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Meghan McCain Takes Jabs at Trump During Eulogy; Poll: Majority Disapprove Trump's Job Performance & Majority Approve of Mueller Handling of Russia Probe; Poll: Majority Back Sessions Over Trump; Judge Throws Fate of DACA into Limbo; Nearly 500 Immigrant Children Still Separated from Parents; Report: U.S. Denying Passports to Those with Hispanic Surnames. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 1, 2018 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Former U.S. presidents and vice presidents and lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle join the McCain family to pay their respects to the long-serving senator, a Vietnam War hero and father of seven. His daughter, Meghan McCain, explained what set her father apart.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MEGHAN MCCAIN: I am here before you today saying the words I have never wanted to say, giving this speech I have never wanted to give, feeling the loss I have never wanted to feel. My father is gone.

John Sydney McCain III was many things. He was a sailor. He was an aviator. He was a husband. He was a warrior. He was a prisoner. He was a hero. He was a Congressman. He was a senator. He was a nominee for president of the United States. These are all the titles and the roles of a life that has been well lived. They are not the greatest of his titles. Nor the more important of his roles.

He was a great man. We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic apprehension of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: The perfect illustration of John McCain's civility and personal integrity is when he surprised former presidents Obama and Bush asking them to speak at his funeral. These were the two men who, on different occasions, defeated McCain when he ran for president himself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse, can seem small and mean and petty. Trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage. It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact is born of fear.

John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At various points throughout his long career, John confronted policies and practices that he believed were unworthy of this country. To the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist we are better than this. America is better than this.

John, as he's the first to tell you, was not a perfect man, but he dedicated his life to national ideals that are as perfect as men and women have yet conceived. He was motivated by a vision of America carried ever forward every up -- ever upward and on the strength of its principals. He saw our country not only as a physical place or power but as the carrier of enduring human aspirations, as an advocate for the oppressed, as a defender of the peace, as a promise, unwavering, undimmed, unequal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Our Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny is with us now. Jeff, those two former presidents speaking with such deference towards the man they sparred and often disagreed with, you know, really speak volumes about John McCain, the man. But the current president of the White House wasn't even invited to the funeral. Nobody said the word, Trump. But there was definitely an elephant in the room.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There's no doubt about it. I mean, that was the unmistakable theme, Ana, throughout the entire funeral service. Yes, it was designed to pay homage and tribute and salute the service and life of John McCain. But, really, I was struck by the -- you know, the degree to which virtually everyone giving the eulogy had some message for today's political moment, for, you know, the Donald Trump era, if you will.

President Obama, you know, has said a democracy simply will not work if leaders do not speak the truth. George W. Bush was talking about, you know, the life of John McCain, how he would stand up to dictators. So, throughout everyone's speech, it was clear that that was the message.

Now, the question is, you know, what does this actually mean? What does this moment of unity inside the Washington national cathedral mean? What does Meghan McCain's message actually mean? Saying America is already a great. We don't need to make America great again.

[17:05:11] It's unknown if this is going to have a lasting effect on our politics. I hate to be too skeptical, but it's hard to imagine that it will change things, at least in the short term. But I do think, for the people in the room, the Republicans and the Democrats, that certainly was a lasting message to work in a bipartisan way. That's what John McCain did. He had as many Democrats on stage, and really working with, as Republicans. But that is why Barack Obama and George W. Bush were invited. Because they beat John McCain. That they -- it was -- it was intended it show that in common purpose, you can solve common problems.

CABRERA: You wrote in that terrific CNN.com piece than for John McCain to invite George W. Bush to speak wasn't terribly surprising, even though they were rivals, at one point. They were members of the same party. But the invitation to Barack Obama was nothing short of extraordinary. Explain.

ZELENY: It was. And we heard President Obama talking about that today. He acknowledged that he was indeed surprised in April when he got a telephone call from John McCain himself, asking if he would speak at his funeral.

Now, it was clear that, you know, the two were not best of friends. They were on opposite sides of many issues, opposite sides of many debates. And, in fact, John McCain did not believe that Barack Obama, at one point, was worthy of the office. He campaigned aggressively against him. Of course, there were many generational differences between the two.

But, Ana, I was struck today when President Obama addressed this, I believe for the first. I've never heard him talk about this. About the moment at the end of the 2008 campaign. We've seen that sound bite in that moment played over and over this week. When a woman in Minnesota was standing at a McCain rally and was questioning the citizenship of Barack Obama. And she said she's afraid of him. She said, he's an Arab. And Senator McCain grabbed the microphone and said, no, ma'am, he's a good family man.

And so, President Obama addressed that today. And he said he was not surprised by that, because that's who John McCain was. He said he was not just defending my character, he was defending America's character.

So, I do think that this, sort of, put a bow on the relationship that they had. And, certainly, the complicated relationship that Senator McCain had with President Bush. I mean, they had a very aggressive primary fight back, you know, almost 18 years ago, I guess. A long time ago.

But, I think, today certainly was a moment of unity, at least in the room. We'll see if the president addresses this or if anyone addresses this going forward. Of course, he'll be laid to rest tomorrow in Annapolis, Maryland.

CABRERA: I mean, it was notable that the president didn't tweet or speak about McCain at all today. He was golfing during his funeral service. He was tweeting about a whole lot of other things. Attacking Canada, attacking the DOJ. But not McCain. Nothing about McCain.

I know you met and interviewed Senator McCain many, many times.

ZELENY: Right.

CABRERA: You know, just to, kind of, wrap up your thoughts and this segment. What do you remember about him and his relationship with journalists and the media?

ZELENY: Well, look, he was a one of a kind. I mean, he was a throwback, in many respects, to a different era. But he was a -- as serious on policy as he was savvy on politics.

But he liked the media a lot. Largely because it was a way going his message across. It was, you know, covering a presidential campaign of John McCain was a lot of fun, quite frankly, because he would take a lot of questions. You know, for voters, it was a lot of fun.

This was a candidate who would stand in a townhall for hour upon hour and answer people's questions. That's not, necessarily, how it is at this moment. So, I think John McCain, for all of his service, certainly will be missed. It was a passing of time today, here at this cemetery or the funeral in Washington earlier today -- Ana.

CABRERA: Jeff Zeleny in Washington for us. Thank you.

ZELENY: Sure.

CABRERA: I spoke a few minutes ago with a man who calls John McCain his friend and his hero. The majority leader, at the time McCain entered the Senate, Bob Dole.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB DOLE (R), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I think when president bush said he had been to hell and back, that's the right term. And I appreciated Obama talking about equality and how McCain was a great help on civil rights bills.

CABRERA: Why was it important for you to be there at the funeral today?

DOLE: Well, he's my friend and my hero. And we -- I was his leader for 10 years, when he first came to the Senate and then I left in 1996.

[17:10:10] But we had a special relationship. I think we were the only two Republicans with a pretty bad disability. And, of course, Dan Inouye (ph) on the other side. And we were all good friends. All three of us.

CABRERA: And, of course, Inouye is another member who we've lost, who was also able to be lain in state, prior to John McCain and having that honor yesterday.

You referenced the tributes we heard from two presidents, who happened to be the two people who kept John McCain himself from the presidency. How significant was that?

DOLE: Well, I don't know, I -- John ran four years after I run -- ran and lost. And then, rode -- and ran again in 2008. But that was all erased today about any competition.

CABRERA: When we spoke last weekend, it was right after John McCain's death. And now, we've had this whole week of mourning, of tributes and reflection. Do you think America is yearning for more leaders like John McCain?

DOLE: Oh, I think so, whether it's Democrat or Republican or independent. Yes, we need strong leaders. And we need leaders in both parties who can work together.

CABRERA: That does seem to be missing, doesn't it?

DOLE: Yes, it is. I don't know what happened. But that's -- now, it's fairly -- or quite controversial.

CABRERA: Why do you think that is?

DOLE: I don't know whether it's the leadership on each side, or -- but, you know, Senator Schumer, within his rights, has kind of held up the process. There's still three or four hundred nominees who haven't been approved.

CABRERA: It was notable that President Trump was not there at today's service. He was not invited by John McCain. What should President Trump learn from the life and legacy of John McCain?

DOLE: Well, President Trump made a mistake in one of the debates when he said John McCain was not a hero.

CABRERA: Yes.

DOLE: He is the only one in America, probably, who thought that way. But -- and John didn't want him to come to the funeral. So, he said nice things but stayed away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: The eyes of the nation are on Senator McCain's family this weekend as they mourn the loss of the family patriarch and American patriot. Cindy McCain tweeted this moving photo of the family saluting the senator's flag-draped coffin. And she wrote these touching words. Today, we lost our hero, our friend, our mentor, our father, our grandfather and our husband. Together we mourn and together we go on.

Stay with CNN for more on the funeral of John McCain. Later this hour, we'll have more from his daughter, Meghan McCain, and her emotional tribute at today's service.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGHAN MCCAIN: John McCain was not defined by prison, by the Navy, by the Senate, by the Republican Party, or by any single one of the deeds in his absolutely extraordinary life. John McCain was defined by love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:14:13] CABRERA: We have new developments in the Russia probe. An ex-Trump campaign adviser publicly contradicts sworn testimony given by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Congress.

In new court documents, George Papadopoulos says Sessions supported his proposal for a summit between then candidate Trump and Russian president, Vladimir Putin, during the 2016 campaign. According to the documents here, George announced at the meeting that he had connections and that he could facilitate a foreign policy meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

While some in the room rebuffed George's offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions, who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it. Why that's important, Sessions told Congress, under oath, he actually pushed back on the idea of the Putin summit.

Joining us now, CNN Legal Analyst Carrie Cordero. Kerry formerly served as the counsel to the U.S. attorney general for national security.

So, thanks for being with us, Carrie. Let's start with this new Papadopoulos claim. Here is what Sessions said about the meeting as he testified before Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes or no. After the March 31st meeting, did you take any steps to prevent Trump campaign officials, advisers or employees from further outreach to the Russians?

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Mr. Nadler, let me just say it this way. I pushed back at that. You made statements that he did -- in fact, at the meeting, I pushed back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So, Carrie, was, based on this new filing from Papadopoulos' defense team, what could it mean for Jeff Sessions?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's a good question, Ana. You know, it's really hard to know, you know, what actually transpired at that meeting.

[12:20:00] Attorney General Sessions, I believe, has repeatedly said that he thinks he was truthful in his testimony to Congress. George Papadopoulos has been charged with lying to federal investigators. So, there is an issue as to his credibility. It does appear that his statements, in terms of saying that Sessions said it was OK to pursue it, or in some way indicated that he might go along with it is, in Mr. Papadopoulos's effort to gain leniency from the court in his sentencing. So, the prosecutors, on the other hand, have confirmed that he lied to investigators. I think he lied to investigators repeatedly, according to the government documents.

So, at this point, I don't think that there really are going to be consequences for attorney general Sessions. It doesn't look like any authorities are pursuing the fact that he may have misled Congress, besides members of Congress having expressed concerns about it.

So, I don't think there's consequences for the attorney general. The question will be for Mr. Papadopoulos, whether or not the court goes along with the prosecutor's recommendation that he be sentenced accordingly, or whether the judge goes along with Mr. Papadopoulos's arguments.

CABRERA: I have a feeling this isn't going to go well for the Sessions-Trump relationship, this new claim for Papadopoulos.

But let me move on to another plea deal we learned of yesterday in the Mueller probe. This time involving Washington lobbyist, Sam Patton, who apparently paid $50,000 for tickets to Trump's inauguration on behalf of a prominent Ukrainian oligarch.

Now, this is important because it's the first time the Justice Department has publicly charged a person for helping a foreigner secretly funnel money into a Trump political even.

Carrie, how significant is this?

CORDERO: So, Ana, I actually think this is a pretty significant development. It's in the contours of a very limited plea agreement between Mr. Patton and the government. So, he was only charged and pled guilty to one count of violation of the foreign agent's registration act.

And then, what's interesting is in his plea documents, there's another paragraph labeled other conduct. And that other conduct, which was not charged, pertains to his facilitating the payment from a -- the foreign person through a strawman, a U.S. person who is not named in the documents using a foreign bank account. And this is the first instance of the investigators demonstrating in pleadings that there was foreign money that went directly to a Trump campaign entity.

I think that's significant because it indicates that if they were able to trace this particular transaction, that investigators probably have pursued and looked for other transactions to determine whether or not there is any other foreign money that made its way to the Trump campaign or inauguration fund.

CABRERA: In the meantime, Republicans are continuing to pursue an investigation into Bruce Ohr, who is the DOJ official who had conversations Christopher Steele, the former British intel agent who compiled that Trump dossier.

In a closed-door hearing this week on the Hill, we are learning he said Christopher Steele told him Russian intel believed they had Trump, quote, "over a barrel." What's your reaction?

CORDERO: Well, I think what it demonstrates -- and, again, Mr. Ohr's statements were behind closed doors in front of members of Congress this week. So, we don't have a transcript. It was not an open hearing. So, we don't know exactly what was said.

But I think what it indicates is that Mr. Steele, who was a former British intelligence officer, was gravely concerned about what it was that he was discovering through the course of his investigation that was funded privately. He communicated some of that information, apparently to Mr. Ohr, who, as a Justice Department official, a civil servant official, would have had some kind of responsibility to provide that information to the FBI.

So, I don't -- as a former Justice Department lawyer, I don't find it particularly out of the realm that Mr. Ohr would have found some responsibility on his own part to communicate that information to the FBI.

How the FBI worked with him on a going forward basis, I think we still don't have a very clear position publicly. But what I can say is I do think, from a civil-service perspective, certainly the president's personal attacks on Mr. Ohr ring of the same type of attacks that he's attacked, for example the former deputy director, Andy McCabe, also a career Justice Department official which is different than a political appointee.

CABRERA: Carrie Cordero, thank you very much for being with us.

CORDERO: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Meghan McCain, she gave a memorable speech today, honoring her father, Senator John McCain. Hear more of her speech and how she took aim at President Trump, live in the CNN newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: The nation today pauses to honor Senator John McCain's lifetime of sacrifice and service to the country he loved so much. Meghan McCain delivered a very touching tribute to her beloved father, but she also had a not so subtle message for the president.

[17:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[17:30:00] MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF JOHN MCCAIN: John Sidney McCain III was many things. He was a sailor. He was an aviator. He was a husband. He was a warrior. He was a prisoner. He was a hero. He was a congressman. He was a Senator. He was a nominee for president of the United States. These are all the titles and the roles of a life that has been well lived, but they are not the greatest of his titles, nor the most important of his roles. He was a great man.

We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served. He was a great fire who burned bright.

The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. She is resourceful and confident and secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she is strong. America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: Dad, I know you were not perfect. We live in an era where we knock down old American heroes for all their imperfections, when no leader wants to admit to fault or failure. You were an exception, and you gave us an ideal to strive for.

Look. I know you can see this gathering here in this cathedral. The nation is here to remember you. Like so many other heroes, you leave us draped in the flag you loved. You defended it, you sacrificed it, you have always honored it. It is good to remember we are Americans. We don't put our heroes on pedestals just to remember them. We raise them up because we want to emulate their virtues. This is how we honor them, and this is how we will honor you.

My father is gone. My father is gone, and my sorrow is immense, but I know his life, and I know it was great because it was good. And as much as I hate to see him go, I do know how it ended. I know that on the afternoon of August 25th, in front of Oak Creek in Cornville, Arizona, surrounded by the family he loved so much, an old man shook off the scars of battle one last time and arose a new man, to pilot one last flight up and up and up, busting clouds left and right, straight on through to the kingdom of heaven, and he slipped the earthly bonds, put out his hand, and touched the face of God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:35:02] CABRERA: Welcome back. President Trump's job approval rating taking a hit this week. A new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll finds 60 percent of Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling his job as president while just 36 percent approve of the job he is doing.

Also the president's escalating attacks on the Russia investigation may be back firing. The same poll finds 63 percent support Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his handling of the investigation while 29 percent oppose it.

Joining us now Catherine Rampell, opinion columnist for the "Washington Post," and David Drucker, senior correspondent for the "Washington Examiner."

Catherine starting with you, to what do you attribute the drop in the president's approval or support and reverse for Mueller. CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We have to put it in the

context of other polls. It seems Trump since he took office in the high 30s, low 40s range. I don't want to suggest it's an outlier here. But there has been scandal after scandal within the White House. Trump doesn't seem to deliver on many of the promises, policy promises he made to his base. He may be hurting some in fact through I was tariffs on farmers, and blue-collar manufacturing workers, et cetera. Even though the economy is doing quite well, we have low unemployment and so on, the fact that Trump doesn't seem to deliver on many of the promises and seems to be having lots of personal scandals both within the White House and amongst those in his orbit certainly isn't helping the which Americans see him.

CABRERA: It's important to note this poll was taken in the last week. So after the news dropped about Cohen and his guilty plea, the Manafort conviction, and then, of course, the additional headlines that have come out as well in the last week in both the Russia probe, but also the back and forth that we saw with John McCain's deaths and how the president handled that.

David, do you think this polling shows maybe the limitations of Trump's efforts to discredit Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department.

[17:40:08] DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I think there's always some limitation there because this country is still generally divided politically. So you have plenty of Democrats and you have seen -- we have seen polling where Independent and swing voters are, not happy with the way the president is doing his job, and not happy with Republicans in Congress are doing their job. That is despite all of the positive economic indicators and polling showing that Trump is getting credit for his handling of the economy. And so he is getting credit for how well the economy is doing.

I want to add to what Catherine said about not getting too excited about one poll. We need to see more polling to see if it was an outlier from on the lower end of the president's polling from the high 30s to the low mid-40s, which is where he has been on average, or whether when we see more of this.

A new "Investor's Business Daily" TIIP poll came out that suggested there may be something to the "Washington post" poll. And don't forget, the "Washington Post" poll, though a good poll, it was a poll of all adults, which is a good window in the sentiment of the country. But in competitive districts and in big Senate races, likely voters which are going to decide this race and give us a better look as to how the midterms shake out could feel differently. And so we need to be able to break it down to understand the difference between the sentiment of the country and how elections are going to turn out.

But I think that one thing we know is whenever reporting on the president and his White House has been at its most chaotic, in other words a lot of scandal, a lot of pushback from the president with the way he tweets, and this sense that things are getting out of control, is when the polling for him tends to be at its worse. When things calm down, there's more of a focus on his policies and some of his accomplishments, things tend to look a little bit better for him.

CABRERA: There were new attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week. And, Catherine, this poll also shows the majority of Americans back Sessions over Trump. They say Sessions should keep his job. It was 62 percent in the latest poll. And it's interesting because Democrats for a long time have not liked Sessions. He has been their foe. Do you think the tables have turned?

RAMPELL: It is truly bizarre. If you look at the breakdown, the partisan breakdown in this poll, three-quarters of Democrats say Sessions should stay in his job, not fired. Fewer than half of Republicans say the same. Basically, Jeff Sessions -- Jeff Sessions has more support from Democrats than Republicans, which is completely topsy-turvy. This is a guy who said the Voting Rights Act was an intrusion and worked to roll back gains of the Voting Rights Act. This is a guy who has had lots of anti-immigrant policies come out, lots of things that basically the left should be completely disgusted by. And in in some cases, certainly are. But the fact is he is what remains between us and another Saturday Night Massacre. And that's why you see Democrats saying, OK, maybe he has done bad things and we disagree on policy issues but please don't fire him. Because if he goes, then possibly the Mueller investigation goes with him.

CABRERA: Quickly, if you will, David, the midterms elections are now just two months away. It's September already. If you are a GOP candidate, looking at the numbers, do you start to shy away from Trump on the campaign trail?

DRUCKER: Well, if you are House Republican, no doubt, you do. The battle for the House is going to be won or lost in suburban districts across the country that traditionally vote Republican but have never been comfortable with Trump's cultural war-style of politicking. That's why Democrats in the House are in a good position. In the Senate, it's totally different map. I keep saying, it's like two midterm campaigns going on. Most of the battlegrounds in the Senate are in ruby red states that still like the president, voted for him by wide margins in 2016. They are happy with his policies and him. So in Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, and I could go on, you want to stick as close to the president as you can, at least according to the data we have today. It's an interesting field out there.

CABRERA: It is, indeed.

David Drucker, Catherine Rampell, good to have you with us. Thank you.

DRUCKER: Thank you.

[17:44:20] CABRERA: DACA may be in jeopardy again. How a Texas judge's decision could affect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CABRERA: The fate of DACA again thrown into limbo. A federal judge in Texas writing Friday he believes DACA is likely illegal and will ultimately fail in court. While this judge did not issue a ruling to immediately halt DACA, this is the latest development in the continued uncertainty in the Obama-era program designed to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and giving them temporary status that allows them to work and go to college.

Now, President Trump tried to end DACA last September. Since then, Congress has failed twice to preserve the program. But three federal judges have kept it in place for now.

CNN politics reporter, Tal Kopan, is joining us now.

Tal, tell us more about what this judge said and ultimately what it means.

[17:49:41] TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Ana, it was a bit of an unexpected ruling. What's interesting about this particular judge in Texas is this is the judge that several years ago actually blocked a similar program from DACA from ever going into effect. So he was widely seen as likely to be unfriendly towards DACA in this instance, which is part of why Texas and a coalition of red states sued under this judge to end the DACA program.

But he said even though he largely believes that DACA, similarly, to the expanded program, is unlikely to survive a court challenge, he said there's a key difference, and that is that DACA already exists. He called it, you can't unscramble an egg, so to speak. In the previous instance, it never went into effect. But he said, in this instance, though the states did argue they could suffer from harm and consequences of continuing to support DACA recipients, he said the harm of ending it immediately would be greater. So he held off for now, allowing people to keep renewing permits.

But certainly, this should send a warning to anyone who supports DACA that a ruling to the contrary could be coming this fall. And perhaps this is all just a fast track to the Supreme Court that's going to have to sort of sort out these competing judges' rulings.

CABRERA: You also have new reporting on the families separated at the border and the government efforts to reunite parents with their children. Hundreds of children are still separated. What is going on?

KOPAN: That's absolutely right, Ana. Nearly 500 children are still separated, in the custody of the government. One thing that's sort of gone under the radar a bit is these filings are also making clear that there are more than 200 children who were released, but not to a parent. They were released to some other sponsor that the government decided was suitable. We don't know if those 200 children were ever reunited with their parents outside of custody. So potentially upwards of 500 children could be without their parents. This includes young children. There are still over 20 children who haven't been separated. Six of those young children under the age of 5. Their parents were deported, and they're still in government custody.

And these numbers, we get them every week, and I go over them with a fine-tooth comb. We're at the point where they're changing very little week to week, because finding these parents who have been deported is an incredible undertaking. There are a number of parents who have been flagged for various reasons, determined to be ineligible for various reasons. Some of those parents may argue with that finding but try to get their kid back will be a long process. We have no idea how long it will take for every child who is eligible to be reunited to actually reach that point. Weeks, months, we have no indication of when that might be.

CABRERA: So painful to think about it, as a parent myself and seeing my own children in that situation.

The "Washington Post," a lot of other news outlets, including CNN, running stories this week about passports being denied for some people with Hispanic surnames living along the southwest border, claiming that they may not be actual American citizens. Fill us in are what you've learned, Tal.

KOPAN: Ana, it's a fascinating case, one that actually, amid all of this sensitivity toward this under the Trump administration, this issue actually dates well back into the Bush administration. The problem is that it's sort of an interesting question: How do you prove where you were born? Some of these individuals were birthed by midwives, where there's a much lower paper trail. And in fact, some midwives in the past have admitted to falsifying U.S. birth certificates. Some of these individuals actually have a U.S. birth certificate and a Mexican birth certificate. There's a perception among attorneys along the border in Texas that some of these denials of passports or questioning of passports seems to be increasing. But it sort of raises an interesting legal fight of, how do you prove that you are born where a document says you were born? You know, you think about a lot of these individuals along the border, not all of them can afford some high-powered attorney to defend it, so this process takes a long time. They can be vulnerable to perhaps being stuck outside the country or perhaps even held in detention, the "Washington Post" reported, for some individuals. It's an interesting question that has dated back over a decade, but certainly taking on new import under the Trump administration that's been so aggressive on immigration.

CABRERA: You've been doing really great reporting an on things immigration.

Tal Kopan, glad you could join us. Thank you.

KOPAN: Thank you.

CABRERA: When this week's "CNN Hero" first earned his pilot's license, he had no idea what he would end up doing. But now twice a month, Paul Steklenski spends his own money to fly dogs from high-kill shelters in the south to no-kill shelters in the north. Check out the lifesaving and very adorable missions of love.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL STEKLENSKI, CNN HERO: You just look like my Tessa. You're just a baby girl.

I try to greet every passenger before we load them on the aircraft to spend a few moments with me.

You ready to go?

So they can see me and smell me.

Load the airplane up and then we'll make stops along the eastern coast.

I'm quite certain they know things are about to change.

Hey, buddy. He is so calm right now.

They know things are getting better and not ending up in the pound.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:55:08] CABRERA: To see more of how Paul gives his "pawsengers" first-class treatment, go to CNNheroes.com.

I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. I'll see you one hour from now, back here live, in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being with me.

"S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:59:50] S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: Welcome to a special edition of "UNFILTERED," live from the nation's capital.