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Lawmakers Calling on Trump's Cruel Immigration Policy; Trade War Continues with China as U.S. Slaps Another Tariffs; Military Exercises on Hold but Remains Ready Anytime; World Cup Fans Go Crazy During Open; Russia Face Egypt In Key Group Game Tuesday; President Trump's Space Mission; Low Tech Threats Puts Israel On High Alert; Merkel Has Two Weeks To Reach Migration Deal; Elephants Decimated By Poaching. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 19, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you intending for this to play out as it is playing out? Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? Are you intending to send a message?
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I find that offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: The Trump administration standing firm in its defense of the controversial practice of separating families at the American border. We will break down the issues and heated rhetoric ahead.
Plus a trade war is heating up between the U.S. and China with more tariffs being added to the list from each country.
And it might be the last chance to save elephants from extinction by ivory poachers.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.
Well, the pressure is mounting on U.S. President Donald Trump to end his administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the border with Mexico.
The White House is falsely blaming Democrats when, in fact, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the zero-tolerance policy back in April. Since then, at least 2,000 children have been taken to detention camps.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny begins our coverage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just remember, a
country without borders is not a country at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump facing intense fire tonight over what kind of country the U.S. is becoming when it comes to immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility. It won't be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: These searing images of children separated from their parents at times behind chain-link fences have sparked withering criticism from across the political spectrum.
The White House not backing down from its zero-tolerance policy of separating children from their parents when apprehended at the border. It's led to the removal of nearly 2,000 children in the last six weeks.
The president vented on Twitter in a flurry of messages. He blasted immigration in Europe and the U.S., finally demanding change the laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And I'll say it very honestly, and I'll say it very straight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: To be clear, the president is doing neither. He's blaming Democrats rather than accepting responsibility for his administration's actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We cannot get them even to the negotiating table, and I say it's very strongly the Democrats' fault. They're obstruction. They're really obstructionist, and they are obstructing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: Yet no matter how many times he says it, it's just not true. While Democrats and Republicans have been at odds over broader immigration laws, it's incorrect to blame family separation on Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIELSEN: We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job. We have sworn to do this job. This administration has a simple message. If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defending the practice one day after she misleadingly said on Twitter, we do not have a policy of separating families at the border, period. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who first up veiled the zero tolerance policy two months ago, argued today it was a deterrent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Anyone that brought a child with them would be given effective immunity from prosecution and would not be prosecuted. Word got out about this loophole, and the results were predictable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: But CNN has learned the new hard-line policy has not slowed the pace of migrants trying to enter the country illegally. Since the prosecution initiative as it's called inside DHS began, there's been an uptick of people trying to cross the border.
Outrage pouring in from Republicans and Democrats after these scenes filled television screens over father day weekend of children and parents being separately ware housed in a former Wal-Mart and other sites across Texas.
Former first lady Laura Bush taking the rare step of weighing in on a policy debate, writing in the Washington Post, "This zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral, and it breaks my heart. In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can."
Michelle Obama re-tweeting those words, saying "Sometimes truth transcends party." The current first lady, Melania Trump, voicing concern but suggesting there's enough blame to go around. Her spokeswoman saying, "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."
Even loyal Trump allies like former communications director Anthony Scaramucci called for an urgent change, saying the controversy was damaging the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:05:04] ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He's a television star. He understands that this is not good for him. It's not good for the Congress if we want to win the midterm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reporting there from the White House.
The nonprofit investigative group ProPublica says they know what family separation at the U.S./Mexico border sounds like. They recorded disturbing audio at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility last week, and we should note CNN has not been able to verify the authenticity of that recording.
CHURCH: And the upsetting images of children at the border inspired a California couple to help. Charlotte and Dave Wilner have raised more than $3 million and counting through Facebook. At one point the charity appeal was bringing in nearly $4,000 every minute.
Amnesty International is among the many groups slamming the Trump administration policy on family separations. They released a statement on Monday saying this. "This is nothing short of torture. The severe mental suffering that officials have intentionally inflicted on these families for coercive purposes means that these acts meet the definitions of torture under both U.S. and international law."
Joining me now to talk more about this controversial policy, our former South Carolina lieutenant governor and CNN contributor, Andre Bauer, and Mac Zilber, a Democratic political strategist and co- founder of Jacobson and Zilber Strategies. Good to have you both with us.
ANDRE BAUER, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Thank you.
CHURCH: So, Andre, I do want to start with you. As a Republican, how does it make you feel when you listen to the heartbreaking audio recordings of children crying out for their parents or when you see the images of toddlers sobbing at the feet of their mothers as they watch them being cuffed at the border? Is that the policy you want your party to carry out? Is that the way to do it?
BAUER: It's not -- I hate to see a lot of things. Number one, this was carried on way before the current president is here.
CHURCH: Let me just stop you there because that isn't the case. So we're not going to continually say that.
BAUER: That is the case.
CHURCH: This is not the case. This is a zero tolerance policy that was announced by Jeff Sessions. Let's start from that point.
BAUER: But that's not the case. President Obama was locking people up in cages. That is a fact. That is not opinionated. And so when we try to divert this and make this a Donald Trump issue, it's not. These are law-breaking people who come into our country illegally.
If I don't pay my taxes, guess what? I'm taken away from my loved ones because I get put in jail. We are a nation of laws. We have been for 241 years, and this is no different. And--
(CROSSTALK) CHURCH: It is the way that this -- Mac, I'm going to bring you in
here because the problem that people have with this is not the fact -- yes, people don't want people coming illegally across the border. What people are objecting to, Democrats and Republicans, is the way this is being done. Mac, if you can pick up from there. This argument that this is the same thing that happened through the Bush era and through Obama era.
MAC ZILBER, CO-FOUNDER, JACOBSON AND ZILBER STRATEGIES: Yes, it's just a fact that this zero-tolerance policy started two months ago. The idea that it happened in previous administrations is completely preposterous.
The reality is that separating children from families is a policy that is so abhorrent and cruel that the Trump administration can't decide whether it wants to embrace it, which Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions have done, deny it, which Secretary Nielsen has done, or blame it on the democrats, which is what Donald Trump is doing.
The fact that one administration has three different positions on their own abhorrent policy just shows how much no one wants to be associated with this thing.
CHURCH: And, Andre, former first lady Laura Bush says the policy of separation is cruel is immoral. She compared it to the Japanese- American internment camps of World War II. Senator John McCain and other Republicans are calling on President Trump to rescind the family separation policy, which Mr. Trump could do by just picking up the phone.
So, Andre, are you worried that this could separate and split the party, that the people will say, we can't tolerate this. We're not going to treat human beings like this. It's unacceptable. The world is amazed as their watching this coming out of America.
BAUER: Well, again, it's a story that's driven with not whole truths. Not every family is broken up. Most of the families are broken up, they're people that can't really describe if these are their children or not, that there is some inconsistency when they're, in fact, interviewed.
[03:10:08] And so, they split them up because they in fact -- this is a great way to get people across the border that aren't their children. Drug dealers are now using this. There's a lot of abuses in the system.
But make no mistake, this was passed during Bill Clinton. At some point in time, somebody has got to have some back bone to say because we can't just because we don't want to hurt anybody's feelings or make anybody mad. You've got to make sure that people coming into this country, what they are saying is true. A vetting system is healthy. Quite frankly, nobody should be coming into the country illegally.
Look, my ancestors, my great-grandfather came over here, but he did it the right way. He came in. He took his time. He went through the channels that you had to do. Now we've got a party that just wants to let everybody in and cut all borders down. And now this--
CHURCH: I don't think that's what's being suggested. Mac, if I could just bring you here to answer that. Andre was saying that you've got to vet these people. You know, we know at this point the 2,000 children have been separated from their family in the last four or six week or so. But how do you vet? How do you make sure that those children are not being brought in by people other than their parents?
ZILBER: Right. Well there's two different pieces here, one is how do we vet, and how do we reform our immigration system, and there's a lot of good plans out there that involve people going through a process, paying back taxes, getting back in line.
But regardless of all that, the reality is that right now we've got children being separated from their parents and being put in cages, and it's such an abhorrent policy that people like Donald Trump or, I'm sorry, Andre, you as well are denying the fact that it is a Trump administration policy because it's just so abhorrent to be associated with.
BAUER: There are pictures done under the last administration. Just a few short weeks ago when they thought they were pictures of the current administration, they let them out, and they were actually wrong. In fact, it was the former president. So, no, this is not just a Donald Trump policy. Bill Clinton actually (Technical Difficulty) this.
ZILBER: Every administration has detention facilities. Not every administration has this zero-tolerance policy that has separated 2,000 children from their parents over the last two months.
CHURCH: OK. Just be careful because as you're talking over each other, with the Skype, it's actually distorting audio. So let's just -- let's get back to a question here because President Trump blames the Democrats for the separation of children from their parents at the border.
But it's his zero-tolerance policy that is forcing these separations. What he's hoping to achieve by doing this, apparently, is to force immigration legislation that he wants, and he wants funds for his border wall. Do you accept that, Andre?
BAUER: No. Number one, he's enforcing the law, and I know it's hard for some people to understand that. But we have laws, and that's why people so unbelievably want to get in this country, because we have become the land of milk and honey because we follow certain rules, guidelines that are established.
And these folks, if you want to talk about a deplorable situation, to take your child at night over a border, through water, with people with guns, with drug traffickers, to take them into that situation, what kind of parent does that? CHURCH: A parent perhaps that's confronting some pretty awful
circumstances. That's what would force people to leave, you know, a particular country where there are problems. Mac, you know, some people are calling this child abuse. Others suggest it is a humanitarian crisis. Is that what we're witnessing here in America?
ZILBER: Yes, absolutely. I mean I would say this is a step above a humanitarian crisis. This rises to those rare moments in history where people have to just stand up and be counted. And the reality is that this is the second time in less than a year that undocumented children have been used as a political football to try to leverage policy concessions by this administration.
And, you know, the administration can claim all it wants that this is something that was already in place, that this isn't being done for that purpose except for the fact that Stephen Miller essentially said just as much, that they were doing this because they wanted to create a deterrent at the border. They can't have their cake and eat it too, say that it's always been the policy and say that they're enacting it because they like what will happen when they enact it. It just doesn't add up and you can't square that circle.
But the reality is that they have to pass policies to address this as soon as possible. And if they don't, then all the Republican senators that are saying they're going to address it are just full of hot air.
CHURCH: All right. Andre, you got the first word. And Mac, you got the last. We'll have to leave it there. Unfortunately, we're out of time. Mac Zilber and Andre Bauer, thank you both of you for joining us and talking about a very controversial situation here in the United States. We'll see what happens going forward. Many thanks.
BAUER: Thank you.
CHURCH: And to another story we are following closely. U.S. President Donald Trump says he wants more tariffs on Chinese goods. He wants another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to face tariffs.
[03:15:04] Both countries have just levied tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods sold by the other. The president believes the tariffs will push China to change its practices on acquiring U.S. intellectual property and technology.
China's commerce ministry responded, saying "If the United States loses its senses and comes up with a new list, China will be forced to strike back hard and launch comprehensive measures that match the U.S. move in quantity and quality."
Well, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un he's visiting China on Tuesday and Wednesday, and this comes one week after his first summit with the U.S. president.
Our Matt Rivers is following the story from Beijing. He joins us now live. So, Matt, Kim Jong-un in Beijing on his third trip there in three months with the Singapore summit high on the agenda when he meets with Xi Jinping. Sp what all are they likely to talk about?
MATT RIVERS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I mean, I think that is going to be first and foremost on the topic there is what was discussed between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un at that summit in Singapore. What was promised by the Americans? What was promised by the North Koreans? What didn't make it into that joint declaration? What's the definition of denuclearization in the eyes of Kim Jong-un, and also how do China's strategic interests play into all that?
Can China convince Kim Jong-un to continue to push this line, for example, that the Americans should perhaps remove troops from the Korean peninsula? That's something that the North Koreans want. It's something the Chinese want as well.
So that's certainly the kind of conversations that you can expect these two leaders to have. It's all typical, though, here in China to have a lot of secrecy surrounding any visit from a North Korean leader. The fact that we even found out that Kim Jong-un was coming here to Beijing before he left, typically what happens is the North Korean leader comes and once he leaves, then China confirms that that trip happened.
So the fact that we found out that Kim Jong-un will be here in Beijing today and tomorrow is a break from protocol in China, and what several analysts though I've spoken to today have suggested is that's all part of this remarkable normalization in North Korean diplomacy over the last several months.
It was less than three months ago, Rosemary, that Kim Jong-un came here to China, and that was his first ever foreign visit as leader of North Korea, his first time ever meeting another foreign leader in Xi Jinping. So the change over the last three months is really nothing short of remarkable.
CHURCH: It really is extraordinary, isn't it? Matt, I do want to go back to these tariffs because of course as we've just reported, President Trump wants to apply more tariffs, $200 billion worth on Chinese goods. And of course now China, as we've reported too, is going to reply in kind. We appear to be in the midst of a trade war. Certainly that's what China thinks. America doesn't think that, though.
RIVERS: Well, I mean I think it depends on who you ask. I think U.S. officials largely have steered clear of using that term. China's government has definitely not shied away from using that term. But in terms of how this actually really plays out moving forward, that's the big question because, yes, the Trump administration has said $200 billion more in tariffs could be coming.
But what does that look like, when do they enact it. Don't forget the $50 billion in tariffs that were just made official, they were actually announced way back in March. So, it will several months for this to play out. And then assuming China doesn't back down, which we don't know what they are going to do, they'll put $200 billion of their own. However, we're not sure what they're going to tariff here, Rosemary,
because don't forget America only sends about $130 billion worth of goods here to China each year. China is already going to put tariffs on $50 billion of that. So, there's not so many American exports left.
So exactly how the valuation will play out in terms of how China is going to respond, it could be tariffs. It could be restricting market access. It could be kind of an informal kind of punishment such as taking Chinese tour groups and saying hey, don't go to America. There's a a lot of different ways this could play out. It's really fascinating. But yes, the trade war seems to be well, well on at this point.
CHURCH: Yes. Very disturbing stuff for the markets across the globe. Everyone watching very closely to see where this goes. Matt Rivers, thanks as always. I appreciate it.
Well, the U.S. and South Korea are calling off an annual military exercise that was scheduled for August. And this follows President Trump's pledge to end what he called war games during his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Last year more than 67,000 U.S. and South Korean troops took part in the drills, though President Trump called the exercises provocative, officials insist they are defensive.
And our Alexandra Field is in Seoul, South Korea, with more on the repercussions of this move. And Alexandra, you know, we talked about this last hour. It was quite a surprise for both South Korea and Washington, indeed the world when President Trump first made this announcement at the summit last week.
[03:20:06] So, what's being said now in Seoul about the official announcement that these joint drills indeed have been called off?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, and there was a lot of objection certainly from the critics of the president, who say that this was a major concession to North Korea and that the U.S. didn't get enough for it.
President Trump has vociferously defended this. He says the costs are high. He says that it's not a good idea to continue with these provocative war games as he put it at a time of good faith negotiation with North Korea.
So, look, South Korean counterparts, they very well may have been caught off guard by this announcement. They said just about as much when they said that they needed to work to understand what exactly the president meant. But it seems that both sides have now come to an agreement at this point it means stopping the planning for the large- scale exercises that were set to happen this August.
These are exercises that have been happening for more than 40 years on the peninsula. Every year we see two major sets of exercises, some in the spring, the others that would have been scheduled for August. These are of course a joint effort. They are defensive in nature and defense officials will tell you they are about maintaining peace and stability in the region.
The president seems to think they're too provocative. Pentagon officials say that they've made no decisions other than to cancel these August exercises but that there will be a meeting of high level Pentagon officials later this week to decide what happens next.
South Korean officials echoing that. And Rosemary, they are also saying that they had another set of military exercises separate from the joint exercises that are scheduled around the same time, and they've got to take a look at that and decide whether or not they move forward with those exercises, scale them down, or cancel them altogether. Everyone reacting really as quickly as they can to that announcement from the president.
CHURCH: Right. And of course even though they've been called off for now, President Trump has made it clear, hasn't he, that these joint military exercises could start up at any time if North Korea fails to hold up its side of the deal. What might it take for that to happen? Do we know?
FIELD: The president put it fairly succinctly in one of his tweets saying if talks break down, the war games could be started up immediately as he put it. Of course these are exercises that take a lot of planning. You mentioned 17,500 troops participating last year. Also, participation from a number of different countries. About seven other countries besides the U.S. and South Korea it appears participated last year.
So certainly there is a heavy amount of planning that goes into this. But it seems that the intention of the president here is to call off these exercises for now and he says if talks break down, that you could return to these kinds of exercises.
The White House has made it clear that troops will continue to engage in readiness practices, but not these large-scale, very public drills that would have happened in August. That seems to be the consensus for now. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Bringing us the very latest from the Korean peninsula there in Seoul, South Korea, our Alexandra Field, where it is nearly 4.30 in the afternoon. Many thanks to you.
We'll take a short break here. But still to come, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has got two weeks to reach a deal on immigration or face the possible collapse of her coalition government.
Plus, elephants on the brink. Despite bans on the ivory trade, the slaughter continues. We will go undercover in search of some answers.
Jubilation in England over three lions opening match in the World Cup. All the highlights coming your way next.
[03:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: A look there at the celebration back home in England after Monday's match with Tunisia. This video from the H.Q. sports bar has been viewed on Twitter nearly half a million times. No word on any earthquakes there at this point.
England's World Cup opener proved to be a nail-biter as they faced Tunisia. The game looked like a draw until team captain Harry Kane secured the win. And as you saw, the fans were elated.
Our Patrick Snell is here with more on Monday's highlights and Tuesday's matchups. So let's start with England and the highlights of that, of course, and what it will mean for matches going forward.
PATRICK SNELL, SPORTS REPORTER, CNN: I'm getting all nostalgic and home sick seeing that video there.
CHURCH: Don't cry.
SNELL: No. Just gives some perspective. England haven't won the World Cup in over 50 years.
CHURCH: They haven't won it yet.
SNELL: Since 1966. No, but I'm getting to the fact that this euphoria comes very easily, even after one win. But I will say it's three points and credit to the national team for getting that done. Tunisia though, nearly getting a valuable point from that game.
But as you mentioned it was the Harry Kane show in the end. The New England captain, if you like, really taking center stage in this game. A dream start for the English, and it's Kane there on hand. He's not going to miss from there. This is what will be concerning to the national team of England. They didn't put this game to bed. They allowed Tunisia back into it, a needless penalty given away.
What was Kyle Walker doing there? The penalty converted by Ferjani Sassi and that is 1-1. The game moves into stoppage time or injury time if you prefer. Harry Kane completely unmarked, puts the game to bed, 2-1 in the end the final score. Absolute joy for their head coach, Gareth Southgate, as well. But it's England who emerge with that one.
Now I want to transition into another significant European team, namely Belgium, because they had an important win against tournament debutantes Panama, three goals for nil. But Romelu Lukaku is going twice in that game. The Manchester United fourth.
But it's what he said in the lead-up to the game, Rosemary, that really caught my eye. He gave an interview to the players tribune web site. And basically addressed the issue of financial issues growing up, poverty during his childhood, really powerful stuff. Basically, saying that he feels that some people in his homeland want him to fail.
Then he added, but it's cool. Those people weren't with me when we were pouring water in our cereal. If you weren't with me when I had nothing, then you can't really understand me. Really powerful words from him.
And look, when you see how it transformed into the field of play when they took on Panama in that game, even more powerful when you watch what he did, how he contributed to this game. Belgium actually taking the lead, a spectacular goal Dries Mertens. That is an absolutely beauty of a goal. Really well struck. That broke the deadlock in that game.
Then as I say, it was all about Romelu Lukaku. A really positive contribution from him. He scored not once, but twice as the Belgians win 3-nil. And here's what's fascinating for me. He's just turned 25 years of age. He's already his country's all-time leading goal scorer. Another sublime finish there. Thirty eight goals in 70 games for the national team. Romelu Lukaku making a really positive impact.
CHURCH: Wow. Unbelievable. And let's look forward because of course Egypt face Russia. A lot of people asking about Mo Salah, what is likely to happen there.
SNELL: Will he play? Is he fit?
[03:29:57] CHURCH: Yes.
SNELL: This is a really important game to Egypt. They've still never won a World Cup fixture. They're against a Russian team that is really boy, and tough to winning their opener against Saudi Arabia 5-0.
Three matches on the slate for later this Tuesday. We got Colombia, Japan, Poland, Senegal, as well. Let's just home-in a little bit on Mo Salah. He is recovering from shoulder ligament injury. He got injured for Liverpool Club sided, in the champion's league final against Real Madrid. He didn't play in his team, so opener against Uruguay which they lost very late on.
They really need him back, because he is an inspirational figure. When they get him back, when his teammates see him there on the field of play, I do wonder to what extent he is going to be fit. How fit is he going to be? We still don't know if he is going to play. He is got a really important fitness test coming up. It's going to be very interesting.
CHURCH: He is loved and adored. And as you say, he is a great inspiration not only there but, you know, across the globe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Terrific season with Liverpool. He is quite a player.
CHURCH: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Patrick. It was a pleasure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Likewise.
CHURCH: All right. Let's take a very short break. But still coming up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to have the air force, and we are going to have the space force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: U.S. President Trump reaching for the stars and aiming to establish U.S. dominance over the final frontier.
And a low-tech threat in the form of fire kites puts Israel on high alert. We're back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back to "CNN Newsroom." I'm Rosemary Church, I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is visiting China today and tomorrow. That is according to Chinese state media. Earlier on Tuesday, a motorcade was seen zooming through Beijing. Kim will likely brief President Xi Jinping on last week's summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore.
The U.S. and South Korea are suspending the annual military exercises that were planned for this August. That is after President Trump vowed to end what he called war games at the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
President Trump is once again falsely blaming Democrats for his administration's practice of separating immigrant families at the U.S. border. The President says the U.S. will not become a migrant camp or refugee holding facility. Critics describe the practice as child abuse.
War, violence, and other types of persecution forced more than 68 million people to flee their homes last year, a record high. That is according to a new report from the U.N. refugee agency. Many of them are trying to make their way into Europe, and the swelling numbers are prompting E.U. leaders to put migration policy front and center. CNN's Melissa Bell reports.
[03:35:13] MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Preparing to dock at last. After more than a week at sea rocked by both political uncertainty and bad weather, the Aquarius has become a symbol of a European migration policy in disarray. After being rejected by Italy, the 629 migrants celebrated as their ordeal finally came to an end in Spain. These migrants will now be able to apply for asylum here in Spain, but also in France. With Emmanuel Macron saying that he is determined to fix a system that has long been broken.
PRES EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (TRANSLATOR): Finally we would like to be able to move forward together with our partners in the months to come on an overhaul of the Dublin system. The arrival of men and women who leave their country of origin, whether for economic or political reason risks or situations related to asylum, cannot be the responsibility of a rival countries.
BELL: The so call Dublin rule stipulates that migrants must seek asylum in the European country in which they first arrive, which has meant that countries like Italy and Greece have for years borne the brunt of Europe's migrant crisis.
A rule that successive Italian governments have wanted to reform for years. A message forcefully rammed home by the closing of Italian ports on June 10th and the stranding of the Aquarius at sea. The French President described the tactic as cynical and irresponsible, but Italy clearly intends to continue with it. Even as the Aquarius prepared to dock in Spain, Italy's interior minister warned other NGO ships now in the Mediterranean that they should find other non-Italian ports to head towards.
A move that puts extra pressure on Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel as they prepare to meet again to discuss European reform. With the right of Angela Markel's own fragile coalition insisting on the need to see the Dublin rule not so much changed as strengthened. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
CHURCH: All right. Let's turn to the specific situation in Germany. German chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced she will try to reach a deal with European Union leaders on migration policy. Now, if she doesn't make that happen within the next two weeks, her fragile coalition government could collapse. I want to get to details from CNN's Atika Shubert who is in berlin, she joins us live. So, Atika, how likely is it that Angela Merkel will be able to reach a migration deal in two weeks and what happens if she doesn't do that?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, listen, it's been three years since the refugee crisis of 2015, and there still is no comprehensive E.U. solution on this. So it doesn't seem very likely that there will be an E.U.-wide deal that she'll be able to accomplish. On the other hand, she may be able to broker a number of bilateral deals, and that is with those key countries and the external E.U. border area that you heard Melissa Bell mention in the package there.
Italy, Greece, these are key, but also France and Spain. Now, what she has to do is convince these countries that if, a refugee has already applied for asylum in those countries, if they then come to Germany, that Germany will have the right to return them to those countries. That is a really tough ask of Italy and Greece especially who are already overwhelmed with thousands of asylum seekers, so she is going to have to offer them something else.
That could be something like a -- increased funding and support for an E.U.-wide naval force patrolling the Mediterranean, for example. It could mean HANKS: she somehow twists the arms of other countries like Spain and France to also open their ports to rescue ships. There are a number of different ways she could approach it, but either each way, these are the kinds of deals she has to broker before the E.U. summit on June 29th and then come back to report to her own party on July 1st, Rosemary.
CHURCH: And, Atika, what is expected to come out of Angela Merkel's meeting with the French President? SHUBERT: Yes, she is meeting not only with French President Emmanuel
Macron today, but she is also meeting with the European commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. I think her top priority will be this issue. How to deal with, as you heard from Melissa Bell earlier, those Dublin regulations, which mean that an asylum seeker is supposed to ask for asylum in the first country they step foot in in the E.U.
Of course what that means is the border countries are most overwhelmed by this, and countries like Germany don't have as many people coming directly to the country. And yet as we know Germany has like, I believe, about a third of the refugee applications in the E.U. It's an extraordinary number.
[03:40:00] And so Germany is a very important country in brokering some sort of E.U.-wide deal. That is what she is going to be talking about with Macron and Juncker today.
CHURCH: All right. Atika Shubert following that story from Berlin, where it is 9:40 in the morning. We thank you.
Well, kites and balloons are posing a threat to Israel lobbed across the border from Gaza. CNN's Ian Lee joins us now live from Jerusalem with more on this. So, Ian, explain to us how these kites and balloons work and what Israel plans to do about them.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, these kites and balloons, they come from these protests that we've seen in Gaza since March 30th, a real phenomenon that has come out of these protests where I've seen on the ground people making these kites. Many of the times it's teenagers or young men in their early 20s with just sticks and some plastic. Very effective, and they've been very frustrating for the Israelis as they have sparked hundreds of fires.
LEE: A brush fire scorches a forest in Southern Israel. Firefighters battle the blaze, but no matter how hard they try, they can't extinguish the cause. Hundreds of kites and balloons from Gaza that carry this firestorm. Fires like these have caused over $2 million in damages. And when I speak to firefighters, they say that number is likely to rise as they battle, between 20 to 30 blazes a day.
Nearby farmers work the field. They keep a wary eye. Hundreds of acres of farmland have been reduced to ash. So far, no one has been hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): You need to keep alert. A fire could whip up without you knowing. If you tracked the storms in the middle of the straw field, you could be burned to death or suffer from the smoke.
LEE: Israel recently retaliated against what they call terror kites and balloons. With the air force striking nine targets in Gaza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): If anyone believes that this daily routine of kites and fires in the south of Israel is just going to keep happening, they are wrong.
LEE: The kites will continue. At least that is what Gazans say. It doesn't take much, some sticks and plastic, then a bag of dried plants and coal. A low tech weapon challenging Israel's high-tech defenses. They're part of a larger months long protest movement along the border with Israel in which over 100 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): My message to Israel is stop threatening protesters and kite makers, because no matter what you do, even if you target us with rockets, we will not stop. Our protest is peaceful.
LEE: When the kites are ready, the wind drifts them across into Israel. Kamikaze drones try to knock them down with limited success. This is where Gazans hope those kites land, here in dry fields that can quickly turn into a brush fire. Raining fire from above, all the while stoking tensions along the fence dividing Gaza and Israel.
LEE: Rosemary, it really is frustrating for Israeli officials about how to respond to these kites. They've shot at the people who have been trying to fly them. They've also had these air strikes, they say a retaliation against them as we saw, but really it hasn't been able to stop them. You go out along this border, and you just see them. They come out. They make these kites. And it's quite simple for them to fly them up, and once they get high enough, they drift across the border and really start a lot of these fires. And really to try to stop them, it's going to be very difficult for Israel to come up with some sort of solution. As the Palestinians say, it's effective, it works, and they're going to continue to do it.
CHURCH: All right. Ian lee reporting there live from Jerusalem, thanks so much for that.
Well, the sale of ivory is banned in many countries, but elephants are still being killed for their tusks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happened to the herds?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been decimated by poaching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Coming up, how cash from China is fueling the illegal ivory trade in Mozambique.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Well, despite bans, protests, and outrage around the globe, the ivory trade is alive and well. Many countries including the U.S. and China have banned ivory sales, because of the devastating effects on the elephant population. But a steady flow of Chinese cash keeps poachers in business.
CNN's David McKenzie traveled to the new center of poaching in Africa, Mozambique, where the ban hasn't made much of a dent in the trade. He joins us now live from Johannesburg. So, David, what is the situation in Mozambique, and what's the government trying to do to stop the poaching?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, this Chinese ivory ban was seen as the great hope for elephant across Africa, but it seems like this slaughter continues.
MCKENZIE: Just a few remaining villages before the remoteness takes hold.
I think, you know, one of the last great wildernesses, and this really needs to be protected.
From the plane, Miasa reserve seems untouched by man's greed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking for elephant number 30. We're sort of approaching her last known track.
MCKENZIE: But even with the help of GPS, we struggle to find a single herd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you see?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I got one, I got one.
MCKENZIE: Just like the rest of Africa, here, too, the poachers have found a way in.
What's happened to the herds?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've been decimated by poaching.
MCKENZIE: There should be upwards of 10,000 elephants in this reserve. He estimates there are less than 2,000 left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just flying over what used to be bountiful countryside, you're now struggling to find animals.
MCKENZIE: A Chinese government ban on ivory has been heralded as the key to saving the species. The world's largest market should now be off limits, but here conservationists say the slaughter continues.
We were in the bush when we found a group of elephants, he says. I shot the first one, and then I shot the second one. We were about to remove the ivory when security officials arrived to apprehend us. Inside a prison yard, this poacher speaks freely. He is agreed to talk to us, because he wants people to know. I had nothing else I could do, he says. This is the only way. He says the demand for ivory hasn't diminished. Who then, are the buyers?
[03:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chinese have become strong. I think they've bought their way in here, and they have protection.
MCKENZIE: This investigator is actively tracking poaching syndicates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They know how to get things out.
MCKENZIE: So we're protecting his identity. Despite the ban, he says the Chinese continue to control the market. What does that mean for conservation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very, very bad. Very bad. If it continues like that in Miasa, there will be nothing left.
MCKENZIE: And are the Chinese to blame for this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, 100 percent. 100 percent.
MCKENZIE: We wanted to see for ourselves. Using a hidden camera, we follow an investigator as he posed as an ivory middleman at the main Chinese trading center. He was -- he was invited in. It was remarkably easy to get them interested, but then China is mentioned.
It could be a negotiating technique. Drive up the risk to drive down the price, or perhaps the ban's message has made it to Mozambique's Chinese traders, but a massive bust buy authorities in Maputo would show otherwise. In mid-April, more than three tons of ivory was confiscated. Police say the container is linked to a Chinese trading company. The suspects fled, and the investigation continues.
Why have there not been prosecution of Chinese nationals in Mozambique?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That one is now the problem, the biggest problem. I think they are buying their way out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corruption. Corruption.
MCKENZIE: These photos show ammunition still wrapped in government- issued packaging. The poachers caught wearing all too familiar fatigues of the national army. The rot runs deep. Just listen to the government's own prosecutor.
We have no doubt about that, he says. Corruption is at the source of poaching. But, he says, there's a commitment by the state to prevent it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe that it's too late. No. I'm an optimist, and I believe that there are elephant out there in little pockets that we haven't seen. And they will come together and breed and come back strongly.
MCKENZIE: But their population has reached a critical point. And unless China's ivory ban is felt here, this Eden could be emptied.
(END VIDEO) MCKENZIE: Rosemary, investigators and conservationists told us that
they feel they're running against the clock here. That these poaching continues despite the ivory ban. And you know, no one really thinks that this is anything other than a good thing, this ban of ivory in China, but it seems already that the market is shifting away from China to Southeast Asia and that Chinese nationals are buying their ivory there.
But also, what I found extremely interesting and disturbing is that Chinese nationals on the continent, both in Mozambique and all over sub-Saharan Africa are deeply involved still in those illegal systems. And perhaps one of the gaps is prosecuting those foreign nationals involved in countries like Mozambique that are decimating the herds. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right, David McKenzie. Thank you so much for that. A very distressing and disturbing story. Hopefully someone will do something about it. We appreciate that report.
All right. We'll take a short break here. Still to come, President Trump sets his sights on space. His new mission for the U.S. military. We'll have that next.
[03:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: And finally this hour, President Trump has a new mission for the U.S. military. He laid it out at the White House Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That is a big statement. We are going to have the air force, and we are going to have the space force. Separate, but equal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, the President says his new sixth military branch will ensure U.S. dominance in space, and he has his sights set on Mars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This time we will do more than plant our flag and leave our footprints. We will establish a long-term presence, expand our economy, and build the foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, which is actually going to happen very quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The Pentagon says it will begin working on this new space force immediately. The establishment of a new military branch would require congressional approval and could take some time.
And thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues next with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CONNECT THE WORLD GUEST HOST: The U.S. President Donald Trump is doubling down to defend his immigration policy as a recording of sobbing children separated from their parent's surfaces.