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CNN NEWSROOM

Dems Target Nominee's Views on Abortion and Presidential Power; Key GOP Senators Are Quiet on How They Will Vote for Nominee; Trump Inspires Ranchers Who Inspired Militia Standoff; Only 38 Kids Under Five Reunited with Their Parents; All Trapped Boys and Coach Out of Cave. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 10, 2018 - 15:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:30:00] SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, (D), HAWAII: There are millions of people in our country who have preexisting conditions. I am one of them. We should be very concerned that this nominee has been vetted by the Heritage Foundation whose goal is to repeal the Affordable Care Act and protections that it provides.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D), CALIFORNIA: If you are a young women in America, or you care about a young woman in America pay attention to this because it will forever change your life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: With the midterms looming. Some Democrats who are running in red states may be feeling the pressure to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Jake Tapper is me, host of "THE LEAD" and "STATE OF THE UNION". Just watching you guys last night you know after watching what happened in the East Room, you guys are bringing up the point about the numbers. Ultimately this comes down to the number and the confirmation in the Senate and they have a majority. Why is the fight from the Democrats mostly symbolic, is it about firing their base ahead of the midterms, what is that about?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: There are a lot of reasons for it. First of all, they want to try to convince the two Republicans who supported abortion rights. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine to not vote for Brett Kavanaugh.

They want to put pressure on them by building a ground swell of opposition. So that's one. But, two, they can look at the numbers and guess probably that Kavanaugh will become confirmed. Those are the odds if you look at history, it is rare that somebody is confirmed.

Why do it? Because if they don't do it, the Democratic base will be demoralized. By doing it, they highlight differences between Democrats and Republicans they think will get their voters out to the polls and these important midterms. Yes, there are political reasons and there is a possibility of success in terms of blocking Kavanaugh, but I think more importantly Democrats feel like they have to stand for something if only opposition. BALDWIN: You mentioned Collins and Murkowski, let me play some sounds

from Republican Susan Collins one of the moderates that they are certainly keeping a close eye on, here is what she said about Roe V. Wade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R), MAINE: I am sure that's the case we'll discuss and his opinion in that case contrasts of that of Judge Henderson who went way beyond where Judge Kavanaugh went. But, obviously that, that's one of the cases I am sure I will be discussing with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Help us understand what is happening behind the scene with the likes of both Murkowski and Collins, but also these red state Democrats and the lobbying efforts to get them on board.

TAPPER: There are two completely different things. Susan Collins there was referring to a dissent that Kavanaugh have put forward. Where he basically said that an undocumented immigrant who was trying to get an abortion, that the government did not have to facilitate it. But, it was not as strong as people in the antiabortion movement would have wanted it to be.

It looks to me like Susan Collins in what he did there was trying to find moderation and not see him as flagrantly anti Roe V. Wade.

BALDWIN: Also based upon what he said when he was being questioned by Chuck Schumer at that time back-and-forth, he was essentially it was Supreme Court precedent. Let it lie. I am paraphrasing.

TAPPER: Right. Which is what Supreme Court justices, nominees say all the time about not just that case but all cases. That's precedent. It would be inappropriate for me to say anything, but I respect precedent generally. The pressure on the red state Democrats who are up in reelection this year in states that Trump won, will also be considerable just like it is on Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins because they'll be encouraged to vote the way their states want them to and not what the Democratic base wants to.

Some Democrats like Paul Begala, yesterday on my show was arguing, it's a give me, you need to vote the way that your caucus wants to, Democrats want you to. Because people who vote on these issues are not voting for you anyway. The Democrats want you to take a stand on this issue.

But really there are about there are about eight or nine senators that this is going to come down to and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are the ones that I am keeping my eyes on. Because at the end of the day Republicans have 50 votes in the U.S. Senate not including John McCain who was absent. And that's all you need to win.

BALDWIN: 50. TAPPER: 50 against 49 Democrats. If they can keep Collins and

Murkowski, then they'll be able to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. The odds are, who knows what's going to happen, but the odds are, they will.

BALDWIN: Jake, thank you. What's your show called?

[15:35:00] TAPPER: "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER." So, it's good that I am the one who hosts it.

BALDWIN: Jake Tapper thank you very much.

Coming up next here at the White House. Announcing new presidential pardons, why Trump is giving passes to these two men whose case sparked a week's long standoff between the US government and a militia. We'll get reaction to someone who's involved in a high- profile case, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: President Trump's controversial pardons today. He is pardoning two Oregon ranchers, Dwight and Stephen Hammond whose case inspired a violent standoff between the government and the militia in 2016. Let's go to Josh Campbell, our CNN law enforcement analyst who's closely involved at the time as a member of the FBI with this case.

[15:40:00] Josh, before we get your reaction to, you know, the executive grant of clemency. I want you to remind everyone what started this.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: If you trace the roots this goes back to 2014. There was a standoff in Nevada with these militia members who were basically had concerned with the Bureau of Land Management and their management of federal lands. Fast forward to another issue that was taking place in Oregon where you have father and son that's prosecuted by the government for setting fire to federal land and there is this issue of a fire that simply got out of control or were they simply trying to hide the tracks of poaching?

And that was what the government was claiming. It went back and forth, and they were convicted, and it turns out the government said no, the penalties were actually not severe enough. They were brought back to jail after the initial sentence. That actually inspired this armed take over in Oregon by their sympathizers who went to federal land in Oregon and took it over and said our cause is we want you to release these two that we think the government has put in jail unfairly. The heavy hand of government and the like.

That's really been the issue. The problem is, even people within law enforcement and attorney office and the FBI, you had good people disagreeing whether this initial sentence was in fact too heavy handed. Was the government going too far? But that didn't excuse this group coming in and then essentially seizing a federal compound under a standoff that lasted over 40 days. That was the issue. You had these people inspiring it. This it is a complex issue. But let's look at where we are today.

You have the President of the United States who is issuing a pardon for the initial, that original father and son and saying that the sins are forgiven if you will, government did overreact. This is going to send shock waves across law enforcement. It's going to be beneficial for parts of the president's base who think that the government may be heavy-handed and a lot of the antigovernment militia types.

But for law enforcement those who were actually there, I saw this from FBI headquarters, we had a number of people that were on the ground for the 40+ days in a very tense situation where at any time the violence could have taken place, you could have officers that were targeted. And it was just a very tough time. Essentially what this is saying is that all of that is forgiven and essentially what that's going to do in the future is tell other people that are like-minded, sure, go break the law and maybe you will be pardoned one day.

BALDWIN: Is that how you see it? This is your personal reaction. You're talking about how long law enforcement would take it knowing the people are putting their lives on the line at the time. And being involved in this case, what's your personal reaction to this?

CAMPBELL: The President would have had different options here, one of them is to commute the sentence of these people. As I mention, good people of law enforcement. Maybe this is a little heavy handed. The President could have commuted the sentence, could have freed these two. But that would've left in place the original conviction. They did break the law, but the President is doing is issuing a pardon which not only sets them free but wipes out their criminal record by sending a message to anyone who wants to engage in lawless activity that it is a fair game.

I have to tell you what is striking here and I am talking with my former colleagues in law enforcement, they mention when you compare this to the backdrop of the immigration issue we see on the border where the Department of Justice is saying that we have a zero tolerance policy for crossing the border and impeding our federal law and you know coming here illegally and yet at the same time he's essentially telling folks who are antigovernment militia folks, you can cross the border into federal land and seize them and you may get a pardon out of it. It is really shameful.

BALDWIN: Josh Campbell. Thank you.

Happening right now. Some of the immigrant children separated from their parents are being reunited but will the Trump administration miss a court order deadline that's hours away. We'll take you live to the scene where this is all unfolding.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Today is turning into a day of heartbreak and disappointment. So many children are expected to be reunited with their families under today's court ordered deadline. The Trump administration estimated just 38 kids will be reunited today. That is just a small portion of the 100 youngest children waiting to be united.

With me now Miguel Marquez in Texas and let's start with you Stephanie Elam in San Diego where the Trump administration is back in court today to explain why they could not meet the deadline, what did the judge say?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, what we are hearing here is the judge made it very clear he's not extending the deadline here for these youngest children under five. The fact that they were supposed to be reunified today, he says the judgment does still stand as far when the deadline is. We know four children have been reunited. That's before we walked into court today. Then government says 34 families are ready to be reunited today.

However, the judge found that he believed there are 63 children who should be reunited with their children today. One of the issue that did come up of DNA testing making sure the children did belong to their parents.

[15:50:00] And what the ACLU was arguing here is that should not delay it. If a parent has documentation proving that they are the parent that they should be reunited. The judge agreeing with that saying that they should work to get these families together and that he wants them back in court on Friday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. local time to talk about this and find out what the status update is and if they don't make the deadline, why in each case, that has not happened, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Stephanie, thank you, Miguel to you in Texas with more on today's smaller number of unifications, what did you see?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, small numbers but it is happening across the country. We see a few in Phoenix, Arizona where ICE vans pulled up to centers where children were being cared for. Picked them up and took them to a place to be reunited with their parents. Here in Harlingen we saw a couple of vans pull out have a facility here were they will be reunited with their parents. And in Port Isabel detention center not too far from where I am standing they will be more parents getting together and being reunited with her kids there.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, there was another one there. We are starting to see them in dribs and drabs and this is the dress rehearsal for the big show which is those thousands of kids to be reunited with their parents by July 26th. The judge says it has to happen at that courtroom where Stephanie was today. The judge laying out some parameters for how that was going to happen saying the government has to come up with a truncated process. They cannot drag it out taking a month or two as HHS says it wants to do to prove who the parents are. The judge saying you took these kids out of their parent's arms. You need to put them back quick. Brooke.

BALDWIN: July 26th. We'll look for that. Stephanie, Miguel, thank you so much for updates there.

Likely the most extraordinary news of the day. The boys and coach pulled out alive from that cave in Thailand. Just before the heavy rains move in. We'll take you there live, next.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Jubilation and relief. That is the feeling today following the miraculous and heroic rescue of a soccer team who had been trapped nearly three weeks inside a Thailand cave. All 12 boys and their coach are safe. That was the scene outside the hospital as the ambulances took the boys in. People cheering. As those final ambulances carrying the last boys headed in, the boys and the coach are now in isolation at the hospital. Officials say they will be reunited with family members soon. Those family members now just expressing their utmost gratitude.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOTHER OF TRAPPED SON TRAPPED IN THAI CAVE, (through translator): I would like to thank all my heart that's no way to -- we could pay them back. If there's a chance for all of us in the family including other parents, we would go and bow to thanks to everyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Arwa Damon is CNN senior foreign correspondent she is live there in Chiang Rai outside the hospital. Arwa, how are they?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, as far as we can tell given everything that they have actually gone through, they're doing fairly well. I mean, this has been such incredible news. It's been a momentous occasion. Talking about the joy, the shear relief, especially for the boys, family somebodies and just about everyone involved. Now, we do know that the first four that came out, they're doing quite well. There was the second group of four that came out yesterday. They're doing fairly well, too. Now, among all of them, about five came out with low temperatures. That's something that is to be expected. The doctors and medical teams were able to raise their temperatures quite successfully. Two as far as we understand had some minor lung infections but they're responding quite well to medication.

We're also hearing that while they're inside, especially during the daylight hours, they have to wear sunglasses, understandable given the shear amount of time they spent underground. And, of course, as boys often will and many of us asking for chocolate. Everyone at this stage wants to be able to see them, parents hug them, see the moment unfolding. That might still take a few days given the fact they don't know how compromised their immune systems and Monday night at the very least the parents of the first four that came out on Sunday saw their sons through a protective glass and really anyone who you talk to here is overjoyed.

Yes, there's a long road ahead for the boys and coach in terms of physical recovery, psychological recovery, as well. They will be going through that with a support of their loved ones, relatives, parents and support of strangers, both here and around the world. Everyone really rallying behind these boys, hoping as we saw unfold today that they would be coming out safe, alive and fairly well. BALDWIN: I have a feeling they'll get a huge chocolate delivery at

the hospital. 30 seconds, Arwa. What about the divers? The heroes here.

DAMON: All of them coming out in pretty high spirits. Many of them talking about how this was by far the most challenging and treacherous mission they have had to undertake. Of course, the rescue team a combination of international and both locals. And really showing what we can actually accomplish when we do decide to come together and pool all of our resources and everyone presumably right now getting some much, much needed and well-deserved rest, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Extraordinary. Just incredible. All of us watching from halfway around the world making sure they're out safe and happy and healthy through their recovery. We wish them well. Thank you so much, Arwa Damon, outside that hospital in Thailand. Thank you so much for being with me. Let's send it to Jake Tapper. "THE LEAD" starts right now.