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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Attacks Political Foes Against Backdrop of Normandy Cemetery for Fallen World War II Troops; U.S. Mexico Talks Go Down to Wire, As Tariff Deadline Passes. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired June 7, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:36] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The stakes could not be higher for millions of Americans and countless migrants fleeing oppression, not to mention the U.S. economy and the president's credibility.
John Berman here, in for Anderson.
We begin with breaking news on the tariffs President Trump said he will impose tariffs on Mexico starting Monday. With U.S./Mexico talks under way, today's 5:00 p.m. deadline to file the official paperwork came and went with no word one way or another on just what is happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, if I made any statement about anybody, it would be like a big headline (ph) -- why would he do that when he's overseas?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Sorry, just a little glitch right there. We got no word on what is happening in these talks at this moment. We are watching the talks very closely. They are now in hour 12. The minute someone emerges from those talks, we will bring you an update.
In the meantime, keeping them honest tonight.
In case you were wondering about the president's self-awareness, we are about to show you a new clip that was released today from Fox TV. It took place, as you know, at the military ceremony in Normandy, moments before the president properly and eloquently paid tribute to the allied soldiers who stormed the beaches on D-Day, many of whom died and are buried behind him, their graves literally the backdrop to every word you're about to hear.
And we will get to the appropriateness of what he said in just a moment with Rick Wilson and David Gergen.
But first, his self-awareness about the rightness or wrongness of it. In this clip you're about to see, he's talking about the long-standing taboo against speaking harshly about political opponents while on foreign soil, let alone at a cemetery on solemn ground. He makes it clear, if he did anything like that, there would certainly be an uproar. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now, if I made any statement about anybody, it would be like a big headline (ph) -- why would he do that when he's overseas?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Why would he do that when he's overseas?
So, clearly he knows it's the wrong sort of thing to do. And if that's all you heard from the interview, we'd obviously think that the very next thing he said, the very next words out of his mouth would be anything, anything but this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She is a terrible person. And I'll tell you, her name, it's nervous Nancy, because she's a nervous wreck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi he's talking about there, on foreign soil, which the president himself said would make headlines. But again, don't just listen to what he said. Look, look at where he said it. Look at what is all around him there. Think about the magnitude of the sacrifice of those who are buried there, the sacrifice literally staring the president in the face. He knew it, and he did it anyway.
He also tweeted about Nancy Pelosi from Air Force One just this afternoon. This is what he wrote -- "nervous Nancy Pelosi is a disgrace to herself and her family for having made such a disgusting statement, especially since I was overseas with leaders overseas."
He is talking about her remarks to a closed-door meeting with senior House Democrats on whether to begin impeachment inquiries. Our sources telling us she says she prefers to see him def at the polls, prosecuted and thrown in prison, which is certainly strong stuff. It is provocative, perhaps even inflammatory, but it was not said in public, not said on foreign soil and not meant for the president's ears.
As to what Speaker Pelosi actually said yesterday during her time in Normandy, look at this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't talk about the president when we're in any other country. That's my principle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: And we might add: not hers alone. That credo is shared by elected officials of all stripes and parties and has been for decades. Do not launch attacks, let alone personal attacks, on domestic rivals while overseas, which did not stop the president from saying even more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think she's a disgrace. I actually don't think she's a talented person. I've tried to be nice to her because I would have liked to have gotten some deals done. She's incapable of doing deals. She's a nasty, horrible, vindictive person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The president did not just attack the House speaker. He also took aim at House Democrats and Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Mueller report came out. It was a disaster for them. They thought their good friend, Bobby Mueller, was going to give them a great report, and he came out with a report with 13 horrible, angry Democrats who were totally biased against me, a couple of them worked for Hillary Clinton.
[20:05:07] They then added five more, also Democrats. With all of that, 2 1/2 years. Think of it, from before I even got elected, they've been going after me, and they have nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, there he is with the fallen troops behind him, airing domestic political grievances and launching personal attacks. And again, here he is suggesting how outrageous that would be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now, if I made any statement about anybody, it would be like a big headline (ph) -- why would he do that when he's overseas?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Why indeed?
Perspective now from CNN's senior political analyst David Gergen who served as senior adviser to presidents in both parties dating back to the Nixon administration, and also Republican strategist and Trump critic Rick Wilson, author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies."
So, David, the president made these comments not just on foreign soil, but to an extent, sacred soil, sitting right next to the gravestones of the fallen heroes from the D-Day invasion. Where does this rank? I mean, how would you assess this moment?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, John, I had the privilege of going to Normandy on the 50th anniversary with President Clinton, and it is hallowed ground. One has a sense that as you walk in, especially -- because there are so many gravestones there, it's extraordinarily moving when you're there, and you do have a sense, there's something sacred about this place and that where we honor those who fell.
And so, to have the president go there and then this controversy with Nancy Pelosi. I understand why he was ticked off with her, but nonetheless, especially to sit at that space just before the commemoration with those graves behind you, you know, it's just -- I just can't -- I can't believe -- who planned that? Who was on his advance team or why did he allow that to happen? Who can explain it?
BERMAN: One possibility is he doesn't care.
GERGEN: That's one possibility.
GERGEN: Certainly. But, you know, in some ways, if you're on his team, you're trying to make the speech the centerpiece of the day, and he stepped on his own story, you know. So, it was -- and continually did that throughout this trip.
This trip overall, because of the ceremonial aspects and the warmth with which he was received by the royals in Britain, along with D-Day, you know, had something very positive for him. He was more presidential than most of the things he does.
So, to step on it was sort of dumb, frankly, but more importantly, I think is what it says about not respecting a place as hallowed as that for Americans.
BERMAN: Is that how you see it, Rick?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It is. And you know, I'm a sharp-tongued guy when it comes to Donald Trump, but this is one of those events that just sort of makes you sad about the fact that he doesn't seem to have boundaries and understand proprietary and understand the role not of President Donald Trump but of the president of the United States.
And it's one of those moments where he should have thought to himself, maybe I'm going to look bigger and maybe I'm going to be bigger for once by leaving my personal grievances out of it, by leaving my base audience stoking out of it. Maybe just for once, I'm going to stick to the speech, stick to the script, show respect for the place and the moment that I'm in.
But you know, he can't do that, John. He's just -- he's just mentally and morally incapable of doing that.
BERMAN: One of the things the White House suggested as well -- Nancy Pelosi said mean things about the president, said she would like to see him in prison. It's worth pointing out, she said that while she was in the United States and behind closed doors. I'm not sure she wanted to get it out there.
Is that any justification for saying what he said, rick?
WILSON: No, of course not. This is a man who lacks all discipline, John. He is a man who does not have the ability to switch off his pettiness and switch off his reflexive nature for one moment to honor the men, the Americans and the Brits and the French who died that day.
And at the last time we're going to see any of those living soldiers still with us. He just couldn't do it. He just couldn't make himself restrain for one moment.
BERMAN: I have to say, the back drop is jarring. You're sitting there watching him do this interview, and you see in the background, David, those graves. One other thing that's striking is that up until this week or two weeks ago, he was very careful about the way he spoke about Nancy Pelosi. He didn't give her a nickname in his world.
But now, all of a sudden, he's throwing these words out there and on direct attack. Why do you think that is?
GERGEN: I can't figure it out, because maybe he wants to just dominate her because he finds her threatening. But you would think that he would appreciate that she is the one person standing between him and an impeachment inquiry. Were it not for Nancy Pelosi, were it some other Democratic lead leader, we'd be in impeachment inquiry now, but she's holding it back.
So you would think he would have an interest in not getting into that name contest with her.
BERMAN: Well, something snapped.
[20:10:00] I mean, I don't know if it was Nancy Pelosi using the "prison" word, I don't know if it was, you know, last week, Nancy Pelosi saying other things about the president, Rick. And now the president's using a word he uses to describe many women, specifically, which is nasty.
WILSON: Sure. And Donald Trump is always the king of projection.
But I think David touched on something there. You know, Nancy Pelosi's the only thing holding back a tidal wave of impeachment, but Trump recognizes that what she is doing has a greater chance of causing him to be held to account than an impetuous sort of impeachment move. And I think he's trying to weaken her strategically and to play a little bit of head-faking with her and punch her around a little bit so that he can try to dominate the situation and get her to move quicker than she's inclined to move right now.
I think he relishes the idea of impeachment on one level, but he understands that she is dragging this thing along and it's causing him some ongoing damage and ongoing accountability. So, I think that's where it came from.
BERMAN: You know, it's interesting, in this discussion, I sense sadness in both of you more than outrage about all this. Explain that.
GERGEN: Yes. Well, I think we've been through an outrageous period, you know? It's a little bit like grieving. At some point, you're just angry.
Then later on -- I mean, I grieve for the country, but later on after the anger period, you sort of begin to be resigned to what it is. It is what it is, and it's going to be resolved at the ballot box in 2020 and not before. I don't think we're going to see much change in behavior before that, do you?
BERMAN: And, Rick, I'm asking you here, you know, again, you noted that you are rarely so subdued, you are usually sharp-tongued here, but here, it seems to be bigger than that.
WILSON: Because all I could think about, John, is those 19 and 20- year-old boys who jumped out of those planes, stormed up those beaches, and it's the 75th anniversary of it. And those guys are now in their late '90s. They will not be with us again in two years or five years. They will not be with us again for a 100th anniversary of this, obviously.
And Donald Trump had to go and make it about Donald Trump. We even had Ronna McDaniels say that this should be about celebrating President Trump. It was just one more outrage on something. And this is the kind of big moment Americans should all be able to come together on, and he made sure we couldn't.
GERGEN: Yes, this is -- on occasion when he does speak, he's expected to speak for all the people, to be a uniting force, to be the president of the United States and not a partisan. And so, for some -- he robs himself of his own dignity when he goes through this, and it diminishes us in the eyes of the world.
BERMAN: Ii will note, he was not the only one sitting there. Someone decided to ask him those questions. Somebody decided to set it up like that.
David Gergen, Rick Wilson, thank you very much for being with us.
GERGEN: Thank you.
WILSON: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: We have more ahead tonight. Next, the latest on the breaking news on the tariffs and the talks now going down to wire, actually, well past the wire.
And later, this video is terrifying. The U.S./Russian collision that nearly happened on the high seas and how they're handling it back on shore.
[20:17:14] BERMAN: We said at the top, high-stakes negotiations between the U.S. and Mexican officials have gone deep into the night as the deadline for triggering tariffs on Mexico has passed.
CNN's Joe Johns is following all of the late developments and what right now is, frankly, a mystery. We don't know what's going on. Joe joins us from the White House. Joe, the president's home. He
returned to the White House, but what's the state of the negotiations?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a little confusing, John, because we've been getting mixed messages out of the administration all day. A great example of that is Marc Short, the chief of staff for the vice president, was right out here in the driveway this morning speaking to journalists. And he said, essentially, that there was a legal notification that was going to go out to let Mexico know that the tariffs were supposed to go into effect on Monday, as the president has threatened.
But we've gotten no official notification that that legal notice has actually gone out. We haven't gotten anything from the press secretary, from the variety of sources that we use every day here at the White House. And nothing has been published by the government, and that's probably the most important thing, because when the government's about to take a monumental act like this, it's going to be published in what they call the federal register. It's like the daily diary or journal of the American government, and it lays out all the documentation.
And one of the documents they've got to put out there is something that gives marching orders to the border protection agency. These are the people who are actually going to do the leg work if the president is going to impose those tariffs. This document would tell them, here's how we're going to do it, here's the goods that we're going to place the 5 percent tariff on, and so on.
And we haven't seen anything in the federal register, either. So, that is the main thing we're looking for.
The other important thing on that is talking to the experts around here, whenever they get around to putting the tariffs in, if they do, there's probably going to be a little bit of a lag time, because the border protection has to program their computers and make all the changes and get everybody up to speed because the president of the United States, even though he's the president, he can't really just wave a wand and say let there be tariffs.
BERMAN: Yes. He's not going to go collecting the tariffs as the goods cross the border, that's for sure. And I do want to know one thing, Joe -- even if the legal notice is filed, or I guess, has been filed and we just don't know it yet, it could still be lifted before Monday, correct?
JOHNS: Well, yes, sure. I mean, absolutely true, and that's something else that Marc Short said this morning, that even if they did give that legal notification and the negotiations with the Mexican team continue, if they're fruitful, if they start getting toward a resolution, the president can say, OK, never mind.
[20:20:15] And that's another possibility as well. So, everything's just sort of up in the air right now. What we do know is they continue to talk and there are a couple substantive issues there, one of them, most importantly, I think, is the United States demanding that Mexico stop the migrants at its southern border and process them there for refugee status as opposed to letting them come up to the United States border.
Mexico has been reluctant to do that in the past, so the question is have they gotten any movement on that?
BERMAN: All right. Joe Johns at the White House, we'll let you go back to reporting. Stand by. Tell us if you see anything or any funny movement.
JOHNS: You bet.
BERMAN: Joining us, CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, and Republican strategist Adolfo Franco, who also serves on the Republican National Committee's Hispanic Advisory Council.
Kirsten, I guess the fact that they've been behind closed doors for 12 hours and fact that the president hasn't tweeted some bomb over the last half an hour indicates that maybe progress is being made?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, there's no way to know. The White House has said that there has been some progress, but it's a long way to go -- they have a long way to go. And based on at least the reporting so far, it doesn't seem like Mexico is going to be able to do what they're asking them to do.
I mean, first of all, I don't think they have a real incentive to do it in the first place, to be processing people as refugees into your country just because they're passing through your country isn't something that I think most countries would be eager to agree to. And Mexico has been trying to get the United States to do what really would address this problem, which would be to be giving aid and investing in these countries that people are fleeing because of all of the violence and all of the economic deprivation.
And instead, Trump, of course, cut off aid to them. So, he actually did the opposite much what most people think would help the situation.
BERMAN: So, Adolfo, according to the "Washington Post," Mexico has put some concessions on the table, including sending 6,000 national guard troops to the southern border of Mexico, including discussions about overhauling asylum. Third country safe harbor, essentially, which might let people -- or force asylum-seekers to declare asylum in Mexico, rather than the United States.
Why wouldn't those concessions be enough? Shouldn't that be enough for the president to back off his terror threat?
ADOLFO FRANCO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I don't think it's enough. I think it's a step forward. And I think that's why the president has said that progress is being made, and I think those signals of the administration have been positive as of late.
And one of the reasons, frankly, John, that the deadline has come and gone and we haven't heard anything, I think that means that the negotiations are being conducted in good faith.
But I do want to clarify something that was just said. We have an arrangement with Canada that when Canada becomes the first stop of somebody seeking refuge, they stay in Canada. And so, we want for Mexico exactly to do -- for Mexico to do exactly what Canada does, and that is, if people are really fleeing and they're really seeking political asylum, it's the country of say the first safe country, which would be Mexico, where they should remain. That's exactly what we have with Canada, and that should be the case.
I don't understand how it can be safe to go across all of Mexico in these caravans when we know a great deal of difficulty have been encountered by migrants. So, I think that's part of the push, and I think it's actually reasonable for the administration to do this.
I also think there's a northern border issue as well, not just a southern border. We have a legitimate amount of focus on the southern border, but the northern border as well. Mexico can do a lot to ensure that people do not, and cooperate with the U.S., enter our country illegally, and I think the president's pressing hard on that as well.
BERMAN: I will say there is a difference between Canada and Mexico. It's not like migrants are walking from Russia into Canada to get to the United States.
FRANCO: But the principle is the same.
BERMAN: I suppose they're the same, but the practical reality is so different that I don't know that it's an apples-to-apples comparison. But you are absolutely right, the U.S. does have that agreement with Canada, and until tonight does not have it with Mexico. All I'm saying is that the practical realities might prohibit that.
And Mexico until tonight, at least, has been against that. Whether or not they budge remains to be seen. Go ahead.
POWERS: Yes. I mean, also, let's just be honest about the fact, Canada isn't bordering anywhere that is having the kind of crisis that the Northern Triangle is having.
And so, you have people on Mexico's border who are flooding in there because they're trying to escape really horrible circumstances. And again, the president cut off aid to them. And there's pretty much unanimous agreement that these are places that need help and that the people would stop leaving them if they weren't in such dire circumstances.
[20:25:01] So, you know, I don't think it's an apples-to-apples comparison at all.
FRANCO: Well, I ran the USAID program for Central America for six years --
POWERS: Well, that doesn't mean you can do analogies, apparently. I mean, I don't --
FRANCO: In the Bush administration.
I don't think there is enough aid to stop the flow without significant border enforcement on the Guatemala/Mexico border. Also --
POWERS: It's not --
FRANCO: Well, let me finish. The president of Mexico has also said he wanted to welcome Central American refugees, and then, somehow, stepped that back.
So, you can't have it both ways. There are just not enough money, quite frankly, to address all of the problems of Central America. There never has been, without adequate enforcement on the southern border by Mexico. The president's right to put the pressure --
BERMAN: Last word.
POWERS: You're arguing with yourself, because nobody's saying that it has to be one or the other --
FRANCO: Well, Mexico's insisted this.
POWERS: I'm not saying that -- well, Mexico's actually sent a bunch of national guard people to the border --
FRANCO: This week.
POWERS: So, they actually are doing it. It's not an either/or. It's --
FRANCO: Under the threat of tariffs.
POWERS: You can actually support the border and bring aid to the Northern Triangle --
FRANCO: Well, you're suggesting this is happening because Mexico has somehow been doing this all along. Mexico is reacting to President Trump's pressure --
BERMAN: Well, you guys are making two different arguments. Adolfo, you're suggesting that no aid is of any help --
FRANCO: I'm not saying no aid.
BERMAN: Well, the president cut funding for the Northern Triangle.
I will say this, negotiations are under way as we speak. We are watching to find out if they reach a deal, so stick around, guys. Don't go far, because if they come back for something, we'll need you to analyze.
Kirsten Powers, Adolfo Franco, thank you very much.
So, as we've been discussing, the sticky point is what's happening on the border. Next, what our Gary Tuchman saw in just one hour on the border and what he heard from border agents and the migrants they're detaining in record numbers.
[20:31:26] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we have breaking news. Just moments ago, the President announced on Twitter that the United States has reached a deal with Mexico and now says he will not institute tariffs on Monday.
Let me quote now, he writes, "I am pleased to inform you that the United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday against Mexico are hereby indefinitely suspended. Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of migration through Mexico into our southern border. This is being done to greatly reduce or eliminate illegal immigration coming from Mexico into the United States. Details of the agreement will be released shortly by the State Department. Thank you."
That was the President just moments ago. I should note, the President actually removed the tweets, but then reposted them, making us all wonder, well, was there not a deal? But now it appears to be done. Let's go back to Joe Johns at the White House. Joe, what do you know?
JOE JOHNS CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that sound you hear is the sigh of relief coming from so many businesses, especially small businesses with narrow margins that move goods across the southern border.
Look, one thing we do know is that there have been signs, if you read them very carefully, over the last 24 hours or so that something was happening. The President of Mexico speaking publicly was issuing conciliatory messages earlier in the day, making it clear that he did not want a confrontation with the United States.
We know also that there have been a variety of people here at the White House suggesting, on the one hand, the talks were going very well over at the State Department, on the other hand, we're not sure they were going to bear anything out.
Of course, what the President mentioned there about Mexico securing its border is a theme that this administration's been pushing very hard over the last several days, again, that important idea of trying to stem the flow of migrants coming from the southern border around Guatemala, frankly, and marching upward to the U.S. border and seeking asylum there.
They wanted that to stop, so the question is did the President get what he wanted? Of course, the President sees tariffs as a very effective tool for him. He calls himself the tariff man. He likes them because he has a lot of flexibility as to when he uses them.
So, if it looks on paper the way the President is describing it, once again, the President and his tariff strategy appears to have been at least somewhat effective.
BERMAN: Although that very much depends on what deal was reached, and at this point, we have no idea. I keep looking down for details. They have not been published yet. Joe, I'll let you get back to work. If you do hear anything, let us know.
Back with us now, Adolfo Franco and Kirsten Powers. Guys, before the commercial, I suggested you should stick around because we might have news.
ADOLFO FRANCO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You're right.
BERMAN: So the President says there's a deal. What we don't know is what's inside the deal, Kirsten. And I know that, I know what's inside is going to be huge. But, if he did get any concessions out of Mexico through this tariff threat, does that indicate that maybe for this President, diplomacy by tariff can work in some places?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, we have to see exactly what he got, so it's a little bit hard to say. But, yes, of course, if you play hardball and you win, then that's a win., there's no question about it. But we have to see what they actually agreed to.
And I think that the administration was looking for a deal. There was so much pressure on them from the Republican Party, from businesses and the pushback against it was really strong.
[20:35:02] And so I think they were looking to find some sort of agreement and to avoid this. And so we'll have to see what's actually in the -- you know, when we actually see what's actually been written down and agreed to, then we can make a judgment.
BERMAN: And Adolfo, you heard Joe Johns say the sigh of relief. The sigh of relief is coming from American businesspeople, Americans in Texas, in Michigan, all over the country, who felt that they would be crushed if these tariffs went through.
So, you know, it does beg the question whether or not -- maybe it was effective. We don't know the contours of the deal yet. But to do it at the expense, potentially, of American workers, is that the right thing?
FRANCO: Well, obviously, it was the right thing because we don't have tariffs and we are going to be in a better shape with respect to border enforcement in Mexico than we were before this entire exercise began.
I think it's important for the viewers to understand, the references to the militarization of the national guard, which is what is now a military force, the deployment of these resources to the southern border of Mexico, additional checkpoints, which Mexico already announced, the establishment and creation of detention centers, were all a consequence of the President putting pressure on Mexico to impose these tariffs.
So, it's already a huge win for the President. We all see if the agreement is, which I would be very surprised, the pairing back of what we already know have been the items on the table, then it will be a different story.
I expect it to be the contrary, and that is additional things, particularly on the northern border. So, this was effective. And neither President does not want to impose tariffs on Mexico, but he's made it clear throughout that he wants to use this as a tactic.
And Mexico, quite frankly, John -- yes, it would be terrible for a lot of Americans, American jobs and American businesses, but Mexico stood to lose far more than the United States, and that's why these things came about.
BERMAN: We will see, hopefully, what is in this deal soon, and we will be able to analyze it I think more thoroughly then. Adolfo Franco, Kirsten Powers, thank you.
FRANCO: Thank you. I love to. Thank you.
BERMAN: Thank you very much. Next, what our Gary Tuchman actually saw on the border in just one hour today.
[20:41:05] BERMAN: More now on the crisis at the center of tonight's breaking tariff news. And as we have been discussing, make no mistake, it is a crisis, a humanitarian crisis. Earlier this week, Customs and Border Protection reported that the month of May saw more arrests of migrants at the border than at any other time in the last 13 years.
So, we sent our Gary Tuchman there to see what's going on, and he joins us now from the border city of El Paso. Gary, I understand you had a remarkable hour. What did you see?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. What we saw today and what our viewers are about to see was chaotic, desperate, emotional and sad. We went along with border patrol agents inside one of their vans and went on a patrol of the border here in the El Paso, Texas area.
And within 60 minutes, we saw the apprehension of eight different family units, 25 people, most of them children. Every five or 10 minutes, people were coming out of the Rio Grande.
The first person we saw was Juana from Guatemala. Juana was very skinny, sick, coughing with a 6-year-old son and a 9-month-old baby on her back. She had spent the last week and a half on a bus and walking here to the United States. She says she is very poor, that she needed to come here. She said she had heard in her small town that people had successfully come to the United States with her children. She ran from the authorities first, from border patrol, then she realized they weren't going to hurt her, she stopped, and she was apprehended.
And then after that, we saw Sandy from Honduras. Sandy did not come with a child, but she's about to have a child. Eight and a half months pregnant from Honduras coming across the desert for the last three weeks on a bus and walking most of the way, she says.
She says her husband and her brother were murdered by gang members. She was afraid she was going to be murdered, too, in Honduras. She felt like she had to go, despite the fact that she was eight and a half months pregnant. She, too, was apprehended.
And then we saw a man with two sons, a man who after he was apprehended from Honduras started crying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: He has tears of happiness, he says, that he made it, with his son, with his son. He's very happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: And that's what we saw from a lot of people. After they were apprehended, they just started crying. And all of them said they cried because they were happy that they no longer had to go on this journey. They didn't know what was in store for them in the future. They have no idea, but they were happy they were no longer doing this.
What we can tell you something interesting, very interesting. Here in Texas, the Rio Grande separates Texas from Mexico. So the middle of the Rio Grande is the border. In this area in El Paso, the Rio Grande is very dry. You can literally walk across it on rocks.
Every one of these people we talked to today thought they had to go across the Rio Grande. This 18-foot fence is 1,000 feet in front of the Rio Grande to the north. They all thought they had to figure out how to scale this fence, but the border patrol told them, no, you are in the United States, you don't have to go over the fence. They were all greatly relieved.
So this fence here stops nobody from getting into the country of the United States. One other thing, John, I want to mention to you is that these border patrol agents were very professional, very courteous, they're very unique people, welcoming people to the United States, but they did it in a very exemplary fashion, exemplary ambassadors to this country.
BERMAN: Gary, let me get this straight, because I'm not sure I can get over this, all those people you just showed us, all those pictures that we just had up on the screen, all of those apprehensions took place in less than one hour? TUCHMAN: Yes. It literally took place in 59 minutes. I timed it when we saw the first person, Juana. I timed it when we saw the last group. It took 59 minutes. What I can tell you, John, is that they all want to stay in this country, but they have absolutely no idea how they apply to stay in this country, how they apply for asylum. That's totally foreign to them. They are learning about that as we speak, where they're apprehended here in El Paso. John?
BERMAN: All right, Gary Tuchman, a remarkable hour on the border. Thank you so much for that.
I want to bring in Joe Johns, who's at the White House now. Joe, are you getting more information about the status of this deal which the President announced minutes ago on Twitter?
[20:45:00] JOHNS: Yes, not yet, not so far. And, of course, it's a Friday night in Washington, D.C. during the summer, past Memorial Day. So, still haven't heard yet from the White House as to the details of this.
What we do know, though, John, is those negotiations over at the State Department have gone on, as we've reported, for hours and hours and hours. And it's just not clear whether they're finished talking or whether they've dotted all the Is crossed all the Ts or what have you, but still waiting for more information from the White House quite frankly.
BERMAN: I will say one of the things we need to look for, don't just look for movement of Mexican resources, whether it be the national guard troops or checkpoints. I think what we all have to look for is if there's an actual change in the asylum law in Mexico. And I think that's the barometer with which we need to consider how big of a deal this actually is, correct?
JOHNS: Right. Exactly right, because what the United States has been trying to get Mexico to do is to sign on to something that's called a safe country agreement. And that, essentially, is Mexico declaring that it is able to take people who are seeking asylum, process them, and deal with them so that when they come to the United States as the third country, the United States will have a much easier time of saying no and turning those people away, John.
BERMAN: All right. Joe Johns, it is Friday night, but a busy Friday night. We'll let you get back to work. Let us know if you learn anything new. In the meantime, we'll be right back.
[20:50:35] BERMAN: So recapping the breaking news, the President just moments ago announced an agreement with Mexico, ending it seems the standoff on the migrant crisis that could have lead to tariffs on Mexico, Monday.
Despite that announcement, it is not clear at all what the details are of what was agreed to. No doubt, we'll be learning more in the minutes and hours ahead. With that in mind, let's check in with Chris Cuomo for a look at what he's got coming up next. Chris, I imagine you're working the phones just like the rest of us.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Here's the plus minus at this point. You've got to look at this on the outside as a win for the President because the reporting so far is that Mexico is making moves.
They have an agreement that they know they have to be tougher about people who are going to transit from their southern border, which is actually an easier contained situation than any other place that they deal with within their country and certainly a lot easier than our southern border just in terms of distance and dimension.
So, the United States is going to get more help from a country that was have to remember has very limited ability to help. You know, the idea that Mexico's U.S.'s proxy there, not so much.
The negative side is going to be that why isn't the urgency that the President put on that muscularity being equaled by what he does with his heart to help the kids and the instant crisis on the border that was just told so well on your show. This didn't help that. Nothing has helped that. It is getting worse by the day as Gary just showed us.
BERMAN: Really was remarkable to see that 59 minutes on the border. Chris, I'll let you get back to work. We'll see you again in a few minutes.
An American-Russian warship almost collided in the Philippines Sea, details on that straight ahead.
And a quick programming note. This week, W. Kamau Bell is in Milwaukee where he discusses how implicit bias might shape racist views you may not even know you had. It's an all new "United Shades of America," Sunday night at 10:00 only on CNN.
[20:56:02] BERMAN: Bit by bit, minute by minute, we are learning more about the agreement President Trump just announced on Twitter. Let's go now to our Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski who is monitoring the developments. Michelle, what have you learned?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been 12 hours now of meetings at the State Department. The Mexican foreign minister has been in there so he just tweeted that, yes, there is indeed a deal with the United States. He's still inside. We expect him to come out in about 10 to 15 minutes and we have heard nothing from the State Department at this point.
So, he, over the past two days has been giving us details, at least some detail about what's been going on inside. From what he said, the U.S. has been focused on the border enforcement part of this. And Mexico complied by saying they were going to send 6,000 troops to their border with Guatemala.
So they got that taken care of, but the sticking point has been the asylum issue. That the U.S. wants people to either seek asylum in Mexico if that's the first country they had to pass through instead of trying to go to the United States and the U.S. wants to be able to deport people back to Mexico when possible.
Mexico has not wanted to budge on that for a very long time. So we can assume if a deal has been reached that that will be apart of it, but we don't have any answers at this point. It seems like the first answers we're going to hear once again is going to come from the Mexican side and not from the State Department.
BERMAN: Well, at least we do have confirmation from the Mexican side that there is a deal. We didn't have that a few minutes ago. Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
On another tense diplomatic front, there was a dramatic near collision in the Pacific between U.S. and Russian warships which came dangerously close to one another on the high seas.
This is a big deal. The incident came just days after the Navy accused Russia of intercepting an American aircraft over the Mediterranean. CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr with the very latest.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. sailors keep the camera running as they record a Russian destroyer nearly colliding with their ship. It the dramatic encounter, the Russian warship moves to within 50 to 100 feet of their cruiser.
A U.S. aircraft overhead documents the Russian wake of their ship making a sudden high speed turn and coming up along side the U.S. warship. All of this takes place in the Philippines Sea in international waters.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says the U.S. will protest to Moscow.
PATRICK SHANAHAN, ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY: We'll have military to military conversations with the Russians and, of course, we'll demarche them but, you know, it's -- you know, to me it's safety at the end of the day that is most important. It will not deter us from conducting our operations.
STARR: A collision was narrowly avoided when the American commander ordered the ship into full reverse at high speed.
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY ANALYST: That is a very aggressive engine maneuver to conduct. Reversing the direction of those propellers to try to get the ship to stop or slow down as quickly as possible. It's a 10,000 ton cruiser. It's not going to stop on a dime.
STARR: Despite the severity of the episode, Russian sailors can be seen sunbathing on the destroyer's deck. Russia's state run news agency claimed the U.S. instigated the encounter. The incident occurred off the coast of China and comes after President Xi met with Russian President Putin who said Chinese-Russian relations are at an unprecedented level.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They're looking at the kinds of things that they can do in concert with the Chinese to challenge the U.S.
STARR: The Pentagon increasingly worried Russian forces are getting reckless. Tuesday, a Russian fighter jet flew right in front of a Navy patrol aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea. And last month, U.S. Air Force fighters intercepted Russian aircraft off the coast of Alaska.
LEIGHTON: Militarily what they're trying to do is they're trying to challenge the United States at every particular point that they feel they can get away with it.
STARR: Navy officials say the Russians had been shadowing the Americans at a safe distance for some time before the incident and that convinces them that the Russians knew exactly what they were doing, John.
BERMAN: Thanks to Barbara Starr. The news continues and there's a lot of it, so I'll hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris.