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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump to Name Supreme Court Pick; Trump-Putin Summit; U.S. Newspaper Shooting; Comedian Pranks U.S. President on Air Force One; Syrians Flee to Southern Border; U.S. Faces Deadline for Reuniting Immigrant Families; Trump Appointee Guts U.N. Document on Racism; Thailand Cave Search; World Cup 2018. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired June 30, 2018 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

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ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): U.S. President Trump prepares to cement a lasting legacy by appointing another Supreme Court judge who could influence the country for years to come.

Plus sadness hangs over the state of Maryland following the deaths of five newspaper employees. We'll hear from the wife of one of the slain journalists.

And a national day of action planned across the United States. Hundreds of protests scheduled to demand the Trump administration reunite migrant families separated at the border. Welcome to our viewers and around the world. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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COREN: The U.S. president is at his golf resort in New Jersey for the weekend. But Donald Trump has plenty of business to attend to. Foremost is picking a Supreme Court justice to replace Anthony Kennedy. He says he will make a decision by July 9th.

Mr. Trump says he has five people in mind, including two women, and he will begin interviews this weekend. Reporters traveling with the president asked him what sort of person he might be looking for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you looking for somebody who would overturn Roe v. Wade?

TRUMP: Well, you know, it's a great group of intellectual talent but we really, you know, they are generally conservative. I'm not going to ask them that question, by the way. That's not a question I'll be asking. But it is a group of very highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about LGBT rights?

Justice Kennedy was pretty strong on that.

TRUMP: Right. By the way, I have to tell you, I really got to know him in a fairly short period of time. I've known him over the years. He is a terrific man.

And I thought the way he approached what he just did, what he did yesterday, it was very elegant and very beautiful. And I was very honored that he decided to do it during my term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And LGBT rights?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I won't be discussing that because I think it is inappropriate to discuss. So I won't be discussing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: That was Donald Trump speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One. Just days after announcing his choice for the Supreme Court, President Trump will head to Finland for his first summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Trump says that he will bring up the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We get the Russian reaction now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): As the Kremlin and the White House gear up for the Helsinki summit just days away, Moscow seemingly trying to brush off the topic of Russia's meddling in 2016 election even before the two leaders meet. The Kremlin spokesman responding to a CNN question on a media call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If the U.S. president raises this issue, the Russian president absolutely will be ready to repeat once again that Russia had nothing to do with it and could not have anything to do with this thing that is surrounded by so many insinuations.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While some American allies are concerned President Trump could be threatening the entire American-led post World War II order, Russian state-run media is hailing president after he attacked the E.U. at a rally in North Dakota.

TRUMP: The European Union was set up to take advantage of the United States. And we can't let that happen.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): A point repeated on Russian TV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Now Europe finds itself in a stupid situation. They were friends with America, came up and pushed through anti-Russian sanctions together. Now they are falling out with Americans. They have no idea what to do. Sanctions hit the Europeans back. The migrants, it is a mess everywhere.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): All this as at E.U. is actually supporting American policies, voting today to extend sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

Even President Trump's attacks against CNN and other media organizations get positive mentions on Russian TV since he doesn't criticize them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): CNN, "The New York Times," "The Washington Post" have all made to the list of media, which the crown jewel of the democratic world, Donald Trump, has called fake news. He never said "RT" is fake news, he never said "Sputnik" is fake news.

You are fake news. You are fake news.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The Russians say they expect robust discussions between Vladimir Putin and President Trump, as America's closest allies will be closely watching, hoping the rift between them and the U.S. won't get even bigger -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Kate Andrews joins us now from London. She writes about U.S. politics for "City A.M." and is --

[04:05:00]

COREN: -- news editor at the Institute for Economic Affairs.

Kate, great to have you with us. I want to talk about Trump's meeting with Putin but let's start with the Supreme Court replacement, Justice Kennedy's replacement gives Trump an historic opportunity to shift the ideological makeup of the court for generations to come. Liberals are calling the biggest fight ever.

Tell us what is at stake.

KATE ANDREWS, "CITY A.M.": Thanks for having me, Anna. I think what is being highlighted here is how political the Supreme Court has become over the years. Donald Trump is actually right to say that he won't be asking prospective judges about their thoughts about some very delicate social issues, like abortion and like gay rights because the point of the court is not for judges to come at that decision with their own personal views on those topics but to decide whether or not those topics can be upheld constitutionally and what the law of the land should be.

But, of course, we've noticed over the years that the court has become increasingly political and you've had some very serious issues of Left versus Right there.

Justice Kennedy stepping down is a very big moment. Democrats are right to highlight that because he really was thought to be this balance on the court. You were never quite sure in which direction he would go, which is an sign of a judge, frankly.

But hopefully they're trying to look at the Constitution rather than their own personal and political thoughts. But I think we'll see a serious battle on our hands politically between the Democrats trying to push back on the Supreme Court nomination, especially depending on who he might pick.

COREN: And you mentioned the issue of abortion and Donald Trump says that he won't talk to the candidates about their views on abortion. But Democrats obviously believe that anyone on Trump's list would support overturning the Roe v. Wade landmark case, which established a woman's right to an abortion.

How real is this possibility?

ANDREWS: It is possible. Unfortunately, it has always been possible. The right to choose was decided on fairly shaky constitutional grounds. And as somebody who supports that right, I've always been very aware of this. I think many women have as well.

So I'm not sure that this is totally new. It is just that the makeup of the court right now, for the first time in a long time, looks as if, if this issue were brought back to the Supreme Court, there could be a change.

I think it is really important to be clear to viewers on this about what it would mean. It doesn't mean that abortion becomes illegal overnight; it means that it is no longer upheld by the Supreme Court. So it would go to Congress and the states.

And we start seeing some of those battles there. I'm quite optimistic, frankly; I think we're living in a time where grassroots activism is back on the scene. I'm very convinced that if something like Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, that does not mean that women in the United States would be going without access to health care in that sense.

But, you know, it is something to be very wary of and it reminds us that, when these decisions are made by the Supreme Court, if they are not made based on constitutional rights, they will always be something that can be overturned. And we have to be very wary of that.

COREN: And it looks like the administration, with the Republican- controlled Senate, will try to fast-track this appointment so that the Supreme Court will be ready for its next session in October and obviously before the midterms.

Is there anything that the Democrats, the liberals can do to stop this appointment?

ANDREWS: I think it is quite likely it is going through in the sense that we are still quite far away from the midterm elections. Of course, the Republicans, back during the Obama era, put themselves in a difficult spot when they stopped the president from appointing somebody to the Supreme Court. So we will definitely see a fight. But frankly, we're still far out

from the midterms. There are discussions of it. But it is only just recently coming up in the news as a frequent feature.

And I suspect that if especially if Donald Trump picks somebody who is relatively moderate, center right as far as their views go, that this will be something that is likely to go through.

COREN: Well, let's now move on to Trump's meeting with Vladimir Putin next month in Finland. I want to start with your impressions.

Is this a wise move, Donald Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin?

ANDREWS: Well, if what Donald Trump says is true and there has never been any collusion, then why would he not meet with Vladimir Putin?

It would almost seem strange if he didn't. It is perfectly normal for the leader of the U.S. to meet with the leader of Russia. Obama did it; Donald Trump has done it. Recently we've seen Angela Merkel in Germany and Emmanuel Macron in France meeting with Vladimir Putin.

So if there is nothing to hide, then it would be strange to back away from that meeting. But, of course, all eyes will be on Helsinki as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet. And I think that there are multiple concerns going on here.

The first is what they actually discuss, which I'm slightly less concerned about. I don't think we'll get any breaking news story that gives us any update on the Russia investigation into the American elections in 2016.

But I think what will be more interesting is to see what --

[04:10:00]

ANDREWS: -- comes out of it from a policy perspective. We're living at a time now where Donald Trump will slap tariffs on his allies. So anything seems fair game almost when it comes to a new Donald Trump meeting. And I think that is what I'm slightly more worried about and what we should be looking out for.

COREN: Certainly worried, too, if he gives Vladimir Putin and Russia concessions and doesn't get anything in return. Kate Andrews, joining us there in London, many thanks for your time.

ANDREWS: Thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do something just because they love what they do. They don't do it for praise. They don't do it for the money. They do it because they care about this community.

COREN (voice-over): That was the mayor of Annapolis, Maryland, speaking about the five people killed Thursday in a horrific attack in the newsroom of a local newspaper. Hundreds gathered Friday night to remember, many marching down Main

Street, clutching the front page of Friday's paper that detailed the attack. Also Friday, the suspect appeared in court and we learned more about the shooting. Brian Todd has more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jarrod Ramos stormed the Annapolis office building, authorities say, armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades and opened fire.

The 38-year-old Maryland man appearing in court today, facing five counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say he executed a plan in the newspaper's offices so people could not escape as he began systematically hunting and killing.

WES ADAMS, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY: There were two entrances to the offices in which this occurred. The rear door was barricaded. Mr. Ramos then, as I told the judge, entered into the front door and worked through his way the office where he was shooting victims as he walked through the office.

TODD: Phil Davis, a crime reporter for the "Gazette," says Ramos fired through a newsroom window.

PHIL DAVIS, CRIME REPORTER, "CAPITAL GAZETTE": At some point when I was listening to him reload, it's -- it's, you know, "Are we all going to die?"

TODD: Police arrived on the scene in minutes. The suspect was found hiding under a desk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's inside the "Capital Gazette" office, the main office where all the victims are.

TODD: Ramos had a long-running feud with the paper, dating back to 2011 when the "Capital Gazette" published a story about Ramos's online harassment of a --

[02:10:00]

TODD (voice-over): -- former female high school classmate.

Ramos sent the woman messages asking for help, calling her vulgar names and telling her to kill herself, according to the "Capital Gazette" article. Her attorney tells CNN she eventually left Maryland, hoping for a safer life away from Ramos.

BRENNAN MCCARTHY, ATTORNEY FOR WOMAN HARASSED BY SHOOTER: She was so scared and this was day after day after day of Twitter -- twittering, just tweets all over the place. Naming her and me and everyone else, that she finally just left. This was malevolence.

He had an issue with this woman. I don't know what it was, but he did everything he could to destroy her life. And he succeeded.

TODD: According to court records, Ramos filed a defamation complaint in 2012 against the paper that was ultimately dismissed. Tom Marquardt was the editor and publisher of the "Capital Gazette" at the time. He says that Ramos threatened him and the writer of the story.

TOM MARQUARDT, FORMER EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, "CAPITAL GAZETTE": We have gotten threats in the past, but this one was particularly alarming because it was attached to a name. And in previous complaints, oftentimes, they came across anonymously. And some of the comments he was making online were a bit off-center.

TODD: Despite those threats, the paper chose not to file a restraining order against Ramos, believing that it would only inflame him, but they still warned their staff.

MARQUARDT: We were alarmed enough to at least contact police and ask them to look into it. And alarmed enough to post his photo at our front desk in case he would come in the door. I had alerted my staff to call 9-1-1 if -- if anybody resembling him came into the room.

TODD: Tonight the victims of this local paper are being remembered. Wendi Winters was an editor and community reporter. She was a 65- year-old mother of four. The "Capital Gazette" describes her as a prolific writer who was beloved by the community she covered closely for years.

Thirty-four-year-old sales assistant Rebecca Smith was a new hire to the paper, who loved spending time with her family.

Editorial page editor Gerald Fischman was known for bringing a quirky and clever voice to the paper. He was a quiet, endearing figure in a newsroom full of characters.

John McNamara, known as Mac, was a staff writer who worked his dream job, sports reporting. He's remembered for his razor wit and being a loyal friend.

Assistant editor Rob Hiaasen, a mentor to all, who celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary last week. His brother is the author Carl Hiaasen.

CARL HIAASEN, BROTHER OF ROB HIAASEN: He was killed while he was doing what he loved to do, which is to put out this newspaper for the people of Annapolis. He was so proud of those -- those reporters and the other editors. And what he would want me to say is everything they do is for the readers.

[04:15:00]

CARL HIAASEN: Put news and facts in the hands of their readers.

TODD: To give an idea of the trail of fear left behind by the suspect, the attorney for the woman who was harassed by Ramos says he spoke to his client since Ramos was put behind bars and they agree that even though he is in jail currently, they are still scared. Ramos is being held without bond. The judge and prosecutor saying he is a danger to the community -- Brian Todd, CNN, Annapolis, Maryland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: As you heard Brian say, one of those killed was assistant editor Rob Hiaasen. His widow, Maria, spoke to CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA HIAASEN, ROB HIAASEN'S WIDOW: Without a doubt. Rob Hiaasen was my best friend and he was that for a handful of others. He and I liked to say, you don't need a million friends, you just need really good ones.

And he was always there for people and a confidant when folks needed it and someone ready with the wry little joke at just the right time. Typically and ironically at a time like this when people were together hurting over something and he understood the need that eventually you did need that break.

And he liked to say, it's a fine line between drama and comedy -- tragedy and comedy, excuse me. And he knew when to give that line that actually wound up breaking the eyes and making people feel more comfortable. He was a great best friend, if I can say that.

I heard guests earlier talking about, you know, some journalists make mistakes. Let me be clear that all journalists do, all human beings do. It is those of us who are adults in the world, whether we are in elected office and sitting in the White House or elsewhere, those of us who are adults, who admit mistakes and try to correct them, who are the adults in the room.

And my husband was an adult and he was not a bad person and he was a professional.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: Maria Hiaasen, speaking about her husband, Rob, who lost his life.

President Trump spoke about the shooting, setting aside his normal disdain and contempt for the media. Instead he offered his condolences and warm words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief. Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: The first lady said her heart goes out to all affected by this brutal and senseless attack. The White House is giving some insight into what could be called a mile-high security breach. A New York comedian got a call back from the president on board Air Force One after pretending to be a Democratic senator from New Jersey.

This is Senator Bob Menendez, no real pal of President Trump and recently out from under a federal corruption case because of a mistrial.

This is a comedian who calls himself Stuttering John, John Melendez. Obviously pretty similar surnames.

With that, the comedian convinced the White House switchboard that he was the real New Jersey senator and left his number. He got a call back from the president and they talked about the senator's recent encounter with the federal justice system and about politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You know, I have a good relationship with the party, you have a good relationship with the party. And I think we can do a real immigration bill. We have to have security at the border, we have to have it.

I mean, look, you got 60 percent of the country, saying you got to have security at the border. And that's a good issue for the Democrats too, Bob. It's not like it's good for you or good for me. It's good for both of us.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You know, of the problems.

JOHN MELENDEZ, COMEDIAN: No, I understand that. No, but I am Hispanic, so I have to, you know, I have to -- I'm sure you understand.

TRUMP: Oh I understand.

MELENDEZ: You know, I have to look into my people as well. You understand.

TRUMP: I agree, I agree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: The comedian says he could barely believe it worked.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELENDEZ: I got on the phone with Trump. And Trump is like Bob, I want to congratulate you. I didn't even know that Senator Menendez was in any really legal problems.

And really if they would just screen me and asked what party affiliation Senator Menendez had or what state he represented, I would have been -- I would have been stumped because I had no idea anything about Senator Menendez.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: The White House says, "The president wants to be accessible" to members of Congress so sometimes mistakes like this can happen.

The number of Syrians fleeing the civil war there continues to grow. Coming up, what one of Syria's neighbors is doing and not doing to help.

Plus some Puerto Rican hurricane survivors are being forced to move --

[04:20:00]

COREN (voice-over): -- again after the government ends its temporary housing program. What is next for them. That is coming up.

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COREN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

A staggering number of Syrians are being forced from their homes to escape the bombardment in the country's civil war. One aid group says at least 217,000 people have been displaced from the southwest Syrian city of Daraa since June 19th. That is when Syria's Russian-backed government launched a new offensive against rebels.

A medical organization says more than 150 people have been killed in the operation. The situation is dire along Syria's border with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Thousands of the displaced Syrians are living in tents there. CNN's Ian Lee is joining us now from the Golan Heights.

Ian, let's talk about the overall situation. The U.N. has warned of a potential humanitarian catastrophe. Israel, Lebanon -- Jordan, I should say, neither of these countries allowing people to cross the border.

What is going to happen to them?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the big question, as this offensive continues. Right behind me is one of the last --

[04:25:00]

LEE: -- strongholds in Syria for the rebels and that is where this latest offensive is taking place.

And these people, these Syrians, are scattering all over. They are going to Jordan, they're going to here on this border with Golan. But what you are seeing is these people with all their possessions that they can cram in these trucks.

And we saw them yesterday, they had their mattresses, anything they could really carry, they are bringing them to these makeshift camps up and down the border, really creating a tent city.

But they are on the other side of the fence. Israel has delivered aid to them; they delivered over 2 dozen tons of food supplies, tents, clothing, medical supplies to the people.

But the Israeli military says they won't let anyone cross over. They say that is not something that they plan on doing right now or really it is not something that they plan to do in the future.

But this is creating a humanitarian crisis with all these people, because you have to give them clean drinking water and food, things that they -- medicine, the things that they desperately need.

We also heard from the World Food Programme; they say they are able to get food to tens of thousands of people. But as more people flee to these borders, that is just getting more difficult.

Right now, there is a ceasefire taking place over the past -- this is the second one over the past 24 hours. What the Jordanians say they hope is that there can be some sort of reconciliation between the rebels and the Syrian regime so that this fighting can stop and the people can go back home.

We've seen cease fires like this in the past; a lot of the times they break down and we see these people flee. But what is different from this time than other different sieges like we saw in Eastern Ghouta or Aleppo is that they are next to these borders.

So if this offensive does continue, it will be very difficult for Jordan or for Israel to stop a human wave of people trying to cross over.

COREN: Ian Lee joining us from the Golan Heights, many thanks to you.

Coming up, a Trump appointee to the U.S. State Department thinks a standard U.N. document on racism is too harsh. We'll tell you how he wanted it changed. Just ahead.

Plus:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Strangers would show up to his house, they would ask for money and they would threaten him in front of his child. They kept threatening to kill him. They were even --

(Speaking Spanish).

He said they would even kill the 3-year old.

COREN (voice-over): Migrants describe why they are so desperate to cross the U.S. border any way they can, even if it risks the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy.

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COREN: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM I'm Anna Coren. The headlines this hour:

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COREN: In the coming hours, we're expecting to see massive protests against the Trump administration's hardline immigration policy. Organizers say these Families Belong Together rallies will take place in hundreds of U.S. cities. They are demanding the Trump administration immediately reunite migrant families who were forcibly separated after they illegally entered the U.S.

Right now, more than 2,000 children who were taken from their parents are waiting to be reunited. And we're learning now that the government says it never created specific plans to help parents find their children after they were separated.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is facing a deadline from a federal judge to reunite the children separated from their parents by the end of July. But even when the threat of separation loomed, that did not stop people from taking the risk to enter the U.S. Our Nick Valencia has been talking with some migrants from Central America.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VALENCIA (voice-over): Through the tree brush, Border Patrol agent Robert Rodriguez spots what he says are three smugglers preparing to launch a raft filled with migrants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

ROBERT RODRIQUEZ, BORDER PATROL AGENT: He says -- "They're filming us," he says.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Along with Agent Rodriguez, we follow the raft downstream. It's there we see this, six Central American migrants, some of those who are on the raft. One of them traveling with his father is just 3 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VALENCIA (on camera): What are you looking for here?

(Speaking Spanish). What are you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VALENCIA (on camera): He is asking for asylum. He said strangers would show up to his house, they would ask for money and they would threaten him in front of his child. They kept threatening to kill him. They were even --

(Speaking Spanish).

He said they would even kill the 3-year old.

You know there's people here that are very much against illegal immigration and they don't want people like you in the United States.

What do you say to them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VALENCIA: He says --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VALENCIA: -- "Those people don't know what I have been through, they don't know what I go through nightly, they don't know what it is like to fear death."

VALENCIA (voice-over): This mother and her 13-year old were in the group. Holding back tears, she says she never wanted to leave Honduras. If it wasn't for MS-13, her son says, they would have never left.

VALENCIA: (Speaking Spanish).

Why are you trying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VALENCIA: She said he didn't want to leave Honduras. That's why he's crying. He said he is really sorry for putting his mom in this position.

She said, "Of course I would never let my son be captured there." She is saying even though the zero tolerance was still in place, she said she would still cross. That's how much fear they have.

VALENCIA (voice-over): From here, the group will be taken to a processing center, joining hundreds of others just --

[04:35:00]

VALENCIA (voice-over): -- like them. Even still, they're the lucky ones. Had they crossed just last week, the parents and children would have assuredly been torn apart by the U.S. government. VALENCIA: The scenes that you just saw give a sense of what Border Patrol agents are up every single day here along the U.S.-Mexico border. It also gives us an understanding of what families are willing to put themselves through to keep from being killed in their homeland -- Nick Valencia, CNN, McAllen, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Such desperate people.

Nearly 1,800 Puerto Rican hurricane survivors face an uncertain future. For almost a year, they have been living in hotels. But the government says it is ending the program. It was designed as a two- week solution that was extended for 10 months.

Thousands who used it found permanent housing. But those remaining are now scrambling to find a roof over their heads. Jennice Fuentes, a Puerto Rican and Democrat strategist, says this just adds to their trauma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNICE FUENTES, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: These are people who have really had to flee. They have been traumatized already once.

And then twice by having to live in a hotel for months to no end and now what a horrible weekend is this, not knowing, where are you going to sleep after tomorrow night?

And all you want, when you are a refugee of any kind is to have stability and to be able to provide a roof over your shoulder and your head, to you and your kids, especially with kids that have disabilities, kids who have been traumatized.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: On Friday, Democrats sent a letter asking to more housing assistance for hurricane victims. The government says it will continue working to connect survivors with the resources to meet their needs.

The Trump administration's appointee to the State Department has torn into the language of standard U.N. documents. Among other things, he disputed the idea that leaders have a duty to condemn racism. Our Michelle Kosinski reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The State Department's new deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration apparently has some big problems with two seemingly benign U.N. documents.

In one, a resolution called "The Incompatibility Between Democracy and Racism," which is adopted without vote every few years in much the same form, Andrew Veprek, identified by his initials, outright disputes that officials have a duty to condemn racism or that combating racism and xenophobia complements democratic multicultural societies, writing: "What is the evidence? Some commentators assert that a unifying culture, as opposed to multiculturalism, is the best way to promote social trust and combat racism."

Also crossed out are references to racism in political parties or groups that seek to normalize racism.

In another statement on the importance of preventing war crimes, Veprek strikes out some simple thanks for the outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights, saying that's because the U.N. official had criticized Trump.

ZEID BIN RA'AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?

KOSINSKI (voice-over): Including for the president's attacks on the press.

TRUMP: It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions.

KOSINSKI: Where one document says, "We have witnessed a discouraging trend of populism and nationalism, as well as rising signs of xenophobia," Veprek has crossed all that out, writing in the margins: "The drafters say populism and nationalism as if these are dirty words. There are millions of Americans who would describe themselves as adhering to these concepts, maybe even the president."

And he doesn't like the word "xenophobia," due to concerns over the malleability of the term now and in the future.

"What real or perceived offense is next to be considered xenophobic?" he writes.

The State Department, responding to these attempted edits with some standard language of its own: "No comment."

KOSINSKI: The U.S., of course, has now left the United Nations Human Rights Council. I did reach out directly to Andrew Veprek. He did not respond. But he's somebody who's raised concerns only recently when he was put into this position. He does have some State Department experience.

most recently he was at the White House, working under Stephen Miller, the president's policy adviser who has similarly hardline views on immigration.

And Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the secretary of state, worried about these views, also worried that he wasn't qualified or experienced enough for such a high-level position.

I also spoke to a former State Department official under the Obama administration. He called these views that were expressed in these documents, on the margins "explosive" -- Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Coming up, rescue workers take on a mountain in Thailand, the latest on the search for a missing youth football team -- ahead.

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COREN: People across Thailand are praying for a miracle as the search for 12 boys and their coach is now a week old. The football team members are thought to be trapped in a flooded cave. CNN's Nikhil Kumar is tracking the story from India. He joins us from New Delhi.

Nikhil, we know these 12 kids and their 25-year-old coach disappeared a week ago; a week on, you'd have to assume the odds are grim.

What makes anyone think that they are still alive?

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Anna, you're right, it has been exactly a week. They went missing last Saturday, 12 boys aged from 11 to 16, their coach who is 25.

But the rescue efforts, the rescuers and the authorities are not giving up yet. This search is concentrated on a cave complex in Northern Thailand; it is below a forest. And what is complicating the rescue effort over the last few days is that this particular area has been hit by quite heavy rainfall and that has blocked some of the normal entrances.

In fact, pumps normally used to deal with floodwater in Bangkok have been up to the area to help with the rescue operations. Yesterday a team managed to abseil down about 40 feet down a shaft in the search for these 12 boys and the coach. There was no luck yesterday.

Now they are thinking of drilling holes in the mountain to enter the cave from the top. And this is again because of the flooding that has blocked the regular entrances to the cave complex.

The entire country is transfixed on this case. It has been all over the media in Thailand. It's been on television, on the front pages of newspapers, so much so that Thailand's mental health department has, in fact, issued an advisory, telling people not to spend too long watching coverage of this so that they don't become, quote, "overly obsessed."

This advisory was issued yesterday. So there is a lot of concern across the country and a lot of effort which hasn't at all drawn down. If anything, they have been ramped up over the week.

Now we have more than 1,000 rescue personnel in the area. Most of them are Thai but we also have U.S. -- [04:45:00]

KUMAR: -- military teams, we have British cave experts, all of whom are trying to work out where exactly these 12 boys and their coach are and how to get to them -- Anna.

COREN: What sort of resources are they trying at this?

Because we know there has been a break in the weather and that helicopters have gone up, drones have gone up. So this is just a massive, massive operation.

KUMAR: It is a massive situation absolutely, as you said, helicopters, drones. They are throwing all the resources that they can muster to try to find these boys. There is a lot of interest and, as a result, a lot of attention on finding them, on locating them.

Right now, because of the flooding, they don't even know where they are in that complex. Food packets have been dropped in the hope that the boys and the coach might be able to access them and there are concerns about what the flooding has done inside the cave complex, about access to oxygen and so on. So a lot of resources are being thrown at this. And everybody is just praying and hoping that they are found soon.

COREN: It is a labyrinth of a cave, stretching 10 kilometers long, some 40-odd chambers with narrow passageways. So certainly extremely difficult to navigate. Nikhil Kumar, many thanks for that.

Wildfire is forcing at least 1,000 people to flee their homes in Southern Colorado. They're under a mandatory evacuation order as the Spring fire builds strength. Officials say at least 2,000 more people are under pre-evacuation orders.

The fire spread overnight from 1,600 hectares -- nearly 4,000 acres -- to nearly six times that size, according to officials. Dry conditions and strong winds are responsible for this fire spreading very quickly.

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COREN: Coming up, two of football's biggest stars on its biggest stage. How Messi and Ronaldo look to start the World Cup knockout stage -- ahead.

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COREN: We're finally in the knockout stage of the World Cup in Russia. It's been a tournament of upsets so far. Still, Saturday we'll see some of football's biggest stars. They barely survived the group stage but Lionel Messi and Argentina will face off against France.

We'll also get Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal taking on Uruguay. For a breakdown of the action, CNN's Amanda Davies joining us from Moscow with a front row seat to all the excitement and action.

Amanda, all eyes obviously glued on two greats of the game, Ronaldo and Messi. Talk us through it.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, what a day we have in prospect. We had a day off yesterday, the first rest day of the tournament which has absolutely leaving everybody raring to go for what is to come today.

As you said, Lionel Messi up for Argentina against France; Cristiano Ronaldo with

Portugal taking on Uruguay. Let's start with the Argentina game. We're really wondering what kind of Argentina we're going to get. Many people really feeling they were very, very lucky, just scraping through from their group after that humiliating 3-0 defeat to Croatia, where they held a moment of silence on Argentinean television in memory of their national football team.

They then came back to just get past Nigeria, to see them through to the knockout stage. Messi finally getting on the scoresheet at this tournament. But the emotion that surrounded that game, what we saw from the team, the talk of the struggle, how they have struggled in the first couple of weeks, you really wonder what it will have taken out of them and how they will react on the --

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DAVIES: -- pitch. Their boss, Jorge Sampaoli, has insisted that he is still in charge of the team, despite the talk that it is Messi and his fellow senior players who have been picking the team and giving the orders.

But whatever you think, they will without doubt have to step up against France who finished runners up in Euro 2016, have one of the most talented attacking forces. If Argentina focus on Messi, they have so many other players, the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba.

Be very interesting to see what happens if Argentina do get through, then we have the prospect of Argentina facing Portugal if they win their encounter. Again there, the focus on Cristiano Ronaldo.

Although his boss is trying to play that down, he says we have 22 other players who need to step up. It is not all going to be about Ronaldo against Uruguay. Uruguay don't let goals in easily, so it will be tough for Portugal to get past them.

But the good news, Anna, these matches are taking place a good thousand or so miles away from here because we've currently got emergency storm warnings going on behind us here in Moscow, it is so humid. They are telling everybody to clear the streets. So I hope I'll be here to talk to you in a couple hours' time.

COREN: We hope so too. Amanda Davies, many thanks, good to see you from Moscow.

A female singer in Saudi Arabia has dropped a new music video, rapping behind the wheel of a car she can now drive legally.

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COREN (voice-over): Driving it (INAUDIBLE) head popping out the roof. Lisa A posted the video on June 24th, the day Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving. She sings, steering her car, singing about how she doesn't need taxis or anyone to take her anywhere. Good for her.

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COREN: The day's top stories are just ahead. CNN NEWSROOM continues after the break.