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Latest on the World Cup; Israel considers Next Move in Retaliation for 3 Teen Deaths; Ahmad Chalabi Back in Iraq Political Spotlight; White House Requests $2 Billion to Help Immigration Flood at Border; Hagel Tracks Down Platoon Commander.

Aired July 1, 2014 - 13:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Jim Sciutto, reporting from Washington. Wolf Blitzer is off today.

Now to the big event of the day, the World Cup. Argentina is playing Switzerland right now. The U.S. is playing Belgium in two and a half hours. And I'm not going to be doing a lot of work during that 90 minutes of play.

We have our Chris Cuomo and Lara Baldessara in Salvador. That is where the U.S. is playing today. Our Richard Roth is checking in with fans in New York. And I'm sitting here at a desk in Washington. There's something not fair about that.

Anyway, to Chris and Lara, who I'm very happy for down there, as you get this very tough assignment in Brazil. What's it feel like today? You have to tell me. Do we have a chance to win? Is it going to be tough? How are injuries going to play out? Walk me through this.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Please, let him have it.

BALDESARRA: Injuries are going to be very interesting. Jozy Altidore is back for the USA. A lot of people love Jozy Altidore. They think he's a great striker. I am not one of those people. Chris kind of rolls his eyes when I say that. I don't know if he will be I included in the starting 11, which we will find out pretty soon.

But a lot of people saying if Jozy Altidore is back in the lineup it will take some pressure off Clint Dempsey. But Clint Dempsey's a guy who loves to be under that pressure. So I don't really know if Jozy Altidore is needed whatsoever.

SCIUTTO: What about --


CUOMO: You're not going to have one.

Well, this is pure American-ism, I want you to know. This is the Jersey they actually won a match in. That's why I'm wearing it. We don't know what they're wearing today. It's Belgium's choice. And then the U.S. will have to match kits with their -- this one or the white one. I have both so I'm prepared. Because this is also the most popular one here. There's a little bit of a culture going on about this whole us soccer run at the World Cup, Jim. Last night, at the fan fest, people were believing this was the jersey of strength, this is where they got their strength to beat Ghana. So that's why I chose it today. I'm confident, though, that I can make the quick shift if I need to. The fans last night all said, many of them were bringing both jerseys just in case, you know.

I don't know if you have it ready for us, but we met a guy last night that you would have loved. He really symbolizes this newfound dedication to soccer in the U.S. He is -- oh, you don't have it -- I'll tell you about it.

SCIUTTO: We sadly don't have it.

CUOMO: Teddy Roosevelt, but he goes by Teddy Goals-avelt.


He has the San Juan Hill uniform. He's become a cult favorite here. U.S. soccer flew him to the party last night. A culture shift, not just about sports.

BALDESARRA: Chris is out meeting these people, out at the fun parties. I get down to the nitty gritty and give you the injury news.

CUOMO: You got to have both, you got to have the head and the heart.

SCIUTTO: Lara, I've known Chris long enough, more than 20 years, so I know he actually think he's going to be called on the field today so walk him down a little bit from that so he's not disappointed.

CUOMO: Just stretching the hammies.


BALDESARRA: That's why he has the two Jerseys, just in case.


CUOMO: Ready to go. Loosening up. Getting my neck loose.


SCIUTTO: Hey, so where do you guys get to watch the game? Do they let you down on the field? Can you be in the stadium?

BALDESARRA: I am right in the press area because that's where I get to do my somewhat quiet work and actually sit there and analyze this game and make notes for you so I can tell you what I think. Chris, however, not so much. He gets to have fun.

CUOMO: There we are, my brother. There it is. I will be in the actual stands among the Americans bringing you live tweets and all types of electronic reporting about what is going on in the game as it happens from where the people at.

SCIUTTO: I feel for both of you. I think you're really, you know, you're really sacrificing a lot for us by taking this tough assignment. If you can make it through these next couple of hours, we'll all be very proud of you. Thank you so much for leaving me back home here.


CUOMO: Jim, we all know that your talents would be wasted in a place like this.


You got all these different issues of international intrigue going on. They need your acumen for that. I am here in case there's a fight that breaks out. And then Lara will do the analysis of it afterward.

BALDESARRA: He's here for the party.


SCIUTTO: We'll look for you afterward. We're definitely watching this game also.

Thanks very much to Chris and Lara.

I want to go to New York, where our own Richard Roth is. He got the tough bar assignments, another difficult one.

Richard, what are the fans feeling now? Do they think we'll win this game? How do the beers taste there? Walk us through it.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, well, we're here at Nevada Smith, one of the soccer meccas of New York City. People are watching that game you say you don't care about. Not caring about Argentina and Switzerland. I'm still getting over that.

Ryan, I know you'll tell me America will win. Why do you think America will beat a talented but young Belgium squad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe we will win.

ROTH: I know. That's a slogan I'm getting a little tired of. But tell me why specifically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got Clint Dempsey would will score and then we'll have excellent defense.

ROTH: Why are you rooting and why do you think they'll win?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they're awesome and they got Clint Dempsey and they'll win.

ROTH: Wilson, give me your prediction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2-1, USA, last-minute goal.

ROTH: A lot of the good teams have been having trouble with teams that were allegedly weaker. We're seeing in our scoreless battle between Argentina and the lowest ranked Switzerland. We saw Germany extended --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of teams are underestimating the younger teams and it's giving them problems. You got to play your base.

ROTHMAN: Thank you very much.

That's a scene here as game time, a few hours away. This place will really be packed.

Jim, back to you, from Nevada Smiths here in New York, awaiting U.S./Belgium.

SCIUTTO: Thank you, Richard.

And just to be clear to our Argentinean/Swiss fans out there, there's a little monitor just to the right of camera where I can watch that game as well. Every game is important.

Thanks to Richard Roth in New York.

Still ahead, he pushed for the U.S. invasion in Iraq, even providing false claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Now Ahmad Chalabi is back in the political spotlight meeting with U.S. officials. We'll tell you why.

And up next, Israel considers its next move in retaliation for the deaths of three teens. I'll talk with a Middle East expert and former diplomat about the fallout from the tragedy.


SCIUTTO: Israel's prime minister says they were murdered in cold blood. Today, a funeral service was held for three Israeli teenagers, students who disappeared 19 days ago. Hamas denies it was responsible for kidnapping and killing the teens. Israel is laying the blame squarely on the militant group. Overnight, the Israeli military says it struck 34 targets controlled by Hamas in as Gaza.

Joining me now is Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East diplomat and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

You have a debate going on in Israel on how hard to strike back and proposals about building a settlement in the name of these teenagers. What's behind this debate? Why the disagreement?

AARON DAVID MILLER, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER & FORMER MIDDLE EAST DIPLOMAT: You got to find the balance between an effective response that creates some measure of deterrence and, in the main, also tries to figure out who did this and try to apprehend them. The problem is everything in the Israeli tool kit has been tried -- deportation, housing demolitions, closures -- without much effect. On the other hand, if they go too large, they could trigger a Hamas response with high-trajectory weapons and open another front, which they don't want to do.

SCIUTTO: Tens thousands of rockets in Gaza.

MILLER: Right, and they have an Iron Dome and other instruments provide some measure of defense. But in the end, they face a huge problem here. So, again, they're looking for -- they're looking to find a balance, plus they have to preempt the possibility of a sustained and dramatic settler response in retaliation. So they're going to have to do something.

SCIUTTO: As always, there's divisions within the Israeli side. Hamas says it's not responsible. Israel is already, in effect, blaming Hamas. Is there any doubt Hamas is behind this, that this was ordered, this operation ordered from on high in the leadership? And if so, why would Hamas do something like this?

MILLER: See no evidence, obviously, that Hamas had foreknowledge that they provided material support. A lot of it's inductive. The reality is Hebron is a Hamas town. A clan, the third largest clan in the area, basically has been a conduit for Hamas activists for years. One the guys disappeared on the days of the abduction.

SCIUTTO: One of the suspects.

MILLER: He's implicated. And they provide a conduit. So chances are they are certainly Hamas sympathizers. The question is, did the organization in Gaza or outside of the territories have foreknowledge, did they orchestrate it, did they provide material support? If they did, the realities, I think the Israelis would have made the evidence clear. Maybe after the funerals, they will. At some point, they may well decide to target leaders if, in fact, they have that so-called smoking gun in Gaza.

SCIUTTO: This happened after Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, led by Mahmoud Abbas, joined up in an arrangement that was effectively recognized by U.S. and European leaders. Difficult timing. What does it do to that recognition? Israeli officials already, and have been, criticizing the U.S. for recognizing that. Puts the U.S. in a tough position.

MILLER: Unity was always a phony objective. If this were an effort to provide one gun, one authority, one negotiating position, to truly unite Palestinian national movement, it would have been a game worth playing. It might have been serious. But it wasn't. It was a tactical response by Hamas and Abbas, both weakened, but both feeling the necessity of unity. Hamas retains all of its weapons. So I think, again, the Israelis are going to have to figure out a way to be effective but not reckless. Like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict itself, finding the middle ground is very tough.

SCIUTTO: Feels like we've been here so many times before.

MILLER: Indeed.

SCIUTTO: Thanks very much, Aaron David Miller.

Just ahead, he gave the Bush administration false information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. So why is the U.S. once again talking to Ahmad Chalabi? We'll have the answer right after this.


SCIUTTO: On "This Day in History," July 1, 1997, control of Hong Kong was handed back to China. It had been under British rule since the 18th century when Britain occupied the island in the Opium War. As they do every year on this anniversary, hundreds of thousands of pro democracy demonstrators took to the streets to protest what they called the heavy handed influence of the Chinese government. Remember that day? I was there.

He was once the darling of the Bush administration. Many thought that Ahmad Chalabi would be the next leader of Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. That was until he fed the Bush administration, lawmakers and journalists bogus intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.


AHMAD CHALABI, IRAQ NATIONAL CONGRESS: I believe the U.S. will find weapons of mass destruction. They certainly found the software. We've been talking to many of the scientists who were involved in these programs and they confirmed that manufacture of those weapons.


SCIUTTO: Now, in an incredible twist, he is back. Now being considered as a potential candidate for prime minister of Iraq.

Brian Todd joins me now.

Incredible, who would have thought. Literally coming back from the dead politically. What does the administration thing?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's so strange in Iraq, what's old is new again, like always. The Bush -- excuse me, the Obama administration is now taking the position it's not really the U.S. role to support any U.S. candidate. However, they did have him meet with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq recently and with an assistant secretary of state in Baghdad. Chalabi asked for that meeting and they met with him. But they're trying to sit back and see what happens here.

In the zeal to get Nouri al Maliki out of power, he is now being considered a serious candidate for prime minister. It riles a lot of Americans, of course, because of what you just played, his sound bite there. For years, this intelligence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. He campaigned with the State Department, with Congress, with the U.S. Intelligence Committee. He fed them faulty intelligence. In Iraq, that is not a consideration. They consider him, many people

do, a secular, moderate Shia leader who can form some important alliances. Today, I spoke with the spokesman for Muqtada al Sadr, whose alliance holds 34 seats in the Iraqi parliament. The spokesman said, we have two candidates we'll be backing. They think they can work with Ahmad Chalabi. They say he does not have the taint of working with Maliki. He can pull together Sunnis and Shias. But the problem is, as you remember, he was in charge of the de-Bathification process. There's still a lot of resentment and questions as to whether he can gather popular support.

SCIUTTO: So the U.S. has bad memories of him but Iraqis don't blame him for the invasion?

TODD: Not particularly. They're putting it in the past. They have to solve the problems that are in their path right now. He's seen as someone that might be able to do that, Jim. We'll see what happens.

SCIUTTO: In that country, if you can find a unifying politician, it sounds like even the Americans would accept that.

TODD: Possibly. We'll see how that goes.

SCIUTTO: All right.

TODD: They are going to take it with kid gloves and they'll watch this.

SCIUTTO: Thank you very much to Brian Todd.

Coming up next, we're going to be live in southern California where a group of 140 migrants are about to arrive. Why they have been sent there by the U.S. Border Patrol.


SCIUTTO: Later this afternoon, we're expecting the arrival of 140 migrant detainees at a Border Patrol station north of San Diego. This is mostly women and children who have been flown from Texas as a way to handle the crush of migrants in that state. President Obama has asked Congress for $2 billion to help with the surge of the migrants that have crossed the U.S. border recently.

Stephanie Elam is live in Murrieta, California.

Why are they expecting the migrants now? And are they coming without their parents, as we've seen the migrant children come across the border?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Jim. What we're hearing here is that this facility in Murrieta, they will not be taking in children alone simply because they can't house them here. They don't have the facilities to do that and they can't fingerprint any children 14 or younger. There is a worry that they will create family groups and that will allow families to get into the U.S., no children coming here by themselves. SCIUTTO: I know you've been talking to Border Patrol agents there.

How are they reacting to this arrival?

ELAM: They are very concerned. They are concerned for multiple reasons. One, they are concerned about their safety and they are concerned about the health conditions for these migrants coming here and who are going to be housed here during the process of processing them, figuring out who they are and whether they are able to stay in the country or go home.

We talked to one Border Patrol agent who works here and is an official for the union. This is what he had to say. Take a listen.


RON ZERMENO, BORDER PATROL AGENT: They are going to be eating in the same holding cell that someone is sitting five feet away and using the bathroom. These are alleged family groups. I say that because I can easily say those five boys are mine. Disregard the gang tattoos. They are all juveniles. They are my sons and we are going to L.A. I can't dispute it.


ELAM: And the concern here is after they are processed, they will be taken by bus to other cities and the concern is that they will not check back in with ICE so they can find them to figure out if they need to stay or go back to the country from where they came -- Jim?

SCIUTTO: Stephanie Elam in Murrieta, California. Thanks very much for joining us.

If Facebook was around, it might have helped Chuck Hagel who was trying to reconnect with his platoon commander. It wasn't until he became secretary of defense that he was able to track him down. It's a great story.

Barbara Starr reports.


CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, hell, it's only been 40 years.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a reunion more than four decades in the country. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reuniting with Lieutenant Jerome Johnson.

Chuck Hagel was just 22 when he and his brother, Tom, went off to war in Vietnam in the toughest times.

CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF STATE: The Army in 1968, it was a bad year for everyone. We sent 16,000 dead Americans home in one year.

STARR: Back home, civil rights marchers were on the streets. A bullet would take the life of Martin Luther King Jr.


STARR: The racial tension felt by the troops in Vietnam thousands of miles away.

HAGEL: A young, 21-year-old African-American took over.

STARR: Chuck Hagel spoke about it with Jake Tapper --

HAGEL: -- segregated tents.

STARR: The young lieutenant started to change that.

HAGEL: He walked in as this young African-American lieutenant and said, no more. We're all Americans. We're going to live together, fight together, and we're going to like each other. No segregating. Let's get it done.

STARR: And Johnson did just that.

LT. JEROME JOHNSON, VIETNAM VETERAN: Though we came from different places, we were all children, for the most part, not having had any experience with combat or that type of thing. In order for us to somebody successful or to be able to do the mission that was given to us and to go home, we had to try to work together and resolve what differences we might have had.

STARR: After the war, the men lost touch, but Hagel never forgot his lieutenant. As a U.S. Senator, he tried to find him but came up short. It wasn't until he took the helm of the entire U.S. military that he was able to find his old buddy.


STARR: Johnson and his family came to Washington to see the Hagel brothers who, decades later, still defer to their lieutenant officer.

HAGEL: He's the officer in charge.

JOHNSON: Well, actually, it's quite fulfilling to have had time to digest the experiences that we went through then together and to have gone and done separate things all these years but to still feel the connection and unity that we had at that time.

STARR: A relationship forged by the fires of combat, unbroken by decades of separation.

HAGEL: War is messy. There's no glory, only suffering. But in the end, this is what matters, the relationship, the friendship.

STARR (on camera): Secretary Hagel made one last stop with his lieutenant from Vietnam. They went over to the White House to meet their current commander-in-chief, President Obama.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCIUTTO: A powerful reunion. You can see how tightly Secretary Hagel was holding on to his friend after all of these years.

We're going to do a quick market check. The Dow still edging closer to that 17,000 mark. Still not there. 14 points below.

That's it for me now.

NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Jim Sciutto, thank you.