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Some Migrant Children Moved Back To Controversial U.S. Detention Center As Head Of Border Protection Steps Down; Observers At Detention Facility Report Lice, Flu Exposure; Trump Open To Talks, Threatens Obliteration; Iran: New Sanctions Close Door on Diplomacy; Trump Threatens "Obliteration" If Iran Attacks; Hong Kong Government Faces No-Confidence Vote. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 26, 2019 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Plus Iran to Trump, your mentally disabled. Come to Iran, I could obliterate you. A race to the bottom is raising the risk of confrontation. And later, call it Democrat survival. Two dozen candidates competing for the right to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, but first, they have to face off against each other.

All the images of heartbreak and chaos of human suffering at the U.S.- Mexico border, there is one which seems likely to become a symbol of a humanitarian crisis which seems to get worse by the day. His name according to the Salvadorian government is Oscar Alberto Martinez, that little girl lying next to him, her body tucked inside his shirt, her right arm around his neck is Angie Valeria, three years old, his daughter.

They're found dead on Monday faced down on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. They tried to cross the river on Sunday and according to a Mexican newspaper, there were reports that Mr. Martinez had successfully crossed with his daughter but when he went back to get his wife his little girl followed him into the water, both were swept away by a strong current.

Amid the recommendations over the death of Mr. Martinez and his little girl, there was another shake-up at the very top of the agency which enforces border security also confusion over where child detaining should be held. More than 100 children were returned to a Texas facility where just days ago conditions were described as deplorable.

A team of outside observers reported children were exposed to lice and the flu and like the basic items to hygiene like soap, a toothbrush. The man in charge, the Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner announced his resignation.

And later on Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to approve $4.5 four billion in aid to ease this crisis on the border despite a threat from President Trump to veto any bill. CNN's Nick Valencia has more now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK VALENCIA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the drama plays out in Washington, here along the U.S.-Mexico border in Clint, Texas, Customs and Border Protection announcing on Tuesday that they would move 100 child migrants back into a facility that was described by independent monitors as having unconscionable conditions.

Heartbreaking stories where children are left to sleep on the floor, some with no mattress. Some children going three weeks without a shower, a facility where children or left to fend for themselves. It was allegations that were addressed by Customs and Border Protection on a call with reporters. They push back on those allegations saying that not only were they reported to the Inspector General but also that things like water and soap were customarily and continually available for child migrants despite reporting otherwise.

One thing is clear that politics is being played on both sides while the fate of hundreds if not thousands of child migrants hangs in the balance. Nick Valencia, CNN Clint, Texas.


VAUSE: While the image of Mr. Martinez and his daughter has brought words of shock and horror from U.S. lawmakers, not a whole lot much else.


REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): The crisis that the border is a humanitarian crisis. It is the failure of our government to show any empathy or any concern for the thousands of people who are fleeing violence, gang activity, and dire poverty. This picture in many ways is emblematic of the failure of that policy. Where is your humanity?

Why aren't we taking care of children and the parents were fleeing with them in a humanitarian way as opposed to turn them away, refusing asylum, insisting that they stay in Mexico, and the risks continue? And we just see that in this picture. That father risked all to come to another country where he thought he and his daughter would be safe and have a future.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): This father of this child were victims of American metering where they attempted to cross at a port of entry, reportedly they were refused the ability, put back into Mexico and where they had no family, no friends, no resources. So they did what so many others try to do in that situation and say we've just got to try to get across the border.


VAUSE: Well, as for Democratic presidential candidates, they put the blame on the Trump administration for the death of Oscar Alberto Martinez as well as his daughter. We have this from Senator Kamala Harris where she tweeted, these families seeking asylum are often fleeing extreme violence. And what happens when they arrive? Trump says, go back to where you came from. That is inhumane. Children are dying. She points out, this is a stain on our moral conscience. And there is a tweet from the former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke

saying simply Trump is responsible for these deaths. Hope Frye is the Executive Director of Project Lifeline. She organized the visits by the Human Rights Watch and others to the detention center in Texas. She's with us now from San Francisco. Hope, thank you for taking the time.


VAUSE: OK, this is a crisis which seems to extend way beyond just one Detention Center and way beyond one man, the Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection, the men who resigned on Tuesday, this is systemic and it is throughout the entire system, right?

[01:05:03] FRYE: Absolutely. When we look at the Border Patrol sectors that we went to, we went to the Rio Grande Valley and to the El Paso sector, we find identical conditions. We find a depraved inhuman callous disregard for the welfare of children across the board.

VAUSE: This is the reaction on Tuesday from the President of the United States. This what is happening under his administration as the direct result of his policies. This is what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am very concerned. It's in much better shape than it ever was. A lot of these young children come from places that you don't even want to know about, the way they've lived, the way they've been -- the way -- the poverty that they grew up in. But with that, if we can get this bill signed, we'll be able to do it.


VAUSE: You know, in other words, these kids don't know any better. They've probably known poverty you know, so they don't deserve any better in many ways. It seems to be the impression that the president is trying to get across. So I'm wondering, how much of this is a shortage of resources and how much is the result of a deliberate mistreatment and neglect intended to send a message to the rest of the world.

FRYE: I think that they're so integrated that you can't really pull them apart. But I think to say that these children are -- come from such extreme circumstance, somehow or other that justifies the kind of inhumane treatment we're giving them is nonsensical.

VAUSE: I was just going to say, because with that in mind, the team of lawyers, I think you're with these guys last week, interviewed dozens of kids at the Clint facility, and here's part of their story from The New Yorker. And this deals with a lice outbreak among a small group of kids who are given to lice combs to share. They give these kids lice cones to share. Here's part of the report.

One of the combs was lost and Border Patrol agents got so mad that they took away the children's blankets and mats. They weren't allowed to sleep on the beds and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb. See, you had the whole cell for the kids who had beds and mats at one point not for everybody but for most of them who were forced to sleep on the cement. Haven't these kids been through enough with this kind of treatment?

FRYE: I encountered at the Ursula CBP station in McAllen, Texas, I encountered a 17-year-old Guatemalan girl who had had a botched C- section in Mexico and births a month premature baby. I found her in a wheelchair crippled up, bent over, doubled over in pain, holding this ragtag little bundle that when she lifted up, the flap was a teeny tiny premature baby.

They had been there in Ursula for seven days. She hadn't had a shower. The baby was filthy. I took a Kleenex, put water on it, and clean dirt. Now, this is a premature baby. There isn't a fold of skin on this baby's body. I cleaned black dirt from around that baby's neck. I mean, this is one girl and one baby.

VAUSE: Yes, this is the United States, right?

FRYE: This is the United States of America. It took me over three days to get that child and her baby released into the custody of the Office of Refugee and Resettlement. We didn't -- I didn't ask that she be released into the United States, I asked that the baby and her baby mother be released to the custody of the group that is supposed to care for unaccompanied children.

Customs and Border Patrol -- children are supposed to pass through there very quickly. It was never intended they would stay there. I met another mother, 16 who was holding an eight-month-old child. The child looked like it was made of wax. The child had the flu.

They had been in there for 20 days inside a cage in a freezing cold place. She couldn't put the baby down on the floor on the concrete at all even if she'd wanted to because there were too many people lying there, there was no place to set the baby down. 20 days when I saw her on Saturday, she was still there, that was 25 days.

VAUSE: You know, lastly, this is incredible. I mean, the humanity here was just beyond belief. And last week the federal government tried to argue before a judge that toothpaste and soap are not necessary for safe and sanitary conditions. To that, Michael Scott who is a journalist kidnapped by Somali pirates, he tweeted, "Somali pirates gave me toothpaste and soap."

Plus a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Editor of The New Yorker Web site David Rhode kidnapped by the Taliban and held for eight months. He replied with this tweet. The Taliban gave me toothpaste and soap. At this point, what do you say?

FRYE: You can't say anything. You say it's cruel and inhuman and it's sadistic. The treatment of these children is so wantonly, intentionally cruel that it's hard to imagine that it's being done by adults in the United States of America. It's really hard to imagine. And when you have a child, a six-year-old child sitting three feet in

front of you, and you're looking into the eyes of that child so traumatized, so scared, so isolated, so cold, so lonely, and afraid of the adults who are supposed to be in charge of her, it's a tragedy, it's a heartbreak. These children's pain are tattooed on my soul. It's an incredible --

[01:10:17] VAUSE: I just don't know how you do it. I don't know how you go there. The humanity is just so -- you know, I'd love to break down and cry at times because the images, the people you see and that the stories are horrendous. One thing which --

FRYE: Well, I went --

VAUSE: Sorry, go ahead.

FRYE: Let me just tell you something that they have a lot of diseases and inside these centers that you brought up hand-washing. The WHO says that if you want to prevent outbreaks of disease particularly in areas where you have congregate care, wash your hands with soap and water. That's in the WHO guidelines.

So all of these children we see, they're all sick. They have some version or some point mostly of Influenza A. After three days in the detention center, I got Influenza A. These children, if they see any kind of medical person at all are given some acetaminophen, maybe some Tamiflu, then they're sent back to lay down on the concrete in the cold room with the lights on 24 hours, in the cage, with the lights on 24 hours a day. I --

VAUSE: To get sick again.

FRYE: Well, no. At day two, I was admitted to the hospital where I stayed for three and a half days receiving intravenous fluid, receiving respiratory therapy every three hours including a half hour before I left the hospital. I had exactly what they had. I presented with the same symptoms with this same horrendous cough.

I saw a mom, a 16-year-old mom from Honduras with her eight-month-old baby, the baby was coughing, this cough it sounds inhuman, that baby's nose was running, the baby was covered in vomit, and the mother said you know, she held the baby up at the cage for the guard and said my baby is sick and the -- and the guard said your baby doesn't look sick. And so she didn't get any medical care. When we saw the baby, the baby was burning up with fever.

I mean who does this to children? This little baby, Baby Kay, the baby, the premature baby, I -- when I was dealing with this situation and I not get the government to release her, I was just -- it was an incredible thing to me. I just said you know, babies don't wait to die while the adults figure out what to do.

VAUSE: These kids have done -- these kids have done nothing wrong. They're just most innocent of victims here. You know, this image of the father next to his daughter found you know, facedown in the Rio Grande, it's very reminiscent of the photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi who was washed up on a beach in Turkey back in 2015.

You know, and that caused a wave of sadness and shock and disbelief around the world especially here in this country. You know, how could this happen. It was a wake-up call at least for a brief moment.

You know, saying the world had ignored. But that was over there. You know, and there was also this of distance between the United States and what happens here in this country and what happens there over in Turkey and Syria. Now it's happening here. Do you think people have you know, have the same reaction to what happened to Mr. Martinez and his daughter as to what happened with that little boy you know, washed up on the beach in Turkey?

FRYE: I don't know. I mean, I despair. I've been in this -- in around this area of detained children for a long time and people are very apathetic to it. When we have children who are separated from their parents, briefly there's a public outcry and then it goes away.

You know, I don't know how people think. I don't know how they feel. I don't understand it. I don't understand why our voices aren't raised and there's a huge clamor because this is on our watch, it's not in Turkey. But I can't explain how people feel or why they don't take more action.

VAUSE: Hope, thank you so much.

FRYE: You're welcome. You're welcome.

VAUSE: I don't know how you do what you do but thank you.

FRYE: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, on the one hand, the U.S. President insists he's ready and willing to talk with Iran's leaders over the nuclear program, but at the same time he's warning any attack on anything America will be met with obliteration. The latest threat comes a day after the president announced new sanctions on Iran's supreme leader as well as his inner circle.

Although denounced by Tehran, but unfazed Donald Trump and he says when if it comes to a military confrontation, he's not worried and he won't need an exit strategy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have exit strategy for Iran if war does break out?

TRUMP: You're not going to need an exit strategy. I don't need exit strategies.


VAUSE: Iran is going one-on-one with President Trump when it comes to the tough talk and the rhetoric. The President there Rouhani weighed in on the effectiveness on the latest stations and the impact on diplomacy. We get details now for our man in Tehran Fred Pleitgen.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some extremely strong language coming from Tehran on Tuesday with the country's President Hassan Rouhani reacting to the sanctioning of Iran's supreme leader and other key figures within the Iranian power structure.

Hassan Rouhani coming out and saying he doesn't believe that the new sanctions are going to have a real effect on Iran's economy. He also doesn't believe that the sanctions are going to have an effect on the people who are actually sanctioned like the supreme leader, like key military figures as well.

[01:15:10] But, Hassan Rouhani and others, in Iran's power structure have said that these new sanctions essentially close the door for any, sort of, negotiations or any, sort of, notion of diplomacy in the future, Hassan Rouhani then lashing out at the Trump administration and even questioning the sanity of those in the White House.

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN: They have become frustrated and confused. They do not know what to do. They do strange things that no sane person in the history of world politics has done, or at least, I don't remember. This is because of their total confusion. They have become mentally disabled. The White House is suffering from mental disability.

PLEITGEN: Now, those remarks from Hassan Rouhani appeared to be what set off President Trump later in his tweet, where he even threatened obliteration for Iran, if there was any, sort of, military standoff between these two nations.

But one of the key things on the part of the Iranians, is they say the Americans are trying to get them to the negotiating table, trying to get them back to diplomacy, but at the same, the U.S. administration has announced that it would sanction Iran's top diplomat, Javad Zarif, and the Iranians say those two things just simply don't mesh.

Meanwhile, Javad Zarif himself came out with another tweet as well, this time, attacking U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton, essentially saying John Bolton and some of those allied with him, which he calls the B-Team, are essentially thirsty for war. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.


VAUSE: For more, CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Executive Editor for the New Yorker Website, David Rohde, joins us now from New York. So, David, it seems proportional, it's so last week.

Back then, it was enough to call off a U.S. military strike, with just minutes to spare. As a reminder, he's part of the President's tweet when he described the estimated death toll of 150 people, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.

A couple days later, on Tuesday, the tweets were all about overwhelming force and obliteration, and the red line, this is important, for military action, was withdrawn. Before, it was the death of one American, now it's an attack on anything American, like the U.S. drone.

Has there been any significant development, though, between then and now, apart from the Iranian leader saying he believes that President Trump suffers from intellectual disability?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's a very good question. I think there has been. Look, I think it's wrong to not, you know, be concerned about this rhetoric. You know, as we pointed out, we went from, you know, not proportional to obliteration, in a matter of days. The president of Iran is saying that the president of the United States is mentally handicapped.

And when Trump says now, you know, any attack on anything American, will be carried out. He's going to -- he's under pressure to respond militarily. So, you know, again, the President can change his mind, President Trump, but he has, sort of, backed himself into the corner with this rhetoric.

VAUSE: That doesn't -- I guess, the point here is that all, you know -- there's obviously things that we do not know behind the scenes, but at least publicly, it seems that this, you know, ratcheting up of American policy, which is a major change in the last couple of days. Publicly, again, it seems it's because Donald Trump was made fun of.

ROHDE: Yes. And look, you know, all politics is local. You know, he is made fun up. He doesn't want to look, you know, weak to Americans, and to his political base, in the United States. So, that's -- you know, it could be his personality he wants to fight back, but it's always about politics.

The flipside is that all this, sort of, you know, demeaning talk about Iran, makes it hard for the Iranian government to agree to peace talks. They are basically being humiliated and, you know, pressured to just capitulate, publicly, in front of their own people and, you know, they're not going to do that for their own domestic political reasons.

VAUSE: And for, at least, part of two states, it seems the administration, at least, some officials were still working from Friday's play sheet, which focused on negotiations without preconditions and public decorations of not wanting a war. Here's National Security Adviser, John Bolton.


JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, UNITED STATES: The President has held the door open to real negotiations, to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons program. All that Iran needs to do, is to walk through that open door.


VAUSE: As you say, pretty hard to walk through that door in the current environment, but is the best case scenario, a repeat of the failed nuclear diplomacy with the North Koreans, we went from fire and fury and (INAUDIBLE) to love letters across the sea?

ROHDE: I think so, yes. I mean, we'd be lucky to get another round of negotiations, at least, that would reduce the chances of, you know, some, sort of, accidental conflict. And it's -- you know, the broad Trump playbook is not working.

The (INAUDIBLE) rattling, the military threats are not leading North Korea or Iran to, sort of, capitulate, and I think the Iranians, you know, they are under tremendous economic pressure, that's very true, and the administration deserves credits for the strength of the sanctions.

But they're also trying to wait out Donald Trump. Can they get through the elections of the United States and see if he's driven from office. Trump would like to deliver a new Iran agreement, he's promised that to his supporters, but I think it's going to be very hard for him to get anything like that before he faces re-election.

[01:20:08] VAUSE: How much do we make of the fact that, you know, the most steamed public criticism of the U.S. president is coming from a leader who is considered a moderate, especially when compared to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which actually controls the nuclear program?

ROHDE: I think it's a sign. I think the level of Iranian provocation of the statement from Rouhani, and then that the tankers were damaged, which I believe is the Iranians, that they shot down the drone.

That shows, you know, that the Revolutionary Guard is in control, they are trying to provoke Trump, they're trying to isolate Trump, you know, from Europe, and they're succeeding in that and to a certain extent. And I think they will continue provoking Trump.

This rhetoric, sort of, just strengthens the hard-liners on both sides. It's not conducive for negotiations. And I would, again, I'd say overall, Trump chose to pull out of the, you know, 2015 nuclear deal, and he has not been able to deliver any kind of, you know, new deal, let alone a better one.

VAUSE: OK. So, you mentioned this, the isolation of the United States, because long-time ally, Britain, has said, you know, it was unlikely to sign up for any war with Iran. Listen to this.


JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Well, the U.S. is our closest ally. We talk to them the whole time. We consider any requests that they say carefully, but I can't envision any situation where they request or we agree to any move to go to war.


VAUSE: Well, on the other side, you know, Russia is, sort of, making it known that Iran is an ally, and also, you know, the Russians believe that Iran had every right to shoot down the U.S. drone. So, the Iranian strategy was to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its allies, also to leave Donald Trump, isolated. Would you say it's been effective and will continue like this if there's no change in U.S. policy?

ROHDE: I think it's been, you know, effective in the short term, and I think it is very unusual for Britain to split from the U.S.

That doesn't really worry, again, Donald Trump, you know, in terms of politics inside the United States, but it is a concern, and it's back to the thing of you can't, you know, belittle your European allies, you can't mock NATO and then expect to be backed by an international coalition in a moment like this.

So, again, a big moment, a test for Trump's foreign policy all around the world, again, from, sort of, North Korea, to Syria, to Iran, and, you know, the beginnings of a Middle East peace proposal, and I don't see any concrete achievements.

VAUSE: David, appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

ROHDE: Thank you.

VAUSE: Next up here on CNN NEWSROOM, protesters in Hong Kong, up the ante in their battle with Beijing. We are live with the very latest, in just over two minutes.



VAUSE: An extradition bill which sparked weeks of protests in Hong Kong, has now led to a vote of no-confidence in the city's government, and protesters have been marching to consulates in G20 countries, urging them to continue to pressure Beijing, ahead of the summit this weekend. But the communist leaders on the Mainland have made it known that the issue now is not up for discussion.

CNN's Andrew Stevens, live from Hong Kong. And Andrew, I guess these protests, they don't know when to quit. They just keep coming. The numbers keep growing. And, you know, taking this (INAUDIBLE) of going to overseas countries to put pressure on Beijing, has a real potential to backfire.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: It does have a risk, John, but the students, they are mostly young people here, but not all, we speak to, say that they fully intend to keep the pressure up -- keep the pressure up until they get this very controversial extradition bill, actually scratched by the Hong Kong government.

There's no sign of that happening at the moment, but this new phase, if you like, as you point out, these are protesters who are doing what's called an embassy marathon.

They're going around most of the big embassies or consulates here in Hong Kong, to hand a petition over to consulate staff, calling for those countries to get involved, to protest about what's happening here in Hong Kong, and to raise that issue at the G7.

And the organizers are being quite sophisticated about this, because they've also taking out advertising away here, they're taking out big advertisements on the front pages of international newspapers, to coincide with the eve of the G20.

So, G20 leaders who look at newspapers in Japan, will pick up and see this message from protesters on the front of their newspaper, calling for the -- for the complete abolition of this bill. So, what we are seeing so far, hundreds of protesters marching around the streets of Hong Kong.

It has been very, very quiet, very, very well-mannered and orderly, just to give their petition, which has been received by every embassy they've been to, calling for, mainly, for the extradition bill to be scrapped, also for the police to be independently investigated over their heavy-handed response to clearing out the parliament building on June the 12th, John.

VAUSE: Andrew, obviously, the struggle just continues there in Hong Kong. The protesters are not giving up. And we'll see how long Beijing's patience will last on this one. Andrew, appreciate it. Andrew Stevens, live, in Hong Kong.

We will take a short break. When we come back, a lot more on our top story, the bodies of a migrant father, his little daughter found face down, dead, in Rio Grande.


[01:30:10] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. Thanks for staying with us.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Hong Kong's government facing a no-confidence vote from opposition lawmakers as more protests hit the city. Huge demonstrations have shaken Hong Kong for weeks over a proposed extradition bill, which will make anyone eligible to be sent to Mainland China.

The verbal battle between the U.S. and the Iranian presidents is escalating. Hassan Rouhani questioned U.S. offers of diplomacy or its present (ph) military action . He called the White House mentally disabled. Donald Trump replied, warning of obliteration if Iran attacks anything American.

Images of a dead migrant father and his daughter at river's edge in Mexico have galvanized critics of America's immigration policy. It comes on a day when more than 100 migrant children were put back into a Texas detention facility where conditions were being described as horrific.

Well for more on this we're joined now by CNN's Rafael Romo. So let's get to the detention facility first up because it was what -- the Homeland Security's own inspector general's report that said it's deplorable, the conditions were atrocious. And these kids are not being put there for punishment. They are just there because they came with their parents.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And this picture is heartbreaking on so many levels -- John. Not only because of what you are mentioning, but also because we have to remind our international viewers that some of these families are making the trip all the way from Central America, crossing through countries like Guatemala and Mexico making it to the United States. And then they are being returned to camps that are, based on the testimonies that we have received from some of the people there, are not suitable for a living conditions.

And this family had been there for two months in one of these tents. And they reportedly said that they were living in conditions so dire, that they decided -- the father, the mother, with their children -- to just get out of there and try to cross the border and go to the other side.

113 degrees this time of the year at that part of the country. And the father decides to go across the river, based on a report by the Mexican daily "La Jornada", leaves the almost two-month-old baby, Valeria, on the American side of the river -- we are talking about the Rio Grande here which serves as a border between Mexico and the United States.

The wife is waiting on the other side. He goes back and the almost two-month old decides to follow after him and that is when this terrible tragedy happened. So it's just heartbreaking to see these images.

VAUSE: I think two-year-old or two months because I think we've been reporting two year old --


ROMO: Yes. It's been reported as one year and 11 months old.

VAUSE: Ok. Almost two.

ROMOA: The Associated Press is saying almost two years old.

VAUSE: You know, This is the thing. It's that, you know, we have these images that come up. We had the same thing with three years ago on a beach in Turkey with a little Syrian boy. As a parent, I think most people can look at that and think, what would I do for my kids? You know, how would -- would I want a better life for my kinds. What risks, you know, how would I try and give this their life -- what am prepared to do?

And then you see the price that they pay for it. And this is where I think the real emotion, the real human nature of this tragedy starts coming out.

ROMO: Yes. And I have had an opportunity to report on this issue from Central America where parents have told me, listen, we are in such a desperate situation that our only option really, for our children is to leave and try to risk whatever we have to.

VAUSE: -- your kids' lives, unless you really have to get out of there and try to go so some place else, right.

ROMO: That's right. And there's -- we have reaction already from the Salvadoran government. We have sound from the minister of foreign affairs and let's listen to that.


ALEXANDRA HILL, SALVADORAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (through translator): President Nayib Bukele has asked me to support these families that have lost their loved ones due to this illegal immigration. This should not be happening.

As Salvadorans and government, we are doing everything in our power to help fix the situation. As a mother, government official, but mainly as a Salvadoran, I want to beg every single one of our brothers and sisters who are planning to migrate illegally, don't do it.


ROMO: And John -- you mentioned it before, all of our international viewers remember that iconic image of the three year old Syrian boy back in 2015. I believe this picture is also going to reach the same level of awareness when people look at it and just realize that it's a tragedy happening.

VAUSE: The difference is that for a lot of people that was over there. That wasn't their problem. This one is really close to home. We'll see how they react.

Rafael -- thanks for coming.

ROMO: Thank you.

VAUSE: We appreciate it.

ROMO: Thank you.

[01:35:02] And we'll take a short break.

And so it begins, the first of what is likely to be the never-ending Democrat presidential debate. Ten candidates and two not so star- studded nights. Who will have a break out moment? Who will be voted off the stage. A closer look next.


VAUSE: Well, get the popcorn ready. The first big debate night in America for Democrat presidential candidates just hours away. On night number one, 10 White House hopefuls will take to the stage. And then on the next night, on Thursday, you have another 10. Out of the 24, only 20 actually should qualified because of the complicated rules set up by the Democratic National Committee. It's all complicated so that's why Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst, senior editor at "The Atlantic". He joins us from Los Angeles. Ron -- good to see you.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I want to ask you to name them all -- John.

VAUSE: I've got no clue -- exactly. I think (INAUDIBLE) is in there somewhere. You know, the front runner, the former vice president, he will feature on the second night. He's likely to be a target on both nights. He had this take on what to expect. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A little bit of an exaggeration calling it a debate. I mean because there is not really much time. So it's like a lightning round. It's a good thing to do.

It's an exaggeration to suggest that there's going to be any real depth about what we're going to be able to get into in a minute.


VAUSE: You know, that's a pretty fair assessment. At the end of the day, would you be expecting some more potshots, more zingers from the candidates? Especially Biden, who's going to have that cut through moment.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, the estimates are, I think that each candidate is going to get about seven minutes of airtime total. And broken up, of course, over the course of two hours.

So it's going to be hard to do too much with it. But I think, look, you know there is a universe of people who are obsessively following this already on Twitter, on cable, in print. But they are only a small share of the Democratic primary electorate, much less the general electorate.

So there could be as many as 40 million people voting in this primary -- that's what we saw in 2008 the most ever. And most of them really have no idea who most of these candidates are.

So if there is in fact a big audience and there was 24 million people who watched that first Republican debate back in 2015, I think for the candidates, the single most important thing will be simply introducing themselves. Especially those who are not in the top tier already.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) It's always good advice.

For the record, President Trump continues his criticism of Joe Biden. Here's how Donald Trump predicted the outcome would be.


[014959] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he can only go down, I don't think he's going up. He doesn't have -- he doesn't have -- look, there's something different. He's a different person than he was four, five years ago. He wasn't so hot four or five years ago. There is something going on in that brain of his.


VAUSE: Is that an indication that Donald Trump and his campaign still actually consider Biden their biggest threat?

BROWNSTEIN: Well look, I mean the polling is pretty clear that Biden is a threat to Donald Trump. I think all the Democrats are a threat. Biden is a threat to what Trump considers his greatest strength which his hold on blue collar white voters, particularly in the Rustbelt states who decided the 2016 election.

The interesting thing about this to me is that, whatever else we think about Joe Biden as a presidential candidate, I covered him in 1988, in 2008 and he certainly has plenty of deficiencies as a national candidate.

But one thing about him that is true is that the American people have a pretty good sense of who he is. I mean they know what they like. They know what they don't like. And the image is not really a blank page.

And I think he is less susceptible than some of the other Democrats might be to Trump's, what are clearly going to be Trump's efforts to redefine them. I think Trump will have a hard time convincing people, for example, that Joe Biden is some kind of raving socialist. That he might, you know, have success on that with certain voters among other Democrats.

Biden is more of a formed entity for the public and in some ways that makes him more challenging for the President.

VAUSE: That is a good point. Trump is in the primaries in the Republican race, he was a student defining his opponent.


VAUSE: Then they had to deal with that. And that is how he destroyed so many.

And I guess I think for many of these candidates who are not known to the public, they are hoping that this will be their big breakthrough moment. For candidates like Tim Ryan -- they really need this moment. And here is his strategy. This is what he said.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For me it's really trying to condense everything. As you said about Senator Warren into one minute. I mean it's literally going to be speed dating with the American people.

And so within one minute you've got to have to leave some impression with them about who you are, where you come from, and what you stand for. And trying to get that into a minute is probably the biggest challenge.


VAUSE: Is this the best way to decide who should be the party's nominee?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, I am struck by the extent to which, without any real events so far, no debates, you know, no kind of contentious candidate forums.

The public, the Democratic primary electorate has kind of tiered off a top tier. I mean you have four candidates -- Biden, Sanders, Warren and Pete Buttigieg -- who have been consistently ahead in national polling and state polling. Kamala Harris kind of one step behind them and then the clump further back.

And you know, the challenge for all the candidates in the second tier, I think, is that not only do they need kind of a standout moment to get more attention. Almost all of them have somebody already ahead of them in the lane that they want to occupy. If you're Klobuchar -- Amy Klobuchar or Michael Bennet or John Hickenlooper, you know, you have Joe Biden already there in kind of the centrist lane for more moderate voters.

If you are Beto O'Rourke, you need Pete Buttigieg to kind of step aside. If you are Cory Booker you have to get past Kamala Harris. So there is kind of a double challenge, I think, for some of these candidates in the second tier. They both have to kind of attract attention to themselves and they need a little help from the people occupying the space they want to get into.

VAUSE: Ok. You've got this divide, you know, the top tier, the second tier. And you know, while there is some agreement on the issues, there is another, you know, sort of split in the party, the moderates versus the progressives on how to deal with these issues. You have the very progressives like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders. Sanders came through with his announcement on Monday, sort of rash of ideas if you like. Here he is.


SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This proposal completely eliminates student death in this country and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation, the millennial generation, to a lifetime of debt for the crime of doing the right thing.


VAUSE: You know, this is the stuff that won Bernie a big following among very young voters in 2016. There is also a similar attitude, if you like, or policies when it comes to health care with you know, Bernie and Elizabeth Warren. Is that the only sort of main split you see here between these Democrats running for the nomination? It's the moderates versus the progressives? BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think it's also a difference in political

(INAUDIBLE) -- that difference clearly exists. And the overall center of gravity in the party has moved to the left, certainly since Clinton and even since Obama.

So, you know, even kind of the moderate approach to health care for example, which I think is ultimately where the party will end up, is not to force everyone into a single payer government system but to create a robust public option that anyone can voluntarily buy into. That was something they could not pass in 2010 because enough centrist Democrats in the Senate particularly Joe Liebermann said no.

[01:44:51] But in addition to the policy difference, there is a strategy difference because you know, the Warren and Sanders, and I think to a large extent, Kamala Harris, their vision is primarily to beat Trump primarily by mobilizing the Democratic base. Mobilizing minorities and millennials who in polling, you know, are overwhelmingly predisposed against Trump but may not vote.

There is a whole other group of candidates, of which Biden I think is the most prominent, but not the only one, who basically argue that look, in the Trump era there are lots of people, primarily white voters who have normally voted Republican who are open to us because they are more culturally, than our policy bases, alienated from Trump.

And I think that difference in political strategy between mobilization and reassurance is also a big dividing line among the candidates and we'll probably see it play out, may be not in the debate but certainly, you know, as they appear on these forums going forward.

VAUSE: Interesting. In other words, beat Trump at his own game -- mobilize the base. We're going to see how this plays out. I

Ron -- (INAUDIBLE) I can't believe the debates have already started. God help us. Thanks -- Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Short break, when we come back, a global divide on climate change. The U.N. warning, the wealthy will pay to escape and the world's most vulnerable will suffer the most (INAUDIBLE) hunger and conflict.


VAUSE: If you're waking up in Europe, get ready for some really bad heat in the coming days -- deadly heat. Temperatures expected to climb northward of 40 degrees in a number of (INAUDIBLE). For more on that, our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has all the details.

You know, these are really record high temperatures which we haven't seen because last year they were all record high temperatures and now this year, they are breaking the records again.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, very early in the season, too, you know. And John -- when you look at these temperatures, when you are talking about 40 degrees, just to put it in perspective -- that is warmer than what's happening right now across northern Africa, in some of the areas across the Sahara Desert. So extreme heat certainly in place over an area, of course, far more populated than its southern neighbors.

And when you take a look with high pressure in place, we're getting compressional heating, so as the air sinks, it warms by compression across this region. And we have tremendous heat expected for even this afternoon.

Paris climbing up to 36 degrees, Berlin also sitting at 36 degrees. These numbers running about 5 to 15 degrees above normal for this time of year. But of course, that is just the ambient air temperature in the shade. But when you factor in the humidity we are talking about nearly 40 degrees in some of these areas. And in Paris in fact, will feel just like it is 40 degrees outside this afternoon.

So a dangerous setup and notice even into the overnight hours, when it drops off into the middle 20s and lower 20s, that is in line with the afternoon, for the overnight lows, for the afternoon highs let's just say for this time of year. So when you're sitting at 22 degrees there at around sunrise, that is what you should be for the afternoon high here in the first week of summer.

And we know when it comes to the human body and how it acclimated to heat, typically it takes two days for the human body for an average person, to adjust to extreme heat. But it takes as many as two weeks to fully acclimate to such conditions.

And unfortunately, when you have a long duration event of this particular setup, it's expected to bring us, we know that studies have shown that we are about five times more likely to see fatalities associated with heat waves that last more than two.

And you notice the forecast here in Paris, John -- at least the next four days here, where temps would be running some 10 degrees above normal in the first week of summer. So really a difficult goal for a lot of people across this region.

VAUSE: And a good way to adjust to those soaring temperatures is to take your tie off. Thanks -- Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Yes, of course. I know you want to do it too -- John.

VAUSE: I do. Thanks -- mate.

[01:49:55] VAUSE: A heat wave in Europe is nothing new, they have had them before, they will have them again. What's unusual is the trend line of soaring temperatures. Just last year Europe's saw record breaking heat, along with unusually dry conditions.

This is what climate change does. It makes a heat wave hotter and longer. Hurricanes become more powerful and dump more rain. Wildfires burn more intensely and cause more destruction. And just a brief look at international headlines, over a twelve-hour period on Tuesday reveals the breadth and the scope of this crisis. The Science and Technology Website, Gizmodo cites one study which found deforestation and climate change could split the Amazon rainforest in two. From "Scientific America" -- major medical groups release call to action climate change. Meanwhile, over at the "Los Angeles Times", wildfires fueled by climate change will mean shorter lives for many Americans.

Britain's Telegraph has this "Climate change threatens Acropolis and other ancient Greek monuments. "The Guardian" has a report on a U.N. study, "Climate apartheid" -- U.N. experts says human life may not survive.

Canada CDC also reporting the story but with a slightly different take. "Rich will save themselves in climate apartheid while pour suffer, U.N. report says."

And that last story in particular seems to take this crisis to a whole new level. A warming planet always meant the way we live was destined to change. But this new report warns climate change could impact the fabric of society, undermine the rule of law and divide the plan into 2 groups. Between those who use summer as a verb and those who don't.

For more we are joined this hour by Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He's author of "The Price of Civilization". He joins us from Pittsburgh.

Jeffrey -- thank you so much for being with us. We should also note that "Time Magazine" calls you the world's best known economist. That is quite the title.

JEFFREY SACHS, CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: It's good to be with you. And it is indeed an absolutely dire crisis. There is no doubt about it.

VAUSE: Let's start with that U.N. report because I think this is essentially the bottom line from that report. This is what it reads. "Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change and have the least capacity to protect themselves. In a climate apartheid scenario, where the wealthy pay for escape over heating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer."

Is this essentially the reason, you know, why very little seems to be done to address climate change. The ones with the power and the money, you know, to actually change anything have no personal incentive to do so?

SACHS: Well, the fact of the matter is most of the world wants to change and understands that we are already facing disaster. In the United States we have had years where the costs of weather-related disasters have exceeded $100 billion. We have mega hurricanes, heat waves, forest fires as you were pointing out. All 193 governments of the United Nations agreed that this is an emergency and we have to take action. But one government, that is the government of Donald Trump has said no. VAUSE: And the President is sort of infamous for refusing to

acknowledge climate change is even happening. You may recall beginning the year he posted a sarcastic tweet about global warming, you know, where is it? It's really cold outside here. Kind of a bit of a joke in his point of view, I guess.

But over the weekend, his Vice President, always the loyal deputy, he echoed the words of his boss. Listen to this.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think it is a threat? Man made climate emergency is a threat?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the answer to that is going to be based upon the science.

TAPPER: But the science says yes. I'm asking you what you think.

PENCE: Well, there's many in the science that --

TAPPER: The science community in your own administration -- at NOAA --

PENCE: I got it.

TAPPER: At the DNI -- they all say it's a threat.

PENCE: Look --

TAPPER: But you won't for some reason. You don't think it's a threat.


PENCE: I think we are making great progress reducing carbon emissions. America has the cleanest air and water in the world. We continue to use modern --

TAPPER: That's not true. We don't have the cleanest air and water in the world. We don't.


VAUSE: It went on and on and on and on Monday, the Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue was the latest dismiss climate change. He said publicly, it's all just strange weather patterns. Here he is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the cause of climate change?

SONNY PERDUE, AGRICULTURE SECRETARY: We don't know. Obviously, scientists, many scientists believe that it's human caused. Other scientists believe it's not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So If it's not human caused, than what it is?

PERDUE: I'm not. Y, I think it's weather patterns, frankly. And you know, and they changed as I said. It would rain yesterday, it's a nice, pretty day today.


VAUSE: It's one thing for three members of the Trump administration out there, you know, the Vice President, the President cabinet security, you know, to be willingly ignorant but it goes much further than that.

This a report of "Political" which says the Agriculture Department has been bearing studies which present dangers of climate change. So not only is there no American leadership on trying to solve what is a global crisis, it seems almost like the opposite. They're working against the rest of the world.

[01:54:555] SACHS: These people are a disgrace. Let's be clear. They either really know nothing, absolutely, and haven't tried to learn anything. Or it's a corruption of politics, which is a big part of the story. Because if you look at how the oil and gas industry pays the campaign bills and lobbies massively, you know, we all know that in Washington, they are playing games with us. But to hear these statements from so called leaders is just disgraceful.

VAUSE: I am just wondering, how much blame is there for a conservative which, continuing to promote these false narratives, almost or creating cover for the politicians? Rush Limbaugh back in March, he told millions of listeners, we don't have the power to control one element of our climate. If the forecast today is for 100 degrees there's nothing we can do about it. We can't change how hot it's going to get. We can't change how cold it's going to go.

It's so complex, we can't even comprehend it. We are not responsible for hurricanes. We are not responsible for tornadoes. We are not responsible for earthquakes. We are not responsible for any of this. And the ideas that we are is silly. It's intellectually vapid. "

You know, there has been this slow evolution in the -- consider the media, you know, first it was a hoax, then it wasn't really happening but it was -- well maybe it was, but then it's a natural global cycle. Now it is happening, but there's nothing we can do about it or it's too costly.

By the time we actually recognize it as a real threat, man-made, we will be dead.

SACHS: It's truly unbelievable. So much is known. This is why all over the world, governments, not our own, are working towards solutions. The United States and a few other oil rich countries are working against humanity. They are creating havoc for the rest of the world.

But the games that are going on in the U.S., it's a Rush Limbaugh, it's Fox News, it is Rupert Murdoch in general. It's the "Wall Street Journal", also completely a disgrace. Day after day running stories that you can't do anything and so forth. Completely contrary to what is widely understood all over the world.

Murdoch does this also in Australia, his home country to promote the coal industry. Which needs to go away, if we are going to have safety in this world. So we are seeing a small group of very greedy, very irresponsible people. And a lot of political corruption because of those small, wealthy people that are holding back the truth.

VAUSE: Jeff -- we're out of time, but it's been so good to speak with you. We really appreciate your opinions and your point of view. Thank you.

VAUSE: We appreciate you watching.

I'm John Vause. The news continues with Rosemary Church. That's next.