ACLU's immigrants' rights and lead attorney in the ACLU's lawsuit over separated families at the border.

So the last time you and I spoke, this was just hours away from you getting the plan from the government --

LEE GELEMT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ACLU IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS PROJECT: Right.

HILL: The judge had asked for. A plan the judge called very impressive on Friday as they're working to reunite families.

You've had a couple of days to digest all of this.

GELEMT: Right.

HILL: How do you think the government is doing with this plan they put together?

GELEMT: Well, for the most part, the plan is OK. But we do have serious reservations about it and we've been going back and forth with the government and we still are. I think today we will submit any disagreements to the court.

The biggest disagreement is the government believes no parent should be allowed to come back to the U.S. And we strongly disagree with that.

HILL: They don't want the parent to come back to the U.S. to get their children and possibly bring them home? To not come back and then perhaps apply for asylum? Where does --

GELEMT: Right. So that -- so that's a good question. There may be parents we think should come back and get their child because their child's so young and bring them back.

HILL: OK.

GELEMT: But, beyond that, I think the more fundamental questions is, there may be parents who are misled or coerced into giving up their asylum claims. We believe those parents should have a right to come back and apply for asylum.

We also believe that the parents should have a right to come back and help their child and their child's asylum claims. Otherwise, we have a situation where the parents were just sent abroad and 94 of them -- approximately 94 of them were sent abroad, even after the court ruled. And so these parents need to come back and help their children. They also need to have their own asylum heard (ph). And we're hearing from parents who said, well, I thought that was the only way to get my child back is to accept removal.

HILL: Where do you think you'll get with the government in terms of that request?

GELEMT: Yes, that's a good question. I think with the government we've already reached an impasse.

HILL: OK.

GELEMT: So this is going to go to the court later today and the court is going to have to resolve whether any parent can come back.

HILL: Part of this plan that the government put together as well, specifically to involve the ACLU, wants you to develop a form for parents who have opted to waive reunification with their children.

GELEMT: Right.

HILL: Do you have a sense -- and you sort of touched on this -- but do you have a sense of how many parents waved that right to be reunified with their children, decide to be deported instead, fully understand -- understood what they were getting into?

GELEMT: We don't have a sense yet because we're still in the process. And that's exactly why we need to talk to each parent and why it's critical we reach each parent. We'll see if any actually understood. There may be some that understood, and that's fine. But I think there's going to be a lot that are -- that did not understand what was happening and went abroad thinking their child was going to be with them or that was the only way to get their child back and now they're stuck.

HILL: The most recent numbers we have from the government as of Friday, they said 386 children still in custody. Of those they have contact information for, all but 26. Parents associated with all but 26.

Are you any closer? What's the plan to try to find those 26 adults who are connected to these children?

GELEMT: We're no closer. As far as we know, the government hasn't come up with new information. The government hasn't given it to us. So we'll be doing a search all through Central America. I mean it's possible they're not in Central America, but at least through Central America we're going to have to do everything we can to find them some way.

HILL: We talked that that could be things like billboards. We talked about in the past it could be, you know, even PSAs on local radio. Where do you stand in terms of those efforts? GELEMT: Right. Well, the government says they're going to do some of

that. We'll see. But right now we have people on the ground in Central America who are just going to be searching, using whatever information we can get from the government, whether they speak an indigenous language, a name, anything and just go out there and search. I mean, at the end of the day, we have to find them. We can't have these -- as the judge said, we can't have these children permanently orphaned.

HILL: Lastly, except for these 26 people for whom we don't have contact information, do you have enough information for the adults who are associated with those other 360 children.

GELEMT: Well, we need to call each one to make sure the phone number works and everything.

HILL: Right.

GELEMT: I mean the other problem is, we've called some and then they've had to go in hiding because they're in danger. So we'll see how it works out. Over the next few days, we're hoping to reach all 386.

[08:40:09] HILL: OK, we'll stay on top of it. Appreciate it, Lee. Thanks for coming back in.

GELEMT: Thank you.

HILL: John, over to you.

BERMAN: All right, an interesting way to beat the heat. The "Bleacher Report" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: As Urban Meyer's coaching career with Ohio State hangs in the balance, we're finding out more about his former assistant coach at the center of the controversy.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, John.

Former Ohio State Assistant Coach Zach Smith was arrested back in 2013 and charged with drunken driving and Smith's lawyer telling CNN this morning his client kept the arrest secret from Meyer and Ohio State. Now, Smith pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. He was fired July 23rd after allegations of domestic abuse surfaced. Now, Smith has denied those allegations. Meyer initially denied knowing about 2015 domestic abuse allegations when asked about them at Big 10 media days, but after Smith's ex-wife Courtney Smith told "The Stadium" she believed Meyer knew about it, Meyer said he'd been inadequately prepared to discuss the issue and that he looked forward to answering questions for the independent investigators. [08:45:06] Meyer is currently on administrative leave while the

investigation into what he knew about the abuse allegations and how he handled them continues. The school says it expects the investigation to wrap up by Sunday.

All right, there are many ways to stay cool on a hot summer day. Marlins Coach Perry Hill's strategy apparently is wet lettuce. Check it out. He puts it in his helmet. That's old school. Apparently Pete Rose used to do that black in the day. And, guys, my question is, how many times do you think he has to change that out during a game because I wonder what it looks like after a long inning out there on the field in the heat.

BERMAN: That's Perry Hill, uncle to Erica Hill.

HILL: Yes, yes, no relation. No relation. And just to be clear, that's not the lettuce we use in lettuce wrap in my house.

BERMAN: I was going to say, the real question is exactly --

SCHOLES: Salty, right?

BERMAN: How -- what kind of sandwich do you put it in?

Oh, salty. You said salty?

HILL: He did. He did.

BERMAN: Andy Scholes, that was awesome.

All right, Andy, thanks so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

HILL: Just ahead, a new CNN poll shows a majority of Americans want to see the Mueller probe end soon. We get "The Bottom Line," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:39] BERMAN: A new poll shows that 66 percent of Americans want Robert Mueller's investigation to end before the November midterm elections, but this probe has lasted really just a fraction of the amount of time it took for other investigations to be completed. Again, this is the new CNN poll out just hours ago.

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with former Watergate special prosecutor, who knows a little bit of something about these investigations, Richard Ben-Veniste.

Thanks so much for being with us. CNN legal analyst.

So 66 percent want this all wrapped up by November. A lot of that may now be Democrats hopping on board because they think it might help Democrats in the midterm elections. Still, that's a lot of people.

I think with your experience, you might argue that these investigations tend to wrap up when they're actually done.

RICHARD BEN-VENISTE: That's exactly right. And this one's proceeding quite rapidly in terms of prior precedent.

You know, the potential for utilizing cooperator's testimony, such as perhaps Mr. Cohn, if he decides to cooperate with Mueller, has not yet occurred. There are other things that have been going on for a while. Eight months of kabuki dancing by the president and Rudy Giuliani and others who are carrying his water confusing the issue over whether Trump will simply give answers under oath to a variety of issues that still remain to be concluded in connection with this investigation.

So my sense is that Mr. Mueller will follow the evidence. He will do whatever he can to get the evidence. But the investigation will conclude when it's time to conclude it.

HILL: It's funny how things work that they, isn't it, that they'll actually be done when they're -- when they're actually done. You know, you bring up this point about kabuki dancing. But when we look at -- there was also a part of this poll that asked about the things that Donald Trump says in relation to the Russia investigation and whether or not people see them as completely true, mostly true, mostly false, completely false. He's not getting a lot of credit for things being true.

That being said, the landscape is far different in terms of communication, even if we just looked at social media, than it was in some of these other investigations. Even Benghazi. How damaging could that be to other investigations moving forward?

BEN-VENISTE: Well, the problem is that in this era of social media, there's no way to appease the voracious appetite for instantaneous gratification. That's not the way the criminal justice system works. And so, yes, there are expectations and hopefully Mr. Mueller will have something to say before Labor Day in one form or another. But it would be inappropriate to suggest that the public determine when this investigation is concluded.

It's up to the prosecutors who have the ability to assess the evidence, determine how much more potentially they can get. And, for example, the president has done a lot of disservice to the cause of the administration of justice by attacking our institutions as being unfairly weighted against him. It's just simply not true.

BERMAN: So, over the weekend, the president, once again, attacked Jeff Sessions by name. And over the course of this morning -- and I've lost track of what he's writing because he's just sort of going nuts this morning on Twitter -- but he has quoted a whole bunch of people who say that a judge should step in and stop the investigation, the investigation should be called off immediately, so on and so on. It seems to me he clearly no longer fears that these statements on Twitter will be used against him in any way in terms of suggesting that he's trying to obstruct the investigation.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, the things that he's done, quite publically, are things that historically have been the foundation for an obstruction of justice charge. And so as we see the Manafort trial come to its conclusion, it appears that Mr. Manafort has put his chips on the possibility of getting presidential clemency, which had been so talked about.

[08:55:03] In Watergate, offers of clemency were done secretly, made to those who had damaging information to give about the president and others' involvement in the crimes of obstruction of justice. So a variety of things have occurred that in other times would have been sufficient, I think, to make up a case to bring forward.

Here, things are being discussed openly that in the past were done secretly. But all of which contribute to the overall body of evidence suggesting that the president is unhappy with being investigated and will do everything in his power to stop the investigation, including making the attorney general of the United States his personal whipping boy. Every time he gets frustrated about something, he lashes out at his attorney general.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: Richard Ben-Veniste, great to have you with us this morning.

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thank you very much for your "Bottom Line." Do appreciate it.

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

BERMAN: A lot going on this morning.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: New developments in. The president, Omarosa Manigault Newman, both have a lot more to say. Where will this end?

CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow will tell you right after a quick break.

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[09:00:08] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.