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STATE OF THE UNION

Four Boys Evacuated From Cave in Thailand; Interview With Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; First Three Boys Rescued From Thai Cave Arrive At Hospital. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired July 8, 2018 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:15]

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is on pins and needles.

We're getting word of rescues from that flooded cave in Thailand. The Thai navy SEALs confirmed that four boys have been evacuated.

And our CNN affiliate saw at least one boy flown to the hospital by helicopter. Now, the 12 children between the ages of 11 and 16, plus their coach, had been stuck for two weeks.

We're standing by any minute for a news conference from Thailand.

But, meanwhile, let's go straight to David McKenzie for the latest.

David, I know you have new information on these rescues. What are you hearing?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what we're hearing, that those four boys from the Thai Navy SEALs, Dana, the official statement coming out, have exited the cave, an extraordinary moment in this incredible story, where you saw this team stuck in this cave for more than 15 days.

They have been hoping, praying out in the communities surrounding me that the specialized team of international divers, including U.S. military divers, would get them out. Now, they warned earlier today that this could be many, many hours before we got any news.

And they feared what the news would be. But now that is the latest, that you have these four boys out. They have been transported by ambulances -- an ambulance actually just passed by here a few moments ago -- by helicopter, we believe, to a nearby hospital, and that is just incredible news, given the torturous journey, Dana, that they had to go through from the darkened chamber in the depths of the cave in the mountain behind me with these specialist divers using a buddy system to get them through these tight channels and out to a relay team that would either help them on stretchers into the waiting teams.

It's a great sign, but it's far from over yet -- Dana.

BASH: Far from over, for sure, but you're absolutely right. Just this glimmer -- more than a glimmer of good news is something that certainly should be cheered.

You were talking about the divers and this extraordinary effort that is under way, five Thai Navy SEALs, 13 international divers. Before this mission, it was estimated, you reported, that it could take five hours just to reach the boys and another six hours to bring them back.

Is that what we're seeing now, or are things a bit different as we're seeing these boys emerge?

MCKENZIE: Well, if you make the calculations, it seems that they're running a little bit ahead of schedule from what they had assessed earlier today.

But, still, it's going to be hours trying to get those boys out of those caves. One of the key factors, as the rain lightly falls on my head, is the fact that they have managed to draw out a great deal of that water 24 hours a day over the last four or five days, Dana, to reduce the water levels in that cave.

That means that from the chamber three, which we have been talking about, onwards to the exit, they should be able to go without breathing assistance.

But before that, the estimation is they would still have to dive with these full face masks, young boys who have been stuck in this cave for all of these days. They're tired. They're hungry. And you look at the touching letters they have written back and forth with their parents over the last 24 hours just saying they want to get out, have a meal, watch the football, the soccer World Cup.

These are the needs of these young boys. But until every single one of those boys and their coach are out, I'm sure the rescue teams will not rest -- Dana.

BASH: No. No question.

And you talked about these four boys. We don't know which ones they are yet, what ages they are, but do we have any word about the others, about the other boys and the coach that are still in the cave?

MCKENZIE: No word yet.

And, you know, the communications inside to the outside world has been incredibly difficult. Several times, they tried to get a phone line, a simple old-school phone line, into the depths of that cave, so that they could talk to their parents.

There is a lot of activity on the road behind me. There are police lining the road. They are using helicopters or ambulances to get the boys to the hospital, which is around an hour away from where I'm standing.

And you cannot see it now because darkness has fallen, but that mountain behind me was just drenched with rain earlier today. It's the beginning of the monsoon period here. That means that the window is still there, but it could close. [09:05:03]

If sustained rains happen now, Dana, then you could see those boys inundated by the water again.

So, that might be a reason also that they're working as quickly as possible to get them out, not just to let them hug and see their parents, but there is a real window that will be closing in the coming hours. They have got to get it done before it shuts down for good.

BASH: I mean, the urgency, you can feel it. It's palpable.

Stand by, because I want to go to Allison Chinchar in CNN's Weather Center about that exact point David was just making, Allison, about the rains. It is monsoon season.

That's why these boys are in this horrible situation in the first place, because of heavy rains. You saw the rain begin to come down over David. He talked about it. How urgent is it, really, in terms of the science that you're seeing, the radar?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, the heaviest rain has yet to come.

So, as you mentioned and as he mentioned, the rain has already begun. It actually began last night, but now we're really starting to see some of those heavier bands that will slowly start to push their way through in the coming days.

Here's a look at the satellite, OK? Here's Thailand. For reference, this is where the cave is. It's located in the northern region of Thailand. But look all at this moisture surging back into the area. Look for the oranges and the reds on the screen. That is what's showing you that heavy moisture that's there, the heavy rain, the torrential downpours.

The potential is there. Now, we got lucky. From July 2 to July 7, we had a break. That's what allowed them to get a majority of that water out of the cave. But rain has started back up again. And as we continue through the forecast, you are going to start to see those rain accumulations increase, especially by the time we get to next week.

But Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, all three of those days have an 80 to 90 percent chance of rain. And, really, when you look at the long- term forecast, it really extends the next seven to 10 days.

Here's a look at that. Every single one of these days has a chance for rain, at least, say, maybe about a half-an-inch of rain. Now, Dana, that may not sound like that much, but you have to understand some of those pathways inside the cave are very narrow.

It maybe only takes a half-an-inch to an inch of heavy rain to really fill those up quickly.

BASH: Absolutely. It is really remarkable when you look at it like that and think of it like that. If you're in a -- trapped in a cave and you have about an inch between your mouth and the water, that really matters, that little bit of rain, and they're expecting a whole lot more than that.

Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for that update.

And I want to go now to Carole Lieberman, Dr. Carole Lieberman. She is a scuba doctor and a diver, as well as a psychiatrist.

Dr. Lieberman, thank you so much for joining me.

As you see and hear the great news of these four boys coming out of the cave -- and, obviously, we're awaiting news on the others -- what is going through your mind as a medical professional, both physical and emotional?

DR. CAROLE LIEBERMAN, SCUBA DIVER AND PSYCHIATRIST: Just how amazing and difficult it was.

I mean, to hear that four boys have already made it is just astounding, because some of the things -- I mean, of course, the physical, you know, things that they have gone through for all these days, but, psychologically, PTSD, they have to have some degree of PTSD.

We heard about some of them who were hearing roosters and dogs and all of that, which could well be hallucinations. Maybe it's true. Oxygen, the fact that there has been so little oxygen, or decreasing levels -- we don't know exactly how much for how long now -- but oxygen does amazing things to the body, of course, and to the psyche.

It makes people feel less alert. It makes them move less. Some people describe as being drunk. It also decreases their mood. Now, the most important things that these boys who are left in this cave need to know is that the first four ones made it.

That would be -- that would be such a boost for their confidence, because the thing is that, in scuba diving, the most dangerous thing is, psychologically, that if you become anxious or you have a panic attack, and you start to use up too much oxygen, or you take off your mask because you think, oh, I can't breathe, I have to take off my mask, those are the kinds of things that can happen.

Now, of course, it was really helped by the fact that some of the water has gone down and there weren't -- there isn't as much mileage in terms that people -- that the children are going to have to be under the water.

But, still, this is an amazing feat for them, some of whom didn't even know how to swim.

BASH: Absolutely.

And what about the fact that, according to the local governor, the boys -- these are boys between the ages of 11 and 16 -- they were to decide who would be rescued first? What does that say to you? LIEBERMAN: Well, it's a little surprising to hear that. Perhaps it's

because the coach did it in the same way that they pick who is going to do what in the game, in the soccer game, who is going to go first, who is going to play this position or that position.

[09:10:03]

But if everybody doesn't get out -- and, of course, we're all hoping that they do -- but the ones who did get out in that process will have more survivor guilt.

You know, again, we don't really know how they chose it, but that was kind of a -- that can add to the psychological problems they will have after.

BASH: And so much of this -- of this is -- is really overwhelming when you think about it.

And, in part, it's been brought home by the fact that these children have been writing letters, somehow getting letters out to -- or notes, messages, out to their parents.

I know you have read some of them, the desire for fried chicken and to watch the World Cup, but what does that say to you?

LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, it can say -- on the one hand, it can show that they're hopeful, that these are kinds of normal sorts of wishes.

On the other hand, it might mean that they -- I don't know -- it can be some denial about just how dangerous it is, in which case that would be a healthy sort of thing, that they are thinking, looking forward to it.

It could also be that they're trying to -- really, they're trying to make their parents not worry, you know, by expressing this kind of hope. So it's probably a combination of all of those things.

BASH: Dr. Carole Lieberman, don't -- don't go too far. We will get back to you, I'm sure, soon.

Stay with us.

I want to go now to Matt Rivers, who is near the hospital in Thailand where the boys are being taken.

Matt Rivers, what do you know?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're right on the street outside of the road that they have blocked off to the hospital.

We just arrived here, and we believe ahead of the first ambulances that are going to be bringing the boys. The way this is going to work is, they're going to come down that road right there behind me. We're about an hour or so south of where that cave entrance is, where those boys were taken out of. The ambulances are going to come down here. They're going to move

these cones when the ambulances arrive -- Brad, walk with me this way a little bit -- and then down that road is where they're going to go. That building -- if you want to tilt up a little bit -- that building right there, that is the hospital.

And that's where we are expecting these boys to come when they get here.

Earlier today, they didn't actually have this road blocked off, so we could get closer, and CNN witnessed gurneys actually being laid in front of the emergency room. So, we know that this is the hospital where the boys are coming to.

They're expecting their arrival. Teams inside that hospital are making sure that they're geared up, ready for anything illness-wise that these boys might be facing.

And another thing we should note here, these boys are being brought out at night, which is a good thing. You can think about how they are going to have to adjust their eyesight, will have to adjust after being underground for so long.

It will help that it's nighttime and not daytime. But, yes, we are expecting the ambulances to come down here. This has been blocked here. But they could be arriving within the next half-hour, if not sooner than that, and we're going to be here hopefully to bring that to you live.

BASH: And we will watch for that.

And, generally, when you're looking at and you're dealing with a trauma center, it's instantaneous, or you have minutes to prepare after some devastating situation.

If there is good news here -- and that's -- I'm stretching a little bit -- it's that they have had time to prepare. Our understanding is that they have had 13 ambulances, one for each of the trapped -- you know, the 12 boys and the coach, standing by, and, of course, as you mentioned, inside that hospital, they are ready to go with whatever they're faced with.

RIVERS: Yes, that's exactly right.

I mean, 12 hours ago, we were live outside of the cave entrance, where we saw those ambulances arriving one after the next after the next. And the -- I guess the only good thing, as you put it, that they have had so much time to plan for this eventuality.

Really, it was all kind of -- how are we going to get the boys out? But in the meantime, medical personnel have been able to plan for this. I mean, don't forget, these boys have been in there for 15 days now, over two weeks.

We have known that they were alive since Monday, so they have had time to plan, medical personnel. From what we can see, the Thai authorities are really getting everything in place knowing that the boys are going to come out and they're going to need treatment.

I mean, even though they were able to bring supplies in, even though doctors had stayed with them inside that cave, you can only imagine, not only physically, but mentally, what these kids and their coach have gone through.

And so it appear that medical personnel are aware of that. They are preparing for that. And any minute now, we're going to see ambulances come down that road. And, hopefully, this situation is going to end in a positive way.

BASH: And, Matt, do we have any indication yet of the condition of the four boys who are on their way to you at the hospital?

RIVERS: As of now, we haven't gotten any official word on their condition.

But what we have learned from our previous reporting is that it's going to be the doctor inside who is going to make the call, and, generally speaking, that we're going to send the healthiest kids out first, the ones who are strongest.

That's at least what our reporting had said earlier in the day. We won't really know that until the boys come out, but that's what we were told, at least initially.

[09:15:03]

BASH: OK. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for that reporting.

I want to get back to the scene, David McKenzie, who has some new information from there -- David.

MCKENZIE: That's right, Dana.

Our teams in the U.S. saying that a U.S. official corroborates that four of the boys have managed to exit that cave safely. But, perhaps more significantly, they say that the rescue operations are done for the day, for the night here in Thailand, that they will take a decision on tomorrow.

All 12 of the rescue divers returned safely from their operations. What that immediately says to me from this U.S. source is that those boys that remain will have to wait longer, even longer in that cave before that search continues to rescue them out.

But that means that it could be that those four lucky boys who are out, depending on their health status, as Matt reported, going to that hospital, will be, in fact, the only four for tonight, according to that U.S. official -- Dana.

BASH: And do you have any indication of why? Is it the conditions? Is it just the time spent in the cave and the time necessary to get in and rescue? Do you know why?

MCKENZIE: Well, there are two factors possibly. Now, the one would be that there are only a handful of those divers

that -- at least from the teams that I have been speaking to, who have the truly specialist skills that they would trust to get those boys out. They want to actually -- to have the very best of the best, as one Israeli diver told me today who is helping with those operations, to do this.

That could be a major reason. There could also be some issue with the overall rescue operation. I don't want to speculate.

But what we do know from that source is that it could be done for the night, and they will resume tomorrow. But this is still on a finite timeline. It's lightly raining on my head, Dana. Earlier, there was a big dump of rain on the mountain behind me. That's a catchment area of this -- this zone.

If a significant amount of water falls down there -- and, as we have been reporting, it's looking like it will be in the coming days -- that time frame might be narrowing. I'm sure they have a very good reason for it, but it appears there may be a pause in this rescue operation at this time, at least according to that one U.S. official.

BASH: And, David, that's exactly what I was just thinking, looking at Allison Chinchar's radar and the amount of rain that is expected.

This is risky to kind of roll the dice against Mother Nature, when we know, from science, from radar, what is coming in terms of more rain.

MCKENZIE: This has never been an easy operation, and it's been risky from the get-go, Dana.

BASH: True.

MCKENZIE: They have had to make calls, brave calls, to get these boys out.

The original assessment was, well, perhaps they could leave the kids in there for the entire rainy season. If they were safe and they had food and water and medical and psychological support, perhaps it would be OK to leave them in there. You remember the Chilean miners were there some years ago in their -- their space for a very long time.

But the experts, because of that rain coming in and because of the oxygen levels in that cave system that were at times perilously low, they said they needed to move now.

Now, this pause means that the other boys could wait and the coach could wait a little while longer before they attempt this rescue again. And I think a key factor will be to find out what the health status is of these boys that got out at this stage. That could also be contributing to how they decide to move forward.

BASH: No question, no question. There will be a lot more information that they can get from these boys.

And you said it. It has been risky from the start. And there is bravery, astounding bravery, all around. And we will continue to watch it and learn from you as developments continue.

Thank you so much, David.

Again, four children safely out of the cave in Thailand. We are still waiting for a press conference. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:23:13]

BASH: We're following the breaking news on the ongoing cave rescue effort in Thailand.

The Thai navy SEALs confirm four boys have been evacuated. And our CNN affiliate saw at least one boy flown to the hospital by helicopter. We are waiting for a press conference from Thai officials.

And just now, President Trump tweeted this. He tweeted: "The U.S. is working very closely with the government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and talented people."

Let's go back to CNN's Matt Rivers. He is near the hospital where the boys are being taken.

Matt, what are you seeing and hearing there now?

RIVERS: Yes, there is definitely a sense here that these ambulances are on their way.

This is the road behind me right here that actually goes south there towards the hospital to my left. And that's where the boys are going to be going, along with their coach, when they are brought out of that cave.

There is a sense that they are going to be arriving here relatively soon. We're not exactly sure when, but police on scene are certainly gearing up for their arrival.

We know that the hospital has prepared for this for a long time now. Earlier today, CNN saw gurneys that were actually set up outside awaiting their arrival. What has happened since then is Thai authorities have really clamped down on media access, not only at the site itself, where the cave entrance was.

Twelve hours ago, I was there, and we actually were forced to leave by Thai authorities. But the same thing happened here at the hospital. Earlier today, you could walk down there, now authorities really clamping down, which shows you that this arrival is imminent and they want to give the boys the privacy that they deserve.

So, not only is this road closed, but even at the emergency room, they have erected green netting, similar to what we saw at the cave entrance, to make sure that no prying eyes can see the boys be into that emergency room. [09:25:03]

What expect inside that hospital is doctors, nurses ready to go, ready to have treatment, ready to do whatever they need to do to deal with whatever they might have to when it comes to what these boys are going to exhibit symptoms-wise.

They have been down in that cave for a long time. Yes, doctors were with them. Yes, they got some food. Yes, they were given blankets. But you can only imagine the mental and physical exhaustion, not to mention any illnesses that they might have contracted while down there.

But I have been here for a couple days now, and the fact that we are talking about the boys arriving safely to the hospital is a miraculous accomplishment.

BASH: It sure is.

RIVERS: I mean, it was 12 hours ago that we were talking about how dangerous this could be. And now they're on their way to the hospital. I mean, it's a very good sign and something that was far from guaranteed.

BASH: I mean, you can feel the sort of electricity here. And I'm halfway around the globe from where you are. It's hard to imagine what it feels like to be there on the ground on the scene near the hospital.

Any update on the condition of the boys who are headed your way, the four boys?

RIVERS: Yes, not yet. And that's the questions that we're really trying to get answered from authorities in terms of how these boys are being brought out.

We know from earlier reporting earlier in the day that they were going to send the healthier boys out first. But, again, it's going to be the decision of the people that are down inside that cave to decide which boys come out first.

We do know that the coach apparently will be coming out last, as you imagine he would, but the boys are going to be coming out. Remember, some of these boys are as young as 11 years old. That's the youngest.

And we actually spoke to that boy's father yesterday during the day before this rescue started, and he said he hopes that his boy is strong enough to make this trip.

So, that -- no official update on the condition, but that's what we're pushing for, that information, to try and find out, after this horrific ordeal that they have been through, have they have managed to keep their health up enough? Clearly, some of them have made it out. And that's an arduous journey.

So, if they were able to do that, you have to figure they're at least doing somewhat OK.

BASH: Hours and hours to get from the cave out to the -- to the outside world and hopefully to where you are. Four obviously are doing just that.

Matt Rivers, thank you so much.

I want to go now to the phone, and Dr. Jean Christophe Romagnoli is here with us. He is a sports medicine specialist who designed a training program to help those trapped Chilean miners survive back in 2020 -- 2010, rather.

Thank you so much for joining me.

First of all, talk about what you did then and how it might apply to what you're seeing, obviously, on the television as we speak.

DR. JEAN CHRISTOPHE ROMAGNOLI, SPORTS MEDICINE SPECIALIST: OK.

Well, in the case of the Chilean miners, we had the time by our side, because we had to wait forcefully to the drill to get down to them. There was no possible way out by themselves. By the contrary, here in the Thai case, they can -- they will be forced to get by their own means with help, but probably there is a way out.

So, we had to wait the time we had to wait for them to be accessed by the drills. And so that's why we planned the special training for -- to deal with all the possible complications you might face when you're getting compressed in a capsule, the breathing complications, the cardiac complications.

In the case of the Thai boys, we're kind of in a rush. There is no training time available, because the time frame that was open is basically controlled by the rain and the water levels inside the cave, plus the oxygen deficit they were experiencing.

So, they will probably -- I think the rescue started now, forcefully...

BASH: And...

ROMAGNOLI: ... because probably the monsoon rains will be come along again, and they would reflood the cave.

And we were getting near a point of no return...

BASH: Yes.

ROMAGNOLI: ... when, if the oxygen levels dropped down 15 percent, which was the actual percentage, they might not recover.

BASH: So, it's similar -- it's similar, in that sense, to what we're seeing now.

Doctor, stay with us. I want to -- certainly, we're going to follow this, and we're going to

get your expertise as the morning progresses. We are going to stay on top of all of it.

But I actually now want to turn back to the United States and major news here in Washington, and that is the president's legal team setting new conditions for any special counsel interview of President Trump.

[09:30:04]

Robert Mueller's team would have to show evidence of Trump wrongdoing and show that his testimony is essential to completing the investigation.

I want to go straight to President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Mayor Giuliani, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Thank you.

And these new terms, particularly that Robert Mueller must show proof of Trump wrongdoing to agree to an interview, you actually have said that you don't think that Mueller would even agree to it. So why do this dance? Why not just tell the special counsel, sorry, no interview?

GIULIANI: Well, we'd like to know if there is any factual basis for the investigation originally or they have developed one, because we can't find one, nor can anyone else, nor have they, with all the leaking they have done, even leaked one, which I think would have happened immediately, because they want to justify themselves.

The fact is, I should correct it. I didn't say they have to prove a crime.

BASH: Right.

GIULIANI: What I said was, they have to give us a factual basis, meaning some suspicion of a crime.

For example, I can't initiate an investigation of my neighbor just because I don't like him or just he's politically different from me.

BASH: Right. So, they need to prove...

GIULIANI: Which is really what happened here.

BASH: So they need to prove that they have evidence -- that they have more than suspicion that the president did something.

I want to push back on you, though. Of course, there is a basis for this investigation. The whole investigation started back before the special counsel was even appointed, based on information that the FBI and Justice Department got from sources dealing with a whole bunch of people related to the Trump campaign.

So, it's not -- it's a little bit of a red herring to say there is no basis and there's no evidence for this investigation.

GIULIANI: I mean, the fact -- the fact is that that investigation is highly suspect. It's under investigation right now by Horowitz.

He has suggested that it was influenced initially by bias. The same guy that did that, who has said horrendous things about Trump, never vetted by Mueller, became the head of Mueller's team. I mean, there's more -- there are more things wrong with...

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Well, Horowitz has talked about the Clinton investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: Wait, wait. Let me finish.

But then the guy who ran it was made in charge of this investigation and has unbelievable bias against President Trump. Now, how you can say that that's a legitimate investigation, well, then there are no illegitimate investigations.

I mean, the reality is that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the president, no evidence of collusion. People can have some evidence of Russian this, Russian that, but not a single bit of evidence. They have been through 1.4 million documents.

BASH: If that's the case, why doesn't the president just fire Robert Mueller? I mean, you're trying so hard to...

GIULIANI: Because, if he did it, all you people would -- because, if he did it, everyone would say that he was guilty, and that's why he fired him.

Look what happened with Comey. Now he's completely vindicated in firing Comey. The Horowitz report actually says, if a president didn't do that, he would be derelict in his duties. Comey has turned out to be the biggest villain in this piece.

BASH: OK. That's -- we could go and do a half-an-hour on trying to pick apart that.

But let's just focus on one of the things that you said...

GIULIANI: Go.

BASH: ... that there is no evidence -- you say that the special counsel hasn't produced evidence.

But they haven't said that they have no evidence. They have -- you say that there have been leaks. They have been remarkably tight- lipped, aside from what they have had to do with indictments and such. GIULIANI: No, they haven't. They leaked reports. They leaked

reports. They leaked meetings. They're leaking on Manafort right now. They leaked Cohen before it happened.

BASH: But this is an ongoing investigation. We don't really know what they have and what they don't have. That's fair, right?

GIULIANI: Well, I have a pretty good idea because I have seen all the documents that they have. We have debriefed all their witnesses. And we have pressed them numerous times.

BASH: You have debriefed all of their witnesses?

GIULIANI: Well, I think so, I mean, the ones that were -- the ones that were involved in the joint defense agreement, which constitutes all the critical ones.

They have nothing, Dana. They wouldn't be pressing for this interview if they had anything. If they had evidence of a crime, they would write a report. And they can't write their report because, on collusion, they have nothing. On obstruction, they have a constitutionally suspect theory that you can charge a president with some kind of crime for exercising his duties as a president and removing the worst FBI director in history that Hillary Clinton would have removed.

BASH: Well, we're going to wait and see what evidence they have.

But, on this question of the interview, you well know that Robert Mueller could, if he really wants the interview, he could issue a subpoena.

But are you banking on the fact, putting these -- these new guidelines on, these new conditions on an interview, are you banking on the fact that Robert Mueller just won't take that step, won't subpoena the president?

[09:35:02]

GIULIANI: I am not.

I have no idea what he's going to do. I think, if he does, we could have the subpoena quashed. To subpoena the president, never been done successfully in the history of this country. There is very, very strong law that the president cannot be subjected to criminal process.

There is very good argument the OLC opinion governing Mueller says that, but certainly constitutional law may say it. The reality is that we have a very strong argument that they haven't made the case for an interview. They don't show what's called particularized need, even for lesser officials, like the Espy case, which says you can't just subpoena a public official.

You have to show some particularized need, if you can get the evidence elsewhere. For example, on obstruction, all the evidence they need, they can get from the Lester Holt interview. BASH: Well, what if...

GIULIANI: NBC -- NBC plays an abridged version of it and leaves out the end, which exonerates the president.

BASH: Well, what if the president...

GIULIANI: And if the president says -- the president says, I fired him for the good of the American people, even knowing it would extend the investigation, that's a complete defense to obstruction.

BASH: What if the special counsel presents you with things that he wants to ask the president that he can't get elsewhere, which has been the standard for a presidential interview? Will the president then comply with the interview?

GIULIANI: That would be -- that -- that -- as long as he gave us the basis for his investigation and his continuing it.

You talk about the counterintelligence investigation. Well, we know it happened. We know it's highly suspect because the people doing it were extremely biased. We know they came over into this investigation. What we don't know is, did they find anything? Honestly, they didn't.

I think we also have to realize, as a legal challenge...

BASH: Well, we don't know that yet. I just need to say that on the record. That's your suspicion, but we don't know that yet.

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: I'm willing to say that, based on my analysis of this and Sekulow's and even John Dowd back in the beginning, I have never seen a situation in which we pressed them for, what do you have, you want him to testify, tell us what you have, and they go mum on us.

Usually, that means they have nothing.

BASH: I want to ask...

GIULIANI: When I wanted to get a witness to testify, I gave him at least one good fact that would shake their -- their -- their day.

BASH: I want to ask you about something that is new this weekend.

And that is the special counsel apparently wants to interview White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. And that, too, is up in the air.

What is the Mueller team saying to your team about what they want to discuss with Kelly?

GIULIANI: They're not. They're dealing with Emmet on that, Emmet Flood, the president's special counsel for this investigation, as is the right thing to do. I'm glad to see that Emmet is using a high standard, because, after

all, we have given them everything they asked, 32 witnesses, no invocation of privilege, 1.4 million documents, no invocation of privilege. Tell me we have something to hide. We have nothing to hide.

BASH: Because this is pretty new. Most -- most, if not all, Trump -- most, if not all, Trump officials, former and present, who have been asked to come talk to the special counsel have complied. This is new, saying no.

GIULIANI: Yes, but I think this is new saying no after the Horowitz report, after -- hey, I would -- I would like to see texts from all the people working for Mueller.

He never looked at the texts of the people he had to fire, like Peter Strzok. What about -- what about -- what about the people who supported Hillary Clinton, gave her $36,000, cried at her victory or funeral party? What about their texts?

Did they write similarly very, very prejudiced things about the president, so that they shouldn't be involved in this investigation? Mueller never found that out. It had to be forced on him. He didn't vet anybody.

BASH: Are you trying to delay -- are you trying to delay this investigation, at least the conclusion of this investigation, until after the midterms?

GIULIANI: I want to get it over with, but I'm not going to...

BASH: Until after the midterms? Would you rather at this point it...

GIULIANI: No.

BASH: No?

GIULIANI: I don't let political considerations enter into this.

BASH: Really?

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: I think that's for other people to -- absolutely.

I mean, I'm defending a man who is being wrongfully accused, probably more than any other. We may very well have an unconstitutional proceeding. I recommend Professor Dershowitz's new book on that, which makes a very strong case about impeaching President Trump, on the grounds that it's unconstitutional as it's being applied by Mueller.

BASH: But if he's not -- if he's done nothing wrong, why are you discussing impeachment?

GIULIANI: Because the Democrats discuss it, because everyone else discusses it.

And it's the only thing that can result. Mueller can't indict. So what is he doing, I think? And he's got all Hillary partisans, 13 angry Democrats, working for him. What the heck do you think they're doing?

I mean, you have got people like Maxine Waters. And I would have to be an idiot not to hear what they're saying. She basically has written off the Constitution, says high crime and misdemeanors, treason and bribery. She says, we can impeach him for anything we want.

BASH: To be clear, to be clear, for the record -- and you know this -- the leaders of the Democratic Party right now are saying, we aren't going there. But let's move -- let's move on -- let's move on from that.

[09:40:07]

GIULIANI: Well, I can't -- but I can't -- I can't just -- I have to listen to all the people in the Democratic Party, not just the leaders.

And they could be lying. They could be lying because they don't want it as a campaign issue. You don't think Nancy Pelosi wants to impeach him? Give me a break.

BASH: Last week, Michael Cohen gave an interview and said, family and country, not President Trump, is his first loyalty.

And that same week, Mr. Mayor, he scrubbed all mentions of Donald Trump from his Twitter bio. You have said in the past you don't think Michael Cohen will flip. Do you still believe that?

GIULIANI: No, no, I don't think -- I mean, a flip -- I don't know what he has to flip over.

What I do know is, there is no evidence of wrongdoing with President Trump. So, we're very comfortable.

If he believes it's in his best interest to cooperate, God bless him. He should cooperate. I think the man has been horribly treated by the people he's going to cooperate with, but that -- you know, sometimes, you have no other choice.

BASH: Do...

GIULIANI: I do not expect that Michael Cohen is going to lie. I think he's going to tell the truth, as best he can, given his recollection.

And, if he does that, we're home-free.

BASH: And you are confident that that truth involves nothing that is negative or even worse for President Trump?

GIULIANI: Yes, I'm very confident of that.

And I think we all should be, because Mueller would not have given it away if he had any hope of producing evidence against the president.

BASH: And one last question. Are you...

GIULIANI: But he didn't want -- he didn't want to go beyond his mandate.

BASH: You mentioned a joint -- joint defense agreements that your team has with some of the witnesses. Michael Cohen has been one.

Does the Trump team still join in their defense with Michael Cohen's team, meaning, do you still have this joint defense agreement?

GIULIANI: You know, Dana, I'm not sure I'm allowed to comment on that.

I mean, those are attorney-client privilege, and it involves a lot of other people. So, yes, there is a joint defense agreement, but I don't think I can identify all the people who are in it, people who are out of it.

If somebody gets indicted, they're basically out of it. So, I think I can't go much further than that.

BASH: OK.

Thank you so much, Rudy Giuliani.

GIULIANI: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: I appreciate it. Thank you.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

BASH: Thank you for your time.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

BASH: And we are continuing to follow the breaking news from Thailand. Four children safely out of the cave, but efforts to rescue the others are still ongoing.

We are waiting for a news conference from Thailand. We also have an update on the U.S. involvement in the rescue effort. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:46:47]

BASH: We're following breaking news in the ongoing cave rescue effort in Thailand.

A U.S. official confirms four boys have been evacuated from the flooded cave in Thailand. And as we await a news conference there, we want to go to CNN's Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne with us on the phone.

And Ryan, you are getting more information about U.S. involvement in this rescue effort. What are you hearing?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER (on the phone): Well that's right, Dana. We know that a significant number of U.S. military and civilian personnel are there on-site in an attempt to aid this rescue effort. Now we know there are about 36 U.S. military personnel, mostly from the pacific command, which is kind of the command that oversees U.S. forces in the region, and that includes 12 search and rescue divers.

Now we are being told that the U.S. divers were not directly participating in the initial stages of this rescue effort. We are being told that was led by Thai divers. But we do know that U.S. divers and other U.S. officials helped brief this really risky rescue plan to Thai officials when it was first proposed.

And this is kind of the buddy dive system where experienced divers would go in -- go into the cave and take the boys with them as they swam out. This was considered risky but the best option given the challenges of the cave.

Now U.S. divers did not participate but they were in a support advisory role, and we do know there is a significant U.S. presence. It remains to be seen whether they will participate in future dives as they seek to evacuate the other children in addition to the four that have already been rescued.

BASH: Ryan Browne, thank you so much for that update.

I want to go straight to Thailand, the press conference we've been waiting for is underway. Let's listen.

(LIVE VIDEO PLAYING)

GOV. NARONGSAK OSOTTHANAKOM, CHIANG RAI PROVINCE (via translator): In the rescue team with an extra five Navy SEALs and there are 90 staff for the whole operation. Fifty of them are foreign staff with divers and 40 of them are Thai.

So as for the method to get them out in this rescue operation, all the boys are wearing full facemask and the rescue divers carried them out through the passage in the cave complex.

[09:50:00]

The first boy -- OK. The first boy was out of the whole cave complex at 5:40 in the evening local time and the second one was out 10 minutes after that. The third and the fourth boys were out from the cave at 7:40 local time and 7:50 local time.

I'm glad that we have successfully completed the mission for the first four boys. We just keep continuing the operation, but, again, we have to -- preparing more oxygen supplies as we all used them up for the first -- this first operation. And we have to ensure that everything, all conditions, are stable as it is today and then we will start the next one.

After this we will call on a strategy meeting with every team to evaluate the situation to make sure the safety of the next operation. And we are having that meeting at 9:00 local time tonight. It was a very smooth operation today. I'm very grateful for everyone involved, all the teams.

BASH: We've been listening to this press conference from Thailand giving us a little bit of information, an update on what has happened and when it happened with these four boys rescued, saying that the boys were wearing full face masks, they had rescue teams carrying them out with them on the passageways.

The first boy, first of four, was rescued about three hours ago followed by the three others, and also talking about the fact that there is still a very important, very dangerous situation in the cave for the boys who are still there trying to keep the oxygen going to them while they wait for the rescue mission, which has now stopped, to resume.

I want to get now to Matt Rivers who is at or near the hospital in Thailand where these four boys are -- I'm just being told, Matt Rivers, that the boys just came into the hospital.

[09:55:00]

What do you know, Matt?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's correct. Right behind me there the ambulances came down the road behind the camera just within the last two minutes. Three different ambulances -- three different ambulances carrying three different boys.

They went right through those gates right there. That building right over my left shoulder there, that's the hospital. And we know that this hospital has been preparing for these boys for a long time now and so we've got three different ambulances, they were part of a police escort, there were military vehicles, there was police involved.

This was during the press conference that we were just carrying live within the last five minutes those ambulances have come here, so we know that three of the boys so far have arrived in this hospital and we cannot overstate how unbelievable that is. I mean, consider what we were talking about 12, 15 hours ago, that that was far from guaranteed that this rescue mission was not only going to be attempted but at least so far has been successful.

It is truly miraculous, we don't know the boys' condition at this point, they are being treated. We know the hospital was ready for them earlier today, CNN saw at this hospital before the road was closed off gurneys being prepared, doctors and nurses prepping for any eventuality that might come their way, but the fact that those three boys are in the hospital right now, just a miraculous accomplishment at this point and now we can just hope for the best, that the rest of that team and their coach can do exactly what those three boys just did.

BASH: No question. The fact that you've seen the ambulances carrying three boys enter the hospital, three boys, four total, of course, who have been rescued, who were not only trapped in this cave with little to no food for more than two weeks, and then had to endure this treacherous, treacherous rescue, going for hours with a mask with a rescue diver, it's really hard to imagine. We are talking about young boys.

We don't know, speaking of young boys, we don't know yet, Matt, who these boys are yet, right? Their identity and the ages of those who have now entered the hospital?

RIVERS: Yes, as of right now there is a lot of conflicting reports in media here in Thailand as to who the boys are that got brought out. So right now CNN is staying away from reporting any names until we can independently confirm not only the boys' names but the condition that they are in. But we do know that our initial reporting suggested that they would send out the healthier kids first, to even create a sort of sense of morale amongst the kids that might remain, that they knew that their teammates would be able to make it out successfully and they have been able to do that.

Now, again, we should note that it was the doctor that was inside the cave that was going to make the final call as to who was going to be sent out first and so we don't know exactly the order, but we know the initial reporting suggested that it would be the healthier children that would be sent out first, the weaker children and then, as you would probably imagine, the 25-year-old coach of these boys, he would come out last.

BASH: Matt rivers, thank you so much. I want to go now to -- back to David McKenzie who is on the scene.

David, I'm sure you heard at least some or part of the press conference that we were listening to. Talking about the boys and the coach who are still trapped in that cave and the preparations that they are making to try to pump -- somehow pump more oxygen in so that they will be OK until the rescue mission resumes, presumably at daylight. What are you hearing on the ground there?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. The oxygen both for the boys, which can get to critically low levels, and for the rescue divers all through the day yesterday and into this morning they've been having those air compressors chugging away continuously in the mountain that is in the darkness behind me getting the amount of kit placed within key parts of that cave system, Dana, to pull off this extraordinarily logistic feat.

The governor there saying that there are 90 people at least involved in this -- directly involved in this operation, 50 of them foreigners, 40 Thais led by the Thai Navy. As we've been reporting a substantial military presence here in Thailand to advise and assist.

Time and again I've been told, though, that the key members, if you can talk about the key members of so many key people, are the British divers, the civilian divers who first found those boys against all odds all those days ago, but spare a thought for the young boys and their coach right in that mountain behind me. We have to wait overnight here in Thailand again for many hours, not necessarily getting the information they need. They might not even know that that initial operation was successful.

The calms between that staging ground and the cave and those boys has been very difficult. They say they will take a pause, a rest, a reset and begin again tomorrow.

[10:00:04]

BASH: David McKenzie thank you so much. We are staying on this story.

I want to go now to Fareed Zakaria. Thanks for watching.