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Arrests in Bus Attack on Lesbian Couple in London; FBI Assisting with Toxicology Tests of 3 Americans Who Died at Dominican Republic Resort; Kudlow in 2015: Mexico Tariffs Would Cause "Incalculable Damage". Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 8, 2019 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: You're live in the CNN Newsroom. Hello on this Saturday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Iowa knows how to pick them. The last four times, there wasn't a Democratic incumbent. The winner of the Iowa caucuses went on to win the party's nomination. Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, Barack Obama in 2008, and Hillary Clinton three years ago.

So, that's why 19, yes 19, of the Democratic presidential candidates are storming the Hawkeye state this weekend. They're giving speeches. They're kissing babies. We've heard that Kirsten Gillibrand is even handing out sunscreen. It's all in an effort to make sure voters remember them when the Iowa caucuses roll around next February.

But who's not there? The front-runner, Joe Biden. Long-shot candidate, Marianne Williamson, is so sold on the power Iowa holds that she left California. She actually moved into a condo in Des Moines, clearly hoping that residential equals presidential in voters' minds. That may be overly optimistic but it's evident Iowa's registered voters are worth their weight in political gold.

And Leyla Santiago is there for us in the midst of the mayhem in Des Moines. According to the United States election project, Leyla, there are fewer than 2 million registered voters in the whole state of Iowa. Many U.S. cities are even bigger than that. So, how has Iowa become such an enormous state with big impact politically?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, this is the first caucus state, and the voters here know it. I actually spoke to one voter a while ago who said, if I only meet a candidate once, not on my short list. You've got to come here and work for that vote.

And why this weekend is so important. It's kind of a know your audience type of thing. They've got the gay pride festival here in Des Moines. A very vibrant celebration. People who want to talk about abortion rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community.

And so, candidates are here talking about marriage equality and things that are important to them. There was a candidate's forum earlier today. They -- each candidate had 10 minutes to talk about why they stand out for the rest, sort of make their pitch. Listen to what some of them had to say.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whoever the next nominee is for our party, every single one of us will do all we can to make sure she or he is successful in defeating Donald Trump.

BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is about racial justice. It is about environmental justice. And it is about social justice.

JOHN DELANEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a great day, and it's a great day to celebrate. So, Dr. King told us that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.

REP. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, when we are marching here today, we are standing on the shoulders of people who have come before us, who have fought for us, who have suffered for us.


SANTIAGO: And listen, you mentioned that Vice President Joe Biden was not here. His campaign says that he had a family commitment that had been scheduled a while ago, and so that's why he's not here. He is expected to make a visit here next week.

But, you know, one of the things that we should take note of here is the timing. We're just a few weeks away from a very crucial moment in which all of these candidates will be on stage together in Miami, Florida. And that will be for the very first debate -- Ana.

CABRERA: And, tomorrow, the action shifts to Cedar Rapids. Tell us more about the importance of the Hall of Fame dinner.

SANTIAGO: Right. So, tomorrow, 19 of the 23 candidates will be at the Hall of Fame dinner. And this will be, sort of, I've been describing, as a microcosm of the primary. You'll have 19 candidates in one room, trying to make themselves stand out from the others and show strength in their campaign.

Yes, that means a lot of speeches. But this will be an engaged crowd. These are activists. These are supporters. And so -- and Iowans really take that responsibility -- that responsibility serious. So, this will be an audience that really wants to hear they speeches, and then, kind of, do a compare and contrast.

CABRERA: Yes, rapid fire; 19 candidates, 19 speeches, all in one day.

[17:05:00] Leyla Santiago, it will be really interesting to hear what the toplines and headlines are coming out of there. Thank you very much for joining us.


CABRERA: Candidate Pete Buttigieg was asked about the enormous Democratic field today and how the eventual nominee can emerge unscathed when there's so much competition. Here's how he answered it.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The good news I have for you is that I don't even view us as having opponents as much as competitors. You'd be surprised how often we are in dialogue with each other, the different candidates. And as these cattle calls pick up, we're going to get to know each other and better and better. We might as well carpool to some of these -- I think you've got 19 of us tomorrow.


CABRERA: I want to bring in former senior aide for Clinton for America, Joel Payne, and CNN Political Commentator and host of "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" right here on CNN, S.E. Cupp.

Joel, we know one person who won't be carpooling is Joe Biden. He's skipping Iowa today. Reportedly, he has a graduation that he couldn't miss in his family. He is going to be heading there on Tuesday instead.

But he also skipped a big event for Democrats in California last weekend. What's the message he is sending in doing that? Is he, perhaps, taking his front-runner status for granted?

JOEL PAYNE, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON FOR AMERICAN SENIOR AIDE: I don't know whether it's taking it for granted. But it's certainly a strategy to run what I've been calling a really over-the-top campaign. That's what the vice president is doing. He's running a campaign as it if he's actually running for re-election or for another term of office, as if he's already in office.

And, you know, it's to be determined whether or not Democratic primary voters are going to allow that type of a -- of a top-down campaign to work. Usually, Democrats, particularly progressives at the far polls of the party, want people to fight for their nomination. They want people to show that they want to earn every vote. That they want to shake every hand. They want to take selfies. Do all the retail politics that all those 19 candidates are going to do in Iowa this weekend.

The vice president -- the former vice president has not done that yet. He's got time to pick it up. But I think it's going to start to be noticed in contrast with some of his competitors.

CABRERA: I think if the former vice president thought this was going to would be an easy ride into the general election, he is in for something else. Because look at what happened just this week. Of course, the Anita Hill issue came up previously. But this week, he flip flopped on the Hyde Amendment. He was accused of plagiarizing in his climate plan. He had to defend his crime bill, or he was confronted about it. And he defended it.

S.E., how significant is a week like this?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It could be determining. I mean, to Joel's point, Joe Biden has not put in the time that the other candidates have put in with the reporters, with the press, with retail politics. And so, all we really have from his campaign are these moments. And they're not great. And they should have been anticipated.

And so, at the very least, to be the most generous, it makes his campaign look a little unprepared. But, at worst, it makes him look politically expedient. It makes him look like he'll maybe cave to the, sort of, prevailing winds of the progressive wing of the party. It just doesn't make him look sure or certain.

CABRERA: He definitely left when it comes to the issue of abortion, Joel. And there's some concern over just how far left Democrats should or, really, can move in order to be competitive in the general. Research from a voter targeting firm found that larger-than-expected turnout from Republican defectors help boost the Democrats' wins in the mid-terms. Do Democrats risk losing those voters, if they move too far to the left?

PAYNE: You know, that's what like to say. I think people like to point out, with Hillary Clinton, some of her comments about women's reproductive rights late in the campaign cost her. And, look, folks can say that.

I'd also say, if anyone is voting on the Hyde Amendment, if that's a target issue for you, you're probably not going to support anyone with a D next to their name on Election Day in 18 months. Like, my guess is that you're not going to vote for Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker and on down the list. You're not going to vote for any of those folks. You're probably going to vote for Donald Trump.

CABRERA: Sure. But, then, Biden could have -- if you think about it, he could have picked up some of the voters, though, who did support the Hyde Amendment. Right? Because there's still that moderate group, both in the Democratic and the -- and the Republican Party.

PAYNE: So, Ana, call it my -- call it my trauma (ph).

CUPP: Just to set the stakes here. The Hyde Amendment is popular. It's popular with most Americans, not just with Republicans.

PAYNE: I was just going to say, call it my trauma --

CUPP: Yes.

PAYNE: -- from last time around. But I've heard a lot about Republicans jumping over to support Hillary Clinton, the Republicans wanting to get behind the Democrat. I -- you're going to have to show it to me, because I've heard that so many times. And I'd love to actually see proof of that.

CUPP: Well, you just said it, Ana. I mean, we have -- we have data, now, from Democrat-targeting firms that show that a lot of Republicans left Trump for -- or left Republicans who voted for Trump left for Democrats in the mid-terms. That's not always a great predictor of what's about to happen in a national election, sure. But I think there is fertile ground in the middle. And I'm going to be talking to a Biden surrogate on my show coming up about this.

[17:10:00] I think he's seeing a lot of territory that he could have gained to Trump or maybe even a third-party candidate, or maybe folks who will now stay home. Because they feel a little conned by the idea that Biden was going to occupy the moderate lane. It doesn't seem like he's able or willing to do that, at this point.

CABRERA: I do want to at least bring something that, perhaps, Trump should be concerned about. Because I don't want to just talk about the Democrats here for a moment. I mean, there is new polling this week from places like Texas. We've seen other places, Michigan. We've seen Pennsylvania. The president is behind some of the Democrats. This one obviously showing how he would fair in a head-to- head right now today against Biden, in particular, since he's a front- runner, at this moment in time in the polling.

So, I wonder, S.E., should a Republican be worried? Because, remember, Michigan was key. We know Pennsylvania was key --

CUPP: Yes.

CABRERA: -- in the last presidential election --

CUPP: Yes.

CABRERA: -- and in Texas. I mean, that's been red for a long time.

CUPP: Yes, in short, Republicans should be worried. Republican Trump supporters should be worried. The Trump campaign should be worried. There are cracks in his base. And his base was all he had. He's put no energy into, you know, reaching into more moderate territory. It's all base or nothing.

And so, for him to be showing those cracks, especially in those states, if those states are up for grabs again, then, yes, he's real vulnerable. And, again, why Democrats should try to exploit those vulnerabilities and running to the far left is not the way to do it.

CABRERA: Joel, quickly, if you will. Is Texas really in play? And should Democrats be putting money now into Texas? It's a big state.

PAYNE: Texas is as much in play as Arizona was in the last Senate race, as Georgia is, as Virginia and Colorado, which used to be Republican states that are now blue states. Texas can move. I don't know if it'll move this cycle. But the -- but the trendlines certainly work in Democrats' favors.

And I'll just say this just about the -- you know, what Democrats are, kind of, facing, in terms of appealing to those middle voters and with regards to the -- to the -- to the president. President Trump's cracks are not with his base, in my opinion. They're with the moderates and independents. That's where he won last time. He got those folks to come over because, you're right, that there was some concern about Democrats pulling too far to the left.

The president's base is always going to be with him. It's the people in the middle that the president can't hold onto this time.

CABRERA: All right, Joel Payne, S.E. Cupp, thank you both.

CUPP: Thanks.

CABRERA: And join S.E. at the top of the next hour for "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" here on CNN, Exploring the Intersection of Politics and the Media, again right here on CNN.

We have some sad news to report now. Hillary Clinton's young brother, Tony Rodham, has died. The former secretary of state tweeting this. We lost my brother, Tony, last night. It's hard to find words. My mind is flooded with memories of him today. When he walked into a room, he'd light it up with laughter. He was kind, generous, and a wonderful husband to Megan, and father to Zach, Simon and Fiona. The cause of death is not yet known. Tony Rodham was 65.

The speaker of the House is slamming President Trump over his diplomatic spat with Mexico. We'll have more on that. And the last- minute deal that averts a trade war, at least for now.

Plus, a family wants answers after this Army veteran died in police custody. Then, his body was returned to his family without his heart and his brain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You read about these stories, you know, every day. And you always think to yourself, wow, that's a shame. You know, I'm sad for that family. That's too bad. And now, we are that family.


CABRERA: That story just ahead. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.



CABRERA: The United States will not slap import tariffs on Mexico. President Trump announcing that just before those tariffs were set to take effect with, potentially, devastating economic effects on both sides of the border. The reason that threat is now gone, Mexico and the U.S. came out of a long-negotiating process late last night with a signed agreement aimed at stopping, or at least slowing down, illegal immigration into the United States.

The president cheering this agreement and its terms in several tweets this morning. Here's one of them. Everyone, very excited about the new deal with Mexico. Our Correspondent Boris Sanchez is at the White House. Boris, obviously, this being Washington, not everyone is, quote, "very excited about the agreement." Top Democrats in Congress, they're taking particular issue with how the president conducted himself during this process. Is the -- is the president responding to that?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORREPONDENT: Oh, yes. The president is punching back, Ana, specifically mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after she put out a statement last night saying that the president's tantrums are no way to conduct foreign policy.

We should point out "The New York Times" actually just put out a report, indicating that some of the parameters of this deal with Mexico had been agreed to months before the threat of tariffs came up.

The president, though, still taking a victory lap and making fun of the House speaker. Here's what he tweeted about Nancy Pelosi. The president writing, quote, "Nervous Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic House are getting nothing done. Perhaps they could lead the way with the USMCA, the spectacular and very popular new trade deal that replaces NAFTA, the worst trade deal in the history of the USA. Great for farmers, manufacturers and unions."

Interesting that the president is touting the USMCA there, when he heard from sources that people within his own administration were worried that the threat of tariffs could undo the potential ratification of the USMCA. Also notable that the president is now fund-raising off of this deal. Just a short while ago, the Trump campaign sent out a mass text message, referring to the president's best seller, "The Art of the Deal." And asking supporters to send in money, suggesting that it was the president's hard work that led to Mexico coming up with this plan -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thank you.

On Mexico's side of the border, the threats of U.S. tariffs. And now, the retraction of those threats, clearly impacting a lot of lives there this weekend.

CNN's Paula Newton is in Tijuana, Mexico right now. And, Paula, I know you're expecting to see a huge gathering there later today. Are people planning to protest these new developments and this agreement or are they celebrating?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a little bit of both. But the rally that is supposed to involve the president here, Lopez Obrador, that is supposed to be what he says a celebration. Clearly, very happy that they didn't have to give in to some of the more extreme demands that the Trump administration had on the table.

[17:20:06] They feel they came away with a good deal, Ana. The key for them is the fact that they will get that long-term economic development, both in southern Mexico and in Central America. Ana, you know as well as I do, the devil is in the detail. wait to see if that comes to fruition. The other thing we're waiting for here, Ana, is to actually see the impact of this deal. Behind me, you've got the pedestrian crossing into the United States. Obviously, a very busy crossing. What is not sitting well, with many Central Americans who have made that arduous trip from those Central American countries all the way through Mexico, is the fact that behind me, this now becomes a revolving door for them. They go into the United States and will be sent right back out into Mexico. Yes, they're being promised, while they wait for those asylum cases to be heard. They're being promised humanitarian aid, work permits, education and health care.

And yet, we spoke to some of them this morning, Ana. And they're telling us, look, that's not what we came here for. We came here to be in the United States allotting -- a lot of them saying the situation back home is too violent, too desperate. And also wanting to reunite with family they already have in the United States. They are not happy about this deal.

But one thing that Mexico and the United States agreed on, really from the first moment, Ana, was that the situation just couldn't continue. They're really hoping that this new deal represents a deterrent. And that, again, is a big question mark. Will it actually stop Central Americans from making that trek from their countries, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, if they know that while they're awaiting those asylum cases, they have to wait here in Mexico.

CABRERA: All right. We'll have to watch and wait as we see if this actually plays out the way the presidents of both countries hope it will. Paula Newton, thank you.

A U.S. Army veteran dies in police custody. And his body was given to his family with vital organs missing. Now, the family wants answers. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.



CABRERA: We're learning new details now about the investigation into the death of a U.S. Army veteran. He died in police custody more than a year ago in Pennsylvania. His family wants to know what happened in his final hours, when they were expecting him to come see them. CNN's Polo Sandoval is here getting new information. Tell us about this veteran who died.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Ana, at this point, all we know is what Everett Palmer Jr.'s family says authorities told them. That is that he died while in police custody in York County, Pennsylvania last April. According to the family, the initial autopsy by York County coroner's office stated that Palmer died after an incident that followed an excited state during which he started to hit his head against the inside of a cell door. At that time, he had to be restrained. The report also showing that he had traces of methamphetamine in his system and concludes that his cause of death is undetermined. So, the family says that though he did have a history of drug use, what they're hearing just does not match up with a guy he knew. So, they hired their own pathologist who discovered that the heart, the brain, the throat were all missing from Palmer's body. The York County coroner, Pam Gay, offering an explanation to all of this here say that those organs were actually retained for further study, and they will not be released until the investigation is complete. In the case of the throat, for example, and the removal of that tissue, Gay says that it's done to basically make sure that there wasn't any kind of component that caused asphyxia.

So, the way Gay described it, for CNN in the conversation that she had, was that they have a process for these kinds of cases and that process, Ana, is being followed. The Palmer family attorney says that they are still calling on more information. They have been told what happened to their loved one, but they want to see it themselves. So, they're calling on, for example, some of the surveillance video of that cell to be released. Because they do still have more questions than answers here.

And, finally, the York County District Attorney's office, not commenting on this case, saying that it's still an ongoing investigation.

CABRERA: An ongoing investigation. And, yes, this was a year ago.


CABRERA: And they said they've retained these body parts for further testing. And to make sure, you know, there weren't certain aspects going on inside him.


CABRERA: I don't understand that. How long does it actually take?

SANDOVAL: Believe it or not, one year is still on the shorter end on the spectrum here, according to what we've heard from the medical examiner here who says that it could take up to three years, in some cases, when they're investigating these kinds of situations here, these questionable deaths. So, during that time period, authorities will closely guard the evidence. And that often includes tissue samples, specimens that are collected during the time of autopsy.

So, it could, potentially, again I say potentially, be another year and half or so before these organs may, potentially, be released to the family for burial. So, it certainly is an interesting aspect of the investigation. According to what we're hearing from the coroner, this is standard procedure, when they're working these kinds of investigations.

CABRERA: All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you.

SANDOVAL: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: A sickening hate crime is making headlines around the world. Two women who were out on a date say they were attacked by a group of teenagers. Next, one of the victims will join us live to discuss what happened and how it has changed her life. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.



[17:32:27] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It's a photo that horrified the world. A lesbian couple attacked while riding a bus in London. The woman on the right, Melania Geymonat, posted this photo on social media to show what happened to her and her partner, Chris. They were on their way back home, she says, from a night out when they were viciously assaulted. Now five people are under arrest, including four teenage boys.

Melania Geymonat joins us on the phone from London.

Melania, apologies for what you have gone through. How are you and your partner, Chris, doing?

MELANIA GEYMONAT, ASSAULTED WITH PARTNER ON LONDON BUS (via telephone): Hello? Well, these days have been like a little bit overwhelming, we could say. Yes, we are actually better. I'm waiting, like next week, I will have a small procedure to fix my nose.


GEYMONAT: And -- yes, Chris has been discharged. She's feeling better.

CABRERA: I'm glad to hear that about her, I'm glad that you're OK, though as, you mentioned, you still have these health issues with a broken nose, having to have had a procedure next week.

Walk us through what happened.


CABRERA: Walk me through what happened.

GEYMONAT: So what happened was that we were on a date, so we decided to go in the night bus back to her place. So we went upstairs in the front, because it's like really enjoyable, we could say.

And in that moment, I don't remember well, because there are some parts I don't remember. We must have kissed or hugged or something, because these guys that were there -- were -- got into the bus after us. I don't really know.

They came after us like surrounding us and started to say things like lesbian, or -- they were saying stuff like sexual positions and doing stuff with their hands. And they were demanding that we kiss so they could watch, something like that.

CABRERA: So like you were just entertainment for them? GEYMONAT: Yes, exactly. And --

CABRERA: How did this escalate into a fight?

[17:35:10] GEYMONAT: Well, I was in that moment trying to defuse the situation, because I'm -- I have a -- I have already been in situations where men are -- with that kind of behavior. So I actually thought that making some jokes would make them stop or whatever but it didn't.

The next thing I know, Chris is in the middle of both of us, and they were beating her up. So I go there. When I go there, she was bleeding in the face. I tried to pull her out. I don't remember why exactly why they started beating me. If it was because, in defense of her, I was punching someone or trying to pull her like away, they started beating me.

CABRERA: As I mentioned, there are five people in custody. If you could speak to them, what would you say?

GEYMONAT: I should think before. Right now, I don't know what I would say. Still to this moment I can't believe what happened, actually.

I mean, in other situations that I've been, when people, maybe I have felt like some kind of harassment or something, I have always tried to avoid the situation, or maybe I wasn't completely aware.

In the situation of the thing that happened, I believe is that Chris stood up for us, because they were really saying stuff that we shouldn't -- we shouldn't have to be OK with. So I mean, I know that behavior can be usual, but it shouldn't be.

CABRERA: Right. No, it shouldn't be. Nobody should be treated like that.

Melania Geymonat, our best wishes to you and to Chris. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

GEYMONAT: OK. Thank you very much.

CABRERA: Thank you.

It is PRIDE month. You'll see the rainbow flag flying at many buildings across the country, for the first time over state capitals in New York and Wisconsin, but not at U.S. embassies around the world. The Trump administration has denied embassy requests to fly the flag that show support to the LBGT community on embassy flagpoles.

The U.S. embassy in Berlin, one source said, that adding its rainbow flag display in June has always been a routine thing that happened every year.

NBC News was the first to report this story. The State Department has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Three mysterious deaths at a five-star resort hotel in just five days. We'll have a look what happened in the investigation?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:42:01] CABRERA: We have new information today on the mysterious deaths of three American tourists at a Dominican Republican resort. Preliminary autopsy results show a Pennsylvania woman suffered a heart attack. An engaged Maryland couple found dead at an adjacent hotel five days had fluid in their lungs and internal bleeding. But we still do not know conclusively what caused these deaths.

CNN's Rosa Flores traveled to the Dominican Republic to get the latest on the investigation.


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, BROTHER-IN-LAW OF MIRANDA SCHAUP-WERNER (voice-over): What we thought was a freak event, now we don't know.

FLORES: Jay McDonald, Miranda Schaup-Werner's brother-in-law, says she and her husband were at the Bahia Resort, La Romana, celebrating a wedding anniversary.

The taxi driver who dropped them off at the hotel said Schaup-Werner looked healthy.

(on camera): You're saying they were happy, they were joyful.


FLORES: Like any other couple that comes to the Dominican Republic on vacation?


FLORES (voice-over): But the fun ended after she had a drink from mini bar.

MCDONALD (voice-over): At one point, she was sitting there happily, smiling and taking pictures. And the next moment, she was in acute pain and called out to Dan and she collapsed.

FLORES: According to the attorney general, the preliminary autopsy result said 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 55-221. And what did it look like? Like any other room at the resort. (voice-over): The same day she checked in, so did Nathaniel Edward

Holmes and Cynthia Ann Day, both from Maryland. They were found in their dead in their room in a different building on May 30th. The A.G.'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 Hotel and Resorts says the properties "followed security protocol," and that they are cooperating with authorities.

They and local police say there's nothing at this point to indicate the deaths of the woman and the couple are related.

Rosa Flores, CNN, La Romana, Dominican Republic.


[17:45:05] CABRERA: Earlier I spoke with the president of an international investigative firm about the deaths of those three Americans. Anthony Roman tells me insecticides may be to blame.


ANTHONY ROMAN, PRESIDENT, A.C. ROMAN & ASSOCIATES, INC: The signs and symptoms of organo-phosphate poisoning are there, and the answers are going to be in the postmortem examination, the autopsy examination. Tissue samples will be taken.

CABRERA: And will that be known then in the toxicology reports?

ROMAN: Absolutely. Yes. All of that is done during the postmortem. Tissue samples. Blood samples. Fluid samples from the liver, the brain, the heart.

But all of the symptoms that have been complained about, and the heart attack suffered by one of the deceased, are all known to be byproducts of organo-phosphates. We don't know if that is the cause but it would be one of our leading suspicions.


CABRERA: Authorities in the Dominican Republic say they won't be able to provide more details on the causes of death until toxicology results are in. That could take weeks to complete. 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, tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific. Followed by "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," with W. Kamau Bell, at 10:00, right here on CNN.

Donald Trump's top economic adviser once said policies like Trump's would destroy the dollar. Why is he going along with Trump's tariff plans?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:50:03] CABRERA: A trade war crisis averted, for now. President Trump calling off the tariffs he threatened to levy against Mexico as punishment for the influx of migrants crossing the border.

Now, the president tweeting, quote, "I am pleased to inform you that the United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. Mexico is promising to take steps aimed at slowing or stopping illegal immigration."

All this happening, as CNN learns the president's hand-picked chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, once predicted Trump's brand of protectionist trade policy ideas, including tariffs on Mexico and China, would, quote, "destroy the dollar and trigger another recession."

And he predicted this recently. Here's Kudlow in 2015.


LARRY KUDLOW, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP (voice-over): You slap a 25 percent, 35 percent tariff on our leading trading partners, like Mexico and China -- we may not like them, sir, but tariffs and protectionism is not the answer. It will do incalculable damage to the American economy, OK? We will cut off our nose despite our face. And that is not the right policy. This will backfire on America and the rest of the world.


CABRERA: "This will backfire. Incalculable damage." Three years later, Kudlow was accepting a job in the White House.

Joining us now, Andrew Kaczynski, senior editor of CNN's "KFILE.

Andrew, Kudlow made those comments after President Trump launched his campaign. And you found other times Kudlow was critical about the president's trade ideas.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, "KFILE": Yes, that's right. He made these comments in June, July and August of 2015. Trump had just launched for the presidency. And it really was kind of Kudlow's main critique that the president's

trade policies, it was even worse than that clip we just watched. He said it could lead to another bad recession. It would cause all this horrible damage to consumers and businesses. And he even linked it to the Great Depression, to tariffs that were installed in the 1930s, saying high tariffs equal high taxes equal depression.

CABRERA: That's not all. He also said this, this is a direct quote: "How is this guy going to negotiate with anybody, whether it's China, whether it's Vladimir Putin, whether it's the mullahs. He can't even get the story right on Mexico."

So, you found he was highly critical of Trump's immigration policies and Trump's criticism of Mexico on immigration issues.

KACZYNSKI: Yes, and that's what's so funny about this whole thing. The whole issue with Mexico and tariffs this week, it all comes back to Mexico. The Trump administration is claiming that Mexico is not doing enough to stop undocumented immigration. And Kudlow, in fact, very harshly contradicts the president on that.

Let's take a listen.


KUDLOW (voice-over): This anti-immigration thing has gone way too far. For example -- we'll take a break, but I'll just get this in. For example, Donald Trump is blaming the government of Mexico, several times, for, you know, sending us these terrible people.

First of all, the government of Mexico has nothing to do with sending us anybody.

Let's remember this. Before we get so protectionist. The United States and Mexico have very close relations. They're an important partner. They are our second-biggest export market.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Right, right.

KUDLOW: Our third-biggest trading market after Canada and Japan. And China, rather. And literally, literally, millions of Americans go to Mexico for tourism and vacation.


CABRERA: OK, so, that was Kudlow then. What's he saying now and how does he explain working for this president if that's how he felt?

KACZYNSKI: That's actually so funny, because when I talked to -- I called him on the phone and left a voicemail. He got back to me, and I read him all the clips. And there was sort of this long pause, and he goes, well, that was then, you know, this is now. And he sort of tried to explain that he was just talking about worst-case scenarios.

He claimed that he didn't think the China policy with the tariffs was damaging the economy. And he said, basically, that he -- this was just hypothetical and he stood by the president.

CABRERA: So, he supports the president and his policies?

KACZYNSKI: Supports the president now. Back then, not so much.

CABRERA: OK, he changed his mind.

Andrew, thank you for that reporting.

Let me introduce you to this week's "CNN Hero." He was just 20 years old when he was wrongfully convicted and locked up in a Texas prison for 15 years. Now that he's been fully exonerated, he's using his new-found freedom to help other prisoners change their lives.


RICHARD MILES, CNN HERO: My mom would always tell me, when you look out the window, don't look at the bars, look at the sky. I could change my perception within the place of incarceration.

At the end of the day, be confident in your change.

The idea really started from inside. People get out and they come right back in. I said, if I ever get out, man, I'm going to start a program and we're help people.

Acknowledgement, transparency and forgiveness, these are the three essential things we need when we're coming back home.


[17:55:17] CABRERA: To hear more of this incredible story and to see how he helps change parolees lives, go to CNN right now.

Today, in England, a special celebration honoring Queen Elizabeth. The Trooping the Colour is an annual event to celebrate the official birthday of the sitting monarch. There are parades, pomp, a Royal Air Force flyover. But today actually wasn't the queen's birthday. She turned 93 back in April. The weather, however, tends to be much better in June. So, let the celebration go on.

And among those notable attendees, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, she made her first public royal appearance since she and Prince Harry introduced their son, baby, Archie, to the world four weeks ago.

I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. I'll see you in two hours from now.

My colleague, S.E. Cupp, continues today's our coverage of today's news right after a quick break. Stay with us.