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Attackers Carried ISIS Flags; Celebrities Respond to Trump Time Magazine Flap; IRS Beefs up Security for Trump's Tax Returns; New Moore Ad Blasts Allegations As "False"; Fellow Defectors Praise Latest Escape As "Heroic". Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 25, 2017 - 07:00   ET



[07:01:03] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you. We're so grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: We want to begin with some breaking news right now out of Egypt. The number of people killed at that horrifying massacre at a mosque has climbed to 305.

SAVIDGE: This as Egyptian officials say that the attackers were carrying ISIS flags and automatic machineguns when they surrounded the mosque and its entrances.

PAUL: That happened yesterday. But meanwhile, Egypt's air force launched air strikes. Take a look at this. These air strikes on the attackers and, quote, terrorist outposts containing weapons and ammunitions. We have a detailed report for you in just a moment. But first.

SAVIDGE: The agency that is cast with helping you safeguard your finances is leaderless.

PAUL: Once the clock struck midnight, as you were sleeping, most likely, Richard Cordray stepped down from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Here's the problem. His replacement depends on who you ask is the replacement.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of confusion this morning over who is leading the top U.S. consumer watchdog agency. And here's why. President Trump tapped White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to be interim chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB. The announcement came though just hours after the outgoing director Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee formally resigned and named his chief of staff Leandra English the successor, which essentially makes her the acting director.

The appointments of two officials to the same post sets up a political and legal clash here, and the question of who's in charge when employees return to work on Monday. Massachusetts senator, Elizabeth Warren who helped create the CFPB tweeted this.

"The Dodd-Frank Act is clear, if there's a CFPB director vacancy, the deputy director becomes acting director. Donald Trump can't override that. But the administration can appoint a current government official into a new job as long as they're confirmed by the Senate under the federal vacancies act to serve in an acting capacity. So the CFPB was created after the 2008 financial crisis to protect consumers and keep an eye on Wall Street.

Republicans argue the agency has too much power, not enough oversight and establishes what they see as anti-business regulations. Mulvaney has been a long-Time critic. While serving in Congress, he voted in favor of killing the agency and once called it a sick and sad joke.

President Trump will ultimately nominate a permanent director. The opening is a chance for a major overhaul of the bureau.


SAVIDGE: So, what does the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau actually do for you? Well, according to the joint economic committee on Capitol Hill, the watchdog group has several accomplishments aside from just taking on Wall Street. More recently, it forced Wells Fargo to pay full refunds to customers after employees set up those phony accounts. The bureau also gave $130 million to service members, veterans and their families that were harmed by predatory financial practices, and it made credit card costs more transparent, saving consumers more than $16 billion in fees.

PAUL: Abby Phillip, CNN White House correspondent with us now as well as Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst, historian and professor at Princeton University. Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner." And Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst. Thank you all for being here. I know big group today.

Abby, I wanted to start with you because, as we hit Monday morning, this watchdog group may have no idea who to report to. What are you hearing about how this is going to play out?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're expecting the White House in the next couple of hours to really push back on what Richard Cordray did on his way out the door yesterday. They're going to really double down on their interpretation of the president's ability to go ahead and appoint Mick Mulvaney as an interim successor. I think the White House believes that they have that power to do that and that Richard Cordray can't just say who his successor is.

[07:05:05] So I don't think that they see this as a legal dispute.

However, clearly, Democrats on the hill are going to push back. And this is also going to make it much more likely that the president needs to move very quickly to get a replacement into that agency. The sooner he does that, the sooner he'll have a senate-confirmed candidate and they can move on with fresh leadership and resolve this issue once and for all. PAUL: All right. So, Joey, that brings me to you. Senator Elizabeth Warren yesterday said this about Cordray's decision in a tweet, "President Trump can't override that, he can nominate the next CFPB director, but until that nominee's confirmed by the Senate, Leandra English is the acting director under the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd- Frank does speak to this.

But, Joey Jackson, in legal parameters here, in the legal arena, who's going to be running this agency on Monday?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the simple answer, Christi, is whoever the president wants to run it. And here's why I say that. I think the merits, the politics, and the objective are on the president's side.

So even in the event that there's a legal dispute, think of all the wonderful things the agency does, as Martin Savidge pointed out. If there's a standstill, it does nothing.

And so from the president's perspective and his party's perspective, that's great. You don't want regulation of business. But to the merits of the issue, he's the president of the United States. The president gets to appoint people. And in terms of the actual rule of Dodd-Frank, it says if the director is absent or unavailable, it doesn't say if the director resigned. So that's another interpretation.

And I think also, Christi, courts are loathed to get involved into political disputes. Finally on the politics of it, when you have the president who's a Republican, House Republican, Senate Republican, change the law in the event that it's that much of an issue.

And so I think at the end of the day, the president gets what the president wants with regard to this dispute.

PAUL: All right. So while he was South Carolina congressman, here is what -- he actually -- Mick Mulvaney actually co-sponsored legislation to kill this agency. Let's listen to what he said then.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: It's a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody. It turns up being a joke. And that's what the CFPB really has been in a sick sad kind of way. You have got an institution that has tremendous authority over what you'll do for a living, over your businesses, over your members.


PAUL: Julian, I want to point a couple of things out here. It's not the first Time somebody has been put in charge of an agency that they weren't exactly a cheerleader for. For instance, we have EPA director Scott Pruitt, remember. He actively fought against the EPA. We've secretary of energy, Rick Perry who at one point didn't necessarily know the specific responsibilities, I guess, of the energy agency. But he wanted to eliminate it at that point.

What do you make of the pattern we see of the president putting people in charge of agencies that they're not passionate about?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a very consistent and effective tactic. We saw this under Ronald Reagan. We saw this under George W. Bush. When there are regulations and government bodies that a conservative president like President Trump opposes, and you can't simply dismantle them, you put people in charge who will either not run them effectively or not run them at all or make sure that the mission is not accomplished. This has been very important to the Trump administration.

And while we're focused on the tweets, I think the administration has been moving to staff many of these agencies with opponents of the agencies. It can be devastating to the policy.

PAUL: It makes you wonder where the agencies are headed in terms of their effectiveness.

Sarah, I want to move to something that's caught a lot of people's eye, this reaction to the president's tweet claiming that "Time" is considering him to be person of the year.

Here's what he tweeted, just so we're all on the same page. He said, "Time Magazine called to say that I was probably going to be named man, person of the year like last year, but I'd have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said, "Probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway." Here's how "Time" responded. They say, "The president is incorrect about how we choose person of the year. "Time" doesn't comment on our choice until publication which is December 6th.

So, Sarah, help me -- help me to understand here. Is "Time" basically saying that the president concocted this idea that he was asked for an interview --

PAUL: -- and a major photo shoot were hand?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: So I don't know that I would read "Time's" statement as a denial. They didn't say that Donald Trump was never under consideration. I don't know that any news organization dangled an award or a recognition over someone's head to force them into granting an interview.

[07:10:04] That doesn't sound like a practice "Time" or any other news organization would engage in.

But certainly, I think that there are a range of people "Time" would choose as person of the year are not score. It was very unlikely that this unfolded exactly how President Trump said on Twitter. We know that he has a history of recounting events in the most favorable manner toward himself and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle between "Time's" account and President Trump's accounts.

I don't think that he would make something like this up. But certainly, revisionist history is something that he's fluent in. So what really happens between "Time" and President Trump, we may never know. But the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

PAUL: Well, and we should point out there were some celebrity tweets after all of this. In fact Julia Louis-Dreyfus tweeted, "The New York Times" just called to say I was probably going to be named comedian of the year. I said probably as no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway.

Then we have mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker , of course, saying "Time" magazine called to say that I was definitely going to be named man of the year. But I'd have to agree to leak major episodes and spoilers. I said no problem. But then they told me you turned it down and now, I don't want it anymore. Thanks anyway.

Julian, real quickly, it's comical on the surface. But is there an erosion? An erosion or some sort of damage to President Trump? We only have a couple of seconds.

ZELIZER: That's where the story touches and there -- his credibility, his willingness to stretch the truth, a story like this gets right to the heart of that question which is much bigger than the "Time" Magazine cover story.

PAUL: I got you. All right. We'll see. But we'll be watching that on December 6th, no doubt, very closely.

Abby, Joey, Julian, and Sarah, we appreciate you all so much. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: In one of the most conservative states in the nation, a democrat, yes, a democrat has a chance to flip a senate seat. But can Doug Jones convince skeptical conservative voters to cross the aisle?

PAUL: Also, guarding President Trump's financial records. An insider at the IRS talks about the unprecedented security to protect the president's tax returns.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We decided we should actually turn it into a safe, in a locked room. So we'll do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who has access to that room?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I don't have access.


SAVIDGE: Plus, a horrifying story out of Egypt. New details on the attackers who carried out that mosque massacre. As the number of dead has increased to more than 300. That is coming up next.


[07:17:28] PAUL: We're following some breaking news right now out of Egypt. Egyptian authorities are saying ISIS is responsible for that deadly massacre at a mosque. It happened yesterday.

SAVIDGE: Officials added that there were more than two dozen attackers, and they were carrying ISIS flags and machine guns. More than 300 people were killed in the attack.

CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman is live from Cairo now.

Ben, what else are Egyptian officials saying about this and they're responding to the attack?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest we're hearing is the statement read out on Egyptian television from the public, prosecutors saying that among other things that 25 to 30 men, some of them dressed in combat fatigues with long hair and beards set off an explosion outside Rawdah mosque yesterday during Friday prayers. Then they went inside firing automatic weapons.

They said one of them was carrying an ISIS flag. Now, we've learned separately from the Middle East news agency, that's the official news agency of Egypt, that the death toll now stands at 305 people dead, 128 wounded. Among the dead, 27 children in this attack.

Now, in the aftermath of the attack, the Egyptian air force went into action, striking vehicles that the Egyptian officials believed were those vehicles of the attackers. They also struck ammunition and weapons storage facilities as well.

Now, we did hear the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the speech last night, saying that in response to these attacks, Egypt would use brute force to hit at the terrorists, certainly given that this is the largest deadliest, bloodiest terrorist attack in Egyptian history.

He's going to have the support of the Egyptian people when he does, in fact, carry out this threat to use brute force against the terrorists.

SAVIDGE: Ben, do we know why this particular mosque was targeted?

WEDEMAN: Well, there's a lot of speculation, Martin, about why it was targeted. Some are suggesting because it was a mosque built by Sufis, Muslim mystics who are diametrically opposed to the Jihadi philosophy of ISIS. That's why is was targeted.

But the fact of the matter is, it's just the mosque by the side of a busy road. At the time of Friday prayers, people stop --

WEDEMAN: -- at the nearest mosque. It really has nothing to do with -- but perhaps that's why they targeted it, because, in fact, ISIS is opposed to the Sufis. They call Sufism a disease, and those who follow it heretics.

We know that on the 16th of November last year, a prominent 100-year- old Sufi sheikh was beheaded in the northern Sinai by ISIS.

On the other hand, another interpretation is that this is an area of the Sinai where many of the tribes are opposed to ISIS who have been cooperating with the Egyptian police and the Egyptian military. So that perhaps is another explanation why this choice of targets, but it's significant that over all the years where ISIS has operated in the Sinai, this is the first time they actually target a mosque, a mosque full of hundreds of fellow Muslims. Martin?

[07:20:11] SAVIDGE: All right. As we've said, it's a horrific attack.

Ben Wedeman, thanks for the update.

PAUL: Well, fellow defectors say this North Korean soldier who escaped across the border, they say he's a hero.

Coming up, why they say his defection though was more daring than most, and what we're learning from him as he recovers.

SAVIDGE: Plus, just two days left for people in Alabama to register to vote. Will the scandals, the accusations and the attack ads change their minds or will they just stay home?


[07:25:16] PAUL: Welcome to Saturday. So grateful to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

Who's in charge of the top elite consumer watchdog agency? At this point, no one's exactly sure.

PAUL: President Trump tapped White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to be interim chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the director steps down. But that sets up a political and legal clash because the outgoing director, he chose someone else.

SAVIDGE: This comes as the president tries to push tax reform next week. Trump will meet Thursday -- I'm sorry -- Tuesday with Senate republicans ahead of their expected vote.

PAUL: Monday though is the deadline to register to vote in Alabama. And this is a close race that can see a democrat flip a seat in a deep red state.

SAVIDGE: Despite sexual harassment and sexual abuse allegations against Republican Roy Moore, Democrat Doug Jones is still facing an uphill battle to win over skeptical conservatives and energize his base. Here is CNN's Kaylee Hartung.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The name dominating national headlines for more than two weeks. We know Roy Moore is running for the U.S. Senate and his campaign is in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were girls when Roy Moore immorally pursued them. Now they are women. Witnesses to us all of his disturbing conduct.

HARTUNG: What about the other guy? The challenger to the man accused of being a sexual predator.

RICHARD DIXON, BIRMINGHAM RADIO HOST: What we're getting nationally is, oh, Alabamans would vote for a pedophile over a liberal democrat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this circumstance, yes.

DIXON: OK. Well, you're just saying it flat out then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely.

DOUG JONES, AMERICAN ATTORNEY: I feel like my records speaks for itself --

HARTUNG: In the red state of Alabama where Republicans have held every statewide office for the last 25 years, the blue label of democrat is drowning out Doug Jones' name to some, even while his opponent is drowning in scandal.

JONES: We're staying in our lane as best we can, obviously to some extent, it's a distraction.

HARTUNG: Born and raised in Alabama, the 63-year-old first-time candidate is a long-Time attorney, a federal prosecutor who's best known for successfully putting domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph and Ku Klux Klan members who bombed a Birmingham church in 1963 behind bars.

JONES: I'll work across party lines to create jobs and get wages up.

HARTUNG: In the state that elected President Trump by 28 points, victory for Jones requires him swaying some Republicans on the issues, so he's trying to appeal to more conservative voters. Focusing on what he calls kitchen table issues, jobs, the economy, health care.

He says he would vote to raise the federal minimum wage and he supports the Affordable Care Act. But for many in Alabama, it comes down to one issue, Jones is pro-choice, believing it's an intensely personal choice and supporting the state's current abortion laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't vote for the baby killer for hell or high water. I don't believe in murdering children.

HARTUNG: Strong rhetoric like that can be heard on the conservative talk airwaves. But in print, a different statement. The editorial boards of the state's top newspapers writing stand for decency, reject Roy Moore.

This front page above-the-fold editorial denouncing Moore and endorsing Jones.

ROY MOORE, FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE: I believe in second amendment.

HARTUNG: Alabama voters are skeptical of outside influences on this race. But their choice on December 12th is crucial to the balance of power in Washington.

Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.


SAVIDGE: All right. Let's talk about this very controversial campaign. To do that -- to do that, CNN political commentators Patti Solis Doyle and Ben Ferguson and CNN political analyst, Julian Zelizer.

Good morning, everybody.



SAVIDGE: Patti, let me start with you. The accusations against Roy Moore, some conservatives still skeptical of Doug Jones, maybe because he's a liberal. And then "The Washington Post" is also reporting that he's struggling to energize African-American voters.

There's two and a half weeks left. So, what do you think that Doug Jones can do if he wants to win?

DOYLE: Well, I think for the first Time in a very, very, very long Time, Democrats have a chance to win a Senate seat in Alabama. But it is Alabama and it's going to be very tough. And I think what Doug Jones really needs to do is energize his vote and make sure he pours all of his resources in getting his vote out.

I think for Roy Moore, you know, there are -- I don't know if we can trust these polls in Alabama. I think it's very hard for anyone to say to a pollster on the other end of the telephone line, yes, I'm going to be voting for someone who has been banned from the mall because he preys on teenage girls. So I think the most that we can hope for is that the people who just cannot stomach that in Alabama will stay home.

[07:30:03] And if those people stay home and Doug Jones energizes his base and his -- the Democrats and African-American voters, we may stand a chance to win that seat.

SAVIDGE: Well, I'm with you on those polls because I've been spending a lot of time in Alabama covering all of this, so there is skepticism on those. Then, Roy Moore just released a new ad. First, let's take a look at it then we'll talk about it.


ANNOUNCER: Five State campaigns, 40 years of honorable service. Roy Moore has been intensely scrutinized and not a hint of scandal, but four weeks before the election, false allegations, a scheme by Liberal Elites and the Republican establishment to protect their big government trough. But we know a vote for Roy Moore, means conservative judges, tax cuts and rebuilding the military. Roy Moore, the right choice. SAVIDGE: This is such a classic ad, it almost seems a cliche.


SAVIDGE: But, is it going to work, Ben?

FERGUSON: Well, I totally think it's going work with a lot of his base. I mean, here's the thing, if you pander too much, whether you're the opponent or Roy Moore, it's going to get you in trouble, and so, I think what you're seeing Roy Moore, do here is actually a smart political playmate. This has nothing to do with what he's accused on, just saying, politically you put out a campaign ad, acting as if everything is okay, everything is normal and reminding people how long they've been voting for you in Alabama. And there's a very good chance that this could pay off for him.

I think this race is probably a lot tighter than the polls are showing there. I also think, that there's you know, a lot of people think, the judges pandered a little bit too much. He's tried to, you know, go after voters that will never going to vote for him. His whole entire objective should be, let me make sure that every single Democrat in the State is going to come out and vote for me, and that should be enough to get me over the top.

If he continues to go out there and try to, you know, you know, go for too many people that were never going to vote for him in the first place because of this controversy, I don't think he can -- he'll win this thing. And so, for Moore, this is a pretty simple smart play. Go back to your base, go back to the people that have been voting for you for 30, 40 years, and remind them of what you've done politically and maybe they'll overlook, you know, all of these other issues which, again, it's Alabama, they don't have a history or record of voting in Democrats. You heard a lot of those callers in talk radio, I do my shows carried in Alabama, in Birmingham. There's a lot of bill that says, you know what? I'm not voting for that Democrat. I don't like Roy Moore and what he did, but I don't want a Democrat representing me for the next six years in Congress and that seems to be what a lot of conservatives are saying there.

SAVIDGE: Yes, I agree, I think the polls are -- I think the race is much tighter than the polls suggest. Julian, were going to switch subjects here, pivot a bit.

Major development in the Russia investigation, lawyers for the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, no longer sharing information with the President's lawyers and this means that Flynn could be cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller's investigation, or planning to plead guilty. Who should be worried about this development?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, everyone higher up in the White House will be worried about a story like this, whether it's Jared Kushner or whether it's the President himself. Because obviously, the implication of the stories and the implication of the news is that they are getting Flynn -- or trying to get Flynn to cooperate in the exchange for lenient treatment of him, he can give information about higher-ups if that information exists. So, when a story like this breaks, everyone you know, in the upper levels of the White House will be nervous about what exactly Flynn is up to and what his attorneys are willing to deliver in exchange for protection.

SAVIDGE: Yes, and definitely think there are some anxious moments now to come. Ben, I want to read you this tweet that comes from Norm Eisen, he chairs the citizens for responsibility and ethics in Washington, and he said, "I negotiated a cooperation deal for a target with Mueller's office when he was U.S. Attorney, and let me tell you, he's not going to give one to Flynn unless he implicates someone up the ladder. That would mean Kushner, Don Junior or Big Daddy, they are all having indigestion tonight." He's speaking from experience here.


SAVIDGE: Do you think that the White House should be really worried?

FERGUSON: It sounds to me like a Christmas list of what he's hoping, and so, he's saying, you know, back in the day when I did something, this is how it went down. Look, I think Flynn right now is going to do everything he can, maybe even just to protect his son, and that can mean that he falls on the sword. We know that's something he's been very concerned about. If I was at the White House -- look, you know the conversations you had with Flynn. I don't think that there is concerned as people want them to be, or trying to make this out to be. I think, Flynn clearly crossed the line. I think, his son is probably in trouble. That may mean that Flynn says, OK, I'm willing to say more, do more, take more responsibility for my actions.

But I think, there's a little bit of wishful and hopeful thinking thereby many on the left, they were saying, oh, this is going to be, you know, finally the smoking gun that's going to bring down this White House, I don't see it.

[07:35:07] SAVIDGE: Patti, would you agree with that? I mean, or do you think that, that there really is serious concern here?

DOYLE: I think there's definitely concern here. You know, I worked in the Clinton White House when we had a special counsel investigating White Water, and, you know, we didn't do anything really and we were concerned, because you don't know who is saying what, what, what to whom, you know, what they're saying about you and here in this instance it seems from what we're hearing, from what's already come out of the Mueller investigation with the indictments of Manafort and Gates, and the guilty plea, that there is something there.

And it seems to me that Mike Flynn has something to offer the investigation. And so, I would think if I were working in the White House, they already have some indictments. They're clearly working towards Moore, and Mike Flynn is willing to cooperate. I would be very, very nervous if I worked in the White House right now.

SAVIDGE: Julian, can I do --

FERGUSON: I would say -- let me say --

SAVIDGE: Hold on -- hold on, just a second. Julian, is this creative leaking on somebody's part? Is it meant to instill this kind of discussion and fear?

ZELIZER: Well, I'm -- yes, that is part of the intention of this, and that's part of how special prosecutors work. They try to create that level of unease, and it's not the wrong thing to do always, so that you hopefully shake up testimony and shake up comments from people involved in the investigation. And you send a signal that you are very serious about who you're going after, and you create this kind of unease intentionally. So, yes, that's exactly what this is supposed to do.

SAVIDGE: Ben, I interrupted, go ahead.

FERGUSON: I was going to say, remember whether it Papadopoulos or whether it's, you know, former -- his former campaign chairman, those that have been indicted. All of those indictments have revolved around non-campaign issues and we had this same conversation just a couple weeks ago, when Manafort was indicted about the White House has got to be nervous and terrified, this is a campaign chairman.

Again, those who are their business dealings, many then going back more than a decade. So, I say the same thing I said then. You've got to look at what's on paper here and I think if you look at Flynn, who does he want to protect? He wants to protect his son and I think this is more about a family issue than this about the White House. The same way that Manafort and his assistant and others around him. They got indicted for nothing that involved the campaign, nothing that involved collusion. The word collusion wasn't even in their indictments.

All right, Ben, that we've got to leave it there, I'm sorry, just this time is a factor here. You got to have the last word. Patti Solis Doyle, Ben Ferguson and Julian Zelizer, thanks all for joining us. Next hour, we'll hear from two Alabama young Republicans, on how they plan to vote in that very controversial election.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un's regime, trying to make it harder for North Korean to escape after these soldier's daring escape after this soldier's daring escape was caught on camera.


[07:42:34] PAUL: Well, fellow defectors say, the North Korean soldier who ran across the border is heroic.

SAVIDGE: The North Korean regime was not so thrilled, they are reportedly replacing the soldiers who failed to stop the defector. Working -- workers rather, were seen digging a trench and planting trees for the soldier ran for freedom. It's an attempt to try to fortify the border to try to prevent future escapes. Here is CNN's Correspondent Anna Coren.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see him moving at a good rate of speed.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Speeding down a deserted road on the DMZ, a North Korean soldier is attempting something, the U.N. command says, no one has ever done before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will see some KPA soldiers come out of this building here as the vehicle quickly moves past them.

COREN: Using an army jeep, he drives to within meters of the South Korean border, and under a rain of bullets from his own comrades, he runs across the demarcation line defecting.

KANG RI HYUK, DEFECTOR, NORTH KOREA (through translator): There have been many defectors but this is the first one, I want to praise for bravery. He was heroic, I never thought to do this because it's a suicide mission.

COREN: 32 year old, Kang Ri Hyuk would know. He spent 10 years as an officer in the North Korean People's Army based on the DMZ. And while he thought about defecting, he never imagined pulling off such a daring escape. Instead, he crossed the border into China, made his way to Thailand and then defected to South Korea four years ago. And that's where he met his wife, also a defector, who doesn't want her identity revealed fearing for the safety of her family back in North Korea.

KANG (through translator): Conditions were harsh, everyone was hungry, even the soldiers.

COREN: -- he says. The U.N. is sending rice and fertilizer and it all goes to the ranking officials. There are many soldiers who also die from disease because they're not given medical treatment.

The latest defector, the third this year, suffered serious injuries to his arms and abdomen from at least four bullet wounds. By the time he was medevacked to hospital, he'd lost more than 50 percent of his blood, and was almost dead. And while surgeons were operating, they discovered dozens of parasitic worms, some up to 27 centimeters long which doctors say, were the result of poor hygiene and malnutrition.


[07:44:53] COREN: Back in the 1990s, famine and starvation plagued North Korea, but the U.N. says, malnutrition is still a major problem. More than 40 percent of the population is undernourished and one in four children face chronic malnutrition. And while North Korean soldiers are generally treated better than civilians, life is still a constant struggle.

This exclusive footage obtained by a South Korean Christian mission, shows North Korean soldiers physically plowing the soil, instead of using livestock. And here, they're foraging through a bird's nest, hunting for chicks, presumably to east.

Pastor Kim Sung-eun, who heads the mission has rescued hundreds of North Koreans. He says, while this footage is bleak, it's not hunger that motivates defectors, but rather the desire for freedom.


REV. KIM SUNG EUN: CALEB MISSION, SOUTH KOREA (through translator): North Koreans are thirsty for the outside world and frustrated by the reality they face.

COREN: -- he explains.

KIM: Those who defect including soldiers are hungry for information and have a strong desire to get out.

COREN: Kang says, he too wanted a better life, especially for his new family. And now working as a journalist, he occasionally broadcasts loudspeaker messages to the North Korean soldiers and has this message for his fellow defector.

KANG (through translator): Congratulations on your defection, happy South Korea. I wonder if you heard my broadcast and it helped with your decision. I hope we can meet and have (INAUDIBLE).


SAVIDGE: CNN's Anna Coren, thank you very much.

Well, they might as well be top secret document, President Trump tax returns, he has refused to make them public. Now, the IRS is taking an unprecedented move to keep him under lock and key and away from hackers. We'll show you how the officials plan to do it.

PAUL: Well, a new study finds learning to dance, it's good for our brains. And one Colorado couple said, hey, they're living proof. This week's "STAYING WELL" takes a closer look.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I dance because I love it. I love everything from the motion and the music to the feeling of dancing with others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suddenly I had a place where I could fit in with people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that dancing has slowed the deterioration of my memory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep swinging it.

AGA BURZYNSKA, NEUROSCIENTIST, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY: Dancing is so special because it's a physical activity that connects us to other people. Over 200 people took part in our study, and some of them did brisk walking. One group did stretching and toning and one group did dancing. And all of them participated for six months, in all other groups we saw this typical age-related deterioration of their brains. In the dancing group, we observe some improvement in one of the brain regions, that is involved the memory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Swing, swing, swing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll do probably 10 to 12 different dances, each one of which we need to learn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dancing for me, is such a puzzle, you're putting the pieces together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dancing has been a big contributor in helping me stay younger feeling.

ANNOUNCER: "STAYING WELL", brought to you by Aleve, all day strong, all day long. And by famous IDAHO potatoes.


[07:52:47] PAUL: Well, President Trump, he bucks tradition didn't he? When he refused to make his tax returns public. Well, now the IRS is going to unprecedented lengths to make sure that those documents don't end up in the wrong hands or in the public eye.

SAVIDGE: Here is CNN's Cristina Alesci.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN TELEVISION AND DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: In the heart of Washington, D.C., a government agency is closely guarding a document in such high demand that bounties have been placed on the file.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, that very big tax returns, the biggest -- I guarantee you this, the biggest ever in the history of what we're doing.

ALESCI: More than a year after then, candidate Donald Trump said his tax returns would be released, gaining just a glimpse of them has become mission impossible. And now, the Internal Revenue Service is increasing security.

JOHN KOSKINEN, FORMER IRS COMMISSIONER: With all worries referred, to all of the President's returns being in a safe. Turned out it was safe-like, in the sense that it was a locked cabinet in a locked room. So, one of the things we're going to do, we decided that way, where we should actually turn it into a safe in a locked room, and so we'll do that.

ALESCI: And who has access to that room?

KOSKINEN: And you know, I don't know. I don't have access.

ALESCI: John Koskinen retired as commissioner of the IRS, this month. He says, the agency locked down, Trumps digital returns in 2016. And is now focusing on the physical documents.

KOSKINEN: There is no more -- is no whether taxpayer that I can ever remember whether it's been in this kind of focus on, is in there some way we could get a hold of those returns?

ALESCI: One hacking magazine has offered $10,000 to anyone who can get a copy of the President's paperwork. Last year, even (INAUDIBLE), tweeted a request.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I have here is a copy of Donald Trump's tax returns.

ALESCI: In March, MSNBC got a few pages from a journalist, who said, he found them in his mailbox.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know who sent it to you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't solicit it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't ask anybody for it?


ALESCI: Still, there's so much more to uncover when it comes to these Presidential records.

SAVIDGE: Is there more information on file at the IRS than the President actually make available historically?

KOSKINEN: Yes, oftentimes, there are much more of voluminous exhibits that usually don't get (INAUDIBLE) shared with the public. And, so, that entire package is what's us kept secure.

ALESCI: And security at the IRS is no easy task. Most are not successful but it's not for lack of trying. One private investigator is currently facing federal charges after allegedly guessing a social security number and attempting to use it to access the President's tax information.

In 2015, a so-called Cyber Mafia, used stolen information to pose as taxpayers and access millions of documents on the IRS website, affecting some 720,000 people. As for rogue employees inside the IRS, Koskinen says he's not worried.

[07:55:31] KOSKINEN: We basically have a handful of people who have the keys to the kingdom as it were, in our I.T. Department. For we have great confidence in those people and they take that responsibility seriously.

ALESCI: So, who could finally make the President's tax returns public? Well, there is one guy, Cristina Alesci, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: All right. Well, one position but two appointees to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Who supposed to be there? And how did we get here? That's ahead.