Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Delays ICE Raids; Pence Blames Dems for Border Conditions; Buttigieg Faces Leadership Test; Prosecution Rests in Case Against Navy SEAL. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 24, 2019 - 09:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:31:36] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the clock is ticking. President Trump says he is giving Congress two weeks to work out a solution to the crisis at the border or his plan to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants will be back on. ICE raids, you may remember, were set to begin yesterday in ten major U.S. cities, but the president tweeting he wants to give Democrats every last chance to make a deal to avoid those deportations.

Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.

So Manu, Trump delaying, in dramatic fashion, his round-up by two weeks, one of which Congress will be recess. Can Congress, given the enormous divisions, even within the parties, get something done?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends what you mean by something, Jim, because if you're talking about a change in the asylum laws, that is very unlikely to get passed within the next two weeks, as you mentioned. One week they'll be on recess. This week, highly doubtful. There's been very little movement on the issue of asylums, particularly what the president has been demanding to change the laws, to curb the number of migrants coming into this country. There's been little movement in the Senate. There's been little movement with the Democratic House. So that almost certainly will not pass Congress.

But there's a separate package, a funding package, of $4.5 billion to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border. And the Senate, there's a bipartisan bill moving through. However, that has -- that has differences with the Democratic bill that's moving through the House. That will pass the House this week. The Democrats in the House are trying to push for more protections for migrants on their bill. That's something that may not go over very well with the White House, with some Republicans. And the question is, can they resolve those differences?

But there's a real situation that Congress has to resolve by the end of this month because a key office within the Health and Human Services Department that deals with unaccompanied minors, that is scheduled to run out of money. Already there have been funding shortfalls with that office and that -- and as we've seen in some of these facilities, they lacked some basic supplies. We've seen some rather squalid conditions. So there's a lot of pressure on Congress to resolve these differences, get that office fully funded. So they've got to resolve that difference.

But, Jim, will that be enough to satisfy the president to continue to hold off from these deportation orders, especially since it does not appear that Congress will resolve the issue of asylum, fixing the asylum laws or changing the asylum laws in any way. That is the big question. The president's going to have to answer even as Congress has got its hands full on a related issue but separate issue in the coming days here, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Manu Raju, we know you're going to be on top of it. Thanks very much.

Vice President Mike Pence says that reports of horrifying conditions at U.S. border facilities are proof that Congress has to take action, putting the blame on Congress there. A group of lawyers visiting a detention center in Texas last week said many of the children they saw were sick, they were traumatized. The vice president is blaming an overwhelmed system and the Democrats for the situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a heartbreaking scene. These are people who are being exploited by human traffickers, who charge them $5,000 a person to entice them to take their vulnerable children -- it is horrific what is happening at our border and we know how to fix it. President Trump has said we could fix this in 15 minutes if the Democrats will sit down with us, close the loopholes, provide the resources we need to deal with the influx.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[09:35:00] SCIUTTO: Joining me now is Warren Binford. She's a law professor at Willamette University and she was among those attorneys who visited a border facility in Texas and interviewed migrant children there.

Mr. Binford, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

WARREN BINFORD, LAW PROFESSOR, WILLAMETTE UNIVERSITY: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: So, first, as an eyewitness, tell us what you saw there, the conditions. How severe were they?

BINFORD: They were the worst conditions that I've ever seen in the United States of America. And the fact that it was children who were being treated this way, who are literally being warehoused in a "Lord of the Flies" scenario, where there's no direct adult supervision, they're having to take care of each other, children described as many as 300 in a room, in the warehouse. We have children who are being kept in cells where they are sleeping on concrete floors. There are as many as 25, 50, 60 children in these cells with open toilets in the middle. They're having to eat in these cells. They're having to defecate in these cells. The children are sick. There's a flu -- influenza outbreak in the facility. There's a lice infestation in at least one of the cells. And the -- the children are being forced to care for one another because there's no one caring for them there.

SCIUTTO: We're glad you went there because I think from a distance, without seeing it themselves, Americans just might not know how bad those conditions are.

I want to ask you this. This may be a difficult question. As you're there, are those conditions a product of the influx of the numbers of a lack of resources, or is it your view that this is, to some degree, intentional?

BINFORD: You know, I tend to think the best of people, so I would hate to imagine that someone would literally torture, abuse and neglect these children for political purposes. So I'm not going to go there.

What I can tell you is that there is a massive mismanagement of the system that's been set up to care for these children. Almost all of these children have family in the United States who are ready and willing and want to take care of them. They have loving home. And they can care for these children.

America doesn't need to take responsibility for these children. All it needs to do is get these children to their families. Instead, what we're seeing is that these children are being warehoused in border patrol facilities that are so -- so dirty, so filthy and so unsanitary that children are literally dying. We've seen about a child die per month in these conditions.

And so now what we're seeing is that the children are being kept there for weeks at a time instead of a number of hours, which is all they're supposed to be kept the children there a maximum of 72 hours. After they leave these facilities, they're supposed to be transferred into ORR custody where they are supposed to be reunited within their families within a maximum of 20 days. We're not seeing that. What we're seeing instead is that these children are being kept for nine months or longer at a cost to the American taxpayer of $775 a day. That is a waste of taxpayer money when over 70 percent of these children have family in the United States who can take care of them at no cost to the taxpayer.

So basically what we're seeing is a massive waste of taxpayer money and then we're having the administration come back to us and say they need more money this solve this problem. And when you have someone who is mismanaging money, wasting money for needs that are not there, for them to come back and say they need more money is unfathomable, especially when, at the same time, they're literally abusing children.

SCIUTTO: And they are children. They are children.

BINFORD: They are.

SCIUTTO: Warren Binford --

BINFORD: And -- and they're young children.

SCIUTTO: Please, go ahead.

BINFORD: They're infants.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

BINFORD: They -- these are infants. These are toddlers. These are preschoolers. Over 100 of the children in these facilities were young children in that one facility. So these are not teenagers unaccompanied children coming across the border. You know, these are children who -- young children who came with their families, have been taken from their families and then put into truly horrific conditions.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean, in effect, you're saying that the family separation policy persists at the border. You saw it.

Listen, I want to thank you for bearing witness. It's necessary and we're glad we were able to speak to you this morning.

BINFORD: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well, the mayor of South Bend and, of course, 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has been facing a critical test of his leadership as he meets face-to-face with residents who are upset. They're demanding change in the wake of a deadly police shooting. You're going to hear what was a very tough encounter for Buttigieg.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:43:51] SCIUTTO: This morning, pressure is mounting on presidential hopeful and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as his leadership faces intense scrutiny after a fatal police shooting back home in Indiana. Emotions raw as residents confronted him at a local town hall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the racists off the streets. It's disrespectful that I wake up every day scared. It's disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach today what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Millions of tax dollars went to those police cameras, right?

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, they failed. And we don't get our refund.

I am raising a seven-year-old grandson that when he sees the police he is afraid. That is not what's supposed to happen in America, in Indiana, in 2019.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people who are in the audience when you have these public forums are the same black people, but they're not invited to the table. And I think that it's time for to you rethink who you think the leaders are in this black community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Jason Carroll is live in South Bend this morning with Buttigieg's response.

Of course, enormous pressure here because you have the Democratic debates coming up later this week. So it's a local issue, but it's become a national issue for Pete Buttigieg.

[09:45:09] JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It most certainly has. And it's also an issue, Jim, that the mayor says that, look, he doesn't want to run away from and he says he wants to be on the front line of the issue. And that's exactly where he found himself last night.

You heard from so many of the angry people there who were in the audience. Many of them had the same complaints about this police department for many, many years. And the reason why there was so much anger there is because they feel as though their complaints have gone unheard under this mayor's tenure.

The mayor told us afterwards, he said, it was painful for him. He said it was painful for the community. He also recognizes that the problems that are -- that he's facing here in South Bend are some of the same problems many urban centers are facing across the country.

We had an opportunity to speak with him after the town hall. We got a real sense from him about what it was like to be in that hall and hearing from so many frustrated, angry people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know if it's smart or not. I don't know if it's strategic or not. But this is my city. And I have a relationship with everybody in this city who looks to the city to keep them safe.

I'm sick of the things being talked about in political terms, in theoretical terms, who think it's a show of some type. It's people's lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: So, once again, no regrets on the mayor's part in terms of holding the town hall.

What he was looking for was to try to hear about solutions. And what a number of people here who came to the town hall were looking for answers. The mayor very squarely said there are no easy answers here. He knows it's not going to come soon. But as you heard from there, so many of the people in this community are frustrated. They are out of patience and they're looking for answers now.

Jim.

SCIUTTO: That was an emotional Pete Buttigieg in those comments there. You could see that he seems to be taking it very seriously and very personally.

Jason Carroll, we're glad to have you there. We know you'll stay on top of it.

Other news we're following, a Navy SEAL on trial for murdering an ISIS prisoner. Do persecutors need to adjust their arguments after a witness testified

that he, not the defendant, actually killed the victim? That story coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:51:56] SCIUTTO: The prosecution in the murder trial of a decorated Navy SEAL could rest its case in the next day or two. Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher the accused of stabbing a captured ISIS fighter in the neck and then posing for pictures with the corpse while deployed in Iraq in 2017. But the case against Gallagher hit a snag last week when a witness for the prosecution testified that he was the one who actually delivered the fatal blow to the prisoner, not Gallagher.

CNN's Dan Simon is following this story from San Diego.

Dan, how much has this put the prosecutor's case into question here?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, no question the prosecution would like to turn the page and try to regain some momentum after that significant setback last week. I can tell you that at least one more SEAL will testify today, a senior SEAL officer, who will likely be asked about what he saw, what conversations he had with Gallagher, as well as with Gallagher's subordinates. We will also hear from naval investigators and a digital forensic expert.

Now, I can tell you that we did hear from several SEALs last week who say they did see Gallagher plunge his knife into the neck of that wounded ISIS fighter. So, if the jury is not significantly convinced that that act amounted to murder, they could find him guilty of a lesser charge, attempted murder, which also carries a potential sentence, Jim, of life in prison.

Now, one thing we should point out is that military juries act differently than civilian juries. The verdict does not have to be unanimous. In this particular case you have seven military members on that jury and the verdict would have to come to a two-thirds vote. So, in this case, it would have to come to five. So you need five people to convict.

Now, conversely, if they do not find a potential verdict here, you cannot have a hung jury. In other words, he would automatically be acquitted. Just something to keep in mind when they go into deliberations, Jim.

SCIUTTO: All right, it's quite a case to watch. Dan Simon, thanks very much.

Investigators are looking into whether damage from a previous incident could have contributed to the deadly crash of a plane in Hawaii. A plane crashed just before sunset on Friday while on a sky dive excursion killing all 11 passengers onboard. According to the NTSB, 15 people were forced to jump from that plane in 2016 when it stalled three times it suddenly spun out. Substantial damage was done to the tail section of the plane at the time.

And scary moments at a festival in Missouri this weekend. And it was all cause on tape as a hot air balloon crashed right into the festival crowd. You could see it there. Witnesses say an experienced balloonist was trying to land the craft when the balloon crashed through the treetops and collided with spectators. A young girl suffered minor injuries, but otherwise, thankfully, everyone was OK.

There are more than 2,000 lucky winners of this weekend's pick four lottery drawing in North Carolina. The winning numbers, 0-0-0-0. The combined prize money adds up to $7.8 million. A record for that game in North Carolina. The tickets are worth either $5,000 each or $2,500 each, depending on how much the winner paid for the ticket. Not a bad take.

[09:55:14] President Trump looking to force Iran to the bargaining table, but are sanctions the way to do it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:05] SCIUTTO: A very good Monday morning to you. It's going to be a busy one. I'm Jim Sciutto.

We are bracing for breaking.

END