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White House Silent as Russia Drives Summit Narrative & Trump Talks 2nd Putin Meeting at White House; White House Waives Privilege on Secretly Recorded Trump-Cohen Tape; Administration Officials in Dark on Trump/Putin Meeting; Does Putin Have Compromising Material on Trump; Federal Investigation Begins in Duck Boat Accident; Wisconsin Trump Voters Respond to Russia-Putin Summit; Rep. Jason Lewis Makes Disparaging Remarks about African-Americans on Radio Show. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 21, 2018 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Having too much fun there.

Catch the all new episode of "The History of Comedy," tomorrow, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Thanks for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Much more of the NEWSROOM continues right now with Alex Marquardt.


You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good afternoon. I'm Alex Marquardt, sitting in this afternoon for Ana Cabrera. Thanks for joining us.

We begin this afternoon with the White House. Silent today, offering no clarity on what agreements President Trump made with Russian President Vladimir Putin behind closed doors at the Helsinki summit last Monday. Instead, it's the Kremlin that's been controlling the narrative, offering up the most information on what they've called "very important oral agreements." Russia's top diplomat summing up the meeting with near exuberation calling it, "better than super."

So if it's better than super for Russia, what did the U.S. agree to, and what did we get out of it? We and most of the senior members of the government are still waiting for answers to those questions from the White House.

And the while we wait, more news coming from Moscow today. CNN learning about a high-level U.S.-Russia phone call that took place. And we learned that from a Kremlin Web site. It was between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke with the foreign minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov. What did they talk about. Moscow says they discussed the so-called American Initiative, and, quote, "a normalization of relations."

With all of this swirling where is President Trump today? At his New Jersey golf course declaring war over a secretly taped conversation by Michael Cohen, his former fixer and lawyer. The president tweeting today, it's, quote, "inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client."

Go to CNN's Ryan Nobles near the president's golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Ryan, good to have you with us.

Lots going on today. Including President Trump, not even a week after the summit in Finland, already extending an invitation for another meeting, a second meeting with President Putin this fall at the White House. What have you learned?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not too much, Alex. Frankly, the White House is not offering much insight at all as to what this meeting will be about, when it will take place, where it will take place, other than to say the national security adviser, John Bolton, has extended that invitation to the Russian president. That certainly had some people in Washington scratching their heads because of a limited amount of information we have about this new Trump-Putin meeting, that it will take place sometime in the fall. That could put a lot of Republicans in a precarious position. We have the hotly contested midterm elections are coming up. Republicans hoping to hold on to control of House and Senate. And members up in swing districts have to answer for the president's decision to have yet another meeting with Vladimir Putin when we still haven't learned all the details of what happened in the Helsinki meeting, that meeting that took place with just President Trump and President Putin and their translators. So this puts many of them in a difficult position.

Furthermore, Alex, members of the Republican Congress that seem uncomfortable with this continued outreach by the White House to members of the Putin regime. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, was asked if Vladimir Putin comes to Washington, would he be extended an invitation to visit the Congress, and McConnell rejected that idea.

So this continues to be a point of contention for the president and his allies in the Republican House in Congress and this is something we're still trying to figure out exactly what the objective and goal is.

And, Alex, in addition to the idea that this meeting could take place before the midterm elections, the other alternative would have it take place in early November, perhaps around the time the president is planning a big military parade in Washington, D.C. -- Alex?

MARQUARDT: Yes. Huge ramifications beyond the world of diplomacy, into domestic politics as well.

Ryan, sources tell us also President Trump is waiving the executive privilege on those secret tapes. Many, many secret recordings made by Michael Cohen. Any word on what the legal strategy is from the Trump team?

NOBLES: It certainly is a peculiar thing, to say the least, Alex. But it's clear we wouldn't even know about these recordings if the Trump legal team decided they were not going to waive that executive privilege or the attorney-client privilege as relates to that phone call. If you're attempting to analyze this, perhaps one particular way to describe this is, this is yet another -- an attempt by particularly Rudy Giuliani on President Trump's legal team to try to win the P.R. game. At the end of the day, Rudy Giuliani is emphatic that this isn't necessarily a legal game the president is playing but more of a political one because the ultimate adjudication of his role in this investigation could be in the hands of Congress, not a jury. Even on that front, some people are skeptical of that strategy. The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, saying there's nothing in this recording that in any way, shape or form is damaging to him. Laney Davis, the attorney for Michael Cohen, sees it very difficultly -- Alex?

[15:05:12] MARQUARDT: Both sides saying it's beneficial to them.

Ryan Nobles, near the president's golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, thanks very much.

While the White House is keeping quiet, Moscow, on the other hand, is talking, giving its view of what happened when Putin spoke one on one with Trump. Following the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Trump-Putin meeting was, `quote, "better than super."

We bring senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley, live from Moscow.

Sam, lot of people, in the states, mainly, still in the dark, including, as I mentioned, some senior administration officials about what exactly transpired in the meeting. What do the Russians say they got out of this?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're delighted with it, Alex. And they're continuing to control the narrative today by releasing what they claim are details of a phone call between Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, in which they say Mr. Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, himself initiated that call. That's what they mean by the American initiative. In it, they repeated some detail of what they claim was agreed, or under negotiation raised by the two presidents when they met in secret accompanied by only one official translator on each side.

Now, the lack of noting -- notes taken by Mr. Trump, unmatched by Mr. Putin, who's a KGB agent, trained to recall a verbatim conversation over many hours. So this is playing directly into his hands.

They're eking out isn't some of the information, suggesting there could be a summit again coming up in Washington. But also there could an agreement over cyber issues. Quite an ironic suggestion. And equally, that Syria may come in for -- there may be a peace deal agreed that would somehow allow 1.7 million Syrians to return to government-controlled areas that are currently also supported by Russia. That, under the present administration's own policy, would be inconceivable. But what they're really trying to do is drive the narrative, own the story in the absence of any coherence coming out of Washington -- Alex? MARQUARDT: One thing we've learned about the meeting. Secretary of

State Mike Pompeo yesterday `saying that Trump and Putin had spoken about a resolution to the war in Syria and getting Syrian refugees back home.

Sam Kiley, thanks very much, from Moscow.

I want to bring in now CNN political analyst, Josh Dawsey and Josh Rogin.

Josh Dawsey, is a White House reporter for the "Washington Post" and Josh Rogin is a columnist also for the "Washington Post."

Thanks for joining me today.

Josh Dawsey, first to you.

Why is there a silence from the White House? Why are they letting Moscow control the story and keeping quiet about what happened in that meeting?

JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There doesn't seem to be a deep understanding from many in the White House what happened in the meeting. The president going into Helsinki was determined to have one on one time with Vladimir Putin and he told advisors he thinks that was best for negotiations. He thinks he could essentially charm him and make a deal with a leader most Republicans detest for the way he treats his own people with actions like, the annexing of Crimea and meddling in the election, interference in the election. But the president saw a possibility for a deal and was frustrated many in his own government warned against a meeting, had warning him not to congratulate Vladimir Putin for winning the election, which he did already. And he and didn't want others in the meeting for fear it would leak out or wouldn't go the way he wanted it to go unilaterally. So Dan Coats said Thursday he didn't know what happened. We have struggled but tried mightily to find out more of what happened in the meeting. But it was only two translators and Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, meeting about 130 minutes, about that. And most of the details we got from the Russians, including how long the meeting even lasted. There has not been a comprehensive readout from the White House on what was accomplished or what they got out of the meeting. Some questions as simple as were there verbal agreements made, as the Kremlin said there were, and not really gotten answers.

MARQUARDT: And agreements, military agreements, according to the Kremlin.

And, Josh, you mentioned DNI Coats, director of National Intelligence. You would imagine he's be one of the first people to be briefed on a meeting like this.

To you, Josh Rogin, do you think this is all a matter -- sorry. Do we think this is all a matter of us being kept in the dark, we, journalists, or we, the public, or is the Pentagon, military and various agencies as well, are they also being kept in the dark? Simply, they can't start working on these alleged oral agreements if they don't know what they are.

[15:09:53] JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. Now here we are five days after the Helsinki summit and more and more details are coming out as people inside the administration get readouts, share information and brief colleagues. They know a lot more inside the administration than on Monday but it's still very incomplete and nobody really knows for sure what was said.

I was able to report for the "Washington Post" details of the agreement on Syria that Putin struck with Netanyahu last week and President Trump endorsed publicly Tuesday in his press conference at the White House following the summit. It's a fascinating deal that allows the Assad regime and Russia to retake parts of southern Syria with Israeli and presumably American endorsement in exchange for keeping Iran out of the region. A complicated deal. I urge you to read it on It may not work but that's the essence of what's going on in the U.S.-Russia-Israeli-Syria negotiation. After that, it's tough to understand what's going on. A possible deal over Ukraine. Putin's people saying Trump agreed to have elections. Ukrainians won't agree with that. That's another example of these things everyone's trying to sort out. We have broad confusion and chaos, broad dysfunction.

And I'm here in Aspen, Colorado and I watched Dan Coats and the FBI director, Chris Wray, and Rod Rosenstein and many others, and their basic message to assembled deep-state intelligencia assembled on the mountain is we're going to do our jobs and don't know what is going on with the president and will try to figure it out, but meanwhile, we have a duty to the American people and will try to do it the best they can. That's half plausible, because they are considered, again, by the journalists and officials and corporate mavens who collect here to be reliable officials who are patriotic, et cetera. But without any real knowledge of what the president is doing in those private meetings, those jobs are impossible to do the way they're supposed to.

MARQUARDT: A parade of Trump administration officials going up there and one by one not able to say what happened in Helsinki.

ROGIN: Right.

MARQUARDT: Josh Dawsey, finally to you, it's been public knowledge at least a week, if not more, that Trump would be alone in that meeting with Putin. Did the White House not have a plan in place for the president to debrief aides afterwards? Something that's standard operating procedure, isn't it?

DAWSEY: The revelation here is that the president is not really on the same page with many of his key advisers on Russia. As we've reported, Pompeo, Bolton and others on the national security apparatus, certainly were not pleased with his comments at the joint press conference with Vladimir Putin where he seemed to equivocate on who he believed. We saw the comments. Many in the government are very skeptical of Vladimir Putin and whether you can negotiate with him. The president tends to take a more optimistic approach. He wants to be friends with Vladimir Putin. He hasn't been critical of him as he has some other world leaders. And the president says behind the scenes he's trying to make a deal but many in his administration are resistant to that. The president knows that. You have the dynamic where the president is pursuing one path of action on Russia, many in the administration are aware of what he's doing at least publicly, but are skeptical, and he knows that. You see actions from other agencies from parts of his government that are far tougher on Russia than the president's rhetoric. And what remains to be seen is whether the president versus the presidency, whether they're ever on the same page as Russia. It's one key issue where Trump seems to be far afield from even many in his party, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, others who put out comment. And 98-0 vote from the Senate going against the agreement the president talked about with Vladimir Putin. Kind of on an island, so to speak, when it comes to Russia.

MARQUARDT: On an island. Well put. Very few details.

Josh Dawsey, Josh Rogin, thank you both for joining us.


MARQUARDT: Coming up, President Trump's performance in Helsinki has intel officials and even many Republicans scratching their heads wondering why the president continues to be so nice to Vladimir Putin. What some former top intel officials think it could be.

Plus, a survivor of the duck boat tragedy who lost nine members of her family. She describes the moment she thought she would drown.


TIA COLEMAN, LOST FAMILY IN DUCK BOAT CAPCIZE: And I was yelling. I was screaming. And finally I said, lord, just let me die, let me die. I was saying, I can't -- I can't keep drowning.


[15:15:33] MARQUARDT: A live report on that gut-wrenching tragedy is coming up, next.


MARQUARDT: So does Russia have compromising material on President Trump? That's a question being asked seriously by some intelligence officials and even Republican lawmakers after President Trump's strange performance alongside Putin earlier this week in Helsinki.

Here's CNN's Brian Todd on what exactly the Russians could have on the president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Again, President Putin, thank you very much.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's stunning embrace of Vladimir Putin in Helsinki has again fueled questions over Putin's possible kompromat, leverage over the president, and has members of Congress and others looking for answers.

Putin was asked about it flat out in Helsinki.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does the Russian government have any compromising material on President Trump or his family?


TODD: Neither Putin nor Trump ever answered no. Putin deflected when referencing Trump's now controversial trip to Moscow in 2013.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): When President Trump was in Moscow back then, I didn't even know he was in Moscow.

TODD: Putin said, how could we possibly keep track of all the American businessmen in Russia at a given time?

PUTIN (through translation): It's difficult to imagine utter nonsense on a bigger scale than this.

[15:20:04] SHAWN TURNER, FORMER U.S. INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL: We know Putin did know that Donald Trump was in Russia during the event in question. We know that Putin was invited to the Miss USA Pageant and he ultimately declined to come. We know he knew Trump was there.

TODD: Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow was mentioned in an un-corroborated dossier by a former British spy, which contained a number of unproven and highly salacious allegations that Russians might have recorded Trump watching prostitutes urinate in a hotel suite. There's no indication such a tape exists, and Trump has vehemently denied it.

Former FBI Director James Comey said Trump asked him to investigate.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: He said, if there's even a 1 percent chance my wife thinks that's true, that's terrible. And I -- I remember thinking, how could your wife think there's a 1 percent chance you were with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow?

TODD: There could be other compromises. Following the Helsink8i exchanges, Republican Congressman Mark Sanford is calling on Trump to release his tax returns.

KEITH DARDEN, PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: The tax returns would have to show foreign earnings. So he claims he earns nothing from cabinet with Russia. That might not be the case. That would be something that would have appeared in his tax returns.

TODD: There were attempts by the Trump Organization to develop properties in Russia, high-dollar sales by Trump of his U.S. properties to Russians, including this mansion in Paul Beach. Donald Trump Jr, in 2008, saying, quote, "We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia." All potential deals where Putin could have compromising information about the president, something which analysts say is a specialty of the former KGB operative and his intelligence services. TURNER: We know the Russians are active when they identify someone

who may be an influential individual and they identify someone who could potentially -- they could potentially exercise leverage over. They go after them. They double their collecting initiative.

TODD: President Trump said if Vladimir Putin had compromising information on him, it would have been out a long time ago, but analysts say it's likely we'll never know exactly what kompromat Putin has on Trump. They say the whole point of having compromising information is to hold it over your rival, extract concessions as long as you can, because as soon as Putin releases what kompromat he has on Trump, it will be useless to him.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Brian.

One of the most high-profile people questioning whether Putin has that so-called kompromat on President Trump is James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence. Take a listen.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (voice-over): More and more, I have come to the conclusion that after the Helsinki performance, and since, that I really wonder whether the Russians have something on him. I think his behavior was just unbelievable.


MARQUARDT: Let's bring in Kim Dozier, our CNN global affairs analyst, who has been out at the Aspen Security Forum where security and intelligence officials have been gathering all week.

Kim, you've been speaking with those officials, both current and former. Is James Clapper's theory gaining support?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: More of what you hear from Trump administration officials out here is that this was the mistake of a neophyte going into a meeting with a former KGB operative. That he thought he could control the message. Mr. Trump thought he knew how to handle this. But that his desire to mend fences with Russia could be spun in a very different direction. So that is the most charitable explanation I've heard from officials here. While they tell you that in private, what they're saying onstage, whether the FBI director or director of National Intelligence, or we just had the secretary of the Army speak, they all speak of Russia in very tough terms as an adversary, as someone who is a near-term threat, as a country that is taking risky actions and, therefore, needs to be watched in the next 10 to 15 years. It's a very different message than you hear publicly from Donald Trump.

MARQUARDT: The country Russia, it views the world in terms zero-sum game. You lose. We win. Kim, as we've been reporting the past five days, since the Helsinki

summit, we still don't know what happened during that private meeting between Trump and Putin, what was an agreed to. And one of the main people you would think would be one of the first briefed by President Trump, the U.S. spy chief, Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence. He says he still hasn't been told what the two men discussed. How unusual is all of this?

DOZIER: That was one of the jaw-dropping moments here when Coats admitted that he expected eventually he'd find out what happened and what was said in that meeting but didn't know yet. Even more extraordinary, news broke while we were all sitting in that room, the White House announced an invitation to President Putin to come to the White House. And Andrea Mitchell read it to the director of National Intelligence onstage, and he just was -- he laughed, said, OK, that's going to be interesting. And for all of us in the room, we couldn't believe what we were seeing, because what it shows is that -- Donald Trump is not necessarily relying on his intelligence chiefs to make a determination whether such a meeting is wise. He's either relying on his gut or a smaller group of people. Or that he's already set this course in his mind that this is going to happen and he only maybe touches base with them after the fact, or after someone points out to him, hey, that decision you just announced, let's talk about that. That is the impression I'm getting from a lot of Trump administration officials here. That they keep saying this president does things in a very unconventional way. And they're getting used to that. And they see the upside in some of his outside-the-box thinking. But they also admit to being regularly flustered by spur-of-the-moment announcements from him or tweets that they had -- hadn't had preparation for.

[15:26:20] MARQUARDT: Yes. That moment you described, where DNI Dan Coats found out from NBC's Andrea Mitchell, that invitation was extended to the Kremlin was extraordinary. We have that on tape. Take a quick listen.


ANDREA MITCHELL, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: We have some breaking news. The White House has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the fall.



MITCHELL: You -- Vladimir Putin coming to --


COATS: Did I hear you?


MARQUARDT: So finding out the leader of Russia may be coming to the U.S., in public, from a journalist. Not from the administration, not from an aide but from a journalist. What advantage can you see for President Trump to keep his top national security officials out of the loop when what making is really a huge decision like this?

DOZIER: You could see something nefarious in it that maybe he's -- he's keeping Coats specifically out of the loop or you could see something much more just run of the mill. You have officials who have come out here to Aspen to make a statement. It's tough to get out here air-wise. Might be away from official qualms and the president makes decisions very quickly, and doesn't always use the traditional ways of sharing that information throughout his national security team, or throughout his spokespeople. That's the other message I kept getting from officials here. They're like, we're kind of getting used to -- you know, we give him as much information as we can. We don't know when some of the decisions will come down. After the fact, what they do is, try to then get ahold of either him or people around him and say, hey, I'd like to discuss a couple of the second and third order of effects we have to be on the lookout for. The other possibility is that instead of calling Coats, the president spoke with the head of the CIA and considered that just as good. So, you know, the CIA has a regular relationship briefing the president every day.

MARQUARDT: Right. Right.

DOZIER: So this might not be as much disarray as we thought and more just about where everyone was in space and time.

MARQUARDT: It raises all sorts of questions about the future of Dan Coats within the administration and whether he might resign, be fired or whether he will just tough it out.

Kim Dozier, in Aspen, thank you so much.

DOZIER: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Coming up, investigators in Missouri are trying to piece together what happened before a duck boat capsized killing 17 people onboard. We're live at the scene. That's next.


[15:33:25] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. A federal investigation is under way into Thursday's duck boat accident that left 17 people dead. Victims ranging in age from just 1-year-old to 76. All identified, including nine members of a single family. The search for bodies is over. The search for answers, just beginning.

Among the questions, with a thunderstorm warning in effect, why was the boat allowed out on the water in the first place?

CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins us from Branson, Missouri.

Kaylee, what's the latest from authorities, from investigators, as to why think happened?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, the NTSB is leading this investigation. They're telling us they will be here in Branson the next seven to 10 days, having conversations with the 14 survivors, eyewitnesses, and also first responders. But this is just the beginning of a very long process. They said they don't expect to have probable cause as to what led to the death of 17 people while they're here, but say it could be as long as a year before they're ready to release a report that has answers to the many questions that we are looking to be answered.

Those investigators, briefing today Missouri state attorney general, the state's top law enforcement official. And the consensus we get in speaking to all of these officials, Alex, is that it is just too early in this investigation for them to be able to address some questions that seem like simple ones, as you bring up, the weather, the conditions that day that the boat still was allowed to get into the water.

MARQUARDT: Let's talk more about that. The owner of the duck boat company says the bad weather "came out of nowhere" -- his words. But there were repeated warnings, weren't there? Meteorologists saw this coming.

[15:35:09] HARTUNG: They did, Alex. Even if the water and the winds at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening were calm, as the owner of the boat company suggested they were, our weather experts say it should have been obvious to anybody monitoring radar data at that time that the squall line of thunderstorms headed this way, not an isolated storm but entire system, would hit this area before that 60 to 70-minute boat tour was scheduled to conclude. Additionally, even if you weren't someone carefully monitoring that radar data, as you would expect the company to be doing, that is taking your life into their hands and putting you out on these waters. Our weather experts say lightning should have been visibility well in advance that severe thunderstorms were expected right here -- Alex?

MARQUARDT: Just a horrific story.

Kaylee Hartung, from Branson, Missouri, thanks so much.

Now, the outrage and fallout from President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been widespread among the Intel Community and D.C. insiders, but how is it playing with voters in Wisconsin who helped carry him to the White House? We'll hear from some of them, ahead.


[15:40:57] MARQUARDT: Now congressional Democrats and Republicans both have been speaking out against President Trump's comments after his meeting with Vladimir Putin, but for Trump, what has mattered most is what his base, what his voters think.

So CNN Kyung Lah want to Wisconsin to see how everyday people are reacting.


DAN O'DONNELL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, DAN O'DONNELL SHOW (voice-over): This is the "Dan O'Donnell Show."

So has Trump been arrested for treason yet? Has he returned to the United States in the brig of Air Force One? Welcome to the show.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The swing state of Wisconsin, the conservative base circling the wagons around Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reactions from the left yesterday were ridiculous.

LAH: Amid the outrage, callers weren't moved by the president's press conference with Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man is an embarrassment. I vote for him. I will not again.

O'DONNELL: Really?


(on camera): Swing voters are notoriously difficult to predict. Might be an issue like this that is all anyone talks about for the better part of a week. I don't believe there's going to be any lasting impact.

LAH: Wisconsin's swing voters, many of them white, working class voters, swung to Trump in 2016 in Kenosha County south of Milwaukee. Trump won here by just 255 votes. A county that hadn't voted for a Republican president since Richard Nixon.

Like other parts of Wisconsin, Kenosha County has seen jobs leave. This was the Chrysler plant.

Spanky's Bar is a couple blocks from that torn-down plant.

Since Trump took office, the economy has only gotten better in Kenosha says Anna Stewart. She voted for Trump in 2016.

(on camera): Do you think that Trump will be re-elected by this county?

ANNA STEWWART, WISCONSIN RESIDENT: I do. I do. I -- I think he's just, he's got the steam going. He's done a great job so far. As president, he's shown us that he continued to persevere beyond the criticism.

LAH: You'll vote for him again?

STEWART: Oh, yes, yes.

LAH (voice-over): Tony Valente's conversations over the bar rarely focus on Russia.

Do you people here care?

TONY VALENTE, BARTENDER: I don't know. The economy's good. Money seems to be flowing pretty well. Interest rates going up. House prices going up. I think people are happy with it.

LAH (voice-over): But the press conference with Putin did have an effect on Pam Anderson.

PAN ANDERSON, WISCONSIN RESDIENT: For him kind of push it off to the side and say, like he doesn't believe it, I think he is really mocking the whole system.

LAH: A swing voter now pushed away from Trump.

ANDERSON: I had voted for Obama. And this time around I went ahead and voted for Donald Trump. And I really regret that decision.

LAH (on camera): What's going to happen next time around?

ANDERSON: Going undecided, I've decided.

LAH: Pam Anderson says this about the Trump's back pedaling, would versus wouldn't, she says, quote, "That's total B.S." She says her opinion about the president has not changed one bit.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Kenosha, Wisconsin.


MARQUARDT: Few places more swing than Wisconsin.

Our thanks to Kyung Lah there.

Shifting gears, and it's a much higher gear for weekend warriors looking for a good outdoor challenge. If that's you, you might consider an annual competition in England said to feature the largest obstacle course in the world.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the story in this edition of "FIT NATION."



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over) The stink trench, man versus lake --


GUPTA: -- and the world's longest set of monkey bars are just three of the 200 challenges to overcome at the Rat Race Dirty Weekend, the largest obstacle course race in the world.


JIM MEE, COURSE DESIGNER: This is a big objective for people to conquer and this might be the biggest thing they ever do.

[15:45:01] GUPTA: Two hours north of London, more than 5,000 adults and children tackle a 20-mile course featuring 200 invented obstacles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got to know what to expect and what's next around the corner. Can't train specifically for it, and kind of why I like it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything can happen in a 20-mile race. A mind game to overcome. Push through the pain and get to the end.

GUPTA: The challenge is daunting, but course designer, Jim Mee, has carefully considered the race's degree of difficulty.

MEE: Obviously, physically challenging. We don't want it so difficult it's what we call a suffer event. No joy in not completing something. My favorite touch is the little things we do. We have this with a rail inside. We have an old London cab that people climb through. We also have some old phone boxes and we buried some pieces underground. Big jump on this court. You stand on top of this and pear over the surface, it's like you almost can see the curvature from the top. Jumping off that, that's a mind game. People get a great sense of achievement for having done it. It's those things that sets the event apart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Camaraderie amazing. Don't stop. Keep on going.

GUPTA: The top finishers there are cash prizes, but for most racers, finishing with friends is all the reward they need.


MEE: The majority of people want to come and do stuff that they just don't get to do in everyday life. That's the opportunity to give them, at the same time doing something tough and demanding. The joy is in persevering, doing somebody arduous and kicking back afterwards and saying, wow, that was insane, that was epic.


MARQUARDT: Epic, indeed.

Coming up next, a CNN "K FILE" report has uncovered new recordings of Congressman Jason Lewis, of Minnesota, making more disparaging remarks on his syndicated radio show. This time, about African-Americans. We'll play that, next.


[15:51:30] MARQUARDT: CNN's "K FILE" has discovered more disturbing audio from GOP Congressman Jason Lewis. Coming courtesy of a syndicated radio show no longer broadcast from 2012, hosted by Lewis.

Listen to this company clip from the "Jason Lewis Show" as Lewis complains about not being able to call women sluts anymore.


REP. JASON LEWIS, (R), MINNESOTA & FORMER RADIO SHOW HOST (voice- over): Can we call anybody a slut? This begs the question. Take this woman out of Russia out of it for a moment. Does a woman now have a right to behave -- I know there's a double standard between the way men chase women and running around -- you know, I'm not going there. You know what I'm talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes.

LEWIS: But it used to be that women used to held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modest from women. Are we beyond those days when a women can behave as a slut but you can't call her a slut?


MARQUARDT: CNN "K FILE" editor, Andrew Kaczynski, joins me with new audio he uncovered.

Andrew, thanks for coming in.

That was bad enough. Now you've got new audio, more audio.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN EDITOR, "K FILE": We have more troubling comments from Lewis, this time, speaking about African-Americans on his radio show, which he hosted from 2009 to about the 2014 when he quit. He said that African-Americans were addicted to welfare, had an entitlement mentality. He also pushed this view that there was a racial war overwhelmingly perpetrated by black people on white people. And basically said that he believed that black gatherings overwhelmingly brought violence because of this. Let's take a listen to what he said.


CALLER (voice-over): A lot of gay people are freaked out when I say you guys are being victimized by black mob violence. You looked at the lyrics of rap song, the anti-guy thing is like millions -- I wrote a whole chapter about anti-gay lyrics in hip-hop.

LEWIS (voice-over): That and misogyny very prevalent.


LEWIS: There's a cultural problem in the African-American community that is leading to, this entitlement, you're a victim, it's OK to hate women and beat up women, it's OK to hate gays, all this. We are sort of feeding this to people who are very lost because of the breakdown of society to begin with.


MARQUARDT: Unbelievable.

KACZYNSKI: Yes. So that was basically Lewis. And we reached out to him for comment, and he has basically defended his comments sort of in three different ways. He said he was paid to be provocative on the radio. He said his comments were out of context. And he also stands by what he said. It's sort of odd because he doesn't think it's having any effect on his race.

MARQUARDT: Of course, he is running for re-election. KACZYNSKI: Running for re-election in a very tight district. Won his

district by 2 percent in 2016. So it possibly could flip to the Democrats. So he is standing by it, but also claims it's out of context.

MARQUARDT: No apology at all? He was paid to do this?

KACZYNSKI: No apology at all. Really hunkering down. So it's going to be interesting to see what the fallout is.

[15:54:40] MARQUARDT: Unbelievable.

Andrew Kaczynski, more great reporting. Thank you so much for joining us.

Russia's foreign minister summing up the Helsinki summit with the infamous words, "better than super." But five days on, we still don't know what President Trump talked about or what he possibly promised Russia. Why not? We'll discuss ahead.


MARQUARDT: So this week "CNN Hero" saw a problem. More than 40 million Americans don't have enough to eat. Yet, as many as 40 percent of our food is wasted every year. Check out what Maria Rose Belding decided to do about it.


MARIA ROSE BELDING, CNN HERO: There was a food pantry in my church that I grew up working in. You would have way too much of one thing and would be in desperate need of a different thing. Inevitably, some of it expired. And I threw a lot of it away. When I was 14, I realized that doesn't make sense. The Internet was right in front of us. That's such an obvious thing to fix. This is not unclaimed. It's turned green. You would think the novelty would wear off. It doesn't.


[16:00:06] MARQUARDT: So to see her obvious fix, as she put it, go to