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President Donald Trump Scared for His Son, Don Jr.; President Trump Badmouthing NBA Superstar Lebron James; Shelter Worker Accused Of Sexually Abusing Migrant Boys; Trump Vow To Tackle The "Violent Animals" OF MS-13; FBI: Nearly 1,000 MS-13 Members On Long Island; Officials "Terrorists" Tried To Kill Venezuelan President; Man Arrested After Taunting Bison. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired August 4, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
And tonight we now know why President Trump has been so anxious over the last week when it comes to Robert Mueller, even going so far as to one point tweeting that his attorney general should end the Russia investigation.
According to sources close to the White House the President is scared for his son, Don Jr. He is scared about what Mueller may have on him. President has been hosting a rally in Ohio tonight.
And that's where we find CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.
Boris, has the President even mentioned Mueller at this rally? And why is he so concerned about his son now?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana.
No. No mention of the special counsel Robert Mueller or of Russia. The President not repeating that line we hear from him so often, no collusion. Still the speech is going on. So he may go in that direction as I am talking to. But multiple sources close to the White House indicate that President Trump is worried that the Russia probe may get closer and closer to his family members, namely his son, Donald Trump Jr. and his son in law, Jared Kushner. Both of whom were in that June 2016 meeting in Trump tower. Of course, Trump Jr. have orchestrate that meeting with Russian that are promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.
This all comes to a head as we are seeing much more expressive attacks from the President against the special counsel on twitter. Just this week he demanded that his attorney general Jeff Sessions end the Russia investigation despite the fact that Sessions recused himself from that.
Sources close to the White House say that as the President have seen the coverage of the special counsel investigation, he is become more agitated and that has led to these attacks. We should point out the President has denied having any knowledge of that meeting at Trump tower. Though, sources close to my Michael Cohen, his former attorney, said the President not only knew of the meeting but also approved it.
The White House has not returned our request for comment on this story. They actually referred us to the White House legal team. They have declined to comment -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez, keep us posted on those comments he is making tonight at the rally.
In the mean, let's discuss with CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, CNN political contributor and former mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter, and CNN political commentator and former Trump advisor Steve Cortes.
Paul, I'm reminded of the column you wrote last week about Don Jr. possibly being in trouble and how he could prove to be President Trump's Achilles Heel.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I said that he was the Achilles hill on this case because if Don Jr. testified before Congress under oath or even if he gave statements to congressional investigators, lying about whether the President knew about the Trump tower meeting with the Russians, that would be perjury. And that could subject him to a possible jail possible sentence if convicted on that charge. So that's a very, very dangerous thing if that happens to be true.
CABRERA: And if that happens to be true, you went so far as to say that Robert Mueller may be able to try work some kind off a deal with the President.
CALLAN: Well, yes. I mean, this is somewhat speculative obviously. But if the President was of a mind that a lot of his relatives were going to get arrests, it could be Don Jr., Jared Kushner could have a problem. He was at the Trump tower meeting as well. It might put pressure on the President much as pressure was on Richard Nixon to resign the presidency. So this kind of prosecutorial aggressive stance against the President can sometimes terminate in a resignation.
CABRERA: That obviously would be huge and that two steps down the road.
But Steve, I know you were an adviser to Trump during the campaign. Several people say they don't see Trump Jr. not running to his dad and not telling him about that Trump tower meeting. Do you have concern?
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I really don't. I mean, first all of the President has been emphatic on this. Don Jr. has not just been emphatic, but as Paul mentioned, he has been under oath. So I thing they have taken this very seriously in their denials. And what do we have on the other side? You know, why - what spurs this hypothetical?
It's just the word of Michael Cohen. And Michael Cohen I think quite frankly he has besmeared his own reputation by really acting reprehensively by taping his own client which is at least unethical and perhaps could even lead to disbarment. Secretly his own client. Secretly taping other people including colleagues of ours at CNN. So I think this word matters much, you know, in this regard.
And as far as the, you know --.
CABRERA: But it is not just Michael Cohen who has hinted that President Trump hasn't been totally forthcoming or that Don Jr. hasn't been entirely truthful either because we have heard from Anthony Scaramucci. We have heard from Steve Bannon who also hinted at the fact they believe Trump probably knew at least very shortly after that meeting, not a year later when "The New York Times" initially broke the story.
CORTES: I had to say this. It's not implausible for me, as somebody who was deeply involved in the campaign, that in June of 2016, when we were in the throws of trying to make sure that we secured the nomination. I mean, we had already won the primaries. But there was a lot talk that there was going to be a convention fight against Donald Trump. It has effectively the Republican establishment was going to steal the election away from Trump. That is all we were focused on.
And the pace of the Trump campaign the entire time was nothing short of just frenetic. So the idea that they would pass on telling the President, the then candidate about a very quick meaningless 20-minute meeting where they got no valuable information, that actually makes sense to me.
[20:05:30] CABRERA: Michael, Trump is a father. Is it odd for him to be concerned about his kid? I mean, just because you are a politician doesn't mean you stop care about your kids, right?
MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course you care about your kids. And Steve's explanation is just literally is laughable. Apparently, they weren't all focussed on securing the nomination because the President's son, his son in law and one of his top advisors, Steve Bannon, went to a meeting with Russians. And they knew they were going to the meeting.
CORTES: Steve Bannon was not.
NUTTER: I'm sorry?
CORTES: Steve Bannon was not at the meeting.
CALLAN: But Jared Kushner was as well as Paul Manafort.
NUTTER: The first two were there and Paul Manafort, I'm sorry. On that one, you are right. Paul Manafort who is now under investigation. So it's completely implausible that he did not tell his father, in my mind at least before the meeting and certainly after the meeting, that this is taking place. This is the same young man who talked about money pouring in from Russia back in 2008. This is also the same person who conspired with his father to issue a wrong statement, factually incorrect statement on air force one about the same meeting. So yes, it seems like he has problems. CABRERA: And they have admitted that he did in fact dictate that
initial misleading statement.
But Paul, earlier this week, the President was tweeting that attorney general Jeff Sessions should end the Mueller probe. Now, the White House says he was just offering an opinion, it wasn't actually a directive. But now that we know he may have been worried about his son. Does that tweet amount to obstruction of justice?
CALLAN: I think it's something obviously that Mueller will be looking at as a potential obstruction. Not in and of itself but part of a whole package of actions that the President has taken to try impede the Mueller investigation. And I think now we know, knowing what we know about Don Jr.'s actions and the President of worrying about this, we start to understand why the President has been acting so bizarrely during the last week.
You know, there was a twitter storm that's kind of almost unprecedented from him during the past few days. All about the Mueller probe and threatening to fire Mueller while his attorneys are out saying, well, we are negotiating. The President possibly giving a statement to Mueller. So he seems to on a totally different track from his attorneys and very worried. And it feels like he is worried about a family member.
CABRERA: I mean, to that point, we look at how much he is starting to tweet and how he is attacking Mueller himself. "The Washington Post" say he tweeted the phrase witch hunt a combined 46 times in June and July. That was up from 29 times in April and May. And more and more, of course, he is calling out Mueller by name.
Steve, if the President's son is in trouble with Mueller, how far to you think he would go to protect him?
CORTES: Look, again, I don't want to get into these hypotheticals. To my knowledge, Don Jr. hasn't done any illegal. I think it was silly by the way to take that meeting. That was a mistake. Doesn't rise to the level of criminality. It sure doesn't seem that way to me. But I'm not a criminal defense attorney. So we will see.
I think though, regarding to the President, he clearly has been ratcheting up the rhetoric and the pace of his arguments against what's going on with the Russia probe. I think the reason isn't because he thinks his son is in trouble.
I believe the reason is, this probe, because they were able to can come up with nothing connecting Trump himself, Donald Trump to Russia, instead where the Mueller probe is headed according to FBI sources, it's headed towards making a case for obstruction largely from tweets that the President pout out. Now, I think that has the President justifiably, incredibly angry. If
we're going to try criminalize the public political speech of the President of the United States. That tells me this is only about creating a narrative to impeach the President. It's not actually about justice or criminal law. CABRERA: But why do you say that when you look at what Mueller has
done? And in fact, we have been covering the Mueller investigation and he has brought forward charges against 30 individuals and or entities we have multiple people who have pleaded guilty, there are multiple indictments involving people who were part of his campaign, including the trial of Paul Manafort right now. Right now, he was the campaign chairman at one point.
CORTES: Right. Ana, look. You make a good point but the vast majority of those indictments are against non-Americans, first of all. And within the Americans, the vast majority of the charges have nothing at all to do with the Trump campaign. There are things that Paul Manafort did 10, 12 years go before he had any relationship to Trump, before Trump was a politician. So yes, there have been a lot of indictments, charges made but nothing still remotely connected to the President doing something improper with foreign people.
[20:10:27] CABRERA: And Mayor Nutter, I know you have some thoughts on this.
NUTTER: You know, Ana - right. Well, first of all, the Americans that have been charged are pretty important and significant people. The second thing is, Steve, you can try to spin it as much as you want like a top. The Mueller probe is nowhere near over at the moment. You cannot say that nothing has been proved against the President because nothing has been said or what charges brought forward with regard that President. So I mean, you are running around in a no- person zone with that information.
Obviously, the President is clearly becoming on hinge. His head is about to explode. The closer and closer this probe comes. He knows that Manafort is in trouble. He knows that Flynn is already in trouble. He knows that Michael Cohen is in trouble and that many other investigations that are going on.
This is all crashing in on him. And he flips out when he has a little extra time on the weekends attacking. I mean, we have come, unfortunately, it's become the norm that he goes on these tweet storms over the course of the weekend when God only knows what he is doing because he is doing pretty much the same thing during the course of the week. It does make you wonder actually what does he do other than tweet and go to rallies? How much work is actually getting done? He has got a lot of probes around him. And you know, when they are after your kids, that will cause a little bit of anxiety I think.
CABRERA: Go ahead, Paul.
CALLAN: I just wanted to add also to the impact that possibly the Manafort trial is having on the President. Remember, even though, as Steve said, and this is true, Manafort allegedly commit most of his crimes well before his involvement in the Trump campaign. But his firm was earning $60 to $90 million a year from dictators and tyrants around the world including in Ukraine and Russia. And as that empire collapsed, this is what we are hearing in court, Manafort was a desperate financial straits when he took the chairmanship of the Trump campaign. Wouldn't it be logical that Manafort would be reaching out to some of his prior clients in an effort to use his influence in the White House to get back on his feet financially?
I see the thread of a link to the Trump campaign being developed in the Manafort trial. It hasn't been said explicitly but certainly common sense would suggest that a desperate man who has run out of money might be reaching out to old clients to see if he could make some more money.
CABRERA: Got to leave it there, guys.
CORTES: But Paul, we --.
CABRERA: I will give you the last word real quickly, though, Steve.
CORTES: We now that is not the case because even the prosecutors in the case said they will not be mentioning Trump and they will not be mentioning the campaign. All the lawyers on both sided in Manafort trial agreed to that, it's not relevant to these charges.
CALLAN: it is not relevant to the charges in this case. But that doesn't say that common sense doesn't say, you know, there's something that look as little fishy here.
CABRERA: And with the investigation not over yet.
NUTTER: For another truce.
CABRERA: So we will see where it goes. It may not bear fruit.
Thank you very much Steve, Michael and Paul. We appreciate it.
Now the first lady is also talking tonight, taking sides in a feud erupting between the world's greatest basketball player and the world's most powerful man. Guess whose side she is taking?
[20:17:44] CABRERA: First lady Melania Trump apparently choosing today to support the man her husband is insulting on twitter. President Trump badmouthing NBA superstar, Lebron James. After his interview with CNN replayed on our air last night, the first lady releasing a statement a short time ago and she does not agree with the President. In fact, she's firmly supporting Lebron James. I will tell you exactly what she says how she's breaking with the President in a moment.
But I want you to see and hear what the President saw and her last night. The interview that apparently set him off, that inspire him to insult Lebron James and my fellow CNN anchor, Don Lemon. Here's just a portion of it.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You have heard what the man in-charge (INAUDIBLE). You heard what the President has said about Marsean, about Steph.
LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: Yes.
LEMON: About, you know, it seems like it is --.
LEMON: Kaepernick. Men of color have means and the platform.
LEMON: What's up with that?
JAMES: What's up with that is all wrong. It's not up, it's down. And for him to like I say use sports to kind of it vide us is something I can't sit back not say nothing.
LEMON: You tweeted about -- you tweeted about when Steph Curry, you know, he called him - you called him a bum because he - the Steph had already said I'm not going to the White House.
JAMES: Yes, he already said he wasn't going. And he tried to use it afterwards to say, well, you are uninvited. You can't uninvite me to something I have already said I'm not even going to. And we almost (INAUDIBLE) citizen, great kid, comes from great background, great family.
LEMON: Great father.
JAMES: Great father and so many different kids, so many kids, white, black, Hispanic all different races, love what he is doing and rightfully so. There's no reason for anyone to ever attack him. And I felt that.
LEMON: Whenever there's something like he is in trouble or he can't wiggle his way out of something, he'll bring up the national anthem thing or kneeling. Do you think he uses it as a scapegoat?
JAMES: At times. And more often than not, I believe he uses anything that's popular to try to negate people from thinking about the positive things that they can actually be doing and try to just to get our minds not to be as sharp as possible right then. Just to, you know, either from kneeling from football players kneeling, looking at Kaepernick who was a protest something he believed in and he did it in the most calm --
[20:20:19] LEMON: Respectful.
JAMES: Very respectful. Did all his due diligence. He was knowledgeable about it and everyone knew why he did it. You look at all the NFL players still men in that things that makes you. Look at Steph, you look at Marsean Lynch, you look all these instances why he's trying to it vide our sport. But at the end of the day sports is the reason we all come together.
LEMON: What would you say to President if he is sitting right here?
JAMES: I would never sit across from him. LEMON: You never? You don't want to talk to him?
JAMES: No. I would sit across from Barack though.
CABRERA: Now that interview, replayed last night afterwards, that's when the President sent this insulting tweet.
Lebron James was just interviewed by it dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do. I like Mike."
Let's get CNN political senior media correspondent Brian Stelter in here as well as CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill.
And Brian, let me start with you first talking about Melania Trump joining in this conversation regarding Lebron and who is he? Should he be liked? The President attacking him. Why to you think she decided to jump in and the fact that she and Michael Jordan who we think was referenced there in the tweet I like Mike are going against what the President is saying?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Jordan is standing by Lebron James and so is the President's wife. It seems Melania is trying to create distance between the President's insulting tweets and her own point of view where her own office, in this case, the east wing of the White House and with the west wing in the White House.
We all know last year she said she wanted to make cyber bullying a platform of hers. To be against cyber bullying. Well, this is a chance for her to do that.
I also love the way Don Lemon handled this. And he put out a tweet this morning saying, hey, who is the real dumby? Is it the person who is helping schools, Lebron James, or the person putting kids in cages?" referring to the President's policy of separating parents from the children on the southern border? I think Don kind of said it all right there.
CABRERA: I want to show the President's tweet one more time, Marc, and come to you because - and I don't like doing this to my colleague Don Lemon, but I think there's an important point here.
So again, the President wrote, Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart which isn't easy to do. I like Mike.
Now, listen to what the President said moments ago about congressman Maxine Waters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maxine Waters is leading - Maxine, she is a real beauty. Maxine. A seriously low IQ person. Seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So Maxine Waters, Don Lemon, Lebron James.
Marc, these are three prominent African-American. You don't have to agree with any of them. But in the last 24 hours, all have been attacked the same way. The President saying each lacks intelligence. Your thoughts.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's what's disturbing and ultimately, in my estimation racist about the remarks. It is not just that he disagrees would people or even that he is rude or in politics or even unconventional like being on twitter at midnight. It's the fact that when you come after Maxine Waters, when you come after Don Lemon, you know, you do it in a way that speaks to their intelligence. And there's a long history of people questioning black peoples intelligence and their fitness for office, their fitness, their capacity to be in the office.
Judge Cureio, the Mexican-American judge, he said, he didn't necessarily have the ability to be objective because he is Mexican. So there is this moral - there is a long history of Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE) ethnicity, speaking to people's intelligence and intellectual ability and capacity. That for me is really disturbing. And also with Maxine Waters, just throw in. She is a real beauty.
You know, you add that to the comments he made about (INAUDIBLE), you know, in the whole kind of attacking her looks and the face lift thing. And it was going down the list, right. Rosie O'Donnell, you know, attacking her looks. It is racism, it is misogyny, all mixed into one person. And as Lebron said he doesn't win. He is under attack.
CABRERA: Do you think politically it's a winning strategy with Trump's base?
HILL: It will always -- anything that gets black people upset, brown people upset, women upset, gay people upset, gets his base excited. And so, yes. It's a very strong and effective strategy to keep his very small base engaged. The problem is he can't widen the net is he continues to do that. He is continuing to alienate people.
And when you have people on both sides of the aisle questioning your fit for office, questioning your loyalty to America, question whether or not what you are doing is racist. You are not expanding your base, you are shrinking it. And I think that's going to be very dangerous for him.
[20:25:03] CABRERA: And Brian, the President's tweet came also after, once again, he was watching TV and reacting in real time.
STELTER: Right. And this channel, which he likes to claim he doesn't watch. He loves to criticize CNN and MSNBC and promote FOX News and yet last night as Marc was saying nearly midnight, the President was watching CNN. I hope he actually watched the part of the interview about Lebron
James' school. You know, this is the same school that Melania is saying I would be open to come in and visiting. It sounds like a great effort --.
CABRERA: Helping at with elementary school.
STELTER: Yes, by James' foundation. You know, he has had three rallies in a week. The President did not go after Lebron James in his most recent rally tonight.
What he is doing is he is singing the same tune every time whether it is on twitter or at the rallies. He is singing the same tune he is always sung, but a louder decibel. The President is getting louder. He is, in some cases, screaming as he is trying to support this midterm candidates. Maybe that's a reflection of the chaos that surrounds him. These scandals, these controversies. As much as he wants people to, you know, focus on Lebron James and no matter what Lebron James has done, he is obviously not. Seems like the President has his own weaknesses and he is showing through these late-night tweets and these raucous rallies.
CABRERA: And last question to Marc, because he always is on the attack as you pointed out earlier. He could argue Lebron James hit him first through this interview and then the remarks that he made.
CABRERA: Would that be a justifiable argument for the tweet that we just saw from the President today?
HILL: No, saying the President is divisive I think is squarely inbounds. Even if you disagree, saying the President's policies are bad or good, squarely imbalance even if you disagree. But when you begin to insult someone's intelligence, when you begin to insult someone's body type, or you begin to insult someone's family history or structure, those are the kinds of things that Donald Trump does and those things are squarely out of the bounds of civil discourse. And honestly, they are extremely beyond the pale when it comes to what we understand a sitting President to be doing.
So no. I don't think it's fair to say you hit me first. That wouldn't work of 6-year-old. It certainly shouldn't work with our President.
CABRERA: Marc Lamont Hill, Brian Stelter, as always, thank you so much.
Up next a disturbing story. Allegations of sexual abuse at a migrant shelter. The victim, some of the hundreds of migrant children separated from their parents at the border by administration. Details ahead live from CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:30:48] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: A former youth worker at an Arizona migrant shelter is charged with preying on boys he was supposed to protect. His alleged victims were young, vulnerable, and separated from their parents.
We want to warn you, some of the details are disturbing as CNN's Dianne Gallagher brings us this investigation.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anytime you have to report on something like this, it is difficult, it makes your stomach turn. And look, we need to reiterate, the subject matter here, it might be difficult for some of you out there to hear. This is according to court documents that first reported by ProPublica dealing with a migrant care facility run by Southwest Key in Mesa, Arizona.
And now the former youth worker at this facility named Levian Pacheco, is accused of molesting eight boys, ages 15 to 17 starting in August of 2016 through July of 2017. And the accusations that are laid out in the court documents range from touching them over their clothes or genitalia area to performing oral sex on two of the boys to trying to have sexual intercourse with at least one of those boys there.
Now again, these kids were under his supervision. Southwest Key released a statement to CNN saying quote, "Any employee accused of abuse is immediately suspended. Law enforcement called. This is what we did in this case. In addition, we reported it to ORR and the appropriate state agency. We report these cases to law enforcement and state agencies when they happen."
Now, Pacheco denies these charges. But his case is not the only one. Just this week on Tuesday, at another Southwest Key facility in Phoenix, Arizona, a worker was arrested for a suspicion of molestation of a 14-year-old migrant girl who is staying in that facility.
And while we seem like we're hearing this more and more because the housing of these migrant children is making headlines. This is something that appears to have been going on for years. ProPublica released an investigation last week looking at they were able to get some documents from 70 of the roughly 100 of these migrant child care facilities and they found that over the past five years, 125 calls related to sexual offenses had been made from these type of facilities.
Now, it's in no way comprehensive, but it does give us a look, it does not account for children who may not have spoken up or maybe afraid to have said anything in the first place that something did happen.
CABRERA: Disturbing, Dianne Gallagher. Thank you.
The president continuing to criticize a broken immigration system that he claims has allowed gangs like MS-13 to run wild in American cities.
Coming up, we'll take you to an area hit hard by MS-13 gang violence and talk to a former member of the gang who is working to stop it.
[20:35:59] CABRERA: Just moments ago, President Trump wrapped up his third rally just this week, spending a good portion of his speech tonight, denouncing our country's immigration system, calling out the street gang MS-13.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know when MS-13 sees the ICE people, when they come in, MS-13 says we've got problems. We've got problems. ICE is fantastic for this country. They're brave. They've got a tough job. And we're getting these gangs like MS-13 and others. We're getting them the hell out of the country, one by one getting them out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It's important to note MS-13 is only one of 33,000 different gangs in the United States. It makes up roughly one percent of all gang members in this country and MS-13 isn't the largest and it isn't just made up of undocumented immigrants. But it is a serious threat in certain communities. And we went to one area directly impacted by MS-13 gang violence to get a better understanding of this gang and its target.
[20:40:06] EVELYN RODRIGUEZ, DAUGHTER KILLED BY MS-13: Her life was taken, stolen from her. It's not right. She had dreams, she had goals, she had a future.
CABRERA: Kayla Cuevas, just 16 years old, a talented athlete nickname, the bullet.
RODRIGUEZ: They named her the bullet because she was so quick.
CABRERA: Sadly unable to escape the violence just outside her door.
Kayla and her best friend, Nisa Mickens, savagely murdered just blocks from home, September 13th, 2016.
RODRIGUEZ: This is where it happened. And Nisa was found right here.
CABRERA: Attacked with baseball bats and a machete, investigator say. Victims of La Mara Salvatrucha, a gang better known as MS-13.
RODRIGUEZ: I miss her (INAUDIBLE) with me.
CABRERA: MS-13 is one of the most violent street gangs in the United States. Federal and local officials agree. Designated a transnational criminal organization, with roots in Central America. More than 30,000 members worldwide, up to 10,000 in the U.S. And as many as 1,000 on Long Island alone.
PATRICK RYDER, COMMISSIONER, NASSAU COUNTY POLICE: We have about 500 identified MS-13 members here in Nassau County. Out of that 500, we have 215 that are active.
CABRERA: How do you identify who is an active member? RYDER: The number one is self-identity. So they'll be all tattooed up MS-13, they self-admit it, they do the signs. When they get arrested, they ask what gang affiliate? Yes. MS-13.
CABRERA: What is gang's M.O.?
RYDER: Kill, rape, control.
CABRERA: Ruling by fear, victims of their violence and recruitment are often young.
Local law enforcement says the gang first came on their radar in 2010, but they started to see an uptick in gang violence in 2015. According to intelligence, that's when leaders of MS-13 in El Salvador made a concerted effort to grow and establish news branches of the gang, so called (INAUDIBLE) and different pockets if the U.S., including the affluent suburbs of New York City and Long Island.
TIMOTHY SINI, SUFFOLK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Why New York is the question? And the answerer is that in Suffolk County, at least, there's a large Salvadorian population. There's a large population from the northern triangles, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras. There's also a record number of unaccompanied minors coming to Suffolk County during that time.
CABRERA: Since 2014, the U.S. government has placed more than 9,000 unaccompanied minors, undocumented children and teenagers who have crossed into the U.S. without parents or guardians with sponsors in Long Island communities.
SINI: Many of them don't speak English. They don't have money in their pocket. Their parents typically aren't with them. They are seeking a sense of belonging and MS-13 comes to them and says, hey, we can provide that. If you don't join the gang, this is what's going to happen to you. And you know what? We know where your family lives.
TRUMP: You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals.
CABRERA: Do you see immigration rhetoric that we're hearing from the current administration in D.C. helping or hurting your efforts?
SINI: Certainly, the administration's focus on MS-13 is helpful, both in terms of awareness, resources and driving initiative. But I think it is also very clear that we need to be sending a message to the immigrant population, the immigrant communities that we stand with them.
CABRERA: And you don't feel like your community is being used as a political pawn in any way?
RYDER: As a police commissioner, I stay out of politics. My job is to serve and protect all the people. Doesn't matter what your political affiliation, the color of your skin, or your religion. It doesn't matter to me.
RODRIGUEZ: Her life is so short.
CABRERA: Rodriguez says she's grateful for the support of the president and New York's governor who recently allocated more than $18 million for gang violence prevention and intervention programs. And she wants to be part of the solution to a safer community, whatever it takes, to prevent another family's pain.
RODRIGUEZ: I just want them to stop what they're doing. You're hurting family members, loved ones. In the end result, you're hurting yourself.
CABRERA: Another thing we've learned about these MS-13 gang members, they are overwhelmingly male and they are young, some as young as 15 years old, committing their first violent acts. So, what can be done?
I want to bring in a former MS-13 gang member now working on gang prevention and intervention, Alex Sanchez, is the co-founder of Homies Unidos. He's based in Los Angeles, another hot spot for this gang and he does consulting work on Long Island as well. Alex, so glad to have you with us. Thanks for taking the time.
I want to get your personal story first because you're drawn into this gang as a teenager. You were just 14. What was the appeal?
[20:45:04] ALEX SANCHEZ, COFOUNDER, HOMIES UNIDOS: Well, the appeal was the fact that there were so many social issues in the community that didn't have the answers for the problems that I had. And I decided to look for answers outside of home because at home there was a lot of abuse. I did not know my parents like many of the unaccompanied minors now. I was also an unaccompanied minor in 1979. So I didn't know my parents. It was difficult to establish that relationship. I didn't have other family members in the area. And the school did not provide any services for people like me, neither did the community.
So it was difficult for me to deal with the bullying, the harassment of other youth, other ethnic groups, as well as other youth that are Latinos as well. We were targeted and including by gangs.
So for me, it was something to -- it was attractive primarily because it was cultural, it was related to where I was from, El Salvador and I felt that for the first time, I was being acknowledged by this youth by being part of something, not only the protection, but really providing some of those needs that you have during those times --
CABRERA: What I'm hearing you say -- sorry, I didn't mean to step on you. But what I'm hearing you're saying sounds so similar to what we hear from those we've been speaking to as well about why they believe others currently are getting involved with this gang. How did you get out? What was the turning point? What broke through?
SANCHEZ: Well, people age out and I was definitely one that learned from my mistakes. I was incarcerated. Eventually deported. I became a father during that period and I wanted to be a father. I didn't want my son to go through the same things that I went through.
But I was going up against all odds in El Salvador. When I got down there, I had to flee. There were death squads that were trying to kill me just because I had tattoos. So I had to flee. I came back to what I knew. I came back to my family that was here. I came back because of my son. But more importantly, I came back because I needed to live, I wanted to live. And my son became my priority.
In the process, I was able to also help other youth in the neighborhood. And that's how I started getting involved with the organization.
CABRERA: Our thanks to Alex Sanchez and we'll be right back.
[20:50:04] CABRERA: Officials in Venezuela are certain someone tried to kill the president of that country today while he was giving a speech.
The sound cuts out. Troops in formation scattered and run for cover. This is in Caracas, Venezuela, in the middle of the speech by the president Nicolas Maduro. And government officials say witnesses heard explosions. They believe bombs were attached to drones flying close to the president. President Maduro was reportedly not hurt and was evacuated from this area.
Back to the United States, probably the strangest video you'll see all day.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no, oh, no, oh, no. Oh, God.
CABRERA: And proof of why it is never a good idea to go toe-to-toe with a bison.
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[20:55:20] CABRERA: From Enron to, the subprime mortgage crisis, to Bernie Madoff, the 2000s were a time of economic turmoil and that is the focus of an all-new episode of the "The 2000s." Take a look.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democrats and Republicans who oppose this plan, I say step up to the plate, let's do what's right for the country at this time, because the time to act is now.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We fail to act, gears of our economy will grind to a halt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the greatest market disruption that's happened since the crash in 1929. Reality finally imposes itself on Capitol Hill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion is adopted.
JERRY BODLANDER, REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Given a second chance, the house did an about-face. Easily passing the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There were moments this week when some thought that the federal government could not rise to the challenge, but thanks to the hard work of members of both parties in both Houses and the spirit of cooperation between Capitol Hill and my administration, we completed this bill in a timely manner.
JOHN HUEY, FORMER EDITOR, FORTUNE: In the aftermath, people criticized Paulson for this, that and the other, and that's fine. But the truth is, if he hadn't been there and they hadn't intervened, we never would have crawled out of that hole.
WILLIAM COHAN, AUTHOR, HOUSE OF CARDS: They rescued the financial system. Like it or not. I mean, you can wish all day long that they had all gone down the tubes, but I really don't think we would have enjoyed that one bit.
CABRERA: "The 2000s" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.
Finally tonight, a bizarre story out of Yellowstone National Park. Police arresting a man for taunting a wild bison. And this is all caught on tape. You got to see it.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God. Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, God. Oh, God.
CABRERA: I mean, what is he thinking there? Yellowstone officials warn visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from a bison. Authority said this was the man's third arrest in a week for causing disturbances like this while he visited various national parks.
By the way, harassing wildlife at any national park is illegal.
Thank you for watching tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera. So glad you were with me. I'll be back tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. Up next, "The 2000s."