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Millions of Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play Sleepers Recalled After At Least 30 Infant Deaths; Trump: Ivanka "Would've Been Great" at U.N., World Bank; Lori Loughlin Fights Charges; Trump's New Plan to Detain Migrants and Punish Democrats; Interview With Rep. Tim Ryan (D- OH); Federal Judge Rebukes Trump's Attacks On Courts, Draws Parallels To The KKK During Segregation; Brains Behind College Cheating Scheme Pleads Guilty As The Scandal Forces A New Crackdown On Entrance Exams. Aired on 6-7p ET

Aired April 12, 2019 - 18:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And major recall. A new warning tonight that a very popular infant sleeper is being pulled after at least 30 babies died. We have details on the product and the danger ahead.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: Breaking news tonight.

President Trump openly admits he may decide the fate of thousands of undocumented immigrants based on his desire to punish Democrats. He's now publicly threatening to release immigrant detainees exclusively into so-called sanctuary cities, contradicting denials by administration officials just hours earlier.

Mr. Trump says the plan should make his Democratic opponents -- quote -- "very happy." The president pushing for more radical and potentially illegal immigration measures.

Sources tell CNN that Mr. Trump encouraged the head of Customs and Border Protection to block asylum seekers from entering the U.S., telling him he would grant him a pardon if he went to jail for violating immigration law.

I will be getting reaction from Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Tim Ryan. Our correspondents and analysts are also standing by tonight.

First to CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, Democrats say the president wants to use undocumented immigrants as political pawns. What is the White House saying?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the president sees it as a punishment for Democrats, this idea that he's raised privately for several months now.

But, today, we heard it from him for the first time publicly, this idea of putting migrants in sanctuary cities because the president sees it as a punishment to his political rivals on Capitol Hill. Now, he's been told by DHS lawyers that this isn't feasible, that there would be legal repercussions if the president followed through with this.

But, Brianna, that didn't stop him from leaving it on the table today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can give them an unlimited supply.

COLLINS (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump is touting a proposal to place undocumented migrants in sanctuary cities to retaliate against Democrats, shattering his own administration's denials of the policy.

TRUMP: So we will give them to the sanctuary cities maybe to take care of, if that's the way they want it.

COLLINS: Trump making the threat in person, after tweeting earlier that: "Because Democrats are unwilling to change our dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed giving strong considerations to placing illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities only."

Those remarks coming just hours after a White House official said: "The idea was briefly and informally raised and quickly rejected. No one at ICE was pressured by anyone at any time."

But sources tell CNN the president pushed former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to carry out the proposal. She resisted, and the plan was scrapped for legal reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an outrageous abuse of power and public resources.

COLLINS: The president's warning coming as CNN has learned that, during his trip to the border last week, Trump told Kevin McAleenan, now the acting DHS secretary, that if he were jailed or faced legal issues because he blocked migrants from entering the U.S., he would pardon him.

It's unclear if Trump meant it as a joke. But the episode revealed the boundaries the president is willing to push to stop a recent rise in immigration numbers, making his frustration clear today.

TRUMP: But if they don't agree, we might as well do what they always say they want.

COLLINS: News of the attempted sanctuary city proposal infuriated Democrats today.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful the challenges that we face as a country, as a people, to address who we are, a nation of immigrants.

COLLINS: A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is from one of the highest-profile sanctuary cities in California, saying in a statement that: "The extent of this administration's cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated. Using human beings, including little children, as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable and, in some cases, criminal."

But, today, Trump seemed to relish the outrage from Democrats.

TRUMP: Let's see if they're so happy. They say we have open arms. They are always saying they have open arms. Let's see if they have open arms.

COLLINS: The drama coming amid an upheaval at DHS, which is now being run by an acting secretary, acting deputy secretary, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, and an acting ICE director.

A border official announcing that, starting today, they will release immigrants in El Paso to local organizations, because ICE is at capacity. And six of the major border checkpoints are currently understaffed because agents are being sent to parts of the border that are facing a surge in migrants.



COLLINS: Now, Brianna, the president has made clear he thinks this sanctuary city proposal would be a punishment for Democrats.

But the mayor of Philadelphia, which is considered a sanctuary city, Jim Kenney, said in a statement that he believes that his city would welcome all migrants with open arms, and he believes this latest proposal from the Trump White House reveals -- quote -- "the utter contempt that they have for basic human dignity."

He added, Brianna, that it also shows the president's -- quote -- "desire to flout the rule of law to appease his political base."

KEILAR: Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you for the report.

Now breaking news on the Mueller report. With the redacted version expected to be released within days, the deputy attorney general is speaking out about what the report will reveal.

Let's bring in CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett.

So, what did Rod Rosenstein say today?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Justice officials have been pretty tight-lipped about this report. It's a very closely guarded secret. Only a handful of officials at the department have actually seen the report. But at a private lunching today in Washington, Rosenstein decided to break his silence. As we saw, he gave an interview to "The Wall Street Journal" yesterday trying to defend the attorney general's handling of the report, Bill Barr.

And, today, he told a group that the report is going to answer some key questions on cyber-crimes. And what he was trying to convey, at least according to a Justice official that I spoke to, is that the core mission of Robert Mueller's work, election interference, was investigated, it was charged, and, although we haven't seen Russians come to court, he was trying to convey that that mission was satisfied.

And so all of the noise out there saying there's nothing there, there was really nothing, there was no there there, he seems to be saying, actually, wait a minute, what I set out to do here and what I instructed Robert Mueller to do, he accomplished.

KEILAR: It's very interesting.

I want to ask you about this unusual moment where a sitting federal judge launched an attack against the sitting president. Let's listen.


JUDGE CARLTON REEVES, U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI: When politicians attacks the courts as dangerous, political and guilty of egregious overreach, you can hear the Klan's lawyers assailing officers of the court across the South.

When the powerful accuse the courts of opening up our country to potential terrorists, you can hear the Southern Manifesto's authors smearing the judiciary for simply upholding the rights of black folk.


KEILAR: We're playing this because it's extraordinary.

JARRETT: OK, so this is really rare, to have a sitting federal judge take aim at the president.

Now, he doesn't mention Trump directly by name, but it's unmistakable who he's talking about. He's referencing tweets by names. This is Judge Reeves in Mississippi.

And he makes it pretty clear it's also personal for him. He talks about how he has received hate mail for some of his own decisions. And he's really disturbed by what he sees as the bullying from the executive branch on the judiciary. He thinks this undermines the rule of law.

He was particularly disturbed by Trump's treatment of Judge Curiel, remember, during the election...

KEILAR: Right.

JARRETT: ... and how he came after him, the Trump University settlement judge, attacking him for his Mexican heritage.

And Judge Reeves is saying here, this is not OK. When powerful people do this against minorities, it's really disturbing.

KEILAR: Will he suffer any consequences?


KEILAR: All right. All right, Laura Jarrett, thank you so much.

Joining me now, Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Tim Ryan. Thanks for being with us.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: So I want to ask you, of course, about your run for president here in just a moment.

But I do want to begin with our new reporting from our Jake Tapper. According to a senior administration official, the president told the commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection that he would pardon him if he ever went to jail for breaking the law at the president's direction.

And this was after the president had told border agents that they should essentially break the law to keep migrants out of the country. Is that an impeachable offense, dangling that pardon and essentially telling the head of CBP to break the law?

RYAN: Well, I don't know exactly what the evidence is. It doesn't surprise me. But it is clearly an abdication of the responsibilities of the president of the United States to ask someone to break the law.

The other piece with the sanctuary cities, same thing. They have already gotten legal recommendations that that would be violating -- in violation of the law as well. So here we have the president on two occasions recommending to his underlings that they break the law.

That's -- it's unbelievable to think we're even having this conversation right now.

KEILAR: Should Congress investigate this? Will Congress investigate this?

RYAN: I'm sure we will. I'm sure we will.

And for all the people out there who don't want us investigating and want us to get back to work -- and I'm one of them that think we should be focusing on the economy, that the real national emergency in the country is the middle class is on life support -- but when the president of the United States is doing things like this, the Congress has the responsibility, the obligation, the duty, constitutional duty, to provide oversight.

[18:10:01] We don't have a king in the United States. We have an elected president. The power rests with the people. And they have an obligation to look into these kind of things.

KEILAR: The president confirmed today another big story that we have been covering. He's considering releasing detained immigrants into sanctuary cities across the country. These are cities, states even, where Democrats are in power.

This is for political retaliation. Do you take this as something the president will actually do?

RYAN: I think he will try. But the lawyers have already told him, I think, over a year ago that that would be illegal. And as the mayor of Philadelphia said, I'm sure some of these communities would be happy to take women and children who are fleeing.

Here's the main point. What's happening in Central America has been happening now for several years. The president of the United States has failed to pick up his daily briefing, where he finds out about hot spots around the world, and recognize that we have a problem in Central America.

He takes four hours of executive time. He's on the golf course. And we don't even have an ambassador in Honduras. He wants to cut the State Department by $500 million. We need to be engaged in these countries before these problems get to our borders. And the president has failed to address these basic problems.

We don't have an ambassador in Venezuela either. And then we wonder why things are spinning out of control. We have a responsibility in the United States to protect the American people. And that means solving problems in Central America before they get to our borders, and we have to have these kind of discussions that we're having right now.

KEILAR: I want to talk about apprehensions at the southern border.

They have climbed dramatically since this time last year. You can see we have a graphic of this. Look, I mean, this is pretty stunning. The president is trying to say, essentially, the Democrats are coming around to his view of there being a crisis at the border.

Do you think there's a crisis of the border? And what do you say to the president saying that Democrats are essentially coming around to his thinking?

RYAN: Well, the president has been the president now for over two years.

He had a Republican House and a Republican Senate for two years. And he did not solve these problems. And now he's saying there is a crisis at the border. The problems are coming out of Central America. This is the main point.

American -- the American people want the president of the United States to solve problems before they get to our border, before they make it to the nightly news or the 24-hours news cycle.


KEILAR: Do you think this is a crisis?

RYAN: Well, when your Customs and Border Patrol facilities are getting overrun, we do have an issue that we have to deal with.

And if it is a crisis, it should not be politicized and used for political gain to try to punish Democrats or act like a juvenile when dealing with these important problems. These are human beings. These are moms with kids.

KEILAR: Do you think saying -- do you think the word crisis has become politicized in a way that it's difficult to use?

RYAN: The president clearly wants to escalate the situation, so he can come in and look like he's the guy protecting Americans.

And what I'm saying is, it's inhumane, what we're doing. We're separating kids from their parents. We should not be doing that. There's a humane way to handle this. These are moms and kids coming into our country, because they have nowhere else to go.

Everyone should look at what's happening in Honduras, in Guatemala. Gangs are running these countries. And the president has been asleep at the switch. And now he wants to turn around and cut...


KEILAR: You're running for president.

RYAN: Yes.

KEILAR: What would your plan be?

RYAN: I sure am.

KEILAR: What would your plan be to fix this?

RYAN: Well, it would start with have an ambassador in Honduras. Have somebody that represents the United States of America on the ground in these countries to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Get revenue, get money, get investments down there to make sure we're stabilizing these countries. Gangs are going to homes, putting guns in the faces of parents, and saying, we want to take your daughter and put her in the sex trade, we want to take your son and put him in a gang. And if you don't agree, you get shot.

So, parents, I would do it, you would do it, every one of these listeners who are watching your show would do it. They send their kids with somebody the hell out of the country, because they're going to get killed.

We need to be down there fixing these problems. We don't have to fix everything in the country, but we have to stabilize it, so people aren't coming en masse to the United States. That's the responsibility of the president.

So I would have an aggressive plan in Central America to make that happen.

KEILAR: There are 18 Democrats and counting, it seems like, by the day almost, running right now in this field.


KEILAR: How do you differentiate yourself? How are you going to make yourself stand out?

RYAN: I can beat Donald Trump. I can win Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin.


But, more than that, I will have our country prepared to compete in the new economy. I understand the old economy, what's happened in places like Youngstown, Ohio, with steel and auto and coal. And I know the future.

It's electric vehicles. It's solar. It's wind. I want those things manufactured in the United States. I will have a strong industrial policy in the United States to make sure we bring those jobs back here and create the new ones, and then cut the workers in on the deal.

KEILAR: All right, Congressman Tim Ryan, thank you for joining us.

RYAN: Thank you.

And if anybody thinks that makes any sense, they can go to, Brianna.


KEILAR: There is your plug, sir. All right, thanks again.

And just ahead: more on whether the president was breaking the law himself when he dangled a pardon in front of a top immigration official.

And as the man known as the brains behind the college cheating scandal pleads guilty, we have new details on why actress Lori Loughlin is still fighting the charges. Tonight, her daughter is said to be devastated.



KEILAR: We're following breaking news.

Sources are telling CNN that President Trump promised to pardon the Customs and Border Protection commissioner if he was jailed for illegally blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S.

Let's talk about this now with our experts and our analysts.

So, Laura Jarrett, to you first.

Is the president breaking the law here? Now, it's not clear if he was joking. But if he is actually doing this, dangling a pardon for someone who would break the law, is that against the law?

JARRETT: I mean, I think it's a fair question. But it's hard to know, because we're sort of operating without all the facts here.

But take for a second that idea that he was serious about this. I think it does raise really tough questions, because even the Attorney General, Bill Barr, said, look, if you do a pardon in exchange for somebody silence, that would be against the law. That would be obstruction of justice.

Now, he went on to say it might be more of a political question, as opposed to an actual prosecution against a sitting president. But I think it raises really tough questions. But on the other hand, I think it's disturbing that we only hear about these stories sort of from the perspective of what Trump said, instead of what the official said back to him in response to what could be a legal request.

Are they rebuffing him? Are they saying, no, Mr. President, I can't? We know that the White House has pushed back, especially in response to some of Rachael's reporting last night on things happening at the border.

But I just think we always hear the one-way conversation and not the other side of it.

KEILAR: That's a -- no, that's a very interesting point.

Now, Phil, when you think about the risks of this, it's a system that's in place, right? This is an important system for the way that our country works, that there are laws. The idea that this would break down, what are the risks of that?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: It's not -- it's a system from the outside. From the inside, there's a piece that is not a system.

You're sitting across from the president of the United States. And he says, Brianna, I want you to do this. There's a tremendous amount of pressure on somebody to say, I will look at the law, but I want to do what the president says. He was elected by the American people.

I tell you what the risk is, not to be facetious, that somebody's going to do it. And the rest is compounded because, if you look at the first people in place in the Cabinet, General Mattis, he's a pro, Tillerson, he was a pro, the national security adviser, McMaster, that's a pro.

As the president moves through second-, third-, fourth-tier people, the risk, I think, is you're going to get people who aren't pros who are going to say, well, my word,I don't have as much experience as maybe General Mattis. Maybe I should do this. That's, I think, the problem.

KEILAR: What do you guys think about that, with the people that he's surrounded by right now and the risk of something happening because he is encouraged, this desire that he has, what he tweets about today, is fueled?

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, he's -- heads are clearly rolling over at DHS right now.

He is pushing out a whole bunch of high-ranking officials who won't do his bidding. And beyond the experience that the agencies lose when these people, these bureaucrats who have been there for years and have this expertise, all of a sudden disappear, it sends a message to the next people.

And that is that you got to be my yes-man, or your head is also going to roll. And so, yes, it should -- it's clearly concerning.

KEILAR: We can -- and we can see so many people there who are the actings, right? He has so many actings.

Have you ever seen -- have you ever seen anything like this, Ryan?


And just to answer the other question, the brake can't just be people in the federal branch. The break has to come from people who we might listen to. And that's Republicans in Congress, right?

Until Republicans in Congress are as outraged by this stuff as Democrats, people in the press are, there is not going to be any retreat by Trump, right? That's what enables him. We all know what Trump is like. We all know what his instincts are. We all know that he is not -- it's crazy to say this, but he's not bound by the law.

As president, he doesn't -- he's just not. He's -- there's repeated stories of him pushing administration officials to do things that are not within the law.

His own party has to care about this as much as everyone else to push back.

KEILAR: And you broke, along with your colleagues, this stunning story that the president was considering releasing detained immigrants into sanctuary cities.

The president himself, after the White House trying to kind of pour some cold water on it, pushing back a lot on your reporting, the president himself confirming that he's actively considering that.

You cover Congress. So when you hear Ryan saying that, until Republicans are as upset about this, and he's -- the president is getting some pushback, where are they on this story that you broke and this other one about dangling the pardon?


BADE: Yes, it'll be interesting to watch over the next few days.

Clearly, silence right now. Republicans are loathe to go against the president because he's so popular with their base. We have known that for a long time.

But it's clear that the executive agencies right now are sending a distress signal, right? They're starting to talk to us. They're starting to talk to reporters. They're laying out their concerns. Two whistle-blowers from DHS went to Congress and said, the president wants us to basically move these detainees to Nancy Pelosi's district for retribution, political retribution.

And these agencies, not only do they have legal issues with this, but, logistically, it just makes no sense for them. They have a crisis at the border. They have got to spend money, they have got to take time to move these people. And then, of course, top officials who have a reputation for having very hard-line immigration policy desires said, this is going to be a P.R. disaster.

So it'll be interesting to see if Republicans in Congress pick up those distress signals and start to push back on the White House privately or publicly.


So I wonder, Laura, when you see this reporting, and I earlier asked Senator Mazie Hirono, do you think the president would actually do this? Because there are a lot of obstacles to doing this.

It's pretty clear the attorneys at DHS said, you can't do this. Your -- the mission of DHS and the mission of CBP is dot, dot, dot, and this is clearly not the mission was what was sort of in parentheses in all of that.

Could he do this? Do you think he would be able to actually execute it, like Senator Hirono thinks he will?

JARRETT: It seems like there are way too many obstacles. And it seems like both the attorneys at DHS and even the White House recognize, like, this is not going to work, for a whole host of reasons. They raised due process considerations.

As Jake Tapper reported today, you can't just move people away from their families, away from their communities. They have rights, even if they are undocumented. And so I think there's a number of legal obstacles that were laid out at length by DHS lawyers to doing a plan like this that made everyone say, OK, we're going to have to take this off the table.

It doesn't mean that he's still not going to tweet about it to look tough and to look like he's taking a very strong stance, but it just seems like the actual execution of it is not practical. BADE: Yes.

And even after the president tweeted, this is still on the table, we are still considering this, the comments we were getting from DHS were, no, we're not. That's not on the table, at least for now.


BADE: Of course, those are blind statements. It's not like an official putting their name to that, which, again, shows fear of the president.

KEILAR: What do you think, Phil?

MUDD: I think we need to take this conversation up.

There was a conversation this week between the vice president and one of the Democratic candidates about what it means to be a man of faith. Forget about detainees. Forget about American policy and law. A man of faith is having a conversation in the midst of an administration that said it's OK to separate people and put a child in a cage.

It's OK to underestimate dead people in Puerto Rico because that's politically expedient. Let's go attack the administration in California after wildfires and people lost their homes because that's a Democratic administration.

And, finally, in the biggest surprise of all -- but I guess it's not a surprise -- when you talk about faith, which the vice president is doing publicly -- so I'm going to raise it -- presumably, you say love your neighbor.

And cities that say, we're going to give sanctuary to people who are victims of war and victims of political violence and victims of gangs, and our response is, not only do we not love our neighbor, but if you do, we will screw you to a wall.

Mr. Vice President, I guess, when the boss talks, faith walks, because my memory of faith is, regardless of where you come from, love your neighbor. And in Puerto Rico and California, on the border, in sanctuary cities, the message is, if they're not Republicans, like in Alabama, where the president says you get A-plus treatment after a storm, you're screwed.

KEILAR: You have clearly been thinking a lot about this, Phil Mudd.

MUDD: Maybe a little bit.


KEILAR: Thank you for sharing with us.

MUDD: Thank you. I will settle down now.

KEILAR: We will share more ahead, right? We have much more ahead.

We will be back in just a moment.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM: And we are back now with our experts and our analysts. And I want to get your reaction, all of you, to some pretty extraordinary criticism of President Trump. We were talking about this, Laura. It comes from an unlikely source, a sitting federal judge. This is U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves. Let's listen.


CARLTON REEVES, U.S. DISTRICT COURT FO THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI: When politicians attack the courts, it's dangerous, political and guilty of egregious overreach. You can hear the Klan's lawyers assailing officers of the court across the south. When the powerful accuse the courts of opening up our country to potential terrorists, you can hear Southern Manifesto's Office smearing the judiciary for simply upholding the rise of black folks.


KEILAR: When the powerful. He's not -- as you pointed out before, Laura, he's not saying President Trump but it's pretty clear who he's talking about. What did you think about this as you heard this?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought, finally, a federal judge is sticking up for that branch of government. There's no reason that the judiciary can't come out and defend themselves when they're under attack. He referred there to the Southern Manifesto that was a document that members mostly of southern democrats put together, members of the House and Senate after the Brown versus Board of Education decision ending segregation.


And that was a document that said, no, we're not going to listen to the federal courts. They are wrong and accused them of all sorts of terrible things.

So that is a really serious charge. He's going back to the worst days of southern resistance to civil rights laws and saying that the attack on the federal judiciary has echoes of that.

KEILAR: One of the things that the President does with breaking the norms is criticizing branches of government, even putting ascribing words or intentions or thoughts and motivations to people who aren't going to defend themselves. His intel chiefs, for instance, who, well, say, might agree with him, maybe they don't. It's just very uncharacteristic for them to stand up and say, actually, that's not right. When you look at this, this seems like a similar thing where a judge is standing up. You mention there are consequences but this judge is breaking a norm to do this, breaking a norm because the President is breaking a norm. RACHAEL BADE, POLITICAL ANALYST: And putting himself at risk that people will say that he's political. But, look, people are clearly frustrated. I mean, the President has over the past two years attacked democratic institutions. Sort of playing to the base but those have long-term ramifications for this country, not just when it comes to judges. I mean, I think he said to members of Congress a couple of weeks ago that, what was it, they were un-American, no, that they hated America, a president of the United States saying that members of Congress hate America.

Another example, just attacking the FBI, the DOJ, saying that this whole Mueller investigation was a coup on his Presidency. This is all undermining norms that hold up our country, democratic norms, the rule of law. And it has long-term consequences. Clearly, people are frustrated enough to speak out.

KEILAR: How many judges do you think feel like this privately?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: A lot. I think a lot. We saw Justice Roberts even speak out not that long ago. Now, he didn't do it in those terms. He certainly didn't invoke race in the same way. But this is a judge grew who grew up in the 1960s in the south. He has seen some things. He has opinions about our history and about what he is seeing now, and it's disturbing him. As we've talked to about, this is a man who has received hate mail and has been bullied and he is trying to talk directly to the President.

KEILAR: Phil, sorry, real quick.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: No. I think this is interesting. I mean, when you walk into a dinner party, if you're beside a congressman, you're going to say they're partisan. If you're beside somebody from the White House, Bush, Obama, Trump are going to say they're partisan. When judges speak in America, we trust them. And I think I trust what he says.

KEILAR: All right. Phil, thank you. Laura, Ryan, Rachael, I really appreciate the conversation.

And just ahead, new courtroom drama in the college cheating scandal and personal as well. An insider revealing how Olivia Jade, the daughter of actress turned defendant, Lori Loughling, is coping. And millions of infant sleepers recalled after at least 30 babies died. Are your children or your grandchildren at risk? We have details ahead.



KEILAR: Tonight, a new guilty plea in the college cheating scandal and a new crackdown on college entrance exams. CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras is working this story for us. Tell us what you're learning.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. We're learning more about this Harvard grad who was a test taking wiz and was central to this scheme. His name is Mark Riddell. And today, he owned up to his part in helping get kids into elite schools through a side door. And as punishment, he could now see more than two years in prison.


GINGRAS: Tonight, Mark Riddell in court, the man known as the brains behind the largest college admission scheme in U.S. history telling a judge he's guilty on two federal charges. The Harvard graduate appearing to take the proceedings seriously, studying the paperwork before making the plea. In court documents, prosecutors say, Riddell earned $10,000 each time he would oversee a student taking a college entrance exam, change his or her answers or in at least one case take test for the student.

The money paid by William Singer, the convicted mastermind behind the scheme earned Riddell nearly $240,000 over eight years. Riddell was so good, he'd boost scores high enough to impact a student's boost admission into an elite school but not too high where it would raise any red flags. In court documents, Singer boasts about Riddell saying he is, quote, his best test taker and could nail a score. He's that good.

Riddell served as a key cooperating witness in the government's yearlong investigation, playing a major role in the takedown of many parents allegedly involved, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Authorities say Riddell proctored Huffman's oldest daughter's test, earning her a 1420 on the SAT, almost 400 points higher than her practice test score, records show. The actress announced that she would plead guilty earlier this week.

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, say they are not ready to admit to any involvement in the scheme. A source close to the couple tells CNN. That source goes on to say they are hoping to let their case play out in the justice system.


GRINGRAS: Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying half a million of dollars in bribe money to get their daughters into USC, including their youngest, Olivia Jade, a social media influencer with nearly 2 million YouTube subscribers.

GIANNULLI: I don't really care about school.

GRINGRAS: She is now staying off social media because she's getting inundated by hateful comments. A source close to the 19-year-old telling CNN she's embarrassed and devastated by the allegations against her parents so much so she's barely speaking with them.

[18:45:09] Loughlin and Giannulli are among 16 parents now weighing their options while facing two federal charges and the possibility of more prison time. The group facing a set back tonight, their lawyers being denied the chance to defend their cases separately instead of being connected in one indictment.

The U.S. attorney calling their efforts a Hail Mary and accused them of judge shopping. The judge assigned to the case known for handing out tough punishments.


GINGRAS: And the College Board which administers SATs says it's now making changes to prevent further abuse of the test-taking system. Two people who allegedly Riddell to administer the examines in their school in exchange for bribe money have pleaded not guilty in this case -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: CNN's Brynn Gingras, thank you for that report.

And we do have breaking news on a major recall of the popular Rock 'N Play sleeper made by Fisher-Price. The feds revealing that at least 30 babies have died since 2009 after rolling over in those sleepers while they were unrestrained. The recall affects all models of the product, nearly 5 million sleepers. Consumers are being warned to stop using the sleepers immediately and contact the company for a refund.

Let's talk about this with CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And, Sanjay, I have a 10-month-old. I have one of these at home that I was going to give to a friend who is having a baby. So, this is something I would say -- I think a lot of new parents have. Explain what caused these deaths.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is really -- this is a really sad story. I mean -- and it's tough to talk about. I mean, what would happen in these situations is that baby is now able to start to roll over. And when you think about a baby because of their head is so much larger than their body, when they start to roll over, it can actually cause their chin and the low part of their head to block their trachea.

So, I don't know how better to say it because it's so sad. But, you know, basically they can't breathe. It's called asphyxiation. And that's what happens, and, you know, baby sometimes roll over earlier than parents might expect. They may not have been harnessed in, because there's a three-point harness on these.

I have children. We've gone through these as well. You know, you place the baby in. But it's really the starting to roll over, around a few months of age when babies can start to do that. And the -- it's the anatomy of the head and its proportion to the body.

KEILAR: And so, what's your advice for parents about putting infants to sleep?

GUPTA: Well, you know, obviously, this is a bad product, because it's -- babies were able to roll over in this product. The advice always is that babies should be put back to sleep, right? So, that means remember on their back. That's the safest position for them to be in.

If they are in some sort of a thing like this, they do have to be harnessed in so they can't roll over. Got to keep an eye on the baby too in the situation in case they are getting to that physicality where they can start to roll over or start to put their head in a position where they can cause this sort of asphyxiation. It's scary but if you remember this idea of just making sure the baby is on their back, they stay on their back, they can't roll over and keep in mind what I said about the relationship between head and body, I think, hopefully, that provides some good guidance.

KEILAR: I do also want to talk to you, Sanjay, about something that you've been working on. This is a CNN original series that's premiering, "CHASING LIFE WITH DR. SANJAY GUPTA".

Let's watch a preview.


GUPTA: My grandfather died very young of a heart attack. My father had heart surgery when he was very young. My father and grandfather, I think unwittingly really motivated me.

We know there's remarkable things happening all over the world that can help us live longer, better, happier, more productive lives.

I feel like the needle is almost to the bone.

I thought I was in pretty good shape. It just takes it to a whole different level.

Is this what helps you live long?

I could be arrested in the States for doing what I'm about to do.

Could I work here? I would work here.

"CHASING LIFE" is an opportunity for us to travel the world looking for extraordinary health practices, experiencing them ourselves. That's my job. That's "CHASING LIFE", to find those things and bring them back.


KEILAR: Sanjay, in your first episode, you visit Japan where you experiment with Japanese methods of reducing stress. Tell us about the most memorable and effective things that you tried.

GUPTA: I mean, there were some -- you know, Japan is one of the stressed countries in the world, and as a result of that, they started to developed all these strategies to try and combat stress, everything from adult swaddling to rage rooms to owl cafes, forest bathing.

[18:50:07] I think -- and I should say, Brianna, not everything works for everyone, right? I think one of the more memorable ones for me was visiting this owl cafe where people will go in and spend time with these birds.

As it turns out, I'm actually pretty frightened are birds, so this wasn't actually very -- it was more stressful for me than I think stress relieving. But you see these places that have become so popular.

I spent a lot of time out in the forest. Forest bathing doesn't mean you get in the water, it means that you're surrounded by the forest. And what I learned, which was fascinating, is that trees and plants are constantly releasing these certain chemicals that are designed to protect them against stress. And humans also have receptors for these stress-busting chemicals.

So, when you're out in the forest and breathing in the aroma of the forest, it feels good. But what we're learning from a lot of research in Japan is that it's actually doing something to your body as well. So I think that's what was so memorable about working on the show. I got to experience some of these things but also understand the science behind why they work.

KEILAR: That is fascinating. And tell us where else you're going to be traveling as part of this quest to find long-term health?

GUPTA: Well, tomorrow night, you know, in addition to Japan, you'll get a chance to see India where I visited and spend a lot of time learning about ayurvedic medicine. I was in Bolivia where I lived with an indigenous tribe in the middle of the Amazon rainforest that has basically no heart disease. Italy, the healthiest country in the world, Norway, the happiest country. I was in Turkey where they produce a lot of medication for narcotics, for OxyContin and hydrocodone, things like that, but they export almost all of it.

So, the way that they treat pain in Turkey was something we really focused in on. All these countries have amazing secrets to share and we want to learn as much as we could.

KEILAR: I can't wait to watch.

GUPTA: Thank you.

KEILAR: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

And you can watch it, too. "CHASING LIFE WITH DR. SANJAY GUPTA" premieres tomorrow night at 9:00, only on CNN.

And just ahead, President Trump admits he considered his daughter, Ivanka, for top roles at the United Nations and the World Bank and reveals why did he not give them to her.


[18:57:04] KEILAR: President Trump speaking proudly and candidly about his daughter and advisor, Ivanka, in a new interview with "The Atlantic". He discussed the challenges that she's faced in his administration, top roles he wanted to give her and why her brand is taking a hit. The president opened up to writer Elaina Plott, who's also a CNN political analyst.

This story is so well-written, so interesting, and you spent months putting this together. So, it's definitely a great read.


KEILAR: I want to ask you about -- it's interesting -- now, Ivanka Trump didn't give you an interview technically.

PLOTT: No. Very on brand.

KEILAR: The president did an interview that she made an impromptu appearance at and he was heaping praise on his daughter. He talked about that he thought about her for a World Bank position. That he thought about her as an ambassador to the U.N. He thought she would have been good.

Tell me about that.

PLOTT: Yes. He -- no, it's interesting. He made pretty clear to me that he sees Ivanka as the favorite child, which is something that I think a lot of Americans intuit to be true. But to be faced with that one on one is interesting. You know, listening to a father of four children say that, he kind of runs through the list of his children and stops at Ivanka and says, she's the one that I think could be president one day, that I think could have been ambassador to the U.N. or even leader of the World Bank. He said he considered her for both of those positions, the latter, the World Bank, because he found her to be, quote, very good with numbers.

KEILAR: Your quote in there is he just runs through his children, reminds me of this is Ivanka and these are Ivanka's brothers. And Ivanka -- you know, she's clearly -- she's clearly the favored one. And you also talked about this concept in New York that she had about cultivating authenticity and now that she's in Washington, D.C., she's been frustrated that it's not authenticity that people see but cultivation.

PLOTT: And I think part of that too is when she was in New York, yes, she technically worked for her father at the Trump Organization, but she was also known mostly for her own brand. She had a huge lifestyle brand and was actually quite successful. But when she moved to the White House, she really codified her link to her father. She was no longer just a daughter who can't help what her dad says.

KEILAR: And the founding myth, you say, of Ivanka Trump is that she's a moderating force.

PLOTT: One of the interesting things about researching this piece is, you know, we have come in Washington I think just offhandedly to think of Ivanka Trump as someone who will curb her father's worst impulses. But when you look back into the campaign, there are no moments when she speaks in such a way that would lead us to think that would be true. KEILAR: She's everyone to everybody, right? Because that's what you

talk about, because she was mum on so many issues.

PLOTT: She said nothing, and people thus projected what they wanted to believe onto her.

KEILAR: And her re-entry into New York is going to be fine?

PLOTT: She thinks is going to be entirely fine. I think she might be right. As the source put it to me, the only unpardonable sin in New York is poverty.

KEILAR: It is a fascinating story. Thank you so much, Elaina Plott. Definitely worth checking out. We really appreciate it.

PLOTT: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar, and thank you so much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.