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Republicans Block Election Security Bills as Mueller Warns of Russian Interference; 560 Arrested in Moscow in Crackdown on Opposition Supporters Demanding Free, Fair Elections; Harrowing Photo Shows Syrian Girl's Attempt to Save Infant After Airstrike; Citizen Journalist Among 18 Civilians Killed in Syria; 2020 Democrats Outline Their Immigration Plans. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 27, 2019 - 16:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:00:47] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

President Trump insulting a major American city today calling it dangerous, filthy and disgusting. I say again, he is using those words to describe a city in the United States. And the congressman who represents it is want not taking it sitting down. The President today in a tirade against long-serving Democrat representative Elijah Cummings calling his district quote "a disgusting and rat-infested mess." He spent more time in Baltimore, he writes. Maybe he could help this very dangerous and filthy place. The President went on to say no human being would want to live there.

Let's go to our White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.

Boris, this attack on the congressman Cummings and the horrible words the President is using to describe the city of Baltimore, how are people from Baltimore and those who love Baltimore reacting?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, the response has been swift and sadly many are not surprised that the President would use these sorts of words and this line of attack. Keep in mind it was just a few weeks ago that he shot out some racist tweets at four Democratic Congress women of color.

The President here being accused of race baiting yet again. Now the response from congressman Cummings himself a bit more measured. Take a look.

The congressman writing, Mr. President I go home to my district daily. Each morning I wake up and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch, but it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.

We are also getting reaction from Baltimore mayor Jack Young. Take a look at what he sent out.

He writes quote "it's completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American city like Baltimore and to viciously attack U.S. representative Elijah Cummings, a patriot and a hero."

We are also getting some criticism from the President's choice of words from some unexpected corners. Here is actually Jena Bush Hager, she is the daughter of President Bush. She writes quote "I taught in west Baltimore, I adore my kid, their parent and grandparents, they all want the same thing for their kid, the chance for their children to have safe, happy and productive lives. Let's think about the language we use and who it hurts."

Ana, we can set aside questions about decorum and race baiting, the President is attacking an American city and he is clearly misinformed. This district that Elijah Cummings represents happens to be one of the most well educated, one of the most affluent African-American predominant cities in the country. So President Trump here essentially lashing out because representative Cummings grilled DHS officials last week over the issue of immigration. The President not liking it and now we are seeing his gust response, Ana.

CABRERA: Let's talk about this.

Boris Sanchez, thank you for that report from the White House.

With us now CNN political analyst any veteran White House correspondent Margaret Talev, also Reuters' White House correspondent Jeff Mason.

Margaret, in 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in Cummings' district by more than three times the number of Trump voters. Do you think this is about sore feelings because we know he doesn't like to let thing goes or does it perhaps have more to do with Cummings' power as the House oversight chairman.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, Ana. I mean, the President obviously does feel threatened by the congressman's power and his role in the Congress and the Democratic Party, you know. But also, the President sees this as a way to get segments of his base excited and energized and his calculous so far has been that that helps him with that energy more than it hurts him perhaps in terms of the vote he may or may not get in congressman Cummings' district.

There was, of course, a news report this morning on FOX that mirrored in many ways elements of the President's talking points, what we heard from the President later that day that may be one element of this. Many folks have noticed the word infested kind of mirrors the talking points and the criticisms of the squad. So there is a lot going on here politically. And how it is playing politically is certainly, you know, the strategic conversation is one thing, but I think this is emotionally disturbing to a lot of Republicans as well to Democrats.

The President is very comfortable that what he is doing is a winning strategy to him politically or at least tactically a winning approach. And the President plays a short-term game a lot of the time. So we will see what happens.

[16:05:08] CABRERA: Well, the ball and the narrative is in his court and Democrats are having to respond. They are heading back and coming to Cummings' defense and speaker Pelosi called the President's attack racist to Kamala Harris and to Joe Biden. Why, Jeff, would the President bring this up today, though? If this is about scoring points with his base he just got a couple of victories on the immigration front.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Yes, he did. He got a Supreme Court ruling that was pretty positive for him as well. You know, I don't have the answer as to why. And I think if either of us did, Margaret and I, we would be able to write many books. But I think it's absolutely in line with the type of things that he has been saying about others. And the fact that you just nominated -- that you just mentioned these Democrats who are pushing back sort of underscores the same thing that was said after his initial attacks on the squad.

It's helping to unify Democrats. And it goes against in some ways what the President has wanted to do in attracting some African- Americans to his coalition. He likes to talk about the fact that African-American unemployment is at a record low. This type of thing, as well as his comments about the minority congresswoman, you know, contradicts that com completely.

CABRERA: Let's talk a little bit more about this immigration when I referenced became late yesterday, the Supreme Court allowing defense funds to go toward the border wall at least for now. And there's also the U.S. signing an asylum agreement with Guatemala that could limit the ability of some Central American migrants to claim asylum in the U.S. Donald Trump promised to began to crack down on immigration. Margaret, can he now say these are more promises kept?

TALEV: Yes, I think this is unquestionably for the short term for the President. And since we were talking about tactics, I think tactically, that is what matters. If down some steps down the road there is a court action that halts this and stops this, then the President will attempt to use that to say, well, at least I'm fighting a good fight. But I think he was either going to win this or lose this step. And so, a win is a win and he can show that he is fighting.

Ultimately, I think what we see going on with Guatemala is that there's just been intense, consistent pressure from not just President Trump but vice President Pence and the entire administration kind of the carrying the stick, the threat of pulling funds. And all of this has come to bear now on trying to put up some walls, if you will, some proverbial wall with the asylum process walls that gives the U.S. more ways to say no for asylum claims.

CABRERA: Margaret, quickly if you will, you know, one can argue Trump won 2016 on immigration but his immigration focus, and the migrant caravans, it didn't work in 2018. What do you think this does to the 2020 race?

TALEV: Well, the congressional races are different than Presidential races and much to the chagrin of some Republicans in Congress. The President is running in the way that he thinks will help him the most that may not be what will help Republicans in swing districts the most, but the President has felt that it was a winning strategy in 2016. And that if he can show that he is keeping his word on fighting for the things he said he would, he believes that that will help energize his base and help him to carry the election in 2020.

CABRERA: Jeff, take a look at this because there were two recent polls where you have the majority of Americans now saying it's a bad idea to decriminalize border crossings. You have the FOX News poll showing 57 percent against 34 percent in favor. Marist also showing 66 percent oppose this idea, 27 percent in favor. Given that, why do you think Democrats who are running to be president are still willing to go so far left on this issue?

MASON: Well, that's a great question. And I think, you know, it's very clear from that polling that you're showing there and other polling that we have seen that immigration is a very important issue for a lot of people in the U.S. and not just President Trump's base. A lot of people care about it. A lot of people are concerned about it. So I have heard some people say that the Democrats in these debates and we have another one coming up here on CNN need to not just focus on President Trump, but on what they would do on the issue.

Many will no doubt, talk about comprehensive immigration reform, but that type of legislation has not been successful under either Democratic or Republican Presidential candidates or President, rather. So you know, we will see what they say in these debates but I think it's a strength in many people and though many people see it as a strength for President Trump, you know, when he talks about promises made and promises kept, he doesn't have large chunks of wall to show for it. And he did promise in 2016 that there would be a big wall built and that Mexico would pay for it and that's not a promise that he's been able to deliver despite the fact that he says, you know, big chunks or parts of existing wall have been rebuilt, that's something that I think his base will be looking for.

[16:10:02] CABRERA: The replacement wall is one thing, but new wall is another.

MASON: Exactly.

CABRERA: And there is no evidence that that's gone up why yet.

Jeff Mason, Margaret Talev, good to have both of you. Thank you.

As the President tweets and golfs today, some of the top 2020 Democratic candidate are hitting the campaign trail while others are laying low. They are preparing for the upcoming debates now in just three days. So what's it going to take to stand out in the crowded field of candidates? We will talk to a debate expert next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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[16:14:05] CABRERA: Round two. The next Democratic debate is almost upon us. And for all of the candidates intense preparation is critical because it's not just what you know, it is how to be strategic with the knowledge, how to find and take advantage of the breakout moment, just ask Kamala Harris who saw her poll numbers zoom after this jab at Joe Biden's past tense on school bussing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Biden still smart from that one.

Joining us now Democratic strategist and debate coach Bob Barnett. He has worked on ten national Presidential campaigns and has advised more prominent politicians than I have time to name here. But I will tell you he worked with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008.

Bob, good to have you with us. I'm curious, who were you representing the night of January 5th, 2008. Do you remember?

[16:15:08] ROBERT BARNETT, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: January 5th, 2008, I think we were in the middle of prep for the primary debates.

CABRERA: Yes. So it was between Clinton and Obama that debate.

That night I was with Hillary. I was with Hillary all through those primaries and then after Hillary dropped out I helped President -- then senator, soon President Obama with his general election debates.

CABRERA: Well, here's why I ask on that date specifically because we saw one of the most famous or infamous skirmishes of the 2008 Presidential campaign that night. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you say to the voters of New Hampshire on this stage tonight who see your resume and like it, but are hesitating on the likability issue where they seem to like Barack Obama more?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that hurts my feelings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, senator. I'm sorry.

CLINTON: But I'll try to go on. He's very likable. I agree with that. I don't think I'm that bad --

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are likable enough, Hillary.

CLINTON: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Likable enough. Obama took some heat for that. Do you remember that? BARNETT: I remember it well. I remember it well. Her answer to the

let us say a difficult question I WAS thought very good and he had a comeback, but some of that comeback he got some criticism for so you have to be careful.

CABRERA: Exactly. As a coach, what kind of tone do you advise candidates to strive for?

BARNETT: It depends on the candidate. It depends on the circumstance. It depends on the place you are in the election cycle. Right now we will are going to see some interesting matchups. I think we are going to see an interesting matchup on Tuesday with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I think we are going to see an interesting matchup on Wednesday with Cory Booker and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

I think that it will also be fascinating to see what the column of lesser knowns do because this could be the ninth inning for many of them. So each one as they work with their advisers will have to define what's in their best interest tone wise and strategic wise.

CABRERA: How do you expect this set of debates on differ from the first round? Because in both debates we have as many candidates as we have this time around. Ten on the first night, ten on the second night and it will be a round two of just that.

BARNETT: I guess I would make a couple of points. First, with respect, as I mentioned, to some of the lesser knowns, it's the ninth inning. And wit the criteria increasing for the next set of debates in September, what do I mean by that? You have to be two percent in four polls and you have to have a lot more individual voters in those 20 states. So for a lot of these people, six, eight, maybe even of them, this is their last chance because the criteria will be far more difficult to achieve.

With respect to the front-runners I think it is going to be interesting to see what each of them decides with respect to what's the most advantageous strategy for them. Let me give you some examples.

With respect to Warren and Sanders. I think it's fair to say that Elizabeth Warren has had a steady increase in her numbers. And I think it's fair to say that she was seen as having a very good night on the first night of last month's debates. And think it's fair to say that a lot of her rise is probably coming at the expense of senator Sanders. So I think her strategy will probably be to keep on keeping on, as they say.

With respect to senator Sanders, however, he has got to make a difficult decision. Does he go after her trying to stop the hemorrhaging? That is conceivably a mistake. Why? Because I hate to say it, but the dynamics of these debates is such that often a man going after a woman doesn't sell well, but also Elizabeth Warren is really good. And he will have met his match if he goes too aggressively against her because she will be able to answer in kind, if not better. So the dynamic will be very interesting on that night. CABRERA: We heard that Joe Biden is going to have an aggressive

stance in this debate compared to his first one. Do you think that will work in his favor?

BARNETT: Well, I would say first that a lot of the pre-debate spin, if you will, about people and what they are going to do is often setups. I don't buy into that too much. It depends who the source is, whether there's really somebody in the campaign, whether they really know what the strategy is, so I kind of discount a lot of that spin. I know that the cable networks love to talk about it and sometimes --.

CABRERA: Let me to ask you to follow that. What would be your advice to vice president Biden as the front-runner?

[16:20:00] BARNETT: I think he should do a couple of things and first, to the extent he can talk about the future rather than the past, that's a good thing. If he has to talk about the past I think it's better to talk about the recent past meaning the Obama years than the Senate years for obvious reasons.

So I think what he should do, finally, is take it to President Trump more than to his opponent, if he can. So I would see him as best served by talking about the future, looking forward, taking an approach that's forward oriented and I think if he does that he's probably in good shape.

Now that said, if someone comes after him he has got to be ready. He has got to be sharp. He has got to answer and he's got to be aggressive and I'm sure since he has one of the best prep teams he does, and I'm pretty sure he will be ready.

CABRERA: Let me ask you really quickly because I know I'm being told we don't have much pipe, but if you are one of the lesser knowns who are polling one percent, for example, you talk about this being so crucial for them, what would be your quick advice for them.

BARNETT: I think that desperation is a bad thing. And to the extent you try to score points on somebody or say something that's going to go viral you are probably not going to succeed. I think, sadly, for a lot of these people it's probably over after Tuesday and Wednesday night. So what they should do is leave, maybe not leave, in the best way they can with the most dignity they can. If they haven't introduced themselves, do so. If they have a point to make on why they are the best choice, do so.

And remember, a lot of the lesser knowns are running for vice president. Hate to tell you, but that's in their mind, too.

CABRERA: Interesting. Bob Barnett, I look forward to continuing the debate conversations as we weave our way through the Democratic nominating process. Thank you so much for being here.

BARNETT: Thank you for having me, Ana.

CABRERA: The CNN Presidential Democratic presidential debate just a few days away. Two big nights, 10 candidates each night. The first is Tuesday July 30th with front-runners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the center. And then on Wednesday, July 31st, we will see that rematch between Jo Biden and Kamala Harris, among others of course. The CNN debates live from Detroit only on CNN.

Now to the search for two teenage murder suspects in Canada as investigators worry good Samaritans may have inadvertently helped the teens get away. All the details next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:26:08] CABRERA: Right now in Canada a massive manhunt for two teens suspected of killing three people is under way. Police are going door to door in rural north Manitoba after the pair were spotted there. Authorities also believe they may have changed their appearance. Now officials initially thought the teens were just missing after their car was found burning on the side of the highway, but now investigators say they are prime suspects in the killings and could be armed and dangerous.

CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval is following all the details.

Polo, where does the manhunt stand at this hour?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, put yourself in a position of some of the residents of (INAUDIBLE), Manitoba, for a second. They have been dealing with this already for several days. They have been witnessing police now, essentially going door to door in their search for these two gunmen.

Speaking to the deputy mayor of that small community, they say that many of the residents are living in fear but they are struggling with a really high level of uncertainty not knowing whether or not these two suspected killers are still in their community.

So what investigators are doing, they are releasing this surveillance video that we are told was shot on Sunday at a business in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. But it really gives people really a clear view of these two men that are believed to have killed three people in British Columbia.

Then you also have the elements that these two could potentially be exposed to in and around the Manitoba area. As you are about to hear from one local resident, mother nature could be quite unforgiving especially if you don't have the training or equipment to survive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS CHAMPAGNE, GILLAM RESIDENT: It's nasty. I have worked out there. I did some diamond drilling there 25, 30 years ago. And you know, if the bears don't get them the bugs will. They are going to be wet and cold now, probably a little bit desperate if they are still alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: And as police continue the door to door search this weekend, they also say that they are looking into the possibility that a resident in and around the Gillam area may have an unknowingly assisted these two in some ways shape or form. Investigators aren't going beyond that. But that is one of the main reason why they are showing this video right now hoping someone somewhere may be able to provide that crucial information, Ana, that will eventually lead these to these two individuals. Back to you now.

CABRERA: OK. Polo Sandoval, thank you.

Turning to New York where we are learning new details on a tragic story. A 39-year-old father has been charged on multiple counts after his 1-year-old twins were found dead inside his hot car. Police believe the boy and girl were left there for more than eight hours while their father was at work.

CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher joins us now.

Diane, the father says this was a mistake?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That is what witnesses on scene said that he was heard shouting and crying to police at that time. 39-year-old Juan Rodriguez does face two counts of manslaughter, two counts of criminal negligence in the death of his 1- year-old twins.

Again, police say that they believe that he was at work at the nearby VA hospital and left those twins strapped into the backseat of that Honda for at least eight hours while he was on shift. We reached out to the VA hospital. They confirmed he worked. But due to privacy reason didn't want to say what he did.

However, an man who is Rodriguez's best friend said that Rodriguez was a social worker at the VA hospital and he believed was a very good father. That they had just celebrated those 1-year-old twins' first birthday with a bounce house, bubbles and things like that.

Eighty-six degrees in New York City on Friday when those kids were left in there, Ana. We do expect him to be arraigned at some point today.

CABRERA: So sad. Diane Gallagher, thank you for that.

Special counsel Robert Mueller says Russia is trying to interfere with the 2020 election as we speak and at the same time Senate Republicans block two election security bills. What needs to happen to protect the election security before the first votes are cast?

[16:30:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: One of the most alarming things former Special Counsel Robert Mueller told Congress this week is that the Russians definitely attacked the U.S. election in 2016. And he warns they will keep attacking elections until they are stopped.

Despite that, Republicans keep blocking election security bills. Why is that?

CNN's senior political analyst, John Avlon, has a "REALITY CHECK."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Beyond all the partisan fights over the Mueller hearings, there was that one crystal clear conclusion.

REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): Did you think that this was a single attempt by the Russians to get involved in our election or did you find evidence that suggests they'll try to do this again?

ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: No, it wasn't a single attempt and they're doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.

AVLON: That fact that a hostile foreign power attacked us and is continuing to attack us is something that should unite us all, regardless of party, but it doesn't. In fact, under President Trump, it's tended to have the opposite effect.

And it's outrageous that at the same time Mueller was issuing that warning, a Republican senator from Mississippi, named Cindy Hyde- Smith, was single-handedly blocking two election security bills. When Democrats tried to pass it by unanimous consent, Hyde-Smith objected. She didn't even feel she needed to give a reason to do it.

But what made her action even more insulting is that it came one day after FBI director Wray told the Senate this.

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through --

[16:35:04] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Is it fair to say that everything --

WRAY: -- foreign influence.

GRAHAM: -- we've done against Russia has not deterred them enough? All the sanctions, all the talk, they're still at it.

WRAY: Well, my view is, until they stop, they haven't been deterred enough.

AVLON: The warning couldn't be more clear, folks. But the Republican response from too many folks has been to block election security bills and take an ostrich-like approach to protecting our nation's election system.

They're following the lead of Mitch McConnell, who objected to another bill that would have required campaigns to notify the FBI if a foreign government offered election assistance. That's not all. He also killed a different set of election security bills on Thursday.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Clearly, this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly, something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent.

AVLON: Talk about politics over principles. Who in the world would benefit from refusing to strengthen our election system? It's certainly not Americans.

After all, thanks to a brand-new report from the Senate Intelligence Committee, we now know that Russians likely targeted election systems in all 50 states, between 2014 and 2017, far more than previously disclosed. And because of their success we now know that other hostile nations are getting into the game, including Iran and China.

But while intelligence and law enforcement folks are warning about this ongoing threat, too many Senate Republicans seem far more interested in defending the president than in defending our democracy.

Now, tone comes from the top. And President Trump has shown a persistent disinterest in trying to strengthen our election security systems. Perhaps that's because he fears that foreign meddling delegitimizes his own election win.

But appeasing Trump is no reason for a lawmaker to abandon their responsibility to the republic. Ignoring the need to strengthen our election systems is an outrage. And it's happening right now.

Listen just one more time to what Mueller said.

MUELLER: No, it wasn't a single attempt and they're doing it as we sit here.

AVLON: Wolves at the door, folks. In a purely political effort to stay on Donald Trump's good side, too many Republicans are letting that door swing wide open.

And that's your "REALITY CHECK."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: John Avlon, thank you for that.

CNN national security analyst, Steve Hall, is with us now. He the former chief of the CIA's Russia operations.

Steve, you just heard in John Avlon's report the head of the FBI confirmation that Russia is still actively meddling in the U.S. election process.

And let me remind the viewers of this light moment between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin just last month. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't meddle in the election, please. Don't meddle in the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Jokingly saying, don't meddle.

Steve, what does that type of attitude mean for those on the front lines in a position like you held at the CIA?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It is outrageous and inexplicable, Ana. These attacks on us in 2016 were, indeed, attacks. This wasn't a trade war or disagreement at some international conference. This is an attack on critical infrastructure, critical voting infrastructure.

And why it is that the Republicans, who are usually the most hawkish of the group, right -- you usually have much more hawkish behavior on the Republicans and Democrats more dovish behavior. It's now flipped. You have the Republicans, especially Mitch McConnell, being extremely dovish, and saying, no, no, no, we don't need to defend ourselves any more against Russia. It's just breathtaking and it's inexplicable in my view.

CABRERA: Let's talk about what was blocked in the Senate because it happened twice this week. The House passed bills that would strengthen U.S. election security. And these bills would have steered more money toward states for implementing security measures, required paper ballots as backups, required campaigns to report any type of foreign interference.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shot down those bills. He called them pure politics. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Clearly, this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly, something so partisan that it only received one single, solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So I listed some of the things that were in these bills, Steve, but you're the expert. What are the countermeasures to stop Russia ahead of the 2020 election?

HALL: In fairness, it is a difficult task. But that's by no means does that mean that a politician should simply sit back and say it didn't get enough votes. That's absolutely ridiculous. And you have to ask yourself why is it that McConnell is taking that position?

But to answer the question, I think a good offense is the best defense. We need to make sure that the Russians -- and don't mistake it. The Russians have shared their successes with their allies, Iran, China, and the rest.

But we have to send a strong message to those countries that if you even attempt or we detect the smallest intrusion in the elections that it will be lights out for Russia and China. Because we have very serious cyber capabilities ourselves. And they need to know the price that they will pay if they try to do this again in 2020 or thereafter.

[16:40:07] CABRERA: Steve, today, in Russia, we are learning more than 560 people have already been arrested in Moscow in a crackdown on opposition supporters demanding free and fair elections.

Steve, explain the political ramifications of these clashes that we're seeing on the screen right now. Who is protesting on the streets of Moscow? What do they want and why are they being arrested?

HALL: Ana, these are echoes of the protests that we heard and then actually saw in 2011. Every once in a while, you have an uprising in Russia amongst common folks, a lot of them in the more developed areas of Russia. So, Moscow, St. Petersburg and places like that.

And it's Vladimir Putin's nightmare because it's the beginning of democracy. It's people rising up and saying, wait a minute, I don't think this government represents me. And that's Vladimir Putin's ultimate nightmare and that's why he's concerned about it.

CABRERA: Steve Hall, always good. Thank you. It's always good to talk to you. Thanks for being here.

HALL: Sure.

CABRERA: A heartbreaking story just ahead. Lost, forgotten, and dying as the world looks the other way. Death is still the norm in Syria. How they are making the world pay attention? Next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:11] CABRERA: I want to warn you the image we're about to show you is very disturbing.

The Syrian government has recently increased its airstrikes in and around Idlib, the last areas controlled by the opposition. Civilian deaths have spiked. And that includes children. In the past four weeks, more than 30 children have died. That's more than were killed in this civil war in all of last year.

One of those children is 5-year-old Riham Al Abdallah. You can see her shortly before her death. She's trapped in rubble. And in her hand is her 7-month-old sister Tuka's green shirt. Riham holds on tight as her baby sister dangles just above the rubble. This was just moments after the building they were in was hit.

Their father above them, watching in horror as he yells out to his daughters, "Don't move."

Moments after that picture was taken, the house collapsed.

The man who took this photo helped to get the girls to a hospital. The baby survived. At last report, she was in intensive care. Riham later died of her injuries. Their mother and two other sisters were killed as well.

Also, this week, a young Syrian photographer, who also a member of the volunteer search-and-rescue group known as White Helmets, was killed while documenting a Russian airstrike. He leaves behind a trove of pictures.

Again, I must warn you, they are difficult to see, yet they are important.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh looks at his legacy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(EXPLOSION)

(CROSSTLAK)

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even when the world almost stopped paying attention, Anas al-Dyab did not stop taking pictures. He wanted the world to see the living hell that his country had become.

Diab's photographs brought us the worst of Syria today, like this heartbreaking image earlier this year of 6-year-old Hasna Patrun (ph). The lifeless hand under her knee was that of her 3-year-old sister. Her 1-year-old brother was also killed in that airstrike.

(CRYING)

(SIRENS)

KARADSHEH: In the midst of tragedy, he never failed to also capture moments of innocence, the humanity that at times outlived the horrors of war.

He was witness to some of the darkest atrocities of our time, the April 2017 chemical attack on his town of Khan Shaykhun.

Diab, a media activist and a member of the rescue group the White Helmets, was injured three times in recent years but that didn't stop the 23-year-old. He spent the past week documenting the brutal bombardment of Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian regime and its ally, Russia. And it cost him his life.

(CROSSTALK)

KARADSHEH: Diab was killed in an airstrike on Sunday. Colleagues and friends gathered to pay their final respects. And the White Helmets mourned. In a statement saying, quote, "Anas will always be remembered as the one who chose to stay behind the scenes and fight with his camera."

Thus, the 24 hours after his death, there were more bodies to bury, more victims to mourn. Lives lost in one of the bloodiest attacks in months on what's left of rebel-held Syria.

That here has become normal, the everyday, that is what Anas al-Dyab wanted the world to see, even as it turned the other way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the result of your apathy. This is the United States' apathy toward the Syria situation. We are getting shelled every day. We are getting killed every day. Please, Mr. Trump, please, please stop this.

KARADSHEH: Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Up next, 2020 candidates are outlining these immigration plans making their case against President Trump's.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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[16:52:21] CABRERA: The issue with immigration is front and center right now in the 2020 election.

And CNN's Ed Lavandera takes a look at what Democratic candidates are saying about this key issue and how their views differ from President Trump's.

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ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happens here along the U.S. southern border casts a long shadow over the 2020 presidential election and Democrats are pushing their own immigration vision in the age of Trump.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D), SOUTH BEND MAYOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president thinks that he can turn people against immigrants in order to distract them from the things that are making it so hard to get ahead in this country right now.

(CHEERING)

LAVANDERA: The constant theme for most Democrats is they are the opposite of President Trump, vowing to end what they see as Trump using immigrants to stoke the fears of Americans.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can enforce our immigration laws and still uphold our humanitarian obligations in this nation.

LAVANDERA: The two Texans in the Democratic field cast themselves as some of the strongest voices on this issue. In April, Julian Castro, the former San Antonio mayor who served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama, was the first to unveil a detailed immigration plan while immigration is also a constant theme of former Congressman Beto O'Rourke's campaign stops.

Both as well as many others in the Democratic field call for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country, citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, and funding for more border wall construction. They want to close private for-profit immigration detention centers and reform the immigration court system.

Castro and O'Rourke have clashed over a section of the law that makes it a crime to enter the U.S. illegally. Castro wants to repeal the law, making illegal entry a simple civil violation.

JULIAN CASTRO, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER HUD SECRETARY: They're using Section 1325 of that act, which criminalizes coming across the border, to incarcerate the parents and then separate them. Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it. Some, like Congressman O'Rourke, have not.

BETO O'ROURKE, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I helped to introduce legislation that would ensure that we don't criminalize those who are seeking asylum and refugees in this country.

(CROSSTALK)

CASTRO: I'm not talking -- I'm not talking about the ones that --

(CROSSTALK)

O'ROURKE: If you're fleeing -- if you're fleeing --

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: The detention of families over the last year has shaped the rhetoric of most Democrats. Elizabeth Warren is like most of the candidates calling for families not to be detained while immigration cases are being processed.

(APPLAUSE)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): No great nation tears families apart. No great nation locks up children.

(APPLAUSE)

WARREN: We need -- we must at the border respect the dignity of every human being who comes here.

[16:55:05] LAVANDERA: The Trump administration's hardline approach on reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the country has inspired some candidates to call for the end of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

BILL DE BLASIO, (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't need this ICE though. That's the other thing I should say. This ICE, as it's formed now, should be abolished.

LAVANDERA: Most candidates aren't going that far. Instead calling for ICE to be reformed and some of its immigration enforcement duties to be passed off to other agencies.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I think it is not just ICE. It is very clear that the immigration system itself -- you've heard some of it and there is more we haven't discussed today -- is completely broken. It is absolutely broken.

(APPLAUSE)

LAVANDERA: Democrats are facing accusations from President Trump of pushing for open borders and being weak on security. It's a question that will follow the candidates.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): It is part of what this president is trying to do to really misinform the American people, to say that Democrats don't care about border security. We have to enforce our laws and keep our borders safe.

LAVANDERA: A shadow of the border is casting a deep divide on the presidential campaign trail.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Just ahead, they were Pentagon funds laid out for recruiting, aircraft upgrades and training Afghan security forces, but now the Supreme Court says the president can use that money to build his wall.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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