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CNN NEWSROOM

Report: Dow Plunges as Trump Escalates Trade War on China; Trump Defense Controversial Family Separations at The Border; Trump Says You Have to Take Away Children to Prosecute Parents; Trump Says Security Needed Whether Politically Correct or Not; Ivanka Trump Silent on Family Separations. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 19, 2018 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We begin this afternoon with the wails of children, frightened, confused and alone, separated from their parents at the nation's southern border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[children crying]

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BALDWIN: While many lawmakers can escape this disturbing sound and the images of children huddling under these thermal blankets and grouped together in these cages, the president saying this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those are the only two options, totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law breaking. We want to solve this problem. We want to solve family separation. I don't want children taken away from parents. And when you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The president will soon be heading to Capitol Hill to talk immigration options with house Republicans, several of whom don't support his policy. The White House has said the president supports both immigration bills that are currently under consideration, but we just heard the president say he will now be making changes. And in just two months, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents, their guardians. To be crystal clear, while families could be separated prior to April, those incidents were rare. And you compare that now to what we're seeing and there is no question that this was a deliberate policy shift by the Trump administration.

To repeat. The Trump administration implemented the current separation policy, but don't take my word for it. Here are all of the times the president's own team confirmed it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have put in place a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry on our southwest border. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you as required by law.

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We cannot detain children with their parents, so we must either release both the parents and the children, this is the historic get out of jail free practice of the previous administration, or the adult and the minor will be separated as a result of prosecuting the adult. Those are the only two options.

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Just the law of the land. You have to enforce these laws. The situation at the border is a crisis.

MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: Separating parents from the children is not a policy that we want to pursue. At the same time, letting children and parents come across the border unbounded illegally is not a policy either.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: If you get some young kids who manage to sneak into the United States with their parents are Department of Home Land Security personnel going to separate the children from their moms and dads?

JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We have tremendous experience in dealing with unaccompanied minors. We turn them over to HHS and they do a very, very good job of either putting them in kind of foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Sean Sullivan is with me, a political reporter from "The Washington Post." you joust gust got back last night from being down at the border for a couple of days. Your impressions?

SEAN SULLIVAN, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I spent some time at a facility in McAllen which is a processing facility and also a detention facility. What we saw in the brief tour that officials gave us was essentially you had cages set up where you have adult males separated in some cases, there were children sometimes as many as 20 if not more in some cages, they're behind chain link fence fences, extending high into the air.

Some had makeshift cots and mattresses on the ground. There was a lot of confusion that I sense especially from the children, a lot of fear and worry as they watched us walk by. They didn't seem to know what was going on and what the next steps would be.

BALDWIN: We've been talking to people on all sides of this whole thing, to hear someone point out the cages that you saw, the chain link fence it looks look a cage, the thermal blankets, that was all there as well in 2014 under President Obama. You tell me what makes this so different? [14:05:00] SULLIVAN: The difference is the zero-tolerance policy that

the Trump administration has implemented. What that essentially does is means they're going after not just undocumented immigrants who are violent gang members, they're going after everybody. What that means for the government officials is that a lot more children are being separated from their families. The official I talked to said there were roughly 1,200 undocumented at that time of day, including 200 children. This was a full facility. It was not empty, was not sparsely populated. There's a lot of people they're processing, and a lot of children being separated from their parents, a lot more than under old guidelines and policy.

BALDWIN: And these kids, when they have these kids in their facilities, a lot of them don't have contact information for their parents. I read a report that a girl had with a sharpie on her chest her father's name and number inside their belts. If they don't have that information, what happens to the kids? Where do they go next?

SULLIVAN: That's a good point. One woman had tears streaming down her face, crying, clearly unhappy with the situation, worried about what was going to happen. Members of congress who toured the facility talked to a woman who said she feared she would never see her child again. There was a lot of concern from these families and from the children themselves, just the looks on their faces suggested that there was a lot of uncertainty about what would happen to them self as well.

BALDWIN: Sean Sullivan with "The Washington Post," thank you.

SULLIVAN: Thanks.

BALDWIN: As the outcry grows, one voice is barely being heard. I'm talking about the young children taken from their parent and families. Now we are hearing from them and as you would expect, it's heart breaking. The audio comes from Pro Publica from children between 4 and 10 years of age. Their emotion raw as they have just been separated from their parents after traveling to central America.

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[children crying]

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BALDWIN: With me now Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Governor Kasich, welcome.

GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH, (R), OHIO: You know, with that audio, Brooke, this morning I was looking at my iPad and I saw there was an opportunity for me to listen. I couldn't listen to it. I mean, I listened for a short period of time and it's almost enough to make you cry for these children. You think about the terror that these children go through when they're being snatched from the only thing that supports them and helps them and loves them. And then I just was stunned at looking at this now and these border agents, you know, making fun of this. You know, I don't like to run around and tell somebody they would be

fired or whatever. If they were working for me, they would definitely be out for a while and maybe gone forever from that job. This is not something to joke about. You know, Brooke, what I am not understanding about this whole debate is it seems as though we have lost our sense of humanity, that these are people, this is flesh and blood. These are children.

You know what our lord said about the children, they're the most prized. They're the ones that we have open in. They're the ones that we love. And I don't know how we've become -- so many people have become so hard hearted.

[14:10:00] When you read the bible about this and it says that there were people who were hard hearted, and they did unbelievable things to other human beings, we don't have this right.

BALDWIN: But governor --

KASICH: We do not have the right to not treat our children with great love and kindness.

BALDWIN: But the president put in this today. He has children. He has grandchildren. Where is his empathy?

KASICH: I don't know. Unless they are thinking, well, you know, we'll go through the pain here and it will fix everything. It will not. And children are not to be used as a pawn, as a leverage point. It is just wrong.

BALDWIN: Does it feel to you they are using children as pawns?

KASICH: I can't read his heart. I'm not in the business of reading other people's hearts. I've learned that that is inappropriate for me because of my faith, but what is appropriate with my faith is the fact that I need to speak out when I see things that don't represent justice and kindness. We're all guilty, Brooke, of not being as nice as we should be. And I'll be the number one person to say that I can often times be nicer and more kind to people, but I don't mind when somebody says to me, you know, step it up, John, that's not you,

OK? Well, what I'm saying is, Mr. President, you can't do this, you don't want to do this. You think deep, down into your soul and you'll find that we have to have another way out. If I were president and I've thought about this and as governor, this is humanitarian crisis. You bring all hands-on deck. You bring everybody together and say how to we deal with this in a comprehensive way, so we don't split families, we show kindness and show we love our children. There's some political battle or words or where we depress our base, I mean, come on. This is just wrong.

BALDWIN: The Homeland Security Secretary was just asked in the last 24 hours flat out she was asked is this child abuse? This was her response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: 10,000 of those currently in custody were sent by their parents with strangers to undertake a completely dangerous and deadly travel alone. We now care for them, we have high standards, we give them meals, we give them education, we give them medical care, there is video, there's TVs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Videos, TVs, meals, that's great and that's one thing. But nowhere in her response, I've listened to this a few times, there was no reference to the psychological, the emotional ramifications of these children being ripped from their parents.

KASICH: She must not have heard the tape. All you have to do is listen to the tape for a few minutes about the wailing of innocent children. By the way, we ever stop and think why they're showing up there? They're showing up there because many of them feel as though that their entire families are at risk because of gangs, drug dealers. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have appropriate asylum. We have to make sure that our border is protected, but there's ways to accomplish both of these things. My concern is that perhaps some people are using this as a way to kind of inflict a punishment and send a warning to others. You don't use children to do that.

BALDWIN: Who is the some people, governor? Is the some people the president of the United States?

KASICH: Look, I've said what I have to say. I think they are misguided on this. I think they need to search their hearts. I think they need to think about the way they would want their children or grandchildren to be treated, as the great commandment is, love your neighbor as you want your neighbor to love you. Love these children as you would want people to love your children. And so, I don't want to be into the name calling now. You know this person, that -- let's just take a deep breath and let's think about life and its meaning and our responsibilities.

BALDWIN: But what about, governor, some of the politics of this? CNN just released this new poll showing 58 percent of Republicans approve of this policy of separating children from their parents. So, governor, despite how strongly they feel, it seems that you're out of step with your own party.

[14:15:00] KASICH: Well, you know, Brooke, at least it's moving in the right direction. For most of these policies I think make no sense, he's getting 80, 90 percent of the support. Maybe Republicans are waking up. Maybe they're beginning to realize that this is not the party of Abraham Lincoln. Ronald Reagan would -- look, I knew Reagan, OK? There's no way George Bush Sr. Or George Bush Jr., none of them would have done this. None of them would have been in this situation. They would have figured out a way to deal with it.

So, we're off kilter now. But 58 percent, I wouldn't have been surprised if you'd have told me it was 85 percent. So, it's moving in the right direction. Because this is tribal. Look, we are all broken up into tribes now. I wear red and they wear blue and this just is infecting everything. Now, let me suggest one other thing. When you think about this latest policy on the government not defending people who have preexisting conditions in health care, I mean, that's unbelievable. I don't know if Republicans really truly understand what's happening. I don't know if they get this.

If I went to their door and I said do you believe that we ought to strip these children from families, I don't think they would be saying at 58 percent yes, I just don't think so. Before everybody who is on that side, think about your children. Think about your grandchildren. Think about what you learn from your mother and father. Think about what you learn when you go to the church and the synagogue about the way we're supposed to treatment other human beings. I know that I'm going on here, Brooke. It's just so disturbing to hear those children crying.

BALDWIN: Governor Kasich also weighing in on a Fox News hosts comparing the detention facilities to summer camp. And also, where is Ivanka Trump? The president's daughter and senior advisor silent so far on the separations. And the Dow today plunging as the president doubles down on his trade war threat on China. What happens to the U.S. if China doesn't blink? We were watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin.

[14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Called on us to fix the problem. For that to occur in the Senate would require bipartisan discussions. Senator Cornyn has been in the middle of this. Senator Cruz and others are working on it as well. We hope to reach out to the Democrats and see if we can get a result, which means making a law and not just get in some kind of sparring back and forth that leads to no conclusion. So, let me with that turn to Senator Cornyn.

BALDWIN: The Senate majority leader there, Republican, talking about how he is working to reach out to Democrats to find a solution to what is happening on the border. This is what not just everyone in this town but all of you as well are talking about. The zero-tolerance policy and separating the children from the parents at the U.S. border. And we all just bear in mind that the president could end this today. I want to continue my conversation with Ohio Governor John Kasich. I asked him about the comments on Fox News about this whole thing, about Trump's policies separating kids from their undocumented parents when they are detained at the border.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Since more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This is one of those moments that tells you everything about our ruling class. They care for more about foreigners than about their own people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The last time I checked Governor Kasich, the president or the Republican Party, they are the ruling class. They can't put this on Congress. The majority of Republicans are in Congress.

KASICH: Look, I disagree with the comments on Fox and I haven't been over there, I haven't talked to them about this. Again, Brooke, the worst thing I can do is to begin to just question their motives and everything and all I can do is to appeal to their decency. And at fox we've seen this happen with Shepard Smith, seen him be willing to stand up and say some things that he's been applauded for. I can't explain to you why they're taking this position because the position do me doesn't make any sense.

BALDWIN: The president is tripling down on this trade within China. He is now threatening this additional 200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. Does this wipe out the Republican proclaimed benefit of those tax cuts to you?

KASICH: Well, it certainly is going to be damaging. You can see the markets are reacting very negatively. We've had lots of trouble with China for a long period of time. As to this approach, I don't think now this doubling down and back and forth is the right approach. But I believe the whistle should have been blown on China long ago.

[14:25:00] However, we also of course are involved in a trade skirmish that could lead to a war with our friends and allies, and this is one of the things I greatly worry about. You know, this idea that we're America and we're tough and all you just suck it up and we're going to do what we want to do, Brooke, what people have to realize is that the free trade, the economic cohesion between our friends and allies around the world, the fact that we were able to work with them on many different issues, whether it's the environment, whether it's defense strategy, whatever it is, it's preserved the peace for 70 years.

BALDWIN: On the Russia investigation, Governor Kasich, we know there's another undisclosed meeting between the Trump advisers and the Russians, the most recent of the Roger Stone meeting, that's 14 Russians that met with Trump associates during the campaign. I want you to listen to James Clapper.

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JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: With each subsequent revelation of yet another meeting between someone from the Trump camp and Russians, it gets harder and hard to believe he didn't know about at least some of them.

BALDWIN: Do you find it harder and harder to believe that Trump didn't know about any of this?

KASICH: I don't know, Brooke. We have a thorough investigation going on by Bob Mueller. I'm pleased to see that my old colleague, Richard burr over in the senate intelligence committee wants it to continue. You have a bipartisanship with senator warn are from Virginia, the Democrat. They're working together. They're trying to make sure that this investigation is thorough and, Brooke, I hope at the end of the day there's nothing there. That's what I hope because I saw what happened when bill Clinton was in trouble and got impeached by the house. I saw the disarray. I was hold enough to see what happened when Richard Nixon was driven out. Just let the process work and when it's all decided I'll have more to say, but at this point I don't want to be speculating.

BALDWIN: Sure. And finally, governor, I was just in Ohio over the weekend and, you know, the topic of discussion among everyone I met, will Lebron James still be a Cleveland Cavalier come October. Governor, I got to ask. Will he?

KASICH: Well, I'd like to do an executive order to force him to stay in Ohio, but I don't know if it will mean much. I want to say this about Lebron James. I mean, this is a terrific guy. What he's done in the community, the way he's conducted himself on the court, I mean, he's really a truly, truly remarkable guy and a great role mod el at a time when we need role models, he's one of them. I hope he stays but we of course wish him all the best.

BALDWIN: Governor John Kasich, all the best.

KASICH: Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Coming up why President Trump's reelection campaign manager says time to fire Sessions.

Plus, lawmakers, clergy, former first ladies all speaking out about separating families on the border. And seems like everyone's weighing in except Ivanka Trump. What's behind her silence?