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What About The Border?; Who's To Blame For The Border Crisis?; Germany Kicks Out CIA Station Chief; John Walsh Back On "THE HUNT"

Aired July 11, 2014 - 16:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The Politics Lead, it sounds like the speaker's new suit will be a pretty tight fit. For weeks House Speaker John Boehner has been threatening to slap the president of the United States with a lawsuit over his broad use of executive authority. But Republicans have been playing the details close to the vest shall we say.

Now we're finally learning about some of the specifics. Despite executive orders and actions on everything from immigration to the minimum wage for workers to the environment, for John Boehner it apparently all comes down to Obamacare, a sharp dressed issue that never goes out of style for the Republican base.

Our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash is here. So Dana, let me make sure I understand this. Boehner wants to sue President Obama for giving businesses a delay on that Obamacare mandate. Is that right?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's the issue that they decided to hone in on. However, they say that they believe based on the legal advice they've been getting, they've been looking into this for months that is their best chance at succeeding in a lawsuit against the president for any kind of executive action because they believe that he absolutely had no grounds to do that without congressional approval.

Having said that as you know, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Obamacare is the number one issue that riles the Republican base and I talked to several Republicans on Capitol Hill today who didn't deny that.

TAPPER: You know, obviously, they didn't really care that there was a delay for businesses. That wasn't an issue. But I want to -- the real big question I think is with this pressing immigration crisis going on, President Obama took an executive action in 2012 the baby DREAM Act where he let some people who came to this country as children.

He opened the doors of citizenship for them, a path to citizenship. A lot of people think that helped encourage this crisis on the border. There's a lot of different theories, of course. Wouldn't that also be a good thing to include in this lawsuit considering it's so pressing and immediate? BASH: That's a great question. Perhaps the answer was they didn't feel that they were on as strong legal standing. Let's go back to what the issue is, that they're suing on which is the number one issue in the election that they hope will be to rile up their base. Pete Sessions is the House Rules chairman. He's going to be the one shepherding this through the House legislatively before they take it to the courts. I asked him about that today. Take a listen.


BASH: Why just focus on health care? Doesn't it make it look political?

REPRESENTATIVE PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: In fact, it does not because it is the biggest issue that faces America today. It deals with every single American and 80 million Americans this year.


BASH: So no, it's not political but then he explains why politically they have differences with the president on the substance, not necessarily on what the speaker says the real issue is which is a constitutional difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch.

TAPPER: The intrepid Dana Bash, thank you so much. Appreciate it. So what does this all mean for the immigration crisis on the border? Let's bring in Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who is also a candidate for governor in the lone star state facing Democrat Wendy Davis.

So Mr. Abbott, what's your reaction to the speaker not bringing in any immigration issues, not mentioning the dreamers order of 2012 in his proposed lawsuit? I would imagine that would be a bit disappointing?

GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, what's disappointing is the fact that just yesterday, the president was here in Texas, here in Austin, just a few hundred miles away from the border and he turned his back on the border. He called this place a crisis. Just a week or two ago and he could not respond to a crisis by himself showing up and trying to address this issue.

This is a huge challenge for the state of Texas, Jake. We expect the president to live up to his responsibility and the federal government's responsibility to secure our border and to address this unprecedented influx of immigrants from Central America.

TAPPER: That's my point. Wouldn't you want that to be in the lawsuit that Speaker Boehner is bringing up then?

ABBOTT: Here's the deal, Jake. Yes, and that is I have no control over any litigation that the House leader may bring against the Obama administration. What I do have control over, however, is litigation that I may bring. As we speak, I am working on potential litigation against the Obama administration for not living up to its responsibilities to secure the border. I'm in the process of gathering all the costs the Texas taxpayers may have incurred so far because of the federal government's negligence.

TAPPER: It's about $50 million you're saying because of added boots on the ground at the border. How do you stop this influx? You want to be the governor of Texas. You're the attorney general of Texas. It's not like you don't have any role. How do you stop these tens of thousands of undocumented young men -- youngsters and men and women from coming in?

ABBOTT: I have a plan already outlined that's on my web site that deals specifically with securing our border. It requires more boots on the ground. I've been involved in these operations when the Texas Department of Public Safety goes to the border and every time that we have done this, it has staunched the flow of illegal operations across the border.

So it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if we do this on an ongoing basis, it will staunch the flow on an ongoing basis. That's precisely why the state of Texas a couple of weeks ago re- entered our Department of Public Safety to the border region to help secure the border and we expect to have more boots on the ground on a permanent basis.

However, because this is a national and international border, this it is something that the federal government has the primary responsibility to deal with. So to the extent that states --

TAPPER: Wouldn't you have thousands more border patrol officers? Wouldn't you have tens of millions of dollars more already to deal with this if the House took up the Senate's immigration reform bill, which had a strong border control component to it that Republicans in border states supported?

ABBOTT: It should not take all the time that would be required for a law to pass. The president has said he has a pen that he can sign and he needs to sign a check to take care of this. He needs to -- we've already made a request for the National Guard. He should immediately send 1,000 National Guard down to the border.

I have personally made requests to Jeh Johnson's office for resources that we need. Jake, this is something that could happen overnight if the president did not turn his back on the U.S. border and took care of his responsibility.

TAPPER: But you know what President Obama told your Governor Rick Perry the other day when Rick Perry said take some executive action here. He said he's being sued by John Boehner and the House Republicans for exerting himself too much.

ABBOTT: He does that as a concerned things like which you were talking about previously about re-altering the Obamacare law. He doesn't have to come up with an act of Congress in order to appropriate funds or the National Guard to the state of Texas. This is something that he has unilateral authority to do. He can trigger on his own and he can get it done tomorrow if he really cared about addressing the problem. TAPPER: But he said what he needs is people like you and people like Governor Perry to encourage House Republicans to come together at the table so they can solve the problem. Is that what you're doing?

ABBOTT: Well, I think it's embarrassing if the president is trying to enlist lobbyists to try to help him get action done when the president himself has made clear that he's the one who has responsibility for creating this crisis in the first place. And so what the president needs to do is double down on his international message that you cannot have people coming to this country illegally and expecting to stay here.

He needs to double down on his message if you come here illegally you will be returned and he needs to step up and secure the border by adding increased border patrol agents, the National Guard increased boots on the ground and assets in the air.

TAPPER: I just want to clarify something. I might have misheard you, did you say that President Obama has acknowledged causing the problem at the border? I might have misheard you.

ABBOTT: Yes, the president made a statement about a week ago where he made clear to people in Central America or really around the world don't come here, don't risk your lives coming here because you will be sent back. And it's commonly perceived that that was in response to what has been said by me and others.

And that is that this influx increased after the president stood in the Rose Garden in 2012 sending a message by his proclamation that young immigrants would be allowed to stay here. It's been commonly said by immigrants to border patrol agents in South Texas that they were coming here because they perceived the president was allowing them to stay here.

TAPPER: Well, I had also heard the 2008 law signed into law by President Bush, which allowed people from Central America, youngsters, kids to stay later and not be immediately deported to have years and years before their hearing, that that was also responsible. Neither of us knows why these rumors took hold. But in any case, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, I thank you for your time.

Coming up next, how do you tell your friend that you're sorry and not really sorry and that I'm not going to stop doing it? President Obama automatic walking the fine line with Germany's Angela Merkel. Could this be the ends of their close relationship?


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In World News, Angela Merkel has a rocky relationship with American intelligence I think it's fair to say. The NSA tapped her cell phone, allegedly. The CIA infiltrated the German military allegedly. They also convinced a German foreign intelligence agent to sell secrets to the United States.

Of course, that's also allegedly. So what is a prime minister to do, a chancellor? When you can't hold a secret meeting because your government is possibly full of spies? Well, you expel the CIA's top operative in Berlin.

Michelle Kosinski is at the White House. Michelle, it seems like only yesterday President Obama hosted Merkel.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He talked about their friendship even on a personal level saying that it pained him that the prior spying disclosures had sprained that relationship. Now this happens leaving the U.S. and Germany to try to talk things out in private.


KOSINSKI (voice-over): A public embarrassment. The CIA station chief in Berlin of all places capital of one of our closest most important European allies kicked out of the country when Germans uncovered what were allegedly some U.S. covert ops. The Germans talking openly about the hurt. The betrayal of it all.

Today, the German foreign minister said expelling the CIA chief based at the U.S. Embassy was the right decision, a necessary step, a fitting reaction to the break of trust. Taking action was unavoidable, he said. The U.S. has been far more quiet on the topic, no, the CIA isn't tweeting about it, but today the White House offered this --

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Allies with sophisticated intelligence agencies like the United States and Germany understand with some degree of detail exactly what those intelligence relationships and activities entail.

KOSINSKI: The Germans say there is good contact still between top levels of both countries. The White House did confirm the conversations are going on right now in private and that the U.S. respects Germany's choices on whom to allow in their country even adding some glowing praise for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an effective partner and effective leader who puts the best interests of her country first.

ANNOUNCER: The president of the United States and the chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

KOSINSKI: Just back in May, Obama and Merkel presented a united front even on tackling this touchy, touchy spying issue. Remember a year ago it came out that the NSA spied on Merkel's phone conversations. Obama conciliatory.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What I've also done is taken the unprecedented step of ordering our intelligence communities to take the privacy interests of non-U.S. persons into account in everything that they do.

KOSINSKI: Pledging he said to Merkel to also close the gaps in the ways German and U.S. intelligence operate and ensure clarity. Merkel not seeming fully convinced at the time saying there's still divisions that need work. Yesterday, calling apparent continued spying a waste of energy. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI: So this alleged spying does not involve phone tapping, but does include German citizens. One reportedly within the foreign intelligence service there accused of passing documents related to the Edward Snowden investigation to the CIA. The other reportedly within the defense ministry in Germany. The White House says that Obama and Merkel so far have not talked about this -- Jake.

TAPPER: Michelle Kosinski at the White House. Here now to talk more about the fraying relationship between Germany and the United States, senior correspondent for "Der Spiegel," Holger Stark. Holger, thanks so much for being here.

So for the Germans to ask the CIA station chief, the intelligence chief, to pack up and leave, that's usually the thing you do for North Korea or Iran. How much trust has Angela Merkel lost for the United States and President Obama?

HOLGER STARK, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "DER SPIEGEL": What we see clearly is an all-time low in the relationships. Merkel thought she reacted calm when she realized her cell phone was tapped almost a decade. She didn't complain publicly. She would be over it.

TAPPER: It's a story you broke.

STARK: That's a story we broke at "Der Spiegel." The general reaction were quite calm. She traveled to Washington in May and met Obama and thought we could get over it. It's a huge setback in the relations.

TAPPER: How much, I mean, Germany and the U.S. cooperate on so many things. How much could this actually endanger the U.S., Germany economic relationship or military relationship?

STARK: It probably won't affect the big crisis, the tensions in the Middle East, potential war. But everything beyond that point take the transatlantic trade agreement, take swift safe harbor, the agreements between Europe and the United States, which are essentially for the economy and also politics, they are all endangered. It's a huge disappointment not only with the conservatives in Berlin but the whole population. It will be very hard to regain trust.

TAPPER: A German official was supposed to visit next week and cancelled.

STARK: Right, it's the German foreign chancellor who was supposed to come to D.C. next week. He postponed his visit.

TAPPER: I think the official reason was because of unrest in the Middle East.

STARK: He mentioned the Middle East, but behind the scene it's clear that there is no reaction from the White House so far. There has been no call. Obama didn't call Merkel and no public explanation. I think Obama is in a very difficult position and the Germans realize the White House is not moving.

TAPPER: The ball's in President Obama's court. He needs to reach out to Angela Merkel and explain or apologize or do something.

STARK: At least show regret. He's responsible for the CIA did he know about that? Then he carries the full responsibility or didn't he know? Then he is obviously a leader who is not in charge or control anymore of his spy agency, but saying nothing is not enough.

TAPPER: Holger Stark with "Der Spiegel," thank you so much. As always, great to see you.

When we come back, he's made it his life work to hunt down fugitives after his own young son was murdered. Now John Walsh is back. Who is his first target?


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In other national news, there are some pretty horrific crimes out there making headlines these days such as the case of Ron Lee Haskell who is accused of killing six relatives of his estranged wife, four of them children. In this case, police have their suspect, but many cases go unsolved. That is where John Walsh comes in. He spent more than two decades catching criminals on "America's Most Wanted" and now he's back fighting crime with his new CNN show "THE HUNT."


JOHN WALSH, CNN HOST, "THE HUNT": I'll always be the parent of a murdered child. I still have the heart ache. I still have the rage. I waited years for justice. I know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers. And over those years, I learned how to do one thing really well and that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice.


TAPPER: And John Walsh joins us right now. John, thanks so much for joining us. This has been a crusade for you since 1981 when your 6- year-old son, Adam was murdered. Your son's case wasn't closed until 2008, 27 years later. You're doing the show to bring these victims' families not only justice but also closure. Did you get either of those in Adam's case, justice or closure?

WALSH: Well, Jake, you're exactly right. I've walked in all those shoes of the victims' cases that I do. So it took 27 years. We always believed that Otis Tool, is the serial killer who decide eight years before Adam's case was opened was the guy who killed Adam. So I didn't think it would affect me that much that day. We were there with my wife and our three children we've had for since Adam was murdered. And it was a huge day for us.

It did end that chapter. There will never be such a thing as closure. We'll always be the parents of a murdered child. He'll always have that hole in our heart, but we got justice. It was a huge day for us. TAPPER: I'm glad you found justice if not closure. Let's talk about this week's show. You're profiling the case of a California man suspected of killing his wife and children. Let's play a week from this week's show.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shane Miller had no involvement with law enforcement in the county up until there was the domestic violence that started occurring between him and his wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shane had assaulted her, tortured her, choked her, threatened her with guns. You know, he was threatening to kill her whole family.


TAPPER: Why start with this case, John?

WALSH: This case means a lot to me because I think anybody that would hurt a child is a coward. There are other ways to go. This guy police are absolutely surely that he killed his wife. And he shot his 5-year-old and 8-year-old daughters in the face. He killed them. Then he chose to run. To me, this is a sociopathic coward. When they probably instituted the largest manhunt in northern California history, they found a bunker where he had over 47 automatic assault rifles and over 100,000 rounds of ammunition.

So this guy was prepared to run. He's got a long history with law enforcement. Jake, he's really dangerous and anybody that could kill a child is on the top of my list. And I am hoping Sunday night, the world is going to be a much smaller place for this coward. Somebody's going do give us that tip or go to our website. I guarantee people can remain anonymous. We'll get this creep off the streets.

TAPPER: When people call in and give these tips, which is obviously what your previous show was successful at doing and what we hope this new show will do, as well, what motivated them? Is it the reward? Is it altruism? Why do they do you it?

WALSH: We never offered rewards. We caught 17 guys off the FBI's ten most wanted, we caught guys in 45 countries. People want to do the right thing. Lots of people don't want to talk to police. They're afraid. They might be an illegal. Their cousin might be the gang banger I'm looking for and they're worried about retribution.

They can go to hunt or call our toll free hotline. Cops don't answer the phone. My train operators answer the phone. You don't have to give us your name. I've learn the one thing over all the years. Most people want to see the cowards and creeps streets off the streets. They'll do the right thing if you give them a chance to do it anonymously.

TAPPER: Well, John Walsh, thank you so much. Best of luck with the show. Best of luck finding justice. You can watch the premier of "THE HUNT" this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on CNN. It's the least welcome thing to hit New England resort towns since jaws. The polar vortex or nearly identical weather pattern is coming back to wreck your summer plans. Last time we met the cold snap, it was freezing over half the country and turned Stephanie Elam into Mrs. Freeze.

This time it will drop temperatures anywhere from 10 to 30 degrees below average making it feel more like September than mid-July. Put the plans, the swan dive into the tidal basin on hold at least for now.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer who is live from Jerusalem for "THE SITUATION ROOM." Have a great weekend.