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White House Won't Comment on Roe v. Wade as Trump Talks to Potential Supreme Court Nominees; Michael Cohen: 'I Put Family and Country First'; Trump, Putin Share Expectations for Summit. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 2, 2018 - 17:00   ET

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


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: I turn you over now to Jim Acosta in THE SITUATION ROOM.

[17:00:08] JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Potential pick. President Trump says he's interviewed four possible Supreme Court nominees. And sources tell CNN he's increasingly interested in naming a woman to the nation's highest court. But tonight, a new poll finds a plurality of Americans think the Senate should wait until after the midterm election to consider the president's pick.

Loyalty test. The president's long-time lawyer and fixer, under criminal investigation, appears to be sending a signal to Mr. Trump that he might flip. Michael Cohen saying his loyalty lies with his family and country, but no mention of the president.

Rescue under way. Twelve boys and their coach found alive nine days after they went missing deep inside a flooded cave in Thailand, but their ordeal is far from over. Divers are still trying to reach them and figure out how to get them out.

And Fourth of July terror plot. An American man arrested for allegedly planning an attack on an Independence Day parade using car bombs and giving toys filled with explosives to the children of military personnel.

Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Jim Acosta. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ACOSTA: And we are following breaking news. The White House refusing to comment on Roe v. Wade as President Trump talks to potential Supreme Court nominees, including four possible picks today. We'll talk about that and more with Congressman Ruben Gallego of the Armed Services Committee and our correspondents, specialists and analysts. They're also standing by.

But first, let's go straight to CNN's senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, press secretary Sarah Sanders says the president is not asking the candidates about specific cases involving Roe v. Wade. But in many cases, Jeff, they already know the answer. Right? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSES CORRESPONDENT: No question about

it. I mean, Jim, the list of 25 finalists to be, you know, the potential Supreme Court pick have been out there in the public eye. And the president saying he's not asking them specifically about landmark rulings like Roe v. Wade, but the reality is the Federalist Society, the conservative group here in Washington that has been working with this White House on crafting that list, knows the answer to them. So there are so surprises, in effect, on that front.

But Sarah Sanders repeatedly would not say if Roe v. Wade is a central issue here. The White House trying to downplay that. But we did get a sense into what the president is thinking, and he revealed today he talked to four finalists for the post earlier this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the morning, during the morning, I interviewed and met with four potential justices of our great Supreme Court. They are outstanding people. They are really incredible people in so many different ways, academically and every other way.

I'll be meeting with two or three more, and we'll make a decision on the United States Supreme Court, the new justice. That will be made over the next few days, and we'll be announcing it on Monday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: So the president clearly trying to build anticipation for that big reveal, if you will, a week from today, next Monday evening. We're told that will likely be in prime time.

The president trying to make the, you know, to build the suspense, if you will, much as he did a year ago in the first Supreme Court pick that he had of Neil Gorsuch. So the president revealing that he talked to four finalists, likely face to face this morning and saying he'll do so a few more as the week proceeds, Jim.

ACOSTA: And we should have a lot of twists and turns over the next week, Jeff. Who is on the president's short list? Do we know any answers to that at this point?

ZELENY: Well, we certainly know that there are 25 people in this group that he's considering, but we do know -- I am told that he is at least increasingly intrigued by the idea of selecting a woman. He believes that a woman who would be the first truly conservative pick for the Supreme Court.

So one of those potentials is a federal judge out of Chicago. Her name is Amy Barnett -- or Barrett, excuse me. She is a Notre Dame graduate, a mother of seven, a Catholic, a former Supreme Court law clerk for Justice Scalia, the late Justice Scalia. So she is one of the finalists.

Brett Kavanaugh, another name there. He is a -- on the federal bench here in Washington. So a lot of names who are well-known to the legal community here, but again, increasingly, I'm told the president intrigued by the idea of selecting a woman. He believes that that would be sort of an antidote on the conservative side for all the talk of this being the year of the woman in the midterm elections.

He also believes it could eventually appeal to two key Republican senators, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who are two pivotal votes on the Republican side of this.

So certainly, the White House saying that the president is leaning toward the idea of considering strongly a woman but, of course, several male candidates on that list, as well, Jim.

ACOSTA: And Jeff, on another topic, what's the latest from the White House on North Korea? Is this deal still on track that we heard so much about in Singapore?

[17:05:05] ZELENY: Jim, that is a good question. I mean, the White House is certainly suggesting that it is, and they're saying that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heading back to Pyongyang this week to have more conversations.

But amid reports of -- that North Korea not necessarily holding up its end of the bargain. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders asked repeatedly about that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the president still trust Kim? Does he believe he's a credible negotiator?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, we see progress, a momentum in the process, and we've had good conversations as recently as yesterday. And we're going to continue those conversations later this week and push forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: And, Jim, you know as well as I do, we were both in Singapore covering that historic summit only a few weeks ago. The president answered unequivocally, yes, he trusts Kim Jong-un. The White House press secretary not repeating that today. Again, amid all these reports that North Korea is actually escalating its nuclear program.

Sarah Sanders also not commenting specifically on those reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that there is an escalation, a ramping up of the program going on. So many questions here about that. Even as John Bolton, the national security adviser, saying over the weekend that he believes this could be sort of solved in a year.

But regardless, Jim, certainly a different tone from the president essentially saying that peace is on the way in North Korea. It didn't sound that today here at the White House -- Jim.

ACOSTA: So many important questions unanswered. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

And telling remarks by President Trump's longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, amid his mounting legal troubles. In a rare interview, he said his loyalty lies with his family and country first.

CNN national correspondent Athena Jones is working the story for us. Athena, this is increasing speculation that Michael Cohen might flip against the president. What do you know?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim.

That's exactly right. It's surprising to see someone under criminal investigation talking at length to a journalist. But Cohen's friends are concerned he's been a punching bag on national TV for a month, and they've been encouraging him to speak to the media to help win over the court of public opinion. And while he declined to answer some questions, like about the payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, Cohen made it crystal clear where his loyalties lie.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONES (voice-over): "I put family and country first." President Trump's long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, in an off-camera interview with ABC News sending the strongest signal yet that he's willing to provide information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

Trump's former fixer has described himself as a loyal employee and the guy who would take a bullet for the president.

MICHAEL COHEN, LONGTIME PERSONAL LAWYER FOR DONALD TRUMP: I protect Mr. Trump.

JONES: But he's saying a different tune when pressed on those past vows of allegiance. "To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son and this country have my first loyalty."

Cohen has been under increasing pressure since the FBI raided his home, office and hotel room in April, part of the Southern District's criminal investigation into his business dealings, including the $130,000 payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels, days before the 2016 election, to keep her quiet about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump that Trump denies.

In his first in-depth interview since the raid, Cohen wouldn't answer when asked if the president directed him to make that payment or promise to reimburse him.

In the past, he said he made the payment on his own initiative. This time he said, "I want to answer. One day I will answer, but for now I can't comment further on advice of my counsel."

That counsel, Cohen's new attorney Guy Petrillo, former chief of the criminal division at the Southern District.

Cohen hasn't been charged with any crime but in recent weeks, sources say he has been feeling angry and isolated by the president's treatment of him. And friends have encouraged him to speak to the press to help him win over the court of public opinion. He told ABC, "I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy. I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way."

Trump's now former personal lawyer also sought to separate himself from the president, who has slammed the FBI and repeatedly called the Mueller probe a witch hunt. Cohen instead praising the FBI as courteous and professional when conducting the April raids: "I don't agree with those who demonize or vilify the FBI. I respect the FBI as an institution, as well as their agents."

And saying he doesn't agree with Trump on the Russia investigation: "I don't like the term 'witch hunt.' As an American, I repudiate Russia's or any other foreign government's attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process. And I would call on all Americans to do the same."

Cohen also called the decision by Trump campaign officials to meet with Russians in June 2016 a mistake. But would not say whether Trump knew about the meeting before it happened, citing his lawyer's advice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: Now, ABC reports that once Cohen's new lawyer fully assumes his role, a joint defense agreement he has shared with the president, that allows their lawyers to share information and documents with one another, will come to an end.

[17:10:02] Of course, what happens then is what we're all waiting the find out. A source close to Trump and Cohen telling CNN Cohen is making the case to try to explain and justify why he will turn against the president, saying Cohen's issue is that he doesn't want to be criminally charged or sent to jail and have his family destroyed -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. CNN's Athena Jones, thank you very much.

Let's get more on all of this with Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona, a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Congressman Gallego, I understand you -- I'm sure you've watched what Michael Cohen had to say on ABC earlier today, and you heard Athena Jones's report. Does it look like to you that he is signaling a willingness to cooperate? And if so, what kind of information do you think he can offer to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York?

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D), ARIZONA: Well, it looks like he's about to sing. I think if he truly wants to be respecting his family and this country, he should really reveal everything he knows about the illegal acts of this president or those around him.

And I think what we're going the find out is the president has probably not just dealing with Russia but been doing a lot of illegal acts when it came to his real-estate dealings, when it came to his paying off of, you know, women that he was having sex with, or whatever else was going on. I think the --Michael Cohen's going to have that information.

More importantly, you know, he should be honest with the FBI and Mueller. And I think, at the end of the day, this country and he'll be better for it.

ACOSTA: And do you think this interview might also be a signal to President Trump that he's looking for a presidential pardon? I mean, it's a question that we haven't really gotten an answer to. What do you make of that?

GALLEGO: Well, it could be. But again, I would strongly warn the president that any pardons used in the process of trying to actually impugn investigation, I believe, is an impeachment offense. This investigation needs to go forward. Mueller needs to continue to do this without interference from the White House. And, you know, any type of pardon of potential witnesses is not acceptable.

ACOSTA: And Cohen still has not been interfered by Robert Mueller's team, as far as we know. And he still vehemently denies any involvement with Russia. Do you think he has information relevant to the special counsel's investigation? I mean, is that something that's being dangled in front of the president right now? This is sort of like a threat over him?

GALLEGO: You know, I couldn't tell you. I think that's why the most important thing for us to do is to make sure that Mueller has a free and clear path to finish this investigation without interference from the White House and also from House Republicans that are clearly trying to sabotage this investigation at this point.

ACOSTA: And let's turn to some other topics. Immigration, as you know, there were all those protests over the weekend against the family separation policy of the Trump administration.

Many in your party, though -- we should point out, Congressman, it's a growing number -- they want to abolish ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Do you support abolishing ICE? What is your position on that?

GALLEGO: Well, first of all, it's a hash tag. I think we have to actually understand what -- the policy perspective people want. We don't want to abolish ICE. We want to make sure that ICE is actually doing its job properly and not being abused by this White House.

Instead of actually screening for criminal element that does exist within he illegal alien community, ICE over the last, you know, year to two years, has been going after mothers and fathers, people that are otherwise innocent except for crossing the border.

They actually deported a doctor who had been in this country for 20 years for a misdemeanor that he had done when he was 18, back to a country that he'd never been in the Middle East. You know, we want to see enforced -- the border, our border laws

enforced. We want to see bad criminal element that exists within our American community out, but we also don't want to see these abuses that are occurring under the White House.

And let's, you know, let's be clear. This is the same White House that has already separated thousands of families and created 2,000 orphans to this date. So for us to trust the president he's going to actually judiciously use any -- any immigration force is dangerous. So asking for restructuring, I think, is perfectly fine.

ACOSTA: But Congressman, there are some -- some in the Democratic Party who do want to abolish ICE. I mean, that is a fact, right? I mean, do you think that they are misguided in calling to replace or change ICE? This is a law enforcement agency that does have to enforce the law.

GALLEGO: Well --

ACOSTA: I know you may disagree with the president is using that agency, but I'm just curious. Do you think this is a bad idea?

GALLEGO: I think restructuring and actually holding accountable any governmental agency that is, you know, at this point acting rogue is important.

I disagree with this idea that all Democrats or even a majority of Democrats are asking for ICE to, quote unquote, be abolished. That is a hash tag. What is really happening is that we want to keep this organization accountable. We do want to, of course, have immigration enforcement, but we don't want them to just be focusing on mothers and fathers. We need them to go after the hard-core criminals, which they're not. They're just trying to rack up the numbers and going after innocent people that are here, that are workers that are the -- that own companies, instead of actually going after the hard-core criminals.

ACOSTA: But I have to ask. I have to pressure you on this. And forgive me, Congressman --

GALLEGO: Sure.

ACOSTA: -- but Kamala Harris, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, are they going too far in calling for the abolish -- abolition of that agency? The elimination of that agency? Excuse me. Is that a mistake, do you think?

[17:15:11] GALLEGO: Well, you know, knowing both women, I know them to be very responsible. By saying they're trying to abolish doesn't mean they're trying to stop all types of immigration enforcement. What they're essentially saying is we need to make sure that this agency continues to be held accountable.

Look, ICE came about after September 11, and it was largely there to go after potential terrorist elements. There will be something that exist after ICE. There will be something that is actually there to actually enforce the law and to deport those people that need to be deported.

But the element that has taken over ICE right now, that is actually deporting mothers, fathers, separating families, going after people that have been in this country for years, some of them actually permanent residents, is something that is disgusting, I think, to American values and is being abused by this president.

But to say that either of those senators somehow want to get rid of ICE, quote unquote, and have no enforcement, I think, is totally erroneous.

ACOSTA: OK. Congressman Ruben Gallego, we appreciate your time. Thank you very much for joining us.

GALLEGO: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: Good talking to you.

OK. Coming up next, new details how President Trump sees his summit with Vladimir Putin playing out. The Kremlin also weighing in tonight. We'll go live to Moscow.

Plus, more breaking news, the gripping rescue drama unfolding right now in Thailand. Amazing pictures where a group of boys has been found alive after nearly ten days trapped inside a flooded cave. You have to see this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:21:04] ACOSTA: And President Trump plans to meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the start of their summit two weeks from today, according to a person familiar with the plans. That would be similar to his initial meeting with Kim Jong-un: just the two leaders and translators but no other officials.

CNN's senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is joining us from Moscow with the latest. Frederik, we heard from Putin's spokesperson today. What did he have to say?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It was very interesting, Jim. Because one of the things that the Russians seem to want to do at this summit is they want the U.S. to lay off some key issues, to compartmentalize those, take them out of the equation, to then move on to other areas where they think they can get concessions from the United States.

One of them is, of course, Syria. Another one is Ukraine.

One of the things, however, Jim, that the Russians say that they're not going to compromise on is Crimea. And it's interesting, because we asked Vladimir Putin's spokesman today what he thought of some of the comments we heard, for instance, from national security adviser John Bolton over the weekend, saying, "Look, it's President Trump who makes the policy; it's not him." And the Russians clearly like what they're hearing from the White House right now.

Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator) (via phone): Now the political has finally prevailed, and there is understanding that issues we have should not be an obstacle on the path of repairing and expanding the bilateral dialogue. In this case, on the highest level.

The Russian president has repeatedly said and explained to his partners that the issue of Crimea is not on the agenda. Never. Crimea is a part of Russia. All other questions are matters of consensus, matter of discussion, or finding areas of common interests.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: So the Russians say there, Jim, they'll remain tough on Crimea. It's interesting, because there's a flurry of diplomacy that's actually going on right now. We, of course, have a congressional delegation that's actually already in Russia. It's going to be in Moscow tomorrow to scope out what exactly is going to be possible between the U.S. and Russia.

And it was interesting, because we also asked the spokesman about that, as well. He said, look, they believe it's too early to speak of a thaw in relations between Russia and the United States, but they certain think with this White House, that things are on the right track, Jim.

ACOSTA: And Fred, we're also learning more about how President Trump sees the first meeting going down. How are the Russians responding to that?

PLEITGEN: Yes. President Trump saying, look, he wants a one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin to start things off. I think that's exactly what the Russians have wanted the hear.

Because if you look at some of the things that we're hearing on state- run Russian media over the past couple of weeks, since it's more clear that this summit is going to take place, they believe that President Trump wants to deal with Russia, better relations with Russia. And they certainly think that Vladimir Putin is ready for that task.

Of course, we know that Vladimir Putin is someone who's an extremely good negotiator. He's been part of some very, very tough negotiations in the past.

And they also believe that President Trump does want to have these better relations, and it's something that he is going to be pushing very hard for.

So a one-on-one meeting is certainly something that the Russians will be looking forward to, and we can certainly very much expect that Vladimir Putin will be more than ready for it, Jim.

ACOSTA: A very high-profile summit for both leaders. All right. CNN's Fred Pleitgen for us in Moscow for us. Thank you very much. Coming up, long-time Trump lawyer Michael Cohen breaks his silence.

Are his remarks a sign he's going to flip on the president? And I'll talk to Cohen's legal nemesis in the Stormy Daniels case, her lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Why he is accusing Cohen of playing games.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:28:55] ACOSTA: All right. Among the stories breaking this afternoon, a federal judge today ordered former national security adviser Michael Flynn to attend a hearing next week. Lawyers will explain why Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team wants to delay Flynn's sentencing.

Let's bring in our experts and analysts. Let me turn to Jeffrey Toobin first. Does this mean, Jeffrey, that they're squeezing more information out of Michael Flynn?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it means they still need him, and it means that he may be testifying during the grand jury or at trial, and they want the leverage of his sentencing hanging over him.

That's why prosecutors always delay sentencing when they have a cooperating witness, because once the person is sentenced, they don't have the leverage of telling the judge whether they have provided valuable service or not. So this suggests that, in some -- for some reason, the prosecutors still want Flynn to help out the Mueller team.

And, Chris Cillizza, let's turn to Michael Cohen.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes.

ACOSTA: Because that interview this morning, obviously, was a pretty big bombshell. What does it say to you when Michael Cohen is saying, "My loyalty's to my family, to my country, not to President Trump"? It's not exactly, you know, what you hear from people in Trump world saying all the time.

CILLIZZA: Yes. I mean, let's remember, by way of context, Michael Cohen said this is not figurative. Literal: "I would take a bullet for Donald Trump."So now we have family, country and then Trump maybe third. You know, I do think that is somewhat worrisome for Donald Trump.

ACOSTA: That's how it should work, though, right, for all of us, I suppose? Right?

CILLIZZA: Yes, yes. Michael Cohen -- Michael Cohen has not been that guy before. I mean, the reason that Michael Cohen got to the point where he got in Donald Trump's inner circle was because he was the guy who would do whatever it took to clear Donald Trump, including pay $130,000 of what we thought was his own money -- it wound up being Donald Trump's money -- to silence Stormy Daniels from talking.

So I think it has to concern you some if you're Donald Trump. If it doesn't, I think you're not paying attention. Because Michael Cohen is the guy who handled all of that sort of stuff for years and years.

ACOSTA: And Sabrina Siddiqui, we did not hear Michael Cohen in his own voice. We saw quotes and, so obviously, it's a little less dramatic when you're just seeing the quotes on the screen. But it is remarkable to contrast what he said to George Stephanopoulos to what we've heard in the past from Michael Cohen. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL COHEN, LONGTIME PERSONAL LAWYER FOR DONALD TRUMP: In all fairness, who hasn't said something or done something that they regret? Simply trying to protect somebody that they care about? And I care about Mr. Trump.

But one thing Donald Trump is, he's a compassionate man.

He's a man of great intellect, great intuition and great inabilities.

Mr. Trump's memory is fantastic. And I've never come across a situation where Mr. Trump has said something that's not accurate.

Mr. Trump truly cares about America. He loves this country.

He's an amazing negotiator. Maybe the best ever in the history of this world.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: You guys are down. And it makes sense --

COHEN: Says who? Says who?

KEILAR: Polls, most of them. All of them?

COHEN: He's a smart man. He's a decisive man. He's a swift-acting individual.

The words the media should be using to describe Mr. Trump are "generous," "compassionate," "principled," "empathetic," "kind," "humble," "honest" and "genuine."

He's not lying. He was protecting a friend. There's a difference.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What is the difference?

COHEN: The difference is he was being a true friend. He was -- it didn't matter to him.

He will ultimately, and I've said this so many times. He will ultimately go down in history as the greatest president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: It's quite a difference, Sabrina. What do you think?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, "THE GUARDIAN": Well, look, Michael Cohen has not yet been charged with a crime, but he is under investigation for bank fraud, wire fraud, potential campaign finance violations. He's someone who has a wife. He has two children. And my sources told me that he had felt increasingly isolated from the president and his allies. And was eyeing a potential shift in his legal strategy to appear more cooperative with federal prosecutors.

It's quite clear now he's speaking publicly. He's trying to improve his image both before the public and before prosecutors.

And, you know, even if the president sometimes hints at a potential pardon down the road, Cohen also has state criminal charges to worry about. The president can't save him from those.

ACOSTA: And Bianna Golodryga, I mean, we have heard from a friend of Michael Cohen who told CNN that people close to him have encouraged him to speak out. And I talked to a source close to both the president and Michael Cohen who said, you know, one of the driving forces behind, potentially, what he did this morning was just the -- you know, he's deeply worried about his family. So there are real human concerns here for this guy.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, there are. And it's a lot easier to say you'd take a bullet for somebody before the FBI raids your home and your hotel room and seizes, you know, 16 cell phones and tons of paperwork, as well.

And it's interesting, because if you go back and you look at all of those clips and you -- you compare that to reports that he had anticipated possibly having a role in Washington, in a Trump administration, you see the fallout for him has not been that great. Not only, let's say, the best-case scenario, if he can avoid jail time, he's still got legal bills to pay. His reputation to uphold. As Sabrina said, has a wife, two children and future. What happens if he does avoid jail time? Who's going to hire him? I can't imagine the president bringing him back on as his lawyer.

So it looks like, on the one hand, yes, I'm sure that he's sympathetic to how his family has reacted to all of this. I didn't sense this patriotism and love of the FBI and the United States in previous interviews that he'd given, while he was campaigning for the president and supporting the president. So we are seeing a different side of him, but you don't have to really speculate much as to why we're seeing that.

ACOSTA: Jeffrey -- chomping at the bit here -- Jeff.

TOOBIN: Something goes on. The first time your lawyer goes over the federal sentencing guidelines with you, and says, "You have -- you are looking at 30 to 40 months, 60 to 70 months in prison." That changes your perspective. And it -- the only way you can get out of the sentencing guidelines is by cooperating. That's why people cooperate. That's why they start saying nice things about the FBI.

[17:35:26] ACOSTA: And Jeffrey, let me turn to the Supreme Court sweepstakes, because President Trump said today he's interviewed four potential justices. We heard that.

But as you have frequently argued, it may not matter who he picks, because everyone on his short list is a solid conservative, and we basically know where a lot of them stand.

John Oliver of HBO's "Last Week Tonight" had an interesting take on this. You may be familiar with this. Let's take a look at this.

TOOBIN: I am.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN OLIVER, HOST, HBO'S "LAST WEEK TONIGHT": Look, the consequences here will almost certainly be extremely grim. Just watch CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin seemingly visit every show on CNN to do whatever the exact opposite of sugar coating is.

TOOBIN: Roe v. Wade is doomed. It is gone, because Donald Trump won the election.

Abortion will be illegal in quite a significant part of the United States soon. All this fantasy talk about, "Oh, I don't know if Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned." Of course it's going to be overturned.

Roe v. Wade is going to disappear. It arrived in 1973, and it will die shortly.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jeff, I heard you say earlier that within 18 months, that abortion could be illegal in as many as 20 states.

TOOBIN: No. I said abortion will be illegal in as many as 20 states, because Roe v. Wade is dead today.

OLIVER: Wow! I would not want to hear Jeffrey Toobin tell his daughter that their dog passed away. "Sweetheart, Baxter was taken to a farm upstate and then shot in the face. He's dead now. He's dead. He's got no face anymore!"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Jeffrey, I think --

TOOBIN: Can I say one thing?

ACOSTA: -- that captured your subtlety pretty well, yes.

TOOBIN: That is -- that is so unfair. What I said to Ellen was, "The dog is dead. Deal with it." OK? You know? Like, why do they have to distort --

CILLIZZA: Life is tough, kid.

ACOSTA: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: Tough love.

TOOBIN: Toughen up!

ACOSTA: But it does capture -- I mean, some of the ridiculousness of the posturing of this process, right?

TOOBIN: And also --

ACOSTA: And the president's not asking for their stance on Roe v. Wade. I mean, come on. For Pete's sake.

TOOBIN: And also, Susan Collins, who is supposedly this swing vote, she's saying, "Oh, Roe v. Wade is not really in danger, because I talked to Neil Gorsuch." Neil Gorsuch is going to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade in a second.

They say he respects precedent. Just last week the Supreme Court, the five conservatives including Justice Kennedy, overturned a case called Abood that almost exactly as old as Roe v. Wade. They don't care about precedent.

The whole reason, the whole search process here is to find someone who will overturn Roe v. Wade, and if he gets -- he or she gets confirmed, it will be gone. I mean, you know, let's not make this more complicated than it is.

ACOSTA: And that's -- and that's all the time we have for this segment, mainly because we had to show Jeffrey Toobin on John Oliver last night.

CILLIZZA: Toobin.

ACOSTA: There's just not --

CILLIZZA: More Toobin always good.

ACOSTA: That's exactly right. As always, well said. Chris Cillizza, thank you.

All right. Thanks, everybody. Appreciate it.

Coming up, more breaking news and dramatic pictures. Twelve boys and one adult who have been lost in a flooded cave for nearly 10 days are found alive. Just amazing. When will rescuers get them out?

And also, federal agents arrest a man accused of plotting a terror attack on a Fourth of July parade in a major U.S. city. The details are coming up.

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[17:43:24] ACOSTA: Breaking tonight, we have dramatic video of the moment rescuers finally located 12 boys and their coach, all of them alive, nearly ten days after they vanished inside a cave in Thailand and were cut off by floodwaters.

CNN photojournalist Mark Phillips is following the rescue operation and joins us live.

Mark, are the boys and their coach still in the cave at this hour? What's their condition? MARK PHILLIPS, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST: Yes. They are still in the cave

at the moment. The -- it's taken nine days to get to them, and so the -- first of all, the British divers got in there, ascertained their health, see how good they were. They talked to the boys. The boys communicated back with them.

At the moment, there are four Thai divers with the boys. Now, as of midnight, local time here, four more divers went in with a doctor and a nurse, and they're going to give them a full check-up and see how good they are and whether they can start bringing them out of the cave.

But it's -- they've been in there for nine days. So it's -- we're waiting to see what they come back with.

ACOSTA: And how -- how's it going to work, these kids being extracted from that cave? Are they going to be diving into these waters with those divers, or are they waiting for the water to get -- to go down a bit? How will that work, Mark?

PHILLIPS: That's -- that's a good question. At the moment, they have to wait and see.

One of the things that they have to teach the boys how to do is how to dive, which sounds like a silly thing to do while they're in the cave. But that may be the only way out.

What the Thais really hope for is that they can actually pump the water out of the cave. And they've been doing that for several days now. They're actually pumping out about 1.6 million liters an hour, which is an incredible amount of water. With the hope that the water will go down enough in the caves that they can actually physically carry the boys out where they can breathe.

Now, if this doesn't happen -- and we are in the monsoon season here, and the forecast the next couple of days is for heavy rain -- is for the divers to actually teach the boys how to dive, depending on what mental state they're in and what physical state they're in, and to bring them out that way.

But that would take a lot longer, and I think they'd probably want to get them out quicker, sooner rather than later.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Mark. We'll all be watching and hoping for the best.

Mark Phillips, thank you so much for that. We appreciate it. Fascinating story.

Also tonight, a Cleveland man is behind bars accused of plotting a terror attack on the city's Fourth of July parade. The FBI says the 48-year-old suspect self-radicalized and posted on Facebook about his desire to join al Qaeda.

And in meetings with an undercover agent, he allegedly described plans to detonate explosives in a van or hide small bombs in remote- controlled toy cars that would have been given to the family members, the children of military personnel. He was arrested on Sunday.

And we have more breaking news ahead. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading back to North Korea this week. This newly announced trip comes after a U.S. intelligence agency warning says Kim Jong-un may not give up his nuclear weapons any time soon.

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[17:51:00] ACOSTA: Breaking this afternoon at the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will return to North Korea this Thursday to meet with Kim Jong-un. This comes after a new warning from U.S. intelligence.

Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd.

And, Brian, it looks like Kim Jong-un may be sending some mixed messages. Is that right?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is, Jim. It's a typical North Korean game of bait and switch.

Tonight, we have new information from sources that Kim Jong-un's regime is secretly moving ahead with his nuclear weapons production and sharpening his missile capability despite all the optimism and the perceived sincerity we saw from Kim just three weeks ago.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very positive. I think better than anybody could have expected.

TODD (voice-over): Tonight, new indications that the grand declarations in Singapore and the promise of a safer Korean peninsula may mean little or nothing to Kim Jong-un.

CNN has learned the Pentagon's top spy agency believes Kim has no intention of completely denuclearizing his country. At least for now.

That's according to an official familiar with the findings of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

BRUCE KLINGER, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW FOR NORTHEAST ASIA, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: That would be an analytic assessment, which is consistent with decades of North Korean behavior. We've had eight previous agreements that have all failed because North Korea either cheated or didn't fully comply with the requirements.

TODD (voice-over): "The Washington Post" cites U.S. intelligence officials saying the North Koreans are exploring ways to deceive the United States about the number of nuclear warheads, missiles, and facilities they have. Believing that U.S. officials are not aware of the full range of their activities.

Former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright, whose organization tracks nuclear weapons, tells CNN tonight of a secret North Korean nuclear facility he identifies as Kangsong, which he says is in full operation.

DAVID ALBRIGHT, FOUNDER, INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: At Kangsong, they are using gas centrifuges, and this is the rotor assembly, the spinning part inside. And they're producing weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons. And the site may have up to 6,000 or more of these centrifuges.

TODD (voice-over): Also tonight, a new analysis by American researches of satellite pictures says North Korea appears to be finishing up its expansion of a key ballistic missile manufacturing site.

Despite all this new activity by Kim's regime, President Trump says he has, quote, really good chemistry with the dictator. And his Press Secretary says the North Koreans have acted in good faith in other ways.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In the last eight months, you haven't seen missile launches. You haven't seen nuclear -- you haven't seen the nuclear detonations. And, again, these conversations are continuing to evolve. I'm not going to get into the details, but I can tell you that progress continues to be made.

TODD (voice-over): Trump's national security adviser John Bolton says the U.S. has a plan to dismantle Kim's nuclear and missile programs within a year but that the North Koreans have to be transparent.

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The President has been very clear. He's not going to make the mistakes of prior administrations. We're going to pursue this and we'll see what happens.

TODD (voice-over): Tonight, many analysts still don't believe Kim will ever give up the weapons that he, his father, and grandfather worked so hard to build up.

KLINGNER: North Korea has repeatedly said that its nuclear arsenal is a way of defending themselves against what they define as a U.S. hostile policy. They fear the U.S. attacking them, and they point to what happened to the regimes in Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya when they abandoned their nuclear program. So they've said we will not be like those countries.

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TODD: Now, even if Kim Jong-un's promises were sincere, analysts believe it would take at least two years for U.S. officials to be able to verify that Kim's weapons program has been effectively dismantled. And that's if Kim is completely transparent and allows inspectors in from the outside, something most experts believe he is not going to do any time soon -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Some very important questions about what the North Koreans are actually up to. Brian Todd, thank you very much.

Next, longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen breaks his silence and hints he might flip on the President. I'll talk live to his rival, in the legal world, in the Stormy Daniels saga, his -- her lawyer, I should say, Michael Avenatti. Coming up.

[17:55:05] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Happening now, breaking news. Courting a justice. As President Trump interviews multiple candidates for the Supreme Court, we're told that he's increasingly interested in choosing a woman. Would that help his nominee confirmation in the bitterly divided Senate?

Flipping out? Michael Cohen drops new hints that he's ready to turn on the President and that he'll eventually reveal more about what Mr. Trump knew about the Stormy Daniels saga. I'll get reaction from Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

[17:59:55] Found alive. Dramatic video shows a dozen boys and their soccer coach have amazingly survived more than a week inside a cave. CNN is live near the scene as the rescue operation unfolds.

And thumbing his nose.