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Trump Slams Mueller Ahead Of Upcoming Testimony, Levels False Accusations; Trump Blames Democrats For Father-Daughter Drowning At Border; House And Senate Pass Competing Border Aid Bills; Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) Is Interviewed On Border Legislation; Interview With Jim Baker, Former FBI General Counsel, On Mueller Hearings; Sources: New Flaw Found In Boeing 737 Max; Trump Says No Meeting With Kim Jong-un During Asia Trip. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 26, 2019 - 17:00   ET



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WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Happening now, breaking news, it never ends: President Trump taken aback by news that Robert Mueller will testify before Congress and complains it never ends and lashes out at the former special counsel with a false claim that Mueller illegally purged evidence from former FBI officials.

Refusing to answer: the president is heading to the G20 summit in Japan, where he'll meet with Vladimir Putin but he won't say if he'll ask Putin not to interfere in the 2020 election.

Border blame: President Trump reacts to the horrific picture of the father and young daughter who drowned trying to cross the border by blaming Democrats as lawmakers wrangle over how to get aid to the border.

And Kim's bargaining chip: Kim Jong-un is reportedly holding an Australian hostage.

Is that a potential bargaining chip in the North Korean's dictator's efforts to get a third summit with President Trump?

I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news: President Trump is blasting former special counsel Robert Mueller, falsely accusing him of illegally deleting text messages between former FBI officials. Mueller will appear before two House committees next month and that public testimony has seemingly unnerved the president, who openly asked, "Does it ever end?"

He spoke before leaving for the G20 summit in Japan where he'll meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin for the first time since the Mueller report. He wouldn't say if he would tell Putin not to interfere in the 2020 election.

Also breaking: asked about that shocking photo of a migrant father and daughter, who drowned on the border, President Trump stunningly blames, and I'm quoting now, "the asylum policy of the Democrats."

That comes as the Senate and House have now passed competing border aid bills. I'll speak with Congresswoman Jackie Speier of the Intelligence Committee and our correspondents and analysts will have full coverage of the day's top stories.

Let's begin with our Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta, in Japan just ahead of the president's arrival for the G20 summit.

Jim, the president is leaving behind the border crisis and the flurry of anticipation over Robert Mueller's upcoming testimony.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Wolf. President Trump is on his way to Japan for the G20 summit but leaving behind a swirl of problems on his trail, including the return of the special counsel Robert Mueller and the situation down on the border, where there is a heartbreaking image that may well haunt his presidency.


ACOSTA (voice-over): As President Trump left for the G20 summit in Japan, he unloaded on the upcoming testimony of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who's been called to appear before Congress next month.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know anything about it. I just heard. And my only response to Mueller is, does it ever stop?

After all of these years and times and people, does it ever stop?

ACOSTA (voice-over): Of all of the meetings with world leaders this week, Mr. President Trump's planned discussion with Russia's Vladimir Putin is likely to draw the most attention but the president won't say whether he'll tell Putin to butt out of the 2020 election.

TRUMP: I'll have a very good conversation with him. What I say to him is none of your business.

ACOSTA (voice-over): It will be the first face-to-face encounter since the president appeared to accept Putin's denials on election interference.

TRUMP: I have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

ACOSTA (voice-over): On immigration, the president made it clear the buck doesn't stop with him when it comes to the safety of migrants at the border.

TRUMP: Open borders mean people drowning in the rivers and it is a very dangerous thing.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president blamed Democrats, who were battling with Republicans over a border bill as he spoke about what may become one of the most lasting images of his hardline record on immigration, a migrant father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande river, dying in each other's arms.

TRUMP: I hate it. And I know it could stop immediately if the Democrats change the law. They have to change the laws. And then that father, who probably was this wonderful guy, with his daughter, things like that wouldn't happen because that journey across that river -- that journey across that river is a very dangerous journey.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But as Mr. Trump is heading to Japan, he took jabs at the country hosting the summit, complaining the Japanese have taken advantage of the U.S. for too long.

TRUMP: If Japan is attacked, we'll fight World War III. We will go in and we will protect them and we'll fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs right. But if we attack --


TRUMP: -- Japan doesn't have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Before leaving Washington, the president sounded as though he may have taken a swipe at the late senator John McCain for blocking his efforts to scrap Obamacare.

TRUMP: We needed 60 votes and we had 51 votes and sometimes, you know, we had a little hard time with a couple of them, right. Fortunately, they're gone now. They've gone on to greener pastures or perhaps far less green pastures. But they're gone.

ACOSTA (voice-over): And a sign that no slight goes unnoticed, the president also responded to U.S. Women's Soccer Player Megan Rapinoe, who recently said --

MEGAN RAPINOE, U.S. WOMEN'S SOCCER PLAYER: I'm not going to the (INAUDIBLE) White House.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Mr. Trump tweeted, "I'm a big fan of the American team and women's soccer but Megan should win before she talks. Finish the job."


ACOSTA: And the president will arrive in Japan with a massive agenda for the G20 summit and try to hammer some kind of a trade agreement with Chinese president Xi Jinping and also talk with U.S. allies about the overarching national security issue that seems to always loom over his presidency and that is how to reel in North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

And, Wolf, the entire world will be watching as the president has his next interaction with Vladimir Putin.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta already in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 summit, Jim, thanks very much.

Word that former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify has sparked a flurry of anticipation up on Capitol Hill. Let's go to our Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju.

Manu, so what's the latest reaction up there?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Democrats supported opening up an impeachment inquiry believe that it could bolster calls to open up formal proceedings, perhaps shift public opinion and perhaps encourage the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to move off of her opposition to opening up an impeachment probe because of what Bob Mueller will say.

Now the House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler in charge of the impeachment inquiry, I asked him about that today. And he said just having Bob Mueller speak about what he found in his report, even if it is just the conclusions of the report or just exactly what he found, would have a significant and profound impact and be able to tell the American people a different story from what they heard from the attorney general and the president of the United States.

But not all Democrats are necessarily on the same page. They're facing also the challenge of managing expectations. So you have a divide between some Democrats pushing for an impeachment inquiry and others who say, let's listen to what the special counsel says first.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The pressure to impeach grows every single day and I think that having testimony -- public testimony from Robert Mueller will add credence to the case. And I think it only adds to the pressure once his statements are made public.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I don't think people should have excessive expectations. I think it is going to be very important to have him come in and have the American people hear from him.

But the -- certainly the outlines of what he's going to talk about are in the report. So, now many Americans haven't read the report. But again I think we should be realistic about our expectations.


RAJU: Now Lindsey Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, who has no intention of bringing Bob Mueller to his committee, said that this could, quote, "blow up in their faces," referring to Democrats.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House are planning their own 40 of questions, the top Republican in the House Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, told me earlier today that he plans to ask questions about the start of the Russia investigation, which he believes was not handled properly. So that is going to be the Republican focus.

Whether Mueller will appear, it appears that this hearing will go forward. Talked to attorney Jay Sekulow just telling our colleague, Jake Tapper, that the White House -- the president will not take steps, any legal moves to try to prevent this testimony from going forward.

So the public will get a chance to hear from the special counsel in just a matter of weeks.

BLITZER: And that hearing will go on for several hours and will be very, very significant. Meanwhile, the Senate has just passed the money for border facilities but it is different from the legislation passed in the House.

So what happens now?

RAJU: Well, the House and Senate have a different proposal, $4.6 billion in each chamber passed through. But the House plan is a bit more restrictive in how that money can be spent, had some more protections for undocumented migrants, people, migrants who are in some of the shelters, particularly how to deal with the children in some of the detention facilities.

But the White House is threatening to veto that House plan.

So the question is can they reconcile that?

And at the moment the Senate bill was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote earlier today, will not come up for a House vote. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, just told me earlier today that she does not plan to bring up the Senate plan by itself, to pass it out of her chamber, to send it to the president's desk.

She said the two versions need to reconcile and be negotiated.

But at the moment, Republicans are rejecting the calls for negotiations. John Thune, the number two Republican, just told our colleague, Ted Barrett, that they have no reason --


RAJU: -- to have further negotiations with the Democrats.

So the question is where do they go from here?

Can they get a resolution before recession begins at the end of the week, before a key office in the Health and Human Services runs out of money by the end of next week and dealing with the unaccompanied minors? But the president spoke with Nancy Pelosi earlier today and Pelosi

said earlier she urged the president to begin negotiations and the question is, will that actually happen?

BLITZER: We'll find out very soon. Manu, thank you very much.

Joining us now Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, a member of the Intelligence Committee.

Thank you as usual for joining us. Let's get to Mueller first.

What questions do you believe the former special counsel needs to answer?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Well, the first question would be, did the report exonerate the president?

That is certainly what William Barr was trying to suggest. I want to hear it from Mr. Mueller's lips.

Secondly, I think the fact that he was relying on Department of Justice guidelines and, therefore, felt you could not indict a sitting president, I want to ask him, is there enough evidence of obstruction of justice, if the Department of Justice guidance was not in effect?

Beyond that I want to know more about the multiple -- I mean, over 270 contacts by the Trump campaign and Russian operatives and over 34 meetings that took place between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign officials.

So we need to know more about that meeting with Mr. Kilimnik and both Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort. There is -- there is something quite peculiar about it. First, that he would travel all the way from Russia to New York City to have that meeting.

And then everyone would exit out of separate entrances. And that there was a sharing of very important polling data, that it appears the Russians used in an effort to support Donald Trump's election.

BLITZER: So you clearly have plenty of questions. As you know, Robert Mueller, he was reluctant to testify and said his report speaks for itself, the 400-plus pages.

Will you press Mueller to answer questions on topics that actually go outside of the scope of that report?

SPEIER: Well, I think one of the questions that has to be asked is the question of counterintelligence investigations.

It appears by the report that Mr. Mueller was stymied in his effort to pursue that because of the use of WhatsApp and the destruction of documents. So I want to know more about what prevented him from moving forward with a counterintelligence investigation.

BLITZER: The president said it is simply harassment and you just want to do a do-over as far as the Mueller report is concerned. What is your response to the president?

SPEIER: Mr. President, I would say, this was a two-year investigation into conduct that, under normal circumstances, would be criminal. We have every right to have the author of that report come before Congress and present it to us.

You can't expect the American people to want to read 400 pages of that document. They are more likely to listen to Bob Mueller, who has shown he has powerful gravitas, that he has not politicized his process at all. He never appeared publicly or answered any questions by the press during that entire review and investigation.

So I think hearing from him is going to be quite important.

BLITZER: You support beginning a formal impeachment inquiry and 78 other Democrats so far.

Do you think Mueller's public testimony will convince more lawmakers to join you?

SPEIER: I would be surprised if it does not. Because just the airing of the data, of the actual conclusions will have a powerful effect, I think, on members and the American public. I think starting the inquiry is part of our job.

Now whether or not we pursue it to the point of having a vote on the floor or sending it to the Senate, where it would be dead on arrival, is another thing. But we have the obligation to investigate this fully.

And I'm very concerned that Russia will certainly do everything in its power to continue to impact our elections. And Bob Mueller actually said that as much in his one press conference that he held.

BLITZER: I want to ask you about immigration while I have you, Congresswoman. We've all seen the horrible picture of the father and daughter who drowned trying to cross the southern border into the United States.

And we read the reports about the deplorable conditions at migrant detention facilities right here in the United States. The president, as you heard today, he's directly blaming you, the Democrats.

What is your response to him?

SPEIER: Well, the president has one approach and that is to blame everyone else. He is the leader of this country. It is his policies that have been put in place that have put these children in the positions they are, where they don't have --


SPEIER: -- food, where they don't have hygiene products.

The blame is on him. And he has done everything in his power to make it seem like you aren't going to be able to enter. And yet people keep coming and they keep coming because they are families who are desperate. And they have every right to seek asylum.

Let's remember, this is the same president who said that these are all rapists and drug traffickers. I mean, clearly the visions we're seeing now, the images we're seeing, of families desperately fleeing horrendous situations in their homeland, should make us want to open our arms to refugees.

We've always done that in the past and it is not going to be something on my watch that I'm going to allow not to continue to happen.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you so much for joining us.

SPEIER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Up next, more breaking news: President Trump slams Robert Mueller, just ahead of his congressional testimony as Democrats say next month's hearings could change the impeachment debate. I'll speak with the former top lawyer at the FBI, Jim Baker.

And President Trump's reaction to the shocking photo of a drowned father and daughter, are the Democrats to blame, as he says?





BLITZER: Our breaking news: President Trump is slamming the former special counsel, Robert Mueller, ahead of his upcoming congressional testimony. I'm joined now by the former top lawyer at the FBI during the Russia investigation, Jim Baker. He's a CNN legal analyst.

Jim, thanks very much for coming in. You worked with Robert Mueller for a while.

How do you expect he will handle this public testimony?

JIM BAKER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he'll answer the questions that they ask him. But I think the members of Congress need to keep in mind, Director Mueller is very smart, he knows the facts extremely well and way better than they do. And he does not really want to be there. And so I think they need to approach it in that way.

I would think that it would make sense -- well, the main thing is to get him to tell his story. That is what has not really penetrated, I think, into the public consciousness because, if you read that report all the way through, you come away shocked.

And I think members who have done that have that reaction. And so that is what they need to get to, not speeches, not getting Director Mueller to try to make conclusions for them, just stick to the facts and get out of the story.

BLITZER: Because he said, if he does appear publicly, he'll just refer to the actual 448-page report and repeat that.

But do you think he might be willing to go beyond that when the members ask him specific questions outside of the scope of the Mueller report?

BAKER: Well, I think it will be like pulling teeth. So I would suggest that the way to go about doing this is to pick a couple of questioners, who are excellent, on the different committees and pull the time and give it to them.

If members of Congress sit back for a second, it is in the interest of the country to get out the story in a more comprehensive way and not necessarily for them to have their sort of moment in the sun, questioning Mueller. I think they need to think deeply about what is best for the country and the best for the country is too get this story out.

BLITZER: As you know, every member in the House Judiciary Committee, Democrat and Republican, on the Intelligence Committee, Democrat and Republican, they want some of that spotlight.

BAKER: I understand that. That is the way it is. And, in the past, it hasn't worked. Because many of them, quite bluntly, are not adept at asking questions of tough witnesses and Director Mueller as I said, he will comply with the questions. He'll obey the law but he really doesn't want to be there. He made that quite clear.

So he's not going to go beyond what he said he would do, which is talk about the facts. That's what he's going to talk about, the facts.

BLITZER: Yes, as a viewer over the years, watching these guys ask questions, let's say they each get five minutes, a lot of them simply make a speech for four and a half minutes and say, what do you think?

BAKER: Yes, and that is the wrong way to do it. The American people need to hear the story and go through, have Director Mueller go through the 10 examples, I think 10 is the number, of obstruction, just walk -- have him walk through all of those.

And in some level of detail within the confines of the time and the American people, I think, will have a better understanding and be shocked and not accept that kind of behavior on the part of the president.

BLITZER: Let's say the questioning is very precise and very specific, very in depth. Do you think it will change attitudes as far as launching a formal impeachment procedure in the House of Representatives?

BAKER: Well, I think it will change the -- to answer your question, yes. I think at the end of the day, because it will shift public opinion. And that is what I think the Democrats have failed to do so far. And getting Director Mueller up there, because everybody will be watching, is a good way to do that.

BLITZER: As you know, the president today made a statement accusing Mueller of deleting texts from two former FBI officials who exchanged derogatory messages about the president, then the candidate. That is not true.

But give us your analysis of what the president of the United States is accusing Robert Mueller, who is the special counsel, the former FBI director, of doing illegally?

BAKER: Yes, it is -- quite frankly, it is a breach of the president's duties under the Constitution. The Constitution says that the president has the obligation, the solemn obligation, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. That is in Article II. The president talked about Article II a lot and that is one of his responsibilities. And --


BAKER: -- accusing Americans of crimes without a factual basis and having him just pronounce this is just unacceptable.

If the president thinks that Robert Mueller committed a crime, then he should direct the attorney general to conduct an investigation and then not talk about it.

BLITZER: And the president called him an honorable man not too long ago, either, it's one of the reasons why it was pretty shocking. Jim Baker, thank you so much for joining us.

BAKER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up, could Robert Mueller's upcoming testimony up on Capitol Hill re-energize the Democrats' push for impeachment or backfire?

Also breaking: CNN has learned a new round of tests reveal another problem with the Boeing airliner that's been grounded since a pair of crashes killed all 346 people aboard both jets.


[17:30:34] BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories including President Trump, once again, attacking Robert Mueller after getting word the former Special Counsel will testify publicly before the House Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees next month. Let's ask our correspondents and analysts about what lies ahead.

Susan Hennessey, what's the one question you think should be asked of Robert Mueller?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So I think it's important to sort of appropriately set expectations here. I certainly have a lot of questions that I think need to be asked of Robert Mueller, but he's been quite clear he isn't going to go beyond the report and I think he actually is going to stick to that. That said, you know, there are areas that are sort of gaps or

ambiguities or places that you really would want to drill down. Robert Mueller said in a number of places that he didn't find evidence sufficient to bring criminal charges of wrongdoing or criminal activity. In other places, he found no evidence to substantiate a claim.

I think lawmakers need to drill down on whether -- on what exactly he meant by that, in part because, of course, the standard of proof for Congress is much lower than that that you would see in an actual criminal courtroom. But at the end of the day, I think the most important thing is just hearing Robert Mueller tell the story that is contained in the report in his own words.

It is clear that the vast majority of the American public have not fully read this report, do not fully understand what is inside this document. Members of Congress have not fully reckoned with what's inside this document. So this will be a very, very powerful opportunity.

If members of Congress sit up there and for five minutes, essentially give speeches and listen to themselves speak, that is going to be really an incredible missed opportunity.

BLITZER: Do you think -- you think, Dana, that Mueller's testimony will change the appetite either for or against the start of formal impeachment hearings?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't have the answer to that yet. I think that you are maybe doing a little wishful thinking. I hope that you're right that we won't have --

BLITZER: You mean about not getting five-minute speeches?


BASH: -- that we won't have five-minute speeches from members of Congress. But, you know, having covered Congress for a long time, we're going to probably get a lot of that. And it would be a missed opportunity. The question is whether or not they are going to organize themselves, the Democrats and the Republicans, to ask questions that are the most probing, the most important, to get to the bottom of some of the -- of the gaps, as you put it.

Republicans are already saying that they are confident this is going to backfire. That Robert Mueller isn't going to offer anything new and might even offer some -- you know, some -- maybe not a defense of the President, but some ability for the President and his allies to, you know, kind of push back on the notion that impeachment should be out there.

It's dicey but it is critical. This was a very important investigation, and it went on for a very long time, spent a lot of taxpayer dollars. And it is appropriate for the man who was in charge of that to speak to the Congress. It's the way this kind of thing works. It's the way that the system in this country works. BLITZER: It's supposed to work like that.

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: They're supposed to be checks and balances. There are supposed to be questions.

BASH: Exactly.

BLITZER: And he did this report for two years. And all of a sudden the President -- Abby, you cover the White House for us -- is accusing Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director, the former Special Counsel, of illegally wiping or erasing text messages between two former FBI officials. So that's a serious accusation, which has no -- no truth to it.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's a serious and false accusation. And it's one that's kind of a non sequitur. It has absolutely nothing, really, to do with anything. Those devices were wiped is just normal practice. And then the text messages were later recovered, so there's really no reason for this to be part of the conversation except that, perhaps, the President heard about it when he was watching television or listening to some of his informal advisers.

But it -- I think it just speaks to the President's desire to continue to dig and dig and dig to find things that he considers to be conflicts as it relates to Robert Mueller, things that he believes make Mueller incapable of being an impartial person in this case. The problem is that that really has nothing to do with anything. It's also untrue. And I think it reveals a certain kind of, you know, desperation on his part to just grasp on to something.

In the case of some of the other conflicts the President has cited, even his own advisers said they had no basis in fact and that they were virtually irrelevant. I think that most people will come to the same conclusion about those.

BLITZER: Phil Mudd, you worked with Mueller --


BLITZER: -- for a long time over at the FBI. You know him well.

MUDD: Yes.

BLITZER: When the President of the United States accuses him of breaking the law in this particular case, how do you think he's going to respond?

MUDD: I think his answer is going to be, I'm going to go testify, and I'll offer the facts. He sees this, I don't think he would respond at all. I tell you, it's serious. It's also, as somebody who spent 4- 1/2 years down the hall from him at the executive row of the FBI, comical. [17:35:03] This is comical, about wiping people's devices. Like in

Washington, D.C., you call the I.T. department, with zero leaks, and say, why don't you eliminate the text messages on their devices?

Final words I'd say, 4-1/2 years, a hundred feet down the hall from him, zero e-mails from him. The man is not exactly a technical wizard. He didn't wipe anybody's e-mails.


HENNESSEY: Right. But we've also seen the President have -- use this exact blueprint before, which is that he offers conspiracy theories --


HENNESSEY: -- or lines of attack that he expects his allies in Congress, Republican members who are going to be doing part of that questioning to actually pick up. And so it's clear that he is sort of throwing things out there, attempting to sort of trial balloon, you know, various lines of attacks which people might use to impeach Robert Mueller's credibility or that of his team.

BLITZER: You covered Congress for a long time on this whole issue of border funding. Right now, the House passes one bill, the Senate passes a very different bill, although both have $4.5 or $4.6 billion included. Are they going to be able to reconcile in a conference committee or whatever and come up with a compromise?

BASH: It is hard to imagine, even for this Congress, even in this environment where you have members of Congress who seem to be impervious to political pressure, hard to imagine even in this environment them going home, walking in July Fourth parade, celebrating the freedom and independence of America, and not passing $4 billion, which is very much needed, to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border.

Having said that, they are the same amount of money, but there are big policy differences between the Senate and the House. The Democrats in the House added a lot more constraints on the way the money is going to be spent, to -- you know, checks on how the facilities, for example, are run, medical attention to children. And Republicans in the Senate want it -- even though it passed in a bipartisan way, want it to have a little bit more focus on ICE and enforcement.

So they're trying to get this done by the end of the week and go home for July Fourth recess. Sometimes the jet fumes have a miraculous effect on compromise. This is going to be a tough one, but, again, it's hard to imagine --


BLITZER: They got to do something. That horrific picture of that father --

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: -- and the 23-month-old daughter who both drowned, that's sparking so much outrage. People are asking, how could this happen?

PHILLIP: Yes, and I think it's making a big difference in terms of how this debate is playing out. There is not a debate about the amount of money, it's more of a debate about exactly how it's spent.

And I actually think that that's probably the best sign that we have that this is going to get resolved in some way. If we had a huge gap in the amount of money that we were talking about, it would be more a clear sign that they were going to have a harder time getting to the finish line.

And on top of that, you know, what I hear when I hear President Trump talk about this is he is recognizing that the politics of this are not on his side. He gets that something has to be done, and so he hasn't actually reiterated what his own administration put on paper, which was a veto threat.

He hasn't talked in specific terms about what he's not going to sign. And so, for now, I think that's allowing Congress to work, and we'll see what they come up with. But I think that Dana is right, they're going to get it done so that they can go home.

HENNESSEY: And, look, the President has attempted to vilify and dehumanize these people, and it's undeniable seeing an absolutely horrifying image like this. These are real people. This is a little girl. Her name was Valeria. She wasn't even 2 years old.

Also, these were not illegal immigrants. These were individuals who were coming to the border to assert their lawful right to claim asylum. The Trump administration's policies were designed to ensure that that father and daughter couldn't make to the point where they could make a lawful claim.

BLITZER: Everybody, stand by, we're getting some breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. Sources now say new tests have turned up yet another -- another -- problem with a Boeing airliner that's been grounded since a pair of fatal crashes. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: We have breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. A new problem has turned up on the troubled Boeing 737 Max airliner, the jet that's been grounded since a pair of crashes killed all 346 people aboard two planes.

Let's bring in CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin. Drew, what have they found out now?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is independent of the MCAS system. FAA test pilots working in a simulator found out that a microprocessor flaw actually created a situation where the plane pointed downward, and the pilots could not easily or quickly recover the airplane. As one source told us, if you can't recover in a matter of seconds, that is an unreasonable risk.

The FAA is requiring Boeing to mitigate this problem immediately before they do any kind of flight certification. But, again, this was discovered by FAA test pilots, and it has to do with a microprocessing unit inside the 737 Max.

The big issue, how long will this delay recertifying the aircraft? If it turns out that the microprocessors in all of these planes need to be replaced, that's going to be a very big deal. Boeing is trying to fix this with yet another software update -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Drew Griffin reporting for us. Thanks very much.

Coming up, there's more breaking news. President Trump heads to Asia, but even though he's stopping in South Korea, he says he won't be meeting with Kim Jong-un.


BLITZER: Breaking news. As he left the White House this afternoon, President Trump told reporters he's not planning to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his trip to Japan and South Korea but may speak to him, quote, in a different forum. The North Koreans have been pushing for another Trump-Kim summit.

CNN's Brian Todd has been working his sources. Brian, what are you hearing?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, CNN sources, along with South Korean officials, are reading the tea leaves, trying to decipher just how close we are to a third summit between the two leaders.

[17:50:04] But at the same time, we're also getting word that Kim Jong-un may now have another bargaining chip to dangle in front of the President.


TODD (voice-over): The North Korean dictator's reputation for ruthlessness and manipulation could, again, be at play in his dealings with President Trump.

Tonight, there are reports that Kim Jong-un may have taken another prisoner from a U.S. ally. Australian officials tell CNN they've gotten reports that an Australian man has been detained in North Korea, but they're looking for clarification.

Analysts say, if this is true, Kim could be dangling the Australian detainee in front of President Trump as a bargaining chip, offering Trump the opportunity to be a diplomatic hero, possibly enticing Trump to hold a third summit with Kim.

MARCUS NOLAND, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF STUDIES, PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS: When President Trump brought home an American student, Otto Warmbier, he was in a coma and died shortly thereafter. So bringing home a healthy hostage could be touted as a kind of foreign policy accomplishment and burnish his image as both a humanitarian and somebody who gets things done. TODD (voice-over): The news of a potential prisoner comes at the same

time there are new indications that a third Trump-Kim summit could be announced soon. South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, says U.S. and North Korean negotiators have been engaging in behind-the-scenes talks about another meeting between the two men.

Today, when asked about the prospect of another meeting with the North Korean dictator, Trump suggested something may happen soon but not while at tomorrow's G-20 Summit.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be meeting with a lot of other people, not by him, but I may be speaking to him in a different forum.

TODD (voice-over): Experts say a third Trump-Kim summit will likely happen, but, like the Hanoi summit in February, it may not actually work. To really get Kim to give up his nuclear weapons, they say, the people under Trump and Kim, the so-called working-level diplomats, have to agree on the details. And those officials haven't been able to make much progress lately.

NOLAND: This is not something that the two heads of state are going to go into and, over the course of a weekend, sort of hammer out. That's just not how it works.

TODD (voice-over): But getting lower-level talks moving again may not be easy despite the President's affection for the ruthless dictator.

TRUMP: And then we fell in love, OK?

TODD (voice-over): Kim's regime continues to show little love for the President's diplomatic team.

In a new statement today, the North Korean Foreign Ministry called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reckless because the State Department just issued two new reports naming North Korea as one of the world's worst violators of human rights. Pyongyang has previously called Pompeo "gangster-like," as well as calling Trump's national security advisor John Bolton "human scum" and a "bloodsucker."

Analysts say this may be part of Kim's manipulation, that the dictator is seeking to divide Trump from his top national security aides.

JOSEPH YUN, FORMER UNITED STATES SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NORTH KOREA: They know the bureaucratic infighting that's going on in Washington. They know what people like Pompeo stand for, what Bolton stands for. I believe, for Kim Jong-un, this is all about playing to Donald Trump's vanity, conveying to him that you are the man, you can do the deal that nobody has been able to do before.


TODD: And analysts believe Kim's regime could be trying to manipulate Trump's team in other ways. In its latest statement, the North Koreans again slammed the U.S. for trying to bring them to their knees with sanctions. Experts say that's likely Kim's way of trying to pressure Donald Trump

to lift some of the economic sanctions against North Korea because the North Koreans know that China, Russia, and even South Korea are getting less and less enthusiastic about enforcing those sanctions -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Thank you.

Coming up, President Trump slams Robert Mueller just ahead of his congressional testimony as Democrats say those public hearings could change the impeachment debate.

Also, stand by for two important interviews. I'll be speaking with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.


BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Does it ever stop? President Trump lashes out at Robert Mueller now that the former Special Counsel has agreed to testify before Congress under subpoena. I'll talk to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as his committee prepares to question Mueller.

None of your business. That was the President's response when asked if he'll warn Vladimir Putin not to interfere in the 2020 election. As Mr. Trump heads to the G-20 Summit, why is he secretive about his talks to the Russian leader?

Emergency funding. The House and Senate passed dueling bills to address the migrant crisis, setting up a new clash between Democrats and Republicans. Can they compromise and get aid to the southern border?

And Kushner one-on-one. Stand by for my in-depth interview with the President's senior adviser and son-in-law. I'll press Jared Kushner about Robert Mueller's testimony, the border crisis, and his push for Mid-East peace.

[18:00:02] We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.