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Protesters Demand Families Be Reunited; Thailand Cave Search; Mexico Elections; 2018 World Cup; Photographer Creates Rainbow Roads. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired July 1, 2018 - 03:00   ET

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


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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Streets filled with protesters across the United States. Thousands hit the streets coast to coast, fighting the U.S. president's immigration policy.

After eight days, a glimmer of hope in the search for a football team missing in a cave in Thailand.

And France and Uruguay outmaneuver the World Cup's two biggest stars. We'll tell you about it.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we're going to welcome our viewers all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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HOWELL: Around the world, good day to you. We begin in the United States.

Thousands of protesters came together in massive rallies across this nation on Saturday, demanding the Trump administration end its zero tolerance policy on immigration. The controversial policy led to the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents after the families crossed into this country illegally.

President Trump ordered a halt to the family separations following weeks of outcry. CNN's Polo Sandoval reports protesters say it is taking too long to bring these families back together.

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POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the rallying cries heard across the country Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are the kids?

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Protesters led by immigrants rights groups, marching in masses with a message for President Trump, eliminate his zero tolerance policy, calling for the prosecution of people crossing the border illegally. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that my own family would have difficulty coming across the border, if they needed to seek asylum for any reason, chills me to the bone.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): In New York, a mile and a half march from Manhattan to Brooklyn, a symbolic moment. The head of the group paused in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge, looking towards Lady Liberty, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Speakers at podiums from coast to coast demanding children be reunited with their parents.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, "HAMILTON": We're here because there's parents right now who can't sing lullabies to their kids.

ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: This is all of our fight because, if it can happen to any child, it can happen to my child and your child and all of our children.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): In the nation's capital, a 12-year-old daughter of an undocumented family sent a message to children still in the care of the government.

LEAH, DAUGHTER OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: I want to tell kids at the border and all over the country not to give up and fight for their family. We are all human. And deserve to be loved and cared for. We are children.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Fiery Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren also spoke to the masses in Massachusetts.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This is about babies scattered all across this country. This is about mamas who want their children back.

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WARREN: President Trump seems to think that the only way to have immigration rules is to rip parents from their families, is to treat rape victims and refugees like terrorists and to put children in cages.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Trump signed an executive order last week, reversing his administration's practice of separating families. But more than 2,000 children are still waiting to be reunited with their parents.

Though protests across the country remained peaceful, first responders in Washington treated dozens of demonstrators for heat-related emergencies.

For some marchers, their protest isn't over. They plan to make their voice heard come November during midterm elections. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want people who want to come here, who want refuge in our country, to know that there are many, many citizens of the U.S. who do not agree with what is going on now.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

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HOWELL: Polo, thank you.

The White House is keeping quiet about the immigration protests we saw around the nation; instead, the president focusing on other priorities, one of them: choosing someone to fill a new opening on the U.S. Supreme Court. CNN's Boris Sanchez has more.

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BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House not putting out an official on-the-record response Saturday to our questions about the nationwide protest against the president's immigration policy.

President Trump himself did weigh in on immigration via Twitter early on Saturday morning, bashing Democrats, writing that they wanted to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggesting at one point that they are an open borders party and drawing a line --

[03:05:00]

SANCHEZ: -- between the restructuring of ICE, that some Democrats, like New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are calling for, and the abolishment of all police, quite a leap for the president to make.

No response to questions about the protesters that were near his property in Bedminster, New Jersey. According to organizers, some 300 or 400 protesters gathered at a library some 3 miles from his property. Unclear if the president was aware that they were there, trying to send a message to him.

We do know the president has kept busy this weekend. Initially, he told reporters on Friday that he would spend the weekend interviewing one or two possible nominees for the Supreme Court, following the announcement from Justice Anthony Kennedy earlier this week that he would be retiring.

The White House on Saturday night put out a statement, saying that the president was continuing conversations with allies and with White House counsel Don McGahn over that possible replacement but would not confirm that any of those meetings took place.

We should note that President Trump on Friday told reporters that he had dwindled (sic) down an initial list of 25 names to just five, though he would be interviewing with six or seven candidates -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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HOWELL: Let's talk about this with Peter Matthews, a political analyst who teaches political science at Cypress College, joining us from Los Angeles.

A pleasure to have you here on the show. We'll talk about the president's tweet attacking Democrats here, painting them all with the same brush as anti-ICE, anti-police. Talking points that you see there that certainly play well to his base.

But the question here, does it gain traction to those possible swing voters as he and the Right, quite frankly, continue to push this narrative of a radicalized Left?

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: It holds on to his right-wing base that is only 35 percent of the voters. Let me give you some numbers quickly, George: 60 percent of Americans want -- they think immigrants are a net positive to the United States. They want a diverse country.

And 60 percent think there should be a path to citizenship. Only 17 percent want to decrease even legal immigration.

Given those numbers, no, this is not going to help him (INAUDIBLE) Democrats in this negative way. I don't think so.

HOWELL: You're suggesting that the numbers are lower. The tail wagging the dog in that sense, but given the protests we've seen today, the topic of immigration front and center, do you surmise this puts any pressure on President Trump?

Just look, Peter, we're showing our viewers a map. So many cities across this nation, just protests throughout the streets of the United States.

Do you think that this translates into actual votes come the midterm election?

MATTHEWS: Absolutely, George. I've got numbers on it also. In fact, I attended one of those protests to see firsthand what people were thinking and it was quite amazing because if you look at the numbers, the protests reflect the fact that most people are going to vote this fall.

And 60 percent of Democrats -- I'm sorry, 90 percent of Democrats are going to vote for a Senate Democratic candidate because of the concern about what's going on in the Supreme Court.

But the protesters were also not just talking about the court, they're talking about why it's human rights. It's a real human rights issue. And most of the people there I saw were totally for giving the immigrants a chance and stopping the child separation.

And I'm sure that looking across the polls across America, the same thing. The majority of Americans are totally against the child separation that Trump has engendered and that's a real important situation.

If you look at 66 percent of America who is against the child separation, that's a huge chunk of people and that's not going to budge. The moderate or the swing voters are on the side of those who believe in human rights and keeping the children together with their parents and giving them a path to citizenship eventually.

HOWELL: As President Trump continues to narrow down his choice for the Supreme Court, he says he doesn't plan to talk about Roe v. Wade nor discuss issues of LGBT rights.

With this president's track record and his background that we've seen during the first part of his term here, do you take him at his word?

MATTHEWS: I think he's going to try to avoid that issue because, if he does not avoid it, he might lose two pro-choice Republican senators, Senator Collins of Maine and Senator Murkowski of Alaska.

If those two vote against the nominee, then the president will have a difficult time getting that nominee through. It is true, the Republicans have, generally speaking, by numbers a majority of the Senate, 51-49. If they all stuck together, they can get this through.

Hopefully if some Democrats don't defect and vote for the nominee. There are a couple of Democrats who I think are either pro-life or they're very shaky on the issue that could go either way. We have to see how that plays out. It's very close right now.

I do believe the president really wants to get his nominee through quickly. That's why he met with Justice Kennedy. I think they worked out a deal where Kennedy would resign right away so they could get this passed --

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MATTHEWS: -- before the election, which might end up with a Democratic Senate possibly. That's what he's concerned about.

HOWELL: All right, we'll have to see how it plays out. Peter Matthews, thank you for your time today.

MATTHEWS: My pleasure, George. Thank you.

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HOWELL: Moving now to Thailand, officials there are hoping to find 12 boys and their football coach alive. They say divers now are closing in on a spot where they think the missing team took shelter. It's believed that they became trapped in a flooded cave system more than a week ago.

The team's plight has gripped the nation and certainly prompted international rescue efforts and gripped the attention of the world. CNN's Nikhil Kumar is following this story, live for us in our New Delhi bureau.

Nikhil, the water has dropped. The water levels have dropped, the rains have subsided a bit.

How is this helping these rescue teams as they continue to home in on a spot?

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, George. The rains have subsided a bit. That is helping the teams move forward. The context is that the area where this cave network is located, Northern Thailand in Chiang Rai, it's located below a dense forest.

That entire area has been blanketed by rain for the last few days. That's complicated the rescue effort because the regular entrances to the cave system have been blocked. It's a vast cave system, run to about 10 kilometers.

So the rescue teams have been trying to find other ways in. On Friday, a team managed to abseil 40 feet down a shaft to try and locate these 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their football coach, who's 25. No luck then.

Yesterday a team of divers, Navy SEALs from Thailand, made some progress towards an elevated area inside the cave network, where they think the boys and the coach might be seeking shelter. It's an elevated area called Pattaya Beach. It is not the tourist Pattaya beach, it's a different area but just so named by the cavers.

So they're making progress this that direction. That's made possible because of the slight letup in the rains. Big water pumps that are ordinarily used to deal with floodwater down in Bangkok have been moved up to this area to help with the rescue effort, which, as you said, is international and very, very broad now.

There's more than 1,000 rescuers now at this site trying to find these boys and the football coach. Most of them are from Thailand. But there's also U.S. military teams and there are also British cave experts. Everyone is trying to locate these boys and the coach, find out where they are, then hopefully to get them out.

Yesterday, in fact, the teams on the ground were conducting evacuation drills, practicing that, in the event they find them, how they would get them out of the cave system.

So everyone is still pressing on. Today is the eighth day that they've been missing. Everyone's still pressing on to try and locate them, to find them, to get them out as soon as possible -- George.

HOWELL: All right, Nikhil Kumar, thank you for the reporting, we'll keep in touch with you. Thank you.

Mexico goes to the polls. Coming up, we'll tell you how the road to the election has been marred by violence.

Plus a photographer creates these majestic paths. But there's no magic involved. How he makes his rainbow roads. We'll tell you about it. Stay with us.

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HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

Another journalist has been killed in Mexico. Jose Guadalupe Chan was shot dead Friday night in the southern part of that nation. He is the seventh journalist killed in Mexico so far this year.

His death came just two days before voters there elect a new president and some 3,400 state and local officials.

The polls are open in just a few hours' time there in Mexico, at a time of rampant crime in that country. In 2017, it was a record- breaking year for homicides. This year, on track to exceed it so far. More than 100 candidates or politicians have been killed since the campaign started, by one count. Our Rafael Romo explains.

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RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Crime, corruption --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).

ROMO (voice-over): -- gang violence. Trails of blood staining Mexico as the country votes in its largest election ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's worrying. So much violence. So many dead. So many people dying that had nothing to do with the violence. We all worry about that.

ROMO (voice-over): Organized crime in Mexico has become more deadly over the last few years. 2017 saw more than 29,000 homicides, the most killings recorded since officials began tracking the data.

And 2018 is on track to set another grim milestone; more than 20,506 have been killed since the start of the year. Others have simply gone missing. It's a gruesome trend, sending some to take their chances at the border.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's more dangerous where I live. It's more dangerous there than in comparison to what could happen here at the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Well, in all truth, I am scared. I have come with my family to see what happens. In the end, we're going to give it a try.

ROMO (voice-over): Locals say widespread corruption has created a vacuum for cartels and organized crime to proliferate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A lot of businesses are closing down because there is no security. The owners are scared they will be kidnapped or murdered over the payment of extortions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Many companies have had losses this year. Talking to our colleagues, robberies with grocery store owners, with people in the food industry, take place from three to four times a week, depending on the company.

ROMO (voice-over): Sunday closes a brutal campaign season, according to risk analysis group Entelect: 132 candidates or politicians have been murdered since last September, ahead of an election where thousands of seats are at stake. Mexico's security crisis is a central issue, with the most high-profile voices calling for more accountability.

GAEL GARCIA BERNAL, ACTOR: The stakes are pretty high. This is a moment -- this is a moment to overturn things. And I don't want to go into my 40s thinking that I'm going to have systematic violence, systematic impunity in my country.

ROMO (voice-over): Rafael Romo, CNN.

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HOWELL: Rafael Romo, thank you.

The city of Cape Town, South Africa, was on the verge of running out of water for more than a year. But conservation measures and rainfall have averted that, at least for a year.

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HOWELL: World Cup action moving on in Russia without two of its biggest stars. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were both eliminated Saturday in the knockout stage. For a look at those matches and what's ahead, here's CNN's Patrick Snell.

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PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an absolutely enthralling Saturday at the World Cup in Russia, where both France and Uruguay have become the first two nations to book their places in the tournament's quarterfinals.

And ponder on this for just a moment or two: Saturday, June the 30th, will now go down as the day both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo went out of the World Cup on the very same day, with neither still having ever scored in any of the tournament's knockout games.

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SNELL (voice-over): Ronaldo and Portugal were facing Uruguay and the Uruguayans got off to a great start when Luis Suarez finds Cavani with the cross, obliging with the perfect finish, possibly a combination of shoulder and face, too.

After Portugal had leveled, Edinson Cavani, again, providing the sublime moment of the game, a breathtaking curl finish, superb skills, just past the hour mark: 2-1, Uruguay. Heartbreak for Portugal and their star talisman as well, Cristiano Ronaldo -- look at this -- visibly moved by the outcome.

And it's a wonder at 33, has he now possibly played for the last time at the World Cup?

We shall see. All right. Earlier in the day, we witnessed pure theater. A 7-goal thriller of a game between two-time world champions Argentina and France. Much had been made about Argentine disunity and whether the squad lost faith in the manager, Jorge Sampaoli. Argentina's stunning equalizer though appeared to indicate otherwise.

At that point and especially when Lionel Messi's shot is deflected in by teammate Gabriel Mercado for 2-1 La Albiceleste. It looked like Argentina could be in for the big win but the Blue dug deep to turn this match on its head. The young Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard with a brilliant goal for the French. What a moment he'll never forget.

Then it really was the Kylian Mbappe show. He wouldn't turn 20 until December, showing composure way beyond his years, becoming the first team to score two goals at a World Cup since the great Pele six decades ago.

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SNELL: All right. Here is a look at the draw then. France and Uruguay, the first teams through. They'll play for a place in the semis on Friday. Sunday will see two more teams punching their ticket to the next round, when Spain face the host nation, Russia. Croatia kicking off against Denmark.

And that is your FIFA World Cup update. I'm Patrick Snell.

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HOWELL: All right, Patrick, thank you.

This next story about a Connecticut-based filmmaker and photographer Daniel Mercadante. He says he's always found rainbows to be slightly magical and now with his camera and some homemade props, he's making them on demand with spectacular results as you'll see. Take a look.

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DANIEL MERCADANTE, PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILMMAKER (voice-over): You can't look at a rainbow and feel bad. It just taps into the core of human positivity.

They're simply long-exposure photographs -- [03:25:00]

MERCADANTE (voice-over): -- 30 seconds to a minute per exposure. To me they feel like a road or a pathway.

This is an old broom. And attached to it I've got these LED strips. And I just put gels and I just tape these colored gels. I just light it up and run with it.

It started in Connecticut, in nature. I was just like, oh, let's go outside and let's brighten up these cold evenings with some rainbows and some warm light.

We shot some in sand dunes in Northern California and on the beaches there.

As soon as I took out the rainbow and lit it up in a little village in Guatemala, dozens of kids came running up. I think the child's eye is really, really magical in terms of what it sees beauty as.

I hope that adults see it as magical. I hope that they feel something that just sort of brightens them and warms them. I just want people to feel good from it.

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HOWELL: Whether adventure or personal journey, climbing up Mt. Everest is a fierce and life-threatening quest. CNN followed two British adventurers on their dramatic trek to the top of the world, negotiating life-threatening challenges while traveling a path that not all have survived. Take a look at this preview.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each Everest journey is a personal one with danger and discomfort, fear and exhaustion its traveling companions. The British adventurer, Ben Vogel, has rowed across the Atlantic and raced on foot across Antarctica to the South Pole.

Track cyclist Victoria Pendleton has won nine World titles and two Olympic gold medals. Neither a stranger to a challenge. But Everest is a challenge that will change their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a metaphor for everyday life. What I would like to do is inspire other people to take on their own Everest.

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HOWELL: You can see "The Challenge: Everest" in three different parts, airing exclusively on this network, Monday at 11:30 am in Hong Kong, 1:30 pm in Sydney, only here on CNN.

Thank you for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. "ERIN BURNETT OutFront" is next. First, your world headlines after the break.