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Group Of Lawmakers Are Talking There Now After Having Toured A Facility Where Families Are Being Separated After Crossing The Border; Melania Trump Weighed In On The Crisis At The Border; Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 17, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta this Sunday. I want to take you straight to the border of Texas and Mexico, McAllen, Texas where a group of lawmakers are talking there now after having toured a facility where families are being separated after crossing the border. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to continue to press for that. Part of the reason we are here today is to help raise awareness all across the country so that people will demand that this family separation practice end once and for all. And that we do everything that we can to make sure the American people understand what's happening. Because this is being done in our names, in the names of the American people. And I think most people when they hear this are horrified and do not want it to be done in their names.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Yes. Not in our name. And this is Leah, who has been given permission to speak. I would like to let her speak. We will negotiate with anyone to save these children but really all he has to do is -- we will negotiate to stop this horrific practice. Leah.
LEAH: My message to these children and these detention centers is to stay strong because I am out here fighting for them to have the right to be with their family, to be happy. I live in the fear of my parents being deported. And I don't want that. I want to stay here in my community with my family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old are you?
LEAH: I'm 12 years old.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your last name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Border wall funding with the President?
LEE: We have a number of proposal that were bipartisan that would have addressed comprehensive immigration reform. I strongly oppose the -- (CROSSTALK)
WHITFIELD: All right. You are looking at live pictures right there in McAllen, Texas. And we are going to try and re-track some of the tape to hear more of what some of those members of Congress said. But you did hear Texas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee say all he has to do is act, meaning the President.
The President has made it very clear over the past few days that he is leaving it up to Congress to come up with some sort of legislation before intervening in this new zero tolerance policy put in place in April and May by the Trump administration. But the President says ending the separation of children and families is squarely on the shoulders of members of Congress, who need to come up with new legislation.
Let's talk more about all of this. Joining me right now is CNN political commentators Kevin Madden and Maria Cardona.
All right. Good to see you both.
So Maria, you first. The congresswoman says it's up to the President. The President says it's up to members of Congress. The first lady by way of her spokeswoman came out today saying that the sight of this is something she hates to see, children being separated by -- separated from their parents but at the same time she says it's up to both sides to work together, come up with legislation and to be led with heart. What's your point of view?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, this President and the policies that he is pushing through his administration have no heart. And he is lying about where this stands in terms of law and who is responsible for this. He alone is responsible for implementing this zero tolerance policy. There is no law that states that children must be taken from the arms of their parents even if they cross without papers at the border.
What is on the books is a law that says if people believe that they are -- that they are going to be threatened, their lives are going to be threatened, if they go back to their home countries they can present themselves at ports of entry and seek asylum. And what this President is doing in a complete perversion of that law is he is making them go through criminal proceedings which that's where the children are being taken away from the parents.
It is absolutely, completely voluntary, and this is a policy that is inhumane, indecent, un-American, completely dictatorial. And like I said yesterday, they are the tactics that have been used through history by the worst purveyors of pure evil including slave traders, including Nazis, including terrorists. And now this great country is using them as well, and we should all be ashamed.
WHITFIELD: So Kevin, how does this administration respond to descriptions coming from Republicans and Democrats who say the separation is inhumane, it's un-American?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it depends on who you ask. That's one of the big problems with this adjudication of this policy, is that the President said he hates it. The President said he doesn't agree with some of the criticism about kids being separated from their parents. Yet every time his administration is asked they laud the zero tolerance nature of the enforcement. And immigration enforcement activists continue to applaud the President for doing what they think is right and also preventing a bit of a deterrence for additional illegal crossings over the border.
So that is one of the things -- I think the President doesn't have as great an understanding of the actual policy even though this is some hardliners inside his administration are pushing it.
[16:05:41] WHITFIELD: All right. So Kevin and Maria, I want you to watch and listen with me. We have re-racked now this press conference from lawmakers who went to McAllen, Texas after looking at this detention facility. Let's listen in.
REP. VICENTE GONZALEZ (D), TEXAS: Thank you all for being here. It's a pleasure to have you. It's important to bring issues not only to our region to notice but also to the rest of the country. So we're happy to have senators and members of Congress from around our country seeing the injustices that are happening here along the border. And I think we're seeing a symptom of issues that we've ignored in Central America for years and Latin America. So hopefully, we can continue working on this.
The separation of families need to stop. That's not the America the world knows and loves. We need to take very important attention to this issue across both the Senate and Congress. And I appreciate the support we are getting from around the country and members from around the country to be here with us. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheila Jackson Lee, congresswoman.
LEE: Yes, hi. Senator Merkley, thank you very much for bringing us together. Sheila Jackson Lee on the homeland security committee.
Let me just quickly say that when you have a mother tell you directly that she is in fear that she will never see her child again and when the United Nations human rights commission indicates to the Trump administration, you are violating human rights, then you know that what we are saying today is President Trump, cease and desist because you are moving the ark of justice to the heap of despair and the trash heap of injustice. Thank you.
SEN. PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: It's a pretty grim sight to see really good young healthy-looking kids with so much fear, so much anxiety, so much wonder of what is next. They don't know where their parents are. They don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. They don't know if there's a future. And what has happened in this country is the deliberate decision by the President of the United States is to make it a crime for a mother and father and a son and daughter to make a treacherous journey, to knock on the door of freedom and be put in handcuffs. And that is what's happened. And after the parents are in handcuffs their kids are taken away to parts unknown. That is appalling. And it is un-American.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David (INAUDIBLE), from Rhode Island. I want to thank Senator Merkley for bringing us together. We just visited the processing center, and we are here to say loudly and clearly that our great country has a wonderful tradition of welcoming people who are fleeing violence and persecution and we do that through the asylum process. This new policy of the Trump administration, developed by the Trump administration, by the attorney general of the United States with the approval of the President of the United States, is undermining the founding values of this country, ripping children literally from the arms of their mothers in order to try to prevent people from coming to America.
This is not what our country stands for. We are here today to bring attention to this, to call on the Trump administration to stop the zero tolerance policy, which makes zero sense. We saw the fear in the eyes of these children who are wondering when they will see their parents ever again. It's a disgrace. It's shameful. And it's un- American.
REP. MARK POCAN (D), WISCONSIN: Hi. I'm Mark Pocan from Wisconsin. I left the detention center with more questions than answers. When I asked how long someone would have access to their children, they couldn't give me a direct answer. When I said 15 minutes, they said maybe. I think I got the answer. When we asked people how long would someone be in the facility, they said no more than 72 hours. They try for 12.
I talked to someone for two days, someone for four, someone for five. Someone for seven. And someone for ten days who have been in there. So unfortunately, I leave with more questions and more concern that this policy is not working and it's disastrous to the families who are involved.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: OK. We have a couple minutes. We can take a question or two.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have any of you spoken with the President? Have any of you talked to members of the administration about this?
[16:10:00] MERKLEY: So several of us have spoken to -- several of us have spoken to the administration. I have spoken directly to Jeff Sessions about this policy. We hope that we can ask the President to come and speak with us to talk to him directly. So let's see if he's willing to meet with us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I spoke with representative Gohmert yesterday at the Texas GOP convention and he told me that he knew that the kids were being treated very well, that they were getting better food, better education, and a better environment than they had at home and it very well may be that more children come across in order to get a place in a detention center. What do you have to say to that?
MERKLEY: Let's be very clear. The American academy of pediatricians have made it -- they said this is irreparable harm when people are fleeing persecution abroad, when they go through the hurdles of arriving to the United States of America, when they come here all they have is the fact they are with their parent, holding their hand side by side with them, and then they are torn away from their parent. They lose all sense of security.
This is deep trauma for children. A huge, huge infliction on parents as well. There is no way that family separation policy is good for anyone. The administration says they want to do this to send a message to families overseas about how you will be treated if you come to the United States of America.
Well, we used to have a message about how you'll be treated. It was called lady liberty, who held up a torch, who said give me your tired, your poor, your huddles masses yearning to breathe free.
But now there's a new message from the Trump administration, and that new message is you come here fleeing persecution, we will greet you on our shore, we will handcuff you, we will treat you as a criminal, we will take away your children, and you will never know when you might possibly see them again. This is absolutely un-American and wrong. We must end this policy of family separation.
WHITFIELD: All right. Strong language, strong points of view after touring a detaining facility where families, children have been separated from their parents upon entering to the United States. You heard from lawmakers there who just completed the tour and their very terse descriptions.
I want to bring back Kevin Madden and Maria Cardona.
So Kevin, hearing this kind of detailed description coming from these lawmakers and the challenge to this administration that this is inhumane, it's un-American, for how long can President Trump say his hands are tied here?
MADDEN: Well, look, I think this press conference and those statements by congressional Democrats are very -- they are not very likely to have an impact on the President. When he's attacked, he digs in, and I expect that's what he will do in this instance. And he will also again continue to try to shift the blame back saying this is a Democrat-created problem.
Now, Maria will agree with me that that is not the case. But I think where we are going to see any progress made here is when the optics of events like this down at the border, the optics of children being separated from their parents or additional stories or anecdotes of children being separated from their parents, where that begins to have an impact on maybe some moderate congressional Republicans who then start to feel the heat in their districts to be the brokers of a compromise. That is likely where the White House will then start to feel pressure from many of those congressional Republicans. Because everybody is up for reelection this year and they don't want to be putting themselves at odds with some swing voters, moderate voters in their districts because there is -- this is a very -- potentially a very unpopular policy being promoted back home.
WHITFIELD: And descriptions, Maria, of children being separated from their parents not for hours but for days, upwards of ten days, and to hear the one lawmaker talk about the pediatric, you know, association describing the irreparable harm being caused on children separated after these long journeys, dangerous journeys. How does the Trump administration escape the dialogue about this lack of compassion here?
CARDONA: They can't. And that's where I think that Democrats and I think moderate Republicans, we've already seen the evangelical community who has wholeheartedly supported Trump in everything he has done going against him.
Reverend Franklin Graham said that this is a disgraceful policy. You have so many now evangelical community leaders who are pushing Trump saying this has to end.
So to Kevin's point, and I think he's absolutely right about this, you know, let me take off my hat as a mother, let me take off my hat as an immigrant, because this breaks my heart. Let's look at this from a political standpoint.
If you look at Conor Lamb's district in Pennsylvania, which Republicans should have won and Conor Lamb was a Democrat and he won that, there are over 100 districts that are going to be up for reelection in November that are more progressive than Conor Lamb's district was.
So let's think about these images and how they are going to play in awful these districts that have a lot of swing voters, that have a lot of Latino voters, that have a lot of immigrant voters who look at these images and say this is not the country that we wanted to come here to that essentially invited us here to live a better life to which we are putting all of our efforts to do just that.
And so, I think that is going, to Kevin's point, that is going to be a big political push in terms of whether this President changes this or not. And if he doesn't, I think this is going to be incredibly perilous for Republicans in the midterm elections.
[16:15:47] WHITFIELD: And hang on, Maria and Kevin, because Dianne Gallagher is there in McAllen, Texas. She too had an opportunity to look inside a detention facility.
And earlier, Dianne, you described the sight of so many men laid out on the floor. It was like a carpet. And then you also described seeing families, children being detained in areas that look like cages. So what more about what you can, you know, share with us on what you viewed there along with these members ever Congress?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, and that's it. I mean, this facility, according to border patrol, has essentially looked like this for at least four or five years now. That this is not any sort of new accommodation for them. But I can tell you that walking through there there's sort of like an office area and a main area where a bunch of desks are.
On one side they kind of have those large chain-link fences essentially like a cage. There are adult women on that side. And in the first two of these cells, these cubbies if you will, they are very full. There are a lost women inside those. As you go along not as many. On the other side the same thing with men. There are far more men than women in this facility.
There's also something they're calling a virtual processing center that's in that area. We saw several men with very small babies that were standing in that virtual processing center. They are dealing with agents who are assisting the processing either for prosecution or for something else they are going to do with them who are not here because according to border patrol they don't really have at this point, they are stretched too thin because of the zero tolerance policy.
When you go into the next room, you open up, it's a massive warehouse floor area and inside chef these 12-foot or so chain-link fence cages. And they have the children and the families in there. Children who are teenage boys. I did not see teenage girls in there, but teenage boys were separated out by themselves. The unaccompanied minors who were there that way.
I talked to a couple of those boys. All of them told me they did come to the United States by themselves. But talking to the senators and their staff they say some of the kids they talked to told them that wasn't the case. I cannot attest to that. That's not my experience in there. But there were a lot of young boys, unaccompanied minors in that holding area, Fred.
Adjacent to that, you have fathers with small children. And there were a lot of tiny kids in there, Fred. Now, look. The small children who were there with their fathers, they have mattresses that are on the ground. Some of them were wearing these orange and blue sort of sweat pant outfits that they were given. The border patrol agents told us that's because their laundry was being done, that when they get there they are offered immediately a shower, they do showers every other day in this facility.
People aren't supposed to be here longer than 72 hours. I did talk to a couple individuals who said they had been there four days, and five days. I asked border patrol about that. They said that's simply due to some type of what time they come in during the day or because it's a weekend. But it was cramped in there. According to the senators, Fred, when they came in unannounced last time there were far more people inside. Only about 1,100 inside there right now they said.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And so, quickly, Dianne. So when you say if they were to be there for 72 hours then what? If the expectations someone is there is for 72 hours, then where do they go from there? Because there was the discussion of actually prosecuting, right, you know, any kind of charges, misdemeanors of crossing, but then how would that happen? GALLAGHER: Well, if you are talking about the kids, Fred, that's
either the office of relocation and refugees or HHS. So they go to ARR or HHS into their custody. Believe it or not, right after we finished our live shot last hour we saw a bus that was filled with pretty small-looking children, maybe eight, nine, ten years old. And that's just me judging. I didn't talk to the kids on that bus. But drove by, drove out of here, made a left. Just before we started this live shot right now that bus came back completely empty.
Now we asked where these kids are going, specifically where all the young girls are going. Because there have been a lot of questions about that. We didn't get specific answers. They are going to different types of either holding facilities. They pass out a piece of paper telling all of these families, because not all of them are aware of the zero tolerance policy that they are not going to be able to keep their children because they are going to be prosecuted for coming to the country illegally.
I talked to somebody who had no idea about this policy in there. They can go to many different places. They give them phone numbers to call, tell them where they might be relocated in one of these holding facilities or where w. A foster family. But the truth is at this point we are not sure exactly where each one of those children are going. The family have the option to talk to them and figure it out. But others are telling us, Fred, they're just not getting that chance.
[16:20:28] WHITFIELD: All right. Dianne Gallagher, we are going to check back with you. Thank you so much.
Still so many unanswered questions about this process, where people are being taken. The bus you just described. Who is on it? Who is counseling? Who is guiding? Where is the direction here?
All right. Thank you so much.
More on this breaking news. Melania Trump, the first lady, just weighing in. What she says about this U.S. government procedure and what she says about having heart, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:25:11] MERKLEY: This is a complete strategy of injuring families seeking asylum to send a message to folks overseas, and under no more code and under no religious tradition is this acceptable, and it has to end.
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: This is a choice that the Trump administration has made. It is inhumane. It is cruel. And we are calling on President Trump, who has total control over this decision, today on father's day to end the policy and allow these families to reunite.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Remarks from members of Congress on the border in McAllen, Texas on the border there after viewing a detention facility where children and parents separated are being held.
Meantime, Melania Trump now weighing in on the crisis at the border. In a rare statement on a policy issue, the first lady echoed her husband in part and said she hates seeing children separated from her parents. She went on to say the U.S. should govern with heart in enforcing immigration law.
Joining us live from Washington, CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett.
So Kate, what more did the first lady say by way of the spokesperson?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: So exactly, it was her communications director Stephanie Grisham who did give CNN a comment today about this. I will read in full just so we have.
Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws but also a country that governs with heart.
So like you said, it doesn't deviate too much from what the President himself is saying. She is clearly noting that this is a partisan issue, this both sides of the aisle. However, she does tend to be the more compassionate voice of this administration, and it is unusual for her to weigh in on policy issue. She certainly doesn't have to. However, having made helping children and her be best policy the real essence and crux of her first lady platform, it seems appropriate that she does at least say something. This is why we reached out to her. And this is the response via her office.
WHITFIELD: But you know, it's those last few words that particularly stand out. Govern with heart. And most voices who have observed the facility and many voices on, you know, both the Republican and Democratic side have said separating these kids is inhumane, un- American. That is not in sync with heart.
BENNETT: Agreed. And I will say this about the first lady. She doesn't always sort of walk in step with her husband. She is independent. She has sort of deviated from him before in certain ways --
WHITFIELD: Can she be influential in this kind of case?
BENNETT: And you know, from what we understand, she does speak with him about certain issues, you know, behind the scenes. She is influential certainly. However, this is clearly an issue that the President has decided is a congressional issue with Democrats. I'm not sure how much sway Mrs. Trump is going to have with her husband or whether that's even her role to have that in terms of influence. I think really again she's sort of echoing what her husband is saying for the most part with this statement. It doesn't really break news in a way. But she does say, it reminding people about the heart issue, which is clearly something that she's -- it sounds like she's struggling with. And I believe again this is her speaking out because she has chosen children and of course these are the headlines, the images we're just seeing, that we're all seeing across the country.
WHITFIELD: Yes. I mean, it's a really interesting thing because if there -- you said she most likely is struggling with this. This is the first lady who has advocated for children and publicly said these are the things she is pushing for, you know, anti-bullying, helping kids, helping to uplift kids. She is a mother of this, you know, son Baron, 11, 12 years old. Yes, the President is a father, you know, as well. And you heard from one of the lawmakers on the border there talking about on this father's day a challenge to the President, you're a father, challenging his compassion.
If the first lady indeed has that compassion. One has to wonder whether as the wife of the President, whether she would, you know, be able to garner some influence and use that.
BENNETT: Yes. And I believe she will. I mean, I think that this is her supporting her husband, at the same time sort of speaking for those who feel exactly the same way you just said. It's a tricky line for the first lady, right? We didn't elect her. We elected him. And speaking on policy and weighing in is a very gray area.
However, I think for a first lady we don't hear from quite often that much, especially in terms of policy, this step forward could mean she is hoping to influence her husband. We will just have to see what happens with her.
WHITFIELD: We will. All right. Kate Bennett, thank you so much.
All right, straight ahead, new developments in the Russia investigation. A former Trump associate did meet with a Russian for dirt on Hillary Clinton after saying he did not. Does this mean a possible greater legal jeopardy for the President or anyone in his circle? We discuss next.
[16:34:58] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. We're following new developments regarding Roger Stone. The long-time adviser to President Trump met with a Russian who offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton in exchange for a $2 million payment. That's according to Stone and former Trump campaign communications official Michael Caputo telling CNN that a letter to the House Intelligence Committee obtained by CNN says Caputo was the one who arranged the meeting between Stone and a man who called himself Henry Greenberg.
Neither Caputo nor Stone disclosed the meeting to congressional investigators. But both say they believe the meeting was part of a larger effort to try to set up the Trump campaign. White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez joining me right now, so Roger Stone claiming to have previously forgotten this meeting, even though he was interviewed about it by the Mueller team just last month. BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred.
Yeah, Roger Stone told me that it was such a ludicrous meeting that he completely forgot it. He was apparently reminded about it by Michael Caputo, who had his memory jogged by the Special Counsel after he says that during an interview with the Special Counsel he was shown text messages that he exchanged with Roger Stone about this meeting with a Russian national, offering dirt on Hillary Clinton back in May of 2016.
We should point out that both Caputo and Stone have been asked dozens, perhaps hundreds of times about potential meetings with Russians during the campaign. Both of them on just about every occasion denying any meeting, any contact with Russians right up until these letters that were sent to the House Intelligence Committee. And I did want to point out the specific section of the letter sent by Roger Stone's attorney to the House Intelligence Committee, where he describes this interaction.
He writes that when Stone met with Henry Greenberg, "Mr. Greenberg was emphatic that his asking price was $2 million. Mr. Stone immediately replied that he did not have $2 million, and even if he did he would never pay for political information." Mr. Greenberg laughed and said it was not Mr. Stone's money that he was seeking but rather Donald Trump's money. Mr. Stone told Mr. Greenberg that Donald Trump would never buy information either.
Stone goes on to say that no information was exchanged during this meeting and that he never heard from Mr. Greenberg again. Stone also maintains that he never told anyone on the campaign, including then candidate Trump about this meeting. I reached out to the White House to ask them not only about this admission from Roger Stone and Michael Caputo, but also their assertion that Greenberg is an FBI informant, something that lines up with what we've heard previously from President Trump about deep state conspiracies aiming to unravel his campaign and his presidency. The White House has yet to respond, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez, thanks so much, at the White House. All right, I am going to bring in now Michael Zeldin. He is a CNN legal analyst and a former special assistant to Robert Mueller at the DOJ. Ron Brownstein is a CNN Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor at the Atlantic. And Wesley Lowery is a CNN Contributor and National Reporter at the Washington Post, all right, good to see you all.
All right, so Ron, you first, does it appear that Roger Stone and Michael Caputo want this kind of information out there now? They're willingly giving it first to the Washington Post to say look, the feds you know sent an informant. You know we've been trying to tell you this that they've been trying to entrap the campaign.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, if they want it out there, they certainly waited until the Special Counsel had evidence of it. That was presented to them. And it's part of the pattern we have seen throughout this entire story, where you know constantly we have individuals asserting over and over and over again that there were no meetings with Russians, and then in fact there turned out to be contacts and the contacts turn out to be more substantive than were originally described.
The attempt to kind of portray all of this as an effort to entrap and undermine the President's campaign I think is consistent with what we are seeing. These are not arguments that are really designed for a court of law. They're not even really arguments that are designed for a court of public opinion. They have a very narrow purpose, which is to mobilize the Republican base in a way that intimidates congressional Republicans from acting on anything that Mueller ultimately produces.
I really think that is the entire basis of the public relations campaign. And you know you could argue that you see a lot of evidence that it's working on almost every front in the last couple weeks, whether it's the failure of the effort in the house, the so-called moderate rebellion on deferred action, the lack -- which collapsed this week. The Senate's collapse of efforts to rethink on trade, and the inability of Republicans who are uneasy about the policy of separation at the border that you've been covering at the last half hour to develop any response.
So I think all of this is designed to consolidate the President's position inside his party in a way that makes ultimately Republicans reluctant to move if Mueller decides there's cause to examine impeachment.
[16:39:55] WHITFIELD: So then Michael, then from a prosecutorial or investigative point, you know does it also demonstrate that the Trump campaign had a willingness or people in his campaign had a willingness to meet Russians or anyone for dirt on Hillary Clinton and that could be potentially damaging.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN, LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it would appear so, that they were willing to meet with people. They met with them in June. They met with them in May. They met with them at the Republican national convention. They met with them all over the place. Whether that shows a criminal purpose, whether that shows illegal coordination with foreign nationals for value, it's not really clear yet.
That's why Mueller is conducting his interviews. And that's why in some respect, it makes sense from the President's standpoint to himself to submit to an interview so that the President's point of view could be made known to Mueller before Mueller submits his report.
WHITFIELD: And then Wesley, what does this say that stories keep changing. You know and stories change because it may appear to be convenient now to tell this story. I mean how do you assess this?
WESLEY LOWERY, CNN, CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly. And I think the idea here that this story has changed is significant, and the drip-drop nature of this reporting. No fault of the reporters, of course. It sometimes obfuscates the totality of it. You know this is now up to 11 people associated with Donald Trump's campaign, who have admitted to having contacts with someone who is Russian affiliated or Russian themselves. This being a campaign that initially said no one had had any contacts,
right? And so as we continue, as Mueller's investigation continues, and as we as the American people continue to try to wrap our hands and our heads around what exactly happened in our election last year. We're starting to see a fuller and broader picture. What we already know is that it's unquestionable that a significant, almost a dozen Trump campaign officials met with Russians. And we know the Russians were actively attempting to sabotage our election.
That is already a big gray cloud hanging over this presidency. And we still don't know all that it is. We don't know. And specifically in this case, Roger Stone and Donald Trump being so close for so long raises additional questions about what the President, the now President, then candidate, may have known about these Russian contacts and about these attempts according to Roger Stone and others to extract money from the Trump campaign in exchange for damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
WHITFIELD: All right, Wes Lowery. Go ahead, Ron.
BROWNSTEIN: Just real quick, to underscore Wes' point. This is my ninth Presidential campaign, and there's never been anything like this. The level of contact between one campaign and one foreign national that goes over and over again. Maybe the general election in 68 with Richard Nixon back-channeling with the Vietnamese, but there is nothing like this. This is something new.
WHITFIELD: Yeah, this foreign national being an established adversary of this nation. I am sorry, Michael, go ahead real quick.
ZELDIN: I was going to say, which is why Robert Mueller wants to speak to the President of the United States before he reaches a conclusion, because it is so unusual. Mueller, I think to complete his inquiry, really needs to hear from the President. Irrespective of whether the President is a target of his investigation or not, he needs to know what the President knows about his campaign.
WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there. Michael Zeldin, Ron Brownstein, Wes Lowery, thank you so much, gentlemen, appreciate it, and Happy Father's Day. All right, still ahead, as protests at shelters holding undocumented children continue around the country today, we're learning more about what action the President may take on the immigration crisis next.
[16:45:00] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Sources tell CNN the President will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss immigration with house Republicans. The visit follows days of back and forth over which GOP immigration overhaul plan the President might support. CNN Congressional Reporter Lauren Fox joining us live from Washington with more on this. So Lauren, while there is -- these proposals and the confusion over whether the President you know his backing these proposals. That's one thing.
But then also in the forefront is this latest practice of zero you know tolerance that the President will be met with. He'll be challenged by that on Capitol Hill.
LAUREN FOX, CNN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Absolutely. And we should note that Friday was a very confusing day for house Republicans. A lot of them had worked very diligently on some kind of compromise piece of legislation that would give the President money for his border wall but would also provide some kind of permanent status for DACA recipients. And that is something the Republicans have been trying to do for years.
They finally get some kind of compromise legislation. They think that they've been consulting with the White House. Then the President tells Fox News on Friday morning that he may not be able to sign the more moderate bill. Then about nine hours later, the White House comes out with an official statement that says the President could support the compromise piece of legislation as well as the Goodlatte Bill, which is a more conservative piece of legislation.
But there are still a lot of questions about what the timeline will be for this piece of legislation, and house Republicans are going to have a lot of questions for President Donald Trump when he comes to them on Tuesday night. And we should note how he performs in that meeting, how enthusiastic he is about this compromised piece of legislation will tell us a lot about the future of the bills.
WHITFIELD: Yeah. And most likely many members of Congress, you know these GOP members they even say to him we may not want to work on this long term until we handle, you know rectify, settle what is right before us right now, that children are being separated from their families at the border, or will it be the President's intention you know to consolidate these issues?
FOX: Well, we should note that the issue of family separation is going to be addressed in the compromised piece of legislation, but it does so in a pretty limited way. You know there is still a zero tolerance practice on the border right now. And individuals continue to be prosecuted. They will continue to be separated from their children. So house Republicans have tried to find some kind of way to address the issue.
But a lot of moderate Republicans who we've been talking to on the hill say more needs to be done. And you can definitely expect that Republicans will have questions for the President about that practice on the border. And we should also note that even if this bill goes to the House of Representatives, it still faces long odds in the Senate and long odds before the President would have a chance to actually sign it on his desk.
WHITFIELD: Lauren Fox, thanks so much. And we'll be right back.
[16:50:00] WHITFIELD: In a world where the American President makes peace with a ruthless dictator through their affection for corny movie trailers, our Jake Tapper takes us to this week's State of the Cartoonian.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps the oddest moment of the Singapore summit was the presentation of a fake movie trailer that the White House created to try to convince Kim Jong-Un to give up his nuclear weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Destiny pictures presents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Done in the style of a big budget summer blockbuster.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-Un in a meeting to remake history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is real. We didn't make it up.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES, PRESIDENT: I showed it to him and I think he loved it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we did wonder after this week, couldn't Kim and Trump just as easily pair up for a buddy flick, perhaps the next Lethal Weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am too old for this (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Though in truth, no matter how much the President wants to gloss over it, Kim Jong-Un belongs in a horror film, though at times this past year, the cartoony behavior seems to have lent itself better to animation.
TRUMP: Rocket man should have been handled a long time ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a sad, strange little man. Farewell.
[16:55:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Although the way Trump has been talking about Kim recently.
TRUMP: We've developed a pretty good relationship. We've done something that we're very proud of.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe a rom-com is more appropriate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You complete me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Thanks for that, Jake. All right, there are nearly 430,000 children in America's foster care system, and this week's hero was one of them, and remembers carrying his few belongings around in a trash bag. Nearly 30 years later, when he and his husband adopted four foster children. He couldn't believe it when each of their kids arrived with a trash bag in tow. His shock sparked a mission to provide kids in foster care with a tangible sign of love, something that tells them they are seen and they matter. Meet Rob Shear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many children in foster care, they're put in a situation where they do feel invisible. They do feel that they do not count, that they have no voice. It's up to us to make sure that we're there to help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so cute, a little angel teddy bear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we need to make them feel wanted by all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: To see how Rob is doing that, go to CNNheroes.com for the full story and nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero. Thanks so much for joining me this Sunday, Happy Father's day to all the dads out there. I am Fredricka Whitfield. Newsroom with Ana Cabrera continues right after this.
ANA CABRERA, CNN, ANCHOR: We are live in the CNN Newsroom. I am Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Today anger, frustration, and disbelief in this country about how undocumented immigrants are being treated right now.