‘This Week’ Transcript: Attorney General Eric Holder

ByABC News
July 13, 2014, 10:55 AM
PHOTO: Pierre Thomas speaks with Attorney General Eric Holder in London on Friday, July 11th, 2014.
Pierre Thomas speaks with Attorney General Eric Holder in London on Friday, July 11th, 2014.
Jack Date/ABC News

— -- Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on July 13th, 2014. It may contain errors.


ANNOUNCER: Breaking overnight: Israeli commandos storm Gaza. Gunfire exchanged in the midnight raid as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise. Is this the start of a fullscale ground war? Martha Raddatz leads our team coverage from an explosive Middle East.

Homeland threat...

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general.

ANNOUNCER: Pierre Thomas goes one on one with the attorney general.

Plus, a special report from beyond the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you afraid?

ANNOUNCER: We're in Central America following the children heading north.

And homecoming...


ANNOUNCER: What a week for Cleveland and King James.

From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos begins now.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Good morning, let's get right to that breaking news.

After days of rocket fire and air strikes, Israeli commandos engage in their first combat in Gaza. The big question now, is this leading to an all-out ground war, or can a ceasefire take hold before more rockets are fired, more civilians are killed.

Martha Raddatz starts us off from the border of Israel and Gaza. Good morning, Martha.


I am standing near what is essentially the front line in this conflict. I am in Israel and just behind me a few miles is Gaza. There has been a constant exchange of fire. Hamas rockets and Israeli air strikes. But for the very first time last night, Israel sent in a small number of ground troops, the first time they have done so since 2009.


RADDATZ: It was in the dead of night when several dozen navy commandos, Israel's equivalent of the navy SEALs approached the Gaza shore from the Mediterranean Sea in small boats. Surveillance planes and attack helicopters providing cover.

The commandos destroyed a number of Hamas long range rockets and launchers that have been targeting Israel's major cities. But Hamas militants spotted the team and opened fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a huge engagement and we took out the capabilities and the terrorists.

RADDATZ: The Israelis have been pounding Hamas from the air for days.

We watched on this stunning hillside with several dozen residents of the Israeli town of Sderot, which has been hit frequently by rocket fire from Gaza over the years. Now the residents gather every day to watch the Israeli air force strike back.

You saw missiles right there?

Oh, you shot it.

And you don't have to wait here very long.

How often does this happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually this is...

RADDATZ: We can see one outgoing from Gaza right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the direction of Tel Aviv.

RADDATZ: Last night, three rockets made it near or above Tel Aviv where they were intercepted by the Iron Dome, Israel's multi-billion dollar defense system, which we saw first hand.

It has saved countless lives. Not a single Israeli has been killed during this operation.

In Gaza, it is another story. This is what the air strikes look like from the ground.

The Israeli warn residents that their building has been targeted with what they call a knock on the roof to get them to evacuate.

Just minutes later, watch as a powerful missile completely destroys this house.

The Israelis may be warning the residents, but according to the United Nations, 75 percent of those killed in Gaza are civilians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five years, six year child. I know that it's innocent people.

RADDATZ: But there are still fears of a wider war. 30,000 Israeli reservists have been called up and Israeli tanks are already amassed on the Gaza border in case the order comes for a fullscale ground attack.

What kind of tipping point where there be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Iron Dome is unsuccessful in a way that it causes huge devastation.


RADDATZ: But the people of Gaza are expecting the worst. Today, a mass evacuation of American citizens there where my colleague Alex Marquardt reports.

ALEX MARQUARDT, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Martha, those evacuations took place early this morning 144 American citizens among a bigger group of foreign passport holders that Israel has allowed to leave, but it's those Palestinians who can't escape who would bear the brunt of an Israeli ground invasion.


MARQUARDT: Exodus from Gaza, lucky few boarding buses to flee. There, we meet the Akasha (ph) family from Baton Rouge, Louisiana here to visit family, now escaping a war.

Are you disappointed to be leaving?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. No. I'm happy. I miss America.

MARQUARDT: You want to get home, you want to get out of the war zone?


MARQUARDT: They grabbed their heavy bags for the long walk to the border. Once out of Gaza, the relief to be going home is bitter sweet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little bit sad behind here, because my family over there, you know.

MARQUARDT: Her family and so many others stuck as Israeli missiles rain down on targets and people that Palestinians here say have nothing to do with Hamas rocket fire.

This crowd pulling out what is clearly a very wounded man out of a mosque that was struck just moments ago.

The anger and body count soaring, almost 170 now dead, over 1,100 wounded with no end in sight.


MARQUARDT: Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is stepping up its operations against Hamas. He said they regret any attacks on civilians, but accused Hamas of being solely responsible for using them as human shields -- Martha.

RADDATZ: But you can expect more of those small commando raids by the Israelis and certainly more air strikes. They say they will not stop the air strikes until Hamas stops firing rockets. And so far, the Israelis have only gotten 20 percent of those rockets -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, thank you, Martha.

We're going to be joined now by ABC News military consultant Steve Ganyard, former fighter pilot, Pentagon official; and Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson Center, spent most of his career negotiating with Israelis and Palestinians for both Republican and Democratic presidents.

And Steve, let me begin with you. If Israel does decide to go in on the ground, what would this operation look like? How long would it last. I noted that prime minister Netanyahu told his cabinet this morning it could take time.

STEVE GANYARD, ABC NEWS MILITARY CONSULTANT: It could take time, George. Urban combat is the most dirty, nasty form of combat there is. It takes a long time, the casualties are high both -- on both the combatants side and the civilian side. I think the Israelis are going to do everything they can to stay out of an urban conflict and keep their troops out of Gaza.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And one of the reasons they've been able to hold off so far for the most part, the remarkable success of that Iron Dome shooting down the Hamas rockets. Not a single Israeli killed so far.

GANYARD: Iron Dome really is remarkable. It consists of a very sophisticated radar that's able to detect the missile launches coming in towards Israel. It actually makes a determination whether those missiles, incoming missiles are going to hit into populated areas. So it only launches on those missiles that are incoming into Israel that could perhaps hurt people.

So I'm very hard pressed to find an example in the history of warfare where a single weapons system, a defensive weapon system has so neutralized an enemy's opponent, but when one of the things we see here is that it's kept the civilian casualties low so the political pressure on Netanyahu to invade Gaza is low. So in a sense you could say that Iron Dome is preventing a broader conflict.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Civilian casualties in Israel low, but Aaron David Miller, the civilian casualties are mounting in Gaza. And the clock tends to tick there. The more civilian casualties in Gaza, the more pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to go for a cease fire, not a ground war.

AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: And on the Egyptians who probably risk the most in allowing this to play out, because el-Sisi knows that more civilians casualties will produce reactions on the Egyptian street.

The problem, George, is this, effective mediation requires urgency, a mediator and a deal, and rankly right now you don't have any of those things. Hamas and Israel are simply not done. There is no deal on the table and the Egyptians seem reluctant. And they are the key party, because they have influence with Israel, good relations with the Israelis, not so great relations with Hamas, but they have influence. And they have a demonstrated track record. In 2012, they did this too.

None of these elements are in place. And that's why the tragedy of this entire enterprise is likely to play out for a good while longer.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So it goes on, it potentially it escalates. Is there anything useful the United States can do?

MILLER: We have tremendous leverage with the Israelis, assuming we would be prepared to use it. The problem is our leverage with the Israelis depends on Hamas's capacity and willingness to deescalate. And right now there's no motivation on them to do that.

They want a deal. They want political benefits. They went into this crisis weak in order to justify the destruction that the Israelis are doing and civilian casualties they're going to have figure out a way to climb down, but to gain something from this operation. And that is not clear what that gain is right now and who is going to give it to them. Not clear right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We've seen this before. We've seen an operation like this in 2009. We've seen a similar lower scale operation in 2012. What's different this time?

MILLER: The reality is other than Iron Dome I think Steve is absolutely right, it both -- it's paradox, it both prevents a ground operation and creates additional political time and space for the Israelis not to conclude this quickly. But at the end of the day, George, I'm telling you, I could write script on how this is going to end, Hamas is going to claim that it resisted the mighty IDF and probably will get a political and economic benefit. The Israelis will argue they've degraded Hamas's capacity. We will bought ourselves perhaps another year or two. And we'll be back at the table at this exact same point within the next two to three years. That's the real tragedy. And a lot of innocent people, primarily in Gaza, are going to have to die as a consequence.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Aaron Miller, Steve Ganyard, thanks very much.

We're joined now by our senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas bringing us an exclusive interview with Attorney General Eric Holder.

THOMAS: As the conflict intensifies between Israel and Hamas, Holder said he'll be on the lookout for any hint of violence here at home. He said that potential and what is happening in Syria makes for an especially dangerous moment.


THOMAS (voice-over): We met the attorney general in London after a series of urgent meetings with European justice ministers about the threat from Syria.

(on camera): Do they share your sense of urgency about Syria?

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: There's a great concern about this Syrian foreign fighters problem. We estimate there are about 7,000 of them right now in -- in Syria, coming from Europe, coming from the United States. And great concern about the impact they're having not only there, but the potential impact they could have back in their home countries.

THOMAS: Congressman Rogers of the House Intelligence Committee made a comment recently, that he had not seen a situation where there were some threat streams, you know, so active at one moment, perhaps since 9/11.

HOLDER: No, I think we are at a dangerous time.

THOMAS (voice-over): Moments later, when we sat down, Holder laid out his concerns in stark, disturbing detail.

(on camera): And you sounded the alarm this week about Americans and Europeans going to Syria.

Is this a clear and present danger?

HOLDER: I think it is. In some ways, it's -- it's more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general. And 9/11 was something that kind of came out of the blue. This is a -- a situation that we can see developing and the potential that I see coming up, the negative potential I see coming out of the facts in Syria and Iraq now, are -- are -- are quite concerning.

THOMAS (voice-over): Among the concerns, intelligence says bomb makers from Yemen, those responsible for the 2009 underwear bomb plot, are now in Syria joining forces with the thousands of foreign fighters there.

(on camera): Is that a particularly nasty mix?

HOLDER: That's a deadly combination, where you have people who have the technical know-how along with the people who have this kind of fervor to give their lines in -- in support of a cause that is directed at the United States and directed at -- at its allies. And it's something that gives us a really extreme, extreme concern.

THOMAS (voice-over): Sources tell ABC News, U.S. intelligence suspects Yemeni bomb makers in Syria have designed an explosive device small enough to fit in a laptop computer. It's way the U.S. asked overseas airports to step up security, including requiring some passengers to turn on a laptop or other electronic devices.

HOLDER: We are always constantly monitoring what's going on out there, what known bomb makers are doing, the new techniques that they are trying to employ.

THOMAS: Suffice it to say, these security upgrades we're seeing didn't just come out of the blue?

HOLDER: No. These are not things that we just decided it was July, so let's do something new. This is not a test. This is a something -- we're doing something in reaction to things that we have detected.

THOMAS: Americans who've gone into Syria and made their way home, can you give us a sense of how many people that we're talking about that are under various levels of surveillance inside the United States?

HOLDER: Well, I'd say that we have dozens of investigations that are underway. The FBI is on top of these.

THOMAS (voice-over): And out of Syria, another challenge -- ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They've taken over huge chunks of Iraq, stealing weapons and plundering millions of dollars. They've even allegedly confiscated low grade radioactive material that could be used for a dirty bomb.

(on camera): He was concerned should Americans at home be about ISIS?

HOLDER: Well, I think at this point, ISIS is a body that is concerned about doing things only in Iraq and in Syria. If they are able to consolidate their gains in that area, I think it's just a matter of time before they start looking outward and start looking at the West and at the United States in particular.

So this is something that we have to get on top of and get on top of now.

THOMAS: Is there a sense that there's a resurgence going on now with al Qaeda?

HOLDER: Well, Al-Qaeda core has certainly been diminished. But as we have been saying for some time, other factions of Al-Qaeda have become stronger and now even groups that were once part of Al-Qaeda and have now split from them have become strong.

THOMAS (voice-over): The administration recently scored a victory in the war on terror with the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the alleged planners of the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Even that has not been without controversy.

(on camera): Critics have said it took too long to get him. He was having lunch in public, being interviewed by journalists.

What say you to them?

HOLDER: Well, I think, you know, that is really one argument I simply don't understand. It's -- it's one thing to talk to a reporter and have your face not even shown on a -- on camera while you're doing this whole other thing to come into the custody of -- of the FBI, the United States military.

I don't think that he would have had a cup of coffee with a couple of FBI agents or members of our military.

THOMAS (voice-over): He's now being held in the U.S. under tight security, facing trial in federal court in Washington.

(on camera): Well, a number of Republicans on the Hill said he should still be in interrogation on a ship somewhere, a military ship, intelligence should be the priority and that he should be headed to a military court, not civilian court.

HOLDER: There is not a tension between the way in which we have done this and getting intelligence that can be useful, and then ultimately convicting this person. I think it's time for us to get beyond this point. The analogy has become something that, I think, is purely political and is totally inconsistent with the facts.

THOMAS (voice-over): The job of national security can be relentless. Not only does Holder have to worry about overseas threats, he also has to worry about homegrown radicals, like the two men who allegedly attacked the Boston Marathon last year.

(on camera): Is that threat any less serious?

HOLDER: These lone wolves, these homegrown violent extremists are people who keep me up at night, as well, trying to monitor them, trying to anticipate what it is that they are going to do. And, you know, the experience that we had in Boston is instructive. It only takes one or -- or two people to really do something horrific.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Pierre, the attorney general, you also talked to him about homegrown terrorists who are motivated more by domestic concerns.

THOMAS: Yes. We recently had the case where someone had an assault on a courthouse in Georgia, also, two officers killed near Las Vegas. He said that this is coming back, as well, there -- there may be a resurgence. He said there are a lot of sleepless nights these days.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Pierre Thomas, thanks very much.

Up next, we head to Central America for a closer look at the children taking that treacherous trip north.

What can be done to stop the surge?

Plus, our Powerhouse Roundtable with all the week's politics.

And Lebron James caps a big week for Cleveland.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Our closer look now at the crisis on our southern border. So many children crossing over from Central America.

And Art Rascon of our Houston station, KTRK, followed some of them on their dangerous journey north, filing a special report for THIS WEEK.


ART RASCON, KTRK CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Guatemala City, the heart of the Mayan civilization. This is where our journey begins, as we follow immigrants, tens of thousands of them arriving in the United States, desperate for a new life.

(voice-over): Immigrants everywhere -- always on the move, like Maria and her two children from the Honduras-Guatemalan border. She is desperate for a new life for her 4 and 5-year-olds, barely surviving the rampant poverty and deadly gang violence overtaking the country.

Even during our short time in Guatemala, three funeral processions marched by, caskets carrying the bodies of those killed in the recent surge of violence.

Neighboring Honduras has seen a similar spike, 32 children murdered there last month, more than 400 since January of last year. It's that violence that is driving families to send their children north to the United States.

Loopholes in U.S. policy are also a key factor behind this surge. A 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush, says children from countries not bordering the U.S. cannot be immediately deported. Instead, they can appear in court and make the case for staying.

Separately, the Obama administration announced in 2012 it would allow some children to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation. That program applied only to children who arrived in the U.S. before 2007. But smugglers in Central America are convincing families the reprieve still stands.

(on camera): On the move once again, here a couple of dozen immigrants, this group specifically being led by coyotes, smugglers.

(voice-over): Sixteen-year-old Antonio (ph), traveling alone from Honduras, was picked up by a smuggler with promises of making it to the U.S. to find work.

(on camera): How much do you make a day?



RASCON: Thirty (INAUDIBLE) everyday for work here, which is about five bucks. That's it.



RASCON (voice-over): Not far away, 15-year-old Jose (ph), fleeing the increasing violence of Guatemala, finally reaching the Guatemalan-Mexican border, and the secret border crossing, fear clearly evident in his eyes.

(on camera): (SPEAKING SPANISH). Why are you afraid?


RASCON: You have a lot to be afraid of, he says.

(voice-over): Jose is joined by countless other children making the same journey into Mexico.

(on camera): They range in age here, many of them older, most of them younger. On this boat right here, at least five of them are minors.

(voice-over): Then finally, Mexico, with the longest and deadliest journey still ahead, at least a week to the U.S. border, and an uncertain future.

For THIS WEEK, Art Rascon, ABC News, on the Guatemalan-Mexican border.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Art for that. What to do with all of these children the big question now. And in his interview with the attorney general, Pierre Thomas pressed Holder for a response to critics who charge he's not enforcing our immigration laws.


HOLDER: Yes. The immigration laws are being enforced, though we are faced with an extraordinary situation where thousands of people, young people especially, are fleeing Central America for economic reasons to get away from really endemic violence in their countries.

The president has put together a proposal to Congress asking for almost $4 billion. We are surging immigration judges to the border to process all of these people.

THOMAS: But can you see where the critics are coming from when you see buses of people being brought inland after they came here illegally?

HOLDER: Well, let me just say this, our immigration laws are broken. It's why we need comprehensive immigration reform.

THOMAS: Now on the other side you have critics of the administration saying you've deported way too many people, and the ACLU just filed a lawsuit talking about the fact that these children really aren't getting due process.

HOLDER: We're certainly going to get criticized from both sides. But what we're certainly also going to do is make sure that we follow the law.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Now let's get more on this now from the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Robert Goodlatte.

Congressman, thank you for joining us this morning. You just heard the attorney general there. He insists the laws are being enforced. He is pushing the president's proposal for that almost $4 billion in emergency assistance. You called that a slap in the face to American taxpayers. Is the House prepared to pass any emergency funding?

REP. ROBERT GOODLATTE (R-VA), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Yes, we should do targeted appropriations where it's needed to make sure that we are able to detain people and send them back to their countries. But there is an awful lot that the president can do right now without any action on the part of the Congress.

He should, first of all, make it very clear that people who illegally enter the United States are going to be sent home. Secondly...

STEPHANOPOULOS: He has done that, hasn't he?

GOODLATTE: ... he should not only go to the -- what's that?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hasn't he done that?

GOODLATTE: Well, if you watched his interview -- if you watched his interview from his press conference from Texas last week, you would be hard-pressed to get that message that this president is going to send people home who enter the United States illegally.

Secondly, if he would not only go to the border but continue south and go to Mexico City and meet with the Mexican government. After all, if these children are fleeing a bad situation in their home country, as soon as they arrive in Mexico, they have escaped that situation.

So, what is the responsibility of the Mexican government here? Well, first of all, they should be securing their southern border with Guatemala. But in addition, they should be working with the United States. And the president should insist that they do that, and do the same thing with the Central American countries.

This matter can be addressed if the president will exercise leadership and stop not enforcing the law. He doesn't enforce the law. He uses the concept of prosecutorial discretion, which is intended for that limited exceptional case, to apply to hundreds of thousands of people right now.

He's releasing criminal aliens back on to our streets that have been detained, rather than making sure that they get sent back to their home countries.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So but that what you're calling...

GOODLATTE: And he needs to make sure that our...

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... for the president to do. If the president does all that, are you prepared to pass this funding and can a compromise be reached to address what is really becoming an emergency situation?

GOODLATTE: I would definitely pass emergency funding targeted for what is necessary. But most of the money that the president is asking for is to continue the process of further transporting these children and adults, by the way, further into the United States.

And that, I think, is what the American people don't like to see, because they know that that is not deterrence. And that will result in even more people coming into the country.

The projection for next year is 150,000 unaccompanied minors. It's already projected to be 90,000 for the rest of this year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other things you see coming out of this are more and more calls for the president to be impeached, Sarah Palin most prominently this week. Any articles of impeachment would be drawn up by your committee. Is this something you're considering? Or do you agree with Speaker Boehner who says it's off the table?

GOODLATTE: We are not working on or drawing up articles of impeachment. The Constitution is very clear as to what constitutes grounds for impeachment of the president of the United States. He has not committed the kind of criminal acts that call for that.

On the other hand, we do believe that the president is not enforcing the law. And there's a wide array of issues, not just immigration, where we believe that. And that's why the speaker, and many of us in the Congress, are getting ready to take legal action to stand up for the people's right, for their elected representatives to be the part of our government that passes laws, not a president with his pen and his cell phone.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for your time this morning.

Lots to talk about with our "Roundtable" in just two minutes, including those new calls to impeach President Obama, and the political impact, that big decision from LeBron James, believe it or not, there is some.

First, our "Big Winners of the Week."


ANNOUNCER: And now, George's pick, the city of Cleveland is George's "Big Winner of the Week."

STEPHANOPOULOS: There you see President Obama in Denver this week. The White House even has a hashtag for these outings. They call it "the bear is loose." But the president taking some heat for shooting pool but not going to the border to see that crisis firsthand.

One of the topics for our "Roundtable." Joined by David Plouffe, President Obama's former campaign manager, senior adviser in the White House. Republican strategist Ana Navarro. Our own Cokie Roberts. And the editor of The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol.

And, Dave, let me begin with you. I think The Washington Post had a line which showed some of the critics, they say "the bear goes out for a beer and critics growl." So why didn't the president go to the border?

PLOUFFE: You know, George, I worked in the White House (inaudible) he doesn't need to go to the border to address this crisis. First of all, we've had a crisis in immigration in this country for decades. Let's not forget this. So the...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why not go?

PLOUFFE: Well, the point is he's had plenty of officials down there. It's beside the point, OK, what we need to do is focus on, A, we need to fix the immigration system most broadly. That's the biggest message out of all this. It's been languishing for decades. You have Republican support, you have Democratic support, get it done.

And then specifically on the issue of these kids, obviously, we need more resources. You just talked to Chairman Goodlatte. He indicated he might be willing to support some funding, but we need more judges down there. We need more facilities down there. We've got to deal with this short-term crisis, but it's got to be part of a long-term immigration solution, which, by the way, almost everybody in the country supports except enough House Republicans.

ROBERTS: If the president had gone to the border, obviously it doesn't make a big difference, but it's symbolically important and it's important for him to show America what's happening with those kids. This is not the time for us to be tough guys. These are children. And they are being put by themselves onto trains and boats and all of that to come here. Think what a mother must feel to put that child in that dangerous situation to come here. We need to be taking care of these children.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it's clearly a dangerous situation, but I think that's part of the problem for the president. If you go down to the border, part of his message has to be you guys have got to go back home. It's not going to be all compassion.

ROBERTS: But he can't say that. First of all, that's not what the law says. But secondly, the go home to Honduras -- I heard a report this week that in New York your chances of getting murdered are 1 in 25,000. In Honduras, it's 1 in 14. You can't send children home to that.

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: I'm afraid you have to. I mean...

ROBERTS: You don't.

KRISTOL: You absolutely -- we send children back to Mexico. We send children back all over the world.

ROBERTS: But they're not in those situations.

KRISTOL: But they are in those situations. And things in Central America have been tough for a long time. But the idea that you're going to let unaccompanied minors just come into the U.S. because of loophole in the 2008 law that doesn't -- that allows you to send a Mexican kid back and a Honduran kid gets to stay. And that's not sensible. And so the Republicans are going to propose this week on The Hill amending the 2008 law to have even treatment for everyone.

And the president does have to send a message, you can't come here. And why is this happening -- David talks about this has been a problem for decades. Why are these kids suddenly flooding this place? Because the president amnestied all the kids who are already here in 2012. And people in Central America decided...


KRISTOL: ...he amnestied all the kids who were here and every sensible person in Central America thought, hey, great if I can get my kid into the U.S. there will be an amnesty for him too.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Let me tell you something, unfortunately there is not one cause for what is causing this. It's a perfect storm of push factors in Central America that include the violence, that include the poverty and factors here that are being exploited and taken advantage of by an organized criminal ring of human smugglers that are misrepresenting U.S. policy, taking advantage of parents, getting them to cobble together $6,000, $7,000 dollars to put their kids in this -- in these trains and in this transport system to get them here when in fact there is no such pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for these kids.

So it is important for the president to clarify that the misrepresentation that's going on, on purpose, by criminal forces in Central America is not so. That's why it would have been important for him to go to the border.

I have spoken to Republican and Democrat congresspeople and people in the White House who have been to the shelters, who have been to the border. And listening to the kids, listening to the people running those shelters gives you a very unique perspective of what the actual problems on the ground are. I wish he had done it.

PLOUFFE: But this Republican argument that this situation is caused because we're not sending DREAM kids home, it's preposterous. It's not based in reality. And so if that's the message, which, fine, if that's the Republican message, we want to start sending all...

NAVARRO: Did you just hear me? Did you just...


PLOUFFE: You made a great argument. You made a great argument.

KRISTOL: ...Republicans...


PLOUFFE: You made some great points. The Republican message we've stopped supporting DREAM kids.

KRISTOL: Amnesty is a magnet, that has been the Republican message. People from the White House have been scoffing at that. How childish of you is that? Well, what is happening on the border right now?

The other Democratic message for the last two or three years, the border is secure. That's not true either.

ROBERTS: Well, you know, it's interesting...

PLOUFFE: Unprecedented border resources, more in terms of people, in terms of personnel, in terms of money.

ROBERTS: And as Jerry Brown said in California they all come to California -- which by the way is welcoming them in many...

KRISTOL: I'm sorry, there is a fence in California and they don't come...

ROBERTS: ...and coming from Texas to California...

KRISTOL: Right, but that's wonderful they're being shipped to California.

ROBERTS: And Jerry Brown says -- Jerry Brown says because our border is secure. What's...

NAVARRO: The bottom line is...

KRISTOL: Why is the California border secure? Because we built a fence there over the resistance of the Obama...

NAVARRO: The bottom line is the border is more secure than it has been. Is it completely secure? No.

But these kids are turning themselves in, because they think that when they turn -- they're not being apprehended by border guards, they are turning themselves in...

STEPHANOPOULOS: They're looking or officials.

NAVARRO: So that they can then go into the process.

ROBERTS: And hats off to the people in the Texas...

NAVARRO: Let me say one more thing...

ROBERTS: Sacred Heart Church and the Catholic Charities and Save the Children are in there trying to help these kids. And that's what the congress should be focusing on, not this business of...

NAVARRO: And there's one thing I want to say, you know, in light of what Cokie just said, I'm very disappointed with those Hispanic celebrities that love to go to the White House to party and sing and dance for the president, or those Hispanic organizations and what people that are Hispanic that have a voice in this country that have not stood up and have not figured out a way to help those kids at least while they're in those shelters give them better conditions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One person who did stand up this week, Sarah Palin, calling for impeachment over this issue.


SARAH PALIN, FRM. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis for me it's a last straw. It makes kind of a battered wife say no mas. That's enough. It's time to impeach.

HOLDER: She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate. She's an even worse judge of who ought to be impeached and why.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Bill Kristol, not surprising that Eric Holder would hold that view. I was a little bit surprised how clear Robert Goodlatte was today and saying no impeachment. And of course Speaker Boehner as well. I guess there's some concern -- everybody remembers 1998, impeached President Clinton. Republicans actually lose seats in the House.

KRISTOL: No responsible Republican elected official has called for impeachment. And the trouble one problem with it is of course you just get Joe Biden as president.

The Republican task is to elect a Republican Senate and to elect a Republican president 2016, not to create a phony issue which allows Democrats to make Republicans look extreme.

So Republicans are not going to impeach President Obama. They are, I think, going to make the case for why a Republican Senate could check President Obama in 2015 and 2016 and why a Republican president is needed to replace President Obama.

NAVARRO: I think Bill is completely right. Nobody of responsibility, nobody in leadership, nobody of relevance has talked about impeachment. The lawsuit is about constitutional powers and the separation of powers. So can we stick to talking about what people who actually can make something happen, say, and not what folks would just want to make headlines say?

STEPHANOPOULOS: David Plouffe, I think a lot of Democrats want them keep talking about impeachment.

PLOUFFE: Well, you know, they reap what they sow here. So, right, so leaders are being somewhat responsible, but they've fomented all this out there. I actually think if you look at the Iowa Republican caucus attenders and the South Carolina primary voters, I bet you have majorities in the Republican electorate saying he ought to be impeached. So that's what you're dealing with out there.

ROBERTS: And you also have majority of people saying they don't want to hear another word from Sarah Palin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I saw that poll this week as well.

PLOUFFE: There may be close to unanimity on that, yes.


NAVARRO: I'm not sure John Boehner would agree that he's responsible for anything Sarah Palin says...

STEPHANOPOULOS: We've got to take a quick break. Before we go to break our powerhouse puzzler, as you saw, my hometown in Cleveland, my big winner of the week for getting back LeBron James and the 2016 GOP convention.

So here's the question. Some 50 years since Cleveland won a championship in any major pro sport, name the team that won in 1964. Bonus points for the opponent. We're back in just two minutes.


STEPHANOPOULOS: So which Cleveland team won a championship 50 years ago?

Let's see some answers.

David Plouffe?

PLOUFFE: The Cleveland Browns defeated the New York Giants.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're half right. Browns. That's a silent protest there from Ana Navarro, Miami Heat. We'll get to that later.

NAVARRO: No clue.

But when was the last Republican convention in Cleveland?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wouldn't know if you hadn't told me.

When was it?

NAVARRO: 1936, when the keynoter called FDR a New Deal Cesar.


Bill Kristol?

KRISTOL: The Cleveland Browns and I just guessed about the Lions (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: That was a good call.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You're exactly right.

KRISTOL: Really?


STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, that's right. They beat them 27-0...

KRISTOL: (INAUDIBLE) the Lions and the Colts.


STEPHANOPOULOS: There you go right there.

We'll be back in just one minute to talk about Lebron James, Cleveland's big week and the World Cup. We're joined by ESPN's Mike Tirico.


STEPHANOPOULOS: A World Cup final later today, Germany versus Argentina, airing right here on ABC.

And ESPN's Mike Tirico will lead the coverage.

He joins us now from Rio -- and, Mike, what a thrill this must be for you. No single sporting event is bigger than this.

MIKE TIRICO, ESPN CORRESPONDENT: It is incredible, George.

The estimates from the last World Cup final in 2010 showed over 700 million people watching. So if you bump it up a little bit, about 10 percent of the world will stop and watch this soccer match today. Nothing stops the world like a World Cup final.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So how do you see the game?

A lot of people say Argentina, the world's -- the world's best player, Lionel Messi, versus Germany with the world's best team.

Is that how you see it?

TIRICO: Yes. Messi is the four time World Player of the Year. He is renowned globally as one of the greats all-time in the game. And this is seen as the messing line in his resume -- can he get a World Cup title to really be one of the true greats in the history of the game?

Germany in the others -- other hand, is going for a fourth World Cup title. Only the host nation, Brazil, has more, with five.

They are a machine. They are a team that is built to win now and for the future and they're the slight favorite coming in, although the beach behind me in Rio feels like Buenos Aires. Argentines sleeping out overnight, camping out. And they will be all of this town and try to rub it in the face of the Brazilians that they can win a World Cup on Brazilian soil.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, it has been a rough couple of weeks for Brazil.

I've got to talk to you about Lebron James.

I want to show an excerpt of that essay he wrote...


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- in "Sports Illustrated." He said, "My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I'm from."

What difference is this going to make for the Cavs?

TIRICO: George, they go from a 60 to 1 shot when the season ended a month or so ago to the favorite to win the NBA title. That's how much the market moved with one man moving teams.

And I think it's great for sports and really great for the Rust Belt, the Great Lakes states where the weather is not as good and the economy has struggled. And you've been talking about the convention going there in a couple of years, to see someone who is as big an individual star as we have in American sports say, I want to go back to my hometown and win.

If he's able to win, and as you said, '64 was the last time Cleveland had a champion, they'll build a statue of Lebron James in Cleveland and he will be a forever hero where he's from. And that's, at the end of the day, kind of about going home, it's all about, really.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about that.

Meantime, you've got Lebron James down there in Rio today, right?

TIRICO: Lebron is here. Vladimir Putin is here. The three heads of state, the host nation and the two nations competing, all female heads of state. So it's a who's who of VIPs that gather to watch the World Cup final.

As -- as we said, it stops the world and brings some of the biggest names in the world, as well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mike, have fun today.

We will be watching.

Let's talk about this now on our roundtable.

And Ana Navarro, I have to start with you.

NAVARRO: OK. Could you just kindly contain your Cleveland (INAUDIBLE)?


STEPHANOPOULOS: How did they take it in Miami?

NAVARRO: You know, I think everybody is disappointed, saddened. But I think we're also grateful for the four years that Lebron James gave us. To tell you the truth, it's brought out the classiest and the best of Miami Heat, fans of the Miami Heat organization, when you compare it to how clean Limbey Hato (ph) is, Lebron four years ago, we have been grateful, gracious and thankful for the four years...


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- totally -- is there a point in David I agree with you. I saw your Tweet about Lebron's essay in "Sports Illustrated." Line for line...

PLOUFFE: Pitch perfect.


PLOUFFE: It was pitch perfect. It was moving. It was unusual. Here's someone who's not doing it for the money, who seems to have learned from it. And the way they did this, the discretion the whole process had, the way they executed it, was almost flawless. Maybe they should do this for the vice presidential selection...



NAVARRO: He was a cocky...


NAVARRO: -- he was a cocky kid when he left Cleveland.


NAVARRO: We turned him...


NAVARRO: -- we turned him into a...


ROBERTS: He said that. He said Miami was like college for me, which was very interesting. And I -- I think it's been a terrific week for Cleveland, even before he made this decision, because the Republicans decided to have the convention there. We all saw pictures of Cleveland. It looks a whole lot better than it used to look.

And a -- and it sort of made those sort of looking into what's going on there, Ohio unemployment rate was 5.7 practice in May. I mean it's -- it's in good shape these days. And to showcase that in a week like this really does help this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It signals the importance the Republicans put on the state of Ohio (INAUDIBLE)...


KRISTOL: Absolutely. Though they could move the convention to Miami now.


KRISTOL: I hate all this good-natured sportsmanship. All the people of Miami are being so gracious and Lebron has returned so much.

Whatever happened to old-fashioned American sport, you know?


KRISTOL: Real hatred of the opposition (INAUDIBLE)...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we saw that in Ana's Tweets before.



NAVARRO: You always call...


NAVARRO: -- on Bill Kristol for a little bit of optimism and, you know...


NAVARRO: -- morale.

KRISTOL: She's cleaned up her act here for -- for...


STEPHANOPOULOS: But, no, now, David, it -- I think it's -- it's clearly smart, I think, of the Republicans to go to Ohio. They need to win Ohio to get -- to get the White House.

But you believe that this whole idea that is -- that it's twinned with, moving up the convention to July or even June, is a mistake.

PLOUFFE: I think it's a huge strategic blunder. I mean the two things you absolutely control in a presidential campaign and a general election are your convention and the selection of your vice presidential nominee. Both of those things are now going to be over, essentially, before the summer.

And if the Democrats -- they haven't made their decision yet -- but hold their convention at the end of August or in September, they're going to have a huge crack at the American electorate right as they begin to pay attention to the election. so I think they're learning the wrong lessons from why they last -- lost. They say it's all because of the money. It wasn't because of the money. In fact, the president got outspent most of the summer of 2012.

So I think it's a huge mistake.

I will say, on Ohio, I think it was smart to go there. We basically ran for governor of Ohio twice. We're happy for the people of Ohio.

But, you know, the problem with the Electoral College, of course, is the Republicans have to still pull an inside straight, I think, to get to 270 electoral votes.

ROBERTS: Right. It's always fighting the last war. I mean that is the -- what people always do. And this was the Republicans thinking, well, if we had just ended the primary sooner, been able to get to the general election pot of money sooner, we -- we would have had a better shot.

They weren't going to win that election anyway. And they're going to have a tough time next time.

KRISTOL: You know, the longest running primary, as David will remember, it was the longest running primary battle in modern times, was in 2008. Obama-Clinton, a lot of Republicans said, boy, this is really going to hurt the Democrats in the fall, and, you know, they're wasting all this money, they're antagonizing each other's supporters.

I sort of agree with David. People do tend to over think these things and -- and fight the last war.

But the Republican National chairman very much does believe, which is kind of the conventional narrative in Republican circles, too many debates, too long a primary season and too much damage done in that season. End it quickly and get a nominee...


STEPHANOPOULOS: And there is...


KRISTOL: And there's some truth to that, too.


ROBERTS: It wasn't just too many debates, they were ridiculous debates.

NAVARRO: Listen, I say, I think we're over thinking this. I think most people aren't paying as much attention to conventions as they used to, unfortunately. And -- and I'm not sure it's going to make that much of a difference.

PLOUFFE: I think it does. We went through this twice. It matters. And I -- I think they've made a huge mistake here, because the truth is...

NAVARRO: That's the guy who was sitting on a big pot of money while...


NAVARRO: -- while Romney was...

STEPHANOPOULOS: We've got to take...

NAVARRO: -- dying in the desert.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- a quick break.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to come back in a minute and check in on today's top story.

Martha Raddatz will join us from Israel.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We're back now with with the roundtable, along with Martha Raddatz in Israel -- and, Martha, I know you're back in Jerusalem now.

What's your best sense of where this all goes next?

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: George, I think one thing that was made very clear to me today by the Israelis is that there will be more of those small commando raids into Gaza to look for those long range rocket launchers and the rockets.

The Israelis estimate that Hamas has about 10,000 rockets and they have only taken out about 20 percent of those.

We're back in Jerusalem now, but on the way back, we did see those tanks, those Israeli tanks massed at the border. But I don't really get the sense that the Israelis want a larger ground incursion. But if that Iron Dome fails, all bets are off -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, no question, that's right, Martha.

Bill, let me -- you've followed Prime Minister Bebe Netanyahu for an awful long time.

Do you buy what is becoming, I think, a little bit of the conventional wisdom, that he is quite reluctant to go in on the ground?

KRISTOL: Yes. And I think a lot of Israeli prime ministers have been. It's a small country and you're talking about casualties on both sides if you go in on the ground in a way that you can minimize, perhaps, if you fight mostly from the air.

So, you know, look, if -- we'll see how effective the air campaign is. I think he'd much prefer not to go in on the ground.

ROBERTS: It's a, you know, a real absence, though, of American leadership in the region, because I think that you -- you've got these rockets going into Gaza from Syria and Iran. And, you know, we just haven't -- we haven't made a strong enough presence in that region to have people be afraid of this country.

And so I think there's a sense that, you know, they can get -- get away with anything they want to get away with.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So much -- so much criticism of President Obama, David, for not going in, conducting the air strikes against Syria. Also, some sense that there was a wasted effort by Secretary of State John Kerry...


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- to try to promote this peace between Israel and Palestine.

PLOUFFE: Well, I think this is a -- a clarion call for the fact that we -- we need to continue to pursue peace. I mean this neighborhood is getting more and more unstable. At some point, there needs to be a peace agreement. Obviously, it's not going to happen in the immediate future.

But I think in terms of let's look at Iron Dome. You know, under President Obama, the first direct investment in Iron Dome and we see how well it's working. There's other defense and military systems that are being worked on right now to further protect Israel.

So -- but the notion that somehow you should step back and not pursue peace, at some point, there's going to have to be peace in this region. There has to be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But I think a question, though, Ana Navarro, is it a peace that can be promoted, sparked by the United States or do the parties have to reach it themselves?

NAVARRO: I think both. You know, I think that we cannot give up having a role in the region and -- and playing peace broker and bringing the parties together, not only those parties, but also other countries and governments that can influence the two parties.

But at the same time, America must support Israel. Hamas needs to stop shooting rockets at Israel.


NAVARRO: Israel has the right to protect her citizens.

At the same time that we try to and ask for a de-escalation of this, because it can only spiral out of control and cost many, many lives.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can any -- can any institution, any country, any government out there, really have leverage over Hamas?

KRISTOL: Well, Iran seems to be funding -- sending some weapons to Hamas. And I think, also, Cokie's point is very important. When you have general chaos...


KRISTOL: -- when ISIS is conquering chunks of Syria and Iraq, if you're a jihadist, suddenly you think, hey, I've got to get in this fight...

ROBERTS: Absolutely.

KRISTOL: -- if you're Hamas. To maintain almost your reputation in the Middle East now, you've got to be taking on Israel. So generally speaking, I think American weakness and the growth of and the success of jihadists in the neighborhood has emboldened Hamas.

ROBERTS: I mean that's what you just keep hearing in the diplomatic community, is this ---is where is the United States?

Where are you?

And a -- and Syria being the best example. If we had been in Syria a lot sooner, maybe all of us this wouldn't be happening.

Who knows?

But the...


STEPHANOPOULOS: But Syria would have been...


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- on the side of ISIS.

ROBERTS: Well, except that they wouldn't have been ISIS at that point.


ROBERTS: They weren't ISIS yet. I mean we -- we helped create ISIS.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, thank you all very much.

We're going to be right back after this from our ABC stations.


STEPHANOPOULOS: In this week's Sunday Spotlight, it's been exactly one year since that controversial verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, found not guilty of murder after the killing of Trayvon Martin.

One of the key witnesses in that trial was Rachel Jeantel. A close friend of Trayvon Martin, who was on the phone with him right before he was shot.

Her testimony made her a target of ridicule, but now she has turned her life around thanks to hard work and some good Samaritans.

ABC's Matt Gutman has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you unable to read that at all?

MATT GUTMAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the moment that made Rachel Jeantel a household name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you read any of the words on it?

GUTMAN: The moment the 19-year-old was outed as illiterate on national TV.

RACHEL JEANTEL: I don't understand.

GUTMAN (on camera): There's this point where he basically asks you to read the letter.

And what do you say?

JEANTEL: I'm not able to read it.

GUTMAN: Why was that?

JEANTEL: I didn't learn how to read cursive.

GUTMAN (voice-over): Bringing her rough dialect to an all white jury, argumentative and defiant.

JEANTEL: Are you listening?



GUTMAN: And all but embodying the racial rift the trial seemed to dig in this country. The ridicule was instant and merciless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she comes across as brutally ignorant.

GUTMAN: Including this picture posted on Instagram by defense attorney Don West's own daughter. It reads, "We beat stupidity, celebration cones."

JEANTEL: I'm leaving today.

GUTMAN: You could argue that part of her died on the stand in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, accused of shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. You could also argue that she was reborn.

(on camera): What did that feel like?

JEANTEL: You didn't know me to judge me.

GUTMAN: You didn't know you to judge you?


GUTMAN (voice-over): And it was during a break in testimony that Ron Vereen, a Miami attorney, decided to act.

RON VEREEN, ATTORNEY: I didn't like what took place in social media and the attacks that she received nationwide. And I couldn't turn my back to that and I couldn't turn a blind eye to the problems that I knew she had.

GUTMAN: He coached her that night and hasn't stopped, helping to set up a support group that he would call the village. Jeantel was born premature. English was not her first language at home and reading never came easily.

(on camera): In some of the articles that I've seen, it said that you had, at the time of this trial, a fourth grade reading level.

JEANTEL: Yes. I wanted to go for help.

GUTMAN (voice-over): But no one helped until Vereen's army of tutors descended for up to several hours a day. And they were tough.

JEANTEL: Very, very, very tough. That's what I needed, to be honest. That's what I needed.

GUTMAN: Jeantel was sent to a new school and last month, yes, that's her in those heels and that smile.

JEANTEL: Oh, my gosh, right that morning I -- I kissed my bed. It's like, thank you, Jesus (INAUDIBLE). Like, I really woke up, like for the first time since I started going to this school.

GUTMAN: The so-called illiterate girl walking in her own high school graduation.

(on camera): Where do you see yourself five years from now?

JEANTEL: Following my dreams.

GUTMAN: Following your dreams?

JEANTEL: And graduate college.

GUTMAN (voice-over): But all of them agree, it'll take a village.

For THIS WEEK, Matt Gutman, ABC News, Miami.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And we look forward to that day.

Great story.

We also end with some welcome news.

The Pentagon reported no deaths of service members in Afghanistan this week.

That's all for us today.

Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.


And we'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."

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