Return to Transcripts main page


Sources: Someone Could Be In Custody As Soon As Monday; No Comment From White House On Impending Charges; White House Tries To Flip The Script On Russia Collusion; Republicans To Unveil Tax Reform Details Wednesday; Major Nor'Easter Headed For New York, Boston; Historic U.S. Landmark Destroyed In Puerto Rico; Russia Investigation; GOP Tax Overhaul; CNN Hero Max Levitt; Tech Titans To Testify On Capitol Hill; Texans Players Plan Protest; Dodgers Even World Series With Astros; Astros Player Avoid World Series Suspension; Trump's Display Of Affection During Opioid Speech. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 29, 2017 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone will be arrested as part of the special counsel investigation led by Bob Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the earliest that Monday morning, some of the charges will be revealed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be an indictment, which will speak to the criminal activity that Mueller feels he can prove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have not heard from the president about these indictments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has taken the advice to lay low on the subject.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will just consume everything Donald Trump tries to do in the coming months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prosecutors like to start with smaller fish and move slowly up the food chain.


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

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Sunday to you.

This morning is the beginning of a major week that could have real serious consequences on the White House and for the GOP.

MARSH: And tomorrow could be a turning point in the Russia investigation after Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed the first charges in the case. Sources tell CNN that anyone charged could be taken into custody as early as tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: Now on Tuesday, Facebook, Twitter, Google all heading to Capitol Hill. Their executives will be testifying on Russia and the use of social media to influence the 2016 elections.

MARSH: And Wednesday is a vital day for the GOP if they hope to pass tax reform this year. It's the deadline to introduce a bill that would be the president's first major legislative win.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's look at Thursday. You recognize that face. It's Carter Page, former Trump campaign, foreign policy adviser on the Hill on Thursday. Now the House Intelligence Committee, a panel will interview him as they investigate Russia's meddling in the election.

MARSH: And on Friday, President Trump heads to Asia. He'll meet with leaders of Japan, South Korea, and China about trade and the North Korean nuclear threat.

BLACKWELL: So, a packed week ahead. Now, despite impending the charges that are coming in the Russia investigation, the White House has no comment. Instead, it's focusing on what they say is the real collusion of possible uranium deal between Russia and the Obama administration.

MARSH: CNN correspondent, Boris Sanchez is outside of the White House and he has the details.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House is not commenting on the latest news coming from Robert Mueller's probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. However, they are focusing a lot of their energy on a former political opponent of the president's, Hillary Clinton.

Look at these tweets sent out by Sarah Sanders on Saturday. She writes, quote, "Clinton spokesman just said he's damn glad Clinton campaign colluded with Russia to spread this information about the president and influence election."

She goes on, "The evidence Clinton campaign, DNC, and Russia colluded to influence the election is indisputable." That damn glad reference in quotation speaking about Bryan Fallon, who said that he was happy that the Clinton campaign solicited the opposition research provided by Fusion GPS during the campaign.

However, to call it collusion definitely goes a step further. Beyond that earlier this week, House Republicans announced they were launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia.

The president has alleged that the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, got bribes from Russians in exchange for a favorable uranium deal. Beyond that, CNN has learned that the White House has pressed staffers to work with the Department of Justice to lift a gag order on a former FBI informant that has information on that sale in order for him to testify during the course of the investigation.

Beyond all of that, the president is also pushing the State Department to release emails it still has pertaining to Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state. So, while the White House, you would imagine, would be on the defensive, as news that charges stemming from Robert Mueller's investigation are eminent, they're very much on the offensive on an opponent of the president that he defeated about 12 months ago. Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.

MARSH: Boris, thank you. Joining us now deputy managing editor for the "Weekly Standard," Kelly Jane Torrance, and CNN political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University, Julian Zelizer.

Kelly, I want to start with you. You know, Monday is a big day, tomorrow. We are going to be looking at this indictment and possibly learning more information. What are you going to be looking for in that indictment and what new could we learn from it?

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes. It's really all up in the air now, isn't it, Rene? Nobody knows who is going to be charged and with what. As you said earlier that under usually they start pretty low and try to flip people, but we don't know about lower level investigated so far.

I mean, most people think this could be Paul Manafort, who already had his home raided by the FBI and that, itself, was pretty shocking. Usually they give people a little bit of a warning and come later in the day. They came at dawn to raid his place.

The question, of course, will be with the charge, is it sort of related directly to Russian collusion in the election or indirectly? You know, people like Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn had dealings with foreign governments that could have gotten them in trouble because they didn't report them properly until after the media exposed them.

So, we really don't know how close this is going to get to the actual Trump campaign and the president, himself, yet.

MARSH: Great. So, Julian, I want to go to you. Republicans are ramping up on this story line about Clinton and this uranium deal. Meanwhile, the Mueller investigation is clearly ramping up as well. Now the Justice Department says that the FBI informant that was a part or present during this deal, which essentially allowed Russia to buy a company that would give them 20 percent stake in U.S. uranium stockpile.

Question here, now that this FBI informant given the green light to testify to Congress, what effect will that have? Will that only politically charge what is already pretty charged environment or could we break new ground here with this story?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this last week, the administration has clearly undergone a big campaign to try to switch attention to this uranium deal, to the dossier and leaning to release the gag on the FBI informant was part of this.

The problem is the news that broke on Friday. Because the big story here is the Mueller investigation and I think when the news is officially released on Monday, that is where attention is going to turn.

So, the Republicans might double down and ramp up this investigation, but I'm not sure that will be the most productive path for them. They are worried, the Republican Party, about what is about to come in the next, not just week, but few months, once these indictments start.

MARSH: So, Kelly, "The New York Times," they spoke with Donald Trump's White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, and he essentially said that the president is not concerned at all about what, you know, Paul Manafort might say to Mueller, what Michael Flynn might say to Mueller. Is this some sort of strategy by this attorney?

TORRANCE: It might be. He even gave an interview to "The New York Times" on a podcast too, which, you know, you don't see a lot of administration officials willing to do. He has to say that, right. I mean, what is he going to say? We are scared. We are worried what is coming out of this. No, I think he kind of has to say that and that's why --

MARSH: But to go you and do an interview with them. He could say nothing. I mean, what does that say about potentially what their strategy might be?

TORRANCE: Yes. They are trying -- the idea here in Washington these days is if you say nothing, you're sort of admitting that you've done something wrong. So, these days, you really have to play offense in Washington and I think that is what he was doing.

One of the things I found striking, by the way, he made a point of saying that, you know, the president really likes General Flynn personally, but, you know, if he is charged, he is charged, and he can't do anything about that.

I found that so striking. The guy could be indicted on Monday. We don't know. The president wants people to know that he still thinks he is a great guy. I think even if it doesn't touch Trump directly these indictments, they might say something about his judgment.

If he was, you know, if he put Michael Flynn, he made him national security adviser and if we find out some really bad stuff Michael Flynn was doing, and the president is still defending him, that says something about his judgment.

MARSH: OK. Now, I want to get to tax reform. We have some sound from the president. Of course, tax reform is the big thing this week. Here is the president speaking to Fox.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is tax reform also, but I call it tax cuts. It will be the biggest cuts ever in the history of this country.


MARSH: All right. So, he wants to do tax cuts. Pretty big tax cuts as he says it. Julian, to you. I mean, could this back fire on his base as this comes out as being something it's tax cuts, but it's for the big corporations and not the little guy?

ZELIZER: Well, it is. I mean, that's what the proposal that we have heard of is. It's a regressive tax cut. There are plans for reform, but it's clear that is not where the president's main interest is.

[06:10:04] And the idea is when you have united Republican government, tax cuts supplies high tax cuts should be relatively easy to do. And so, the administration is very determined to make that happen, and the question is how loyal is this base?

So far, the base doesn't move that much even when there is big contradictions between what the president says he is about and what the president actually does. My guess is the base will remain loyal.

I'm not so convinced that the more we learn about how regressive the tax cuts are, the more angry that working in middle class Trump supporters will be. So far, they believe in the president and that is more important than the policies.

MARSH: So, at this point, I mean, Republicans still really aren't even united on even this issue of tax reform. Kelly, to you. What does Speaker Ryan, for example, need to do in the house to make sure that Republicans essentially come together on this? Because they really do need a win.

TORRANCE: Yes. And you know, it's fascinating. You know, the Senate leader, Mitch McConnell gave an interview in which he said we have to do tax reform or the Republican Party is over, but he said the president has a different profile from the party.

There are actually maybe two or three Republican parties right now. I found that striking admission of the sort of dissention in the ranks and in the House as well. And we are hearing, you know, details, for example, one of the things I think the mortgage interest deduction is something they want to get rid of.

And they are getting a big push back from people like the homeowners association and some of their own donors, of course. I'm thinking I personally, I'm a journalist in D.C. I can't afford to own my own house so why am I subsidizing people who do?

But that's the problem is the Republican Party is trying to represent so many people and they all have their own interests. And of course, it's the people who have the lobbyists, the ones getting to talk to Paul Ryan and his friends. Your average American, they don't have a lobbyist really in Washington to help them out. So, they are really debating on -- they have to pay for this somehow as well and, you know, Trump has already taken 401(k) off the table. So, you know, they really don't seem to have a very specific among and even amongst themselves, they can't agree on the details.

MARSH: All right. Well, Kelly, thank you so much. As Lindsey Graham said, it's do or die for them so we will see how this all shakes out next week. Kellyanne Jane, Julian Zelizer, thank you so much for joining us.

TORRANCE: Thanks, Rene.

MARSH: Don't miss "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper this morning. He is talking to Senator Angus King and Governor Chris Christie. That is at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: All right. Listen. I know it's early, but I'm going rogue and I'm going to use a four-letter word.



MARSH: I don't like that one.

BLACKWELL: October and there is already a snowstorm that is blowing through the Midwest. Then we go to the east coast and you've got this.

MARSH: Rain?

BLACKWELL: No. You got this tropical moisture going right across Florida here. They are already struggling from what happened during the height of the season. That monster event is coming, and we are going to CNN meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera, who is tracking the very latest on this storm.

MARSH: Plus, the only tropical rain forest in the national forest system gone thanks to Hurricane Maria. See why the loss of this major tourist attraction in Puerto Rico is even more devastating to its residents.



BLACKWELL: I'm sorry. Something funny happened during the break. OK. All right. Could we just toss it to Ivan Cabrera with weather? I know.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We could do that but now I want to know what is going on there.

BLACKWELL: This has never happened to me! So funny!

CABRERA: Let's talk about the storm here. We are going to end up here, right? We are going to end up with this monster nor'easter essentially here with damaging wind potential as we have been talking about, 60-mile-an-hour winds plus. Flash flooding and also coastal flooding as well.

How we get here is interesting. We have a tropical system that is going to be involved with it as well. Let's talk about it. It's Tropical Storm Felipe, 45 miles an hour winds and thought we were done, right, with the storms? We got down to the 16th.

By the way, Florida, you are done with the system. Despite the fact the center of circulation is right over South Florida. The moisture and bad weather is displaced to the east. The reason for that this thing is tracking up the east coast pretty quickly and that is why we are going to end up with quite the system across the mid-Atlantic and the northeast.

So, this track less important now because basically by the time it gets to around Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and Monday at 2:00 a.m., it will have already merged with the frontal boundary. That is the same threat you guys were talking about with the Midwest snow and has made it across the east coast.

It's got its moisture of its own, but now it's going to tap into Felipe's moisture and that's when things will get interesting here because that will allow for terrific amounts of rain across the mid- Atlantic and into the northeast.

This would already be a mess for a Monday, but we're going to add some wind to the equation and that I think is what's going to be causing widespread problems across the mid-Atlantic and northeast in the form of power outages and air travel is going to be a disaster, I think here for Monday.

Look at the winds already. This is now 7:00 p.m., 35, 40 miles an hour wind gusts in New York City. By the time we get into the overnight hours of Monday, we are talking 50 to 55. You see these colors on a map. This is not good. Sustained winds of perhaps 35 to 40 here.

In fact, they have a hurricane force wind watch for coastal waters. We could be looking at seas 20 to 25 feet. So, this is a potent storm. The kind of storms we get in the winter except this one will be wet.

[06:20:08] So, we are not talking about snowfall here across the northeast thankfully. There you see the accumulation potential anywhere from 4 to 6 inches. By the way, that rain is going to be flying sideways.

It begins tonight and into Monday, and I think the airports are going to be a mess if you are traveling, just keep in mind you're probably going to have big delays up and down the east coast for tomorrow -- guys.

MARSH: All right. Ivan, thank you.

BLACKWELL: The U.S. is home to only one tropical rain forest in Puerto Rico. It supplies 20 percent of the island's water.

MARSH: And now it's gone, thanks to Hurricane Maria. The storm destroyed it and CNN is the first tv news organization allowed in to see the devastation firsthand. CNN's Martin Savidge has an up-close look.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carlos makes a living driving this road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I myself will go between two to four times a week. My staff was pretty up there every day with two to three vehicles.

SAVIDGE: More than a million tourists a year make the day trip up to El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. forest system or at least they used to until Hurricane Maria. Two weeks after the hurricane, CNN flew a drone at the park's entrance but most of the forest remained out of sight.

Now we have been given permission to take you inside. If you knew El Yunque before, you would not recognize it now. The farther into the forest you go, the greater the destruction. The Category 4 storm obliterated the forest.

Defoliating (ph) pretty all 28,000 acres. The first teams in try to open roads blocked by trees and now they fight off landsides and maintain access to one of El Yunque's most urgently needed resources. The forest supplies one-fifth of the island's entire water.

(on camera): Twenty percent of the water?

CAROLYN KRUPP, U.S. FOREST SERVICE: Twenty percent of the water comes from El Yunque so it's important that we clear access into those water intakes so that water supply can be restored.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Water isn't the only treasure. There are 23 species of trees here found nowhere else. Their fate is unknown. The same is true for America's only native parrots still living in the wild. It's no wonder that the very first people who got to the park were shocked by what they found even now five weeks after the hurricane. It is still stunning. An entire rain forest canopy that has been ripped away.

Scientist Tana Wood was studying El Yunque and climate change with literally overnight three years' work was blown away.

TANA WOOD, RESEARCH ECOLOGIST: It cut the forest in half and completely, completely took out all of the leaves. There was nothing green here at all.

SAVIDGE: Her team built this tower to study the top of El Yunque's tree canopy. Now there's nothing to study but open sky. Her original experiment may be in ruins, but she's got the front row seat for a brand new one. WOOD: This is nature. You know, this is what happens in this forest. We have hurricanes that come through and you know, I mean, my job is to study what happens.

SAVIDGE: There are signs the rain forest is already hard at work on recovery. Always a source of pride for Puerto Ricans, El Yunque can now be something else, inspiration.

KRUPP: I think it can be a sense of hope for people as they recover from this hurricane.

SAVIDGE: A living lesson on starting over. Martin Savidge, CNN, El Yunque , Puerto Rico.


BLACKWELL: Important question here, is politics in America dysfunctional? Well, according to a new poll, most of the country says yes, and why they say the political divide is as bad as it was during the Vietnam war era.

MARSH: Plus, the titans of tech are on Capitol Hill this week. They are set to talk about Russian election meddling after announcing changes to their platforms, but will those changes matter the next time the polls open? That's next.



MARSH: Welcome back. Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Rene Marsh in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. Critical items on the president's agenda as well as the first charges in the Russia investigation is at the top of the list what have is happening in Washington this week.

MARSH: Someone could be in custody as early as tomorrow when a judge is expected to unseal the first indictment in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, as well as possible obstruction of justice by the president.

Then on Tuesday, major tech companies, Facebook, Twitter, and Google will be on Capitol Hill to testify on Russia's use of social media to influence the 2016 election.

BLACKWELL: Up next, the big policy deadline on Wednesday that's the day House Republicans have to introduce their tax reform bill. On Thursday, Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Adviser Carter Page will be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee on Russia's meddling in the election.

And on Friday, President Trump will head off for his 12-day trip to Asian countries amid the North Korea nuclear threat. A lot to discuss this morning so let's do that.

Joining me now Andre Bauer, CNN political commentator and former lieutenant governor of South Carolina, and Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist. Good morning to both of you.

Andre, let me start with you, and of course, we have to start with the big headline this weekend of those first charges according to CNN sources coming in the Russia investigation. How does that impact the president's agenda? Is it enough of a distraction to make tax reform, tax cuts even more difficult to get through?


BAUER: It's definitely a distraction. I mean, it keeps him off his game to continue to hear the drip, drip, drip and the media to be asking about it. I mean, the American public needs to have some closure to this.

So I hope that quickly and swiftly we'll get to the bottom and move past it. Because first and foremost, the American people when they elected Donald Trump they were looking for things like tax reform. One of the key things that people wanted to see change and if he doesn't get it done then he will have problems in the midterm elections and it's a real defining moment for the Republicans to say this is where we differentiate from the Democrats substantially.

They have got to take a leadership role and get this done no matter what else is going on. And if they don't just like Senator Graham talked about they are going to have some problems.

I think they will get it done. I think they will have a pretty -- I think they will have even cross party help but it is a key moment for the Republicans --


BAUER: -- to take a -- (INAUDIBLE) and they have been given the opportunity. They have to do it.

BLACKWELL: I want to talk more about the impact on tax reform, on 2018 in just a moment. But your reaction, your response rather, Maria, to that. How big of a distraction, how important this charge or charges that are coming they will be to the president's agenda?

CARDONA: I think it will be a huge distraction and I think this is a critically important point in the investigation moving forward.

Look, we have already seen that this president and this Republican Congress have been a complete failure and have been completely unable to get anything done to pass any part of their agenda. I think it's part of why the Trump administration is so desperate in either trying to shut down the Mueller investigation.

They have been attacking Mueller. They have been attacking the motives behind the investigation. They have even tried to bring in Hillary Clinton yet again because they are obsessed with trying to get the American public to look the other way.

I think they are very nervous, very scared about what Mueller is going to find down the line. Now, I know my friend Andre would like to think that this investigation is going to come to a close pretty soon. But from what most of the legal experts are saying is that these indictments on Monday is probably just the beginning of a --


CARDONA: -- very long investigation that is going to come and President Trump, we have already seen, he is completely unable to focus when he is not facing these things. So imagine when he's in the middle of indictments. I think it doesn't bode well for the Republican Party.

BLACKWELL: He has been able to hold the line. The entire White House staff on holding that no comment line since the news broke here on CNN on Friday night.

Andre, you mentioned Senator Lindsey Graham who spoke about the Republicans need to pass tax reform. I want you to listen to the senator here.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I think all of us realize that if we fail on taxes, that is the end of the Republican Party's governing majority in 2018. We will lose the House, probably lose ground in the Senate.

I can't imagine how he could be successful with Nancy Pelosi running the House. They would try to impeach him pretty quick and it would be just one constant investigation after another. So it's important that we pass tax reform in a meaningful way.

If we don't, that is probably the end of the Republican Party as we know it.


BLACKWELL: Now we have heard from a few others who say that maybe there will be some problems in the Senate but they will possibly hold on to the House.

How widespread is that fear that not passing tax reform or at least the tax cuts will jeopardize the majorities?

BAUER: You're asking me, Victor?


BAUER: It's big. Look, the Republican Party is supposed to be the party of less government. They're supposed to be the party that reduces taxes and if they can't come together on the most unifying issue in the Republican Party, bar none, less taxes, less government, then they should kick them out of office. I mean, they need to be replaced. I hope they're replaced with more conservative Republicans but something has got to change.

I mean, Washington is not Washington and is not run right when Republicans say, give us the leadership roles they want. They get the House and Senate and don't do it.

So I expect as a Republican, as a conservative, and as an American for them to do something about tax reform. Absolutely, unequivocally they have got to get it done.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you as a conservative and you say there should be more conservatives replacing the people who don't get it done. Would those

conservatives vote for a tax plan that potentially add a trillion and a half dollars to the deficit over 10 years?

BAUER: I know that's the drum beat (INAUDIBLE) people (ph) but so often want to discourage tax reform but growth we have seen every time growth cover that.

I mean --


BLACKWELL: But for fiscal (ph) hawks who want to control the deficit, bring down deficits, pay off debt, how can they carry that banner but also vote for --


CARDONA: They can't.


BAUER: -- talk about reducing taxes. They never -- they don't have any interest.

I mean, Obama raised $8 trillion worth of debt but somehow Democrats become budget hawks when we talk about reducing taxes to the --


But where are the Republican budget hawks now?

BAUER: The Republican budget hawks are saying this is clearly taking up with growth.


I mean, look at the growth of the country right now under Donald Trump. Can you imagine it if we get tax cuts?

You are seeing businesses come back to this country in big numbers. You are seeing investment in this country. People like me that own small businesses are doing better than they have ever done because of a change in leadership that wants pro business. And when you have that combined --

BLACKWELL: All right.

BAUER: -- with reduce -- reduction in taxes I don't save as much (INAUDIBLE) I reinvest it because of the implications that affect me on taxes.

BLACKWELL: Let me get Maria back in here. Maria, I know you want to respond to that.


BLACKWELL: But also let me get you to respond to is this a tougher fight for Democrats than health care was?

CARDONA: I think this will be a fight but it will be a fight because the majority of the American people, right now, do not support the current -- quote -- "tax reform plan" that is on the table from this administration. The reason for that is because it is a huge wet kiss to millionaires and billionaires like Donald Trump and it does relatively nothing, if not damages the economies of middle class and working class families.

What we have seen from economists so far is that, you know, this talking point about, oh, don't worry about the deficits because we are going to make it up in growth is poppy cock. Let's look at history.

Ronald Reagan tried it and the economy completely tanked. President Bush tried it and the economy completely tanked.

Under what past president has the economy actually grown and expanded? Under President Clinton and President Obama. That gives you the history that when you focus on helping middle class and that you actually ask the higher classes, the one percent to pay a little bit more, that is when the economy grows.

BLACKWELL: All right. We got to wrap it here. Maria Cardona and Andre Bauer, thank you very much.

BAUER: Thank you.

CARDONA: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: The deadline on Wednesday and then just about 14 working days for the Senate, fewer for the House to get something passed by their thanksgiving deadline. Thank you both.

CARDONA: Thank you.


MARSH: Well, this week, Facebook, Twitter, and Google will testify for the Senate about Russian interference into the 2016 election. The companies have announced policy changes but will they make a difference?

But, first, if you've got a garage full of used sports equipment, this week's CNN hero has found a creative way to give all of 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: Oh, there we go. Good job both of you. Do it again.

LEVITT: Sports were the most important part of my childhood. I thought that 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. And 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 week, we will be revealing the top 10 CNN heroes of 2017.



BLACKWELL: Eighteen minutes until the top of the hour this morning.

This week, Facebook and Twitter announced plans to tighten up requirements for advertisers on their platform. They also say they will be more transparent about who pays for those ads.

MARSH: The moves were announced ahead of a busy week on Capitol Hill for the tech companies.

On Tuesday, reps from Facebook, Twitter, and Google will appear before the Senate judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism. They will answer questions on Russia propaganda, online extremist. And the very next day the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

BLACKWELL: Here to talk about what we can expect to see, Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."


BLACKWELL: So what are you expecting? Good morning to you. STELTER: Partly, this is about the past and partly it's about the future. This is a part of the ongoing investigations on Capitol Hill into Russian interference in the election.

At the same time Mueller is doing his probe. Congress is doing its work. And there are a lot of questions about those Facebook ads, those Russian-linked ads that showed up on Facebook last year.

There were 3,000 of them. The Facebook has turned them over to Congress and this week, we will likely get to see them for the first time.

There has been -- there has been information about them that has leaked out to CNN and other outlets but, now, Congress will actually see the ads and hopefully all of America will as well. But this is also about the future. As you all mentioned, new regulations about how ads are displayed on social media.

I think we are all used to seeing little ads that show up in our newsfeed and on Twitter, on other social networks but we don't always know where they're coming from, who's actually placing the ads there. Facebook says it's going to get a lot better about disclosing that. They're doing that partly because Congress is planning a new law in order to enforce it.

But in either case, we're going to hear both about what happened in the election last year and attempts to ensure that there aren't foreign actors meddling in our elections in the future.

MARSH: So, Brian, you know, you talked about the new regulations. I mean, do you get the sense that had those regulations been in place beforehand, perhaps we wouldn't be here where we are today talking about Russian meddling and all of these online ads they had a hand in?

STELTER: To some degree but I think we should be really skeptical about that. You know, after all anybody can advertise on Facebook or Google or Twitter. That is the entire idea of the platform is that I can take out an ad right now and I can try to target one of you by choosing your location, by choosing what websites you visit and things like that.


I could set it up anonymously and I can make it really hard to figure out -- to follow my tracks, to figure out who I actually am. That is true whether I'm an American just trying to sell a product or whether I'm a -- someone from Russia or China or another country trying to sell you a political candidate or sell you on an idea.

So it's going to require a lot of scrutiny -- whatever Facebook and Twitter and Google eventual do. But it's notable that they are addressing this at all.

You know, these companies have come a long way, having to recognize how powerful they have become, so Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be fascinating on Capitol Hill because we are going to see the top lawyers from each company face some really hard questions and the number one question on my list? How do they really know what happened last year? Meaning have they really done enough research to figure out all of the Russian ads that were spread on their networks?

I think we are going to hear some complicated answers to that question this week.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely.


BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Stelter, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to catch Stelter on his show "RELIABLE SOURCES" today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

MARSH: All right. Well, the Astros have not had a postseason loss at home so far this season until last night. World Series is all tied up.

CNN's Hines Ward is joining us next with all of the details.



BLACKWELL: More fallout now after the Houston Texans owner made this controversial "inmates running the prison" comment. And now the players are thinking about protesting in today's game.

MARSH: Well, Hines Ward joins us live now with this morning's bleacher report -- Hines.


Yes, the players -- they met late Saturday to discuss how they were going to protest against their owner Bob McNair's comments. Now according to ESPN, the players could even kneel, raise their fist, stay in the locker room during the anthem or even peel off the Texans decals on their helmets.

Now McNair reportedly met with his team Saturday to apologize. He said his comments stem from the relationship between the league office and the team's owner. He thought that the league hasn't sought out input from the owners in recent years.

He also added in a statement, "I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which cannot be further from the truth."

Now the Texans are on the road. They face Seattle Seahawks. That game kicks off at 4:05 Eastern time.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about, you know, these players only locker room meetings. You've been in them, obviously.

WARD: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And no situation like this, I understand. But what are they like?

WARD: Well, it's very serious. I mean, because the coaches aren't in the locker rooms. It's really about the captains, the leaders really hearing the players throughout, what they want to do.

We will find out later what they decide to do when --


WARD: -- they play this coming Sunday.

MARSH: And then the World Series, we are all tied up now.


WARD: Yes, yes, we are. What a World Series it has been. Game one tied -- the game was tied at one in the ninth inning when Dodgers bats came to life.

The rally started when the 22-year-old Cody Bellinger hits a double and drives in a run to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. L.A. added another run later in to support security then Joc Pederson blasts this three-run homerun to seal the game.

The Dodger win 6-2 and even up the series. Game five is tonight back in Houston.

Now Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced Saturday that Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel will be suspended without pay for five games at the start of the 2018 regular season. Now Gurriel made an offensive gesture towards Dodger's Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish in Friday's game three of the World Series.

The Astros says that they would donate his salary from the suspension to a charity supporting diversity (ph). Now personally, guys, I think they should have suspend him the rest of the World Series. I thought that would be -- that would send a stronger message to the entire league that, you know, this is something that you don't want to play around with.

BLACKWELL: Punctuation there.

WARD: Yes, indeed.

BLACKWELL: Hines Ward, thanks so much.

WARD: Anytime.

MARSH: And coming up, we are looking at the first family's usual PDA. That is the president's display of affection. At an announcement on America's opioid crisis, of all places, Jeanne Moos has her own unique spin on the love fest when we come back.



BLACKWELL: So it's not something we see often but we have seen a little affection between the president and the first lady we saw at the White House this week.

MARSH: And some warm smiles and a little back patting and even a flash of passion. Here is CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president and the first lady were all smiles at each other. No big deal, you say? Well, have you seen Melania un-smile after her husband turned his back at the inauguration?

But as the first lady added some empathy to the opioid announcement, she and the president repeatedly exchanged smiles. He patted her back.


MOOS: Again, the proud smile. The exchanged glance.

MELANIA TRUMP: I'm so proud to support him today.

MOOS: And then the outstretched arms. The warm kiss on the cheek and some nuzzling. Another kiss. A pat.

And just when you thought it was over, a lingering gaze and a nod and another touch. This was a presidential PDA never before seen in this administration. Usually, comedians are making fun of body language like the Trump's marital handshake.

MELANIA TRUMP: Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. You can go sit down now (ph).

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: He shut her down like a robot from west world. You go sit down.

MOOS: And if it wasn't the handshake, it was the infamous hand swat.

Stephen Colbert's late show then added its own handiwork.

MOOS: This cat and mouse hand play has now given way to him touching her back and her reciprocating the gesture. Melania still looked like a model, but not a mannequin.

Jeanne moos, CNN, New York.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone will be arrested as part of the special counsel investigation led by Bob Mueller.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the earliest, that Monday morning, some of the charges will be revealed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be an indictment which will speak to the criminal activity that Mueller feels he can prove.