Return to Transcripts main page


Elizabeth Warren a Challenge for Hillary Clinton; Bergdahl Hires Attorney; Many Immigrants Flee Violence in Honduras; Time Warner Turns Down 21st Century FOX Bid.

Aired July 16, 2014 - 13:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The challenge Hillary Clinton could face from within her own party as she referred specifically to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

I want you to listen, Gloria, to this.


REP. MICHELLE BACHMANN, (R), MINNESOTA: I don't see her as necessarily taking Republican votes, but I think she will be an extremely attractive candidate for the Democratic voters in 2016. If she chooses to mount a run for the presidency, I would agree with Newt, I think that, if I was Mrs. Clinton, I'd be extremely concerned with what I see.


BLITZER: Does she have a good point? Should she be worried about Elizabeth Warren?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: What Michele Bachmann is trying to do is stir the pot. You know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So flatter Elizabeth Warren. Say that Hillary Clinton should be worried about a challenge from Elizabeth Warren.

Of course, Warren does represent a different wing of the Democratic Party. She's anti-Wall Street. She could, if she wanted to, paint Hillary as somebody who's earned a lot of money from Wall Street. But I have to say, if Hillary Clinton runs, I don't think Elizabeth Warren is going to get in her way, at least not at the outset, OK. I don't see Elizabeth Warren mounting a sort of frontal attack on Hillary Clinton.

At this point, as much as Michele Bachmann might want it. I think she does want it. She'd love to see Warren get in there and mix it up, particularly since Republicans are going to have a pretty -- a pretty big fight on their hands among a whole list of candidates.

BLITZER: Gloria Borger, thanks very much. Excellent --

BORGER: We miss you, Wolf.

BLITZER: -- analysis as usual.

Thank you, see you soon.

Still to come, emotions run high across the country as the government tries to find housing for undocumented kids crossing the border. Due process prevents sending those kids home right away. So where can they go?

Also coming up, defending Bowe Bergdahl. We'll hear from his new attorney who has a special message for President Obama.


BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Jerusalem. Once again, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

It's been six weeks since U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released from Taliban custody. Now he's back on active duty. He's also hired an attorney to help him through the investigation into his initial disappearance from his base in Afghanistan.

His new attorney spoke with our Kate Bolduan about what's next.


EUGENE FIDELL, ATTORNEY FOR BOWE BERGDAHL: In due course, the country is going to have more facts in front of it as the pending investigation unfolds. But for the moment, I would ask that everybody sort of hold the phone.

I think the one thing I might say is that Sergeant Bergdahl has had a close brush with death over a prolonged period of time. He understands that his life has been saved. He's grateful to President Obama for doing that.


BLITZER: Ed Lavandera is joining us now from Dallas. He's been covering this story.

Do we have any indication, Ed, when we might hear from Bergdahl himself?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't think any kind of public statements will be made any time soon, Wolf. We do know his attorney now says, at some point, he will meet with the two-star general investigating his situation, his capture, and his disappearance from the base there in Afghanistan. Obviously, that is a move that has come under great criticism where Sergeant Bergdahl has been criticized intensely by his fellow comrades that served with him.

Now that Bergdahl has finished this reintegration in San Antonio, the Army has said, at some point, he will be spoken to and the investigating two-star general will speak with Bergdahl. That really is the missing puzzle in all of this. The Army has had five years to investigate and speak with his fellow soldiers that served with him and all of the surrounding pieces of this puzzle. They haven't spoken within Bowe Bergdahl directly. That is the missing piece of all of this. His attorney says he will meet with him, his attorney will be present.

After that, the question becomes, what will Bergdahl's future in the Army, if any, what will that look like. And his lawyer says, at this point, his main concern is to get through this process so that Bowe Bergdahl can get back to living a normal life.


FIDELL: I know people are interested. I would ask everybody have a little patience here. He's gone through an extraordinary ordeal, an unimaginable ordeal. The mind boggles when thinking about spending five years in the hands of the Taliban. Imagine your worst nightmare. That's all I'll say on that.

Obviously, the hope is that he can return to a normal life. And, you know, reintegrate properly within American society as well as the Army and sort of get on with his life.


LAVANDERA: And, Wolf, the investigating general has about 60 days to complete his investigation of this. The clock started ticking on that back in mid-June when he was first appointed. So somewhere in the next couple of weeks, by mid-August, we should have a better sense, barring any kind of extension that is given the general, we should have a better sense of what direction the Army will go in and if any criminal charges will be filed against Bergdahl -- Wolf?

BLITZER: What else, Ed, do we know about his duties, now that he's been returned to active duty? What has he been doing on that base?

LAVANDERA: On Monday, he was assigned to a new unit there, very close to Fort San Houston there in San Antonio where he's been going through this reintegration process, and his medical team and psychologist, that sort of thing. He basically has a desk job. He's doing administrative duties for this new unit. The Army says that the kinds of jobs he will be doing, they're trying to treat him just like any other soldier, that he's doing the kind, of work and the kind of job, an administrative job that any other sergeant in the military would be doing. But obviously, Bergdahl is not your average soldier at this point, given the amount of attention he's getting. But the Army insists they're trying to treat him just like any other soldier.

But obviously, this investigation he's facing is really at the forefront of his mind, you would have to expect, but, you know, he's getting up and going to work every day like any other soldier.

BLITZER: And very quickly, I take it, he has not yet been in direct contact, hasn't spoken with his mom and dad?

LAVANDERA: As best we can tell, no communication has taken place between Sergeant Bergdahl and his parents. And, you know, that's obviously been of great interest over the last few weeks. As far as we know, no kind of communication has taken place.

BLITZER: Ed Lavandera, on top of the story for us. Thanks very much.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century FOX tries to buy Timer Warner, which owns CNN. It was a massive offer that was rejected. So will Rupert Murdoch give up? We have the story. That's coming up.

And the governor of Maryland doesn't want the federal government to send immigrant kids back home to certain death but he adds that parts of his own state wouldn't be suitable for them either. We'll explain. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Want to turn now to the ongoing crisis along the southern U.S. border.




BLITZER: Emotions clearly boiling over as the Obama administration struggles to get a handle on the surge of undocumented people from Central America entering the United States illegally, many of them children, unaccompanied by a parent. The House of Representatives says it will take up, next week, the president's request for nearly $4 billion in emergency funds to deal with the crisis.

The solution can't come soon enough. Immigration facilities are clearly overwhelmed. Under a U.S. Anti-human trafficking law, unaccompanied minors are required to have a hearing before they can be deported back to their home country. Time ran out for about 40 people, mothers and their children, who were put on a chartered flight back to Honduras on Monday.

Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley, of Maryland, is one of those politicians opposed to sending those immigrant kids back home to, quote, "certain death" -- his words, "certain death." But he also does not want to send them to a facility in western Maryland, his state.

Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, says the issue has caused a serious rift between the governor and the White House.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Maryland Governor O'Malley was a top surrogate for President Obama during his election campaign in 2012, but not anymore. Late last week, the Maryland governor, who is thinking about running for president in 2016, was sharply critical of White House plans to return thousands of undocumented children back to Central America who are at the heart of this border crisis.

That criticism prompted a phone call, from what I understand, from a top White House official, Cecilia Munoz, to O'Malley, who took issue with his comments. It was during that phone call, sources familiar with the conversation say, that O'Malley asked Munoz that the children not be sent to a site that was under considering for keeping them in Western Maryland. Now Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley confirms that that conversation did take place. But the White House is furious with O'Malley. I've been talking to sources familiar with this conversation who say that the Maryland governor was being hypocritical in asking that those children not be sent to Maryland.

I asked Governor O'Malley whether he was being hypocritical. Here's what he had to say.


ACOSTA: Do you feel like they threw you under the bus?

MARTIN O'MALLEY, (D), GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND: I really don't care. I'm far more concerned about children being penned up and cooped up in conditions that look a lot more like kennels than they look like the way a humane country should be treating refugee kids.

And I will say it again and again and continue to call all of us to the most important work, which is doing right by these kids. Because it's not just about them, it's about the sort of country we want to give to our children. And we are not a country that should be returning refugee kids back to certain death or war-torn areas. These kids deserve their due process.


ACOSTA: O'Malley later told us in that interview he is open to other sites in Maryland being used to house those children. Meanwhile, the White House is saying many of these unaccompanied minors may actually qualify for asylum status and be allowed to stay in the U.S. The president will be hearing from other Democrats later on in the day when the House Democratic caucus comes to the White House to talk about this and other issues with the president -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jim Acosta, reporting for us at the White House.

Deportation is an easy answer to the crisis but sending people back to countries like Honduras can certainly, at least at times, become a death sentence. We'll take you to a place where the dead are gathered from the streets on a daily basis.


BLITZER: Honduras now racks up more murders per capita than just about any country on earth. Violence plays a big role in why so many people from that country are now streaming toward the United States, hoping for something better.

Our Rosa Flores went to Honduras to show what families there are dealing with.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this building in the coroner's office is where the most painful exchanges happen. They find out in their loved one is alive or dead.

Take a look at this wall. This entire wall is filled with men and women who are missing. Overnight, there were four bodies that came into the coroner's office, and that's a decrease.


FLORES: It didn't take long for us to find a grieving family. These two women are looking for a loved one.

They had a family packed to go to Disney, the entire family. And the family went first, the wife and the kids, and then he was supposed to leave later, so he had his visa to go to the United States, his tickets. But they say he stayed only to die. He was killed.


FLORES: She is saying they couldn't find her son. They found him dead. They say they were raided and they couldn't recognize his face.


FLORES: His features were destroyed somehow. She says people here live in fear. That's how they live. They don't have another option.

Her nephew, the person they're trying to identify today say helped her. They tried to kidnap her, extort her for money. She says she doesn't know what the future holds at this point.

Some people don't want to claim bodies, because they don't want to be associated with their family member who ends up dead. Because, hear this, gang members come here to the medical examiner's office and they case out families to figure out who is next in that family unit that they would be attacking.

Now this is the medical forensics truck that actually brings the bodies here. The medical examiner tells us that 48 unclaimed bodies are in this facility at this point in time. And here's the sad thing. A lot of the families in Honduras think their family member is on their way to the United States, only to find out that they're here, dead.




NASA ANNOUNCER: 3, 2, 1, 0. We have liftoff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The space race was about our own sense of security. CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: We didn't know whether a human

would survive in space. And the Soviets send this guy to space and he survived.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: We were in a race and the Russians were the bad guys and they were winning this race.

GLYNN LUNNEY, NASA FLEET DIRECTOR: I would say, for most of the '60s, we had a sense of being behind.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that this nation should commit itself to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a moment when the whole world kind of stopped in their tracks.

HANKS: All of human experience will be divided into two eras, before man walked on the moon and after man walked on the moon.

ANNOUNCER: "The Sixties," tomorrow night at 9:00 on CNN.


BLITZER: On "This Day in History," July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr and his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bassett, died when the single-engine plane Kennedy was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

And now to big news on the business front. We've learned Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century FOX tried to buy Time Warner, CNN's parent company, but that bid has been turned down.

"CNN Money" correspondent, Cristina Alesci, joins us.

Cristina, tell us about the offer. What do we know?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: We know it was a huge offer. $80 billion that would be one of the biggest media deals on the programming side in quite some time, Wolf. Look, this makes sense for FOX, right? It gets more television programming, it gets more sports programming. At least that's what it wants. It wants leverage with the pipe companies or the distributors that are coming together themselves. And getting more powerful. So from FOX's standpoint, the more content it can get, the more leverage it has. Of course, Time Warner has rejected this offer.

Here, CEO Jeff Bewkes, on another reason they turned down FOX.


JEFF BEWKES, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TIME WARNER: The board concluded, continuing to execute our strategic plans and business plans will create significantly more value for the company and our shareholders, and that that's superior to any proposal that FOX is in a position to offer. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ALESCI: Now what's also interesting here, Wolf, is that there would be obviously some anti-trust regulatory concerns about two major media organizations like this coming together. So as part of the proposed offer last month, FOX actually proposed spinning off CNN. And as you know, analysts have been talking about who would be interested in buying CNN. We've had some analysts tell us that CBS and ABC would be interested in CNN.

BLITZER: Probably would be. A lot of people would be interested in CNN.

Could Murdoch come back, Cristina, with an even higher bid?

ALESCI: Well, you know as well as I do, he's a pretty aggressive, determined person. And I've spoken with sources close to this deal who say he's not going away. So there is a possibility that he comes back with a sweetened offer that could potentially put some pressure on Time Warner to reconsider. Obviously, they have a fiduciary area duty to do so.

But here's the thing. A lot of this deal actually rests on FOX shares, which are non-voting shares, which is something Time Warner put in its release today, that you've got to question the valuation on those non-voting shares, at least from the Time Warner perspective.

BLITZER: Cristina Alesci, reporting for us. Cristina, welcome to "CNN Money." Welcome to CNN. Good to have you on our team.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. Eastern. A special "SITUATION ROOM" report coming up from here in Jerusalem. For our international viewers, stay tuned for "AMANPOUR." For our viewers in the United States, "NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.