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FBI Warrant Alleges Carter W. Page "Is An Agent Of Russia"; Top Secret Warrant On Former Trump Adviser Unsealed; Kavanaugh Once Questioned SCOTUS Ruling On Nixon Tapes; Paul Manafort Jury Selection To Begin Wednesday; Uber, Lyft Driver Suspended For Live Streaming Passengers; Former Coal Lobbyist Turned EPA Chief Relaxes Coal Regulations; Cover Features Trump And Putin Morphing Into Same Person. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 22, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN Newsroom, and thank you for being with us on this Sunday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York, and this weekend, the American people were given access to the kind of documents never before made public that gives insight into how federal officials do surveillance.
I am talking about the FISA warrant application for Carter Page, a Trump adviser -- a former adviser to the Trump campaign. The FBI writing in their application, Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government. Here is Page appearing on CNN earlier today with a strong denial. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: And I have never been an agent of the foreign power in any -- by any stretch of the imagination. You know, I may have back in the G-20 when they were getting ready to do that in St. Petersburg I might have participated in a few meeting that a lot of people including from the Obama administration were sitting in on Geneva, Paris, et cetera, but I've never been anywhere near what is described here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Reaction now pouring in, mostly along partisan line, Republicans and Democrats suggesting newly released documents to back up their personal views over Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
And then from the President, a furious Twitter attack on the FBI, and the four Republican appointed judges who approved the FBI's request to surveil Page along with renewal. Let's go right to Shimon Prokupecz, CNN's crime and justice reporter. Shimon, this FISA application is more than 400 pages long, a ton of it is redacted. What are the key takeaways? What have we learned from it?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, you know, much of this as we know because of the political rhetoric surrounding a lot of what went on here during the campaign has been out there. But I think what really this document showcases, and highlight is just what the FBI was concerned about regarding Carter Page.
They list several reasons why they wanted this warrant -- this highly secret warrant, and some of it, it says basically that Carter Page, they believed was an agent of a foreign power. They then go into describing in some detail much of what has been out there publicly.
And there's a lot that we don't know, but they say that this application, this FISA warrant that is being requested because they believed that Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government. And as we know, the FBI was investigating Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.
And then finally, you know, among the many other things that they say, they highlight this point that they believe the FBI that the Russian government's efforts are being coordinated with Page, and perhaps other individuals associated with candidate number one's campaign, and that being the Trump campaign.
Certainly significant in these document documents is the way in which the FBI highlights what they believe is Carter Page's activity. They go on also -- there's one other point that I want to make where they say that they believe that the -- that the FBI believes that Carter Page is collaborating, and conspiring with the Russian government.
There are several other instances of this, and most of it is as you have said, Ana, is blocked out. So we don't know what other evidence the FBI used to support their request for this FISA.
CABRERA: They do go on to also say that what they lay out is proof of the probable cause in order to do this surveillance. But the President has been claiming, the FBI had abused its power here by relying on the controversial Steele dossier to make its case for the wire tapping Page. Do these documents shed any new light on the FBI's information sources regarding Page?
PROKUPECZ: Well, it certainly -- the documents do talk about the dossier, talks a lot about media reports, but the dossier has been the central issue, and that some people, including Nunez, as we know, have been trying to say that the FBI solely relied on the dossier to get this information.
This document does somehow undercut this theory from Nunez that that is the only information that the FBI relied on, that it was flawed, that the FBI didn't give the court all of the information, clearly in these documents, it says differently.
We don't know a lot here, Ana, because a lot, as you said, is blocked out, and we don't know what other information the FBI gave the court. Who else is mentioned in these documents, in these affidavits as perhaps U.S. people, and people in this country that were working with Carter Page. There seems to be other names mentioned in some of these -- in some of these lines, but like you said, because they are blocked out, we just don't know.
CABRERA: Shimon Prokupecz, thank you for walking us through that. And let's bring in Ryan Goodman, and James Gagliano. James is a CNN law enforcement analyst, and retired FBI supervisor, and special agent, and Ryan worked for the Pentagon as a former special counsel to the General Counsel. So let me start with you, Ryan.
[17:05:00] Is there any reason to believe based on this warrant that the FBI did not follow proper protocol?
RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL TO THE GENERAL COUNSEL OF DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: There is nothing in the warrant to suggest something like that. And even Senator Marco Rubio this morning with Jake Tapper said the same thing.
There is nothing in here to suggest any wrongdoing on their part. If anything with all of the information that they had about Carter Page, you would think that it was their duty to follow through, and investigate him, because there are enough red flags being given off.
CABRERA: Shimon kept pointing out that a lot of it is redacted. Can we draw any conclusions because of that?
GOODMAN: Sure there is a lot that's redacted. It is hard to know what the additional material is. But at least we do know it's not redacted. But the FBI has already interviewed Carter Page, and they refereed to their interviews. They don't tell us what happened in those interviews.
And they also referred to this 2013 Russian spy ring, in which it was a case in the Southern District of New York in which Russian spies have tried to recruit Carter Page. One of them was picked up in a wire tap saying that Carter Page's enthusiasm works for me.
And Carter Page has admitted that he passed documents to them. That's also a part of this FISA application, and the reason as to why you would think the FBI would be quite concerned.
CABRERA: James, do you think the FBI acted appropriately?
JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY AGENT: Sure, Ana. I always subscribed from the old adage from (Inaudible) who said never attribute to malevolence, what has merely do to incompetence. And I went through the 400 pages that were dumped.
And I took a look, and scrutinized it as closely as I could because remember, a lot of it is redacted, so you are basically trying to fill in the blanks. Now, having seen the FISA applications before, I am familiar with what they look like. What struck me about this one, for a FISA application to go through, it is not a standard probable cause.
And to eavesdrop on Americans, you've got to able to at least have suspicion that they are acting as an agent of a foreign power. Now, the thing that a lot of people struggle with including retired FBI agents is give -- was the usage of unverified political opposition research, the main crux of this.
And when you look at the interview that Michael Isikoff from Yahoo! News that they had with Christopher Steele, and you look at that being a big part of what the background was -- the information that was used for this. That is what people struggle with. I don't necessarily show...
CABRERA: Hold on there, James, because that is what Nunez pointed out in his memo, but when I looked at the actual warrant itself, it looked like it was mischaracterized in the Nunez memo, because it is falls under the more general category of Carter Page denying some of the reports.
And they point to some quotes within that Yahoo! News article that back up the Carter Page denial. They are not using that, as my understanding based on reading the document itself, the application, and what was not redacted, it doesn't look to me like they are actually -- that it's included in that application as sort of backup to their evidence.
GAGLIANO: They were -- they were three renewals for these things, and four judges took a look at this. I'm not going to question that, Ana, my job really is to call law enforcement balls and strikes.
I get it, the political noise on both ends of the spectrum, and I watched Carter Page this morning with Jake Tapper on State of the Union. He came across -- this is a United States Naval Academy graduate, and an academic, and he seemed as unwitting, and possibly dupe.
He claims that he was offering no compromising material. Now, he thinks the basis behind this application was specious, and he can make that argument. And as I look at it, was it the finest piece of a title three application, or FISA application, the finest piece of work I have ever seen?
Absolutely not -- not in precision of the language, and I'm sorry, when a huge portion of it is based on the opposition research, and I know the Washington Free Beacon started it, and then the Democratic National Committee took the over. And when it is started out as opposition research, I cannot imagine how that got through without new -- without more red flags, and more substantiated verification.
CABRERA: But you point out, James, that there are multiple layers to approve these FISA applications -- these FISA warrants through the application process, and when we look at what was laid out there, it was four Republican appointed judges who had to sign off ultimately, and allow it to go through. So, you think they overlooked what you believe is a flawed application?
GAGLIANO: No, absolutely not. And here is what I will go back to, I am not a proponent of the tinfoil hat crowd as they are called that believe in deep state, I don't believe in that. I think that much more often when we have things like this that turn up, it is less conspiracy, it's less malevolence, and more so based on just mistakes.
There were a number of agents that worked on these applications, and the number of level of sign offs, and there's levels of redundancies in the Department of Justice. And to your point, Ana, there were four separate judges, and let's take the political parties out of it, the four separate judges. And I have no problem with that. I am just struck by the fact that political opposition research could have been, if not the sole foundation of it, a huge piece of what that FISA application was based upon.
[17:10:10] CABRERA: Ryan, what are your thoughts on what we just heard from James?
GOODMAN: So, first, he can't really -- none of us can say what else it was based on because that's redacted. There are lots of pages that are just blacked out, so there is independent information that they had, and in addition to the independent information that they had, and in addition to the Christopher Steele document, and information from Christopher Steele.
So, for him to even give us the proportion, nobody can say that. And secondly, we don't just have four separate judges approving it, but they are approving over times, each time at 90-day intervals. And you presume that they are doing that on the basis that the wire tap is actually producing valuable information.
And so they must be getting valuable information from Carter Page. And then just as you said the reason that they used the Michael Isikoff news report is just to pin point that Carter Page is making denials, and some of these denials are false.
He tells Judy Woodruff in February of 2017 that he had no meetings with the Russian officials in 2016. He has testified before the House Intelligence Committee. And he had a private meeting with the deputy prime minister of Russia, sharks and that he has met other Russian officials, he admits that he has met the Russian ambassador.
He admits that he met the Russian deputy prime minister in July in his Moscow trip as well as his December trip, that information that the FBI would be providing these judges in addition to the information they are getting from the wiretaps, and then these strange categorical denials, false denials, they would want to know what is he hiding.
And I think it is only appropriate for them to then investigate him, and keep the large at going as long as they believe it is useful, and the judges think it is useful.
CABRERA: Ryan and James, thank you both, as always we appreciate your expertise here. A reveling quote from President Trump's Supreme Court nominee about President Nixon, and the Watergate tapes, could it foreshadow what he thinks now about the current investigation led by Robert Mueller? You are live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: President Trump's Supreme Court pick is raising some eyebrows with a comment he made in 1999 about the Nixon Watergate tapes, saying that the Supreme Court decision, a unanimous decision that required Nixon to turn over those tapes may have been wrongly decided. Here is the full quote from Brett Kavanaugh, which came during a legal
round table interview. Again, this was in 1999. He said, quote, but maybe Nixon was wrongly decided.
He say though, it is to say so, Nixon took away the power of the president to control information in the executive branch by holding that the court had power, and jurisdiction to order the president to disclose information in response to a subpoena sought by a subordinate executive branch official.
And I want to bring in CNN legal analyst, and former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste. So, Richard, what do you make of this comment from Kavanaugh?
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, it could show why President Trump likes to cut of his jib. He is a person who may some day face the same kind of dilemma, and when the Supreme Court declared in U.S. v Nixon that no man is above the law, maybe Mr. Trump feels otherwise.
CABRERA: Now, Kavanaugh did make a more recent comment in 2015 during a speech in which he appear to (Inaudible) position, what questions would you have for him if you were to question him as he goes through the confirmation process?
BEN-VENISTE: Well, whether in fact he believes a Special Counsel dually appointed and provided with the authority of the attorney general under the restrictions that he has, has the authority to seek evidence wherever he can find it, and to assure the American public of a full, fair, and open investigation.
CABRERA: How do you get somebody like him not to evade a question, or side step them?
BEN-VENISTE: That is always has been very difficult in context of a Supreme Court nominees where the opposing party does not control the committees that do the questioning.
CABRERA: So we will see. We will see.
CABRERA: I want to move on, because there is another Nixon parallel that we've learned about this week. We've learned that the FBI has a recording between President Trump and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, in which the two the men prior to the 2016 actual election, discuss a payment to a former Playboy model Karen McDougal who has alleged to have after fair with then private citizen Trump. Do you see those tapes as significant?
BEN-VENISTE: Well, now we check the box of tapes where the analogies to Watergate are just stunning, there are so many, and here is another one. Yes, in connection within the investigation as to whether the catch and release deal made by Mr. Trump's good friend, Mr. Pecker, was part of an attempt to influence the election. And that is a legitimate question, and whether these tapes show that
Mr. Trump once again has been very casual with the truth. In fact, where he denied the knowledge of the payment, according to what has been reported the tapes would put the lie to that.
CABRERA: Let's talk about Paul Manafort for a minute, because his trial is starts this week on Wednesday. In Virginia, he is facing charges of money laundering, tax fraud, other crimes. What will you be watching for?
BEN-VENISTE: Well, this is the first time that Mr. Mueller's team goes to court in a trial, and it will be quite interesting. The charges are several. Mr. Manafort's former partner Rick Gates will be a principle witness against Mr. Manafort.
[17:20:00] And the charges are very significant, over $20 million in tax evasion, and money laundering, there will be evidence about extraordinary purchases by Mr. Manafort, and a lifestyle where he was buying suits costing $15,000 apiece, I am told.
CABRERA: A lot of people will say, what does this have to do with the initial route of the Mueller probe?
BEN-VENISTE: Well, of course, this is a person who became campaign manager for Mr. Trump's campaign, and a person who is present at the significant meeting at Trump Tower in which the potential for damaging information against Hillary Clinton was the preview to the meeting. And his testimony, if it were truthful, about that meeting would be important.
CABRERA: Do you think that we will get a little bit of insight into Mueller's broader strategy through the course of this trial?
BEN-VENISTE: Well, I think that the trial will be a traditional trial about money laundering, tax evasion, and the variety of false statements, failure to register as a foreign agent. We will see the underside of American political consultants who go overseas, and work for the folks like Manafort worked for, Victor, the very, very, unusual person who he chose to sponsor, and to lobby for on behalf of Ukrainian connection.
BEN-VENISTE: But the Ukrainian connection to Russia.
CABRERA: Yes. Real quickly, if you will, I know that you will be watching to see the outcome of the trial, and whether the President then takes any action.
BEN-VENISTE: Well, this has been raised, not only a few times by the various trump supporters, but recently by Rudy Giuliani who once again raised the question of whether there is going to be a pardon, should Mr. Trump feel that somehow the prosecution is unfair for Mr. Manafort.
But the idea that Rudy who was once in a position of advising President Reagan on pardons would have considered a pardon to such a person under these circumstances is just extraordinary. It kind of blows the minds of people like myself who know Rudy very well.
CABRERA: Richard Ben-Veniste, thank you very much for bringing us your insight, and perspective on all of this.
BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.
CABRERA: Private moments streamed live on the internet, a ride share driver allegedly exposing passenger's intimate moments online without their consent. Details are ahead in the CNN Newsroom. Don't go away.
[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: When you grab an Uber or a Lyft, do you ever question whether you are on camera? A St. Louis area driver for Uber and Lyft is suspended after live streaming his passengers without their knowledge.
It happened in the St. Louis area, the driver installed dash cams in his car to record passengers, and apparently hundreds of rides were streamed online. Polo Sandoval is here. He has been digging into this. Polo, what more do you know about it?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the story was eventually, or it was first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ana, and going back all the way to March, that's when this 32-year-old Jason Gargac, who you're going to see in the video behind the wheel in just a few moment, video streamed his passengers.
He has spoken publicly to the Post-Dispatch explaining that the live stream simply offered him security during the Uber and Lyft rides. He added that is the main reason for web casting his passenger's behavior.
But he also told the newspaper that he wanted to capture interactions between himself and his passengers, so which one is it? We have been trying to reach out to him directly, hear directly from him why he did this, but we have been unsuccessful in our attempts to contact him.
This certainly also raises many ethical, and privacy reasons as well, several concerns there rather. So we wanted to know if this was illegal. So we turned to a constitutional law attorney who tells me that many states do have laws that are meant to protect you from being videotaped.
But they only apply in places like public bathrooms, changing rooms, your hotel room, pretty much anywhere that you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. And this attorney, Ana, told me that the back seat of a stranger's vehicle may not -- may not necessarily apply in these kinds of situations.
We should mention that this Uber driver has not face any criminal charges, and not suspected of doing anything. So, it is interesting to see exactly how this has unfolded, though it appears that he has not violated the law, and he certainly appears to violate a set of policies that these ride share programs have in place, or companies rather.
CABRERA: And so how do the companies deal with that? Is he still driving for these ride sharing companies?
SANDOVAL: Not anymore. Let's start with Lyft. They say that they have deactivated this driver, that safety, and comfort of their community is their top priority. As for Uber, they called this behavior, quote, troubling, and also that it is not in line with their guidelines, so they have removed this driver.
But interesting to what we have found today when we went on to Uber's website, they have a policy there for the drivers that allows them to install recording equipment on the vehicles as long as it is for safety purposes.
[17:30:07] The company however recommends that those drivers check in with local regulations. If you are working in New York, check in with the state there, and some states require the disclosure of the recording equipment, and obtain consent from the customers.
In Missouri, only one of the parties needs to acknowledge the existence of that recording equipment, and to know that that recording is happening, that is called, as we know, Ana, the one-party state system in this case, and this Uber driver is that one party.
CABRERA: It sounds like the victim so to speak of this incident, and there were many have talked about being a little bit violated. This was all streamed through Twitch. Is Twitch saying anything about this?
SANDOVAL: Yes, just a little background on that is. It is a live streaming website. It's very popular among the gaming community. In a statement, that company told CNN that it could necessarily comment about violations that it investigate, but they did clarify that the service does not allow people to share content that actually invades other's property, or rather the privacy, Ana.
So they did say that they do investigate these kinds of cases, and they take appropriate action. And in this case, of course, cutting ties with this individual. We have to say again, he has not faced any criminal charges.
And as we have just talked about a little while ago, he may have, not necessarily violated the law out here, based on what we have heard from the attorneys, but he did apparently violate the policies that are in place from Uber, Lyft, and Twitch.
CABRERA: All right, thank you very much, Polo Sandoval.
SANDOVAL: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: This is just in to CNN, a duck boat that capsized in Missouri killing 17 people, including nine members of the same family will be razed on Monday morning. Two investigations are now underway into (Inaudible) in which occurred in stormy waters. And one of the most heart wrenching stories centered around Tia
Coleman, a mother who lost her husband, three children, and five other members of her family. Here she is describing the terrifying moment when that water started pouring into the sinking boat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIA COLEMAN, LOST THREE CHILDREN IN ACCIDENT: I have always loved water. I don't know if it is a Pisces, or what, but I have always loved water. But when that water came over to the boat, I didn't know what happened. I had my son right next to me.
But when the water filled up the boat, I could no longer see, and I couldn't feel anybody, and I couldn't see. I just remember that I got to get out. I have to get out. And I just remember kicking, and swimming, and swimming up to the top, and as I was swimming up, I was praying saying, I said, Lord, please, let me get to my babies, and I've got to get to my babies.
I've got to get to my babies. And I was kicking it, and the harder I fought to get up to the top, I was getting pulled down. And I kept fighting, and I kept fighting, and I said, Lord, if I can't make it, there is no use in keeping me here. And so I just let go. And I started floating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: If you would like to help the victims of the duck boat accident, log on to GoFundMe, and search for the Branson duck boat survivors. Still to come, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency has made his first major move since taking over, and so what has the former coal lobbyist done? He has relaxed regulations on the coal companies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW WHEELER, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: I did work for a coal company, and I am not at all ashamed of the work I did for the coal company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We will take you inside of the swamp next.
[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Welcome back. The Trump administration is rolling back Obama era regulations on coal ash that waste -- that's waste created by coal plants. Instead, it won't be the government regulating the coal industry, it will be the states, and the coal industry regulating themselves.
This move was announced by the new head of the environmental protection agency Andrew Wheeler, who is himself, a former coal lobbyist. He had previously tried to get rid of these regulations. Here is CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta with a look at why these regulations were implemented by Obama in the first place, and what their rollback could mean, not only for the environment, but your health.
DANIELLE BAILEY-LASH, WALNUT COVE RESIDENT: It's quiet. It's safe. It's a family atmosphere.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Danielle Bailey- Lash grew up in Walnut Cove, North Carolina. The tranquil town of just over 1,000 people sits right along the picturesque Belews Lake. The lake that was a big reason to move in this area.
BAILEY-LASH: Dream location. It had everything that we needed and the price was right.
GUPTA: The price was right because just over those trees is the Belews Creek steam station. One of Duke Energy's largest coal burning power plants, and one of the realities of coal burning plants is that you need a place to dispose of the waste. And that traditionally meant coal ash ponds like this.
It may look like a beautiful lake, but it is basically an unlined pit in the ground with millions of tons of ash. Mercury, cadmium, arsenic, contaminants associated with cancer, right in Danielle's backyard. In 2009, Danielle began experiencing headaches. BAILEY-LASH: And I went to the hospital, and they told me I had a
brain tumor. And they weren't lying. They said it was the size of a drink box right over here.
GUPTA: Can I take a look again?
GUPTA: She was diagnosed with stage three astrocytoma, brain cancer. What do you think caused this?
BAILEY-LASH: I'm 100 percent sure I know what caused it. That's Duke Energy.
GUPTA: Of course that is impossible to know for certain. Her doctors can't say.
[17:40:00] There have been too few studies to make conclusions. But I wanted to see the water myself. This is the beautiful Catawba River. These waters travel from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some 400 miles out to the coast of Charleston, South Carolina.
All along the way you are going to see these coal power plants as this one you see right over here behind me here. Some have called this river the most electrified river in America as a result. And with those plants you see the coal ash ponds.
That's a concern because if there is seepage from these coal ash ponds into the river, or the river becomes inundated with contaminants because of the break in the dam, that would devastate the drinking water for some two million people living in this area. River keeper Sam Perkins is giving me a tour of what he calls the capital of coal ash.
SAM PERKINS, CATAWBA RIVER KEEPER: You are looking up at about 100 feet that has built up other the years holding back all that ash.
GUPTA: How safe is it?
PERKINS: That's earth. You have freezing, thong, expansion, contraction. And you have dam safety issues.
GUPTA: In fact, in 2008, a break-in the dam at a Tennessee valley authority power plant inundated the surrounding area with over a billion gallons of ash, and sludge. In early 2014, a corroded pipe at the Duke's Dan River Station here in North Carolina released up to 39,000 tons of coal ash into nearby waters. More than three years later, the state still warns against eating some of the fish because of the high mercury levels.
ERIN CULBERT, DUKE ENERGY: We quickly sprang into action to not only address what was happening at that particular site.
GUPTA: I met up with Duke Energy's Erin Culbert at one of their sites.
CULBERT: We also set up an entire task force to review all of our other facilities, and make sure we didn't have that kind of risk anywhere else.
GUPTA: And can you say for sure that you do not?
CULBERT: We can't say for certain we've got every pipe, but I can say for certain that we have grouted many, many, many pipes that would be allow any chance of risk from the basins.
GUPTA: You don't know where all these pipes are. We don't know what's risky, what's not risky.
CULBERT: We can chase pipes all day long. But the ultimate way of making sure that we have safe closure is to remove the water, and close these basins in a way that's federally approved by the EPA, and that's what we are really working to do here.
GUPTA: In 2015, the EPA did finally take action, and began requiring straightforward measures. Test the ground water. Close contaminating coal ash ponds. Place future waste in basins that have lings, measures that Murray Energy lobbied against back in 2017. Murray's lobbyist, the new acting EPA chief, Andrew Wheeler.
WHEELER: I did work for a coal company. And I'm not at all ashamed of the works that I did for the coal company.
GUPTA: According to documents, and photos obtained by CNN, Wheeler arranged a meeting between his boss Bob Murray, CEO of one of the largest coal mining companies, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. They presented the secretary with an action plan for, quote, reliable, and low cost electricity, a plan that included rewriting coal ash regulations. That same plan was also sent to the EPA, the organization Wheeler now runs.
FRANK HOLLEMAN, SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER: The EPA is in a rush to do things that will benefit the coal ash utilities. Purely because of the influence that the trade associations, and lobbyists.
GUPTA: And this week, the first set of proposed rule changes were finalized. Among the changes, ground water no longer needs to be monitored if the plant can prove that it is not polluting the water.
Our request to speak with administrator Wheeler was declined. In a statement provided by the EPA, he said, quote, our actions mark a significant departure from the one size fits all policies of the past, and save tens of millions of dollars in regulatory costs. Duke Energy is steadfast that testing has shown that none of the coal ash contamination has reached public ground water.
CULBERT: Testing continues to demonstrate that coal ash operations are not impacting private wells.
GUPTA: It's something Danielle has heard before. But when you live next to a coal plant, and an ash pond, even ifs it your dream home, you are always living in a bit of fear.
BAILEY-LASH: It was the dream. We are still paying for that dream unfortunately. But I will have to dream somewhere else.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Charlotte, North Carolina.
CABRERA: Coming up, it is an image that more than 1 million Twitter users have clicked on, chances are, you have already seen it. The Time magazine cover that morphs President Trump with Vladimir Putin. The artist who created this image reveals the story behind it next in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's do this.
GUPTA: The trench. Man versus lake.
GUPTA: And the world's longest set of monkey bars. Those are just three of the 200 challenges to overcome at the Rat Race Dirty Weekend, the largest obstacle course race in the world.
JIM MEE, COURSE DESIGNER: This is a single objective as the people to conquer it. And this might be the biggest thing they ever do.
GUPTA: Two hours north of London, more than 5,000 adults and children tackle a 20-mile course featuring 200 invented obstacles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't know what to expect, and what's next around the corner. You can't train specifically for it, and that's kind of why I like it.
[17:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything can happen in a 20-mile race. It's mind games you overcome, and you just keep pushing through the pain, and just get to the end.
GUPTA: The challenge is daunting. But course designer, Jim Mee, has carefully considered the race's degree of difficulty.
MEE: They are obviously very physical challenging obstacles. We don't want it to be so difficult, (Inaudible). There's no joy in coming in not completing something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My real favorite touches are the little things that we do. We have a pair of (Inaudible) with a rain inside. We have an old London cab that people climb through. We have even got a few old phone boxes, and we've buried features under the ground.
A big jump on this course, when you stand at the top of that, and peer over the surface, it's like you can almost see the curvature of the earth. Jumping off that thing, that is a mind game. And people get a great sense of achievement having done that. It's those quirky things I really think sets this even apart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The camaraderie is amazing. Don't stop. Keep on doing.
GUPTA: For top finishers, there are cash prizes. But for most of the racers, finishing with friends is all the reward they need.
MEE: The majority of people to come, and they want to do stuff, but they just don't get to do in everyday life, and behave like kids. You know, that's the opportunity we can give them. And at the same time, they're doing something really tough, really dramatic. Enjoyment in coming, persevering, doing something arduous, and then kicking back afterwards with mates, and saying, wow, that was insane, that was epic.
CABRERA: Have you seen the latest cover of Time magazine? It shows the faces of President Trump and Vladimir Putin morphed into one. There's a simple caption there referring to their recent summit.
Time also released an animated version online that shows the two leaders morphing back and forth. Watch this, as you can see the transformation. And joining us now is the artist behind that cover, Nancy Burson. Nancy, thank you for coming in.
NANCY BURSON, ARTIST BEHIND TRUMP-PUTIN MAGAZINE COVER: Thank you.
CABRERA: This is a fascinating image. And I love that we have the one that's morphing right here.
BURSON: Yes. It's great.
CABRERA: Very eerie. Very creepy. What's the story behind it?
BURSON: Paul Moakley is the editor at Time magazine -- the photo editor. And I've been showing him some creepy images for several years now, and he's been great, and always open, and receptive, but this has been really the perfect time to make this kind of statement.
And up until Wednesday morning, we really were not sure whether or not they were going to pick it. And then we had a couple of hours to get it together, and here it is, it was amazing. It was really fast, and I thought they were very courageous over at Time, and very forward thinking, as well, to do this.
CABRERA: You said it was the perfect time to make this statement. What message or statement were you wanting to make?
BURSON: Well, I think there's sort of a double irony here. Because, first of all, you can't combine a democracy along be a dictatorship. And so here we have the two leaders, and here they are together.
And the other thing is that, you know, there is a possibility -- a strong possibility that Trump would really love this image. He does seem to want to be a dictator. So that I think is part of the complexity of the image itself.
CABRERA: We also know he loves being on the cover of Time magazine.
BURSON: Yes, he does. He does.
CABRERA: So this was all your idea. And that's really interesting to me. Because I know this is obviously not the first time you've used this kind of technology. You've invented this morphing technology back in the '80s.
BURSON: That's true.
CABRERA: And it's been used, in other cases, to help solve crimes. We have the image, I think, that you've created for Etan Patz -- an aged Etan Patz. And you also created an image morphing six men and six women.
CABRERA: We show these images, clearly, it's not something so polarizing, and with international implications. Were you hesitant at all to go there?
BURSON: No, not really. I mean, I really think it's a time to be as relevant as we can be as artists. And so this was -- you know, I was just so grateful to be able to make this comment at this time.
CABRERA: How complicated is it to do this kind of art? BURSON: Well, the state of the art technology is certainly so much
easier than it was before. And it's everything now from Snapchat to still law enforcement finding missing children, and adults.
CABRERA: What kind of reaction have you received?
BURSON: It's been overwhelmingly positive. I've been so happy. It's just been amazing.
CABRERA: What are people saying?
BURSON: People are saying, yes, it's creepy, but they also have paused to think about it. And I think when you challenge the viewer to actually, you know, look at an image for more than a second, and really think about it, then, I'm just hopeful that it -- that it can make people reflect in a different way. And that's always what my work has been about. It's really been about people seeing differently.
CABRERA: Thought provoking, indeed. Thank you very much, Nancy Burson...
BURSON: Thank you.
CABRERA: ... for sharing your story with us.
BURSON: Thank you.
CABRERA: So it's the first trial to come out of the special counsel investigation. President Trump's former campaign manager is going to court this week. Again, his trial is about to begin on Wednesday. Details on that just ahead in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: You're in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Hello on this Sunday. And this weekend, the American people got access to the kind of documents never before made public, laying out the FBI's case for eavesdropping on an American citizen.
The FBI telling a top-secret surveillance court it believes Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser is also a Russian agent conspiring with the Kremlin. Page firmly denies the FBI's claims.