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Trump Backs Off of Tariff Threat in Deal with Mexico; Veteran Died in Police Custody, Some Organs Missing; 3 Americans Die Within 5 Days At Dominican Republic Resort; Queen Celebrates Birthday with "Trooping the Color" Ceremony; Trump Flips on Space Goals, Tweets "Mars of Which Moon Is A Part". Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 8, 2019 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALEX MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: Hello, thanks for joining me, I'm Alex Marquardt in on this Saturday for Fredricka Whitfield. We begin this hour with a crisis that, for now, has been averted. The tariffs that President Trump threatened to levy against Mexico last week have been called off, suspended.
The president tweeting late last nigh, quote, "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 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 to CNN's Sarah Westwood at the White House. Sarah, the president this morning celebrating this deal in a series of tweets. What did each country get out of it and what more do we know about this deal?
SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: Well Alex, we know that this is a deal that came together after three days of intense negotiations between the Mexican delegation that had come up here to Washington and the U.S. side led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
And it resulted in President Trump backing off that threat to impose a five percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico and in exchange, Mexico agreed to deploy thousands of its troops throughout the country, including to its southern border to stop the flow of Central American migrants coming up through Mexico to get to the U.S. border.
Mexico agreed to take decisive action to disrupt human smuggling organizations and agreed that migrants caught crossing illegally into the U.S. could be sent back to Mexico, where they would be permitted to wait while their asylum claims were being processed in the U.S. and for its part, the U.S. agreed to speed up the asylum process.
Now President Trump on twitter this morning thanked the president of Mexico and Mexico's foreign minister for their commitment to the immigration negotiations. He also wrote Mexico will try very hard and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement. Of course President Trump on Twitter and his allies, they've been
taking a victory lap in the - as - in the result of this deal being signed, but we should note that President Trump's demands for the Mexican side were always vague, the president never specified what it was that Mexico had to do to get these tariffs lifted.
So as a result, the White House has been able to claim that this deal satisfies exactly what President Trump was looking for. Republicans on Capital Hill may also be breathing a sigh of relief because they had had concerns about how this deal would affect American businesses, some had even sought a delay in the implementation of these tariffs, but of course, Alex, that situation seems to be avoided at the moment because President Trump has walked back that tariff threat in exchange for his immigration deal.
MARQUARDT: While also admitting that lots of ifs still remain. Sarah Westwood on the North Lawn of the White House. Thank you. Now Mexico's ambassador to the United States wrote last night on Twitter that her government had agreed to, quote, "strengthen measures for the application of its immigration law", in particular she said that Mexico would provide health, education and employment opportunities to migrants who are waiting in Mexico while they seek asylum in the United States.
Michelle Kosinski, our senior diplomatic correspondent is back with me this hour. Michelle, how is this going to help things on the southern border?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: Well it's unclear what the impact will really be, how much of an impact this will be because what - what the U.S. would have loved to have happened would be for Mexico to agree to be what is known as a third safe country.
It's a legal agreement that countries make with each other, this is in place in other parts of the world, but basically it requires refugees to apply for asylum in the first safe country they enter.
And in this case ideally to some in the White House it would have been Mexico. So every refugee passing through Mexico would have had to apply for asylum there and not go to the United States. And if they continued onto the United States, then the U.S. could just deport them easily back to Mexico as essentially their new safe home.
So that would have clearly made an impact in numbers. Now Mexico has said well we'll take care of all the people awaiting asylum in the United States, that is something but obviously it's not the kind of impact that something like a third safe country agreement would have had.
And it remains to be seen what that does for numbers reaching the border. But remember, Mexico's also going to use its national guard in thousands to patrol its border with Guatemala and they'll be stationed throughout the country too. So that might have some impact as well.
MARQUARDT: Do we have any sense how this will address the detainees who are already here in the U.S.?
KOSINSKI: Well for people seeking asylum, I'm not sure what the cut off date would be for when they - I mean the U.S. has already been sending people back to Mexico to await their asylum claims.
At one point a judge put a stop to that, but that is already established and desired process for the United States. [12:05:00]
So that's why it's unclear how much of a difference this is going to make.
I think the ideal difference would be if people in Guatemala or passing through and then making it to Mexico see that well the asylum process means that we're going to wait it out in Mexico and we know that the U.S. is trying to toughen up its processes for asylum seekers, that that would be a deterrent to those people.
Not sure that's going to happen, but you know, in the summer months traditionally the numbers of people trying to reach the U.S. border dropped dramatically. If that happens again we'll see the drop in numbers and we'll see whether the president declares that a major victory because of this agreement with Mexico that - that did get some things but not anything so impactful as, you know, what the U.S. would have been - would have wanted in an ideal situation.
MARQUARDT: Yes, 130,000 last month, we're talking about huge numbers here. Michelle Kosinsky in Washington, thank you. Now with extra border enforcement and help in breaking up trafficking networks, the U.S. got almost everything it wanted from this deal with Mexico, but as we've noted the talks are not over yet.
There are lots more details to iron out. CNN National Correspondent Dianne Gallagher joins us live from El Paso, Texas where - with more on how those at the border are reacting to this deal. Dianne.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: And look, Alex, to kind of piggyback off of that, it's welcome news that we're not going to be seeing tariffs on either side of the border here, that would impact the business of not just here in El Paso but in Juarez just back there.
But as far as the real impact of this agreement here, what it really does beyond expanding what's already being done, that's still to be determined.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
The numbers haven't looked like this in more than a decade, nearly 133,000 people apprehended by Customs and Border Protection for crossing into the U.S. illegally in just the month of May. Families making up the majority more than 11,000 of them, unaccompanied children.
The acting CBP commissioner calling it, quote, "a full blown emergency". Government processing centers and shelters overcrowded, some to dangerous levels with unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
According to the Department of Homeland Security's Watchdog Agency.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Through Translator) It was so crowded, my son had to sleep standing up.
GALLAGHER: Belkis Castro (ph) from Honduras crossed over into Texas with her two sons in hopes of getting to family in Houston. Instead, she along with hundreds of other migrant families were flown to California to make room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't realize that folks would be flown into San Diego. San Diego's a great place to live, but - so it did take us by surprise and - but it's apparently three plane loads a week, it's around 135, 150 per plane load.
We've given up on a logic model to this whole matter, there is no logic model.
GALLAGHER: The reasons for the surge in migration are layered, right now people who live in Guatemala and Honduras are facing intense economic and environmental conditions with ever present violence and a drought that is limiting food availability.
But that's been happening for a long time. Critics of the White House say this most recent extreme spike in movement is a direct result of the president's policies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're saying the big change is the message that this is your last chance, President Trump, if you're ever going to escape these dire circumstances, you have to come now.
GALLAGHER: And as President Trump focuses on beefing up security, a wall, more border patrol agents and adding U.S. troops -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today we have approximately 2,000 service members supporting the mission along the southwest border.
GALLAGHER: Experts say smugglers are becoming more sophisticated. Central American families more aware of U.S. laws and the likelihood they won't be deported in large numbers, at least right away, focusing far more on success stories from neighbors than threats from the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And that's really going to be the true test here. Are smugglers going to be open with the people that they're making money off of who are already in vulnerable situations about the National Guard in Mexico throughout various places, about the situation they may be held in Mexico.
So we could be looking at this delay in waiting for the word actually to make it to those Northern Triangle countries. And to be honest, Alex, it may not make a difference to begin with. A lot of these people, their circumstances are not changing, and they know it's a risky journey to begin with and might be willing to just go ahead and take that risk anyway.
MARQUARDT: Yes, so important to remember why these people are making this trek north. Dianne Gallagher in El Paso, thanks very much. Now still ahead with just weeks to go until their first debate, Democrats are jockeying for a position in the polls.
The state of Iowa in focus this weekend on the campaign trail, we will take you there, then later a family demanding answers after a former U.S. Army paratrooper dies in police custody.
His body was returned but with several of his organs missing. Why the police says - excuse me, why the family says the police are refusing to cooperate, that's coming up next.
We are just over two weeks away from the Democratic presidential candidates taking the stage for the very first time for their first debate. Until then, the large field of hopefuls will be crisscrossing the country trying to get as much face time with voters as they can.
Now this weekend, nearly a dozen of them will be tripping over each other in Iowa with many of them attending the state's largest LGBTQ event in Des Moines, that's where we find out Leyla Santiago. Leyla, it is early days, the Iowa caucus is still eight months away.
Why are the candidates so focused on this weekend?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: Yes, it being early certainly not stopping any of the candidates or any of the voters from showing up wanting to talk 2020. Many of them here because this is crucial, this could be where they pick up some pretty key support in a pretty key state.
This is Iowa, the first state that caucuses for the election cycle, and know your audience, right. A lot of these candidates, eight of them, will be here today for the gay pride fest. This will be a pretty liberal audience for them to target. They'll get 10 minutes to kind of make their pitch.
And I got to tell you, I've spoken to maybe five or six voters and they have told me the things that are important to them, no surprise, were the rights of the LGBTQ community, jobs I had one gentlemen just tell me that he wants someone who can understand and relate to his financial situation, get rid of corruption.
Those are the things they want to hear from these candidates when in about two hours they go in front of a forum and talk to voters. And that's not the only reason they're here, because tomorrow another big event, the Hall of Fame Dinner, that will be the largest gathering in this cycle thus far. That's why you'll have 19 of the 23 candidates there trying to make yet another pitch and show the strength of their campaign. So who's not here? Well the front runner, that would be Joe Biden, not in Iowa this weekend and his campaign tells us that's because he has a family commitment that was set, scheduled quite a long time ago.
But we may see - may see what we saw a lot of the candidates do last weekend at the California Democratic Convention, which is some of them kind of criticizing Joe Biden directly and often indirectly.
So what that could cost him, we'll have to wait and found out. But one thing's for sure, the candidates that are here are certainly trying to play to that key audience and gain that key support, Alex.
MARQUARDT: Yes, Joe Biden lying low after what was really his first tough week since he announced his candidacy. Leyla Santiago in Des Moines, thanks very much.
Now women of course will again play a huge role in deciding the 2020 election, CNN visited one Pennsylvania county that swung from Obama to Trump in 2016. So how do women there feel today? CNN's Miguel Marquez went to find out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWS: In the crucial Philly suburbs, female voters driving the agenda heading into 2020.
COLLEEN GUINEY, CHAIR, DELAWARE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE: Lots and lots of women are acting one step further than what they did before, whether it's vote or volunteer or donate or run, women are stepping it up.
MARQUEZ: Stepping it up in anger over President Trump, his rhetoric and policies.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey didn't we surprise them with women during the election, remember? Women won't like Donald Trump. We got 52 percent, right, 52.
MARQUEZ: Exit polls from 2016 indicate 52 percent of white women voted for the president. The reality, only 41 percent of all women supported the president in that election.
Trump's approval among women in the latest CNN poll, 33 percent.
LISA WARD, FORMER REPUBLICAN VOTER: I'm going to vote regardless against Donald Trump.
MARQUEZ: And she's a Republican turned Democrat, of all the women we spoke to, electability of any eventual Democratic challenger was top priority.
You voted for Donald Trump in 2016?
SVETLANA WALLACE, REPUBLICAN VOTER: Yes. MARQUEZ: Will you vote for him in 2020?
WALLACE: I don't think so.
WALLACE: Oh he disappoint me.
MARQUEZ: Svetlana Wallace became an American and Republican 14 years ago. She was solidly conservative, not anymore.
WALLACE: I thought when I see Hillary and Trump I thought man can do better job than woman, now I think maybe even Hillary can do better job. Now I think it's I make a mistake.
MARQUEZ: North Hampton County is one of three Pennsylvania counties that flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016. Democrats flipped it back in the 2018 midterms, the president motivating many women here too.
The last president you voted for was Ronald Reagan, correct?
BEVERLY HAMMELL, INDEPENDENT VOTER: Yes, that's correct.
MARQUEZ: And you're - and you dislike Donald Trump so much you might vote for a Democrat in 2020?
HAMMELL: I would vote for anyone as long as they were a good person and as long as he left because he's an embarrassment to the American people.
MARQUEZ: At Main Stream Salon in Downtown Nazareth, salon owner and conservative Democrat Tammy Kocher says she didn't vote for Trump but he's been good for business and should be given a chance.
Her 2020 vote still undecided.
TAMMY KOCHER, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I think he should be able to try to run the job the way he wanted to, make American great again.
MARQUEZ: Her client Anne Kristina Klinger, Republican since the 1990s when Donald Trump was sworn in, she became a Democrat.
What is so concerning about him?
ANNE KRISTINA KLINGER, NEW DEMOCRATIC VOTER: The lies, I mean and you cannot contradict yourself like that, you have it on the news what you just said, then you say the next day you didn't say it. And I don't like how he treats people, I found that's very offensive.
MARQUEZ: Female voters in the suburbs and beyond, an energized and powerful voting block, gearing up for an election still 17 months away.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: All right, our thanks to Miguel Marquez. Coming up, President Trump's fiery approach to immigration results in a new agreement with Mexico, but how will this tug of war over the border affect relationships with the rest of the world? More after this break.
The U.S. and Mexico have reached a deal to avoid the threat of tariffs on Mexican goods. President Trump announcing the last minute deal late last night in a tweet saying 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 and to our southern border. This is being done to greatly reduce or eliminate illegal immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.
So that's quite a change from the messaging that we heard all week out of the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mexico shouldn't allow millions of people to try and enter our country, and they could stop it very quickly.
They're swamping our border, 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's a very simple thing.
We'll see what happens, but something pretty dramatic could happen. We've told Mexico the tariffs go on, and I mean it too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So joining me to discuss all this are CNN Political Analyst Nathan Gonzalez and Margaret Talev. Thanks both for joining me this afternoon.
Margaret, first to you, the president of course always claiming that deal making is his strength. Is that what we saw here?
MARGARET TALEV, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN NEWS: Well the president is certainly and I think we'll see him next week in Iowa, going to say that this is an example of tough negotiations and what he can get done.
But the deal that was struck in that deal, Mexico actually helped save the president from himself a little bit here politically at home. He had mounting pressure from Republicans in Congress, not to move forward with those tariffs, a jobs report on Friday with weaker jobs numbers that may have reflected some of the economic concerns about tariff threats with China as well as Mexico.
And of course some of these political trips like that rally next week in Iowa where he's going to be talking to parts of America where there are real concerns about the impact of tariffs on agriculture and other sectors of the American economy.
MARQUARDT: The Mexican side also tweeting, the ambassador to the U.S. saying that Mexico will strengthen measures for the application of its immigration law. She added that the country will give health, employment and education opportunities to people waiting in Mexico during their asylum process.
Nathan, do we have a sense of how likely that is and how this is all going to play out?
NATHAN GONZALEZ, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN NEWS: Well that's a - that's a good question, I mean it's no surprise that the tweets and the announcements coming from - on the Mexican side are a little more measured and diplomatic from what we see from the president's twitter feed.
But that's - it's a key question that all of this might look good on paper, at least it looked good enough to the White House on paper, but we have to see what it - what the implementation of it - does it - does it satisfy what the White House wants or does the crisis at the White House is trying to address, does that continue?
Does it really stem the flow of people coming to the border, because if it doesn't then I think we'll just be back in the same cycle where the president's going to threaten tariffs again and we'll just be doing this again in a few weeks or a few months.
MARQUARDT: But even if it's on paper, there's not that - there's a lot that has not been talked about a lot that was not nailed down in this deal. So Margaret, does that mean that it - it's less sustainable in the long term?
TALEV: Well I think we have to look at the calendar in a pretty structured way. We're looking at now three months worth of time for this to play out, that gets the president through this summer and really into the slightly more aggressive part of the 2020 election season by the time the fall rolls around.
It also gets the president through the G20, which is coming up at the end of June, and perhaps past the G7 as well where he's going to be having meetings with the Chinese leader and then visiting again with the western economies.
And you also have to look at his delay on the auto tariffs, he gave that a longer period of time, six months to play out. But the president trying to use those levers to make sure that he's able to show his base that he's going to be touch on these sort of negotiating tactics but being able to see how the economy responds so that he can kind of calibrate, at least I think he's trying to do this and the White House wants him to do this.
His political team wants him to do this, calculate how to make these political points without doing something to the economy that could have a major backlash on the U.S. on consumers and on his own reelection prospects.
MARQUARDT: Yes, Nathan, can you pick up on that? How much do you think this is actually tied to 2020?
GONZALEZ: Well I mean I think everything is tied to 2020, I mean I - maybe it's because I'm jaded, but I think that there's a political side of all of this and I think the president wants to win reelection.
I know that the president and the White House are focused on delivering on campaign promises that he made in 2016, they're trying to check off one by one promise that he - that he made in the border and immigration and the wall are what he's trying to deliver on.
And since he wasn't able to do it specifically the wall in the way he wanted, then he's trying to combat it with a - in a different way.
MARQUARDT: Yes, and back here at home in Washington we did see Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi already reacting to this deal. She put out a statement this morning saying in part President Trump undermined America's preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs, threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.
Margaret, do you think that's a fair assessment of how this deal was struck? Do you think Mexico would agree with her?
TALEV: Yes, I mean I think you're going to see the criticism for this falling on two fronts and one is the sort of long term reliability of the U.S. as a partner, if you make a deal is it really a deal or will you have the rug pulled out from under you?
The second is a human rights concern, because of course whether or not this plan works, whether or not this negotiation has an impact on the flow of undocumented immigrants crossed into the United States, there's still going to be thousands of immigrants trying to leave Guatemala and other Central American countries because they have determined that the conditions are so bad there that it's worth risking their own lives and their children's lives to do so.
So it doesn't mean they're necessarily going to stop trying to leave, so what happens in the interim with them is going to be a very real human consequence as Mexico and the United States work out the particulars of how this is actually going to work.
MARQUARDT: Yes, so often left out of this conversation, what it actually means for actual human lives. Nathan, when we look at this deal, it is essentially an immigration issue that is tied to an economic goal. We saw the market react very adversely to the threat of these tariffs. Do you think the U.S. economy has dodged a bullet on this one?
NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well -- I mean, I think only time will tell. But I think that the president -- if the president loses faith -- loses the voters' faith in the economy then his bid for re-election is only going to get tougher. And that Margaret alluded to that but I think on immigration, the president believes that how he talked right before the 2018 midterm elections helped Republicans do well, particularly in the Senate.
Now, I'd argue that it could have been worse because of the way he was talking. But I think the president believes that immigration was a key part of that and that's why we're going to see this talk on immigration continue on up into 2020. And then for the economy, it's important, because I think there are voters in the middle, independents, moderates, who don't like the tweets, they don't like how the president reacts to a lot of things but they believe the economy is headed in the right direction so they're going to have a choice to make.
MARQUARDT: Margaret, what do you think should happen if one side or the other doesn't uphold their end of the deal?
TALEV: Well, at least at this point the president has indicated it's going to be a three-month trial period. But one thing is upholding your end of the deal in terms of doing what you said you're going to do. The other is whether doing what you said you were going to do actually has the desired impact.
And I think it's important to underscore that there is not unanimity inside the White House about how the president should proceed and in fact, one of the kinds of pressures weighing on him other than the market and other than Republicans in Congress was the conflicting advice and feedback he was getting from inside his administration. A lot of concerns that the tariffs, particularly if just -- if initiated and then ratcheted up as he had originally threatened could have really long term impacts on the U.S. economy and ability to strike international deals. So I think right now we're in a trial period of a few months to see what happens. But this helps not just Mexico but the president kind of dodge a short term political hit.
MARQUARDT: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Margaret Talev, Nathan Gonzales, thanks very much.
GONZALES: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: Coming up next, an army veteran dies in police custody. But his family now wants to know why some of his organs were removed. The latest on this bizarre case, coming up.
[12:36:23] MARQUARDT: It's been more than a year since an army veteran died in police custody and his family is still now trying to figure out what actually happened. 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, leaving them with more questions than answers.
CNN's Polo Sandoval has been following the strange story. Polo, the family is still questioning, more than a year later, these autopsy results.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They do, over a year later, as you point out here, Alex. The family of the former army paratrooper and father of two were told that their loved one had died while in police custody in a prison in York County, Pennsylvania. An initial autopsy by the York coroner's office initially stated that Palmer died after an incident that followed an excited state during which he, quote, began hitting his head against the inside of his cell door. And at the time according to the autopsy report he had to be restrained. But the report shows that he became agitated because of methamphetamine toxicity.
A few months later in July, the coroner updated the autopsy report, this is not unusual in this case so he updated it so that the manner of death read undetermined. Fourteen months later, his family says there's something doesn't really add up here. Palmer did have some history of drug use but not meth, according to his loved ones. The 41-year-old's body was also returned to the family but it wasn't after they hired a private pathologist that they discovered that the body was missing the brain, the heart, and the throat.
A family attorney saying that it really isn't uncommon to remove organs and perhaps keep some tissue here especially if they believe that it was subjected to trauma. But as he told affiliate New York 1 here in New York, he's a bit suspicious about the removal of his throat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARLON KIRTON, FAMILY ATTORNEY: It makes no sense unless you're trying to, you know, maybe avoid people knowing that how he died, which is maybe by asphyxiation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: So Palmer's family is still fighting to basically get their loved one's organs back here. They have been told that they are being kept at an independent lab as the investigation continues here. They believe that once they get these organs back that they could potentially reveal more about the death. We've reached out to multiple entities here, the New York County DA's office, Pennsylvania State Police, also the coroner's office, Alex, none of them would comment in the meantime. This individual's family still left with questions. They believe foul play was involved.
MARQUARDT: Such a bizarre story. So mysterious. Polo Sandoval in New York, thanks.
SANDOVAL: You bet. MARQUARDT: All right, still ahead, mysterious deaths in what should have been paradise. Three Americans died in the Dominican Republican just days apart. The question now, how did it happen? That's next.
[12:43:02] MARQUARDT: Questions continue to swirl today around the deaths of three Americans at the same Dominican Republican resort. Preliminary autopsy results are showing that a Pennsylvania woman died of a heart attack while a Maryland couple found dead five days later, had internal bleeding and fluid in their lungs. But toxicology results are still pending. The U.S. State Department says that the FBI is providing assistance to Dominican authorities with those toxicology reports.
Here is CNN's Rosa Flores with more on the search for answers.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tragedy in paradise. Three Americans found dead in the same luxurious Dominican Republican resort in just a matter of days. And their families want answers.
JAY MCDONALD, FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: What we thought was a freak event, now we don't know.
FLORES (voice-over): Jay McDonald, Miranda Schaup-Werner's brother- in-law says she and her husband were at the Bahia Principe resort La Romana celebrating a wedding anniversary. The taxi driver who dropped them off at the hotel says Schaup-Werner looked healthy.
(on camera) So you're saying that they were happy, they were joyful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Si, si.
FLORES: Like any other couple that comes to the Dominican Republican on vacation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Si. Exactly, yes.
FLORES (voice-over): But the fun ended after she had a drink from the mini bar.
MCDONALD: At one point she was sitting there happily smiling and taking pictures. And the next moment she was in acute pain and called out for Dan, and she collapsed.
FLORES (voice-over): According to the attorney general, preliminary autopsy results show she had a heart attack and died on May 25th, just hours after checking into the hotel.
(on camera) Hotel officials are not saying much, but we gained access to the property and according to National Police, Schaup-Werner stayed in room 55221. And what did it look like? Like any other room at the resort.
The same day she checked in, so did Nathaniel Edward Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day, both from Maryland.
[12:45:04] They were found dead in their room in a different building on May 30th. The AG's preliminary autopsy results show the couple had internal bleeding of the pancreas and fluid in the lungs.
(on camera) According to the attorney general, three medications were found inside the Maryland couple's room. At least one of those medications which is not available in the United States, we were able to buy over the counter in a matter of minutes and just for a few dollars.
(voice-over) That medication is an anti-inflammatory. The cause of death is still pending toxicology test results, tests that the FBI is now assisting with, according to a State Department official.
Bahia Principe Hotel and Resort says, "The properties followed security protocol and that they are cooperating with authorities." They and local police say there is nothing at this point to indicate the deaths of the woman and the couple are related.
Rosa Flores, CNN, La Romana, Dominican Republic.
MARQUARDT: All right, our thanks to Rosa Flores.
Up next, a celebration fit for a queen. Queen Elizabeth's official birthday happening in London, and it is not without its surprises. More after the break.
MARQUARDT: All the pomp and pageantry fit for a queen.
[12:50:00] Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her birthday today with the annual Trooping of the Colour, one of the most spectacular royal events of the year. You could really call this her second birthday because the queen actually turned 93 back in April but according to tradition, she's celebrating it today.
And right there in front of Buckingham Palace is CNN Producer Salma Abdelaziz. Salma, this is as we understand is a tradition that goes back centuries, obviously, it has evolved in that time. What did you see play out today?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Alex, it is the most royal of royal events really again all that pomp and circumstance that you expect. A grand military parade to celebrate the queen's birthday. Now on paper, this is about the queen inspecting her troops, but in reality, we all know it's about the spectacle, the opportunity to see the royal family, the opportunity for well-wishers to come and greet them and cheer them on.
And there were a lot of eyes today on Meghan Markle. She did, of course, deliver a baby boy, Archie, just one month ago. She's still on maternity leave but we -- she was seen alongside her husband, Prince Harry on this royal occasion.
And it's a very intricate ceremony, a very elaborate one. It involves 1,400 officers, 200 horses, 400 musicians. So you can imagine it's a very rambunctious affair with them coming down the mall, playing music, all the different uniforms of all the different regiments and it all culminates in what was an iconic moment and it happens every year. You see the queen gathered around with the royal family in the balcony of Buckingham Palace looking up as the royal air force flies over and streams red, white, and blue smoke into the sky. It's a very beautiful and joy us occasion, Alex.
MARQUARDT: The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, came out of her maternity leave for her grandmother-in-law's birthday, but she actually missed President Trump's state dinner back on Monday after the president had noted that she had made some nasty comments about him several years ago.
Salma Abdelaziz out in front of Buckingham Palace, thank you very much.
Now, still ahead, an 11th-hour agreement stops U.S. tariffs on Mexico before they start. But will the deal actually stem the tide of migrants crossing over the border? More coming up.
[12:55:58] MARQUARDT: Checking some of today's other top stories. A Texas prosecutor says that investigators have connected a confessed serial killer to more than 60 murders across 14 states. Seventy-nine- year-old Samuel Little is currently serving three consecutive life sentences for murder in California. According to the FBI, Little has confessed to killing women between 1970 and 2005, 35 years.
Police say a fifth teen has been arrested in connection with an attack on a lesbian couple on a bus in London. Four other teenagers were arrested yesterday on suspicion of robbery and causing grievous bodily harm. One of the women shared this image which was taken just moments after the attack on May 30th. She says that she shared her story on Facebook to raise awareness and that in the aftermath found that many of her friends had also been harassed because of their sexuality.
Someone in California is now half a billion dollars richer, half a billion. A single ticket matched all six months of last night's $530 million mega millions jackpot drawing. They are 17, 19, 27, 40, 68, and the gold mega ball, 2. The jackpot is the seventh largest in the history of the game. Congratulations to them.
President Trump's newest NASA tweet has confused everyone on social media. In this tweet, the president appears to be backing off his earlier goal of putting Americans back on the moon by 2024. And as Brian Stelter now explains, it's onto Mars.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. Yes, this is a bit of a flip-flop from President Trump but it's a flip-flop that makes many space geeks very happy. They want to see America or some other country land on Mars and that's what Trump is now emphasizing. Here in a tweet on Friday, he's saying, for all the money we are spending, NASA should not be talking about going to the moon. We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing including Mars, of which the moon is a part, defense, and science."
Now it's a little bit confusing there, Trump saying that the moon is part of Mars. I think what he means is that there's been a lot of talk within NASA and among outside researchers about returning to the moon and then using that as a kind of a staging area or a pre-effort on the way to Mars. That is a popular view among experts, but I spoke with Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins recently who disagrees. He says the goal should be Mars, that should be the focus. In fact, he was quite critical of Trump when I spoke with him earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Do you think president Trump is realistic when he talks about his vision for going to Mars?
MICHAEL COLLINS, FORMER U.S. ASTRONAUT: No. I think his vision is going back to the moon. I don't think he is too much aware of Mars. Maybe he doesn't understand that there is a planet Mars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Quite a jab there from a former astronaut toward President Trump. But now Trump is talking more about Mars. In this new tweet, he's emphasizing that's where he wants to see NASA focusing. The question, of course, as it often is with President Trump is, whether his tweets carry the weight and impact of a policy or whether they're just one man's opinions, in this case, one very powerful man's opinions.
We will see if NASA ends up commenting or making any changes as a result of the president's new statement saying he wants to focus on Mars, not the moon.
Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
MARQUARDT: All right, our thanks to Brian Stelter.
Tomorrow night, see what happens when victims and offenders of violent crimes meet face to face on the new CNN original series, "The Redemption Project with Van Jones". Then stay tune for "United States of America with W. Kamau Bell". That's tomorrow night starting at 9 Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.
Hello, thanks for joining me, I'm Alex Marquardt in this afternoon for Fredericka Whitfield.
The first of the Democratic presidential debates is less than three weeks away already. And this really a monster field of candidates is out on the campaign trail this weekend, with the bulk of them descending on the first in the nation voting state of Iowa. Nearly a dozen of those chasing the Democratic nomination are in Des Moines today with many of them attending Pridefest which is the --