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tv   Wolf  CNN  June 20, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, i'm wolf blitzer. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you very much for joining us. we begin with breaking news. after days of finger pointing and false claims, president trump caves to pressure and promises to end family separations at the border with mexico. the president says he will sign, in his words, something soon to improve border security and help keep families together. listen to what the president said just a few moments ago.
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>> we are very strong at the border, we're very strong on security. we want security for our country, the republicans want security and insist on security for our country, and we will have that at the same time we have compassion, we want to keep families together. it's very important. i'll be signing something in a little while that's going to do that. and the people in this room want to do that, and they're working on various pieces of legislation to get it done. but i'll be doing something that's somewhat preemptive, but ultimately will be matched by legislation. we're having a lot of problems with democrats. they don't want to vote for anything. they don't care about lack of security. they would really like to have open borders where anybody in the world can just flow in, including from the middle east, from anybody, anywhere, they can just flow into our country. tremendous problems with that. tremendous crime caused by that. we're just not going to do it.
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>> day after day, the president and his top aides insisted his hands were tied. they repeatedly said only congress could end the crisis. >> we can't do it through an executive order. >> until these loopholes are closed by congress, it is not possible by a matter of law to detain and remove whole family units who arrive illegally in the united states. congress and the courts created this problem, and congress alone can fix it. >> it's congress' job to change the law. we're calling on them to do exactly that. >> our white house correspondent abby phillip is joining us right now. so what's behind the president's sudden reversal after days and days of saying only congress could take action? he couldn't sign an executive action to keep families together as they come into the united states. what role did the first lady play? what are you hearing behind the scenes? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. the president is now soon to do something that he said just days
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ago he could not do. he's essentially reversing himself on this issue, saying that he's going to keep families together 234 some form, and not separate them at the border, as his administration has done with some 2,000 children. but the president is doing it in part, a and he acknowledged this today, because those images that we've been seeing all week, children kept in what amounts to cages, in these facilities, and tent cities down at the border, wailing children on audiotapes, those images and sounds have become a huge political problem, not just for the white house, but also for the president. our sources are telling us, that over the last couple of days, there's been a lot of discussion about this, and what could be a way forward, and there was a view inside the white house this was not sustainable. the president didn't like the d idea of giving up this issue as being seen weak. so they've decided he's going to sign an executive order and
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document that authorizes his administration to do something that pretty much agrees he could do with a phone call. according to our sources also, the first lady melania trump has been -- has been urging her husband to end this practice. now, melania put out a statement, a really rare statement for a first lady, essentially saying that she hoped this practice would end, and that has led to where we are today. melania trump yesterday we heard a little bit more from ivanka trump about her views on this. everybody being forced to answer for this practice that caused outrage not just in the united states but around the world. there was a view perhaps that this could be leverage in getting other immigration priorities through the congress. but a source told me this week that leverage had been lost. these images were so bad for this white house, that they needed to find a way out and a way out quickly, wolf. >> yeah, he was under pressure to do exactly what he just announced he was going to do, end it, stop separating these young kids from their moms and
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dads at the border. abby, as soon as you get the exact wording on that executive order that the president is getting ready to sign, we'll be very anxious to know the details. do you know if reporters will be allowed to witness the signing of this executive order? >> we don't know, and there's nothing on the president's schedule about that. the president is supposed to leave in a few houshs to go to minnesota. he already has lawmakers coming to the white house to whip more votes on other immigration bills. so the schedule is pretty full. but today's meeting earlier today was not supposed to be open to reporters and it was. the president spoke for a lengthy period of time. cheerily th clearly they want to reset the narrative on this story. >> let us know what's going on and when you get the text of that new document. abby phillip at the white house for us, thank you very much. the president clearly caved on this one and promised to end the family separation crisis in
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spite of support from his base and hardline supporters out there. his vow to crack down on illegal immigration was, of course, a red meat issue during the presidential campaign. here's what some trump supporters told cnn about the practice of separating children from their parents. >> these people that we have coming across the border illegally are breaking the rules. >> you can't just come into united states -- i don't know how to explain. >> do you think the people are living off the state? >> absolutely. >> and not doing it legally? >> absolutely. and i think it's bull [ bleep ]. >> quit trying to make us be teary eyed with the children. yes, i love children a great deal. but to me it's up to the parents to do things rightfully and legally. >> let's get some insight from the panel.
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we have our spanish correspondent with us. so why do you think the president blinked? >> i think it was basically a gathering storm against this policy. people like pope francis and ted cruz, evangelicals who are the base for donald trump, coming out very critical against this policy. a couple of other things. the idea that their tender age facilities around the country where kids who are younger than 5, separated from their parents, are in some cases in different states. in new york, there are tender age facilities. so the sounds from these facilities, where these kids are crying out for their parents, all of that i think went to show this white house that this was unsustainable. it was always untrue, this idea that it was up to congress, the president's hands were true. that was always untrue from the very beginning. the idea that they were going to
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use these small kids as leverage in a process that wasn't unlikely to happen. congress wasn't all of a sudden going to get its accused together after 10 or 15 years of wrangling with immigration and all of a sudden be able to get something to address this problem. is >> the president does not like to show weakness. i want to play what the viewers just said about weakness. listen to this. >> if you're weak, if you're weak, which some people would like you to be, if you're really, really pathetically weak, the country is going to be overrun with millions of people. and if you're strong, then you don't have any heart. that's a tough dilemma. >> but he did back down on this one. he doesn't like to do it, doesn't often do it, but he was put in a very, very tough position. >> that's right, wolf. a few trump controversies that people think are going to push him over the edge, create a nur
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r -- create a furor like this. leaders on the global stage, the pope, his own party, evangelicals, everyone say thing is untenable. he thought that he could sort of make it through, but it was clear from members of congress coming out today saying, we're going to solve this tomorrow, that they are running out of actual hours. tomorrow would be the test, and then when both bills failed in the house, they would have to go to the stand alone paragraph bill, which would be an act of defiance against the president. so they said it would be better if you found a way to sort of do this yourself, and that's why they made it -- the reset is the right word, that abby used. you saw these senators around him, talking about how this was so complicated, and he was put in a bad corner and it was really hard because of the flores ruling, and they were trying to smooth the debate and make it seem as if all along he was in a real bind, when we know he wasn't. this was his way of getting out
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of it. bipartisan but from his own family, really everyone has said, you've got to make this end. >> the president was getting criticized by the pope, the canadian prime minister trudeau. a lot of people around the world were watching and couldn't believe what was going on here in the united states. i'm anxious to your reaction. >> the whole central america is also reacting very badly. mexico saying this is inhumane and cruel. there's different sides and factors of this whole situation. and then you have the fact that you have a very strong, knowledgeable smuggling network. they know how to get through every single loophole and every legislation available. they can tell you right away, don't worry, you can do this, you can bring your kids. that's one part. the other part of this situation, which is making it
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really hard for a lot of people to live in those countries in central america. and they are moving out of the country out of fear of being killed by ms-13 and these other criminal organizations and the actual economical situation is really bad. the other one is the political part, which is of course, what are you doing in a country in central america to campaign those people from leaving? all those is just a really -- and if you add up the president modifying the rules to try to put pressure on the country and on congress to do something, it's just a big pot that is moving around and it's not going anywhere. the countries in central america, the guatemalan government is saying this is going to create a very bad impact in those kids, and the social part creates also. >> certainly will. and the devil is in the details. we'll see what this executive
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order includes. the president says he's going to sign an executive order, and it will end this current crisis. and then he says he wants congress to include his executive order in comprehensive immigration reform. they're working hard in the house of representatives to get something past, but no guarantee it's going to pass, and ser. >> this is deja vu all over again and again and again. we've seen this very scenario before without these disserving images of these kids. but very unlikely. there are two bills that could come out of the house and not even clear those bills have enough votes. and then in the senate, they're not even necessarily working on any comprehensive approach to this. they're working on sort of stand alone stuff. but we saw this three or four months ago, trying to get a fix on the daca and couldn't get anything done. >> just moments ago, the former
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president, president obama, posted on facebook this. let me read part of his statement to you. "that's the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart rendzi inrending hear and it puts to us a pimple question, are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parent's arms, or are we a thanation tha values families and works to keep them together? do we look away or choose to see something of ourse our children? "that's only part of what the former president said. >> interesting that he's weighing in right now, because he's sort of the last in line. but i think he felt that he had to, and he's being urged by many people to do so. i still think that we're not going to get the bills across the finishing line, but this is going to be an issue that president trump talks about
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tonight in minnesota, continues to talk about. you heard in those comments he thinks this was an act of weakness. he felt he had to do it but he wants to appear strong and he's going to hammer that home. he believes it will galvanize his voters in the midterms to vote for republicans and will energize voters on the other side, as well. this might be the defining issue of the midterm election. not the russia investigation, not the economy or health care premiums rising. >> democrats saying they have the leverage on that, too. >> we'll see what the executive order contains and what he says tonight. clearly the president is frustrated that one of his major promises to build that wall, that mexico would pay for the wall, that certainly has not occurred, these not yet. no sign it's about to occur. thank you very much. let's get to the border right now. nick valencia is at the so-called tender age facility in brownsville, texas, where infants and children are being held away from their parents. nick, tell us whatever you can
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about this shelter, how many kids are there, their age range, and anything else you can, because i know there have been some severe restrictions in journalistic access to that facility. >> reporter: in fact, wolf, we tried to gain access into this very facility on monday and were denied. we're trying to get back in today. this is one of the facilities, the tender age facilities, as they're called, own pd and operated by southwest key. they own and operate two of the three facilities, and they define tender age as being ten years and younger. what that means here is they have infants, at least four infants inside, according to a democratic congressman who got a kour inside. while we were denied access, he was allowed on a tour. i spoke to him about what he saw. >> there are 80 children at this facility and they're being well taken care of. it's not an ideal situation because they're not with their parents. but in this facility are
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children under the age of 10. there are some mothers who are teenagers who have born children. but in one room, there are four infants, under the age of 1. two with their teenage parenting, and two who were alone. one who was separated from her sister. their mother had died at some point in the process. like i said, it's not ideal because these children are not with their mothers. but under the circumstances, the children that i saw in there, the two with the parents with their mothers, the other two being attended to by southwest keys employees, both being fed at the point that i saw them. so there is constant attention, and people that are working in here are doing what they can under the circumstances. >> reporter: like everyone else, the congressman was watching the announcement from president trump about this upcoming executive order. i asked his staff if they have any idea what that is physically going to look like on the ground at these facilities, where these child migrants have been
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separated from their parents. they have yet to get details on that, wolf. >> if they have nothing to hide, why won't they let journalists go in there, with their camera crews, and talk to people, film what's going on, and let the world see? >> reporter: what we experienced is a lot of red tape. as i mentioned, this facility is run by a nonprofit. a very profitable nonprofit, the ceo made around $770,000 last year. but they're saying they work hand in hand with the federal government. they have given me a number to call. right before this live shot, i heard back from southwest key and they referred me to the office of refugee resettlement. that's our next call. >> let us know if they let you in and show the world what's going on. nick, appreciate it very much. the global backlash is spreading as the canadian prime minister
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justin trudeau and the pope, they are blasting the president of the united states right now. as so many other world leaders are doing. you'll hear their criticism. plus, president trump getting moans from republicans during their meeting after he attacked one of their own. i'll speak live to one republican congressman who was in the room during that meeting last night. is michael cohen, the president's long-time personal lawyer, preparing to flip? his friends say he's ready to give information on the president. stay with us. we'll be right back.
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president trump says he'll sign an executive order today in the coming few hours, he says, an order he is calling a preertive measure on immigration. joining us is congressman mike kaufman. thanks for joining us. let's get to this sensitive issue. the president has been very defiant blaming the democrats for the controversial family separations going on, at the board we are mexico, saying there was nothing he could do about it, he couldn't sign an executive order, only congress could take action. the secretary of homeland security said exactly the same thing. but now he has reversed himself. he's about to sign an executive order, presum bli we'll wait to see the details that will stop this separation. your reaction? >> i wish the president would
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have come to congress before they implemented this particular policy. zero tolerance in terms of prosecuting everybody crossing the border illegally. and then in accordance with current law, separating the parents from the children. he said he couldn't do it on his own and now he's going to do it on his own in anticipation of congress acting on this. what legal theory he comes up with. but the fact is, this is such an insensitive policy in the way it was carried out. certainly we want to stop illegal immigration, but to separate these children from their parents, and it's hard to comprehend how significant this is. people get it at an emotional level. but you have to understand there is no social safety net in these countries where these families are coming from, and they are totally depen danlts on each
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other, enter dependent on their day-to-day survival. so it is gut wrenching to see these children being torn away from their parents. this is not what we're about as a nation. >> you were at that meeting with congressional republicans last night with the president. we got the impression based on what folks were telling us that the president said there's nothing that he could do, he wasn't going to make any change until congress passed comprehensive immigration reform, the separation of families would continue. but within the past hour, he seems to have changed his mind. what was your impression that you got directly from the president? you were at that meeting last night. >> the president certainly acknowledged that it was a bad policy in terms of how the american people were perceiving it. he said that he had no choice but to do it, and he wanted a legislative fix to it.
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and so i think he's now going to do some sort of executive action in anticipation of legislation passing. whether we do it as a stand alone bill or part of a more comprehensive package, it has to get done by the congress and the president needs to provide relief to these families as soon as possible. >> do you believe he blipg nked? >> absolutely. he said he did not have legal authority to do this, and now he does. so what legal authority is he using? is he using prosecutorial discretion in that he's simply not going to hold these parenting accountable for crossing the border illegally, as he said he would under his zero tolerance policy. i think we're going to have to wait and see. but clearly it's a reversal. but i'm glad to see it. let's just move along as a
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country. it's a very sad chapter, i think. our nation, as one who cares about human rights. >> yeah, and irrespective of the decision, if it stops kids from being separated from their mothers and fathers at the border, that's going to be welcome news to so many people here in the united states and around the world. and he also says this executive order he's about to sign, he hopes it will be backed up by specific legislation. you said you're ready to work with senator dianne feinstein's bill to end this practice of separating families a t the border. where does this stand in terms of stand alone legislation in the house of representatives, or as part of comprehensive immigration reform? >> there's going to be a vote tomorrow, on a bill that addresses border security, it addresses a path to citizenship, an earned path to citizenship
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for the young people in the daca program. and it will also address this issue. but if it's not going to be taken up in the senate, i hope that it is, i hope they do something about our young people in daca, and i hope they do something about border security and a few other issues. if not, we have to get this done, whether it's in a stand alone bill or part of a larger bill. >> congressman coffman, thank you very much for joining us. heckled at a mexican restaurant here in washington, d.c. protesters outraged over family separations. they confront the secretary of homeland security, who was having dinner at that restaurant. plus, ready to talk. the president's former lawyer and fixer michael cohen, apparently telling friends he's ready to give up information on the president. it's just a burst pipe, i could fix it. (laugh) no. with claim rateguard
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following right now, including this. president trump's long-time fixer friend, lawyer, michael cohen has famously said he would take a bullet for the president, but that loyalty appears to be shifting rather quickly. a source tells cnn that cohen signaled to friends that he's willing to give investigators information on president trump if, if that's what they're looking for. the source says about cohen, and i'm quoting, he knows a lot of things about the president and he's not averse to talking in the right situation. if they want information on trump, he's willing to give it." the news comes amid reports that cohen feels let down and isolated by his long-time boss. they worked together for 12 years. i want to bring in cnn's legal analyst laura cotes. so what does it mean right now, that potentially michael cohen could be flipped? he wasn't been charged with any criminal activity, at least not yet.
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>> that's important to consider here. remember, even preindictment plea discussions can go on between federal prosecutors and those charged with a crime eventually. a prosecutor only makes the best offer on the outset. the one that's going to minimize the government's financial resources, if they have something on him, they'll try to minimize their exposure in terms of finances. but that financial hook is important to think about what he's being motivated by. there's talks that this is bankrupting him and the president is not going to bankroll his legal fees. the isolation around fears that whether or not the loyalty that's been given will be reciprocated. if not, self-preservation kicks in. it's very motivating, especially if you don't know what's in the 3.7 million documents available for them to look at. whatever is out there, may be greater legal jeopardy than what he's trying to covet in his relationship.
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>> cohen recorded a lot of those phone conversations. i don't know if they have phone confidences with the president, but if he did, that could be a source of concern for the president. >> of course it could be. he's been very clear, that this man is not his attorney, per se, and he only had a small fraction of work he did to him. the documents that we may be seeing or if there's any video ore audiotapes are not going to be attorney-client privilege. and the special master who is looking at the documents has said the bulk of it is not attorney-client privilege. but some are very personal. >> michael cohen going through a very difficult time and potentially could go bankrupt with the legal feels that he has to endure. certainly the tense troubles for his family. we'll have much more on this. thank you very much.
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there's other breaking news we're following. the president set to sign an executive order as we've been reporting, to supposedly end this policy of separating families on the border with mexico. there may be some legal obstacles. plus, new global backlash against the president over this, from the pope to canada's justin trudeau. much more right after this. [music playing] (vo) from day one,
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trump's zero tolerance policy is spreading across the globe. today, the canadian prime minister broke his silence, waking in on the crisis. >> what's going on in the united states is wrong. i can't imagine what the families are enduring. this is not the way to do things. >> the global controversy, the gop confusion, the widespread criticism, the president is clearly frustrated on the narrative of separating children from their parts at the border. he points the blame directly at democrats. joining us now is congressman castro. congressman, thanks for joining us. so let me get your quick reaction to what we just heard from the president within the past hour or so, that he's getting ready within the next hour or two, to sign an executive order resumably that
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will end this posslicy of separating families. >> i'm glad to hear it. the president is the one that created this humanitarian crisis that we're facing now at the southern border, and separating young kids from their mothers and fathers. i held an 8-month-old boy named roger two days ago, and a 1-year-old named lea, two had been separated from their parents and were in a facility in brownsville. so i hope that the president will fix the problem that he created. >> he says he's going to sign this executive order, and then he says he expects the congress, the house of representatives and the senate to codify it and include it in broader comprehensive immigration reform. are you willing to compromise with the republicans and support the legislation they will put forward as early as tomorrow? >> we're willing to fix this
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problem. but we're not willing to be held hostage and don't want the kids to be held hostage to allow the president or paul ryan or mitch mcconnell to use their trauma and abuse as leverage to get us to agree to a border wall or to be able to short circuit due process and kick out other immigrants without any kind of due process. so to solve this problem, yes, we're absolutely on board. and of course, we're always in discussions about some comprehensive immigration reform. but we're not going to be trading getting rid of these people's trauma for a border wall. >> is that the big issue, you're not willing to support funding a border wall? >> as i said to you before, i don't support a border wall across the southern border. most americans don't. but i especially wouldn't vote for one if i'm being asked to trade on the emotional trauma and abuse the state sponsored child abuse that is going on
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right now. >> but what if in exchange for your vote in favor of some funding for board security, including a border wall, a million dreamers, maybe 2 million dreamers, daca recipients and others, are allowed to stay in the united states and have a pathway to citizenship, would that encourage you to compromise? >> wolf, we've always been open to those discussions. for years we've been open to them. democrats in the senate and republicans in the senate a few years ago pastprehensive immigration reform bill that john boehner refused to put on the floor for a vote. since then we've been working towards a compromise, so we're always open to those discussions. >> do you think any democrat also vote for the republican legislation? two bills are expected to come up for a vote in the house of representatives tomorrow. >> the goodlap bill is fairly draconian and i don't think any democrat will vote for that. the ryan bill seems to keep
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morphing, so we need to see where it ends up. but we don't vote until tomorrow. >> are you still open minded about that second, more moderate legislation? >> not if it's a tradeoff, if we're going to end family separations, trading that off for these other things. >> what if the presid with this executive order he's about to sign, ends the family separation, and that's no longer an issue? >> yeah. if that's taken off the table, as i said to you, i don't support a border wall. i don't want to fund a big border wall across the state of texas. >> congressman castro, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, everyday objects with added significance from hair brushes to toothpaste to bars of soap, how a former protection janitor created art out of the items discarded at the border. plus, why the commerce secretary is facing questions right now about a stock trade involving a company linked to the kremlin.
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this week cnn has been telling the stories of truly extraordinary people and organizations that are making a difference. the special series called champions for change highlights issues that are important to all of us. i wanted to take a closer look at a disease impacting millions
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of americans and something that's affected my own family's life, dementia and alzheimer's. my mother's life was defined by her memory. so when she began to lose hers, it was difficult to watch. during the world war ii, my mom was taken to a slave labor camp with her mother, brother, sisters and parents the two brothers and sisters survived. she did as well. her parents did not. after meeting my dad, she came to america to start a new life and create new memories. >> my mom, of course, never forgot what happened during world war ii to her and her family, but when she had if opportunity to come to buffalo, new york after the war, she was always so vibrant, so smart, so enthusiastic. >> we couldn't believe that she is going to believe what he is, he is the best son parents can imagine. >> reporter: but in the last few
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years of her life, something changed. >> it was so painful for us in the timal few years of her life, we could see she was beginning the process of going through serious dementia. she didn't remember details of what happened even a few hours earlier. her memory was slowly being robbed by dementia. what her doctors thought could possibly be alzheimer's. >> doctor explain what alzheimers is. >> the loss of function the loss of independence. dementia is a syndrome that we can recognize, all heimers disease is the most common cause of these symptoms. >> my mother died at the age of 95 last summer. it was so painful. that's why i tried to help these organizations to find a cure to treat alzheimer's. >> you know you know him as cnn's lead political anchor. >> and that led me here. >> ladies and gentlemen, i give you wolf blitzer. >> to the alzheimer's drug
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discovery foundation. >> the addf is getting close it's solely focused to finding drugs to prevent and treat alzheimer's disease. >> alzheimer's research didn't start until about 1980. cancer research started in the 1920s. we have come so far that i truly believe we know as much about the biology of alzheimer's disease as we know about cancer and heart disease, but because of that historical lag time, we don't have the drugs yet. >> the alzheimers drug foundation is funding innovative research. one of the most promising of those studies is at kornell medicine. dr. ronald crystal isn't just looking for a treatment, he is searching for a cure, stopping the disease in its tracks by focusing in on a gene that defines if some get alzheimer's and others don't. >> we realize one of the well known aspects of alzheimer's is a gene. there is three bake times.
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most are e2. >> that protects us from alzheimer's, 15% carry apoe 4. if you have that, you have the risk of early onset alzheimers. >> apoe 3, moderate to average risk. apoe 4 you are if trouble? >> that's exactly right. >> they are trying to flip a switch in people's brains, if you have a high risk, through gene therapy, they are working on right now, it might prevent you. >> we have to use a virus no carry it. sort of like a trojan horse to carry the gene into the cells of the brain, so what we're doing is basically administering it into the fluid of the base of the brain. if your kleinical trials work, can you get people who have apoe 4 down to 3 or 12? >> if it works, we have to see. we don't know until we do the clinical studies. if it does, for people that have the apoe 4 gene could protect them from developing
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alzheimer's. >> so could this mean a cure for always heimers? . >> it could for those who have the abnormal gene. >> you gives hope that we are going to beat this disease and i know we can because of what you are doing. >> a wise teacher once said, we remember the good and the bad of what happened before us so that we can make tomorrow better than yesterday and today. >> that was my mom, someone who went through horrendous hardships and sacrifices, painful memories. but she emerged out of that very strong. >> that's how i want to remember my mom. and it's why i support these champions for change. so that others can remember, too. >> and with help from the alzheimers drug discovery foundation, people like dr. crystal are thinking outside the box. they're trying to tackle and cure this horrible disease. if you want to help, if you'd like to help,,
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go there, get involved, it will be very, very important. and watch the champions for change one-hour special this saturday night 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. coming up, we'll get back to the breaking news. president trump says he will sign an executive order to keep families together at the border with mexico. but what does it mean for the young children, the infants, the toddlers, who have already been taken from their parents? we'll get a live report.
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this is cnn breaking news. >> hi there, i'm brooke baldwin. we are live in washington, d.c. today with this breaking news, after days of images of children on our southern border alone in cables sleeping in mats, undertime blankets, wailing for their parents the president has kavled. he is turning his finger pointing and false claims into family separations into the border with mexico. the president saying he will quote/unquote sign something soon to help keep families together. this is what he said just a little while ago. >> we are very strong at the border. we're very strong on security. we want security for our