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Another Migrant Child Has Died Under U.S. Custody; Joe Walsh Says It Took Real Courage For Amash To Say What He Said; Deutsche Staff Saw Suspicious Activity With Trump And Kushner. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired May 20, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there, you're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. We've got some breaking news right now. Another migrant child has died in U.S. custody. Customs and Border Protection says, a 16-year-old boy was found unresponsive at a Border Patrol station near Hidalgo, Texas.

This tragedy makes the fifth death since December of a child who journeyed to the U.S. from Guatemala. Dianne Gallagher is our CNN national correspondent covering this for us this afternoon. And Dianne, 16, how do we know about how this teenager died?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To be honest, Brooke, we don't know a lot about how he died. Customs and Border Protection simply says that the teenager was found unresponsive during a welfare check this morning at that Weslaco station.

We know that he was processed and apprehended in the Hidalgo area on May 13th. So he'd been in the U.S. for about nine days to the point that he died. But after that point, we don't really know much. CBP says that, they're looking into it. They've contacted all the proper authorities in the U.S. and in Guatemala.

But look, Brooke, he is the fifth child from Guatemala to die in the past six months after being apprehended by U.S. authorities. Just last week, a two-year-old died in an El Paso hospital from complications of pneumonia. Last month, it was another 16-year-old who died in the hospital after being taken from an ORR facility. And of course, we can't forget those two children, the seven-year-old girl and the eight-year-old boy who died back in December, both from complications of sepsis.

If you remember, that spurred congressional hearings and immigration officials said that they would continue to do additional health checks on children who were 10 and under after that.

Now, look, Brooke, I have seen these facilities. I've been down on the border. I've seen these families and these children come through here and the conditions that they are in and the numbers are increasing. Just last month, it was 98,977 people who were apprehended coming across the border. In the month of April, a large number of those were families.

And look, it is getting -- where you're seeing this number increase and increase from the number before. And authorities down there have said that they need assistance down there in dealing with the issue. But again, Brooke, this is the fifth child in just six months who has died after, you know, being apprehended by U.S. authorities.

BALDWIN: Yes, give us a new definition to the word crisis ...

GALLAGHER: Yes.

BALDWIN: ... on the border, Dianne Gallagher. Thank you so much. We have more breaking news. Now, we are learning the investigation into Donald Trump's inauguration is going full steam ahead and appears to be heading into its next stage.

Federal prosecutors in New York are pouring through tens of thousands of documents they have received from the President's Inaugural Committee. They're looking into whether any of the record $107 million in donations for the inaugural was misspent, used to benefit certain people, or came from foreign donors violating, of course, the campaign finance laws, and they had talked to at least one of the planners for the inauguration whose firm was paid more than $25 million.

Now to Michigan, Republican, Justin Amash, who since being elected to Congress during the Tea Party wave has never been afraid to go against fellow Republicans. In this weekend, he took direct aim at the party's biggest name, President Donald Trump.

In a series of tweets, Amash gave his opinion on the nearly two-month- old Mueller report saying that it shows Trump's behavior meets the threshold for impeachment, a milestone in all things Mueller because Amash is the first Republican to mention the "I" word.

And as you can imagine, that did not go over well, with what John Boehner says is no longer the Republican Party, but the party of Trump. First up, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Those who know Justin Amash, this is exactly what he wants. He wants to have attention. Now, you've got to understand Justin Amash. He's been in Congress quite some time. I think he's only ever asked one question in all of the committees that he's been in. He votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me. It's a question whether he's even in our Republican conference as a whole.

What he wants his attention in this process. He's not a criminal attorney. He's never met Mueller, he's never met Barr. And now, he's coming forward with this because this is what he wants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Yaiks. And then we have Ronna McDaniel, the head of the Republican National Committee who added her two cents in a tweet saying, in part that it is quote, "Sad to see Amash parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russia." We should note Amash's tweets didn't mention Russia a single time.

What he did say was that Robert Mueller laid out multiple examples of conduct that met the threshold for obstruction of justice.

Moving on, President Trump also took to Twitter calling Amash a lightweight and a loser. And now, one Michigan state lawmakers hopes to make that loser label stick by getting Amash out of office next year.

[14:05:06] (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

REP. JAMES LOWER (R-MI), MICHIGAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Well, like a lot of people, I was I was pretty angered by the tweets. But more immediately, right after that I decided that, you know, the campaign that we've been planning to announce in July that, you know, it'd be a good idea to move that up in terms of the announcement. And that's what we've done, as I'm sure you know, today, we're announcing that I'm going to challenge Congressman Amash in the Republican primary this fall -- or next fall rather.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Joe Walsh is a former Republican congressman and Nia-Malika Henderson is CNN senior political reporter. So welcome to both of you. And Congressman, you're up first, because I know that you say that many Republicans actually agree with Amash, but they agree behind closed doors. Right? So why can't they say it publicly?

JOE WALSH (R-IL), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Because they want to get reelected, Brooke. Look, Justin Amash spoke the truth. He and I got elected together. And this is what's so pathetic. It took real courage for Amash to say what he said. But it shouldn't take real courage to just speak the truth.

He called out Trump for being a dishonest tyrant who has obstructed justice.

And Brooke, anybody who's read that Mueller report knows that this President obstructed justice. But again, he said publicly, Brooke, what damn near every Republican privately believes, but they're scared to death to say it because we're no longer the party of issues. We are now the party of Donald Trump, Brooke.

You got to get down on your knees and bow to this President, if you want to keep your office.

BALDWIN: So it's interesting you mentioned who has actually bothered to read it. I want to come back to you on that point and the Members of Congress.

But Nia, to you, what do you make of this swift and sharp backlash from key party leaders? You know, is this an effort -- as our own colleague Michael Smerconish put it, to staunch the bleeding early? Are they trying to send a signal to other Republicans -- don't even try it? NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know in some

ways, yes. Some of those folks come out on Fox News and essentially try to discredit Justin Amash and say he's just out for attention. I think there are probably easier ways to get attention at this point, than to go against this President who is popular, particularly among folks in office.

I think Representative Walsh, is right there. You have people in Congress who are afraid of getting primary'd and we see now that Justin Amash himself is going to get primary'd in that all-critical state of Michigan, in that district of which Donald Trump did win. So this is interesting.

I do think there is sort of an underlying issue here that Republicans have, and that is, how do they keep Republicans in line. Not only folks on the Hill, but how do they keep rank and file Republicans in line in November of 2020, going to the voting booth to vote for Donald Trump.

As Walsh says there, there are Republicans who are privately -- and these are sort of just rank and file voters who do have concerns about Donald Trump.

Now, whether or not that means this -- we're down to whoever the Democratic, you know, candidate is in 2020. Whether or not they'll benefit or whether this will mean sort of a challenger to Donald Trump that gets any traction is unclear.

But I do think this speaks to a fear and a growing fear that some Republicans have, that Justin Amash isn't the only one at this point, and certainly is reflective of a little bit of tension among Republicans on that broad light.

BALDWIN: We certainly heard Mitt Romney for one, right? He has been public about how he has felt about President Trump, yet you've seen his comments on Amash and he, by the way, wasn't as harsh as his niece and the Republican House Leader. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): My own view is that Justin Amash has reached a different conclusion than I have. I respect him. I think it's a courageous statement. As I read the report, I was troubled by it. It was very disappointing for a number of reasons. But it did not suggest to me that this was time to call for impeachment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Joe Walsh calls him courageous, but doesn't agree with it.

WALSH: Brooke, that's classic Mitt Romney wanting to have it both ways and afraid to take a stance. Look, again, Amash spoke the truth. And I think Kevin McCarthy, you're getting so much pushback now from Republicans, because they don't want other Republicans to come out and say what Amash said. Amash, I know him well. He's one of the most conservative members of

the Republican caucus, but it no longer matters, Brooke, where you are on issues now. You've got to pray and bow and worship to this President, if you want to be a Republican and stay in office.

BALDWIN: But just also, yes, but following up with you, there was also a key phrase there that he said, which you alluded to a second ago. He said, "Well, when I read the report -- when I read the report." I mean, there have been so many -- both sides, but you know, Republicans who have just not bothered reading it. And is that not shirking their congressional duty?

[14:10:03] WALSH: A hundred percent, I mean, absolutely. But think about this, Brooke. For two years, when Republicans controlled the House, they didn't conduct any oversight on this President.

They made up their mind that they're going to protect this President, instead of protecting the Constitution. They're continuing to do that right now when they're out of power.

BALDWIN: So Nia, what about the Democrats? Like if you are Speaker Pelosi or, you know, Congressman Jerry Nadler, who have wanted to take more of a slow and steady approach, unlike some of their Democratic colleagues and stress this need for bipartisanship? Do Amash's comments -- I mean, this Republican Congressman -- does that change their thinking?

HENDERSON: You know, it still is just one Republican congressman in the House. They have always been looking at the Senate, of course, and they would need a two thirds majority over in the Senate to actually convict the President and throw him out of office. So, I'm not sure this changes their calculus. But it does change the kind of conversation that people are having ...

BALDWIN: It does.

HENDERSON: ... about impeachment, right? And that's certainly one of the factors that Democrats are looking at. Can they change that conversation? Can they change some of the polling that shows the vast majority of Americans aren't really for impeachment at this point?

I think it's something like 60 percent aren't necessarily for impeachment at this point. So can, you know, sort of Amash's comments -- them out trying to open up some of these hearings and investigations, and getting documents on getting Barr up to Congress getting the un-redacted report? All of these things. Can they sort of slowly chip away at what at this point is the public stance against impeachment?

So, I think Amash is a factor in that and we'll see how this plays out over the next many weeks. Nia, Congressman, thank you guys both very much on that.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Deutsche Bank is the President's biggest lender, and now we're learning employees there flagged suspicious activity involving President Trump and his son in law, Jared Kushner. We have more on that.

Also, Tehran, now responding to the President's direct threat. That war would be the end of Iran. And an eight-year-old girl walking with her mom kidnapped right off the street into a car. Hear the chilling story of how they managed to find her. You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:17:10] BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Iran is now firing back at President Trump's latest threats, warning that if Iran picked a fight with United States, it would be quote, "The official end of Iran."

Iran's Foreign Minister responding with his own tweet telling Trump to never threaten an Iranian. Try respect. Another top Iranian official calling President Trump a crazy President in an interview with CNN and a Twitter war coming amid rising fears over a potential military confrontation between the two countries. A danger that President is now downplaying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: We just don't want them to have nuclear weapons and they can't be threatening us. And you know, with all of ...

STEVE HILTON, FOX NEWS HOST: I just want to read you something.

TRUMP: ... everything that's going on, and I'm not one that believes, you know -- I'm not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people, most of them importantly, by far most importantly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Kylie Atwood is CNN's as national security reporter. Good to see you.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: You, too.

BALDWIN: What's going on? Why the sudden escalation on behalf of President Trump?

ATWOOD: Well, that's what's a little bit unclear here. There wasn't any specific thing that happened over the weekend that would have triggered the President to tweet this.

But the thing to consider here is that the President has always been clear that all options are on the table. But he wants it to be that he's the one keeping those options on the table.

Because just last week, we reported that President Trump was frustrated by the perception that his national security team was leading him into military confrontation with Iran. But then when he was asked about the White House, reviewing potential plans to send more than a hundred thousand U.S. troops to the region to control and make sure that Iran's nuclear program wasn't threatening the U.S. He said, he would do that, he would even send more troops.

So he wants to be the one who is in control of this narrative of potential military escalation. But we know that he is favoring diplomacy.

We saw him meet with the Swiss President last week and he wants to talk with Iran but keep the options on the table at his doing.

BALDWIN: Meantime, as we've been reporting, as you've been reporting, you know, Iran is essentially saying, "Listen, we have all of your numbers. We have no desire to call you, back off."

ATWOOD: Right. And President Trump just actually tweeted a few minutes ago that the U.S. isn't reaching out to Iran for discussions. But we know that President Trump has repeatedly said, "Call me if you want to call me."

We also know that the White House reached out to the Swiss who are protecting power in Iran to give them the number to call the White House if the Iranians asked for it.

But the important thing here is the backdrop, which is this military escalation, the U.S. building up a robust military in the region. And that is the key here, because that could lead to potential confrontation, even if it's not planned confrontation. And that's what U.S. officials even at the State Department are worried about right now.

[14:20:04] BALDWIN: We had David Sanger on last week from "The New York Times," saying that one of the real problems that it could lead to an unintentional ...

ATWOOD: Exactly.

BALDWIN: ... conflict.

ATWOOD: And the Iranians have even said that. Zarif, here in New York said that.

BALDWIN: Right, yes. Kylie Atwood, good to see you. Thank you very much.

Next here, Deutsche Bank employees who specialize in money laundering reportedly flagged suspicious activity involving the President and his son-in-law. What we now know.

Plus, President Trump is preparing to issue more pardons. And this time, they are even more controversial, why he is considering pardons for accused and convicted war criminals?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:25:03] BALDWIN: A furious Donald Trump is lashing out at "The New

York Times" today over the paper's report that anti-money laundering experts at Deutsche Bank flagged potentially suspicious activity in accounts controlled by Trump entities and by the President's son-in- law, Jared Kushner.

Deutsche Bank has decades old ties to Trump. It's lent billions of dollars to Trump and Kushner companies including $300 million in outstanding loans at the time he took office.

But according to the paper today, in 2016 and 2017, Deutsche Bank employees recommended multiple suspicious transactions be reported to this unit of the Treasury Department that polices Federal crimes.

At least some of these transactions according to "The Times" involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious.

Now, it is a complex process. So here's how "The Times" says the activity raised alarm bells which was flagged quote, "Lenders typically use a layered approach to detect improper activity. The first step is filtering thousands of transactions using computer programs, which send the ones considered potentially suspicious to midlevel employees for a detailed review. Those employees then can decide whether to draft a suspicious activity report, but a final ruling on whether it is submitted to the Treasury Department is often made by more senior managers."

And that is apparently exactly what happened. But Deutsche Bank executives reportedly rejected this advice and never reported the transactions to Treasury.

And there's more, at least one Deutsche Bank employee, a longtime anti-money laundering specialist tells "The Times" that she was actually fired last year after she raised concerns about Deutsche's practices and the bank disputes that.

Linette Lopez, is a senior finance correspondent at "Business Insider" and Melissa Murray is a law professor in New York University School of Law. And, wow, what a piece in this paper. So, Linette, just starting with you, because it sounds like there are several people who had spoken up anonymously sources to "The New York Times," saying they rang the alarm bell years ago.

LINETTE LOPEZ, SENIOR FINANCE CORRESPONDENT BUSINESS INSIDER: Yes, it seems that they spoke up to their bosses in Jacksonville, Florida. It seems that employees saw the suspicious activity within the program in the system. So it isn't just the employees who reported this, but other employees who worked for Deutsche Bank who are saying, "Yes, this is real, this happened. We've seen these reports."

And so, the process is that these reports should go to New York City, and then there should be compliance officers who look at these reports. These compliance officers should not be the same people who handle Donald Trump's private banking. Now, if they are or if the private bankers are having undue influence

on the compliance officers, that is a huge problem. And, you know, potentially illegal for Deutsche Bank.

So, it should not be that that Trump's banker had any influence on this. But "The New York Times" isn't necessarily clear on that.

BALDWIN: Right.

LOPEZ: But that's definitely something regulators should look into. And they've had their eye on Deutsche Bank for some time.

BALDWIN: One of these women who spoke up, Tammy McFadden, longtime anti-money laundering specialist at Deutsche Bank. So she was fired after she raised concerns about the banks practices.

Now the bank, to be clear, says, "No one was fired for raising concerns about a client," but Melissa, does that smack of retaliation.

MELISSA MURRAY, PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, it does have a whiff of retaliation to it again, what she can make out in court is a completely different matter. And the evidence would depend on what she can proffer.

But it looks incredibly suspicious and the optics aren't great for Deutsche Bank that you have an employee basically whistleblowing, and then she is promptly fired.

BALDWIN: When it comes to Deutsche Bank, this is how "The Times" put it -- "generally lacks approach to money laundering laws." Linette, can you just speak to that in their MO?

LOPEZ: Well, I mean, the biggest red flag here is that Deutsche Bank has been in trouble with European regulators, with the Federal Reserve, and with New York State for laundering money for prominent Russians with connections to Vladimir Putin. Why does it keep coming back to Vladimir Putin? Like that's the question we need to ask ourselves here.

Deutsche Bank is known for flaunting the rules. Like I said, they're working under a special status with the Federal Reserve -- that where the Federal Reserve should be watching very closely what they do.

And the question is -- well, also -- and New York State, Deutsche Bank did a presentation to New York State in 2017, the year that these transactions were seen, and said, "Look, this is how we're going to look at Donald Trump and his family. This is how we're going to operate under that." That's the New York State Department of Finance.

BALDWIN: Yes.

LOPEZ: And as you know, New York State has been trying to do the most to have its own state level documents about the Trump businesses and Trump, you know, transactions in general, to be able to share that information with congressional Democrats. So this is probably a sticky situation for Donald Trump. To know that

these are records that are -- they should be accessible to government agencies on the state level in New York.

BALDWIN: Which is -- maybe explains part of his lashing out on Twitter. I should also point out, a spokesman for Jared Kushner calls "The Times" story, "scandalous." How much leeway does the bank have?

MURRAY: Well, the bank is supposed to report these transactions to the Treasury Department. The problem of course, is that the Treasury Department is part of the executive and Steven--

[14:30:10]