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Trump Attacks Obama In Response To New Russian Indictments; Trump In Scotland Ahead Of Monday Summit With Putin; Anti-Trump Protest Underway In Scotland; Trump Greets Queen With Handshakes Not Bows Or Curtsies; 12 Boys And Coach To Be Discharge Next Thursday; Williams Playing For Eighth Wimbledon Singles Title; How Russian Hackers Exploited Racial Divisions In U.S. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 14, 2018 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] 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.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All 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 interests.

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


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday to you. President Trump is now reacting to those indictments that came down from the Department of Justice yesterday, and he is going after President Obama, not the 12 Russian intel agents charged with interfering in the 2016 of U.S. election.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, right now, the president's in Scotland. And on Twitter, ahead of his controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. Now, the president last hour touted that meeting before he apparently hit the links at his golf course. He quote said: "I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully some golf, my primary form of exercise. This weather is beautiful and this place is incredible."

BLACKWELL: We are live across the region. CNN White House Report Jeremy Diamond, is in Glasgow; CNN's Phil Black is in Edinboro with protests expected this hour; CNN's Matthew Chance is live in Helsinki, Finland. We're going to start, though, with Jeremy Herb, he is in Washington. Let's kick things off in Scotland with Jeremy Diamond, instead. Jeremy, let's talk about the president and what he's saying this morning.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right. Well, we've seen the president already taking to Twitter, offering his first reaction to this indictment of 12 Russian nationals that came down from an announcement by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The president tweeting this morning, "the stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama administration, not the Trump administration. Why didn't they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the election?" So, there you have it, the president returning to his tried and true tactic of blaming President Obama for something, rather than addressing the issue at hand here, which, of course, is this very stunning and significant indictment of these Russian nationals, perhaps offering one of the most detailed U.S. government accounts of this hacking, which the U.S. government alleges was carried out by Russian government actors.

But this all comes, of course, before the president is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. And so, all of these indictments will certainly be top of mind in this meeting. But how the president will address it remains a question to be seen. We saw the president just yesterday blaming not these Russian actions, not Russian aggression, the hacking, the meddling in the 2016 election, but rather, U.S. political stupidity. The special counsel's investigation that he has called a witch hunt, for preventing him from improving the U.S./Russia relationship. So, that remains to be seen. The president did say, however, that he does intend to raise election meddling with the Russian president, and he is also looking for a nuclear disarmament deal, if he can begin those talks with the Russian president in Helsinki. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Jeremy Diamond for us in Glasgow, thank you. Meanwhile, anti-Trump protest are due to kick off in Scotland in just a few moments.

PAUL: Yes, Phil Black is in the city of Edinboro. Phil, tell us what you're seeing this morning right now?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christi, I'm surrounded by what is definitely growing crowd here in Edinboro. There are thousands of people here already. The atmosphere I think is very similar to what we saw in London and Glasgow yesterday. It's fairly lighthearted. It's more like a festival, really, even though many of the banners and placards are carrying blunt, even rude messages directed at the American president. The message is that he's not welcome here in Scotland. This crowd is going to march through Edinboro, then later up, end up in a big park, where we expect to see the return of the baby Trump balloon -- the one that flew over London yesterday. It traveled up here, we're told, in an overnight plane, will be flying over Edinboro in a short period of time.

The other protest here in Scotland is at Turnberry, the Trump golf resort where the president is staying. We expect to see protests there around the security perimeter. And yesterday, there was a pretty extraordinary moment over Turnberry, that when a paraglider piloted by a Green Peace activist flew very close to the president's hotel, trailing an anti-Trump banner through the sky. Now, that is of concern to the police. They say they are looking for the pilot of that paraglider, because there are air space restrictions over the hotel to protect the president, and breaching those restrictions, the police say, is a criminal offense. Christi, Victor, back to you.

[07:05:14] PAUL: All right. Phil Black, appreciate the report. Thank you. Now, President Trump is heading to Helsinki next for that one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, of course, which is happening Monday.

BLACKWELL: Now, there are a lot of lawmakers who are calling for the president to cancel the meeting, of course, after the Mueller team indicted those 12 Russians for hacking Democrats' computers during the presidential campaign. A CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance is now with us live from Helsinki. Matthew, the president says that he will bring up Russian interference, but it's how he's going to bring it up, and of course, what happens then, as those are the most important questions.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. It would be reasonable to suggest, wouldn't it, that given the detail of these indictments, the fact that 12 Russian nationals have been accused of hacking the U.S. presidential election in this way and the political system in this way, that confrontation, that chat between Presidents Trump and Putin would be much more confrontational, that he would be able to present that evidence to the Russian president, but I mean, these aren't normal circumstances. And in fact, the denials that the Russians have made when it comes in to the allegations of election meddling have been repeated again. In the past few hours, there's been another statement from the Russian foreign ministry saying that this is just fake news.

In the past, President Trump has said this is a witch hunt. The Russians have used that term as well to describe the allegations against them in terms of meddling in the U.S. political system. This time, the statement says the purpose of this bogus story is to spoil the atmosphere before the Russian-American summit -- that summit, of course, taking place on Monday here in the Finnish capital. And so, the way in which the Russians, you know, describe this, as something that is politically motivated, to discredit them and to discredit President Trump is, you know, something that I think the two figures are going to agree over. So, rather than be a confrontational issue for the two, it may be something they both can agree on, ironically. And so, we'll see when this meeting takes place what the tone of it is and what is actually discussed, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Matthew Chance there for us in Helsinki. Thank you so much.

PAUL: So, joining us now, we have CNN Politics Reporter Jeremy Herb.

BLACKWELL: Jeremy, the president has constantly called the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. And we saw that even after the indictments of 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities earlier in the year, public sentiment, public support for the investigation waned. Though we're expecting that even after these new indictments that still this investigation will be unpopular? And is he succeeding with calling this a witch hunt?

JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, and I think we saw from the president's statements today that these new indictments aren't going to change that strategy from both the president and his team to call this a witch hunt and to really go after Mueller and say that this has gone on too long. You know, we heard those attacks on Capitol Hill this week. There were high-profile hearings with Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who started this whole Russia investigation two years ago. And I don't expect those attacks are going to end just because there were 12 Russians who were indicted. We heard -- you know, we've heard from them that these are working. Rudy Giuliani, the president's attorney, has cited public opinion polls to say that this offensive against Mueller, calling him to wrap it up, saying that this is a witch hunt, it is proving effective in driving down his polls. And I think what we're seeing is that the president's legal team wants to fight this more in the political arena than in the legal arena.

PAUL: OK. So, with that said, what is the next step for the DOJ, for the government handling these indictments?

HERB: Yes, so, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced these indictments yesterday, he said that no U.S. persons were accused or alleged of any illegal activity, but he also said the investigation is ongoing and there were Americans who were referenced in this. One of those is believed to be Roger Stone, who acknowledged last night to CNN's Chris Cuomo he believes he is the American who was speaking with in this indictment, Guccifer, the identity that the indictment says the Russians used to communicate and try and pass off these leaks. Now, Stone says his messages were benign, but we know from witnesses who've spoken to Mueller's team that they're asking a lot of questions about Roger Stone. One of those, Sam Nunberg, told CNN yesterday that he thinks Stone is a critical piece of what Mueller's after, and so I don't think these indictments are the last set that we've heard on this.

PAUL: Yes, and in fact, ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden said he expects there will be more indictments and there could be indictments of Americans based on the verbiage in that indictment. Jeremy Herb, we appreciate you being here. Thank you, sir.

HERB: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come, the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were rescued from that cave in Thailand, they're expected to be released in just a few days. Their conditions and their message to the rescue team, that's coming up next.

PAUL: Also, a heated debate on social media after President Trump's meeting with the queen. Is all the criticism warranted, really? We speak with a royal expert who has an opinion on that.

[07:10:06] BLACKWELL: Also, British royals will be on hand today as Serena Williams returns to the women's finals at Wimbledon.


BLACKWELL: We take a look at this monumental moment in sports history. It's coming up.


PAUL: So, President Trump may be hundreds of miles from London today, but in the British capital, the American president is apparently one of the primary sources of conversation. From The Sun, take a look at what they're reporting: Fake Schmooze. And The Sun is who he talked to when we had that report -- who he talked to yesterday. The Daily Mirror: "How dare you..."; The Daily Express: "Hold on, I'll give you a deal." All the headlines focused on this presidential visit.

BLACKWELL: And all over social media, users on Twitter, and Facebook, and Instagram are calling out what they say were missteps during the president's meeting with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor castle. Joining us now from London, Richard Fitzwilliams. Sir, welcome back to you. Let's start there with the criticisms of, let's call it them breaks in protocol. Was it as bad as many who are criticizing the president characterize it? Is it as bad as they say?

[07:15:36] RICHARD FITZWILLIAM, BRITISH PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT AND COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, obviously, it was an important moment, the queen meeting the president, and then inspecting the cold stream guards, which is the oldest regiment in the British army. Now, if you actually looked at the way that was handled, it appeared that the president was inadvertently, no doubt, blocking out the queen. It was something that could so easily have been rectified if Donald Trump had been prepared to do a rehearsal, which I suspect that he hadn't. He certainly wandered down the lines of guardsmen looking, I thought, as though he was about to play a round of golf, but that was just my impression. All I can say is, of course, his mother was Scottish. We knew he wanted to meet the queen, and unquestionably, it was an important moment for him, but it certainly could have been handled better. And there's no doubt, you want a moment like that to go smoothly. You don't want it all over Twitter.

PAUL: So, one of the things that people caught on that ruffled some feathers, let's say, the president and first lady greeted the queen with a handshake, rather than a customary curtsy or bow. How significant is that?

FITZWILLIAMS: Well, I understood from what I saw, and I have read this elsewhere, that as the president got out of his car, he bowed. So, the bow was early. I mean, again, this comes back to a matter of rehearsal, of knowing precisely what you're going to do. And I think he does a certain amount, as we know very well that he does, that he feels like doing. I mean, it's very difficult, this area, because it brings back memories of 1981 and Nancy Reagan, when she met the queen. She didn't curtsy. Now, there's no reason that she should have. Melania Trump didn't curtsy yesterday, but the press were absolutely ruthless, dubbed her Queen Nancy, and more or less stalked her throughout her visit, which was to coincide with the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales. So, the point with this is anything you get wrong, the press will highlight. Now, there was so much that was bizarre yesterday that I can only call moments, the 28 minutes that the president and the first lady spent with the queen as one of the more restful parts of the day. We'd never seen anything like this before, going back to all the presidents who've visited London. And I mean, there have been rather extraordinary episodes from time to time. President Reagan and President Obama got on extremely well, as did their wives, with the queen and the duke of Edinboro. On the other hand, there was apparently a certain free so in the private visit of the Kennedys in 1961, but this was mayhem yesterday. No wonder everyone is talking about it. They'll continue to talk about it for a very long time.

BLACKWELL: Mayhem, he says.

PAUL: Mayhem!

BLACKWELL: It was mayhem.

PAUL: It doesn't sound as incriminatory with the British accent.

BLACKWELL: It doesn't. It doesn't.

PAUL: It doesn't.

BLACKWELL: Finally, though, you remind us with the references to Reagan and Kennedy that the queen has been meeting world leaders, U.S. presidents, for more than six decades now. Is there any indication that she is bothered by this, and if so, how much?

PAUL: The queen never gives an indication as to her feeling. She's a symbol of national unity, the very pivotal part as Britain goes into unknown waters outside the E.U., or so we presume. We don't know what she thinks, and there's a great deal of strength in that. She's also above party politics, so we won't know what the queen thought. We know that the queen greeted the Trumps with a charming smile. We could also see from the earlier news conference with Prime Minister Theresa May, that May was having a great deal of difficulty looking anything other than extremely strained whilst compliments rained down upon her from Trump at the press conference, when The Sun newspaper that same morning had been anything but complimentary when he'd attacked her.

BLACKWELL: All right, Richard Fitzwilliams, thank you so much.

PAUL: Always good to get your perspective, sir. Thank you. So, President Trump is probably over that. He's done, because he's got business to look forward to.

BLACKWELL: He's over the mayhem.

[07:20:13] PAUL: He's over the mayhem, and he's looking ahead to his meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday. They're just days -- of course, happening after 12 Russians are charged with meddling in the 2016 election. So, the question on a lot of people's minds is how boldly will the president confront Putin on that, if at all? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Well, good morning! So glad to have you with us here at 24 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.

[07:25:02] BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you. This morning, President Trump is facing growing pressure now to confront Vladimir Putin or then just cancel their summit on Monday if he's not going to do that. This is coming after 12 Russian agents were charged with trying to influence the 2016 election.

PAUL: Yes, the indictment says there's no evidence their actions actually changed votes in the election, but it explicitly details how these agents hacked into the Clinton campaign system, quote, on or about July 27th, 2016. The conspirators attempted after hours to spearfish for the first-time e-mail accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton's personal office at or around the same time they also targeted 76 e-mail addresses at that domain for the Clinton campaign. And no Americans, we have to point out, were charged or even named in this indictment, and there's no proof in the documents that the Trump campaign itself was involved. But it's interesting to note what else happened on July 27th, 2016. Take a look.


TRUMP: I will tell you this, Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That will be next.


BLACKWELL: Joining me now, CNN Legal Analyst and Former Federal Prosecutor Shan Wu. Shan, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, I mean, it may not be (INAUDIBLE) after, therefore, because of, but the chronology of seeing that sound bite and then what we saw in the indictment, it is striking that that's the same day that these Russian intelligence officers started digging and looking to get those e-mails.

WU: Yes, that is very striking, and I agree from a legal analytical standpoint his public remarks won't be enough by themselves. I mean, you would need to show some type of meeting of the minds, some sort of other agreement to that, but clearly, somebody was listening to his remarks, and clearly, the action I think factually is certainly intertwined.

BLACKWELL: From what we're seeing, these are now -- they're up to 25 Russians who have been indicted by the Mueller team, three Russian entities as well. Do you see this as a widening of the scope of this investigation, or is it tightening, as some have suggested? WU: That's certainly the big question. It certainly could be

widening. Obviously, there's no extradition treaty with Russia, so it's hard to really go after the folks there, but there are all these people who are named, essentially, even though their names weren't put forth, and those people could be the subject of a lot of pressure, so there could be part two of this, which is a domestic part. But on the other hand, you also saw the presence of the national security division there, which indicates that Mueller could be prepared to essentially hand off the investigation, and there are other reasons why they might be ready to do that as well.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about one of those American individuals who's named but not named, and he's Roger Stone. Friend of the president who, of course, had communications with the campaign. He blogged back in March 2017: "I myself had no contacts or communications with the Russian state, Russian intelligence, or anyone fronting for them or acting as intermediaries for them, none, nada, zilch." Now, according to the DOJ, Guccifer 2 was a persona that was adopted by these Russian intelligence agents, and we know that Stone had communications with Guccifer 2, although he calls them benign and innocuous. What potentially is the legal exposure for Roger Stone based on what we know now?

WU: Well, he looks like he has some jeopardy. I think he's mentioned that he might be expected to be charged. And so, that type of interaction, if it can be shown that he knew that these were agents from Russian intelligence agencies, that's problematic for him. There are some espionage issues. There's potentially false statements if he's been interviewed and denied that. So, he's definitely got some jeopardy there, if the knowledge can be shown, and that's the critical point.

BLACKWELL: There was a statement released by one of the deputy White House press secretaries, Lindsey Walters, in which they do not -- and we can put it up on the screen for people to look at while we're discussing it. There is no message of congratulations. There is no message of gratitude to the DOJ. It's saying that the charges do not include allegations against anyone in the U.S., and essentially, no collusion in 100 words. What do you make of the framing of this from the White House?

[07:29:40] WU: Well, it's certainly unusual. I mean, one would expect that the White House would be pleased with the Department of Justice's work, rather than counterspinning it this way, purely politically. So, that's certainly unusual, as is the case with most of their statements on this. It's a very detailed indictment. I think it's a tremendous wake-up call for the vulnerability of our elections system, and it really puts to a lie the president's repeated points that this is a witch hunt and there's no basis.

Granted there may not be evidence at this point of collusion with the campaign itself but there's it can no longer be any debate that the Russians were attempting to interfere with the election.

BLACKWELL: All right, Shan Wu, as always. Thank you, sir.

WU: Good to see you.

BLACKWELL: Joining me now, CNN political analyst Josh Rogin. Josh, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: First, I want you to listen to, and everyone to listen to what the president said about this investigation yesterday at Chequers. Watch.


TRUMP: I think that we're being hurt very badly by the -- I would call it the witch hunt, I would call it the rigged witch hunt after watching some of the little clips. I didn't get to watch too much because I'm here, it's a different time zone, to put it mildly.


But after watching the people, that man that was testifying yesterday, I call it the rigged witch hunt. I think that really hurts our country and it really hurts our relationship with Russia.

BLACKWELL: Now, Josh, we got some context about what the president knew when he called it a rigged witch hunt. He had been informed earlier in the week that these 12 additional indictments were coming down.

ROGIN: Yes, I mean, I think we get sort of used to the president saying these kinds of things and it's important to remind ourselves and to remind our viewers that it's absurd and shocking, and unsettling that the president of the United States sees the threat to America. And not as the Russian attack on our Democracy that his own Justice Department just spelled out in excruciating detail. But the investigation into that attack, and that is a sort of bizarre -- you know, commentary on where we are.

I mean, he knew that all of the details of this would going to come out, he insists on calling it a witch hunt. And he insists on attacking it and undermining it.

And you know, and we get all caught up about collusion, no collusion. Of course, the indictment doesn't have any allegations of collusion. It also doesn't rule out collusion.

But what I'm saying is that you know, put collusion aside. Let's say let's give the president a benefit of the doubt. Even if he didn't collude, isn't it bad enough that he's attacking the investigation, refusing to acknowledge it, meeting with the guy who perpetrated the investigation, and also as you showed him that last clip, encouraging the attacks as they were ongoing, OK?

It doesn't have to be collusion to be horrible, OK? He can just be a fellow traveler as we used to call them. Somebody who aids the Russian intelligence service in attacking our country without actually being in communication, to me that's bad enough. BLACKWELL: Yes, so that was one of the topics that many people now, of course, before. But certainly, after the indictments came down, after Trump would discuss that with Putin on Monday. But there's another topic that's on the table and that's Syria. It's an area in which the President believes they can make some progress.

There was a plan to withdraw deal that was discussed at the White House between the president and King Abdullah, that was at the end of June. And potentially, could be discussed in Helsinki on Monday. You've got a new column out that calls it a terrible idea. Explain why?

ROGIN: Yes. So, we talk a lot about what happened last year in the year before. What about what's happening now? What about what Trump and Putin are about to do about what's going on in the world right now? And I think Syria is at the top of their agenda. We know what the president thinks about Syria. He wants to get America out.

And there's a lot of popular support to getting America out. But the terms under which we get America out have grave implications not only for Syria, and the region but also for America's national security.

And I argue in this column that the terms that he's discussing with Putin will be very bad for national security. What I mean by that is that he's going to take all of the U.S. troops out, hand over the land to Russia, allow Iran to continue -- you know, create a situation where ISIS can re-emerge, and then, declare a victory, OK?

And that could be very bad in terms of allowing Iran to expand around the region, allowing the terrorists to regroup, and keeping Assad in power while he is committing mass atrocities against his own people.

Now, hopefully, they won't strike that deal. Hopefully, you know, more educated, more informed people inside Trump's administration will persuade the president that that's actually very dangerous for our national security.

But that's the risk, and when President Trump and President Putin, get in that room without anyone except for the translator, the interpreter knowing what's going on, there is a real risk that they're going to strike a deal over Syria that essentially endorses Assad, Russia, and Iran taking over the rest of that country.

And, oh sure, it will allow America to pull out which will save us some money for sure, but it will also create a very dangerous situation, in my opinion, that will could come back to haunt us. Similar to what Barack Obama did in 2011 in Iraq.

BLACKWELL: All right, Josh Rogin, good to have you.

ROGIN: Thank you.

[07:34:49] PAUL: Well, still ahead, the 12 boys and their soccer coach rescued from that cave in Thailand are expected to get out of the hospital this week. We have more on their conditions and some messages from those boys themselves. Stay close. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Mortgage rates have steady this week. Here's your look.


PAUL: So the 12 boys and their coach that were rescued from that Thailand cave, they're recovering in a hospital. They're expected to be released next week, and health officials say, they're all healthy. They're physically and psychologically healthy. The boys were sitting up in their beds and they sent messages to their rescuers.


[07:39:59] ADUL SAM-ON, RESCUED FROM THAI CAVE: Hello, I am Adul. Now, I'm very fine. I'm very thank you so -- help me. Thank you so much.


BLACKWELL: Doctors advise patients, rather the parents not to allow the media to interview the boys for at least a month as they acclimate back to their normal lives. Now, they are still worried about the impact that this may have on them once they are discharged.

A missing Oregon woman has been found alive after a car went off a cliff. This was more than a week ago.

PAUL: The Monterey, California, Sheriff's Office says, Angela Hernandez was found nearly 200 feet down that cliff. They just found her last night.

Her car had crashed and was partially in the water, but deputies say, she was alert, she could even walk. And police started searching for her last week when she suddenly stopped responding to text messages from family and friends or her sister. As you can imagine was just overcome with emotion last night.


ISABEL HERNANDEZ, SISTER OF ANGELA HERNANDEZ: I just want to thank everybody, everybody. I'm sorry, I'm like in shock. Everybody that helped, its day seven and you guys all helped us to the whole thing and Angela would all be OK. I'm so happy, I'm so happy. Just thank you to everybody --


BLACKWELL: And deputies say, two people just walking by, they saw Angela's crashed car, called police, and get this, she was taken to the hospital with just complaints of a hurt shoulder.

PAUL: Wow, so happy for her family there. Well, today, Serena Williams, returned into the court. Who do you think Victor's cheering for? She won seven Grand Slam singles titles here. Coming up, a preview of her historic return to Wimbledon's ladies' finals. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chemistry is the main special sauce in the comedy team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is one guy who's out of control and one guy trying to say, come down.

SEAN HAYES, ACTOR, COMEDIAN: The theme of sex and comedy is like there's a huge flowchart and everything leads to sex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sex was always taboo and those walls have been torn down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything I needed to learn about comedy, I learned watching Warner Brothers' cartoons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get so many chances to be funny in animation, the writing, the voice talent, animation, boom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Comedians don't have a great mortality rate. We lose a lot of people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lose the comedian, I feel it's more personal because I know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really one of the highest forms of comedy where you can be totally clean and just as funny as the councilor dirty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sketches are a really fun way to talk about the culture with the quick turnaround.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just show up on set, and you just roll. No rehearsal, no discussion, you just roll and try not to laugh.

ANNOUNCER: "HISTORY OF COMEDY" starting tomorrow at 10:00 on CNN.


[07:47:03] PAUL: I don't even have to tell you that today, Serena Williams continues her quest. You all know to reclaim her title as Queen of center court.

Doing this less than a year after having a baby, she's playing for what would be her eighth singles title at Wimbledon. CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan, one of our favorites back with us here. So, help us to understand, Christine, the significance of this moment.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Christi, this is really remarkable. I think it's the sports story of the year already. And if she wins today, I think that cements it. But, as you mentioned, 10 months ago, she gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter, and she ended up having complications due to that birth, and Serena Williams ended up undergoing four surgeries, she said. She said, she lost count of blood clots, aneurysms, it was really,

really, difficult for her. Very concerning, some difficult few weeks, obviously, it setback any thought she had of coming back to play tennis because she was focused on not only her life but, of course, the life of her daughter.

Everything's worked out fine, of course, she's playing tennis. This is only her fourth tournament, though. I don't think anyone expected, Christi, that Serena would come back this quickly and be this good, this fast, and of course, the iconic Centre Court of Wimbledon.

What could be better, a better stage for this superhero who was turned into every woman in terms of the way she's talked about. The difficulties of being a mom and now here she is on top of her game once again.

PAUL: Based on what you know about her, about her determination and her mindset, how prepared is she? Does everything that happened in the last 10 months push her harder?

BRENNAN: I think it does. And I think it makes her a better tennis player overall because she's got perspective. And now, having said that Serena's the greatest of all time, I think she's the greatest tennis player of all time. Certainly, greatest women's tennis player of all time, there's that back and forth of argument, we don't even need to get into that.

I also think she's the greatest -- I think she's the greatest female athlete in any sport, ever. It's just extraordinary. The power, the grace, the ability to be at age 36, almost 37, to be this good in a young woman's sport, it's just remarkable.

But I do think it's given her perspective as she is, of course, played out in social media. Her daughter, Olympia the first steps that she missed on what parent can't relate to that. A working mom.

When she wore the catsuit at the French Open, not hiding anything. In other words, not worrying about the few extra pounds that she has. Talking about how difficult it is to be a working mom. Yes, her workplace is a tennis court, nonetheless, she is really speaking for millions of young women out there, and women like herself who've given birth, and dealing with all of this.

So, I think in this time in our culture, Christi, me, too, all the things that are going on with women in our society, Serena is just the perfect story at the perfect time.

PAUL: OK, but with that said, how prepared is her competitor?

BRENNAN: Oh Angelique Kerber is a --

PAUL: Kerber.

[07:49:53] BRENNAN: Yes, Kerber is from Germany, is a really strong competitor, won two Grand Slam titles just two years ago. She's coming back herself. She's 30, which is actually old in tennis, which tells you how amazing Serena is being 36, almost 37.

But, Kerber is a very strong opponent, and she could win today. Might spoil the story a little bit, although, I don't think anything really spoils the Serena story win or lose.

She is -- it made a remarkable return, and such a -- and such a cool interesting moment in our culture, in our nation's history.

PAUL: No doubt. Christine Brennan, always appreciate your insight. Thank you for being here.

BRENNAN: Christi, thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: How great would it be for Serena -- let me just stay here for long. Serena to win 24 today in London, and then, to come back to the U.S. in September, and take 25 it's at the record? It would be great.

PAUL: It would be pretty remarkable.

BLACKWELL: All right. Up next, turning back to this Russian investigation. CNN investigation reveals exclusively how the Russians tried to exploit the Philando Castile's death to try to divide America. We've got that.


[07:55:12] BLACKWELL: Welcome back. As the Russia investigation looks for answers on how Russia meddled in the U.S. election, a special CNN investigation takes a look at how Russian hackers used the shooting off Philando Castile in Minneapolis -- you remember that? To exploit racial divisions.

PAUL: Here's CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: It was July 2016, Philando Castile had just been shot by police in Minnesota. And his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, began streaming live on Facebook.


O'SULLIVAN: The last moments of Castile's life would be seen by millions of people around the world.

SAM TYLER, COMMUNITY DEFENSE ADVOCATE, MINNEAPOLIS: The video went around on Facebook was viral like crazy. It was pretty, pretty unreal to watch that almost in real time.

MICA GRIMM, ACTIVIST, BLACK LIVES MATTER, MINNEAPOLIS: A couple of people said, we're going to go down to the governor's mansion.

O'SULLIVAN: Activists on the ground, decided the mansion would be the main site of their protest. But at the same time, a mysterious group called Don't Shoot began organizing a different protest outside the police department where the officer who had shot Castile worked.

GRIMM: Where did this organization come from? We are used to actually being reached out to help bring people to the protest. And this was something that literally just came out of the blue.

The 4th precinct was in Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, and the governor's mansion is in St. Paul, Minnesota. Two completely different areas with different demographics.

TYLER: Being involved here for the last number of years, I know that there is no organization called Don't Shoot. And so, I knew that something was off.

I just poked around a little bit, looked at their page. I saw that it had thousands of likes. Then I messaged their page. I said, who are you involved with? Who do you have on the grounds that's working on setting this up?

I know individuals in all these organizations. None of them had heard of this group, none of them have heard of this event, and none of them were involved in planning this event.

GRIMM: Our solution was to kind of take over the event, and have our own Marshalls and have our own leaders.

TYLER: We ended up occupying space in front of the police department, and no one got hurt. That was our top priority.

O'SULLIVAN: But this was much deeper than just a rogue protest.

TYLER: We've got an anonymous tip forwarded to us that stated -- that their web site was registered to some strip mall in Illinois.

O'SULLIVAN: But no one at the mall knew about the web site. It was a fake address, it was a fake page, it was a fake web site. In reality, Don't Shoot was being run for more than 4,000 miles away in St. Petersburg, Russia

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN has now learned, Don't Shoot Us, wasn't local, nor national, it was Russian.

O'SULLIVAN: The troll group was the internet research agency that had ties to the Kremlin, a budget in the millions, and a net worth of thousands of fake American social media accounts. And it only took them a few hours to begin posting about the shooting of Philando Castile.

VALERIE CASTILE, MOTHER OF PHILANDO CASTILE: Tell your friends and family about our protest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Notice strange about it? This page is actually run from St. Petersburg, in Russia.

CASTILE: I don't like it at all. Because for one thing, you're using my son's face. You understand what I'm saying? This is my son. God gave him to me, nobody had the right to take him from me. And then, to take a sad situation and exploit it, you know, no. And for them to use my baby, no.

O'SULLIVAN: The world knows Philando Castile's name because of Facebook. It's where his girlfriend began to stream live after he was shot. It's where his family and friends turned to organize after he died. But it's also where the Russian troll group would seek to exploit the tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You take in really sensitive issues and you're making a joke out of them. These are things, we stand about truth and justice. But that's what this country was built off of.



ROD ROSENSTEIN, UNITED STATES DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The indictment charges 12 Russian military officers by name for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

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

ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I certainly acknowledge that I was in touch with Trump campaign officials. It's benign, it's innocuous.

TRUMP: I think that we're being hurt very badly by the -- I would call it the witch hunt.