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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Sources: Cohen Is Prepared To Tell Mueller Donald Trump Knew About And Approved Trump Tower Meeting Before It Happened; Trump Again Denies Advance Knowledge Of 2016 Meeting; Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Prominent Cardinal; U.S. Economy Grew 4.1 Percent In Second Quarter, Fastest Since 2014; Two Killed, Thousands On The Run From Spreading Flames. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired July 28, 2018 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: -- able to free the bear from a safe distance. While the bear walked free, that's what the guy was left with, substantial damage in his truck's cab, which was destroyed. The truck's owner has a good idea what the bear was looking for. He believes maybe he left some gum or some food. So, the point is, don't leave gum or food in your car.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: I expected something like this from Cohen. He's been lying all week, or for two weeks, been lying for years! The man is an honest, honorable lawyer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you tell your father anything about this?
DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: No. It was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's focus on what the president was aware of, nothing. He was not aware of the meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The corrosive lying and the corrosive distorting and the corrosive lack of telling the truth, it does have an impact.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: This meeting, if, in fact, he knew about it at the time, shows that all of those statements, every time he said no collusion, is a lie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This meeting was convened for the purposes of colluding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Well, good morning to you. Welcome to Saturday. Your weekend, take a nice deep breath there. I'm Christi Paul. MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. President Trump has again denied knowing anything about his son's 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with campaign officials and several Russians.
PAUL: Yes, sources tell CNN his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, now says then Candidate Trump not only knew about the meeting, he approved it. The president and his team are firing back, though. Here's CNN senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER (voice-over): President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied knowing about a meeting his son had with Russians in the heat of the 2016 campaign but his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, now prepared to contradict the president under oath.
Sources tell CNN that Cohen is ready to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew in advance about the now infamous Trump Tower meeting in which Donald Trump Jr. was expected he would get dirt from the Russians on the Clinton campaign.
Cohen is privately asserting that he and others were present when Donald Trump Jr. informed Trump of the Russian offer and that Trump gave the go ahead to have the meeting. The bomb shell claim directly contradicts what Trump Jr. told congressional investigators last year.
Asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, did you inform your father about the meeting or the underlying offer prior to the meeting? Trump Jr. responded, "No, I did not." He also said he did not know the identity of the person he called three times before and after that meeting and whose number was bought and whether that person was his father.
The news always calls into question Cohen's own testimony before Congress and his past public statements. A source tells CNN that Cohen did not tell the House Intelligence Committee last year that Trump had advance knowledge of the meeting. After Trump Jr. said he did not tell his father about the meeting --
TRUMP JR.: There was nothing to tell.
RAJU: Cohen treated, "So proud of Donald Trump Jr. for being open, honest, and transparent to the American people. Trump also took to Twitter to push back on his longtime personal fixer.
"I did not know of the meeting with my son, Don Jr., it sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam." Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also denied Cohen's claims and accused him of lying in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo.
GIULIANI: I'd expected something like this from Cohen. He has been lying all week, for years.
RAJU: But that is not how he Giuliani characterized Cohen just weeks ago on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
GIULIANI: I do not expect Michael Cohen is going to lie. I think he is going to tell the truth. If he does that, we are home free.
RAJU: Democrats said this opens a new front in the Russia probe. It effectively brings the issue of collusion or conspiracy right to the president's feet. This claim wrapping up a week that saw a stunning public fallout between the president and one of his closest confidants.
PAUL: All right. Manu Raju, thank you so much.
SAVIDGE: The president does not have public any events in his schedule this weekend. He is staying at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. Sarah Westwood is nearby in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Good morning to you, Sarah.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Martin. That's right, President Trump is spending the weekend here in New Jersey at his golf club amid the swirl of unanswered questions surrounding that now infamous meeting at Trump Tower involving his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer.
[08:05:02] Leaving the White House yesterday, President Trump refused to take questions about claims from his former attorney, Michael Cohen, that Trump had advanced knowledge of that meeting, which is something that Trump and his legal team have repeatedly denied.
The sources told CNN this week that Trump is privately furious about the increase legal scrutiny now facing him and his inner circle. Meanwhile, Trump is struggling to move the narrative away from this controversy firing off a series of tweets attacking Democrats and making remarks yesterday at the White House about the economy.
Because, of course, this is all coming against the backdrop of an otherwise successful week for this president, who had a breakthrough in trade talks with the European Union and who was able to tout strong growth in GDP in the second quarter of this year after those numbers came out on Friday.
But Russia has continued to pull focus from the president's economic message, and if that wasn't destruction enough, Washington was fixated yesterday on an incredible coincidence. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was spotted waiting at the same airport gate as Donald Trump Jr. in D.C. in this photo obtained by "Politico."
But despite the social media frenzy over the picture, a spokesperson for Mueller says the two men didn't speak to each other -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: Yes. Still an interesting event. Sarah Westwood, thank you very much for that.
PAUL: CNN politics reporter, Jeremy Herb, CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin, a columnist also for the "Washington Post," and CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, all with us here. Paul also a former New York City homicide prosecutor. Thank you, Gentlemen, for being with us. We certainly appreciate it.
Paul, I want to go to you first. So, if President Trump did know about the Trump Tower meeting in 2016, has there been a crime committed?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, it's an interesting question because you would think of the president having, I mean, if it's true that he knew he's publicly lied about it on repeated occasions, and said, he knew nothing about the meeting.
However, we now have information from Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, who says that the president did, in fact, know about the Trump Tower meeting. Now, I think that puts the president in a difficult position because he was lying about it. But it puts his son, Don Jr. in a much worse position.
Because Don Jr. testified under oath before Congress that the president knew nothing about the meeting before it took place. If that is true, it is possible that Don Jr. has committed the crime of perjury by lying about that before a congressional committee under oath. So, Don Jr. has got the big problem here that was created by the president, really.
PAUL: OK, when you talk about Cohen the thing is, as we understand, he has no corroborating evidence of this, the allegation that President Trump knew and approved of this meeting. There are no recordings, no documentation as far as we know. But we do know that the meeting happened. With that said, Josh, talk to me about the importance of the intention of that meeting, whether it was known or not the intention is also in question here.
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, we know from Donald Trump Jr.'s revealed communications that he expressed an interest in receiving dirt about Hillary Clinton from these Russian nationals who had links to the Russian government.
We also know that this proffer turned out to be largely false the information they actually had wasn't true. It was related to their overall lobbying campaign against Russia sanctions in exchange for a push to release Russian reinstructions on American adoptions.
So, whatever you want to call. That can you call that attempted collusion, like aspiring for collusion, but it doesn't seem that an actual trade of information actually happened. Again, we know these Russian nationals didn't actually have the goods so that puts us all in sort of a quagmire, right?
Have you all these attempts to collude, to conspire and no actual evidence that at least we know of that the exchange happened. That's damming. It's embarrassing for the president and his team, his son, his campaign chairman and everyone else. It may not add up to an actual evidence of a crime.
That's the legal sort of grey area we have been in all this time some we have this political crisis for this president and his team that may not actually be a legal crisis that they actually to pay --
PAUL: So, Jeremy, I want to get a real grasp of what Rudy Giuliani again has said about Michael Cohen once on ABC on May 6th and then with Chris Cuomo just this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: The man is an honest, honorable lawyer.
I expected something like this from Comey, he's been lying all week. He has been lying for years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[08:10:05] PAUL: The two completely different sides of the spectrum here on Cohen. What do you make, first of all, how much credence anybody can put into Cohen at this point?
JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I mean, I think what this shows is that there are problems with the narrators on all sides of this. You know, Rudy Giuliani, he is praising Cohen. He will tell the truth. All is fine. We hear him this week, he has been lying. He's a liar his whole life and everything he says is a lie.
You put on the flipside, though, don't forget, Michael Cohen is saying that Donald Trump knew about this meeting. I was there when Donald Trump Jr. told him about it. Go back to his testimony before the House and Senate Intelligence Committee, which again is a crime to lie to Congress.
We know that he, at least, with the House Intelligence Committee, he didn't say anything about Donald Trump knowing. So, he is also as much of an unreliable narrator in this story as the president is. Now, someone here is lying. We don't -- I don't think yet know who that is.
But that's going to be without that, you know without a tape or some other corroborating evidence, it's going to be hard to figure out who that is.
PAUL: Yes, Paul, what kind of evidence would they have to have to prove intention or to prove that President Trump did, indeed, know and approve of this meeting and how much does it matter at the end of the day?
CALLAN: Well, if you focus back on Don Jr.'s testimony before Congress, if you wanted to prove that he committed perjury in saying that the president didn't know about it. You would need corroborating evidence. It's called the two-witness rule.
Now, it doesn't have to be a live witness, but it could be circumstantial evidence suggesting that Don Jr.'s -- Cohen's new testimony is, in fact, accurate about Don Jr. I think getting back to a legitimate point that Josh raises about the collusion issue.
The meeting is very important not so much because they colluded with the Russians. They got dirt on Hillary Clinton in the meeting. It would show an intent to cooperate with Russian sources to sabotage the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Now, if there were other acts that occurred later on during the campaign, this would be the intent and the other acts would fill out the collusion theory. So, you can't rule this out as evidence of collusion. It could be the start of collusion if there is other evidence.
PAUL: All right. Josh, the president tweeted this yesterday, "I did not know of the meeting with my son, Don Jr. It sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam."
That does not sound like someone who can count on a pardon anymore. Is there a risk for the president there? Because there's been a lot of people saying, look, he is going to pardon Cohen. Cohen is not going to cooperate. This does thought sound like that pardon could actually happen. Is there a risk for President Trump in kind of making that known?
ROGIN: Well, I would say that, yes, he is acknowledging the risk that already existed. The tweet didn't make the risk. The risk was when Michael Cohen decided to jump ship and start turning on the president.
You know, you could say the president turned on him first for sure. It's a race to the bottom between, you know, all of these guys and they're all losing. OK. You know, the whole idea that his most closest personal fixer and lawyer for all of these years is leaking horrendous details true or not to the press as bait to try to get a deal to get him out from under his own legal troubles.
It's a disaster for the president politically and legally and he is lashing out. So, yes, I think the pardon is off the table for Michael Cohen. He is clearly pursuing a different strategy now.
I've heard Paul say on tv and lots of other CNN lawyers other than myself, it doesn't seem that Michael Cohen's strategy is that good, right? If he was really looking for a deal, he probably wouldn't be leaking to the press.
That's what you do when -- that's not really the best way to gain the trust of all of these prosecutors. Nevertheless, they're all desperate and flailing --
PAUL: I have 15 second left, but I have to get to you, Jeremy, on this one last question. Paul said the real legal risk comes for Donald Trump Jr. How strongly -- what do you think President Trump is willing to do to protect his son if it comes down to it?
HERB: You know, it's a good question. We've seen Trump lash out more and more and more as this investigation has comes closer to his inner circle. If it gets to Donald Trump Jr., that's as close as it gets. I don't think we've seen yet what he is going to decide to do should it comes to that, you know, down the road.
PAUL: All righty, Jeremy Herb, Josh Rogin, and Paul Callan, always so grateful to have the three of you on with us. Thank you.
SAVIDGE: The Carr fire in Northern California has already claimed two lives. Now a family in Northern California is calling hospitals, calling shellers, searching for two children and their great grandmother who are missing since that fire destroyed their home. Coming up, the challenges ahead for the firefighters that are trying to gain the upper hand.
PAUL: Also, a powerful figure in the Catholic church is gone. Coming up, the sexual abuse allegations against a prominent cardinal.
SAVIDGE: Breaking news from the Vatican this morning regarding the resignation of a prominent cardinal.
PAUL: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He announced last month that he had been removed from public ministry about the Vatican because of allegations of sexual abuse.
CNN senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, explains why these developments are so significant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST (via telephone): Well, what we know is that recently there have been mounting accusations against the retired cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, formerly the archbishop both of Newark, New Jersey and also Washington, D.C.
In Washington, he became probably the premiere broker between the Catholic bishops in America and the nation's political establishment. He played an incredibly important role turning the John -- the late years of the John Paul II papacy proceed Benedict XVI.
[08:20:06] And also reportedly was instrumental in helping get Pope Francis elected in March of 2013. The accusations now hold that Cardinal McCarrick is guilty of a variety of acts, sexual misconduct and abuse, including in at least one case with a minor.
Of course, Pope Francis has pledged himself to a strong zero-tolerance policy in sexual abuse. Today, the Vatican announced that the pope has accepted Cardinal McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals.
So, as of today, he is no longer a cardinal and that the pope has also suspended McCarrick, which means that he is not able to act as a priest. He cannot celebrate mass. He cannot do confirmations and so on.
While a church investigation against him is unfolding, so, what we have is fairly dramatic and rapid papal action against the highest rung of the Catholic power structure. This kind of thing is really unprecedented since the early 20th Century.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: John Allen, joining us there on the telephone. He is the CNN senior Vatican analyst. We should point out that McCarrick says that he is innocent. The 88-year-old cardinal is one of the highest ranking American leaders to be removed from the ministry because of sex abuse charges.
PAUL: All right. There was a number that everybody was buzzing about, this 4.1 percent really strong economic growth number for the U.S. The strongest in four years, in fact, and it fulfills one of the president's really big campaign promises.
SAVIDGE: But the question now is, what is it really tell us about what's going on with the U.S. economy and where do we go from here? Cristina Alesci has those details.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Martin, Christi, the reading on economic growth is very strong, no doubt about that, but there are some important details that highlight what's really going on with the economy. Top line, it grew 4.1 percent, and that is the strongest increase since 2014.
President Trump wasted no time taking credit for this, holding a press conference to tout the numbers, but this is only one report, and his predecessors have hit even higher marks. Under President Obama, for example, the economy hit 5 percent growth in a quarter.
For Presidents Bush and Clinton, there were quarterly growth rates of 6 percent and 7 percent. The big question right now -- can the U.S. generate a relatively high number for the year?
The president said on Friday he thinks 4 percent is sustainable. And if he's right and the strong growth continues through the remainder of the year, then it could mark a high point for the Trump administration.
But right now, economists are predicting slower growth for the second half of the year, in part because of some one-time factors that boosted growth in the second quarter, like a boom in exports, which surged 9 percent, some of that driven by orders for things like soybeans before the tariffs took effect.
That will likely cool off next quarter. Business investment was also a bright spot. Many executives I talked to are feeling good right now because of tax cuts and reduced regulation but concerns over trade and geopolitics could threaten that optimism.
Consumer spending and government spending increased as well. Bottom line, these numbers are robust and will certainly be a talking point for Republicans heading into midterms, but it's not a guarantee the rest of the year will be as strong, especially with the ongoing trade negotiations -- Martin, Christi.
PAUL: All righty. Cristina, thank you. A family in Northern California this morning, they're calling hospitals, they're calling shellers, because they're searching for two children and their great grandmother, who had been missing since their home was destroyed by a wildfire. The challenges ahead for the firefighters, who are working to gain an upper hand on this fire in California.
PAUL: Welcome to Saturday. It's just about 28 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. Two young children and their great grandmother are missing as fire crews battle a rapidly expanding wildfire in Northern California.
PAUL: What happened at the Carr fire here in Shasta County and it has devoured nearly 50,000 acres destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. There are two firefighters who have died trying to stop the flames. This morning, that fire is just 5 percent contained.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is in that area and joins us now. I can't help but look at what's behind you, what is left behind you, Paul, for this family.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it's heart breaking and Christi and Martin, let me just show you a little of this. It tells a larger story, the Corona family lived here for almost 30 years. We were speaking with Chris Corona, he and his wife. They were reflecting on the times that he had here.
Just to give you a sense of what it's like for someone like hers to return to a house like this, extremely thrilled, relieved that his parents made it out, evacuated. But still you look at all of this, look at what was left of the laundry room, for example, you can help but have your heart go out to a homeowner and someone who lived here. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbelievable. You know, my parents bought this house when they moved up from San Jose right before I was born. My dad and I and everyone else that helped us put so much work into this house, I can't believe it's gone.
You know. All those memories, you know, childhood memories. You know, all the stuff that parents say that, you know, you build it for your mom. I'm just glad we got -- like my mom got all the valuable stuff that she wanted out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: Also, something else that was found in all this, Chris pointed out that there was one green spot left in this entire piece of property. That was a bush and inside it, they found the family cat that was missing and they were pretty euphoric over that.
Burning down this house tells the larger tale. We've got several major wildfires in California right now. And in the overarching picture, some 89 large fires, most of them burning in the west and more than 900,000 acres. This is strapping resources, because you can't put all the crews, of course, in one or two places. Firefighters are really up against it with this so far menacing fire season. Christi, Martin.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Paul Vercammen. Paul, thank you so much. A great point to make of how thin the resources are for those people out there. As we said, two firefights have already died.
Our meteorologist Allison Chinchar is with us as well because of course weather plays a role here to some degree.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. We're hoping maybe, Allison, there's some, I don't know, good indication for the firefighters out there to help them.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Martin. I wish I had better news for you, but I just simply don't. The forecast for this really maintains that hot dry conditions for not just California, but for much of the west. And that's the key here. California is not the only state dealing with fires. Over a dozen states, 13 to be exact, are dealing with large fires, nearly 90 of them. And this is just the large fires. This does not even include some of those smaller fires that are spread throughout many of these estates.
Carr fire, 5% contained, Ferguson fire, 29% contained, and Cranston fire only 16% contained. Those numbers are important, the containment numbers you want as close to if not at 100%. And, unfortunately, we just haven't seen much movement in a lot of these fires in the past few days, again, because you have those very hot and dry conditions.
Now, take a look at this. This is one of those fires to the northwest of Redding. What you are looking at. You are actually seeing those pyrocumulus clouds form and just take off. A pyrocumulus cloud or a fire cloud, as it's often called, is a cloud that is performed because of that fire, or sometimes even volcanoes can produce the same thing.
The key thing to note here is that the forecast is allowing these fires it has in the past and will continue in the future to allow them the perfect conditions to spread. We have very low humidities, some strong gusty winds and localized spots, Martin and Christi. And again, those temperatures are going to remain in triple digits for at least the next three-to-five days.
PAUL: All right, Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
We're going to tell you that Russia is hosting international war games today. Dozens of countries, including China, is showing have come to show off their military might. We're going to take you to Russia.
SAVIDGE: Plus, the president met with his both senior national security advisers to discuss cybersecurity ahead of midterms. Yet there still isn't a concrete plan to combat the Russian threat. More on that ahead.
[08:38:13] SAVIDGE: Vladimir Putin is reciprocating President Trump's invitation. The Russian president says he's not only willing to visit Washington after President Trump invited him, but he is also inviting the U.S. president to come to Moscow.
PAUL: Here's the thing, this morning, Russia is hosting the International Army Games, that's where several countries are demonstrating their military might. CNN senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley, live in Moscow.
So, first and foremost, Sam, I know that President Putin's invitation is coming with conditions as it's been reported. Is there any indication what those conditions might be?
SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, frankly, not really. These would be I think the sorts of conditions that international diplomacy would expect. I think the Russian would like to see some progress at an official level on some of the subjects that they say they raised -- or that were raised by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump during that two-hour secret meeting in Helsinki. So they would probably want to see official progress and we've seen hints about this on talks about Syria, arms reduction.
So that if there is a summit down the line, possibly after the Mueller investigation has been concluded, there would be something substantive to talk about. Because I think, frankly, even from the Russian perspective, the bromance between the two presidents is beginning to look a little awkward and from the Russian perspective, they actually want to move it to substantive results as a result of what this very warm relation would appear to be.
SAVIDGE: And, Sam, I want to ask you, there's actually more I would ask you about the visit, but let's go on with the war games. What is exactly are these war games and what's going on here?
KILEY: Well, this is a kind of annual arms bizarre demonstration of international military prowess, a bit like a kind of arms fair but on the hoof.
[08:40:07] There's even I think a tank biathlon, tank racing charging around the course. The Chinese are going to be bringing some of their latest aerospace investments, some of their planes that they'd like to be selling to the sorts of what would have been in the olden days the eastern bloc countries, really a competition for buyers between Russia and China, principally, and also an opportunity to remind the world that Russia is expanding its military capability. Something that Vladimir Putin has been very keen to drive home.
The Russians have been demonstrating some of their new technology that they say ways ahead of NATO and advancing the idea that they should, indeed, be having the summits with U.S. president and others precisely to start talking about arms reduction. You've got to have arms to reduce them. It's really the Russian position. That plays in this demonstration of military prowess and competition plays directly into that.
PAUL: Interesting. All right, Sam Kiley, I always learn something from you sir. Thank you.
Now, the president held his first National Security Council meeting focused solely on foreign interference in U.S. elections. The meeting discussed ways to help state and local elections officials as well.
SAVIDGE: Yes, but it didn't really offer any plans to counter the Russian threat that has already interfered with the 2018 congressional campaigns.
CNN correspondent Alex Marquardt has more.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN REPORT (voice-over): Facing growing criticism, he hasn't focused enough on the election cybersecurity threat from Russia, the president met with his national security team in the White House situation room to discuss election interference. So far the administration vague on the details.
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Just rest assured there are actions underway to protect our elections or to expose any external -- any by anybody external efforts to influence the American public, to show false news, that sort of thing.
MARQUARDT: It comes as Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill accuses Russian operatives of trying to hack into her office last year. Saying in a statement, while this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with it this. I will not be intimidated. I've said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.
McCaskill is one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection this year. A senior Microsoft executive confirmed that three 2018 candidates have been targeted by the same group of Russian intelligence operatives who targeted Democrats in 2016.
TOM BURT, MICROSOFT VICE PRESIDENT OF CUSTOMER SECURITY: They were all people who because of their positions might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint.
MARQUARDT: The hackers used fake Microsoft pages and so-called phishing attacks. The company is on high alert for similar pages which they say they take down when discovered. It's the campaigns rather than the voting systems that are among the most vulnerable targets.
ROBBY MOOK, DEFENDING DIGITAL DEMOCRACY PROJECT: I think the fact of the matter is that the campaign staff are just never going to be able to get to the level of these adversaries and stair them down. We're talking about the most sophisticated cyber operators in the world. Russian intelligence, the Iranians, the North Koreans.
MARQUARDT: The Trump administration has come under fire for not announcing a comprehensive coordinated plan to thwart cyberthreats.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: I think it's an embarrassment that this White House has not made election security a top priority and has not put the kind of attention and focus on it that we need.
MARQUARDT: In May, the cyber coordinator role on the National Security Council was eliminated as top intelligence officials are sounding the arm, comparing the current state of danger to the months before the 9/11 attacks.
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I'm here to say the warning lights are blinking red again. Today the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.
MARQUARDT: The Department of Homeland Security oversees the defense of the country's voting infrastructure. But on offense, it's less clear with the NSA, FBI and military all taking leading roles.
MOOK: We really need more connective tissue between people gathering intelligence, people doing law enforcement, and people charged with protecting our different assets in the digital realm.
MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt, CNN, New York.
SAVIDGE: And last night Senator McCaskill talked to our affiliate KMOV about the attempted hacking.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) MISSOURI: We discovered because Microsoft contacted the Senate and then the Senate personnel let us know. And so we have been aware of this effort for some months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So is everybody in your office changing your passwords at this point?
MCCASKILL: We've taken all kinds of steps. I'm not going to be intimidated. And I have said many times that Putin is a thug and a bully and he is somebody who does not allow the people of Russia to have freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[08:45:06] SAVIDGE: That Missouri Senate race is considered the tossup. McCaskill is seeking reelection in a state that went for President Trump in 2016.
Fifty-five boxes of remains believed to belong to U.S. service members have been handed over by North Korea. But this peace offering may come with strings attached.
PAUL: And look at this, a bear gets stuck inside a pick-up truck and this is what he left.
SAVIDGE: Vice President Mike Pence will head to Hawaii Wednesday to formally receive what are believed to be the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the war with Korea.
PAUL: This is part of a deal made between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, but as CNN's Will Ripley reports, Pyongyang's good will may soon give way to more demands.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[08:50:08] WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just one week after his Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, President Trump made this triumphant announcement.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We got back our great fallen heroes the remains. In fact, today, already 200 have been sent back.
RIPLEY: But it took five more weeks for just 55 sets of remains to arrive at South Korea's Osan Air Base Friday on the anniversary of the Korean War armistice. Pyongyang did not even approve the mission until the final hours keeping U.S. officials guessing.
TRUMP: And I want to thank Chairman Kim for keeping his word.
RIPLEY: But few expected this relatively simple confidence building measure would take more than six weeks, raising serious questions about the far more complex and far more contentious negotiations over the denuclearization.
This week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Intelligence Committee, North Korea is still producing fuel for nuclear weapons. Pompeo fresh off a disappointing trip to Pyongyang, little if any progress on key issues and a widely perceived snub by Kim Jong-un, who did not meet with him. The U.S. was later criticized by North Korea for making what they called gangster-like demands.
In May, North Korean officials took CNN to what they claim was the destruction of this new test site. These new images show they may also be dismantling a satellite launching station. But U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korea is upgrading other key weapons facilities, including a ballistic missile plant and nuclear reactor. Their assessment, Kim Jong-un, has no the plans to give up his nukes any time soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have not done another nuclear test, so that's a positive. If they have another ballistic missile test, that's a positive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea is playing its normal game in which they'd agreed to a concept of its own definition of denuclearization, whatever that means, and then freezes activity to let the heat go down.
RIPLEY: An official telling CNN this week North Korea wants sanctions relief and a peace treaty, formally ending the Korean War or Kim Jong- un my consider walking away from the talks emboldened by his increasingly friendly relationship with traditional allies Russia and China. Both could make it nearly impossible for the U.S. to continue its maximum pressure campaign even if negotiations with North Korea breakdown.
Will Ripley, CNN, Seoul.
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PAUL: And I want to tell you about a bear that got stuck inside a man's truck. What can possibly go wrong with that, right?
[08:52:15] PAUL: Did you know that nearly one in four children in rural America grows up in poverty? According to a recent report by Save the Children, actress Jennifer Gardner has teamed up with the organization to make a difference in today's "IMPACT YOUR WORLD."
JENNIFER GARNER, ACTRESS: I grew up as I have often told people one generation and one holler removed from poverty.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): For more than a decade, Jennifer Garner has stood up for America's poorest kids as a Save the Children ambassador.
GARNER: The playing field for kids in America is not equal.
MARK SHRIVER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SAVE THE CHILDREN: We've been working in primarily rural America for the last 75, 85 years focusing on education, making sure kids are entering kindergarten ready to learn. We have a home visiting program working with the parents in the home to make sure they're stimulating their kids socially, emotionally.
BALDWIN: Save the Children also offers a two-week intensive program for students heading to kindergarten, like Alaina, who has autism.
HEATHER FINCHER, PARENT: Some of the stuff she's learned over the past year has really blown my mind. I wish you could have met her at the beginning of last year.
SHRIVER: We run in school, after school, and summer literacy programs that have a physical activity and nutrition component as well.
BALDWIN: Jessica Babb's son, Levi, entered the program four years ago.
JESSICA BABB, PARENT: He just took off the moment he sat at the desk. He has a desire for reading that I love and admire about him.
GARNER: We talk about how kids are the future. We're not doing anything about it. We have to be aggressively out there helping them. (END VIDEOTAPE)
SAVIDGE: All right. We've got to leave with you this story. And it's about a black bear that somehow figured out how to get inside one man's pick-up truck. But apparently the bear couldn't figure how to get out. And this is what the inside of that truck looked like the very next day.
PAUL: Oh my goodness.
SAVIDGE: The man went out to check on his vehicle and when he heard the horn blow, apparently he knows his own truck's horn and that's what he found inside.
PAU: Oh my goodness. This is the thing, he called police, see police there, using a rope, mind you, to open the door from at least a safe enough distance and there goes the bear. He got out, and he eventually ran away. And we understand that he was going after gum in the console. How -- I understand a bear has a very strong sense of scent, of food, but gum.
SAVIDGE: Yes. Probably a buck 50 worth of gum that just ended up with about 7,000 worth of damage inside, somewhere in there is an insurance
PAUL: Oh yes. We hope it's covered. Yes. Because we would like to see that.
SAVIDGE: -- your insurance agent?
PAUL: No, not at all.
SAVIDGE: All right. We've got more news straight ahead.
PAUL: We do. Smerconish is coming out today, so stay close.