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U.S. and Mexico Reach Agreement on Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Asylum Case Adjudication; U.S. Border Patrol Continues to Meet Migrants at Southern Border; Democratic Presidential Candidates Not Including Joe Biden Campaign in Iowa; Body of Man who Died in Police Custody Returned to Family with Organs Missing; Scientists Study Melting of Artic Icecaps; Couple Says They Were Poisoned at Resort in Dominican Republic; Queen Elizabeth of England Turns 93. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 8, 2019 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:28] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, thanks for joining me. I'm Alex Marquardt in this afternoon for Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with a crisis that has for now been averted. The tariffs that President Trump threatened to levy against Mexico last week have been called off, suspended, in the president's words. The president tweeting late last night, "I am pleased to inform you that the United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico." According to the president, Mexico is ready to crack down on migrants passing through their country to the U.S. And in turn, the U.S. is going to work to speed up the processing of asylum claims.

For more on this late-night deal, let's go right to CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House. Boris, the president celebrating this deal in a series of tweets, but how detailed is this agreement?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Alex. Well, yes, there is a sigh of relief on both sides of the border on this deal. Really, the Trump administration getting something that they had wanted from Mexico, for some time, that is to have the Mexican government host undocumented immigrants who have entered the United States illegally seeking asylum. The Mexicans have agreed to offer those immigrants certain resources, education, housing, et cetera, and in exchange, the United States has agreed to expedite those asylum claims.

In the president's eyes, this is a victory because it tries to mitigate what he calls a catch and release program that was possible during the previous agreement between these two nations. Mexico has also agreed to expand the presence of the Mexican National Guard against their country with a specific focus on that southern border to try to prevent immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, that Golden Triangle, from entering their country and trying to get to the United States. In exchange for all of this, the United States has agreed to drop the threat of a five percent tariff on all Mexican goods.

As I said, the president sees this as a victory. He has faith that this agreement will improve the situation on the southern border. Take a look at what he tweeted earlier today, the president writing, quote, "Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement for both the United States and Mexico."

The thing to watch out here for is what the president will do next with tariffs. This may embolden him, and potentially we may see the president threatening tariffs on a number of other allies over certain issues that he doesn't like, potentially levying or threatening tariffs on some European allies on their stance on Huawei, the telecommunications company, the Chinese telecommunications company that has been accused of essentially being a puppet of the Chinese government. A host of issues the president could threaten tariffs on, something to watch moving forward, Alex.

MARQUARDT: All right, Mexico will try very hard, the president says. So a lot remains to be seen. Boris Sanchez, thank you very much.

In the meantime, Democrats are not mincing words. They have slammed the deal inked by the Trump administration. Most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she's out with a new statement this morning saying, quote, "President Trump undermined America's preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend and neighbor to the south. Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy." This deal comes on the heels of a week filled with the president attacking Mexico.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mexico shouldn't allow millions of people to try and enter our country. And they could stop it very quickly.

They're coming up by the millions. Mexico can stop it, they have to stop it. Otherwise, we just won't be able to do business. It is a very simple thing.

We'll see what happens. But something pretty dramatic could happen. We've told Mexico, the tariff go on. And I mean, it, too.


MARQUARDT: Let's dig into this more with CNN political analyst Michael Shear and "TIME" magazine contributor Jay Newton-Small. Thank you both for joining us this afternoon. Jay, first to you, I just read those fierce words from Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Temper tantrums, is that how you see the deal was struck?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, CONTRIBUTOR "TIME" MAGAZINE: Alex, I think certainly this has been Donald Trump's art of the deal, right? His negotiating tactics have always been playing hardball and making threats and saying, look, like I'm not, I'm very serious, trust me, it's going to happen. And it did come as a surprise to most Mexican authorities who thought they had successfully renegotiated the NAFTA deal that is pending before the legislative bodies of all three governments, and so they were thinking this hurdle was really going to be Congress. And then all of a sudden Donald Trump takes to the campaign stump saying, look, this is a huge problem and I'm going to reimpose all these new tariffs unless Mexico jumps.

[14:05:00] And lo and behold, Mexico jumps, and we have a result. And Donald Trump declares victory. This is in large part I think having to do with the campaign more than anything else, but it also is very much in line with his negotiating tactics overall.

MARQUARDT: We did just hear Boris Sanchez go over some of the specifics of this deal. Michael, there's still a lot of detail that is missing. And so do you think that makes it less sustainable in the long term?

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think the long term is one of the questions. The amount of migrants that are coming over the southern border from Mexico into the United States continues to grow. It was at near record levels in May. So if those numbers continue despite this agreement, I think the president will continue to be angry and that we may be back here all over again.

I also would raise a little bit of skepticism about the extent to which Mexico actually did jump. This deal that the president announced is largely repackaged promises that the Mexican government has been making to the United States for months now. They promised months ago to deploy their new National Guard in this way in basically the same amount of numbers. And the agreement on asylum seekers making -- giving the United States the ability to send asylum seekers to wait in Mexico had already been painstakingly negotiated at the end of last year. The Mexicans say that they are going to increase the sort of speed at which they're willing to let that kind of continue to happen across the border. But it is really not that much of a victory for President Trump when you think that there is really very little here that's new.

MARQUARDT: One of the more significant promises that the Mexicans, to your point, Michael, made, was, and we're hearing this via tweet from the Mexican ambassador to D.C., is that Mexico on their side of the border will give health care, education, and job opportunities to people waiting in Mexico during the asylum process. Jayde, do you think that along with what Michael just mentioned there, that these are promises that can realistically be followed on?

NEWTON-SMALL: I think these are areas that already are really strained economically, and so I think it is going to be difficult for Mexico to deliver on those promises, and it certainly remains to be seen, and that's I think part of why, a lot of why both sides have said we are going to have to wait and see how it's implemented, how this works out.

I think this is going to become, unfortunately, the first of many such fights, because Trump seems to really enjoy this cudgel, wants to be able to tweet that he beat Mexico, that he is winning at something, and the fact that whatever tiny concessions or concessions that he can get out of Mexico happened, he wants to claim victory. And then sort of say, well, look, they promised me this, it is not happening, and we're going to follow up, we're going to make sure that they actually deliver on these things. So he said himself that it is something that they're going to watch closely and see if Mexico actually delivers on its word.

MARQUARDT: Michael, we did see the markets react poorly with the threat of these tariffs. Do you think the U.S. economy has dodged a bullet here? How do you think the economy will react?

SHEAR: Well, I think it probably has at least for the moment dodge a bullet. There were economists and people in industries all across the board who were very frustrated and nervous about what might happen if the president didn't get his way and ultimately imposed the tariffs. You saw weak job numbers the other day come out as well, and I think that must have been weighing on the president's mind. He currently -- the unemployment is low, and he currently faces reelection with a good economy. But there are warning signs. And if he continues to take actions that put pressure on economic growth to the point that he enters 2020 with a kind of slowing economy and prospects for people's economic fortunes that aren't as good as they have been in the last couple of years, that puts real pressure on him and gives an advantage to the Democrat who ultimately runs against him.

MARQUARDT: And that is obviously something we talked about. Jay, you mentioned it at the top, how much of this, how much of what the president has been saying, how much of what the president did in this deal with Mexico actually has to do more with 2020 and his prospects in the next election?

NEWTON-SMALL: Alex, I think almost everything the president does has to do with his reelection, whether it's his tweet, or his policies on dealing with Mexico or other foreign countries, with China also most notably, on the trade front, or whether it is domestic policies dealing with Nancy Pelosi.

And I think Michael is right here in the sense that there is a balance that the president has to worry about in extending this rally, the longest rally, it has been 10 years of growth in the United States, through the reelection, through November, 2020. Otherwise, he really does face a much more challenging electoral field.

And so every time you see sort of something happen where there's a weak jobs report, then there is almost always a pivot, where he's like, oh, look, we do have a trade deal with Mexico, or we're making progress with the trade deal with China.

[14:10:00] And that's because he doesn't have a lot of levers of the economy that he can still control as president. He is not going to convince Congress to pass more stimulus. He can't really get the Fed, or he doesn't seem to be able to bully the Fed into changing their rates. And so the only lever he has is his own Twitter kind of megaphone, and that's what he threatens either to make or break deals whenever he feels the economy is getting too hot or too cold.

MARQUARDT: We'll have to leave it there. Michael Shear, Jay Newton- Small, thank you very much.

Now, this deal is meant to push back a wave of migrants who are trying to come into the U.S. And the sure number of those crossings was clear when CNN's Gary Tuchman went down to the Mexican border. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we witnessed is and what you're about to see was chaotic, depressing, emotional, and sad. We spent part of the afternoon with agents from U.S. Border Patrol in a van with them as they patrolled the border near El Paso, Texas. And what we saw in a 60-minute span was them apprehend 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. She was emaciated, 25-years-old, with a six-year-old son and a nine-month-old baby on her back. They were all hungry, they were all thirsty, and they were all sick. She said she was very poor, and she had to come from Guatemala because she had no money left and no means. She said she had heard in her town that people that gotten to the United States as long as they had brought children with them, that they got here safely. She was apprehended.

We also met Sandy from Honduras. She didn't come with any children. She's about to have a child. She's eight-and-a-half months pregnant, and she came all the way from Honduras, spent three weeks taking buses, trains, and walking to get to the United States. She says that her husband and brother were killed by gang members. She was afraid it was going to happen to her too, that she had to leave and had to come here.

And then we me a man who brought his two sons, and after he was apprehended by Border Patrol he started crying.

Tears of happiness he says that he made it with his son, with his son, he's very happy.

And we saw that for many of the people, crying out of a sense of relief, crying out of happiness when they arrived here and they realized they were no longer on this journey.

Something very notable, the Rio Grande is what separates Texas from Mexico. The middle of the Rio Grande is the border. Here it's relatively dry and people are able to walk across it on rocks. When they walked across the river they saw this huge 18-foot fence, which is about 1,000 feet to the north of the river. All of them said they thought they had to figure out a way to get over the fence. The Border Patrol said no, you're already in the United States. You crossed the river. They were greatly relieved. So this fence does nothing to stop people from entering the land of the United States.

One thing I can tell you is that these Border Patrol agents we worked with are very professional, they are very considerate. They're ambassadors to this country, and they do a great job being ambassadors to these people who have gone through an awful lot.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, in El Paso, Texas.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Gary Tuchman for reminding us again that at the end of the day, this is a human story. Now, we are just moments away from 2020 Democrats taking the stage in

Iowa. There's a candidate forum today in that very important early voting state. So how will the candidates separate themselves from the field of more than 20 Democrats who are vying to become president?

And then later, a former army paratrooper dies in police custody, his family now demanding answers after his body was returned with several of his organs missing. That's ahead.


MARQUARDT: It is now down to the wire for this massive field of Democratic presidential candidates who are hoping to take the stage at the first debates. With less than three weeks to go, they're crisscrossing the country with half of this now 23-person field in Iowa this weekend. Many of them are attending Pride Fest in Des Moines, which is the state's largest LGBT event. The caucuses of course are eight months away. And while the candidates are trying to differentiate themselves, what they do have in common is their target -- President Trump.


BETO O'ROURKE, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Trump administration has openly attacked immigrants. The language they've used, the cages in which they placed children, the conditions in which they hold detainees, the internal ICE enforcement operation, the raids that are tearing apart families and entire communities. But we also know that much of this persisted before the Trump administration. And so I think it is just really important that we meet this opportunity this next election with the urgency on this issue that it demands, or a fear that we will have some other version of this going forward.


MARQUARDT: CNN's Leyla Santiago is right there on the ground in Des Moines. Leyla, aside from wanting to see President Trump beaten next year, what are these Iowa voters, who are really so proud of their role in this electoral process, what are they bringing up with the candidates?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing to see right here in Des Moines pride and politics come together as a lot of folks talk about the issues that are important to them. The issues I've heard today -- abortion, jobs, the economy, someone who can relate to their financial situation. The candidates are very much taking note of how important Iowa is.

Let me show you live right now, Cory Booker has arrived, and he is sort of making the rounds, talking to voters and getting his name out there, his platform, what he believes, trying to court Iowa voters. He is not alone here. I have see many of the campaigns with staffers that are giving out stickers and talking to voters that are really a part of this vibrant celebration today.

In just about half an hour, we expect about eight of those candidates to go in front of a forum setting and have 10 minutes to make their pitch in a state that is the first caucus state in this election cycle. Of course, they are also talking about news of the day. Already, we've seen Beto O'Rourke ran a 5k with his wife this morning. We also heard from Mayor Pete Buttigieg talking about President Trump and the tariffs.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it was mostly a face-saving maneuver. We need a comprehensive strategy, not just a pattern of poking folks in the eye, including the administration itself hadn't really thought this through. They just went to the brink and frightened the markets, got a superficial concession, then went right back to where with we were. This is no way to manage our trade policy or are immigration policy. We deserve a real strategy. That's why I plan to implement as president.

[14:20:07] SANTIAGO: What is interesting is I've heard sort of different takes from voters. I heard one man tell me that he wants to see which one of these candidates has the claws to go up against Trump and take him down. And then I had another person say this is not about Trump. This is about our views for the future.

Now, speaking of the future, the very near future, tomorrow will be a very big night for the candidates who are at the Hall of Fame dinner. It will be the largest gathering to date in this election cycle of these candidates, and many of them will be at this hall of fame. Nineteen of the 23 candidates will be at this hall of fame dinner to not only try to distinguish themselves and stand out from the other candidates, but also show the strength of their own campaign, something that will also be wanting to be seen on the stage in about two weeks for these candidates in Miami when the first debate brings them all together. And again, many of them hoping to stand out from each other. Alex?

MARQUARDT: One of them not out there this weekend, the frontrunner Joe Biden. But he did have a family commitment. Leyla Santiago in Des Moines, thanks so much.

Coming up next, a family's struggles to find the truth after their family member dies in police custody. The family is now saying that police are not cooperating. We'll speak with the family's attorney about this situation, next.


[14:25:10] MARQUARDT: It's been more than a year since an Army veteran died in police custody, and his family is still trying to figure out what actually happened. Back in April, 2018, Everett Palmer Jr. drove to Pennsylvania to clear up an outstanding DUI warrant. Two days later, his family was told he was dead. They say his body was returned without several organs, including his brain, heart, and throat, really leaving them with more questions than answers. CNN's Polo Sandoval has been following this mysterious story. Polo, the family is still questioning many questions, but they're focuses on the autopsy results. POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And they've been trying to get

answers to those question, Alex, already for the last 14 months or so, particularly since they received word that their loved one had died while in custody in York County, Pennsylvania. Authorities say that there is a perfect explanation for what they discovered when they hired their own pathologist.

Let me take you back to April of 2018 here very briefly when they found out that their loved one died in custody. At the time the manner of death was ruled undetermined, and also that there was some methamphetamine that was found in his system. However, Mr. Palmer's family not only disputes that, but also they hired that pathologist and discovered that some of Mr. Palmer's organs were missing, mainly his brain, his heart, and his throat.

When you hear from York County, their coroner's office, they said that there is a perfect explanation to this. They say that there is a process that is being followed here, particularly when there is a drug death. In this case, Mr. Palmer's organs were retained for further testing, and they are not in fact missing. And also, the coroner saying that removing the throat is fairly typical, in fact that they want to make sure that there was no component that was caused by asphyxia. And also finally, that it is not unusual, especially when this becomes a drug investigation, for those organs to remain in the custody of investigators for quite some time, in this case possibly up to three years.

So as we heard from Pam Gay, the York County coroner here, she says that they too want the truth. They also want justice. And they simply do not want this case to be rushed, Alex. But when you hear from the family, and as I'm sure we'll hear from their legal representation, those kinds of explanations are just not enough at this point. They have already been through so much.

MARQUARDT: That's right, we are already about to hear more. Polo Sandoval, thanks.

So we're going to turn now to Attorney S. Lee Merritt who was hired by the family to help answer some of those questions that Polo just raised surrounding Palmer's death. Mr. Merritt, you believe that Palmer's missing body parts, those organs, we know that at least the throat, heart, and brain are among what the family says are missing, but what the coroner's office are saying are part of a process that in fact it is quite common to remove the throat when doing an autopsy, and they can hold them for up to three years. How do you respond to that?

S. LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY, MERRITT LAW FIRM: Well, we've never really disputed the fact that it's fairly common to remove vital organs and perform a thorough autopsy when you're trying to determine the cause of death. The issue was, when the family hired their own pathologist, when we brought in our own expert to perform our autopsy, and we asked about the location of that, the initial response in writing that the coroner's office gave us that they believe the funeral home may have had them, they didn't know where the organs were. I understand today that they have now located those organs, but that was problematic. That's not really the major problem in this case. The major problem

in this case is what happened to Everett Palmer Jr. in a holding cell in police custody. I heard the earlier correspondent mention it all comes down to that autopsy. But in addition to the many things they have sort of thrown at the wall to explain his death, they did include a restraint. And so we want to know what caused Mr. Palmer to be restrained, and how that restraint led to his death. And the throat, we believe, will be very telling into whether or not an illegal chokehold was applied, or really what happened. There is film that hasn't been made available to the family. There are reports that haven't been made available to the family. There is just so much mystery surrounding this case.

MARQUARDT: Is that why you say it smacks of a coverup?

MERRITT: Absolutely. If we were being transparent, which we expect state officials to be when there is an in-custody death, we know the facility where Mr. Palmer was being held was fully recorded, the cell that he was being held was fully recorded. And so we shouldn't have to guess at what happened in that cell. When they make allegations that there was drug use, of methamphetamines, we want to know how he got a hold of methamphetamines. If he is in a cell and he's in custody for two days. He wasn't found with those methamphetamines, so how did that take place?

[14:30:00] And when they say there is trauma to his brain, which is why they removed the brain, or that there's trauma to his throat, we want to know what took place exactly. And you know what, people are beginning to come forward. As the story begins to break, we've had witnesses come forward to say that there is more information there, and that they're ready to start talking. We are encouraging anyone who knows anything about what happened in York County jail a year ago to begin to get that information to the family so that we can get to the bottom of what happened.

MARQUARDT: So what do you, what does the family want and need to have happen next?

MERRITT: Well, we expect for York County and for the district attorney, David Sunday, in York County, to do a thorough, complete investigation, which includes the autopsy, but it also includes gathering any reports about physical contact that was required in that cell, releasing the videos to the family, to their attorneys, so that we can see what happened, and a thorough explanation of why those videos might be missing if they somehow mysteriously disappeared.

But we want what everybody would want in this situation, which is justice for the family. And we want to know what is being talked about in private, what is being hidden, we want it to come out into the public.

MARQUARDT: All right, S. Lee Merritt, I hope you get some of those answers. Thanks very much.

MERRITT: Thank you. MARQUARDT: Still ahead, what lies beneath. CNN goes to the edge of

the globe where the Arctic icecaps are in real danger, and what scientists are studying today that could save our future. Stay with us.


[14:35:07] MARQUARDT: White House officials have reportedly blocked an intelligence aide from submitting written answers to the House Intelligence Committee on the dangers of climate change. According to "Washington Post," the testimony by Rod Schoonover would have said that human-caused climate change could be, quote, possibly catastrophic. "The Post" said it could not reach Schoonover for comment on Friday, and that the White House declined to comment on what they called an internal policy review.

Now those scrapped remarks on climate change stand in direct contrast to the generally dismissive tone that the Trump administration often strikes towards the threat. Just this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed the dangers of climate change, telling "The Washington Times" that modern society will adapt to a changing environment, possibly by moving to different places.

For years we've heard about the rapid melting of our polar icecaps and what climate scientists say could be the dire effects. Now some of those same scientists are looking at the threats posed not only above the water but also below. CNN's Arwa Damon went to the far reaches of the Arctic to find out what they're studying.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's spring in the Arctic. Nature is waking up as the sea ice melts, warmed by 24 hours of sunlight. This year saw a record loss of sea ice in April across the Arctic, and this is where that ice comes to die. But the story of ice is more than just the warming air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would lean towards tying to keep going a little further in.

DAMON: We're in the Fram Strait, far north in the Arctic circle.

MATTIAS CAPE, PHD, BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHER: So we're choosing this area because this is an area where we have this warm water meeting the ice edge.

DAMON: Biological Oceanographer Mattias Cape is one of a small group of scientists headed by Polar Physicist Till Wagner. The warm water they're talking about is the fast-moving Gulf Stream originating in the Gulf of Mexico.

TILL WAGNER, POLAR PHYSICIST, UNC WILMINGTON: So actually this warm water is at the surface, as it comes up, and then it drops under the ice as it goes into the Arctic ocean. And that layer that's under the ice, that has been coming up closer to the surface, and melting the ice from underneath. DAMON: We know the oceans are taking the brunt of global warming we

have caused. But the team wants to understand how the way the ice and water are interacting affects our changing world.

CAPE: What we're trying to do is find out if it is representative of the area.

DAMON: And ice that doesn't risk breaking apart under our feet. With a polar bear guard on watch, the team works on the ice floes day after day.

There are so many challenges when it comes to really understanding our planet's changing climate. It is a bit like trying to put together a puzzle whose pieces are constantly changing, changing faster than the science and the studies can keep up with.

The team drove through the ice to measure thickness.

CAPE: So we're starting to get a fairly good idea. And it has definitely thinned in this area as well. It's basically thinned everywhere.

DAMON: Extracting ice cores that hold frozen clues.

WAGNER: Beautiful. About a meter of ice core right here. And inside this piece of ice, actually, is a little microscopic forest.

DAMON: Greenpeace Ship the Arctic Sunrise is converted into a floating lab.

CAPE: Can you grab the first one?

DAMON: Melted ice core samples come to life under the microscope. A kaleidoscope of algae and phytoplankton.

CAPE: So these sea ice algae and phytoplankton in general are tremendously important for carbon drawdown, they photosynthesize, take in carbon dioxide.

DAMON: Phytoplankton don't just store carbon dioxide. They jumpstart the cycle of life. Feeding on the phytoplankton under the ice are zooplankton, which in turn feed small fish, feeding the bigger fish, all the way up the food chain, including us.

WAGNER: That is exciting. There is a lot. And this is very different from what we've seen so far, actually, in terms of just the diversity of things.

DAMON: Initial data from hundreds of samples confirmed the team's expectations. Plankton, that critical source of ocean food, concentrates where the freshly-melted ice is.

WAGNER: This is crazy how strong this is, 14 milligrams per liter. Very strong bloom.

CAPE: Located right at the ice edge. We did have sea ice around here.

[14:40:00] WAGNER: Yes. This is like the hot devil water that sits at the bottom, it is just waiting to come up.

DAMON: Increasing ice melt is wearing down the cycle of life here and undermining nature's carbon storage system. And that's bad news for all of.

The water in this region is among the most productive when it comes to the building blocks of ocean life.

There it is. Polar bear tracks.

Increased melting of glacial and land ice from above and from below have recently led to doubling previous projections of sea level rise to two meters around the world by the end of this century. That, coupled with the loss of sea ice, is not only going to deprive of us of magical moments like this, Beluga whales which rely on the food under the ice to survive. It will also deprive us of the riches the ocean now holds, riches we all depend on.

Arwa Damon, CNN, the Arctic.


MARQUARDT: Terrific and important piece by Arwa Damon there. Our thanks to her.

Now, coming up, autopsy results are back revealing new details on how three Americans died in the Dominican Republic. Find out why this Colorado couple says they too became violently ill while staying at the very same resort.


KAYLYNN KNULL, SAYS SHE WAS POISONED AT BAHIA PRINCIPE RESORT: Blood boiling. It's too coincidental with the symptoms that we had for me to even begin to stay quiet about it.


[14:45:26] MARQUARDT: A horrifying and deepening mystery is coming out of the Dominican Republic. Three Americans died at the same resort within a five-day period. Preliminary autopsy results reveal that Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day had internal bleeding and fluid in their lungs. Then there's Miranda Schaup-Werner. She had a heart attack. Now, these are not the official causes of death yet because officials are still awaiting toxicology reports. And now a Colorado couple says that they were poisoned at that very same resort.

As CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin found out, they believe that their poisoning and those recent deaths are not a coincidence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Kaylynn Knull reached out to CNN almost immediately after learning three Americans just died at the same resort in the Dominican Republic where she believes she was poisoned along with her boyfriend.

What is your reaction?

KAYLYNN KNULL, SAYS SHE WAS POISONED AT BAHIA PRINCIPE RESORT: Blood boiling. It's too coincidental with the symptoms that we had for me to even begin to stay quiet about it.

GRIFFIN: One year ago this month, the Colorado couple traveled to the all-inclusive Grand Bahia Principe Resort la Romana, and for the first few days it seemed a vacation of a lifetime. But on the sixth day Knull became ill.

KNULL: I woke up with a headache one morning. We had gone to breakfast to see if I could get some water, get some juice, try some food, feel better. And then when we came back to the room, it actually hit us a lot stronger, and we smelled the smell of chemicals.

GRIFFIN: She got progressively worse, then her boyfriend Tom Schwander started feeling it, too. They say they were sweating, drooling, dizzy, nauseous. It wouldn't go away. Neither would the smell in their hotel room.

KNULL: We saw a housekeeper outside, and called her in to see if she could come in. She walked maybe five, six feet into the room and turned around and said I'm not doing that, and then got on her walkie- talkie to the front desk and said something is going on with this room. She refused to come in and clean it.

GRIFFIN: Kaylynn and Tom had seen someone spraying plants near the air conditioner outside their room. They assumed it was pesticides, but the hotel wouldn't say it was. They switched rooms twice, it didn't help.

TOM SCHWANDER, SAYS HE WAS POISONED AT BAHIA PRINCIPE RESORT: It progressed over the rest of our trip and then over the course of a couple of weeks after.

GRIFFIN: A couple of weeks?

SCHWANDER: Yes. The abdominal cramping and the G.I. upset lasted for a few weeks.

GRIFFIN: And you said drooling, sweat?

SCHWANDER: Drooling, bad sweat, tearing.


SCHWANDER: Dizzy, nauseous. And abdominal cramping was the worst. That was the hardest symptom to deal with. There was just so much pain. GRIFFIN: Back in Colorado, Knull's physician diagnosed her with

organophosphate poisoning. Schwander's doctors suspect the same thing. Heavily regulated, and in some cases banned in the U.S., organophosphates are manmade chemicals found in insecticides. Exposure can cause increased saliva, tear production, diarrhea, nausea, sweating, confusion, and death. The couple says they have occasional symptoms, and they are most concerned about their future health. Even after filing a lawsuit, they still do not know what exactly poisoned them.

KNULL: Honestly, all I wanted was the chemical name, that is all I ever wanted. I could care less about the money, if I can save my own life later. And him, too, it's what happened to him, what happened to me, what is it that we can do at this point?


GRIFFIN: The Bahia Resort Company failed to answer almost all of our questions, specifically told us they would not comment on the legal case being pursued by this couple, and told us not to speculate on recent deaths at their resort until those deaths are investigated.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Denver.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Drew Griffin there. Since Drew filed the report, the Bahia Principe Resort has responded, threatening legal action against anyone who has disseminated false information about its properties, saying in a statement, quote, "We reiterate our firm commitment and close collaboration with the authorities, expecting a prompt resolution of their inquiries and actions. They also say serious insults and threats are being made to our more than 15,000 employees and their families who are the company's main asset and to whom we cannot remain on the sidelines."

Coming up tomorrow night, you can see what happens when victims and offenders of violent crimes meet face-to-face. That's on the new CNN original series "The Redemption Project" with Van Jones." And after that, stay tuned for "The United Shades of America" with W. Kamau Bell. Those are both tomorrow night, starting at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific, only on CNN.


[14:53:44] MARQUARDT: There's a huge celebration today across the pond in London celebrating Queen Elizabeth's birthday. The annual Trooping of the Color is a ceremony that is technically the Queen's second birthday. She actually turned 93 back in April, but according to tradition she is celebrating it today. And making her first public event since giving birth, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan formerly Markle. CNN producer Salma Abdelaziz is at Buckingham Palace. Salma, this is a spectacular, centuries old tradition. We saw flyovers, royalty. What else was out there today?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: It is the center piece royal event of the year, Alex. And it's on paper about the Queen, of course, inspecting her troops, but it is about the spectacle, and thousands of people come out every year to see it. Take a look at how the day unfolded.


ABDELAZIZ: It is often called the most royal day of the year. Trooping the Color, the grand parade that marks Queen Elizabeth's birthday every year, and a chance for her majesty, head of the British armed forces, to review her army.

It begins when the Queen departing Buckingham Palace by carriage. In separate carriages, in horseback, members of the royal family. Many eyes were on Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, who gave birth to a baby boy, Archie, just a month ago.

[14:55:05] She is still on maternity leave, but was seen alongside her husband Prince Harry for the family occasion. The procession rides down the mall where thousands of well-wishers from all over the world cheer and wait to get a glimpse of the royal family. At the Horse Guards Palace, the Queen is greeted by royal salute and inspects her troops. It is an elaborately and expertly orchestrated events, with 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians.

Then the Trooping the Color part happens. Each year a regiment of the household cavalry is selected to showcase their flag, known as their color, and march in front of the Queen. The pomp and circumstance culminates in a Royal Air Force fly-pass. This is the iconic moment. The entire royal family joins the queen on the Buckingham Palace balcony. They look up at the sky as it streaks with red, white, and blue. The spectacular display is a longstanding tradition of unity and togetherness for the U.K.


ABDELAZIZ: And baby Archie, one month old, is of course too little to be in that iconic moment in the balcony with his mom, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. But everyone is looking forward to the possibility that he might be here next year, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Very few do pomp and pageantry like the British Royals. Salma Abdelaziz in from of Buckingham Palace, thank you very much.

And that will do it for this part of the show. Thank you for joining me today. I'm Alex Marquardt. We have much more just ahead in the Newsroom with Ana Cabrera. That's right after this.