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Thai Navy Official: Rescue of Soccer Team May "Happen Soon" as Monsoon Rains Move In; North Korea: U.S. Attitude on Talks "Regrettable," Still Have Faith in Trump; Trump Administration Resorts to DNA Testing Ahead of Deadline to Reunite Immigrant Families; Trump Lawyers' New Demands Before a Mueller Interview; WAPO: Mueller Team: Manafort Trial Has Trump Campaign Connection; White House Officials Worried Trump Will Get Played by Putin at Summit; Heat, Winds Intensify Wildfires Raging in Southern California. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired July 7, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:26] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles, in New York. Ana Cabrera is off today.
It's our breaking news right now. A terrifying race against time and nature. A mission to rescue a dozen young boys deep underground in a cave. Terrifying because the only way to save their lives may kill them. This is happening in northern Thailand. That's where rescuers gave up on their more careful plans to rescue the boys. It's now desperate. Their air is running out. Monsoon rains could suddenly flood the space where they are stuck. Officials say it's time to get moving, and a rescue attempt could happen at any time.
Let's get live to the scene right now. Jonathan Miller is near the entrance to the cave.
Jonathan, we're hearing a rescue attempt could launch soon. I mean, how do you read that? Could soon be minutes, hours, or could it even be days?
JONATHAN MILLER, ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's anyone's guess. I mean, we heard a few hours ago, Ryan, that everything was in place and pretty much ready to go and the expectation was that it could start any time soon. It may, for all we know, be already under way. We just don't know. There's a bit of an information vacuum here. That's not surprising. There's a massive media presence. They probably want to get these boys out quietly and efficiently. And the governor had said -- the governor of the province up here in northern Thailand had said that conditions for evacuation were right, which meant the water levels had dropped. And with the rains closing in, as you just explained, you know, they've got a two-day window maximum before they need to finish the extraction of these 12 boys and their football coach who have been stranded down there for exactly two weeks. It needs to happen soon.
NOBLES: Absolutely horrifying. And, Jonathan, we're getting a look at some of the letters that these
boys have sent their families. What do these letters say?
MILLER: Oh, the letters are very sweet, really. You know, Ryan, some of them are humorous. Some of them are trying to tell their moms and dads not to worry. Some of them are just fantasizing about eating fried chicken. One kid said, "I can't wait to go to KFC." So, you know, this is what they're thinking about down there, and who can blame them. I mean, these are young boys, 11 to 16 years old. They've been stuck in this absolutely pitch-black chamber completely on their own for nine days and then the divers found them. And for the past few days, this dramatic high-drama rescue planned. And this is the absolute max. It's crunch time, so they have to come out within the next few hours.
NOBLES: And there's obviously been support from all across the globe, a massive international response. This mission is getting help from several different countries. They've spent people, equipment. Even the billionaire, Elon Musk, is involved. Who's managing all these resources and how is it helping the larger effort?
MILLER: Well, I mean, it's been coordinated by the Thais themselves, and remarkable efficiency. Sure, sometimes there's a bit of an information vacuum, but to be honest, they've been holding regular briefings for the press. And the diving operation has been spectacular. I mean, there have been volunteer divers coming in from all over the world. There was a couple of Brits who actually found the boys down in the cave. But I met divers from many, many different countries over the past few days.
It's the Thai Navy SEALs, though, who are going to get these boys out in the end. They'll be the ones who will be giving them buddy assistance on the way out.
NOBLES: Jonathan Miller, we'll stay on top of this. And update us if any new information comes out and if we find out the rescue is under way.
Jonathan, thank you for that report.
Since oxygen levels are dropping inside the cave, time is of the essence.
Let's go to Tom Foreman now with more on the restricted air flow and a virtual look at the layout of the cave -- Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ryan. The only way that air moves in or out of most caves is by the temperature on the ground above changing, and that would be no different here. And 2.5 miles in, more than a half mile down, there would be very little effect from that. And that's one of the reasons we're talking about the air in the chamber with these boys beginning to run low. How low? They should be getting 21 percent oxygen in every breath. It's reportedly at 15 percent. That means that they would have decreased ability to work strenuously, impaired coordination. They might not think clearly. They may even have some kind of decreased vision in low light. It's not permanent, necessarily. They are trying to bring oxygen into them but it's very worrisome.
[15:04:57] Meanwhile, outside, they're trying to get rid of all the water and they're pumping furiously. More than 400,000 gallons per hour is being pumped out of this cave. That's two-thirds of an Olympic swimming pool. Trying to open some narrow, brief escape path. But what we're hearing from inside is that there are still a lot of areas in here that are flooded, areas where absolutely these kids would have to put on scuba gear and swim through for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or longer, we just don't know. But it's incredibly perilous.
And it's not getting any better. If you look at the forecast, you can see, for all the water they've cleared out, they've been down in this little trough here, and more rain is coming with no belief that these pumps can keep up with it.
The main challenge here, though, for all of it remains the simple fact that in some parts of this cave, the opening through which the rescuers must move is no bigger than one human being. Even have to take off their tanks to swim through there. You can see how that imperils their ability to bring supplies in. It certainly makes it incredibly difficult to imagine bringing a frightened, confused, exhausted teenager out. It takes six hours for a skilled diver to make the trip in alone. That's one reason some engineers are saying, look, just use this as a supply line. Just send the professionals back and forth. Keep these kids alive while you pound through from above with some sort of narrow supply tube to get them air, fresh water, food, and keep them alive until a rescue can be affected.
NOBLES: All right, Tom, thank you for that illustration of just how difficult the situation is.
Joining me now, someone who survived her own terrifying cave rescue, and that's explorer, Emily Davis. It took four days to bring her and her broken leg to the surface of one of America's deepest caves. That was back in 1991.
Emily joins me now live from Albany, New York.
And, Emily, we're trying to imagine this horrible scene, these boys trapped underground in the darkness. I mean, give us a sense, from your perspective, of the conditions that they're facing.
EMILY DAVIS, EXPLORER: Well, their conditions are actually a great deal more difficult than mine were. They were in complete darkness. They were without food and water. Their situation is extremely difficult. I was lucky to be surrounded by experienced cave explorers. We had food. We had water. And within 12 hours, we had a stretcher to carry me out. They're blocked by this water-filled passage. That makes it a much more difficult situation.
NOBLES: And you yourself, of course, were an experienced caver. These young boys, obviously, are not. But your rescue in 1991 being held up as one of the reasons to find at least a shred of optimism in this situation in Thailand. From your perspective and experience level, what is your optimism
level? You mentioned all of the difficulty that rescuers face in this current situation.
DAVIS: I have some optimism because they've got top-notch divers. They're pumping the water out. They're making a plan. The Thai government has put everything they possibly can into this. They want those kids out, and they want them out in good shape. So, I am very optimistic that they'll move forward.
NOBLES: Let's focus, though, on the specific challenges that these boys are facing. Many of them are in bad physical shape for the amount of time that they've been underground. They're in a place that's nearly impossible to reach, not just by human bodies but also with the resources and supplies that they need. Some of these kids and, you know, they're as young as 11 years old, can't even swim. I mean, this really is a nightmare situation, isn't it?
DAVIS: It is, but they're going to be partnered with good divers. These divers have enormous amounts of experience. To be a cave diver, you have to go through years of open-water diving training, cavern- diving training, cave-diving training, and then to be able to dive in areas that are small passage and what are known as sumps, areas where there's no air above and lots of mud, so they're very well trained. And I think that they should be able to give the kids confidence as they lead them out.
NOBLES: It still has to be enormously challenging and perhaps dangerous for these young boys to make this attempt, though, right? Even though you're optimistic about it, the idea that people with an immense amount of experience would even be in a dangerous situation, for these young children, it's probably going to be very difficult, right?
DAVIS: It is. It's going to be a very difficult rescue. But I have confidence in the divers. They're skilled. They now know that there are oxygen issues, so they are now watching for that. I'm sorry a diver had to lose his life to find that out. But I think it needs to be moved forward. Cave explorers, in general, have a very positive outlook. The kids have kept -- I heard that their letters to their parents joke about food and various other things and not to worry. That's part of the way to get them out is to keep up a sense of humor and looking to the future with confidence in their rescuers.
[15:10:21] NOBLES: All right. Emily Davis, a survivor of a situation similar to this one that these young people are facing in Thailand. You obviously survived that situation and have lived to tell about it. Of course, your story provides optimism for many.
Emily Davis, thank you so much for joining us.
Still to come, breaking news. North Korea calls the latest denuclearization talks with the U.S. "regrettable," even "gangster- like." Are they playing the "Art of the Deal" against the president?
Plus, where are the children? The Trump administration says it will miss a deadline to reunite immigrant families. Do they even have a plan?
And the president's shifting legal strategy. The new demands before he'll even sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
[15:15:10] NOBLES: Breaking news. Talks between the United States and North Korea have apparently hit a snag. North Korea accusing the U.S. of making a, quote, "unilateral and a gangster-like" demand for denuclearization. And yet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is sounding optimistic after two days of talks, citing progress and productive conversations.
Let's talk this over with our Pentagon reporter, Ryan Browne.
Ryan, this seems to be two completely different versions of exactly what took place in these conversations between the secretary of state and the North Korean delegation. What's going on here?
RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, absolutely. Two very different tones, and two very different statements coming from the U.S. and North Korean sides.
Now, Secretary Pompeo spoke first, but North Korea releasing a statement shortly after he spoke saying, they're calling the U.S. attitude, quote, unquote, "regrettable," saying -- accusing the U.S. of pursuing talks with a "gangster-like" mindset. Taking particular issue with this concept of complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization up front, saying this was not what they had been thinking about in the talks between Trump and Chairman Kim of North Korea. And so they issued this very strongly worded statement which followed Secretary of State Pompeo who cited a more optimistic tone while speaking to reporters in Pyongyang before boarding his aircraft.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, your characterization is interesting. We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it's the case we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to, which was the complete denuclearization of North Korea. There's no -- no one walked away from that. They're still equally committed. Chairman Kim is still committed. I had a chance to speak to President Trump this morning. My counterpart spoke with Chairman Kim during the course of our negotiations as well. We had productive, good-faith negotiations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWNE: Now, the key disagreement here appears to be what exactly denuclearization of North Korea means. Seeing very different interpretations from the U.S. side, which wants steps taken immediately, and the North Korean side, which seems more of tit-for- tat exchanges, one step for the other. So very unclear how talks will proceed. Not much deliverables out of this particular session. But Secretary Pompeo saying talks will continue. And the North Koreans saying that they had put their hopes in President Trump that these -- this conversation, these discussions will be able to be moved forward -- Ryan?
NOBLES: Even if Secretary Pompeo claims that these talks went well, the fact that the North Koreans have such a different version of events probably isn't good for this overall process.
Ryan, we did hear rumors about an unusual gift that the secretary supposedly gave Kim, but that turned out not to be true. What's the story behind this?
BROWNE: That's correct. There were rumors and reports that an actual -- an Elton John C.D. with the song "Rocket Man," of course, the nickname President Trump once bestowed upon Chairman Kim, when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea were a lot higher. We are told that did not happen. That was a rumor. A letter was presented by Secretary Pompeo from President Trump to Chairman Kim, Kim Jong-Un but, however, they did not meet, which some are taking as a sign that it was not a positive trip to Pyongyang -- Ryan?
NOBLES: Probably, a lot more substance than whether or not a C.D. was exchanged going on with this meeting that are much more important.
Ryan Browne, thank you for closing that loop for us. We appreciate it.
BROWNE: You bet.
NOBLES: Coming up, the growing immigration crisis. With three days to go before a big deadline, pressure mounts on the Trump administration to reunite immigrant parents with their kids. And now word they're resorting to DNA testing.
[13:23:18] NOBLES: Welcome back. A federal judge has given the Trump administration until the end of the day today to provide a list of all the children under 5 years old who have been separated from their parents at the border. That comes ahead of a bigger deadline, three days from now, to actually reunite those children with their families. The Trump administration now conceding it may not be able to meet the July 10th deadline for children under the age of 5, or the July 26th deadline for older children in custody.
So, that begs a simple question about the HHS Secretary Alex Azar, whose department is responsible for caring for these children. What was he thinking when he said this less than two weeks ago?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: There's no reason why any parent would not know where their child is located. I could at the stroke of -- at key strokes. I've sat on the O.R. portal with just basic key strokes, within seconds, could find any child in our care for any parent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Basic key strokes? Pretty bold claim that turns out is not true.
CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us now from Texas with the story of one migrant mother desperately trying to get back her son -- Miguel?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a good example of just what a mess, an absolute mess, it is on the ground as parents are starting to bond out. Others are still detained. It does sound, Ryan, that the parents that are detained, the kids that are detained, the government may try to put them together in a separate facility. But for the parents that are out trying to find their kids, it's not going to happen any time soon.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Lesbia (ph), she's 39, from Guatemala. She may be the first separated parent to get out of detention after going through a normal immigration process after President Trump signed an executive order ending the separation of families as part of his zero- tolerance policy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
[15:25:14] MARQUEZ: "I can't stand being apart from my son," she says. "Just give me my son."
Lesbia (ph) hasn't seen her 10-year-old son, Yudon (ph), since May 19th. She even wrote him a letter. She believes her son is in the same Brownsville facility visited by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
MARQUEZ: "The deportation officers told me I had to leave and go to Florida to be with my family," she says, "but I'm not leaving without my son."
Her uncertainty about how to get her son back is a sign that parents who are released even by the administration don't have a clear process for reuniting with their children.
A woman named Ada, being held at Port Isabel Detention Center in south Texas, says, in a phone call to CNN, she's not sure where her son is and the promise of two calls a week have never happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
MARQUEZ: "No one has called," she says. "Social workers don't answer our calls. I'm desperate. I want to know how my son is. I want to talk to him."
By a federal judge's order, the Trump administration has until today to put detained parents in regular contact with their kids. Parents and lawyers representing them say most have had at least one phone call. Some speak regularly. Others, not at all.
It's not clear the administration will meet other deadlines, like reuniting kids 4 and under with their parents by next Tuesday.
A delegation from El Salvador visited their citizens in detention at Port Isabel yesterday.
One mother had this stunning claim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
MARQUEZ: "Some parents still don't know exactly where their children are," he says. "A mother here only knows her 3-year-old is somewhere in New York."
In documents filed in federal court, the government says it is trying to verify parentage through DNA tests and likely won't make deadlines to reunite all families.
MARQUEZ: Now, that woman at the very start of the piece, Lesbia (ph), the 39-year-old Guatemalan woman, she believes her son is in this facility here in Brownsville. She is headed down here. She got out of detention in Taylor, Texas, a couple days ago. She's headed down here. She's trying to fill out basically an onerous amount of paperwork, about 32 pages of paperwork, that HHS says, who has her child in their care, says she needs to fill out.
We've met other parents that are starting to bond out as well. These are the individuals that the DHS and HHS are having a hard time keeping track of, because once they leave their custody, they no longer know exactly where they are, and they have no way to hook them up with their kids.
As amazing as it may seem, when they separated these families at the beginning of this process, they didn't ensure parentage then. They're only trying to do it now on the backside. So they're basically saying to these parents, you have to prove to us that these are your kids -- Ryan?
NOBLES: Miguel Marquez, in Brownsville, Texas, reporting on this situation that continues to be more complicated as opposed to less complicated. Thank you, Miguel.
Let's talk more about this reunification process with Jennifer Falcon, the communications director for RAICES, a nonprofit that offers free or low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees.
Jennifer, I want to first start with the Trump administration saying it's going to need more time to reunite these families. What's your reaction to that news?
JENNIFER FALCON, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RAICES: I think that that news is a clear indication that the administration has no idea where the families are and how to reunite them. They've been continuously lying to us for weeks. We, at RAICES, have had to become essentially private investigators ourselves to be able to locate children and parents. NOBLES: And you heard Miguel's report there, that they're discussing
the possibility of using DNA tests as an attempt to match up families with their children. And officials saying that's because they want to avoid possible human trafficking. Do you think that's a legitimate reason for the use of DNA tests in this respect?
FALCON: I think it's a gross violation of human rights. They're essentially trying to fix one violation of unaccompanied minors' civil rights with another violation of their civil rights.
NOBLES: And we haven't been able to get an updated number on the number of kids still being held in custody after being separated from their parents. The Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will only say that it's under 3,000. Take a listen to what the secretary had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (voice- over): First, again, I want to be really clear, a couple of you have said the word, 3,000. I want to be clear. It is under 3,000. I want to give you an outer bound. Under 3,000. And that's the maximum set.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So they don't seem to know the exact number by any stretch of the imagination. You're the one on the ground dealing with this on a daily basis. From your perspective, does that sound like an accurate number? And are you concerned at all that the government doesn't seem to know specifically how many children need to be reunited with their families?
[15:30:13] FALCON: I think it's very concerning that they don't even know how many children there are and they're hiding the data. Where are the children? How many are there? Why are you hiding this from the Americans who want to know where these children are? Last week, we launched a Web portal and so far we found over 450 children separated from their parents, the youngest being just two months old, and the average age being eight years old.
NOBLES: And so the 3,000 number, you probably don't have enough of a scope to understand whether that number is accurate, then.
FALCON: No. And I don't even -- I can't even believe that it's under 3,000. How can you believe anything they're saying at this point?
NOBLES: Now the president this week has said that immigrants shouldn't get due process. He wrote in a statement that, quote, "Tell the -- tell the people, "OUT," they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn." This is, of course, on his Twitter feed.
What is your response to the president's harsh tone as it relates to immigrants that are coming over the border illegally?
FALCON: I think as a Native-American woman and a mother, I would say that no human is illegal on stolen land. And I also think that the president is breaking international and domestic laws by denying asylum seekers the right to submit a reasonable claim.
NOBLES: And why wouldn't you say that it would be OK for anyone crossing the border without following the proper procedure has to go home? Why can't it be that simple?
FALCON: I think that we need to work with these families. They're fleeing violence from their countries. They're afraid. And the fact that they would come here where we aren't being very kind to them either speaks volumes to what they're trying to escape.
NOBLES: All right, Jennifer Falcon, dealing with these families with this crisis at the border.
Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us.
FALCON: Thank you.
NOBLES: Still to come, the Trump administration sending a new message to the special counsel: You want to interview the president? Then we have some new conditions. What's on their list, when we come back.
[15:36:47] NOBLES: President Trump said that he'd love to talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but new clues suggest that's not likely to happen, at least not without a subpoena. According to reporting in the "New York Times" this weekend, the president's legal team is making new demands ahead of a Mueller sit-down. Among them, that the special counsel must prove he has evidence that the president committed a crime.
Let's get straight to CNN White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez, live in New Jersey where the president is spending the weekend.
Boris, tell us more about the president's demands.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ryan. Yes, Rudy Giuliani apparently telling the :New York Times" that the president will not sit down with Robert Mueller unless the special counsel can prove that some information that the president has is impossible to obtain through any other means. Apparently, Rudy Giuliani has told the "New York Times" that they must -- or rather that the special counsel must present evidence that the president has committed a crime and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller must prove that he has the jurisdiction to pursue an investigation detailing obstruction of justice.
Here's the exact quote from Rudy Giuliani, quote, "If they can come to us and show us the basis and that it's legitimate and that they have uncovered something, we can go from there and assess their objectivity."
Now, it appears that the White House is essentially gearing up for a legal battle because Giuliani even admitted to the "New York Times" that he does not believe that Robert Mueller is going to oblige to these demands. If Robert Mueller then issues a subpoena trying to compel the president to testify, the White House may challenge that and they may wind up in court. But it appears that Rudy Giuliani would prefer that to the president then testifying.
Giuliani also acknowledged to the "New York Times" that part of the reason that the White House has sustained these attacks on the special counsel is to sway public opinion. It seems that the White House is happy that public opinion is turning against the special counsel. They feel that if they can sway public opinion, it would avoid Democrats winning the House in November during the midterm elections and could keep the president from then being impeached -- Ryan?
NOBLES: All right, the mayor definitely keeping up his public- relations campaign on behalf of the president.
Boris Sanchez, we appreciate that report.
Let's talk this all over. Joining us now, CNN political commentator and "Washington Post" opinion columnist, Catherine Rampell, and CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Page Pate.
Page, let's start with you.
You're a defense attorney. What is the strategy in Trump's legal team saying that he's not going to talk unless Robert Mueller can show evidence of a crime. Is that typical?
PAGE PATE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's not at all typical for that to be granted but it's a great legal strategy, Ryan. Number one, they're able to delay the investigation coming to a conclusion, perhaps push it beyond the midterm elections. But even more importantly, what I think the defense team for Trump is trying to do here is flush out the special counsel's case. We're not going to sit down with you, the president's not going to agree to an interview until, number one, we know what your evidence is, and, two, that it proves the president may have committed a crime. So, they're going to get all of that information, at least that's what they want to get, before even agreeing to an interview. And that's why I don't think this interview is ever going to happen. But it's a good strategy for a defense lawyer.
[15:40:07] NOBLES: And I would assume, Page, that this is a strategy that only the president of the United States can employ in most cases.
PATE: Exactly. Right, Ryan. A target in a federal criminal investigation does not get to set the terms of the interview. Now, you may agree that some things you say cannot be used directly against you. That's fairly common. But as far as deciding when you're going to talk and only if you first get a preview of the government's case, that doesn't happen.
Well, Catherine, we're also learning more about the case against Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. And Mueller's team says that Manafort's bank fraud trial actually does have a connection to the Trump campaign. You'll recall the president has said this before. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I look at some of them where they go back 12 years. Like Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. But I feel so -- I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago. Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time. He worked for Ronald Reagan, he worked for Bob Dole, he worked for John McCain, or his firm did, he worked for many other Republicans. He worked for me, what, for 49 days or something. A very short period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: A number of incorrect things the president saying there, specifically about the role Paul Manafort played in his campaign. He was obviously -- played a much bigger role than that.
But if Robert Mueller can tie Manafort's current trial to the Trump campaign, is this a problem for the president?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it should be. As we have heard, the president keeps claiming that whatever Manafort may have done in the past has nothing to do with the president. Of course, I happen to agree, actually, with President Trump that it would have been great if these alleged crimes had been caught 12 years ago. But to the extent that some of those crimes are more current, more recent, it looks very bad for the Trump campaign and this White House, given that Trump has claimed that it has nothing whatsoever to do with him. And more broadly, it suggests that, again, if these allegations are true, this is just more evidence that this is a campaign that, in a candidate who was up for sale.
NOBLES: Page, now, prosecutors have also said that even though they might be able to make a tie to Russia, that the concept of Russia collusion won't come up at the Manafort trial. Is that good for the president
PATE: Well, I guess it could be. At the end of the day, Ryan, we don't know. After all the reporting and all of the things we've heard from folks on the other side of the special counsel's investigation, we don't know what the special counsel has. We don't know if the allegations that relate to Manafort do, in fact, tie back to the Trump campaign. Perhaps we will see some of that come out at the trial. But I'm also pretty convinced that this judge, the one who's going to oversee at least the first trial for Manafort, is going to keep the government boxed in to focusing only on the evidence that relates to Paul Manafort. His lawyers are going to force that issue, and I think that's what the judge is going to require the government to do.
NOBLES: And, of course, Catherine, the president, despite his legal woes, still has to be president of the United States. And he has a pretty high-stakes summit coming up where he's going to sit-down with President Putin in Russia. That's going to happen in Helsinki. The "Washington Post" reporting that White House officials are worried that the president could get played in this meeting. What does President Trump need to do in this meeting with Vladimir Putin?
RAMPELL: The question is, what's the objective of this meeting? Why is he so hostile to so many of our friends, he and his surrogates saying there's a special place in hell for them, they're crooks, they're taking advantage of us, whatever, and he is so deferential, repeatedly deferential towards the leader, the authoritarian leader of an adversary. What is -- what is the point of these, you know, very kind and gentle things that he has said about Putin? And what is the point of this meeting? Why is he setting aside much more time in his schedule to have friendly chats with Putin here, than he has with many of our allies? It's not exactly clear what the objective is. There's been reporting that Trump wants to keep other people out of this meeting. No other White House aides could potentially attend, which raises red flags. What is he trying to get out of this? Is he trying to further some sort of policy goal related to Syria, for example, or is this just about chumming it up with one of his friends and potentially talking about some other more personal interests that the president has?
NOBLES: Page, I wonder, you know, with this legal investigation happening, which could have a direct tie to Vladimir Putin, is it smart from a legal perspective for the president to sit down with Vladimir Putin during this period of time?
PATE: Well, I don't think President Trump has really calculated anything about the Russia investigation when it comes to his dealings with Putin and the rest of the Russian officials. He's completely, I'm sure, ignored legal advice to avoid those contacts, avoid the things he's saying about them. But ultimately, I don't think Bob Mueller is going to prosecute the president based on his connections to Russia. So perhaps the president is just feeling that, hey, I have no legal jeopardy here, I have no exposure, so I'm going to do what I think is either politically right or personally right.
[15:45:03] NOBLES: That wouldn't be the first time that the president did what he thought he should do. It's never stopped him before.
Page Pate, Catherine Rampell, thank you so much for joining me.
Coming up, a fast-moving fire tears through dozens of homes around Santa Barbara. We're live in California where mandatory evacuations have been ordered.
NOBLES: A major Chicago interstate is now reopened after demonstrators took control of it earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut it down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:50:00] NOBLES: These protesters did just that, shutting down part of the Dan Ryan Expressway for an anti-gun violence march. They were protesting Chicago's high gun violence rates and called for a national common-sense -- and calls for national common-sense gun laws. At one point, Illinois State Police shut down all five northbound lanes of the expressway after a tense exchange with demonstrators.
Now to some breaking news in California. That's where wildfires are blamed for killing at least one person, and thousands have been forced to evacuate. Scorching temperatures and gusty winds are making it that much harder for firefighters. You see them here, working together to keep each other safe. A state of emergency is in effect for Santa Barbara County, where the Holiday Fire has destroyed at least 20 structures so far.
That's where our Sara Sidner is. She joins us from the city of Goleta.
Sara, what is the latest there?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the places that the fire has burned through. Talk about structures, in many cases, you are talking about homes, people's life savings, and all their belongings. In this house, most of the things inside burned.
The firefighters are still trying to make sure that this does not migrate. That's one of the biggest things here. Because of the winds and because of the extreme unprecedented amount of heat that has come into this community the last few days, there's real concern that any spark can actually jump and set the next home on fire.
This is just one. You mentioned 20 structures or more that have been burned here, so we're going to take you on a bit of a tour of the neighborhood, just a couple streets, giving you an idea of what the firefighters were dealing with here in Santa Barbara. They have done incredible work here. Again, there has been no loss of life here in Santa Barbara County. People evacuated. The 911 calls were so many that there was a problem trying to get through, because so many people were calling. This is just one area where firefighters were able to save this home. You can see just how close the flames got to this home.
What is extremely important, and homeowners know here, is the vegetation around the house, and for many, many years, people have always been told to try to make sure to clean that up. But these homes here, just down the street, not as lucky. You can see the rubble through the trees there, completely destroyed everything in that home. It's gone. And the homeowners, some of them, will not necessarily know that their home has been burned because they had to evacuate. More than 2,000 people, about 2500 were told to get out, because this was so extreme. Temperature are in the 90s here. That is highly unusual because we're very close to the ocean. But the temperatures into the Los Angeles County have risen to 115 over the last couple of days. Very dangerous temperatures. You can see it has caused quite a bit of destruction -- Ryan?
NOBLES: Sara Sidner, stay safe in California covering those wildfires. Sara, thank you.
Coming up, a meeting with a monarch. A preview of President Trump's upcoming visit with Queen Elizabeth, and the long list of etiquette rules that come along with it.
But first, explore the decade that gave us Tony Soprano, Walter White and Paris Hilton. CNN's new original series, "The 2000s," kicks off the platinum age of television, this Sunday night, at 9:00.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't need to call it a guilty pleasure. Just call it a pleasure. It's something you love watching. Great TV comes in many forms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was more cinematic looking.
It was a whole new level on television.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "American Idol" reunited the family audience in front of the TV.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's literally a reality show for everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's something about watching that and going
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don't get drunk or get stoned tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. At least I'm not that.
JON STEWART, FORMER HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: Why? Why do we have to fight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could not have lived without "The Daily Show."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larry and I would play the worst-case scenario.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tina Fey was the best joke writer in America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the greatest TV show to have black actors on it ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the 2000s, the anti-hero rose to prominence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's much easier to make a crappy ending than a great ending.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was brilliant.
[15:54:31] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The decade gave us television reflecting what America looks like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: In the state of Texas, more than 40 percent of kids that go to jail once, will be back within 12 months. But this week's "CNN Hero" is looking to stop that revolving door by allowing young offenders to serve meals instead of time. Meet Chad Houser.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAD HOUSER, CNN HERO: I remember consciously thinking that the system is rigged based on choices that were made for him, not by him, the color of his skin, the part of town he was born into, the schools he had access to. And I thought, it's not fair.
He deserves every chance that I had. And I thought, if you're not willing to do something yourself, then you're being a hypocrite, so either put up or shut up. That was it for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: To learn more about this story, or to nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," log on to cnnheroes.com.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
[16:00:00] NOBLES: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles, in New York. Ana Cabrera is off today.
Breaking news right now, a last-resort rescue mission that is beyond dangerous but may literally be the only way to save the lives of a boys' soccer team trapped --