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Cantor to Step Down as Majority Leader on July 31; Chairman of House Armed Services Committee Weighs in on Hearing; Alleged Child Abuse by U.S. Border Officials
Aired June 11, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks very much.
Happening now, the breaking news we're following: GOP shockwaves, the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, speaking out, saying he'll step down after being toppled by a political rookie with Tea Party leanings.
Abuse on the border. We've learned of stunning new allegations that undocumented children caught at the border have been strip-searched, physically mistreated by government agents.
And Sterling versus Sterling, it's getting nasty as court filings reveal details of the medical exams that judged the Clippers' billionaire owner to be mentally incompetent.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's begin with the breaking news. The political earthquake shakes the foundations of the GOP establishment. The House majority leader, Eric Cantor, thought to be in line one day for the speakership, has just said he will instead give up his post after a stunning primary upset by a political upstart, Tea-Party-influenced college professor David Brat.
The aftershocks of that Virginia vote are raising huge questions about the midterm elections, the makeup of Congress and any last vestiges of compromise here in Washington.
Our analysts and experts are standing by, but let's begin with our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash.
Dana, he just wrapped up a statement at a news conference. Give us the headline.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The headline is he's no longer going to be the majority leader as of July 31, perhaps sooner, but certainly as of July 31. And the House majority leader came out of a meeting with his entire Republican caucus. It was about 30 minutes long, and it was clear that he didn't have much to say about, you know, any hard feelings, any hand wringing, at least not in public. It was all intended to be upbeat, kind of we did our best message.
The question I wanted to know, and many people wanted to know is, why did he think this happened? Why was he and everybody else so blindsided? Listen to what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: I'm sure you've done some reflecting in the past 24 hours. Do you think that maybe you spent too much time here with your job as leader tending to your rank and file and not tending enough to your constituents back home?
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-V.A.), OUTGOING MAJORITY LEADER: You know I was in my district every week, so I -- you know, there's a balance between holding a leadership position and serving constituents at home, but never was there a day did I not put the constituents of the 7th District of Virginia first, and I will continue to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: So he insists it's not that he failed Politics 101, Wolf, that he didn't go home. It's certainly not that far, not like other members of Congress. He just has to drive a few hours south of here -- of Washington.
But I think beyond the physical nature of being in his district, what many people are looking at is that he wasn't there with regard to his head in the Republican, the conservative game; didn't understand the fervor of the grassroots, wasn't very much, but it was enough, when you look at low turnout of this election, the fervor to get rid of him as their lawmaker, as their leader across the board.
The other thing, you know, that is the question here is how much he thinks that there's going to be, or anybody thinks, that there's going to be real gridlock, because there are -- and I've talked to them, Wolf --rank-and-file members who say, "You know what? If he's going to get toppled from the right by compromising, I'm going to do it, too."
He tried to calm everybody saying, you know, there still is room for compromise. It is kind of ironic when you talk to Democrats and they think that he was the person who really held the speaker, the leadership back in many cases from compromising.
BLITZER: Dana Bash up on the Hill watching this. Stand by. I want to bring in CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; our political commentator, Michael Smerconish; Robert Costa, "The Washington Post"; and Bill Kristol, the editor of "The Weekly Standard."
Bill, why did he lose?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Because the majority of the Republicans in his district who voted wanted to toss him out. His vote went down, in a lower turnout primary two years ago, he got 37,000 votes. He got 29,000 this time. People wanted to send a message to Washington, and it was anti-crony capitalist, anti-K Street, anti-big government but also anti-Wall Street message.
And I think the key task for Republicans now is to channel this populist anger and turn it into a positive governing agenda. If that happens this would be a very good moment, honestly.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: If.
KRISTOL: Well, I think it will happen. This will -- I bet it will be more of a Republican wave this November because of this victory than without it. The Republican establishment was dog paddling, dead in water. Now you've got the voters kicking them in the behind and telling them, "Hey, get to work."
BORGER: I don't think the Republican -- but I don't think the Republican establishment was dead in the water. They'd had been winning primaries right and left. I mean, this...
KRISTOL: Dead in the water of actually doing something to address the problems of the country.
BORGER: Right. And this was an issue, Wolf, as you know, about immigration reform. He had expressed some modicum of support for part of the rimmigration reform, and that became an issue in this -- in this campaign. It became kind of a perfect storm for him because also he's a leader. People don't like congressional leaders, and they believed he wasn't -- he wasn't home enough.
BLITZER: Robert, how much of a factor, if any factor at all, do you think it was, this was an open primary outside of Richmond, Virginia. Democrats could vote in this contest. Was there some hanky-panky going on, Democratic voters going in there to try to embarrass the Republicans and defeat Eric Cantor? Was that a significant factor based on what you're hearing?
ROBERT COAST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I'm skeptical of that, Wolf. Yes, some Democrats did vote in this primary, but when I talked to my sources on the ground, in Virginia, they say that there's really a sea change happening right now within the Virginia Republican Party that elected -- that nominated Ken Cuccinelli as a gubernatorial nominee last cycle and that is pushing for David Brat this time around.
That's really the Tea Party conservative edge that's growing in that Virginia GOP. And it's not so much I think the Democrats who are pestering around Richmond that really ousted Cantor.
BLITZER: What does this say, Michael, about the Tea Party and its strength moving forward?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: Well, I'm not one who believes that the Tea Party has had a string of defeats in this primary season. I have believed that the Tea Party has been winning even when it's been losing, because it has driven all candidates further to the right than there otherwise would have been.
So, I don't think you can evaluate Tea Party success only by whether their named candidate wins a particular primary. As far as I'm concerned, they're winning all these primaries.
BORGER: Can I just say the irony here to me is that Eric Cantor, was the most conservative member of the House Republican leadership and that he started out as a Republican leader as sort of the Tea Party person in the leadership, and now it's the Tea Party progeny, if you will, that have thrown him out.
KRISTOL: But it's not right -- it's not right and left. I mean, it's populist, and it's elitist. It's -- it's the voters or the establishment.
I mean, Eric Cantor, under his leadership, Republicans would not advance legislation to take on the insurance companies under Obamacare. They wouldn't go after the big banks. They seemed insensitive to the needs of working-class and middle-class Americans.
BORGER: Sounds like Elizabeth Warren.
KRISTOL: Absolutely. You know what? A dose of Elizabeth Warren would not be bad for the Republican Party.
BORGER: I agree with you.
KRISTOL: Look at Hillary Clinton. She's dead broke. She only has an $8 million book advance. Isn't that time that a populist message, very strong.
BLITZER: Robert, we're now told that there will be an election in the House of Representatives for the next majority leader on June 19. That's coming up not too far away. Who's going to be elected?
COSTA: Wolf, I've been spending all day here at the Capitol, determining who's going to run for majority leader, who's going to try to serve alongside House Speaker John Boehner.
Here are the names: Jeb Hensarling from Texas, a conservative favorite, he's eyeing a run. So is Pete Sessions of Texas, in the Dallas area. It's unlikely they'll both run against each other, but there are conservatives who think in the wake of Cantor's defeat they can perhaps rise.
And of course, right now the majority whip, Kevin McCarthy, an easy- going Californian, he thinks he's the successor to Cantor. He's the pick of the establishment in the House. He thinks he will be able to easily rise.
BLITZER: What kind of message, Michael, does this defeat by Eric Cantor send to the speaker of the House, John Boehner?
SMERCONISH: I think it sends a message to him that compromise is frankly a dirty word for his candidates who are facing primaries. I found it interesting that Eric Cantor presented himself in a very conciliatory fashion a couple of moments ago on CNN, which is at odds with my recollection of the way in which he handled himself with the administration in all those budget negotiations. So interesting to me, that he looks at his own record as one of
conciliation. I think people are going to look at this and say, you know, compromise remains the new "C" word in Washington.
BLITZER: Gloria, you write in your column on CNN.com, "The reasons the GOP succeeds as a congressional party are very much the reasons it fails on the presidential level. Base politics works in GOP primaries, to be sure. It also works in congressional races that have been gerrymandered and tailored to partisan voters, but it's a lousy strategy if you want to win the presidency."
BORGER: Right. I mean, look, if you want to win the presidency, you have to find some independent voters. You've got to find some voters in the middle. And you know, as Michael was just saying, you know, if compromise is a dirty word, then you may win some congressional seats, but it's difficult to figure out a way to get to the presidency.
If you can't figure out anything to do on immigration reform, for example, then that's going to hurt you with a big bloc of voters that's growing larger.
BLITZER: Let me -- let me let Bill Kristol respond to that. But I want to read to you what the president said back in 2012, just before he was re-elected. He thought it was an off the record meeting with the "Des Moines Register" editorial board; it was later put on the record.
"Should I win a second term" -- this is the president -- "a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community."
KRISTOL: Well, that was Mitt Romney. He's not a favorite of the Tea Party. George Allen was the Republican Senate nominee. He lost badly in Virginia.
BLITZER: No immigration -- there's no immigration reform. Is that going alienate...
BLITZER: ... the Latino community from the Republican Party?
KRISTOL: No. I think Republicans can do a better job with Latinos, but signing onto a big government Schumer/McCain type immigration reform, there's no evidence...
BLITZER: What about doing what Eric Cantor recommended, which was let the so-called dreamers...
KRISTOL: How is that working out in Arizona right now? Ninety thousand young people between the age -- across the border because, in fact, there's not border security, despite all the proclamations that border security first. Then you do immigration reform.
Turns out everyone says -- you hate to be hard-hearted but the fact is, when people say, well, of course, you can't kick the young people out, then you're going to get 100,000 young people.
BLITZER: Michael Smerconish, we're going to have a full report from the border in Texas, in Arizona coming up on this sensitive subject. But is the president, is Eric Cantor, who supports giving those so- called DREAMers, the children who came here as young kids, whose parents brought them, they've grown up in the United States, they've only known the United States. Eric Cantor and so many others say they should have a pathway to citizenship, if you will. They should be allowed to get legal status. Is this an issue that's going to be a setback issue for those who support it among Republicans?
SMERCONISH: It is in the short term, but in the long term, Gloria's absolutely correct that attrition is going to knock off the Republican Party. If the GOP doesn't expand the tent, where we know what these demographic numbers say in terms of the move that's afoot in the country and how we look as a nation by 2050.
And if the Republican Party can't grow the tent in that direction, then it will only be a party that wins primaries and never national general elections.
KRISTOL: Look, the spirit of Dave Brat is growing the tent more than the spirit of Mitt Romney and George Allen, Eric Cantor, with all due respect to those guys. There's more of a chance to grow the tent from the Tea Party populist spirit than the Republican establishment patronizing -- patronizing Latino voters.
BORGER: Why can't you combine a sort of a populist, reforming Republican, with -- with -- with a bigger -- with a bigger tent?
KRISTOL: I'm for that.
BORGER: Where's that candidate?
BLITZER: We're all going to be learning a lot more about that candidate...
KRISTOL: 2016, don't worry about it.
BLITZER: We're going to be learning a lot more about the winner in this -- in this congressional race, Dave Brat, shortly. But let me go back to Robert Costa. Robert, you've done some excellent reporting for "The Washington Post." And I remember reading you not that long ago. You were suggesting that Eric Cantor was in trouble. And I remember a lot of people saying, what is he talking about?
But tell us about your reporting a little bit. What gave you an inclination that the majority leader potentially could lose this race?
COSTA: Even though Eric Cantor has never brought immigration bills to the floor, the prospect of him doing so has really alienated conservative voters in his district. I spoke to David Brat back in May. We put it on the front page of "The Washington Post," that this was real, Brat was in many ways amateur candidate, he was not ready to run against Cantor. He had the grassroots sport, and that was serious. BLITZER: And remind our viewers, Robert, how much -- how much Eric
Cantor spent and how much Dave Brat spent to win this race.
COSTA: Well, that's the big problem what we saw here in Virginia 7th congressional district. David Brat was going nowhere when I talked with him in May. Then in the final month, Eric Cantor spent over $1 million on negative advertising. What did this do? It didn't hurt David Brat. It elevated him. It gave him name recognition. It gave him small dollar donations. That's what propelled him through the finish line.
BORGER: And let's see how the House fight plays out for Eric Cantor's successor. Let's see if it's somebody who carries the banner of the Tea Party -- and I believe probably will be -- and how that works within the framework of the leadership of the Republican Party and how that then means that they don't work with President Obama to get any...
BLITZER: Who else...
KRISTOL: Jeb Hensarling, who I think (INAUDIBLE) -- was the chairman of financial services. What is one of his priorities in the next few months? Defunding the Export-Import Bank, a bank beloved by big business and big K Street Republicans and Democrats alike. So you can say Jeb Hensarling is more conservative, but he's also more populist.
BLITZER: All right. We'll leave it on that note. The Export-Import Bank. I know a lot of our viewers are going to be focusing in on that huge issue right now. I know the "Wall Street Journal" doesn't like that bank either.
All right, Bill Kristol, thanks very much.
Gloria, thank you.
Robert Costa, Michael Smerconish, excellent work.
Up next, stunning revelations from Bowe Bergdahl's journal, painting a picture of a very troubled young man, as the defense secretary defends the deal to get him back.
And new allegations that government agents have abused children caught border -- caught crossing the border illegally. We'll take you to the border.
And court documents now reveal details of the medical exams that found Donald Sterling to be mentally incompetent as the legal battle between the billionaire and his wife heats up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I've been offended and disappointed in how the Bergdahl family's been treated by some in this country. No family deserves this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A defiant defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, up on Capitol Hill today, answering tough questions from the House Armed Services Committee for more than five hours about the controversial Bowe Bergdahl swap. This, as "The Washington Post" is now reporting some startling new details about Bowe Bergdahl's past.
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. She's got the very latest -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was as angry a defense secretary as I have ever seen on Capitol Hill. And as you say, tonight, late-breaking details, more about who is Bowe Bergdahl.
STARR (voice-over): CNN has confirmed, Bowe Bergdahl served for less than a month in the Coast Guard before later joining the Army. Military sources would only call it an administrative discharge.
Tonight, his friends tell "The Washington Post" Bergdahl left the Coast Guard because he was psychologically troubled. CNN has not independently confirmed those accounts.
But journals and e-mails friends gave to the "Post," the "Post" said appear to paint a picture of a fragile young man trying to maintain mental stability. Bergdahl apparently writing at one point, "I've spent a lot of my life thinking blackness was all I had in front of me."
HAGEL: I'll tell you what.
REP. JEFF MILLER (R), FLORIDA: The doctors -- the doctors...
HAGEL: I'll tell you what...
STARR: On Capitol Hill today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel angrily defended why Bergdahl is still in the hospital 12 days after being released from five years in Taliban captivity.
MILLER: You're trying to tell me that he's being held in Landstuhl, Germany, because of his medical condition?
HAGEL: Congressman, I hope you're not implying anything other than that. The fact...
MILLER: I'm just asking the question, Mr. Secretary, that you won't answer.
HAGEL: I'm going to give you an answer. I don't like the implication.
MILLER: Answer it. Answer it.
STARR: Hagel offering one mea culpa to Congress.
HAGEL: We could have done a better job. Could have done a better job of keeping you informed.
STARR: And defending against accusations about why Congress wasn't informed of the trade.
HAGEL: By the way, I never said that I don't trust Congress. That's your words.
REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R), TEXAS: Yes, you did. Yes, you did.
HAGEL: I never said I don't trust Congress.
CONAWAY: All right.
HAGEL: You want to check your transcript.
CONAWAY: Mr. Secretary. Mr. Secretary.
STARR: Hagel revealing the administration's intelligence concluded the five Taliban, some tied to al Qaeda, don't pose a direct threat to the U.S.
HAGEL: Their focus would almost certainly be on Taliban efforts inside Afghanistan. Not the homeland of the United States.
STARR: But there was a moment suggesting everyone take a deep breath.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: And I would just ask us to think for a moment how we would be responding if Bowe Bergdahl was our son. I -- I really fear for his return to this country with the kind of rhetoric that is being spewed in this very room.
STARR: And tonight, a DOD official tell me that now all of the travel arrangements have been finalized for Bowe Bergdahl's return to a U.S. military hospital in Texas. The final decision about when he will make that journey has not been made. But everything indeed has put into place -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We'll wait and see what happens on that front, Barbara. Thank you.
Let's continue the conversation now with the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Republican Buck McKeon. Five -- five hours plus. Were you convinced? Did he do a good job? Do you accept his arguments, Mr. Chairman?
REP. BUCK MCKEON (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I -- I think that he did a good job. I think he has a very tough job. You know, he's kind of the point man for the administration now to take the brunt of some of the things that we're finding. I think what I -- what I got out of all of this is they talked about
-- all around it, but the end of the day they dealt with terrorists. Because of that, we're less safe than we were a couple of weeks ago.
BLITZER: You agree with the House speaker that Americans will die now as a result of these five detainees set free?
MCKEON: I certainly hope not, but I think we're more at risk that somebody might take a hostage and demand, you know, other things from us. That's -- that's where I think the risk is. And it could also -- these five guys were pretty bad guys, and they've already got blood on their hands; and they could have more.
And the thing is, they kept us in the dark about this for several months; and I'm afraid that they're going to try to do it again.
BLITZER: But you're afraid they're going to try to do what again, release other detainees without informing the Congress? Is that what you're saying?
MCKEON: That's my concern.
BLITZER: But didn't he give you an assurance that they would notify Congress?
MCKEON: You know, they have in the past. They obviously didn't this time.
You followed it. You were -- you were right there. You heard them say, and you heard brought out in testimony, and now I can talk about it. But they -- they did brief us, the leadership, House leadership, in the appropriate committees in November of 2011 that they were starting to reach out to negotiate with the Taliban to move for a peace process. And a little small part of that was that they were trying to work out an exchange with these five detainees for Sergeant Bergdahl.
And then they came back and updated us in January, and by then the Taliban opened an office in Qatar. And it was discovered and it all --everything blew apart...
BLITZER: But did you not accept, Mr. Chairman, the argument they made that, if they would have notified members of the Congress, it could have leaked, and then Bergdahl might have been killed?
MCKEON: You know, no, I really doesn't buy that, not when they told 80 to 90 people in 4 of the departments in the administration they had time to tell the Justice Department, Homeland Security, DOD, and the White House, people knew. No, I do not buy that.
By law, they're directed to report to Congress. We -- we didn't divulge the fact that we had those other briefings two, three years ago. You know, it just as likely that a leak could come out of those 80 or 90 people.
BLITZER: I'm going to just wrap it up with an unrelated question. Who do you want to be majority leader in the House of Representatives?
MCKEON: Kevin McCarthy.
BLITZER: That's your man that you're going to vote for, the whip, Kevin McCarthy. We'll see how he does. Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for joining us.
MCKEON: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: Coming up, abuse on the border, at least allegations, stunning new allegations that undocumented kids caught at the border have been strip-searched, physically mistreated by government agents.
Also, Sterling versus Sterling. Court filings reveal details of the medical exams that judged the Clippers billionaire owner to be mentally incompetent.
Plus, we have chilling surveillance video just released by Las Vegas police showing the chaotic, final moments of a deadly shoot-out.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Shocking, new detail now on the treatment of children being held after crossing the U.S. border illegally on their own. We've reported on the crowded conditions under which undocumented minors are being kept. Now there are accusations government agents have physically mistreated some of these kids.
Our Justice correspondent Pamela Brown is looking into the story for us.
What are you learning?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, these accusations are stunning, Wolf. The ACLU taking action today, filing an official complaint with new allegations of physical, sexual and verbal abuse of undocumented children being held by U.S. Border Patrol agents. The ACLU alleges it's been going on for years and the government has done nothing.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, civil rights groups say these leaked images of undocumented children packed into a U.S. Border Patrol holding cell only tell half the story. In a new complaint filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the ACLU and other groups accuse Customs and Border Patrol agents of keeping illegal immigrant children in squalid conditions, denying them medical care, strip searching and shackling them, even sexually and verbally abusing them.
The ACLU says the charges are based on accounts of undocumented children being held. Tonight the agency tells CNN, Customs and Border Protection is ensuring nutritional and hygienic needs are met, that children are provided meals regularly and have access to drinks and snack and are given proper medical care. Mistreatment or misconduct is not tolerated.
The Obama administration says at least 60,000 unaccompanied children could cross America's southwest border this year. Tonight, the crisis is growing, children now coming from countries other than Mexico, immigrants from as far south as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Undeniably, there's a problem of humanitarian proportions.
BROWN: Today on Capitol Hill, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress he recently visited the border.
JOHNSON: I approached a 10-year-old girl and asked her, where's your mother, and she told me, I don't have a mother. I'm looking for my father in the United States.
BROWN: Johnson told Congress the U.S. is opening three new facilities to house the children. And pulling scores of agents from their duties watching the border to watching the kids.
JOHNSON: We know we must do something to stem this tide.
BROWN: But Republicans told Johnson the situation at the border is already out of control.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Talking about excessive force and violence, I wish you'd push back a little harder, Mr. Johnson, but this is the kind of thing that's happening to your Border Patrol agents every day. They're being attacked with vehicles, they're being shot and they are being pummeled with large rocks.
BROWN: And in the hearing today, Republican senators blaming the influx of these undocumented children on President Obama, due to his promise of immigration reform this year. But the administration is saying the kids reporting to them that they came over to escape violence in their homeland.
No matter what is driving this, the administration clearly has a huge problem on their hands with all of these kids here from Central America, many of them that don't have families here.
BLITZER: Sixty thousand kids.
BROWN: Sixty thousand.
BLITZER: Without parents, just cross over this year. That's a huge problem.
Pamela, stand by for a moment. I want to go to the border area right now. Our national correspondent Gary Tuchman is in Nogales, Arizona.
Gary, many of these undocumented kids there where you are in Nogales, tell us why they have been brought there. GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do come to you
from Nogales, Arizona, like you said, Wolf. This is the border, the other side is Nogales, Mexico, and five minutes in this direction of the U.S. side is the Nogales Border Station. And that's where the Border Patrol Station is, the place where people and children who have picked up in Texas and in New Mexico and California and here in Arizona are all being brought there.
It's a large border station with a lot of employees and resources. It's not fancy at all, it's very crowded inside. But there is space for the hundreds of children who are there now. But the idea is, when they find out these children have relatives in the United States, they'll send them to relatives as soon as possible if the relatives are in good standing. Otherwise they're being sent out to three military facilities in the United States in Texas, in Oklahoma, and in California while they continue the investigative work. But it's certainly a problem and a big deal if more and more children keep coming into this country.
What's so different about the situation right now, every day people come through, over, and around these fences in the four states that border Mexico. But what's happening now is an extraordinary number of children, just over the last couple of weeks.
So what's going on? Well, Pamela just talked about it. There's a lot of violence right now. An extreme amount of violence over the past couple of months, more than normal. They're violent countries, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, but more violent than ever because of gang violence there. Many families want children out. They're willing to have their children take risks to get to this country and be near family members here.
In addition, they are aware that under U.S. immigration law, if you come -- if you live in Mexico or if you live in Canada to the north, you can be sent back right away. But if you live in a country that's not contiguous to the United States then you can't be sent back right away. The situation has to be investigated.
And also, children and mothers who are coming over with their children know that typically authorities here in the United States are lenient towards them if they have family members, they will usually let them go to be with their family members. So it's very important to point out, Wolf, that most of these children who are coming over from Mexico are not Mexican. They're coming from those three Central American countries where there has been so much violence lately.
So that's why we're reasonably sure, based on that fact, based on talking to mothers who come to this country, that the violence is a major reason. Not the only reason, but a major reason so many children are coming here over the last couple of weeks.
BLITZER: This is a very important story. And we're certainly going to stay on top of it in the coming days and weeks.
Gary Tuchman on the border, Pamela Brown here in Washington. Thanks to both of you. Up next, we have results of Donald Sterling's medical exams in which
he was judged mentally incompetent. They have now been released in court, as the legal battle between husband and wife heats up.
And the chaotic, final moments of a deadly shoot-out, seen in the surveillance video that has just been released by Las Vegas Police.
BLITZER: We're learning fascinating new details about L.A. Clippers' co-owner Donald Sterling's alleged mental health based on court documents first obtained by our own Brian Todd. It all comes with Shelly Sterling in court today fighting for a $2 billion deal to sell the team that her estranged hundred is suddenly objecting to.
Brian is joining us. He's got more on what's going on. This is getting a little bit more complex.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. You know, these court documents, the doctors' opinions in these court documents, they paint a stark picture of Donald Sterling's mental condition, saying he's had memory problems for at least three years, trouble controlling his moods, and that he's at risk of serious errors in judgment.
It's the backbone of Shelly Sterling's effort to sell the L.A. Clippers on her own. His attorneys say this is all a bunch of nonsense and they'll fight it in court.
TODD (voice-over): Donald Sterling suffering from cognitive impairment. That's what doctors who examined him say. Arguing he's unfit to own the L.A. Clippers. One doctor reported Sterling was, quote, "unaware of the season, was unable to spell word the world backwards, had difficulty drawing a clock." Another says his symptoms are consistent with early Alzheimer's disease but could reflect other forms of brain disease.
The doctors' opinions were filed in court today by lawyers for Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly.
PIERCE O'DONNELL, SHELLY STERLING'S ATTORNEY: This is a complex business. You have a $2 billion basketball team, you have massive amount 150 real estate holdings and it requires a person to run the business who is competent and the doctor -- as three doctors have said that he lacks the mental capacity.
TODD: The court filing is part of Shelly Sterling's effort to get a judge to back her takeover the family trust, a move she used to reach a deal for the $2 billion sale of the Clippers. Shelly Sterling is asking for a judge's backing because Donald Sterling now refuses to sell the Clippers and is suing the NBA to keep them. His attorneys are emphatic, he's not mentally incompetent. And on the assessments of those doctors --
MAXWELL BLECHER, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD STERLING: Best opinions money can buy, reports were directed to Mrs. Sterling's attorney, so guess who they thought they were working for.
TODD: No comment from Shelly Sterling's attorneys.
NANCY FAX, TRUSTS AND ESTATES ATTORNEYS: This is a classic battle of the experts. There's no doubt in my mind that he will retain neurologists who will opine that he does have mental capacity.
TODD: It's now up to a court to decide. If Shelly Sterling wins --
FAX: Then that would mean that the transaction would go through. If he successfully contests this, then possibly the sale cannot go through because she would not be the successor trustee of the trust and would not have the authority to sell.
TODD: And the attorney for Steve Ballmer, the man who's got $2 billion on the line for the Clippers, has a warning.
ADAM STREISAND, ATTORNEY FOR STEVE BALLMER: Mr. Ballmer is not going to stick around for years for this to wind through the courts.
TODD: In fact, it was Steve Ballmer who insisted on these court proceedings to determine Shelly Sterling's authority to sell. The judge has just said he'll start to hear this case on July 7th.
Wolf, it's going to be like a trial format, four days, both sides are going to present their experts and it's going to get ugly again.
BLITZER: You have some other details on what was discovered during these mental tests that he took with these neurologists.
TODD: Right. And these opinions from the doctors in court today. They say for the most part, Donald Sterling was cooperative, but one doctor says toward the end of one exam, when he was unable to perform a task, he became angry and said he couldn't do it. They tried to convince him to do it. He took one more look at the exam of the task and said, I can't do it, he threw down his pen and walked out of the room, expressing a little bit of frustration.
BLITZER: Because there have been suggestions going back to the beginning when he was heard saying all those racist things in that audiotape that was released, some people saying, you know, if you're suffering from early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's, you wind up saying stupid, ridiculous -- seeing things from time to time. You really can't control what you're saying. Is there evidence in these medical reports that that could have been one of his problems, why he was saying these awful things?
TODD: This does not explain why he was saying those things to V. Stiviano on the tape. And you're right, Shelly Sterling said early on, she thinks he's got dementia. At that point we asked doctors, you know, if you have dementia or early onset Alzheimer's, do you say racist things, maybe things that you don't mean or never felt? And one doctor told us, it doesn't mean you say things that you've never felt. It doesn't kind of put those ideas into your head.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, doing good reporting as he always does, thank you.
Just ahead, 500,000 Iraqis and their security forces now fleeing, they're fleeing for lives as a ruthless terror group captures another key city in Iraq.
Also coming up, chilling surveillance video just released by the Las Vegas Police showing the chaotic, final moments of a deadly shoot-out.
BLITZER: Chilling surveillance video just released by the Las Vegas Police from inside a Wal-Mart around the time the two suspects in the deadly shooting spree were killed. This as authorities are revealing critical new details in the investigation.
CNN national correspondent Kyung Lah is working the story for us. She's in Las Vegas.
Kyung, tell us what's going on. This video specifically.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the video is very disturbing. We want to be very clear with our audience, you do not see any shots fired but it does give you a look at those final moments inside that Wal-Mart store.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're looking like -- looks like they're shooting at each other.
LAH (voice-over): In the chaotic final moments in the shootout between the Millers and the police, officers thought Amanda Miller, seen here raising and pointing her handgun at her husband, fired the shot that killed Jared Miller, seen here at the top. But forensic and autopsy results show police had by now already fired what would be the fatal bullet. Both are wounded and bleeding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's not down.
LAH: We're stopping the video as Amanda Miller turns the gun on herself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Female just shot herself in the head.
ASST. SHERIFF KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS: The reason that you're not seeing if the video prior to this or subsequent to this is because it is very graphic.
LAH: Investigators release this video saying it gives a window into the brutality of the killers. Minutes earlier they had murdered Joseph Wilcox who had tried to stop the Millers with his concealed handgun inside a Wal-Mart. At a nearby pizza shop, the couple had ambushed Las Vegas officers, Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck, on their bodies placing a swastika and draping them with a flag used by anti- government groups. Against the government, against everyone.
JARED MILLER, LAS VEGAS RAMPAGE KILLER: This is me and you versus the world.
LAH: It's how Jared Miller viewed his position in the world, posting a number of videos on social media expressing his hatred for the government and law enforcement. We learned today that Las Vegas officers never saw them. What's more, specially trained counterterrorism detectives in the Las Vegas Police Department did go to the Millers' apartment four months ago. Why? Jared Miller threatened Indiana DMV office saying he would shoot anyone who took his suspended Indiana driver's license.
MCMAHILL: The male subject claimed that he used different terminology than what the Indiana DMV had told us, but ultimately at the end of the conversation, those three seasoned detectives did not determine that there was a potential for an ongoing threat at that time.
LAH: So why did the police decide to release this video right now? Well, in the first news conference they had said that the wife appeared to shoot her husband. They wanted to correct the record. But they also, Wolf, wanted people to understand exactly how terrifying this couple is -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Kyung, the police officers spoke about the weapons. What do we know?
LAH: What we now know is that there were two handguns that the suspects used including a shotgun. Three weapons in all that they carried on their rampage. We have learned that none of those guns were registered. One of them was legally purchased. As far as the whereabouts of the others, Wolf, they're still trying to track that down with the help of the ATF -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we know those two police officers were shot and killed but other officers involved in the shootout, what about them? How are they doing?
LAH: Yes, we don't want to forget about the number of officers who were involved here. In the initial response, especially in that Wal- Mart, we did learn that there were three officers who did exchange gunfire with the suspects and this is an extraordinary story that we learned in the news conference. One of the officers actually went home because he thought he was done and found shrapnel in his leg when he took off -- took his clothing off. He drove himself to the hospital. He's doing fine.
As far as the rest of the police department, Wolf, I can tell you from having spoken to the officers here, they are all shaken to the core because they feel that this was an assassination-style takedown -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What about the community? How are folks doing where you are?
LAH: You know, it's extraordinary. We cover these, unfortunately, on a regular basis. This one in particular has hit this community very hard. If you've been to Las Vegas, you know that this is a community of service as well as tourism, employees. They don't have a lot to do with each other. You're seeing neighbors come out of the woodwork, they're going to these memorials, they're meeting each other, they're talking about these officers, these two particular officers at length -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Kyung Lah in Las Vegas, thank you.
Coming up, Islamist terrorists too ruthless even for al Qaeda capture another Iraqi city. Half a million civilians and security forces, they are fleeing for their lives right now.
And the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speaking out getting ready to bow out after a stunning primary upset. What that unprecedented defeat means for the GOP.