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CNN NEWSROOM

Rudy Giuliani Claims Basis for Mueller Probe Illegitimate; U.S. Delegation Crosses Into North Korea for Talks; Trump-Kim Summit May Be Back On; Nine Million Under Tropical Warning from Alberto; New Evacuations as Lava Threatens Escape Routes; Border Patrol Alters Account of Woman's Death; Math Teacher Topples State House Leader in GOP Primary; Oldest Pearl harbor Survivor Visits WWII Memorial. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired May 27, 2018 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:00:40] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles in tonight for Ana Cabrera.

This Memorial Day, where we look back at the sacrifices made by servicemen and women at home and abroad, the president is asking you to reflect on the lives lost in the Russia investigation. He writes today, quote, "Who's going to give the young and beautiful lives and others that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia collusion witch hunt? They journey down to Washington, D.C. with stars in their eyes and wanting to help our nation. They went back home in tatters."

This tweet from the president comes as his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, argues that the president's unproven claim that spies were planted in his campaign proves the special counsel probe is not legitimate.

Here he is on CNN earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: So you think -- I just want to -- do you think that the Mueller probe is legitimate?

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I -- not anymore. I don't. I did when I came in but now I see -- I see spygate. I see --

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: But -- what you call spygate you admit happened before Robert Mueller was brought on to the scene.

GIULIANI: But it has -- but it has to inform the decision to appoint Mueller. Either it is evidence or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Now the problem with Giuliani's argument, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers who were briefed by top intelligence on claims earlier this week say there is no proof they're true. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Were you surprised with what you learned?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Nothing particularly surprising.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: There is no evidence to support that spy theory.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: As far as what I have seen to date, it appears that there was an investigation not of the campaign but of certain individuals who have a history that we should be suspicious of that pre-date the presidential campaign of 2015, 2016.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The question, should the president use the term spygate?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know. Probably not but I don't know. I didn't go to the meeting. I don't think it's -- I don't think he's a spy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And Giuliani himself said this just over a week ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: Here's the issue that I really feel strongly about with this informant if there is one. First of all, I don't know for sure nor does the president if there really was one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: So he said he's not even sure if there was one.

I want to get straight to CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez, he's at the White House.

I mean, Boris, is there any sign the White House is going to let these spy claims go, considering there are members of their own party, supporters of the president, saying there's no proof?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No sign yet, Ryan. It seems like the president is doubling down on this conspiracy theory. He actually tweeted out a short while ago, describing Russia's meddling in the 2016 election as so-called meddling. It seems that the president is still sort of trying to muddy the waters when it comes to the Russia investigation. He continues to call it a witch hunt despite the fact that there have been more than 20 indictments so far.

And this spygate claim seems to be the latest in the saga of his battle with the so-called deep state that he continues to believe is trying to impede his -- not only his election but further his agenda as president.

Rudy Giuliani was on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning with Dana Bash, that exchanged in which he described the Mueller probe as being illegitimate was just one small part of a fascinate exchange in which he essentially acknowledged that he and the president have to try to delegitimize the Russia investigation. Not necessarily for legal reasons but more so for political ones to keep the president away from the threat of impeachment. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: This is an intentional strategy to undermine the investigation, knowing that they, the investigators, the special counsel, the policy not to talk but you are very free to and are very aggressive about doing so.

GIULIANI: Well, I mean, they're giving us the material. I couldn't do it if I didn't have the material. They're giving us the material to do it. Of course we have to do it in defending the president. We're defending, to a large extent -- remember, Dana, we're defending here, it is the public opinion because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach. Remember the Congress, Democrat and Republican, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents. So a jury, as it should be, is the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[18:05:06] SANCHEZ: One other note about that interview with Dana Bash, Ryan, she asked Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, if the president still had plans to meet one-on-one, to be interviewed with Robert Mueller, something that there's been widespread speculation about. We know that the White House legal team and the special counsel sort of have been ironing out details and logistics of a possible interview.

Recently he essentially said that had the president decided not to do this interview, this investigation would have been over. He says the president still wants to sit down with Mueller -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. We'll have to wait and see whatever happens.

Boris Sanchez, live at the White House.

All right. Let's talk about this now with our panel. Joining us from Washington, "TIME" magazine contributor and former Washington correspondent "TIME," Jay Newton Small, and here with me in New York, CNN contributor and "New York Times" op-ed columnist Frank Bruni, and CNN political analyst and historian and professor, Julian Zelizer.

Julian, let's start with you. I mean, it's been pretty apparent to anybody that's been watching that the president has attempted to systematically undermine the Robert Mueller investigation but I think this is the first time we've actually heard somebody directly on his team actually just come right out and admit that. Is that significant? JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, give credit to Giuliani

for being honest. This has been a campaign that's been very apparent to anyone watching. Firing Mueller in some ways was secondary. De- legitimating the entire process was really the goal. And Giuliani says what he thinks. He is not very controlled. I don't know how significant it is. I think more significant is the campaign itself which is having effects and more Republicans don't believe the investigation is legitimate. That's the goal.

NOBLES: Jay, Republican Senator Jeff flake says that he thinks there is more going on than just an attempt to undermine Robert Mueller. Take a listen to what Senator Flake had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I can tell you behind the scenes, there is a lot of alarm. There is concern that the president is laying the groundwork to move on Bob Mueller or Rosenstein. And if that were to happen, obviously that would cause a constitutional crisis. There is concern behind the scenes. I've been concerned that we haven't spoken up loudly enough and told the president, you simply can't go there. And he's obviously probing the edges as much as he can to see how far Congress will go, and we've got to push back harder than we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Jay, I spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill. Senator Flake is right, there is a lot of whispers by Republicans that they're worried about this. But when you actually press them in a public forum, Senator Flake is one of the only one that really expresses alarm about this.

I mean, do we have any sense that Republicans would actually take action if President Trump were to fire Rod Rosenstein or Robert Mueller?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, COLUMNIST, TIME MAGAZINE: We'll have to wait and see, Ryan. But certainly I've heard the same whispers as you have with Republicans in the Senate. And particularly -- I mean, the Senate has been more of a stalwart, sort of guard, I guess, against anything happening to Mueller. For example, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was briefed about this whole sort of, quote-unquote, "spygate" thing this week and he emerged and was asked if he still supports the Mueller investigation, he said absolutely. It's a legitimate investigation, I still support it.

And you've seen a lot of the senators make those statements. They might not come out and expressed the same concerns as Senator Flake is expressing openly and he is retiring and so he has a little bit more freedom to do that. But they do express those concerns privately and their actions speak louder than words in this case. They are sort of saying, you know, supporting Bob Mueller's investigation, saying let's let it take out, let's let it play out and see what happens and see what the results are.

NOBLES: Yes, Frank, there's an easy way for Republicans to solve this problem, right? They could join Democrats. I mean, there is enough momentum there to codify this into law, to protect Robert Mueller.

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right.

NOBLES: Why do you think Republicans, particularly the ones in power, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, are resistant to take that step?

BRUNI: They're scared of Donald Trump and they're scared of the voters who support him. I mean, we keep forgetting how many Republicans, when you see -- when you look at polls, what percentage of Republicans, very high, still support Donald Trump. And those who support him support him vigorously. And so what you're seeing with these lawmakers is they feel comfortable going out and saying, you know, we don't know that spygate is the right term. I mean, they push back in small ways.

When it comes to doing something dramatic, fear kicks in because they worry about Donald Trump tweeting against them. They worry about his voters turning against them. And at the end of the day, they're worried about their own political survival.

NOBLES: Right. Julian, I want to share with you an appearance from FOX News. Rudy Giuliani said that Trump wasn't going to fire anyone and the reason why is interesting. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: The president is not going to fire him because that would be playing into the hands of playing, you know, victim, Watergate. They're the Watergate. They're the people who've committed the crimes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: "They're the Watergate." I mean, what do you make of that reasoning?

ZELIZER: No, that is the argument that President Trump has been floating and using spygate is a term that --

(CROSSTALK)

ZELIZER: Right, it's the new Watergate. He is essentially arguing that the problem, the crime, the conspiracy, all rest with the investigators rather than the person being investigated. And again, Giuliani is simply expressing the same arguments that the president has been tweeting about and saying and I think in the end Frank is right.

[18:10:08] I mean, they are depending on partisanship to work.

BRUNI: Totally.

ZELIZER: And I think they have reason to do that. Polls are not showing some massive fall right now in his support.

BRUNI: And he has not just borrowed the Watergate suffix for spygate. He has tweeted several times, this is the worst political scandal in history -- in modern history.

NOBLES: Yes, right.

ZELIZER: He is always going farther and farther with it.

NOBLES: Right. And Jay, I want to ask you about that. I mean, this week alone the president has tweeted about the Russia probe 17 times. I mean, why does he constantly bring it up, to Frank's point, if at the end of the day he's not planning on firing anyone?

NEWTON-SMALL: Well, again it's like Giuliani said, it's the court of public opinion. And he's trying to show his followers, show his supporters that he is being unreasonably sort of investigated, that this is -- and he's undermining the investigation to sort of -- to say this is a witch hunt, as he likes to say over and over again on Twitter, that this is unfair and that he's subject to some sort of exceptional sort of investigation here that is outside the law based on a false premise, to begin with, and should be ended.

But he stops short of actually ending it, knowing that that would be politically catastrophic. And so instead, he just sort of rail against it in the court of public opinion.

NOBLES: Frank, you mentioned the midterms. How this plays politically. I want to dive into that a little bit deeper. I know you've written a lot about that. And Rudy Giuliani has gone back and forth as to whether or not the president is going to sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller, and there's quite a bit of polling on this already. A recent CNN poll found that just 39 percent of Republicans think that the president should sit down for an interview with him. That's actually down from 54 percent in March.

I mean, how much of an impact could an interview between the president and Robert Mueller have on the midterm elections?

BRUNI: It could have an enormous impact depending on when it happens, but I think it's looking more and more like this may go on past the midterms because if Mueller can't wrap this up including an interview or decision that there will be no interview with Trump, if it can't be wrapped up by very early September at the latest, there's going to be a lot of pressure to put it off until after the midterms so it doesn't look like once again the law enforcement community is putting its thumb on an election.

I think based on what we're seeing, I wouldn't be surprised if we're still dealing with this investigation and an interview or decision not to have an interview in January or February.

NOBLES: Does that play into the president's hand, Julian, to kind of have this air of concern over it as opposed to some sort of definitive answer to the investigation?

ZELIZER: Yes. I mean, you don't have the reports so in some ways that's probably the most scary thing for the administration. And at the same time, he has a villain. I think part of this is President Trump likes to have a foil. He tells stories. He comes out of the word of television and he understands very well that he can actually build his own standing by having someone to oppose. And Mueller is someone to oppose, Comey, the FBI. This is a story he's telling about himself battling against these forces.

BRUNI: And it's working. I mean, we all talk about it. We say he is trying to undermine. We all sort of roll our eyes at some of the claims he makes. There's evidence that it's working. If you look at polling, more and more voters think that Mueller is politically driven. And that the investigation doesn't have integrity. That is the fruit of Donald Trump's tweets and his claims.

NOBLES: Right. And there aren't necessarily -- his supporters aren't necessarily looking for all the information possible to form an opinion on this. They're just getting basically what he is selling.

All right. Thank you all for that excellent discussion. Jay Newton- Small, Frank Bruni and Julian Zelizer, we appreciate you being here.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

NOBLES: Also on the president's plate this weekend, whether or not there's going to be a face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. For an event that may or may not happen, there sure is a lot of advance work going on with President Trump himself saying that talks with North Korea are, quote, "moving along nicely" and he is still looking at June 12th in Singapore as a date and place for the historic summit.

Let's go now live to Seoul, South Korea, that's where CNN's Paula Hancocks is standing by.

Paula, a confirmation just a short time ago that an American delegation has crossed into North Korea. What kind of groundwork are they laying?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Ryan. This is really our clearest indication yet that this summit might actually go ahead on June 12th. You have a U.S. delegation headed by Sung Kim, who's the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines. He was a U.S. ambassador here. He's been at previous negotiator with North Korea. He knows North Korea. He knows exactly how to get things done there or at least what the pitfalls are when negotiating with the North Koreans.

So it's crucial to have him heading up this delegation that's really going to start talking about the substance of these talks. This is something that usually before this kind of a high profile summit would happen months in advance. The two sides trying to hammer out the agenda, trying to figure out how far apart they are in their positioning and certainly when it comes to what denuclearization means.

Now we got the absolute confirmation from U.S. President Donald Trump just a while ago saying in a tweet, quote, "A United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the summit between Kim Jong-un and myself. I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial nation one day. Kim Jong-un agrees with me on this. It will happen."

[18:15:05] So clearly if you're hearing from the U.S. president, Donald Trump, it will happen, you would imagine that it would, although he has canceled the summit once just a number of days ago. So what we are hearing as well over the weekend something interesting from the South Korean president Moon Jae-in who had another surprise summit with Kim Jong-un on Saturday.

This one was without the formalities, without even telling anybody it was going to happen until it had been concluded. And he said that Kim Jong-un was looking for guarantees of regime survival. Also saying that he believed that there could be economic benefits for North Korea if a deal is done. So certainly we're getting some indication on what the North Korean side would want from this. Also mentioning that it's a possibility that could be an end declared, an official end declared to the Korean War if there is a tri-lateral summit between North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea -- Ryan.

NOBLES: Paula, I have to ask you, from your perspective there in South Korea, how is this playing with the South Korean public? It seems as though they're in a state of limbo here over -- whether or not the summit is going to take place. Are South Koreans concerned? Are they optimistic? What's the general vibe?

HANCOCKS: The approval rating here for the South Korean president, Ryan, which is a good indication of whether people approve of what he's doing, is around about 80 percent. He has the majority of people in this country approving of what he does. Not the more conservative elements. They don't believe there should be engagement with North Korea. But over the weekend we went on to the streets of Seoul to ask people what they thought. It's not a very scientific way of doing it but on a small scale everybody we spoke blamed the U.S. president for cancelling those talks.

Now they're aware of what North Korea does. They know North Korea plays games. They've seen this for decades. But they didn't like what Mr. Trump did -- Ryan.

NOBLES: Paula Hancocks, thank you for that insight. We appreciate it. Excellent report.

Still to come, people are trapped in homes and businesses and rescues are underway in Ellicott City, Maryland, as flood waters rage through downtown there. Authorities telling residents to shelter in place. We'll have an update on this developing story next.

And residents living near the volcano in Hawaii are given a final warning to get out as lava threatens to cut off escape routes. We'll show you what residents are facing there, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:21:28] NOBLES: We're following breaking news out of Ellicott City, Maryland. Multiple rescues are happening right now because of treacherous flooding. Water is raging in the downtown area as you can see in this picture -- in these pictures that we're showing. Residents are being warned to shelter in place and if they are trapped to climb to the second floor. Rainfall rates are approaching two to four inches per hour. Swift water rescue teams are being deployed to the area which is under a flash flood watch until 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

A woman trapped inside of a local business shot this video from the outside of the window. She tells CNN, there are about 30 people stranded inside (INAUDIBLE) including children and he elderly people. She says everyone is safe and relatively calm.

Meteorologist Tom Sater joins me now. He's in the CNN Weather Center.

Tom, you've been tracking this flooding. What can you tell us about this situation there in Ellicott City?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's eerily similar, Ryan, to what happened in July 30th just two years ago. I know the area well, working in the Washington, D.C. area. this is Howard County. We've got an emergency for a flood warning and of course 911 calls are streaming in to first responders.

We've been stuck in a pattern. You can see where Alberto is. The south, more of that in a minute. But we've had this frontal system meandering around the mid-Atlantic area it seems like for three weeks. But what we're seeing is much like what we had two years ago. It's called training. One thunderstorm after another. You mentioned the rain rates. Some areas picking up three inches of rain in like a half-hour time period.

We've got a couple more thunderstorm cells that could drop an additional two inches on top of even the four, five, and six that have fallen in some areas. So this just west of Baltimore. Ellicott City, it's a historical district. What we're finding here is eerily what happened two years ago. Two fatalities occurred. Now there's no reports of that yet but first responders are going to have to go door- by-door.

It's a very historical area that has a high heel on one area of the town and of course all that water just funnels down. As you look at the video, I mean, it's just amazing, the last time this happened two years ago we had over 200 automobiles that were thrown down stream. A lot of -- of course these store owners and restaurant owners and their patrons are up to the second floor. But there's a big concern because it is historical district and it just happened two years ago that we could have buildings collapsed.

Thank goodness it didn't happen two years ago. They didn't think they were going to have their businesses returned because of the infrastructure problems but about 90 percent did. Now they're going through this all over again. So we're going to have to wait and see what's going to happen when these first responders get into the area.

Quickly down to the south real quick for you. This is some good news with Alberto. Dry air is trying to infiltrate the system. That means it's not going to be able to gain strength. It's not going to be Harvey or Irma or Marie. This is going to be maybe a tropical storm. But all points west like toward Mississippi, you're going to be out of this. That dry air is going to cut down on our rainfall totals.

We are seeing however a tornado warning in Okeechobee County, in Florida. We could have a few more of those. But it looks like landfall, Ryan, will be about 1:00, 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. Rainmakers the big threat and of course stay out of the water. I don't think you can swim there anyway right now.

NOBLES: All right. Tom, thank you. And we'll continue to keep an eye on that situation in Maryland. Just saw something past on my computer. The fire department in Howard County, Maryland, says there are building collapses in Ellicott City.

SATER: OK.

NOBLES: So we'll continue to keep a close eye on the situation there.

Tom, thank you.

Meanwhile on the other side of the country, the situation on Hawaii's big island is getting more dire by the minute. One fissure has doubled in size in the last 24 hours. Another spewing lava more than 100 feet in the air.

[18:25:05] Officials say that the eruption is vigorous right now. It continues to cut off neighborhoods and consume homes. The molten rock has devoured almost four square miles in areas so massive it can be seen from space.

Miguel Marquez joins us now live from Pahoa, Maine -- I mean, Hawaii. Much different place. We're in the fourth week of this nightmare. And it just seems to be getting worse.

Miguel, you are most definitely in Hawaii. What are you seeing there?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't seem to be letting up at all. I talked to a volcanologist yesterday who said they are only seeing the very first bit of the lava that drained from the two craters from Pu'u Oo and from Kilauea. They're only starting to see that flush this massive system of flooding throughout the east rift area here.

In Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens there is a 24th fissure now that has opened up, cutting off roads, threatening homes. More than 80 homes have already been destroyed. About 2,000 people live in that area, very few people are left in those neighborhoods because the lava has crossed roads and sort of cut off those areas. Another concern is that the trade winds that have been blowing from the north to the west are now going to start blowing the other direction. They're going to subside and the winds are going to start going up toward the north and east in Hawaii, which is going to affect the communities of Puna and possibly Hilo. So ash and very toxic smoke and gas is going to cause problems for a lot of people here.

I want to show you some of what's happening here right now. This is fissure 22. This is the one that CNN has this live camera on for the last couple of weeks. It has built a large bit of lava around it and isn't as active as it has been. But if you look over in this direction, you can see that there are pools of lava that are now forming and then off in the distance that is lava from fissure 22 that is pouring into the ocean.

And when it hits the ocean, that cold salt water, the lava forms what they call laze, which is essentially microscopic glass and sulfuric acid. It is really dangerous for humans obviously and could be deadly.

This is a long way from over. Kilauea itself, the volcano, the crater that is exploding right now has increased in size from about 12 acres to over 90 acres in size. The summit of the volcano has that lava leaves it has dropped about five feet. They don't know exactly what is going to happen in the next couple of weeks. But they certainly believe it is not over yet -- Ryan.

NOBLES: It remains an incredible situation there in Hawaii. Miguel Marquez, thank you for that update.

Christine Romans has the week's "Before the Bell."

Christine, what are we going to be watching for in the week ahead?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ryan. The markets are closed tomorrow for Memorial Day. But the rest of the week is a busy one. On Friday the government releases the May jobs report. We'll see if unemployment remains under 4 percent. In April it hit 3.9 percent for the first time since the year 2000.

Friday is also a key trade deadline for U.S. allies. Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico are scheduled to take effect. They were originally supposed to start a month ago but the Trump administration delayed them to try to negotiate final agreements.

And Starbucks customers may have to skip their afternoon lattes on Tuesday. That's when the company will close 8,000 U.S. stores for racial bias training. It follows the controversial arrests of two African-American men at a Philadelphia Starbucks in April. The company has since changed its policy. It will allow people to sit in cafes and use the restrooms without making a purchase. But the outrage over recent incidents hasn't hurt Starbucks' stock price. Shares are flat for the year.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

NOBLES: Christine, thank you.

Coming up, a Border Patrol agent in Texas shoots and kills an undocumented migrant. After a group allegedly rush the officer with blunt objects. But now the Border Patrol is changing its story about what actually happened that night and raising questions about what really happened. We'll have those details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:33:53] NOBLES: There are new questions today after U.S. immigration officials changed their account of what happened when a Border Patrol officer shot and killed a 27-year-old Guatemalan woman.

Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez traveled 1500 miles to the U.S. hoping to find a job and a better future. But as Martin Savidge reports, shortly after Gonzalez stepped foot in Texas, she was dead. And the story of what happened keeps shifting -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, we have learned new information. First and foremost the identity of the young victim who was killed on Wednesday, a 20-year-old female from Guatemala.

We've also learned a bit more about the Border Patrol agent who fired the fatal shot. He is a 15-year veteran of the force. Otherwise, though, the questions continue to grow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Searching for answers, even as investigators including the FBI showed up to process the scene of Wednesday's fatal shooting, Customs and Border Protection officials began walking back critical details of the reported attack on one of their border agents.

The revised statement released Friday now says the Border Patrol agent was allegedly assaulted. In the original press release, the word "allegedly" never appears.

[18:35:05] Instead, it states initial reports described an agent under attack by multiple subjects using blunt objects. The revised statement simply states now the group of suspected undocumented immigrants rushed him.

Wednesday, CPB said the agent fired his weapon fatally wounding one of the assailants. The revised statement now says the agent discharged one round, striking one member of the group, no longer characterizing the shooting victim as an assailant.

Marta Martinez was a witness to what happened. What she says she heard and saw was nothing like either account officials have given.

SAVIDGE (on camera): So when was the first indication there was a problem here?

MARTA MARTINEZ, WITNESS: When I heard the gunshot.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Martinez says when she rushed out of her home, she didn't see a Border Patrol agent being attacked by a group.

MARTINEZ: So I came out and I got my phone and just started recording. I didn't thought there was somebody there.

SAVIDGE: Marta live streamed the aftermath, which has since been viewed thousands of times.

(On camera): Marta Martinez had a front row seat to this tragedy because it happened literally right next door. She found the body of the young woman lying on the ground right there. There's still traces of blood. And if you come down here and look across her fence into this lot, there were other indications that something happened. A struggle or an altercation. Just look at the way the grass is all matted down.

(Voice-over): Juan Gonzales, the Rio Bravo fire chief, was among the first responders to treat the woman who was shot. He says when he got there, she looked very young, very petite and barely alive. When she stopped breathing, he says, rescuers carried on with CPR.

(On camera): Did she say anything? Did she move in any way? Did she seem conscious?

JUAN GONZALES, RIO BRAVO FIRE CHIEF: No. She was not conscious but she was breathing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: Customs and Border Protection were to hold a news conference on Friday but it was suddenly cancelled and then they reissued that revised statement. Experts say it's not uncommon in the course of an investigation to change when you begin to learn new insights. One part that does trouble those same experts, though, is that when they remove the allegation that blunt force objects were used, in other words, kind of the weapons that people picked up by this group that allegedly attacked the Border Patrol agent, when that was removed from the scenario, that is very troubling about the depiction -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you for that report from Texas.

Coming up, a teacher's upset victory over Kentucky State House leader in a primary is sending shock waves with many calling this a warning shot for Republicans. I will talk to that teacher and political newcomer when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:43:40] NOBLES: A Kentucky math teacher with no political experience won a Republican primary last week. In the process he took down the Republican State House leader in a stunning upset. GOP voters picked Travis Brenda over Jonathan Shell, a powerful incumbent who made a terrible miscalculation.

He helped to pass a controversial pension bill that outraged teachers across the state, triggering these mass protests at the state capitol. Chants of "do your job" and "vote them out" seemed to have come home to roost.

And Travis Brenda joins me now to talk about his stunning victory.

Thank you for joining me and congratulations on your victory.

Mr. Brenda, you ran on not being a politician and understanding the importance of education. But you only won by 123 votes. How surprised were you by the results?

TRAVIS BRENDA, WON PRIMARY OVER KENTUCKY HOUSE GOP LEADER: I knew it would be a close race. I was hearing encouraging things along the way. And I knew it would come down to voter turnout, as to just how many showed up on election day and it worked out well and went my way.

NOBLES: It certainly did. Well, your primary opponent, the majority leader Jonathan Shell considered a rising star among Kentucky Republicans, very powerful in your state.

[18:45:02] You voted for him yourself in the past but you ended up attacking him during the primary campaign. What changed? Why could you no longer support him?

BRENDA: Well, it seemed as the pension issue came forward and then funding for schools and other services, that he was listening -- he was not necessarily listening to his constituents back home and doing what we were asking him to do.

NOBLES: So what is your solution then to this pension problem? How would you fix the problem and why would you criticize his approach?

BRENDA: There have been some studies that have shown that if the pension system was funded the way it was now that within 23 years that it would be back in great shape. Instead, the system -- the reforms that they did to the system are going to take 30 years and cost $5 billion more. And in the same time it's going to be changing the benefits of not just teachers but all state employees. So if we just look at finding the funding, and funding it the way they did in this upcoming (INAUDIBLE), then it will kind of take care of itself.

NOBLES: I know you're not a social studies teacher. You're a math teacher. But can you use this lesson of your experience in politics as a way to instruct your students in the classroom?

BRENDA: Well, I think as we were getting closer to the election, the number of students that were taking an interest in the election, there are a lot of students that have family members, parents or others, that are state employees, not just teachers. They're state employees. And there was a large interest that was starting to develop. And I told my wife early on. If nothing else comes from this, then the younger generation takes an interest and decides to pay attention on what's going on, then this whole process will be worth it.

NOBLES: No doubt they got a firsthand lesson in the importance of participation and that every vote counts.

Well, we wish you the best of luck in your upcoming general election. You do have a Democratic opponent.

Travis Brenda, a remarkable story. Thank you so much for joining us on CNN.

BRENDA: Thank you, Ryan.

NOBLES: Coming up, the oldest veteran who was at Pearl Harbor pays tribute to his fallen comrades at the World War II memorial on this 150th anniversary of Memorial Day.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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[18:51:56] NOBLES: One of America's most revered and sacred war memorials is closed to visitors right now, and it's going to stay that way for a while. It's the USS Arizona site in Pearl Harbor. The part of the structure where boats pull up and visitors get off is showing some cracks and other damage. The National Parks Service did not give a time frame for when the repairs will be finished.

The Arizona memorial stands above the battleship where it sank during the Japanese attack in 1941. The remains of more than 900 American service members are still inside the ship's hull.

Courage, bravery, valor, Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the men and women of the Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending the country.

Today the oldest Pearl Harbor vet Ray Chavez paid tribute to his fallen comrades at the World War II Memorial. At 106 years old he was the first veteran to ring the Freedom Bell to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day.

CNN's Diane Gallagher has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A day that still plays out in the mind of Ray Chavez.

RAY CHAVEZ, OLDEST PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR: Every day.

GALLAGHER: Seventy-six years later.

CHAVEZ: I saw all the ships on fire, and a terrible smokescreen all through the harbor and covering the ships.

GALLAGHER: At 106 years old, Chavez is the oldest surviving Pearl Harbor veteran.

CHAVEZ: It never good in a way. All of what you see (INAUDIBLE). And that's the way I am. I remember, and then I forget, and remember again.

GALLAGHER: Remembering, it's what brings Chavez to Washington, D.C. this weekend, although he did meet President Donald Trump at the White House.

CHAVEZ: I looked forward to it because I didn't vote for him, and I enjoyed meeting him. He was pleasant enough to have me right next to him, when we were seated. GALLAGHER: Chavez traveled across country from San Diego to D.C.,

stopping in Kansas to refuel and meet with fellow veterans, to attend the 158th Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. He and his family are the guests of Defense Secretary James Mattis. But the Navy veteran says more than all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding his visit, his focus is on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It's the act of remembering that it's most important this holiday weekend.

CHAVEZ: National Remembrance Day, because it's very important that the younger generation know and learn about the beginning of the war.

[18:55:06] GALLAGHER: Vice President Mike Pence spent part of his Friday at the TAPS Good Grief Camp, with the younger generation that knows the consequences of war all too well. All of these children have lost a loved one who served in the Armed Forces.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A room full of heroes.

GALLAGHER: And many will spend part of their Memorial Day here, in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, remembering their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, veterans of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and post-9/11 conflicts.

CHAVEZ: I would do it again if I was called to active duty. But chances they'll never.

GALLAGHER: Ray Chavez hopes that he can honor the memory of those he served with.

CHAVEZ: And then we won't forget that because I met with some real fine young men.

GALLAGHER: And the sacrifice of the men and women who came after as well.

Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: Coming up, the president's lawyer tells CNN the basis for the Russia investigation is, quote, "illegitimate" and explains the legal team's strategy to undermine the special counsel. You'll hear what he said next.

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