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Migrants Who Tried to Breach U.S. Border to be Deported to Home Countries; Russia Reopens Strait After Firing on Three Ukrainian Navy Ships; Government Report on Climate Change Reveals Impact on U.S. Economy; Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired November 26, 2018 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:03] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto. It is Monday, this morning the busiest of the southwest border crossings is opened once again for business. But President Trump is threatening to close it, quote, "permanently" if need be to prevent more scenes like we saw yesterday.

HARLOW: Hundreds of Central American migrants who've been stuck in Tijuana for days rose up, against Mexican police and physical barriers, finally forced -- faced, rather, U.S. border officers who held them off for the most part with tear gas.

We did learn just this morning, though, on CNN's "NEW DAY" that dozens of protesters did manage to enter the United States and were promptly arrested. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents were hit by migrants throwing projectiles, we've heard.

Let's go to Miguel Marquez, our colleague on the Mexican side of the border.

What is the situation there now as the sun rises this morning, Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is back to business as usual. This is a very busy foot passageway, a bridge into the U.S. Thousands of residents of Tijuana use this every single day to go to school, to go to work in the U.S. and then they return in the evening. So having that border upset like that is a huge problem for them.

All of this started when there was a demonstration, a protest for the migrants. This caravan of migrants that we've been covering now for several weeks now. They came to this area. They're staying in a sports stadium about four miles from here. They came up to this area, and then about 500 of them broke off and moved in this direction toward the U.S. border. You can see that car bridge there.

They went under that bridge and others like it and then moved to the U.S. border in different areas. Border Patrol saying that in some places where they had older walls, they were able to get through some of those barriers but were not able to get through the final barrier. That's when border agents used tear gas canisters and pepper bullets or pepper balls to keep them back, saying that they were able to hold them back.

Forty-two arrested. Mexico now saying that if others engage in this sort of behavior and try to cross illegally that they will be deported as well.

Back to you, guys.

SCIUTTO: Miguel Marquez, thanks very much.

Now let's go to the other side of the border. This side, Nick Watt has been in San Diego.

Nick, enormous deployment of resources there. A lot of attention focused. This morning, the morning after, in effect. Do Border Patrol agents have control?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, listen, they said they were going to keep this border closed until the situation had calmed down and until they had regained control. That was about four hours that the pedestrian crossings were closed, maybe five or six for the vehicle lanes. Now what they say happened is that these migrants came to the border, they tried to cross through the north and southbound vehicle lanes on foot. And they also, as Miguel was just trying to -- was just saying, tried to cross over some of this fencing.

Now they are replacing a lot of this fencing east and west of the San Ysidro crossing. That work is not yet finished. Now apparently these migrants also threw rocks. Three CBP agents were hit but they were wearing tactical gear so they were not injured. This place was on lockdown. The outlet mall here was completely closed down. The five freeway, there was a roadblock about two miles north of the border.

And let's just hear a little bit of what Rodney Scott from the CBP had to say earlier this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF RODNEY SCOTT, SAN DIEGO SECTOR BORDER PATROL: When the threat is to our personnel or to protect others, you've got to do what you've got to do. What I find unconscionable is that people would intentionally take children into this situation. What we saw over and over again yesterday was that the group, the caravan as we call them, would push women and children towards the front and then begin basically rocking our agents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Now most of the 42 people that they say were arrested were adult males but there were women and children amongst that group, as we just heard Rodney Scott say. Now the CBP was prepared for this. They knew there was going to be some sort of demonstration, some sort of protest. Extra personnel were put here on the border.

Normally about 100,000 people cross this border every day. Yesterday four to six hours, this border completely closed down. A huge CBP presence. Helicopters up in the air. They regained control of the situation.

Listen, this is what President Trump said last week he was going to do. He said on Thursday, listen, if we feel the border is out of control, if we feel there's a danger of our officers being hurt, then we will close down the border. Yesterday, CS gas, tear gas was used, and also I hear from the CBP that they also fired pepper balls to deter these migrants, to push them back and to protect themselves.

Jim and Poppy, back to you.

HARLOW: Nick Watt, important reporting. Thank you for being there.

With us now, CNN political commentator, President Trump's former director of legislative affairs, Marc Short. I should note he'd signed an non-disparaging agreement when he worked with the Trump team.

[10:05:02] Thank you for being here. We know this has been and will continue to be a big focus for the president. It's a rallying cry to his base to say things like we may permanently shut the border. But does he just weaken his argument when he makes some threats like that? He's not going to permanently close an international border. The economic consequences on trade, et cetera would be devastating.

The State Department came out and said $1.7 billion in goods and services cross the border every day. So why does he throw that out there?

MARC SHORT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Poppy, I think that the economic consequences would be severe. But I also don't underestimate the president here. He has promised since 2016 campaign that he's going to do what's necessary to make sure the southern border is secure. And I think you can watch, you can see the images on screen, you know that it's basically anarchy at the border. It's a lawless situation and the president is going to continue to do what he needs to do to make sure that America is safe.

SCIUTTO: Wait, wait.

HARLOW: Anarchy?

SCIUTTO: Anarchy at the border?

SHORT: Yes.

SCIUTTO: You have 20,000 CBP agents. You now have 5,000 active military down there, and yes, there was a moment today -- yesterday, rather, when they rushed the border, some made it across then were quickly arrested. Is it actually anarchy at the border?

SHORT: Yes, Jim, I don't question the confidence of our CBP officers and military support. What I am saying is our laws are absolutely so confusing that we are creating this problem. Your commentators earlier were talking about the asylum threats and people wanting to file asylum in our country. And that is what our country has always been about and we should. But do you realize that in the last 10 years we went from 5,000 claims at the border to over 100,000 this year?

And the reason for that is because human traffickers know if you claim asylum, you'll be given freedom into our country and set aside years of judicial process.

HARLOW: Can I just ask you then? You know, to your argument, to further that, then why is the administration making it so much harder for people to seek asylum, saying you have to go through the ports of entry to seek asylum, et cetera. Is that not counterintuitive? Has that not been encouraging others to -- yes, it's illegal but to come into this country illegally thinking that if I don't, you know, go to a port of entry, et cetera, many of them have gotten stuck there, I won't even be able to seek asylum?

SHORT: Quite the contrary. I think what a lot of the commentary says the president is denying asylum. He's not. He's saying go to ports of entry. That's where you can get it. But that's not the job of Customs and Border Patrol is trying to protect the border. Don't go there. And when they're trying to do their job on a daily basis and claim asylum, go to a port of entry as is or should be as required by law.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. Because you have the issue at the border. You also have the issue of undocumented immigrants here in the U.S. We had on a former DHS official, has great experience in this, Hipolito Acosta. He made the point that in the early 2000s, you have two million to three million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Now you have 10 million to 15 million. And you have companies in the U.S. employing them and they're not facing penalties for this.

You know, you're talking about a few dozen people, right, at the border, who managed to get through, they're quickly arrested. What about the 10 million to 15 million and how are you going to penalize companies, right? Is that not the kind of pressure point, right, to get at that issue?

SHORT: Well, yes, that depends, Jim. I think the reality is that the government has done a poor job in equipping people to make sure that companies can have the right tools and resources. There have been a lot of push for e-verify legislation to give them more tools. But right now in many cases you're prosecuting private employers when basically people come up with false identification.

Is that the job of an employer, to determine whether it's false or true identification or not? So we have a broken system across the board.

SCIUTTO: Well, I suppose the question is, you now have a Democratically controlled Congress. The president wants this border wall funding. There have been a thousand proposals for immigration reform over the last several years, bipartisan proposals, and one element of which is this guest worker program, right, so that you can get to businesses the immigrants they need to do this kind of work in a process that doesn't incentivize, right, illegal crossing at the border.

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: Is the president willing to deal?

SHORT: Yes.

SCIUTTO: On that with a comprehensive solution to the problem?

SHORT: Yes, he is, Jim. In fact, my first introduction to Mike Pence, as I was chief of staff for Kay Bailey Hutchinson. We were working on a guest worker program around more migrant workers into our country to provide more resources --

HARLOW: So where is it?

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Why isn't he mentioning about that?

SHORT: Well, we now have 3.7 percent unemployment. And that famous exchange with Jim Acosta, if you go back and look at it, he actually says I want more workers because I know where our economy is. So yes, he's willing to deal on that. But he also wants to make sure we get real border security and so far there's been no compromise in providing real border security.

SCIUTTO: We'll see. They've been offered -- there's been money offered, right, by Democrats and Republicans. The question is --

SHORT: The Democrats voted in 2006 for a Secure Fence Act. We're asking for more or less the same resources --

HARLOW: It's different. We know that.

SCIUTTO: They of course want something on DACA. They want --

SHORT: Very similar proposals, what the Border Patrol has offered with the current wall funding. Very much is.

SCIUTTO: I mean, we'll see. The test will be if both sides are willing to give.

HARLOW: And -- or else the government shuts down.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: In a few weeks.

SCIUTTO: And if they're willing to pay that price of a shutdown.

Marc Short, thank you.

SHORT: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: Thanks for being here. Good to have you.

SCIUTTO: Still to come, a new U.S. government report delivers a dire warning on climate change and its impact on the U.S. economy buried on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: We're going to discuss that.

[10:10:01] Also, just in, Russia now says it had the crews, Ukrainian crews on board these three Ukrainian vessels on their way to Ukrainian port. Russia has now seized that. In just minutes the United Nations Security Council will meet to discuss the escalating conflict.

HARLOW: Not overstate the importance of what is happening there.

Also a deadly shooting Thanksgiving Day at a mall in Alabama has taken an even more tragic turn. Police say the man they shot and killed likely not the gunman but then (INAUDIBLE) in an earlier shooting. Now of course the family wants answers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:15:01] HARLOW: All right. Back now with the escalating violence between Russia and Ukraine. In just over 40 minutes the U.N. will hold an emergency meeting. This as the two countries are trading blame after Russia opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels this weekend. Russian state media is now reporting that Russian forces detained 24 Ukrainian sailors in the incident, three of those are now in the hospital.

SCIUTTO: It all happened near Crimea at the Kerch Strait. It's now reopened but keep in mind these are all the areas where Russia has carried out acts of military aggression. It's occupied, annexed Crimea. It still controls large parts of eastern Ukraine, again within Ukraine's international borders. This latest violence alarming many in Europe.

Joining us now, Jill Dougherty, CNN contributor, global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

So, Jill, you've got years of experience covering this kind of stuff. Russian Navy vessels attack Ukrainian Navy vessels on their way to a Ukrainian port, fire on them, ram them, and have now seized 24 crew members. Is that an act of war?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a very dangerous act. I don't think that they want it to be an act of war. I'm not convinced that they want an all-out war. But what they do want to do is continue to squeeze Ukraine, make it almost impossible for them, for the Ukrainians to get their products, steel, et cetera, out of the ports in Ukraine that are being blocked.

You really should take out a map, I think, and look at this. Because where this happened is a little tiny strip of water, which is really like a choke point going into these two Ukrainian ports. And so the Russians have been squeezing them in a variety of ways. This is not the first time that they have, you know, stopped vessels. They haven't fired on vessels before, but they have been stopping commercial vessels, inspecting, et cetera. And so it's been building ever since -- really you could say for quite

a while but really I would put it back in April, May. May, when they built, the Russians built a bridge across that strait connecting Crimea and Russia.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes.

DOUGHERTY: And in effect choking off the Ukrainians.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Trying to make it part of Russian territory, in effect here.

We did have a reaction today from the administration special representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volcker, he tweeted the following, "Russia rams Ukrainian vessel peacefully traveling toward a Ukrainian port. Russia seizes ships and crew and then accuses Ukraine of provocation?" Question mark.

That's the special representative for Ukraine. The president himself has not commented or tweeted on this. We're four years into U.S. and Western sanctions on Russia. And yet it continues to occupy Crimea, large parts of eastern Ukraine and now it's done this.

What does that tell you about the U.S. and Western response to Russian aggression against Ukraine?

DOUGHERTY: I mean, I'm shocked that the United States really hasn't issued a statement. Everybody else has. The EU, other countries, et cetera. They have issued statements. The United States hasn't. And I think the problem is for Donald Trump as president and then his administration, knowing that this is very serious but how do they respond? How far do they go?

Many people right now are saying there should be more sanctions, very serious steps. But it is important for the United States to put itself on the record of opposing what happened and then figuring out how you respond to it. I think they simply can't at this point come up with any viable response because there is confusion in the administration. Otherwise, they would have had a statement last night or early this morning.

SCIUTTO: Right. So, Jill, how does Russia take that? You have a tweet from the special representative to the Ukraine but not from the commander-in-chief. Does Russia take that as license to continue this kind of activity?

DOUGHERTY: I think it could -- yes. There's no question. Because if the president himself doesn't come out, and this is an administration that's really, you know, driven by the president. If the president doesn't say it, then it loses a lot of strength. And right now, you know, you have a big political part of this, too. Ukrainian elections coming up. President Putin is losing support. The polls are showing he has diminishing support because of some economic steps that he has been taking.

He needs support from the Russian people. And the way previously he's done it is to manufacture or take advantage of something, you know, unexpected short of war that can gin up the support that he needs.

SCIUTTO: Jill Dougherty, thanks. Always good to have your expertise on this.

HARLOW: Wow, so telling, no statement from the U.S. yet.

Ahead, dire new warning about the impact of rising temperatures, climate change, on America's future from the Trump administration.

[10:20:07] An independent government report says climate change will be devastating to the U.S. economy, especially it will have terrible consequences for farmers across the Midwest, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: More than 300 American scientists have issued an emphatic warning about the impact of unchecked climate change on this country's future.

[10:25:06] SCIUTTO: These are scientists working under the Trump administration of course, and yet the National Climate Assessment says it will wreck America's economy leading to the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century. The report also predicts that climate change will lead to thousands of premature deaths in the U.S.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now.

So, Christine, you know, I think people are aware, except for the climate change deniers, they're aware of the climate and environmental impacts here.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

SCIUTTO: But this puts an economic point on this, that this is going to cost jobs and money.

ROMANS: It does. And Jim and Poppy, it could be the worst case scenario here. You're talking about an economy that could lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year or more than 10 percent of its GDP by the end of the century.

The National Climate Assessment of course was mandated by law. It was supposed to come out in December but was released by the Trump administration on Friday, smack in the middle of a holiday weekend. So that tells you what the kind of priority it will have from this White House.

Here are the findings. The southeast will probably lose more than half a billion hours of labor by the year 2100 due to extreme heat. Parts of the Midwest, Iowa, Minnesota, farms will be able to produce less than 75 percent of the corn they produce today. Heat stress could cause average dairy production to decline over the next 12 years. Heat stress already caused that industry $1.2 billion in 2010.

When it comes to shellfish, there will be a $230 million loss by the end of the century due to ocean acidification which is already killing off shell fish and corals. The red tides or algae bloom that deplete oxygen in the water and kills sea life like those that triggered a state of emergency in Florida in August will become more frequent.

And this is -- it's a really specific stat in here from these scientists. Phoenix could have as many as 150 days a year above 100 degree. Imagine what that means for schools.

HARLOW: Oh my god.

ROMANS: For laborers. For anybody working outside. For the cost cooling, all kinds of things.

HARLOW: So all the people that thought sort of not in my time, not my generation. Maybe, maybe, maybe my kids, maybe not. Now this is very present and current and impending and coming soon.

ROMANS: What I think is so interesting about it, 1600 pages, it's hundreds of scientists, 13 federal agencies. These are people whose job it is to just weigh facts and weigh data and figure out what it's going to mean. It's overwhelmingly precise in how dire it is. This is not some international organization of scientists that you could say oh, there's an internationalist agenda here. These are American scientists working on behalf of the American government. You may give this one (INAUDIBLE).

SCIUTTO: And just to put an even finer point on it, because you'll hear from the president, you'll hear from someone on the right that well, it's under dispute, there's a political agenda here. Your answer to that.

ROMANS: Government scientists, political agenda, that's, I mean, really a stretch. These are people who are -- my grandfather was a chemist for the government for 50 years. He was a die-hard conservative. He only followed the facts and what his science told him.

SCIUTTO: You want to know one more institution that is preparing for climate change that doesn't question the science? The U.S. military. The Defense Department.

ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Look at how they're handling it, what they're doing.

HARLOW: Great point.

SCIUTTO: And they're not exactly wilting flowers.

ROMANS: Yes. No. You're right.

HARLOW: It's a great point.

Thank you, Romans. We appreciate it. ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: So this climate report in particular paints a grim picture for farmers in the Midwest.

With us now, Jamie Beyer, vice president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

And Jamie, I know this is not about politics for you. Right? You guys take a nonpartisan stance. But when you look at the stats here, that the quality and the quantity of crops, Jamie, are supposed to be depleted because of higher temperatures, droughts and flooding in the Midwest, you could see up to 75 percent less corn produced. You could lose more than 25 percent of soy bean yield. These are the farmers that you represent. What's your reaction?

JAMIE BEYER, VICE PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA SOYBEAN GROWERS ASSOCIATION: I think you're right on. It's the policy not the politics that farmers are interested in. And we're first and foremost interested in protecting the food supply and our limited precious farm land, field resources and water. So when you see the climate assessment, it's certainly startling in black and white. But I know that the scientific advances and technology in the USA can be part of the solution to mitigate the effects of climate change.

HARLOW: Right. But the president, Jamie, just last week -- let me quote him on Twitter. "Whatever happened to global warming?" When you read that, are you nervous?

BEYER: You know, as farmers we kind of keep our heads down. And we just got through harvest. And I'm in the Red River Valley where over the past 20 years we have learned some of the lessons on how to deal with extreme weather predicted and the climate assessment. So we frequently experience flooding and drought and not uncommonly in the same growing season. And I know that preparation and planning are keys to success, along with development, adoption of new tools and technology in Ag.

HARLOW: You know, one thing that we've heard from the administration, from the president on how to combat climate change is weighing it with economic interest and the president said just last month, quote, "I don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don't want to be put at a disadvantage," meaning America. I guess what would you like to see from the government, from the Trump administration right now, seeing that jobs and lives --

(END)