CNN’s John Berman hits Trump for ‘lie’ about family separations

CNN host John Berman on Tuesday slammed the Trump administration for repeatedly saying it doesn't want to enforce a zero tolerance policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, calling the justification for the policy a “lie.”

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“The White House chose this,” Berman said on CNN's “New Day.” “Not the Bible. Not the Democrats ... This claim that it's a not-wanted, not-policy, not-deterrent and the president can't end it this second, well, that's just not believable, not true and not honest. It's a lie.”

Berman touched on the many defenses members of the Trump administration have used to defend a policy that instructs the Department of Homeland Security to separate any child crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry with adults before those adults are prosecuted. 

Trump has continually blamed the Democrats for the policy, and Homeland Security Security Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official MORE said the notion that it is being used as a deterrent was "offensive" while speaking during a press briefing on Monday. 

But Berman took issue with that claim, sarcastically asking, “How could anyone suggest separating 2,000 children from their parents would be a deterrent?”

The Associated Press reported on Friday that nearly 2,000 minors were separated from their parents at the border between mid-April and the end of May. 

Nielsen's stance that the family separations are not being done as a deterrent is also contradicted by past statements from Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE and White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE.

Kelly, the former Homeland Security secretary, told NPR that family separations would be a “tough deterrent” in May and Sessions has told Fox News that the separations would send a message. 

Berman capped the segment by saying the White House could argue this is the right choice, but that its defenses, such as blaming the Democrats for its existence, are untrue.