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NEW DAY SUNDAY

One Killed In Grocery Store Siege; Houston Murder Suspect Sketch Released; Coats Apologizes For Reaction To Second Trump-Putin Summit; Trump Frustrated With The Pace Of Negotiations In North Korea; FBI Released Carter Page Surveillance Warrant Documents; Hillary Clinton Chastises Trump On Putin Meeting; Russian Foreign Minister Calls Alleged Russian Spy Arrest Unacceptable; Rouhani To Trump: "War With Iran Is The Mother Of Wars" Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 22, 2018 - 06:00   ET

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


[06:00:13]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF MICHEL MOORE, LOS ANGELES POLICE: The gunman still armed with a handgun took numerous citizens, as well as store employees hostage.

At all times our hostage negotiators believed that they had established a good rapport with him.

SEAN GERACE, TRADE JOE'S EMPLOYEE: I'm grateful I was able to find a way out.

TIA COLEMAN, SURVIVED BOAT ACCIDENT: When the wider field of the boat, I could no longer see. I couldn't feel anybody. I couldn't see.

I just remember, I got to get out, I got to get out. And then I said, Lord, if I can't make it there's no use to keeping me here.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia.

I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The great mystery is why the president has not spoken up for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR" Good morning to you. Always glad to have you with us. We want to tell you about this woman who is dead and a suspect who is in custody after a hostage standoff in Los Angeles.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Police say the standoff lasted for three hours with more than 40 people inside the store. Now some of the people, some of the hostages were able to get out while the suspect was on the phone with police.

Let's go now to CNN correspondent Paul Vercammen. He is live in Los Angeles. Paul, what more do we know?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, high anxiety. I was here in Silver Lake during the standoff.

And you can look right behind me. You can see where the suspect's vehicle crashed into a utility pole in front of Trader Joe's.

And imagine the pins and needles as he had taken some four dozen people hostage inside.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Tense moments in Los Angeles at a Trader Joe's grocery store in a Silver Lake neighborhood. The suspect surrendered to authorities after a three-hour standoff that left one woman dead.

MOORE: Inside the store a young woman was shot and killed. Our officers recued that woman from inside and attempted to render aid and unfortunately we were unable to revive her.

VERCAMMEN: The family identified the victim as 27-year-old Melyda Corado who worked at the store.

Police say the incident started as a dispute in South Los Angeles where the 28-year-old suspect repeatedly shot his grandmother who is in critical condition and injured another woman. He then led police in a car chase through Hollywood, eventually crashing near the Trader Joe's, officials said.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI, LOS ANGELES: It was there where there was exchange of gun fire. The suspect was wounded in his left arm and he went inside.

VERCAMMEN: Some customers immediately ran out of the store as police surrounded the building. Over the next three hours, several people walked out with their hands up. And some employees climbed out of a storage window on a ladder.

GERACE: After getting the attention of a SWAT officer I was able to indicate I wanted to go out the ladder. He gave me a thumb's up. And I went down the ladder (INAUDIBLE) the ladder I was able to get three of my other coworkers follow me out.

VERCAMMEN: Police said the suspect was on the phone with LAPD hostage negotiators during the standoff. He handcuffed himself then surrendered to authorities.

MOORE: He made a series of demands. I'm not going to go into the details of what the interchange was but at all time our hostage negotiators believed that they had established a good rapport with him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN: And a little bit more about the victim. In what appears to be her Facebook page describes herself as Mely Corado. Her brother confirming to us that indeed her sister lost her life.

She seems to be some sort of a Dodgers baseball fan. A picture of her at the stadium, a lanyard with Dodgers around her neck. And apparently she was just one rung below the top manager here at Trader Joe's describing herself as what they call at Trader Joe's, a mate -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Paul Vercammen, appreciate the update. Thank you.

Now let's talk about what's happening in Houston because police there have released a sketch now of the man they say shot and killed President George H.W. Bush's former doctor.

BLACKWELL: Police say this man shot and killed Doctor Mark Hausknecht while the doctor was riding his bike to work, this was Friday. According to the description written on the sketch police are searching for a thin but fit white or Hispanic male, about 5'9" to 5'10" and could be in his 30's. The motive for the shooting is not clear.

The director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is apologizing for his public reaction to the news that the president invited Russian president Vladimir Putin to the White House in the fall for a second face to face meeting.

[06:05:01]

He said he did not mean to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president.

PAUL: Now remember Director Coats did not agree with the president's decision to meet privately with Putin. Saying that he would have suggested a different way had the president asked him.

CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood in New Jersey with more details. Why does he feel compelled to release a statement? Any idea, Sarah?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: National Intelligence director Dan Coats is certainly attempting some cleanup. Late yesterday after his statements on Thursday at the Aspen Security Conference had been interpreted as disagreement with President Trump over the issue of whether Trump should invite Putin to the White House for a second summit later this fall.

Remember that Dan Coats learned from his interviewer that President Trump had extended that invitation. He said in a statement, "Some press conference has mischaracterized my intentions in responding to breaking news presented to me during a live interview. My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president." Now meanwhile Trump is also said to be frustrated with the pace of negotiations in North Korea, according to a report in "The Washington Post," President Trump has been quizzing his aides daily about the status of those negotiations as the talks stall. President Trump has been publicly proclaiming the North Korea talks to be a success.

But as recently as earlier this month, secretary of state Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang and was stood up by Kim Jong-un who refused to meet with Pompeo. Americans have not been able to get in touch with their North Korea counterparts. It's yet another example of how President Trump is facing obstacles from North Korea to Russia on the foreign policy front -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sarah, thank you. We appreciate it very much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now to discuss Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University; and Siraj Hashmi, commentary writer and editor for the "Washington Examiner." Gentlemen, welcome back to the show.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.

SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right. So let's first start with the moment. This was Thursday in Aspen when the director of National Intelligence learned of this invitation to Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the fall.

DAN COATS, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Say that again?

(LAUGHTER)

MITCHELL: You -- Vladimir Putin coming to the White House.

(CROSSTALK)

COATS: Did I hear -- did I hear you?

MITCHELL: Yes, yes.

COATS: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

MITCHELL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

COATS: That's going to be special.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So we have this now apology from the DNI, but let me start with you, Siraj. What makes this moment remarkable is that he had no idea this was coming and that the leader of an adversarial nation had been invited by the president while he was being rebuked for his performance just days earlier.

HASHMI: Yes. It's interesting seeing Dan Coats' response to this news about Putin potentially coming to the White House in October or in the fall, perhaps. You know, it's a very genuine response that I think a lot of Trump administration officials have when they hear news coming out of the White House whether it be through Twitter or through White House statements, considering the fact that there are many unpredictable moves that President Trump likes to make.

Vladimir Putin coming to the White House seems to be more of a do-over concerning the Helsinki summit was such a PR disaster for the White House and the amount of walk backs that Trump has had to make, seem to be, you know, taking another step further. And I don't think Dan Coats really has much to apologize for. It seems to be like a genuine reaction -- a genuine human reaction he seems to be having.

BLACKWELL: Yes. I don't know and again I wasn't in the room but if people there took it as he was laughing at the president or laughing at the decision, it's just the situation he and Andrea Mitchell found themselves in.

Let me come to you, Julian, does this settle this? Because there had been reports that the president was furious over this laughter in response to his decision.

The president has gone after Jeff Sessions for more than a year and he still has a job. Does this settle any of the questions about any vulnerability of Coats in his position?

ZELIZER: Well, yes. It suggests the White House is looking to push him out. I think they wanted this apology or clarification and it suggests Coats isn't going to retire or resign any time soon but it doesn't solve the tension.

The tension is about the policy with Russia and the tension is about the incredible disconnect between what the president does and what the rest of his administration, including intelligence officials, even know. And so that story will not go away.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And, Siraj, what Sarah read was the first half of DNI Coats' statement. Let me read the second half here.

[06:10:01]

"I and the entire intel community are committed to providing the best possible intelligence to inform and support President Trump's ongoing efforts to prevent Russian meddling in our upcoming elections, to build strong relationships internationally in order to maintain peace, denuclearize dangerous regimes and protect our nation and our allies."

After his interviews late in the week and the clarifications and would and wouldn't and all of that, do we have a clear picture of the degree of confidence the president puts into the intel community's assessments?

HASHMI: That's really a tossup, Victor, because President Trump has always doubted the findings that the Russians actually meddled in the 2016 presidential election. He seems to be wavering back and forth in these walk backs that we have seen this week, seem to show that his advisers are really talking to him and telling him he needs to do this rather than his own personal convictions that he believes this.

And, you know, it's one thing to question the intelligence findings, you know, in a private setting or even within your own country. It's a completely different scenario when you're questioning these intelligence findings in front of our, you know, biggest geopolitical adversaries in Vladimir Putin and Russia. That is just the type of concessions and the type of, you know, capitulation that you don't want to see from an American president on foreign soil.

BLACKWELL: And not just in front of Putin but in front of the world who was --

(CROSSTALK)

HASHMI: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: -- in that new conference. Let's now turn to North Korea and the president's frustration with the progress there. Let's start with first how the president frames his relationship with Kim Jong-un and watch this.

This is from a couple of weeks ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have a good chemistry together. Kim Jong-un, we have a great chairman. Kim, we have a great chemistry and we are well on our way.

You know, we signed an agreement. It said we would begin the immediate denuclearization, OK? Of North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Julian, the president praises (ph) -- a premium on the interpersonal connection with these world leaders but describe the position he's in right now. He can't just simply go back to the strategic patience that he derided from the previous administration. Where is he?

ZELIZER: He's in a bad situation. I mean, he was engaging in a level of fantasy diplomacy that he can walk in a room and do what no other presidents had done and just avoid all the mistakes that we've seen historically in these negotiations. So he has now elevated North Korea as a major player internationally. Thus far, North Korea has not backed away at all from any of its nuclear program and there is no agreement at this point. So it's not a good situation.

The president needs to prepare. The president needs a strategy. And the president needs to coordinate with his own cabinet officials, just like with the Russia story, before continuing with this, or North Korea will continue to pull away from any promises.

BLACKWELL: Siraj, we were looking at those beautiful pictures back from the summit in Singapore and this is part of the reason why previous presidents have not had this summit with the leader of North Korea. Big beautiful wedding, marriage in shambles.

HASHMI: I wouldn't call it marriage in shambles just yet. I mean, you have to remember that negotiations are still ongoing and, you know, Mike Pompeo he's very nuance on this type of policy and is probably the best decision that Trump has made is making Mike Pompeo the secretary of state and getting Rex Tillerson out. Because Tillerson obviously would probably do far worse in terms of negotiations than Mike Pompeo ever would.

Still, though, the Trump administration is not in a good spot to echo Julian's point. You know, the North Koreans they seem to be buckling down on -- you know, with Kim Yong-chol as their top negotiator in these talks as, you know, getting into those nitty-gritty details saying we are not going to do anything and basically setting up as much resistance as they possibly can in the hopes that President Trump will cut his losses and walk away and getting back to the tough talk.

You know, an army general in South Korea he -- Vincent Brooks he actually argued that North Koreans still have the capabilities to build a nuclear weapon. So this type of, you know, North Korea's no longer a nuclear threat is slowly looking more and more like Donald Trump's mission accomplish banner that George W. Bush pulled during the Iraq war.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It was more than a month ago that the president said that 200 -- the remains of 200 veterans from the Korean war had been sent back and not one has come back to U.S. soil yet.

Siraj Hashmi, Julian Zelizer always good to have you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

HASHMI: Thank you for having us.

PAUL: For the first time ever the FBI has just publically released a redacted version of its previously classified FISA warrant application on President Trump -- or the Trump campaign rather foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

The FBI surveillance of Page has been the subject of heated partisan debate. As you know some congressional leaders have questioned the FBI's tactics during his investigation of the Trump campaign. [06:15:03]

Republicans claim the surveillance is proof the FBI and the Justice Department are biased against President Trump and have been abusing its powers. The 400 plus paged document state the FBI investigators believe Page was targeted by Russia and that he -- quote -- "has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government in the 2016 election."

Now you do not want to miss "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning, 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Our own Jake Tapper has an exclusive interview with Carter Page. Again that's at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Hillary Clinton is now talking about the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki. Hear what she has to say and what she accused the president of not doing.

PAUL: Also the duck boat tragedy in Missouri. There's a key piece of evidence that has just been recovered by federal investigators.

BLACKWELL: Also, NASA planning a return to the moon and this time, planning to stay. The latest on the new space mission with a former NASA astronaut.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:20:07]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: The great mystery is why the president has not spoken up for our country and we saw that most clearly in this recent meeting with Putin. We don't know what was said in the room where it was just the two of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: That was Hillary Clinton criticizing President Trump's summit last week with Russian leader Vladimir Putin where he publicly questioned U.S. intel that called out Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. Now Secretary Clinton was speaking at OZY Fest. She said that not being sure of where the president stands on Putin is deeply disturbing and she called on voters to express their displeasure in November.

PAUL: In a phone call with secretary of state Mike Pompeo Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov reportedly called the arrest Maria Botina unacceptable.

BLACKWELL: The 29-year-old Russian is accused of working as a covert Russian agent in the U.S. Now Lavrov called those charges fabricated. Pompeo and Lavrov also discussed Syria and North Korea on that phone call. But all of these details on the call are coming from the Russian government. Joining us now live from Moscow is CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance. I mean, this follows the narrative of what happened in Helsinki. We are getting it from the Russians and the U.S. is in this reactive stance.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I have to say, Victor, it is quite an unusual position for me to be in to be the correspondent covering Russian and having access to this readout (ph) of what was discussed on this call with the U.S. secretary of state not being anything on the other side to counter that -- usually the information flow is incompletely the other direction. But on this occasion, and of course you mentioned, during that or after that Helsinki summit as well between presidents Trump and Putin. The majority of the information flow has been coming from Russian officials, has been coming from the Kremlin as I say, that is highly unusual.

On the call first that was had first of all last night local time between the U.S. secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov they discussed about improving bilateral relations around all sorts of issues but they also focused in on Maria Botina, this 29-year-old Russian national, who has been arrested in the United States on suspicion of acting as a foreign agent. She has not been charged formally with espionage but that certainly is the implication of why she's being held. She was considered to be a flight risk.

The Russians have said the charges against her are fabricated and politically motivated. I think it's interesting because it talks to this idea that despite the fact that President Trump and President Putin have a close personal relationship or a burgeoning relationship any way, the apparatus of the United States, the Justice Department, the FBI, the police, they are all continuing to go about their normal business fulfilling their responsibilities. That is why Maria Botina was arrested the day after the Helsinki summit, and it's why those 12 Russian GRU, military intelligence officers were indicted the day before the summit took place because, you know, despite or behind -- despite the fact this is happening between the two presidents, everyone else in the administration in the United States is just carrying on prosecuting what they believe to be Russian crimes.

BLACKWELL: Matthew Chance for us there in Moscow. Matthew, thank you so much.

Republicans and President Trump, top intelligence officers are talking about this summit with Putin. Senator Marco Rubio joins Jake Tapper to discuss this on "STATE OF THE UNION" along with an exclusive interview with Carter Page. Again, that's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is giving a warning to President Trump this morning. (INAUDIBLE) he spoke to diplomats in Tehran and I want to quote this right for you're here.

He said, "Peace with Iran is the mother of peace. War with Iran is the mother of wars." And he went on to say, "Do not play with the lion's tail, it is regrettable" -- unquote Now there has been growing tension between the two countries since President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal of course.

BLACKWELL: The heartbreak really is unimaginable for a mother who lost nine family members in that duck boat that sank in Missouri.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLEMAN: I always loved water. But when that water came over the boat, I didn't know what happened.

I had my son right next to me. But when the water filled up the boat, I could no longer see, I couldn't feel anybody, I couldn't see.

I just remember I got to get out. I got to get out. And --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Coming up, what she says will be the most difficult part of moving forward.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:29:43]

PAUL: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Sunday to you.

PAUL: So the NTSB is asking anyone to come forward if you have any photos, if you any video of that duck boat as it was sinking in Branson, Missouri.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Authorities released the names of all 17 people killed on board that capsized boat.

[06:30:04]

CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins now from Branson. And, Kaylee, we're also hearing from a survivor who lost nine family members.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are, Victor and Christi. Eleven members of the Coleman family traveled here to Branson, Missouri, from Indianapolis. This area of the Ozarks being a popular tourist destination this time of year.

Well, yesterday, Tia Coleman gave a face to this tragedy as she and her 13-year-old nephew will be the only members of that family returning home. Tia Coleman's emotion still raw and very visible on her face as she met with the media from this hospital whose care she is still under.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLEMAN: I've never -- I've never had to recover from something like this. I don't know if there is -- I don't know if there is a recovery from it.

The biggest thing is a lot of prayer. A lot of prayer, a lot of support. That's all I know.

I don't know how to begin. Going home I already know it's going to be completely -- completely difficult. I don't know how I'm going to do it.

Since I've had a home, it's always been filled. It's always been filled with little feet and laughter. And my husband, I don't know how I'm going to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: Among those nine family members, Tia lost her husband as she just mentioned there and her three children. Tia also detailed her recollections from Thursday evening, a struggle in the water that she said felt like an hour, but was probably more like 10 minutes. She made her way to the nearby Branson Bell Showboat, a large boat in the area that gives dinner cruises.

She said she was saved by angels aboard that boat. We now hear from investigators that approximately 600 people were on board the Bell at the time ever this tragedy hundreds of whom have already been interviewed. Those interviews critical to this investigation moving forward.

Another important piece in this investigation, the black box, if you will, that has been recovered from the boat that is still at the bottom of Table Rock Lake, investigators processing that video recordings which they believe may also contain audio in D.C. right now. Victor, Christi, that will be integral to determining the time line what happened on Thursday and also getting eyes on the interior of that duck boat in its final moments.

PAUL: It is so hard to watch. And certainly people are going to be praying for that woman --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: -- because you can't help but put yourself in that position and think, I don't know how I'd do it either.

Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much and she is so brave to talk about it still.

BLACKWELL: When she said for as long as she has had a home it has been filled with the sound of laughter and the feet -- and that fear of going home to that silence?

PAUL: Yes. God bless her.

BLACKWELL: All right. Concerns for people who may be living near dangerous or what could be some very dangerous elements as the acting EPA administrator who is a former coal lobbyist rolls back some Obama era rules on the storage of toxic waste. PAUL: And guess what? NASA is reaching for the moon again with plans to return to the surface soon and this time, they want to stay.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:38:05]

BLACKWELL: New video coming into CNN this morning showing the impact of flash floods and landslides in Vietnam. Look at this.

PAUL: People are dealing with this. In fact 21 people have already died in what you see there, what typhoon Son-Tinh has left behind. Entire villages are under water right now, that storm is expected to last until Tuesday.

BLACKWELL: Well, let's go to eastern China now where they have been prepping for tropical storm Ampil's arrival which just made landfall over mainland China.

PAUL: It's bringing with it major downpours and winds of about 60 miles an hour and power outages there. So far are affect ago few thousand people at this point.

So, listen. The Trump administration is rolling back some Obama-era rules when it comes to coal ash and there's a woman's story here we're going to tell you about. They are basically leaving it up to the states and the coal industry to regulate themselves --

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: -- the Obama administration.

BLACKWELL: Well, the move was announced by the acting administrator of the environmental protection agency and a former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why the rules are put in place and what getting rid of them could mean for your health.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELLE BAILEY-LASH, WALNUT COVE RESIDENT: It's quiet. It's safe. It's a family atmosphere.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Danielle Bailey- Lash grew up in Walnut Cove, North Carolina. The tranquil town of just over 1,000 people sits right along the picturesque Belews Lake.

(on camera): The lake that was a big reason to move into this area?

BAILEY-LASH: Dream location. It had everything that we needed and the price was right. GUPTA (voice-over): The price was right because just over those trees is the Belews Creek Steam Station. One of Duke Energy's largest coal burning power plants. And one of the realities of coal burning plants is that you need a place to dispose of the waste. And that traditionally meant coal ash ponds like this.

[06:40:00]

It may look like a beautiful lake, but it is basically an unlined pit in the ground with millions of tons of ash. Mercury, cadmium, arsenic, contaminants associated with cancer, right in Danielle's backyard.

In 2009 Danielle began experiencing headaches.

BAILEY-LASH: And I went to the hospital and they told me that I had a brain tumor. And they weren't lying. They said it was the size of a drink box right over here.

GUPTA: Can I take a look again?

BAILEY-LASH: Sure.

GUPTA (voice-over): She was diagnosed with stage three astrocytoma, brain cancer.

(on camera): What do you think caused all this?

BAILEY-LASH: I'm 100 percent sure I know what caused it. That's Duke Energy.

GUPTA (voice-over): Of course that is impossible to know for certain. Her doctors can't say. There have been too few studies to make conclusions. But I wanted to see the water myself.

(on camera): This is the beautiful Catawba River. These waters travel from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some 400 miles out to the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. All along the way you are going to see these coal powered plants as this one you see right over here behind me here.

Some have called this river the most electrified river in America as a result. And with those plants you see the coal ash ponds. And that's a concern because if there is seepage from these coal ash ponds into the river or the river becomes inundated with contaminants because of a break in the dam that would devastate the drinking water for some two million people living in this area.

(voice-over): River keeper Sam Perkins is giving me a tour of what he calls the capital of coal ash.

SAM PERKINS, CATAWBA RIVER KEEPER: You are looking up at about 100 feet that has built up other the years holding back all that ash.

GUPTA: How safe is it?

PERKINS: That's earth. You have freezing, thong, expansion, contraction. And you have dam safety issues.

GUPTA (voice-over): In fact, in 2008, a break-in the dam at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant inundated the surrounding area with over a billion gallons of ash and sludge. In early 2014 a corroded pipe at the Duke's Dan River station here in North Carolina released up to 39,000 tons of coal ash into nearby waters. More than three years later the state still warns against eating some of the fish because of the high mercury levels.

ERIN CULBERT, DUKE ENERGY: We quickly sprang into action to not only address what was happening at that particular site.

GUPTA (voice-over): I met up with Duke Energy's Erin Culbert at one of their sites.

CULBERT: We also set up an entire task force to review all of our other facilities and make sure we didn't have that kind of risk anywhere else.

GUPTA (on camera): And can you say for sure that you do not?

CULBERT: We can't say for certain we've got every pipe, but I can say for certain that we have grouted many, many, many pipes that would be allow any chance of risk from the basins.

GUPTA: You don't know where all these pipes are? We don't know what's risky, what's not risky.

CULBERT: We can chase pipes all day long. But the ultimate way of making sure that we have safe closure is to remove the water and close these basins in a way that's federally approved by the EPA and that's what we are really working to do here.

GUPTA (voice-over): In 2015, the EPA did finally take action and began requiring straightforward measures.

Test the ground water. Close contaminating coal ash ponds. Place future waste in basins that have linings, measures that Murray Energy lobbied against back in March of 2017.

Murray's lobbyist, the new acting EPA chief, Andrew Wheeler.

ANDREW WHEELER, ACTING EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I did work for a coal company. And I'm not at all ashamed of the works that I did for the coal company.

GUPTA: According to documents and photos obtained by CNN, Wheeler arranged a meeting between his boss Bob Murray, CEO of one of the country's largest coal mining companies and energy secretary Rick Perry. They presented the secretary with an action plan for -- quote -- "reliable and low cost electricity," a plan that included rewriting coal ash regulations.

That same plan was also sent to the EPA, the organization Wheeler now runs. FRANK HOLLEMAN, SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER: The EPA is in a rush to do things that will benefit these coal ash utilities. Purely because of the influence of their trade associations and lobbyists.

GUPTA: And this week the first set of proposed rule changes were finalized. Among the changes, ground water no longer needs to be monitored if the plant can prove that it is not polluting the aquifer.

Our request to speak with administrator Wheeler was declined. In a statement provided by the EPA, he said -- quote -- "Our actions mark a significant departure from the one size fits all policies of the past and save tens of millions of dollars in regulatory costs."

Duke Energy is steadfast that testing has shown that none of the coal ash contamination has reached public ground water.

CULBERT: Testing continues to demonstrate that coal ash operations are not impacting private wells.

GUPTA: It's something Danielle has heard before. But when you live next to a coal plant and an ash pond, even if it is your dream home, you are always living in a bit of fear.

[06:45:08]

BAILEY-LASH: It was the dream. We are still paying for that dream unfortunately. But I will have to dream somewhere else.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Charlotte, North Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come. Manned space exploration is back.

NASA plans to return to the moon and this time astronauts plan to stay. The latest on this new space mission with a former NASA astronaut.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL ARMSTRONG, AMERICAN ASTRONAUT: It's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Yes. Forty-nine years ago. NASA is going back to the moon, though. This time they want to stay.

[06:50:01]

Friday actually marked 49 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps on the moon and now NASA is confident that within a decade -- they're giving it 10 years -- within a decade astronauts will be able not only to go back to the moon but to stay there permanently.

BLACKWELL: And they're getting started pretty quickly. As soon as next year the space agency plans to partner with companies like Moon Express, to fly small robotic landers carrying scientific instruments to the moon.

Joining us now to talk about this, retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao. Leroy, welcome back.

LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: Great. Thanks. Great to be with you.

BLACKWELL: So partnering with these small companies doesn't sound like the shuttle program is coming back specifically for this. How realistic on this time line that they have mapped out here do you think this is?

CHIAO: Well, first of all, I support the idea of going back to the moon first as a stepping stone to going to Mars for a number of operational reasons. The things that you're (INAUDIBLE) small companies trying to put (INAUDIBLE) that is small step.

As far as a human program, I think it's going to take -- you know, I like the architecture that is being rolled out but I'd like to see the funding. The funding still has not been committed to it and without funding as you know there really is no program.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: That's interesting. It's like going to the moon is the baby step and then you go to Mars from there.

But here is my question -- so they want to go to the moon and they want to stay there. What does that look like?

You're going to go stay on the moon, what are the -- what are the plans? What is the vision for leaving somebody there? Do you know?

CHIAO: So the idea would be to establish a lunar base. Now the U.S. doesn't currently have plans to go back to the surface. The U.S. architecture right now -- NASA's architecture is to put a gateway in orbit around the moon.

Think about it as a small space station, a human tended space station. But we don't really have plans to actually send astronauts to the surface.

Now the European Space Agency has been talking about this for a couple of years. They've been speaking with the Russians about going. The Chinese have made no secret of their desire to send their astronauts to the lunar surface and I think it's natural for the United States to lead that international effort back to the surface.

Now the reason we want to go there we want to establish a base, I think, and you use that as a training ground and as a testing ground for all of the hardware and operations that you're going to use on Mars. The moon is only three days away. So it makes sense because if you have an issue, you can get you crew back in three days, whereas, Mars the closest approach is six to eight months at best.

So it makes a lot of sense. Like I said, we haven't had the funding commitment and I'd like to see that before I actually believe it.

BLACKWELL: You know, in discussion of the funding commitment, we have all watched, I guess it was a few months ago, Elon Musk's SpaceX and their accomplishments. How much of this next chapter is publicly funded or will come from the private sector?

Because we are seeing some major developments and progress on that end.

CHIAO: Absolutely. I mean, visionary entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos of SpaceX and Blue Origin this is unprecedented where we have these individuals who have this vision -- these visions and they have the financial resources to actually go do exploration and build infrastructure. So this is an opportunity for a government/commercial collaboration.

Elon Musk he has made no secret. He wants to go to Mars. He personally wants to go to Mars.

He wants to colonize Mars and he has got an architecture that he has rolled out. And, you know, he has got a plan to get there. So I think this is an opportunity for the government and the commercial sector to collaborate.

Now the devil's in the details, of course. And so what we have to make sure is that we don't get bogged down in the bureaucracy that can sometimes come with the government and get there.

PAUL: So, Leroy, I have to ask you before we let go you, NASA's Parker Solar Probe planning to travel the closest that it has ever been to the sun. What are we going to learn from (INAUDIBLE)?

CHIAO: Yes. That's going to be a very exciting mission.

Now the sun, of course, a very interesting place to go study this probe will get the closest to the corona, very, very close to the outer edge of the sun and it's going to be able study the structure of the corona and the cosmic wind, the radiation and other factors coming out of the sun.

I think we are going to learn a lot. This is going to be an exciting mission.

PAUL: All right. Leroy Chiao, always appreciate having your expertise and your thoughts on this. Thank you for being here.

CHIAO: My pleasure. Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

So, listen. If, you know, you just happen to have an extra half million dollars hanging around --

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: -- because -- yes. We all just have that, don't we?

BLACKWELL: Somewhere in the couch.

PAUL: Somewhere. In between the pillows, yes.

A British shop is selling a rocket-fueled jet suit for just $443,000. That's all. This is the creator testing it on the streets of London.

[06:55:01]

What would you do if you're walking down a London street and you see this? I'll think where's the movie? Where is the movie (INAUDIBLE)?

BLACKWELL: Yes. I mean, this is Ironman.

Now if you already picturing yourself as the next Ironman, wait a moment. This version has a top speed of 32 miles an hour and you'll only be able to fly for about nine minutes but it's a start.

PAUL: Well -- and you want to master it. Bob Van Dillen told me earlier this week, he saw that and he said, "I'm always afraid you're going to fry my touche."

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: OK. That would (ph) have hurt.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Because look at where the pack (ph) is (ph).

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's true. You know, this reminds me of those folks who are on those -- you know, the packs that are water powered and they hover over the water?

PAUL: Yes, yes.

BLACKWELL: Never wanted to try those.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: $443,000, guys.

A quick break. We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: So there's a major milestone celebrated today.

[07:00:03]

Why are you -- BLACKWELL: Because the Union Jack animation, that is so our executive producer who is British.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Look at Prince George.