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Trump In Scotland Ahead Of Monday Summit With Putin; Anti-Trump Protests Planned In Scotland; Trump: Putin Meeting Will Go On Despite Russia Indictments; DOJ Charges 12 Russian Officials Ahead Of Putin- Trump Summit; Trump: Mueller Probe "Hurts Our Relationship With Russia";Some Lawmakers Call for Trump to Cancel Helsinki Meeting with Putin; Thailand's 12 Boys and Coach to be Discharged from Hospital Next Thursday; Thai Boys Send "Thank You" Messages to Rescuers; U.S. Government to Reunite 2,500 Kids with Families Over Next Two Weeks; England and Croatia Square Off for Third Place; FEMA: Agency was Unprepared for 2017 Hurricane Season. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 14, 2018 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) 12 Russian military officers by name for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You are the man suggested in this indictment. What's your answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I certainly acknowledge that I was in touch with Trump campaign officials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's benign. It's innocuous.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think that we're being hurt very badly by I would call it the witch hunt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been concerned for some time the president's ad hoc style.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of that is of major concern that the president may very well give Mr. Putin certain assurances, and that would be extremely dangerous to our national security interest.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think that we would have a chance to have a very good chance to have a very good relationship with Russia and a very good chance, a very good relationship with President Putin.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. The summit will go on. That is the message from the White House as President Trump will likely hit the links today. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The president at his golf resort in Scotland ahead of his Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite these growing calls for the summit to be canceled and here's why, 12 Russian intelligence officials are now facing charges for interfering in the 2016 election.

BLACKWELL: President Trump's response, "I'm still innocent. I'm still the victim of a rigged witch hunt and I'm still hoping for good relationship with Vladimir Putin."

PAUL: Jeremy Diamond is in Glasgow where the president, of course, is this morning. Jeremy, what are you hearing?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, the president is up and already tweeting here this morning in Scotland. We saw him take to Twitter to address for the first time this indictment of 12 Russian nationals related to Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, the hacking in particular of Democratic e-mails.

The president, though, is not necessarily bemoaning the Russian actions. Instead his focus appears to be on the fact that this occurred during the Obama administration. The president tweeting, "The story you heard yesterday about the 12 Russians took place during the Obama administration, and wondering why President Obama and his administration didn't do more to stop this."

This is the second reaction that we've heard from the White House. The first from the president, but yesterday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsey Walters put out a statement from the White House addressing these indictments.

And she didn't focus, again, on the Russians actions here, or Russian intervention in the election instead it was quite a defensive statement, "Pointing out today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along."

Notable, first of all, that she is referring to the alleged hacking here. Even though we do know that e-mails were indeed hacked during the 2016 election. Furthermore, the focus again here is really on defending the president and his campaign from any suggestion that they were involved in any of these Russian activities.

All of this, of course, coming as the president prepares for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. officials have touted this as the first of this kind of high-level summit between the two leaders. It will be their most extensive meeting today.

So far, the president has already indicated that he does plan to raise election meddling once again. He said so several times this week during news conferences. At the same time, the president yesterday speaking alongside the British Prime Minister Theresa May, making clear that he doesn't believe Russian actions are the biggest impediment to improving U.S.-Russia relations. In fact, the president instead pointed to politics in the United States stupidity, as he calls it, of this partisanship surrounding the Russia inquiry and the special counsel's investigation, which, of course, he has branded a witch hunt. Back to you guys.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jeremy Diamond for us there in Glasgow. Thank you. Meanwhile, anti-Trump protests are due to kick off in Scotland next hour. Phil Black is in the city of Edinburgh. Phil, what are you seeing there if anything at this hour?

PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, good morning. Donald Trump arrived here late last night as we know and even before he arrived, there was a big protest underway in Glasgow, the city there. A number approaching 2,000 telling the president that he wasn't welcome here in Edenborough and even bigger protest is expected to begin in about an hours' time.

And that is also we're told going to see the return of the Trump baby balloon, which was transported up here overnight on a train from London. The other focus of protests here in Scotland is Turnberry, the Trump golf resort where the president is staying.

[06:05:09] And we saw an extraordinary moment there yesterday when a paraglider piloted by a Green Peace activist, flew very close to the hotel there, trailing an anti-Trump banner.

Now the pilot of that paraglider escaped, but the police say they are hunting that person because there are airspace restrictions in place, over the hotel, in order to protect the president and violating them, the police say, is a criminal effect.

One of the things that has annoyed some people here is the fact that this is not a working visit for the president. This is essentially private time. He'll be staying at his resort, not meeting with Scottish government officials.

So, there are some people, political leaders who are annoyed because they believed it's unfair that Scotland is being left with a big bill for security and protection, millions of dollar, while they say the president is simply here to play golf and check in on his business interests -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Phil Black, thank you so much. Appreciate the update. Now let's remember from here, from Scotland, President Trump is heading to Finland for that one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That happens on Monday.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but just yesterday the Mueller team indicted 12 Russians accused of hacking Democrats computers. This was during the presidential campaign and although lawmakers are calling for the meeting to be cancelled, the White House says the summit will go on.

CNN senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, is live in Helsinki for us. Matthew, the president says that he will absolutely bring this up, but he says that he'll firmly ask. MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, I mean, look, the tone in which this conversation is going to be had with Vladimir Putin by President Trump, it's been unclear. He's always said that he would bring up this issue of Russian interference in the U.S. political system.

I mean, the fact is, that the kremlin and the White House speak with a single voice on this issue. They used the same language. There was a reaction to these 12 indictments from the Russian Foreign Ministry that came out last night just after the indictments were named.

And they said, it is fake news. In the past, they called it a witch hunt, exactly the same term that President Trump uses. And the Russians, whether it's the Kremlin or the Foreign Ministry, they always cast this as a politically motivated allegations to undermine their standing on the international stage.

But also, crucially to undermine Donald Trump amongst his political opponents (inaudible) opponents in the United States. That's very much the kind of language that Donald Trump likes to hear. It's how he speaks about these collusion allegations himself.

So, far from being a point of confrontation between the two sides, this issue of the election meddling, it actually looks from here like something that the presidents could both agree on which is an extraordinary situation, of course.

PAUL: If there was an article written in "Time" magazine by a woman that we're going to talk to in a little bit, and she said at the end of the day, Putin has basically already won because in terms of optics, he plays the game better than President Trump does.

With that said, do the optics matter so much in Russia, as much as they do around the rest of the world, or are the optics the same? Does Russia view the optics of Putin the same way that others world leaders would when they compare these two leaders?

CHANCE: You know, Christi, I think the optics are important, but they're not seen in the same way, if you catch my meaning. This meeting with Vladimir Putin is extremely important. It's important that it's taking place all.

Remember, Putin has been isolated by much of the international community over the past couple of years for a whole range of what's been characterized as malign activity. From the annexation of Crimea in 2014, to the shooting down of MH-17, that civilian airliner, which, by the way, the fourth anniversary of that is just the day after the presidential summit.

And from his support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the poisoning recently with a chemical weapon in Britain. All of this has led to sanctions, isolation, condemnation from the international community.

And so, the fact that Putin is back at the top table meeting one-on- one with the president of the United States is in itself a victory. They're also going to be looking for any concessions that Trump might give.

The president is already suggesting, by the way, it was at the NATO meeting a few days ago, that if President Putin asks it, he will stop military exercises in the Baltics. So, Putin is going to be clever about this I suspect and he's going to take whatever he can.

BLACKWELL: All right. Matthew Chance, for us there in Helsinki, the site of that summit on Monday between Presidents Putin and Trump, thank you very much.

PAUL: Matthew, thank you.

So, the president prepares to meet with Vladimir Putin, he's doing this just days after 12 Russians are charged with meddling in the 2016 election. We now know that the president knew those indictments were coming even when he had some interesting things to say yesterday at the podium about the indictments and about his meeting with Putin. We'll talk about that.

[06:10:10] The question is should they really cancel the summit as Democrats are calling them to do. Our experts are joining us next to break that down.

BLACKWELL: Also, the audio of her pleas for family made national headlines, now a 6-year-old girl is back with her mother after more than a month apart. We've got their reunion coming up.

PAUL: Also, it's championship weekend at the World Cup. We've got a live report from Moscow about the title game between France and Croatia, as well the game dubbed, quote, "The one no one wants to play in."


PAUL: It's 14 minutes past the hour right now. This morning, President Trump is facing growing pressure to confront Vladimir Putin or cancel their Monday summit altogether. This, of course, after these 12 Russian agents were charged with trying to influence the 2016 election.

[06:15:02] BLACKWELL: The White House says this meeting will go on, and as recently as yesterday, President Trump is still calling the Mueller probe a witch hunt, despite the fact that Robert Mueller has now brought 191 criminal charges against 32 people and three companies so far.

PAUL: So, reporter and co-author of "Playbook" at "Politico," Daniel Lippman, and CNN legal analyst, Joey Jackson. Gentlemen, thank you both for being here.

Joey, I want to ask you, first and foremost, as we look at the big picture here, what is the significance of these latest indictments?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. Good morning, Victor. Look, here's the reality. The significance is that it confirms -- you know, I don't know how much more you can confirm and dispute and refute any notion of a witch hunt, that Russia was just completely involved in the, you know, attacking in a cyber fashion of the system as it relates to the elections.

The allegations in the indictment, Christie, are very specific. These are not just people in Russia who had nothing better to do, who are just saying, let me interfere one day.

These are intelligence officers and if intelligence officers are so intricately involved in hacking of the system, you know, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Committee.

You know, just in this massive cyberattack, it makes you wonder, I wonder who directed that attack and I wonder how high that official was. It comes right back to Putin, in my view. And so, I really would believe that any notion of some type of witch hunt or this is nonsense, that has to be refuted.

PAUL: National security experts say this could not have gone on without Putin's approval. So, with that said, Daniel, when we look ahead to Monday's meeting, if President Trump does not very boldly and aggressively confront President Putin on this, can this meeting be even -- can it be called or characterized as successful, or would it be a failure at that point?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, REPORTER AND CO-AUTHOR OF PLAYBOOK, "POLITICO": Yes, you have to remember the meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, where the first few hours of coverage of that meeting was pretty positive. Things seemed to be going well. And yet, we saw in the letter that Kim sent a few days ago, no mention of denuclearization.

And so, if Trump just checks off on his, you know, list, confront Putin about election hacking, and doesn't actually present the evidence to Putin, and then they just move on to other topics, then that's going to be a huge headline out of this summit.

And there doesn't seem to be any real agenda for this Monday meeting. All Russia watchers, they usually see that there's a joint communique, and there is nothing here. So, it seems like just two leaders are catching up as old friends, almost.

PAUL: So, Joey, what do the indictments tell you first of all about where Mueller's investigation stands? And secondly, do you expect, as some do, more indictments to come, possibly against some Americans?

JACKSON: You know, I really do. Having no inside information at all but just reading and evaluating what has happened so far. At the outset of this, you and Victor put up the various indictments that have been made against, of course, many Russian officials, in addition to the companies and Americans also, but I think they're doing it systematically.

And what I mean by that is that you see Mueller certainly pointing to the Russian involvement by virtue of the last indictment in February and how many Russians were involved, by virtue of this indictment and the 12 intelligence officers. And I really and fully expect the next step to be the shoe to drop in terms of what, if any, Americans were involved, was there any collusion, et cetera. And you could note in the indictment itself, it does speak to the intelligence officers being in contact with one official who was in contact with the campaign.

And so, I do otherwise anticipate that that would be the case, you know. And for finally, Christi, for Rudy Giuliani to send out -- and I get that he's the attorney to the president, the public relations person to the president -- but an irresponsible tweet suggesting the president's completely innocent.

PAUL: Right.

JACKSON: This goes to show that it's all nonsense. I just think it's irresponsible.

PAUL: OK. Daniel, real quickly, the real question at the end of the day here is what's being done to prevent the same scenario in the midterms, in 2020? Any indication that the White House has any plans to try to thwart any more interference?

LIPPMAN: So, we're relying on the Department of Homeland Security and state election monitors and cybersecurity people for the states to protect them, themselves. It doesn't seem like Trump is going to tell Putin very much to stop interfering in the midterms.

And so, this is really dangerous territory for the U.S. to have a repeat of this, because it seems like Russia takes it much more seriously. They see it as a cyber war, and a lot of Americans are just asleep at the switch.

[06:20:09] PAUL: All right. Daniel Lippman, Joey Jackson, appreciate both of you being with us today. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

LIPPMAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: My next guest knows Vladimir Putin's plays inside and out. She authored "The Putin Mystique," and she knows whatever happens at this summit, Putin has already won. That's her take, and I'll ask her why.

PAUL: Also, a mother and daughter separated at the southern border are reunited after nearly a month apart. Why their story made national headlines in the first place and where they are today.



PAUL: It's 25 minutes past the hour right now. Glad to have you here. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you. President Trump plans to keep his date with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and he says he will ask the Russian president about Russian meddling.

But despite the fact that the Mueller investigation, the indictment brought 112 new charges against 12 Russian operatives yesterday, President Trump is still not categorically saying that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections. Let's take a look at what he has said over time.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, we'd be talking about meddling, and I will absolutely bring that up. There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think, but you never know what happens, right? But I will absolutely, firmly ask the question.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): That was President Trump in the U.K. on Friday talking about his meeting Monday with Vladimir Putin and Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. They've talked about this before, during both the G20 meeting in Germany last July and again in November at the APEC summit in Vietnam.

After each meeting, President Trump said Putin sincerely denied the claims. Mr. Trump told reporters, "Every time he sees me, he says, I didn't do that. And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it."

Well, Putin may mean it, but here's what the intelligence community determined. Two key findings in their January 2017 assessment -- Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.

And that Putin and the Russian government aspired to help President- elect Trump's election chances, when possible, by discrediting Secretary Clinton. In May, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed with that finding. There's no ambiguity there. President Trump, however, has been all over the place on Putin and Russian meddling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the election to help you win the presidency. Your reaction.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think it's ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it. President Putin and Russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news. The United States is hacked by everybody.

That includes Russia and China and everybody. If Russia did anything having to do with our election, I want to know about it. I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.

BLACKWELL: No, they didn't, yes, they did. If they did. All over the place. While his own people, his advisers and cabinet members, current and former, say there is no question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am confident that the Russians meddled in this election, as is the entire intelligence community. JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: There's very little doubt that they have either interfered or they have attempted to interfere in a number of elections in the democracies.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think as to the question of the interference with the election, that is fairly well established.

JON HUNTSMAN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: There is no question, underline no question, that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe there was a comprehensive Russian program, and do you believe the Russians are going to come back here and elsewhere in the world to try to influence future elections?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so, there's a pretty clear answer to this, and that's yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain.

BLACKWELL: That evidence in the public domain is included in the indictments handed down by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, first of 13 Russians and three Russian entities for their alleged interference, and a dozen more Friday who are accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee.

The president begrudgingly signed and implemented sanctions in retaliation, but apparently, they have not worked as a deterrent. Listen to the testimony from intelligence heads earlier this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree with Director Pompeo's assessment about the likelihood of the 2018 occurrence as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not going to change or stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is not going to change, nor is it going to stop.

BLACKWELL: Every one of them, when asked if Russia would meddle in the 2018 election, the answer was yes. The president was asked the same question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried about Russia trying to meddle in the midterm election?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, because we'll counteract whatever they do.

BLACKWELL: That was in March, and Senate members say that states are still vulnerable. Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff co-authored an op ed titled "The west still isn't prepared to stop Russia meddling in our elections." The president isn't prepared to accept t his own government's findings as truth.

On June 28th, 538 days after the assessment by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in 2016 President Trump tweeted, "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our election."


That's our starting point for this conversation, let's bring in now Cnn military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling and Anna Arutunyan; senior Russia analyst for the international crisis group and author of the book, "The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia's Power Cult". Welcome to both of you.


BLACKWELL: General, let me start with you and the president framing his upcoming conversation on meddling with Vladimir Putin as he will firmly ask, should the president not be beyond the asking phase of this specific element?

HERTLING: He should be, Victor, and he should also stop using the term meddling and fake news, because it's contributing to the types of attacks we're seeing.

This was an information attack using cyber methods against the institutions of the United States. And every Congressman, the president and all military people take a vow, an oath to protect and defend the constitution against these kinds of attacks to maintain our security.

That is not happening. He has to go beyond, if he continues to meet with President Putin, he has to go beyond just discussing this matter in a free-flowing manner.

He has to be very pointed, but I think as you've had several other guests on, they don't seem to believe that that's going to happen. To do anything else would be irresponsible and negligent by the president of the United States.

BLACKWELL: OK, so, one more for you before we get to you, Anna. There are several Democrats who have said that the president should cancel the meeting.

And John McCain, Senator McCain has said that if he's not going to do exactly what you just suggested, he should at least postpone it. What do you think? Should he go to --


BLACKWELL: Helsinki?

HERTLING: Well, I won't comment on that because that's a political matter. That has to be -- that decision has to be made by him. But from a military standpoint, what I would tell you is we are countering attacks from the Russian government.

Mr. Putin specifically, I'm sure, has ordered these attacks. So, for him to go into this meeting is suspect, but depending on what he does and how he does it, is going to be critically important.

BLACKWELL: Anna, now to you. The president said that the expectations for this meeting are not especially high, but undoubtedly, Putin knows what he wants out of this meeting.

You wrote for "Time" that no matter what they agree upon or do not agree upon, that much of what Putin wants he's already achieved. What is that?

ANNA ARUNTUNYAN, MOSCOW NEWS: Well, already having summit, already meeting with President Trump is a win for Putin in terms of optics. And I think in light of the latest indictments, and given Trump's track record of making these statements, Putin is certainly going to get a kick out of the U.S. president believing Putin over his own intelligence community.

BLACKWELL: You know, I want to put back up, we just flashed it for a moment, what Senator John McCain said, just the first sentence of his statement here. "President Trump must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate that there will be a serious price to pay for his ongoing aggressions towards the United States and democracies around the world."

You wrote "The Putin Mystique", so you know what it takes to potentially challenge Vladimir Putin. What does that have to look like? What does that demonstration of strength need to look like for it to be effective with Vladimir Putin, Anna?

ARUNTUNYAN: Well, it's very difficult to say what we need to expect from Trump. I think that looking back at how Putin has behaved on the world stage and what's important for Putin in terms of projecting his strength and why that's such a priority for him, Putin needs to be seen -- and this is played out in his relations with past leaders -- as a world leader who in this case, unlike Trump, has just simply a lot more experience on the world stage and in being a world leader.

And by virtue of the fact that Trump has basically made all of these contradictory statements, this just plays into Putin's hands.

BLACKWELL: General, the president thinks that he and President Putin can probably, I guess, come to some agreement or make some progress on Syria's specifically, so let's talk about that.

Back in March, the president said he wanted a plan to withdraw immediately, then he walked that back. We know that last month in his meetings with King Abdullah of Jordan that he discussed the potential withdraw deal.

Give us your best-case/worst-case plausible outcome as it relates to Syria from this meeting. [06:35:00] HERTLING: I don't think you're going to see anything from

a best-case perspective, Victor. You know, the president has talked with Mr. Putin about these things before or has made comment about them, in terms of asking Russia to withdraw, Russia has promised to do so, not only from Syria, but they've signed the Minsk Accord in Ukraine.

Saying they would not conduct further attacks in the Don Boske(ph). It is not part of Mr. Putin's strategic vision to do any of these things. And you know, Putin doesn't control Iran, the president is going to ask for some help in getting Iran out of Syria.

That's not going to happen. And if we just look at the history, as you just pointed out, ticking off the marks, all of these things Russia has promised before and they have basically reneged on every single one of their promises multiple times.

They have a strategic objective in Syria, they have a strategic objective in Ukraine, and they will continue to push toward that strategic objective.

BLACKWELL: And do you think there's some ground that can be gained from the U.S. perspective, Anna, as is relates to Syria on Monday?

ARUNTUNYAN: Well, that's going to be tricky, given that I think Putin understands that whatever, you know, the U.S. is going to be offering Russia, it's going to do anyway in terms of Syria.

Russia, indeed, does not have -- it can't get Iran out of Syria. It can make statements, it can make promises, it can make agreements that it really isn't going to commit to. But again, in terms of the optics of the meeting, for Putin, this is going to be enough.

It's going to be enough to come out of this with some nice agreements, with some nice optics of dialogue, and mainly, it's going to make Putin look indispensable in resolving these world conflicts.

So, regardless of what Putin denies, what he actually commits to, it's going to be very important for him to show that he is in the middle of this solving these problems.

Whether he does, whether he follows through on that or not, that's a completely different issue.

BLACKWELL: All right, Anna Arutunyan and General Hertling, thank you both for being with us this morning.

HERTLING: Thank you, Victor.

CHRISTI PAUL, CO-HOST, NEW DAY SATURDAY: A tearful reunion from a migrant mother and her daughter in Houston. Why this mom and her daughter made national headlines in the first place.


PAUL: Well, the 12 boys and their coach that were rescued from that Thailand cave are recovering in a hospital, but they're actually expected to be released next week.

BLACKWELL: Health officials say they are all healthy, both physically and psychologically. The boys were sitting up in their beds and even sent messages to their rescuers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I'm Adone(ph), now, I am very fine. I very thank you for helping me. Thank you so much.


BLACKWELL: The doctors advised parents not to allow the media to interview the boys for at least a month as they acclimate back into their normal lives. They are still worried about the impact this may have once they are discharged. Makes sense there.

PAUL: Well, the government has outlined how it's going to reunite the 2,500 children taken from their parents at the southern border now.

BLACKWELL: Over the next two weeks, those families who are eligible to be reunited with their children will be brought together at more than a half dozen government facilities across the country.

Now, officials with the Department of Health and Human Services say they will use a streamlined vetting process to speed up the reunions.

After being separated for more than a month, a migrant mother and her 6-year-old daughter, they were reunited early Friday morning.

PAUL: This, of course, comes after weeks of this audio recording that we all listened to together here, this little girl sobbing for her family. Let's listen.




PAUL: Cnn's Gary Tuchman was there for their reunion.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Six-year-old Allison Meno(ph) walking off her first plane ride ever. She looked out the window and wondered during her flight, played with her doll, colored in her coloring book, getting off in Houston with two social workers, hours after being released from a shelter in Arizona, getting ready to see the mother she was separated from one month ago.

While she waited for her mom to arrive, the two spoke by phone.


TUCHMAN: Mother Cindy telling her she and her lawyer are on a very long drive to the airport from south Texas, but will be there soon. After Allison(ph) was done talking to her mom, I told Cindy I was on the plane with her daughter.

(on camera): (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) she was not scared on the plane, (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) you are very strong, right?

(voice-over): At 3:00 a.m., Cindy arrives at Houston Intercontinental Airport for the reunion she's been dreaming of for a month, finally getting to hold hands with her daughter.


TUCHMAN: The little girl heard the world over on the gut-wrenching ProPublica audio tape back with her mother, a mother released from a detention center in Texas after being approved to proceed with her asylum claim following a journey from El Salvador.

Cindy not even knowing where her daughter was after they were separated a little over four weeks ago. Allison(ph) says, "I missed my mommy. I was so happy to see her at the airport. I'm happy I will now see her all the time."

[06:45:00] Cindy says she isn't going to take her eyes off Allison(ph) and is excited they are now in this country together. Cindy says, "everyone knows the United States is a great country.

It's safer, there is better education, a better health system, but most importantly, the safety for my daughter." Mother and daughter will live with Cindy's sister in the Houston area while proceeding with her asylum claim, hoping the sadness and separation are behind them. Gary Tuchman, Cnn, Houston.


PAUL: Kind of a happy ending there.

BLACKWELL: And so many more families that need to be reunited --

PAUL: Reunited --


PAUL: Yes, all right, the World Cup is down to two. The championship game pits a soccer power against an up-start, and underdog. Alex Thomas is live in Moscow. Hi, Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Hi, Christi, I don't want to sound like a highlander movie, but there can be only one, and a global TV audience estimated to be a billion people will tune in to see if France can stop what's been a fairy tale run to the World Cup final by Croatia.


BLACKWELL: It is championship weekend at the World Cup. PAUL: Alex Thomas is live from Red Square in Moscow ahead of the

title game between France and Croatia tomorrow morning. How are you doing, Alex? What's it like there?

THOMAS: Well, thanks, Christi, well, thanks Victor. Now, for the ninth time in its 88-year history, the FIFA World Cup final will be an all-European affair, but also, the biggest David v. Goliath encounter the tournament has ever seen.

Two decades after winning the World Cup on home soil, a star-studded France team will be massive favorites to beat Croatia, playing in its first ever final. It's the smallest country by population to reach the title match since Uruguay back in 1950.

Barely more than 4 million people live in Croatia. That's fewer than the state of Alabama. And if Croatia beat the French, it would be a bigger upset than the Eagles winning the Super Bowl earlier this year against the Patriots.

No Tom Brady equivalent in this game, but watch out for France's Kylian Mbappe, the first teenager to score multiple goals in a World Cup knock-out match since Brazilian legend Pele back in 1958.

Mbappe could well be the sport's next big mega star, but even though few experts predicted Croatia would get this far, they have a handful of players from the biggest and most successful clubs in Europe.

Captain Luka Modric helping Real Madrid win the Championships League, Ivan Rakitic part of the Barcelona team that won Spain's La Liga, and striker Mario Mandzukic is with Italian Champions Juventus.

Well, the day before Sunday's action here in Moscow, Belgium and England face a third place playoff in Saint Petersburg, it's the match no team wants to play in after missing out on the final, but it does at least decide who gets the Bronze medal, and both Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku have a chance of getting the goals they need to clinch the golden boot as the tournament's top scorer.

So after four weeks and 62 games, the first ever Russian World Cup is almost done, the total attendance has been over 2.8 million people, most international visitors we've spoken to admit they've had a better time here in Russia than they expected to, it's been a competition full of surprises.

Only one game was goal-less, and maybe there's just one final twist to come before the end.

PAUL: There could be, with everything that we've seen, there have been a lot of them. Alex, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All still to come, FEMA says last year's hurricane season was unprecedented, admitting the agency was unprepared. How the agency's preparing differently for this year's storm season.

[06:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: Well, FEMA is now admitting that its response to the 2017

hurricane season was "stretched at every level", calling the year unprecedented. There was the 65-page report that found the agency was drastically unprepared and underestimated the devastation Hurricane Maria specifically had on Puerto Rico.

BLACKWELL: Remember, President Trump gave his administration an A- plus for its disaster response in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The EPA went as far as spending more than $8,000 on challenge coins to congratulate its responders on last year's disasters and their response.

Cnn meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the Weather Center with more. Tell us more, just remind the people just how devastating the 2017 season was.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it wasn't just so much about individual storms but that it was a domino effect, OK? So, we start with Harvey, which was a doozy of a storm, OK? You have to understand.

Top wind speeds, 150 miles per hour, it was a category 4 at landfall, dumping about 60 inches of rain around the Houston area. But most importantly, you look at the cost, $125 billion on this storm, that makes it the second costliest storm in history.

So again, obviously, the supplies are going to be in short supply after a storm like that. And really, just a few days later, we already started to track Irma as it made its way towards the U.S. coast.

Now, this particular storm also had some big impacts, also a category 4 at landfall, and about $50 billion. So, now you're decreasing those supplies even more. Here's the thing to note about Irma, OK?

During Irma, a lot of supplies were moved from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help them after they were impacted by Irma. Little to be known that a little while later, those supplies would have been needed in Puerto Rico.

So, all the cots, the supplies of water, tents, things like that, that were already in place in Puerto Rico, were moved out during Irma and transitioned into the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So, now you have Maria, which wind speeds of 150 miles per hour, again a category 4 at landfall, and most importantly, cost of $90 billion, guys. That means this was the third costliest storm in history.

So, Victor and Christi, the thing you have to understand is, this was one storm after another after another with not much time in between, but also the two out of those three storms ended up being in the top three costliest storms in history.

BLACKWELL: And still early in this season, Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.


indictment charges 12 Russian military officers by name for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the man suggested in this indictment. What's your answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I certainly acknowledge that I was in touch with Trump campaign officials. It's benign, it's innocuous.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that we're being hurt very badly by the -- I would call it, the witch-hunt.