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Children Still Separated; U.S. Passports Denied; Trump Disapproval Hits New High; Dad's Quick Catch. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 31, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Families back together that need to be put back together. It is a tragic situation and most Republicans I know believe it is a tragic situation. But some of these cases are very, very complicated because of the individuals and what they have lied about when they came across. That's absolutely true.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sure. Fair enough. But the majority of these cases are not criminal cases.

Here is -- there are -- look, there are real life consequences, obviously, for these children and for their parents. These aren't just numbers when we say 497. Every single individual case is a child.

And here is one video that has gone viral in the past few days. This is a three-year-old toddler who doesn't recognize his mom after they are finally reunited after he's been away from her for weeks or months and he tries to get away from her, as you'll see in a moment. He crawls away from her, not either recognizing or trusting his mother.

And so, Bakari, you know, this is just one case. There were thousands who were separated.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, this is -- this is the tragedy. I mean this isn't -- this -- when I say this, I say this with all weight and heft, this is not who we are as a country. And the images of children in cages, you hear the stories that are coming out of some of these detention centers where children have been raped, where children have been molested, where children have been brutalized and assaulted, just the common touch of a mother that that child does not remember or recognize.

And, you know, the funny part about this -- well, not even the funny part, the irony in this is that Donald Trump talks about the violence, he talks about the gangs, he talks about MS-13.

Well, he's taking children away from their parents. He's separating them. He's putting them in a culture where they will end up in a gang, where they will hate the United States of America, where they will resent the federal government and everything the United States stands for.

So not only is this bad policy, but it's counterproductive to its final goal. There was nothing good that came out of this. And again I'll say this,

the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, she should have resigned a long time ago and I think this shows her utter incompetence.

CAMEROTA: OK, Scott, now to this next story, which is also disturbing and also along the border. "The Washington Post" is reporting that there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people, Hispanics, who have birth records saying that they were born in the United States, but who are now being denied passports and are being kept in detention centers because the administration believes that they were part of some sort of midwife scam where their birth records are not legitimate, though they keep presenting lots of evidence that they were, in fact, born in the United States.

What the Trump administration says is that this has been going on for a long time. It happened in the Obama administration. It happened in the Bush administration. Do you know about this?

JENNINGS: Well, I've read the reports. And I think this is a case of troubling anecdotes versus statistics. According to the State Department, the cases are at a six-year low and they peaked I think in 2015 when Barack Obama was the president because of this midwife issue.

However, that doesn't excuse the anecdotes we've read about. I -- you know, the story that touched me the most, frankly, was the story about the U.S. soldier, the guy who had been in the Army and defended the country and yet the big federal bureaucracy was coming in and crushing him.

What I'm also troubled about are interactions where people have their passports taken away on the moment, or on the spot, without due process before that happens. All of that having been said here, I do think there's an effort to make the anecdotal problems into something bigger than it is. If the State Department is right and these are at a six-year low --


JENNINGS: Then I think we need to look at that for what it is, which is a program that spanned numerous administrations --


JENNINGS: In which there are going to be individual cases that need to be fixed, that there were problems or mistakes. But this is not a systemic ramp-up that some people are claiming.

CAMEROTA: Well, you make a great point. And the truth is, we just don't know because this is a "Washington Post" report and what they say is that immigration lawyers along the border, as well as Hispanic families along the border, say that they see it spiking.

So, you're right, I mean this is anecdotal. They feel that it's spiking. They see it spiking. These immigration lawyers report more people showing up to their offices with this having happened. But the State Department, to your point, Scott says, this is an irresponsible attempt to create division and stoke fear among American citizens while attempting to inflation tensions over immigration. Under the Trump administration, domestic passport denials for so-called midwife cases are at a six-year low. The reporting is a political cheap shot.

So, look, Bakari, we will get to the bottom of it. At some point we will be able to have the real numbers as to whether this is spiking, as the attorneys say, or whether this is a low, as the State Department says.

But either way, what's happening here? The idea that you can have a birth certificate or a birth record that show that you were born here and still be deported and still be caught up in all of this legal wrangling. I thought that President Trump said that he was going to start with the criminals. Why are these folks having to face this?

[08:35:10] SELLERS: Well, first, just to add one more stat to this discussion where we're -- where we're having actual facts debated back and forth. Between 1960 and 2008, you had less than 70 midwives actually arrested and prosecuted for falsifying and actually writing on birth certificates that individuals were born here. So it -- my contention is that it hasn't been much of a problem.

However, you have a federal government -- you have an executive branch that has this authority. And what "The Washington Post" is saying is that it's going unchecked, that it's not being restrained and that they are snatching away passports.

This is where progressives and Democrats like myself actually meet up with Scott and his libertarian streak because no one at the border should have their passport yanked away from them without due process under the law. Everyone should have the right to counsel. Everyone should be able to go in front of an adjudicator. Everyone should be able to assert their privileges, especially when they are saying they're born a United States citizen. And so this is when you have coalitions formed. And this is when we need to have a coalition formed in the United States Congress to actually put a check and balance on the executive branch, which again, on this immigration issue I believe has run amuck, and that is the problem that we're having and that's again why elections matter and elections have consequences.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And just to be clear, if this was happening during the Obama administration, it was wrong then. If it's happening now, it's wrong now. It has to be determined that people are, of course, U.S. citizens and there has to be a due process in order to do that.

Scott, Bakari, thank you both very much.


SELLERS: Thank you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Some brand new poll numbers out this morning catching a lot of people's eye. The president's approval rating is slipping, and that's just the beginning. Some eye-opening numbers on impeachment as well. We'll get "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:40:55] BERMAN: A new poll shows President Trump's disapproval numbers have hit a new high and that Americans are divided on impeachment with a plurality actually seeming to favor it.

S.E Cupp, host of "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" joins us for "The Bottom Line."

S.E., it's great to see you in the morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST, "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED": Good to see you. Thank you.

BERMAN: The new number from ABC News and "The Washington Post," just on the approval number, is fascinating to see. They have the president's approval at 36 percent, the disapproval at 60 percent, which is a high in their poll. And you can see the movement from July.

Now, when you're talking about approval numbers, I generally like to look at the totality of all of the different polls out there. This is --

CAMEROTA: And what have you crunched in your head this morning?

BERMAN: Well, this -- this is a less favorable view of the president than you will see in almost any other poll. The question, S.E., is --

CUPP: Yes.

BERMAN: Is this a trend post-Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, everything else news?

CUPP: It's been a really bad August, right? I don't have to tell you guys, you know this, August is usually a very slow month for news. Not so for the president and this White House. And I wondered, as the news started trickling out, Michael Cohen, indictments, corruption in Congress and then all of the immunities, if this was going to be a tipping point, not for the American people, for voters, because his support among voters has remained the same. The same go up of people keep liking him. The same group of people keep disliking him.

But for congressional Republicans, and they are set to come back from recess. And we will see whether this bad news and new disapproval numbers will be sort of a tipping point for Republicans in Congress and whether or not they start to hold this administration to more account than they had been in the past.

BERMAN: I will note one number we don't have the graphic for is that in this poll it shows that Republicans only have a 78 percent approval rating of the president. That is very low for this president among Republicans.

CAMEROTA: And that's also an outlier. BERMAN: It could -- yes.

CAMEROTA: I mean every other poll has been somewhere like 88, 90 percent.


CUPP: Right.

CAMEROTA: OK, here's something interesting this week. Do you think Congress should or should not begin impeachment hearings, the question asked. This was, again, the ABC News poll. Forty-nine percent said should, 46 percent say should not. But isn't that just right along sort of, I mean, the division in this country, half yes, half no?

CUPP: Yes, but that is high and that is very good news for Republicans because whether Trump has realized it or not, this is going to be a turnout election. And what people like Steve Bannon recognize is that without the threat of impeachment coming from a Democratic-controlled House, Republicans might not feel as convicted to turn out in this election. And so that more people have decided impeachment sounds like a good option is very good for Republicans who want people to come out and vote for Republican candidates across the country.

BERMAN: Yes, we'll see if it ends up being animating for Democrats as well. We just don't know.

CUPP: Right.

BERMAN: We'll know in a few weeks. Really, I mean we'll know in one week when they really get out there on the trail and begin to campaign hard for these midterms.

S.E, we're sort of at the tail end of this week remembering John McCain. The memorial service at the Capitol will be today. Tomorrow, at the National Cathedral. I believe you're attending that. And then, Sunday at Annapolis. You're close friends with Meghan McCain, his daughter. I just wonder what you think -- what you think of this moment as we move toward these memorial services.

CUPP: It's been an incredible week followed by a very long and difficult year for the family.

You know, we have the honor after watching these ceremonies, remembering Senator McCain, all the moments from the campaign trail and from his colorful and rich life. You know, honoring Arizona, the place he loved and chose to call home, and reflecting on his importance in politics.

[08:45:15] For the family, though, this is deeply emotional, of course. And though they have had a year to prepare for what looked to be inevitable, as you I'm sure have seen from the coverage of these events, there is never enough time. And so I know my friend is grieving. My friend was not ready. My friend was incredibly, incredibly close to her father. And so, in addition to all of the emotion we feel about this person, that we feel like we -- we owned, he belonged to us, you can just imagine how much more visceral it is for a woman who called him dad and the rest of his family.

CAMEROTA: We have -- we did see your good friend Meghan crying, I mean seemingly inconsolably. Our hearts, of course, went out to her. You know, even those of us who only know her a little bit feel like we know her because she puts it out there every day on "The View" --

CUPP: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And she's, you know, so authentic in so many ways.

CUPP: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And I'll just end with this because I've been so touched by his son, who was the 33-year-old U.S. Navy helicopter pilot who tweeted this out on Tuesday as the memorials were beginning. And I'm just so touched by the language because it is, of course, the military lingo, but it also has such kind of poignant strains. And he says, "call the ball, old man, green deck for landing, conditions optimal, ceiling and visibility unlimited."

CUPP: Yes, there's so many rich parts of John McCain's life, right? There's his military service. Obviously his captivity. His rich family life. Even though he had a very unique family, it was, in so many ways, an American family, a blended family. And there are so many incredible aspects of this man's life to recall. And, obviously, for his sons, who have taken up service, as he did, that is incredibly important to him. And to those of us -- I spent time as a child in Arizona. Arizona is a very important place to me and it's a very important place for John McCain. To watch him leave that place for the final time yesterday and come to Washington and later to Annapolis, the place he chose to spend the rest of the afterlife at for people to visit him there is a real testimonial --


CUPP: To what he thought was the greatest chapter of his life, and that was his service in the United States military.

CAMEROTA: Agreed. And as you point out, for his sons to emulate that is also a real testimony to how much he inspired them.

So, S.E., thank you for sharing all of your personal thoughts and please give the family our best.

CUPP: My pleasure. I will, thanks.

CAMEROTA: Take a look at this. A father acts fast to make the catch of a lifetime. Oh, my gosh. You'll meet him, next.

BERMAN: Acrobatic and graceful all at once.


[08:52:33] CAMEROTA: OK, get ready to meet a super dad with lightning fast reflexes. Watch as two-year-old Noah Lynch starts to climb out of his crib, fall head first. That's when his dad, Nicholas, races to catch his son in the nick of time before the baby hits the ground.

Joining us now, the super dad himself, Nicholas Lynch.

Hi, Nicholas. How do you explain your cat-like reflexes?

NICHOLAS LYNCH, SAVED SON FROM FALLING I think it's all dad reflexes. I think once -- I didn't have them before I had my son. And the minute he came out, they just get you, right. And it's all timing.

BERMAN: It was like you were bit by a radioactive spider. This is exactly what happened to Peter Parker as well, except you had a son.

You saw this on the camera. You had a camera. You were monitoring your son. You saw some movement. You had a sense that there might be a problem here. Walk us through it.

LYNCH: Yes, absolutely.

So he was kind of getting up from his afternoon nap. We saw some activity. And it's sort of a vanilla, it's sort of a typical day. We started walking towards the room to go get him out of his -- his nap. And quite literally the minute I opened the door, I saw him angling over. And you sort of black out, right, when you son's in danger, so you just run. And I think it took me quite a bit of time to realize what had happened. And then we watched the video and we didn't realize how crazy it was.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Now he would have done a really ugly face plant right there. I mean that -- that would have hurt, no doubt.


CAMEROTA: And he was just going like head down. So who knows what would have happened. Is this the first time that he climbed out of his crib that you saw, or does he do this a lot?

LYNCH: This is the first and the only time that he will do it. The minute I caught him and we could catch our breath, we literally went online and bought a bed. So that's the first and the last time.

BERMAN: A bed with an iron roof that will be locked at all times.

LYNCH: Yes, absolutely.

BERMAN: I just -- I think it was incredibly graceful. I think both Noah and Nick look like they'd almost rehearsed this routine. It was as if he did a perfect flip into your arms there. I think you've got an act you've got to take on the road.

LYNCH: Yes. What you don't hear is like the music in the background. It was all choreographed.

CAMEROTA: Well, no, I agree, there are some ballet elements to this, but it would have been a face plant had the dad not been there.

LYNCH: It would have been a torpedo (ph), bad news for sure. CAMEROTA: Totally.

LYNCH: Just one millisecond and it could have been a totally different story.

BERMAN: Does he have any idea? Did you let on how scared you were?

LYNCH: I -- I was -- I held him pretty tight and I could just tell that he was like, dad I woke up from my nap. I don't know why you're holding me so tight. Let's go play. He had no idea.

[08:55:03] CAMEROTA: Well, Nicholas Lynch, great to talk to you. You are a super dad. Hug Noah for us and thanks so much for sharing the video with us.

LYNCH: I will. Of course. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, now to this week's CNN hero. A different kind of hero. Army veteran Paul Steklenski. He has saved lives of more than 1,000 dogs using his skills as a pilot to fly them from high kill shelters to rescue groups.


PAUL STEKLENSKI, CNN HERO: You just look like my Tessa. You're just like my baby girl.

I try to greet every passenger before we load them onto the aircraft, to spend a few moments with them.

You ready to go.

So they can see me, they can smell me.

Load the airplane up and then we'll make stops along the eastern coast.

I'm quite certain they know things are about to change.

Hey, buddy. He is so calm right now.

They know things are getting better and they're not going to end up in the pound.


BERMAN: For more on Paul's mission to save those dogs, go to

CAMEROTA: OK, it's been a long and busy week. Have a wonderful weekend.

BERMAN: Close. We're this close.

CAMEROTA: You're working tonight, unfortunately.


CAMEROTA: All right, have a great weekend, everybody. CNN "NEWSROOM" with Ana Cabrera picks up after this break.


[09:00:12] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello on this Friday and good morning. I'm Ana Cabrera, in