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Trump Announces Release of American Prisoner in Venezuela; North and South Koreans Leaders Hold Surprise Meeting; Trump Praises Teach Who Stopped School Shooting; Weinstein Charged with Rape, Other Sex CrimesWhy Trump Labels the Media "Fake News"; Amazon's Alexa Sends Couple's Private Conversation to Random Person. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 27, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:15] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles, in for Ana Cabrera.

It is our breaking news right now, an American man locked up in Venezuela for nearly two years is free. He is on a plane headed for the United States. Joshua Holt, 26 years old, from Riverton, Utah. He and his wife were arrested and thrown in jail in 2016 accused of hiding weapons. He never even had a trial. In a few hours, both will be back on American soil.

CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House.

Boris, we're hearing the president could make a live address from the West Wing tonight. Tell us what you're learning.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ryan. Our colleague, Jeff Zeleny, reported that White House aides have been instructed to prepare for a statement from the West Wing from President Trump at approximately 7:00 p.m. tonight. That's when we're expecting Joshua to arrive here at the White House to meet with his family members.

His story is really incredible. He was imprisoned back in June of 2016. He went to Venezuela as a mission, and there he met face-to- face with a woman he had met online whom he eventually married. He was arrested and accused by the Venezuelan government of stockpiling weapons.

He made several public pleas for assistance from the U.S. government, including one as recently as May where, in the middle of a prison riot, he asked for help from the government. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSHUA HOLT, U.S. CITIZEN FORMERLY IMPRISONED IN VENEZUELAN: I just want to ask and plead once again to my government, to my people, to my Senators, and to everyone in the United States to please not leave me alone here. Please come and save my wife, myself and the people that need help here. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: We understand Mr. Holt is on a plane here to the United States right now.

Just a short while ago, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker tweeted out a photo of he, Mr. Holt, and his wife there.

We learned that Corker was actually meeting with Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro, just yesterday.

The interesting thing about this release is the timing. About a week ago, Venezuela held an election in which Maduro was elected to yet another six-year term. Officials here within the United States, including Vice President Mike Pence, called that election a sham. You had Venezuela ejecting some American diplomats. Then you had the United States ejecting Venezuelan diplomats, and, suddenly, we get this release, certainly unexpected. We'll see what the president says tonight, again approximately at 7:00 p.m. -- Ryan?

NOBLES: There seems to be some shift in the diplomatic efforts there with Venezuela.

Boris Sanchez, thank you for that report from the White House.

Elsewhere, surprising developments right now in another place of tremendous interest to the White House. A second face-to-face meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea. President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, met again in the Demilitarized Zone dividing their two countries without announcing it beforehand.

CNN's Matt Rivers is in Seoul.

Matt, the two men talked for two hours. Of course, it's at a time when the chances of the summit between Kim and President Trump are unsettled, to put it mildly. Tell us what they talked about.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, we don't have a ton of substantive detail, Ryan, at this point in terms of the real nitty-gritty of their conversation. But what we do know is they met for about two hours, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. local time, here on Saturday.

As you mentioned, it was a complete surprise. They didn't announce the fact that this meeting had taken place, actually, on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone until after it was over. South Korean officials telling us that they talked about two main things. One, they talked about how to implement the joint declaration that North and South Korea signed one month ago to the day, actually, the first time these two leaders met. But really the more important thing right now is the second thing they talked about and that would be the frank discussion, as the South Koreans put it, that both leaders had about the North Korea/U.S. summit.

We might get some more details not too far away from now in roughly seven hours or so. We're told that the South Korean president will actually brief reporters in more detail about what was said.

But here's why all of this matters. What you've seen over the past couple days is really a roller coaster here with South Korea. The summit was cancelled by President Trump. That was met with huge disappointment on the Korean peninsula. Since then, lots of signs for cautious optimism that a summit might happen. You had the Americans saying it, the North Koreans saying it, and clearly the South Koreans are doing what they can to make sure some summit happens at some point -- Ryan?

NOBLES: Matt Rivers, live in Seoul for us for that update. Thank you, Matt. We appreciate it.

Let's talk about this with our panel. Joining us, CNN counterterrorism analyst, Phil Mudd, and White House reporter for "The Daily Beast," Asawin Suebsaeng.

Let's start with the breaking news out of Venezuela.

Phil, I'll start with you.

This comes on the heels of North Korea releasing three hostages. Both of these countries have been openly hostile to the United States. Does President Trump deserve a bit of credit for making diplomatic strides, at least strides to the point that these prisoners would be released?

[15:05:24] PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think we're going to see an air gap between the credit he tries to take and the credit that people deserve. The hostage in Venezuela has been around for a few years. There are a lot of people who have been working on this. As you reported earlier, Bob Corker, who has not been a friend of the president, met with Maduro, the head of Venezuela, recently. There's been a lot of effort by Orrin Hatch. I think the president might deserve some credit, but the efforts that go into these releases date back months and more, and they involve a lot of people, including foes of the president. So what I'm hoping to see is that the president says, yes, my administration was involved in this, but there's people across the board who were critically important here, including my rival, Bob Corker.

NOBLES: That's a very good point, Phil.

Asawin, President Trump expected to make a statement tonight on the Holt release. We know the president loves these made-for-TV moments. How do you think he'll attempt to paint this diplomatic win and take credit along the lines of what Phil was alluding to?

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: He is almost certainly going to be taking a victory lap tonight with regard to the release of this Mormon missionary and his wife. As Phil Mudd shrewdly pointed out earlier, this president often likes to use the issues of American hostages held overseas as sort of, for a lack of a better term, political props from time to time, especially when it comes to comparing himself to his predecessor, Barack Obama. We saw what he did with the hostages released fairly recently from North Korea, and how multiple times he kept playing up the fact that, oh, like the last administration, the last president couldn't get this done but I got it done, leaving out the fact that I think more than one of those hostages were taken while President Trump was in office. So his penchant for doing victory laps among those hostages, who are just happy to get home to American soil, regardless of who deserves the credit, is a hallmark of Trump's conduct in situations like this.

NOBLES: And of course, he liked to brag that he allowed the television networks their biggest ratings ever at 3:00 a.m. when talking about the coverage of those prisoners being brought home.

Let's talk more about North Korea.

Phil, a White House aide told the media that it would be impossible for this meeting still to happen on June 12th. This, after the president sent a letter to Kim Jong-Un saying the summit was off. Now the president himself is on Twitter denying that they ever said that. I mean, is the president being realistic? Can the meeting still happen on June 12th?

MUDD: I suppose it could, but I think we're missing the real story. We're focused on whether a meeting happens. The real issue is whether we have the discipline and the endurance over time to deal with bumps in the road if this meeting ever results in real disarmament. After all, you see the explosion of a tunnel this week. What about the missiles, what about the nuclear weapons, what about the designs for those weapons, what about the scientific engineering and expertise behind the weapons? What are we going to do on verification for that? My point is the president is going back and forth sort of almost daily on whether we're going to meet or not. What happens if there ever is an agreement and the North Koreans, for example, delay an agreement a week, they decline to have inspectors go into a facility, are we going to have this back and forth after an agreement? We need to slow down and have some discipline here about what we're doing because, if we don't and there's an agreement, I think we're going to get the same turbulence after. And I think the North Koreans will outmaneuver us.

NOBLES: That's right, meaning just the beginning, and not the end.

Asawin, you are a White House reporter, so you've been part of these background briefings before. This White House official told CNN this could no longer happen on June 12th. That is very real. That isn't something made up. That person works at the White House and made this remark at a formal White House background briefing where the White House set the rules as to how this background briefing was going to take place. Is the president just not on the same page as his staff?

SUEBSAENG: Well, it's unclear here if the president is simply trolling on Twitter to call the news media, whatever that means, fake news, or if he's just cut out of the loop or just uninterested and completely ,ignorant of what his own White House is doing. I've got to tell you from covering the White House ever since Trump got into office, both of those scenarios seem equally likely.

But it's incredibly funny, perhaps darkly so, that President Trump is trying to convince people that an official who is a senior official working with the National Security Council, who a bunch of reporters know covering the White House, who know he said this thing that the president is claiming is a fake made-up statement, it's really funny that the president is trying to spin that as something that never happened when it was officially sanctioned and officially organized by his own senior staff. Quite frankly, it's weird to say that I'm not surprised that President Trump is doing this. It's very typical of him in his conduct on Twitter, conduct in public, and the way he likes to gaslight the press.

[15:10:24] NOBLES: It's worth pointing out that it is the White House that says that this briefing can only take place if it's on background. They're the ones that set the rules. Perhaps reporters in the future will think twice about engaging in briefings such as that.

Asawin, Phil, thank you for your insight. We appreciate it.

MUDD: Thank you.

NOBLES: Still to come, an Indiana teacher being hailed a hero for stopping a school shooter by throwing a basketball at him. We'll get a live report.

Plus, the man whose alleged crimes helped propel the "Me Too" movement, Harvey Weinstein, handcuffed and charged with rape as his defense team offers this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY TO HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And a creepy incident involving a device so many of us have in our homes. Amazon's Alexa records a couple's private conversation and then sends it out to a random person in their contact list.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:16:32] NOBLES: President Trump is now praising an Indiana teacher for stopping a school shooting. Trump tweeting this morning, quote, "Thanks to very brave teacher and hero, Jason Seaman, of Noblesville, Indiana, for his heroic act in saving so many precious young lives. His quick and automatic action is being talked about all over the world."

Seaman was wounded as he tackled the young shooter at Noblesville West Middle School. A witness says Seaman first threw a basketball at him to disarm him.

Students who watched the horror unfold are also calling him a hero.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: It's pretty scary. I've done a lot of thinking. I'm still trying to really understand what happened. I'll still trying to process it.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: He's a hero. If he didn't do anything, he probably would have continued shooting and a lot more of us would have been injured and possibly killed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: CNN correspondent, Dianne Gallagher, is following this story.

Dianne, that teacher put his life on the line to protect his students. How is he doing now?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The good news is, Ryan, that he is recovering. He's in the hospital. According to a Facebook post from his mother, 29-year-old Jason Seaman was shot three different times, in the chest -- sorry, in the abdomen, in the hip and in the forearm. But he is recovering.

Now, according to his students, this actually happened during a science test that Mr. Seaman was giving on Friday. One of the students asked to be excused, and the classmates say that when that student returned, he was armed with two handguns and began shooting. They say, to start with, Mr. Seaman grabbed a basketball, threw it at that student, trying to disarm him as he was running towards him. He used his own body to try and stop the bullets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: He walked in and he just had the gun in his hand and started waving it around. He took about like four to five, maybe six shots.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: He started shooting at Mr. Seaman. Everybody started screaming and freaking out. Mr. Seaman ran up and tackled him and secured him.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: And then he started screaming to call 911 and get out. We realized he got him to the ground and the gun was out of his hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Now, Mr. Seaman is the father of two, a husband and former college football player.

Ryan, when he released a statement last night letting everyone know that he was shot, he was in the hospital, but he's doing OK. He also thanked his students and told them, "You were all wonderful. I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach."

Now, one of those reasons that he teaches, one of his students, she does remain in the hospital. She is in critical but stable condition. According to her parents, 13-year-old Ella Whistler, her parents say they want a little bit of privacy but did release a statement today thanking those first responders, the surgeons, and just asking everyone to please keep her in their thoughts while she is recovering -- Ryan?

[15:19:21] NOBLES: We all probably wonder how we would respond in a situation like that, and Mr. Seaman clearly rose to the challenge.

Dianne, thank you for that report.

Still to come, he's been a major democratic donor, a powerful Hollywood producer, and now a defendant facing rape charges. Harvey Weinstein's surprising, and some might say, disturbing defense strategy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: It's been called a watershed moment in the "Me Too" movement, one that so many women thought would never come. Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs. The disgraced Hollywood mogul turned himself in on three felony charges that he raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex. He was later released on $1 million bail on the condition that he surrender his passport, wear a monitoring device, and travel only between New York and Connecticut.

Weinstein's attorney says he will plead not guilty to all of the charges, telling reporters that Hollywood was partly to blame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood. And to the extent that there's bad behavior in that industry, that is not what this is about. Bad behavior is not on trial in this case. It's only if you intentionally committed a criminal act, and Mr. Weinstein vigorously denies that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:25:04] NOBLES: The criminal charges are the first to be filed against Weinstein after dozens of women came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct. Among them Hollywood actresses, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, and Rose McGowan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSE MCGOWAN, ACTRESS: This man had hunting grounds all over the world and these accomplices and a complicity machine. He was a cult leader in Hollywood, I would say, the king.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: If he was watching this today, what would you say to him?

MCGOWAN: We got you. We got you. Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And joining me now, former prosecutor, Wendy Murphy. Wendy, we heard from Weinstein's lawyer who said that everything was

consensual, and that Weinstein didn't invent the casting couch. What do you think of that defense strategy?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Good luck. These women are not talking about a casting couch. Although, we don't know a lot of details about one of the charges, the more serious felony rape charge because that woman was not yet spoken publicly, even if you just look at the Lucia Evans charges, which relate to the second felony count of sexual abuse, there's nothing about her description that you would describe as consensual, period. He can say it was consensual, but if the jury believes her, that she went into his office because he promised her a job and, instead, he demanded that she engage in sexual activity, which she resisted repeatedly, and then he grabbed her head and forced himself -- forced himself to penetrate her orally. By the way, I don't call it oral sex because that's an erotic term. I call it violence. He violently forced himself inside, orally. That's rape. And if that's what happened, and the jury believes her, he can talk about the casting couch all day long, he's going to jail.

NOBLES: But doesn't this foreshadow perhaps the defense strategy on a larger scale. It's not going to be so much about Harvey Weinstein but about his defense attorneys putting these victims on trial? Won't they be forced to go through a rigorous cross examination that could be very difficult for them?

MURPHY: I've been doing this for a very long time. I've heard many defense attorneys over the years try to intimidate victims by saying the cross examination will be brutal and you'll never recover and I'm going to destroy you and the process of achieving justice will be so traumatic it won't be worth it. Guess what, I've prosecuted lots of cases, and it is not traumatic for victims to achieve justice. It is empowering. And it isn't about winning, per se. Remember, it's the government's case, it's not the victims' case. It's about being heard, being respected, having people in positions of power, in this case, the government and prosecutors and law enforcement officials, saying we believe you, and we are going to let a jury decide whether he should be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Win or lose, you are going to be the one in power here. You are going to be the one speaking your truth. Let a jury decide. Even if they find him not guilty, the victims will have won because he forced them into silence for many years. Partly, I'm sure, by causing them to believe that if they dared, dared report him, that it would be painful. And it isn't painful. It isn't painful. It's called justice. And it's always better than silence.

NOBLES: I wonder if you think Harvey Weinstein has received preferential treatment because of his stature. The bail was $1 million cash, $10 million bond. Is that pretty typical in a case like this?

MURPHY: I would have to say that it's not unusual. A $1 million cash bail is a high bail. And it's probably enough to make him stay. That's what bail is about. It's about making sure he doesn't take off to avoid prosecution. He's on an ankle bracelet and under serious conditions. I'm not upset about the conditions of his release. What I think is disturbing really, though, is this idea that he

counted on never being charged. He counted on that for a long time. And that's why he was able to abuse and rape so many women. Why did it take government officials this long to finally decide to bring charges? I have to believe that, to some extent, these state charges in New York were brought because the feds started investigating or they announced that they have been investigating him. And make no doubt about it, if the feds brought charges, that would be more of a slam dunk because federal sex crimes laws are actually much easier to prove than most state sex crimes laws. So on some level, Weinstein is lucky he's being charged under New York law. They're not the greatest laws in New York. He has a chance of winning. He would have no chance of winning under federal law.

NOBLES: All right. Wendy Murphy, it could be just the beginning of Harvey Weinstein's legal trouble.

Thank you for your perspective. We appreciate it.

Still to come, a stunning and chilling anecdote on why the president uses the refrain "fake news."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:30:05] LESLEY STAHL, CORRESPONDENT, 60 MINUTES: He said, you know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: He has referred to the media as the, quote, "enemy of the people" and called negative stories about him "fake news." But this week, a candid revelation about the president's strategy behind those attacks.

Take a listen to what journalist, Lesley Stahl, says then President- Elect Trump told her off camera during a taping for "60 Minutes."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:35:10] STAHL: At one point, he started to attack the press. And it's just me and my boss and him. He has a huge office. And he's attacking the press. And there were no cameras, there was nothing going on. And I said, you know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this? You're doing it over and over and it's boring, and it's time to end that. You know, you've won the nomination. Why do you keep hammering at this? And he said, you know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: A lot to unpack there. Joining me, CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, and Brian

Karem, a CNN political analyst and executive editor for "The Sentinel" newspapers.

Brian Karem, I want to start with you.

Those of us that covered Donald Trump on a regular basis probably not all that surprised he confirmed this to Lesley Stahl but interesting to hear from someone who heard it from his own lips. This seems to fall directly in line with a tweet the president put out earlier this month. I want to read it for you. He said, "91 percent of the network news about me is negative." And in parentheses, he wrote, "fake." "Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt?" And then he wrote, "Take away credentials," with a question mark.

Brian, we see you there every day at the White House.

BRIAN KAREM, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE SENTINEL NEWSPAPERS: Yes.

NOBLES: What would you say for this president, anything that is negative is by definition fake. Is that what he's trying to tell you?

KAREM: Of course. It's a captain obvious moment with Lesley Stahl. We know it sitting in the pressroom. By the way, the tweet that he sent out today, if you want to get to it, he talked about something that didn't happen. He accused the "New York Times" of faking something when I was there in the pressroom when it happened. I think I may have actually asked the question that prompted the response. Then he comes out and says that it's fake media because it plays differently from what he wants to say now. His idea of the truth is fast and loose. He doesn't care about facts. He cares about what he's trying to spin. So anything that the press has whenever we try to hold his feet to the fire, of course, he's going to come after us. Of course, he's going to accuse us of being fake news. But the fact of the matter is he's the liar. He's the one that has to be held accountable. He's the one elected to office. It's our job to find out what's really going on in the White House, and it's his job to tell us. Why do we have fewer press briefings? Because even his press staff can't handle it anymore. Simple fact of the matter is they can't get in front of him.

NOBLES: Let's read that tweet fully so our viewers can see it. "The failing 'New York Times' quotes a senior White House official who doesn't exist." Saying, "Even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12th, would be impossible given the lack of time and amount of planning need. Wrong again. Use real people, not phony sources."

Brian Stelter, I want to ask you about this. Should this change the way we cover the White House? Should we not agree to participate in these background briefings anymore?

(CROSSTALK)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Right now, these briefings are a fact of life. They've been a fact of life for many years, predating Trump. The agreement is, in exchange for information from a White House aide, you agree to keep the person anonymous. The reason is they want the president to be the voice, not the aide.

NOBLES: Right.

STELTER: A lot of the time it's a perfectly reasonable situation. In this case, the president is saying that aide doesn't exist. Now, there were 100 reporters in the room on Thursday, including Brian, in the room for the briefing. They all know the aide exists. They all know because they were there. Either the president doesn't know how the White House works, which seems weird, or he's just lying in order to score political points. Either way, it's bad.

The one glimmer he's holding on to is the idea that the aide said it was impossible to meet on June 12th. Technically, the aide didn't use the word "impossible." He made it sound impossible, but he didn't say the word "impossible" So if that's what the president meant, he could have tweeted that. Instead, he tweeted that the source didn't exist, the official didn't exist. It's a really flagrant example of his problem with the truth.

NOBLES: I doubt that if the summit doesn't end up taking place on June 12th that he'll come back and say, actually, my aide was correct and the way it was reported was correct.

KAREM: And I'll tell you who the aide was. The aide was Matt Pottinger. I have no problems naming him because the president didn't keep his end of the bargain when he asked us to keep it on background. The fact of the matter is, if you're going to tell us that we're fake and we lied, and you told the truth, good luck getting me to agree any further about the on background unless you're going to honor the fact that you listened to what they said and honor what the man said, and he didn't.

STELTER: This is why Lesley Stahl did everybody a favor. She held on to this conversation for a while. By sharing what she says Trump said, I'm just calling you fake and attacking you to discredit you, she's given up the script, given up the playbook. Trump is smart enough he knows what he's doing by attacking the media. It's incumbent on all of our viewers, our readers, it's incumbent on all Americans just not to fall for it just not to fall for it --

KAREM: Exactly.

STELTER: -- what is a pretty obvious attempt to discredit the media.

[15:40:02] NOBLES: Brian Karem, I want to circle back to a point you made earlier about the lack of press briefings. They seem to be getting fewer and farther between. When they do occur, they seem to get getting shorter and shorter.

KAREM: Shorter and shorter.

NOBLES: Sometimes less than 15 minutes.

KAREM: Often.

NOBLES: I know -- I know to a certain extent, it may just sound like reporters whining but this is really about attempting to get information from this White House. It's usually the only forum we have to get information. Correct?

KAREM: You're exactly right. This is the point of contact with the American public, the electorate, and the president. And the fact the president has only been in -- he's only had one solo press briefing. I asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I asked Raj, I asked Hogan Gidley, I continue to ask them, if he will have a controlled interaction with pool reporters in a diplomatic room for 10 or 15 minutes or he'll talk to us out on the South Lawn. Those are all very controlled events where he can move away quickly or move us out of the room quickly. I invite, I beg, I implore and I challenge the president to walk into that briefing room, which he's never done, and face us. But the fact is the reason why we're seeing fewer briefings is because the White House press staff, while trying to craft a message for the president, is usually undercut by the president. He'll come out and tweet something or say something completely different from what they're trying to say. So having a press briefing is -- they don't want to lie to us either, I get the feeling, so why come out and face us.

(CROSSTALK)

KAREM: And that's the biggest problem we have.

NOBLES: One more point for Brian with me here in New York.

Brian, does this all play into President Trump's hands to a certain extent, the idea of reporters complaining about this back and forth? Does this play well with his base? Does he like to see this turmoil?

STELTER: With regards to access to the White House, in a small way, it does among his most loyal supporters. More broadly, beyond just a small base of supporters, Americans expect to know what their government is doing. Americans have an allergy to secrets. We're seeing a lot of secrecy, whether it's the EPA chief giving speeches without the press being there or the White House providing fewer and fewer briefings. The big picture story is a lot of sleazily behavior, a lot of strange connections between Trump friends and foreign officials, more evidence of corruption almost every day. That's the big story that Robert Mueller and others are investigating. That's why the president is taking shelter and hiding from the press and avoiding questions. It's not because he's strong, it's a sign of weakness.

KAREM: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

NOBLES: We've got two brains.

We've got to go, Brian. We've got to go.

The two brains. It's tough to continue in one segment but we have to do it.

Thank you, guys.

As a reminder, you can catch Brian Stelter on his show, "RELIABLE SOURCES." That's where I am every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m.

We'll be right back.

Oh, actually I have more to say.

In this weekend's "FIT NATION,", we head into the backwoods of Tennessee where people compete in what many consider the toughest race in the world.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Every year in the backwoods of Tennessee, there's a race so tough, only 15 people have ever finished it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a bit of a problem. I really don't know where I'm supposed to be going next.

GUPTA: Welcome to the Barclay Marathons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest challenges in sports really are pressure and uncertainty. The Barclay weekend is filled with pressure and uncertainty.

GUPTA: Just 40 select athletes are chosen to try to complete five 20- mile loops of steep, unmarked terrain using nothing but a map and a compass.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A race where you're just kind of running around in the forest not knowing if you're on the right trail or not. It adds a whole other mental element.

GUPTA: Runners have 12 hours to complete each loop and find 13 hidden books along the way to prove they stayed on course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kind of incredible physical beating that these people take and go out there 12, 14, 16 hours. You're wet, you're cold, you're hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is fogged in and freezing up here.

GUPTA: Even for the most accomplished ultra-runners, the course can seem impossible, leaving just one option.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have made the decision to self-extract. I've got to get myself out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be great if everyone could get that prize, but the nature of the prize is that you can't. I'm glad that you can't. Another time, you get to make a new mistake.

(LAUGHTER)

GUPTA: This year, Mother Nature rained down on the course, creating havoc for runners. Many missed the time cutoff, earning them the Barclays signature send-off.

(MUSIC)

GUPTA: This year's best runner finished only three loops. Once again, the Barclay won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will come back alive, maybe hurt in their soul, but physically with things that they'll recover from.

[15:44:57] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was just glorious suffering.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Coming up, spying speaker? Amazon's Alexa records a couple's private conversation and then sends it out to a random contact. What it means for your privacy.

Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: Well, here's a story that might have you saying, "Alexa, stop spying on me." I hope I didn't wake up your Amazon Echo. I apologize for that. A couple in Portland, Oregon, says they were shocked to discover their Echo device recorded one of their private conversations and sent it to a random contact without them even knowing it. That person then called them and said, hey, you've got a problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:50:17] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt invaded, like total privacy invasion, like immediately I'm, like, I'm never plugging thing that device in again. I can't trust it. The person on the other line said, unplug your Alexa devices right now. We ran around and unplugged them all. He proceeded to tell us he had received audio files, recordings from what was going on in our house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Well, thankfully, they were only chatting about hardwood floors and not something else at the time.

Amazon later explained that Echo must have woken up when it heard a word that sounded like Alexa and that, quote, "The subsequent conversation was heard as a 'send message' request, at which point, Alexa said out loud, 'To whom,' at which point the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer's contact list." That seems like a lot.

I want to bring in Geoffrey Fowler. He's a technology correspondent for the "Washington Post."

Geoffrey, you've likened Amazon's explanation to something you'd see in a "Seinfeld" episode, which seems appropriate. What's the fallout here?

GEOFFREY FOWLER, TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Amazon is trying to play this as another kind of butt-dial for 2018, right? Just a new technology that got caught up in something crazy. I think there's a more important lesson we all should learn about these devices, and I hope Amazon is listening. We're learning these things are on all the time, period.

NOBLES: Right.

FOWLER: They're always listening. And we've kind of gotten used to the idea of putting them in our homes because Amazon and Google and Apple told us, oh, they'll only going to listen if they hear a wake word. That turns out to be a misnomer. As we've learned in this case, and frankly as anybody that's lived with one of these talking speakers knows, they can go off whenever they think they hear the wake word, which can be frankly anytime. I've had mine go off while I'm watching TV, talking with friends, hanging out. They really have a mind of their own sometimes.

NOBLES: And if you've got multiple Echoes in your home, and that is convenient, so there's probably a lot of people that do, what's the best advice, short of unplugging them all from the wall?

FOWLER: There are some steps you can take. First of all, if this creeps you out but you still think you want to live with these, go into the Alexa app. You can also do this with your Google home devices. There's a collection of every recording they've ever made of you. Believe it or not, Amazon actually keeps every single recording. You can go through and see, how often is it going off, maybe when you didn't realize it, what is it keeping about what's going on in your home, and it will give you the chance to delete it. I would start there.

Then also, what I did after I heard about this, go into the Alexa app as well and you can turn off some of the defaults it has there for doing things, such as being able to order products on Amazon, because if you don't feel like you're totally in control of when it goes off, there are certain things you don't want it to do. Buying weird things is one of them.

NOBLES: It also serves as good watch dog on your children, as I found out as I went back through and discovered my daughter was using Alexa to cheat on her math homework. So there's a companion benefit to going back to the recordings.

It was also a couple of months ago, that Echo users reported that their Alexa was letting out spontaneous and creepy laughs. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alexa, replay.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Almost diabolical.

How does Amazon address this idea of a device that seems to have a mind of its own?

FOWLER: Yes, this is where Amazon really needs to step up. I have to say that their response this week was not inspiring. Look, this confirmed that the laughing incident, this, and some other research we've seen recently, have confirmed everybody's worst fears about these devices, that they're recording us when we don't want them to. There are some researchers -- and this is creepier than the laugh. Some were some researchers this month that reported they could make an Alexa go off by playing what we would hear as white noise, random fuzz in the air that would make it go off and do things around your house. That's a big security risk. And Amazon has to step up and explain what it's doing to make these things, make the interface work better so it only goes off when we feel like we're in control.

NOBLES: All right. We'll just see what people's tolerance level is to be able to yell out their favorite '90s song at the drop of a bucket and have it play for them.

Geoffrey Fowler, from the "Washington Post," thank you so much for your insight. We appreciate it.

FOWLER: Thank you.

NOBLES: Many families around the country will be grilling this Memorial Day weekend. This week's "CNN Hero," Stan Hayes, uses his barbecue year-round to cook meals for our nation's heroes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAN HAYES, CNN HERO: We're here with the Gary Sinise Foundation at the Invisible Spirit Festival.

How are you guys doing? You want a pulled pork sandwich?

We're cooking for 6500 to 7000 people.

Being here where these men and women have given so much while protecting and serving our country, it's pretty special.

[15:55:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an awesome event. The barbecue is stellar.

HAYES: Barbecue is really about bringing people together. For us, this is the biggest thank-you we can give those men and women that have served.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: To nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," just logon to CNNheroes.com.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:59:52] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

NOBLES: You are live in the "CNN NEWSROOM." I'm Ryan Nobles, in for Ana Cabrera.

Our breaking news on CNN this hour, an American citizen and his wife on a plane right now headed for the United States. They've been in prison without a trial for nearly two years in Venezuela. This photo, taken just a short time ago, shows Joshua Holt --