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U.S. Immigration Crisis; Sarah Sanders Booted from Restaurant; Turkish Election; Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Women Drivers; 2018 World Cup. Aired 12m-12:30a ET

Aired June 24, 2018 - 00:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Set them free! Set them free!

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Protests outside an immigration detention center in the U.S. Why Democratic lawmakers say they were heartbroken by what they saw inside.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no words can explain what I'm feeling right now.

VANIER (voice-over): A historic day in Saudi Arabia. Women get behind the wheel, exercising their right to drive for the very first time. We'll talk to a Saudi activist who was once jailed for driving in public.

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VANIER (voice-over): And Germany stays alive in the World Cup with a last-minute victory against Sweden. That is the goal that put them over the edge.

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VANIER: Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.

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VANIER: Confusion, chaos and protests surrounding President Trump's immigration policies an the treatment to families separated at the border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VANIER (voice-over): This was the scene outside a migrant detention center in McAllen, Texas. Protesters blocked a bus that was leaving the facility. Through the darkened windows, our reporters could see children inside that bus. At first, officials wouldn't say who was on the bus or where it was going.

In the end, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson said families were being transferred to the custody of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but it wasn't clear where.

Earlier in the day, a delegation from Congress visited the same facility. They described what one called "a sea of humanity of little girls and boys and parents," and Border Patrol agents who were, quote, "concerned and confused."

For his part, President Trump was at a Republican Party gathering in Las Vegas, talking tough on immigration and attacking Democrats.

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TRUMP: We have to be very strong. I like the issue for election, too. Our issue is strong borders, no crime. Their issue is open borders, let MS-13 all over our country. That's what will happen if you listen to them.

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VANIER: Our Polo Sandoval was at that processing center in McAllen, Texas, when those protests happened. He filed this report.

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POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're about two miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border after these families or unaccompanied minors are apprehended or they turn themselves in. They're brought here to this facility. We showed you what it looks like inside, the pictures of some of those holding areas.

What took place today was some of these proimmigrant groups had gathered just outside, trying to get their message heard, trying to get their message to some of these people inside. That's when one of those transport buses pulled out, from where you see the white vehicle there. And that's when this protest spilled onto the streets.

Demonstrators blocking the path of this bus. I did speak to McAllen's police chief, who had to respond out here when things got a little tense. He did tell me that there were no arrests made. Yes, some people had to be asked to get off the road at least. That bus did end up going in the other direction.

We haven't seen any other transport buses make their way in or out here. Again, remember that the president signed this executive order this week, calling for these families to remain together, even in detention.

But the question, what about the mothers and fathers who are separated from their children in the moments and the weeks after zero tolerance was put in place here so that they can place charges?

We heard from those, about 26 legislators who traveled here from across the country, trying to see firsthand exactly what it looked like. They described the scenes inside as heartbreaking, seeing women and the children in these enclosures. Many have described them, many people, many critics have described them as cages.

Lawmakers describe those chain link fences that these people are kept in and they also are calling for immigration legislation. They feel that's the ultimate fix. And at the same time, they also spoke to some of the Border Patrol agents who are inside, trying to get a handle on all this.

These lawmakers saying they feel that the people who are handling these crowds are doing the best they can with the guidance they have. But still, there is a lot of confusion and a lot of chaos happening behind the scenes, according to these lawmakers.

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VANIER: Polo Sandoval, reporting there from McAllen, Texas.

Some members of Congress who visited that center on Saturday describe conditions there as "cruel and inhumane," "a prison" and "a great shame to a great country." They said they saw children sleeping on concrete floors behind bars. Connecticut Democrat Jim Himes describes what he saw.

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REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Something happened this morning that I will never forget. My colleagues from Connecticut -- and four of us are here -- approached one of these holding cells --

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HIMES: -- and there were just mounds of silver Mylar.

And we asked to speak to somebody who was there. And as they opened the door, these 20 or 30 mounds of silver Mylar became little girls. They stood up. They were scared. Some had been crying.

And when you spend time talking to them or talking to the agents who are here, you understand that this is complicated and that an awful lot of CBP and others are just trying to do the best they can, as humanistically as they can, under an insane flip-flop out of the White House.

But what is the worst aspect of what we have seen today is that this president calls those little girls that stood up from those mounds of Mylar, calls them MS-13, calls them criminals, wants Americans to believe that the hundreds of people that we saw in this facility behind us are a danger to them and to this country.

Every one of us was like those little girls that stood up from those mounds of Mylar at some point in our family histories. And we came and we participated in this country of immigrants.

None of us are criminals. None, I suspect, of the people that we saw emerge from those little mounds of silver Mylar are criminals. They were scared little girls, who deserve, as challenging as the law is, deserve the values and the ethical good treatment that we, as Americans, are here to demand and to make sure that they receive.

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VANIER: And we have some new numbers. New information just released by the U.S. government, the administration says more than 2,500 children were separated since the zero tolerance policy went into effect.

At least 522 children have been reunited with their families. That means 2,053 children are still being held, awaiting their return to their parents. The government says it knows the location of all children in custody and is working to reunite them with their families.

Here is the thing, though, it will some take time. Those reunions won't happen quickly because they will only happen once the parents' legal proceedings are completed.

Julian Zelizer joins me now, he's a CNN political analyst, a historian and professor at Princeton University.

Julian, we are just months removed from the midterm elections of November.

Do you think the events of the past week all told help or hurt Donald Trump and the Republican Party for the midterms?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Clearly in certain parts of the electorate, they hurt Republicans and suburban districts and some more moderate areas. The polls show that people are not happy with what happened over the last week.

That said, Trump supporters are still very positive about him and, in many Republican areas, there is overall support for the basic policy that he's trying to push forward on the border.

So I'm not convinced this will have as big an effect in a negative way on Republicans as some are expecting.

VANIER: The reason I ask you the question is because obviously, to some extent, Donald Trump had to back down this week because he reversed himself and signed an executive order stopping the separation of children from their parents.

However, he has doubled down at the end of the week, speaking to his supporters. Listen to this.

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TRUMP: I don't think being weak on the border, being pathetically weak on the border is a good issue. I may be wrong. I think I got elected largely because we're strong on the border. I really believe that.

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VANIER: So this speaks to what you're saying and he obviously has a point. Being strong on the border is one of the two or three core issues that defined his campaign and it delivered the White House for him.

Why wouldn't it deliver the midterms?

ZELIZER: It's literally the very first thing that he said when he announced he was running for president and he's been very consistent on this. The only question is if the year-plus of President Trump and all the turmoil and all the chaos has left some Republicans less enthused about him and whether some won't turn out at the polls.

And on the other hand, does this stimulate more Democrats to come out to vote?

That's where it could be damaging. It's less about the Republicans and how does this affect Democrats.

VANIER: In his public rallies, Donald Trump has been saying that the expected and predicted blue wave for the midterms, which is the scenario in which Democrats take control of the House, is actually turning into a red wave.

What are the numbers, what's the data actually telling us?

ZELIZER: The numbers are it still leans toward the Democrats, all midterms lead toward the opposition party gaining seats and so far the numbers have been pretty good for Democrats.

That said, he is not incorrect, that in the past month or so, you've seen a narrowing of the gap between the two parties. You've seen President Trump's support within the GOP, regardless of what he does, pretty much stay where it is. And so it's unclear that this will be a wave --

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ZELENY: -- election to increase the size of the minority. But I don't think it's clear this will be a wave (INAUDIBLE) at all.

VANIER: One last thing real quick, in the final analysis, why do you think Donald Trump changed his mind, reversed himself on the family separation policy, because he's done other controversial things before. He's been criticized no end and usually he's just doubled down and not changed his mind. Here he actually reversed himself.

ZELIZER: I think he got his message across to his supporters. I think in some ways, all he wanted was the short term. He acted tough, he sounded tough, he showed that he's willing to do something pretty draconian to move forward on this issue. And then he backs down without really changing the policy. So in some ways, even though it looks like a defeat, you can see it from another perspective, that he achieved exactly what he wanted and now can move forward. So my guess is there is a little bit of that in explaining what happened this week.

VANIER: That's really interesting. Even though he backtracks, there is a way to see this, where it's actually a win-win for him. Julian Zelizer, thank you very much for joining us on the show.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.

VANIER: The White House press secretary is the latest Trump official to personally feel the public's anger over the president's policies and actions. Sarah Sanders tweeted that she was kicked out of a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, Friday night solely because she works for Mr. Trump.

The owner told "The Washington Post" she would do it again. The day before, protesters confronted Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen outside her home over immigration policy. Nielsen had also been booed at a Mexican restaurant earlier in the week.

In African news, the president of Zimbabwe narrowly escaped injury in an explosion his government is calling an assassination attempt.

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VANIER (voice-over): The president had just left the stage at a campaign rally before the explosion. Several people were wounded, including the country's two vice presidents. Zimbabwe holds a presidential election next month, its first since Robert Mugabe was forced out last November.

And a political rally in Ethiopia was also rocked by an explosion on Saturday. At least one person was killed; state media reports six suspects have been arrested. In addition nine members of the police force were arrested for alleged dereliction of duty. The blast occurred just as the new prime minister had finished speaking to supporters in the capital. He was not hurt.

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VANIER: For decades, Saudi women faced prosecution if they did something many other women might take for granted: driving. Well, that just changed. Details -- next.

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VANIER: In just under an hour, polls will open in Turkey. For the first time, voters will elect both a president and a new parliament.

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VANIER: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called this highly anticipated snap election.

His main opponent is Muharram Ince of the central left Republican People's Party. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a run-off election.

For decades, Saudi women legally could not do something many other women all around the world do every day, drive. Today they can. Saudi Arabia's longstanding ban on women drivers has been lifted as part of reforms by the kingdom's crown prince. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh spoke with several Saudi women about this historic change.

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JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the clock struck midnight here in Saudi Arabia and the ban on women driving officially ended, some who waited their entire lives for this moment couldn't wait any longer.

One of these women is Dr. Mona Al-Fares (ph).

You're one of the first women in Jeddah to drive tonight and you invited CNN to come along.

How does it feel?

DR. MONA AL-FARES (PH), NEW SAUDI DRIVER: Great, awesome. Unbelievable. It's like history. So I feel like I'm making history in this country. So it's really good and, actually, like I really enjoyed it, you know, having the freedom in my own country.

KARADSHEH: Did you ever think this would happen?

AL-FARES (PH): No, actually, never. I never thought of this. I thought of anything else except this. Like I didn't even have a dream of it.

KARADSHEH: And also tonight, Dr. Mona Al-Fares' (ph) friends showed up. They wanted to witness this moment. They told us.

And here they are.

Ladies, I wanted to ask you, you've been with us for the past couple hours witnessing Dr. Mona driving.

How do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been waiting for this moment for such a long time and finally it's here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's history in the making.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so optimistic for the future of Saudi women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations, Saudi Arabia (INAUDIBLE). The sky is the limit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe that I'm just part of this great change. On so many levels, it's amazing.

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KARADSHEH (voice-over): Some of the women who, for years, fought hard for their right to drive are absent on this day, detained recently as part of a ongoing crackdown on human rights activists.

KARADSHEH: We probably won't see a very large number of women drivers on the roads in Saudi Arabia just yet. Some of the women that we've spoken to say they're going to wait and see what kind of reaction the first wave of female drivers are going to get from the society.

And a lot of the women that we've spoken to say this is a big step for women's rights in the kingdom but they acknowledge that there is still a long road ahead to equality -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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VANIER: With me now, Manal Al-Sharif.

You've been a long-time advocate for Saudi women's right to drive. You were arrested. You spent nine days in jail after you posted a video of yourself driving a car in Saudi Arabia. That was back in 2011. I want to play some of that video.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

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VANIER: I think, to a lot of viewers, that seems so innocent, so banal. And yet doing that and filming it landed you in jail.

How do you feel today?

MANAL AL-SHARIF, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I feel so happy that women of my country can experience what I experienced that day. It was May 19th, which is (INAUDIBLE). It's the same day the government arrested those female activists who'd been advocate about (INAUDIBLE) ban women driving, May 19th, 2018. VANIER: And that's something that I should point out and I'm glad you did that. Several women activists, including activists for this right to drive, have actually just been thrown in jail just last month.

Did you expect -- when you were in jail, what, seven years ago now, did you expect you that would see this change in your lifetime?

AL-SHARIF: When I left jail, I remember the government asking me to stop campaigning and talk about it. I just wrote a book about it and I talked in every single place about it and I said it's my life mission. I will stop only when the first driver license is issued to a Saudi woman.

And this day came, was June 4th. And now my life mission is to have women -- to have the man guardianship in Saudi Arabia abolished.

VANIER: Do you feel -- so this is now your new campaign. In fact, you have a website; we can put up. You're still an activist. But since this -- your first cause, driving, has actually been accomplished, you're now aiming for something else, which is to ban male guardianship. And I think it deserves some explaining.

Essentially women in Saudi Arabia are minors --

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VANIER: -- and they need the approval of their male guardian in their lives to do things like go to college, get a job, leave the country, get certain even operations done.

You think you're going to achieve that campaign?

AL-SHARIF: Male guardianship, you can summarize it in one word, citizenship for what are second-class citizens in my country. And male guardianship always, from the start, the women to drive was part of that, indeed, the male guardianship campaign by the way. It wasn't something separated from it.

We use the driving because it really brings media attention and it provokes the (INAUDIBLE) Saudi Arabia, we use it to shift the line on woman -- the male guardianship in my country.

VANIER: What's your view on what just happened?

Is it the beginning of more social reform in Saudi Arabia or not?

AL-SHARIF: Can I say something? The first car into Saudi Arabia, it was 1945 when President (INAUDIBLE). So it took 73 years for a woman to be able to drive these cars and 28 years of campaigning.

And my hope is that the driving -- the car keys are really the key to change in women's status in my country because now a woman, they have -- the day I got my driver license in New Hampshire, I remember that was my day of emancipation.

It was the day that I felt independent and free. And I know now those woman will have this feeling. Susan B. Anthony said once that she never -- she always encouraged women to ride bikes. And she said nothing emancipate women more than riding bikes.

Just 100 years later, I say nothing will emancipate a woman in my country than driving her own car.

VANIER: What do you think brought about this change?

Do you think it was the campaigning and women such as yourselves, who were the faces of this movement?

Or do you just think the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has a plan for the country and he needed to do this?

AL-SHARIF: I think a lot of journalists been asking the same question. I just want to say if the campaigning wasn't really effective and influential in Saudi Arabia in bringing down the ban, why do women rights activists, who campaigned, who are prominent in campaigning against this ban, are in jail today?

I think that answers the question.

VANIER: So where do you see -- back to the earlier question of, do you think this is the beginning of more social reform or do you think it ends here?

AL-SHARIF: I don't know. I wish I had a crystal that I look into the future. All I can do is hope and keep pushing for change and out of love, not out of revenge or hate, out of love for my country and (INAUDIBLE) for to see a beautiful and strong and liberated country.

And you cannot function -- a country cannot function if half of it is population out of the backseat. So I'm hopeful. Let's see what happens in the next year.

VANIER: Manal al-Sharif, thank you so much for joining us on the show.

By the way, you're in Sydney.

When are you next going to Saudi Arabia to start a car, rev your engine?

AL-SHARIF: I was supposed to be in Saudi Arabia today driving with my son as I promised him. Unfortunately, that would place him at risk. I'd rather be out of jail and speak about it than to be inside jail.

VANIER: All right. Manal al-Sharif, thank you so much for joining us on the show. We appreciate it.

Coming up, the reigning World Cup champions face elimination in Russia. How Germany handled their must-win match against Sweden -- when we come back.

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VANIER: The Germans faced a must-win game Saturday against Sweden in the World Cup. Die Mannschaft were recovering from last weekend's embarrassing loss to Mexico while Sweden were fresh off a win against South Korea.

So what happened?

For a look at all of Saturday's World Cup action, here is CNN's Patrick Snell.

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PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an utterly pulsating Germany-Sweden World Cup group game in Sochi on Saturday, a loss would have seen the reigning world champs Germany out of the tournament and it looked that way after Sweden took a first half lead.

But Marco Reus had other ideas, dragging his country back into this match early in the second half, tucking away the team of Werner and Kroos (ph) and then the real drama.

Five minutes of stoppage time had allowed for Real Madrid's (INAUDIBLE) with (INAUDIBLE) free kick that flies in the Real Madrid staff, providing a sensational finish, the world champs still alive.

Germany's sensational comeback morning Mexico, despite 6 points from their first two matches, still aren't sure of a place in the last 16. Tricolor facing South Korea and Rostov ondan (ph) and they took a first half lead on Saturday, thanks to Carlos Vela's penalty.

And it will get better for the Mexicans as they double their advantage, Javier Hernandez without a second goal for El Tri, this 50th goal for his country, (INAUDIBLE) also becoming the third man from Mexico to score at three World Cups.

Group F, it will all come down to Wednesday's final group games. Elsewhere on Saturday, we witnessed another dazzling display from the latest Golden Generation of Belgium's top football stars. Romelu Lukaku scoring twice in their opening game and it was more of the same for him against Tunisia.

He would add two more to level Cristiano Ronaldo's tally of four in the race for the golden boot. Chelsea's Eden Hazard helped himself to two as well, though Belgium was running out winners 5-2, (INAUDIBLE) Lukaku finish once more.

So here is what's on tap for Sunday then in group G. England, the '66 winners, taking on Panama, a win would see the English through to the next round and eliminate the Panamanians, sending group H Japan clashing with Senegal while Poland face Colombia.

That's your FIFA World Cup update. I'm Patrick Snell.

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VANIER: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier and I'm back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us on CNN.