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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Clock Ticking On Iran's Deadline For Sanctions Relief; Kushner Goes One-on-one With CNN; The Future Of Transportation In Japan; Jared Kushner On Middle East Peace Imitative; Interviews With the Family of Oscar Martinez; Angela Merkel Publicly Shaking for Second Time; U.S. 2020 Democratic Presidential Debates. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 27, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:22] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London on this Thursday, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, CNN goes
inside a controversial migrant detention facility in Texas, a report on the conditions inside that they would not let us film.
Also, concerns for the health of Angela Merkel as the German chancellor is seen shaking for the second time in two weeks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I guess you've become (ph) Wolf Blitzer because you're not a very patient man. I think that what we
have to do is, we've laid out our economic vision. I hope you've spent time to go through it. I think that the Gulf states and all the people
here are very enthusiastic about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Donald Trump's son-in-law and top advisor Jared Kushner speaks to CNN. We'll bring you the full interview this hour.
The eyes of the world are on the United States' southern border, where a growing humanitarian crisis is fueling deep debate over the country's
These American citizens staged a vigil at a Border Patrol Station in Clint, Texas. You'll remember that a migrant detention facility there made
headlines this week, after reports that children there are being held in inhumane conditions, with overcrowding and poor hygiene.
CNN has now had the chance to see that facility firsthand.
Adding new urgency to this debate, by now you've seen this searing image of Oscar Martinez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, dead in her father's
arms. They drowned trying to make it to the United States.
We're covering this crisis from all angles tonight. Michael Holmes is in the Mexican city of Matamoros, at the border where that awful tragedy
happened and where many other similar tragedies happened, not necessarily photographed and circulated around the world. We'll get to that in a
Nick Valencia is in Clint, Texas at that detention facility. He can tell us now what he saw inside.
So you weren't allowed to film. What did you see, Nick?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We asked to bring a camera inside, Hala, but the reason as to why we couldn't was because they wanted to protect the
safety and identities of those migrants, who they said couldn't consent to being on camera themselves.
Part of the conditions of going in? We also couldn't speak to the migrants. So we can't tell you what they felt about the conditions that
they're being held in.
What I can report is that this facility is at capacity to 106. And yesterday, when we entered, we saw 117 migrants. And last week when those
independent monitors visited, there was over 249, 250 migrants inside.
And from my vantage point, I don't know how you could jam-pack in any more migrants than what we saw there. There was holding cells, nine in all.
Some of them holding between 20 and 24 children, some sleeping on the floor. We saw migrant children as young as one, two years old being cared
for by the mothers in that -- in those cells.
We were also not allowed to see a whole other section of this facility, a soft-sided facility where they say things were shut down at the moment.
But what we did see was just incredibly heartbreaking. I saw one teenage girl with bloodshot red eyes. Another that appeared to be sick, with
yellow eyes, but wasn't quarantined.
We did see one child migrant who was quarantined because of the flu. But again, you know, we weren't allowed to talk to those migrants, so it's
really unclear how they felt about the conditions.
What was clear to us was, in plain sight, were things like pallets of food that they feed the migrants, things like ramen noodles and juice packs. We
also saw toothbrushes put out in a sally port area, where the young migrant boys are being held.
They pass their time, some of them, by braiding each other's hair. There was also a group of young boys playing soccer. CBP said they provided that
But just emerging from that facility, it really just broke your heart, seeing the conditions that those migrants are being held in -- Hala.
GORANI: And just before we get to Michael, you were allowed in by the people running this facility, right? So they had advanced knowledge,
obviously, of your visit.
VALENCIA: That's it. It was a highly controlled visit. And I asked if there was any special cleaning that was done prior to our visit, any
preparation. We were told officially, no. But a source with Customs and Border Protection told me that they did prep for our visit. They added
that it is a constant cat-and-mouse game with Customs and Border Protection -- Hala.
GORANI: Nick, thanks very much.
Michael Holmes, you're learning more about the family of that Salvadoran man who dies with his daughter.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What we know about them, Hala, is that, you know, he worked, Oscar Martinez, in a pizza shop. His wife
worked in a Chinese restaurant. And their aim was to get a better life for themselves.
I can tell you that their bodies are still here in Matamoros. But they are going to be moved, we're told today, to Monterrey, about four hours' drive
from here, and then they will be flown back to El Salvador for burial. And that's likely to happen later today. Difficult to know for sure.
Preparations already being made, back there in El Salvador, for the burial.
[14:05:08] You know, I've got to tell you, Hala, you know, we crossed over from the U.S. by car, into Mexico. It's the first time I've done that,
actually, I've flown in all other times.
What struck me, we breezed through. Took us a couple of minutes on the way in. Nobody even looks at your passport.
But for Oscar Martinez, when he was turned away, hadn't been seen at the border -- same border crossing, that's when he came to this river. And he
couldn't get from here to there because of the current. The Rio Grande proved to be an impenetrable barrier.
HOLMES (voice-over): Sometimes, when human tragedy is lost among politics and rhetoric and statistics, a simple photograph can mark a sea change in
how a crisis is viewed. The deaths of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, could be such a moment.
Like so many others, Oscar, his wife and little Valeria left their home country, El Salvador, and headed to the U.S. in search of a better life,
traveling through Mexico for weeks. But the family wasn't able to claim asylum on Sunday. The crossing was closed.
Mexico newspaper "La Jornada," spoke to Oscar's wife. She told the paper Oscar became frustrated, impatient and decided to take his family a few
hundred yards away, and cross the Rio Grande River to enter the U.S. that way.
HOLMES: According to Oscar Ramirez's wife, Tania Vanessa, here's what happened. Her husband goes over to the other bank -- that's the U.S. over
there -- with their child. Puts the child on the bank, comes back to help her come over.
The child panics, gets in the water. Dad goes back to save the child and they both ended up getting carried downstream. And this is where their
bodies were found and that photograph was taken.
HOLMES (voice-over): Tania Vanessa's agony, palpable. Oscar's mother in El Salvador, wishing her son had never left.
ROSA RAMIREZ, MOTHER OF OSCAR MARTINEZ (through translator): He was looking for a better future for his family without knowing he would find
HOLMES (voice-over): Oscar's mother is bereft, showing little Valeria's toys, left behind when her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter left to
begin their journey in April.
R. RAMIREZ (through translator): Nothing can fill this void. And for the family, it's difficult to comprehend what has happened.
HOLMES (voice-over): The current outrage over what happened to this father and daughter wouldn't be happening without photographer Julia Le Duc, who
took that gut-wrenching frame. She knows well the impact it had, but says it can't stop there.
JULIA LE DUC, PHOTOGRAPHER (through translator): I hope the impact goes beyond just a viral photo. This should be an invitation to debate, and to
consider changes on the migratory policies, and for the two governments to ask themselves, "What are we doing for the immigrants?"
HOLMES (voice-over): The bodies of Oscar and little Valeria began their journeys back to El Salvador to be laid to rest in the country they fled,
seeking a dream but leaving behind a family, shattered.
HOLMES: And, Hala, we've been talking to other migrants here, waiting to be seen, waiting for months, in many cases. And there is sadness here, but
there is not shock. This has happened before. It will happen again, no doubt.
If it hadn't been for that photograph, the sad truth is, Oscar Martinez and Angie Valeria would be more just anonymous statistics in this ongoing
migrant crisis -- Hala.
GORANI: Michael Holmes, thanks very much.
Let's talk more about this. Anastasia Tonello is president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is in New York.
You represent migrants and their families?
ANASTASIA TONELLO, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION: And the lawyers that represent them. So we make sure that the laws are
being enforced with due process, and that we have the proper methods to make sure that our clients are getting access to justice.
GORANI: But there are laws that limit the number of days migrants -- minor migrants -- can be held, but they're being held a lot longer. Why is that?
TONELLO: Well, this is -- it's the -- it's the mismanagement and just chaotic approach to the border. There's this just thought of "We need a
wall, we need to just shut out what's happening around us." And what's happening in particular in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and
ignoring the reason that these people are fleeing in such numbers to come to the U.S. to seek asylum.
GORANI: But what -- I mean, obviously, migrants are in the country because they feel like they need to flee either a terrible economic situation, or
they feel they're physically in danger. So they don't usually have the means to hire lawyers and challenge their detention. But what are the
options for migrants in these cases, when there are clearly laws that are not being followed here?
TONELLO: Well, the problem is that a lot of the policies of this administration are trying to prevent these migrants to get legal counsel.
So things like, "Remain in Mexico."
[14:10:06] Or the fact of keeping them at these detention centers and limiting access to numerous pro bono attorneys who want to act for clients
who -- these clients, who want to make sure their rights are represented. They're unable to. There are barriers even for the lawyers who want to do
this pro bono and make sure --
GORANI: So you're saying officials are willfully blocking access to these migrants by attorneys who are willing to do work for free?
TONELLO: Well, I think there's both, right? So because the physical and separation of the migrants at these very remote facilities, kind of not
knowing where people are. There's a lot of children who were just moved, and there's no confirmation of exactly where they are.
And then having the migrants stay in Mexico, also again, preventing them from being in the U.S. with access to lawyers.
TONELLO: So, I mean, even if -- kind of being the most generous and -- if it's not willful, there still is that -- those barriers, which are acting
in the same way.
GORANI: Why is it so bad? Why is the crisis so much worse now? We're seeing larger numbers, more people detained, families separated, more
people trying to cross. What's going on?
TONELLO: The policies of this administration, I think, are not helping. They are making things worse. Because -- I mean, the crisis isn't new.
The issues in Central America, you know, have been going on even in the Obama administration, and we had issues then, too, to acknowledge.
But this almost black-and-white of "Let's put up a -- let's put a wall up, let's prevent people from being able to request asylum, to request a
hearing. Let's make it harder for them to get access to attorneys and to due process," I think it all goes into the rhetoric of just trying to close
off immigration. And not doing our part, and following the laws that are very clearly set out.
GORANI: But are there international laws, also, that compel countries to accept asylum requests and not turn people away?
TONELLO: There are. And we have international agreements and we -- and as far as refugees, you know, this administration is looking for any excuse,
any reason to pull back on our responsibilities and pull back on our obligations and our place in the world, as a refuge.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much. Anastasia Tonello, the president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and attorney as well. Thanks
for joining us from New York. We appreciate it, on this story that's making headlines not just in the United States, as you know, but around the
To Germany now, and concerns over the well-being of the country's chancellor, Angela Merkel. She was seen shaking at an event earlier today
with the country's president, Steinmeier. It's the second time in two weeks that this has happened and it was very noticeable both times. And
you can see her kind of holding her forearms there, trying to stabilize herself.
Isa Soares is here with more.
So, first of all, what do we know about what's going on here?
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well from the spokesperson in regards to this latest -- what we saw today from Chancellor Merkel, they're telling us
-- the spokesperson, Hala -- saying that every -- I'm quoting -- "Everything is taking place as planned" in terms of her schedule, her going
to the G20 and what she's got lined up. Pretty grueling schedule, too. And then they're adding, "The chancellor is fine."
It's clearly that she isn't, though. This is the second time. The first time, no one really paid much attention to it because we were told -- I
think we've got the video -- we were told that it was very hot, she was standing outside, standing next to the Ukrainian president. You can see,
she started shaking.
We were told that she was dehydrated. This is what the spokesperson said, she was dehydrated. But she had three glasses of water and she -- then she
felt much better.
On this occasion, although Europe is going through a heat wave -- I'm sure your show will cover this -- she was indoors. She was indoors, standing
next to the president.
But then we went further back, trying to find -- see any more evidence of this. In fact, if you go back to June of 2017, she is in Mexico there and
her legs, at a -- her legs do start shaking in this video, about 20 seconds or so in. She starts shaking.
So we've seen these bouts of shaking that the German chancellery spokesperson, really just trying to sweep it under the carpet. Of course,
they're going to summer recess in a couple of weeks, so.
But they won't be able to avoid this, Hala. Especially now at the G20, where the cameras of the world will be looking exactly at this.
GORANI: When there are many photo opportunities and there'll be many opportunities for the chancellor to be filmed and photographed, standing
next to other world leaders.
[14:15:03] SOARES: Absolutely. She will be standing. The group photo, the class photo, she will be standing next to them. She, you know, her
face is always very stoic and she always holds her hands as she normally does, the Merkel way.
Everyone will be looking at every sign unless -- unless actually the spokesperson says something. But she is -- you know -- well know this.
She's a very private person. And so clearly, they're trying to keep that as it is.
But she's also someone who works very hard. She works very long hours. She's known as Iron Frau, Iron Chancellor.
SOARES: She works 18 hours a day, 14 years, since 2005. And she is -- and she is well regarded for that. Remember the E.U. summits --
GORANI: Yes, of (ph) course (ph).
SOARES: -- she's always the last one standing.
GORANI: No, absolutely. But, I mean, I guess there is -- there has to be some concern here about whether or not this is something that is really
significantly wrong with her health.
GORANI: And people must be speculating as to what it could be.
SOARES: The concerns are growing. German press is saying, yet again, she's shaking. I've made calls to certain doctors. No one would be
prepared to comment on it, as you can imagine. But speculation is rife on social media, on what she could have. Of course, we hope that she's well.
SOARES: We hope her well, and we hope it's just dehydration and tiredness.
SOARES: But of course now, everyone will be watching Angela Merkel as she takes on this grueling schedule. On Sunday, she's back in the E.U. as they
try to replace Jean-Claude Juncker. So --
GORANI: Whatever it is, it must be so anxiety-producing --
GORANI: -- to have anything go wrong publicly that way, and feeling like you have to --
SOARES: Yes. And then feeling like you have to --
SOARES: -- said, trying to control it, isn't it?
GORANI: Isa, thanks very much.
Isa Soares. Angela Merkel will be at the G20, as we just discussed with Isa, and she'll be joined by other leaders from around the world.
President Trump arrived a few hours ago with a mountain of problems around the world to deal with. Some of the highest stakes meetings will happen on
the summit's sidelines. President Trump will meet with his Chinese and Russian counterparts.
According to "The Wall Street Journal," Mr. Xi Jinping will present Mr. Trump with Beijing's terms for settling their trade fight. We will have
more on that in the coming hours.
Still to come though on this program after the break, U.S. Democrats kick off their presidential debates. Is anyone breaking out from the jam-packed
field? CNN host Michael Smerconish joins me to look at the winners and losers.
GORANI: The American Democratic candidates are preparing for round two of their first presidential debate. In a few hours, 10 people hoping to take
on President Trump next year will square off in Miami. That's after 10 others faced off Wednesday night.
Well, if you weren't up in the middle of the night to watch it, here's Kristen Holmes with a recap.
[14:20:02] KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NEWSOURCE NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A fiery first round.
BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're looking at just one small part of this. I'm talking about a comprehensive rewrite of our
immigration laws --
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's not true.
HOLMES (voice-over): -- as 10 Democratic presidential hopefuls kicked off the 2020 campaign season on the debate stage. Candidates taking on
President Trump --
JAY INSLEE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He thought it was a threat to tell me that he would send refugees into Washington State if we passed the law
that I passed. And I told him, "That's not a threat at all."
HOLMES (voice-over): -- each other and everything in between.
REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know the importance of our national security, as well as the terribly high cost of war.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just want to say there's three women up here that have fought pretty hard for women's right
HOLMES (voice-over): The night's highest-polling candidate on stage? Senator Elizabeth Warren, front and center, seizing the opportunity to plug
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Health care is a basic human right. And I will fight for basic human rights.
HOLMES (voice-over): Each candidate, aiming to set themselves apart in a crowded field.
CASTRO: Well, clearly, I had a great night. Last night, people saw that I have strong track record of getting things done. I have the right
experience. I have a strong vision for the future of the country.
O'ROURKE: I'd give myself an A. I wanted to make sure that I got that point across. I described why I'm doing this, who I'm doing it for, the
people that inspire me and how we're going to meet these challenges.
HOLMES (voice-over): Tonight, the second showdown. Frontrunner Joe Biden will take the stage alongside Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris,
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and six others.
GORANI: That was Kristen Holmes reporting. With so many candidates on stage, each one was trying to break out. Did anyone succeed? CNN
political commentator and host of "SMERCONISH," Michael Smerconish joins me from Philadelphia.
So who came out on top in your opinion, Michael?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think when the night ended, we were pretty much where we began, with Elizabeth Warren, among
those 10 candidates, being the favorite and polling the highest.
I would say that there's a consensus that Julian Castro had a very good showing, and perhaps distinguished himself from the second-tier candidates,
if you will.
SMERCONISH: Because he was calm, he was competent, he spoke with some authority. And, Hala, there was one particular exchange with Beto
O'Rourke, who, months ago, many thought would be the most ascendant --
SMERCONISH: -- of the younger crop of Democratic candidates. And I think that Beto O'Rourke came out on the short end of that exchange. I thought
it was a bad night for him.
You know, there are 494 days to go before the election. There's a ton of time on the clock. You can't win the process with the first debate of the
season, but you can lose. It's much like a four-day golf tournament where --
SMERCONISH: -- if you have a poor first round, it can really be an impediment. And that's how I feel about Beto O'Rourke. So I would say,
Elizabeth Warren ends as the frontrunner among that group. Julian Castro causes people to take a second look at him. Beto O'Rourke --
SMERCONISH: -- probably needs a do-over.
GORANI: Well, these Google searches for Julian Castro went up thousands of percent. People were trying to find out more about him. And Cory Booker,
what did you make of his performance?
SMERCONISH: I thought he had a decent appearance. I thought that he was pretty strong in most of the exchanges. I think he's going to have to back
up some of the comments that he makes substantively. He's -- you know, he's very aspirational. That's not a bad thing. Barack Obama was very
aspirational. But I think you've got to show that you've got the substance.
One other observation, if I may, where the timeframe, because of the sheer number of candidates on that stage, was only 60 seconds per response, it's
very hard --
SMERCONISH: -- to say matters of substance and get beyond the sound bites. That won't happen until this field is winnowed. And of course, we're back
at it tonight.
GORANI: And tonight, obviously, we have the big names. Sanders, Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris. What's your expectation?
SMERCONISH: My expectation is that Joe Biden probably benefitted, as did the others, from having the opportunity to watch the pace of night one.
Because it was a very rapid pace and I think to get ready for that kind of cadence is going to take a little bit of preparation.
Joe Biden has far more to lose tonight than he does to gain. Because right now, by all accounts, he's the frontrunner and he has a healthy lead.
So, you know, he wants to follow the physician's Hippocratic Oath, which is, "Do no harm." Come out of it as Elizabeth Warren came out of it last
night, in the same relative position that you went in. The others have a much higher upside potential.
GORANI: Yes. So by the way, let me quiz you here. At this point in the race in 2015, Jeb Bush was polling at 22 percent. Do you remember where
Donald Trump was?
SMERCONISH: I don't know if --
GORANI: More or less.
SMERCONISH: -- Donald Trump was even considered seriously in the race at this stage. I know --
[14:25:03] GORANI: One percent.
SMERCONISH: Go ahead.
GORANI: Yes. One percent.
SMERCONISH: Listen, I can -- I can tell you this. It's very rare that someone who's not in the top three in the modern era is able to break out
of the pack and come on.
But, you know, to your point, all bets are off after the last cycle because the Trump victory was so unexpected that people are right to say, "Throw
all the pundit analysis out the window."
GORANI: Right. You had -- I think Jeb Bush was at 22 percent, there was - - Rubio was in the top three. Carly Fiorina was polling higher than Donald Trump at that point.
But then you had people on that stage yesterday who, even for us reporters who cover U.S. politics, had really never really heard of before. I mean,
this is a huge field of candidates.
SMERCONISH: And tonight will be much the same. And it's -- you know, it's -- look, and you say, "Well then, why does somebody get in who really
doesn't have the prospect of winning the thing?" Because there are careers that are made from having --
SMERCONISH: -- been on that stage. Book deals, television gigs, et cetera, et cetera.
Now, after we get through the next round of debates -- meaning the CNN debates, which are next month in Detroit -- the stakes get higher and you
need more of a showing in order to stand on that stage.
So there's not going to be, in September, two nights of 10 each. I think we'll probably be down to 10 by then. So a lot of these folks are going to
go away in a hurry.
GORANI: Right. And at what point -- so you're saying in the next few months, we should see that field halved, pretty much?
SMERCONISH: That's what I expect. CNN has the rights to the next debate, which will be in July. August is a dark month --
SMERCONISH: And then, starting in September, there will be a debate each month for the duration of the Democratic process. They might go to a
scenario like the Republicans had last time, where, in a single night, you have sort of an A and B list, but I doubt it. The goal is to winnow that
field as quickly as they can for the party.
GORANI: That is one long campaign. It's nothing like what we have in Europe. The campaigns are so much shorter. We have almost a year and a
half until the actual election.
Thanks so much, Michael Smerconish.
SMERCONISH: Thank you.
GORANI: Always appreciate it.
SMERCONISH: Nice to see you.
GORANI: Still to come tonight, Iran says it is serious about a threat to end full compliance with a nuclear deal, and time is running out for Europe
to meet its demands.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUSHNER: If you don't have a pathway forward or something to get excited about, then it doesn't matter what peace agreement you make, it won't be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The U.S. president's Middle East point man and son-in-law speaks to CNN. We'll be right back.
[14:30:08] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: If Iran follows through with a threat, today could mark a turning point in the world's effort to
curb Tehran's nuclear program.
Thursday is the deadline for European countries to meet Iran's ultimatum and shield it from crippling U.S. sanctions. If they don't, Iran, as many
of you know, has promised to breach the nuclear deal by exceeding its loud stockpiles of low-grade enriched uranium.
Iran's foreign minister says his government is serious about that threat and he's warning the American president, Trump, that sanctions, quote, are
As Fred Pleitgen reports, Iranians are remembering a very different war today.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grief and agony in Tehran, as Iran's capital commemorates the return of the
bodies of 150 fallen soldiers from the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Even decades later, thousands lined the streets celebrating the dead of the
bygone conflict and warning America about a new one.
"The U.S. can't take any military action because it has no military power," this member of the Revolutionary Guard says. Our indigenous military power
has reached a point where we can stand on our own two feet.
"Death to America," the crowds chanted, after President Trump has threatened to obliterate Iran if there's a war.
"Tell Trump that this has reached the end of the line," this man screams, "and he can't do anything except sanctions. The sanctions are Trump's last
resort. Trump can't stand up to Iran."
And this member of the military's besieged militia says, "The U.S. knows it for sure. They can't resist against the Iranian nation. They want to test
us through conspiracies but we've already passed this test successfully from our revolution until now."
Iran has pushed back against President Trump's threats after the attacks on two tankers in the Persian Gulf, blamed on Iran by the U.S. which Tehran
And the shooting down of a U.S. surveillance drone by Iranian air defenses which the U.S. says was flying in international airspace, but Iran claims
encroached on its territory.
Iran's foreign minister also blasting the U.S.'s new sanctions against the country's supreme leader.
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The actions by the United States over the past few weeks have been confrontational, provocative,
particularly the imposition of sanctions on Iranian leadership has been an additional insult by the United States against the entire Iranian nation.
PLEITGEN: As the U.S. and Iran teeter on the brink of a possible new armed conflict, Tehran is sending a warning to America. If things escalate, Iran
is willing to fight and sacrifice again.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.
GORANI: News from Tunisia today, the prime minister is urging his country to stand united after two suicide attacks in the capital of Tunis. A
police officer was killed in blasts that targeted both the police patrol and then a police station. These are pictures shared on social media in
the aftermath, and several people were wounded.
In the past few hours, Istanbul's new mayor was sworn in and some huge crowds. By the way, the party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hasn't lost control
of Istanbul in quarter century, Ekrem Imamoglu, won a decisive victory over Erdogan's AK Party in the rerun last Sunday.
This week, he told CNN that no individual can threaten Democracy, something seen by many as a thinly veiled warning to Mr. Erdogan.
Still to come tonight, fresh from his Bahrain conference, senior Trump adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, goes one on one with Wolf Blitzer.
He talks Mueller, immigration, and more.
[14:35:09] GORANI: Palestinian leaders are shrugging off the Trump administration's Peace to Prosperity conference in Bahrain this week.
The organizer, Jared Kushner, talked with CNN's Wolf Blitzer from Bahrain. Before talking about this conference, though, Wolf asked him about Robert
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law, senior adviser to the president. Jared, thanks so much for joining us in
Bahrain. I want to ask you some in-depth questions about the conference in Bahrain in a moment.
But let me get your reaction now to some of the news of the day involving specifically Robert Mueller who has agreed to testify publicly before
congress. President Trump is calling this harassment. But if the president believes the Mueller report totally exonerates him, why wouldn't
he want Robert Mueller to testify publicly?
JARED KUSHNER, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Look, when this whole nonsense with collusion, with Russia came out, I was the first person to say I'm happy to
cooperate with any investigations. We did testify with everybody and the conclusions came out exactly like we said they would.
So, again, I think at this point, this whole thing is a waste of time. But we're here in Bahrain focused trying to move forward America's policy and
doing good things to strengthen our country.
BLITZER: But they did interfere with the U.S. election. The Mueller report did conclude the Russians did interfere, so it wasn't a complete
waste of time, was it?
KUSHNER: Yes. I don't think that's why they're calling him, but it's kind of neither here nor there.
BLITZER: All right. Let's get to another sensitive issue right now. I know you've also been tasked by the president won't work on immigration.
I'm sure you've seen the horrific photo of a father and a 23-month-old daughter who drowned trying to cross the southern border in the United
You've also seen and heard these reports about the truly deplorable conditions at some of these detention centers for migrant children, kids
don't have toothpaste or soap. Toddlers don't have diapers.
You're a father, you're a man of faith. Why isn't the Trump administration doing more to protect the lives of these kids?
KUSHNER: Yes, I don't think that's a fair question, Wolf. The president has been very, very clear about the fact that it's a very dangerous journey
to cross the border. He's trying to get people to cross legally and come into this country in a legal way.
Right now, our border patrol agents who really do an amazing job for this country, trying to keep all of us safe, are totally overwhelmed. The
numbers that we've seen have been extraordinary. We've got a great economy. A lot of people want to come.
But over the last months, we've put some measures in place. We're starting to see those numbers go down, thanks to the president's leadership and the
deal we made with Mexico. But if we can change the laws in this country, which we're working on and we have some proposals and we've been talking to
the Hill, and I think we'll see that people who want to come to this country can come in a safe way.
President Trump is in favor of legal immigration. He wants people to come to this country, but he wants him to come legally. And, obviously, paying
coyotes and making these crossings, people are putting their lives at risk and they should not do that. It is not a safe thing to do.
BLITZER: But in meantime, as these kids are here in the United States, whether they came in legally, illegally, shouldn't they at least be able to
take a bath, or shower or have clean water and soap? Shouldn't they at least be taken care of?
KUSHNER: Yes, absolutely. I know Border Patrol is doing the best they can to accommodate. They were not set up to deal with the unusual flows that
they're getting right now. They've asked Congress for more resources to be able to do the job in the way that the president wants them to do it, which
is humanely. And they're doing their best. But it's obviously an unusual circumstance and we're working hard with them every day to try to improve
BLITZER: I want to move on. But will the president sign this House passed bill to give more funding, to make sure that these kids are taken care of?
KUSHNER: I know it's something he's looking at. There's a bunch of different versions and a bunch of different clauses being discussed, but
he's looking at it.
BLITZER: All right. Let's move to the conference of Bahrain where you are right now. You've been working to try to build support for your Middle
East peace plan. Why -- first of all, why are there no official Israeli or Palestinian representatives at the conference?
[14:40:02] KUSHNER: Yes. So, first of all, we had representatives from all the Muslim countries that are in the region and we had a lot of European
countries. We just had a tremendous conference where we laid out our economic plan a couple of days ago. And it got a lot of great acclaim from
The consensus here from the finance ministers and business community is that this is a very achievable plan. It's an ambitious plan when you're
looking at it from a political sense, but bringing all these great business leaders together who are here, they look at this and they say, this can be
So I think we're all leaving here very enthused that we can really make this region better if there is a peace agreement.
BLITZER: But the two parties that matter the most aren't there, the officials from the Israeli government or Palestinian Authority. Why?
KUSHNER: Yes. So we invited the Palestinian and Israeli business communities. They both attended. When we invited the Palestinian business
community, the Palestinian government made a statement they didn't want to attend. Based on that, we did not invite the Israeli government as well,
because we wanted to keep it balanced.
But I think that that was a big strategic mistake and I think that people are leaving here seeing that this is a very thoughtful plan. It's very
Again, the president in this region is known for keeping his word. He promised he would move the embassy, he did it. He promised to get out of
the flawed Iran deal, he did it. He promised to defeat ISIS and take back the caliphate and he's done that.
The president said that he wants to improve the lives of the Palestinian people and make sure he can do everything he can to keep Israel's security
strong in the long run and that means trying to approach a deal. And he's been very serious about the efforts to do that.
BLITZER: Of the proposed $50 billion price tag you put forward for the Palestinians and also some of that money going today bringing Jordan,
Egypt, and Lebanon, how much is actually coming from the United States?
KUSHNER: So, it's something we're going to look at. We were big donors to the Palestinians in the past. We've stopped that, since we've stopped
communicating with them, we didn't feel like America's aid is an entitlement. So, we're looking at that.
I do think we'd be willing to be a contributor if there is a peace deal. But what I know today from all the countries that were here, is that
there's a lot of enthusiasm about doing it. The money that goes into this plan is actually less money than the Palestinians are getting now on an
annual basis. The problem is there's not a lot of accountability with where that money goes.
This would be much more productive, it would go into industry, it would trickle down. Right now, the money that's going in now benefits a few and
really doesn't solve the problem.
So, we're trying to get people to look at this problem through a different lens, and I think over the last two days, we've been incredibly successful
BLITZER: Let me press you on that because the conference is clearly designed to improve the economic life of the Palestinian people. So, why
did the Trump administration cut off U.S. aid to Palestinians on the West Bank, including aid for hospitals and schools?
KUSHNER: Yes. So, President Trump is obviously a businessman and he's a serious negotiator. When we made the move to move the embassy to
Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority made the decision that they did not want to engage with the administration. And we said that's fine.
But you can't not engage with us and then expect us to keep giving money. So I think it was a very rational move the president made and he said he's
open to reconsidering that at the right time if there is progress on a peace deal.
But I will say this, Wolf, you've been covering this situation for a very long time, a lot of people have had ideas. They brought effort forward,
but we really haven't gotten very far. And I think that we're in a position now where the president is going to put forward a political plan.
He's just put forward a very detailed 140-page plan with a lot of detail that's getting very, very wide acclaim. People think it's very competent,
very smart, very thoughtful, and that it could really solve the problem.
And the president is trying to take a problem that's been stuck for too long and trying to find a way to create a new paradigm to move forward.
BLITZER: Why did the administration, Jared, also cut off aid to the United Nations agency that has traditionally helped the Palestinians? We're
talking about UNRWA, the U.S. Relief and Works Agency, reversing what U.S. presidents have been doing for 70 years.
KUSHNER: How has that been working, Wolf? Has it been working? Has it been an effective use?
The average population of a refugee is usually about 10 years. The only group that's been a refugee class for 70 years is the one that has the
special organization at the U.N. called UNRWA.
So, UNRWA perpetuates the problem. We put forward a proposal that actually will take money, get the Palestinian Authority to self-sustainability,
empower the private sector and get people jobs.
Right now, what they're doing is they're giving handouts to people and they're paying them not to work. They have a 30 percent unemployment rate
in West Bank. They have a 50 percent unemployment rate in Gaza. That's because there's bad governance.
The major consensus that we had at this conference is that this plan, if complemented is very doable, can work, but in order for that to happen, you
need the right environment. You need security, but you also need good governance.
And if you look at Poland, you look at South Korea, you look at Japan, you look at the great examples of where they've been able to create economic
transformation over the past 70 years, they've had a willing government that really had the ability to execute these plans.
It's not easy to achieve prosperity. It's very hard. But what we've done is we've now created the framework to give them this opportunity. And, you
know, we're hopeful that they'll do the right thing and if they care about their people, then they'll really embrace them and try to find ways to make
compromises so they can move forward with it.
BLITZER: Does the United States still support what's called a two-state solution, Israel living alongside a new state of Palestine? As you know,
that was the position President Bill Clinton announced when he signed the Israeli-Palestinian agreement in 1993 with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin
joining him on the South Lawn of the White House.
[14:45:15] KUSHNER: Yes. So, in coming new to this approach two years ago, I realized that there is a lot of vernacular people use that has not
effectively led to a solution to the problem.
So, let me tell you what we do want to see. We want to see very good security for the Israelis. We want to see very good security for
Palestinians. We want an environment where people feel like they can live and have opportunity. We want an environment where capital can come in and
invest where jobs can be created. We want to see an area where people can respect each other's religions and worship freely and we want a place where
people can live with dignity and have all the opportunities that people deserve to have.
So, again I think that we'll roll out at our political plan that will have all the details about a 60-page document at this point. And again, it's
probably the most detailed proposal ever put out, hopefully after seeing our economic vision that we put out, which is the first work product we've
released which was 140 pages, full with very specific details. You'll recognize that the peace plan that we're going to put out is of a similar
quality work product.
BLITZER: But are you saying, Jared, that the Palestinians in the end won't necessarily have an independent state?
KUSHNER: Yes, what we're trying to do is figure out not just what the signing ceremony would look like. We're trying to figure out what could be
a sustainable situation where people can live together and have opportunity to go forward. That's why we led with the economic plan.
If you don't have a pathway forward or something to get excited about, then it doesn't matter what peace agreement you make, it won't be sustained. So
we wanted to get people focused first on what the end game is. And then from there, we'll lay out our proposal on the political issues. I don't
want to get ahead of it by giving you details.
But what I can tell you is that it's really an operational document for how the two people can live together in a harmonious, respectful, prosperous
BLITZER: But can you at least say that there will be a state of Palestine.
KUSHNER: What I can say is that the plan that we're putting out will dramatically improve the lives of the Palestinian people, will improve the
lives of the Israeli people, will allow everyone in the region to focus on the two priorities, which are the same priorities that President Trump has
for America, which is keeping everyone safe and giving everyone the opportunity to be prosperous.
Right now in the region, the president's laid out that the biggest threat is Iran. And what's happening now is countries tend to work on their
interests. We're seeing a lot of the Arab countries and Israel have a very similar threat to their security in Iran. And they have similar
aspirations for their people which is to allow them to have economy, have investment and to be able to create more jobs and have opportunities to
live better lives.
And so, I do think there's a lot of common interest now in this region. And thanks to the president's leadership, I think there is a lot of will
from people to try and see if they can get this problem solved after so many years of it staying unsolved.
BLITZER: But how will your economic plan work when all is said and done if the Arab states and all of the Arab states, even if those who want to fund
our initiative, they all insist that there should be what's called a two- state solution with at least part of a new Palestine having at least part of Jerusalem as its capital? If they don't see that, are they going to
continue to fund this program?
KUSHNER: I guess you've become Wolf Blitzer because you're not a very patient man. I think that what we have to do is we laid out our economic
vision. I hope you spent time to go through it. I think that the Gulf States and all the people here are very enthusiastic about it.
When we laid it out, we said that this could only be implemented if there is an acceptable peace agreement. We're going to lay out our principles,
our peace proposal. Again, this wasn't just our ideas that we were cooking up ourselves. We've traveled extensively through the region. We've spoken
with Israelis, and Palestinians, and Arabs, and Europeans, and we looked at all the work that's been done in the past, and we've tried to come up with
what we think is the most viable, realistic option that will lead to people getting a better life.
And so, again, I don't want to get caught in old school vernacular, but I do think the principles and the concepts should be ones that will lead to
So, you know, at the right time, the president will decide to release that and we'll come back on the show and we'll talk about it then.
BLITZER: As you know, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, he says that Israel potentially could annex at least some of those Jewish
settlements on the West Bank. Do you agree? Is that the official position of the United States?
KUSHNER: Yes, we'll be putting out our official position when we put out the peace plan. And I think that if you go into his statement, I think
that it was, you know, in a different way. But I think that we'll see what happens over the next couple months. And I think the next thing happening
will be that we'll hopefully release our peace plan and people will react to it accordingly. And hopefully, both governments will be rational and
constructive and really put the prioritization of how to make their people's lives better. First, if they do that, I think that we can make
progress on an issue that's very, very hard where people have not made progress in a very, very long time.
BLITZER: Are you currently right now talking with any officials of the Palestinian authority?
KUSHNER: Wolf, you know, I don't disclose who I talk to. Again, I -- one of the reasons I think we've gotten this far is nothing leaked from our
discussions. Nothing is leaked from the plan. There's been many instances in the past where discussions or parts of the plan have leaked and that's
killed efforts. Over two years, we've held one of the most coveted documents in the world confidential. And we're going to continue to keep
the documents confidential and also the people we talk with confidential.
[14:50:07] BLITZER: As you know, the president of the United States has been in office now for two and a half years. And he's enacted a lot of
foreign policy. Is there what we call a Trump doctrine?
KUSHNER: I do think so. I think he's looking to find a way to get the world to focus on problems. I think that the president has fundamentally
re-shifted the way the world thinks. There were a lot of things that people were pretending weren't problems that were real problems. The
president is calling those out. And I think that's allowing people to finally come together to solve them.
I think the president's focused on America first, which is that he assumes that every other country is fighting for their citizens and he wants to be
doing the same thing for us. He has been rebalancing trade deals. He's had some historic successes. We just got a successful deal with the USMCA
where we made a great deal with Canada and Mexico. They're saying it's one of the best trade deals ever done for America. It will bring almost half a
million jobs back to our country and increase our GDP. And so hopefully Congress will pass that soon.
But these things are very hard to do. And the president campaigned on these things. He's been talking about these things for a long time and he's
been executing these things. Right now, we're in talks with China. The president thinks that we've been treated unfairly in that relationship and
we're looking at a way where we could find something that's good for China but good for America to rebalance that relationship too.
So I think the Trump doctrine is about, how do you make sure that America's place in the world is one where we're getting a fair deal with other
people? And when we're not, the president is going to talk about it. He's gotten NATO to pay over $100 billion more and he's getting in our allies to
pay their fair share.
BLITZER: Jared Kushner, I know you're busy over there. Good luck with this peace process. We'll watch it very, very closely. Thanks so much for
GORANI: Well, we've just learned some interesting behind the scenes facts about how former secretary of state Rex Tillerson really felt about Jared
Kushner who you just, you just heard there, talking to Wolf. It seems he was frustrated that Kushner appeared to act as a shadow secretary of state,
conducting important foreign policy meetings behind his back.
Tillerson recently gave staffers for a House committee one example saying he once walked into a restaurant and was shocked to see Kushner dining with
Mexico's foreign minister. Tillerson says he told the minister, "Give me a call next time you're in town." Pretty remarkable story.
We'll be right back with the best video of the day. Trust me, possibly the week. The story behind this lifesaving catch.
GORANI: Whether you drive a Toyota or a Honda or you take a high speed train, Japanese transport innovations have had a direct impact on all of
As Will Ripley reports, it's hoping not to slow down.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Trains can't go everywhere in Japan. In many rural areas, you need a car to get around. And that's a
problem for the growing number of senior citizens living in these areas.
If the team at Ascent Robotics gets its way, the cars start driving themselves.
I'm at Keio University's campus in Kawasaki, Japan. A sense chief technology officer, Ivo Timoteo is taking me for a test ride in a
driverless SUV. We're joined by robotics engineer, Francesco Bidoia.
[14:55:02] This hybrid Lexus is decked out with cameras, sensors and a trunk full of computers to measure all the data the car collects.
How far away are we from seeing this in widespread use?
IVO TIMOTEO, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, ASCENT ROBOTICS: It's very, very hard to predict because the market itself is going to respond in a certain
way as different levels of autonomy are introduced. In terms of mobility as a service, I think it's going to be much, much faster.
RIPLEY: Rain can be a challenge for self-driving cars, making it harder for all those cameras and sensors to see something like this.
Who's the unlucky person with the job of walking out in front of the moving vehicle?
TIMOTEO: He's one of our test drivers.
RIPLEY: He obviously has a lot of confidence in this technology.
So this is analyzing the environment as it happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Right now it is self-driving mode.
RIPLEY: Did the car just stepped on the brakes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is all autonomous.
RIPLEY: I think the car just did that better than I would have.
Ascent began its business in 2016 to address Japan's social problems, including its aging population and shrinking workforce.
Ascent began developing autonomous driving technology as well as industrial robots like this one that didn't quite know what to do with our tiny
RIPLEY (on-camera): What is the goal of the software that you're developing here in terms of life in Japan and around the world?
MASAYUKI ISHIZAKI, REPRESENTATIVE DIRECTOR, ASCENT: Population is getting older and older. Because of that, we do not have enough labor to basically
sustain the company -- our country's growth. Autonomous driving is going to be a needed solution for Japan as a society.
RIPLEY: Realistically, what is this going to look like?
ISHIZAKI: Realistically, we need to make cars to drive smart as human being.
RIPLEY: Is that possible for a car to have the same reactive instincts as a human?
ISHIZAKI: Well, we've got many ways to go, long ways to go. However, we're working on it and then we're making it little by little.
GORANI: And we want to end on a heart-stopping moment. Look very closely at the boy in yellow in this next video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Oh. He caught a two-year-old who fell from a second floor window in Turkey. Local media saying her mother had been cooking in the kitchen
when the girl approached the window. The toddler originally escaped from Syria, escaped without any injuries in this case. Thanks entirely to the
reflexes of the 17-year-old who caught her. He's been called a hero and he deserves that label. He's been incredibly modest about it though, saying
he only did what was necessary for the love of God.
The girl's family gave the boy a reward of around $50. I'm sure that was a fortune for everyone involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. We want to leave you on some of those feel-good stories when we can. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." Is next.