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Should Obama Speak Out?; Dow Plummets on Trump Trade War Fears; President Trump Wants No Due Process for Border Crossers. Aired 3- 3:30p ET

Aired June 25, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:01]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Thank you for being with me.

Despite reports that the president is having regrets about signing his executive order on immigration, President Trump says he's happy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wanted to sign that. In fact, I was saying yesterday, before I read this phony story in "The New York Times," that I was very, very happy that I signed that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Now, just as the Pentagon is preparing, not just one, but these two military bases to temporarily house those crossing the border illegally, the president is suggesting those same people should be denied the right to due process.

Here's the president's tweet: "We cannot allow all of these people to invade our country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately with no judges or court cases bring them back from where they came."

This hour, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders will hold her first White House press briefing in a week.

So, let's get a little preview with our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

And, Jeff, just going back to the president here, did Trump say anything more about immigrants' rights to due process when he was sitting with the king of Jordan?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, he did.

And I was in the Oval Office asking him about the regret over the executive order, which we have heard from several aides as well, that he questions the need for why he actually had to do that. And we certainly know there was a very controversial meeting and heated meeting here at the White House on Friday.

The administration officials were trying to figure out all weekend how to hash this out. But the president certainly is seizing upon restricting due process here, essentially saying there's a simple solution for this, throw people out immediately.

Take a listen to what he said exactly about what he believes should happen to these undocumented migrants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We want a system where, when people come in illegally, they have to go out, and a nice, simple system that works.

Mexico holds people for four hours, for five hours, for two hours, and they are gone. We have people for four, five, six years, and they never leave. So we want to have a great immigration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: And the president went on to blast a proposal from Senator Ted Cruz and others that would add more immigration judges down along the border.

He simply was mocking that idea, saying that more judges would mean more graft, in his words. But, as for the specific due process there, we see the president's views, we hear his views. We have seen his tweets over the weekend, essentially saying, throw them out.

Well, of course, that is complicated by U.S. law. Speaker of U.S. law, he blasted U.S. laws right there sitting with the king of Jordan, talking about outdated laws.

But, Brooke, one thing this White House is doing very little of, at least in public, persuading Republicans or Democrats, for that matter, on Capitol Hill to vote for a couple of those bills that are still stuck in the House of Representatives.

A lot of venting going on here about the outdated and old laws, in his view. Very little work, as far as we can tell publicly, about the president trying to get with the House and certainly the Senate even more complicated to work on new laws -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: To quote our legal analyst last hour, he said Trump isn't Abraham Lincoln, this isn't the Civil War.

And it is the Supreme Court repeatedly held that due process requirements of the Fifth and 14th Amendments apply to all persons, including those in the U.S. unlawfully.

Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.

ZELENY: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We will see you in the briefing. In the meantime, we're getting new video into CNN from inside an unaccompanied minor shelter in Tornillo, Texas. What you're looking at now is government-issued video released as hundreds of parents are still waiting to be reunited with their kids, some separated by thousands of miles.

Take the case of an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador profiled in "The Washington Post." He was taken into custody in Texas about a month ago and separated from his 6-year-old daughter the next day.

He hasn't seen his little girl since they were pulled apart the 26- year-old father has since been deported back to El Salvador. And he has no idea where his little girl is being held or when they will see each other again.

So, let me just play this first for you.

It's a portion of that emotional moment when he got the call from his scared and confused and frightened 6-year-old daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you, my love?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What did the woman tell you who is taking care of you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Have they taken you to church?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They haven't taken you to church? And do you have toys there, my love?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You don't have toys?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The woman with you hasn't let you borrow any? Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No.

[15:05:02]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And what do you have there to play with? Meybelin (ph)? What do you have to play with, my love?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Only dolls.

Papa, when are you going to take me out of here? When are you going to take me out of here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They're going to bring you soon, my love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Soon. They have to fix the airplane. Meybelin, do you have friends there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why don't you have friends?

Meybelin, I love you, my love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Me too, papa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Josh Partlow is the Mexico City bureau chief for "The Washington Post" who shared this just gut-wrenching story of separation with this Salvadoran father and his daughter.

So, Josh, thank you so much for being with me.

And I think what struck me so much about your piece is, it's this perspective from the father. We talk so much about the parents being separated from the kids. It is straight from the father, not knowing where she. And in audio we just listened to, it's almost like this dad clearly breaking down, but trying to be brave on the phone for his little girl.

JOSHUA PARTLOW, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, definitely.

I mean, I think he's trying to -- trying to show you that he's -- to reassure her and to tell -- her ask, see how she's doing. But he ultimately didn't have the information, at least at that point, about where she was, how he could be together with her, what might happen to her, whether she would be deported or he would have to try to go back to the United States.

So he was -- yes, I mean, it was a very raw and desperate moment for him.

BALDWIN: So, where is she and what our immigration officials planning to do with her?

PARTLOW: So from what we can gather, she's in a shelter in Phoenix, Arizona, run by the company Southwest Keys, which runs a lot of the shelters that are housing these migrant children. She's been able to be in touch with his lawyers, who are in Texas. And they're planning to see her in the shelter tomorrow, from what we have heard. But he -- the man in El Salvador also has relatives in Kansas. So there have been a lot of calls between the shelter and the various relatives.

The last I heard, he was planning -- the man in El Salvador, Arnovis (ph), was planning to go to the capital to meet with the El Salvadoran government today, and to see if they could help.

So I think they're in process right now.

BALDWIN: As they are in process, how often it is Meybelin able to call back home?

PARTLOW: The schedule, at least in the past week, wasn't -- it wasn't fixed. Her other relatives -- before the father got deported back to El Salvador, his parents were saying she was calling about once every eight days. She called the -- she had called -- his brother in Kansas twice over the past months.

So, it's -- I guess she had wanted to call every day, but they weren't letting her,is what the relatives told me and that the brother also said that the two times she called him, she was in tears both times, asking for her dad.

BALDWIN: Just imagine being 6 and getting to talk once every eight days. Like, once every eight days is a long time for you and I have, but for a 6-year-old, it's a different -- it's a different time frame.

I also read in your piece -- so, you're saying the dad may go to San Salvador to try to get government officials to help. But you say at the bottom of your piece he may -- would he consider that 1,500-mile journey back up to crossing the border?

You describe this trip of being crammed in the back of a cargo truck. Would he do that again if it meant getting to her?

PARTLOW: Yes.

That's what he says. He says he's ready to do that again and go through all of that. He thinks that he -- at least if you could get in front of a judge in the United States and tell him that he's not -- he's been separated from his daughter, that maybe that's an avenue for him, and he said he's willing to be jailed for however long it takes, for months or years, if he could just tell someone in the U.S. that his daughter is still there.

So, I mean, you kind of see the -- he doesn't understand exactly how the system works. He's desperate. I mean, he doesn't know what to do.

BALDWIN: One case of thousands.

Joshua Partlow in Mexico City, thank you so much for sharing that story. [15:10:02]

PARTLOW: Thank you.

BALDWIN: To the crash of civility taking a new turn, after Sarah Sanders gets kicked out of a restaurant and a Democratic congresswoman calls on public to harass Trump officials.

The president just escalated it with what appears to be a threat.

And where in the world is Barack Obama? The former president, a fascinating new look at his disappearing act and why he's choosing to remain silent through all of this.

Speaking of Sarah Sanders, she's about to take to the podium for the first time in a week there, live pictures inside that Briefing Room, and the first time since that episode in that Virginia restaurant. So, of course, we will take it live.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:15:11]

BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

The division over President Trump's immigration policy is driving some people to confront members of the Trump administration in person, out in public, while they are out and about enjoying their private lives.

Just in the past week, Florida Attorney General And Trump supporter Pam Bondi was heckled outside of a movie theater.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Bondi says she was actually first approached before the movie in the ticket line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAM BONDI (R), FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: A woman approaches me in the ticket line inside and starts screaming that I was personally ripping babies out of the arms of mothers. Three huge guys came up and started, probably an inch from my face, screaming at me every word in the book, cursing as loud as they could.

So then a trooper, my trooper came up. And my boyfriend and I got our tickets, were headed in. And then they ran in and circled me where I could not get into the theater. They stopped me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: And over the weekend, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says she was kicked out of a restaurant in Virginia. And so she tweeted about that restaurant owner.

This is what she said: "Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so."

Meantime, the restaurant owner has told "Washington Post" that she explained to Sanders that the restaurant has certain standards that she has to uphold, such as honesty and compassion and cooperation.

And days earlier, both Trump adviser Stephen Miller and his homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, were heckled. This is separate occasions, separate Mexican restaurants, while they were out for dinner in Washington, D.C.

And while some of these instances seem maybe more spur of the moment, you have now Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters encouraging the public shaming.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WATERS: And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And the president is now responding to Congresswoman Waters.

He just tweeted just this afternoon: "Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low I.Q. person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the face of the Democratic Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the make America great again movement. Be careful what you wish for, Max."

Let's discuss.

James Fallow is with me. He is a national correspondent for "The Atlantic" magazine. Astead Herndon is a national politics reporter for "The New York Times."

And, Astead, let me just start with you. Let's work our way back from the most recent being the president's tweet. Is that a threat?

ASTEAD HERNDON, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, we have President Trump do this before, where he takes these kind of incidents, contentious incidents, and inflames them, throws gasoline when there's already a fuel.

BALDWIN: You think he just lit a match?

HERNDON: He just lit a match.

And so what you have here is a group of supporters that feel embattled, that feel as if they are under attack. And the president is encouraging that feeling. At the very minimum, he's encouraging his supporters to feel as if Democrats don't care about them as Americans, which I know Democrats would certainly disagree with.

But you have this kind of increase in tensions and loss of civility on all the public level. But we have to say that President Trump, from the moment he started his campaign to this moment now, has been the number one culprit of this.

He's been someone who has inflamed tensions, who has -- someone who has used kind of obscene language at times. And that as much as anything has brought us to this moment.

BALDWIN: On the other side, James Fallows, to you, is David Axelrod, President Obama's former chief strategist, who tweeted that he was amazed and appalled by the folks on the left who are sort of running all these victory laps and applauding Sanders for getting kicked out of the restaurant.

What do you think of the liberal praise? Are you appalled by it?

JAMES FALLOWS, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY": So, I'm not -- so, I am not a person -- I don't shout at people. I don't know have physical protests. I don't think it's good that anybody is doing it.

I think it's worth bearing in mind of this basic distinction. When you become a public official, including a White House staff member or a homeland security official or whatever, there's a certain kind of exposure you submit yourself to.

And I say this having once been a White House staffer myself back in the Jimmy Carter administration. There's a certain way in which you take yourself out of the realm of just normal public citizenry.

And part of what may sometimes happen in that circumstance is that people confront you for the stands your administration is taking, the stands you personally are taking.

[15:20:03]

So I don't think this something that is nice to do, but it is part of what goes with being a public official.

There's another important distinction, which is individual citizens saying, we don't like you, we don't want you in our restaurant, and the power of the state doing that, whether it's separating children from their families or whether it's an incumbent officeholder, whether it's Congresswoman Waters or the president himself, having sort of menacing things and tweets. So I think it's worth -- I have -- I would not have protested against Sarah Sanders, but I have been in that situation myself as a former White House staffer. So that does go with the territory.

BALDWIN: But it's -- so, you have been in a situation yourself, but then it's taken to an entirely different level with people cheering on Pam Bondi for not being able to watch the "Mr. Rogers" movie or -- I get it.

Kirstjen Nielsen, what are you doing in a Mexican restaurant when all this happening at the border? I understand one side. But then the fact that she had to walk out. And the Sarah Sanders episode over the weekend, it is helping Donald Trump.

Let me say that again. It is helping -- for the people who are praising it, it's helping him, because he has -- and, James, I know you want to jump back in, and, Astead, you too -- he has a 90 percent approval rating among Republicans.

So, what do you do with that number?

(CROSSTALK)

FALLOWS: So, if you're asking me, I think that -- so, go ahead, go ahead.

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Astead.

HERNDON: Over the last weekend, I was at a conservative young women's conference in Dallas with 17-to-24-year-old women who are largely Trump supporters.

And one of the things that stuck out there is, like that feeling you're talking about, they're not really united necessarily in their love of Donald Trump, but they were united in their hatred of the left and their hatred of certain social movements that has been big on the left.

And what they felt was a unique type of rudeness coming from the other side. Now, whether that feeling is warranted, whether that feeling is valid, I think is a question for another day.

BALDWIN: But that is what is holding them together.

HERNDON: But that is what is uniting them as figures.

I think there's a lot of energy on the left that says, you know what? This necessarily isn't about winning. Our kind of rage in our anger is valid because of the things that this administration has done. And whether that performance has a political value, I'm not sure they really care about, more so than I'm going to express how you have made me feel.

BALDWIN: Such an important point.

James, go ahead. FALLOWS: Yes.

I was going to say, again, if we're talking purely tactics, if you were running one of the Democratic campaign committees, you probably would wish that less of these things -- these sorts of things would happen, because it does seem to inflame Donald Trump's base.

So I understand that tactical argument. My point is that, in the history of American politics and American public office, this is something that just goes with the territory, as I was saying before. So I understand, in times where there are real issues that are life and death in many cases, where people wanting to vent their -- that their feelings.

I'm just trying to separate a tactical argument and also a civility argument. I personally wouldn't do this. I understand tactically it might not be wise on the Democrats. For whether this is wrong in some cosmic sense, it is part of the way a citizenry has dealt with its elected and appointed officials for a very long time.

BALDWIN: Just quickly, quickly, because I wanted to have on, you mentioned civility.

What was your point on Twitter?

HERNDON: Yes, I was saying that there's a disconnect that I see often in the political sphere, which is not necessarily Republican or Democrat, but you have a group of political media, a group of people who are invested in the political class, who really value things like civility, who value things like norms, and decorums, because, frankly, our roles as journalists are largely invested in that.

But what you have now is a public on both sides, both liberals and conservatives, who are increasingly enraged, and increasingly just don't care about whether it's mean to Secretary Nielsen or whether it's mean to President Obama, who experienced some of this a couple of years ago.

And so it's going to be a challenge, I think, for folks who are both politicians and for people in media or who all -- both sides of that coin to adjust to what is a real changing public. And I think that's going to be something that we're going to see that we're only at the beginning of right now.

BALDWIN: Believe it. Astead, thank you.

James Fallows, good to see you as well.

Gentlemen, I appreciate both of you.

FALLOWS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: As the president continues to undo his legacy, speaking of the former president, where is Barack Obama?

We will talk to the author of this new cover piece that explores what former President Obama is doing now.

Also ahead, the Dow taking a dive, as Wall Street fears the president's trade wars and now the Americana iconic brand Harley- Davidson moving some production overseas because of those steel and aluminum tar.

And that White House briefing starting in just mere moments.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Back in a flash.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:29:02]

BALDWIN: Quick look at the Dow taking a hit today, fears growing over the president's trade war threats with the E.U., China, the list goes on.

We will see how the White House responds to Harley-Davidson moving some production overseas because of those steel and aluminum tariffs at the briefing happening any moment.

But first this: Where is Barack Obama? That is the question printed on the cover of the latest "New York Magazine." The articles asks, why isn't he taking on Trump? And why is he seemingly disappearing from a political spotlight, at a time when many in his own party say he's needed the most?

So, joining me now, Gabriel Debenedetti, national correspondent for "New York Magazine," who wrote this whole thing, and David Tafuri, a former foreign policy adviser for the Obama campaign and a former U.N. and State Department official.

Gentlemen, good to have both of you on.

And, Gabe, this is your piece.

But I want to quote Jen Palmieri, right, who was the coms chief under the Obama -- the second go-round: "They miss dad and they're homesick," they being Americans. "And there's so much in the world that's disorienting, and they want something that they love and that's familiar. And he can never be what people ultimately want."

What was your biggest takeaway?

GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": Well, you know, the biggest takeaway here --