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Tabloid Sent Stories to Cohen; Housing Migrant Children on Bases; Facility Houses Kids Separated from Parents; Protests over Police Shooting. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 22, 2018 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:31:08] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: A new report in "The Washington Post" says "The National Enquirer" let President Trump's attorney and so-called fixer, Michael Cohen, review stories written about the presidential candidate and his opponents before publishing them.

CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is here, our national political reporter MJ Lee joins me now.

And, MJ, to you.

"The Washington Post" says this practice continued after the president took office. This is not just rare for a, I would put it in quotes, news organization to do, but for any publication to do. It's concerning.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And fascinating that this, according to "The Washington Post," is a practice that continued after Trump got into the White House.

Just to give you a sense of how much editorial control we're talking about here, the stay says that stories would only be published about Trump if he preapproved them, that he would regularly make -- request changes to either cover photos of himself or headlines that he thought were not flattering and that Trump would also suggest articles about either himself or his opponents, including Hillary Clinton, and that he could also preapprove those stories about other people, not himself, as well.

The context here, of course, that we've talked about a lot is that David Pecker is someone who is very close to Donald Trump, has been a supporter of Donald Trump.

HARLOW: (INAUDIBLE) "The Enquirer."

LEE: He is the chairman of AMI, which is the parent company of "The National Enquirer."

I have to say, the reason that this is not just a media story is, of course, because Michael Cohen is currently under criminal investigation. We know that investigators are interested in actions that he took to try to stop these kinds of negative stories about Donald Trump. And we also know from this week that AMI was actually subpoenaed as a part of the Cohen investigation. So it's all very serious.

We do have a statement from AMI, so I just want to read that. It says it is unfortunate and disconcerting that disgruntled and terminated ex-employees who had no access to how editorial decisions are made and without any access to the company's top executives have been given a platform, hiding behind the protection of being an anonymous source to grind their ax on the back of their former employer.

Obviously being very critical of these ex-employees that they think are talking. But also noteworthy that it doesn't actually deny "The Washington Post's" reporting.

HARLOW: Yes. True.

Aside from the irony of them sort of slamming, blasting anonymous sources --

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Blasting anonymous sources, right.

HARLOW: Which they use all the time.

STELTER: Right. Right.

HARLOW: Just talk about why this is so concerning.

STELTER: Well, for one thing, if I shared a story I was working on with the White House ahead of time --

HARLOW: You'd get fired.

STELTER: My editor, who sits right over there, would fire me.

HARLOW: Yes.

STELTER: Same for you. Same for any of us. This is not typical or acceptable behavior in any news organization.

But "The National Enquirer" is different. We know it's different. It's a pro-Trump outlet. It's a really important part of the pro-Trump media because it's on newsstands across the country presenting anti- Clinton, anti-Obama, pro-Trump headlines.

By the way, they're still talking about the Clintons, right? They're still talking about these Democratic enemies of the president.

And I think the broader point Sam Nunberg (ph) made in this "Washington Post" story was really smart. He called "The Enquirer" a campaign mailer. And that's a really interesting way to think about it. But any kind of coordination between the White House, the president and this pro-Trump outlet, this campaign mailer, that is very, very unusual.

HARLOW: Right. And that coming from Nunberg is significant given his role.

STELTER: Yes. And that was on the record. That was not an anonymous source.

HARLOW: Yes.

STELTER: I thought this was really interesting reporting by "The Washington Post." It tells us more about just how connected "The National Enquirer" and the president really are.

HARLOW: Thank you both, MJ, Brian. Appreciate it very, very much.

STELTER: Yes.

HARLOW: I should note this morning, legendary conservative columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer has died. He was a columnist, of course, for "The Washington Post" for more than 30 years, shaping American political conversations for generations. The Pulitzer Prize winning writer had been fighting an aggressive form of cancer.

His colleague at Fox News, host Chris Wallace, said this about him. Quote, most of us are lucky if we think in phrases. A few of us are good enough to think in sentences. Charles thought in paragraphs or even in pages.

[09:35:07] Charles Krauthammer was 68 years old.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Welcome back. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

And the administration is struggling to carry out the president's reversal on separating migrant children from their parents at the border. Now the Department of Defense is preparing to house as many as 20,000 of those children on military bases.

Let's go to the Pentagon. Barbara Starr joins me now.

What would this look like?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Poppy.

What we know is that the Department of Health and Human Services has told the Pentagon to be prepared, if you will, to potentially house up to 20,000 unaccompanied children, beginning in July, lasting through the year.

This is their assessment if the current trend of people crossing the border continues of the capacity they might need. This does not mean it's happening yet, but it does mean in these bases in Texas and Arkansas that HHS has looked at to see if they have spare capacity. That's what might happen.

[09:40:10] Now, the Pentagon 's position is, they will turn over any spare capacity they have to HHS, but that the military would not be involved at all in the housing or the services provided to these children.

But, you know, make no mistake, if this was come to pass, if this did come to pass, the way that the political climate is right now, it is going to look very tough to keep claiming that the military is not involved.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Exactly.

Is it clear, Barbara, if this were to happen, whether these are bases that are equipped to hold families, meaning hold parents together with their children?

STARR: It is always a possibility because HHS brings in contractors to run these facilities on the bases. Again, to keep the military completely out of it.

The notification was made, we believe, before the president's executive order. So it's another case of not being very clear how it's all going to work.

But, look, the Pentagon is, you know, getting more involved. Of course, 21 military lawyers now have been earmarked to go run some of these immigration cases on the border for civilian law enforcement.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you so much.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says 700 children separated from their parents at the border are living currently in New York state, in this state in shelters. He says he doesn't know exactly how many or where they have -- how many have gone where, et cetera, because the federal government won't tell him. Just listen to a bit of him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: It's in violation of the law. There are much better ways to do it. And you used 2,500 children as pawns. You put them all over the country. I'm saying, as a governor, they're in my state. It's my constitutional responsibility to take care of their health and welfare. Why won't you tell me where they are?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Governor Cuomo says he will sue the Health and Human Services to get the information he needs and that he's demanding.

Jason Carroll is with me now.

And, Jason, you got really rare access into one of these shelters here in New York that is housing some of these kids.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, look, what we saw is a far cry from those terrible images of children being housed in these cages on the border. But what we did hear about is the anxiety that these children are suffering from and the workers there are telling me the only way to alleviate that anxiety is to reunite these children with their families.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEREMY KOHOMBAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CHILDREN'S VILLAGE: I am hurt by this policy because I know we are greater than this.

CARROLL (voice over): Jeremy Kohomban runs Children's Village in Westchester. It's one of several facilities in and around New York City tasked with caring for children separated from their parents at the border. And it was the only facility in the area willing to open its doors to us.

KOHOMBAN: This kind of forced separation has permanent damage, but on the parent's side --

CARROLL (on camera): Psychological damages --

KOHOMBAN: Psychological. The fear. The anxiety. The fear of the unknown, right? If this could happen to me, what else could happen to me?

CARROLL (voice over): He's talking about the 20 children he and his staff have been caring for since they arrived a few days ago. The youngest is nine years old. The oldest is 17.

KOHOMBAN: Actually, the biggest concern that our children have had recently is about for their parents. It's not even about themselves. They're like, is my mom OK? Is my dad going to be OK? Where are they? What's happening? That's the anxiety.

CARROLL: Kohomban says he isn't able to give more details about the children in his care, but he was still able to give us a sense of what happens when children arrive here.

KOHOMBAN: They come in here. We have nurses 24/7. And we have a team of doctors.

CARROLL: First stop is a medical exam. Many arrive with conditions such as lice and chickenpox. But the doctor here says it's their emotional damage that can be the toughest to treat.

DOUG WAITE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, CHILDREN'S VILLAGE: Believe me, I was just as indignant and outraged by our recent policies that hopefully are shifting of removing kids from their parents because we know that this causes permanent trauma to the child and can affect their brain development, especially the younger kids.

CARROLL: The children here stay in rooms that look much like this. There is also a recreation center, where play is encouraged.

EDWIN DELEON, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, CHILDREN'S VILLAGE: Children will cry, but if you bring fun to them, a fun spirit, sports, stuff that it just take their mind off of what really is going on in their life, that's what we try to do best.

CARROLL: Most importantly, this facility has helped some of the children contact their parents.

KOHOMBAN: They are elated. They're relieved. And it's our first step to building trust.

CARROLL (on camera): OK.

KOHOMBAN: They begin to trust us. And I said, we'll find your mom. We know where she is. Now trust us for the next step.

CARROLL: Yes.

KOHOMBAN: This is difficult work to do when kids don't trust you.

CARROLL: Yes.

KOHOMBAN: It's impossible to do.

[09:45:05] CARROLL (voice over): For Kohomban, this is also personal. He's a first generation American from Sri Lanka. His goal now is to reunite these children with their families quickly.

CARROLL (on camera): Do you think it could be weeks, months? Any sort of time --

KOHOMBAN: It depends on -- you know, it's hard to -- hard to answer that question, but it -- I think the word I could use to best describe it is expediency is what it's all about.

CARROLL: OK.

KOHOMBAN: We don't want to keep kids away from families one minute longer than they already have been.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: And Kohomban later went on to tell me that he is working with contacts that he has within the federal government to help assist him in reuniting these children his -- with their families. But, again, Poppy, as you saw, I pressed him, I said, could it be days, could it be weeks, could it be months?

HARLOW: He doesn't know.

CARROLL: And he doesn't know.

HARLOW: He said expediency is the key but they just don't know.

CARROLL: They don't know.

HARLOW: And for every minute it is so painful for those kids and their parents to be apart.

CARROLL: Without question.

HARLOW: Thank you, Jason. It's incredible that you even got him to talk. I know how hard that is. So, thank you very, very much. CARROLL: You're welcome.

HARLOW: All right, outrage in the streets of east Pittsburgh after an unarmed black teen is shot and killed in the back by a police officer. What we're learning, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:50:42] HARLOW: Overnight, hundreds of people took to the streets of east Pittsburgh in a second night of protests over the shooting and the killing, the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager. Look at this.

Those protesters laid down in the streets, some of them shutting down a major freeway chanting, "we want justice." They are outraged after 17-year-old Antwon Rose was shot and killed by police in east Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He had been pulled over in a car, a car that authorities thought may have been involved in a nearby shooting. He got out, ran, and was shot by a police officer in the back.

Our Athena Jones is live for us in east Pittsburgh following this story.

Athena, what can you tell us?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy.

Well, we're standing outside the east Pittsburgh Police Department. This is where the protests have been kicking off the last couple of nights. We were here last night as a crowd of about 100 gathered to demand accountability from the police department. They were carrying signs like "justice for Antwon," "save our sons," "black lives matter."

It was a diverse crowd, white, black, young, old. I saw a child in diapers. And I spoke to a 60-year-old woman who was carrying a sign that said "stop killing our babies." She said she wants the police officer who shot Antwon Rose imprisoned and she wants better training for police officers.

As you mentioned, they were blocking intersections around this immediate vicinity from the moment the protests began around 6:00 p.m. By 9:00 p.m., they had reached some -- marched some 3 miles over to Interstate 376, a major artery in this area, blocking traffic there. Some of them lying in the road for several hours. It was emotional at one point. One man (INAUDIBLE) yelling, "ya'll are killing us."

In the end, protesters -- one protester was arrested as police tried to clear the roadway last into the night. That protester was arrested for obstructing the roadway.

Poppy.

HARLOW: And we're also learning more about the officer who shot and killed Antwon Rose. I mean I know this is a rookie, at least for this department, right, only been on the force a few hours before this happened, but what else?

JONES: That's right, Poppy. We know that this officer, who has been identified as Michael Rosfeld, was sworn in just within a couple of hours of this shooting on Tuesday night. We've seen reports that he had been a police officer since 2011. We have now confirmed that he worked from October of 2012 to January of 2018 for the University of Pittsburgh police force. That university is cooperating with the Allegheny County Police Department's investigation here and has turned his personnel records over to the agency.

HARLOW: OK.

JONES: And, of course, that investigation continues.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Athena Jones, live for us in east Pittsburg, thank you very, very much.

Meantime, the E.U. hitting the U.S. with more than $3 billion in tariffs on American goods, of course retaliating for the tariffs put -- we put on our European allies. It targets U.S. exports like motorcycles, and bourbon from Kentucky, peanut butter, cigarettes and denim. It is all in retaliation to the president's tariffs on aluminum and steel. Now threatening to slap tariffs on European cars as well.

One business leader who spoke out vehemently against these tariffs is Bill Ford, the executive chairman of Ford. Now he's also this week announcing a plan to try to remove one of the biggest signs of blight in Detroit's downtown, the abandoned Michigan Central Station, once the gateway to the Midwest. It's been a sign of urban decay now and collapse for decades. He is my latest guest on my podcast "Boss Files" and told me why it is so important to try to turn this around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL FORD, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, FORD: I remember the train station when it was vibrant and it was an awesome place. Every time a national publication would do an article on the decay of Detroit --

HARLOW: They'd show it. FORD: The photo was always of the train station. Every time I'd see

that, it was like a knife through my heart.

So to be able to now come back to Detroit, and to completely renovate the train station and make it awesome again, to me, I can't think of anything I'd rather do.

Even now, in its decayed state, walking around, the grandeur is unmistakable. And so we're going to restore all of that, make that all open to the public, have restaurants and retail and bars and coffee shops. That's what the ground floor will be. Then we'll have offices above. And for us it's really important because we're going to -- we're building a downtown campus around autonomous vehicles and electrification. [09:55:03] HARLOW: Are you bullish on Detroit that sort of the brain

drain that has happened, you know, many young people who have left because they don't see the opportunity there that they see in San Francisco or New York, is that turning? Are you bullish on the days ahead?

FORD: I'm actually really bullish. And it took me a while to get there. I was always hopeful, but there's a difference between hopeful and bullish.

HARLOW: Sure. A big one.

FORD: Yes. I'm bullish now. Why? Because it's real. And, actually, when we go recruit young people now, even five, six years ago, we'd have to sell them everything but Detroit about coming to work at Ford. Now, Detroit is the magnet. People -- there's a buzz about Detroit nationally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Hear our full interview with Bill Ford about that and a lot more on my podcast "Boss Files with Poppy Harlow." You can subscribe on iTunes today.

All right, so, coming up, my next guest, a Republican border mayor of El Paso, Texas, who says a lot of the Trump administration's policies on all of this are just wrong and a wall will not work. What he is seeing firsthand on the border.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)