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Trump Tries to Distance Himself from Jeffrey Epstein; Cameron Boyce's Fatal Seizure Caused by Epilepsy. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 11, 2019 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Under water at this hour. It is about to get worse, we're told, because hurricane watches just went into effect. This is the storm system, as you can see on your screen. It's expected to make landfall as a hurricane this weekend.

Now, the hurricane watches extend from just shy of the Texas border to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Then tropical storm watches stretch north beyond the coast. Here's just one example of the system already doing a lot of damage. It knocked down this playhouse. This is in Weatherford, Texas. You can see just how strong the winds and the rain are. And then here, look, it's already soaking New Orleans. Parts of Bourbon Street that you're seeing here are under water. Hundreds of floodgates there have been closed.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, immigration raids starting Sunday. That's according to "The New York Times." Thousands of undocumented migrants and their families will be targeted in at least 10 cities. "The Times" reports that agents might detain immigrants who just happen to be on the scene. There are also new details about what will happen to children who are detained with their parents. We'll bring you that information in just a moment.

First, the severe weather threat in Louisiana, Natasha Chen is live in New Orleans, which has received so much rain already, Natasha.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, you can't tell from the weather we're having right at this moment, but yesterday there was intense amount of rain, and even over the next few days there is more expected. In fact, there's a flash flood watch and storm surge watch going on in various parts of this area. We know that in Plaquemines Parish there is a mandatory evacuation today for certain parts of the parish. And oil rigs and platforms, several of them have been evacuated because of storm activity in the Gulf.

So a lot of people here are preparing for the worst that is about to come on Saturday, including closing dozens of floodgates, and that includes one floodgate here at the Port of New Orleans where we're standing. That'll be closed by 5:00 p.m. eastern time today. They've already started closing pedestrian gates over by the Spanish Plaza, River Walk, the Hilton Hotel area. So a lot of tourists, of course, like to come to those places. A lot of them have shown up in town yesterday saying they wanted to hunker down and have a good time indoors, anyway, but we did see a few people try to leave this morning headed straight back to the airport that they just came from, trying to avoid the worst.

Of course, there is a state of emergency declared in the city of New Orleans as well as the state of Louisiana. And city hall here was closed yesterday, it remains closed today. And we're going to be tracking the weather as more storms come in over the next few days. Again, the worst of it coming on Saturday. Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: That sounds like it's going to be a rough weekend there, Natasha. Thank you very much.

So where is this storm right now? Meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking the system from the CNN Center in Atlanta. What's the answer, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right there where that L is, Alisyn. So it's just to the south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River by 150 miles or so. But the storm did not get any more intense overnight. Although we're up to 35, the newest update at 8:00 brought the number from 30 to 35 because hurricane hunter aircraft are out there flying through it and they did find 35 miles per hour.

There is a wind from the north, and that's keeping away most of the what we call convection, keeping it on the south side of the storm, keeping the heavy rainfall from Natasha, where she would have been yesterday, would have been obviously under six or eight inches of water. But here we go, 75 miles per hours by Saturday, a little bit after midnight Friday night.

Models still have two different versions, one to the west and one to the east. One right over New Orleans, the other pretty much over Lafayette. But here is what Natasha was talking about, all the oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Fifty percent of the oil and gas platforms are inside the cone at this hour, and we'll watch what oil does later on today.

Here is what the radar should look like for the rest of the day. Again, most of the convection offshore. Great news, kind of limiting the amount of flooding we could get today. But eventually all of that convection will rotate around to the north side of the storm, and that's when we'll see the flooding. People are going to be saying for the next couple of days or 36 hours, where is the storm? Well, it's still offshore. But by Friday night and Saturday morning, not so much anymore, an awful lot of heavy rain falling. John?

BERMAN: People need to get ready now. Chad Myers, thank you very much.

Back to our other breaking story this morning, "The New York Times" is reporting that nationwide raids on undocumented immigrants living here in the United States, that they will start on Sunday. Let's get to CNN's Nick Valencia. He is on the border in El Paso, Texas. Nick, what are you hearing?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, you remember those raids that were expected to happen in June, they were announced to happen in 10 major U.S. cities. And in an unprecedented announcement President Trump called them off. Now according to "The New York Times" they are back on, expected to start on Sunday and last several days. "The New York Times" talking to sources that are anonymous, including two Department of Homeland Security officials as well as one former official.

[08:05:6] They say these raids will focus on 2,000 undocumented immigrants that recently crossed into the United States, targeted interior enforcement, the plans of which are still in the preliminary stages, but they also will include, according to "The New York Times" reporting, collateral arrest, meaning even if the undocumented immigrant is not the target of a raid, if they happen to be there on the scene, they too might get scooped up by ICE officials. Now, U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli spoke about this recently.


KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: They're absolutely going to happen. There's approximately a million people in this country with removal orders, and of course that isn't what ICE will go after in this, but that's the pool of people who have been all the way through the due process chain.


VALENCIA: These ICE raids are the Trump administration's efforts to send a strong message to those that are considering crossing the southern border illegally. And we're also learning today in an exclusive interview that rhetoric surrounding interior enforcement contributed to the resignation of former acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders. In an exclusive interview with my CNN colleagues, Priscilla Alvarez as well as Geneva Sands, he said this in part. "Why ever people come, they are here," speaking about undocumented immigrants, "I think that compassion is empathy is important to ensure that they are treated humanely, with dignity, with respect."

John Sanders focused primarily on humanitarian efforts, trying to use funding to expand soft-sided facilities at Border Patrol stations like the one that you see behind me. We're told by DHS officials that his replacement, Mark Morgan, will focus more on enforcement. And Morgan, of course, has been a vocal proponent of the ICE raids like we're about to see on Sunday. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, Nick, for all that.

BERMAN: Joining us now, Maggie Haberman, CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for "The New York Times," Maggie part of the team on this developing story overnight. "The Times" reporting that these raids will take place on Sunday. Maggie, tell us more about exactly what you've learned here.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, we've been hearing about this for over a week, actually. It just took a little while to nail it down. This is the timeframe they were talking about. These raids, as noted before, were delayed. The president called them off. Mark Morgan of one of the DHS units had been urging him to do this, has been urging him repeatedly to do this. The president agreed to delay it for I think it was roughly two weeks, and this is the roughly two-week timeframe. It is aimed at deterring more people from coming across the border.

Right now DHS is actually feeling very good about its efforts to try to get people not to come across, and they believe that they have impelled Mexico to do more to keep people remaining in Mexico. This has been a huge debate and huge point of contention between the DHS secretary and Morgan, Morgan, again who wants these raids, the DHS secretary who was adamantly opposed to them. We will see whether there is fresh opposition in the coming days, but right now it's scheduled to go ahead.

CAMEROTA: But this is interesting, Maggie, because the numbers had dropped, it sounds like, in July from where they were in June and where they were in May with those record numbers of people showing up. So we can conclude that what the president did with Mexico, getting Mexico to enforce its own southern border more, getting more people to stay in Mexico to apply for asylum, has worked. So why ratchet it up to this next level which will have, let's be honest, political consequences because there will be cameras showing people living here being separated from their children, or children being arrested, or being stuffed into more detention centers. Why do they need this?

HABERMAN: There's a constant push-pull around the president of people in terms of immigration debate. As we know Stephen Miller is the hardest line voice within the West Wing. He has come from criticism, actually, from other immigration restrictionists outside of the White House increasingly, but he is the person in the president's ear saying you need to do more, you need to stick to your promises, you need to stick to what you said. And there is this constant push-pull on what the president will go along with.

Again, could there be another fresh appeal to the president in the next couple of days by others in the administration to not go ahead with this? There might be, but I think it is hard to have planned for this twice and not go ahead with it twice if you are a president looking at reelection and immigration in part of your calculus. That's just the cold reality.

BERMAN: Very quickly, a couple of details in this story also, which I think bear repeating. Number one, there will be collateral deportations, you have learned, which means people who aren't even targeted, if they're undocumented and on the scene when these raids happen, they could be collected as well. And number two, you say there is some apprehension among officials who are involved with all of this about arresting kids, basically.

HABERMAN: Correct. And again, I think it's no surprise there are people who are concerned about what that would look like, what that would mean, the realities of doing it while you have these horrific conditions being reported that children are being kept in at the border repeatedly.

[08:10:10] Yes, the crossing are down, and that is something that the president had been aiming for and which he got based on other policies that he has enacted. But this has been a real issue and a real problem, and it's not one that's going away. So do you want to compound that by then arresting children, by having images of children being taken into custody? That's a risk.

CAMEROTA: The president has tweeted there's going to be an announcement, he's going to make an announcement today in the Rose Garden about the Census and citizenship question. So what do we know?

HABERMAN: We don't know a lot beyond that tweet as of now. What we know is what we knew the other day, which is that the president was weighing options to keep this going. He was very upset with Wilbur Ross, he was very upset with other officials who had not, it's been described to me by a bunch of people, briefed him properly on the political implications of what it meant to not go ahead on this Census question and to try harder, and he wanted to look like he was fighting.

There's not uniform agreement on whether this is legal to do it this way, whether it is legal to go ahead with an executive order. And so it will interesting to see what he goes ahead with at this press conference. I don't think it's a coincident that he's announcing this press conference to come right after the social media summit, which has been a little problematic in terms of the media reporting around it. The social media summit is going to be closed press, at least partly if not entirely, which is not usually how these kinds of things go, and he's invited a lot of people who are on the fringe of the Internet and he is legitimizing them with this meeting. So I think this press conference is a way to get attention away from that.

BERMAN: Or perhaps also because the Census issue might be something that the base likes to combine those two ideas. We don't know exactly what he's doing yet, but it's the fight, it's the idea that he's still fighting for something here that he might be trying to portray.

HABERMAN: I think if he thought the social media thing was a clear winner, I think the summit would be open and he'd just be talking about that, but that's just me.

CAMEROTA: It's going to be very interesting to see if he's going to announce that he's going to make some sort of executive action -- I don't know. We won't know until he does it.

HABERMAN: We're not going to know it.

CAMEROTA: I'm hesitant to guess, so very good. Maggie, please stand by, if you would. We have many more issues to talk about with you, because President Trump says he's not a fan of multi-millionaire and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, but that was not always the case. Maggie has reporting on what their relationship really was.


[08:16:42] CAMEROTA: OK, we are back now with CNN contributor and "New York Times" correspondent Maggie Haberman. Maggie released an article this week that details the close relationship between President Trump and multi-millionaire and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein who is facing a new round of child sex trafficking charges. And Maggie is back with us now.

So, Maggie, here's part of what has raised interest in the relationship between President Trump and Jeffrey Epstein is this quote that President Trump himself gave to "New York Magazine" in 2002 in which he says, I've known Jeff for 15 years, terrific guy, he's a lot of fun to be with. It's even said he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.

So, back in 2002 at least, what was their relationship?

HABERMAN: By then, they were still friends. They did have a falling out, and I think it's important to note the relationship is not current. It ended it sounds like at least a decade ago.

The president said that to Kellyanne Conway, according to a quote I saw her give and by all of our reporting, that's the case, although what exactly caused the fall out is unclear. For the 15 years prior to that as he says in that quote and for few years after that, they were friends and associates, they knew each other from Palm Beach, they crossed paths on page 6 of "New York Post", the gossip page, repeatedly. You know, they were people who spent time together.

Jeffrey Epstein was not a member of Trump's club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, but he was somebody who would come there and will be brought there, and president tended to be very welcoming to everybody who was in sight, and we spoke to somebody who helped arrange some event with close to 30 women who were part of some beauty pageant and he discovered in, this was 1992, that the only attendees were Epstein and Trump. Again, that's a decade earlier.

But it's still important to note at one point, the president cheerily enjoyed spending time with Jeffrey Epstein. Did he know about these other things Jeffrey Epstein was involved with? I can't speak to that. And Donald Trump was certainly not the only person who spent a lot of time with Jeffrey Epstein. Bill Clinton did, a bunch of other people did, and he became a donor.

And a lot of people involved in this entire story looked the other way for a long time. For the president just to say I'm not a fan doesn't tell the whole picture.

CAMEROTA: And just to be clear, I mean, of course, we don't know if he knew about the crimes, but the idea that he felt the need to say many of the women Jeffrey likes are on the younger side tells you something.

HABERMAN: Look, what it tells us is that he's certainly aware that Epstein had a reputation as a womanizer. Now, is that the same thing as being a sexual assaulter and molester? No, those are not the same.

But again, there's a lot of evidence over a very long period of time, that a number of people and I'm not speaking to the president in particular, but a number of people were aware of, you know, issues surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, you know, prior to his guilty plea or that negotiation that was worked out in 2007 and 2008, you know, there were references to the plane he owned as the Lolita Express. It doesn't get a nickname like that out of nowhere.

BERMAN: Yes. Again, some of the areas dealt with in the article are within the years also part of that initial sweet plea deal, sweet deal he got in 2008 and part of the charges now in the Southern District of New York.

Maggie, I just want to go back, I had to read that paragraph twice in your article, that party the president was at, it was Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein and 28 models?

[08:20:00] I don't even understand the context of that.

CAMEROTA: It wasn't math.

BERMAN: It sounds like a strange party.

HABERMAN: It sounds like an unusual party. And again, look, this is according to one account and this is according to a person who used to deal with Trump and who later became critical of him and his conduct toward women.

That said, he's on the record. He's making this allegation. This is the problem when -- and this is I think the thing that the president doesn't understand and a rot of folks around him don't understand, is that when you say so many things that are not true over the course of 2 1/2 years in office and nearly two years of the campaigns before that, it stops being that you can say something isn't true and people will accept that. It doesn't work that way.

CAMEROTA: So why is the president now standing by the Labor Secretary Alex Acosta?

HABERMAN: I mean, I think for a couple of reasons and to be clear he's standing by him for now is what's been said to me by a number of White House aides. He was I'm told happy with the performance at the press conference, but again, I think that's going to come down to whether he stays that way, what the news coverage is going forward, how much Acosta is still on television.

The president doesn't have to find yet another cabinet secretary. Half of the cabinet is acting at this point. I don't think he wants to do that again. Department of Labor is not an agency he has a tremendous interest in, and he wanted Acosta to go out and fight it.

And Acosta did want to go out and fight it. You know, Acosta earlier this year when John Kelly was a chief of staffer had wanted to defend himself when the Epstein issue was rising again and he was sort of cautioned against it by some of the White House.

So I think the president is fine for now. I don't know how long that will last. I don't know that this is sustainable past the summer because there will be a trial. It's not like this issue is going to go away permanently, so we will see where this goes. BERMAN: Maggie, we want to weigh into another subject here, which is

that the now former British ambassador to the United States he resigned after these cables were leaked where he described the Trump administration as inept and described the president himself as insecure. There are a lot of diplomats who have said, there but for the grace of God go I, they'd be reporting the same things back to their countries. But he's gone now after the president insulted him.

Lindsey Graham, the president's close ally sent out a tweet yesterday that said Kim Darroch did an outstanding job as ambassador and sorry to see him resign his post. He got a raw deal from the press.

From the press?

HABERMAN: Right. I mean, so I guess, in fact, the most charitable interpretation of that tweet would be that the news account written up from a British newspaper initially about those cables Kim Darroch wrote, those cables were cherry picked. OK, it's still the president who's been attacking him for days and the president who has been saying things that just don't comport with reality about the White House's relationship with Kim Darroch certainly for days.

I mean, I -- Lindsey Graham was not the first person to begin the wind up of a punch aimed at the president and have a glance off to the media or someone else. But this is just not reality, the person who has been attacking Kim Darroch has been the president.

CAMEROTA: And the reason that Kim Darroch resigned was because of the president, because the president had made him basically persona non grata and he wasn't going to do business with him anymore.

HABERMAN: Well, and Boris Johnson had suggested he was not going to stand by him. Boris Johnson, the favorite to replace Theresa May. So, yes, I mean, all the circumstances I think were not favorable to Kim Darroch, once again the president gets his way.

BERMAN: I have to say, I actually thought it was a typo when I read the tweet the first time, that when he said he got a raw deal from the press. Maybe he --

CAMEROTA: The press.

BERMAN: The press, seriously. I thought that because there's no other interpretation here. The press had nothing to do with it.

HABERMAN: Well, the press had nothing to do with it, only in the sense of reporting on the cables in the first place, but the press did not force Donald Trump to tweet the way he tweeted for days and days and days. That is entirely on the president. The refusal to even remotely criticize what the president has done has reached sort of astonishing levels by some of his supporters.

CAMEROTA: Maggie Haberman, great to talk to you. Thank you very much for all the reporting.

HABERMAN: Thank you. BERMAN: All right. The sudden death of Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce has left Hollywood reeling. We have new details about what caused the actor's death. That's next.


[08:28:04] CAMEROTA: The family of 20-year-old Cameron Boyce have revealed epilepsy caused the fatal seizure that killed the Disney Channel star. Boyce has reportedly died in his sleep and was found unresponsive in this hotel room in -- in his room, I should say, in north Hollywood on Saturday.

So, let's bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta for more on this.

So, Sanjay, you're a neurosurgeon, so explain how a seizure like this can lead to a sudden death?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so sad. I mean, the family did say he had epilepsy and was an ongoing medical condition. And what we know is that sometimes epilepsy can also be associated with something known as SUDEP, which is sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

It's rare. About one in a thousand sort of cases. But the thinking is someone who's had a seizure often in their sleep can lead to apnea, which is when someone stops breathing, or can lead to a very dangerous heart rhythm. Again, oftentimes it happens in the sleep, so it's hard to detect what the relationship was to the seizure, but that is known thing.

It's sad but -- and it's rare, thankfully, but that is likely the sort of thing we're talking ability here.

BERMAN: Well, you say it's rare. How common is epilepsy in general? And what can people do to lower their risk of something like this happening?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, you know, when you think about epilepsy in the United States, you probably have 3 to 4 million people who deal with epilepsy, who are taking medications to control that epilepsy. They have that diagnosis. There may be more even who have not yet received an official diagnosis.

But you're talking about millions of people. Again with SUDEP, which is sudden unexpected death, that's the acronym, it's a rare thing. But we know there are certain situations that make it possibly more likely to happen.

There's a list. You know, people who haven't necessarily taken medications as prescribed, we don't know that to be the case here by any means. Avoiding known seizure triggers. People who have had epilepsy for a long time often have an idea what some of the triggers might be and avoidance of those is very important. Alcohol can be associated with this.