Return to Transcripts main page


Kim Jong-Un Meets with Chinese President Xi; DHS Secretary: "Immigrants Don't Need to Break Law to Seek Asylum"; GOP Joins Dems in Call for White House to End Family Separations at Border; Interview with Sen. Chris Van Hollen; Democratic Senators Call on DHS Secretary to Resign; Stone: FBI Set Up Russian Meeting. Aired 11:30a-12n ET

Aired June 19, 2018 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was Kim Jong-Un. Not a huge surprise. This is the third time they met. You can imagine, top of this list is going to be Kim Jong-Un briefing president ping about the summit with Donald Trump, what was said behind closed doors, what didn't make it into the declaration. What is North Korea's definition of denuclearization? That's what North Korea is talking about with the Chinese. You can bet the Chinese are telling North Korea, here's what we want out of negotiations moving forward.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Matt, let me play what President Trump said about the last time that Kim and Xi met.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Kim Jong-Un had the meeting with President Xi, in China, the second meeting -- the first meeting we knew about. The second meeting. I think there was a little change in attitude from Kim Jong-Un. I don't like that.


BOLDUAN: After that, the summit was off again and on again. He threatened to nuclear cancel the summit. What could happen now after this one?

RIVERS: Yes. I mean, it's a good question. I think sometimes, you know, people give a little too much or not enough credit to the North Korean leader for being able to chart his own path. People say he does whatever China tells him to. I'm not sure that's the case. China is going to these meetings with objectives that doesn't connect with the United States. They don't like the troop presence on the Korean peninsula and they want to figure out to ease the sanctions. There's no more military exercises for now. Donald Trump brought up the remove of troops. If you're China right now, you're looking at the summit and thinking it went pretty well for us.

BOLDUAN: Matt, thanks. Let's see where Kim goes next.

The message from the White House is, don't cross the border legally, seek asylum and you will be processed. But what's happening to people doing that at the border? We'll cut through the noise. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:04] BOLDUAN: Well, there's no consistency from the Trump administration on how the policy to separate families at the border came about, what it does and what they intend to do about it. There's one consistent theme, "don't cross the border illegally, go to a port of entry and seek asylum."


KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT: If you're seeking asylum go to a port of entry. You don't need to break the law of the United States to seek asylum.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: People are being turned away from ports of entry.

NIELSEN: That actually is incorrect. We have limited resources. We have multiple missions at CBP. What we do is, based on the high standards we have, if we don't have enough bed space, if we don't have enough medical personnel on staff, if we don't have enough care takers on stuff, we will tell people that come to the border they need to come back.


BOLDUAN: Let's cut through the noise. And know what you don't when it comes to seeking asylum.

Joining me now is Holly Cooper. She's the co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic at U.C., Davis School of Law. The clinic she runs was the first of its kind in 1980. She's worked on this issue for over 20 years.

Holly, thanks for coming in.


BOLDUAN: How do you get asylum in the United States?

COOPER: Well, Kate, there's several ways. One way is you can present yourself at a port of entry. However, we're seeing the Border Patrol is letting people in in a slow trickle. It's not a feasible option for most people. Another option is to enter the United States and after you enter you ask Border Patrol to apprehend you and seek asylum while you're detained. That's what we're seeing people doing. Now we're seeing the ballooning numbers of children detained, trauma at unprecedented levels. We're seeing prosecutions on unprecedented level of refugees. We can no longer call our country a country of refuge.

BOLDUAN: If you're able to make the claim successfully, what do you get if you win? COOPER: A child has the independent right to ask for asylum. If you

make your claim and you win, then you get a work permit to live in the United States and eventually become a lawful permanent resident and a citizen after about seven years.

BOLDUAN: Fearing for your life is not grounds enough for a successful asylum claim as I'm trying to read up on this. Fleeing gang violence is not good enough. Explain that.

COOPER: It can be good enough. You have to have a fear. It has to be a protected ground. Just being afraid for your life is not enough. It has to be connected to one of the five grounds. For example, if you are fearing gangs, but you reported illegal gang activity to the police and you served as an informant you may be able to get asylum based on your status as an informant to the police in your country. There are claims for people fearing gangs. We definitely see a lot of those that are successful.

BOLDUAN: Are asylum claims for Central Americans treated differently than cases from African or Asian countries?

COOPER: In theory they're supposed to be treated the same. We have a history in this country of denying asylum to people from Central America. In the '80s, there was a 99.9 percent denial. There was a class action lawsuit south which was successful. They had to adjudicate the claims. There no really legal mechanisms to apply for asylum outside of the United States for those individuals, whereas people from other countries there may be a refugee process.

BOLDUAN: The denial rates are quite high. We had a graphic up of 88 percent of people denied these asylum claims when they make them. The Homeland Security secretary said very clearly come to a port of entry, apply for asylum. That's one way of doing it. We're hearing reports of folks doing that. They're being turned away. They're presenting themselves to request asylum and being separated from their children. What's really happening? What are you hearing, Holly?

COOPER: The statistics show, the ORO, the entity that detains children, had about 7,000 children a few months ago. Now they have 10,000. We're seeing ballooning numbers of children. Those children I work with have their own independent basis to apply for relief. We're also seeing big changes in the asylum law. Sessions just overturned decades of advocacy for children and women who are victims of domestic violence, they cannot seek asylum on that basis. So we will see the numbers drop. There are more restrictive requirements after Sessions' decision which, of course, we'll challenge. There are more limited options for people to seek asylum because of the stricter interpretations that Sessions has given us with the asylum laws.

[11:40:32] BOLDUAN: Seek asylum, that is your remedy, although it's harder to win that claim successfully.

Holly, thank you very much.

COOPER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: I really appreciate you coming in and cutting through the noise. Really appreciate it.

COOPER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, Senator Ted Cruz has a plan to end the forced separations of families at the border. Does this new proposal -- there's a lot out there -- does it do enough for President Trump's new hardline stance? Can he win over the president? We'll find out, coming up.


[11:45:56] BOLDUAN: President Trump doubling, tripling down on his claim the Democrats are to blame for the practice of separating immigrant families when they get to the border. This is not true. This is policy. Still, he's not making the one phone call that Lindsey Graham said he could make to stop this in its tracks.

At the very same time, Congress is scrambling to do something. The House is expected to vote on two immigration bills this week. And in the Senate, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Ted Cruz are rolling out measures to try to keep families together.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS: All these images of children being pulled away from moms and dads in tears were horrified. This has to stop. I'm, this week, introducing legislation, The Protect Kids and Parents Act, that will mandate that kids must stay with their parents and it will also expedite the proceedings.


BOLDUAN: Joining me now Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland. He visited a handful of detention centers in Texas over the weekend.

Senator, thanks for coming in.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D), MARYLAND: Kate, good to be here.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you on what Congress is looking to do would you sign on to aye fix keeping families together if it's attached to other measures?

VAN HOLLEN: It depends on the other measures. The main point is if we want to reverse this policy today, we can do it, if the president would just make that decision. As you indicated, they put this policy in place six weeks ago. I saw the evidence right at the border. We went to different detention centers and facilities the number of kids being separated from their parents has sky rocketed in the last six weeks. This is a deliberate policy by the Trump administration. I don't care how many times he denies it. It's there in black and white. You can see it with your own eyes if you go to the border. They need to stop it. We can look for a legislative right, but that takes a long time. He can do it. BOLDUAN: How about the Ted Cruz bill, keep families together while

they're going through the process, but that speaks to doubling the number of immigration judges and increasing the number of temporary structures. What do you think of that.

VAN HOLLEN: I haven't seen -- there's no bill language yet. We need more asylum judges. We need to be able to process the claims right away. During that period we need to keep the families together. The previous administration had what was called a family case management program. Families were kept together as their asylum claims were processed. If they were granted asylum the family stays. If they were denied the family leaves. They were kept together during the process. We don't need legislation to do it. We need Trump to reverse his position. I support efforts aimed specifically at that issue.

BOLDUAN: Then there are measures that maybe you could argue that aren't necessarily specific to this issue. Adding border wall funding, if you want to get it fixed a legislative way. Adding restrictions to legal immigration like the visa lottery or family migration, like Bob Goodlatte wants. Could you stomach that if you got the fix?


BOLDUAN: Because if the president said, I'm never going to make this phone call?

VAN HOLLEN: This is outrageous. What the president is doing is literally holding these kids hostage to a whole larger set of immigration issues he's pushing for including reducing legal immigration to the United States. It's just outrageous he's made this decision to take these kids, hold them hostage from their parents, saying, oh, Congress you have to pass my entire immigration legislation in order to let the kids go and be reunited with their parents.

[11:50:01] BOLDUAN: Lindsey Graham has been fighting for a broad- based overall immigration system for a while, but he says do something narrow when it comes to politics on The Hill can be more difficult than doing something big. What do you think?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, it can be harder, which is why when you're asking me about specific legislation targeted at reuniting kids, I'm for it. Senator Feinstein has a bill. Every single Democratic Senator is on that bill. It would prevent the separation of kids from their parents. Ted Cruz has a proposal. I haven't seen the details but sounds like it's going in the right direction, I just don't know because we don't have the bill. But my point is, this can take a very long time to get through the legislative process because everyone is going to glom on other ideas. That's why we have to keep the pressure on the White House. We have Republicans both from the Congress but also throughout the country telling the president, do the right thing. The evangelical community, catholic conference. This rises above politics and that's what we're hearing from people throughout the country. BOLDUAN: Senator, some of your Democratic colleagues, Kamala Harris,

Senator Mazie Hirono, they have said, how the administration has handled it, how they've reacted to it and what they're continuing to say about it, they're now calling on Secretary Nielsen to resign now. Do you think she should resign after this?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, if I thought her resignation would solve the problem, I would definitely call upon her to resign. That was a miserable performance at the White House. But let's be clear, they sort of took her out on stage. This is coming from the top. My concern is that whoever the next secretary of Homeland Security is going to be, aren't they just going to be another puppet for this White House? After all, we had General Kelly there before. He did the president's bidding there. So look, if I come to the point where I actually think her resigning would change the policy, definitely. But right now this is all the president, Steve Miller obviously has his ear in the White House, and so the focus should be on the president of the United States. He is trying to point the finger at others. He is being called out on that by folks from all political persuasions. Let's just focus on him doing the right thing. Yes, Congress should consider narrow measures to try to quickly address this, but things don't happen quickly in Congress. So let's just keep calling on the president to do the right thing while we try to do something narrow and focused as fast as possible.

BOLDUAN: We're watching it all from the White House to the capitol.

Senator, thank you for coming in. Appreciate it.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Long-time Trump ally, Roger Stone, just now remembering his 2016 meeting with a Russian promising dirt on Hillary Clinton in exchange for some real money. What does he have to say now about that meeting? Find out, coming up.


[11:57:53] BOLDUAN: Roger Stone's memory seems to be working just fine right now. The former Trump campaign adviser released a lengthy statement about his meeting with a Russian during the 2016 campaign, a meeting that folks previously didn't know about, a meeting he didn't disclose until the special counsel started pushing. But it's not the Russian that he's blaming for the encounter. He's now pointing to the FBI.

CNN political correspondent, Sara Murray, is here with much more on this.

Sara, what is Roger Stone getting at?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, funny how this keeps happening, the Trump administration with a meeting they forgot.

This was in May of 2016. Roger Stone met with a Russian man who was going by the name Henry Greenberg and said he had damaging information on Hillary Clinton but wanted $2 million of Donald Trump's money.

So now in this lengthy statement, Stone explains that he went to this meeting. He declined the offer. But he didn't do anything illegal, he didn't do anything inappropriate. Nothing came of the meeting. And he happened to forget about it until his colleague Michael Caputo's memory was jogged about this.

Roger Stone has not met with Robert Mueller's team, but Michael Caputo has. And in preparation for this interview, he recalled this interaction with this Russian.

This Russian claimed to be an FBI informant in court filings. That has Roger Stone very worked up. He is saying he was illegally surveilled. He is saying this was all a setup by the FBI to entrap another member of Trump's team.

I'm going to read you a portion of I multi-statement from Roger Stone. He said, "So the real question is not why I failed to remember an innocuous meeting, it's the FBI was using an informant to set me up."

I spoke with the special counsel's office earlier. They are declining to comment on Stone's accusations -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Is the FBI saying anything?

MURRAY: We have not heard from the FBI on these accusations, either.

BOLDUAN: OK, stand by to stand by.

Great to see you, Sara. Thanks very much. I really appreciate it.

Thanks you all so much for joining me.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with the one, the only John King starts right now.

[12:00:08] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Thank you, Kate.

And welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

The White House is defiantly but facing a growing --