Return to Transcripts main page


Crisis in Israel; Rick Perry vs. Rand Paul; Bowe Bergdahl Returning to Duty

Aired July 14, 2014 - 15:00   ET


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I should start by saying that it's literally unfolding as we speak.

We are waiting to hear from authorities here. The plane could arrive at any moment right now. What we do know about that plane is that there are 40 people on board, and these are family units. So, there's 18 women, 13 girls, nine boys that were deported from the United States into the state of Honduras, specifically to San Pedro Sula.

Now, it's important to know, like you mentioned, that San Pedro Sula is dubbed the murder capital of the world. So a lot of these people, while they might not be from here, this is where they're being deported to. That's one of the big concerns for family members, is that they're being dropped off in a very dangerous city in this country.

Now, just earlier, we were talking to a commander that's in charge of the task force that's here to crack down on the gangs. And just the stories that you hear about what these gang members are doing to recruit young men and young children, he tells us, he said point blank, that's the reason why a lot of people are leaving. It's because of the violence.

And again we're waiting for this flight, and we're trying to get some video of it landing, and we're trying to talk with some of these families to see what their experience is like. And, of course, we bring that to you, Don, as soon as we have it.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Rosa, while I have you here, can we talk more about this flight and the children on the flight? It's mostly children. Have they gone through the immigration courts as mandated by this 2008 law, federal law, and how were they able to go through the system so quickly?

FLORES: Yes, you know, that's a great point, because the thing about that 2008 law is that it's for unaccompanied minors. Now, our understanding is that all of these people that are arriving, these are family units. So it's mothers and their children. So it does not include unaccompanied minors.

That 2008 law protects those unaccompanied minors and then of course they have to go through the process. Their cases have to be seen on a case-by-case basis and go through the court system. Not the case for these families. I just spoke to the first lady of Honduras here at this immigration center, and she told me -- I asked her specifically about that. And she said those -- they're not expecting that group of people. They're not expecting the unaccompanied minors until perhaps a year from now or several years from now, because of that 2008 law.

So while, you know, a lot of the hype has been about the 2008 law and how deporting children here is like a visualization of the solution, that's not what we're going to see here. We're going to see family units, mothers with their children, Don.

LEMON: All right, Rosa Flores, thank you. We will keep an eye on that flight. We will get back to Rosa when she gets more information. The immigration crisis has become a pawn in the face between Texas Governor Rick Perry vs. senator -- the senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul. I'm not talking a future Republican primary for president. I'm talking about the current online war of words and ideology between the two men.

This is what Rand Paul just wrote Rick Perry in Politico. He said: "There are obviously many important events going on in the world right now, but with 60,000 foreign children streaming across the Texas border, I am surprised Governor Perry has apparently still found time to mischaracterize and attack my foreign policy."

And then Rick Perry made his attack in "The Washington Post" and he writes this. "We live in a world where isolationist policies would only endanger our national security even further. That's why it's such -- disheartening to hear fellow Republicans such as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky suggest that our nation should ignore what's happening in Iraq."

So why are the two Republican bigwigs going after each other right now? Why is this happening?

Joining me now is CNN political commentators Ana Navarro and Peter Beinart.

Thank you all for joining us.

Ana, as a Republican strategist, what is the better way for the GOP to follow -- I don't -- to follow up to help the party in 2016? Is it Perry or Paul? Who is the better choice here?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Are those my only two choices? Can I have a bigger pool of candidates?


LEMON: What they're talking about when it comes to the immigration policy.

NAVARRO: Look, I think it's going to be up to voters to decide. I think what you're seeing here is a preamble to be ready to rumble in the primary.

Obviously, Senator Paul has made -- you know, has not hidden it, has played coy. He's seriously thinking about running for president. I think Rick Perry is trying to redefine himself, rehabilitate his image from what was a very failed campaign in 2012.

He got himself new glasses and he got himself a new political life. He's trying to redefine himself on the immigration issue, which was costly to him in 2012. And it's not the first time that they go -- that other Republicans go after Rand Paul. We saw it with Chris Christie.

We have seen it between Senator Cruz and Senator Paul. And now we're seeing -- it's a fun hobby for folks.

LEMON: Is it fair to call Rand Paul's position isolationist?


If you really look at the history of American isolationism, going back to the 1920s and 1940s, anyone who agrees with America being part of NATO, keeping U.S. troops all over the world is not really an isolationist. Rand Paul is more suspicious of military intervention than Rick Perry and a lot of other Republicans.

But as Paul rightly notes, so was Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan wouldn't even invade Panama. He was terrified by the idea of invading Panama in his final years in office. The only country he invaded was Grenada. So, question, Paul is really probably more in step with Reagan's legally of military intervention...


LEMON: That's my next question, because they're trying to out-Reagan each other year. Who comes off as the better conservative, the one most who is like Reagan, if...

NAVARRO: Frankly, I think this out-Reagan Reagan shtick is getting a little old, because everybody is trying it.

Part of what is happening is there is great suspicion over Senator Rand Paul on his foreign policy views. A lot of donors in particular, who are important, very important to a long sustained presidential campaign, are very uneasy about some of the positions he's espoused on foreign policy, and just don't trust him on it. And I think that's why others are trying to capitalize on emphasizing those issues.

BEINART: That's the key. It's about the money primary here. Actually, a lot of Republican primary voters really quite agree with Rand Paul. But Republican donors are much more hawkish than Republican voters.

And so for someone like Rick Perry, who is trying to send a message to donors that he's a viable candidate, going after Rand Paul is a smart strategy.

LEMON: But aren't they going after the independents here? When you hear what Rand Paul was saying, are they not going after the independents? Are they going to turn off the independents come 2016 if they decide to do that?


NAVARRO: Oh, Don, nobody is going to remember come 2016 that Rick Perry and Rand Paul were arguing two years before. Right now, they're going after the headlines, they're going after the donors, they're going after defining their own political image. That's what it's about.


BEINART: Yes, I think that's right.

Look, Rick Perry needs people to take him seriously. Right now, they don't after his presidential campaign in 2012.

NAVARRO: You have to admit, the glasses have helped enormously.

BEINART: The glasses are very fetching. But he's behind a whole bunch of different people who are higher up right now in people's consciousness. Any fight that gets him talked about on our show is a good thing.

NAVARRO: What do we think? How much smarter do I look?

BEINART: You should run.


NAVARRO: Because, you know, there's at least three things I want to tell you about. I can remember two. The third one, I might have a little trouble with.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. Remember, you're a Republican. You're not helping the man out.

NAVARRO: He's not my candidate. Neither of the two are.

LEMON: Thank you. These probably make me look -- there's no help with me. Thank you very much. Ana Navarro, Peter Beinart, appreciate you both here on CNN.

She would say forced to see the unimaginable, her mother, her father, and four brothers and sisters brutally killed inside their Texas home. And for the first time, we're hearing from Cassidy Stay. She's a 15- year-old. She was shot in the head and still managed to tip off the police to the suspect's next move.

Remarks at a public memorial for her family were the teenager's first comments as she emerged as the lone survivor of the carnage.


CASSIDY STAY, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I'm really thankful for all of the people that have been praying for me and keeping me and my family in their thoughts the past couple days.

And I would like to thank all of the first-responders, nurses and doctors that have taken care of me. I am feeling a lot better and I'm on a very straightforward path to a full recovery.


STAY: I really like "Harry Potter." In the "Prisoner of Azkaban," Dumbledore says happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

I know that my mom, dad, Brian, Emily, Becca and Zach are in a much better place, and that I will be able to see them again one day.


LEMON: Psychiatrist and author Robi Ludwig joins me now.

First, what do you make of her speaking at this memorial just days after being shot? Is it too soon?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: How poised is this girl, by the way?

LEMON: She's amazing.

LUDWIG: She's amazing.

And I think it's safe to say that the full impact of what she's experienced has not been felt yet. She's probably in shock a bit, in denial a bit.

And very often, for the full grieving to take place, it's a matter of firsts, the first birthday without your family, the first Christmas, the first New Year's, during milestone events. But it seems like this girl is tremendously centered and has good support systems in place, which is obviously going to help her.

LEMON: Yes, for the little things that you would say, oh, let me ask, and then you go, oh, wait a minute, that person is not there anymore.

LUDWIG: That's right.

LEMON: Right, once the reality sets it.

LUDWIG: That's right.

LEMON: Cassidy's grandfather spoke at the memorial. Let's listen.


ROGER LYONS, GRANDFATHER: Many of you have probably heard about her heroism in the news. But we continue to be in awe how she was able to save us.

She had been shot, and had witnessed the murder of her mother, father and siblings. Still, she had the presence of mind to remain quiet and to play dead. As soon as it was safe, despite the terrible things she must have seen, at that moment, she called police and told them we were in danger. Without her courage and quick thinking, we might be mourning the

deaths of 20 -- yes, I said 20 -- people today, including myself and nearly all of our children and grandchildren.


LEMON: She's already going through a lot. Is it too much to add, too much pressure to also add hero on top of that?

LUDWIG: Well, listen, I'm sure it will take time for her to digest because she is probably experiencing survivor guilt, the guilt for not being able to save her own family and that will get worked through in treatment and maybe being surrounded with other survivors who have been victims of homicide and a crime in this kind of way, although it's rare.

But what she needs to do is really allow herself to heal, experience all of her feelings and to find her purpose and mission in all of this. And that will be a lifetime journey.

LEMON: We talked about how poised she was, right, at the memorial. But she shows her age when she starts to talk about "Harry Potter" and strong characters like that. Is that how someone her age copes with this, like talking about fictional characters, possibly, but strong characters?

LUDWIG: Talking about anything that's relevant and that resonates with her. Anything that gives this girl a sense of strength is healthy. I think with this girl we're seeing very good survival instincts, and she's a very thoughtful girl.

So whatever she received up until this point, she has a good foundation there to work with.

LEMON: Robi Ludwig, thank you very much.

LUDWIG: Thank you so much, Don. Thank you.


LEMON: Good to see you.

Just ahead here on CNN, it's only been six weeks since he left Taliban custody, but Bowe Bergdahl is getting ready to return to regular duty. Is that too soon? And how will he be received by his fellow soldiers?

Plus, a big bank admits to it packaging bad mortgages, a practice that led up to the financial crisis. Yet today that bank is facing a punishment that doesn't include jail time.

And families leaving everything behind as bombs fall in the standoff between Israel and Hamas.

Wolf Blitzer joins me live from Israel coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: U.S. officials tell CNN that Secretary of State John Kerry may

travel to Egypt to seek a deal to stop the fighting next door between Israel and Palestinians living in Gaza. The Israeli bombardment continues, the toll among Palestinians, 176 dead, that since Israel started bombing a week ago today.

Those bombs have wounded close to 1,300 in Gaza. The Israelis say today they downed this drone off the southern Israeli coast. They say it flew from Gaza among the barrage of rockets being fired by Hamas, which thus far have caused no Israeli deaths, but at least one serious injury.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer just a few hours ago taking cover. That's Wolf in Southern Israel right there where he's having to take cover and then he's, moments later, did we get the all-clear? Seems like they did. Wolf is safe and he joins us now.

Wolf, that was trouble you ran into. What happened?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We were at an Israeli military checkpoint, just outside the Erez border crossing between Israel and Gaza. The Israeli military wouldn't let us go through that checkpoint. They said there was some security issues beyond the checkpoint. They said just wait there. So we waited there and while we were waiting, all of a sudden we heard this large boom in the sky.

A rocket had come in to Israel, which is from Gaza, right, like a mile or two away, not very far. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system knocked out that rocket, but it caused a big boom, a loud noise. And we saw these Israeli soldiers running to the side of the road so we got out of the car.

There was no place, no shelters or anything, so I just crouched down and waited and eventually we got the all-clear and then we saw what was going on. It was -- you know, I have been here now for a few days and I have heard these sirens go off. You sort of get used to it.

The only problem is, when you're that close to the border, you don't have a lot of warning, because literally they have 15 seconds before the rocket hits the ground, whereas, if you're in Tel Aviv further north, you might have a minute or even two minutes before it reaches that area, so there's more time to get to a shelter.

For the Israelis who are especially close to Gaza, it's terrifying. As bad as it is for the Israelis, it's clearly a whole lot worse for the Palestinians on the other side of the border. Very crowded. Very congested. The rocket launchers are coming from heavily populated areas, and, as you point out, the Israelis have gone in there.

They have tried to knock out those launchers, but in the process, they have wound up killing a lot of innocent Palestinians, and they have wounded a lot of others.

LEMON: It's just sad all the way around, Wolf. Can we talk about the secretary of state? I mentioned that John Kerry says he is going to decide by tomorrow whether to travel to the Middle East to seek a possible cease-fire. Is either side making any demand, other than demanding that the other side stop firing?

BLITZER: They're both making demands.

But, first of all, they want -- obviously, Hamas wants Israel to stop firing airstrikes into Gaza, and the Israelis don't want any rockets coming into Israel. Hamas has a series of demands. They want greater rights to do fishing off the Mediterranean coast. They want some prisoners who the Israelis have released in exchange for an Israeli prisoner a few weeks ago.

They want those prisoners who have been re-arrested freed. They have got some other demands. And let's see if Egypt and Qatar with the backing of the United States can put some sort of cease-fire together.

LEMON: Wolf Blitzer, thank you. Wolf, be safe. We will be watching you, of course, when you anchor "THE SITUATION ROOM" from there in just a few hours at 5:00 Eastern here on CNN.

Just two months ago, Bowe Bergdahl was a prisoner of the Taliban, a soldier held for years by terrorists. Well, today, just six weeks after his release, the Army says he is returning to regular duty, so what does that mean for him and for the military, as a matter of fact?


LEMON: Former Taliban captive Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl could return to regular duty as early as today. But is he really ready to do it? And is he ready to face the questions about how he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan back in 2009?

For the first time in more than five years, Army investigators will get to formally question him.

Joining me now is CNN's Ed Lavandera and Robi Ludwig, a psychiatrist -- a psychotherapist, I should say, and author of "'Till Death Do Us Part."

Bergdahl hasn't spoke with lead investigators yet. Now he's out of the so-called reintegration period. Where does this investigation go, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the part where it becomes interesting to see exactly what Bowe Bergdahl's future will be in the U.S. Army, if any, and what happens now. The Army has said all along it was waiting for this reintegration phase three process to end before he could be questioned by the investigator that is looking into his disappearance and his capture.

So we presume that now that that is over, that will happen at some point. However, the last -- the latest information we have is that Bowe Bergdahl has not been given his equivalent of rights, being read his rights in the military justice system. And we have been told that, however, he has retained an attorney.

So, obviously, both sides gearing up for what may or may not happen next, but it will be interesting to see, because now this investigative process, Don, can really kick in with this most important part, which is to hear directly from Bowe Bergdahl, and his side of the story, which hasn't been made public so far.

LEMON: And, Robi, we already know that he has been interacting with the public, going to restaurants, but how might he go about interacting with his peers who may not be big fans of his?

LUDWIG: Well, first, he needs to connect with himself emotionally and physically.

But, really, this is part of his reentry, right, interacting with peers, learning to tell his side of the story, which may be challenging, but maybe informative as well. But this is how he's going to create his new reality and reentry into the world, by telling his story to peers.

But it's going to be a process and take time, because I think we have to understand this person has been tremendously scarred, whatever the details are around his capture.

LEMON: Here's a question, though. Having gone through that and survived, right, you have to be a survivor to survive that, regardless of what the circumstances are, whether he deserted or not. Does this make him potentially stronger in dealing with criticism and what others think about him or does it make him more vulnerable to that?

LUDWIG: It certainly can.

I think at this point, he will be somewhat vulnerable because he's still reentering. But very often, when POWs return, they are experienced as heroes and they themselves often feel survivor guilt and guilty that they weren't able to somehow sidestep this capture.

With Bowe, it's a little bit different, because there are a lot of questions around who he is. So over time, he's going have to learn how to tell his story.


So, Ed, do we have any details about what Bergdahl's day-to-day life will be like once he returns to regular duty?

LAVANDERA: Well, we have been told as far as the work environment will be like, he's part of a unit in the U.S. Army North, very close right in Fort Sam Houston there in San Antonio, so very close to where he's been for the last few weeks, going through this reintegration process.

So obviously it's interesting that he's not being sent back to a region where he came from, like Idaho. He had been connected before he deployed to Afghanistan to an Alaska unit. So it's interesting he's being kept in Texas and closer to where he's been going through this reintegration process.

And we're told that he's going to have administrative duties, basically, with this unit he's attached to now, doing the kind of work that any other sergeant would be required to do. And then his living situation, he will be living in a barracks there inside Fort Sam Houston. It's a two-room barrack with a shared bathroom, so he will have a room to himself.

So, basically, as one Army official today, it's like the process here is to treat him like any other sergeant in the U.S. Army.

LEMON: All right, Ed Lavandera, Robi Ludwig, thank you very much, both of you.

LUDWIG: Thank you.

LEMON: Just ahead, one of the bad banks responsible for bad mortgages, a practice that led up to the financial crisis, is paying its way out of trouble. Erin Burnett is going to join me live.

Plus, J. Crew causing a big fuss for introducing size 000 jeans. But the company says it's not a vanity move. It's a business move. We will discuss coming up.