Return to Transcripts main page
Giuliani Calls Biden A "Moron" & "Mentally Deficient Idiot"; Corker: Republicans In "Cult-Like Situation" With Trump; Trump: I Want "My People" To "Sit Up At Attention" Like North Koreans, Later Calls It A Joke; Trump Falsely Blames Democrats For Separating Families; At Least 2,000 Children Separated From Parents At The Border; Arpaio: Blame Adults Coming Across Border For Family Separations; CNN: Cohen Signals Openness To Cooperate With Feds. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 16, 2018 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hello again and thanks so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin this hour with a key number at the heart of the nation's fierce immigration debate, 2,000.
That's how many children have been separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border in just a six-week span from mid-April to the end of May according to Homeland Security.
Just a short time ago, the president once again tried to blame Democrats for practice that's increased dramatically because of his administration's zero tolerance prosecution policy launched this spring.
The president tweeting, "Democrats can fix their forced family break- up at the border by working with Republicans on new legislation for a change. This is why we need more Republicans elected in November. Democrats are good at only three things, high tax, high crime and obstruction. Sad."
CNN was on the scene as border patrol agents detained a group of children and adults in South Texas. One of those children was an 11- year-old boy who traveled all by himself. CNN's Ed Lavandera was there when that dramatic moment played out. So, Ed what more do we know about these undocumented immigrants and what will happen to them?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Well, this scene that we witnessed is just one of many that take place every day along the U.S. southern border, but it really points to the dramatic fashion with which things have changed here over the course of the last six weeks along this southern border.
And what happens to these children is very much up in the air. Essentially the group that we came across was two adults and four children. Within that, there was actually three different groups. Two mothers with their children and then that one boy traveling by himself. That boy ended up in a detention center. I was able to speak with his mother who said she had already spoken with him as well. But what's unclear, we haven't been able to figure out, is what's going to happen with the two adult women and their children.
Those are the ones that have been kind of at the center of this controversy with the zero-tolerance policy. And it's not exactly clear if they will be -- if the adults will be sent to federal court and prosecuted for the federal misdemeanor charge of illegal entry.
And then because of that separated from their children or if they will be released and given a court date, immigration court date and GPS ankle monitor and allowed to move freely or more freely in the country. So that is the rub here.
The Trump administration has talked about this being a 100 percent zero tolerance policy. But quite honestly what we have seen here over the course of the last few days in Texas is that it's not 100 percent.
But DHS officials will not say exactly how they determine who gets released and who gets prosecuted under this new zero-tolerance policy. And just how close to 100 percent they plan on getting. This all happening as the shelter where these children are being housed are filling up quickly.
We have learned from the Department of Homeland Security that just between April 19th and May 31st since this zero-tolerance policy was instituted, nearly 2,000 more children have been added to these detention centers.
In fact, another temporary detention center had to be opened up in far West Texas where there are more than 300 kids already filling up that space as well. And those numbers, Fredricka, don't even include the addition that has happened here in the last two weeks in June. So, those numbers when they come out again should increase dramatically as well -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And then what's your understanding inside these detention centers or these locations where kids, you know, are being held? How are they cared for? Because the range in ages reportedly is so vast from infants, you know, to kids up to 17 years old.
How are they cared for? Who is supervising? What kind of medical attention? I mean, all of that stuff that comes with caring for a child. Kids being, you know, in this location for a matter of weeks. Who's doing that and how is that being carried out as far as you know?
LAVANDERA: Right. So, after they've come through the immigration process, the Department of Health and Human Services and more specifically within that organization, the Office of Refugee Resettlement runs these shelters.
They have opened up the doors to two of these shelters earlier this week and given journalists tours of two facilities, one in Brownsville and one in California. But these were facilities where mostly older boys were housed between the ages of 10 and 17.
Quite frankly what we saw, just in an hour tour, was very clean facilities, the children received three meals a day. The rooms, it's not like they're in prison cells but they're in rooms that sleep five children to a room with walls around it, but there are no doors in those rooms.
There's recreational activities, football tables, televisions, pool tables, and recreational fields. There are also, for the older kids, they're also sent to school about six hours a day as well.
[12:05:10] So, they pointed out to, you know, those facilities. And from every account we've heard from journalists who have seen this, you know, they were clean. They were cool especially given the daytime temperatures we have around here. There are a hundred of these facilities in 17 different states, so we got a glimpse of two of them.
WHITFIELD: In your glimpse, because of, you know, some of the images that I was seeing presumably from the facility that you got to see, there were like paintings I think we saw on the wall of images of President Trump, images of President Obama and then what appeared to be quotes of some sort. I mean, what -- why are those images -- what is going on in terms of the decoration so to speak, the messages that come from that kind of, you know, artwork on the walls?
LAVANDERA: Well, that was one of the details that kind of stood out. The one you're referencing there is the detention facility which is in old Walmart, 250,000 square feet. There are these murals on the wall of former presidents, one of Barack Obama and also other presidents.
The first one you walked into there was -- there's a strangeness to when you walk into this facility. One of the murals had a painting of Donald Trump and it was the quote that came with it that kind of stood out kind of oddly to people.
It said sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war, seemed like one of those messages that might be lost on a bunch of, you know, undocumented teenage children.
WHITFIELD: OK. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much. And you know what, another quick -- I'm sorry, another question. The 11-year-old boy who was unattended, how is he doing? You were a bell to talk to his mother. What's the plan?
LAVANDERA: Yes, we saw him yesterday afternoon just as he was getting picked up by border patrol. And, look, many of the kids that are in these detention facilities have come unaccompanied. This was happening before the zero-tolerance policy. We understand he was able to talk to his mother. From what his mother told me, he seemed fine.
WHITFIELD: All right, Ed Lavandera, thank you so much. Appreciate it. We'll check back with you.
All right, let's talk more about this. Joining me right now, Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general under President Bush and the highest ranking Hispanic ever in the U.S. federal government. He is also the author of the book "True Faith and Allegiance, A Story of Sacrifice In War And Peace."
Mr. Gonzales, great to see you. You really are in a very unique position here. You know, you know, what that 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush says. And yet you are seeing, like everybody else, these images, you know, of families being separated, children alone, now in these facilities.
Is this how this law, you know, was supposed to work? Was that law focusing on what to do with unattended minors and it's evolved over time? What's your general assessment here?
ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, the first thing we need to all appreciate is that we have to have secure borders and that's what president Trump campaigned on and that's what he's trying to deliver on. However, you know, we're a very smart nation and we have discretion in the way that laws are enforced and implemented.
You know, I think we can certainly do better than separating children from their parents. And so, you know, I think this is unfortunate situation. I'm hopeful that the government will be able to find a way to secure our borders in a way that is more humane and doesn't separate children from their parents.
And hopefully, Congress will get their act together and pass legislation and present to the president legislation that will correct this problem as well as deal with other aspects of our immigration policy. This is a very serious issue. Getting it right means that we improve our economy potentially.
It also means that we do a better job in terms of securing our national security and I'm very hopeful that Congress working with the president -- we will pass legislation soon that will address this problem in a way that's more humane.
WHITFIELD: So, a couple things there. You do believe the problem ought to be fixed and you do now believe that this is one that could be fixed or should be fixed via legislation? You do not believe that the president has the power to, right now, remedy this issue?
GONZALES: No, I believe the president does have the authority, executive authority and exercising discretion and interpreting laws. But I think as a general matter, immigration policy and the courts have said so, this is the primary province of the Congress.
When they pass legislation, it's permanent. An executive order, executive action by the president can be changed next week. It can certainly be changed by the next president. It can be changed down the road by Congress when they pass legislation.
[12:10:02] This is important for our country and it's important that we take actions to address issue regarding immigration policy in the United States.
WHITFIELD: Do you believe this law is being interpreted the way that you interpreted it?
GONZALES: Listen, from my perspective, again, I think we all agree in a post-9/11 world, we need to have control of our borders. But I do believe that we have the discretion to do -- to achieve control of our borders without separating children from their parents.
I think this is very traumatic for families. I think when Americans see these kinds of image, I think they're heart broken and rightly so. Again, I think we can achieve our secure border. We can achieve the law. We can enforce the law in a way that's consistent with our values here and not separating children from their parents.
WHITFIELD: And at the same time, you said the president, you know, can exercise discretion, meaning he can step into this right now, and resolve this matter in terms of children being separated from their parents.
Because I'm hearing from you compassion about the issue here but at the same time, you're saying there is discretion, and there is variations of interpretation of the law. So how do these two come together? And what kind of power do you believe is immediately power to resolve this now?
GONZALES: Well, for example, it's possible that what's going on here is that parents are being separated from their children for a short period of time. For example, to process the parents in. I don't have all the details or facts here.
But if we're talking about long-term separation where children are -- by the thousands, by the hundreds of thousands, are warehoused in some kind of facility for some period of time. I don't think that's what Congress intended. And I'm not sure that that's necessary in order to enforce the law.
I think the processing can occur without any kind of long-term separation between parents and children. I think -- I'm hopeful the administration will try to find a way to make that happen until Congress passes some kind of legislation.
WHITFIELD: So, you'd acknowledge this is a problem. Whose fault is this right now?
GONZALES: I don't know if it's appropriate to be pointing fingers. I think we ought to be focused on working together to solve the problem and get these families back together. And to do so in a way that, again, we want to make sure we know who's coming into this country.
We want to take advantage of our resources to do the appropriate checks on individuals who have an interest coming into this country. But let's do so in a way that's consistent with our values and that is humane and recognizes that children need to be with their parents to the extent we can make that possible.
WHITFIELD: Then who has the power to fix it most immediately?
GONZALES: Well, most immediately, obviously the president can probably take some executive action to deal with this in terms of directing the Department of Homeland Security about how to process these folks in and try to minimize the separation, try to minimize the disruption.
But long term, we're talking about legislation. And again, as I said, I'm very optimistic, but hopeful that Congress will be able to pass something that the president's willing to sign and will address this issue once and for all.
WHITFIELD: And as a former U.S. attorney general, I've got to ask you about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, quoting the bible as justification. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak. It protects the lawful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, you've heard so many since Thursday say that this kind of justification is just too similar to the same kind of justifications for slavery in the U.S., apartheid in South Africa. What was your reaction when you heard that?
GONZALES: You know, I like Jeff Sessions. One of the things I admire about him is he is a man of faith. Listen, the job of the attorney general primarily is to defend the laws and Constitution of the United States. Not so much the commandments in our bible.
You know, I'm not going to criticize General Sessions for quoting the bible. But let's hope that he works with other members of the administration to deal with this issue in a way that's efficient and in a way that's fair to families but also in a way that ensures the security of our country.
WHITFIELD: Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff, suggested that, you know, parents who are bringing these kids, you know, to the border, bringing them to the U.S. illegally, have only themselves to blame. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, FORMER SHERIFF, MARICUPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: Why do we blame the families, the adults, for taking the chance, violating the law, coming across our border with these young kids? They're the ones who should be held responsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[12:15:08] WHITFIELD: So, you shook your heads before even listening to this again. Perhaps you heard it earlier in the week. Your thoughts? GONZALES: No, I didn't hear it earlier but listen, let's not punish the children, let's punish the parents. The children have no say in this. They're brought here by their parent. So, let's -- if we're going to do something, punish the parents and not punish the children by separating the children from their parents.
So, I think, you know, Sheriff Arpaio has it backwards. If you want to do something, let's do something to the parents. Let's not do something to the children that's harmful. They're here not by their choice. They're here because of their parents.
WHITFIELD: But isn't that what Arpaio is saying, it's the parents who have put their kids up to this?
GONZALES: I think that there are other ways that we might look at punishing the parents by making sure they don't -- they're not allowed ultimately to come into this country. But to punish the children by separating from their parents, you know, I don't think that's the appropriate way to deal with this.
WHITFIELD: What do you want to see ultimately happen?
GONZALES: Well, ultimately, what I'd like to see is Congress passing comprehensive immigration reform that deals with these kinds of issues. That deals with the 15 million people that are in this country here unlawfully.
That revises our visa promises. That imposes greater workplace enforcement actions and deals with the DREAMers. So, I think comprehensive legislation is needed in this country for two very important reasons.
One, if we get it right, it is going to improve our economy. It will provide additional workers that we need. But also, it will enhance our national security and in a post-9/11 world that is vitally important.
WHITFIELD: All right, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, thanks so much.
A programming note, CNN's Ana Cabrera will go one on one with former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson coming up at 3:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
Coming up, Paul Manafort wakes up in jail after having his bail revoked. How the president is now trying to distance himself from the man who once rammed his campaign.
Plus, Rudy Giuliani explains why he called former Vice President Joe Biden a mentally deficient idiot, and he's not exactly apologizing.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. President Trump's former campaign chairman is in a Virginia jail this morning about 90 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Paul Manafort's bail was revoked yesterday by the federal judge in his foreign lobbying trial after he was also charged with witness tampering.
President Trump trying to distance himself from a man who was front and center in his campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign, but I feel -- I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. With Manafort in jail, the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani is talking pardon, specifically if and when the president will grant them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: My advice to the president of the United States as his lawyer, not as a government lawyer, is no pardons. It would completely change the momentum that we have right now because it's very strong right now. You can see the polls moving in the president's favor and against Mueller.
CUOMO: Then why just suggest it?
GIULIANI: I didn't suggest it. I said he shouldn't pardon anybody. The president said to me he shouldn't pardon anybody. I said after the investigation is over, it has to be considered a governmental matter, not by me. What the history has been is these things get cleaned up. Ford did it. Reagan did it. Carter did it. Clinton did it, and Bush did it in political investigations.
CUOMO: So, you're saying after the probe is over, it may be cleaned up with any pardons?
GIULIANI: If people were unfairly prosecuted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: I want to bring in Page Pate. He is a CNN legal analyst and a criminal defense attorney. All right. So, Page, this is kind of dangling the carrot, even if it's after the investigation or at whatever juncture. How problematic is that potentially? Does that, you know, skirt too close to witness tampering, even obstruction by even saying that it's a possibility?
PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, we've not seen anything like this before. The constitution gives the president very broad pardon powers. He can pardon anyone, arguably even himself, for almost any reason.
But I think Mr. Giuliani is correct to be concerned about the optics of using that pardon now while the investigation is still ongoing before Manafort has actually been convicted.
Because if you're using the pardon to keep someone from being prosecuted but to keep them from testifying against you in an ongoing investigation, that could appear to be obstruction.
WHITFIELD: And likely pardoning somebody like a Manafort is not really an option if it turns out that Manafort went -- you know, his trial is focused primarily on his life, his business dealings and if there is no connection to the president of the United States, then the president wouldn't even likely consider a pardon, would he?
PATE: Yes. I don't know what's going through their minds at this point, Trump's legal team, because they have to think, well, what does Manafort know? Based on that, is he going to talk to the government about this?
Does the government really need Manafort to build a case against someone closer to Trump perhaps? But at the end of the day, even if Trump issues a pardon to Manafort to try to prevent him from testifying, that won't necessarily do it, especially if the pardon is issued now.
Because once Manafort has no realistic chance of being prosecuted and sent to prison, if it's because of a pardon in this case, then he has no Fifth Amendment privilege. So, then Mueller, any other federal prosecutor could put him in the witness chair and require him to testify. He could not evoke the Fifth Amendment because he's already been pardoned for that offense.
WHITFIELD: Then there's the personal attorney, Michael Cohen, but then now, not really personal attorney, if you listen to the president. Apparently, those in his circles, people who know his family members say that, you know, he's thinking about perhaps talking about a deal.
WHITFIELD: What do you believe might be true about that? That he would be searching for another team?
PATE: Well, I think it makes sense for him to search for another team. A team of defense lawyers that are comfortable in the Southern District of New York, which is where the case is actually pending. There's no case yet against him but where the investigation is ongoing.
You want lawyers who know the judges who know the prosecutors. And almost every criminal defendant in the federal case at least in my experience is going to consider cooperating.
Because at the end of the day, when you're looking at, you know, decades perhaps in prison as a result of this type of an offense, you want to avoid that obviously. You want to do the best you can for yourself. If you have something that the government thinks is valuable, they're going to reward you for it. WHITFIELD: What might the government think is valuable as it pertains to Michael Cohen? We already know that, you know, teams are assembling shredded documents, et cetera. But what could be so critical about those documents?
COHEN: That's what's fascinating to me. We have not seen the documents that the lawyers and the special master had been pouring over the past several weeks. These privilege doubts or at least there's an argument that some of them are privileged. I don't know what's in those documents.
We know that he's communicating with the president. We know now the president was at least aware of the payment to Stormy Daniels, perhaps others. We know that Cohen was in touch with people in Russia during at least a critical juncture in the campaign. So, what's in those documents? Only the folks that have seen them really know, but it could be a lot.
WHITFIELD: Would that be wise if they are, indeed, still communicating?
PATE: I don't think so. Not at all. Manafort found out that you don't want to talk to a potential government witness even if you're not saying anything that could be itself obstructed. In other words, directing them how to testify or not testify. Any contact between a defendant and a potential witness is going to get that defendant in trouble, and that's what happened to Manafort.
WHITFIELD: Page Pate, good to see you.
PATE: Good to see you. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Appreciate it. All right, coming up, he's the president's lawyer in the Russia investigation. So why is Rudy Giuliani making headlines for calling Joe Biden a moron and a mentally deficient idiot? Hear how Giuliani is defending those comments next.
[12:31:51] WHITFIELD: All right, President Trump's personal lawyer is launching some very personal attacks at a potential adversary in the 2020 presidential election. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Rudy Giuliani called Former Vice President Joe Biden a moron and mentally deficient idiot. Last night, Giuliani attempted to clarify those comments to CNN's Chris Cuomo.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I didn't mean that. I mean, he's dumb. I think Joe's last in his law school class. Joe --
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He wasn't last but he was low.
GIULIANI: Actually, he was second to last and the guy died and he ended up last.
CUOMO: We had it as a different number, but he didn't do well. I'll give you that.
GIULIANI: And he had a plagiarism problem at law school. He had a plagiarism problem at as a senator which I think indicates something even about character. Constantly making faux pas.
CUOMO: But why talk about Joe Biden?
GIULIANI: Well because, obviously, I'm asked, would he be a formidable candidate? I said, no. He'd be somebody that I think the President would like to run against. He never did well as a national candidate. President did fabulously as a first-time national candidate.
WHITFIELD: Arizona Senator John McCain's daughter is coming to Biden's defense. Saying on Twitter, "I am disgusted by Giuliani's abhorrent and idiotic comments about Joe Biden. Joe Biden is one of the great political leaders of all time. One of the truly decent men left in politics and someone my family has looked to for strength during the most difficult time in our lives."
Joining me right now to talk about this, CNN Political Commentator and GOP Consultant John Thomas and CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson. All right, good to see you both.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to be here.
WHITFIELD: And finally, in the flesh, love it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: OK. So John, you first, what are your thoughts about Giuliani's comments? Why do this?
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, I would love Joe Biden to run. Many of the points that Giuliani made, primarily Joe Biden can't take the moral high ground in a Trump versus Biden argument. He has trouble with the truth. He got caught for -- He got caught for plagiarism both in law school -- not, you know, plagiarizing a sentence but five pages of plagiarism for getting the site.
WHITFIELD: But trouble with the truth doesn't seem to be standing in the way --
THOMAS: No. But the point is he can't lob the standard attacks on the left at Donald Trump. He's having some questions about his only two issues. He's a gaffe machine. I think Donald Trump's going to nickname him sloppy Joe.
WHITFIELD: Oh, boy. So Dave, do you think Republicans or even more Democrats need to be coming to the defense of Joe Biden or at least comment about what Giuliani had to say?
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, two things. One, sloppy has already been taken, there's sloppy Steve. Donald trump has already dubbed his former senior adviser.
But, look, I think what this truly underscores is the fact that the Trump campaign machine is scared. They're desperate. They're scared. Joe Biden would be formidable as would a number of other competitive Democrats who were looking at a 2020 contest.
The fact of the matter is, this is gutter politics. The Trump folks are not talking about jobs. They're not talking about health care. They're not talking about how they're going to fix our broken immigration system. What they're talking about is ripping apart children and families and that's not a winning message for 2020.
WHITFIELD: So what is going to be the winning message, John?
THOMAS: I mean, I think we run on the record that Republicans under the Trump administration have achieved. Our jobs numbers is largely what they're going to largely run on.
[12:35:04] And look, I think honestly a Biden/Trump stack up would be fantastic. Biden is known to be a gaffe machine. And I think -- I think Democrats are under the mistaken perception that Biden is tested.
When you run for V.P., it's a completely different position than when you run for president. They say running for president is like the MRI of the soul. I just don't believe that Biden is up to the task. So I encourage him to run, along with the 20 other Democrats --
JACOBSON: But last time I checked, Joe Biden was under the microscope for eight years when he was vice president to President Obama. And so the fact to the matter is he has been in the --
THOMAS: He was not under the microscope. There was a love affair with the President and they were not looking at Joe Biden. And he's had his own awkward me too moments where he's kissing people for too long, awkwardly hugging them.
JACOBSON: I haven't seen a me too movement.
THOMAS: I think it's going to be very difficult for Biden. He is not going to have easy path here.
JACOBSON: Look, he screams authenticity, right? But the fact to the matter is that when you bring up the issue of lies or perhaps having difficulty with the truth, it was Donald Trump that was reported on by The Washington Post who has lied over 3,000 times.
WHITFIELD: So both parties do seem to have a problem or there are problem areas as it pertains to the Republicans. You've got, you know, Senator Corker who just recently said, you know, there is like a cult-like following within the Republican Party of Donald Trump. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: We're in a strange place. I mean, it's almost, you know, I'm going to -- it's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it? It's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult- like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be purportedly of the same party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, John, you largely talking about the silence, you know, among the party, among party members and even as it pertains to not completely telling the truth. Not correcting the President.
THOMAS: You know, Senator Corker can call it cult like. It's called great approval ratings. That's what it is. It's called better approval ratings for Republican president than almost any of his predecessors. And Senator Corker can't understand why many of the GOP base are not aligned with him on issues like immigration and putting America first.
And they like Trump's style. They like that he picks, but Senator Corker doesn't understand that.
WHITFIELD: And then as it pertains to Democrats, the problem sometimes is not being focused , you know, on what the message is. Looking less of just opposite anti-Trump. So what are the Democrats going to do particularly as we, you know, inch towards these midterms?
JACOBSON: Well, a couple things. I think you're right that there is not like a broad Democratic platform. We haven't seen that. I don't know that we necessarily need it. I think everything has to be laser focused by district. That's what we saw with Conor Lamb's election.
And a district that Donald Trump won by 20 points. There wasn't a national message that he was running the Cotels (ph) up. He was running a micro-targeted campaign focused on local issues. So I think it's important that Democrats focus on that.
That being said, John, I think the American people are looking for a check on Donald Trump. That's why the generic ballot is starting to take back up. Nuclear (ph) politics has a sort of 7.3 percent advantage. And Fox News just a couple weeks ago put out a poll having Democrats with a nine-point advantage for the generic ballot.
So, it looks increasingly like the wind is at the back of Democrats. And when we come to the November elections, we have a good shot at taking back the House.
WHITFIELD: And as part of that silence, I mean, you know, seeing what happened to Mark Sanford. Some are saying because he was outspoken against the President that cost him. THOMAS: Yes. Certainly --
WHITFIELD: But Jeff Flake isn't, you know, trying to run.
THOMAS: Well, largely because he knows what would have happened to him. He would have lost. That's right. A lot of these members are -- look, every politician, Democrat or Republican, is really concerned about one thing at the end of the day and that's the re-election. And these members understand if they buck the President and buck the President's agenda, voters are going to hold them accountable and they will primaried.
WHITFIELD: Dave, do you believe that is what happened with Mark Sanford? Or was it -- or could it have been the me too movement, you know, and the fuel behind it and people then thinking about, you know, his past transgressions and that payback has come now as a result?
JACOBSON: I think this is the year of the woman, right? And ever since the Harvey Weinstein scandal has broken, I think people are looking at elections and giving it a new perspective, right? But I think Mark Sanford lost potentially because of that, but also he is in a deep red district. And that is a Trump district that the President won overwhelmingly.
I don't think that's necessarily the challenge for Republicans going to 2018. I think the challenges, if you look at the California 7, seven House districts where Hillary Clinton won but Republican currently has the district, right? Those are the swing districts that are going to determine whether or not Democrats take back the House, right? And that's why you're seeing that a lot of those House members trying to negotiate with Democrats on issues like immigration.
WHITFIELD: Right. And the case of Mark Sanford, he wasn't necessarily accused of anything that is in the category of me too, but I really speak of the empowerment of women at this time of me too. I think these transgressions of, you know --
THOMAS: And Sanford, in fairness to his opponent. Sanford ran a terrible campaign, so it was a combination of things.
[12:40:07] WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it right there. John and Dave, good to see you. We'll see you again tomorrow and later on this afternoon right here in the House.
WHITFIELD: Good to see you. All right. Coming up, in a week that saw President Trump praising Kim Jong-un, we look at the harsh reality behind those happy pictures of North Koreans cheering their leader.
WHITFIELD: President Trump insists he was only kidding when he expressed admiration for the adoring way North Koreans treat Kim Jong- un. But all jokes aside, we went in search of what's really behind the adulation that we see in North Korea's infamous propaganda videos. Here's Brian Todd.
[12:45:13] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very, very good.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump these days is full of admiration for Kim Jong-un for his strength as a leader and the difference he shown by his people.
TRUMP: He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.
TODD (voice-over): The President later tried to clean up the comment by saying he was joking.
TRUMP: I'm just kidding. You don't understand sarcasm.
TODD (voice-over): But North Koreans aren't laughing, unless they're told to.
GREG SCARLATOU, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA: Just like the grandfather and the father, Kim Jong-un, perhaps even more so, has ruled through fear politic, the politics of fear.
TODD (voice-over): That's especially evident in this propaganda video Kim's regime just produced to highlight the supreme leader's summit with President Trump in Singapore. Showing the kinds of displays of affection for Kim that President Trump says he appreciates.
The video has the classic signatures of a North Korean production. Adoring crowds seeing Kim off at the Pyongyang airport, dramatic music. And upon his triumphant return, women in colorful robes, top officials, even normally stoic generals practically weeping at the sight of him. But analysts say what you're witnessing isn't spontaneous devotion. It's carefully choreographed filthy.
PROF. JAMES PERSON, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: You're massed early in the morning and sending around for hours with these flags. And when the moment comes, everyone knows exactly what they do, to wave their flags or their flowers.
TODD (voice-over): In one of the first propaganda films released after he took over from his father, Kim Jong-un is seen departing on a boat. The crowd of soldiers and civilians weep hysterically. Then do one better, racing waist deep into the water to see him off.
SCARLATOU: If one doesn't clap for Kim Jong-un that person is sure to be in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was your applause so weak?
TODD (voice-over): In a 2016 documentary called "Under the Sun" a Russian filmmaker captured behind the scenes footage of a North Korean propaganda film being made. The minders often didn't know the cameras were rolling. At factories, dance classes and elsewhere, minders are shown prodding, scolding film subjects to be more zealous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Still too gloomy. Do it with more joy. You can do it more joyfully.
SIMONE BAUMANN, PRODUCER, "UNDER THE SUN": They would come to the scene, and would tell the people what they have to do, where they have to sit, how they have to sit, how they have to smile.
TODD (voice-over): But experts say we shouldn't assume all this emotion is completely fake. Many North Koreans, they say, genuinely believe that their leader has god-like greatness because they've been indoctrinated in it.
PERSON: The very first things that they're taught in school is to revere the Kim family. And they're taught about the sacrifices of the Kim family to the state. Not just the individual Kim but the entire family, going back generations.
TODD (voice-over): A system that, thanks to America's existing Democratic system, no president of the United States could ever recreate.
(on camera): While the crime of not showing quite enough joy at a rally can be punishable with reeducation or jail time for the average North Korean citizen, for top officials, that kind of thing can be deadly. A top education official in North Korea was once executed by firing squad for showing a, quote, bad attitude at a gathering of the supreme people's assembly.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[12:53:07] AARTI GAREHGRAT, BAGEL DOTS: Hi, I'm Aarti.
PURAV PATEL, BAGEL DOTS: And I'm Purav.
GAREHGRAT: And this is Bagel Dots.
Trying to eat an entire bagel, I would get full. And so bagel dots seem like the perfect solution. They're just easy to eat. You can pop them in your mouth.
PATEL: Yes, I don't have that problem. I can eat a whole bag. It's a new innovative twist to the traditional bagel. Think of a small doughnut hole filled with cream cheese. It becomes four different flavors. The Jalapeno, Plain Jane, cinnamon raisin and the kitchen thing (ph) which is the everything bagel.
So we started back in 2014 making maybe 500 out of our house. Now, the production facility behind this here can make 20,000 a day. And they're being sold in 205 grocery stores throughout Texas.
Do you like it? Thank you.
In the early days, we got involved with the communities. And then a lot of the organic growth happened through that. We have a lot of good will ambassadors for bagel dots.
GAREHGRAT: We have four flavors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They all look good.
PATEL: I think the industry as a whole is moving towards smaller bite sized foods. Maybe for portion control but also just for convenience. I think everyone is looking for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: On tomorrow's brand new episode of the "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell heads down south to debunk some mess while also retracing his family roots with his father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
W. KAMAU BELL, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" HOST: No, my crew is doing OK by most measures. But my dad's is way more impressive. He was the insurance commissioner for Alabama, which made him the highest ranking black person in Alabama. He was the first Alabamian to become the president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He's met with multiple presidents. Clinton, Obama -- nope.
But before all that, he was a struggling artist in the bay area. Oh, that's where I got that from. But his life really started in a shack in Vredenburgh, Alabama, 100 miles outside of Mobile with a population of 312. And the shack is on land my family still owns. Right off of -- don't get too impressed -- Bell Road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[12:55:13] WHITFIELD: We're impressed. Hey, b sure to catch "United Shades of America" tomorrow night, 10:00 right here on CNN. And we'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Hello again and thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Starting this hour with the growing numbers of forced family separations along the southern U.S. border. In just six weeks ending in May, the Department of Homeland Security says nearly 2,000 children were separated from their guardians.