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Much Of Hong Kong Shut Down With Over Two Million Protestors; Kim Kardashian West Pushing To Help Released Inmates To Succeed On The Outside; Trump Campaign to Fire Pollsters After Unflattering Numbers Leak; Trump Slams Cyberattack Report as Virtual Act of Treason; Phoenix Mayor Apologizes After Video Captures Disturbing Arrest. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 16, 2019 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: -- going in a completely different direction.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello on this Father's Day. Thanks for being here. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

You're fired! Before he became president, Donald Trump turned those words into his reality show mantra, but they're getting a rerun over at Trump campaign headquarters. Several of the campaigns internal pollsters are getting the ax reportedly because the President is unhappy that unflattering numbers were leaked to media outlets.

A person familiar with this purge says the firings are less about the bad numbers and more about calming the President down. He reportedly blew up when the polling data surfaced.

It shows double-digit leads for Biden in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and had Biden leading in Florida as well by seven points. In Texas, a Republican stronghold, the numbers showed the President leading but only by two points.

All this bad news comes as the Trump campaign plans to officially launch its re-election bid on Tuesday in Orlando, Florida. And CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is following the story for us.

Boris, there's reporting that people are concerned that the campaign is more worried about containing the leak than addressing why there are such bad numbers or dismal numbers in some key battleground states. Firing people really isn't going to address the problem.


CABRERA: Why is the President so focused on how things look?

SANCHEZ: I mean, that's who President Trump is, he is very keen on imagery. And clearly, he is not happy about these poll numbers. This goes back to last week when there were reports that the President was lagging in key battleground states and internal polling. Ultimately, the President denied that that was a story, called it fake news. Then we actually got the hard polling data. Pollsters leaked it out, the President became furious, and that's why these two pollsters for the Trump campaign are out of a job.

And take a look at this poll from Fox News. It kind of indicates where the President is standing right now. It's not great. It's not a great picture for him. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg, all of them with advantages over President Trump right now, so the President, clearly, with some ground to catch up.

Beyond that, there's another poll that the President is apparently focused on. It's this one from "The Wall Street Journal" and NBC News. It shows that the percentage of people who believe Congress has enough evidence to impeach President Trump jumped up 10 percent in just one month. Important to point out, about a quarter of those asked also believed that there should be a continued investigation of this president. A lot of people clearly feeling that the Mueller report didn't answer all the questions that they wanted answered.

The President appeared to, potentially, misread this poll in a tweet. Take a look at what he sent out not that long ago. The President tweeting out, quote, almost 70 percent in new poll say don't impeach. So ridiculous to even be talking about this subject when all of the crimes were committed by the other side. The President accusing Democrats of rigging the election.

Clearly though, as you saw in that previous poll, it was about 48 percent that says they believe the President should not be impeached. Nowhere near 70 percent, Ana.

CABRERA: And as the investigations continue on Capitol Hill, we know on Wednesday Hope Hicks is due to give closed-door testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. What do you expect to come of that?

SANCHEZ: You know, Ana, not very many fireworks. Not only, as you said, is this behind closed doors, but we're hearing from White House official sources who indicate that she is likely to, essentially, invoke executive privilege over a number of sensitive issues, subjects that his White House simply wants to keep under wraps.

Not really surprising as this White House has attempted to stymie any investigation by House Democrats. So this is somebody who is, perhaps, closer to anybody outside of the Trump family to the President, but Democrats are not likely to get the answers that they want here, Ana.

CABRERA: O.K. Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: You're welcome.

CABRERA: Let's get straight to CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen. He's advised four U.S. presidents, both Democrat and Republican.

David, first, your reaction to word that the Trump campaign's plan is to fire his pollsters after unflattering numbers leaked.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we thought we've seen everything; we haven't. It's going to continue this way. It's going to be -- listen, it's going to be a topsy-turvy campaign.

But one thing the Democrats ought to be focused on is that Trump is prepared -- the Trump people are preparing a much more disciplined campaign than they've had in the past. They built a big war chest, $40 million on hand at this point, another 40 over at the Republican National Committee. That's far more than the Democrats have that they can mobilize. And he's got some -- big professionals are going at it early. They have this big rally.

So he is --what we know, Ana, is that as much as many may dislike and find him intolerable in governing, he's a pretty good campaigner. He has a good ear for the country. He knows where -- you know, his savage attacks on others are pretty well aimed. So you can't count him out.

[19:05:02] The real question is, a serious question -- we know who Donald Trump is and what he's likely to do. He's going to play dirty. But can the Democrats put somebody on the field who can take him on and beat him?

And right now, there are two polls out today, both CBS and from Fox, that show both -- that show strength for Joe Biden that we weren't sure was there only 10 days ago. Remember, he had this nasty, nasty week with the Hyde Amendment and everything else. And people thought -- pundits wondered whether he would take a hit below the water line, and he would start sinking.

He hasn't sunk that much according to these new polls. Yes, some leakage but, overall, he's in -- he is holding his own. He has a 10- point lead over Trump. Under the Fox poll, he has a 10-point lead over Trump. He is holding his own against all of the other four contenders.

Importantly -- last point. Importantly, what we're seeing increasingly, as long as there are five-lead Democrats in the top tier -- you know, essentially, Biden, Warren, Sanders, Harris, and Buttigieg. As long as there are that five and Biden can pull about 30 percent, the others -- you know, nobody can get above 30 among the others because they're dividing that pretty evenly among on the 70 percent side.


GERGEN: So that gives him an advantage we -- that we haven't fully recognized yet but so far is plain to his -- very much to his advantage.

CABRERA: Fair enough. And I want to talk to you more about some of the revelations in the new polling as well. But before I move on to talk more about that, I just want to talk about leadership for a moment. Because, again, the reporting that the President's campaign is firing

these pollsters because the numbers aren't bad, really just to sort of appease Trump, calm him down, it's not the first time we've heard of staffers trying to prevent the President from seeing bad news. Can you effectively lead if you are only being shown good news?

GERGEN: No. No, because it puts you out of touch. One of the biggest dangers in the White House is you start living in a bubble, and you only hear people who like you.

And people come into the Oval Office, and they all would shower praise on the president, no matter who the President is. They always get a little intimidated by being in the Oval Office. So you can -- you start living in that bubble, you can make some terrible, terrible mistakes about both policy and about -- especially about politics.

And it's also true, though, you know, there are other issues. There is the question of honesty and trust. At the -- the bottom line for presidents is that trust is still the coin of the realm. It's an old- fashioned thing to think about, but if you want to be an effective leader in this country, which is a very fractured country now, you have to have people trust you.

And that's why, you know, these reports that the White House and the State Department are pushing on Iran -- as they're the culprits in the Gulf going after the tankers and that sort of thing -- a lot of people are skeptical of that just because it's coming from those sources because they don't trust those sources.

CABRERA: Yes, there's a credibility issue there.

GERGEN: Credibility.

CABRERA: Let's dig deeper into the poll numbers now.


CABRERA: You talked a little bit about the good and bad for the President in these numbers. Here are some more.

First, the good news, more voters say they are enthusiastic to vote for the President compared to the enthusiasm mark for the Democratic candidates. He gets 23 percent while Warren, Biden, Sanders all get half that. But then the bad news here is more than half of the country, 52 percent, say they would be very uncomfortable voting for the President.

What does that tell you, David, that more than half of registered voters would feel very uncomfortable if Trump were re-elected, and yet among that same group who were polled, he has more enthusiasm behind him than Biden, Sanders, and Warren?


CABRERA: What do you think will matter more when it comes to the 2020 election? GERGEN: You know, there is a minority of people -- voters in the

country, maybe 30 percent, maybe higher, who do believe in Trump, and they will go to bat for him. They'll walk through fire with him. They are -- they believe he has delivered way beyond what any other presidents delivered for them, and they're going to be for him regardless. But they're not enough to win an election.

And if you saw those numbers when Trump was running for election the first time, and people said -- 52 percent said they were uncomfortable, well, that probably wouldn't matter as much because, you know, things are still fluid when you first run for president. People don't know you. They're still sizing you up, and they can -- you can convince them through your actions.

The problem for the President is he's now had more than two years, and views have solidified on both sides. So it's not just the minority who love him, but there's another minority, which is pretty big or bigger, that hates him, despises him, you know, wants him out of there. And there's not much in the middle to play with for the President.

That's why he's having a hard time getting above 42 percent approval. You can't win with 42 percent approval unless you outfox and outplay the Democrats on the -- in the campaign itself. And you always have to keep that possibility open in your mind.

[19:10:01] CABRERA: The President believes he's going to win the next election. At least that's what he says.


CABRERA: This is what he is tweeting as well. This is what he tweeted today that has some people scratching their heads.

He writes, at the end of six years, after America has been made great again and I leave the beautiful White House -- and then in parentheses, he writes -- do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? Keep America great.

This isn't the first time the President has joked, we think, about staying in office longer than his term. He recently retweeted someone who said he should have two years added on to his term to make up for the two-year-long Mueller investigation. I mean, do you think this is really a joke, David, or could this turn into something more serious? I know Michael Cohen had warned about this under oath.

GERGEN: Well, he's been dangling the possibility. I think it's half- serious and half-joking. But I do think he is introducing the notion in case there's a very close election.

Let's say we have 2000 all over again with courts getting involved, trying to figure out, you know, what really happened, and what's legal. I can see him them making a big pitch to stay in.

It is what strongmen do. He, as you will know, admires strongmen, and I certainly don't think that he wants to leave office if there's some possibility that he's going to be prosecuted the day he becomes a civilian again.

So he has got some incentives, but I -- you know, it does take a constitutional amendment to allow him to stay on into a third term, and he ain't got the votes on that.

CABRERA: David Gergen, always good to have you with us. Happy Father's Day, too.

GERGEN: O.K., Ana, thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you so much for being here.

GERGEN: Thank you, Ana. O.K., thank you.

CABRERA: All right, coming up, a virtual act of treason? President Trump pushing back on the reports that the U.S. is ramping up attacks on Russia's power grid without him even knowing about it.


[19:15:21] CABRERA: The President is slamming "The New York Times" after the paper reported the U.S. is ramping up cyberattacks against Russia including putting malware into the country's power grid. Trump tweeted, Saturday, about "The Times'" reporting, saying it was, quote, a virtual act of treason.

"The Times" also reported there was broad hesitation to tell Trump about the details of this operation as officials were concerned the President might reverse it or discuss it with foreign officials. And that brings us to your weekend president brief, a segment we highlight the most pressing national security issues the President will face when he wakes up tomorrow.

And joining us is CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd. She helped prepare the presidential daily brief for President Obama.

Sam, "The New York Times" says they spoke with NSC officials who said there were no national security concerns about this reporting. So what do you make of it?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, Trump assailed journalist in this tweet, but yet again he didn't mention the real culprit here -- Vladimir Putin. Russia has launched myriad illegal attacks against U.S. infrastructure, our electric grids -- our power grids.

And the Department of Homeland Security has even said Russian cyberattacks have targeted residential homes. That's why President Trump reportedly himself authorized these kinds of attacks against Russian targets to level the playing field. And Congress followed, too, last year and passed their own bill, authorizing these attacks. We've also used sanctions to try to hold Russia accountable for what they're doing.

Now, it is unclear why President Trump is so upset about this story. It may be because it says his own officials don't trust him. But what I want to know is, how has he not been asked to be briefed on these kinds of situations?

As the President of the United States -- I served under President Obama -- figuring out what the U.S. government is doing against a hostile foreign power is just a normal order of business. It's very clear that President Trump isn't even asking to be briefed on the most pressing issues facing our country.

CABRERA: So the President has, time and again, basically said don't believe the intelligence when it comes to Russia's interference. But, now, there's another issue in which intelligence is telling us Iran was involved in these tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. And he is saying believe the intelligence this time, right?

VINOGRAD: Believe it this time. Trump has made his own bed to an extent, and now he has to lie in it. President Trump has cast doubt on U.S. intelligence on a variety of topics including Iran.

He called the intelligence community's assessment on Iran's nuclear activity not even passive because it didn't fit with his personal agenda. Now, he's saying believe the intelligence community because it fits with what he's trying to do.

He has concurrently thrown down on U.S. reliability when it comes to us keeping our word. He withdraws from international agreements on the spur of the moment. He withdrew from our coalition in Syria because President Erdogan asked him to. We built a coalition to hold Iran accountable for their behavior on nuclear issues, the Iran deal. He broke his word on that, too.

And while he's doing all of that, he also tells us not to trust the media. He uses the phrase fake news almost every day. And then this time, he's telling people that they should listen to what the media is reporting with respect to Iranian culpability.

Sowing mistrust has consequences, and his team is going to have to work so much harder to convince people of the intelligence, build a coalition, and get the right messages out because of his own behavior.

CABRERA: Let's stick with Iran for a second because we just learned the President's national security team is expected to discuss this week whether to send more U.S. military forces to the Middle East after those tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. How should the administration respond to Iran?

VINOGRAD: Well, while they're dealing with these tanker attacks, let's not forget all the other threat streams that they are having to deal with. There are conventional military risks to Americans and our allies overseas. We just withdrew U.S. diplomats from Iraq because of these threats. Iranian proxies are launching rockets into Saudi Arabia from Yemen and into Israel from Gaza and from other locations.

At the same time, we know that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism. We know that they are one of the largest cyber risks facing the United States according to our intelligence community. And we also know that Iran is likely closer to a nuclear weapon today than they were when President Trump assumed office. They have said that they are increasing their production of enriched

uranium, and they're threatening to even go closer towards a weapon because Trump violated the Iran deal. All of these threats were always out there. The difference is Trump knowingly re-added a potential threat to what his team has to work on.

CABRERA: Sam Vinograd. I always learn something every week. Thank you so much.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Good to have you with us. The mayor of Phoenix is apologizing after a viral video of police threatening to shoot a father who was with his pregnant fiancee and two young daughters. Was it really over some stolen foil and a doll?


CABRERA: Welcome back. Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish is pulling out of her show in Atlanta next weekend and saying she will not perform again in Georgia until the state scraps its controversial heartbeat abortion law. The measure bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy when a lot of women don't know they are pregnant.

Haddish joins a growing list of celebrities speaking out against the law including Jordan Peele and Alyssa Milano. Haddish says she needs to stand with women until the legislation is withdrawn.

New tonight, the mayor of Phoenix is apologizing to a family featured in a now-viral video of a police standoff. The video shows officers pointing their guns and yelling threats at a man, his pregnant fiancee, and two young children, all over an alleged shoplifting incident at a Family Dollar store. But what's in the video isn't exactly what's spelled out in the police report.

For more, let's go to CNN's Stephanie Elam. Stephanie, what else are we learning tonight?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Ana. Well, we've been able to look at the police report now, and they're saying that they were responding to another shoplifting call when the store manager alerted police to this family which they said was also shoplifting.

[19:24:52] The family is saying that they did not know that their 4- year-old daughter had taken a doll out of the store. But later in the police report, it also says that when they did interview the man, they said that he said he had shoplifted some underwear but threw it out the window because he was scared.

But it's this video here that has people very upset because you can see, on one side, the man is pulled out of the car. He is on the ground getting handcuffed and then up against the police vehicle. And it looks like the officer sweeps his legs out from underneath him.

At the same time, his fiancee, is getting out the car with their one- year-old and their 4-year-old -- the one-year-old on her hip, the 4- year-old next to her. They officer looks to yank the baby from her. She ends up giving the baby to a stranger as well as the 4-year-old.

They're saying that both of their kids are still traumatized, that the 4-year-old is having nightmares and is wetting the bed because she's so terrified of what happened. The woman in the car there saying, quote, to CNN, I really thought he was going to shoot me in front of the kids.

So people are upset because of the excessive use of force that they're saying was used because of a shoplifting call. At the same time, the mayor has apologized. She's saying that every precinct will now have body-worn cameras -- because they did not have them in this incident -- by August, so speeding up that timeline, and calling for a community meeting which will happen Tuesday evening along with the police chief so people can come and talk about this.

And then the police chief herself, Jeri Williams, is coming out saying she's called for an immediate investigation and says she was, quote, disturbed by the language and the actions of their officers, but they're trying to be transparent as to what was happening here.

But a lot of people just very upset that this young family had a gun drawn on them, especially this woman who's five months pregnant along with their two daughters.

CABRERA: All right, Stephanie Elam in Los Angeles. Thank you.

Long before he was president -- or running for president, I should say, Joe Biden ran against a much older opponent for Senate.


JOE BIDEN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am an anachronism. I'm a 29-year-old oddball.


CABRERA: Have the tables turned?



ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: An unprecedented scene in Hong Kong today. Look at this. Much of the city was shut down, as an estimated two million protestors filled the streets.

The demonstrations started a week ago opposing a bill that would allow people to be extradited to the mainland there in China. That legislation has been temporarily suspended, but Hong Kong residents are unhappy about the government's sometimes violent response to the protest. They want the city's chief executive to shut down and the bill to be withdrawn entirely.

The remarkable demonstrations are increasing pressure on Chinese President Xi Jingping, as he wrangles with the U.S. over trade. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the protests will likely be one of the things President Trump and Xi talk about at the G20 Summit in just two weeks.

Is age a factor in the 2020 race? Well, depends who you ask. Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and President Trump have traded plenty barbs over their senior citizen ages. Biden is 76 years old and the president celebrated his 73rd birthday on Friday. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe, I don't know about him.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If he looks young and vibrant compared to me, I should probably go home.


CABRERA: As CNN's Jessica Dean reports, that was not the first time Biden used aged against his political opponent. Watch.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They say age is just a number.

BIDEN: I am an anachronism.


BIDEN: I am a 29-year-old odd ball.

DEAN: But for Joe Biden, age defined the beginning of his political career. During this first senate campaign, Biden made his youthfulness central to his message. Print ads drew sharp contrast between the then 29-year-old and his opponent Cale Boggs, a 63-year- old two term incumbent.

We've got a new crime problem in this country, we need some new thinking, one Biden ad read, using the tag line, he understand what's happening today.



DEAN: Now, nearly five decades later, the 76-year-old Biden's age is once again a factor.

BIDEN: It's a legitimate question to ask about my age. The same question was asked of me, was I old enough when I got elected at age 29, before I was old enough to serve. It's a question of whether or not they know hopefully I can demonstrate, not only with age comes wisdom and experience that can make things a lot better.

BEHAR: Right.

BIDEN: And so -- but we'll -- look, that's for you all to decide, not for me to decide.


DEAN: This is hardly the first time age has been an issue in a presidential race.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience.


DEAN: But there's a certain amount of irony at play in this 2020 race, as Joe Biden's opponents turn the tables, using a message similar to his in 1972 to make their own case for fresh leadership.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we're not going to win by playing it safe. We're promising a return to normal. We are where we are because normal broke and we Democrats can no more promise a return to the '90s than Republicans can deliver on a promise to return us to the '50s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does Joe Biden represent the future?

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don't think so. I think -- I think we -- it's time for a new generation of leadership.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to be the America of 10 years back, of 20 years back or 30 years back.


DEAN: A new CNN Des Moines register poll of likely in-person Democratic Iowa caucus goes show just one percent called being over age 70 an advantage against President Trump. But, that same poll showed 52 percent believe a candidate with years of experience in Washington would have an advantage in facing President Trump.


CABRERA: Our thanks to Jessica Dean for that report. Coming up, reality star turned advocate. Kim Kardashian West heads back to the White House with a new message about criminal justice reform.



CABRERA: Kim Kardashian West is putting some of her star power to use, pushing to help inmates released from prison succeed on the outside. She visited the White House this week to meet with President Trump and encourage businesses to hire former inmates. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM KARDASHIAN WEST, REALITY STAR: I'm so honored to be here. These people want to work. They want the best outcome. And I just want to thank the president for really stand behind this issue and seeing the compassion that he's had for criminal justice has been really remarkable.


CABRERA: Listen to this, the unemployment rate among former inmates is 27 percent. That is five times that of the general public. President Trump says, he plans to get that unemployment rate down to single digits within five years.

And this isn't Kardashian's first effort at with the president on behalf of prisoners. You'll recall last year she lobbied Trump to commute the live sentence of 63-year-old Alice Johnson, which he did.

Van Jones is host of THE REDEMPTION PROJECT here on CNN, and a long time advocate for prison reform. He was involved in the crime reform bill that passed last year. He joins us now.

Van, you've talked extensively with Kim Kardashian West and worked with her on these issues. What obstacles do former inmates face when it comes to getting hired?

VAN JONES, CNN HOST: People leave a physical prison after they've served their time, they've made their mistake, they've made their bad decision, they've paid for that.

Then they enter a social prison, where it's hard for them to get a job, it's hard for them to rent an apartment, it's hard for them to get student loans. There are a lot of government benefits that are not available to them. So, suddenly, if the government can't help you and you can't get a job, you wind up in that revolving door going back to prison.


So I'm so proud of Kim because what she's done, she's not just hanging out in the White House, she's really -- she's going in to prisons, she's talking to people. She's studying to become a lawyer. And she's realizing there are some very practical problems like I can't get to a job interview. I just got out of prison; I don't have a driver's license.


JONES: And so she worked with a ride sharing platform to help people just get to their job interviews and she's working to try and get companies to hire people. And listen, she is somebody who her dad was lawyer and did this stuff before.

She thought she was going to be like her dad and she wound up being a celebutante. And I think she's -- as a mom of four kids, she's just coming back to her true self.

CABRERA: Van, this week for the first time in more than a decade, lawmakers will hold a hearing to talk about reparations for slavery in the U.S. Does this speak to your mission of restored of justice?

JONES: Well listen, I think we as a country, we have never really thought about this. I'm a ninth generation American, a ninth generation America. I'm the first person in my family that was born with all my rights recognized by this government. Think about that.

Nine generations, eight of them were either enslaved or born under segregation. My parents were born and married under segregation. So, we've got to look back and figure out if your family has been hurt for nine generations, it might have an impact on you today. What can we do about that? How do we talk about that?

And how do you make it where people who are white Americans who maybe their family just got here two generations ago don't feel like we're saying well, you did something wrong. It's like well, my parents maybe came over from France or from England two generations ago.

It's not about punishing white people. It's about making sure that African American families that have been here for so long have some ability to have our pain and our suffering recognized.

CABRERA: Let's talk about The Redemption Project because on tonight's show, you introduced us to a family who's father, a 72 year old Peruvian immigrant who epitomized the American dream were shot and killed while trying to stop a robbery in progress. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father saved that lady's life. He was a hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father wasn't killed by the firearm; he was killed by the person behind the gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they see me as a monster. I don't know how they going to feel when they feel me for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has no way of knowing the anguish that I felt for ten years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I've been wanting to say something for a long time. And this is something that needs to be done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will know if he is -- if he's really remorseful. If he's not, then we got problems.


CABRERA: Van, what kind of impact has Mario's murder had on his family and why do they want to meet with their father's killer now?

JONES: Well, this is the last episode in an eight episode arch called The Redemption Project. And if you want to be uplifted, if you want to be touched, if you want to be moved, if you want to be inspired, tune in tonight. We are working hard to bring people together across the lines of pain.

Listen, we fight and argue in this country about everything from tweets to politics. And we don't know how to talk to each other. So we said let's get people who should never talk, people who had real pain between them and see if we can get those people to have a conversation.

Tonight's show is a mind-blowing show. These are two brothers. The brothers have been divided since their father was killed. They have had issues and conflicts. These things tear up families. And so the brothers try to come together and they try to have a conversation with this young person.

I'm not going to give away the ending because a part of the show is so many twists and turns and surprises. But we need to be uplifted. We need to -- listen, when you see people do stuff that hard, it might make it easier for us to unblock our friends on Facebook from the 2016 election.

At least try to reach out and have some kind of conversation. We have got to start talking again. We got to figure out someway to come back together. So this show The Redemption Project, it shows people who really have a hard time doing it. And hopefully it inspires the rest of us.

CABRERA: And Van, it is the last episode. So now as you reflect on all the work that you out in to it but also the way these individuals' stories impacted you, I remember before we launched this series then we had a conversation. You said, you know, this project changed my life.

JONES: It did.

CABRERA: You still feel that way and in what way?

JONES: Well, it did because I've realized I'm petty man. I got -- I'm a grudge holder. If somebody does something wrong to me from like high school, I'm still mad. And then I'm watching these people doing such beautiful work to try to overcome. They don't always overcome.

They don't always get there but they always try. And it's so beautiful and then to watch their reaction. I've never seen something have 99 percent response on Twitter. Now usually Twitter is like hater. No matter what you do on Twitter you get beat up.


JONES: People said this show was life changing. That's the most common thing, transformative, life changing, thank you so much. Because I think people, deep down we want the hunger. We have that hunger.

How do we come back together? How do we listen to each other? How do we hold each other? How do we help each other? That's what this series is about. I'm very proud of it.


The reaction of the public to the series has been as impactful to me as doing the series. I have a -- I have much more faith in people. And I have much more faith in the power of forgiveness than I did before.

CABRERA: I love that. Van Jones, good to have you with us. Thank you.

JONES: Yes. Thank you.

CABRERA: A brand new episode of The Redemption Project airs tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN. And I hope Van can still hear me because I meant to say Happy Father's Day, Van.

JONES: Yes, thank you. Thank you. It'' take it. I hear you.


CABRERA: OK, good. I am so glad. Thank you, again for spending time with us. All right.

JONES: Thank you.

CABRERA: Enjoy the rest of your special day. Coming up--


-- the mysterious Melania Trump. CNN gets rare access inside the east wing to hear from those who know the first lady best.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is very reclusive.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Melania Trump is never beholding to the Washington ways of broadcasting everything you're thinking and doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are persistent rumors that Mrs. Trump does not live in this White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's forging her own path.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president warned her that people are going to attack you about this.

UNIDENITIFED FEMALE: Flying under the radar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still no sighting of the elusive First Lady. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Setting her own trends.

M. TRUMP: Everybody has a different taste.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think she can shake it. Do you?

UNIDIEINTIFIED FEMALE: Not to mention, coping with the intense scrutiny of her marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get the feeling that she cares less about what people think than any of her predecessors.



CABRERA: CNN White House Reporter, Kate Bennett, joins us now with more on her CNN Special Report, Woman of Mystery: Melania Trump.

Kate, Melania Trump didn't seek out such a public role as First Lady, now that the president is about to launch his reelection bid on Tuesday. Any chance she'll be taking a more active part this time around?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I mean, just looking at the past, the campaign for his first presidency as well as the midterms, I don't think so. Campaigning, getting on the stump, changing up her schedule, being away from her son, those are all things that Melania Trump typically doesn't do a lot of.

So, I don't think -- she'll be at the rally in -- this -- in Florida this week, but she's not -- I don't think she's not going to give any remarks, we're not going to see her on the trail as much as we might see other Trump family surrogates like Ivanka Trump or Don Jr. or Eric Trump or Lara Trump. It's not really Melania's think.

CABRERA: Now, part of your special takes a closer look at the Trump marriage, which is, by most standards, unorthodox. Let's listen.


M. TRUMP: He's determined, bold and decisive. He's also compassionate, giving and loving. Donald cares.


CONWAY: She is an incredibly important, honest advisor, who expects nothing from the president except his success.

BENNETT: Yet images and accounts of the Trump marriage in the White House seem to paint a very different picture.

UNIDIENTIFIED FEMALE: They're the first, first couple since the Kennedy's to have separate bedrooms. Laura Bush would say that she was anchored to her husband. Michelle Obama and President Obama, there was a magnetism there.

Donald Trump is not chivalrous in the way that other presidents have been. He does opening the door for her.

BENNETT: And there have been other awkward moments caught on camera. The much buzzed about Melania hand swats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She famously swatted her husband's hand away on a tarmac in Israel, doing these things that most first ladies would never let cameras see.


CABRERA: And yet, Kate, Mr. Trump often compliments his wife. Just this past week he compared her to Jackie O., which most women would find flattering. What insights do you have into their relationship?

BENNETT: I mean, you know, you never really know what's going on in someone's marriage or relationship. I do think, though, that the first couple has a -- has a marriage that they both are invested in, they speak daily on the phone when they're not together, they talk, they communicate.

It might not be traditional in the sense that people have this sort of dreamed up notion of marriage. We just came off of eight years of the Obama's where were very lovey dovey and open about it in public and on social media. The Trumps are not like that.

But Melania Trump has been with Donald Trump for 20 years, they started dating in 1998, so certainly this is a man that she's come to accept. And I cringe every time is see the umbrella video that we showed with him holding it over his head and not hers. But, everyone's relationship is different and this is something she's invested in, this marriage.

CABRERA: And real quick, Kate, I want to ask you about Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump's spokeswoman, who is now being talked about as the possible replacement to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. What can you tell us about her and what she would bring to the role?

BENNETT: Look, I think Stephanie Grisham has a very good chance to be named White House Press Secretary. She is an original, she started on the campaign. Only she and Dan Scavino have been with Trump that long. She's been in the room many times when the president and the First Lady are around. I -- we could really see her in that role and I think I might happen, Ana.

CABRERA: All right, thank you. Kate Bennett, we appreciate you joining us and look forward to the special. Please join Kate for a rare visit to the White House to meet those who know First Lady Melanie Trump, the CNN Special Report, Woman of Mystery: Melania Trump, airs tonight at 8:00 right here on CNN. We'll be right back.



Some sad news for Dr. Seuss fans. The iconic tree believed to have inspired his classic children's book "The Lorax" has fallen down.


The Monterey Cypress tree had been standing in a La Jolla, California Park. Dr. Seuss lived nearby. He could see the tree from his mountain top home. It's believed the tree was at least 80 years old.

And there's still no definitive cause on why it fell. The city says it plans to salvage part of it's trunk in hopes of repurposing it. Something I'm sure "The Lorax" would approve.


Finally tonight, I just want to wish a very Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. And a special shout out--


to my dad, Ron and father-in-law Al. I am truly grateful for your unending love and support. You're both exemplary fathers and incredible grandfathers.

And to my husband Ben who solo parents every weekend with our kiddos so I can do this job that I love. You are the fun, smart, curious, patient devoted dad every child deserves. Jack and Maria are so lucky you're theirs. We love you lots.


Again, Happy Father's Day and thanks for joining us tonight. That does it for me. I'm Anna Cabrera. Up next, it's the CNN Special Report, Woman of Mystery: Melania Trump.