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GOP Rep. Denied Access to Facility Housing Immigrant Kids; GOP Rep. Jim Jordan Denies Ignoring Alleged Sexual Abuse as Coach; U.K. Counterterrorism Police Investigate New Possible Poisoning; Trump Spreads Dubious Story About Obama Giving Citizenship to 2,500 Iranians for Iran Deal; Authorities Step Up Security Ahead of July 4th Festivities. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired July 4, 2018 - 11:30   ET



[11:31:45] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Today, families across the country are together for the July Fourth holiday. Families separated at the border as a result of the president's zero-tolerance policy remain in limbo. Up against a court-ordered deadline to reunite more than 2,000 children with their parents, the department in charge of these kids now, HHS, is still saying they will no longer offer new details on the number of children in their care. Even members of Congress are struggling to get answers.

Republican Congressman Jeff Denham, in California, tried to visit one detention facility this week in California and was denied access. Congressman Denham joins me now.

Thanks for coming in. I appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: Hey, there.

Why couldn't you get in? What happened?

DENHAM: Certainly frustrating. I mean, this was not a spur-of-the- moment thing. We let them know well over a week ago that we were coming. There are three of these facilities in the bay area close to my district. But there are a number of them across the entire country. When these unaccompanied minors come across the border, as they did under the previous two administrations, they're given a plane ticket, a commercial flight to one of the different states where they have these different facilities. The difference is, in this facility that I went to visit, not only did they have the unaccompanied minors there, but they had had two young girls that had been separated from their mothers. And these questions need to be answered. What are the living conditions here? When is the reunification process going? I'm told, of the 25 kids that were at this facility, they're there for an average of 47 days. Well, obviously, with the court order of 20 to 30-day reunification, by their numbers, they wouldn't be hitting them.

BOLDUAN: What do you make of the fact, Congressman, that HHS is now saying that it is not going to be providing updates on the number of children separated from their parents under the zero-tolerance policy, that they say it changes day by day, sometimes hour by hour. And because of that, they'll no longer be providing a breakdown of when these kids get back with their parents.

DENHAM: First of all, it is unimaginable that you would ever separate or pull kids away from their parents. But secondly, I think the parents have a right to know, the American public has a right to know specifically if the reunification process is happening, at what point are we in that process? Is it getting better? Is it getting worse? Are more people being separated? But HHS, who's supposed to have these lists, ought to be able to make them public. If they can't make them public for some of the details and privacy of these kids, they ought to certainly let Congress know who's supposed to be crafting a law right now in a bipartisan fashion to address this very issue.

BOLDUAN: That's what kind of gets me. I get it, there's privacy issues. I guess, I can get that. But why can't a member of Congress get this information? Do you think it is because they cannot provide you with a clear answer? Or they just don't want to?

DENHAM: I don't know. I mean it's certainly a good question. I was very surprised that -- I mean, I couldn't even get the director in the facility to come out and give me some simple answers on, how long is this facility been here, what are your hours of separation? Just give me the basics. They wouldn't even open the door. Obviously, we heard there were several people in there. They were waiting for us when we got there. They knew we were coming. Several people outside with radio communication. But unbelievable that your federal tax dollars are going here, yet the federal government is keeping this information and not being transparent about it.

[11:35:11] BOLDUAN: Honestly, Congressman, do you think, at this point, it is like a public-relations move to just try to hide from it and they think that the criticism will go away?

DENHAM: I think that would be a very bad decision, a poor choice. This isn't going away. Congress isn't going away. The American public's not going away. We've got to resolve this situation, not only reunifying these kids with their parents, but we have to have a path forward.


DENHAM: The issue itself is not going away. It is going to take Congress doing its job, crafting legislation. I would think that under any administration, HHS would say, hey, look, here are the challenges that we're having. Here are the problems in our system. Congress, let us give you our ideas and actually go fix it.

I'm really surprised that they're keeping members away. I want members -- I mean, there are a lot of members in Congress that have never been to any of these facilities or been down to our southern border.

BOLDUAN: Yes. DENHAM: I mean, this is a good opportunity to say, hey, look, every member of Congress, come out there and see exactly what all of the problems are so that we can actually craft a solution and have both parties work on it together.


DENHAM: I'm appalled right now. This is unimaginable!

BOLDUAN: In terms of what Congress -- you're also a really reasonable guy. Just so everyone knows.

DENHAM: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: In terms of what Congress -- that might not be a compliment coming from me. I'm not really sure anymore. But we'll continue.

In terms of where Congress is on immigration, nothing's happening. Bills failed, everyone left town. I know you have been a driving force behind the discharge petition to try to get some votes on immigration. Do you have any -- any confidence when Republicans are here, some Democrats are now talking about the solution to abolish ICE. I mean, could that be anywhere close to being on the table to get a bipartisan effort done?

DENHAM: Yes. I mean, certainly, there are some polar opposites of extremes on both parties. It is difficult to solve this broken immigration system that we've had broken for the last 30-plus years. But narrow pieces of legislation, when you're just talking about keeping families together and addressing this one small piece, I would think that it would be very, very bipartisan.

BOLDUAN: That's why everyone continues to seem to be beating their heads against the wall on this one.

Can I ask you really quick, because it is just happening? Congressman Jim Jordan, a colleague of yours, is facing some tough questions right now. Jean Casarez just did a whole report about it. Accusations that he turned a blind eye to abuse when he was a coach at Ohio State. He denies vehemently the allegations. Speaker Ryan had issued a statement saying that, "These are serious allegations and issues the university has rightfully initiated a full investigation into the matter. The speaker will await the findings of that inquiry."

What do you make of this?

DENHAM: Yes, certainly, I believe any time there are these types of accusations, the institution or the body that this is happening underneath, to have a full investigation.


DENHAM: I think you have to have transparency. You have to go through these things swiftly and make sure that you're addressing all those that are concerning. And the most-important piece is everybody should be 100 percent cooperative so you can make sure this never happens again. That's the biggest thing is the path forward, making sure that this culture goes away and never comes back.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And from Jim Jordan's part, he vehemently denies that he has heard any of it, heard any of it then, saw any of it then. And there's a discrepancy that, if he has gotten contact to do an interview, he says he will fully cooperate to help out in any way he can. So we will see. That's for sure.

Congressman, I really appreciate your coming in. We're not going to lose sight of this immigration conversation.

DENHAM: You've got it. Happy Fourth of July. Freedom.

[11:39:14] BOLDUAN: Thank you. You, too. Freedom.

Coming up for us, the opposite of freedom. Another suspected poisoning attack just miles away from where that former Russia spy was poisoned earlier this year. We have a live report from Scotland Yard, next.


BOLDUAN: Breaking news, British counterterrorism police are investigating another possible poison attack. There's a lot that they don't know, but here is what they do know right now. Two people were left critically ill after being exposed to a, quote, unquote, "unknown substance." That's how they're describing it right now. Here is where the plot thickens, if you will. It happened just miles from that recent poison attack where another recent poison attack happened when a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent back in March. They both spent extensive time in the hospital recovering before they were released.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, joins me now from Scotland Yard with details.

Nick, what are they saying about this?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've just heard from the local police commander who is leading this investigation with the assistant of British counterterrorism police behind me here at Scotland Yard. The key phrase, it is, quote, "not clear" if a crime has been committed yet. The focus on this is acute because of what happened to Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the former Russian spy, just down the road from where this occurred. But the events we heard in that press conference are interesting because one of these two people, and they're both British nationals, have cast aside the idea of this being another attempt against some other kind of Russian double agent here in the U.K. These two British nationals, together on the same property. The woman, age 44, fell ill in the morning of Saturday. The man falls ill later on that day. Both occasions medics come. They're now both critically ill in hospital.

But the key question is, what was the substance, called an unknown substance at this stage, that caused them to fall ill. Five separate places have been sealed off in that area. And of course, Britain deeply on alert and deeply troubled by this. Still lacking the key facts of whether this was a narcotics substance, an exotic substance, or something much more chilling, like a nerve agent that was said to have killed the Skripals -- sorry, tried to kill the Skripals.

[11:44:43] BOLDUAN: That is terrifying. A lot to learn here.

Nick, I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Coming up for us, a FOX News contributor called a report about the Iran deal totally made-up B.S. Why did the president then blast it out to over 50 million followers? We'll try to follow the breadcrumbs -- next.


BOLDUAN: This week's "Impact Your World" looks at a non-profit giving the homeless a hand up, not just a handout. Watch.


ODESSA (ph) MOORE, FORMERLY HOMELESS: I was going through a divorce, separation from my husband. I lost my job, I was evicted. I had to go to a shelter.

I was sad. I was embarrassed. I didn't feel like I was good enough for my kids at that time.

CHRIS FINLAY, FOUNDER, SHELTERS TO SHUTTERS: Over 70 percent of all homeless are what I call situational homeless. People that have simply had a catalyst in their life that's taken them from being working and productive to, unfortunately, finding themselves without a home.

MOORE: They actually transitioned me out of the shelter and into -- back into my own place.

FINLAY: The mission of Shelters to Shutters is taking somebody who's homeless, transitioning them to economic self-sufficiency.

MOORE: Now I'm an assistant manager for an apartment complex.

FINLAY: Job fairs have been tremendously successful. It is no better way than by putting people in front of hiring managers.


FINLAY: When you see an opportunity to make an impact, I think we have an obligation.

MOORE: My kids tell me, Mommy, I'm so proud of you. It just does something to me and it fires me up.



[11:49:46] BOLDUAN: It's a recurring theme. When do words matter? Does anyone care about facts anymore? I ask it again today because President Trump is again spreading unsubstantiated stories about former President Obama. Trump tweeting this, "Just out that the Obama administration granted citizenship during the terrible Iran deal negotiation to 2,500 Iranians, including to government officials. How big and bad is that?"

President Trump doesn't offer any evidence that he would have. The source of the story, at least on FOX News, is an Iranian cleric.

CNN Money senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy, is here.

Oliver, first off, cut through this for me. Where exactly does this come from?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN MONEY SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: This seems to be another unsettling situation where the president is parroting a conspiracy theory that he heard in the media. In this case, FOX News ran a story on Monday and the story cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper, that cited a single Iranian cleric, who made this wild assertion about the Iranian nculeaer negotiations. From there, it kind of caught fire. Sean Hannity shared it on Twitter. David Clarke, another FOX News personality, shared it on Twitter. It eventually jumped to the FOX News air waves on Tuesday morning. That's where "FOX & Friends" first broadcast the story. And just I think like two hours later, the president was tweeting about it and using it as a weird way to attack Obama.

BOLDUAN: So Obama administration -- Obama officials are denying it. It's always like where is the burden of proof when it comes to these stories.

DARCY: Right.

BOLDUAN: To prove the negative or to prove the positive. Is anyone offering evidence?

DARCY: There's some evidence here. Jeff Prescott, the former national security counsel --

BOLDUAN: Evidence to the negative?



DARCY: He shared some numbers with us, immigration numbers, that show that there was relative consistency between the number of Iranians naturalized before the Iranian nuclear deal and after the Iranian nuclear deal. In fact, it actually went down a little bit. But throughout the years, from the Bush administration to the Obama administration, there's consistency across the board. And they are saying this is totally just not true. It's absurd. They call this -- Jake Sullivan was on CNN last night and really went after the president for tweeting this. He made the point the president could call the State Department, the government officials that he's appointed and ask, hey, is this true, and they would tell him, no, this is not true. But instead, he relies on this thin FOX News report and puts it out there. It's quite disturbing.

BOLDUAN: It comes down to, once again, who do you trust? Do you trust the numbers coming from the federal agency that's in charge of it? Do you trust a FOX News report about another report about another report from one Iranian cleric? Who do you trust?

DARCY: The great thing is that FOX News' own commentator, the former Obama State Department spokesperson, told FOX News, "This sounds like B.S." That's an actual quote that they included towards the bottom of their story. And FOX News still ran with it, which is just really mind numbing.

BOLDUAN: Happy Fourth of July.

It's great to see you, Oliver. Really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

So, wow, speaking of while you get ready to fire up the grill and prepare for fireworks, law enforcement across the country is hard at work for you. What they're doing out of today's big celebrations and parades like this one in Chicago, and one about to get under way in D.C., happening right now. We'll take you there live. That's next.


[11:56:21] BOLDUAN: Parades, barbecues and fireworks all top of mind today. And so is security. Big cities are ramping up in the wake of the FBI recently foiling a suspected July 4th terror plot in Cleveland.

CNN's Joe Johns is joining me from the National Mall in Washington.

How are officials preparing there, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, quite frankly, there are a lot of preparations that go into something like this, obviously, Kate. There's a command center where law enforcement authorities from around the region gather to monitor, listen, watch. And, meanwhile, around the area, thousands and thousands of feet, if you will, of different kinds of fences put up in order to create crowd control. There's certainly the magnetometers that people have to walk through in order to gain access here to the National Mall. And a number of different activities going on here, of course. We have the Independence Day parade, which is going on as I speak. Later today, we're going to have, among other things, the concert at the United States capital, as well as the big fireworks display. And ongoing throughout on the mall is the National Folk Life Festival. Certainly, a lot for security to consider.

The big things I'm told from law enforcement authorities they're worried about is the asymmetric vehicular threat to crowds of the type that we've seen around the world. Certainly, watching out for that. That's why we have so much crowd control. But the main thing they're worried about, quite frankly, here right now is the weather. It's been very hot in Washington, D.C. There's a potential for people to essentially get sick, heatstroke, what have you. And there's a possibility, however slight, of thunderstorms, which could create a quick evacuation if it occurred around fireworks time tonight -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Thinking positive, though, Joe. Thinking positive as we start the day.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

From the parades, now to the food on the Fourth of July. Nothing says Independence Day like a mountain of hot dogs and, of course, hungry competitors. Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is getting under way.

CNN's Karen Caifa is at New York's Coney Island.

Karen, what is going on there?

KAREN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. That heat Joe was just talking about in D.C., they're feeling the humidity in New York here in Brooklyn. The women had their competition about an hour ago. Miki Suto (ph), five-time winner, she ate 37 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

And the men are up in just a few minutes. Joey Chestnut has won this competition 10 of the last 11 years. And he says, in his practice sessions recently, yes, practice sessions, he's been hitting the mid- 70s in 10 minutes. When it comes to that hot dog-eating record, last year, he did 72 in 10 minutes. If you do the math on that, Kate, it works out to roughly 17,000 calories consumed in a span of 10 minutes. I can't say all of those calories stay in him, TMI. But that's what it adds up to. More than most of us eat in a week. Joey Chestnut the one to watch today, going for, as they call it, the Mustard Belt. That's the grand prize here at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Karen, it's not about the calories. It's about the joy of shoving as much food in your face as humanly possible. It all comes down to, I hear, do you --


CAIFA: It's about the sport.

BOLDUAN: It's about the sport of it. Dip the bun in the water or not because a soggy bun is better than nothing, I guess.

Great to see you, Karen. Thank you so much.

I'm now starving.

CAIFA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: I don't know what that says about me though.

Thanks for joining me. Have a great Fourth of July, everyone.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.