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Rudy Giuliani Claims That The Tape Released Is Altered Or Doctored To Some Degree; Growing Outrage After A Polar Bear Is Shot And Killed By A Cruise Ship Guard During A Sightseeing Tour; Russia Put On A Show Of Its Military Might Today At Its Annual Naval Parade. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 29, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] ZAKARIA: -- come November. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week, and I will see you next week.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Up first, the final sprint to the midterms in just 100 days. Voters will send a strong message on President Trump's first two years in office. Trump sticking to what fires up his base, teeing up the immigration issue. He's now threatening a government shutdown if Congress does not fund his long-promised border wall and is already pointing the blame at Democrats.
Trump's hardline immigration stance is what helped him win the White House and his promise to build the wall was a key rallying cry on his campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to build a great border wall. We will build a great, great wall. We're going to build the wall. Don't worry about it. We're building it. I promise, we will build the wall. And who's going to pay for the wall?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This new shutdown threat happening as the government's deadline to reunite separated children with their families has come and gone. More than 700 children still have not been reunited.
CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is live for us from New Jersey near where President Trump is spending the weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster.
So tell us more about Trump's border wall, government shutdown threat.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, as we've seen before, President Trump wants his border wall by any means necessary. This is not the first time that he's made the threat to shut down the federal government over budget spending on his border wall. If you'll recall last year we were in a similar situation with Congress having to pass continuing resolutions from September all the way to early 2018.
And the president on Twitter is threatening to do it all over again. He writes, quote, "I would be willing to shut down government if Democrats do not give us the votes for border security, which includes the wall." In a separate tweet, he made this an issue for the midterm elections writing, quote, "Congress must act on fixing the dumbest and worst immigration laws anywhere in the world. Vote R." R, of course, for Republicans.
But some prominent Republicans are not on board with this plan. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was on one of the Sunday morning talk shows. He was asked about a shutdown. Listen to his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Let's hope not. I think hopefully most of the appropriation bills will actually be passed. A little more -- a little better prioritization of spending. So I certainly don't like playing shutdown politics.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how damaging would that be for Republicans ahead of the November races?
JOHNSON: I don't think it would be helpful, so let's try and avoid it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now, Fred, sources close to some of my CNN colleagues on Capitol Hill have heard from people close to the Republican leadership. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell who had a meeting with President Trump earlier this week telling him that appropriation bills were moving forward smoothly in a bipartisan fashion. They told him that they didn't want anything to distract or derail potentially the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
A government shutdown certainly would. Sources indicated the president was receptive to their message, but obviously on Twitter he is threatening one yet again -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez in New Jersey. Thank you so much.
So this court ordered deadline to reunite children separated from their families at the border is now in the rearview mirror. One out of three children remain separated from their parents with no clear indication when they will be reunited.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins us near the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas.
So what are you hearing there? KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the government has
been patting itself on the back over the past few days saying they've reunited all families eligible for reunification by that court ordered deadline. But as you mentioned, that leaves 711 children by the government's last tally separated from their families who have been deemed ineligible for reunification. Now no two families' stories are alike, but over the course of reporting on this story in the bigger picture, the common threads have been confusion, frustration, incredible challenges in communication as the government has been making its decisions and making up its processes here as they go along. This being uncharted territory for all involved.
The story that really encapsulates where we are now is best told by a woman named Alejandro. That's what we will call her by. Nearly two months ago, she came to this country from Honduras with her daughter. They were fleeing gang violence there. They were separated. Ten days ago she was given release paperwork, told that on that day, later that day she and her 6-year-old daughter would be reunited.
[14:05:05] Meanwhile, the government's deadline has come and gone. She is still sitting in a detention facility here in Texas, her daughter still in New York, we believe, with very little answers from the government as to why they're still in limbo, why they haven't been reunited when they were told that they would be. Now her daughter's attorney has been told by HHS that a red flag was put on the daughter's case, but they don't understand why.
Fred, what we're coming to understand is that timing is everything for these families. While that family crossed the border during the period of President Trump's no tolerance policy, we met a family yesterday here in McAllen, a family -- a mother and daughter, who had traveled here for a month from El Salvador. They crossed the border four days ago, they were briefly detained, never separated. They were getting on a bus from McAllen to go meet family in Indianapolis. They're there now awaiting their first court date.
But there you see, Fred, timing is everything for what these families are having to endure. So much uncertainty still ahead for so many.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And such a variety of experiences, too. All right. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much.
So the president will also make a big push for Republican candidates this week. He is hosting rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania, two states the president won in 2016, but with just 100 days until midterm elections, Democrats are gearing up to flip as many seats as they can.
CNN's John King has been analyzing how Republicans could maintain control of both Houses of Congress and how Democrats could pull off a congressional upset.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One hundred days now until the midterm elections a new CNN rankings, brand new rankings give the Democrats even more reason to feel bullish about their odds of retaking the big prize, control of the House of Representatives.
To the campaign trail in a second. First, though, a reminder of the current state of play. Let's look at the House as we speak today. 235 Republicans. That's the majority. You see the red seats down here. Democrats in the minority with 193. But that's the state of play here in Washington.
Let's take a look at our new rankings out on the campaign trail and you will see 235 Republican seats. Well, we rank only 158 of them as solid Republican going into the final stretch of the campaign. 29 likely, 18 lean Republican. You see the yellow, the gold? That's 27 toss-up seats. Strong number for the Democrats. 182 solid, nine likely, 12 leaning Democratic seats.
So how do the Democrats get to the majority? Here is their dream scenario. Win the likelies, win the leans. If they could sweep these toss-ups, that's the gold down there, 230 if the Democrats essentially run the board. 230, well in excess of what they need to be the majority. Again, that's a dream-o vision. But it does show you how this is well within their reach heading into the final stretch.
One of the reasons they're so bullish, let's take a closer look at the toss-up seats. See the red on top? Of the 27 toss-up seats, 25 are currently held by Republicans. 25 of the 27 toss-ups are currently Republican-held seats. Only two held by the Democrats. Again, with the wind at your back, a reason the Democrats are optimistic more Republican seats moving from the red into the competitive side of our map here.
Another reason the Democrats are optimistic heading into the final hundred days, their standing today is even better than it was at the beginning of the year. They were optimistic then. Look at the Republican numbers. 177 solid to begin the year. Down to 158 solid now. More seats have moved from dark red, solid Republican, this way toward the Democrats.
The Democratic numbers are up. 182 solid now, up from the beginning of the year. So this map looks good for the Democrats now at 100 days out. Even better than it was in January. A lot can happen between now and then, but heading into this final stretch, Democrats believe their odds are quite good of retaking the biggest prize this November, control of the House.
WHITFIELD: All right. John King, thank you so much for that.
So my next guest is a Democrat running for re-election in Illinois, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Thank you so much for being with me. All right. So how are you feeling --
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: -- going into midterms? Just 100 days away. KRISHNAMOORTHI: I feel good. I think there's a lot of energy out
there among Democrats. I think that the question is whether that's going to translate into votes. I think it is. I think that people are very aware of the consequences of not voting. I think 2016 is seared in the memory of a lot of Democrats. And I think that people see Democrats increasingly connecting to the working families that are so important for victories in all of those toss-up seats and all the other seats that we need to win to take the majority.
WHITFIELD: So I want to ask you about the president's approach 100 days out now. He's tweeted out, he says he's willing to shut down the government over funding for his border wall. How do you see that as beneficial strategy for Republicans?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that that would be a tremendous mistake for the president for two reasons. It's bad policy and bad politics.
[14:10:04] People are very, very, very upset about our current immigration policies. The separation of children from their parents just being the latest example of really, really bad policies. I just visited some of these children that have yet to be reunited with their parents. I visited them on Friday. It's a heart-wrenching example of immigration policy that's gone in a very bad direction. And then, you know, most Democrats and indeed many Republicans are opposed to a wall in the first place. It's just a bad approach to handling our immigration policy.
WHITFIELD: So then what will be the consensus for Democrats to try to win over perhaps more moderate voters in districts that really could potentially flip?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think the best way to win over these voters is to talk about those bread and butter issues that affect working families. For instance, health care. You know, this president and the administration have really tried to destabilize the insurance markets, hurting a lot of people. Premiums have skyrocketed since the president tried to repeal the ACA.
The tax bill is very unpopular in a lot of parts of Illinois where I represent. A lot of the benefits are going to the top 1 percent of income holders. And it's saddling future generations with trillions of dollars in debt. And then the last thing, as people are very upset that the president appears to hold himself above the law. They're upset about the fact that the Russians did interfere in our democracy. We're not doing ourselves to protect ourselves from the Russians.
In fact the president now is -- and some of his allies in Congress are attacking the FBI, the very people that are trying to protect our democracy from the Russians and other malign actors.
WHITFIELD: So in addition to showcasing some of those issues, how much are Democrats kind of pinning their hopes on new blood? You know, such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and her stunning upset in New York. Is there a feeling that going after, you know, the younger, more diverse candidates is advantageous? KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think we need a Congress that reflects the
diversity of our country. And the fact that so many diverse candidates have ended up winning their primaries in the Democratic side and are running in the general election is a good thing. I think that the more that we have candidates that reflect their constituencies the better. And I think that we're going to end up taking the majority because of that.
WHITFIELD: The economy, the economy, stupid, always an incredible, you know, motivation in any race, midterm or general election. And this strong economic report out this past week with the GDP at 4.1 percent. The economy is growing at the fastest pace on record since 2014. So this will be an advantage for Republicans.
Does this mean Democrats will stay away from this, find a way in which to see this as an asset for you? What?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: No, I think obviously a lot of people know that the recovery started during the Obama administration. That's in part why he was re-elected. The president was in 2012. It's continued into the Trump presidency. And I think that the president currently should continue to build on what he inherited.
But the question is this. Do working families feel like they are included in the economy? Do they feel like they're on the up escalator of the economy, so to speak? A lot of folks feel very pinched in the middle class. I just passed a bill in Congress, in the Senate and the House, and now it's going to be signed into law which basically tries to modernize our career technical education system for the two-thirds of Americans who are not going to get a four-year college degree.
It's so important that we focus on the priorities of those working families and continue to connect with them. And if we do, we will likely get their attention for the other issues that we care about as well.
WHITFIELD: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, thanks so much. Good to see you.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, heartbreak in California as a fast-moving wildfire claims the lives of three more people, the fire doubling in size this weekend, scorching hundreds of homes and buildings. We'll take you there live.
And he said, he said. Rudy Giuliani now accusing Michael Cohen of doctoring the tape of the president seemingly admitting that he knew about the payment to a Playboy model in the days leading up to the election.
[14:19:01] WHITFIELD: Officials are warning of explosive dangerous fire behavior possible today as wildfires rage in California. This as we're learning that 12 people are missing and five are dead as a result of that massive fire near Redding. Among those killed, a woman and her two great-grandchildren, who perished when flames engulfed the woman's home. A firefighter and a bulldoze operator have also been killed. The blaze has burned nearly 90,000 acres and is just 5 percent contained.
CNN's Dan Simon joins us now from Redding.
So more scenes of destruction right behind you. These are people's homes that are just wiped out.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, I want to show you the front page of the local newspaper because I think it pretty much tells the story here. It says "No End in Sight," which is a very helpless feeling for the people in this community because they don't know when they're going to be able to get back into their homes, and also for those who have been evacuated, they don't know if they'll have a home to go back into.
[14:20:04] So it's a very helpless feeling and the reason why there is no end in sight that's because the fire is burning basically in all directions combined with the fact that you have absolutely brutal fire conditions that remains very hot, triple-digit temperatures at least through the middle of the week, and then at night it gets very windy as this area remains under a red flag warning.
In addition to all that you talked about the missing people. Right now that number stands at a dozen which is a very scary number but that does not mean that those folks are presumed dead. It simply could be a communications issue where people had to leave their homes at a moment's notice and forgot to bring their cell phone and they haven't been able to get in touch with relatives. So officials are optimistic that as time progresses, that hopefully that number will be reduced -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. And so, Dan, what about, you know, support coming in for these firefighter teams that are working around the clock? And you mentioned no end in sight. You know, it's very dry. Humidity very low. What are they up against and what kind of assistance are these teams needing?
SIMON: Well, right now they do have a lot of firefighters battling this blaze. Of course, they work in shifts. But the number is at 4,000. They really can't get enough firefighters in here, though. They can use all the help that they can get.
And one thing I might add, Fred, is that this region in many ways just feels paralyzed because you have 38,000 people who are under this evacuation order. It's really impossible to get a hotel in the area. And many of the evacuation shelters are also reaching maximum capacity. And as I said, with that headline, no end in sight, it just amounts to a feeling of frustration and nobody knows when this is going to end -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Dan Simon. Thank you so much in Redding. All right. Still ahead, Rudy Giuliani accuses Michael Cohen of
tampering with secretly recorded conversation with President Trump involving a payment to a former Playboy model to conceal an alleged affair. What an audio forensics expert has to say about that possibility next.
[14:26:41] WHITFIELD: President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani takes another swipe at the credibility of former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen. Cohen dropped a bombshell with his claim that candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. That's the one where the Russians had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. There was also the release of that secretly recorded tape of Cohen and Trump. They were discussing a potential payout related to former Playboy model Karen McDougal over her allegations of an affair with Trump. Giuliani responded by calling Michael Cohen a pathological liar. Here's what he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You called him an honest, honorable lawyer just a few weeks ago. What changed?
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: How did I know? Why would I have not thought he was? I mean, I've never had a bad dealing with Michael. I was being straight and honest. I didn't know that he taped conversations surreptitiously. I didn't know he would grossly violate the attorney-client privilege. I didn't know he would mislead dozens of reporters and tape them all over the place, and pretend to them directly, I'm not recording you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much of the evidence that the --
GIULIANI: I didn't know that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much of the evidence that the FBI seized from Michael Cohen's ,you know, place of work and residence relates to the president, beyond tapes?
GIULIANI: Well, let me see if I can make it about as clear as possible. We know of something like 183 unique conversations on tape. One of those is with the president of the United States. That's the three-minute one involving the McDougal payment. The AMI McDougal payment. There are 12 others, maybe 11 or 12 others, out of the 183 in which the president is discussed at any length by Cohen, mostly with reporters. All clearly corroborating what the president has said in detail on many of those tweets.
In other words, that he didn't know about the payments to either one when it happened, that he only found out later, that Cohen made them not for the campaign -- he didn't like the campaign. He says very derogatory things about the campaign. He said I only made it because I personally love the president and Melania. And that's why I made the payments, which takes it right out of the campaign contribution arsenal. So these are tapes I want you to read. I want you to hear them. I
didn't think I'd be able to get them out publicly. And somehow he and his lawyer have this crazy idea just throw it all out there. I think they also don't realize it's going to hurt them with the prosecutors. When I was a prosecutor, I don't want some guy giving out all the evidence to the press.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about this. James Gagliano is a CNN law enforcement analyst and a retired FBI supervisory special agent. Good to see you.
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good to see you, too.
WHITFIELD: Live and in person here in Atlanta. All right. So what would be the motivation between -- by the trickling of this kind of tape? Wouldn't this potentially undermine the investigation by allowing this tape to get out?
GAGLIANO: Seems to be a game of chess and not checkers. And look, legal pundits have been arguing, you know, the legality and the ethics of releasing this tape. You know, should a lawyer tape a client? Legally able to do that in New York. Right? One-party consent state. Ethically, there's some arguments both ways.
Look, the only reason that I could see that the Cohen team, you know, Lanny Davis as his attorney, would be leaking these tapes, would be -- maybe to press for the special prosecutor to start working to cut a deal for Michael Cohen. Now it's interesting, you know, I was a huge fan of Rudy Giuliani. I was in, you know, lower Manhattan on September 11th of 2001. And he was America's mayor. To see him now in this political surrogacy role, it's just - it is so beneath him.
Now, he is going to argue for the President and he is going to say that there was something exculpatory that was on these tapes. That these tapes have been altered. Well, altered is a technical term. That means that somebody edit audio or removed audio.
If it's abruptly cut, that's different. And you can argue context, Fred, but that's not an altered tape.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: And that's Giuliani's argument, that he says it has altered or doctored to some degree. CNN hired also an audio forensics expert Ed Primeau who previewed the recording. And this was his take.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED PRIMEAU, AUDIO FORENSIC EXPERT: Well, the clip is incomplete. We have got the beginning, I believe. Because I can see a start signature at the beginning of this recording. In other words, when the recorder was engaged and where the dialogue just abruptly ends and some new conversation comes in, there is but splicer and edit there. Those two pieces are cut together. And I can clearly see that. And I'm certain any other forensic expert with the same qualifications would agree with me.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: So what does that mean to the uninitiated?
PRIMEAU: That means that this is not an original, it's not a master, and it's not a complete recording.
CUOMO: It means their conversation may well have continued beyond that abrupt ending and that other call that comes in.
PRIMEAU: That's a high degree of probability that that's the case, Chris.
CUOMO: And I think that matches common sense as well. It seems like they are having a conversation and then something happened to the recording. What it is, we don't know and we can't tell from this. It seems to end on the word check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Giuliani is arguing that it was doctored, meaning somehow it was edited, somehow, you know, he would be alleging that Trump's voice, you know, was cleverly tucked in. How would investigators know about the content, the originality of this material?
GAGLIANO: So let's put this into layman's terms. We just watched the expert that Chris Cuomo had on. Si here's a recording device. And let's say that we are in a one-party consent state like New York. And I would like to tape you. Once I start it, if I am working for the FBI while this conversation is going on, this conversation we are looking at to prove criminal activity, I cannot disengage the tape and then reengage the tape again. That creates a signature. And that signature, forensics experts can go through that. They can listen to the audiotape and determine that. That's vastly different than taking a full tape and just cutting it where someone argues it was taken out of context.
If it was turned on and off specific time, you can argue that the person making the tape is trying to take something out of context or take something exculpatory away. If it's just cut or trimmed, then what the government is going to say is give us the full tape.
WHITFIELD: And then, what about the value of the content of this exchange, what's being said? There is some dialogue about -- and you hear the then-candidate, now President's voice talking about, you know, using a check as opposed to cash. How is that valuable to the investigation or this probe?
GAGLIANO: Great question. So this conversation apparently took place two months before the November of 2016 election. If it can be proven, and Fred, this is where the devil lies in the details. If it can be proven that President Trump was, that time candidate Trump, trying to make this payoff so that he could be in a better election position, then you could argue that this was inappropriate behavior. But you have got to prove intent.
Now, if there's a tape we have not seen yet that comes out where he goes, we need to do this before the election, I need this behind me, people could argue that. But again, this is going to be one of those things where it's going to be left to the voter because whether or not they can prove intent on this and actually charge him with something, I have listened to a lot of much smarter legal folks than me, and they have argued it's just not there there yet.
WHITFIELD: So the President hasn't testified. He hasn't been deposed, but he has tweeted. He has said verbally in many ways, you know, that I knew nothing about it. And that has been kind of the theme. If the tape -- or in the tape, we hear him saying, you know, check, not cash. That clearly says he does know something about it. So how does that equip Rob Mueller's team in its investigation?
GAGLIANO: Again, you have to prove that he was agreeing, authorizing, or directing Mr. Cohen to make this payment because it needed to be done before the election. If they can't do that, hey, we can look at it and say it's tawdry behavior, it's unseemly, but then it's not illegal. That's what the issue is going to be.
Now, you have got Mr. Cohen saying one thing, you got Mr. Trump tweeting something else, you know. It's like that Seinfeld thing, you know. It's not a lie if you believe it. It seems like everybody seems to believe what they are saying. It's going to be difficult for the special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this, but we trust he will.
[14:35:15] WHITFIELD: That may not necessarily be under the umbrella of the Russia probe, but instead going into a different direction about misuse of -- you know, potential misuse of campaign funds.
GAGLIANO: Campaign finance funding, that's a huge issue in this. And that's the only reason if they can prove that intent, then it becomes an illegality. If cannot prove intent, unseemly but not illegal.
WHITFIELD: All right, James Gagliano. Always good to see you.
GAGLIANO: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.
All right. Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, growing outrage after a polar bear is shot and killed by a cruise ship guard during a sightseeing tour. What the company is saying about the circumstances surrounding the incident, next.
[14:40:34] WHITFIELD: Outrage is growing after a cruise ship guard shot and killed a polar bear. This image just might be disturbing to many. A German cruise company says the polar bear attacked a guard during a tour of the arctic. The company says another guard then shot and killed the bear in self-defense. The injured guard was air lifted out with head injuries and is in stable condition.
This happened on Norway's remote northern island known as the realm of the polar bear. It's halfway between Norway and the north pole. Joining me now to discuss, wildlife expert Jeff Corwin.
Jeff, good to see you. What's your reaction to this?
JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE EXPERT: Well, Fredricka, it's incredibly tragic. And what really is most disturbing about this is that polar bears, despite their prowess, Fredricka, and their great size and strength, their ability to survive in one of the most hostile ecosystems on the planet, they are critically endangered and are slipping towards extinction. So when there's only 25,000 polar bears left on the planet, every one matters.
WHITFIELD: And we don't know all of the circumstances of how this happened, just generically that, you know, one guard was attacked and another guard then shot and killed. But so many other questions arise. You know, you are pinpointing on their vulnerability. And when you talk about, you know, population of animals that are really under distress, you know, I mean, talk to me about that, how that species is under distress, whether it's because of the climate or whether it's because of, you know, dwindling food supply and how that might have altered the behavior potentially even of this animal.
CORWIN: Yes, Fredricka, you bring up a lot of interesting points. This is a species that you have just said, accurately so, is under distress. It is being stressed because its environment is changing because of warming seas. The perennial ice that these bears depend upon has all but disappeared. This is ice that's supposed to be there permanently.
A polar bear has the ability to swim 60 miles a day, yet they are drowning in open water because the ancient ice they relied on as a species has gone away. So yes, oftentimes now polar bears foraging and hunting for foods that they normally would not be.
But this is polar bear habitat, Fredricka. This is a place where they live. So when you are in this ecosystem as a tourist or as an explorer or a scientist, you have the responsibility to follow the protocols to ensure that you stay safe and you don't interfere with the wild behavior of polar bears.
WHITFIELD: And that's at the core of a lot of the angry response online. People saying, wait a minute, the polar bear is in its habitat. You know, tourists come along. Their lives are threatened or the guard's life is threatened, and then the only alternative is to, you know, kill. So another question some ask is why not a tranquilizer if there is that feeling, you know, that the guard or, you know, tourist lives might be in danger as well?
CORWIN: Right. That's an interesting question. And why not use a tranquilizer? I think if they were in that desperate situation where life and limb was at stake, they took the most drastic decision one could take.
I will tell you that it's no easy task using a tranquilizer. Sometimes it requires multiple shots to sedate the animal. I have actually worked on (INAUDIBLE). We filmed polar bears in the arctic. And it was quite a challenge to work with these remarkable creatures.
But you know, to your earlier point, to discuss really how critically endangered they are, when I think of polar bears, I think of the ultimate iconic symbol of the arctic, this ecosystem. And what really breaks my heart today is we now live in a world where we don't prioritize species as much. Our own government isn't focusing on protecting species like previous administrations.
So not only are these animals under stress from natural changes, from manmade changes, but also from a department of interior that doesn't embrace their importance like we have in the past. Very important creatures. A lot of lessons to learn here. You are in their home, their backyard. You have to respect them and their space.
[1445:07] WHITFIELD: Jeff Corwin, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
All right. Top stories we are following for you this hour.
Civil rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis is in the hospital. Lewis became ill on a flight to Atlanta yesterday according to a local CNN affiliate. His spokeswoman told CNN that he is under routine observation and expected to be released sometime today.
And a manhunt is under way in New Orleans after two suspects opened fire killing three people and wounding several others three miles from the French quarter. Police say the suspects approached the victims from behind and started shooting with a rifle and a handgun before fleeing the scene. One of the seven wounded is in critical conditions.
And a Mississippi police department has fired an officer who used a stun gun on a handcuffed suspect. Authorities say the police Meridian officer Daniel Stark hit the suspect with his forearm and then later pressed his stun gun into the man's back, shocking him. The suspect was complying with orders during his arrest, and the Meridian's police chief says Stark's actions were an excessive use of force.
Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, Russia flexing its military might. We will show you how much of its new fire power is aimed at matching the U.S.
[14:50:58] WHITFIELD: Russia put on a show of its military might today at its annual naval parade.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen was there and explains that much of the hardware is aimed at matching U.S. military power.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A display of Russia's naval power in the heart of St. Petersburg. Vladimir Putin inspecting the vessels from his own presidential boat then touting the advances of the country's naval forces.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Russian fleet successfully resolves the tasks of the country's defense capability, makes a significant contribution to the fight against international terrorism, and plays an important role in ensuring strategic parody.
PLEITGEN: Strategic parody means parody with the U.S. and its NATO allies. Russia showcasing a submarine nicknamed "the carrier killer," designed to hunt U.S. aircraft carriers. A new stealth frigate and a spy vessel aimed at countering American missile defense technology.
On this day, Vladimir Putin's message to the west is very clear. Even though Russia's military might not be as big and well funded as militaries in the west, it can still be a threat to America and its NATO allies.
Last week Russia also showing off new missile technology, including a hypersonic missile the Kremlin says can beat American defense systems. All this right after both President Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed working together to prevent a new arms race at their recent summit in Helsinki, a point Putin reiterated this past week.
PUTIN (through translator): Russia and the United States have a stake in that. The whole world has a stake in that. And not starting an arms race.
PLEITGEN: But while Russia may be interested in preventing an arms race, Russia also clearly wants to show America and its allies that its forces are stronger and more advanced than at any time since the cold war.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, St. Petersburg, Russia.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, some first responders battling the raging Carr fire in California are returning home to find that they themselves have become victims of this massive fire. I'll talk to a police chief who lost his home while trying to protect others, next.
[14:57:44] WHITFIELD: We have heard the Trump administration talk about alternate facts, and that version of reality is front and center in this week's state of the cartoonian.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE UNION (voice-over): It's 2018, but this week to a lot of the President's critics it started to sound a bit like 1984.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just remember what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening. TAPPER: That might be a bit extreme, but what is actually taking
place in President Trump's version of reality? I mean, we do know for one that there are televisions hooked up that only show one channel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your approval rating is soaring.
TAPPER: In this dystopian or utopian future, the White House press corps would only have friendly faces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You looked very strong at the end of that press conference.
TAPPER: And no poll would ever drop below 100 percent approval.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the most powerful, most popular Republican in the history of the party.
TAPPER: In this alternate reality, there would be a McDonald's on every corner, and every day would be November 8th, 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We won the electoral college by a lot, 306-223, I believe.
TAPPER: In this alternate reality, special counsel would have a whole new spelling and even special counsel Robert Mueller would agree with the President's conclusion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Russian hoax. It's a witch hunt.
TAPPER: But that's not the world in which we live. Even the biggest reality TV star cannot totally escape reality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I care deeply about the rule of law.
WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Jake.
All right. Be sure to tune in tonight for an all new episode of "the 2000s," from the launch of the iPod to the rise of social media, it was a decade marked by the explosion of tech ideas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID POGUE, TECHNOLOGY JOURNALIST: All kinds of things have changed because of the smartphone. So there are new rules. Are you allowed to have your phone at the dinner table? Should you be looking at your phone on the sidewalk on a busy street? People are looking at their cell phones while they are driving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a price you pay with respect to that accessibility. And that is it's always there. It is always available. You never really unplug.
GIL TROY, HISTORIAN: With all these new technologies, we become a society of instant gratification. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to download this movie now. I want this
song now. I want to read the news now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instant gratification has changed our social etiquette too. We now unfriend people. We follow people. We run on their walls. In the '90s that is considered graffiti (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right.