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President Trump Speaks at NRA Convention; Investigators Looking into Michael Cohen's Activities During Trump Campaign; Interview with Congressman Eric Swalwell; Rudy Giuliani and President Trump's Comments on Stormy Daniels Payoff Examined; Volcano Erupts in Hawaii; NASA Launches Spacecraft to Explore Mars. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 5, 2018 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:25] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Saturday morning. So grateful to have you with us, Saturday, May 5th it is. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. The top stories this hour, the crisis of credibility. The president and his team struggling to get their individual and collective stories straight. And now "The New York Times" reveals the president knew about a porn star payout months before he denied it.

PAUL: And seeking shelter -- hundreds of earthquakes are triggering volcanic eruptions this morning. They're spewing lava and deadly chemicals into Hawaii neighborhoods right now.

BLACKWELL: And the mission to Mars. NASA already checked out its paint work. Now it's time to look under the hood. Astronaut Leroy Chiao tells us what today's launch is all about. You are in the CNN Newsroom.

Good morning to you. Live look at Joint Base Andrews now where in just moments President Trump will board Air Force One and head to Ohio, leaving behind the growing credibility crisis facing his White House for a chance to rally his base.

PAUL: President Trump hosting tax reform events with supporters today hours after he cheered that Second Amendment with the NRA. But his speech already drawing some criticism from some survivors of gun violence. Cameron Kasky for one, from Parkland High School. He's a student, and I spoke to him this morning.


CAMERON KASKY, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: He is a professional liar who will say anything to appease whatever crowd he's at. If he's in front of families he might something in support of common sense gun reform. But then when he's at the NRA, he will say something to get a big cheer.


PAUL: Other student groups are leading a protest outside the NRA convention today. CNN's Ed Lavandera in fact is there. So Ed, what exactly are organizers hoping that they're going to be able to accomplish today?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. This is the epicenter here in Dallas, Texas, of this gun debate. Just across the street over here you have the National Rifle Association annual meeting where tens of thousands of people spending the weekend in Dallas. They heard from Donald Trump and Mike Pence yesterday headlining the speaking engagements of that event.

And out here in about an hour, the rallies begin today. This is really the most intense days of anti-NRA rallies that we're going to see throughout this annual meeting. So there are a number of rallies scheduled here. They're billing this as a grassroots event, trying to register voters, get people motivated to vote on what they call common sense gun law. So that is really the point of this.

So there are a number of rallies. It is fascinating to see as you picture the layout in downtown Dallas, Christi and Victor, the NRA meeting taking place in the massive convention center and in the blocks surrounding it, several more thousands of people expected to descend on downtown Dallas this morning to protest that organization. So it should be a dynamic day here in Dallas, for sure. Christi?

PAUL: Ed, good to have you there. Ed Lavandera for us there in Dallas.

BLACKWELL: President Trump wants today to be about his tax law, tax plans for the future. But a major distraction is threatening to overshadow that, the growing credibility crisis of his administration.

PAUL: And here's one of the main reasons why this morning. "The New York Times" has a new report that President Trump did know about a hush money deal his lawyer made with a porn star several months before he denied it. Remember, just a few weeks ago the president claimed he didn't know anything about this.

BLACKWELL: And now we've learned investigators are also looking into how that lawyer, Michael Cohen, built up a $774,000 war chest during the campaign as he worked to fix problems for the Trump team. CNN's Jeremy Diamond live at the White House. Jeremy, the president just left the south lawn. Did he answer any questions this morning?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, Victor. The president departing the White House this morning on his way to Cleveland, ignoring reporters shouted questions as he made his way to Marine One, preferring, it appears, to allow the confusion to sit with the American public as it relates to his payments, repayments, rather of the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

Let's look where this started, though, the latest iteration of this saga, at least. On Wednesday night, Rudy Giuliani, the president's newly minted attorney, took to FOX News to assert for the first time that the president did, in fact, repay Michael Cohen for that hush money payment. He later said it was a $35,000 a month retainer that facilitated that payment, and he even said that he spoke with the president before going on air to make those comments. But yesterday the president appearing to muddle this situation further, and he urged reporters to take a look at his original comments about the payment so we did.


[10:05:08] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he got the money?

TRUMP: No, I don't know.


DIAMOND: So those were the president's comments last month. Now "The New York Times" is reporting that the president, when he said that, he actually did know about the payments. In fact "The New York Times" is reporting that the president has known about the payments for months now, that's according to two sources who spoke with the "New York Times."

Rudy Giuliani, for his part, put out a statement yesterday clarifying that he was describing his understanding of the matters, not necessarily the president's knowledge of the situation. But it appears that the president and his legal team would like to have their cake and eat it too, avoiding the possibility of getting in any legal trouble by revealing that the president did, in fact, repay Michael Cohen while also remaining hazy on the details of that repayment and when the president found out about it because that would affect the president from a political perspective. Back to you guys.

PAUL: Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Joining me now to discuss, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. Congressman, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So first let's start with the news of the day. We actually invited you here to talk about the NRA and an assault weapons ban, but let's start with this reporting from "The New York Times" that President Trump, indeed, knew of the payment of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels months before he denied having any knowledge of it. What's your reaction?

SWALWELL: Of course he knew about the payment. I don't think most reasonable Americans thought otherwise. They see nothing but deception from the president on this issue. To me it's relevant more so in what did he know about the work that the Russians were doing for his campaign? If this president is willing to deceive Americans about payoffs he made around the time of the election, it's probably likely that because he has operated in a shadowy way that he hasn't been straight with us about what was going on with the Russia investigation, what was going on with his family members, his businesses, his campaign, and individuals from Russia who were seeking to help them. And so I think the best thing he could do is come clean with the

American people, sit down in Bob Mueller's chair, stop undermining the investigation and allow us to move on because, Victor, the cost of this mess that he has created from the payoffs to the Russia investigation is he is incapable of addressing the needs that the American worker needs right now. And they need a president who is focused, not a president who day-to-day is under these distractions.

SWALWELL: Despite calling for the president to sit down with the special counsel, we heard from the president yesterday saying that nobody more than him wants to sit down and speak about this because, in his words, there was no collusion. Do you expect that will happen as we watch the president leave marine one here, walking over to Air Force One? He will be heading to a round table later this afternoon. Go ahead, congressman.

SWALWELL: I don't expect that to happen. I expect more of these games and more obstruction and using his fixers in Congress to try and undermine Rod Rosenstein and Bob Mueller. But he has been provided the questions. And at first, as a former prosecutor, I couldn't believe that the government had done that. And now I'm realizing the brilliance of it, which is the public now sees that these questions are straightforward, they're fair. They relate only to what Russia was doing and actions the president took. And so he really will have no excuse to the American people, who he has promised to be honest with and straightforward with, as to why he can't sit down.

Now remember, Victor, back in September of 2016, candidate Trump told America that anyone on Hillary Clinton's team if they took the Fifth Amendment in the investigation should be concluded as being guilty. He said only the mob takes the Fifth. So, Mr. President, will you follow your own advice, which is honest people come forward and that only somebody who has something to hide takes the Fifth Amendment? I hope our president shoots straight with us.

BLACKWELL: We just saw the president there board Air Force One. He's headed to Ohio for an event on taxes. Unlike we saw yesterday, the president did not speak to reporters there on the south lawn, he did not speak to them there at Joint Base Andrews. The president made a lot of news yesterday. That was in route to the NRA annual meeting. And let me talk to you about that, congressman. And we had on one of the survivors of the parkland shooting, Cameron Kasky, this morning. And of course they have been rallying for change, including an assault weapons ban. You wrote about that in an op-ed in "USA Today" this week. Why are you calling now for a buy back and a ban? And is that the most effective as we know that critics will say that most of the gun violence in the country is not through the barrel of assault weapons, but a handgun?

SWALWELL: I have evolved on this issue from being a prosecutor to a member of Congress and seeing so many victims that I now believe that a child's right to learn in A classroom from fear, their right to go home and their right to live is supreme to any other right.

[10:10:11] I don't accept that a weapon of war and assault weapon is covered by the Second Amendment and that if we buy them back or limit them to gun clubs, we can dramatically reduce mass shootings.

But Victor, you're absolutely right. This is not a false choice. We either address the assault weapons or do nothing. I think we can do more to increase gun violence prevention programs, invest in mental health care, make sure we have Congressman Mike Thompson's background check bill, get a vote on that, require the states to upload federally information about mental health, individuals and their states. There's so much more we could do. But the cost of doing nothing, we know what that will get us -- more carnage, more lives lost.

BLACKWELL: Let me put to you the argument that the president offered yesterday at his address to the NRA meeting in saying that, well, if you're going to ban assault weapons, then maybe you should ban vans because we've seen those used as weapons, and trucks and cars, and don't sell any more cars because people are using those to mow down innocent people as well. To that you say what?

SWALWELL: I say if you look at the last major mass shootings in America, they were assault weapons, from Parkland to Pulse to a church in Texas and, of course, Las Vegas. These weapons, they have no other practical use with a pistol grip or a collapsible stock to spray a crowd and mow down a lot of people. And if you're in their way, as you read in the op-ed, the young African-American Gary Jackson in Oakland, California, the shooter fired dozens of rounds at him, hit him just once in the back of the thigh, and he still died. The sheer energy leaves you no chance. We should do something about that. The cost of doing nothing will be more lives lost.

BLACKWELL: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

PAUL: We're looking at what's happening in Hawaii this morning. There's lava almost everywhere. It's nonstop earthquakes, it feels like, for those people. But that's not even the worst of what Hawaii is dealing with this morning.

BLACKWELL: Also the mission to Mars, how NASA's newest toy could tell us a whole lot more about the red planet.

PAUL: Also we're keeping tabs on the president's false or misleading claims even though the White House says they do not have a problem with accuracy.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We give the very best information we have at the time. I do that every single day and will continue to do that every day under this position.



[10:16:51] BLACKWELL: Can you imagine?


BLACKWELL: Oh, my gosh. It's so bright orange that it doesn't even look real.

PAUL: And the sound.


PAUL: When you hear the crackling and almost the hissing of the fire there.

BLACKWELL: I mean, 400 earthquakes in 24 hours, and then roads blocked off by this, lava. People on Hawaii's Big Island are just trying to stay out of the way as the lava from the Kilauea volcano destroys everything in its path. Two families have lost their homes already.

PAUL: And these earthquakes, they're only making things worse. Look at this picture. They're opening up more cracks, more fissures in the road for that lava to fill. Yesterday 6.9 magnitude earthquake was felt on another island more than 200 miles away. One woman said she knew this could happen one day but the reality is that it's just now sinking in. She almost feels like she's in a movie, she says.

BLACKWELL: Understandably when you look at the pictures. We know the Big Island is under a state of emergency. Thousands have had to leave their homes. But many say they're not receiving any updates on their homes or even when it will be safe to return. CNN spoke with a man who lives on a farm in that Leilani area. Listen to this.


TIMOTHY TRUN, LEILANI RESIDENT: We're holding up good. I'm with 11 people that have been displaced and are homeless and workless right now that were also working on my farm. And it's been a real shocker. The last day we were there, just Thursday, we were making a goodbye dinner for one of our friends, we were about to enjoy the dinner and then the cops show up and tell us we have to go. And everything changed in an instant. We had five minutes to back your bags with what you think you're going to need, and you're off.

And I was in a supermarket when the 6.9 hit, which is one of the scariest places you can be. As you can imagine there's glass falling, bottles falling, things falling off the shelves. There was a ton of people in the store. Everybody is going crazy. And it lasted a good 10, 15 seconds it felt like. And I didn't know what to do. I just become hyper aware of the situation.


PAUL: That Leilani subdivision is at the center of most of the destruction. There are large cracks that have opened up. They're releasing more lava. But there's an even bigger threat on the horizon.

BLACKWELL: Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the CNN Weather Center with more. This is one we can't capture on video.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, METEOROLOGIST: No, you can't because you can't see it. You supposedly can smell it, and it has a very pungent smell to it. But that's about the only warning you get from this. We're talking about sulfur dioxide, it's one of the gases released within those fissures, the cracks that we've talked about, along with the lava.

The problem is even if you have never had any history of breathing problems, in low doses the sulfur dioxide can trigger breathing problems in you. At high doses which they have been reported around these areas, it can be fatal, just another one of the reasons why they have put those evacuations in place. Earthquakes have also been around. Not that you needed another reason to evacuate, but yes. And a lot of them, the most recent number we have, over 430 now in the last 24 hours. We're also keeping an eye on additional fissures or cracks that could open up as the system continues to evolve. And it is.

[10:20:02] But the question is why? Why exactly is this happening? So we have to break down and start with the volcano itself. Underneath the volcano, you have the magma chamber. The magma is filling up and it's triggering a lot of pressure. It's building pressure underneath because it has nowhere to go.

The thing you have to understand is it's not just under the volcano. It spreads out very far away. That Leilani Estates community we've been talking about is over 25 miles away from the crater of the actual volcano. But it's still within that magma chamber underneath where that pressure builds, it has to be released in some way, shape or form. So these fissures or these cracks develop. The lava makes its way to the surface, and you also have that toxic gas that comes up. The thing is we're dealing with at least six of those fissures right now in addition to all the earthquakes.

Take a look at some of the numbers of the earthquakes that we've just been dealing with, again, some incredibly impressive numbers, the largest of which was a 6.9 on Friday, very shallow, by the way. Only about five kilometers deep or about 3.1 miles. This was large enough to trigger a mini tsunami, caused sea level changes 15 inches give or take. Nothing major, but it goes to show you the strength that these earthquakes have had.

The vast majority of the earthquakes have been small. But this really just goes to show you the amount of activity that's taking place here. And again, Victor and Christi, we point out even though most of them are small it's still a warning sign that you could end up having more fissures. So it's still something to pay attention to.

PAUL: No doubt about it. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So we talked this morning about the false claims and misleading statements the president has made. And we're trying to figure out a way to really get you to understand how many of them he has made. So I remember the game of jar of gumballs. If you had just one gumball for every lie or misleading statement from the president, how many jars would that fill?

PAUL: You're going to show us.


PAUL: Of course. Also, you might be wondering, how private, how safe are my phone conversations? There's a new report that the NSA is increasing its surveillance, and the numbers are pretty spectacular. Stay close.


[10:26:46] BLACKWELL: In the last few days we've heard Rudy Giuliani's story, we've heard President Trump's story, Sarah Sanders has her own version. But it looks like we still don't know the true story when it comes to the hush money payment between President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels. The latest false claim is about the president's reimbursement of Cohen.


BLACKWELL: There are really so many claims that are false or misleading statements and just downright lies it's hard to keep track, but we are. Remember this from January? According to the fact checker blog at the "Washington Post," President Trump has made 1,950 false and misleading statements since January 20th, 2017, Inauguration Day. Think of that, 1,950. That's an average of more than five a day. At this pace he'll hit 2,000 in his first full year of office. That's stunning, but also hard to grasp.

So I thought how do I make something conceptual like a false statement concrete, tangible? Then I remembered that game I hated as a kid, the jar of gumballs. And 1,950 -- standby. Two jars. Have we reached it yet, 1,950? Not yet. Watch. Move it over here. Three. Are we there yet? Stand by. When is with a kid, I never knew how many gumballs were in those jars. But in these four, 1,950.


BLACKWELL: And yes, friends, the sweet colorful bites of false claims, misleading statements, and flatout lies are back. We wanted after so many bunk statements to show you what this president's commitment to the truth looks like. The last time we checked, it filled these four big glass jars. Remember, 1,950. Well, after the last 24 hours, we decided to show you what this administration's commitment to accuracy looks like today.

How many jars has this administration filled? Let's take a look. We've got a fifth jar, and I don't know if the shot is wide enough. We are on our way to filling a sixth because, according to the "Washington Post," their fact checker blog, the president has made 3,001 false claims since taking the oath of office through May 1st. That's an additional 1,051 false claims in 120 days. He's now averaging more than six lies a day. Think about it. That's more than some people wash their hands in a day. One every four hours, on average. That's two before most folks get to work in the morning. Timely enough, this is what the president had to say just yesterday about the spread of misinformation.


[10:30:05] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's actually very simple. It's actually very simple. But there has been a lot of misinformation, really. People wanting to say -- and I say, you know what? Learn before you speak. It's a lot easier.


BLACKWELL: Learn before you speak. Joining me now to talk about this, Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, and Jack Kingston, CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign. Welcome back, the both of you. Jack, I'm starting with you.


BLACKWELL: Yes, sir, I am -- 3,001 false statements, misleading claims, and downright lies in this administration so far. Are you proud of that?

KINSTON: Not proud of it. I certainly will concede the point that there have been a lot of misstatements coming out of the White House, but not unique to this presidency. I just posted four pages of Obama lies before that. Bush, there were even signs that say Bush lies. I think Clinton probably still holds the lifetime record. And I think the American people understand that they're not going to find a lot of -- they're not going to look at Washington, D.C. as the fount of truth whether it's from Congress or from the White House. Unfortunately.


MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When you have to go back to your predecessors and point to whatever you think it is that they did, you know that you're losing the argument.

Yes, people don't inherently trust politicians. Yes, Clinton lied and Democrats were outraged when it happened. But for the president of the United States to have documented 3,001 lies since the moment that he took office, which was 15 months ago, is an astounding record that no American should be proud of. And it points to why he has a record low approval rating. It points to why in a poll this past week the majority of Americans believe this White House is in complete chaos. This is the pant on fire president that is presiding over a dumpster fire administration. It is bad for democracy. It is bad for the country. It is bad for America's image overseas. And I think going into the midterm elections, Congressional Republicans are scared, as they should be, because Americans are going to make sure that their voice is heard that this is not acceptable.

BLACKWELL: Jack, the news of the day, "The New York Times" reporting that President Trump knew of the payment to Stormy Daniels through his attorney, Michael Cohen, months before denied knowing anything about it. This president just casually according to the "New York Times" reporting lied to the American people about what he knew. How does he then try to come up with a story that the American people should believe on this point on about this, or anything for that matter?

KINGSTON: Victor, for one thing, let me just say, remember the source. "New York Times" has not exactly gone out of its way to be accurate on President Trump.


KINGSTON: "The New York Times" --

BLACKWELL: Let's take "The New York Times" out of the equation, if that's what you're going to use. The president said -- let me finish this question. The president said on Air Force One he knew nothing about the payment to Stormy Daniels, did not know where Michael Cohen got the money, and then tweeted out this week this lawyered up statement about having reimbursed him through these retainer payments of $35,000 a month. We can take "The New York Times" out of it. The president did, indeed, tell something to the American people that was not true by using just his own statements.

KINGSTON: Well, Victor, one time when I was in Congress I had an electrician doing work for me at my house. We had a dispute over his work, and he said I don't care if I'm right or wrong. I'm going to go public with it and it's going to embarrass you as a Congressman. I know that public figures, office holders and celebrities as Donald Trump was before he became a politician, often get this soft blackmail from people. Clearly that's what Stormy Daniels was doing. That's why they had to do the NDA to begin with.

BLACKWELL: How is that clear?


KINGSTON: A fixer who would pay a retainer, you pay him a monthly retainer and makes the problems go away.


KINGSTON: I think you don't necessarily know where all that retainer goes, but you know that Michael Cohen is solving problems for you.

BLACKWELL: Jack, hold on. Wait a minute, Jack.

CARDONA: Poor jack.

BLACKWELL: I hate for this to be one-sided here but, jack, the president himself said he knew nothing about the money and then he tweeted out that, yes, I did reimburse him through this retainer. You're talking about the allegation. We can set the allegation aside for this question. It is about the payment and the disclosure of them.

[10:35:00] KINGSTON: But Victor, what I'm saying if I am paying my property manager, I also have some rental income, rental properties -- if I'm paying my property manager a monthly fee, he is dispersing that in a way that's appropriate to the management of that property to make issues go away. And that's what he was doing with Michael Cohen. So I think under the $35,000 a month that he has routinely paid, I don't know that he knew where everything went. Maybe he did, maybe he did not as we will probably find out.

CARDONA: Come on. Come on.

BLACKWELL: I've been a landlord and a property manager. One, I didn't pay him $35,000 a month for a year, as Giuliani said that he did. But also, these are very different scenarios. I need to get Maria back into this conversation.

CARDONA: Thank you. I don't think, Jack, that you would be paying your property manager to pay off porn stars. At least I don't think you would be doing that. Let's be very clear here --

KINGSTON: If one was a tenant --

BLACKWELL: Let her finish.

CARDONA: The majority of the American people believe that Donald Trump, of course, knew about this payment. The majority of the American people, of course, believe that he slept with the porn star. That's not the issue. Clearly they knew they were not getting a saint. Clearly they knew they were getting somebody who had lived his life in a sleazy manner and he was not going to stop doing that. They didn't care. He showed us who he was throughout the '90s. He showed us who he was in the "Access Hollywood" tape. That hasn't changed.

What clearly also hasn't changed is that he continues to lie to the American people. So all of his supporters, all of his evangelicals should really take another look at who they have elected as president of the United States because I believe the American people, as a whole, writ large, who did not vote for him now truly understand that their vote really does count and that the president of the United States should not just be somebody that they can trust but that they need to uphold American values. And this president does not do that.

BLACKWELL: Let me put up some numbers here, this from the "Washington Post" fact checker blog. Some of the days with the most number -- the highest number of false claims and lies, 53 on a single day, July 25th, 2017, 49 on November 29th of 2017. And recently 44 on April 28th, tied with December 8th there with the most number of false or misleading claims.

Jack, let me come to you as we wrap up here. And I want you to hear from a conservative who supports the president pointing out the lack of clarity in the president's words. Here is FOX News host Neil Cavuto this week.


NEIL CAVUTO, FOX BUSINESS HOST: Let me be clear, Mr. President. How can you drain the swamp if you're the one who keeps muddying the waters? You didn't know about that $130,000 payment to a porn star until you did. You said you knew nothing about how your former lawyer, Michael Cohen, handled this until acknowledging today that you were the guy behind the retainer payment that took care of this. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: What does this mean to the president's base, to the party?

KINGSTON: You know, I want to just quote what Maria said. I don't think they care to the degree that a lot of this is seen as inside baseball politics. What they do care about is the record unemployment rate, that he's a very pro-life president, that he's tough on the boarder. He has been tough on national security, he's negotiating with North Korea. And I think that when they --

BLACKWELL: So essentially this is the Pruitt argument, that if you're doing the job I want you to do, that I really don't care about your ethics?

KINGSTON: I think over the years, over the last several decades, that that's been the state. People are not looking at Washington for moral purity. They're looking for results. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, by the way. I'm just saying that's the way it is because --

BLACKWELL: Why can't you say it's right or wrong?

CARDONA: You're actually kind of saying it's acceptable. You're saying it's acceptable.

KINGSTON: I'm saying --

CARDONA: And it's not.

KINGSTON: -- the American people made a decision that it was acceptable to them. They knew that they were --

CARDONA: Not majority of the American people.

KINGSTON: Well, you know, he won. He broke the blue wall, Maria. Let's agree to that.

CARDONA: Not the majority of the American people. And you know what, Victor? Just very quickly --

KINGSTON: The economy is doing good.

CARDONA: Just really quickly when you have FOX News -- when you have FOX News saying -- telling the president, Mr. President, this is your swamp, this is your stink, it's a tipping point. FOX News.

BLACKWELL: Maria Cardona, Jack Kingston, thank you both. And I also just want you to get one more look here. Each one of these is one of the misleading statements, false claims, or just downright lies from the president of the United States, and we are only 15, 16 months in to this administration. We'll continue to count the president's false claims and show them to you because, although Jack Kingston says most people have not determined whether it's right or wrong, you should at least see what your president is telling you. Christi?

[10:40:08] PAUL: Victor, thanks. A new mission to Mars. Details on NASA's latest voyage to the red

planet, what they're hoping to learn once this new robot reaches the surface.


[10:45:00] BLACKWELL: If you thought all your phone conversations with perfectly private, maybe not. The National Security Agency has tripled its collection of phone records and text messages since 2016, that's according to a new report. They collected 534 million records, 534 million phone calls and text messages.

PAUL: Yes, and this is a spike that coincides with reports that there's been an increase in other surveillance methods as well, raising concerns of potential government overreach into the lives of ordinary citizens.

BLACKWELL: All right, this morning, an historic liftoff on the west coast, the Atlas V rocket launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. This is the first interplanetary launch from the west coast.

PAUL: And it's the first time NASA has launched a robotic lander designed entirely for studying below the surface of Mars, deep below. The major mission for the Mars inside lander is to look at the red planet's structure to better understand the evolution of rocky planets. Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao is with us now. Thank you so much, Mr. Chiao, for being here. First and foremost, many people might look at this and say what does it matter that the launch was on the west coast? What was the advantage there.

LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: The advantage of launching from the west coast as opposed to the east coast is that you can put the spacecraft into a higher inclination orbit. That is you want to try to avoid flying over populated areas. So I'm guessing that this probe needed a very specific inclination launch and so that's why it launched from the west coast.

PAUL: Got you. Here's one little tidbit that's interesting. As I understand it, it's going to take nearly seven months to reach Mars. So that would put it around November 26th. They want to examine the core, the mantle, the crust of Mars. What are they hoping they will learn from that planet that they can then learn about earth?

CHIAO: Well, as you know, we've had rovers on Mars quite a number of years now. They've been sending back stunning photographs and wonderful scientific data. But we've literally just scratched the surface of Mars. So what this spacecraft will do, it will take a look deeper into the planet itself. And it has different instruments on it. One instrument is going to be a seismometer. It's going to measure for vibrations to see if Mars has earthquakes, or Mars-quakes, I guess. And that will tell us a lot about the interior of Mars and whether it has tectonic plates like the earth. And another instrument is going to measure the temperature inside, it's going to drill down and measure the temperature inside of the planet. So that's very important. And then another instrument is going to see -- test the wobble, see

how much Mars' axis is wobbling. That is very important because that will help determine whether or not Mars has a liquid core similar to the earth's, and not, or if it has a smaller one, that will help explain why Mars' magnetic fields went away. And is really going to help complete -- not totally complete but it will help fill in a lot of the gaps that we don't yet know about Mars. So it's a very exciting mission.

PAUL: Leroy I know as a retired astronaut, you're probably watching this. Do you ever get that inclination that you would like to go back up? Do you think we will ever see somebody step on Mars?

CHIAO: Well, I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful. I would love to explore Mars, go back up into space to explore the moon or Mars. I've had almost 229 -- 230 days in low earth orbit, so I've certainly had a lot of experience there. And I'm hopeful that we will send someone to Mars.

But unfortunately I like to say we've been 20 years from Mars since 1969 back during Apollo 11. We were sure in 20 years we were going to have people on Mars, and the can keeps getting steadily kicked down the road. So it's going to take -- we have the technology. It's going to take that political and capital commitment, the investment of the dollars to do that. And I'm hopeful that there will be an international coalition that will find that worthwhile, politically and otherwise, to do that together.

PAUL: I would have to think that you would be sitting there, as a retired astronaut, thinking I just want to go up there. Leroy Chiao, thank you for the conversation today.

CHIAO: My pleasure. Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: Next hour, we are live in Hawaii where the sun will be rising soon on the sea of an active volcano. Look at this. The people who live there have to leave. Stay with us at 11:00 a.m. eastern.

PAUL: Listen, tomorrow we're talking about this. He was hit in the face with a rocket-propelled grenade. He survived. Tomorrow on NEW DAY we're talking to war reporter Carmen Gentile, talking about what happened, why he still felt he had to go back to Afghanistan after all of that, and how life has changed now that he's a father.


[10:54:10] PAUL: So we have shared the story of coach Khali Sweeney, the top 10 CNN Hero from Detroit who uses boxing to lead kids on the path to academic success.

BLACKWELL: His story has inspired so many, but it really struck a chord with one social studies student from New Hampshire. Sweeney says he had to thank that student in person. Watch the surprise. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you remember when he said he wanted to skype with us?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He decided to do a little more than that. Can I introduce Mr. Khali Sweeney from Downtown Boxing Gym and his program from Detroit, Michigan?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so honored to meet him, somebody like Khali Sweeney who changes lives every single day.


PAUL: I love it. To see the full story or to nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero, we would love to meet them. Go to

[10:55:05] And hey, we hope you make some good memories today. Thank you for spending time with us this morning.

BLACKWELL: There is so much more ahead in the next hour of the CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is right over there and she'll bring it to you after a quick break.