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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Thousands Of Separated Families Left In Limbo; Trump Policy Reversal Causes Chaos and Confusion; Guatemalan Mom Reunited With Her Son After One Month; Trump Changes Immigration Focus To Crime Victims; Mom Desperately Tries To Find Her 6-Year-Old; Atlanta Mayor Orders City Jail To Reject New ICE Detainees; Questions Concerning Pruitt's Lack Of External E-mails. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired June 23, 2018 - 7:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- fan of her son's many tattoos that recorded his culinary adventures. But now she's going to use his tattoo artist to get her very first. A touching tribute there from mother to son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 2,000 still children separated from their families and in legal limbo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we saw was a lot of kids in cages. They're bewildered and they're scared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They betrayed her, she said. They told us they weren't going to separate us from them and we never imagined it was going to be for so long told. The second straight day there were no officials to explain how the children will be reunited with their families.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's absolute chaos on the field because there's no clear guidance in the field because there's no clear plan back in Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. The fates of hundreds of immigrant children are right now in question with this chaos and confusion and the conflicting messages surrounding the Trump border policies.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. It's been nearly three days since President Trump signed this executive order stopping the family separations, the separations that he had started and nearly 1,800 kids have yet to be reunited with their parents. And to make things worse, one senior Republican aide tells CNN even members of Congress don't know where to go. They don't know what happens next with this and said, quote, "I'm not sure what the plan is."
BLACKWELL: President Trump is heading to Las Vegas to rally the Republican Party. He'll likely to continue, try to change the narrative. I spent yesterday doubling down on those misleading claims and the rhetoric about immigrants and telling republicans to stop work on immigration policy.
PAUL: Also members of Congress touring immigration facilities across the south today to get a firsthand look at how these laws are affecting families. CNN's Boris Sanchez live at the White House. Have you heard, Boris, this morning any guidance as to how these families will be reunited?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi and Victor, good morning. No clear indication as to how that process is being carried out. Though late last night CNN got a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services indicating that they were spearheading this reunification effort. But there's still many basic questions that the administration has yet to answer. Specifically, where those reunited families are going to be held. Are they still going to be under detention? And further, what the administration plans to do with families that are crossing the border now days after that executive order was signed by President Trump on Wednesday. The president himself has sowed confusion about this. Sources have told CNN that over the past several days there have been meetings here at the White House between agency officials and White House officials to try to figure out exactly how this executive order is going to be implemented. Namely, how they can reconcile this E.O. with that zero- tolerance policy that was enacted by the administration several weeks ago which led to these family separations. The president yesterday took to the stage with families whose loved ones had been killed at the hands of undocumented immigrants. The president used the opportunity to bash the media, to bash Democrats. And then he compared the pain of those families to the separations that are being caused by his administration. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The word permanently being the word that you have to think about permanently. They're not separated for a day or two days. They are permanently separated, because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now, yesterday via Twitter, the president sent a message to House Republicans telling them to wait on any effort to come up with a bargain on the issue of immigration. There's the tweet, Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congressmen and women in November. This flies in the face of things. We've heard from the president before saying that only Congress can fix the issue of immigration and the problems at the border. Lastly, the does head to Las Vegas today. He's campaigning for Senator Dean Heller, who is, of course, running for re-election. He's also going to be speaking to the Nevada Republicans convention later today. Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: All right, Boris Sanchez. Boris at the White House. Thank you.
PAUL: I want you to just think about yourself as a parent, if you're a parent or take yourself back to being a child, because we've all been there, and bring yourself into this moment when this one mother from Guatemala, what she was feeling when she was finally reunited with her son yesterday. She had to sue the Trump administration after her 7--year-old was taken from her nearly a month ago when they crossed the border. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I love you. I love you. We are together. You are the only thing I have. We are together, my love. I love you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:05:21] BLACKWELL: The mother says they were fleeing death threats and planned to seek asylum but they were stopped when they crossed the border because it was not a port of entry. And now she says her goal is to settle down in the U.S. and get her son a good education.
But there is another mother who is still waiting. By now, you've probably heard the audio of a 6-year-old girl crying after the U.S. government separated her from her mother.
PAUL: CNN's Rosa Flores has found that girl's mother still in detention, and still desperate to talk to her little girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): At least can I go with my aunt? I want her to come.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Her cry has been giving a voice to the voiceless. 6-year-old Allison being pulled from her mother, Cindy Madrid, by immigration. Now about a month later, her mother still in detention. Still separated from her daughter, makes a plea.
CINDY MADRID, MOTHER OF MIGRANT CHILD ALLISON: Please help me reunite with my daughter soon. I'm desperate. I want to see her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Are you going to call my aunt so she can come pick me up? And then, so my mom can come as soon as possible.
FLORES: That heartbreaking recording is the closest she's been with her daughter. Asking us to play it in full.
MADRID (through translator): It's very tough, because I know my daughter misses me just like I do. I never thought they would separate us like this.
FLORES: To talk to her daughter, Madrid has been dialing a number officials gave her this week but has not gotten through. We tried it twice during our interview. But it went to voicemail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Hi. It's (INAUDIBLE) worker at (INAUDIBLE). I'm not in at the moment.
FLORES: Madrid said that when President Trump signed the executive order Wednesday, all the 40 women in her pod cried thinking they would be reunited. But nothing changed.
MADRID (through translator): Imagine, all these days without knowing anything about my daughter, without talking to her, without seeing her, without any information about anything.
FLORES: Take a look around the detention facility where Madrid is being held is in the middle of nowhere in Los Fresnos, Texas. And this is the facility that the government plans to use to reunify families.
MADRID (through translator): I love her and I that I miss her so much.
FLORES: Madrid's family tells us that the 6-year-old girl has talked to her aunt on the phone and has asked for two things, showering at home and eating cereal.
Outside the Port Isabel Detention Center, Rosa Flores, CNN.
BLACKWELL: Here with me to discuss further, co-founder of Women for Trump, Amy Kremer. Amy, welcome back to the show.
AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Good morning, Victor.
BLACKWELL: I wanted to go into like a policy-centered conversation. But you're a mother. You listened to that story. What did you feel? What did you think?
KREMER: I mean, it's heartbreaking. How can -- I mean, it makes me tear up just listening to it, watching it. But at the end of the day what it comes down to is, Victor, we are a nation of immigrants, but we're also a nation of laws. And the immigrants have to follow the laws, and if these parents are truly seeking asylum, they need to go that a port of entry and they won't be separated from their children. But even furthermore, if they're truly seeking asylum, then why not go to Mexico? They had to travel from Guatemala all the way through Mexico to the U.S. border to get here. Why not seek asylum in Mexico? Why are you making that long trek and then crossing the border illegally? Why not go to a port of entry? As a mother, I wouldn't do that to my child. I would go to a port of entry where I wouldn't be separated. It's pretty simple.
BLACKWELL: There are two things here. The point of entry and as a mother. You say as a mother, you wouldn't do that to your child. I've heard several people criticize the parents because they put their children into this position.
KREMER: Right. I mean, we're responsible --
BLACKWELL: Let me get the question out here. Do you believe that a Honduran mother, loves her child, cares for her child, any less than you care for yours?
KREMER: No, I don't. But what I'm saying is --
BLACKWELL: Then, how can you claim or criticize a mother for coming and doing what she thought was necessary to save her child's life, to save her life, giving up everything they know and have to come here? But you'd say I'd never do that to my kids.
KREMER: What I'm saying is I'm going to do that. I'm going to go to a port of entry where I know I won't be separated from my children. Why go all that way and then do it illegally? If you're truly seeking asylum, go to a port of entry. That's what it comes down to. Follow the law, and you're not going to be separated from your children.
[07:10:02] BLACKWELL: Well, the reporting from the border and also from several members of Congress who have been here said that, obviously they are being overwhelmed by people. We've been told that there are border guards who are telling people that are not allowing them to come in. The secretary of homeland security said that they're being told to come back at some point.
But let me get to some of the policy questions as well. The administration has outlined no clear process here on to reunite, how to reunite the children with their parents. Typically, the onus is on the parents. Does this administration have a responsibility to change what is the typical formula of the parents working to get their kids back and they have to take the lead on reuniting the children?
KREMER: Actually, it's not the administration's responsibility. It's congress' responsibility. They are the ones that legislate and make the laws. The administration enforces the law. And so this is upon congress, on both parties. And I'm not saying that it's the Democrat's fault or the republican's fault. It's incumbent upon both of them to fix this so that it stops happening. But, Victor --
BLACKWELL: But this is the policy of this administration. Congress did not put into -- the Congress did not create a law instituting zero tolerance. The president changed the priority. The president's requirement that every person who crossed the border illegally, they had to be prosecuted, so that led to the separation.
KREMER: Enforce the law, that's zero tolerance. Tolerance means enforce the law.
BLACKWELL: So he created the separations and now says it's Congress' job to get the families back together?
KREMER: Victor, every day in America, children are separated from their parents because they commit crimes and the adults are incarcerated. We enforce the law on American citizens. Why is it that we enforce the law upon American citizens, but we should not enforce the law upon people coming here illegally? Tell me the difference. Do they have more right than we do?
BLACKWELL: There's no suggestion that the law should not be enforced. My questions was -- my question was, whose responsibility is it now to reunite the children that were separated by the president's policies?
KREMER: It's Congress' responsibility to fix this problem. This has been going on -- it was going on during the Obama administration. It was going on --
BLACKWELL: This was not happening to this level at the Obama admiration.
KREMER: It was happening. Absolutely was, Victor. But the media was not covering it.
BLACKWELL: That is just a clear fact, Amy. We can talk about this. Fact is we can talk -- but there are numbers, there's research, there were people who worked in the Obama administration. There were immigration attorneys who were working then or were working now, any nonpartisan objective fact checker says that what you were telling people right now is not true --
KREMER: You are wrong. Jeh Johnson from --
BLACKWELL: There was no policy of zero tolerance that required families to be separated.
KREMER: Victor, you're wrong. Jay Johnson, the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama said on Thursday that they were separating families and they actually were asking Mexico to enforce their --
BLACKWELL: Jeh Johnson said that he could not say that there were no families separated.
KREMER: That's not correct.
BLACKWELL: The interview was here.
KREMER: Victor, that's not correct. Go read the transcript.
BLACKWELL: The control room is watching this. We'll get the soundbite and we'll play it for the viewers. We will settle this one. Let me also play something you said earlier this week. I know I'm getting the wrap but I'm taking more time. Here's what you said earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KREMER: Fix the damn problem and fix it now. The Democrats don't want to fix this problem, they want this to be their issue going into the midterms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: OK. Fix the damn problem, fix it now. The Democrats want it as their issue. Here' what the president tweeted out, "Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congressmen and women in November." Then he tweeted. Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive immigration bills anywhere in the world. The president says don't fix it now, and he's using it as a way to get more Republicans elected. He's doing exactly what
You're alleging that the Democrats are doing. What's your response?
KREMER: This is the thing. The president could -- grant amnesty to 100 million people. It's not going to make the Democrats happy. They cannot --
BLACKWELL: Not the question. You said the Democrats are using this as a way to get elected. The president literally said elect more Republicans in November and we'll pass immigration bills.
KREMER: He should. I mean, that's exactly what we want to happen. We want --
BLACKWELL: So it's OK for the president to do it, but you chastise the Democrats for doing it?
KREMER: Victor, I'm not -- the Democrats don't want to do it is the point. They don't want to do it. He tried to do this months ago. Remember the big thing he had at the -- in the White House, the big meeting and he brought the Democrats and Republicans together and they had this big meeting --
BLACKWELL: Yes. Then he said he would sign whatever they brought him. And then the next day he said he wouldn't.
KREMER: Victor, no matter what he does, the democrats are not going to be happy because they want the issue. That's what they want, is the issue to run on this in the midterms.
[07:15:03] BLACKWELL: The president had said himself that he wants the issue, elect more Republicans and we'll get back on --
KREMER: The president doesn't need this issue. The economy is booming, people are back to work. GDP is going through the roof. I mean, that's what we need to run on. That's what the Republicans need to run. And we're going to keep the House and the Senate.
BLACKWELL: Literally using this as a way to get more Republicans elected in his own words. Last one here --
KREMER: I don't think that it helps it.
BLACKWELL: You re-tweeted this. The president tweeted out, tweeting what he said, that the U.S. should not let people come into our country based the legal phrase they're told to say as their password. Basic question. 65,000 feet here.
BLACKWELL: Should the U.S. grant asylum to people who are fleeing violence in Central America. The president suggests here that the U.S. shouldn't. KREMER: Why do you need a password to be requesting asylum? You should go and tell the truth. And if you are truly under political duress or violence whatever, then the fact should be all you need. You shouldn't need a password, and that's the president's point.
BLACKWELL: All right. And here's Jeh Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER SECRETARY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: There's no policy or practice at least on my watch to separate women, parents, from their children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There might be individual cases of it?
JOHNSON: I'm sure, individual cases for reasons of health or safety. But we did not have that policy or practice. And it's not something I would have adapted, it's not something I would have committed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Fact, Amy Kremer?
KREMER: Victor, OK.
BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.
KREMER: Well, I don't have the ability to pull up what I read but I can -- I mean, it happened.
BLACKWELL: Tweet it.
KREMER: I will. Actually, I will.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Amy.
KREMER: On my Twitter feed. Thanks, Victor.
PAUL: All right. Up next, they chanted three shots in the back. How do you justify that? Protesters want answers after an armed teen is shot and killed by police. Also, how did the head of the EPA only send two external e-mails in ten months? More in the new report on Scott Pruitt, ahead. And, how President Trump's rhetoric has affected his wife's role as first lady?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of Donald Trump's really divisive language has hurt his wife in ways that people don't realize because it's actually made her job a lot more difficult.
[07:21:37] BLACKWELL: Right now, police in Pittsburgh are looking for a black sedan that drove through a group of protesters overnight. The protesters shut down the streets. This was the third night after an unarmed teen was shot and killed by police.
PAUL: We're talking about Antwon Rose. He was shot by an officer three times as he was running from a car that had been pulled over. It was the officer's very first day on the job.
PAUL: Protests in downtown Pittsburgh after the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose.
Four people were arrested Friday as demonstrators shut down a bridge and two highway entrances. In this video, a car drives through the crown that was then hit and surrounded by some of the protesters as it passes by. Police say there were no injuries and they're looking for that vehicle.
In another incident, tense moments as the tow truck driver confronted the crowd. Video posted on Facebook shows Tuesday's fatal encounter. Police say, 17-year-old Antwon Rose had been a passenger in a car that was stopped by police because it matched the description of a car that was involved in an earlier shooting. Police say, the officer ordered the driver out of the car and onto the ground. Antwon and another passenger ran from the vehicle and East Pittsburgh officer, Michael Rosfeld open fire, striking Antwon. Rose later died at the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no reason! He's just running! And we didn't have that video, we will be forced to believe the lies they're about to tell.
PAUL: Police say, Antwon was unarmed but did have an empty gun magazine in his pocket. And authorities say, they recovered two semiautomatic weapons from the Florida vehicle. Officer Rosfeld, who had just been sworn in on the East Pittsburgh Police Force a few hours before the shooting, has been placed on administrative leave.
DEBORAH JONES, WITNESS: You shot that young boy for running? I said, is he alive? Yes, he's alive, but he's bleeding. I just can't understand how -- anyway I can just shoot anybody for running.
PAUL: And we'll continue to cover that for you as well. We want to tell you too though, about this new CNN poll. It shows 42 percent of Americans say President Trump should be impeached. That is nearly the same number who thought Richard Nixon had to go back in March of 1974. So, what are Democrats going to do with that?
[07:27:59] BLACKWELL: What you've seen and heard about the chaos at the border and the confusion that the White House, over the implementation of the president's executive order to end child separations. Now, according to the administration, 500 children have been reunited with their families, but there are still thousands more still separated. The way forward on their reunification is still unclear this morning. Here with me to discuss: Reporter and Co-author of "Political Playbook", Daniel Lippman. Welcome back to NEW DAY.
DANIEL LIPPMAN, REPORTER AND AUTHOR: Thanks for having me.
BLACKWELL: Daniel, let's start here. What is happening right now, this weekend, to ensure that there is less chaos. More of a single message coming out of this White House than there was last week?
LIPPMAN: So, we actually broke yesterday that the Department of Health and Human Services has created an inter-agency task force to try to reunite the kids with their parents. The problem is, a lot of the parents have been deported already to Central America. And so, it's going to be a massive effort to try to bring them back or send the kids back to Central America. But that would be fraught with difficulties and legal challenges because of the gang violence and extreme disorder in some of those Central American countries that it is illegal to send people back unless their asylum claim has been heard.
BLACKWELL: We just had a guest on a couple of minutes ago who said that it's congress' responsibility now to reunite these children with their families. What's the administration do? Do they feel like they have a greater responsibility than they would have before the zero- tolerance policy was implemented to reunite especially those parents in Central America back with their children here in the U.S.?
[07:29:46] LIPPMAN: I think, you know, the Trump administration -- they view this as a political crisis. And so, as long as there are thousands of kids without their parents, this is going to be a big headache for them. And they don't see Congress doing much to solve this immigration effort. I saw, you know, a report that how Trump said, "Why can't I just put immigration reform in an executive order?" And a lawyer had to explain to him that he can't just rule by executive fiat, he's not a king.
And he's also undermined Congress by first, supporting immigration reform bill a couple of days ago. And then, yesterday saying, "Congress should stop wasting their time and that a big red wave is going to come in November when they can actually get something done." And that just contradicts the reality of many Republicans think they're going to lose a ton of seats in November.
BLACKWELL: In so far, as the messaging that the president held this event yesterday with the families of people killed by people in the country illegally. We know that there has not been a White House briefing since Monday when the Secretary of Homeland Security was there taking questions. Do they have the appreciation for just how bad the messaging has been here or is this -- does this fall in their typical framework of -- you know, what they call the fake news and mainstream media?
LIPPMAN: I think they understand that they really screwed up the messaging because if they thought they did a good job, then they would be out defending the policy, or you know, Trump's reversal on this.
And I think, Trump himself, he has gone through a lot of reversals in his head. He -- even before Thursday when he signed the executive order reversing zero-tolerance, basically. He -- you know, even a few hours before, he said oh I -- you know, my people loved it. He -- you know, he didn't want to sign it.
And Stephen Miller, he -- he's nowhere to be seen as well. You know, he and Kirstjen Nielsen were heckled out of D.C. restaurants this week, and I don't expect them to be eating out in D.C. anytime soon.
BLACKWELL: Yes, we'll talk about Stephen Miller a bit later in the show, he also had his hands on the travel band at the beginning of the administration.
But let me ask you about this new CNN poll. 42 percent of Americans think the president should be impeached that's just about the number, that back in 1974 respondents to a Harris Poll, thought that then- President Nixon should be impeached, and that was the height of the Watergate scandal.
The Democratic leadership, leader Pelosi, leader Schumer, have said they're not going to touch that. That will not be their case to Democrats or to the country in November. Is Democratic leadership, or they out of touch with the base of their party? Have they discussed that, that potentially would change? What's the view on the Democrats and selling impeachment in November?
LIPPMAN: I think, Democrats don't want to approach this issue until they actually have the power to potentially move this issue forward. And they're all waiting for Robert Muller's report. If he finds a huge smoking gun, then they would pursue impeachment next year. But they also view the issue as something that could rally Republicans around Trump.
Remember, when Bill Clinton was impeached, he actually gained support by the public. And that's not a guarantee that would happen here, but Democrats have to tread very carefully. They should probably focus on a message of jobs and holding Trump accountable and pursue impeachment if necessary. If -- you know, Michael Cohen's documents and Mueller's investigation finds something that is really damning.
BLACKWELL: All right, Daniel Lippman, co-author of POLITICO Playbook. Good to have you.
PAUL: Now, the mayor at Atlanta is taking action against President Trump's zero tolerance policy. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms just signed her own executive order halting ICE detainees from being held in the city jail.
BLACKWELL: Mayor Bottoms, joins us now. There are 200 ICE detainees currently in jails. You turned away nine detainees this week. First, good to have you here on set with us.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Thank you for having me. BLACKWELL: Explain for us why you have now decided to reject new ICE detainees.
BOTTOMS: This really was about looking at what role we can play in ending this crisis. And so, I think it really -- is a call to leaders across the country -- local leaders look at what your role is in this immigration crisis that we're facing. For us, we detain ICE detainees in our city jail.
It's a long-standing contract -- you know, it's worth millions of dollars each year. But I did not want the city of Atlanta to somehow become complicit in this policy. And so, we have said that we will no longer accept new detainees in our facility.
It was a personal conflict because we provide services to detainees in our facility. It's in the metro area, there is access to lawyers, pro bono services. We've even allocated money in our general fund to help with these services.
By not accepting new detainees, we are sending them to other places in the state to of which are under investigation for civil rights violations -- human rights violations.
And so, it is something that we are going to evaluate along with immigration experts and determine what our best course is going forward. But at the end of the day, I really wanted to be able to look my four children in the eye and say that in the city of Atlanta we did what we could do.
My seven-year-old daughter asked me last night as she saw me reading, "What does sobbing mean?" So, to have to explain that to her, it's heartbreaking. But I wanted to make sure that whatever our role is in the city of Atlanta, we can say that we have taken a stand. And hopefully, this will influence other leaders across the country to take a look at their policies, as well.
[07:35:42] PAUL: Well, not only other leaders but I know that you've called on President Trump and on Congress itself to enact, as you said humane and comprehensive measures. Have you heard from anybody yet?
BOTTOMS: I have not, I understand that representatives from the U.S. Marshal's Office would like to have a meeting with me, and I am open to having that discussion. And again, it really is about taking a look at our role as cities. We can look to the national level, but there's a quote from Audre Lorde that says, "Your silence will not protect."
And when you think of Atlanta, you don't normally think of immigration, you don't normally think of our role in what appears to be a border dispute. But again, we play a part. We have nearly 200 detainees in our city jail. Many are -- whom are picked up in the Atlanta area. Many who come through our Airport, the world's busiest airport seeking asylum. So, there is a role that we are playing at a local level and certainly, a stance that we can take at a local level, as well. BLACKWELL: You know, you may not know the answer to this because as we learned from Governor Cuomo of New York, the federal government is not handing over as much information as local leaders and state leaders would like. But are there any undocumented children that have been separated from their parents in the city of Atlanta?
BOTTOMS: We do know that too have been placed with a nonprofit agency in the city of Atlanta, many throughout the state. And I think what's really amazing to me is to hear that a task force is now being created to help with reunification. Was this not thought-out on the front end? These are children, these are families, these are human beings, and we are watching this play out in real time.
And if you think about movements in this country, they have begun with small acts. And so, what I would just say to mayors across this country, take a look at your policies. You may be surprised at what role your city is now playing in this immigration crisis, and I understand that in Georgia, we are now looking for space for ICE detainees. So, it is having an impact, we will see how it plays out in the end.
The biggest issue that we have in our city is not a matter of if people would be picked up, but where they would be detained. And again, we are taking steps to make sure that we are providing services. And so, that they can have representation, but certainly, it is still a part of a conversation that we have to have at the local level. And I'm sure that it will influence national policy.
BLACKWELL: Quickly, before -- because I'm getting a wrap again. I'm taking a lot of time this weekend. Your predecessor, Mayor Kasim Reed, said that -- you know, this is a welcoming city Atlanta's, a welcoming city Georgia law prohibits it from being a sanctuary city, right? Would you, if you could make Atlanta a sanctuary city?
BOTTOMS: Well, Mayor Reed had the foresight to establish our office of immigrant affairs are welcoming Atlanta office. And what I would say is that for all of the things that we see related to sanctuary cities, we are doing what we can in the city of Atlanta to be a welcoming city. Meaning, we don't have our officers trained as federal officers to pick up ICE detainees, we provide needed social services.
So, we are taking every single step that we possibly can within the law in Georgia, because there are limitations in Georgia, and there really is no defined definition of a sanctuary city.
BLACKWELL: But that sounds like a yes to me.
BOTTOMS: It is a yes if we could do it.
PAUL: OK. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, appreciate you taking the time to be here this morning.
BOTTOMS: Thank you for having me. BLACKWELL: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, ma'am.
BLACKWELL: At the head of the EPA has been under scrutiny for how his agency spends its money. So, why is it spending more than $8,000 on these coins?
[07:42:49] PAUL: Well, this morning, new scrutiny of how EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is conducting business. The Sierra Club asked for records of Pruitt's personal e-mail use. Well, they received records of two -- yes, just two e-mails sent by him to people outside the EPA.
Now the Sierra Club, says its concerned Pruitt's using an undisclosed e-mail address or personal address in violation of federal rules. Of course, the EPA says, "No, he prefers to communicate face to face.
BLACKWELL: Just a reminder of a few of those that controversies, a cozy relationship with coal baron, and spending more than $1,500 on twelve pens, renting a condo for very little -- from a Washington lobbyist, and there more. Let's just say that.
The Environmental Protection Agency is distributing challenged coins. Challenge coins are nothing new. These are meant to congratulate the EPA's response to natural disasters in 2017.
PAUL: There are some groups however that say these coins are just inappropriate right now. CNN's Sara Ganim has more for us.
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two deadly disasters. Thousands are estimated to have died in Puerto Rico in Texas, and the response according to environmental and advocacy groups was far from excellent.
ERIK OLSON, SENIOR DIRECTOR, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: EPA's response to the drinking water disaster has been an unmitigated failure. I think people are outraged when they hear that people within the federal government are being congratulated on how wonderful a job was done when thousands of people died.
GANIM: And yet, EPA staff ordered tangible tokens to include the phrase "response excellence" and "protecting human health and the environment all across America". That's all according to the government contract obtained by the group, American Bridge, a progressive Super PAC.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought we'll all have the money, are you going to drink this water?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to drink it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really.
GANIM: In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, desperate Puerto Ricans filled up buckets with contaminated water from an EPA Superfund site to drink and bathe. Though the agency sent teams to test the water, the site wasn't properly locked down by the EPA. [07:45:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're concerned because it's not
absolutely clean -- you know, pure water.
GANIM: Watchdog groups also point to widespread contamination and a boil water advisory, issued for nearly the entire island. All because they say the EPA wasn't able to have clean water in place.
And in Texas, after Hurricane Harvey, the EPA claimed a damage to Superfund site was safe when, in fact, it was leaking waste. The agency later reversed itself.
In a statement about the coins, the EPA tells CNN, "This is not news." And says, "The federal government challenge coins are awarded to various individuals." While these so-called challenged coins are historically used by the military they have recently become more popular including for this month's Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
But in this case, the Trump administration's overall response to the storms particularly, Hurricane Maria, has been widely criticized as a failure.
OLSON: Some people have been insulted by this to imagine that we're giving out coins in order to commemorate how wonderful the response was is completely tone-deaf.
GANIM: The EPA spent about $8,500 on these coins. Big picture not a ton of money, but considering the Puerto Rico still has a lot of places without safe drinking water and considering that we are now in another hurricane season. Unclear if they are any more prepared than last year at this very same time, folks who I spoke with say it seems like this is money that could have been invested in the EPA elsewhere. Sara Ganim, CNN, Washington.
PAUL: And just ahead, a former first lady offers a behind the scenes look at her time in the Oval Office, where she said there was no luxury to make mistakes.
[07:50:10] BLACKWELL: Michelle Obama is teasing her new memoir, it's coming out this fall. And she's talking about what it was like not just being the first lady, but being the first African American in that role.
PAUL: Listen to how she says it changed the way that she lives her life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We also knew we didn't have the luxury to make mistakes. When you are the first -- I mean, I'm -- I've lived my life as the first, the only one at the table. And Barack and I knew very early that we would be measured by a different yardstick.
Making mistakes was not an option for us, not that we didn't make mistakes but we had to be good. No, we had to be outstanding at everything we did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: When it was time for Melania Trump to take on the role of first lady, she faced a bit of a different challenge. She was new to the world of politics. She was on her own essentially, and as an author, Kate Andersen Brower points out her husband's campaign didn't help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, AUTHOR, FIRST WOMEN: THE GRACE AND POWER OF AMERICA'S MODERN FIRST LADIES: There's nothing in the Constitution that outlines what they're supposed to do. So, everything relies on their relationships with the first ladies who came before them.
Michelle Obama's staff and Melania Trump staff didn't have that rapport. So a lot of Donald Trump's really divisive language has hurt his wife in ways that people don't realize because it's actually made her job a lot more difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Laura Bassett, culture and politics reporter at the Huffington Post with us now. Laura, thank you so much for being here. How does the first lady reconcile her mission with the president's words?
LAURA BASSETT, SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I think it's really difficult especially in a situation like this where the first lady's own spokeswoman sometimes completely contradicts what the president says. And so, we have two different messages coming out of the White House.
You know, Melania wears this jacket with a literal message of apathy on the back to visit migrant children. Her jacket says, "I don't really care, do you?" And her spokeswoman comes out and says, "It's just a jacket, it has no hidden message."
And then, right afterwards, her husband comes out and undermines that message and completely contradicts it and says that messages is directed at the fake news media. That's what Melania doesn't care about, that's what she's trying to say.
So, is it a thing, or is it not a thing? Was she trying to send a message or was she not? I think that it's really difficult for her as a woman who doesn't say much, who's intensely private, who's pretty mysterious to try to compete in a situation where her husband is extremely outspoken and extremely unpredictable and has this platform on Twitter. So, she is really having trouble making her voice heard.
PAUL: And it's hard for people to understand who she is. She tried to clear that up in an interview, let's listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very strong. People, they don't really know me. People think and talk about me the -- like, "Oh Melania. Oh, poor Melania." Don't feel sorry for me, don't feel sorry for me. I can handle everything.
I will fight until the end because I don't want that they damage my reputation and my name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So, she doesn't want to damage her reputation and yet she's got -- she's on this mission to be best to help children. And it's that I'm sure lot of people looking at this. Her reputation, in a sense, is damaged by her husband, is it not?
BASSETT: Absolutely. I mean, we have a situation here where it was her husband's policy that caused this family separation situation at the border. It's a humanitarian crisis, baby is being held in essential prisons, there's global outcry over this. And she's claiming to have some influence over her husband here. She set --
PAUL: Did she have influence over her husband? How much?
BASSETT: Well, she -- her people say that she appealed to his humanity and caused him to reverse this policy. There it's really impossible to know how much influence she actually does have or Ivanka for that matter.
But she is claiming influence in this particular situation. And it really undermines her cause to be seen in a jacket like this which -- you know, how often is Melania wearing a $39 or a jacket with graffiti letters on the back? It seems like it can't possibly be an accident. So, is the White House kind of making a -- making a target out of her to change the story or was this an accident? It's hard to tell. Alright. Laura Bassett, that we appreciate it. Thank you.
BASSETT: Thank you.
PAUL: Do stay close for that in a moment.
[07:58:35] PAUL: For this week's "STAYING WELL", did you know that working with plants actually helps people cope with mental health challenges.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TONY WRIGHT, RETIRED HR EXECUTIVE: I was having severe issues with depression, alcoholism, and they were taking quite a toll on my life. When I working around plants and things -- that proud list, and it's like a ray of sunshine. It was therapy, I didn't know it was therapy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to be planting in this area.
JOEL FLAGLER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HORTICULTURAL THERAPY, COOK COLLEGE OF RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Horticultural therapy uses plants and gardens as part of the healing and rehabilitative process. Horticultural therapists work with a wide range of individuals with a wide range of challenges.
When someone plants a seed, they are the caretaker and that's an important role for people who are on the receiving end of medical care to put them in charge of another living thing. Plants reward the individual with change, a new leaf, a new fruit, a new flower.
People in plants share an ancient bond. Working with plants can help restore natural rhythms. Feeling like you're part of what's going on and nature can help individuals deal with stress or inner conflict.
WRIGHT: Going to great example, and it takes what comes. If it rains, that's OK. If the sun lights out, that's OK. If it's windy, that's OK. Life has a flow, go with it.
BLACKWELL: Well this is a video you will not forget. Surveillance cameras at a Mississippi gas station captured the moment. This speeding white car. Watch this.
PAUL: Oh, my goodness.