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CNN NEWSROOM

Epstein on Suicide Watch, Says He Was Beaten Up in Jail; Red Flags on Family Separations Raised Internally in Trump Administration; Dallas Teen Wrongfully Detained By ICE Says He Lost 26 Pounds; New Questions, Revelations About Trump's Pick Monica Crowley; Search for Suspects Who Doused Cops with Water; Barr Orders Restart of Federal Executions after 16 Years. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 25, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: -- reportedly says he was beaten up, called a child predator, Epstein is accused of paying girls as young as 14 years old, running a sex trafficking ring that would bring young women to his Upper Eastside mansion and his Florida estate. A judge last week rejected his bail requests. He wanted to return to that Manhattan mansion under supervision while awaiting trial. Epstein faced similar accusations in Florida, back in 2007. He ended up though with a plea deal that allowed him to avoid federal charges. He had to plead guilty to some lesser state charges.

Shimon Prokupecz is CNN's crime and justice reporter and joins us now. So what do we know, Shimon, about the extent of these injuries?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: They don't appear, Erica, to be that serious. It is a mystery as you said as to what exactly happened to him. Was he beaten up, did he try to take his own life? Or did he do this in a way to get some kind of sympathy, so that he could be removed from the jail that he's at. And those are the questions that investigators are asking and are trying to figure out. The thing is, as you said, they are these markings on his neck.

We've actually spoken to a source who has seen Jeffrey Epstein today. Said he seems normal. Doesn't seem to be seriously injured. There does not appear to be any kind of bruising on him, but the source couldn't see his neck. But said everything seemed to be fine with him. He was meeting with his lawyers there at the jail. This is something he does routinely almost on a daily basis, where he meets with his lawyers. They come to the jail. They sit with him. So for investigators at the Bureau of Prisons now, obviously they're trying to sort out exactly what happened.

And as you said, Jeffrey Epstein told some of the prison officials there, the jail officials that he was beaten up by a fellow inmate. They're taking that claim seriously, but it's unclear because of given everything that goings on there, and where he is, there really aren't a lot of witnesses to this if they're ever going to be able to corroborate any of these claims. But nonetheless, obviously they're taking it serious, they've also put him in protective custody. They obviously need to protect him. There's a big investigation there in New York involving him and his case is still very much pending. So officials there, obviously, they don't want anything to happen to him. HILL: Right. You mentioned protective custody but it is actually

solitary protective custody. Do they also in terms of being concerned about anything happening to him, they really want him away from the rest of the prison population?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. Look people who are accused of the kind of crimes that he's accused of here tend to be a target inside the jail from of other inmates. And that is something that jail officials take into consideration and so it could be the reason why they've put him in this protective custody. He already was kind of in a different area of the jail, because of the nature of his case, and also the celebrity status in some ways. This case has gotten a lot of attention, people know who he is, so they wanted to give him that kind of protection as well. Let's say if someone did try to hurt him, or he hurt himself, that's a bid deal for that jail. It's a federal facility, they take this very seriously.

And so they're going to make -- do whatever precautions they make, whatever changes they need to make to make sure he's safe.

HILL: Shimon Prokupecz with the latest for us, Shimon, thank you. Up next, CNN obtains documents that show employees inside the Trump administration raised not one or two, but hundreds of red flags about migrant family separations. Heart breaking new details now as well about how those separations were carried out.

Plus, a Texas teen who is an American citizen released from an immigration detention after nearly a month. We talk to you about the story earlier in the week, now we're hearing from that teen and what he says about the conditions inside the facilities.

[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: A CNN exclusive now about migrant families forced into separation at the border. Hundreds of red flags were raised inside the Trump administration about it. Including some alerts raised months before this controversial zero tolerance policy was even announced. In fact, documents show one department, Health and Human Services, kept flagging cases to Homeland Security. So what happened?

Let's go straight to CNN's Dianne Gallagher who joins us from Atlanta with the latest. So there was a House Judiciary Committee meeting, committee hearing rather today addressing what you've learned. What were these red flags, Dianne?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Erica, here's the thing. They've been documenting these for months and months. Sending in what they thought they had to flag as abuse violations in these referrals to the civil liberties, excuse me, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office There, under DHS. Trying to let them know, hey, we're seeing this spike in separations. Within this paperwork, they detail things like a 14-year-old boy who says that he was called away to go eat while they were in custody, and then when they came back, an officer told them that his dad had been deported. There was an 11-year-old who said he that was called by an officer to

come over here, and that he just never saw his father again, we learn from this paperwork that at least a dozen of these children were under the age of 1 were separated from their families, most of those came before the zero tolerance policy was even announced. Now, look, there were 850 referrals between January of 2018 and June of 2018.

[15:40:00] Most of those came from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and they have people there testifying before that panel today. I want you to take a listen to this, Erica.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMMANDER JONATHAN WHITE, SENIOR OFFICIAL, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Every career member of the ORR team was opposed to the idea of family separation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you were opposed to it then. You're still opposed to it?

WHITE: I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Still opposed to that, there are of course, Erica, important to point out that officially that zero-tolerance policy was eliminated, was stopped in June of 2018, but there are still kids who are being separated from their families for various other reasons here in the U.S. still today.

HILL: Dianne Gallagher with the latest on that and thank you.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler, going after Border Patrol at today's hearings. At some point referencing in fact those documents that CNN obtained. He slammed the law enforcement agency for blindsiding families by not informing them about being separated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERROLD NADLER, (D-NY): Who did the deportation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would do the deportation.

NADLER: You would do the deportation while the child was in a different city in the United States?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't do the reunifications isn't my point, sir.

NADLER: You would do the deportation before the reunification? Without any knowledge of whether the parents are being reunified?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

NADLER: So in other words you're kidnapping the child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not kidnapping the child. With all the guidelines that are out.

NADLER: Deporting a parent without their child is literal kidnapping.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: There are also new details out today about an American teen born in Dallas, who was detained by immigration officials for nearly a month. Francisco Galicia's lawyer

said that he provided his Texas I.D., he had a wallet sized birth certificate on him, his social security card, offered all of this up when he was stopped by immigration officials. He also though had a Mexican tourist visa with him which may have caused confusion. I.C.E. and Border Patrol have said in part situations that involved

conflicting citizenship documents can, quote, and should and could take more time to verify.

Well now, Galicia is speaking out after just being released from detention. And CNN's Nick Valencia is following this for us in Texas -- Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, American Francisco Galicia was so malnourished from his time in detention, that his mother tells me that he lost nearly 26 pounds in about three weeks. In all he was held for 23 days, during which time he never showered, not once. Now according to his attorney he's also now suffering from lower back problems after sleeping on the concrete floor. His attorney tells me that he spends most of his time eating and sleeping and is very drained from the experience.

In my conversation with her, she also made new allegations, saying for at least a week, she tried to get in touch with him as his legal representative. But says that Border Patrol kept that information from Francisco. Also, we did reach out to Customs and Border Protection to respond to these allegations, and while they did not respond to them directly, they said this previously, both CPB and ICE are committed to fair treatment of migrants in our custody and continue to take appropriate steps to verify all facts of this situation.

The attorney also tells me that Francisco is planning on filing a federal lawsuit because of his wrongful detention -- Erica.

HILL: Nick. Thank you. All right as you point out too, that Nick will be speaking with Francisco Galicia this afternoon, that full interview will air on CNN tonight at 10:00 p.m.

The head of Border Patrol making a stunning admission during another Capitol Hill hearing. Chief Carla Provost said she was a member of a private Facebook group just exposed for members comments that mocked and belittled migrants. That group was called, "im 1015", which refers to the Border Patrol code for undocumented migrants in custody. Provost says she reported her membership as soon as she knew.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLA PROVOST, BORDER PATROL CHIEF: Not only did I self report, I turned my entire Facebook account over to the Office of Professional Responsibility. And when I say that I gave them my log in and my passwords so they had full access to my account. They were able to go in and look at all of my activity over the three years that I've been a member of Facebook.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Provost denied knowing about any of the content because she says she doesn't go on Facebook very often.

Up next, the woman picked to be the next Treasury Department spokesperson has a history of spreading conspiracy theories about former President Obama. What CNN has now uncovered.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Just in to CNN, the Senate Intel Committee releasing its findings in an investigation into Russia's election interference. The 67-page report concludes that Russia exploited U.S. election infrastructure, especially when it

comes to individual states. The report saying, quote, DHS and FBI warnings to the states in late summer and fall of 2016 did not provide enough information or go to the appropriate people.

The committee found that while the alerts were actionable, they provided no clear reason for states to take the threat more seriously than other warnings. This is just the first of five reports the committee plans to release as part of its two-year investigation.

This just in, from a CNN KFILE investigation. President Trump's top pick for a spokeswoman at the Treasury, former Fox News contributor, Monica Crowley.

[15:50:00] Repeatedly spread conspiracy theories about then President Barack Obama. And this comes after a 2017 KFILE investigation into Crowley which actually ended her bid to serve as a press secretary for Trump's National Security Council in a plagiarism scandal. KFILE'S Andrew Kaczynski has been working on this investigation and joins us. So what did you find?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, SENIOR EDITOR, CNN KFILE: So we actually went through all of her old blog posts. You mentioned in the intro that that she was a Fox News contributor. She actually was also a radio host. And she maintained this blog where she wrote a lot of conspiracy theories about former President Obama, suggesting at times he was a Muslim during the whole controversy around the ground zero mosque. She wrote this post where she sort of suggested Obama was loyal to Islam, and then made the statement, can he be both loyal to Islam and the United States. Even if President Obama was a Muslim, somebody who is Muslim can be loyal to the United States too.

HILL: Right.

KACZYNSKI: But there's also this strange line where she referenced his comments about 57 states, where he had that gaff, and she claimed that was actually a secret reference to Islam as well. HILL: Wow.

KACZYNSKI: Yes, a lot of this stuff that she was writing in these blog posts was really, really fringe.

HILL: And it's out there, right. As you point out there's plenty there, there in terms of the blog, in terms of the number of posts. What is she saying about it? What is Treasury saying? I mean what are we hearing in response to everything you found?

KACZYNSKI: Yes. We reached out to Treasury at least a few times, two or three over the past few days. We haven't actually heard anything. She was -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted a pic of her yesterday swearing her in. So she's officially on the job now, but it's very strange some of these comments, claiming that President Obama was going to conform the U.S. to Sharia law. So it's just very strange, fringe stuff you don't usually see from the chief spokesman for the Treasury.

HILL: No, you certainly don't. That's for sure. Well, we appreciate you doing the digging, nice to see you, thank you.

Up next, Attorney General Barr giving the green light for the federal government to start executing death row inmates again. New details on what's behind this sudden change.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Police in New York have arrested one of several suspects accused of drenching uniformed police officers with water. So take a look at these incidents, two incidents caught on tape, one happened in Brooklyn, one in Harlem. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god, they came over here to talk to them. You know, they violated. They violated them. They violated them. Oh, they're not stopping, oh, my god. You all get back in your cars.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: One 28-year-old suspect is charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, criminal nuisance and obstructing governmental administration, a senior NYPD official tells CNN though the officers who were doused with water are also

being reprimanded for inaction and tolerating abuse. The NYPD outlines as well in an internal memo obtained by CNN that officers may have to endure offensive language but should not tolerate conduct that may cause risk of injury or interfere with their duties.

A surprise announcement today concerning capital punishment, Attorney General William Barr is now directing the federal government to resume executions. That is something it hasn't done in 16 years. Let's bring in senior justice correspondent Evan Perez. So Evan, what's behind this sudden announcement and when could this actually go into effect? When could these executions begin? EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: According to the Justice Department, Erica, the first executions are now scheduled to begin in December. They have identified five federal inmates who would be executed under these new orders. This is something that started happening, or the process for this began under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He ordered the Bureau of Prisons to study a way to get this going, to essentially restart federal executions.

As you said, no federal inmate has been executed since 2003, and now the new Attorney General Bill Barr has issued an order to the Bureau of Prisons to identify these prisoners who would be eligible to be put to death. Now, before any executions happen of course, there might be additional legal challenges that would happen because of the protocols, rather, the drugs that are being used to put people to death.

The feds are basically trying to use the drugs and the protocols that are being used by states that have been blessed by the courts so far. We'll see whether or not these executions, which are scheduled to begin in December actually happen.

HILL: Wow. All right. Evan Perez for the latest for us there. Evan, thank you.

PEREZ: Sure.

HILL: Thanks to all of you for joining us this afternoon. I'm Erica Hill in for Brooke Baldwin. Stay with us. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Days before the big CNN debates, Joe Biden says, hey, no more Mr. nice guy. THE LEAD starts right now.

As the 2020 Democrats prepare for the next showdown. Joe Biden, firing back at the two candidates who will be next to him on stage including one who called him an architect of mass incarceration. Democrats debating the next move after Mueller, and whether to take their shot at impeachment even though Mueller's testimony --

[16:00:00]