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Biden to Shield Undocumented Spouses from Deportation; Trump to Visit Milwaukee after 'Horrible City' Comment; Putin Heads to North Korea to Meet with Kim Jong-un; Wildfires Predicted in West as Heat Continues. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 18, 2024 - 06:00   ET


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: It's Tuesday, June 18. Right now on CNN THIS MORNING, President Biden is preparing to take executive action to protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants from deportation.


Vladimir Putin visiting North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un, the U.S. deeply concerned about their motives.

And the surgeon general calling for warning labels on social media apps, just like cigarettes and alcohol.

Six a.m. here in Washington, and here's a live look at the White House. Morning, everyone. I'm Manu Raju in for Kasie Hunt. It's great to be here with you today.

Now, today, President Biden using the power of his pen to dramatically alter the immigration landscape. He'll be announcing a sweeping executive action, shielding undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation and allowing them to work legally in the country while they seek citizenship.

Now, the policy applies to people who have been living in the United States for ten years and could affect hundreds of thousands of people. And this plan amounts of the federal government's biggest relief programs since the Obama-era DACA program.

Earlier this month, President Biden signaled the move was coming.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not use the U.S. military to go into neighborhoods all across the country to pull millions of people out of their homes and away from their families to put in detention camps while awaiting deportation, as my predecessor says he will do if he occupies this office again.

In the weeks ahead -- and I mean in the weeks ahead -- I'll speak to how we can make our immigration system more fair and more just.

Let's fix the problem and stop fighting about it.


RAJU: All right. We have a great panel to discuss this morning: CNN Politics senior reporter Stephen Collinson; former federal prosecutor Elliot Williams; Shermichael Singleton, former deputy chief of staff at HUD in the Trump administration; and Meghan Hays, former special assistant to President Biden.

Good morning, everybody. Thanks for being here. OK. So just so viewers have an understanding of what this policy is, and since there's a lot to it. It essentially would shield spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation; allow them to work legally in the United States; would apply to people living in the U.S. for ten plus years; and would utilize a legal authority known as, quote, "parole in place."

All right. Shermichael, you're the Republican strategist at the table. You see this. You see Biden doing this in the middle of an election year. How do Republicans respond? Of course, they're going to criticize him.

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think -- well, we know what Republicans will --

RAJU: How -- how will it impact the campaign?

SINGLETON: I mean, look, the president clearly took some executive actions -- I think a week ago he announced it -- because the White House recognizes that this is an issue that the president has not done very well at.

Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, asked the Senate not to move forward with the immigration compromise for the very purpose that he believed -- and the polling revealed this to be true -- that this was to his advantage.

Now, you have President Biden taking a step where I think Trump will say, well, wait a minute, you're trying to have it both ways. You want to secure the border. But yet, you're going to allow potentially hundreds of thousands of people to stay. I think that is going to send mixed signals to the American people.

The administration is going to have to figure this out.

RAJU: Mixed signals?

MEGHAN HAYS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: But I think that most -- 70 percent of the population believe that we should be taking a multi-faceted approach here with the security and a way for citizenship. So I think he is doing what people actually want.

And also, this election could be won on the margins, and this impacts families who are living in some of these border grounds -- border battleground states. And I think that that's important to remember here, moving into the election.

RAJU: And you talk about security versus how -- you're talking about people want security, but the people may be open to different ideas as it comes to people here, undocumented immigrants.

When you look at how the program to deport undocumented immigrants. That's what Trump has talked about. Rounding up undocumented immigrants, pushing them out. Sixty-two percent favor that, according to a CBS News poll, versus 38 oppose that idea.

And on the idea of whether or not people should be allowed to stay in the United States, undocumented immigrants, should they be allowed to stay in the United States legally, if certain requirements are met. This was an interesting point from a Pew Research poll: 85 percent of Biden supporters support that idea, just 32 percent of Trump supporters.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If -- if that question were asked differently of all those people, do you believe that people who are, A, more likely to be married; B, less likely to commit crimes; and C, more likely to be religious should be allowed in the United States? I think everybody would say overwhelmingly yes.

But I think it's very easy to demonize and say people jumping over fences with suitcases of fentanyl. And that's what's happening at the border.

And without question, we need strong and tough border security in America. There's a balance to be struck and so on. But -- but I think when the question is framed, merely, do you want more immigrants in the country? Of course, many people, particularly on the right, are going to say no.

But -- but that's only half of the story. And looking at, if you really unpack this decision that was made by the Biden administration or is being made today by the Biden administration, No. 1, only applies to couples and families that have been here for ten years and have established families and so on.

So I just think this is the problem with the immigration debate in the country today. It's very the easy to sort of cast everything with a broad brush. It's far more nuanced.

RAJU: I mean, look, as you were saying, I mean, it's kind of hard to fit all that Elliot was saying on a bumper sticker.


RAJU: That's the -- we're in a campaign. That's the issue.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Those numbers you cited show why there should be support for comprehensive immigration reform. But at the same time, it shows why there's an incentive every time it comes up in Congress for someone to stand up and get a political advantage by trashing it.

You cannot look at this action that the president will take today without thinking about the politics. A lot of progressives were deeply angered by the tightening of the asylum restrictions a few weeks ago. But the president had to do that, as you were saying, because he had to shore up his support with more moderate voters, who are very worried about the border, and including many Democrats. as this has spread to American cities.

But at the same time, the president is looking weakened in places like Arizona, the safety net, if his Midwest route back to the 270 electoral votes to the White House doesn't work.

This is going to be something that's popular with Hispanic voters, another group with whom has been struggling in his electoral coalition.

So nothing makes sense in immigration, because nothing can ever get fixed. But politically, it makes sense from that point of view.

WILLIAMS: Well, it's important that you said comprehensive immigration reform, only because 2006, 2008, 2013, 2007, each of those years, Congress tried to bring it up and failed. And they've consistently failed to fix this issue.

Now, the big winners seem to be Republicans, because in this vacuum, and fairly -- and I'm going to keep using that word, failure, on the part of the U.S. Congress to address all of these questions, whether its border security or the humanitarian questions about keeping families together.

It's all on Congress, but it ends up being a big political win for Republicans, because you've got the images of the fentanyl at the border.

RAJU: Sure. And the politics have shifted so much since the comprehensive immigration debate back in 2013.

Remember the Senate passed a bipartisan bill. It stopped in the Republican-led House, and the Democrats have shifted to the Republican position on so many parts on immigration.

But it's interesting that you mentioned Hispanic voters. Sixty-five percent of Hispanic voters in 2020 supported Joe Biden, according to exit polls, just 32 percent for Biden [SIC].

Public polling now shows a much tighter margin. That is 52 to 47, Biden-Trump, Biden advantage over Trump in a recent Quinnipiac poll. OK.

So Meghan, you -- you are close to the Biden campaign. You used to work for the White House. What -- how concerned are they about the Hispanic voters coming home?

HAYS: I think they're concerned about the Hispanic voters coming home. I think they're concerned about black voters coming home. They need to shore up their base, and I think they know that. And they are doing things to do that.

I think that these different immigration tactics that the president is taking now, I think that's because Congress has failed to act, to Elliot's point. And he is trying to do all he can. And he did it with some the gun legislation. He's done a lot of E.O.'s

where Congress has failed, and I think that's a very strong thing for the president to be doing. And it's a strong thing to run on.

RAJU: All right. OK, we'll see how the politics play out.

Just ahead. Awkward? Donald Trump about to make a campaign stop in Milwaukee after referring to the city as horrible.

Plus, Vladimir Putin making the West nervous as he heads to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un.

And high temperatures and winds feeding fast-moving wildfires in California and New Mexico.



RAJU: Donald Trump makes a campaign stop in the suburbs of Milwaukee today, just days after calling the city, quote, "horrible." The reaction to that remark was swift.

A local brewery announcing plans to roll out a (Not So) Horrible City IPA, just right before the Republican convention next month.

And the mayor of Milwaukee also pushing back.


MAYOR CAVALIER JOHNSON (D), MILWAUKEE: Well, Donald Trump was talking about things that he thinks are horrible. All of us lived through his presidency. So right back at you, buddy.


RAJU: And even the Biden-Harris campaign seizing the opportunity. They're offering, quote, "(Not) A Horrible City" merch online.

Now for Trump, he's denying he ever made the comment, accusing Democrats of, quote, "making up stories."


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it was very clear what I meant. I said we're very concerned with crime. I love Milwaukee. I have great friends in Milwaukee. I was referring to, also, the election.



RAJU: All right, Shermichael, what do you think? Is this a problem for Trump? SINGLETON: I mean, I don't think it's a problem, because people are

sort of used to him saying crazy things. But I just think going forward, like this just shouldn't be something Republicans want to talk about it.

There's every city in this country, major cities, small city that truly faces some very difficult problems and challenges right now. And if you're running to be the commander-in-chief of the country, then the response to those problems should be here are the things that I'm laying out that I'm rolling out over the next couple of months that, if you vote for me, I plan to do within the first 90 days, the first year. That should be the focus.

We shouldn't be insulting cities because of their challenges, because every city in this country faces different challenges.

RAJU: I mean, the Republicans are saying that what Trump meant to be -- meant to say, was referring to was crime, as you heard from Trump saying there.

But you know, is crime a liability for Biden? I mean, sure, crime rates may be decreasing in certain cities, but still, people feel unsafe. That can't be good politics for the incumbent president.

HAY: I mean, I think the FBI came out with a study or some polling that the crime rate has actually gone down significantly.

But also, we live in a world where it's like what Trump meant to say always, and to Shermichael's point, like, you don't insult a city that's hosting a major convention for you.

And like these -- also, it's a battleground state. You're insulting people who live in a state that you need to vote for you to win, to get back to the White House. It just to me is a very bizarre way to go about things.

And then to lie about it on the back-end, also an interesting tactic.

WILLIAMS: And it's not just -- it's not just as simple as well, Milwaukee is all Democrats, and therefore, he was bashing a predominantly black Democratic city.

No, there's swing voters in Milwaukee, in the Milwaukee suburbs that he needs as a purely practical matter. Forget the wisdom and the politics of it. But as a practical matter, he needs those people's votes. And insulting their home probably isn't the way to get it.

But again, we're back in, "well, you know, that's not what he meant" when he it said "shithole" or when he said whatever else. And here we are again.

RAJU: So get inside Donald Trump's brain, Stephen. And you know, I wanted to tell me. He goes to Racine today. What does he do? Does he address this? Does he ignore it, or does he attack Democrats for making things up, as he says?

COLLINSON: Well, Racine is the swingiest district of possibly the swingiest state.

RAJU: Yes, really.

COLLINSON: A few votes here and there can make a big difference. I think it was, what, 20,000 in 2020.

RAJU: Twenty-two thousand.

COLLINSON: Twenty-two thousand. So anything can matter.

I don't think he brings it up today, but I'm pretty sure when he stands up there at the convention, he's going to say, "I love Milwaukee."

Again, Trump once said what you're seeing and what you're hearing is not what's happening. He said that to his supporters, and he's made a brand out of that.

RAJU: If you're the Biden campaign, how concerned are you about Wisconsin? You know, it's a close state. It's always a pivotal state. It wasn't 2020; was in 2016. Just about the president's standing in Wisconsin as heads into reelection.

What's he going to do differently to make sure that it doesn't flip to Trump?

HAYS: I mean, I think that he's concerned about it. Obviously, they're running a ton of money there. They're doing a lot of organizing. They're getting boots on the ground to turn votes out. So of course, they're worried about it.

I think that President Biden needs to continue to talk about the issues and talk about what he's doing for people and not get bogged down in what Trump's doing and, like, the drama and the tabloid nest of his campaign and just continue to talk about the issues. And he needs to pivot to the economy and show people what he's done for them on the economy.

RAJU: All right. OK. We'll see if you decides to do that.

And ahead Boeing's CEO facing a Senate hearing amid multiple investigations.

Plus, two leaders meeting at Pyongyang this morning.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": For the first time in nearly 25 years, Vladimir Putin is making a state visit to North Korea. Putin and Kim Jong-un.

Now, also meeting up, Voldemort, the Penguin and Bowser from Super Mario Brothers.



RAJU: Right now, Russian President Vladimir Putin on his way to North Korea for a two-day visit. And that is raising concerns in the U.S. and Europe about Ukraine.

Satellite images show preparations are underway for a large parade in central Pyongyang.

Here's what national security spokesman John Kirby is saying about this.


JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: No surprised that he went to North Korea after his so-called election, the nail-biter that that was. And he was going to go on a little bit of a charm offensive here. And that's what he appears to be doing.

What we are concerned about, Trevor, is the deepening relationship between these two countries.


RAJU: All right, CNN's Mike Valerio joins us live from Seoul.

So Mike, the timing of this trap. What does it say to you about why this is happening now, and what is the goal for this meeting?

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Manu, first of all, good evening from Seoul. It is so great to be here with you tonight.

It tells me that both Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un really need each other desperately at this moment of time. And what this is all about, Manu, it's certainly just a tale of what each country wants and, really, what each country is going get.

So in terms of the laundry list, it's pretty long. Let's go to North Korea first.

At the very top of their list, they need help with their satellite and ballistic missile technology. That's certainly an area of expertise that Russia can help out with. North Korea has been trying to send out these spy satellites for a very long time.

And only has one, Manu, successful launch that happened in November. A couple of weeks ago, it tried to send up another spy satellite. It failed. There's all this spectacular video of it blowing up, captured by Japanese cameras.

North Korea sends trash balloons out sort of as part of its angered response.

North Korea also wants the prestige of standing on the same stage with a leader, from its point of view, has this strength -- again, from their point of view -- across the world.

They need food assistance, energy assistance, as well.

And then we go to what Russia wants, Manu. They, first and foremost, need weapons, ammo to help prosecute its war against Ukraine. They have had ammo -- ammo shortages.

South Korean intelligence officials, in addition to officials in D.C., have told us that there is evidence of North Korean munitions ending up on the battlefield, thousands of miles away from the peninsula here, in Ukraine.


But, you know, there are North Korea experts who are wondering how far this quid pro quo is really going going to go? Will Russia give up its missile and satellite secrets for North Korean munitions?

Listen to what Peter Ward told us a little earlier.


PETER WARD, RESEARCH FELLOW AT SEJONG INSTITUTE: I'm a little bit skeptical about both the ballistic missiles and nuclear technology claims. These are highly advanced technological capabilities that I don't think the Russian side would be willing to give up or give to the North Korean side.

There are -- the Russians also have to be concerned about potential proliferation, the further resale of these crown jewels of their own military technological base.


VALERIO: OK, so Manu, we cannot forget the environment that this is all happening in. It's pretty tense, to be honest.

So earlier today, in the 8 a.m. local time now, we had reports of 20 to 30 North Korean troops crossing over the military demarcation line in the middle of the DMZ.

South Korea fired warning shots. And Manu, this is the second time in two weeks something like that has happened.

We've also seen new satellite images showing North Korea building new structures or clearing land around the DMZ, most likely, experts tell us, to harden their border and make it harder for people to defect, to escape, to here in South Korea.

So bottom line, Manu, it's going to be fascinating to see the bromance continue between Putin and Kim Jong-un, and to see what deliverables are given by the end of this meeting between one country to the other, Manu.

RAJU: Mike Valerio, live for us from the Seoul. Thank you for your reporting. Appreciate that.

And dry conditions, gusty winds driving wildfires in the West as oppressive and dangerous heat expands across the Midwest and Northeast. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar, tracking both systems.

So Allison, just how bad is it right?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So we take a look at where that particular fire in New Mexico is from. Again, 0 percent containment; has burned about 3,000 acres so far. It's in the Southern portion of the state of New Mexico, where they have had those pretty significant drought conditions.

The fire weather forecast for today does include much of New Mexico in that elevated risk. You're talking strong winds, above average temperatures. And then yes, those very low humidities.

The bigger, more widespread concern for today is certainly going to be the heat. More than 80 percent of the U.S. population is going to be looking at temperatures at 90 degrees or even higher.

In some of the more focused areas, you've even had record-breaking heat. Take a look at this. All of these Ohio, Michigan, down through

Pennsylvania, all looking at daily record temperatures that were broken yesterday.

Looking at this. Toledo, Ohio, getting very close to that triple-digit mark. More records are expected for today, a lot of them. You're talking more than 150 high temperature records could be set over the next several days.

Now, the bulk of them are going to be into the Northeast and the Midwest. But again, we've got a few in the Southeast. You've got a few out West. So it's not the only area that's going to be dealing with this extreme heat.

When you factor in the humidity, those feels-like temperatures are incredible. It's going to feel like 104 today in Syracuse, triple digits in Cincinnati.

RAJU: Man, not even July and already brutal, brutal temps. Allison Chinchar, thank you for that.

And next, a cheat fake. At least, that's what the White House calls this viral video of President Biden.

Plus, the U.S. surgeon general demanding warning labels on social media apps.