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Trump Admin May Not Meet Deadline To Reunite Families; China: Trump Has Started "The Biggest Trade War" In History; Growing Outrage After Trump Mocks George H.W. Bush; Pressure Mounting to Rescue Boys as Oxygen Level Drops; Pompeo About to Meet With Kim Jong-un in North Korea. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 6, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:02] BILL CARTER, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": He has a sense of what works on television.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we'll see how that cliff hanger unfolds on Monday. Bill Carter, thank you very much. CNN's Original Series, "The 2000s," begins Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern. We can't wait to watch that. I'm Jim Acosta, thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the Trump administration says it will miss the deadline to reunite families. Do they even have a plan? Plus, the President takes on a new target, a former Republican president and the backlash tonight is building, did Trump crossed a line.

And breaking news, a high stakes meeting about to begin between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong-un. Will Pompeo return to the U.S. empty handed? Let's go OUTFRONT

And good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in tonight for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, the Trump administration endanger failing to meet a court order deadline to reunite parents and children separated at the U.S. border.

Justice Department attorneys in court late tonight asking for more time. The judge in the case instead asking for more documents on the thousands of children who remain separated from their mothers and fathers.

The administration says it met one court order deadline today that is to ensure that all parents at least speak with their children by telephone. The DOJ lawyer says it is their "belief those calls took place." However, it is the more crucial court order deadlines where the administration admits it is falling short.

Next Tuesday, children under the age of 5 must be reunited with their parents. And by July 26, the federal judge says all children must be back with their mothers and fathers.

Today in court, the government revealed of the 100 children under the age of five in custody right now, 19 of their parents have already been deported. Keep in mind, this is a policy that the administration devised and defended even using the bible at times as justification. But today, the vice president was mum on that front.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Vice President, do you think child separation is a Christian thing to do?


SCIUTTO: No comment and response. But what the administration is saying has some concerns. The Department of Health and Human Services holding a conference call with senators today.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who is on that call tweeter, "I'm furious and horrified after immigration conference call, virtually no separated children have been reunified, no system, no plan, no path to assure reunification. No answers to key questions. Strategy seems to be blame everybody else."

Our Miguel Marquez, is OUTFRONT live from Brownsville, Texas tonight. Miguel, I know you've been down on the border for a number of days now. Do you see any signs, any evidence there that reunions are taking place in numbers?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, not in numbers certainly. And we certainly see some indication that certain parents are starting to get out and trying to find their kids, but it is a slow unwieldy process and that first deadline of those under fives, there is no indication at this point that they will make that deadline at least in total.

The government say they know where most of the parents are. As you mention, many of them have been deported already. We also hear from groups that would put immigrants that two kids have been deported without their parents as well, so a lot of moving pieces in all of this.

The government also saying today in court that they're not entirely sure where about 20 parents are. They have about 100 kids under 5 in their care right now and they're not entirely sure where about 20 parents are. This is, of course, the same government that has assured us all the way along that they knew exactly where the parents were, they knew exactly where the kids were. There was a process to reunify them.

The people that we are hearing from now that are starting to get out of detention in dribs and drabs say there is no process. They can't understand it. They can't figure out how to get to the process. These are people who were arrested a month or two months ago.

They have no documents, they have no phone, they have no access to computers, they have basically just goodwill to go on and they don't have the ability to deal with the process with HHS, for instance, to get that process rolling. It would take them weeks and weeks and weeks (INAUDIBLE) the paperwork to get their kids back.

The other side of it, those phone calls that are supposed to happen today, even that is not clear. The government says it is up and working, but we hear from people who are locked up still in from their lawyers that some are making regular calls to their kids, some have talked to maybe once, maybe twice to their kid in a couple of months they've been in detention, some haven't heard from them at all.

And even when they do have a conversation, it's typically short. The kids are crying. The parents are crying, tough to have any communications. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Listen, how can you reunite them if you don't know where they are? I mean, it's the most basic question. Miguel Marquez down at the border there.

[19:05:05] OUTFRONT tonight, Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado. Congressman Coffman, thanks very much for taking the time, particularly on this difficult issue.

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: Well, thanks for having me.

SCIUTTO: Now, you, Congressman, you yourself have been critical of the President's family separation policy.


SCIUTTO: As you heard today, the Trump administration said it's going to miss really the most crucial deadlines imposed by the federal judge, those deadlines being to reunite the children with their mothers and fathers. Is that unacceptable in your view?

COFFMAN: Well, I mean, the policy wasn't acceptable in the first place. I mean separating families, separating young children from their parents, it was just horrific and just such a bad idea to begin with, such a -- it's not who we are as a country, it's just simply cruel and immoral.

It doesn't surprise me that they're going to miss the deadline. I've been down to the border. I think what concerned me is this -- that the number of federal agencies that are involved in this, you got the Department of Human Services, you got the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and all of these agencies underneath them.

And so it doesn't -- I think the Department of Human Services is taking the lead on this but they really need -- I'm hoping and I sent a letter to the White House to this effect to bring a military officer and somebody who is used to working across maybe in different branches of services with foreign allied countries to the United States to -- on a unified mission. And so I think the administration needs to put somebody in charge over all of these agencies to make sure this happens.

SCIUTTO: It's interesting here because it seems like the government doesn't even have the data, it doesn't have the information to track the children and their parents down. The HHS Secretary Alex Azar, he said yesterday that the number of children in the country -- custody, rather, is under 3,000 but he couldn't give an exact number. So the question becomes, do they just not know or are they concealing a lack of progress here?

COFFMAN: It's hard to say. I mean, it's hard to believe them and I think -- and I went to a detention center and the children were mixed together with those who unaccompanied minors crossing the border with those who were for separations, children in the same detention center.

So I'm wondering if, in fact, they're conflating these numbers but it's, you know, they give a bewildering number of explanations as to the numbers into the status of these children and the status of the parents.

You know, thank God that they stopped separating any more families, but I think it's going to take some time to sort through this mess to get these families together and my guess they're going to miss the next deadline as well by the court.

SCIUTTO: You know, early on and I know this is a policy you yourself have criticized since the beginning. Chief of Staff John Kelly, he said that this family separation policy was intended as a deterrent, in effect, designed to be painful to kind of scare people away from trying to cross the border.

And I just wonder if the lack of data here, the lack of contact, the lock of a paper trail keeping track of where the children are, where the parents are, does that strike you as an intentional product of this policy? In other words, they wanted to make it tough, like this, because really it was not a priority to reunite these families until they were ordered to by the court?

COFFMAN: Well, first of all, the fact that these families kept coming speaks to their desperation, you know, which is another issue that we have to deal with in terms of the countries that they're coming from. But I think it's probably more about bureaucratic incompetence than it is in having all of these disparate agencies with their fingerprints over the same policy that it is intentional.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this final because, of course, a lot of these issues are political, right, and the President is trying to appeal to part of his base that, you know, puts all of these immigration issues together and in effects looks at these families even with their children as part of the problem here.

I just wonder, you're a Republican and granted -- you're in a district, you know, close to Denver, so probably not the most conservative Republican district in the country. But do you hear from your constituents, do you hear sympathy for these families at the border or do you hear toughness to just say, "Hey, listen, it's their fault." What do you hear when you talk to voters?

COFFMAN: Well, certainly, I think for most of Americans and most people that I've had communicated with (INAUDIBLE), it's sympathy.

[19:10:01] I mean the fact that sure we want to have, you know, we want to secure our borders, we want to fix our broken immigration system, and we want to stop illegal immigration, but we don't want to tear families apart. And that's about -- so I think most people are compassionate about keeping families together.

SCIUTTO: Congressman Coffman, thank you for taking the time and thank you for taking the questions.

COFFMAN: Thanks for having me.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, several Republicans are slamming President Trump for comments that some are calling offensive and uncalled for. Did Trump cross a line by mocking Republican President Bush?

Plus, Trump ignites a costly trade war with China. So how is this good for the U.S. economy? I'm going to ask one of the President's top trade advisers. He is Peter Navarro.

And the situation going more dire in the race to save 12 boys and their coach. Air is dwindling and the waters are rising.


SCIUTTO: Tonight, China is accusing the United States of starting "the biggest trade war" in economic history. This coming after U.S. tariffs on some $34 billion worth of Chinese products officially went into effect today. China immediately responding with their own new tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. goods. U.S. is expected to hit China with tariffs on additional $16 billion worth of products in the next few weeks.

OUTFRONT now is Peter Navarro. He's assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. Mr. Navarro, thanks very much for taking the time.

[19:15:03] PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: Good evening Mr. Sciutto. How are you tonight?

SCIUTTO: Very well. And it's good to have you on to talk about this. So big picture here, listen, China is a bad trade actor. They're very unfair to U.S. companies in China on a whole host of levels. The real question is about the trade war, what that means for American consumers, economy, et cetera.

So first on that point, when China said the U.S. has now started the biggest economic trade war in economic history and is vowing, you know, respond tit for tat, do you agree? Is that what we're in now?

NAVARRO: That's hyperbole. There is a credibility issue in the Chinese press. I mean, they don't even acknowledge they steal an intellectual property. They don't acknowledge they force the transfer of it. And so the issue here is what does America do to defend itself against these egregious practices.

I think of this as the President does as a trade dispute. The trade war is long over. That trade war with China lasted from about 2001 when they joined the World Trade Organization. To the end of the Obama administration we lost over 70,000 factories, over five million manufacturing jobs and China became essentially the factory for the world and put people in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and all around this country, out of work and on the unemployment line.

Since President has got in office, he's turned that completely around and part of it is because he's had the tough trade policy. Today wasn't the first time, Jim, putting on tariffs. We put it on solar. We put on dish washers. We put on steel and aluminum and the numbers today in the economy were off the charts. I mean, this economy is just cranking on all cylinders and it's because of our trade policy, not in spite of it.

SCIUTTO: Well, couple things interrupt there. Yes, you know, great job figures today. Unemployment rate of 4%, et cetera. But the issue is turning. I mean, you claimed that he's turned around the trade imbalance, that certainly is not in the numbers yet. But I want to ask you this because it appears we're in something and this happens in trade wars, right? That it become --

NAVARRO: We don't like -- it's a trade dispute. We've had these with Japans in the '80s. We have it in the '90s.

SCIUTTO: We'll call it a trade battle.

NAVARRO: Trade dispute.

SCIUTTO: We'll call it trade battle for now.

NAVARRO: Let's call it trade battle. Stop putting that on the chyron, trade war. That's upsetting


SCIUTTO: -- is you've kind of in a game of chicken, right? And it is like, I'm going to put this on you that, you know, you end up in this kind of escalation. In March, you were asked if you expected China would retaliate in response to U.S. tariffs. I want to remind you and our viewers how you responded.


NAVARRO: I don't believe any country in the world is going to retaliate for the simple reason that we are the most lucrative and biggest market in the world.


SCIUTTO: So China is retaliated. What did you get from them?

NAVARRO: So we are the biggest market in the world. China basically sells us half a trillion dollars of goods a year. We only sell them $130 billion. We have the same problem with Europe. We run a deficit of $150 billion.

All of these countries that are running these large trade surpluses do indeed have much more to lose than we do in this trade dispute. What the President is trying to do simply is to have fair, free reciprocal and balanced trade.


SCIUTTO: No, I hear what the goal is.

NAVARRO: -- is by standing up for the American people here with tariffs and tariffs do stimulate investment, we've seen that. They do reduce our deficit over time and we will see that in the numbers.

SCIUTTO: But you said, Mr. Navarro, you said China was not going to respond and in effect, Trump's threat would be enough to make him back down but in fact, they're not backing down.

NAVARRO: And China is a sovereign nation. If they want to choose to basically retaliate against what is a legitimate defense of this country against their unfair trade practices, they're a sovereign nation, they're free to do that. But it is not going to bother our economy. It's not going to bother us. And if they try to bully our farmers or anybody else in this country, we're going to -- President Trump is going to stand up for those folks. I think what's important here --


SCIUTTO: No, no, but just before we do, because you just made a claim. You just made a claim. You made a claim and I want to respond to your claim.

NAVARRO: If I may just one point, just one point to put things in perspective here so we don't go crazy on the hyperbole. $50 billion of tariffs are -- there are 25 percent on the $50 billion. We have close to $120 trillion GDP between the two countries. This is like tiny.

SCIUTTO: Well, for now.

NAVARRO: So what we're doing is taking measured steps --


NAVARRO: -- targeted at the industries of the future so that we have a future. And so again --


SCIUTTO: OK. Let's just go on --

NAVARRO: -- to hype things up. Let's keep things calm. We're calm.

SCIUTTO: Let me read it again from the monthly survey of U.S. Manufacturers. You said that it has no effect on the economy. It's a tiny graph on the bucket. The most recent survey of the U.S. Manufacturers said the following. "U.S. tariff policy and lack of predictability along with the threat of trade wars, their words, is causing general business instability and a drag on a growth for investments." Those are U.S. Manufacturers you're saying already it is causing a drag on that. [19:20:03] NAVARRO: Yet, yet, in today's data we saw that 97 percent of the manufacturers in this country have a positive outlook. And you know what, my favorite statistic today, if I may. I was on the campaign trail with President Donald J. Trump, couldn't have been more prouder to have been there.

When we were talking on the campaign trail in 2016, we noted that there were lots of people, between for -- people between the ages of 25 and 50 were out of the labor force entirely, just given up. And you know what, we've put back to work almost a million of those people. They're back in the labor force and they're working or looking for work, that's why the labor force participation rate is going up.


NAVARRO: And that will be as important as the unemployment rate and the number of jobs created. I'm telling you, Jim, this strategy the President has, cutting taxes, deregulation and trade policy including the tariffs, it's just working.


NAVARRO: And it's working for working men and women who love to watch your show.

SCIUTTO: So let's go back -- no, no, and I appreciate it and give you a chance to make your point for the whole host --.


NAVARRO: And I appreciate that.

SCIUTTO: But I do want to focus on the trade issue. You mentioned the tax cuts, for instance. Your former colleague, President Trump's former top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, he's warning that a trade war could wipe out the benefits of tax cuts. Have a listen.


GARY COHN, FORMER NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation. You could end up with more consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could it wipe out the benefits of the tax bill?

COHN: Yes, it could.


SCIUTTO: And one more data point, if I could just add it, "The New York Times" reported the analysis done by the White House's own council of economic advisers found that tariffs would hurt economic growth. So when you see that data, how do you tell American consumers that the prices won't go up, American investors and manufacturers that their economic outlook won't be raising questions as we saw in the manufacturer's report. How do you respond to that hard data?

NAVARRO: Well, there's a couple of things going on here. First of all, it's good to see Gary back in the private sector subtle again. We used to have those kinds of arguments in the Roosevelt room all the time, sometimes in front of the President.

And the thing I would say to Gary back then, I'll say to him now is that the issue with tariffs is they have positive effects as well. They might affect prices a little bit, like Gary is suggesting, but over time those prices are moderated as the other benefits come in positive investment. We've seen new steel plants. We've seen new aluminum plants.

And by the way, when you put the tariffs on besides collecting revenues, you also will reduce the trade deficit over time. So this is why the President is doing what he's doing and this is why the numbers that we're seeing in the data. Mr. Sciutto, the numbers don't lie here. Confidence is off the charts. Manufacturing jobs are off the charts. And it's partly because of the tariff policy, partly because of the tax policy.

SCIUTTO: Well, to be (INAUDIBLE), there's some contradictory data too and we'll have to see.


NAVARRO: I'm not seeing that. What's contradicting? What are we mentioning here, race anything? The ISM Manufacturing is off the charts. The ISM service sector thing that came out this week is at historic highs.

One of the most things we're most proud of in the White House is the fact that Latino and African-American employment is at historic highs. Unemployment rates are historic lows and this is what we said would happen all along if we restored the manufacturing base because disproportionately, disproportionately, blacks and Hispanics got hurt during that trade war we had with China when they were dumping all our product in here, putting people out of work across the Midwest and the rest of this country.

SCIUTTO: Well, you do --

NAVARRO: So the step is working for working men and women.

SCIUTTO: Listen, and I'm glad we're having this conversation just to -- you said that the ISM, it's also the ISM the same manufacturer are holding back on investments because of trade war.

NAVARRO: Yes, but look at the number. It's in the stratosphere and it's a log and rhythmic index. So when you get up in the 56, 57, 58, that's not a linear progression, it's log and rhythmic. So I'm telling you, manufacturing has seen a renaissance like it hasn't seen since the '80s. This is -- and it's because of President Donald J. Trump. We're all -- we're hitting -- we're going to hit 4 percent possible growth rate this quarter. We haven't seen that since decades. SCIUTTO: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. It's good to have to chat. I hope we can do it again.

NAVARRO: Well, I will come back and talk you as this unfolds over time.

SCIUTTO: We'll do it. All right. OUTFRONT next, President Trump mocks President Bush angering many Republicans, but does that work for Trump's base?

Plus, the mission to save those 12 boys trapped in the cave turned deadly. Is there a safe way to get those boys out?


[19:28:45] SCIUTTO: New tonight, there is growing outrage after President Trump mocked 94-year-old former President George H.W. Bush. Trump slamming Bush's 1988 presidential campaign slogan, a thousand points of light.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERA: We're putting America first. And by the way, you know, all the rhetoric you see here, the Thousand Points of Light. What the hell was that, by the way? Thousand Points of Light, what did that mean? Does anyone know?

I know one thing, make America great again, we understand. Putting America first, we understand. Thousand Points of Light, I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? And that was put out by a Republican.


SCIUTTO: Of course, a thousand points of light was Bush's call for volunteer work and later became the name of his volunteer organization. Now, several people with close ties to the Bush family are jumping to the former President's defense.

Former Special Assistant to George H.W. Bush, Richard Haass, called it truly offensive. Former press secretary for George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, said the attack was uncalled for and rude. And the former Director for Soviet Affairs, Nicholas Burns, said "President George H.W. Bush is 10 times the man and the president that Donald Trump is."

OUTFRONT now, National Affairs Correspondent for "The Nation," Joan Walsh and a member of President Trump's 2020 reelect advisory council, Steve Cortes, joining as well.

Steve, why attack this guy? Why former President Bush?

STEVE CORTES, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Well -- right. I'd prefer he if he's going to attack a Bush, I'd prefer to be Bush 43, George W. Bush, not H.W., because H.W. is a war hero and a man who --


CORTES: -- by all accounts is in the -- you know, his final days.

George W. Bush I think deserves absolute scorn. I think he was one of the worst presidents --


JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, "THE NATION": Right, a wonderful slogan by the way that even Democrats love.


CORTES: But you said -- the Bushes -- the Bushes in general have been terrible to President Trump, to candidate Trump and to President Trump. So, I -- you know, I do get that part of it.

But I would prefer that he focuses his fire on George W. Bush who I think is frankly although Republican politically, pretty reprehensible in that he said during the entire Obama administration, I'm going to hold my tongue because he deserves that. And then the second Trump was elected, went the exact opposite way it has done nothing but castigated the president.


CORTES: The president ran -- President Trump ran against the Bush legacy in very many ways.


WALSH: This is not about Bush's legacy, Steve. I mean, he had the choice of going after President George W. Bush. He had the choice of saying lots of things about him. He did not choose to do that. He chose to insult a war hero, president from his own party, he chose to mock a slogan that even resonated with Democrats.

I mean, Colin Powell ran the Thousand Point of Lights Foundation. It had bipartisan appeal. It's kind of a beautiful thing and it is the opposite of what Donald Trump is doing to this country. I don't know what kind of depravity it takes to mock a man who is, as you said, reportedly in his last days. He also took another swipe at Senator John McCain, another war hero from his party who is also gravely ill.

This -- it's depravity, I have no other word for it.

SCIUTTO: I want to talk about another moment because this one particularly drew notice from many American women frankly. He took aggressive shot at Senator Elizabeth Warren, who's been a frequent target of his criticism as you know. He calls her Pocahontas. But it was the -- it was the shot at the Me Too movement that caught the most attention. Have a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pocahontas, I apologize to you. I apologize. To you, I apologize. To the fake Pocahontas, I won't about.

I will take -- you know, those little kits they sell on television for $2, learn your heritage. We will take that little kit and say -- but we have to do it gently because we're in the Me Too generation, so we have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs probably two ounces.

And we will say, I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for it by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you're an Indian.


SCIUTTO: Steve, is that appropriate?

CORTES: You know, here again, is it appropriate for him to demand a DNA test of Elizabeth Warren --

SCIUTTO: No, not DNA test, the way he talked about the Me Too movement, the way he talked about the Me Too movement.


WALSH: And it's not appropriate even to demand DNA test -- sorry, I'm sorry.


CORTES: You know why it's appropriate, Joan, it's appropriate because she used a lie quite frankly, a lie about her heritage to gain professional advantage. And so, it's totally appropriate to say, you know face up to this lie or prove that it's not a lie by a DNA test. She's not Native American, yet she claimed to be.

WALSH: You don't know that.

CORTES: So, I have no problem with him calling her Pocahontas. I do -- well, OK, then prove it.


SCIUTTO: Steve, it's not about the DNA test. It's about dismissing the Me Too movement, particularly from a president who as you know has his own accusers and there have been many men who have been substantively accused of this. And Steve, I know -- you're -- we've talked about this before, I know you're sympathetic to that.

I mean, do you think that that's the right way for a president to discuss a movement about abuse of women?

CORTES: Jim, I wish he hadn't mentioned it, I do. I think that was a mistake. I think he stepped on his own message to a certain extent because I think he has a very serious point against Elizabeth Warren, and I wish he hadn't mentioned it. But here's the thing with this president and he is so non-political, even though he's now our president. He's so authentic both for good and for bad. He speaks to us not in a lawyerly and measured way. He speaks to us the way normal people speak to each other at a bowling alley or the church parking lot or a bar. He speaks in a very colloquial and authentic and vernacular way to the American people that they understand.

[19:35:00] And they also know when he's joking. And at times, those jokes, I'll be the first to admit at, times those jokes go too far, and at times they get out of line. I wish he hadn't mentioned Me Too there. I wish he hadn't mentioned George H.W. Bush's I already mentioned, but that doesn't distract from the essentially policies that he's pushing.


SCIUTTO: Let's give Joan a chance, please?

WALSH: I have Republicans in my family. I have people I love who were Republicans. I've literally never heard anyone talk the way Donald Trump does -- I literally never. So, don't slur your fellow Republicans or people in my family by saying this is just the way people talk, because it isn't.

And you know, secondarily, to mock the Me Too movement when you have been credibly accused by at least a dozen women perhaps more of sexual harassment or even abuse yourself, he is speaking to men he is speaking to his idea of men. He wants to go into 2018 and 2020 doubling down on his support with men, but only 32 percent in today's "Washington Post" poll, only 32 percent of American women say he's doing a good job. So, good luck with that. Take back to the polls in November 2018 and 2020. I think you'll be very sorry.

SCIUTTO: Guys, we're going to have to leave it there. Thanks both of you, to Steve and Joan. Appreciate it. It's a tough topic, no question.

OUTFRONT next, oxygen is running low as authorities race to save those boys trapped in a cave. Officials now saying there's a limited amount of time to rescue them.

Plus, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in North Korea as we speak, about to meet with Kim Jong-un. Will he be able to get North Korea to give up its nukes? General James Clapper will be my guest.


[19:40:17] SCIUTTO: Tonight, dire warnings about those 12 youth soccer players trapped inside a flooded cave. Oxygen levels inside had dropped to dangerously low levels and an experienced former military diver died overnight on his way out, showing just how risky the escape will be for those boys, many of whom don't know how to swim let alone scuba dive.

Matt Rivers is OUTFRONT from the scene. Matt, we're learning that some of the boy's parents wrote letters that

have been brought down to them there. What's the latest you're hearing as the sun comes up?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, officials had tried to establish a communication line so parents could actually get on the phone with their kids inside that cave. That hasn't happened. And so, letters were the next best option and hopefully that keeps their morale up, as rescuers try and figure out the best way to get them out.

The concern right now is that oxygen levels are dropping inside that cave there was a thought that can ride out the rainy season in a worst-case scenario in the cave itself for the next several months, but that doesn't appear to be an option with oxygen levels very, very low. And so, what that might force rescuers to do is take them out by having them swim and using diving equipment.

But remember these are children who have no diving experience, some of them can't even swim. And so, it's going to be fraught with peril. But what you're seeing I think overall, Jim, is kind of a having to choose between the best of a lot of bad options for authorities here.

The rain is coming. It's going to start in earnest in the next to hours. Water levels will rise.

And so, what you will likely see and again this could change but you will likely see divers have to go in and get those kids. U.S. divers could be participating in that -- helping Thai divers get these kids out. We're expecting that could happen within the next 24 to 48 hours.

But again, nothing confirmed yet by officials so far.

SCIUTTO: Let's just hope they get them out safely. Matt Rivers on the scene for us there.

OUTFRONT now, the former leader of the FBI's dive team, Bobby Chacon.

Bobby, thanks so much for joining us. Based on what you know, and you see here, is there a safe way to get these boys out?

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER LEADER OF FBI DIVE TEAM: No, there's no safe way to get them out even under the best conditions. This is a dangerous endeavor as we learned yesterday when an experienced cave diver lost his life.

There is a way. It is not safe. It is risky, but you know the options are starting to dwindle. I don't know other than the diving, you know, I heard them tunneling earlier in the week and that stopped -- I don't know what other options they have other than to wait it out, which doesn't seem to be an option and to dive them out.

I'm not -- you know and I'm from the beginning said diving should be an absolute last resort, you know? But this is a very dangerous operation. If they commence it, you know, it's going to be very dangerous for those kids to get out of that.

You know, first of all the diving is very difficult. We now have the gut punch of you know the oxygen levels in there and a 19 percent, the air we're breathing right now is about 21 percent oxygen, 19 percent is considered by OSHA the safe zone. Below 19 percent, you start getting hypoxic.

And the signs of hypoxia are, you know, it's -- they can't -- your motor coordination starts to go. At 14 percent oxygen, you start losing muscles -- muscle fatigue starts setting in. Your perception, your judgment -- I mean, you can't start a dive like this and that kind of cognitive deficit. You have to be at the top of your game.

SCIUTTO: Right, and even then, it's a difficult circumstances.

So, in the simplest terms, what is the option? Is it about putting on a full face mask and then helping sort of guiding them out, maybe one diver in front one diver behind? How do they do that? I mean, these are very tight passages.

CHACON: That's right. I think you're right. You're absolutely right, Jim. I think that they'll have two to one.

Now, they'll be breathing an enriched air mixture or nitrox type mixture because of the position in there. But I think they'll have one in front, one in back. The full face mask will help, the communication will help. They'll have to constantly talk to these kids, keep them calm, let them know what's going on, because they won't be able to see anything. It's very disorienting .

So, you know, I think that I think you're right, I think one in the back one in the front, and just guide each child through independently and separately. Take your time. Once you're under the water, as long as they've staged bottles along the way, which I think they've been doing, then they have the time to get them through.

And as long as the child doesn't panic, you know they can do this. It's still extremely risky, but it can be done.

SCIUTTO: Bobby, and I should say Chacon, Bobby Chacon, thanks very much for helping walk us through it.

CHACON: Thanks for having me.

OUTFRONT next, President Trump praising Putin ahead of their sit-down meeting. Former director of national intelligence under President Obama, General James Clapper, he's going to respond.

Plus, a mother motivated to run after her son was shot to death.

[19:45:01] But can she win in a gun-friendly state? The latest in our series "Born to Run".


SCIUTTO: Breaking news, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is getting ready to sit down with Kim Jong-un in North Korea. He will meet the North Korean dictator as new satellite images appeared to show that North Korea is completing further work on a new nuclear reactor, the latest in a series of reports indicating that North Korea is expanding, not shrinking its nuclear program as President Trump has claimed.

OUTFRONT now, former director of national intelligence under President Obama, General James Clapper.

General Clapper, thanks for joining us tonight.


SCIUTTO: So as you look at this series of reports really now of expansion and other work at existing nuclear facilities, in your view, is North Korea already breaking its promise however vague it was, but it's promised to Trump on denuclearizing?

CLAPPER: Well, it certainly would appear so. I mean, the physical evidence, the outward evidence of expansion, modernization and improvement at Yongbyon, their research facility, that the five network facility would -- is hardly proactive.

[19:50:00] And certainly doesn't seem to me to be to comport with the -- what I understood to be the spirit of the rather vague agreement that was arrived at the Singapore summit.

SCIUTTO: You're aware that the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, has its own assessment that North Korea has no real intention of fully denuclearizing. Now, you and I have talked about this before. You have said you believe it's possible to make a nuclear deal with North Korea to some degree in some way.

What do you believe that you need to see Secretary Pompeo return from North Korea with this time to indicate that Kim is serious about talking?

CLAPPER: Well, first of all, I agree with the DIA assessment. As you know, I was a long time ago served as director DIA and I think they're exactly right. And that certainly aligns with my own observation when I was there in Pyongyang in November of 2014, and engaged with the very same interlocutor that Secretary Pompeo was engaging with -- you know, the very -- the very same Kim Young-chul so who very acrimonious, very anti-American and at least appeared to me not the least bit interested in denuclearization.

What would be very useful I think if Secretary Pompeo could get an expression from the North Koreans about what it is they need in order that they don't need nuclear weapons for the -- to feel secure.


CLAPPER: I thought that was -- you know, we had a great opportunity, the president had a great opportunity in -- during the summit to elicit a response to that question. And the other thing would be very useful for Secretary Pompeo is

perhaps to have a discussion about just what denuclearization means, what it means to us, and what it means to the North Koreans. We haven't done that.

I do think there's a way ahead, but it isn't -- it can't be all done with just sticks or ours are just having a photo-op meeting in Singapore demanding the North Koreans denuclearize so that it's complete and irreversible and verifiable -- a phrase by the way I haven't been hearing much lately. So, just to achieve.

Now, at some point, you know, we need to expect if the North Koreans are sincere -- which I don't think they are -- that they would present a complete catalogue of their nuclear enterprise, the locations of every facility to include research, development, testing. What they have deployed, how many nuclear warheads they had and where they are.

If they're genuinely sincere about this, we should be expecting at least a commitment and a deadline for such a catalogue.

SCIUTTO: We'll see if Secretary Pompeo comes back with that. I want to ask you now about President Trump's upcoming summit with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. He's going to meet alone with Putin at the start of the summit. You saw I'm sure President Trump downplaying concerns about Putin yesterday, saying he's a fine guy.

You're aware of all the aggression that Russia is showing towards the U.S. now and continues to. What's your reaction to the U.S. president when he says that kind of thing, dismisses the Russian threat.

CLAPPER: Well, you know, this is completely consistent with all too and regrettably familiar pattern of praising autocrats and criticizing our allies and so, this is just more of that. What I don't understand is, why we're even having a summit? What did the Russians done in terms of their behavior over the last year two years or five years that merits a summit meeting with the president of United States?

That's -- it's beyond me. I expect yet another photo-op, not unlike what happened in Singapore, but this is literally in my mind a reward for bad behavior.

SCIUTTO: General Clapper, thanks very much as always.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And OUTFRONT next tonight, "Born to Run", a mother and first-time candidate looks to make history after losing her teenage son to gun violence.


[19:56:11] SCIUTTO: Tonight, her teenage son was shot and killed by a man who said he felt threatened by the boy and his friends. That was six years ago. Now, she is running for Congress to fight for gun control, but she faces a tough race in a traditionally conservative district. Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with our special series, "Born to Run".


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every politician in every town's parade knows they have to press the flesh, ask for votes.


LAH: But Democrat Lucy McBath brings a story unlike any other.

LUCY MCBATH (D), U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE FROM GEORGIA: Jordan guides me every single day, every single day.

LAH: Her 17-year-old son was gunned down at a Florida gas station six years ago. The gunman saying he shot Jordan Davis because he felt threatened by him and his friends after complaining they were playing music too loud. McBath first a grieving mother at a murder trial, then quit her flight attendant job to become a national gun control activist for Everytown for Gun Safety.

Then this year, Parkland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired right now, guys.

MCBATH: Here we go again. What does this country not get?

TRUMP: So good afternoon. This is very important.

MCBATH: And then I saw President Trump sitting with our federal legislatures sitting at the table talking about the NRA, and within 24 to 48 hours, he flipped.

LAH: And that's when you decided to run.

MCBATH: It's just not enough to have the marches and the rallies and the speeches and the remarks. Championing for them in Washington is still championing for my child. I'm still a mother, I'm still parenting. That's why I believe this was the time to stand up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're behind you 100 percent. I'm so proud of you.

LAH: In a year of first time women running for office at historic levels, and then last week's stunning upset by 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York's primary, beating a Democratic incumbent congressman --

MCBAT: I am a mother, I'm a fighter and I'm a loyal Democrat.

LAH: -- this time candidate sees 2018 as the year to flip for Georgia congressional district, heavily supported by the gun control group she once worked for, McBath hopes to connect her real life story with voters on both sides of the aisle.

You think they'll vote for the person then. MCBATH: I think yes. I think -- as we've seen with Cortes and many

other candidates around the country, people are voting for the person.

LAH: The uphill battle she faces, the suburban Atlanta congressional district hasn't voted for a Democrat since the 1970s, in a gun- friendly state.

FRAN MAHAN, VOTER: She's got to be a broader more of appealing candidate to beat Karen Handel in general election. So, that's one reason I'm going to vote for Abel on the 24th.

LAH: Kevin Abel, the other Democratic in a runoff with McBath later this month. The winner will face Republican Karen Handel in November.

KEVIN ABEL (D), U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE FROM GEORGIA: This is not the country you want to try to win on a gun issue alone.


LAH: McBath contests that she is not a one-issue candidate, that she also cares about the economy, jobs, education, infrastructure, that guns is merely her entry issue. Now the Democrats say whoever wins a July 24th runoff, they will support the winner. The goal here for both of them is to try to flip the district. They just disagree on who should be that person -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Kyung Lah, thank you.

And thanks to you for joining us tonight. I'm Jim Sciutto, in for Erin Burnett.

"AC360" starts right now.