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DNA Testing Being Used to Reunited Immigrant Kids & Parents; Rep. Jordan: Timing of Accusations "Very Interesting"; U.S. & China Hours Away from Major Tariffs; Trump: Hiring Thousands of Judges Doesn't Work for Immigration; Race Against Time to Rescue Soccer Team & Coach as Rain Threat Increases. Aired 11:30a-12n ET

Aired July 5, 2018 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Nick, what are you learning about this?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we were first made aware this was happening from an immigration attorney named Sophia Greg (ph). She has clients inside the Port Isabel Detention Center. That's where we're standing in front of. She said late last week several of her clients were approached by officials from the Office of Refugee Resettlement and began taking blood and saliva samples, they say, to match the DNA with children still separated from their parents. This has caused without question a lot of outrage here from advocacy groups for immigrants saying this is another example and evidence the Trump administration never had plans to begin with and don't have clear plans as to how they're going to reunite the children and their parents.

They are up against three very tight deadlines. July 6 all parents and children must make contact whether by phone or communication. We are hearing that's happened. There's a deadline in five days where children under the age of 5 must be reunited with their parents and all parents April children must be reunited by the end of July, July 26.

The feds are verifying this DNA testing is happening. They say it's for the safety and protection of the children. They don't want parents who are -- people posing as parents who could be smugglers. They say this is to expedite the reunification process, a process that we have seen is painstakingly slow -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: You are hearing, Nick, about -- at Port Isabel, where you are, about 50 or 60 women who say they were taken outside of the facility while the DHS secretary was visiting. Why?

VALENCIA: That's a question we don't have answered. This is information first reported by "The Intercept." A group, they say, of 60 women were taken outside, they say, intentionally to keep them out of the eyesight of DHS Secretary Nielsen during her visit here, a secretive visit, we should add, on Friday. An ICE spokesman quoted in that ad said it was for recreation. It wasn't something for -- something more suspicious. But we heard from a DHS official who says that they were on that tour and they never saw a group of women. They never saw -- they saw a group of men outside. I spoke to one woman who was inside. She said it was suspicious. They were moved outside for two hours. Within that group, women started saying, help us, help us, please, reunite us with our children -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: You would think the secretary would want to see them. Maybe she did and it didn't happen. We'll see.

Nick Valencia. Great to see you, Nick. Stay on the ground. Keep it honest.


BOLDUAN: Really appreciate it.

Let's turn to the scandal involving powerful Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. He spoke out again fiercely denying any knowledge of alleged sexual abuse while he was a wrestling coach at Ohio State University. Listen.


REP. JIM JORDAN, (R), OHIO: If there had been any reports of abuse, I would have reported them. For anyone who was -- for anyone who was victimized, we want them to receive justice. But the stuff being said about me is just plain false. The timing is kind of interesting. It's right after the big hearing with Mr. Rosenstein. It's right when there's all this talk about a speaker's race.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Jean Casarez is here. She's been following this.

Jean, what's the latest you are picking up?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The very latest is that the university's counsel that said they sent correspondence asking for an interview and there was absolutely no response at all. What we are hearing from the congressman's office at this point is that they have been told by the attorneys for the investigation what e-mail address it was sent to, that it was a non-existent e-mail address. We are working on confirming that with the attorneys themselves. So in other words, he couldn't have gotten a correspondence.

We also have received at least one e-mail that the former wrestler, Mike D'Sabato (ph), actually did send to the congressman. If we look at the time line, it's April 3 that the investigation was publicly announced of Ohio State University's former team athletic physician for over two decades, whether he sexually molested probably hundreds of athletes and others. April 24th is when he sent an e-mail to the congressman. In that e-mail, it does say that, I need your help, I want you to help me in regard to the sexual molestation of myself and others by the team physician.

Also goes into personal things about Congressman Jordan's brother, Jeff Jordan, that he intentionally breached a contract with my company. Jeff Jordan, we reached out to him. Saying, I never breached any contract. We see a lot of things went into this e-mail. But there were several

e-mails. The congressman said yesterday that the latest one was 4:30 yesterday morning. Because of that, the office was considering contacting the capital police because of the timing, 4:30 in the morning, of that e-mail.

[11:35:04] BOLDUAN: Kind of -- suggesting if he is not saying outright that there's something threatening.

CASAREZ: Sunlen Serfaty, our colleague, a source she had on background said that they believed there were veiled threats in the letter.

BOLDUAN: There's a lot more going on with this.

CASAREZ: Of course, D'Sabato (ph) says that's laughable, it's very laughable.

BOLDUAN: First and foremost, let's find out if there was a request made for congressman to speak. The congressman says he is ready to cooperate when they get a request. Let's keep following the bouncing ball.

I appreciate it, Jean.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Still ahead for us, in hours, the U.S. and China are expected to impose billions in tariffs on each other. Does Donald Trump still believe trade wars are good and easy to win, as he has written? One congressman, one Republican congressman says they are not. He is my guest, next.


[11:40:17] BOLDUAN: Billions of dollars in tariffs could hit the U.S. within hours. President Trump set to slap China with tariffs on $34 billion in goods at midnight tonight, targeting machinery, auto parts, medical devices and more. Beijing vowing to retaliate immediately, leveling the same amount on U.S. goods, targeting SUVs, meat and seafood. That's not all. Canada just slapped retaliatory tariffs on $12.6 billion of U.S. exports. Mexico doubling its tariff on pork imported from the U.S. to 20 percent. That's all on top of tariffs from the E.U.. It's hard to keep track of. Is this what a trade war looks like? What do we do?

Joining me Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling, of Texas. He's the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.


BOLDUAN: Of course.

Right now, it seems there's really only uncertainty when it comes to the real impact of these tariffs. If you are certain of anything, who it's going to hit and how, who will win, what is it?

HENSARLING: Well, number one, most people in America are enjoying the best economy they have ever had in their lifetime. I give the president great credit for that, for the tax cut, for recalibrating regulation. This economy, in some respects, is President Trump's economy.

But the economy he brought us, he can also take away if this trade war gets out of hand. That is a great concern that I have. Number one, what I would like to hear from the administration is, what is the end game? If it's to get rid of the trade deficit, we could get rid of the trade deficit tomorrow if we outlawed trade. Our GDP would be headed south as would disposable family income.

If the president's goal like he announced at the G-7 was to bring down tariffs, that's good. I hope it proves to be brilliant. Right now, it seems like we are in for a rocky ride. We have to realize that most of our imports are actually B-to-B, business to business. We use different component parts for Americans to produce products for Americans built by Americans. I'm afraid a lot could be caught up in a trade war. It's not good for anybody. The question is, who will lose more?

BOLDUAN: That's my question to you. When the president wrote in March that trade wars are good and easy to win, you say what?

HENSARLING: Well, I hope he is right and I am wrong. But people -- trade is a win/win situation. No trade is a lose/lose situation. The president is right. Our trading partners have more to lose, because their economies are more based on exports than ours are. The question is again, is this just going to be tit for tat? At the end of the day, there's going to be a lot of American jobs that take in these imports to produce American made products, they will be losers. Consumers could be losers.

Again, I hope that the administration has the right end game. I hope as they, hopefully, will conclude this soon. We need to get down to the actual negotiations. If this thing gets out of hand, again, all the good work the president has done to give us the greatest economy in many of our lifetimes is going to be lost. Right now, I see capital expenditures --


BOLDUAN: Congressman, when it gets out of hand --


BOLDUAN: -- isn't it past? It's like a recession. You know it.



BOLDUAN: You are in it. It's already out of control by the time -- it's already out of control.

HENSARLING: The bad news is the shooting war has already started. Tonight, at midnight, or I guess technically 12:01 in the morning, $34 billion I believe the figure is. That's minuscule compared to our trade. What it does do is it injects uncertainty in the greatest economic stimulus to instill business confidence, which, until recently, has been at all-time highs. I caution the president and the administration to take a look at what you are doing to business confidence. People are saying, well, I'm not so sure I want to build that plant now, because I'm not sure that 30 percent of my product, which I currently export, I'm not sure I will be able to export that in the future. That's a big problem that the administration has to take into account, what are they doing to business confidence on what otherwise is a red-hot economy.

BOLDUAN: This is one point of division, if you will, between the Donald Trump side of the Republican Party and maybe the rest. I put it that way because Max Boot, a conservative journalist for the "Washington Post," he put out a scathing piece today about the party, saying it's now all the Donald Trump side of the party. And he writes this: "A vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflict of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasing of political discourse, the alienation of America's allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators."

And that is why Max Boot is making the point that he's rooting for Democrats in November because, "Like post-war Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt."

Max Boot, long-time Republican. Became an Independent after Donald Trump's election. What do you say to that?

[11:45:46] HENSARLING: I guess we will have to put him down as undecided. I'm not familiar with him.

Here is what I know. Once I know is we have the hottest economy in people's lifetimes largely due to the president. And --


BOLDUAN: Do you think that the Republican Party --


BOLDUAN: -- needs to be destroyed before it can be rebuilt?

HENSARLING: No, no, no. Listen, I don't even know who this guy is. I won't pay a lot of attention to his views.

People all over America, again, they're going back to work. All of a sudden, we have more job openings than we have unemployed, something I don't think we have seen in 20 years. We have an unemployment rate tied for the lowest in 50 years.

My concern is, again, is with trade. I would agree with the president, if the end game here is to bring down trade barriers, the goal should not be to import less. The goal ought to be to export more. Again, I just believe that the president had better get down to these negotiations soon and we better see some progress. Because if this thing gets s out of hand, America will lose. China will lose, Europe will lose, the world will lose, but America will lose.

I have two steel plants in my district that take imported steel. One turns it into shelving, one turns it into buildings. These are people employed in the fifth district of Texas.


HENSARLING: And I'm worried about their future. And I've heard from these companies. Again, I want the administration to be laser focused not just on those who may produce steel and aluminum and all these other --


BOLDUAN: That's why the disconnect -- that's why the disconnect is curious.

HENSARLING: -- but business that consumer it to be competitive.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's why the disconnect is curious to me.

But I do want to ask you in the limited time I have with you about the president just this morning, he says that Congress needs to act with regard to immigration. Of course, he also had said the opposite very recently saying, don't waste your time on immigration. Regardless, he says this today: "Hiring thousands of judges does not work and is not acceptable when it comes to federal immigration judges."

I have seen you advocated putted more judges on the border to fix the crisis. What is the president missing?

HENSARLING: Again, I give the president great credit. In the last State of the Union, he reached out to give an olive branch to the Democrats on dealing with the so-called DREAMers. They did nothing but throw it at his feet. I regret the fact that we haven't gotten a bill out of Congress yet or the House. We have come close. I think it's going to go back to the drawing board. Obviously, this is a tough lift. When the Democrats had a super majority in Congress and could have done anything they wanted to do, they couldn't get an immigration bill out of Congress. Anything we do, under the Senate rules, still need at least nine Democrat Senators to support it.

I think in the short term, again, I think there are abuses. We have to secure the border. Illegal immigration continues to be a threat to our national security, economic security, and the rule of law. I want us to be a nation of immigrants --


BOLDUAN: What about this --


HENSARLING: The asylum -- well, the asylum demands have been abused. That's well established. These people who come up -- many of them good people just trying to improve their family's lot. I get that. They are trained by the smugglers, these coyotes to essentially read a script. The catch-and-release isn't working. Over 90 percent of the people who are released never show up for their court dates. So I --


BOLDUAN: Do you now think there should be more federal judges?

HENSARLING: No. I think that is at least part of the short-term solution. It's not part of the long-term solution. At least, short term -- again, I want to do what we can to secure our borders. I think we need more judges to process these cases. I think there's a lot of abuse of the asylum seekers. That needs to be addressed by Congress.

BOLDUAN: I hear you. But if more judges are a good thing down there and helps in the short term, what's the president missing when he says it won't help?

[11:49:54] HENSARLING: Well, I think the president, again, wants to be more holistic and solve the problem. I think he thinks there's an opportunity. And I think if Democrats would come and help negotiate and be part of the solution, we could get there. So again, I haven't spoken to the president recently about this, but I think he probably has rightfully concluded that a whole bunch of judges, in and of itself, isn't going to solve the problem. I think, temporarily, it can help alleviate some of this, but it doesn't get to the core problem. In some respects, it treats the symptoms, it doesn't treat the underlying cause of those who are essentially abusing the asylum provisions within our immigration law. So much more needs to be done.

BOLDUAN: So much more definitely needs to be done. We saw a lot of efforts under way to try to see if that happens. We'll see if the president will sign on to those efforts from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Congressman, thanks very much. I appreciate it.

HENSARLING: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, exhaustion, malnutrition, and soon torrential rain. The new obstacles facing the 12 young boys and their soccer coach still trapped in that flooded cave. What are the options now? We're going to go live to the scene, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:54:58] BOLDUAN: The mission to rescue the boys soccer team from a flooded cave is offering nothing but more challenges so far. And the weather is about to add to it. Heavy rain is expected for northern Thailand, raising fear the flood waters that trapped them will rise even more.

Correspondent Jonathan Miller is there on the scene for us.

Jonathan, what are officials now saying about the options, about the chances? What's going to happen the next few days?

JONATHAN MILLER, ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, this drama that's been unfolding here in north Thailand is, I think, rapidly reaching its peak. We have another 24-hour window before these monsoon rains set in. The sense of urgency here is something else.

Right in behind me here, you can see what we understand to be oxygen hoses, which are going to be put down into the cave because oxygen levels where the boys are trapped four kilometers down into this cave are reaching dangerously low levels. At the same time, they are accelerating their plans to try to get these boys out. They've been pumping the water out madly from this cave for the past few days. The hope is they can get them out within the next few hours.

BOLDUAN: Just remarkable.

Jonathan, I really appreciate it.

I can't believe the options are bad -- it's like the best of a bad option, and the options are just getting worse for these rescuers who trying to get them out.

I really appreciate it. We're going to stay on top of that.

Thank you all so much.

Coming up for us, right now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heading to meet Kim Jong-Un. Can Pompeo make a deal on dismantling the nuclear program? What are the stakes? What's he going to try to present? Can they decide on a timeline? Stay with CNN.