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Congress Focusing on Immigration Crisis; Massacre Stuns Baghdad Neighborhood; New Assignment for Bowe Bergdahl; Popular Chinese News Anchor Arrested for Corruption; Malala Lends Support to Nigerian Girls.
Aired July 14, 2014 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: But that ship sort of hovered off the coast of Miami in 1939. When word came that the United States government was denying their request to get in, the ship had no choice but to return to Europe. And on that ship, Wolf, over one-third of the people who went back perished. They were exterminated by the Nazis in the years that followed. It wasn't just -- you look at that story and you think, look at these children, and you realize that if we engage in massive deportation, there's a strong likelihood a number of these kids will be sent back to their deaths. That's why I think the situation cries out, as Gloria said, for not only a humane solution but one that respects the fact we can't -- we have to make sure more kids don't come. And I think there are ways to do that. But we need a couple of creative solutions, frankly.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: There are some Republicans -- Senator Cornyn of Texas, for example, is going to propose some legislation that effectively calls for the voluntary reunification of some of these families. In other words, giving them a chance. Knowing that their children are going to be sent back to say, OK, we're going to let you voluntarily reclaim your child before going through any other kind of a process that may be more difficult for them. I mean, there has to be a way to speed this up. There has to be a way to treat these children well while getting them back across the border.
GERGEN: But let me just interject this. If we simply send them back, reunite them with their families, there's a very high risk they're going to die, a number of them will die. What I think a more creative solution will be to treat the kids who are here now generously, and those who are just coming. But, secondly, establish safe haven, safe zones, back in these Central American country where they can go back and be protected. The United Nations has done that twice with great success in the past, both in Indochina in the 1970s and then again in Iraq to protect the Kurds. Once they did it and it failed. But the U.N. working with the U.S. could set up safe zones in these countries and then we could have a deadline, saying no more children come in, they all go back, but they can go back to safe zones where they can live.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You bring up the case, David, of "The St. Louis," the ship denied entry into the United States during the events leading up to the Holocaust. Don't forget, there's another important event that occurred in the 1930s during Nazi Germany, when there was what was called in German, the Kinder Transport, where Jewish families in Germany had this underground railroad, sending their children, by themselves, accompanied by non-Jews, mostly to England. The parents eventually were killed during the Holocaust. But the kids grew up in England. These parallels are never precise, but it's something our viewers might want to look back at as well, the whole Kinder Transport.
BLITZER: Gloria, we have to wrap it up, but go ahead.
BORDER: OK. No, I was just going to say, that's why I think it was so important that the president should have actually gone to the border and sort of borne witness to what was going on so he could talk to the American public about it, having seen it. It would have been a lot more than a photo op.
All right, guys, thanks, Gloria Borger, David Gergen.
GERGEN: Thank you.
BLITZER: A critical discussion, a very critically important issue.
Coming up, a new assignment for Bowe Bergdahl as the U.S. Army sergeant looks to get back to normal after five years in captivity.
And shock and anger in a Baghdad neighborhood after attackers carry out a major massacre. We're going live to the Iraqi capital.
BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Jerusalem.
Let's go to Iraq right now where there are more signs that country is falling deeper into chaos. A massacre over weekend stunned a Baghdad neighborhood.
Our Arwa Damon is in the Iraqi capitol with more on what happened.
I want to caution viewers, some of the images in her report are very graphic.
Arwa, I know this is awful. Tell our viewers what happened.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is truly awful, Wolf. That's for a country that's already seen more than its fair share of violence.
The vast majority of those who were victims of that massacre that took place over the weekend were women. Again, I do need to reiterate to viewers some of the images they're about to see in this report are incredibly disturbing.
DAMON (voice-over): Few will talk about what happened here Saturday night in these residential flats in a middle class Baghdad neighborhood, long believed to also house brothels. CNN obtained exclusive photographs of the interior of the crime scene. The person who took these chilling images says it was shocking, the stench of blood overwhelming. As he moved through each room, he just saw more and more blood. But the worst was in the tiny bathroom, on the floor, covering the wall. He says it felt like death was everywhere.
Police officials tell CNN that a Shia militia was responsible.
(on camera): This is the back end of the apartment blocks where the killings took place. It's not the first time gunman believed to be affiliated with religious Shia militias have entered into this neighborhood and carried out killings against individuals who they accused of being involved in activities in the various brothels that residents tell us do exist here. But it is the first time that the death toll has been this high.
(voice-over): Morgue officials tell CNN 28 women, ages 16 to 33, and six men, age, 27 to 45, were brought in. All the men, shot in the head.
(on camera): The bodies were brought here to Baghdad's central morgue. We're not being given access. But a staff member at the morgue told us that family members arrived in the morning trying to identify their loved ones. The bodies not being handed over to them at this stage because it is still an ongoing investigation.
(voice-over): A police station is within sight of the crime scene. There's only one entrance to the neighborhood manned by police.
Witnesses tell CNN there was a party in the apartment and that they did not hear a single gunshot, believing the assailants used silencers. The authorities clearly unable or unwilling to stop the massacre.
There's no way to verify what was happening here before the killings took place or who is responsible.
Iraq has been through the era of religious militia justice before. This is yet another sign of the collapse of government authority and another indication that the days when militias ruled streets are returning.
DAMON: And, Wolf, over the weekend, as well, 17 bodies of Sunni men were also brought to the morgue, seeming to have been executed.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the battle against ISIS, the Iraqi government launching numerous strikes to include hitting a mosque. That mosque was located right next to a hospital. 12 people were killed in that attack. And also, in Mosul, hitting what they believe to be an ISIS headquarters. They were using the palace of Saddam Hussein's half brother as one of their locations that they're operating out of in that city -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Awful situation in Iraq. Seems the whole Middle East region, parts of North Africa, on fire right now.
Arwa Damon, thanks for that report.
Six days from now, the U.S. and five other major world powers face a deadline in trying to get Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Right now, an agreement does not look likely. Today, the secretary of state, John Kerry, has been holding talks in Vienna with Iran's foreign minister. Both sides say little progress has been made. The U.S. and the other five countries accuse Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies that and says its nuclear program is only designed for peaceful purposes.
Coming up, I'll tell you why one of the biggest TV news anchors in China was locked up right before a live broadcast.
Also, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has now completed his reintegration and the U.S. Army has picked his next post. We're going to tell you where he's headed. That's coming up.
BLITZER: Released in May after five years in captivity in Afghanistan, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is moving ahead with his recovery, and that means he's just about to return to active duty.
Our Ed Lavandera is joining us from Dallas right now.
Ed, do we know when, do we know where he will return to active duty?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's been assigned to a new unit. That happened today. So he's officially done with the reintegration phase three portion of his recovery back here in the United States. But he will be staying very close to where he was going through that operation. His new assignment is with U.S. Army north there at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, close to where he just spent the last few weeks going through all that reintegration process and that training. So we're told by Army officials he will have an administrative job that is very much in line with other soldiers of his rank.
But, of course, now, Wolf, what we're really looking forward to and what becomes much more in earnest now is the investigation into his disappearance and his capture. And now Bowe Bergdahl will be available to be questioned by the investigator looking into all that. We were told on late Friday afternoon, as of now, Bowe Bergdahl does have an attorney, but that he has not been read the equivalent in the military justice system of his rights. So that investigative aspect will now become much more intense now that he's out of the reintegration process -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Do we know if he's re-established contact with his family? LAVANDERA: We do not know. Army officials will not say one way or
the other. "The New York Times" has reported he did send his parents a letter. But Army officials and his parents have not confirmed any kind of contact like that. So, you know, his future in the Army and his future in what Bowe Bergdahl will do next still seems to be very much up in the air.
BLITZER: All right, Ed. You'll stay on top of this story for us. Thanks very much, Ed Lavandera, in Dallas.
Later, Malala Yousafzai has her own story of survival. In a minute, I'm going to tell you how the prominent activist wants to help those kidnapped Nigerian girls.
Also coming up, a prominent TV news anchor is caught up in a corruption investigation. So what happened to him right before he was about to go on the air?
BLITZER: On "This Day in History," July 14, 1958, the Iraqi military overthrew the King Faisal II in an upheaval against the imperialist control. Both the kind and his uncle, the crown prince of Iraq, were assassinated. Washington officials feared that the coupe would incite revolutions in other pro-West oil states, like Kuwait and Bahrain.
The Chinese government has been trying to combat notorious corruption problem. That investigation has now claimed its highest-profile victim. A very popular and controversial news anchor was just arrested only moments before he was about to go on the air with his live newscast.
David McKenzie has the story from Beijing.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On China's most popular business show Friday, there was one major thing missing, its star anchor. Just an empty chair.
The controversial anchor, Rui Chenggang, is known for fast cars and big interviews. But he was taken away on corruption allegations by investigators, right before air.
Dubbed a shameless self promoter, Rui has never missed an opportunity for publicity. Here he is a few years back on "The Daily Show."
RUI CHENGGANG, CCTV ANCHOR: We have probably 200 to 400 million in viewers.
JON STEWART, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: 200 to 400 million?
MCKENZIE: Unashamedly pro China, he helped kick Starbucks out of the Forbidden City and likes to bait senior U.S. diplomats.
CHENGGANG: You flew coach from Beijing to Dallas. Was that a reminder that you still owe China money?
MCKENZIE: Even taking on President Obama.
CHENGGANG: I hate to disappoint you President Obama, but I'm actually Chinese.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it's wonderful to see you.
CHENGGANG: I represent all of Asia.
MCKENZIE: With two memoirs and more than 10 million social media followers, he's the most popular personality on China Central Television. He earlier denied he's being investigated.
Senior executives at CCTV, an arm of the Communist Party government, have already been detained by investigators. The party says no one is immune in their anti-corruption crackdown.
(on camera): Even one of China's best-known TV personalities, Rui, was known as the new face of China. For now, he won't be getting much face time at all.
David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.
BLITZER: A young champion for women's rights goes to bat for hundreds of girls who have held by militants since April. Malala Yousafzai's visit to Nigeria is next.
BLITZER: The group that kidnapped hundreds of school girls in Nigeria is ridiculing a campaign to bring those girls home. In a new video released by Boko Haram, the group's leaders demand the Nigerian government release imprisoned members of their own group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
Bring back our army. Bring back our army.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Meanwhile, Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani girl who has become a symbol of women's rights in surviving an attack on her life by the Taliban, is lending her voice to those Nigerian girls. She tells CNN, "They are my sisters."
Here's a look at the teen's activist's visit to Nigeria.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're the same age. MALALA YOUSAFZAI, ACTIVIST WHO SURVIVED TALIBAN ATTACK: Let's be
friends and let's talk to each other.
SESAY: Mere teenagers, but all have experienced horror beyond their years.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani school girl who survived an attack by the Taliban, has come to Nigeria on her 17th birthday to listen.
YOUSAFZAI: You spoke what you want and speak from the core of your heart. And I want to send your message to the president.
SESAY: And to lend her voice to the nearly 300 kidnapped Chibouk school girls, more than 200 of which are still missing.
Kalama Beatrice (ph) and Hawa Jon (ph) escaped just in time. Together they jumped from the back of a truck as Boko Haram tried to take them away. But the night they were taken from their dormitory still haunts them.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SESAY: "We wake up screaming in the night," Beatrice (ph) says.
"I keep having nightmares about my friends," Jon (ph) tells us. "I have dreams I'm playing with them, and then I wake up and realize they're still in captivity."
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SESAY: Malala also met with parents of some of the missing girls.
YOUSAFZAI: Because I consider those girls as my sisters, they are my sisters, and I'm going to speak up for them until they are released.
SESAY: For three months, they have called for the safe return of their daughters. Now they hope it's the voice of a teenager that will make the difference.
Isha Sesay, CNN, Nigeria.
BLITZER: That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, a "SITUATION ROOM" special report. We're live here in Jerusalem.
NEWSROOM with Don Lemon starts right now.