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President Donald Trump Steps into North Korea; Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) is Interviewed About Donald Trump Meeting With Kim Jong-un; Donald Trump, Jr. Questions Kamala Harris' Race; Inmates' Pleas for Medical Help Ignored by Health Care Provider; Elie Honig Answer Legal Questions on Cross-Exam; Border Crisis as Key Issue on the 2020 Democratic Campaign. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 30, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. The world is a different place right now than it was just a few hours ago. President Trump and his penchant for extraordinary television moments unquestionably made one happen as he tells it, it was his idea.
While at the Korean demilitarized zone, he wouldd already be about 100 miles from Pyongyang. Why not send a message to the leader of North Korea, a tweet to Kim Jong-un, to join him for a handshake and a chat. Well, nobody knew if it would happen, until it did. Kim Jong-un showed up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM JONG-UN, SUPREME LEADER OF NORTH KOREA: Good to see you again. I never expected to meet you at this place.
JONG-UN: Take a step forward. You are the first U.S. president to cross the border.
JONG-UN: This is a great moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the way. Move. Clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move! Move, all of you.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is my honor. I didn't really expect it. We were in Japan for the G20. We came over. I said, hey, I'm over here. I want to call up Chairman Kim. And we got to meet and stepping across that line was a great honor. A lot of progress has been made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Here again, that big moment, the sitting American president standing on North Korean soil. What this will eventually achieve remains to be seen. Neither of the two previous meetings between Trump and Kim changed the North Korea dynamic in a meaningful way.
President Trump before that historic step across the DMZ claimed that only he could have made it possible, that his predecessor wanted it and failed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: President Obama wanted to meet and Chairman Kim would not meet him. The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly. And Chairman Kim would not meet with him. And for some reason, we have a certain chemistry or whatever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: "Obama was begging for a meeting." President Obama's director of National Intelligence for more than six years says, no, that's not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: In all the deliberations that I participated in North Korea during the Obama administration, for no instance whatever were President Obama ever indicated any interest whatsoever in meeting with Chairman Kim. I just -- that's news to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And then there was this chaotic moment, a physical scuffle between North Korean officials and the brand-new White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. Grisham was directing reporters while President Trump and Kim Jong-un were behind closed doors.
A source there said Grisham was bruised in this altercation. By the way, today was her second day on the job. CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is with us. Jim, what a place to be after that incredible moment we just watched. Again, tell us how people in Seoul are reacting. It was just a year ago when the South Korean president took those same steps.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. And I think the reaction right now in South Korea here in Seoul is cautious optimism. They've seen this movie before. They've seen President Trump and Kim Jong-un get together on two previous occasions.
But as you were just mentioning a few moments ago, those previous encounters did not produce any tangible results. So we saw the same thing yesterday, you know, overnight, I suppose for you back in the states, Ana. You know, the president is capable of orchestrating some remarkable television.
The question is whether or not moving forward. The president and Kim Jong-un can actually sit down and hammer out some sort of agreement that results in the denuclearization of this peninsula. And that is the brass ring that has not been quite grasped by this president yet.
[17:05:01] And so what we saw yesterday was remarkable. Obviously, seeing the president of the United States walk 20 paces on North Korean soil, that is something that perhaps none of us expected to see happen when the president was talking up this encounter.
I talked to a source familiar with all of the planning that went into this, and that this is essentially a spontaneous thing that we saw yesterday. Yes, the Secret Service was planning for the president to go up to the DMZ. They had been talking about that for some time.
But after the president tweeted that he would like to see Kim Jong-un at the DMZ, I'm told by a source that essentially the president's team jumped into gear and made all of this happen. And as you saw when all of the cameras were there surrounding the president and Kim Jong-un, their bromance was continuing.
They have a very warm relationship, obviously. But at the end of the day, the president told reporters that essentially all they could agree to was that both sides will start to formulate teams to get these nuclear talks up and running again because they did actually break down and collapsed the last time these two leaders got together in Hanoi, Vietnam.
And so, you know, whether or not we see, you know, a long-lasting nuclear agreement forged by these two men, that remains to be seen. But one of the things that the president talked about, Ana, when he met with Kim Jong-un, is perhaps something even more tantalizing than seeing the president of the United States cross the DMZ into North Korean territory, and that's the prospect of bringing Kim Jong-un to the White House.
I talked to a White House official who said the timeline is such at this point that they can't really lay out for us. It's really too early in the process to say exactly when we might expect to see Kim Jong-un in Washington, but what a remarkable scene that would be as well.
CABRERA: No doubt about it. Jim Acosta in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you.
President Trump cozying up to one of the world's most brutal dictators. I want to remind you of Kim Jong-un's track record. He was just in his 20s when he became the supreme leader of North Korea. He's shrewd, he's ruthless and willing to assassinate anyone who poses a threat to him, even his own family members.
Oh, and it doesn't really matter if the threat is real or imagined. Kim ordered the execution of his own uncle in 2013. The uncle's crime? Having too much power. In February of 2017, Kim allegedly had his own half-brother assassinated with a lethal nerve agent in the middle of a major international airport.
And about 16 months after that, alleged brazen assassination, Kim shook President Trump's hand at their first summit in Singapore. Here's what President Trump said shortly after that meeting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We had a fantastic meeting with Chairman Kim and it seems to be going very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Kim's world is one of extravagant privilege and luxury. He enjoys the best of everything. Private jets, imported caviar, while the people he rules over live in famine and extreme poverty. According to the United Nations report, North Korea has about 25 million people and 43% percent of them are undernourished, not getting enough food while Kim spends billions of dollars boosting his nuclear arsenal.
Kim uses food as a weapon against his own people, keeping millions too hungry to even consider defying him. This is the same guy that President Trump exchanges handwritten letters with. This is the same guy that Trump says he fell in love with. This is the guy who the president has just invited to the White House. This is Kim Jong-un, and he's only in his early 30s.
I want to bring in someone who knows first hand what it's like to be in North Korea. Joining us now, former New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson. He has also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Governor, good to have you with us. You've been to North Korea many times. You've been on the front lines of North Korean negotiations for years. What does this moment, what we witnessed in North Korea today mean to you?
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO: Well, it shows what Kim Jong-un has wanted. He's had three summits with President Trump. This is a big political triumph for him with his own people. He's on the world stage, yet he's given up nothing. He has done nothing to denuclearize.
He hasn't given an inventory of his nuclear weapons. He continues to be dictatorial in his own country. But, you know, there is a plus here. It probably is a political win for the president, for a sitting president to go there. Tensions are a little bit less, although Kim Jong-un has shot two short-term missiles.
But the talks with North Korea have been stalled. Nothing has happened. North Korea has given up nothing on denuclearization, and the United States also, we've been very firm saying you have to denuclearize, then sanctions.
[17:09:55] So maybe this will be the summit, this spontaneous summit by tweet, will get the negotiating teams to really zero in on a possible compromise --
CABRERA: I don't know if you could call it a summit.
RICHARDSON: -- that's the plus. The downside is we will legitimize Kim Jong-un.
CABRERA: Did you ever think you would see this, a sitting U.S. president, stepping into North Korea with the North Korean dictator?
RICHARDSON: No. I mean, look, previous negotiations -- and I've had good luck with the North Koreans on political prisoners, on remains -- it was always from the bottom up. And I'll give the president credit for like reaching out to Kim Jong-un for the first summit. The second summit was a disaster.
I didn't think that they deserved the third summit with Kim Jong-un until Kim Jong-un gave up something. But, you know, the president has his own unique style of trying to get things done. The plus may be that the negotiations will move forward with a compromise.
Some sanctions relief and North Korea gives up some of its nuclear weapons and missiles. At the very least, the fact that the South Korean president was there, tensions are a little bit better in the peninsula, but, you know, it was all show and no substance. But maybe that's better than nothing.
CABRERA: I mean, you sound optimistic, and I can appreciate that. Others who we've spoken to say this was a win more for Kim because, again, it just gives him some more, you know, propaganda essentially to use to show he's a legitimate ruler. Do you think this could weaken the U.S. position in any way?
RICHARDSON: Well, it is a win for Kim with his own people. It shows he's getting something done, maybe on sanctions. It puts him on the world stage on the par with the president of the United States. The North Koreans in the past have always said to me, we want to negotiate with you. You guys are the big guys in the region, not China, not South Korea, not Japan.
Well, they've achieved that. And the fact that the president went to Kim, by tweet, went into North Korea. The good side is that they're getting along. That is always good. But it's very unusual, bizarre diplomacy. But maybe it will produce something. The danger is that we've legitimized Kim Jong-un, and he's given up nothing.
CABRERA: I want to play something President Trump said earlier. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: President Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him. The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly. And Chairman Kim would not meet with him. And for some reason, we have a certain chemistry or whatever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: An Obama aide refuted that saying President Obama never sought a meeting with Kim. However, Obama did say this as a candidate in 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to meet separately without
precondition during the first year of your administration in Washington or anywhere else with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea in order to bridge the gap that divides our country?
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Governor, I know you're all about diplomacy. Should credit be given to President Trump for doing something that President Obama couldn't or didn't do?
RICHARDSON: Well, I give credit to President Obama for his detente with Cuba. I think we made things better with Iran than nuclear deal, although I would have gone further. But, yes, I do give credit to President Trump for initially reaching out to Kim Jong-un and setting a framework for negotiations.
What I don't like is the president coddling up to Putin, now Kim Jong- un, with getting little in return and not being tough on them, not saying you promised to denuclearize, at least get rid of some of your missiles and your nuclear weapons and you haven't done it. They've done very little.
They've given back some of our remains of our soldiers. That's important. But at the same time, we've given up a lot. Hardly any exercises with South Korea. So, I think that Kim Jong-un has to deliver to the president.
The president is supposed to be a master negotiator. But I've yet to see getting anything in return from Kim Jong-un except tensions or less. And you have to give credit to President Trump for at least reducing tensions in the peninsula.
[17:14:57] But now is the time, now that he's given Kim Jong-un three summits and this last one in his own territory, to get something in return from Kim Jong-un to denuclearize something, to get rid of some of his missiles, to do something on human rights, to join the community of nations. Kim Jong-un has so far made out better than President Trump.
CABRERA: Governor Bill Richardson, you have a unique perspective. Thank you very much for taking the time. I know it's late where you are, and I appreciate it.
RICHARDSON: Thank you.
CABRERA: The crisis at the border is becoming a central issue now for the Democrats vying for the White House. But there is outrage on the left after the House passed a bipartisan border funding bill meant to relieve the suffering of those detained. I'll ask a Democratic congressman why he voted against it, next.
Plus, hear how Senator Kamala Harris is now responding to Donald Trump Jr.'s racist re-tweet questioning her blackness, next.
CABRERA: President Trump going where no sitting U.S. president has ever gone before. He crossed from the demilitarized zone into North Korea for his meet-up with dictator Kim Jong-un. It's a stunning visual and it is sparking fierce debate today.
Democratic congressman Ro Khanna of California joins us now. Congressman, your on the Armed Service Committee, do you think the president should be meeting with Kim on Kim's turf? What kind of message does that send?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I support his initiative. I had met with President Carter a couple of weeks ago and with Chung-in Moon, a senior adviser to South Korean President Moon.
[17:20:03] And they both believe there's a framework for a deal. First, we need to have a peace agreement and move beyond the 1953 armistice and have a nonaggression pact. Second, they think then Kim Jong-un will denuclearize. And after 90 percent denuclearization, we can look at flexibility in sanctions. I think a framework is there. I'm glad President Trump is exploring it.
CABRERA: I want to move on to the border funding bill this week, $4.6 billion to provide more humanitarian resources for the border. Here's Senator Amy Klobuchar this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I would have much preferred the House version in continuing to negotiate. I think it is unfortunate it happened at the end. There were some really important requirements in that House version.
But it is important to get the aid right now to the border and to these kids. I don't think you can go in there and deny that money for the border when you've seen what I have seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Congressman, the money is specifically for safe shelter, medical care and food for these children in federal custody. It does not include any funding for the border wall. It passed the Senate, 84- 8, but you were one of the 95 Democrats in the House who voted against this bill. Do you stand by your vote?
KHANNA: I do. We voted for a bill to give the funding earlier, but it would have had basic restrictions that would have said that the health standards include giving kids diapers, giving them toothbrushes, having sanitary conditions.
Ana, here's the thing. The administration had $40 million more in 2019. Congress gave them $40 million more than they requested. And yet they were still treating these kids horribly. That money had not run out yet. The money is going to run out soon, but it had not run out. So the issue is not funding. The issue is a lack of definable standards. The Senate stripped all of those standards from the bill.
CABRERA: However, the Democrat who helped to negotiate that bill through his committee, which it passed with 31 votes, said this. "We got kids down there who are suffering and we're going to sit up here and say we get only 90 percent of what we wanted so that those kids will get zero percent?" Does he have a point?
KHANNA: He's making a false choice. The money was there. The appropriations had already been done. The money was going to run out. Congress could have easily done our job and given the money and had the restrictions. Let's be very clear why this didn't pass.
There was a problem-solvers caucus of moderate Democrats. Some of them in the caucus who didn't want to look weak on the security and so they forced the speaker's hand. But many of us were saying, no. Human rights come before politics and we need to stand up for the rights of those kids.
CABRERA: OK. Let's move on. You've endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for 2020. He champions this idea of Medicare for all and would get rid of private insurance, yet he can't seem to come up with a clear description on his plan and how to get there. Here he is at the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will tell you how we'll do it. We'll do it the way real change has always taken place, whether it was the labor movement, the civil rights movement or the women's movement.
We will have Medicare for all, where tens of millions of people are prepared to stand up and tell the insurance companies and the drug companies that their day is gone, that health care is a human right, not something to make huge profits off of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Congressman, there's a lot of activist language, lots of emotion, but where is the plan? He doesn't explain how you get from point "A" to point "B" when currently more than 150 million Americans have private insurance.
KHANNA: Well, Ana, the plan is very simple and there's a bill in Congress. And what this says is every American will get the access to Medicare with dental coverage, with vision, with access to long-term care.
And instead of paying the thousands and thousands of dollars to private insurance, now you are going to get that coverage from the government like we have in Medicare. Now, how are you going to finance that? There are different ways you could finance that. You could have the employers that are currently paying to the
insurance companies pay that money to the government and that would cover Medicare for all. You can also have a small fee where families would have to pay a small fee, but that would be much less than the premiums that they're currently paying.
So, a lot of economists have looked at this. The one point I do want to make, Taiwan, which is one of the free market, most free market economies in the world has single payer healthcare and it's working.
CABRERA: As you know, though, the number of people in Taiwan is significantly less than the number of people here in the U.S.
CABRERA: I know the senator likes to point out some of the other places that have a universal health care system of sorts, but even in some of these places, including places like Canada, it's not to the extent that the senator wants to take America's health care system.
[17:25:03] Congressman Ro Khanna, there's obviously so much more we could discuss when it comes to Medicare for all and many other issues that you're part of in Congress. Thank you for taking the time today.
KHANNA: Thank you very much, Ana.
CABRERA: The president's son, Don, Jr. retweets and later deletes a tweet questioning Senator Kamala Harris' racial identity. Hear how she's responding, next.
CABRERA: 2020 candidate Senator Kamala Harris hitting the campaign trail this afternoon and talking about online attacks concerning her race. She was back in California today taking part in pride events in her hometown of San Francisco, along with a few fund-raising stops, this after the president's son, Don Jr., retweeted to his millions of followers a Harris critic who took issue with her racial identity.
Harris' opponents for the Democratic presidential nominations slammed that tweet as racist. The tweet has since been taken down and Don Jr.'s spokesman calls it a misunderstanding. All this after Harris scored a breakout debate moment when she was criticizing front-runner Joe Biden's record on busing.
Let's get right to CNN's Kyung Lah in San Francisco. Kyung, is Harris addressing these race controversies today as she talks to voters out on the campaign trail?
[17:29:56] KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She's not directly addressing the tweets by -- the tweets per se -- of Donald Trump, Jr. What she is doing is trying to focus on San Francisco pride. To be fair, she wasn't directly asked by it by anyone either.
She's trying to figure out how to handle herself moving forward. What we are hearing, though is from her campaign. Her surrogates, they've also sent out statements speaking to reporters, have slammed it as a racist attack.
What we've seen today from Harris is trying to enjoy this very large event here, an estimated 700,000 people flooding the city. They've been taking part in a parade where Kamala Harris, who is a very popular figure from her time here as district attorney.
She did give some public remarks where she said she would continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQ Americans. And she did revisit her performance at the Democratic debate, explaining why she felt compelled to talk about the vice president's comments. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It may make people uncomfortable to speak the truth about the history of our country, but we must speak the truth and we must agree that there not only is fact that is the basis for these truths, but that we should recommit ourselves to also agreeing that these things should never happen again. And that was the purpose of me bringing it up on that stage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And when she did bring it up on stage, Ana, it was then that the online attacks started. Ana?
CABRERA: Kyung Lah reporting from San Francisco. Thank you.
Pleas for help ignored. A CNN investigation into the country's largest provider of health care for inmates uncovers some shocking details.
[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Welcome back. A CNN investigation into the country's largest provider of health care for inmates found case after case of people trapped behind bars, begging for medical help, often with disastrous outcomes. One man died after pleading for help for a month.
As CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports, people suffered from treatable conditions that were ignored, sometimes until it was too late.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you are witnessing is the slow death of an inmate, a father of five whose pneumonia went untreated at a Colorado jail for days until he died in a pool of vomit and blood.
Teaira Shorter had a similar experience in a Las Vegas jail in 2014. She turned herself in when she couldn't pay the fines for minor charges of not wearing a seat belt and obstruction. Soon after, she fell ill.
TEAIRA SHORTER, APPENDIX BURST IN JAIL: All I feel was pain and nausea. GRIFFIN (voice-over): She was throwing up, says she begged the jail's
medical staff for days to take her to the hospital and finally collapsed. When rushed to an emergency room, she learned from doctors her appendix had burst days before.
SHORTER: The appendix was burst for so long it like messed up the lining of my stomach.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Shorter who says she was a healthy 19-year-old when she was arrested has since undergone multiple surgeries. She's now suing the giant private health care company, Correct Care Solutions or CCS, the jail's health care provider.
Based in Nashville, CCS, now called Wellpath, is the largest correctional health care provider in the U.S. with contracts covering 300,000 inmates in more than 500 facilities. And for the past year, CNN Investigates has been looking into allegations the company has delayed and denied care to some of the most vulnerable people in society with disastrous results.
Including a 60-year-old man, arrested for violating probation over a shoplifting charge. He begged for help for a month before dying when his perforated ulcer filled his stomach with blood. In Michigan, a 43- year-old woman arrested for check fraud pleaded for help about her swollen breast for two weeks. By the time she was rushed to a hospital, a mass in her right breast had ruptured forcing doctors to perform a mastectomy.
BLAKE ELLIS, SENIOR WRITER, CNN INVESTIGATES: We came across a number of cases where people had very treatable conditions like diabetes, appendicitis and conditions that ended up turning septic and killing people because they weren't treated in a timely manner if at all.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): CNN reporters Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken reviewed thousands of pages of internal and government documents, e- mails, inmate medical records and autopsy reports, and they spoke to more than 50 former and current employees of the company.
MELANIE HICKEN, SENIOR WTITER, CNN INVESTIGATES: A common theme we heard was they believe the company's focus on cost cutting, on saving money for the government clients had resulted in substandard care and in some cases deaths that could have been prevented.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): CNN found the company has been sued for more than 70 deaths in the last five years.
CASSANDRA NEWKIRK, CHIEF PSYCHIATRIC OFFICER, WELLPATH: When there's litigation going on, you only see the negative outcomes.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Dr. Cassandra Newkirk spoke to CNN on behalf of the CCS/Wellpath company.
GRIFFIN (on camera): The internal documents, e-mails, medical records, autopsy records, and when we give it to an outside group of experts, pattern seems to be, according to them, that there is a denial of care going on here. NEWKIRK: Unfortunately, bad things do happen in any health care
organization. So, yes, the experts may see a pattern, but that's a very, very small number compared to the actual number of people whom we totally serve across the United States.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Dr. Newkirk and Wellpath refused to comment on specific cases, but deny allegations care is being withheld to boost profits.
NEWKIRK: Our staffs are told never to allow financial anything, even their perception that there is somehow they should be saving us money. Their job is to provide the best clinical care that they can.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): But in Tacoma, Washington, Pierce County officials say the best clinical care is nowhere near what its 1,100 inmates received at the county's jail when a CCS subsidiary took over its health care.
DAN HAMILTON, DEPUTY PROSECUTOR, PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON: We have a constitutional responsibility to this part of the population and they're innocent until proven guilty. And even when they're guilty, they're still human beings entitled to health care. And that's what we thought we're getting with CCS (inaudible).
[17:40:03] GRIFFIN (on camera): But you didn't get that.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): County attorney Dan Hamilton says soon after the company took over, staffing shortages led to horrifying examples of poor care -- a cancer patient not given prescribed chemotherapy treatment, an inmate with a broken jaw given only baby ibuprofen for pain, written requests for medical attention from prisoners stuffed in a drawer and ignored, according to a nurse.
After a year, the county stopped paying and described Correct Care's actions as morally reprehensible. Earlier this year, a jury ordered CCS to pay the county $1.6 million, a verdict CCS is appealing. Dan Hamilton says, weeks after Pierce County hired a new private health care provider, the care of inmates improved.
GRIFFIN (on camera): And that's exactly what Wellpath's president is also telling CNN, that these are isolated situations that don't represent a pattern that defines Wellpath. He says his company has rigorous policies that focus on compassionate care. Drew Griffin, CNN.
CABRERA: The Supreme Court made decisions on two important cases this week. So what does that mean for you? Elie Honig answers your questions live in the "CNN Newsroom," next.
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Welcome back. The nation's highest court delivering decisions on two major cases this past week. The court allowed the process of partisan gerrymandering to continue by saying federal courts cannot rule on it. But the court blocked a citizenship question for being added to the 2020 census for now.
And that brings us to your weekly segment, "Cross-Examine" with Elie Honig. He's here to answer your questions about legal news. Elie is a former federal and state prosecutor, now a CNN legal analyst. So on the court's ruling that at least now temporarily blocks the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census, one viewer asked, what are the implications and what happens next?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So this was a major decision and a bit of a surprise. We end upped with a 5 to 4 vote with Chief Justice John Roberts swinging over and joining the four traditionally liberal justice on the court.
We talked a couple of weeks ago about how Chief Justice Roberts is now really the swing vote on the court. He's traditionally conservative but becoming more unpredictable and we saw an example of that this week. So, this is such an important decision.
The Supreme Court said the administration gets a lot of deference, a lot of leeway in deciding what goes on in the census. But here's the interesting part. They said here the reasons that the administration gave were pretextual and contrived, and that is really just polite lawyer talk for saying you lied. That is a remarkable ruling.
Now, the Supreme Court left the door open just a little bit for a potential do-over as you said. Basically the Supreme Court said to the administration, if you come back to us and you give us legitimate reasons, we'll consider it again. So, it's a major setback for the administration for now at least.
CABRERA: We also learned this week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify before Congress in public. One viewer asks whether Mueller will have to stay within the four corners of his written report or can he say things that are not covered in his report?
HONIG: So, Robert Mueller said when he spoke publicly a couple of weeks ago the report is my testimony and then this week we heard Jay Sekulow, President Trump's personal attorney, saying that it would be inappropriate for Mueller to say anything beyond his report.
I'll tell you what. They're both wrong. Robert Mueller should know this better than anybody else. Subpoenas are mandatory. They're not optional. Mueller himself served over 2,800 subpoenas in his investigation. Any prosecutor can tell you they don't work if people get to pick and choose.
So, he knows this is an important issue. He knows that he has left open key questions within his report, beyond his report. And look, he's used ambiguous language and I think Robert Mueller owes it to his investigation, to his own legacy and to the American people to give straight, direct answers when he testifies.
CABRERA: July 17 is when it's going to happen, and of course, we'll be covering it bringing it to our viewers live here on CNN. Another viewer takes notes of the president's many personal attacks and asks, can a private citizen sue a sitting president for defamation?
HONIG: So the answer is, yes and we know this from a famous Supreme Court case, Bill Clinton against Paula Jones, 1997. And the Supreme Court said, yes, a private citizen can sue a sitting president for defamation. Of course, that case had major historical ramifications because that case led to the discovery of the Monica Lewinsky affair, which led to perjury, which led to impeachment.
The Supreme Court draws an important distinction between a president's official and unofficial acts. They say you cannot sue a president for his official acts. He has immunity for that. But if he does things in his personal capacity including attacking people, potentially defaming them, then yes, that can be the subject of a suit.
Now, I know what our viewers are thinking. Well, if you can sue the sitting president, why can't you indict the sitting president? We have that DOJ policy. Our viewers ask a lot about it. In the DOJ policy itself, they talk about the Paula Jones decision. They say criminal charges are different because in a criminal case you can end up with a president behind bars versus a civil lawsuit.
It can -- all it can end up in is a president having to pay money and DOJ says that's different. We don't actually know the answer yet. The policy would have to change and some day perhaps the Supreme Court will tell us one way or another.
CABRERA: OK, give us your top questions for this week.
HONIG: All right, first of all, will the Trump administration try for that do-over on the citizenship question? The president said he's going to try to push off the census. I don't think he's going to have much luck.
The Constitution is very clear, has to be done every 10 years -- 2020, we've done 23 of them, already 230 years. So, if they're going to try for a do-over, they got to do it quick. Their credibility has already taken a hit. The Supreme Court has already said we don't believe your first reason so, good luck with the second reason.
Second of all, will House Democrats, will Jerry Nadler finally go to court to enforce his subpoenas against Don McGahn, Hope Hicks and others? They have been promising, threatening, you name it, but still no court action. It's July tomorrow. I think we're getting pretty close to now or never time.
And third, another big piece of news out of the Supreme Court last week, is that they will hear the Dreamers case, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals case in the next term. The implications here are enormous and the question is, is that case going to actually get decided by the Supreme Court or will the president and Congress be able to work out a compromise?
[17:50:02] If not, that decision is going to come down right about a year from now, right in the heart of the 2020 election season. So, huge political implications but also enormous human implications as well. That decision is going to impact hundreds of thousands of people who are looking for a way to earn their way to stay here in the United States.
CABRERA: All right, Elie Honig, as always, thank you.
HONIG: Thanks Ana.
CABRERA: Always informational, very interesting. You can submit your own questions on legal news to Elie heading over on CNN.com/opinion.
Now, the remains of a migrant father and his toddler daughter arrived back in El Salvador today, their deaths renewing a tension on the border crisis that is now becoming a central 2020 campaign issue. We'll take you live to the border next where Democrats have been touring government border facilities.
CABRERA: The image of their bodies lying in the waters of the Rio Grande stunned people around the world. Today, their remains were returned home to El Salvador. Oscar Alberto Martinez and his 23-motnth old daughter, Angie Valeria drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande.
The heartbreaking image of them lying face down in the water is an emotional reminder of the crisis at the border and the risks people are taking to reach the U.S. It's becoming a key issue on the 2020 campaign. Several Democratic candidates have spent the last few days visiting immigration facilities including Beto O'Rourke today.
[17:54:58] The former congressman returning to his home state of Texas where he held a rally this afternoon at a border patrol station where migrant children are said to be living in terrible conditions. CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now from that center in Clint, Texas. Natasha, what does O'Rourke have to say in terms of what he wants to do now about the crisis on the border?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, O'Rourke spoke about that to a very enthusiastic crowd today. He has said that on day one of his presidency, he would use executive authority to stop inhumane treatment of children, to reunite separated families, to reform the asylum system and to remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and people under temporary protected status or TPS.
Now, he does differ from another presidential candidate, Julian Castro, who came to the same spot yesterday. Castro has called for the decriminalization of people crossing into the U.S. between ports of entry. So I asked O'Rourke today why he doesn't agree on repealing that section, Section 1325.
He said, "He would prefer to rewrite that section of immigration code as part of a larger immigration reform." Now, O'Rourke also proposes that people should be able to apply for asylum while they're in their home countries and I asked him why he feels that would be a good idea if they are already feeling threatened there. He gave one example of a woman risking her life to come to the U.S. border. Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If she could apply for asylum back home in Guatemala and if we would hand that asylum claim expeditiously with respect to her and then allow her to come to this country if she meets the conditions for asylum, that spares her and her children that very dangerous journey.
But let me be very clear. If she, nonetheless, decides to make that journey, I don't think that should in any way undermine her claim of asylum and she should be treated with the utmost respect and care when she arrives at this border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: There are a number of Democratic members of the House who are also expected to visit here tomorrow. They will be touring inside this facility at Clint and we'll be asking them what they're seeing in there. Ana, back to you.
CABRERA: Natasha Chen, thank you. We'll be right back.
[17:59:59] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)