Return to Transcripts main page
Remaining Thai Soccer Team Members and Coach Rescued from Cave in Thailand; President Trump Announces Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Nominee. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired July 10, 2018 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: -- Navy Seals or Seals that came from around the world to volunteer in that selfless way that heroes do to risk their own lives to go into that cave with blackout conditions to try to first find and then save those boys. You've been there. Tell us what the amount of emergency responders and the amount of people who have come to pray and what it's been like at the base of that cave.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I've got a lump in my throat right now because there's such a wonderful story to report. And it's bittersweet, because Alisyn, there was a diver, a professional diver who sacrificed his life, who lost his life in the narrow chambers, the narrow tunnels leading to where the boys were trapped all this time.
The divers that we have gotten a chance to talk to, professionals have said this is the hardest thing they've ever had to do because the distance that people have to travel to reach that chamber, that cave where the boys were trapped, 2.5 miles in, four kilometers in. The mountain behind me and the sun is setting here right now and tunnels that were just, frankly, flooded with the monsoon rains that this region had seen in past days that, thankfully, suspended for a couple days. We saw the heavy downpour and didn't know what effect that would have on the rescue operation.
But remarkably the chief of the operation this morning was very optimistic and predicted that the last remaining five, the four boys, their coach, would be pulled out as well as the three Thai Seals and the doctor who had been taking care of them, predicted that they would all come out today.
As far as the effort, I think it's safe to say that much of this kingdom, much of this country, Thailand, has been watching, has been watching closely the drama that's been unfolding in the caves and the mountains behind me. There has been a remarkable effort on the part of volunteers here where I am who have been bringing food, water, assistance to the rescuers, to the journalists who -- we don't deserve as much help, who have been monitoring this drama as it unfolded here.
And people volunteering in the scuba diving community, which is not a big one internationally, the emergency calls went out throughout various platforms saying hey, if you know how to do this kind of stuff, come and help. And some of the first people who actually found these boys were British cave divers who found them. So this has been a herculean effort. The U.S. military has been on the scene, the Australians as well, and of course first and foremost the Thais, and one of them unfortunately, tragically gave his life to do that.
But in this colossal multinational effort, 12 innocent boys, their coach, their lives to the best of their knowledge have been saved, and we'll bring you the news as soon as we hear about the health status of the five who have been plucked from underground in the last hours, and of course the Thai doctor and three Navy Seals who have been helping basically keep them alive for more than a week now underground.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Ivan Watson for us very near the mouth of that cave. And let me give you an update on what Ivan just said. We did just heard from the Thai Navy Seals that the four divers -- they are waiting for the four divers, I think that's the three Seals and the one doctor -- to come out of the cave. They got the kids and the coach out first. They are waiting for the divers and the doctor. Hopefully we'll be able to bring you that good news very shortly.
In the meantime, let's go to the hospital. Our Matt Rivers is outside the hospital where the boys have been taken one after the other after the other as they have been rescued to try to get the health care and recuperation that they need. Matt, what are you seeing?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it was just a minute ago that it was ambulance number 11 actually that just went behind us. That means that boys nine, 10, and 11 have now arrived here at the hospital. We're expecting the 12th boy and coach to be following up shortly after that.
Between the protocol has been the same. They come out of the cave where Ivan is. They're treated at a field hospital. They are airlifted to very close by where we are, and they are brought to this hospital. As soon as they get here, they are brought upstairs to the eighth floor. There is a special unit that has been set up for several days now where these boys go. It's an isolation unit. It's sterilized. There's a concern amongst doctors that the immune systems of these boys and their coach have been weakened to the point where they're more susceptible to infection. And so they're going to be quarantined for seven days, actually, seven whole days, each boy, to make sure their recovery goes as smoothly as possible, and they could be in the hospital for longer after that.
[08:05:11] And it's worth noting that while they are in isolation, their parents cannot physically touch time. They can't go into that room. They have to stand behind the glass partition which is what we saw yesterday evening where four of the boys' parents were able to come, and all they could do was wave at their sons. They wanted to touch, they wanted to hug them. And yet you have to think if you're a parent in that situation you'll take what you can get after just a brutal couple of weeks.
This hospital, of course they're going to treat these boys and that coach, but this will also be a scene hopefully of just some remarkable reunions that just a couple days ago were not guaranteed.
CAMEROTA: Matt, bring us all of the breaking news from the hospital when you see anything. There's so much activity behind you. Obviously that's a scene where things are unfolding rapidly. Thank you very much.
We want to bring in now CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta and Paul Sumner. He is a rescue dive instructor with extensive cave diving experience. Paul, are you as shocked as we are that 18 days later we are able to have the breaking news that every single one of the boys and their coach made it out alive.
PAUL SUMNER, RESCUE DIVE INSTRUCTOR: Good morning, Alisyn, John. I've got a lump in my throat, I have to tell you. Can we breathe now? This is just remarkable. This is outstanding news. Ivan, I understand you're out there as well, thank you all for what you've done with this coverage. Wow. We can take a breath, but as Ivan mentioned, we still have the doctor and the other divers that have to come out. But this is just -- whoa, what a great, feel-good story.
BERMAN: I have to say we keep using the words "remarkable" and "miraculous." They are completely apt this morning. It is OK to use them again and again and again because this is a miracle, Sanjay. Let's not forget these children were trapped underground for nine days before they were even spotted, right, without any food. It's amazing that they've come this far.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So June 23rd is when they first went missing, and then July 2nd is when they were discovered alive, so you can imagine what life was like during that time -- very few supplies, drinking water that they could find sort of within the cave that may have been contaminated, unsure if they were going to be found. And then six days after that is when the rescue started. So yes, psychologically, physically, all of that has taken a toll.
One thing, when you look at the timeline, we look at it, the doctors, people who are going to be caring for these boys look at it as well to try and predict what kind of shape these boys and coach is going to will be in when they come out, how malnourished, how dehydrated, body temperature, risk of infections. They're trying to piece this together themselves so they can be predictive, and that's a lot of what's happening now. But it's incredible.
CAMEROTA: Sanjay, could adults have survived this for 18 days? Is it in part that they were teenagers and adolescents? Were they healthier or somehow more able to survive.
GUPTA: I think physically youth does offer up more resilience. There's no question about it. But they're also soccer players, so they're healthier young people as well. So I think perhaps you have the coach who is 25 years old, I believe, we'll see what kind of shape he's in when he comes out. Tough no matter what because of the basics, the cold, the lack of water, the lack of food. But also no light. Your circadian rhythms get thrown off quickly. You imagine just putting a human being in that situation for a few hours.
CAMEROTA: Then the claustrophobia, the psychology, the not knowing if you're going to get out, the desperation, all of that stuff. GUPTA: I talked to the folks from the Chilean mining disaster. Eight
years later they still say they have components post-traumatic stress and anxiety as a result of that.
BERMAN: These kids have a long road ahead of them but that they have any road at all, again, is a miracle this morning. Ivan, let's go back to you on the scene. I understand you've hearing something at least from the Thai Seals who have been a part of this rescue.
WATSON: Yes, they've been posting on their Facebook page in Thai, and these messages are pretty important. Quote, all 12 wild boars and the coach have left the cave. All safe. Now waiting to see all divers to come out. Hoo-ya. That's one of the statements.
And another one translated here, quoting, waiting for four more Thai Navy Seals to come out of the cave who have been accompanying the kids. Please send your support to them. That's a translation of these posts in Thai, just reminding us all that there have been professional, brave people who have stayed in that cave for more than a week with the wild boar youth soccer team helping keep their morale up and trying to keep their physical condition up throughout this remarkable ordeal and borderline miraculous rescue effort. That's the latest post from the Thai Royal Navy Seals. John and Alisyn?
[08:10:10] CAMEROTA: Hoo-ya is a universal language that I think we all understand. And so Paul, how many times during the past 18 days did you think this was going to have a horrible outcome?
SUMNER: I pushed that aside. I tried to keep a positive attitude myself and with all the coverage of this just -- and also understanding some of the cave divers, particularly the ones that found the boys to begin with, that was a big plus. I think that really lent itself to we've a good opportunity. There's a good positive outcome. If these guys can get in there and the crews, the Navy divers can get in there. Yes there were tense moment moments, the not knowing. But I think this is -- I'm still -- I do need to comment --
BERMAN: Go ahead.
SUMNER: I do need to comment that they were fortunate they had some very sumptuous meals ready to eat provided to them, so I'm sure the boys don't need to eat much right away.
BERMAN: Paul, you've been watching this video and you've been following this story the last several days. How did they do it? Ultimately what was the key that made this possible at the end? Because we had been told it was going to be so difficult up until Sunday morning when we saw those first boys emerge.
SUMNER: As one of your guests, a cave diver, had mentioned earlier, once the rope was in place, that's a big plus. That provides any diver the ability to -- that's the guideline. We have the roadmap to find our way in and our way out. We're not hunting and guessing. Again, the difficulty was with not knowing how each of those teams and the coach would react. Previous news stories said that the coach practices meditation. I have to believe his work with those boys maybe helped them calm themselves down, keep a calm, meditative state as they progressed out of there. So once that go line was in, they knew they could make that traverse the one time. And as a tribute to the Navy Seal diver that lost his life, I think that just upped the stakes that they go we need to make this happen. This has got to be in his memory.
CAMEROTA: Yes, it sounds like it. Sanjay, are they -- medically speaking, are they out of the woods. If they have cave disease or a lung infection, you're confident that will be able to be tackled and this will be as positive an outcome as it seems?
GUPTA: Pretty confident. I think that there's always a bit of unknown here. You don't know exactly what you're dealing with here. There are certain types of infections that are more common in these situations from the bird and bat droppings and things surrounded in that environment. It's a cave disease. People who are spelunkers, who go into caves, they're the ones who are at risk for this.
Again, they're young. The teams have been preparing for this. They're obviously isolating them. They're going to treat it aggressively, so I'm pretty confident this is going to turn out pretty well.
CAMEROTA: All right, Ivan, Paul Sumner, you said it best. I think we all have a lump in our throat, and it is just so wonderful to all be able to celebrate the fact that those kids are back on terra firma and appear to be getting the medical treatment they need. Sanjay, thank you very much.
BERMAN: It is such a busy morning. Joining us right now is White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah. Raj is helping to really handle the confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh, just nominated to the Supreme Court. You've got a lot of responsibilities Raj, but right now you're a citizen of earth like the rest of us here. Wonderful news about the 12 Thai soccer players and their coach.
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: John, good morning and thanks for having me on. Absolutely. Wonderful news. It warms all of our hearts, and the images coming out of Thailand are incredible. Obviously the U.S. government was working with the Thai government and other governments around the world, but real praise and accolades to the people on the ground who mode this possible. It's a real miracle.
BERMAN: It is a testament to what people can do when they work together with courage and intelligence all at one, Raj, no question about that.
Let's talk about the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. What separated Brett Kavanaugh from the three other finalists ultimately?
SHAH: Let me step and say this was an abundance of riches for the president when it came to selecting the nominee for this Supreme Court court vacancy. He has made a public list of 25 individuals of high caliber, of the right academic, judicial and other credentials. He wanted to be transparent in this process and let the American people see the types of judges and the types of individuals he was selecting from. Judge Kavanaugh stood above the others because he has a lengthy record of interpreting the laws and our constitution as they were written and along the standards and adopting the philosophy that the president laid out. This is a judge who will interpret the law, who will interpret the constitution as the founders and as the writers intended and not make up law or invent policy from the bench. He understands that the judges' role is that of interpreting law, that congress's role is that of writing the law and the executive's role is that of implementing law --
BERMAN: We'll talk about that -- we'll talk about all that a little bit because those are phrases we often hear from conservatives and Republicans when they're talking about the kind of judges they prefer. In the selection process, did President Trump speak to outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy at all about Judge Kavanaugh prior to the nomination?
SHAH: So the president did speak with Justice Kennedy yesterday to inform him of his choice.
BERMAN: Prior to that.
SHAH: Let me answer. He met with Justice Kennedy at the White House on the Wednesday of the week before last when Justice Kennedy made his announcement. So the president talked to Justice Kennedy but this was the president's choice. Understand that Judge Kavanaugh was on his publicly disclosed list as far back as last November and he has a judicial record with over 300 opinions, a dozen which have been affirmed by the Supreme Court and many others that have been cited by appeals court judges and lower courts throughout the country. This is an influential judge --
BERMAN: I understand, Raj. I guess what I'm asking though is, did Justice Kennedy express his support to Justice Kavanaugh prior to the nomination?
SHAH: Well, I'll allow Justice Kennedy to speak for himself. Obviously Judge Kavanaugh clerk for him in the Supreme Court, so did a few others who were on the president's. But again, Judge Kavanaugh's record, his writings, his appreciation for the appropriate role for the judiciary speaks for itself.
BERMAN: He has an extensive record; I remember his confirmation process for the appeals court back in 2003 and ultimately 2006. There are reports this morning that as far back as months ago, that Brett Kavanaugh was used -- Justice Kennedy basically made clear he would like to see Judge Kavanaugh as his replacement. Did inside the White House or connected to the white House speak to Anthony Kennedy about Judge Kavanaugh, dating back months?
SHAH: Well, again, I won't read out private conversations that Justice Kennedy had with either members of the White House or the president. What I will say is that Judge Kavanaugh's qualifications, his background of over decades of rulings speak clearly. In them, all of them you'll see a judge who, regardless of outcome, interprets the laws and the constitution as they were written and comes to a decision based on the text of the actual documents that he's reviewing.
BERMAN: There's a suggestion -- and again, I don't know whether if it's true or not, but there's a suggestion that there was a deal made that Anthony Kennedy said, you know what? I'll retire if you can promise to me that Judge Kavanaugh fills my shoes. Or the converse was that the white House made clear to Judge Kennedy that if you go, Judge Kavanaugh whom you respect and know well as your clerk, he will be your replacement. Did anything like that happen?
SHAH: John, again, I'm not going to read out private conversations that may have occurred between the president and Justice Kennedy but the president didn't make a decision until Sunday in which he called Judge Kavanaugh. And the judge's record speaks for itself. He's been on the president's publicly disclosed list since last November and it's very clear that in over 300 opinions, he is an individual who supports applying the law to the facts and as it was originally intended.
BERMAN: So you're not -- I just want to be clear because I'm going to move on. You're not ruling that out? You're not ruling out those conversations took place?
SHAH: What I'm saying Justice Kennedy can speak for himself. The president spoke last night with clarity about why he chose Judge Kavanaugh.
Did President Trump speak to Judge Kavanaugh about affirmative action?
SHAH: Well, as the president said last night he did not ask any of the individuals that he spoke with and considered about specific cases or hypotheticals, he asked them how they would apply the law, their philosophy on jurisprudence, what they believe is the appropriate role for the courts.
And he followed the practice of President Reagan and also the standard laid out by Justice Ginsburg in her confirmation process going back to 1993 that every supreme court justice has been allowed to follow whether nominated by a Republican or Democratic president which is that you don't offer hints, you don't offer hypotheticals or answer hypotheticals, you allow for judges to be independent-minded and you don't undercut that independence by applying litmus tests.
BERMAN: But to be clear, just to verify that has during the campaign President Trump did say that he would nominate pro-life judges. He said that, correct?
SHAH: This is a pro-life administration. But let me be clear, John, the president was clear last night about what he did and didn't ask Judge Kavanaugh about in their meeting.
BERMAN: But he was clear and honest when he said he would nominate pro-life judges during the campaign.
SHAH: Again, the president has been very clear when it comes to the Supreme Court. He -- again, has a list of 25 potential justices that he has told the American people he would choose from and he said he wouldn't apply specific litmus tests and he wouldn't --
BERMAN: Let me ask one more question on the Supreme Court if I can, and I do appreciate here. Is the president aware of Judge Kavanaugh's position when it comes to investigating the executive? Investigating the president? Is he aware of Judge Kavanaugh's writing from 2009 when Judge Kavanaugh said the indictment and trial of a sitting president would cripple the federal government rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international and domestic arenas? Is President Trump aware of that?
SHAH: The President Trump and white house are aware of all of Judge Kavanaugh's public record, but what we are focused on is, if you look at his opinions, you look at his writings, there are some that would emphasize greater power for the executive, some that would limit the power. Some that would put a ruling on one or another side of a specific issue. But constant strength (ph) for all of the rulings, for all of the opinions, for all the writings is an individual who interprets the law and the constitution as it was written and doesn't legislate from the bench.
BERMAN: Does the president agree with the 2009 writing?
SHAH: I haven't asked the president about that writing but I will say that overall he finds Judge Kavanaugh through his many opinions, through his many writings, through decade plus of service now in the D.C. Court of appeals, to be an individual of the highest caliber, an individual who's more than fit to serve on the Supreme Court.
BERMAN: I want to ask you about this trip to Europe right now. The president on his way boarding Air Force One moments ago. He's headed to meet with NATO leaders, headed to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, and then he sits down with Vladimir Putin. He's meeting with some of America's greatest allies and then he sits down with Vladimir Putin who he calls a competitor but he says that meeting will be the easiest of them all. What message does that send, Raj?
SHAH: Well I think the president has been clear when it comes to the European Union, his issues. He believes that he's going to NATO, the countries -- the member nations of NATO have signed a pact agreeing to spend 2 percent of their GDP on national defense and very few countries are meeting the test.
The European countries are on the front lines of the common defense for NATO and they need to pony up and pay their fair share. This is about what's fair to American taxpayers, what's fair to the American people that a common defense set up through NATO should be properly funded by member countries paying their fair share.
BERMAN: The United States has traditionally led NATO side by side with Europe. Again, he's going there right now, these are America's greatest friends. What message does it send he is saying flat out that will be a harder meeting for him. Hes got perhaps a more difficult relationship with them than Vladimir Putin?
SHAH: John, he's sending the message that he's been sending for years, which is that member NATO countries, member nations; many are richer nations when it comes to looking across the world and who's an advanced economy. And they should be paying a larger share of their GDP on defense. I think it's a straightforward message. It's been consistent over the course of several years and I don't think it's anything new.
BERMAN: It has. It was an agreement in Wales that by 2024, NATO members would spend 2 percent of their GDP. Some are on track to do that, others are not. The end date is 2024 and the president --
SHAH: And I think will happen with America --
BERMAN: But my question though is --
SHAH: Hang on, John. It's only going to happen if this president applies pressure on those countries.
BERMAN: And he has that applied the pressure. I just do think it's strange though he has an easier time he says talking to Vladimir Putin than America's allies. One question on immigration, if I. A federal judge ruled overnight the government cannot circumvent the Flores Agreement, that parents and children cannot be held together. Where's the president on reuniting families? Reuniting children with their parents? I haven't heard him apply any pressure to the government he runs. He got on the plane, he complained about ICE and people who want to get rid of ICE But he didn't say how his government is going to reunite these children with their parents.
SHAH: The president signed an executive order to that effect.
BERMAN: He signed an executive order saying they could no longer be separated.
SHAH: Let me please answer the question. The Department of Health and Human Services is working with the Department of Justice as well as the Department of Homeland Security to reunite as many children with parents as quickly as possible. One thing we're running up against is that we need to vet and ensure the people claiming to be parents are actually parents.
We've had examples in the last administration; there was an inspector general's report in which children were given to people who came with them across the border illegally who are not their parents. These children were abused, these children taken advantage of. That's not a situation we can repeat. The children's welfare is the most important concern here. We're going to ensure that we comply with appropriate court orders but we're going to also ensure child safety.
BERMAN: I do understand that but I think those questions would have been solved when they were separated. Raj Shah, I have to let you go. I appreciate you talking to us on a range of subjects; you have a lot of work ahead of you through this confirmation process. Thanks so much for being with us, appreciate it.
SHAH: Of course. Thanks a lot, John.