tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN July 24, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
unfortunately, that's all of the time that we have here in "the situation room". i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, attorney general jeff sessions heads to the white house for a meeting but not with the president. is the president trying to force sessions to resign? plus, an allegation of full-throated denial and then an admission. is this the all-too familiar cycle of the trump team? plus, john mccain battling brain cancer. his senate colleagues say he's trying to get back to vote on the health care legislation. sanjay gupta with more on how risky that trip might be. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm jake tapper in for erin burnett. pushing jeff sessions to the brick. is the president trying to force his attorney general to quit? sessions, who has not spoken with the president since trump slammed him publicly in "the new
york times," was at the white house today but never met with trump, we're told. that's after the president began the day with the stunning tweet referring to his own attorney general as beleaguered. >> mr. president, did jeff -- should jeff sessions resign? >> new communications director anthony scaramucci refused to say whether the president wants sessions to resign but told cnn, quote, they need to sit down face-to-face and have a discussion of the future, unquote. but is reconciliation even possible? the president is not happy with the attorney general and in march just days after he recused himself from the russia investigation, cnn has reported that trump was hot and exacerbated and called it
overkill and then came the attack on "the new york times" last wednesday. >> if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and i would have picked somebody else. after that, the president tweeted, "why isn't the a.g. or special council looking at the many hillary clinton or comey crimes? 33,000 e-mails deleted?" jeff zeleny is "outfront" at the white house tonight. jeff, what is the president's thinking right now with regard to his attorney general who was the first sitting u.s. senator to endorse him? >> reporter: jake, good evening. there's no question at all that the president is fuming and it's apparently got worse week by week, month by month. since that march decision, the attorney general made to recuse himself of the russia investigation it was simmering for a while, i'll told. now it's something more of a full boil. and what's so unusual about
this, we're seeing it play out in realtime tweet by tweet, statement by statement and this is someone who was once, as you said, his most loyal supporter. this was one of the closest people to this president but now he's throwing him under the bus and is equating him with hillary clinton and other things. that's about as low as it goes in the trump world. and jake, we're watching the president's speech to boy scouts before you came on the air there and he brought eagle scouts from his cabinet along with him. rick perry, the energy secretary, former eagle scout. jeff sessions was a decorated eagle scout as well. he did not get an invi indicati invitation to join the president. he was holding routine meetings. we're told he did not speak with the president. the president wants to talk about him. he does not want to talk to him, jake. >> jeff, the president also not
getting the support he might have hoped for from one of his biggest campaign supporters, mayor rudy giuliani, when it comes to the issue as to whether or not sessions should have recused himself. >> reporter: this was very interesting. rudy giuliani was flying into washington for some business meetings today. he told cnn that, look, i think jeff sessions made the right call to recuse himself under the rules of the department of justice. he said, look, he simply was doing the right thing. this is something that the president has not seemed to acknowledge, that attorney general sessions was following the legal advice of the justice department but it also, i think, might sort of tamp down one of the rumors that's been flying in washington that rudy giuliani could replace jeff sessions. i don't think that's likely to happen and the mayor, the former mayor said today, jake, there's no truth to that. >> yeah. he's made it very clear that the only job he would want in the administration is as secretary
of state. jeff zeleny at the white house, thank you very much. chris cillizza, abby philip and richard painter, white house ethics lawyer under president george w. bush. thanks one and all for being here. chris, i'll start with you. attorney general sessions was one of the biggest trump supporters during the campaign. now the president is giving him the silent treatment. communications director scaramucci says they need to speak and determine what the future of the relationship looks like. can there be a future here? >> i think there can be a future, jake, but scaramucci is right. you can't have this -- i was going to say passive/aggressive attitude but it's not even really passive/aggressive. it's aggressive/aggressive at this point. i don't know that you can have that continue between the president and one of his most important cabinet members. i think they have to have some sort of meeting at which sessions either resigns or leaves or trump gives him a real
vote of confidence and leaves off the haranging him on twitter and in public. you can't have this out there as a story line when you're talking about the nation's leading law enforcement official and the president of the united states who chose him for that job. >> richard, the president and sessions have not spoken, we're told, at least not since that interview with "the new york times." i want to remind everyone what the president said during that interview. >> sessions should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and i would have picked somebody else. >> and then today, of course, calling his own attorney general beleaguered. richard, is there anything legally stopping the president from firing sessions? >> well, if he does it for purposes of trying to fire bob
mueller, he's going to end up getting himself impeached. people are getting tired of this. this isn't about jeff sessions. this is about the russia investigation and president trump's efforts through everything he possibly can to stop the russia investigation. he fired fbi director comey to stop the russia investigation, told the russia ambassador that in the oval office and has told the press that and then once we have bob mueller in place, he's trying to find someone who can replace attorney general sessions and turn around and fire bob mueller. the american people are not going to stand for this and it has nothing to do with the personal relationship between jeff sessions and the president. the president wanted jeff sessions not to recuse because he wanted jeff sessions to put a damper on the investigation to stop the investigation and that just isn't going to happen. >> abby, president trump spoke tonight to a group of boy scouts in west virginia. i want to play one thing that he said that caught our ears.
>> as the scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal. we could use some more loyalty, lee tell you that. >> an interesting remark. although, we should observe, sessions was actually one of the most loyal supporters that the president has had. the only issue is, in president trump's eyes, that he recuse himself from the russia investigation. >> yeah. the loyalty thing is really, in some ways for this president kind of a one way street. he wants people to be loyal to him but he is ready to throw them under the bus and for sessions it's so apparent that their relationship has deteriorated over something that he had no choice to do, recuse himself in this case. i think, you know, chris pointed out earlier it's not good for trump to have this relationship with his a.g., but i think it's possible for them to continue this way. one of the problems with firing jeff sessions is not just that
trump doesn't like actually firing people. he likes talking about firing people but has not actually fired many people in his administration. but it's also that replacing sessions is going to be extremely challenging. if trump does in fact want to have someone in that job who will intervene in this russia investigation, that person is going to have an extraordinarily hard time being confirmed by the united states senate and it's for that reason and also because gotting rid getting rid of your a.g. and old a.g. is not conducive to trump's governing philosophy, which has to do with immigration and enforcement and border security. so i think he's in a tough spot all around and i'm not surprised that sessions hasn't resigned in the face of all of this extraordinary pressure. it's because he knows that trump has not actually been known to pull the trigger and fire people unless he seems like he has
absolutely no other choice and right now the alternative to sessions is not very good for this president. >> chris, one big trump supporter, congressman steve king, a republican of iowa and immigration hard liner, he tweeted today, you are best positioned to get your agenda and make america great again. one of my conservative bloggers suggested that firing sessions or forcing him to resign could really risk putting the trump coaliti coalition in something of a perilous situation given the fact that the nationalist movement is really behind sessions and they were big supporters of his in the senate. steve king, obviously a big supporter of his. these are the people who are real hard liners. do you think the nationalists might side with sessions over trump? >> potentially, yes. look, jeff sessions was a member
of the immigration cause before donald trump. donald trump. >> right. >> is a relatively new believer in this. jeff sessions was a hard liner on immigration from way back in the way that steve king has been. i just think it creates so many potential problems if he does it. richard mentioned the russia investigation. there are political coalition issues that come with it. as abby noted, who could get confirmed to this job? i think the best hope for jeff sessions is that donald trump leaves off openly attacking him. donald trump, it is true, doesn't have to have a meeting or either fire sessions to make peace with him. he could just stop talking about him entirely. in the last five days, it's gotten more public and more aggressive as it relates from trump to sessions, not less so. >> yeah. it's all -- the leaks are coming from inside the house.
>> yes. it feels like he's trying to provoke something out of jeff sessions. maybe he'll stop. but that's not been our experience with donald trump. >> richard, one of the key problems is that if sessions leaves, as chris just noted, who replaces him? there was a report that some in the white house have dismissed, the possibility of rudy giuliani replacing him. as i said, some people in the office say that is not true. and rudy giuliani says that's not true. another big question, as chris says, who could take the job in i mean, who could get confirmed? >> well, the big problem is that jeff sessions leaves, there would be an acting attorney general and donald trump could appoint someone else from the justice department to be acting attorney general. rachel brand or someone else and then pressure that person to turn around and fire bob mueller. that's what richard nixon did.
cox got fired and that's exactly what is going to happen here. people are not going to tolerate this and the president insisting on loyalty and talking about loyalty at the boy scouts meeting today, that's not going to solve the problem either. they have on their uniform an american flag, not a picture of donald trump. when people want to stop the investigation, we're not going to tolerate that from the president or anyone else. >> chris, abby, richard, thank you so much. "outfront" next, jared kushner says that he never colluded with the russians. and john mccain battling brain cancer. why is he trying to return to capitol hill tomorrow? is it even safe to do so? and using the shooting of a colleague in a campaign ad, is he crossing the line?
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staff, he made a rare appearance before the cameras. >> i did not collude with russia nor do i know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. i had no improper contacts. i have not relied on russian funds for my businesses. and i have been fully transparent in providing all requested information. >> cnn's justice reporter evan perez is "outfront" for us. what did kushner tell reporters? >> he was meeting with investigators behind closed doors in a secure room for over two hours today and we know a little bit of what he said because he released an 11-page statement essentially describing his four contacts that you just mentioned with russian officials. and a couple of them, obviously, have gotten a lot of attention, including the one from june of to 16 duri 2016 during the meeting with
donald trump jr. in which he suggests that he had no idea what this meeting was about and was asked to stop by which was a practice during the campaign and in the middle of the meeting he realized he had no business being there because he wasn't interested in what was being discussed so he asked his assistant to call him so he could politely leave that meeting. he described the meeting last december after donald trump had won the presidency, he met with sergey kislyak who is the russian ambassador and describes basically an effort for them to talk about syria and says there was nothing suspicious about the meeting. jake? >> evan perez, thank you. "outfront" now, van jones, a former special adviser to president obama, scott jennings, ron rotunda who served with ken
starr. van, kushner insists he did nothing wrong. right now there is nothing to prove he did anything wrong. is it possible there's more to come or is it possible that this is, as has been said, a nothing burger? >> well, i think kushner may become an even richer man because apparently he's been able to create a smoke machine so there's always smoke but there's never a fire. every time these guys come before the camera they say nothing is going on, they deny everything and then admit to something they just denied before and now they say we are done. if you see this pattern of denial, deny it, admit it and then deny something else, you have to wait. in a few more weeks or months,
no one would be shocked if it turned out there was another russian, four more russians that talked about this. but the overall effect of it is to get the american people used to a level of insanity and drama in the white house, which is bad for everybody. >> scott, jared kushner said he didn't read the full e-mail from donald trump jr. that set up this meeting with what was sold as a russian government official with dirt on hillary clinton. but the subject line of the e-mail was, quote, russia/clinton private and confidential. do you find it credible what he said? >> i do find it credible what he said. i think people in jared kushner's position in campaigns that frequently get stuff and skim through it, obviously he followed through today on what he said he wanted to do all along, from the first night we started talking about kushner and the russians, he and his attorneys have said i want to answer questions, he wants to be transparent. he followed through on that pledge today. i think he had a great day. it was handled beautifully.
the 11-page statement was great. the meeting with the reporters at the white house earlier, he was clear about what he had to say. there's nothing out there right now that says jared kushner did a thing in the world wrong and followed through on transparency pledges today and i think it's a great day for the white house. >> ron, kushner's given a statement to senate investigators and he'll be doing that soon to house investigate are tos. is this legally risky, all of these public declarations about what he did or did not do? >> i don't think so. if you've got nothing to hide, you shouldn't act like you're hiding something. he seemed to be very complete today. he explains these various things, the send button was pressed accidently. having done that myself, doi feel empathetic. we have had a mountain of innuendo but seems to be built on a foundation of very loose sand. there was a meeting he didn't
disclose. one of the meetings i think they called sessions a liar on this. what he did was he stepped from the podium after giving a speech and the russian ambassador shook his hand and he moved on and sessions forgot to disclose it and this was supposed to be a big lie. that's not really very much, if you think about it. so i think we should wait until we get a lot more facts rather than jumping to conclusions about when are we going to indict and frog march him from the white house, which seems to be a narrative, a theme since the day after the election. >> van, today jared kushner implied that the investigations are undermining president trump's victory. >> well, donald trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign and that is why he won. suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him. >> this comes the day after the
president tweeted, quote, as the phony russian witch-hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election democrats and russians. so there's this question out there about whether or not democrats are trying to delegitimatize the president's victory. >> well, i think it's really unfair and kushner speaks very seldomly. people are going to take his words apart and take him very seriously. it seems that this is something that the entire family will hold. it's an unfair view. you could essentially say that nobody changed their vote or it didn't affect anybody but that there was an attempt on the part of an enemy to hurt us and that people in that campaign including donald trump jr. who said he was willing to collude. give me your dirt. you can't live in a world where that's off the table to discuss. you have to be able to talk about that. it's really unfair for the
trumps to do this. they are basically saying, you can't have high standards. you can't ask tough questions because if you do, you're insulting american voters. that's a false choice. you can respect american voters, and i do, and also want more information about what is going on. it's the kind of thing you do when you don't want to have an honest conversation. scott? >> i think we have to keep in mind here, there are two issues. there's the idea that the russians meddled in the election and then there's these crazy allegations of collusion with the russians of which there's no evidence right now and we have democrats, as you pointed out, making too much of this. you've got people filing articles of impeachment in the house of representatives and i think it's ridiculous. there was no collusion but we ultimately get to a final collusion that the russians meddled in the election. the most important thing that the trump administration can do is to acknowledge at some point and put together a presidential task force that gives the american people competence there
won't be any meddling in the future. i would say, if we finally get to a place where we all agree there's meddling by the russians, it in no way delegitimatizes this presidency. we have to stop them in the future and that's what i want to see the trump white house do, give the american people that confidence. >> van, scott, thank you. the most important vet yet. why is president trump attacking some over it. plus, the death toll rising after a special report on the changing and dangerous ways that immigrants are getting into the united states. stay with us. with my moderate to severe crohn's disease,... ...i kept looking for ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i was doing okay... then it hit me... ...managing was all i was doing. when i told my doctor,... ...i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease... ...even after trying other medications. in clinical studies,...
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welcome back. wash, rinse, repeat. president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner admitting today he had four meetings with russians, this after the trump campaign previously insisted there had been no such contacts. kushner denies any wrongdoing but this seems to be part of a pattern for the trump team and initial denying of meetings with russians only to later admit that there were, in fact, meetings with russians. tom foreman is "outfront." >> reporter: twice in the campaign and twice in the transition, the president's son-in-law and white house adviser met with russians. and jared kushner says it was always proper. >> let me be very clear. i did not collude with russia nor do i know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. ♪ >> reporter: but for months, amid questions about russian meddling in the election, president trump has pushed a different story.
>> i have nothing to do with russia, folks, okay? >> reporter: dismissing claims anyone on his team even had contact with russians. >> no. nobody that i know of. >> so you're not aware of any contacts during the course of the election? >> how many times do i have to answer this question? i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no one that i deal with does. >> reporter: and played up biy the media. a total scam. vice president mike pence -- >> did any adviser or anybody in the trump campaign have any contact with the russians who were trying to meddle in the election? >> of course not. >> reporter: yet we know well before those denials kushner joined then campaign chairman paul manafort and donald trump jr. to meet with russians after trump junior was promised dirt on hillary clinton. now he says the meeting was a bust, not even about that
subject. but the very next month, there he was ridiculing democrats for suggesting the russians were trying to meddle. >> it's disgusting. it's so phony. >> reporter: paul manafort dismissed the idea. >> i don't know anything about what you just said. you may know it. if you do, you ought to expose it. to say you know, i don't even know what you're talking about. it's crazy. >> reporter: and that talking point has been echoed repeatedly ever since. >> did anyone involved in the trump campaign have any contact with russians trying to meddle with the election? >> reporte >> abs olutely not. those conversations never happened. >> reporter: as sarah huckabee sanders said earlier this year, it's hard to make a comment on something that never happened. but here's the problem. now, as we noted, jake, members of trump's team are saying there were meetings with russians despite all of those denials for months and so, of course, some
of the president's opponents are hoping that he might pay a real price for what he's called fake news for so long. jake? >> tom foreman, thanks so much. "outfront" now, democratic congressman from california, eric swallow who sits on the committee. you saw jared kushner today and said, quote, i did not collude with russia nor do i know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. do you have any evidence to the contrary? >> good evening, jake. there is a lot of evidence that members of the team were working with russians or seeking to work with russians and the goal of our investigation is to understand the degree of that. you have ramnking member adam schiff and mike conaway bringing these people in and hopefully we
can work in that in short order. >> you said there's a lot of members of the trump team working with the russians. we know of donald trump jr.'s willingness to hear the compromising material from what he thought would be a russian government official. is there anything more than that? because that, according to trump junior and others, didn't result in much. and are there other incidents or meetings that you can tell us about? >> well, sure, jake. this summer was quite a busy time for the trump campaign and their contacts with russia. carter page, a senior foreign policy adviser with permission of the campaign, he went over to russia in july, a month after the meeting at trump tower that don junior hosted and then you have roger stone who had hacked into john podesta's e-mail and he sent out a tweet that was very, very, i would say, hard to read or hard to tell what he was talking about at the time that
john podesta was going to spend his time in the barrel and six weeks later the podesta e-mails are leased. we have to understand what all of this means, how they are all connected or maybe they're not connected and it's a thousand coincidences. >> when you say "evidence," do you mean beyond sir coupcircums evidence? >> jake, evidence to me is not a conclusion. evidence has to be tested and developed, corroborated or repudiated. there is circumstantial evidence and there's direct evidence. the don junior e-mail to me made everything quite clear as far as what this constellation of contacts was, that the trump campaign kept saying were innocent explanations. if you look at the president's own tone on this, he has gone from no russia, no collusion to saying essentially that's politics. so what? who wouldn't have taken the
meeting? and i think that's an acknowledgement, frankly, of the overwhelming evidence because of our investigations and of free press that they've had to deal with. >> you'll be there tomorrow with jared kushner meets with your committee behind closed doors. >> i will. >> what questions do you have for him? >> jake, i don't want mr. kushner to know the questions before he goes there. there's a lot of questions about the campaign's contacts with russia, why they would meet with russia more than any other country and i don't think he's a novice at all. he seems like he knew exactly what he was doing and this was a campaign for the presidency of the united states and the campaign spent an extraordinary amount of time talking to a foreign adversary or representatives for a foreign adversary. it's quite puzzling. >> president trump called out the top member ranking member adam schiff, "sleazy adam schiff looking into russia spent all of his time on television pushing
the dem loss excuse." your response, sir? >> that's a tribute to just how hard adam schiff has been working that he has earned a nickname. >> congressman swalwell, thank you. i'm sure you're looking forward to your own as well. >> mine would be overrated, i'm sure. john mccain is trying to make it back to d.c. for a health care vote as trump rips members of his own party. >> so far senate members have not done their job in ending the obamacare nightmare. and ten people dead, immigrants packed into a sweltering truck. how dangerous the trip across the border is changing under president trump. mail and packages. and it's also a story about people and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you
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breaking news tonight, senator john mccain of arizona who has just been diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer may be coming to washington, d.c., and john cornyn says mccain is trying to get approval for his travel arrangements to return to d.c. tomorrow for that big health care legislation vote. dr. sanjay gupta, a neurosurgeon and medical correspondent is "outfront" with more. sanjay, you've spoken with mccain's doctors, of course, with the permission of mccain. what do you think about his travel to d.c.? is that safe? >> i don't think there's absolute rules on when somebody
can travel, is what you'll hear most doctors say ten days after a brain operation like this. but, you know, he's been -- i will say that he's had a pretty quick recovery. we talked about this before. even the day after his surgery he was home. i talked to his doctors, as you mentioned. they said he's been up and about and has been going back and forth from his house to the hospital and all of that. it's not surprising at all that he's talking about this. he's at the outer window of being able to do this sort of thing. >> he had a craneotomy. is there any concern that altitude could affect his condition? >> that's the concern. when the cabin is pressurized, the ground, you know, if there's air, for example, whether it's brain surgery or surgery in a joint, air can expand and that can cause problems, pain.
in this sort of situation, one of the things that doctors will do certainly and they talked to me about this, they will make sure he has no excessive air and that it would be safer to travel as a result. again, i think they would like a couple weeks before they do that. >> dr. gupta, thanks so much. "outfront" is congressman scott taylor serving on the appropriations committee and a former navy s.e.a.l. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> if senator mccain comes back, it would be for the health care vote. they are struggling to get the votes needed to proceed. the president said that the republicans are not doing their job if they don't repeal and replace. he tweeted, "it's very sad that the republicans do very little to protect their president." what do you make of that? >> first let me say, let's wish for a speedy recovery from senator mccain. i know everybody out there is concerned. >> absolutely. >> it's important that the senate put something on the table, hash it out and work
through that process and get it back over to us so we can negotiate. a lot of us, including many senators, if not all of them, certainly ran on repeal and replace and if they can't come together, put a straight repeal in there and it would be enough time not to hurt people and maybe would force everyone to come to the table to actually do something and work for the american people. >> are you frustrated with the senate? >> i think that's traditionally a little slower than the house, of course. i've legislated here and the process is not quick. there are tensions and this is the legislative process and i'd like to see it through and see them make something happen. >> what's that old saying about a republican in the house saying the democrats are opponents but the senate is the enemy? president trump's not the only republican expressing frustration. republican senators, of course, your colleague in the house, blake theranhold of texas said
this in a radio interview. >> the fact that the senate does not have the courage to do some things that everyone in the senate promised to do is just absolutely repugnant to me. some of the people opposed to this, female senators from the northeast, if it was a guy from south texas, i might ask him to step outside and said stel this aaron burr-style. >> he's referring to senator of west virginia, susan collins of maine, and possibly lisa murkowski of alaska. what do you make of those comments? >> well, it's not something that i would say. they're slightly aggressive, of course. but that being said, there's no question that even when the democrats were trying to pass the aca a while ago, they got tremendous pressure a while ago just like we are. that's to be expected. this is not the time to be weak
in the knees. it's time for clarity and chaos and i think they need to move forward with what they promised the american people. >> i want to ask you about the issue of russian meddling. president trump still expressed doubts and his communications director just told me this yesterday. >> somebody said to me yesterday, i won't tell you who, that if the russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it. you would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they are super confident in their deception skills in hacking. >> that was the president, jake. i talked to him and he called me from air force one. >> yeah. >> he basically said, hey, maybe they did it, maybe they didn't do it. >> how concerning is it to you that our commander in chief does not seem to accept the findings of his own intelligence community? >> well, there's no question that the russians are very sophisticated. i think the white house understands that they did make an effort to hack into our
elections. not only the russians but other folks looking there as well, too, and they will be back and be more sophisticated. i think it's important that the white house, executive branch and congress put aside some of this partisan rhetoric, of course, and come with a policy that says to the world that you will not hack our elections. you will not mess with the integrity of our elections moving forward. that's something that has to happen for the protection of our elections in our american people and that's the white house, the executive branch and congress need to come together to make that happen. >> congressman taylor, always good to see you. >> thank you, jake. "outfront" next, ten day in one of the most deadliest cases of human trafficking. tonight, a special report on how donald trump's policies are impacting immigration in america. >> after the new president in the united states, many people forget about the american dream. replace one meal... u ...or snack a day with glucerna... ...made with carbsteady... ...to help minimize blood sugar spikes...
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still trying to enter the united states illegally. leila santiago is "outfront" with this special report. >> reporter: every day, hundreds cross this river. no questions asked. >> it was very easy. >> reporter: this is the other border affecting u.s. immigration policy. mexico's southern border. it's so easy to cross here, we found people from guatemala openingly crossing to buy cheaper groceries than in mexico. what we drnidn't find, the floo of migrants that used to cross here. the reason? >> after the new president in the united states, many people forget about american dream. they don't want to go all the way up there, because they know they're going to have problems. >> reporter: for years, migrants came here, about three hours north. this was just two years ago.
migrants on their way to the u.s., packing a freight train known as "the beast." >> the only way an immigrant go to america. >> reporter: standing on top of the train today, it's empty. months ago, we would have seen hundreds of immigrants filling the tops of these train cars. so what's changed? you ask anyone, they'll tell you part of it is trump. the other part is mexico is cracking down on immigration coming in from the south. the mexican government now patrols train stations, forcing smugglers to find new routes. though smugglers are also charging more money. >> so donald trump, being the president, he -- they raise the price up to like $7,000. >> reporter: but before president trump, how much was it? >> it was $3,000. >> reporter: so it has more than doubled? >> yeah, right, right. >> reporter: riding the train
costs much more. a 13-year-old from guatemala lost her leg when she fell off the train in january. her dream was to one day make it to the united states. she's given up on that. not because of her injury, but -- because she's heard the u.s. is deporting everyone. her family now symbolizes migration in the trump era. many choosing to make mexico their final destination. so this is impacting mexico? >> uh-huh. and now the problem is here instead of in the united states. >> reporter: mexico has seen a 150% increase in asylum applications since trump was elected. but many here don't consider his tough talk to be lasting policy, believing the flow of migrants will soon return. for jose, that time is now. >> it's how i beg for money to get to america. >> reporter: he begs for money
to get to tennessee, where the 2-month-old daughter he has yet to meet is waiting. >> i'm going to try to see my family. >> reporter: family ties for some, make it worth risking the odds, that trump's tough talk will not turn into action. and when we last checked in with jose, he survived the train and made it to the u.s.-mexico border, but he's been stuck there for about a month. this is why so many, like those who died in san antonio, take those risks. they've become so desperate at some point in their journey, that they then turn to smugglers. jake? >> leyla santiago, thanks so much. we'll be right back. a breakthrough. ♪ it's in our nature to need each other. ♪
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yeah, even there. see how much you can save when you choose by the gig or unlimited. call, or go to xfinitymobile.com. xfinity mobile. it's a new kind of network designed to save you money. a personal note before we go tonight. my friend and colleague erin burnett will be back here tomorrow. her beloved mother, esther margaret burnett, died up expectedly, but peacefully last thursday. a passionate reader, esther loved poetry, she was an artist, she loved her roses, her gardens, her pets. and most of all, of course, she loved her family. she loved her husband, king, her daughters, and her nine grandchildren. esther and king met at a summer cookout on long island where they fell in love. they were married for 53 years.
esther burnett was 79 years old. and erin, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. we are looking forward to seeing you back here in this seat where you belong tomorrow night. thanks for joining us. "ac 360" starts now. good evening. thanks for joining us. we begin tonight here in washington with something we rarely get from the trump administration, an admission. not an admission of wrong doing, but an admission by jared kushner that he took a few meetings with the russians. kushner released a statement offering his first public account of what he says were four meetings with russians during the campaign and transition. in this administration, and from this president who cries fake news any time the russian investigation comes up, it is something. for months on twitter and the rare times he's answered questions on camera, the president has dismissed anything involving russia as fake news. >> r