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First Charges Filed in Mueller Investigation; U.S.-Led Convoy Outnumbered by ISIS-Linked Fighters; North Koreans Furious Over Trump Rhetoric; What JFK Assassination Files Revealed. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 28, 2017 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first charges in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is certainly a major landmark in the course of this investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intent is to get one or more of these people to cooperate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoever they are indicting, they are afraid he is going to flee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are trying to encourage cooperation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robert Mueller and his team's M.O. from the very beginning has been to just keep quiet, keep things under wraps, and don't talk to the media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do have to do something to show what it is they are coming up with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Mueller office will be up and running well into 2018 if not through the whole year.


RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us this morning. I'm Rene Marsh in for Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you this Saturday. Our top story this morning, an important development and possibly a turning point in the Russia investigation. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed the first charges in his investigation at a possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and a possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Sources tell CNN that anyone charged could be taken into custody as early as Monday. Now these developments are coming, of course, just hours after President Trump again blasted the investigation on Twitter.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): It is a landmark moment in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Sources briefed on the matter say a federal grand jury in Washington approved the first charges in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment. The indictments are sealed, but plans are under way for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: When you see a sealed indictment like this, it happens for one reason. There is a fear that the defendant is going to flee the jurisdiction.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Mueller wants to send a signal to another perspective defendants, if this person who has been indicted or persons are facing 20 to 40 to 50 years for whatever these crimes are related to collusion or not, there are others who may be subject to similar charges, who have further knowledge about dealings with Russia.

BLACKWELL: The special counsel's investigation focused on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as obstruction of justice by the president, who might have tried to impede the investigation. CNN reported that investigators are scrutinizing the president and his associate's financial ties to Russia.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: This is what we've been waiting for to see if investigators will bring charges in this probe that even impacts the president to a degree because investigators have been looking at his potential involvement in obstruction of justice, you see him tweeting about it, calling it a witch hunt, a hoax, saying that it's a waste of taxpayer dollars.

BLACKWELL: Mueller's team has also examined foreign lobbying conducted by former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and others. The special counsel has issued subpoenas for documents and testimony to a handful of figures including some people close to Manafort and others involved in the Trump Tower meeting between Russians and campaign officials.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And this may be an indication that he's not trying to show his hand because he doesn't want people to be able to either conceal evidence, destroy evidence, it may be the reason that he was able to do a surprise no knock and announce warrant on Paul Manafort's home. There is an urgency that Robert Mueller is seeing, and it maybe be a flight risk. It may also be because there are missing pieces.


MARSH: All right. And joining us now is CNN Washington correspondent, Ryan Nobles with more on this. Ryan, the Trump administration continues to deny that there is anything here as far as this Russia investigation.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That is right. And good morning, Rene and Victor. And really up until last night, the White House has able to lean on the fact that the Mueller investigation has yet to produce anything of substance and as a result, the president and his allies have been working to systematically raise doubt and questions about the value of Mueller and his team's work.

In fact, a good part of the day yesterday, the White House accused the special counsel's office of being a big waste of time and money. Listen to what Sarah Sanders said yesterday during the White House press briefing.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Congress has spent a great deal of time on this, a better part of a year. All of your news organizations have actually spent probably a lot of money on this as well, which we would consider probably a pretty big waste. I think that our position hasn't changed since day one. And I think we are seeing now that if there was any collusion with Russia, it was between the DNC and the Clintons and certainly not our campaign.


NOBLES: This, of course, before the news came out that the indictments had been handed down and the president himself laying the groundwork for this line of attack with a tweet Friday morning that reads, quote, "It is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between Russia and Trump.

[06:05:11] It was exclusion with H.C.," of course, talking about Hillary Clinton. Now some Republicans have been arguing for a while that the special counsel investigation is costing taxpayers too much, but there isn't much the White House or Congress can do without taking some pretty dramatic legislative steps to cut off the funding to the special counsel's office.

At this point, there doesn't appear to be any political will to push that through, but now that we are on the verge of the first arrests taking possibly as early as Monday, this tactic could be more about the battle over public opinion. Something the president clearly believes he can win -- Rene and Victor.

MARSH: Ryan Nobles, thanks so much from Washington.

BLACKWELL: We have a power panel for you this morning. Let's start with CNN political commentator and political anchor at Spectrum News, Errol Louis, Congressional reporter at the "Washington Examiner," Laura Barren Lopez, and CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson. Good morning to all.

I want to start with the legal voice, this morning. Joey, first to you, initially, when this was launched back in mid-May, this special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, began his work, people were told this would go on for more than a year.

Now, certainly it is not over with the announcement of the first charges, but what is your reaction to five months in now the announcement of the first charges, based on what we know now.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, good morning to you, Victor. Good morning, Rene. Here is the reality. The reaction is that it is an ongoing process, and this is just an initial step, but I think you hit the nail on the head. It is not over at all, and think we'll see a periodic process where indictments could be issued intermittently.

I would also caution in that we know what indictments are. Let's just remind the audience, an indictment is not saying anyone is guilty. Indictment is an accusation and it establishes two things.

One, there's probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and two, the focus and subject of that indictment is the one who allegedly committed it. And so we're long way from the process of indictment to guilt, but we know and this reconfirms what we already knew.

That is that we have a very motivated special counsel, who has vast experience in this area. He's put together a professional team. The grand jury is hearing and evaluating testimony and documents.

And then will return charges accordingly in keeping with whatever the evidence shows, but we should have pause in as much as presumption of innocence and again, Victor, also the fact that it is simply an accusation that amounts to an indictment.

MARSH: All right. And Errol, I want to bring you into the conversation. I mean, we've heard the president, he's called this investigation a witch hunt. We heard Sarah Sanders just this week say that this investigation is wrapping up and that there is no evidence.

And then you have this bombshell reporting from CNN that the first charges are going to be happening. Does this at all, this development, impact the president's credibility as it relates to the Russia investigation?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, when it comes to the Russia investigation, I think the president -- it is fair to say, has very little credibility. Every single time the topic comes up, and we've heard this for more than a year now, we keep hearing there is nothing there, there is nothing there.

Well, you know, there has been an FBI raid of the chair of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort. There has been a grand jury that's been impaneled. There's been a special prosecutor that has been named. There are multiple Congressional investigations going on.

If all of this was the product of some witch hunt, of some false and misguided political effort, I think it is fair that the conspiracy is so broad and deep that we have a serious problem at the center of the American government.

I don't think that that is the case rather I think what we're going to find out is whether or not this goes to the heart of the collusion question and that is really something just to pick up on what Joey said, that we want to pay close attention to in the coming days.

You know, when the special prosecutor was named it was with a broad mandate. If they see any crimes along the way, they could shift their focus to that. So, we don't know if what we're going to see in the coming days is going to involve directly the question of collusion or whether there were other sorts of obstruction issues, financial fraud, and money laundering.

There is any host of things that have been reported as possibly going on here. And if that is what this is about, then we still have this open question about whether there was in fact collusion.

BLACKWELL: And Laura, we could, of course, expect the charges, specifically what they are and who they are against to shape the White House's response and maybe that is why we haven't heard anything from the White House about CNN's reporting that these first charges are imminent.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": That is right. And it also may be that the president isn't awake yet. We know he's prone to shoot off his early morning tweets and I'm sure that a number of reporters are going to be checking Twitter to see if he wants to chime in on that.

[06:10:06] But, yes, these charges, we don't know who they are against. They could be Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, all of these people have come under -- you know, those two were specifically targeted under this investigation.

But there is a number of others that fall under the purview of the investigation, including the president himself. Mueller is -- it is known that he's looking at whether or not the president obstructed justice. It is very unlikely that the charges coming on Monday are going to be involving the president, but it's no surprise that Trump has been quiet so far.

MARSH: He's been quiet, but when you think about the days leading up to what we know now, which is these first charges from Mueller, we've noticed a shift in strategy, really coming from the White House, Trump's surrogates in where they are really focusing on Hillary Clinton, whether it is the dossier, whether it is that Russia uranium deal.

I want to talk to you all and maybe Errol, you could chime in, about what looks like a strategy from the White House, interesting timing too as Mueller is making this announcement, that was heating up, where they are really, really focusing in on Hillary Clinton.

LOUIS: That is right. I mean, look, deflect and distract is a political tactic that has been very well known to this White House from its earliest days. So, whenever you see and whenever I see Clinton e-mails being talked about, whenever I see sort of old talking points being revived from the campaign, what that tells me is that there is some nervousness among the president's political staff. That some awful shoe is about to drop or at least that they want to get their troops all riled up and nothing does that better or more quickly than saying Hillary Clinton's e-mails. And you know, the more they can sort of have their base focus on that, and sort of identify that as the real problem in this country, the more they can sort of put up a political defense against this ongoing investigation.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol, Laura, Joey, I want you all to stay with us. We'll, of course, continue this conversation after the break. So many angles of this news that we want to explore this morning.

MARSH: And also coming up, speaking of the president, he is said to travel to Asia next week amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Despite renewed threats, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. is still committed to diplomacy, an update from the region is ahead.



MARSH: More now on our top story this morning, the first charges in the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been filed. Our panel is back. We are all here.

And Joey, I want to start it all off with you. You know, right now, we're talking about all of this, we don't know what the specific charges are. Tell me why this sealed indictment?

JACKSON: Well, what happens is, is that to the extent that grand jury proceedings are always secretive. All right, you are protecting the integrity of the process and ensuring that witnesses don't abscond from justice or there is no information that otherwise has crept into the public domain beforehand and so what is common that these matters are sealed.

Now after that arrest that, you know, may change and so we will have more information on Monday concerning who the focus of the indictment is, what the charges are on the indictment, because now it becomes public.

You are in a court proceeding. You go before a magistrate and issues of bail are set concerning your custody. And so, at that point, it will become a lot more clear. At the point it is now, Rene, we're just in a situation where we know that Mueller is doing his job.

He's convened this panel and we know that at least 12 of the 23 grand jurors believed there's at least enough that is significant to put forward the charges against whoever the defendant or the defendants are that we'll see on Monday.

MARSH: And Joey, it could also be that they have a fear that perhaps this person could, I don't know, flee, or I mean, does that play into this at all? JACKSON: It does, indeed. There's multiple factors. You know, I don't think they'll be -- you know, in terms of fleeing, I don't think there will be likelihood (inaudible) as it relates to that, but sure, you want to seal indictments to protect the integrity of the process to ensure that people don't go astray, to ensure that people are not tipped off as to it. And I think that particularly something as significant as this, where we are talking about the potential collusion, I think that is one of the basis for that.

BLACKWELL: And of course, the president, members of his administration and members of his campaign and transition team have denied for months now that there was any collusion with the Russians. Let's get a reminder here.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The Russia story is a total fabrication.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did any adviser or anyone in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians who are trying to meddle in the election?


PRESIDENT TRUMP: So there has been absolutely no collusion. It's been stated that they have no collusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign, and Putin and his regime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, there are not. It is absurd.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There was no collusion between us and Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anyone involved in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: In the meantime, no collusion, no obstruction --


BLACKWELL: And Laura, to you, I mean, in the last few days, the president and White House and members of Congress have been complaining about the length and the expense of these investigations. Both Mueller's investigation and the congressional investigations, any indication based on what we know about Mueller's record that those complaints influenced the decision and the timing of what we're seeing in CNN's reporting of these first charges coming.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, we know that from the beginning of, you know, this investigation, not only the congressional ones, but also Mueller's, that you know, time is of the essence. Muller along with members of Congress know that an answer needs to come relatively quickly because of how drawn out this has been, because of the impact that it has on not only the White House but Congress and the ability of, you know, our government to run.

So, Mueller, who has served as FBI director for 12 years, spanning from Bush to Obama, definitely is focused on this and has -- that is why he's been remaining quiet. That's why he hasn't been talking to the press.

That is why him and his team have been tight lipped about where this investigation is headed. So, you know, it is not surprising, I guess, that he is trying to move as quickly as he can to an answer.

MARSH: Right. And you know, Errol or Joey, either one of you on this one, I mean, as far as what the president does next, we've seen him kind of target Mueller. Do we think that as a reaction, looking forward to next week, I mean, he's prepping for this big trip to Asia? I mean, does he again put Mueller in his crosshairs and start attacking him again now that these first charges are coming?

LOUIS: Well, I don't know what the legal procedure would be. I'd certainly defer to Joey on that, but I can tell you that politically, if you follow what is being said in conservative media, including Fox News, there's been story after story trying to paint Mueller as some out of control partisan enemy of Donald Trump when he's anything but.

I mean, he's had a long and distinguished career. He is, in fact, a prosecutor so he doesn't necessarily have a lot of political aims. He's really tried to focus this investigation and moved with, you know, sort of frightening speed on one level to assemble a very competent team and to sort of get right to the heart of what we all know, not just the Washington beltway but the American people really want to know.

BLACKWELL: Joey, to you, now that this has been matched by other outlets that these first charges are coming, does that potentially change the timeline of what happens next?

JACKSON: You know, I don't think so, Victor. I think there is a process and I think that this special counsel is really dedicated to assessing the facts, gathering those facts, putting them before a grand jury and letting the charges be what they may.

The large concern is really what the charges are and how broad they can be, based upon the mandate. Whenever you start investigating one thing, many other things pop up and so once you have a grand jury impaneled, you could extend the time that that grand jury sits.

I think the time frame will be governed by the evidence they hear, Victor, by the documents they are evaluating, by the witnesses that they are speaking to and I don't think simply because there is one indictment it will change their parameters or change the procedure, or the time frame.

I think it will lead to where it may, when it may, and I think that forthcoming we'll see on Monday who it is, what the charges are, and then thereafter, who if anyone else and I hasten to add that it could be one person or multiple people who we see facing charges once we know the indictment is unsealed.

MARSH: All right. Errol Louis, Laura Barron-Lopez, Joey Jackson, thank you all so much, and of course, you know, they always -- those first indictments, they are hoping that those people will eventually help them pull all the other threats.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And of course, we have a lot more to talk about this morning. The admission from the "Washington Free Beacon," that conservative website that they hired Fusion GPS to try to find dirt on Republican candidates as well as Hillary Clinton, candidate for president.

The president now asking for the State Department to speed up the release of thousands of Hillary Clinton's e-mails when she was secretary of state. So, we'll get to all of that this morning as well.

And we're learning more about what happened in that attack that killed four Americans in Niger as well. Next, we'll tell you how the U.S. forces were split up and what they tried to do as they fought back.



MARSH: Welcome back. I'm Rene Marsh in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you. First on CNN, this crucial moment in the probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. Sources tell CNN a federal grand jury in Washington has approved the first charges now in this case.

MARSH: That's right. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leading the investigation. He is focusing on potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as obstruction of justice by the president.

CNN has reported that Mueller and investigators on Capitol Hill are scrutinizing Trump and his associates financial ties to Russia. Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, helped break the story. She has more.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is unclear what the charges are because as I pointed out, the indictment is still under seal and it is not clear whether those under indictment have been notified. A spokesman for the Special Counsel's Office declined to comment for this.

But as we've been reporting, Mueller was appointed in May to lead this investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, and under the regulations governing special counsel investigations, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he was oversight over the Russia investigation, would be made aware of any charges before they were taken before the grand jury. On Friday, we had a producer there, who saw a flurry of activity, including the veteran prosecutor, Andrew Wiseman, entering the courtroom at the D.C. Federal Court, where the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the investigation.

And so now we're learning that the first charges were filed so this is certainly a big moment in this investigation that began more than a year ago and then Robert Mueller took over in May and now we're seeing the first charges.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Mueller's team is also examining foreign lobbying conducted by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Over the course of the investigation Mueller has issued subpoenas for documents and testimony to some people close to Manafort.

CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin who is Mueller's former special assistant at the Department of Justice says that Mueller is most likely honing in on Manafort's financial dealings with foreign governments. And he spoke to our Anderson Cooper.


MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If it was Andrew Weissman who was at the courthouse who was returning the indictment, Weissman has been on the Manafort case and that it therefore might be logical to conclude that it is Manafort. Manafort has been under scrutiny for both collusion and also for his real estate dealings and for tax and money laundering investigation.

So you could have an investigation of Manafort separate from the collusion but which implicates his dealings with the monies that he earned in Ukraine and elsewhere overseas.


RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Mueller's probe is just one piece of the Russia probe. Three committees on Capitol Hill are also investigating.

President Trump has consistently dismissed the investigation as a hoax. He tweeted just yesterday, "It is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC." Meaning Hillary Clinton.

BLACKWELL: Well, deal with extremists in Africa or we'll have to deal with them here in the U.S. That is the warning coming from U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

MARSH: Well, she just finished a tour of three countries in Africa. Haley's trip comes after the attack on U.S. forces in Niger. She tells CNN the situation in Africa is much like what has happened in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We have to deal with the situation here on the ground so that we're not dealing with it in the United States. What you have to look at is these African countries and all countries if they take care of their people, if they respect the voices of their people, then you get true democracy. If they don't listen to the voices of their people, conflict will erupt, extremism will happen, and the United States will have to deal with it.


BLACKWELL: We're also learning more about the attack in Niger that killed four Americans. U.S. officials tell CNN the Green Beret-led unit separated into two groups during the fight. Now they tried to launch a counter terror -- counter attack but were outnumbered by ISIS linked militants.

Joining us live now from Niger with more, CNN correspondent David McKenzie.

David, tell us more about what you're learning about that attack?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor. Good morning. Every day it seems more details coming out about this deadly ambush which struck Green Beret Special Forces and other American soldiers and Nigeriens.

It was a few hours from where I'm standing here where this event took place and U.S. officials saying that when they came under attack, the U.S. team -- the U.S. team split up and lost contact with each other but not with headquarters.

They describe how dramatic moments when at least several U.S. soldiers got out of their vehicle to try and outflank the far superior in terms of numbers militant force that was attacking them with small arm machine guns, mortars and RPGs.

Now a Nigerien soldier we spoke to went back to the scene -- was sent to the scene and he said that the Nigeriens and the U.S. soldiers were standing back to back ready to fight until the end. The -- a regional -- excuse me, a regional intelligence service spoke to me, said that in fact this threat is not quite like that in the Middle East. These are desperate militant groups that are, in fact, loosely connected to ISIS, not getting command and control -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. David McKenzie for us this morning. David, thank you so much.

MARSH: And still to come, ahead of President Trump's trip to Asia next week, Defense Secretary James Mattis warns North Korea that any attack on the U.S. will be defeated. An update from the region is next.


[06:38:43] MARSH: Well, new this morning, a warning for North Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that any attack by North Korea on the U.S. or its allies will be defeated.

The comments come after he visited the Demilitarized Zone that divided North and South Korea but despite North Korea's renewed threats this week, Mattis says the U.S. is still committed to a diplomatic solution.

BLACKWELL: And of course President Trump is scheduled to travel to Asia next week in hopes to strengthen international resolve to confront North Korea.

CNN's Will Ripley says North Koreans have a message for the president ahead of his trip.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Asia prepares for President Trump's landmark visit, North Korea has been uncharacteristically quiet. No missile launches in a month and a half, no nuclear test, at least not yet. Only North Korea's promise to send a clear message after Trump's menacing speech at the U.N. last month when he threatened to totally destroy North Korea.

At the time North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to tame the U.S. president with fire. (INAUDIBLE) Chol is chief engineer of a baby food factory trying to maintain production levels despite U.N. sanctions over North Korea nuclear program. But he says the nukes are here to stay.

[10:40:04] "President Trump knows nothing about the Korean nation," he says. "Now he's asking us to give up our nuclear weapons? Ask anyone on the street and they'll say he is a lunatic."

His words echo North Korean propaganda. Anti-Trump posters are all over Pyongyang. U.S. and North Korean officials say diplomacy has broken down as the rhetoric has revved up. Pushing two nuclear powers further down a dangerous path. Both sides not ruling out talks altogether. But their positions couldn't be farther apart.

On a visit Friday to the Demilitarized Zone dividing North Korea and South Korea, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said America's goal is not war. But for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

But with Pyongyang closer than ever to achieving what it considers a nuclear balance of power with the U.S., giving up nukes is a nonstarter.

(On camera): But, you know, there are people around the world who think that by accumulating nuclear weapons your country is putting itself at risk of total destruction.

(Voice-over): "They have the wrong information," says (INAUDIBLE). "Tell them to come to my country and see for themselves."

(On camera): Do you have hope that someday your leader, Kim Jong-un, could meet the U.S. President Donald Trump? (Voice-over): "No, not at all," she says. "That meeting cannot

happen. It will not happen. Because our marshal promised to deal with that deranged lunatic with fire."

Ominous words slowly simmering ever since. As Trump's visit to the region looms, many wonder if the situation is about to boil over.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.


BLACKWELL: All right. Our thanks to Will.

Strippers, yes, good morning to you. Fidel Castro assassination attempts and a president possibly linked to the Ku Klux Klan. That will wake you up this morning. They're all found in the newly declassified JFK assassination files. Next a look at what else we're finding buried in those thousands of pages.

MARSH: But first if you've got a garage full of used sports equipment this week, a CNN Hero has found a creative way to give that forgotten sports equipment new life. Meet Max Levitt.


MAX LEVITT, CNN HERO: A lot of kids learn the importance of work ethic on the sports field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go. Good job. Both of you. Do it again.

LEVITT: Sports were the most important part of my childhood. I thought it was a given for kids to play sports but so many kids can't afford to play sports. There's millions of dollars of sports equipment that is not being put to use, that is either being thrown away or wasting away in garages, I thought why don't we just create a food bank for sports equipment?


MARSH: Well, to see how Max's equipment is really making a difference, go to

And next, we will be revealing the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2017. That is coming up on next week.


[06:47:26] MARSH: Well, just in to CNN, one American service member has been killed and six others are hurt after a helicopter crash in Logar Province in Afghanistan last night. The cause of the crash is under investigation. But officials say it was not due to any enemy action.

BLACKWELL: Well, in the months after John F. Kennedy's assassination, according to the newly released files, the FBI tried to track down a stripper named Kitty. Yes. Another stripper named Candy Cane said Kitty was connected to night club owner Jack Ruby. Stay with us now. Stay with us. He's the man who shot Kennedy's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald just days after he shot the president.

MARSH: Well, according to the files, Kitty was never found because she reportedly committed suicide in the months before the assassination.

That is just one of the stories coming from the nearly 3,000 declassified JFK files.

BLACKWELL: There are also strange phone calls and mention of Marilyn Monroe and a lot of talk about the CIA, Cuba and Russia. Now hundreds of other records were withheld for now at least after requests by intelligence agencies.

CNN's Randi Kaye has a look at what we've learned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just weeks before assassinating President John F. Kennedy, newly released JFK files reveal not only did Lee Harvey Oswald travel to Mexico City but Oswald spoke with a KGB officer there at the Russian embassy who worked for a department responsible for sabotage and assassination. Adding to the intrigue, a CIA memo detailing an intercepted phone call from Oswald to the embassy. Oswald in broken Russian asked if there was, quote, "anything new concerning the telegram to Washington."

The new documents also reveal the president's brother, attorney general Robert Kennedy, and the FBI had been warned about a new book alleging Robert Kennedy's affair with actress Marilyn Monroe. An 11- page document addressed to then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover reveals how the book claimed the younger Kennedy had a affair with Monroe and had her killed when she threatened to expose that affair.

The allegations was deemed false, with a memo noting that Robert Kennedy was in San Francisco with his wife at the time of Monroe's death.

(On camera): And it turns out even before Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby, there was a warning his life was in jeopardy.

[06:50:03] A memo from then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover reveals that the day after JFK was killed the FBI got a call from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald. Hoover says the FBI shared that information with the Dallas police chief. Hoover said back in 1963 that he was assured adequate protection will be given. However, this was not done. Oswald was shot dead while being escorted out of the basement of the Dallas Police Department. (Voice-over): And what about those rumored plots to kill Fidel Castro

who at the time was the leader of Cuba. The new JFK files contain a 1975 document detailing how then attorney general Robert Kennedy told the FBI that he learned the CIA had hired someone to approach the mob about killing Castro.

Another plot to kill Castro detailed in the documents would have involved the CIA's use of an American lawyer sent to negotiate with Castro for the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. The plan was for the lawyer to give Castro, who liked to skin dive, a dive suit contaminated with a disabling fungus and tuberculosis in the breathing apparatus. The American lawyer didn't go through with it.

In another surprising twist, the documents show that the FBI had once suspected Kennedy's vice president Lyndon Johnson may have been a member of the KKK. A internal FBI memo from 1964 shows an informant said the KKK had, quote, "documented proof" that Johnson had been a member of the Klan early in his political career. Fascinating, perhaps, but no proof was ever provided.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


BLACKWELL: Well, President Trump invited a small group of trick-or- treaters to the Oval Office to celebrate Halloween. That was yesterday. We've got some video here of the kids. These are the children of members of the White House Press Corps. About a dozen, you see them there, around the desk dressed up like super heroes, there is Princess Leia there. The president handed out some candy. Let's listen to a bit there.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Come on, right over there. You're going to grow to be like your parents? Don't answer. That could only get me in trouble that question. So this is from the White House. See what that says? Who likes this? And you have no weight problems, that's the good news. Right? So how does the press treat you? I bet you get treated better by the press than anybody in the world, right? Huh? I think so.


MARSH: OK. Well, apparently the media jabs and parenting jokes didn't go over too well. According to some media reports, one little girl got nervous and actually she started crying.

BLACKWELL: He had one job, Happy Halloween and some candy from the White House. And he turns to the girl --

MARSH: And then he --


BLACKWELL: You don't have a weight problem, do you? MARSH: Don't talk about people's mom or dad.


MARSH: Don't do that. Yes.

BLACKWELL: Or their weight.


BLACKWELL: All right. Sports now. NFL's attempt to make progress past the protests during the nation anthem, there's now this controversial comment made by one owner that has some players a little upset, let's say.

MARSH: Well, Kristina Fitzpatrick is here with a lot more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Kristina.

KRISTINA FITZPATRICK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, guys. Yes, the Houston Texans had players ready to walk out on practice in reaction to something team owner Bob McNair said. During last week's meetings between the NFL owners, McNair made the statement the NFL, quote, "can't have the inmates running the prison," when discussing the protests during the national anthem.

This was not taken well by the team, although outraged they ultimately decided to stay for practice with the exception of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and according to offensive tackle Duane Brown the team doesn't consider the issue resolved.


DUANE BROWN, TEXANS OFFENSIVE TACKLE: We put our bodies and minds on the line every time we step on that field and to use an analogy of inmates in the prison, that is -- when that happens, you know, there is a thousand emotions going through your mind and obviously one is emotion is to (INAUDIBLE) completely. But we decided to go to work. You know, the situation is not over.


FITZPATRICK: McNair did apologize saying he used a figure of speech that was never meant to be taken literally.

Game three of the World Series in Houston, the Astros on the board first thanks to a homer for Yuli Gurriel that got Minute Maid Park into the game early. The crowd goes wild in the second inning. Meanwhile stellar pitching for the Astros own the night with Brad Peacock out of the bull pen for a solid three in two-thirds hitless innings for his first ever career save. The Astros win 5-3 and take a 2-1 lead in the series.

[06:55:06] But the big win is being overshadowed this morning by what many are interpreting as a racist gesture by Yuli Gurriel after his homerun aimed at Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Gurriel later apologized saying he didn't mean to offend anybody. Major League Baseball says they are aware of the incident and Commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to meet with Gurriel about it.

After the game Darvish called the gesture disrespectful and shared his thoughts on Twitter saying, "What he did today isn't right but I believe we should put our effort into learning rather than to accuse him. If we can take something from this, that is a giant step for mankind."

So an interesting morning in sports. A lot of controversy outweighing the scores and the players.

BLACKWELL: Indeed it is.

MARSH: All right.

BLACKWELL: Kristina, thanks so much.


MARSH: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We'll be right back. Next hour starts in a moment.