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U.S.-Iran Tensions; North Korea's Kim Receives "Personal Letter" From Trump; Race For The White House; Istanbul Votes In Mayoral Re-Run; U.S. Immigration Crackdown; Race For Britain's Next Prime Minister; Chennai Water Shortage. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired June 23, 2019 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Amid heightened tensions, the U.S. national security adviser is in Jerusalem and has a new warning for Iran: military action is not off the table.

Also, reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions at U.S. border facilities. We speak with one of the attorneys, who got a firsthand look at how some migrant children are living. It will be shocking to you.

Also ahead this hour, U.K. Conservative Party front-runner Boris Johnson under pressure about refusing to answer questions about reports of a late-night altercation with his partner.

Welcome to viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen coming to you from Atlanta. 5 o'clock in the morning now. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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ALLEN: We have had a developing story in the past hour. A new warning from the United States to Iran. John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, is in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Moments ago, Bolton had tough words for Iran, stressing military action is still a possibility.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East. As President Trump said on Friday, our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go, by far, the best in the world.

Sanctions are biting. And more added last night. Iran can never have nuclear weapons. Not against the USA and not against the world. As he made clear yesterday, referring to his earlier remarks, the president said I just stopped the strike from going forward at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: This comes as President Trump says more sanctions against Iran will be imposed Monday, aimed at keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. On Saturday, Mr. Trump called Iran "an economic mess" and said new sanctions will get them to the bargaining table. He also pulled out one of his favorite campaign slogans but with a twist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Iran wants to become a wealthy nation again. Become a prosperous nation. We'll call it, let's make Iran great again. Does that make sense?

Make Iran great again. It's OK with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Well, let's talk about these developments with our correspondents in the region. Our Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran and Oren Liebermann is in Israel.

Oren, what more did Mr. Bolton and Israel's prime minister have to say?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The statements they made at the beginning of their meeting were effectively the talking points they were always going to make before these meetings. That is both prime minister Netanyahu and national security adviser Bolton listed off as what they see as Iran's aggressive acts, going on in the region going back months and years.

Saying Iran has been ready to attack Israel and other countries. For that, both said Israel nor the U.S. would stand for what they see as Iran trying to, in Netanyahu's words, devour other nations and expand its empire throughout the Middle East.

That's where they both started and here Netanyahu went on talking about the power the sanctions are having against Iran.

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BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: We in Israel saw Iran's aggression in their increased efforts to establish military bases in Syria and their increased efforts to provide sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and to increase financial support by Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

This increased right after the deal, right after the deal. With the removal of sanctions, we in Israel could see an explosion of terror and aggression.

I was pleased to hear President Trump make clear yesterday that pressure will continue and that pressure will increase.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu has recently called for other nations, the international community, as he called it, to put in more sanctions against Iran. He has long lauded and praised Trump's sanctions against Iran.

Interestingly, Netanyahu made no reference to Trump calling off a strike in retaliation for the downed drone. He left that to Bolton, who said no one should confuse --

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LIEBERMANN: -- prudence and discretion for weakness and left open the possibility that there may be a strike coming in the future if Iran doesn't change its actions, apparently leaving an open-ended threat. And Bolton concluded his remarks by saying, stay tuned.

ALLEN: He seemed to pause before he said that, for effect. Thank you, Oren.

Let's go to Fred. Tensions, Fred, remaining high as President Trump tightens the economic noose and Iran saying they will not back down if provoked.

How is this new threat from John Bolton likely to go down?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly not very well. I think one of the things the Iranians have been saying is they believe that, for instance, the program of maximum pressure by the United States government, the sanctions that were put on Iran after the U.S. left the nuclear agreement, obviously, that continued to be more.

They view that as an aggression against Iran rather than the other way around. Also the fact that the U.S. is sending some 1,000 additional troops here to the region, has already sent a new carrier strike group and strategic bombers to the region is something that didn't go down withal with the Iranians.

They believe this is an aggression from the United States. Now the Iranians on the one hand, I think, were quite surprised by some of the things President Trump said last night when he justified the fact that he called off those strikes, those retaliatory strikes, on the one hand calling for making Iran great again.

Essentially asking the Iranians to go back to the table and talk and apparently praising the Iranian leadership for not shooting down a manned aircraft shortly -- or around the time that they actually shot down that drone. That's actually being shown -- part of President Trump's statement is being shown on Iranian TV.

As far as sanctions are concerned, the Iranians are saying that right now it is still quite a dangerous situation here in the Middle East. A senior general came out earlier today and said if there was a military move by the United States, if there was a strike by United States, he said that very quickly that could lead to an unmanageable situation in the Middle East. One thing the Iranians have been saying, not just after the recent

tensions on the tanker attack and shooting down of drone as well, if there is going to be a confrontation, if it comes to trading of fire into a shooting war, the Iranians are saying that is not going to remain limited to the militaries of United States and Iran but most certainly would involve their proxy forces around the region as well -- Natalie.

ALLEN: No one wants war, they say, in the region, which has been ripped by war in recent years but still the rhetoric and the threats continue.

I want to ask you, Fred, now we know more sanctions are coming on Monday. You were there inside Iran. Mr. Trump is working to choke Iran economically.

How is it affecting the economy there as you see it and everyday citizens' lives?

PLEITGEN: It's having a massive effect on Iran's economy. There's no doubt the economy here is in a big recession. Growth has been negative throughout this entire year and last year as well.

The currency has been in a downward spiral and oil exports are, I wouldn't say virtually nonexistent but dialed back a great deal because of the sanctions. The big effect is on regular folks. Basically all we spoke to said their economic situation has gotten worse.

After the big sanctions came into play after the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear agreement, a lot of international companies not only didn't come to Iran to invest here but a lot also pulled out.

The offices of a lot of companies have pulled out here and many people lost their jobs. At the same time it's very difficult for Iranian companies to do business internationally as well. That's also caused -- or gotten people a big hit on their incomes and caused a lot of folks lose their jobs as well.

It's had a huge effect on the economy. What it hasn't had an effect on is what Iran does in their foreign policy. One thing that was quite telling is, despite this pressure campaign of sanctions that's been going on for a while, when the Japanese prime minister was here, the week before last, and basically gave the supreme leader of Iran an offer for talks from President Trump, Iran said, under these circumstances, Iran will not talk, even if sanctions increase.

ALLEN: It is a catch-22 between these two countries. Fred Pleitgen, thank you for your perspectives.

Depending on how Iran reacts, a military strike on Iran could have far-reaching and, perhaps, grave consequence. After all, the U.S. has thousands of troops in the region, not to mention military bases there. One Iran military commander says consequences of fighting in the region would be, quote, "unmanageable" by --

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ALLEN: -- any country. Earlier my colleague Ana Cabrera spoke with a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee about the president's decision to call off an attack that he had said was "cocked and loaded."

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REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): Operating on instincts is never a good idea. Operating on emotions is never a good idea. Take a deep breath. Take time. Now all of that you need to take into context, always be prepared to defend. As you just heard in prior to my coming on board here, we have very numerous personnel, assets, bases in the area. We have a right to defend ourselves.

So if Iran chooses to attack any of our assets, any of our personnel, we must defend against that attack. That doesn't mean we go to war. That means we defend the attack.

Now we are not in that stage now. We're in what we should call a stage of retaliation. That may be a kinetic, that is things that go boom, or it may be sanctions. It may be some other action.

One other thing that's absolutely necessary, that is that we do not go it alone. We need to rally support for either sanctions. And if it comes to a kinetic action, again, we need to have our allies with us.

Unfortunately, the president has created a very difficult situation, in which he moved the United States out of the joint -- JCPOA. That was the nuclear agreement to stop Iran from building a bomb within the next 10 to 15 years. We're no longer a part of that. Our allies are. Therefore, we've isolated ourselves.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The House passed a bill this week that would repeal the authorized use of military force that was approved after 9/11. It has specific language about not authorizing force against Iran.

But as you know, that's probably not going to get very far in the Republican-led Senate.

Would that inadvertently give the president a constitutional loophole to order an attack?

GARAMENDI: No, I don't believe so. Clearly, Iran does not come under the 2001 authorization to use force in Afghanistan. It is just not appropriate to use that at all. Although, I might say the administration has tried, I think, without any success to shoehorn Iran into that. Doesn't fit.

A new authorization to use force would be necessary. There are two different ways to attack this. One is what we're working on in the Armed Services Committee with the National Defense Authorization Act and that is to say the president has no authority to attack Iran unless he gets an authorization to use force from the Congress. I think there's broad Republican support for that. And given what the

president did by pulling back on his military attack, I believe that strengthens our hand to put that legislation in place. It will be a must-pass piece of legislation. And I think the Senate will go along with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: On another front with Iran, we are learning that last week the U.S. launched a cyber strike against an Iranian spy group. It was in retaliation for attacks on oil tankers earlier this month in the Gulf of Oman.

A U.S. official says the cyber strike targeted computer software used to track the tankers. A source tells CNN there's been an increase in Iranian cyber activity against Gulf targets in recent months.

North Korean state media say Kim Jong-un has received a personal letter from the U.S. president. South Korea's presidential office says the fact the leaders are corresponding is a positive step towards restarting denuclearization talks. Our Paula Hancocks has more from Seoul, South Korea.

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PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are back to the letter writing between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. KCNA, the state-run media in North Korea, says that Kim Jong-un has received a letter from President Trump. They've also published a photo, showing him reading that letter.

Now according to KCNA, the North Korean leader said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content, also flattering the U.S. president, as he is wont to do, saying he appreciates the extraordinary courage of President Trump.

Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content. This comes just a couple of weeks after we understand that there was a letter from Kim Jong-un sent to the U.S. president. Mr. Trump did say it was a beautiful letter. He said he wouldn't reveal the contents but that he was happy with it.

So certainly --

[05:15:00]

HANCOCKS: -- we're seeing that these two leaders are back to communicating. Since the Hanoi summit in February, there really have been very little communication between the U.S. and North Korea. Those denuclearization talks had definitely stalled.

The Hanoi summit, where there was no agreement and both sides walked away with no agreement, we had heard from Kim Jong-un that he wanted the U.S. to change its attitude in order to get these talks back on track. But it does appear as though this letter today is in response to the

letter Kim Jong-un sent a couple of weeks ago. It comes at an interesting time as well. We're just days away from the U.S. president Donald Trump heading to the region.

He's going to the G20 in Japan, where he's expected to meet on the sidelines with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. And he's also coming here to Seoul around the G20 to talk with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

So certainly we are seeing a lot more movement when it comes to potential talks once again on the denuclearization of North Korea -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Back here in the United States, President Trump says he's putting the brakes on massive immigration raids for now. We look what's behind the reasons and what it means for those families who may be targeted across the country.

Also Democrats in the U.S. presidential race make their pitch to voters as they prepare for the first primary debate.

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ALLEN: Welcome back. The Democrats in the race for the White House are in South Carolina this weekend, making their pitch in the crucial early primary state. Most of the hopefuls delivered speeches at the so-called fish fry convention on Saturday. They're trying to polish their messages ahead of the first primary debate this week. Several candidates spent the day slamming President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know we have in this White House a president who says he wants to make America great again.

Well, what does that mean?

Does that mean he wants to take us back to before schools were integrated?

Does that mean he wants to take us back before the Voting Rights Act was enacted?

Does that mean he wants to take us back before the Civil Rights Act was enacted?

Does he mean he wants to take us back before Roe v. Wade was enacted?

Because we're not going back. We're not going back.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will not beat Donald Trump by fighting him --

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BOOKER: -- using his tactics on his turf, on his terms. He wants this election to be about hate. We better make it about love. He wants to make this election about tearing people down. We're going to make it about building people up.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, y'all know in your bones that this election is more important than any one you've ever been engaged in. We have a president who has promoted hate and division, encourages white supremacy, embraces dictators, in fact, goes around the world weakening our alliances.

Four more years of Donald Trump will permanently change the character of this country. We can't let that happen. We have to beat Donald Trump is the overwhelming imperative that we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: There you have it. Game on. The lineup for the first U.S. Democratic presidential debate has been announced. The debate will be split into two nights with two groups of 10. NBC News will host them both. The first group Wednesday will include Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and Cory Booker, who you heard in those sound bites.

The next 10 will meet Thursday, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and California senator Kamala Harris.

Let's turn to another election happening in Istanbul where the polls are open. Voters taking part in a redo in March's election for mayor. Turkish official ordered the revote citing electoral irregularities.

Joining us now is Jomana Karadsheh.

This vote is important because it's seen as a test for Turkey's democracy. Tell us why this vote is being rerun.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a very important test as people will tell you for their country's democracy. People here are very proud of the decade's old democracy in this country.

If you recall back on March 31st, that is when those local elections took place. And the candidate for the opposition, the main opposition secular party, the CHP won. It was a very narrow victory, Natalie. He won by 13,000 votes with around 10 million votes cast here in Istanbul.

And President Erdogan's AKP party objected to those results and then you have the supreme electoral boards that ruled to annul those votes. Very controversial decision, saying there were voter irregularities. No matter what happened on that day, there is the feeling of moving on.

Both sides have accepted the reality this vote is happening all over again. There is this real determination to exercise their rights and show up and vote today. We've met so many people here who have come back to vote --

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ALLEN: I just want to interrupt for a moment. Next to you we have Erdogan walking into a polling station to vote.

That's significant there, isn't it?

KARADSHEH: Absolutely. I mean, this is a very important test, as you mentioned, for Turkey's democracy. When it comes to President Erdogan and his ruling AKP party. There's a long list of reasons why Istanbul is important.

That March 31st vote was a big blow for Erdogan and his party. They lost the three major cities. The capital, Ankara; Istanbul, that is the financial and economic hub of this country, its financial capital, and Izmir. This is where President Erdogan launched his political career. In 1994 he was voted in as mayor of Istanbul.

And there is a lot of power and prestige that comes with being in control of Istanbul. The big question is whether both sides will accept whatever the result may be of today, you know, for the opposition.

March 31st was a very significant moment. It really was reintegrating for the opposition. They felt they have the confidence to change this status quo. They've been so concerned about the direction their country is taking.

So many saying it is on the path to becoming an autocracy. We'll have to wait and see what happens today. People we're speaking with are saying they really hope, no matter what the result is, that both sides respect that result and they're hoping for kind of a clearer victory compared to last time -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Absolutely. The people just want a fair --

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ALLEN: -- election as we see Mr. Erdogan go into a voting booth to cast his ballot. Jomana, thank you for explaining it to us. We appreciate your reporting.

Will thousands of families fearing deportation from the United States get a reprieve?

A short one, perhaps. We'll tell you why officials say the U.S. president had to postpone the massive immigration raids set to take place across the country.

And we speak with a lawyer who went to the southern U.S. border to find out about conditions there and what she found and what she shares is shocking. That's coming up.

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ALLEN: Welcome back to viewers in the U.S. and all around the world. We appreciate you tuning in. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen live from Atlanta. Here are our top stories.

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ALLEN: President Trump says he is delaying the widespread and controversial immigration raids he scheduled for this weekend. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in 10 cities were set to round up families who were ordered by a court to leave the country. About 2,000 families are affected in the cities you see here.

On Twitter, Mr. Trump says he wants to give Democrats and Republicans time to get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the Southern border. He adds, if not, "deportations start."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: These are people that came into the country illegally. They've been served. They've gone through a process, a process of the courts. And they have to be removed from the country. They will be removed from the country. It's having a very big effect on the border. The fact that we're taking them out. The people that came into the country illegally are going to be removed from the country.

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ALLEN: The backlash against the plan for the raids in the 10 cities was swift. Now that they're delayed, city leaders are breathing a sigh of relief for now. CNN's Paul Vercammen has more from one of the cities targeted, Los Angeles.

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PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Los Angeles, right at the top, Mayor Eric Garcetti had called these threatened sweeps inhumane. So when they were called off, there was a sense of relief and also a lot of cynicism because a lot of activist groups for the immigrants have long said that they believe that Donald Trump uses all these threatened sweeps as mere political grandstanding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen this from the Trump administration since the day he announced him running, his campaign in 2016. He's been doing this to feed the trolls, to feed his supporters, to let them know that he's doing something about the quote-unquote, "immigration problem." It's just part of his M.O. Even into his presidency.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Although the sweeps were called off, the immigrant activists here had already set in motion a series of measures that they thought would help these immigrants. Among them, free legal counseling. They were also setting up what they would call the sanctuary network where people could go to churches and homes and this, the red cards.

They got the word out in myriad locations that these immigrants should know under their Fifth Amendment rights, they have the right to remain silent so they wouldn't have to speak to an ICE officer and under the Fourth Amendment they did not have to allow anyone into their home, this would be an ICE agent, who basically did not have a search warrant that was signed with their name on it.

They were prepared. They say this means they will be prepared here in the future if there are any more threatened ICE sweeps. Now back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: We're learning more about the filthy conditions in which children are being held in U.S. border facilities. A group of doctors and lawyers visited Border Protection facilities. They did not get to inspect them but interviewed children there, who told them horror stories of people being sick and not having access to soap or showers.

They put their findings in a report that sparked a hearing last week. Their report included children held past the 20-day limit, children taking care of toddlers and babies, cells so overcrowded, the children were sleeping on concrete floors.

And some of them had no socks or shoes. At the hearing, a Justice Department official was asked to explain those conditions.

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JUDGE A. WALLACE TASHIMA, U.S. 9TH CIRCUIT COURT: It's within everybody's common understanding that if you don't have a toothbrush, if you don't have soap, if you don't have a blanket, it is not safe and sanitary.

Wouldn't everybody agree with that?

Do you agree with that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think it's -- I think those are -- there's fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and --

TASHIMA: Not may be; are a part.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: In a statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it's noted numerous times its facilities are not designed to hold vulnerable populations. And it urgently needs additional funding to manage the crisis.

It goes on to say, "Allegations of mistreatment are taken seriously and investigated."

Joining me now is Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette --

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ALLEN: -- University, one of attorneys who interviewed the children at the Texas border facility just this week.

Thank you for joining us.

WARREN BINFORD, ATTORNEY AND LAW PROFESSOR: Thank you, Natalie.

We'll talk about what you witnessed at the border in a moment. I want to begin with the developing news that we've just learned.

People across the country were poised for a roundup by ICE, raids to deport thousands of undocumented families across the country. And now the president says it is being postponed.

What's your reaction to that decision?

BINFORD: Well, my reaction is I think it's critical we do everything we can to support these families who are living with us in the United States. They are our neighbors. They are the people who care for our children, who help care for our yards. They are the ones that grow our food and do a lot of the work that many of us are not willing or not engaged in the economy right now.

I think it's important to realize many are law abiding and they contribute significantly to our economy. Every single reputable analysis that has been done on immigrants shows that they are a net asset to our economy and I think it's important we recognize, every month, every year that we have them here is a benefit to America.

So I think it's great news they are holding off on these raids.

ALLEN: This is the issue playing out for people already here. Let's back up and talk about what's going on at the border because you were there for several days. You just got back a couple of days ago. And conditions are described as not just unsanitary but dangerous.

What did you see?

BINFORD: Natalie, you would not believe the things we saw. It was hard to believe we're in the United States of America. We showed up at the Border Patrol facility, which wasn't even on our radar last week when we were planning to prepare to go into these facilities to make sure the children who are in the -- in the sector, the El Paso sector, are being adequately cared for.

We heard children were being moved to these facilities. We went ahead and put together a few teams. And we walked in and immediately discovered that over 350 children were there on Monday on the day we arrived. And so we immediately had to pull teams from the other site and start interviewing these children, because these children are not being cared for.

They were sick. They were dirty. There were there were 2-, 3-, 4- year olds who didn't have anyone to take care of them. There was an infant who was taken from the child's mother, who got terribly sick and was handed off to another child, who wasn't even related to this infant.

It was horrendous. It was dangerous. The children are kept in cells meant for males. They're male holding cells. There are open toilets in the middle of the room. The children are locked in these cells 24 hours a day. They're almost never let out.

They go to the bathroom there, they eat there. They sleep there. There are not enough beds, not enough mats. Many of the children reported having to sleep on cold, concrete floors. Again, many of these children were tender age children. We saw over 100 -- we saw that there were over 100 young children at this facility on Monday.

ALLEN: How in the world is this happening?

We're talking -- you said 2-, 3- and 4-year-old children. It's basically children looking out for children.

BINFORD: That's exactly right. There are no adults who are directly caring for these children in the United States. In most states you have a 4:1 ratio of small children to a caregiver. Some of these children told us there were 100 kids in their room.

We were able to look at the roster and determine how many kids were in the different cells. One cell as of Thursday, which was the last day I was there, when there were 100 children in one cell. It's unbelievable. They are sleeping six kids to a mat. We have babies and toddlers sleeping on concrete blocks. It's unbelievable.

ALLEN: So U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it's overrun and it's doing the best they can in an out of control situation. We've never seen the numbers we're seeing at the border we're seeing now.

What can be a temporary solution to what you saw?

What can be remedied until there's a long-term solution?

Anything?

BINFORD: Natalie, the information that you're given just isn't true. If you look at the historical immigration numbers in the United States, the number of apprehensions happening right now are nowhere near our nation's highs.

Look at the numbers over the last 40 years and you'll see we're nowhere near those top numbers you're suggesting, you are being told are happening right now. What we're seeing are more children and families. The wonderful thing about children and families is --

[05:40:00]

BINFORD: -- that almost all of them have relatives here in the United States. These children are generally crossing the border with family members and they have a mom, a dad, both parents, a grandparent, aunts living in the United States who are here and ready to care for them.

The law requires these children to be moved through these Border Patrol facilities within an hour. They're supposed to move through these facilities as expeditiously as possible because they are not appropriate for children. And everybody understands this; 72 hours is the maximum they can hold children.

What was shocking is there are many children who have been held there for three weeks or more. On top of that, after a child is released from Border Patrol, they're normally transported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, to a shelter. Children are only allowed to be in those facilities for 20 days because the rule is, you get these children with their families. That's what the law requires.

And yet these children are being held for nine months or longer. Basically what's happening is they are creating a backlog there. If you just simply place these children with their families, we would not have the crisis we're facing today. It's not a problem with too many people coming across the border. That's just not true.

ALLEN: There is a solution. It's unbelievable they're really alone for this period of time. We thank you so much for sharing the story, sharing what you saw and shedding light on this situation. Thank you so much.

BINFORD: Thank you, Natalie.

ALLEN: We really appreciate her and her insights. We'll continue to follow that story, of course.

The race to become Britain's prime minister enters a critical phase and one candidate faces tough questions about a reported visit by the police.

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ALLEN: Welcome back.

Boris Johnson, the front-runner in the British prime minister's race, is dodging questions now about why police visited his home on Friday. "The Guardian" newspaper says they were called to the apartment he shares with his girlfriend when neighbors heard a, quote, "loud altercation involve screaming, shouting and banging."

At a campaign event, Johnson said Conservative Party members were not interested in the matter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does a person's private life --

BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Don't boo. No, no. Don't boo the great man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he answers this question, I will move on.

Does a person's private life have any bearing on their ability to discharge the office of prime minister?

JOHNSON: Look, I've tried to give my answer pretty exhaustively. I think what people want to know is whether I have the determination and the courage to deliver on the commitments that I'm making. And it will need a lot of grit right now. I think people are entitled to think about this. And this is a relevant consideration, actually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be clear, you're not going to make any comment at all on what happened last night?

JOHNSON: I think that's pretty obvious from the forgoing --

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Well, there you have it from Mr. Johnson. He and rival Jeremy Hunt are on a campaign tour across the U.K. They are trying to win votes from fellow Conservative Party members who will choose the next leader.

Despite a history of making controversial remarks and gaffes, Boris Johnson is still considered the favorite in the race for Number 10. CNN's Nick Glass takes a closer look.

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NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the most charismatic, shambolic and divisive of politicians about to become British prime minister. Nothing, it seems, can halt the irresistible rise of Boris Johnson, just turned 55, not even his performance in a fractious television debate with his rivals.

By his standards, relatively controlled in joke and gaffe. The key question, of course, was Brexit and the date Britain leaves Europe.

BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: We must come out on the 31st of October.

GLASS (voice-over): But could he guarantee it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can not guarantee it. JOHNSON: I think that October the 31st is eminently feasible.

GLASS (voice-over): So no absolute guarantee, then. For the last week or so, Boris Johnson's image has been everywhere, that blond mop, always such a gift to cartoonists, Boris' basking shark, vote by vote, they are swallowing up his rivals like so many minnows.

ANDREW GIMSON, JOHNSON BIOGRAPHER: He has many faults, one could list dozens of faults. But he also has a touch of genius.

SONIA PURCELL, JOHNSON BIOGRAPHER: I get why he became popular. I totally get that. I'm just saying he's done nothing with it.

GLASS (voice-over): A question during the debate from a British imam yielded a rare Boris apology.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- in the party have said Muslim women who wear veils look like letter boxes and bank robbers.

Do you accept your words have consequences?

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: Yes, of course. And insofar as my words have given offense over the last 20 or 30 years that I've been a journalist and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, of course I'm sorry for the offense that they have caused.

To that end, campaign appearances have been carefully rationed. Even at his launch last ,week he seemed like a man in a hurry. The first thing he did was check his watch. His newish girlfriend, Kerry Simmons, aged 31, knows all about PR. She's evidently smart and the mop got him to have his hair trimmed.

Everything at the launch was carefully stage managed. A room full of attentive supporters. A snappy 16-minute speech. Journalists restricted to just six questions in all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to be prime minister, can the country trust you?

JOHNSON: Well, yes, of course, Laura. And I don't want a no deal outcome. But I think it is right for our great country to prepare for that outcome.

GLASS (voice-over): We don't know whether Boris can deliver on his Brexit ambitions.

They, of course, involve other parties, the European Union and the British Parliament. As Theresa May found out, both of them can be rather difficult to deal with -- Nick Glass, CNN, with Boris Johnson.

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Could it get any more interesting?

[05:50:00]

ALLEN: It looks like it can.

Daily life is a struggle when your city is out of water. That's what millions face in one of India's largest cities. We'll talk about it next.

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ALLEN: The acute water shortage in Chennai, India, is bringing the city to its knees. Now the state government is scrambling to find solutions for the crisis, as Zain Asher reports.

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ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carrying empty water buckets, a group of angry residents demand more action Saturday in Chennai, a city that is nearly out of water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We have to stand the whole day to get water and, at the end of the day, we might get three or four pots. It's not enough. We have to protest and ask, why are we in this situation?

ASHER (voice-over): A common sight now in India's sixth largest city, millions lining up each morning, hoping to fill containers from state water trucks. For some, it's only once a week. Others are forced to use unsanitary wells.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Because of the diseases from the dirty groundwater, children can't go to school. People can't go to work. We are not able to eat properly or work in peace.

ASHER (voice-over): Rainfall fell briefly last week, providing some relief but not nearly enough to prevent the crisis from deepening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am standing at Chennai's died up reservoir, which as you can see in your frame, is pretty much bone dry.

ASHER (voice-over): This reporter was standing on dry land where millions of liters of water should be.

Without enough water to clean medical equipment or wash hands, hospitals are turning away patients. Some schools are closing and businesses are struggling to stay open unless they can pay a hefty premium.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are paying a huge money of water to -- huge money to get the water and water what we're buying is not the quality water what we're getting. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But people say there is no water scarcity at all but we don't have water here.

ASHER (voice-over): The state's chief minister says he plans to use India's railroads to deliver a steady supply of clean water, promising to allocate over $9 billion to transport 10 million liters of water each day.

For a city used to receiving 820 million liters daily, it may provide only limited relief. Some activists also caution it's a Band-aid over a much larger problem, pointing to years of poor water conservation and pollution.

JAYARAMAN VENKATESAN, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: The responsibility of the government is to make sure these water bodies are properly desalted. You should make sure that sewage is not let into these water bodies. You should just make sure that the garbage is not dumped on these water bodies.

ASHER (voice-over): As swaths of southern India suffer a deadly heat wave, Chennai's crisis may be an indication of things to come. A government think tank report warned that 21 cities could run dry by next year. And experts say nearly half of India's population is facing an acute water shortage -- Zain Asher, CNN.

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ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Thanks for watching. Our top stories are next.