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Protesters Organization Across Country against Trump Administration's Zero-Tolerance Immigration Policy; Some Democratic Politicians Call for Abolition of ICE; President Trump Will Announce Nominee for Supreme Court; Interview with Maryland Gubernatorial Candidate Ben Jealous; Comedian Impersonating U.S. Senator Receives Call from President Trump on Air Force One; Immigrant Toddlers are Told to Appear in Court for Immigration Hearings. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 30, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:12] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So glad to have you here on Saturday, June 30th. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell.
Breaking news, protests kick off right now as people take to the streets all over the country, protesting the president's treatment of immigrants.
PAUL: We have new video coming in to CNN this morning as well I want to reveal it to you. It reveals the aftermath of the "Capital Gazette" shooting and the heroism of the police officers who rushed in.
BLACKWELL: President Trump gives his pick for the Supreme Court the treatment potential of reality shows, telling reporters that he could be courting candidates this weekend.
PAUL: And president on line one. How did a comedian with a number that he got from Google actually get a callback from the president as the president was on Air Force One? He's going to tell us how he did it.
You're in the CNN Newsroom.
BLACKWELL: Protests, rallies, and marches right now. Events are kicking off across the country to demand an end to the Trump administration's immigration policies.
PAUL: Demonstrators are pushing for an end to family detentions and the reunification of thousands of families who were separated. But the process on that front, it's been slow. As of yesterday, more than 2,000 children are still in the government's care rather than with their parents.
BLACKWELL: A team of reporters is covering the story from every angle. We start with CNN's Polo Sandoval live in New York where that protest is just beginning. Polo? POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor. About two minutes in
already people beginning to come together here in lower Manhattan. Here's the game plan today for the organizers. They expect thousands of people to turn out here in New York. The plan is to march over the Brooklyn Bridge and then assemble in Brooklyn for a long list of speakers.
This has been dubbed the Protect Families March. The message pretty simple here as you mentioned a little while ago -- stop this separation of families along the border and eliminate President Trump's zero-tolerance policy. This just the latest in a series of protests that we have seen across the country. A week ago we were on the U.S./Mexico border and saw just how passionate people are about this subject here, and I think it's something that we're going to see here today in New York City, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Certainly expecting a large turnout. We're going to be marching with these folks and bringing you regular updates throughout the day.
PAUL: Polo, thank you so much. Jessica Schneider, is the main organized protest we know scheduled where you are in D.C. What are you seeing right now?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, everyone is beginning to gather here at Lafayette Park. You know can see the crowds behind me. This is quite a symbolic location, because I don't know if you can see, but Lafayette Park is directly across the street from the White House. You can see the north lawn there. You can see the front of the White House.
Of course, President Trump not at the White House this weekend. He's up at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. But nevertheless, we're expecting to see thousands of people out here who will look to send their message directly to the president, to the Trump administration. This all begins here at Lafayette Park at 11:00 a.m.
There will be speakers on the stage behind me. And we're expecting -- we've got some protesters here. We'll move over this way. We're expecting many different speakers. We're expecting America Ferrera, Alicia Keys, of course big superstars who will be reading out some of the affidavits some of these people who have been separated from their families, from their children, have written. We're also expect to hear from Lin-Manuel Miranda. He's the creator of the "Hamilton" the musical. He'll be out here.
And also pretty notably we're going to hear from a few kids ages seven to 10. These kids have actually written letters that are addressed to some of those kids who have been separated from their families, are in some of those shelters all across the country. So those kids will be out here in what no doubt will be a poignant reading of those letters. So a lot going on at Lafayette Park, again, just across the street from the White House. No President Trump there today, but still they're trying to send their message out loud and clear. After that rally here in Lafayette park, they will be going up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the capitol and then making their way to the mall to maybe get that message to Congress as well. Victor and Christi? BLACKWELL: Jessica Schneider for us there in D.C. Let's go now to
Dianne Gallagher in McAllen, Texas, where one of the processing centers is, and there have been protests there almost every day, and now another one planned today.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And this is sort of the epicenter, if you will, of this entire movement, and that is because McAllen processing center which is just down the street from where we are right now is the busiest along the southern border which it comes to bringing, including those families in and processing them out. Those images that galvanized so many around the country of the mothers and fathers and children essentially in cages with those silver blankets around them, those are right here. And it is the last place those families are together before they are separated.
[10:05:10] We have seen protests weekly if not daily in so many of these border communities. We're not expecting today to see the kind of numbers that you're going to get in D.C. or New York or any of the other larger cities in the country in part because of population of course, but also because this is a daily occurrence here. And at this point, the people who live in the McAllen area and some of these other border communities are allowing the larger groups to express their voices right now because this is something they do day in and day out.
We're not expecting to see a march. According to organizers, this is going to be a rally more in front of the border patrol unit that we're at right here. Instead we should probably see them doing what they've been doing for the past few weeks, the past few months, and some say the past few years, Victor, Christi.
PAUL: All right, Dianne, thank you. What you're seeing on the righthand side of your screen there, there's Dianne. On the righthand side was Atlanta. So it just shows you how many cities and even small towns are taking part in this. I want to show you what's happening in Miami as well as a lot of the people came out. You can see a man walking around with a bullhorn. We can't hear what he's saying, but a lot of signs and a lot of people who want to make sure that the government hears what they have to say today.
BLACKWELL: All right, joining me now to discuss, CNN political commentator and former special assistant to President George W. Bush Scott Jennings and CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. Welcome back to both of you.
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Maria, I want to start with you. First, your thoughts on the protests we're seeing across the country, the goal of these protests. And you just returned from the border, and from what I've read from you've put together from my producers, you've seen some things we have not heard about the conditions of the people being held.
CARDONA: Yes, that's right, Victor. And first of all, I'm thrilled that Americans from all kind of backgrounds, from all kinds of cultures, are raising their voices today, because what we have been seeing from the zero-tolerance policy is incredibly inhumane, it is indecent, and it is un-American. And today we're going to hear from so many Americans across the country about how this is not going to be tolerated. So that is terrific.
On my visit to the border, Victor, it was heart-wrenching to see what these families have been through. Most of the ones that I saw and talked to were the lucky ones because they had been reunited with their families, with their children, after days and sometimes weeks of having been separated. But what these families have been through is something that I hope no one ever either has to see or experience themselves. I talked to toddlers who had not, four-year-olds who had not been fed in days, a nursing mother who had not eaten in a week.
These were families who had envelopes, carrying envelopes saying, please help me, I do not speak English. What bus should I get on? Thank you for your help. The place where I was respite center run by a nonprofit who was receiving these families after they had been through their ordeal. And there was a mother whose child, whose baby had been given to her after days of not having changed their diaper. It was -- it was -- I just don't have words to describe it, Victor. And this is not how we should be treating families and children.
BLACKWELL: We're seeing video here. These are live pictures. That was Atlanta, one of the protests across the country. We'll show you as we get those live signals up, the rallies and marches and protests across the country from large and small cities. Scott, let me come to you. We've learned more, first reported by NBC news, but we're learning more about the pilot program that was run by the government in El Paso between July and October of last year, the zero-tolerance pilot program, where we know that there were families that were separated. I want you to listen to what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the recent weeks of this broader zero-tolerance about those separations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The American people don't like the idea that we're separating families. We never really intended to do that. What we intended to do was to make sure that adults who bring children into the country are charged with the crime they've committed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: But a pilot program launched almost a year ago, Scott, how is it credible for the attorney general to now say, well, gee, we didn't know the families were going to be separated, we didn't intend for that to happen, when that's what happened in El Paso?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. The administration has had a lot of different stories, frankly, on this whole issue. And I agree with Maria that the families need to be kept together. I think most Republicans agreed with that, and I think that's why Donald Trump signed the executive order to end the family separation policy. And it's also why Congress needs to go ahead and pass the law and put in the U.S. code that we don't separate families. That is absolutely the right thing to do.
[10:10:06] I think what the administration needs to do moving forward is get these families together as soon as they can and then do what the American people expect them to do, which is to send them back to their country of origin. I think there's a big debate about getting these families together and then what do we do with them. And I think that is really the next frontier. Do we leave them here or do we send them home? And I think most people want them sent home.
But the administration really needs to get about doing this as quickly as possible because I think Maria is right. Americans look at these situations, they look at these families, they look at their own kids and they say if this were happening to me, I certainly wouldn't want to be separated from family. So I think that goes for people in both parties.
BLACKWELL: Scott, what we've learned though from court filings is the administration did not have even from the pilot program, they didn't have a plan. How do you implement something many would say is as dramatic as separating children from their parents without a plan to get them back together?
JENNINGS: Yes, I don't know, and I'm not going to answer for it. I'm sure they regret doing this. This has been a painful moment for this administration. Although I think their instincts on border security and immigration reform are largely correct.
One of the things we learned in 2016 is Americans wanted border security, they think the immigration system is broken. They think people are allowed to just come into this country and stay here and not have to face the same laws that people who come in legally do. All of these issues are true. Trump made some political use of it in 2016, and those things still exist. So I think his instincts on getting a secure border and reforming immigration are correct, but I think this particular decision made inside the administration is not ultimately helpful in getting the reform that I think most people want to see.
BLACKWELL: A lot of pictures here now from New York, and we're told that the organizers are getting the crowd pumped up before they march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Maria, let me get back to you. They president tweeted twice this morning about some Democrats calling for ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to be abolished or reimagined or reorganized. Is this looking ahead to 2020, what the Iraq vote was in 2008? Is this the new litmus test? And des it drag the Democrats far left?
CARDONA: No. I think the debate needs to be what we do with our immigration policy. And, in fact, what we need to abolish, what we need to change is the current president of the United States, because that is what has been the problem. We have allowed this president to move forward with outright lies with what's going on on the border, which has allowed him to dehumanize and to demonize these migrant families who are only coming here seeking not just a better life, Victor, but a chance at a life for their children when back home they are facing certain death by, ironically, the same gangs that the president says are marauding American communities here in the United States, which is another lie.
And so I think what Democrats need to do is to focus on facts. The border has been safer today than it has been in decades. Yes, we are focused on border security. Democrats want border security, and the way to fix our immigration system is by passing comprehensive immigration reform, which we were on the verge of doing in 2013, but Republicans refused to do it in the House of Representatives. And that is what 2020 should be about.
That is what I think 2018 is going to be about in addition to the zero-tolerance policy. Republicans are going to be asked, do you support your president in separating families, and that's why they're so upset and afraid about what this president is doing, yet they don't have the wherewithal and the spine to stand up to him.
BLACKWELL: Maria Cardona, quickly, very quickly.
JENNINGS: Victor, I've got to answer your question. She didn't answer it, but I'm going to answer it for her. This has become abolishing ICE, catch and release has absolutely become the mainstream position. It will be a litmus test.
CARDONA: No, it hasn't. That's a lie, Scott.
JENNINGS: If you're not for it --
CARDONA: That's ridiculous.
JENNINGS: Look at Kirsten Gillibrand. She's come out for it, and she's one of the moderate ones. This is going to be, you had it right. This is a litmus test.
CARDONA: That's one opinion.
BLACKWELL: Scott, hold on for a second. Scott, how is the call to abolish ICE any more extreme than Republicans calling to abolish the IRS or the EPA or the Department of Energy, or the Department of Education.
JENNINGS: Because ICE is the only thing that is enforcing what little border security we have, and the Democrats say we don't even need that.
CARDONA: That's ridiculous, Scott.
JENNINGS: If you're having that conversation with an average American voter, the Democrats are seriously overplaying here, Maria.
CARDONA: Stop lying. You're lying.
JENNINGS: You all are overplaying your hand and you're in danger of losing on this issue.
CARDONA: You are better than this. You are continuing the lies. Just stop it. [10:15:00] BLACKWELL: We've got to cut it there. Maria Cardona, Scott Jennings, thank you both. Live pictures on the right of your screen. This is the rally in New York getting the crowd excited. Then they're going to march across the Brooklyn Bridge, we're told. There are rallies in large and small cities across the country. We'll get you live pics in a minute. Quick break, Newsroom continues in a moment.
PAUL: It's 19 minutes past the hour. I don't know what you're doing right now, but, please, just do me a favor and take a look at your screen, because this may be one of most striking depictions of how these people feel at the Families Belong Together marches. That's right there in Atlanta. A cage with baby dolls in it. It looked like a dog crate that has baby dolls. Obviously their way of saying or believing what they're hearing about these reports of children in crates or in cages at the border.
[10:20:04] And what you're seeing now here in New York, a lively crowd there as they're getting ready to march across the Brooklyn Bridge. These are just a couple of the rallies that are going on in cities all across the country. Not just cities, I should say, but rural towns as well -- 750 rallies that have been taken just a week or two to organize here. But, again, this is part of the Families Belong Together as they want to end family separation and immediately reunite some of these families at the border.
BLACKWELL: President Obama appointed two Supreme Court justices in his eight years in office, and now as we turn to the other big story this weekend with Anthony Kennedy's retirement, President Trump will get the same number in his first two years in office.
PAUL: This weekend the president says he may meet with potentially Supreme Court picks. He plans to announce his choices in a little more than a week at this point. On the short list, five people, at least one woman. But the president sasy they will not be asked about abortion or gay rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you looking for somebody who would overturn Roe v. Wade?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you know, it's a great group of intellectual talent, but we really -- you know, they are generally conservative. I'm not going ask them that question, by the way. That's not a question I will be asking. But it is a group of very highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges. I won't be discussing that because I think it's inappropriate to discuss. So I won't be discussing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right, joining us now with more, CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood. Sarah, good morning to you. And the president has now reconfirmed on Twitter when he will reveal his pick for the nomination.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. President Trump saying he will announce the next Supreme Court justice nominee as soon as next Monday. That's just a little over a week. So he's kicking his search into overdrive, telling reporters yesterday that he's narrowed his list to just five contenders, and two of them are women. That's what Trump told reporters as he traveled here to New Jersey yesterday.
But sources say that list of five potential justices is not set in stone and Trump himself acknowledged that he could end up with six or seven candidates before the process is over, and some of those interviews might take place right here in Bedminster this weekend. Now, a couple of names have emerged at the top of the list. One of them is Amy Coney Barrett. She sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District, and the other is Brett Kavanaugh, who is a judge on the court of appeals for the District of Columbia. Both of them are very conservative justices whose appointment could reshape the ideological bent of the court. So obviously the White House setting itself up for a busy summer trying to get his this justice announced in the next week and then confirmed within the next three months, Victor and Christi.
PAUL: Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: More on those massive protests happening right now. Take a look. People on the streets. Where is this, control room? What are we looking at right now? New York, one of the protests there. They're going to be heading across the Brooklyn Bridge. We have our live cameras up across the country. Live look now at Miami, the protest there. Families Belong Together is the branding under which all of these rallies and marches and protests are happening. We'll get you live pictures up throughout the day.
[10:28:07] BLACKWELL: Hundreds of marches are planned across the country today. You're looking at some live pictures here in Miami and Atlanta and Washington, all to protest this administration's immigration policies. Demonstrators are calling for an end to family separations at the border and the reunification of thousands of individuals, thousands of families who are affected.
PAUL: And all those cities that you see there, we have reporters in all of them. Coast to coast, in fact. There are 750 total marches going on. We start with CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval in New York where the protests have already begun. Polo, what are you hearing from people there?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know in a matter of minutes, we're going to be making our way across New York's iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Organizers are expecting thousands of people here in New York City to pound the pavement under that unified message to stop separating families on the border. And in the crowd you will find families, some not necessarily effected directly by it, but feel the need to come out here and have their message heard, including a Brooklyn couple who we met. I want to introduce them to you. This is Lindsey. We've been speaking this morning about what brings you out here with your family. What is that main message that brings you out here? Why do you bring your children out here as well?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wanted to come out in support of all of the families who have been separated because a lot -- they can't be here. They can't march. And we thought it was important to advocate for them and use our voices where they can't.
SANDOVAL: What do you think is that main message? We've heard it time and time again across the country for your family. What is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's don't separate families. Stop separating families, and families who have been separated, we to reunite them. We need resources that are allocated to reunification. We need money, we need people, and we have to do it now. The more time it takes, the more families are being hurt, and the children.
[10:30:00] SANDOVAL: Lindsey, thank you so much for taking the time, you and your husband and your family.
Again, guys, this is just one of several voices we have heard here in New York City. These are families who have come together as we heard one of the organizers say a little while ago. They say let's give something for the president to tweet about, so they clearly know that somebody is watching out there. They hope that the president sees the show. And they're also very worried that many of these issues have been around for a while, not necessarily the zero-tolerance policy but just the immigration issue in general, and this is their way of renewing attention on an issue that they care very much about.
Again, the way they say -- or the main message they're putting out here, Victor and Christi, is stop separating families.
PAUL: Stop separating families, yes, and end the zero-tolerance immigration policy. Polo Sandoval there in New York for us. Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: All right, one of today's protests against President Trump's immigration policies will be in Baltimore where former NAACP president and now Democratic nominee for governor Ben Jealous joins us now from the state of Maryland. Ben, good morning to you.
BEN JEALOUS, (D) MARYLAND GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Good morning, good morning.
BLACKWELL: So obviously Maryland is not a border state, but governors across the country are having to make decisions about immigration, whether or not to send National Guard members to the border as the president requested, whether or not to accept ICE detainees in some facilities. What's your view on what you're seeing across the country? And what we've learned from some recent reporting first by NBC News of this pilot program last year for zero-tolerance and that the administration really had no plan to reunite these families after being separated. JEALOUS: That last line is a killer. As a parent of small children,
knowing how deeply small children miss their parents, how a week can feel like a month, and a month can feel like a year, I just don't understand how our government could not have a plan, and yet that seems to be the case.
We have to get back to the core values of our country. Our state, Maryland, was founded as a refuge for people fleeing religious persecution. And as governor, I'll make sure that we remain a refuge and that we protect all of our families. I've sat with families in rural parts of the state, farm workers, saying what do you want your next governor to know. These immigrants say my kids wake up in a cold sweat at 2:00 a.m. every night just to see if I'm still here. That shouldn't be possible in our country.
BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about this issue of abolishing ICE and some Democrats calling for that. The president tweeting about that this morning. What's your view?
JEALOUS: I think you're hearing those calls because this president has created such extreme positions. And we need to walk back from zero-tolerance, separating families, putting children in cages is outrageous.
BLACKWELL: But specifically about ICE, do you think ICE should be reorganized, reimagined, abolished? What's your view on that specific element?
JEALOUS: I split my childhood between Maryland and California. And the reality is that we do need some service working the border, border agents, customs agents. I do quite understand what you mean when you say abolish it. I do think we need to not encourage the better angels amongst folks working the border and not the worst. We don't need a president calling for a wall, calling for separating families, calling for zero-tolerance.
And at the same time, we shouldn't be calling people in law enforcement thugs. We need to turn it down a bit because when you keep ratcheting it up, quite frankly it doesn't make anybody safer. And, again, as a country we have been a beacon for immigrants and refugees for generations. We need to remain that city on the hill and, quite frankly, we have fallen far. And so we've got to get ourselves back up that hill.
I don't believe in abolishes ICE or abolishing prisons. I don't know where that gets us. I just think we need to be responsible and we need to get back to our core civil rights and human rights values that make our country a place that we're all proud to call home.
BLACKWELL: We've got you on record there on abolishing ICE and your opposition to it. Let's come now to your race there in Maryland.
BLACKWELL: You just won on Tuesday night with 40 percent of the vote. I happened to be there in Maryland and I watched your speech and was listening to talk radio the next day. Before I get to talk radio, one interesting element came up. The latest cash on hand numbers that are out publicly has you about $260,000 and the Republican governor, $8.2 million.
BLACKWELL: How do you win at a 31 to one disadvantage financially?
[10:35:00] JEALOUS: The same way we won this last time. We talked to people in every corner of the state. We organize in every corner of the state, and we run towards the people of the state, talking about big issues, putting real issues on the table for the student debt crisis, for the underfunding of our schools, actually ensuring that we finally fully fund our schools, for getting health care costs under control so we can all get health care and all afford it, and ending mass incarceration, which, will save us hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
I started off in fourth place in this race, and at the end I won 22 out of 24 counties, and I won by a huge margin, and so my team, like I said, we climbed K2 in this race, and now we've got to climb Everest. There's not much difference.
BLACKWELL: Ben, one last question here. I was willing listening to talk radio, I was listening to the show "Today with Dr. K. on WBAA," and people called in, and I want you to listen to one specific element of your bio that they had an issue with. It surprised me, and I want your reaction to it. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think people are actually going to look and say because he's divorced, he cannot serve as governor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not going to get the votes. They're not going to put black man as the governor of Maryland. Come one, it's not going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to agree with your last called 100 percent. On everything on Ben Jealous not being able to become governor because he's black, because he's divorced, and because he's not from Baltimore, he is not from Baltimore but his parents are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything that he said.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel about Democratic nomination for governor, how about Ben Jealous?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure. I didn't know he wasn't married.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's divorced. He is divorced.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't realize he was a divorced man.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: Your not being married came up several times. What do you say to those who talk about your viability because you're not a married man?
JEALOUS: Look, I used to host a local public affairs talk radio show when I was a reporter in Mississippi, and I know how kinds of provincial those conversations can get. I think folks will just have to get to know me. It's not an uncommon thing. My family has been rooted in Baltimore for generations. I'm the second generation, baptized in my church, and fourth to attend. And folks will get to know the whole me. But if that's the worst they've got of me, they I'm not married, I think we'll do OK in this race.
BLACKWELL: All right, Ben Jealous, Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland, thanks so much for spending some time with us this morning.
JEALOUS: All right, thank you.
PAUL: One of the big stories of today, Families Belong Together, they have gotten together in a huge way. These are the folks who are walking right now in Atlanta as they have three main goals -- to end family separation and immediately reunite families, to end the family detention at the border, and to end President Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy. America Ferrera will be speaking, one of the people speaking in the D.C. march. And she said, I would want people to fight for my family, and we are seeing these people do just that, not just in Atlanta, not just in D.C., but all over the country, 750 rallies in big cities, in rural areas. This is an issue. What we have seen in the last several weeks of the children being separated from their parents at the border, and the stories we have heard of what they are going through has certainly, obviously touched people in a way that is forcing them, or that is inspiring them I should say, to do something about it. We'll be back in a minute.
[10:44:26] PAUL: All right, listen. I'm not making this one up here. This started as a prank call for a comedian's podcast. It took less than two hours for him to get a call back from Air Force One.
BLACKWELL: Yes. So follow us here. Comedian John Melendez pretended to be New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and spoke to President Trump about immigration and the Supreme Court without the president realizing that this was all a joke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm begging you. Are you're going to go more moderate or do you think you're going to go more conservative?
[10:45:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I have a list of people. I have a big list of people, Bob, and we'll take a look at it. And we're going to make a decision. I'll probably make it over the next couple of weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I promise you I will help you if you don't go too conservative, you know what I'm saying.
TRUMP: Well, we will talk to you about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN's senior media correspondent and host of Reliable Sources Brian Stelter joins us now. Stelter -
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I don't know what to say.
PAUL: I think that pretty much says it all.
BLACKWELL: Somehow he got through and got a callback.
STELTER: It makes me actually want to call the White House. Maybe we can finally get an interview with the president if we just pretend to be I guess a senator or a politician. I don't know.
I think this entire story has been an embarrassing for the White House, and there's been some acknowledgement of that only in private. The White House is not denying this called happened. They're not denying that this person was crank calling the president. At first I wondered if they would suggest it wasn't the president's voice on the podcast, but it does really seem to be the president's voice. Everyone can tune in to this prank caller's podcast and hear it for themselves as you were just playing.
And the interesting explanation from a White House official who was speaking anonymously to CNN was that the president wants to be accessible to members of Congress, likes engaging with them, wants to have the opportunity to connect. The downside of them, I'm quoting the White House official, the downside of that is that sometimes the channels are open too widely and mistakes like this happen.
PAUL: My goodness. Brian Stelter, thank you so much, sir. I know, I know. I think that's a lot of people's reaction today. What are you talking about.
BLACKWELL: Thanks, Stelter.
STELTER: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: These massive protests on immigration are happening right now. A lawyer who represents toddlers weighs in on the president's policy on keeping families together at the border.
[10:51:29] PAUL: Listen, this may be one of the most striking images from these Families Belong Together Rallies. This is in Atlanta. Those are baby dolls in a dog crate, obviously representing what so many of us have heard about children being in cages at the border.
Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles is with us now. She's represented toddlers as young as three-years-old. Lindsay, thank you so much for being with us. First of all, we see that picture. That's disturbing enough. The thought of the image of a three-year-old standing in front of a judge, first of all, what good does that do?
LINDSAY TOCZYLOWSKI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IMMIGRANT DEFENDERS LAW CENTER: Well, I think having a three-year-old in court is really on its own a violation of due process rights for that child. When they've been separated from their parent, it's very difficult for us to be able to defend them. They don't know what's happening. They don't know what evidence they need in their case. So it's really an absurdity to hand to those children a piece of paper telling them to appear in court alone.
PAUL: So what is it like for the? Help us understand that moment for them.
TOCZYLOWSKI: Well, I think it's a moment of mass confusion for them. They don't understand what's happening. All the people around them are strangers, and they're singularly focused on one thing, which is to get back with their parents and with the people they love.
PAUL: On the right-hand side of our screen so I can let our viewers know, Lindsay, you're looking at live pictures out of New York as this rally has begun. Of course, all the people you see there are calling for the zero-tolerance policy to go away, to be done with it, to reunify these families and make sure that they get back together. Lindsay, to the judges make modifications in some way to deal with these kids, because, again, some of them as young a as three-years- old, doing know what they can lend to the conversation, to their case?
TOCZYLOWSKI: There's no minimum age to have to appear in immigration court, and so there are few accommodations made for children. And some children even have to appear without an attorney. So I think all of these marches, we'll have one in Los Angeles later on today, are really trying to ask our government to stop this, to stop these policies that are cruel to families, to make sure that keeping families together doesn't mean keeping them in cages indefinitely, meaning that keeping families together doesn't mean deporting them together. It means insisting on due process, insisting that people who come here seeking protection in the United States are treated with dignity and treated through a legal process that allows them to assert their rights.
PAUL: Lindsay Toczylowski, we appreciate it so much. Thank you for helping us understand at some level what is happening with these kids. Thank you.
TOCZYLOWSKI: Thank you for having me.
PAUL: Absolutely. Victor?
BLACKWELL: Before we end this hour, this CNN hero quit his job when he learned kids in his community were sleeping on the floor. Meet Luke Mickelson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUKE MICKELSON, CNN HERO: Mattresses, sheets.
I'm just a farm kid from Idaho. I grew up here. What I didn't know was there are kids next door who are struggling. They had kids sleeping on the floor. I was making a six-figure salary, but I fell into this need that I discovered wasn't being fulfilled by anybody. I quit my job because I wanted to do this full time. The need I have isn't financial. The need I have is seeing the joy on kids' faces saying, knowing that I can make a difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: For more on Luke's team, go to CNNHeroes.com and nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero.
[10:55:07] PAUL: We're obviously going to walk you through all of the protests that are going underway on across the certainly today. Take a look at what's happening there in New York right now.
But we thank you so much for spending time with us this morning.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and we will continue to cover these Families Belong Together rallies and protests and marches across the country. We've got live pictures from Washington now as activists and rallies walk through the streets. We know in New York they're crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. You see the groups here as well. The president is at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, but they're hoping that this, of course, will get his attention. And we'll, of course, bring you the latest across the country.
Fredericka Whitfield is live in Washington after a quick break.