Return to Transcripts main page
NEW DAY SATURDAY
Washington Post Reports Kushner Proposed Secret Line to Kremlin; Comey Acted on Russian Intel He Knew Was Fake; Two Stabbed To Death Trying To Stop Anti-Muslim Rant; Rise Of Racist Rants Caught On Camera; Two More Arrested In Connection With Manchester Attack; Melania's Trip Abroad Highlights Role As First Lady. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired May 27, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: -- before heading back to Washington. And the ongoing investigation hanging over the White House -- investigations, plural. Our Elise Labott has more on the latest reports.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Intercepted Russian communications discussed a proposal by President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to Russia's ambassador to the U.S. to create a secret communications channel between the Trump transition and the Kremlin, "The Washington Post" reported, citing U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.
"The Post" reported Kushner made the proposal to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during an early December meeting at Trump Tower to use Russian diplomatic facilities to shield their pre-inauguration discussions, according to U.S. officials.
CNN previously reported the two men met as part of an effort to create a back channel to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The White House did not comment on the report.
These revelations come as the FBI probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election includes looking at Kushner. The FBI is drilling down on Kushner's multiple roles in the Trump campaign and post-election transition: key among them, the Trump campaign's data analytics operation, run by Kushner and used to target voters in key states that helped Trump win the presidency.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VA., SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: I've heard and it's been reported that part of the misinformation/disinformation campaign that was launched was launched in three key states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and it was launched, interestingly enough, not to reinforce Trump voters to go out but actually target potential Clinton voters with misinformation in the last week. LABOTT (voice-over): Federal investigators are examining whether Russian operatives used Trump campaign associates, wittingly or unwittingly, to aid their own efforts to push information about Hillary Clinton online.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jared is going to do a great job.
LABOTT (voice-over): As Trump's top foreign policy aide, Kushner's contacts with Russia are under scrutiny. Kushner was one of at least four campaign aides in contact with Sergey Kislyak and in December met with the head of a Russian bank under sanctions by the U.S. with close ties to Vladimir Putin.
At first he failed to list those contacts when he applied for a security clearance but later corrected the forms.
REP. SETH MOULTON (D), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: It seems like another day, another name. It's hard to find who in this administration is not being connected with suspicious ties to Russia. And it just points out how important this investigation is.
LABOTT: Officials tell CNN Kushner is not currently the target of the investigation but they believe he may be able to provide information that could be helpful to the FBI probe. Now his lawyer says he has volunteered to share information with Congress about his meetings with the Russians and is willing to talk to the FBI if asked -- Christi and Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Elise, thanks so much.
Let's go not to CNN's Sara Murray, live in Sicily, where President Trump is about the wrap up the final day of his overseas trip.
But, Sara, the headlines have been coming not just daily but almost hourly during the president's trip. We know the president is tweeting but not about this.
Anything from the president or the White House?
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are not getting any comment from the White House about this notion that Jared Kushner was trying to set up a back channel sort of arrangement with the Russians, a back channel communications effort.
But there was, in this wave of stories, a Reuters report that said Jared Kushner also had some previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador. And to that we did get a statement from Jared Kushner's attorney, Jamie Gorolick (ph).
And it says, "Mr. Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period. He has no recollection of the calls as described. We've asked for the dates of such alleged calls so we may look into what happened and respond." But we have not heard anything back yet. So really no answer from the White House about what exactly is going on with this. And there's no indication that just because Jared Kushner communicated with the Russian ambassador that that's an indication of wrongdoing. But it does show you how this Russia cloud continues to hang over the trip.
Now President Trump and his aides are still hoping to end on a high note. Shortly he'll be headed to the naval airbase in Sicily to have a rally with some American troops there. Back to you guys.
BLACKWELL: All right, Sara Murray for us there in Sicily. Thanks so much.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: Now former U.S. ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush, Nick Burns, had some harsh words for the president in response to this "Washington Post" report. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK BURNS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: I never understood why candidate Trump and I still don't understand why President Trump has given Russia a pass. He has been the weakest president we have had since well before the Second World War on the issue of Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, good morning to you. The reporting from "The Washington Post," suggesting that Jared Kushner wanted to set up --
BLACKWELL: -- this back channel, let's just start generally with your reaction to someone who is still part of the administration, wanting to go to a Russian facility, to potentially their embassy, to have these conversations with the Kremlin.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: In the scale of stories that have been dropping, as you said, every couple of hours, this one is different and it is huge.
So this is not a back channel as people in the law enforcement and national security community came to know, sort of understand back channel. Back channel is actually a president or president-elect uses the resources of government to sort of secretly start a communication with a country, let's say Cuba or Burma, to begin to lay the groundwork for sort of more public diplomacy.
This is Jared going rogue. There's no other way to put it at this stage. This is a country that clearly the Trump campaign knew was -- had infiltrated the campaign or done things to do with the campaign.
Kislyak, the campaign surely would have known, is a known figure with ties to the KGB. Jared Kushner is having multiple meetings, not just Kislyak that are being -- that are secretive and not disclosed and that includes not just Russian government officials but of course these bankers with ties to the KGB.
You have Kushner not disclosing any of this in his forms. And then you have a story yesterday that is, you know -- at best, you can say Kushner was played or is naive but the idea that the Russians were going to open up their own apparatus, intelligence apparatus, to a 30- something son-in-law of a president-elect, is just -- it so defies any good explanations, that the best explanation for Kushner at this stage is he's incredibly naive.
PAUL: I want to point out the report from Reuters this morning as well so we really understand the numbers here. They are reporting 18 undisclosed calls or emails seven months prior to the election, six of those calls with Kislyak, the FBI examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or to others that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to the president.
So to clarify that, does this suggest the FBI had knowledge or evidence that this happened, that Russia suggested these things?
Or this is just something they suspect?
KAYYEM: It's probably that there -- I mean the way the FBI would look at this is, what's the theory of the case?
This is what the challenge for all of us, I'm very careful with you, I don't say collusion, I don't say treason.
What's the theory of this case?
Clearly reporters at Reuters and others are talking to those involved with the case. And if they are to believed, you know, I understand the concerns with leaks, if they are to believed, one of the animating theories of the case is that this had less to do with the campaign and collusion, although that's still out there because, remember, Jared ran that data mining office within the campaign, but more to do with whether or not changing the sanctions, sort of quid pro quo, would have benefitted both the Kushner and Trump organizations.
It's why people like me, nonpartisan in this regard, think, yes, we should that have transparency on the finances because what we don't know is sort of the private side of Kushner and Trump in need of finances that could be paid for by banks that are understand sanctions right now.
So that to me is, you know, whether it's illegal or not, it's not in America's best interest and that's why all of these theories of the case, what is it that the investigation is looking at, are expanding.
In other words there's multiple theories of the case and there's more people implicated, Kushner in particular. That's really bad news for the White House because what they would have liked, right, is that the investigations stick with Carter Page, we can sort of dismiss Carter Page. Jared Kushner is at the front door of the Oval Office. He has
security clearance. He's a senior adviser. We're close to the Oval Office now and that is disconcerting I think from anyone's perspective but has to be explained by the White House. They can no longer say it's just weird Carter Page or Manafort who was fired.
This is now in the White House.
BLACKWELL: And talking about this being close to the Oval Office in the White House, I want to go back and take the viewers to January 15th. The then vice president-elect, Mike Pence, on with Chris Wallace of FOX News, being asked about potential communications between anyone with the incoming administration and the Kremlin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Was there any contact in anyway between Trump or his associates and the Kremlin --
WALLACE: -- or cutouts?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Of course not.
Why would there be any contacts between the campaign?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: We knew that to be untrue after the truth came out about Michael Flynn's conversations with Sergey Kislyak. But this seems to further illustrate how, A, the vice president-elect then was telling something that he knew not to be true or was woefully out of the loop on what was happening with this team.
KAYYEM: I think Pence is hard to figure out right now, to be really honest with you. I don't know if he was so completely out of the loop of his own transition. Remember he was running it at this stage that all this other stuff was going on and he had no idea. That's the best explanation for him.
Or if he understood what was going on but does not want to be implicated and if that is what the investigation will look at, I suspect multiple people will be getting lawyers at some stage relatively soon.
But I do want to say on this Flynn issue, what is so interesting, remember Flynn has also lawyers, he has offered to -- he wants immunity from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. They don't appear to want to give it.
We do not know if the FBI is interested in that immunity. In other words, one of the questions has always been, is Flynn the focus?
Or does Flynn have information that implicates other people?
Now everyone originally thought it was Trump but maybe that information actually has to do with Jared Kushner. Remember, Flynn is in the room with him, with Jared Kushner, in a lot of these meetings. So the Kushner-Flynn relationship becomes of significance for investigators.
PAUL: All right. Juliette Kayyem, always grateful to have your input --
KAYYEM: It's getting complicated.
PAUL: Thank you. Now, we appreciate your insight. Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Let's turn now to the former FBI director, James Comey, who acted on intelligence he knew was fake and being put out by Russia during the Clinton e-mail investigation. We'll tell you why he says he did it.
PAUL: Also the son of a former vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, now facing charges. What police say he did at a pro-Trump rally in Minnesota.
BLACKWELL: And police say two men are stabbed to death after trying to stop an anti-Muslim rant. What the suspect yelled at officers when they tracked him down.
PAUL: Sixteen minutes past the hour. Welcome to Saturday morning. We have some new information we want to share with you.
Former FBI director James Comey acted on Russian intel that he knew to be fake as he was investigating Hillary Clinton's emails. CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash walks us through what work.
DANA BASH, CNN SR. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, CNN has learned that then FBI director James Comey knew that a critical piece of Russian information related to the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation was fake, but felt he needed to take action anyway because he was concerned that, if the information became public, it would undermine the investigation and the Justice Department itself. This is according to multiple sources, talking to my colleagues, Shimon Prokupecz and Gloria Borger, and myself. Now, these concerns were a major factor in Comey deciding to publicly declare that the Clinton probe was over last summer without consulting then attorney general Loretta Lynch. Now, you may remember that earlier this week "The Washington Post" reported on this intelligence and the doubts about its credibility.
The fact that Comey felt he had to act based on Russian disinformation is a stark example of how Russia's interference impacted decision- making at the highest level of the U.S. government during the 2016 campaign.
The Russian information at issue claimed to show that then Attorney General Lynch had been compromised in the Clinton investigation because of e-mails between then DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a political operative said that Lynch would make the FBI Clinton probe go away.
Now, according to one government official, in classified briefings, Comey told lawmakers that he was afraid the information would, quote, "drop" and undermine the investigation, but he didn't tell lawmakers that he doubted the accuracy of the information even in a classified setting a few months ago. According to sources close to Comey, the FBI felt that the validity of the information really didn't matter because if it became public, they had no way to discredit it without burning their sources and methods.
Now think about the chain of events all of this help set off.
When Comey held this press conference in July of 2016, announcing no charges against Clinton, he also took an extraordinary and what many people say inappropriate step of calling her "extremely careless."
Clinton aides are convinced that her reputation was damaged with voters and she never recovered. Now that probably wouldn't have happened without Russian interference. Also talking to many officials on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, dissemination of fake information is still a major issue.
Multiple sources tell us that Russia is still trying to spread false information in order to cloud and confuse ongoing investigates -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Dana Bash, thanks so much.
Let's bring in now Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy editor of "The Weekly Standard."
There's a phrase, Kelly -- and good morning to you -- that stands out from Dana's reporting there, that the validity of the information didn't matter, that he thought that if it got out, it would undermine the investigation.
What are you hearing about, at least the response to this new reporting?
KELLY JANE TORRANCE, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes, this -- it's amazing, people in Washington, we don't really feel like we have any social lives anymore because we have to keep up with news because is seems there's breaking news every day, whether it's about Jared Kushner or the Trump campaign.
And this is pretty big but it's unclear exactly what the consequences are. And, you know, Director Comey certainly had a difficult problem and he was a man who faced so many difficult choices and yet here's yet another one. It seems --
TORRANCE: -- to me that throughout this Clinton investigation and its aftermath, his main concern was to keep the FBI and the Justice Department's reputation and that was certainly a difficult thing and this made it a lot more difficult.
You know, I'm hearing that the information was unreliable. They don't know for certain that it was fake but they think -- with a high probability but nobody knows for sure and that's one of the many thing that we don't know.
BLACKWELL: His effort, as you said, and I'm paraphrasing here, to preserve confidence in the process and in the FBI.
But has he done the opposite, potentially?
TORRANCE: Well, you know, I think we need to look at the wider context surrounding this. You know, maybe one of the reasons that they were concerned about this information, whether they knew it was reliable or not, was because of other information that they had, that even the public had.
And that, of course, was that famous meeting on the tarmac in Arizona between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former president Bill Clinton. Nobody is saying that they know that that was an attempt to intimidate her or to stop the investigation but it was certainly bad optics.
And I think -- I wonder if Comey had that in mind when he was thinking about what do I do about this information that says that there's possibly some emails, possibly not. So I think we need to look at the wider context.
Yes, maybe he made a bad call on this. But I think perhaps he was thinking about that knowledge that everybody had that kind of made it took bad. And I think even without this possible Russian e-mail hoax, that he certainly had reason to doubt that the public would trust the Justice Department on the Clinton investigation.
BLACKWELL: He has certainly cited that meeting on the tarmac in previous testimony as being what he called the capper for him in the investigation. But he'll be back on Capitol Hill testifying again before the Senate Intel Committee.
To what degree do you expect this new reporting will move toward the center of that testimony? TORRANCE: I certainly think it will be a big part but there are so many other questions that he'll have to face. You know, he certainly has -- there's more than one issue here.
There's this issue, did he act properly in closing the investigation and doing it the way he did?
Which, yes, it was pretty unprecedented to have a public press conference by the director of the FBI, saying we don't recommend a prosecution but I'm going to say all the stuff what I think about the case.
Then, of course, there is the question of why he was fired by President Trump.
And was he encouraged to drop some other matters unrelated to the Clinton e-mail investigation?
So they have a lot of questions for him and some of them are directly related to his own handling of the Clinton thing and some will be related to how he handled President Trump.
So he's got a lot on his plate and there are -- Republicans and Democrats alike have a lot of questions that he'll have to answer and, you know, he's -- it's almost like he has more work to do now that he's been fired than when he wasn't.
BLACKWELL: Yes, there will be questions about the memos, questions about any recordings. But this could have supported the initial justification for his firing that was put out by the White House, until the president came out the next day and said that he actually planned to fire him before he got that recommendation from Rosenstein.
Kelly Jane Torrance, thanks so much.
TORRANCE: Thanks, Victor.
PAUL: Lynwood Michael Kaine, a son of Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, is now facing several misdemeanor charges. He's charged with fleeing on foot, concealing identity in a public place and obstructing a legal process by interfering with a peace officer.
The obstruction charge carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison and a fine of as much as $3,000. This coming from his arrest in March after an incident at a pro-Trump rally. Kaine was a counter protester there, some in his group reportedly used smoke bombs and mace at that rally and police officers say they tried to run, that group did, but were caught a block away.
Now remember the county initially declined to press charges against Kaine and five others. But the St. Paul City attorney charged Kaine yesterday, following a further investigation.
BLACKWELL: A new report connects Jared Kushner, the president's son- in-law and senior adviser, to the Russia investigation and could cause more problems for a White House already in turmoil. We are live in Moscow with details on the timing and the intentions of this leak, potentially.
PAUL: Also Melania Trump, we saw a lot of her this week and a lot of people saying she seems to be getting more comfortable as her role as first lady. What we learned about her during this first trip abroad.
PAUL: Welcome to Saturday. Half past the hour right now. You're up early. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.
PAUL: Brand new (INAUDIBLE) to talk to you about, this (INAUDIBLE) this Russia investigation. "The Washington Post" reporting this morning that President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, proposed a secret communication channel with the Kremlin that he did this at a meeting last December at Trump Tower.
This morning, "The New York Times" says it was to discuss strategy in Syria and policy issues. The meeting was attend by former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, we know and -- according to this reporting -- and Russia ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
Let's listen together here to what "The Washington Post" reporter who broke this story told CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM ENTOUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Basically you had a meeting in New York; Kislyak comes up to see Jared Kushner and to see Michael Flynn. Jared is the one who sets up the meeting and Flynn is invited a few days later.
And during that discussion, according to Kislyak's account, you basically have Jared Kushner proposing the idea of having a secure private communications channel. And Jared actually proposes doing so at a Russian facility, specifically the Russian Embassy in Washington, which Kislyak according to his reporting at home was he was taken aback by that. He thought that was a bizarre suggestion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, at this point it's important to say Jared Kushner is not a target of the probe and there are no allegations of wrongdoing here. But the FBI investigation into President Trump's Russia ties has been inching closer to the White House. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though the president is overseas the controversy surrounding his connections and his campaign's possible connections to Russia continue to intensify.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump bragged to the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador in the oval office about his firing of FBI Director James Comey saying it, quote, "relieved great pressure from the Russia investigation." Mr. Trump called Comey, quote, "crazy, a real nut job."
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The Senate Intelligence Committee is considering whether to hold Michael Flynn in contempt now that the fired national security adviser said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid testifying in the Russia investigation.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has learned that President Trump is expected to hire his long time Attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him on matters related to the Russia probe.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance form.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Russia tried to influence Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and it comes on top of CNN's reporting that Russia tried to do the same to the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Another major blow to President Trump's immigration ban. A federal appeals court upholding the block on his second travel ban.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The FBI's Russia investigation reportedly now focusing on Jared Kushner's role during the campaign and transition, including Kushner's relationship with fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as well as some Russian contacts.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We're now learning why the now fired FBI director went public to announce the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails was ending. It was July of last year when James Comey held that summer news conference. It turns out he was worried about the Russians impacting the integrity of the investigation.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now this morning we are getting the first reaction from Russian officials about this report.
BLACKWELL: CNN correspondent, Claire Sebastian is live in Moscow. Claire, Russia is dismissing the details of Kushner's contacts in this report with Ambassador Kislyak.
CLAIRE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Yes, Victor, we reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry this morning for a comment on that "Washington Post" report. They haven't denied that any contact took place to be precise.
The comment we got from the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, was simply calling this report quite McCarthyism or simply internal political squabbles. That's what she told us just a few hours ago via text message.
We followed it up with her to see if she would comment or confirm whether or not the Foreign Ministry was aware that this request from Jared Kushner had happened during the transition. We of course assumed that they were given the news that the "Washington Post" has reported came by intercept between Sergey Kislyak and his superiors in Moscow.
She would not be drawn on that, but she did say if you want to learn more about Jared Kushner's political or business connections, you should look to the Middle East. We assumed that she is referring to a recent deal by Saudi Arabia to invest $20 billion in U.S. infrastructure.
Funneling that through the Blackstone Group, an investment firm that has worked with Jared Kushner's previous company, Kushner companies on various real estate deals.
So Russia very much along the lines of the rhetoric that we've seen from them of the past few weeks trying to paint this more as evidence of internal political chaos in Washington and really trying to deflect the tension. They are keenly aware that Russia is a theme that is increasingly politically toxic for Trump.
BLACKWELL: All right, Claire Sebastian for us in Moscow. Claire, thanks so much.
PAUL: I want to let you know former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has died. He served under President Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 70s.
Carter described him as a superb public servant saying in a statement "He was brilliant, dedicated and loyal and remained a close advisor to my work at the Carter Center. I will miss him."
His death was announced on Instagram by his daughter, MSNBC's, Mika Brzezinski. She called him, quote, "The most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have." He was 89 years old.
[07:35:05]BLACKWELL: Our thoughts go out to Mika as well. Let's turn now to two men who have been stabbed to death after trying to stop an anti-Muslim rant. This was in Portland, Oregon. How another man tried to stop the attack and was there when police found the suspected killer.
PAUL: Also two more men arrested in connection with this week's attack in Manchester and we're learning more about what happened in the moments before that bomb went off.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, it happened so fast, but it looked like every punch that I saw was actually a stab.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Yes, that man thought what he was watching was a fight. But in fact what he saw was two men being stabbed to death on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon.
[07:40:06]PAUL: This happened, police say, after they tried to confront a passenger who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs at two other passengers. The suspect may have been targeting two young women, one of them wearing hijab. When several people tried to intervene, they were stabbed. We know one man died at the scene. The other is at the hospital. A third man was also stabbed after he tried to help, but he is expected to survive thankfully and then the suspect left the train.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he got off the train I saw he was holding a knife and then he says don't follow me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew in that moment that if I didn't follow this guy it was going to haunt me my entire life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, Robinson (ph) did follow the man and was there when police arrived. He recorded the suspect yelling at the officers. Watch and listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: You can hear he said shoot me, shoot me then. The man was arrested. Police say they are considering his remarks hate speech following the stabbings. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on President Trump to speak out against rising bigotry, as they characterized it, an act of violence against Muslims. We'll speak with the CAIR representative in our next hour.
Now on a commuter train in an airport, even while shopping in a grocery store we've seen some of these videos more and more of these racist rants seem to be happening in public.
PAUL: And of course, many of them are getting recorded on smartphones and uploaded online. What's driving it, a lot of you are asking. Can it spark a positive change somehow? Here's Polo Sandoval.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A series of racist rants in public and on camera. A woman in a Virginia Sprint store hurled racial slur at a fellow customer. In Arkansas --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go back wherever you're from.
SANDOVAL: Go back to Mexico is what this Walmart shopper told another. She then fired an n-word at a woman looking to interject.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop being ignorant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're calling me ignorant.
SANDOVAL: Then there is Orlando resident, Hector Torres, captured on his phone at the Reno Airport last week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up. Shut up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, unbelievable. I just had to document it.
SANDOVAL: Torres telling CNN he was speaking Spanish to his Puerto Rican mother on the phone when things got heated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explain what I did to you one more time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) speaking stupid Spanish around here when everybody else is English speaking Americans.
SANDOVAL: Racist rants are not new says Andra Gillespie, director of the Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University.
ANDRA GILLESPIE, PROFESSOR, EMORY UNIVERSITY: These videos remind us that race has been a constant and persistent problem in the United States.
SANDOVAL: There's been a spike in the number of racist rants posted on social media experts say.
TODD GROSSMAN, CEO, TALKWALKER: As technology becomes even more and more mainstream, and more and more people are having smartphone devices, and video capability is going to be exploding more and more.
SANDOVAL: Recording these kinds of confrontations also may empower people to expose the racism says Gillespie. It could also be a Trump factor behind it all.
GILLESPIE: People perhaps feel more emboldened to express politically incorrect points of view as a result of President Trump's success in being able to use political incorrectness as a tool to be able to be elected president. But I think it's important to note that these people held these points of view long before Donald Trump emerged as a political figure. SANDOVAL: Videos may be ugly -- but Gillespie calls them a launching point for a larger conversation about race. Polo Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.
BLACKWELL: Authorities have arrested two more men in connection with this week's bombing in Manchester.
PAUL: And we're learning that the suicide bomber spoke with his brother in Libya just 15 minutes before that blast. Here's the latest numbers, 13 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, 11 still in custody. Investigators are, however, still working to track down anyone who worked with the suspected bomber because they are concerned that he could be part of a network that may be planning more attacks.
BLACKWELL: All right, still to come, you probably have seen this hand gesture, the first lady's swat. What message was she sending, if any?
Plus all that we've learned about the first lady during her first trip abroad. That's next.
BLACKWELL: Welcome back. Coming up on 11 minutes to the top of the hour. This was not only the first international trip for Donald Trump as president, this was the first international trip for Melania Trump as first lady. And this week we've learned a little bit more about her.
PAUL: Yes, she seemed to be somewhat more comfortable in her role. A lot of people had that takeaway. She had some moments coming in to question just because people want to know more about her and she does seem almost "untouchable" to some degree.
But then you see moments like this where she's sitting in a classroom, obviously a place where she's so comfortable with children. Something that you would think is probably going real cause for her, something she wants to take up.
She was talking to some of the sick kids there and also her moment with the pope. So let's bring in Kate Anderson Brower to talk more about this.
Kate, based on everything we saw of her this week, what is your headline, takeaway about who this woman is.
[07:50:00]KATE ANDERSON BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think she did well this week. I think she showed a lot of self-confidence, but I think she also sort of remains an enigma. I mean, clearly no one really knew that she was Catholic until this meeting with the pope.
She was married to Donald Trump in an Episcopal Church, their son was baptized there. But I think it speaks if you read between the lines, she picked a school in Washington, Saint Andrews, which has about 18 percent of the class is Catholic.
So you see that her, you know, true identity is coming through a little bit more. You saw a deeply moving moment there when she was visiting with the children in the hospital. She wrote a letter to the pope asking to visit the hospital. I think we're seeing a softer side of Melania Trump.
PAUL: She tweeted, actually, after her visit with the pope, "Today's visit with his Holiness, Pope Francis, is one I will never forget. I was humbled by the honor, blessings to all." What do you make of her openness about her religion?
BROWER: I think that, you know, we saw back in February she spoke at a rally for her husband and she gave the Lord's Prayer. I think we see now why religion is so important to her, but we don't know, for instance, if she goes to mass, we don't know anything about her Catholicism. I think she wants to keep that private. But I think also this Dolce and Gabbana coat that she wore valued at $51,000.
PAUL: It had a lot of people riled up because that's some people's annual salary and they're saying what is she doing wearing this coat. To that you say what?
BROWER: I think that the whole Trump brand is about opulence and glamour and I don't think it will have a huge impact. The people that like him don't mind. I think the hand swat and other things on the trip, that video of her kind of swatting away his hand, I don't think that hurts her because I think his supporters don't care, don't believe it was a real hand swat and people that don't like Trump.
PAUL: Here it is so I can reference, this is was some believe he was reaching for her hand and she swatted him away. This is a couple for whom we don't see a lot of affection. We saw President Obama and even both of the Bush couples holding hands. There was some affection that we saw in them and we don't see so much of that.
BROWER: That's true. We don't see it at all. Look at the Reagans. Like you said, Bushes, Obamas, the Fords, Carters, pretty much every presidential couple in the TV era you've seen them display some public affection. Interestingly enough, the Kennedys didn't hold hands very often, but that was a different time, they were very private about their relationship. You see that with the Trumps. This is the first, first lady that hasn't lived in the White House immediately. I think they have a different marriage. They don't live together.
PAUL: This interview with the magazine about his decision to run for president gives us some insight what you're talking about, talking about she hasn't moved to the White House yet. She said in that interview, "I said to him you really need to think because our family life will change, the three of us will change. I know what it takes, traveling and all that stuff.
If he really wanted to do that, I would support him 100 percent, but I would also be a mom first. I would be with our son, I would be home." Is there a point where we will see a transition for her embracing her role more and help us understand the pressure she's under to do so?
BROWER: I think she's under tremendous amount of pressure. I've spoken with friends of hers that say she's moving here this summer. Obviously baron is starting school in Potomac outside Washington late August, early September. Once she moves to the White House, she's going to have to really pick this cause and be committed to it. And I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of her.
PAUL: All righty, Kate Anderson Brower, thank you for your perspective. Good to have you here today.
BLACKWELL: All right, ahead on NEW DAY, we'll take a closer look at the latest threads in the increasingly complicated Russia investigation. Three big headlines overnight, including Jared Kushner's alleged communications with the Russia's ambassador to the U.S., and how it is overshadowing the president's first trip overseas.
BLACKWELL: So we've all tried several remedies to get better sleep. I just bought new pillows. I haven't taken them out yet. Maybe getting to bed earlier, can't do that, counting sheep, never worked for me. Even sleeping pills, tried those, but nothing seems to work.
PAUL: For a lot of people that's true. Listen, some advice. Exercise can do the trick. CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us how and when to get moving for a better night's sleep.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One thing we can all do to live longer and healthier is exercise. That's because not only does it reduce stress, improve mood and lower your risk for a ton of diseases, it improves your sleep as well.
That's especially true for the tens of millions of us who toss and turn with insomnia or the millions more struggling with sleep apnea, a dangerous condition where you temporarily stop breathing during sleep.
Recent studies show two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week, along with two days of weight training, put diagnosed insomniacs back to sleep. It also improves apnea symptoms. Scientists used to think that exercising at night is bad for sleep, but only early morning workouts improve your snooze.
Now they say, listen to your internal body clock. If you're a night owl, evening workouts can be just as good. What's important is that you --