Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Believes Putin's Denial of Election Meddling; Blind Rock Climber Competes in World Cup; DNC Contemplates Winning Strategy After Election Sweep; Thousands Visiting Machu Picchu Threaten Its Future; Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 11, 2017 - 08:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Listen, we want to show you some live pictures that we're getting in here. First of all, President Trump sitting down for dinner with Vietnam's president in Hanoi.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Earlier, he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. President Trump said that Putin denied the allegations and that he believes him. But Putin's press secretary tells CNN that that discussion never happened, as far as he knows.

Meanwhile, President Putin is calling this an internal political struggle and says that Russia is ready for better relations with the U.S.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As you know, and I often talk about it, we are prepared to turn the page and go forward to look into the future to solve the problems that are of interest to people of the United States and people of the Russian federation. To think about fulfilling our economic relations with the specific serious content. Just look at the latest economic forum in St. Petersburg, there was the greatest number of American companies there.


PAUL: CNN senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny is live in Da Nang for us.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to Jeff first. Jeff, what else did the president say about that discussion that still the Russians are disputing actually happened?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. This is really a perfect metaphor for all of the confusion that has existed over this meeting really the last couple days in Vietnam at this economic summit. Would President Trump and President Putin actually meet? We're told that they had a series of conversations very brief, about two or three conversations. One of which, the longest of which was about 5 minutes long. So, certainly not a formal bilateral meeting that most leaders have as they attend these summits.

But did have a very informal conversation, but there is again a discrepancy about whether they talked about election meddling or not. President Trump did not address reporters here on camera, as many other leaders did actually.

But he did talk to reporters as he flew from here in Da Nang to his evening stop in Vietnam's capital of Hanoi this evening. This is what he said about Russian meddling. He said, look, basically agree to disagree here.

He said every time he sees me, he says I didn't do it and I believe him. I really believe when he tells me that he means it, but he says I didn't do it. So, again, this is President Trump's interpretation of President Putin saying that he did not meddle in the election.

Now, this is something that essentially has been asked and answered by almost every corner of Washington with the exception of the oval office. U.S. intelligence officials have agreed that Russia did meddle in the election.

Of course, it's under investigation, if there was collusion between the Russian officials and the Trump campaign. That has yet to be determined. We don't know the answer to that.

The fact that meddling has been stipulated to by most people except President Trump. Clearly here, Victor and Christi, there's a sense the president wants to move beyond this. He wants to talk to President Putin about North Korea and Syria. They did in fact issue a joint statement about Syria and their joint effort to defeat ISIS.

Of course, they have many disagreements there, but this entire question of Russian meddling hung over all of this. Now at the end, the president told reporters this, he said we have the potential for a very good relationship. That is telling a sign that the relationship right now is not good. He said we have the potential for a good relationship -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Jeff Zeleny, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in now Josh Rogin, CNN political analyst and columnist for "The Washington Post," and Jack Kingston, CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign. Gentlemen, good morning to you.

Jack, let me start with you. The reaction to President Trump's statement also in this gaggle about Russian meddling and the credence he puts in the denial from President Putin.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I would say like I'm really troubled by this, but I'm not surprised. This is what President Trump has been saying all along, that he basically believes Putin when Putin says I didn't do it, and Trump says, OK, that's good enough for me, case closed.

You know, luckily for America and our democracy, you know, there are lots of other people in Washington and around the world who don't believe Putin when he says I didn't do it and who are looking into this.

We're talking about the Mueller investigation. We're talking about the Senate. We're talking about the House. We're talking about our intelligence agencies. We're talking about lots and lots of think tanks and academics all over the world who actually do believe that the Russians interfered.

And believed that they're still doing it worldwide which is true, who believed that they are still doing it and that they are going to do it again in 2018 and 2020. And to just throw our hands up and say, well, I asked him, and he said he didn't do it, what are we going to do is like simply not acceptable, OK.

And in the next part of the quote, he says, well, I think Putin is really insulted that we accused him, and that's really bad for us. This sort of shows you the psychology of the president.

He's more worried about Putin's hurt feelings than he is about the attack that the Russians did on our democracy and that bodes poorly for any future hope that the president or this White House may, "A," come around to the realization that this actually happened, and the Russians actually did it, and "B," actually supporting us to make sure it doesn't happen again.

BLACKWELL: Now Jack, let me come to you. Not only did the president say or intimate that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin but also called the former director of National Intelligence, the former director of the CIA, the former FBI director actually political hacks, actually using that phrase. Taking the word of President Putin over essentially the entire U.S. intelligence community here.

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think, number one, people like Clapper and Comey have proven themselves to be very political, at least not removed from the politics. But I also want to say, I agree with Josh, this doesn't surprise me, but I also would say it doesn't trouble me because I think it's almost a perfunctory statement now.

Because the minute he meets with Putin, that's going to be the question certainly by the press, and so, he needs to just kind of get that out of the way. I think what was more important and where I think his serious pivot would be is that we talked about jointly defeating ISIS in Syria.

And we talked about a nonmilitary solution to Syria and I think that building on the relationship that he has established with Putin during, you know, very hard times and difficult circumstances, I think that's a positive step because that --

BLACKWELL: But those can be parallel conversations, right? You don't have to sacrifice being firm with the Russian president about meddling in the election in 2016 to make some headway in Syria, do you?

KINGSTON: I agree. But I also want to get back to what Putin said about the American companies meeting in St. Petersburg. There are a lot of American companies. I've spoken to the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow and these are Procter & Gamble, IBM, Pepsi, big players in America.

And I think both leaders want to get beyond this. I'm not saying it's over with. There's no evidence because I also agree with Josh, that Russia, as a lot of countries do get involved in other countries' politics, but I still think we need to have a significant relationship for a mutual national security and economic reasons.

BLACKWELL: Josh, in the conversation of these companies that would require lifting sanctions --

ROGIN: Well, that's right --

BLACKWELL: -- as all of the sanctions that were signed into law by the president earlier this year have been implemented?

ROGIN: Right. This is why we can't take Vladimir Putin at his word because he's willfully ignoring the fact that Russia is heavily sanctioned. Mostly because they invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, but also because they interfered in our election.

These are sanctions passed by Congress above the president's objection, by a veto-proof majority, that's why the president signed the bill, and those sanctions aren't coming off anytime soon.

Unless Putin decides to stop meddling in the Ukraine and give back Crimea to Ukrainians, et cetera. So, you know, no one is against having a good relationship with Russia, but it can't be on Putin's terms. It can't be on terms where Putin is allowed to run roughshod over countries in Europe with his military and pretend like it didn't happen.

It can't be under terms where Putin interferes with our election and we just say, well, you know, what are going to do, he won't admit to it, so I guess we're out of options. And Syria is the same thing.

I mean, OK, can we be honest about Syria, the Russians are supporting a brutal dictator, committing mass atrocities against its people, defending Assad from -- for accountability for gassing children, right.

Just sieges, hundreds of thousands of murdered, and we say, oh, well, at least we defeated ISIS, right? So, you know, on all of these issues --

KINGSTON: Well, wait, Josh, you can't just say at least we defeated ISIS like (inaudible) we still believe there's a junior varsity of terrorism. That's a significant thing that was started by John Kerry, by the way.

ROGIN: Yes, but let's be clear that doesn't solve the problem of Syria and that the war continues after ISIS, and that the post-ISIS battlefield is being controlled by Syria Assad, Russia and Iran. And the U.S. is asleep at the wheel, right?

That's a whole other segment that I'd love to do with you, Jack, because I know you know a lot about this and everything like that. But my point here is that Trump is not just acquiescing to Putin's line, his propaganda on hacking. He's also doing it on Syria and that's a big problem because again we have --

KINGSTON: Josh, he's the only president who has bombed Russian assets in Syria as you know --

ROGIN: No, no, he gave the Russians the warning to get out of the way and then he bombed the runway --


KINGSTON: They don't even have a good relationship with another superpower.

ROGIN: Yes, on our terms not on theirs.

[08:10:03] BLACKWELL: Josh Rogin, Jack Kingston, thank you very much. Of course, the passionate conversation continues because the president's trip continues. We'll follow it all morning.

PAUL: It does indeed. And the folks there in Hanoi are waiting for the president right now. I want to show you live pictures of the state dinner that's awaiting him. You see many of the dignitaries there who are waiting for the president to arrive. As soon as he does, we will let you know. Big dinner here as he meets with the president and the people there in Vietnam. Stay close.

BLACKWELL: Now, domestically, Roy Moore, he is strongly denying the sexual abuse allegations against him pledging to stay in the race. But what do voters in Alabama think? We are live there, next.

PAUL: And President Trump says, as Victor just talked about, he believes Russian President Putin when President Putin says he didn't mess with our election. A look at Putin's playbook, though, from the author who wrote about his online influence two years ago.


PAUL: I want to bring you some of the live pictures here. There is President Trump at the state dinner there in Vietnam. Next to him, we have Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as well as John Kelly.

BLACKWELL: We saw several members of the president's cabinets here being welcomed by the president of Vietnam. We see here taking the customary photos here and a lot to discuss while he is in Hanoi. The president also made news this morning about conversations with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

We'll talk more about that throughout the morning, but they're sitting down. There will be a welcome and then thanks from the president and then they'll get down to dinner.

All right. Coming back to the U.S., specifically, Alabama, this morning, Senate Candidate Roy Moore is doubling down on his denials calling allegations that he sexually abused a 14-year-old girl false and misleading.

PAUL: The Alabama Republican says the accusations from 40 years ago are, quote, "politically motivated." Despite his denials, the allegations have created a real divide in the Republican Party.

More than a dozen Republicans say Moore needs to leave the race. But former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, says he's backing him.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Until I see additional evidence on Judge Moore, I'm standing with him.


PAUL: CNN's Martin Savidge live for us now in Alabama. That seems to be the sentiment of many Alabamians, does it not? They're sticking by him, is that right?

[08:15:09] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi. Good morning to you. Those who have supported Judge Moore as many people know him here continue to do so. And despite the fact that maybe on the national level, the Republican Party is trying to distance itself. No sign of that here in Alabama.

In fact, today, the state GOP is sponsoring a statewide door knock campaign, in other words getting people to get information about the candidate they support, which is Judge Roy Moore. The candidate himself has not changed course either.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Roy Moore taken to a conservative talk radio making a strong denial of the accusations against him including allegations of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in 1979, first reported by the "Washington Post."

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE (via telephone): These allegations are completely false and misleading, but more than that, it hurts me personally because, you know, I am a father. I have one daughter. I have five granddaughters, and I have special concern for the protection of young ladies. This is really hard to get on radio and explain this as these allegations are just completely false.

SAVIDGE: Moore says he has no recollections of his most accuser, Leigh Corfman, who says when she was 14 and Moore was 32, he undressed and sexually abused her.

MOORE: I don't know Miss Corfman from anybody. I've never talked to her, I've never had any contacts with her. Allegation of sexual misconduct with her are completely false.

SAVIDGE: One question looms, should Moore continue or quit his quest for the U.S. Senate? And even fellow Republicans are divided.

TIM HUDDLESTON, ALABAMA RESIDENT: If it is true, you know, that's bad. He needs to step out of the race. There's no question about it.

SAVIDGE: Moore is still finding support in his home state, but in Washington, where he's hoping to take over Jeff Sessions' Senate seat. More than a dozen GOP lawmakers are saying Moore should step out if the accusations are true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they are true, he should step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that's true, I don't believe there is a place for him in the U.S. Senate.

SAVIDGE: The political scandal even triggering reaction from President Trump half-way around the world, speaking on Air Force One between China and Vietnam, White House Press Secretary Spokesperson Sarah Sanders first giving the impression Trump was supporting Moore.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes that we cannot allow mere allegations, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life.

SAVIDGE: But on the very next line, Sanders repeating and increasingly (inaudible).

SANDERS: However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.

SAVIDGE: Moore himself is showing absolutely no indication of quitting. In a phone interview, Moore's brother says his brother's accusers are either being paid or supporting Moore's Democratic opponent then comparing his brother's political problems to the persecution of Jesus Christ.

But the question remains, are the shocking accusations impacting Alabama voters? It depends on who talk to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why it didn't come up seven, eight months ago when he was winning. All of a sudden two weeks from now, all this stuff comes up. I believe it's a lot of b.s., I really do. I think he's a nice guy.


SAVIDGE: And that's the skepticism you will hear from a lot of those who support Judge Moore. His campaign has only got a few weeks left -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right. Martin Savidge, we appreciate it so much. Thank you. BLACKWELL: We've got live pictures here from Hanoi. This is the Vietnamese president, Tran Dai Quang, who is welcoming the United States, the president, of course, and his delegation there.

This is part of the president's 12-day trip to Asia, of course. We know in attendance are Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is sitting right to the president's right. Also, General Kelly we saw walk into the room. We know that after this state of welcome, we'll hear from the president, of course.

PAUL: And we've heard from the president actually quite a bit in the last 24 hours particularly when it comes to Russia. He, it turns out in some of the sideline conversations with President Putin did discuss, President Trump says, the Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

And he says to reporters that President Putin told him he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they're saying he did. The president was then pressed as to whether he believed President Putin at the time.

And at that point, President Trump said, "Look, I can't stand there and argue with him. Every time he sees me, he says I didn't do that. I really believe when he tells me that he means it, but he says I didn't do that. He's very, very strong in the fact that he did not do that."

We say this -- this is what President Trump is telling reporters on Air Force One.


PAUL: But we're getting a different pressure from Dmitry Peskov in Russia.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The press secretary for President Putin says that this conversation never happened, and that President Trump and President Putin never discussed 2016 Russian meddling in the election.

[08:20:12] And the president went on to say and this was a gaggle with reporters -- that's what we call it -- but the president said that I think he's -- speaking of Russian President Putin -- I think he's very insulted by it. They continued to ask him about Russian meddling, if you want to know the truth.

The president goes on to say, all he said is, he never did that, and I think he's very insulted by it which is not good for our country because again, we had a relationship with Russia, North Korea, our single biggest problem right now.

So, the president suggesting there that continuing to question Russian President Vladimir Putin about the 2016 election meddling is causing a problem as it relates to solving problems with North Korea. We also heard from the president of Russia about turning the page with the U.S. PAUL: He's saying tha he's ready to move forward with the U.S. with U.S. interests in tow. So, we're not quite sure exactly what that means. We're talking about that throughout the day.

And as we wait here, we know once the Vietnamese president is done speaking. President Trump will speak as well. We're going to take a quick break and we'll bring that to you on the other side. Stay close.



WHITFIELD: So glad to have you with us. We want to show you the live pictures right now of President Trump and the Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang. They are at the state dinner. Getting the welcome comments to all of the dignitaries there that are with them.

The president does have many members of his administration with him. We've got Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chief of Staff David Kelley is there. And we're waiting for the president to step up to that microphone, as he's going to make some formal comments as well. Later, we know there will be a joint press conference.


PAUL: With the Vietnamese president in which we're told reporters will be able to ask some questions.

BLACKWELL: Obviously, there will be questions about the president's comments about Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Let's go to Ivan Watson who is joining us from the continent now. Ivan, first, conversations that -- what's on the table here in this discussion of turning the page? Obviously, that's something that Russian President Vladimir Putin has probably wanted for some time, considering the economic sanctions that his country has faced, and will continue to face. But what's on the table here? What are we hearing from President Putin?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, there have been sanctions in place ever since the civil war erupted in Ukraine with the government in Kiev accusing Russia of military intervention into Ukraine. Something that the Russians kind of continue to deny.

So, the sanctions were imposed not only by the U.S. but also by the European Union. Moscow wants to get past that. Clearly, the Russians wants to have a face-to-face meeting with President Trump here in Vietnam.

And both sides were not able to come to a time for a bilateral meeting. The White House said that there were scheduling problems there. Putin, more recently, has joked that the schedulers will be punished for that not taking place. But one of the problems that the kremlin has, in wanting to get past arguments over Ukraine is that there is a great political backlash within the U.S., within Congress, about allegations of Russian election meddling.

Though, as we've heard from President Trump, again, here in Vietnam, speaking to journalists aboard Air Force One, he once again does not believe that any meddling took place, and he even called it a Democratic political hack job.

And said that former intelligence chiefs who have asserted that Russia meddled in the November 2016 election, he called them political hacks, and called the former FBI Director Jim Comey a liar.

So, in this respect, we seem to have more agreement between the U.S. and Russian presidents than we have from both houses of Congress and from numerous investigations and from intelligence agencies right now.

PAUL: All right. Ivan Watson, appreciate so much the update. Thank you. And again, we're waiting for President Trump to address all of the dignitaries there. When he does so, we will bring it to you. We're going to take a quick break. We're back in a moment.



[08:33:08] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. This is a very, very special time to be with you and the great people of Vietnam.

We have come a long way, the United States and Vietnam. We've seen it from both sides of the picture. And this is the pleasant side.

You are doing a spectacular job. Your people are doing a spectacular job. And in the United States, likewise, we are doing very, very well. We've had the highest stock market we've ever had. We have the lowest unemployment in 17 years. And people are pouring back into our country in the form of manufacturers, car builders and others.

I toured Vietnam today. I was through the streets of Hanoi and it's incredible to see. Incredible to watch. And it's truly one of the great marvels. It really is something to behold.

I would like to congratulate the people of Vietnam. I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on an outstanding job.

I would also like to send my condolences on Typhoon Damrey which was devastating. And a great loss of life in Vietnam. And please give my regards and sympathies to everyone. I know you will rebuild. And the families will slowly rebuild. Very tough to recover from that kind of a loss. But, please, on behalf of United States, our condolences.

And at the same time our congratulations on a job well done. Vietnam has truly become one of the great miracles of the world. [08:35:02] And it's very impressive no matter where you come from. No

matter who you are. When you look at what's happened in Vietnam, there's nothing more impressive.

Thank you very much for this honor. And I look forward to seeing you, Mr. President, many, many times over the future. Thank you.



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump there just moments ago. A lot has happened on this trip just in the last 12 to 24 hours, in fact.

Before he got to the state dinner, Russian president Vladimir Putin has again told President Trump that he did not meddle in the U.S. election. And President Trump says he believes him.

Now years before any e-mails were hacked and Russia was accused of stealing them, there was this book. Take a look. It's published by two Russian investigative journalists back in 2015 called "The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries."

It sounded the alarm so to speak on what the Kremlin was trying to do online and now it is giving an update. One of the two co-authors, Andrei Soldatov, is with us now as well.

Mister Soldatov, thank you for taking the time to be with us. First of all, wanted to get your take on what we've heard this morning.


PAUL: Hello. What we've heard this morning from President Trump saying that he believes President Putin, that President Putin did not meddle in this U.S. election. Should the president believe him?

SOLDATOV: Well, I think so. I think it's very normal for Vladimir Putin to say one thing and then in a year completely change his position. Remember, in 2014, he said that his troops never invaded Crimea. And a year later, he said, no, it was actually my troops.

PAUL: So you have had extraordinary reach into the Kremlin with your inside reporting and your investigations, and your contacts there.

I want to talk about Russia's abilities, if I could here. Were you aware of Russia's reach into foreign politics outside the Kremlin?

SOLDATOV: Well, the problem here is that, as the role of Russian hacking operations is extremely complicated. It includes some people in bureaucracies, some in securities services and intelligence agencies. But also it's about some outsourced factors. It's about people who are officially not part of the government, but at the same time, they're extremely close to the administration of the president. And that makes them much more adventurous and much more flexible, and sometimes much more effective. And we suspect that was the case with 2016.

PAUL: So, with that said, what evidence stands out to you that would prove that President Putin and the Kremlin were connected to any meddling in the U.S. with this election in 2016?

SOLDATOV: Well, the first question we have is, we try to understand why this operation might actually take place. And actually we were told by our sources that part of the papers in this investigation triggered this reaction. And Putin personally took it as a big offensive, a big law. And we believe that we've identified at least one meeting of the Russian Security Council at the beginning of our probe that probably was used to discuss how to fight back.

PAUL: And real quickly, one last question, President Putin this morning said he's ready to turn the page and move forward with the U.S. What is your reaction to that?

SOLDATOV: I think it's a very, I would say, traditional reaction of the Kremlin. Never pay attention to what actually happened and try to move on and -- like actually nothing happened. And we saw this with many investigations about the corruptness in the Kremlin, about many scandals to just say well, we do not pay attention to what journalists say. I don't think it's good work here but they will try to use this strategy again.

PAUL: All right. Andrei Soldatov, we appreciate it so much. Thank you for your insight.

SOLDATOV: Thank you.

PAUL: We'll be right back.


[08:43:44] BLACKWELL: This week's "FIT NATION" looks at how a blind rock climber overcame adversity to compete in his first World Cup.

PAUL: CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the story.


JUSTIN SOLIS, ROCK CLIMBER: I get to kind of interact with rock on a way that I think very few people get to experience. Climbing has taught me how to navigate the world in a completely different way.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Justin Solis is a professional rock climber. He's also legally blind.

SOLIS: Being a young teen boy and losing your vision is one of the hardest things I could have imagined. I was about to get my learner's permit. And that was just rough for me.

GUPTA: Despite years of tests, doctors couldn't determine the cause of his vision loss.

SOLIS: I spent probably two or three years just not doing anything at all until a friend that worked at a local gym told me that I didn't need to see to rock climb and I was hooked.

GUPTA: Justin can't see anything straight ahead so he relies mainly on his peripheral vision.

SOLIS: When I'm looking at a wall, I don't see holes. Most of the time it's just out of feel and muscle memory or having a sight guide call for me.

GUPTA: That's where Matt Frederick comes in.

MATT FREDERICK, SIGHT GUIDE: You next foot is at your waist.

GUPTA: As a sight guide he directs Justin up the wall.

FREDERICK: I've learned a lot about how he climbs and I think what would he want to do here. Based on that, I'll call holds in a specific order.

[08:45:02] GUPTA: Together, they're headed to the 2017 IFSC World Cup in Edinburgh where Justin will climb against other visually impaired competitors. On his first descent, Justin suffered a major setback.

FREDERICK: You're on a bolt. You're on a bolt.

GUPTA: By mistakenly stepping on a bolt that wasn't part of the course. His first climb he was disqualified.

FREDERICK: It's just no go.




GUPTA: But he regained ground on the second climb and qualified for the finals. In the main event Justin challenged for the top spot.

FREDERICK: OK. Stand on it.

GUPTA: Coming in just short of finishing first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, big round of applause for Justin Solis from USA.

SOLIS: I had no idea that I was going to do this well. All I wanted to do is make finals. And getting second place for my first world cup was really, really cool.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's turn now to politics and Democrats. They feel motivated after Tuesday's wins in key local and state elections. They say they have a real chance to make gains in Congress, taking back at least one of the chambers.

The Democrats have been in this position before, in the minority in the House and the Senate, GOP in the White House. And it wasn't so long ago. Let me take you back to 2005 with then DNC chair Howard Dean.


HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIR FROM 2015-2009: We can change the party. But only by working together and becoming a national party again. We can change this party, but only by working together at the local level because if we want to win nationally, we have to start by winning locally.


BLACKWELL: Chairman Dean laid out a strategy there for victory then executed it, and over the next two elections Democrats took back the House, the Senate and the White House, and Susan Turnbull was vice chair of the DNC during that time from '05 to '09. She joins me now.

Susan, good to have you. We don't have a lot time but I want to get to a lot. So let me start here with the strategy, the 50-state strategy. It's a term we throw around assuming people know what that means. But put some meat on it for us, logistically, strategically, financially, what does that look like?

SUSAN TURNBULL, FORMER VICE CHAIR OF DNC 2005-2009: It's focusing your attention and your efforts in every election across the country. Right now we're calling it an every zip code strategy. And it works. It makes a difference. Because what you do is you have women and men across this country who are running local races with local issues. And they win.

This year, we saw it in Virginia and across the country where you had people, a diversity that was never seen before. I'm especially proud of Emerge America which had 151 women who had been trained to come forward. There is an energy out there now that really is similar to 2005 and 2006 because people are hungry for change.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about -- and I'm sorry, I'm moving us along here, but we really don't have much time. And I want to get to one race specifically. You know when we talk about for the zip codes specifically, that's allowing candidates to run as Democrats and endorsing them, although they may not support traditional Democratic orthodoxy. And I want to go specifically to the issue of abortion, pro-life versus pro-choice.

In Alabama right now, the Democratic nominee for Senate, Doug Jones, some belief he may have a chance because of the denied allegations now about Judge Roy Moore. But he is adamantly pro-choice. Following this 50-state strategy theory, is he a wrong candidate for a state which according to Pew 86 percent say they're Christian, 49 percent say that they are evangelical Christian? Is he the wrong candidate for that demographic?

TURNBULL: I think in Alabama what you're going to see is that people are going to take -- make a moral decision. And the decision is, is it reprehensible to have a candidate who has shown in many ways how totally inappropriate he is to be a member of the United States Senate, to be in elected office at all? Or do you want someone who has stood up and has been a leader on a lot of issues?

I think the litmus test right now is really moving forward to big things and changes, to taking us back to the future basically, moving us towards change.

BLACKWELL: But that moral decision, if voters are forced to make a decision between the decision over when life begins and if they are going to support a candidate who is pro-choice, versus the allegations that have been made against Judge Moore, do you expect that they will choose to vote for a candidate who traditionally they would not who supports a woman's right to choose?

TURNBULL: I think that right now what we saw certainly in Virginia, and many parts of Virginia, is that people are looking at candidates on a whole wrath of issues.

[08:50:03] They're looking at people who are concerned about quality education, quality health care, quality jobs. And it is a -- you have to look at a total picture. The total picture here is a candidate in Doug Jones who is say leader, who has courage. And I think what people want is moral conviction and courage.

BLACKWELL: So let me ask you about the party's opinion or the opinion of the party as it relates to respondents to the latest CNN poll out this week. No doubt that the Democratic Party had a good night on Tuesday. But only 37 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Democrats. It's down from 44 percent just in March of this year, 54 percent had an unfavorable view. That's the highest unfavorable for the party in a quarter century. 2018 politics aside, what is the party doing wrong?

TURNBULL: I think it's more about what people are doing right this year and what has happened since --

BLACKWELL: Well, they must -- let me interrupt here. They must be doing something wrong because the approval, the favorability has dropped seven points since March.

TURNBULL: I would like to see what the approval would be tomorrow and the next day. And yesterday. Because I think what we saw this week was, yes, your energy matters. Yes, being smart and strong and running for office matters. Yes, it could be your neighbor who is going to be talking about traffic. It's going to be your neighbor who is going to be talking about college affordability or mass incarceration, whatever is important in your district.

That's what's important. And Democrats are going to be a big tent in 2017 and in 2018. That's how we won in 2006. That's how we in Maryland won again in 2008 and 2010. And we are going to continue winning across this country.

BLACKWELL: All right. Susan Turnbull, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

TURNBULL: Good to be with you.

BLACKWELL: All right.


BILL WEIR, CNN HOST, "THE WONDER LIST": Most archeologist believe that all of this was built as a spot of ultimate relaxation. And religion. The VIPs of the Inca world. A place to escape the crowded heat of Cuzco, relax amongst the clouds, worship the sun and the stars.

Fernando has been in charge of the site for 20 years, but he still gets giddy over new discoveries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of this was covered by soil, by dirt. All of this that you can see.

WEIR (on camera): I see. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It starts down here. It's all of this was finally uncovered.

WEIR (voice-over): His team recently unearthed this celestial window carved without chisels to track the path of the sun for planting and worship.

After a 10-minute climb I reached the spot I have seen photographs so many times. That high corner where the last Inca ruler must have stood and smiled at the sun and thought, it is good to be the king.

Hmm, and maybe we should build another addition. Up there.

(On camera): That's Huayna Picchu, young peak. Machu Picchu, old peak. And tomorrow morning we're going to try to climb that, and I may die.


PAUL: CNN's "WONDER LIST" with Bill Weir continues tonight. He is, as you could see, in Peru and clearly did not die because he's with us now. Thankfully, which we are grateful for, Bill

So tell me, what was your biggest take-away from this? I mean, that -- you're living the dream with that.

WEIR: Yes. It's a bucket list item for so many people. Machu Picchu has been on mine forever. But it's just part of this Inca trail, this amazing civilization that ruled South America until the Spaniards showed up with their cannons and their germs and wiped it all out in search for gold. And so now you've got tourists coming there. You know, the hunt for tourism gold is really straining this place. The hunt for gold in the Amazon is ripping apart some of the most pristine rain forests that's left in the world.

So Peru is this magnificently beautiful place. Struggling a bit financially, but trying to get their arms around all these modern trends, all these little decisions that we make in big cities around the world. They add up and they make different noises down in the jungles of the Amazon.

PAUL: Real quickly, did you see any of the other discoveries that they're still making centuries later here?

WEIR: We went to places that the tourists don't ever go to, Pisak, and some of these incredible Incan cities that would be as magnificent as Machu Picchu if they had been publicized in the same way. But this is the series finale of the "WONDER LIST." And I think it's a good one. It's been on our list for a long time, we can't wait to bring you there tonight.

[08:55:05] PAUL: All right. Looking forward to it.

Bill Weir, glad you're here and glad you got to experience what you did and we're kind of doing it through the screen here.

WEIR: Thanks, Christi.

PAUL: Experiencing the same thing. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks so much for joining us. We will see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for NEWSROOM.

PAUL: Yes. Don't go anywhere, though, "SMERCONISH" is with you right after this quick break.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

President Trump and Putin together again.