Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Calls Portrayals of Families' Grief Over Separations Phony; Approximately 500 Children Reunited with Parents; Interview with Mayor Dee Margo; Melania Trump Makes Surprise Visit to Border Facility; Supreme Court Rules in Major Digital Privacy Case; Aired 10- 10:30a ET
Aired June 22, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:31] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.
Today, chaos and confusion over the president's immigration policies and what happens to the kids now, separated from their parents at the border. And now just moments ago, the president calls the heartbreaking stories fake.
Just moments ago, he wrote this, quote, "We must maintain a strong southern border. We cannot allow our country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections. Obama and others had the same pictures and did nothing about it."
Phony story? Tell that to the hundreds and hundreds, thousands of children separated from their parents, 500 of them have been reunited. But what does that mean for the other 1800? And tell that to this mother who had to sue the Trump administration after her son was taken from her nearly a month ago when they crossed the border as undocumented immigrants. She says they were planning to seek asylum. Listen to this.
That is very real. Abby Phillip is at the White House with more this morning.
Good morning, Abby.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Poppy. That's exactly right. Despite what the president and now it seems the White House is saying, characterizing some of these stories as fake, we know, according to the Trump administration, that there are in fact 2300 children who were separated from their families over the last six weeks. That's a very high number. That increased dramatically because of the zero tolerance policy. And the president calling them phony.
Now Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, just tweeted moments ago that it's shameful the Democrats are using a photo of a young girl who -- that was on "TIME" magazine to exploit her, to advance their agenda. The White House seeming to try to change the subject from what has been a lot of questions in the last 48 hours about how exactly they are going to implement the president's own executive order that calls for the separation practice to end.
How are these parents and these children going to be reunited, does the administration even know where the parents and the children are? The administration is saying basically we're working on it, asking for time as they implement this policy. But there is also additional questions being raised now about what happens in the future, what happens when the families are kept together, where are they going to be detained and for how long?
The Trump administration essentially asking the Department of Justice to -- or Department of Defense to open up beds for these immigrants and the Department of Justice simultaneously asking the courts for permission to hold children for longer than 20 days, which was previously the longest amount of time that they could hold on to them.
All of this is happening while Republicans on the Hill are frantically searching for the votes to get -- an immigration proposal passed. An immigration proposal that would deal with a number of immigration related issues but also the family's separation policy. The president threw a wrench in that saying don't even both, let's just wait until November when he says they'll have more Republican votes -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Abby Phillip at the White House, thank you for that.
Also this morning, no clear answer to what happens to many of these children already being held in these shelters. Besides the president's executive order that stops further separations, it doesn't affect what happens to the kids now.
Nick Valencia is outside of one of those in the border city of Brownsville, Texas.
And Nick, you've just learned some new information regarding some of the reunification of these families. Is that right?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Poppy. Some breaking news here on CNN. A statement sent to us by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Pete Ladowicz, the spokesman, I want to read this statement here to our viewers.
"The administration continues to work to reunify prosecuted parents with their children. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has unified approximately 500 children over 15 percent," they say, "with their parents who had been referred for prosecution for illegal entry. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with Health and Human Services are developing a process to be centered at ICE's Port Isabel detention center to continue unification efforts."
[10:05:09] We have to take their word here at this statement. There is no way for us to independently verify all these 400 -- 500 children, they say that are back with their parents.
The problem with all this, Poppy, is that this is an administration that has been very limited with forthcoming information. As a matter of fact this facility that I'm standing in front of which is funded by the federal government, Health and Human Services, has 40 children in all that were separated as a result of this zero tolerance policy. And among them is an 8-month-old infant, a child that we're not even sure the officials inside know where their parents are -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Nick Valencia reporting, thank you very, very much. I appreciate it.
And joining me now is the Republican mayor of El Paso, Texas, Dee Margo. Of course El Paso is the largest U.S. city on the Mexico border.
Thank you for being here, Mr. Mayor.
MAYOR DEE MARGO (R), EL PASO, TEXAS: I'm happy to be here, Poppy.
HARLOW: Let's talk about in a moment what you saw when you toured these facilities. But I have to get your reaction as a Republican mayor to what the president just said. He just tweeted, "We cannot allow our country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief. Are these phony stories of sadness and grief, Mayor?" You're on the front lines of this.
MARGO: Well, first of all, El Paso is the safest city in the United States. We're, as you said, the largest city on U.S.-Mexico border, and I'd like to say we're the nexus of three states, New Mexico, Chihuahua, Texas, two countries and one region, comprising 2.7 million people. When I had the conference of mayors here yesterday and the night before, we stood at a building looking out on south and west and I said, can you tell me the difference between where El Paso ends and Juarez, Mexico begins and none of them could. So we are here and we are -- we're the border issues are most prevalent.
HARLOW: But the president --
MARGO: We have no issues related -- we have no issues on the criminal side.
HARLOW: Well, and we'll get to that in a moment because the president says otherwise. But the fact that the president is saying this morning, stating as fact from the White House that these stories, that we and every media outlet has been reporting, he says, they are phony stories of sadness and grief, basically engineered by Democrats to get elected again. Do you agree with that?
MARGO: It's not what we're about as a nation. The children should not have been separated from their parents. We were not allowed to go into the shelter yesterday. They require two-week notice. I did do some digging yesterday after the mayors left, and I found out that there are only boys there, 13 to 17 years of age, and were considered unaccompanied minors who are being processed for asylum or to be placed with other relatives.
But so they're not the young children separated that we have talked about. But in any event, none of this should have been happening. We need -- but the root cause, this is symptomatic of a root cause and the root cause is the fact that over the last 30 years, there hasn't been enough intestinal fortitude in Washington to deal with immigration reform to begin with, on both sides of the aisle. This is neither a Republican or a Democrat, it's both.
HARLOW: Right. You know. you have learned what you can about these facilities in your district and your city without being permitted into them, which a lot of people take issue with that you couldn't see the facilities without a two-week notice. The "Washington Post" is reporting, they spoke to legal aid, a legal aid group helping the families, Texas Civil Rights Project. They're representing 300 parents who have been separated from their kids. And they said that they've only been able to track down from those 300 parents, two of the children so far.
Are you going to be able to help in this in any way and do you have a sense that there even is any federal system, federal tracking database to reconnect these more than 2300 children with their parents?
MARGO: Well, what I did discover yesterday or what I was informed and a little bit of due diligence I did was that, first of all, in some cases if the parents are -- have been jailed, it's going to become harder to reunite the children with their parents. So they need to deal with that. But on the other hand, they're saying that they're being processed appropriately, that they do look for relatives or other family members where they can place them. You know, but I don't know how well the system works. I'm not sure.
MARGO: I mean, we really shouldn't be here to begin with.
HARLOW: You know, I just want you to listen to what the president said earlier this week, two things he said about these immigrants that certainly struck us. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs.
[10:10:03] They're not sending their finest, that I can tell you. And we're sending them the hell back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: As the mayor of the largest border town, is that what you're seeing from Mexico, a country that only sends, in the president's word, drugs and takes our money?
MARGO: No, that -- his rhetoric is not applicable to El Paso or what I observed here. We have -- we're a community of -- that has been -- we're one bi-national, bilingual, bicultural community. We have families on both sides. Commerce takes place on both sides. For every four jobs in the Maquilas manufacturing facilities in Juarez, Mexico, there is one job here in El Paso. We have 50,000 employed because of our relationship with Mexico. So I have a hard time with some of that rhetoric. We're over 80
percent Hispanic. My great, great grandmother came from Mexico, my great grandmother came from Mexico. My grandfather didn't speak English until he was 18. We are a true, regional, bicultural community and this is where people -- if they want to talk from Washington about the border and about Mexico, they need to come down here.
But one other thing I'd like to throw in.
MARGO: The rhetoric on the wall is ridiculous. It's not helpful. When I hear the wall, the talk about the wall, I think of the Berlin Wall, we have a fence through most of El Paso, that was done during the Bush administration. Works fine. It was designed to keep a criminal element out. It wasn't so much for the migration as it was the criminal element. With, you know, car thefts and things like that.
But it is a see through, you can see through it, it works, it's fine. But most of Texas from a border standpoint is private land. So they're not going to be able to do what they think they're going to do. There are places that there ought to be. We do need to protect our borders. We are a sovereign nation. And Mexico needs to do more to build up their middle class and their economy so that their residents aren't trying to come here.
HARLOW: So to be clear, you're a Republican mayor of the largest border city in this country, and you say that a $25 billion wall is not the answer.
MARGO: No. It won't work. It won't work completely. But there are spaces -- places that they ought to build fence to control our border, but, no, a wall isn't going to work, nor is the rhetoric associated with it helpful.
HARLOW: Mayor Dee Margo, I appreciate you being there. Please let us know when you are allowed to enter these facilities and come back and tell us what you see, OK?
MARGO: Will do.
HARLOW: Thank you, sir.
The first lady making a statement on her trip to the border yesterday. She wore a jacket with a message, though, that many say are overshadowing what she went there to do. Who was the message for, though?
Also, the entire nation heard the cries of a young migrant girl now 10 days -- that was 10 days ago. The girl's mother is begging now to be reunited with her daughter after she hears her pleas. And what is life like for the children living in shelters after being separated from their parents at the border? We will speak to a congressman who visited one and says he was incredibly troubled by what he saw. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[10:17:20] HARLOW: First Lady Melania Trump making a surprise trip to Texas to see firsthand how children are being affected by the immigration crisis at the border. But what she wore on the way there and back is threatening to overshadow that intended message.
Our contributor Kate Andersen Brower joins me now. She wrote "First in Line: A Book About Presidents, Vice Presidents and Pursuit of Power." It's nice to have you here.
So what's your read? I mean, you know, I guess it's the jacket that's getting all the attention, and I was really hesitant to talk about the jacket because it's talking about what someone is wearing, but she makes very intentional purposes always in her wardrobe. What do you think?
KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, absolutely. I mean, this is a woman who was a former model. We saw the white pantsuit at the State of the Union, she's gotten a lot of blowback for wearing, you know, the stiletto heels down to Hurricane Harvey.
This was an intentional choice. I can't imagine that it wasn't a jacket under $40 is, you know, as you know, Poppy, it's not really what she normally wears. She wears very expensive clothes. So I think it's a message to the media. I really do. I know that President Trump tweeted that last night. She is fed up with the coverage of her family and she's unhappy.
But I think it's also incredibly tone deaf and the fact that nobody could tell her, look, this is going to come across as though you don't care about the kids you're going down to visit, which is obviously not the message that she wanted to send.
BROWER: So, you know, I think it just goes to the fact that she doesn't have enough people around her who can guide her.
HARLOW: When you look at the messaging from her team, from her spokeswoman, I found it incredibly telling explaining her trip. Stephanie Grisham said that the way that this played out, Kate, is that Melania said, quote, "I'm headed down to Texas," and then her husband, the president was, quote, "very supportive." And then her spokeswoman goes on to say that this was 100 percent her, meaning Melania's idea. What's your read on that?
BROWER: Well, she does do what she wants. I mean, we saw that when Rudy Giuliani came out and said she didn't, you know, believe the Stormy Daniels allegations, and Stephanie came out and said, actually, they never talk about anything. So Melania is very head strong, stubborn, strong willed, she wanted to do this.
I think I -- I do think she understands that she is an immigrant herself and to avoid this looks really bad. She's a mother or she talks about being a mother constantly. So how could you not focus on this issue? But it undermines her message wearing this jacket because now what we're talking about is the jacket, and not the really smart, bold, important thing she did yesterday, which was going down to Texas.
So, again, I don't really understand it.
[10:20:02] I think her dislike of the media has kind of clouded her thought process here. They say that it wasn't intentional but how could it not have been intentional?
BROWER: She doesn't own a lot of $40 jackets with writing on the back of them. It's strange to me. And she wore it going up, she wore it clearly for the media to see it. So, yes, it is surprising and as you said, Poppy, it undermines what she did yesterday, which was a good thing.
HARLOW: So anything to her spokeswoman's statement as well, saying, like, I would hope the media wouldn't focus on her wardrobe?
BROWER: I mean, they're still, you know, standing by the idea that this wasn't intentional, and when I've asked about whether or not -- you know, the president came out last night saying it was intentional.
HARLOW: He said it was. Yes.
BROWER: So now it's, like, we have whiplash, it's very confusing. And is the East Wing not talking to the West Wing? There doesn't seem to be coordination. So I'm not really getting a straight answer on that. I don't think anyone really understands it. And it was not a wise decision.
HARLOW: Kate Andersen Brower, you've already written -- you've also written extensively about first ladies. You've got a number of --
HARLOW: -- books under your belt. Thank you very, very much for being with me.
BROWER: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: An immigrant mother's desperate search for her daughter after they were separated at the border. You will hear from the mother in her own words next.
[10:25:46] HARLOW: All right, we're following breaking news out of the Supreme Court. A major decision on a Fourth Amendment case.
Joe Johns joins me now to explain.
So what did the justices decide here? JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's a very important
case. It's been very closely watched for a long time, Poppy. Generally as we all know the government, anybody else, in theory, can track your whereabouts almost 24 hours a day. The question is what limits ought to be put on that in a criminal case, how long, for example, the government can track you without a warrant.
So here's the headline. Generally, a warrant is needed to be obtained by the government if it wants to track individuals' locations through cell phone records over an extended period of time.
A little bit of background on this case, it's a 2011 case in Detroit. A young man named Timothy Carpenter was implicated in a series of robberies at RadioShacks and other stores in that area. The authorities got his name. They went to the third party telephone company and asked to get his transactional records of his cell phone. That means the kind of information that pings off of a tower, telling you about the location.
So they got information from 127 days, and then they convicted him with more than 100 years in prison. So the issue here, of course, Poppy, again, is how far the government can go and over what kind of a period of time to the telephone company to get your cell phone records, big answer, big victory for privacy advocates here at the Supreme Court.
HARLOW: And that the government is limited in how much it can obtain, even in criminal prosecution like this one that resulted in so much jail time.
Joe Johns at the Supreme Court, thank you very much.
Jeffrey Toobin, our chief legal analyst is with us. The background on this, I mean, if you look at the oral arguments you had justices sort of on all sides of the political spectrum questioning the government's limits here, right? You had Sotomayor saying she feared this would be a dragnet sweep. You had Kagan saying it can be 24/7 track people. You had John Roberts questioning the same thing. So the outcome, I think, many were potentially expecting. What does it tell us big picture?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, this is one of these wonderful cases where the Supreme Court takes a document written in the 18th Century, the United States Constitution, and tries to apply it to this, which James Madison really probably did not have in mind when he was writing the Fourth Amendment. And it is a 5-4 decision, very closely argued, each of the four dissenting justices wrote a separate opinion, which is very unusual.
TOOBIN: But basically what chief judge -- Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, said, look, if you -- if the government can determine where you were at every second, based on following where your phone was, they need a warrant. They're not saying that the government can't get that information. But they're saying the government needs to show a neutral magistrate, a judge, probable cause that there is relevant criminal evidence in the -- in the cell phone records.
The four dissenting justices said no. This is evidence that we all understand because we have cell phones that a third party, cell phone companies have it, so there is no reason -- there is no reason for the government to have to get a warrant, but from now on, the rule is that if the government wants to track you, based on where your cell phone was at any given period, they have to get a search warrant first.
HARLOW: Again, a major decision on this Fourth Amendment case, Jeffrey Toobin. I think you're right, that James Madison did not have an iPhone. Thank you.
TOOBIN: We can agree on that.
HARLOW: We can agree on that. Thank you for being with us.
TOOBIN: All right.
HARLOW: Quick break. We'll be right back.