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60 Ex-CIA Members Condemn Trump's Clearance Decision; Trump Looks At Stripping Moore Security Clearances Soon; Mueller Wants Papadopoulos To Spend 6 Months In Jail; Maryland Board Takes Over Jordan McNair Investigation; Maryland Board Takes Over Jordan McNair Investigation; "Russian Nesting Doll" Satellite Worries Military Analysts; First Lady's "Be Best" Initiative Troubled By Trump's Behavior. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired August 18, 2018 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no silence. If anything, I'm giving a bigger voice. Many people don't even know who he is. And now, he has a bigger voice, and that's OK. I say it, I say it again, that whole situation is a rigged witch hunt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daddy is a hero. He helps me --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody has her, just please bring her back. I just want them back. I just -- I just want them to come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Husband, Chris Watts, was taken into custody and was transported to jail.


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

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to be with you this Saturday. And the feud over security clearances is escalating. Ex-CIA Director John Brennan is firing back at President Trump after the president threatened yesterday to strip a DOJ official's clearance very quickly.


JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: He's drunk on power. He really is. And I think he's abusing the powers of that office. I think right now this country is in a crisis in terms of what Mr. Trump has done and is liable to do.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, the White House isn't backing down. The Washington Post now reporting the documents needed to strip additional security clearances from these top officials tied to the Russia probe, and they're ready for the president to sign. CNN White House Reporter, Sarah Westwood, is in New Jersey where the president is staying this weekend. Sarah, we understand that there are 60 former CIA officials who are now standing in solidarity with Brennan, is that right?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Christi. President Trump is facing a growing backlash to his decision to target former FBI Director, John Brennan. Former senior intelligence officials are speaking to call this move unprecedented while the White House struggles to explain the reasoning behind the decision. Trump has linked it to the Russia investigation. And while the White House has claimed that Brennan lost his security clearance because he abused it, aides have so far not produced any evidence to suggest this is anything other than political retribution.

Now, 60 ex-CIA officials joined forces this week to condemn the president's move, saying in a statement: "All of us believe, it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so. The country will be weakened if there is a political Litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views."

Now, crucially many of these former intelligence officials are not saying that they agree with how Brennan has gone about criticizing the president, but they're saying they all agree on Brennan's right to do so.

PAUL: So --

BLACKWELL: Sarah, what are we learning about the other security clearances that could be revoked? Is there a timeline here? Very quickly, seems vague, pretty relative.

WESTWOOD: Well, Victor, President Trump is weighing removing the security clearances of the at least nine officials who are either connected in some way to the Russia investigation or who have spoken out against this president. Those names include former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper; former FBI Director James Comey; recently fired Deputy Andrew McCabe; and one current DOJ official is on that list, that's DOJ employee Bruce Ohr, whose ties to the opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign have recently drawn scrutiny particularly from Trump and Congressional Republicans.

Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is threatening to take action against the president if he follows through on his plan to revoke additional security clearances. Warner wrote on Twitter, "I will be introducing an amendment next week to block the president from punishing and intimidating his critics. They arbitrarily revoke -- security clearances. Stay tuned."

Now, this comes as the Washington Post is reporting that Trump has already drawn up the papers to remove those security clearances and aides are weighing when to do so, potentially waiting to execute on those decisions when an opportune time comes along, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah Westwood for us there in New Jersey. Thank you.

PAUL: So, Errol Lewis, CNN Political Commentator and Political Anchor for Spectrum News with us; as well as Brent Budowsky, Opinion Columnist for The Hill and former Democratic Aide. Gentlemen, thank you and good morning to both of you.



PAUL: Good morning. So, Errol, I wanted to start with you. Is this essentially, this list that we're seeing this morning an enemies' list of people who have done the president wrong in his mind? Because I don't know the validity of polling these -- what the validity would be of polling these security clearances.

[07:05:07] LEWIS: An enemies' list is one way to put it, another way to put it would be an attempt to intimidate and influence and obstruct the ongoing probe into possible links between the Russians and the Trump campaign in 2016. I see this -- look, just as a short history lesson, people should recognize that some of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon included exactly this kind of activity, interfering with the Justice Department, interfering with the FBI, interfering with the special counsel and the probe into what went on during the Watergate era.

Donald Trump is arguably writing his own articles of impeachment, one tweet at a time by drawing up these bogus, politically motivated severances of security clearances and openly stating that it's because he wants to counterattack the Russian investigation.

PAUL: So, Brent, we know that Senator Mark Warner has tweeted this -- he said, "I will be introducing an amendment next week to block the president from punishing and intimidating his critics by arbitrarily revoking security clearances. Stay tuned." Now, the president is within his rights to do what he's doing. But how effective could an amendment be like this?

BUDOWSKY: Well, Christi, I hope it is passed. I think it would be effective it they'd do it, and it's valuable to raise the issue. And I want to thank CNN for inviting me on this morning to tell our audience that late yesterday, I suggested at a high level and in the right place that all of the retired CIA directors, who spoke out against this, ask for a private meeting with President Trump in the White House as a group standing together, to look him in the eye and tell him he should restore John Brennan's security clearance, he should stop acting like a rogue president, and violating the first amendment and being what Admiral McRaven said recently was someone who was acting in a McCarthy-ite way.

It is amazing that Russia is attacking America, and the CIA directors who are defending America are now on an enemies list by the president of the United States. That is unacceptable, that is unconscionable. And I think if the former CIA directors ask for this meeting, I think the president who recently met with Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator attacking us in a secret meeting with no Americans except the translator of the president, would have to agree to meet them. And if not, the American people would know that he refused to meet them. And I think the whole country deserves to stand with, as I do, all of these intelligence leaders.

These are great patriots. And a meeting with the president eye to eye, face to face, in the White House with all of those former CIA directors and intelligence leaders would make a clear and powerful statement to the president and the world that we can't have a rogue president who acts in a way that continues to help Russia attack our country.

PAUL: Errol, you know, we are hearing from somebody that we don't usually hear from when it comes to criticizing presidents. But Jimmy Carter is talking this morning in the Washington Post he said of President Trump: "I think he's a disaster -- in human rights and take care of people, and treating people." What do you make of the fact that we are hearing from Jimmy Carter at this point?

LEWIS: Well, there are sort of two brands that one associates with former President Carter. One is speaking the truth, you know. That was his slogan: "I'll never lie to you." And secondly, human rights. He's dedicated most of his life in the post-presidency to furthering and advancing democracy and human rights which have been notably absent from the Trump foreign policy. So that, you've got human rights abuses all over the place that this White House just doesn't talk about.

You know, there are hunger strikes, there are people in prison, there are gross violations of human rights, and even assassinations, all of which have gone on in recent times in Russia. You didn't hear the president talk about it once. And from what we can tell about his private, secret meeting with Vladimir Putin, none of it was even raised. So, these are important issues. Jimmy Carter has been an architect of making clear that it's not a source of weakness, and it's not charity, but it's a source of American strength to really fight vigorously for democracy and human rights. So, it's exactly what you would expect him to say.

PAUL: You know, it's -- one of the things that was perplexing this week is this news, Brent, about Rand Paul going to Moscow and our reporting on it last night from Manu Raju was not just that but that Paul wants to encourage all U.S. lawmakers to go to Russia and Russia lawmakers to come to the U.S. What would the strategy be there? I mean, how likely are the lawmakers, all lawmakers to do this?

BUDOWSKY: Oh, I think Rand Paul is operating a little above his intellectual pay grade with an idea like this. And I think -- I agree with what Errol said and what President Carter did. I fully agree with what Patti Davis, President Reagan's daughter, told Don Lemon that President Reagan is going to be appalled and outraged by this. I wrote a column praising President George W. Bush who I never supported, for giving too profound sweeping speeches warning about the dangers of Trump.

[07:10:28] And I think all the presidents might even consider a joint statement supporting all the CIA directors, as a group. All of them. This is dangerous in the extreme. It's not something that should happen in America. It's something that should happen with a Russian dictator. We are at critically dangerous moment in American history right now, and this has to be ended now. And we have to get the CIA directors in the White House to discuss it with the president. The former president should be applauded for speaking out as well. I agree with all of them and praise them all for what they're doing.

PAUL: OK. It is notable, however, that President Trump still has the support of his base. So, not everybody obviously coming to this from the same perspective as it has been for quite some sometime here obviously. Errol Lewis, Brent Budowsky, appreciate you both being here. Thank you.

BUDOWSKY: Thank you.

LEWIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: The breaking news, Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize Winner has died. He was 80-years-old, a diplomat from Ghana. He served in the U.N.'s top post from 2007 to 2006 and worked tirelessly for human rights.

PAUL: The current secretary general released this statement: "'Kofi Anna was guiding force for good." It was profound sadness that I learned of his passing. In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us." Joining us now, CNN's Richard Roth, he covered Annan for years. Richard, what does this mean to you? You did cover him for years. I've heard you talk about Kofi Annan for so so long. What is your take this morning? What is resonating with you?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're not supposed to say this as a news journalist, but I'm kind of in semi shock. Though, oddly I was thinking at him yesterday morning -- his book stares at me in my office and the CNN complex is moving, and I was thinking of where I'm taking that book. Look, Kofi Annan was the heart of the U.N. for ten years, and before that as director of peacekeeping. And as his family noted in a statement, the words you hear expressed about Kofi Annan: Often compassion, empathy, you don't often hear that about at times these faceless U.N. diplomats the world has been opinion of despite the heroic work done by humanitarian and rescue aid workers.

So, according to the statement issued this morning by the Kofi Annan foundation and his family, this is what they had to say following the passing at age of 80 of Mr. Annan: "Kofi Annan was a global statesman," they say, "and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations, he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights, and the rule of law." He was involved in many global crises at that time, in those ten years. Sometimes with success, and others he was able to escape condemnation. A lot of it by the force of his personality, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: Yes, I remember him just being a very measured, strong presence, I think. Richard Roth, we appreciate that. Thank you. All right. Well, it is the weekend. Some people might have a chance to be doing a little deliberation in their head. We're talking about the jury in Paul Manafort's fraud trial. They need more time to reach a verdict. His freedom and Robert Mueller's credibility are on the line. And apparently, the judge's safety is as well, as the jury will reconvene on Monday. We'll have more on all of that.

[07:14:58] BLACKWELL: Plus, the fallout from the death of a Maryland football player. The steps taken by officials last night and a new report that claims inaction by the university president.


BLACKWELL: All right. Two days and counting now. The Paul Manafort jury will return on Monday after it ended the second day of deliberations without a verdict and that verdict will be the first big courtroom test for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and President Trump did not hesitate to weigh in.


TRUMP: I think the whole Paul Manafort trial is very sad. When you look at what's going on there, I think it's a sad day for our country. He worked for me for a very short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person. And I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort.


BLACKWELL: Well, the former Trump campaign chairman is charged with tax evasion, bank fraud, and hiding foreign bank accounts. Joining me, Michael Moore, former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Welcome back.


BLACKWELL: OK. So, let's start here with this -- I don't know if it's a threat from Rudy Giuliani saying if they don't wrap this up in two weeks, they're going to unload like a ton of bricks on Mueller. How does the outcome of this trial impact public sentiment? We know polls show that if that support waning for the Mueller investigation.

MOORE: I think the Trump team has really been losing in the court of law and they're just trying to win now in the court of public perception. And so, that's what Giuliani's role is, to get out and throw bombs at the people. At the end of the day, if you think about the trial as sort of the first act of the opera, and we're just introducing the characters and Mueller's just laying out the theme of the money and how this is going to be a money case, but I can tell you he's planned the rest of the show out.

So, just like any good, great composer, he wouldn't play the beginning without having already written the ending. And so, just like we're rolling down to the second Manafort trial in a couple of weeks, the other trial is coming forward. He's police dropping him -- remember that we have not heard from Mike Flynn in a long time. Flynn's cooperating with the Mueller team. We're going to begin to hear what this cooperation is I think as the cases move forward.

BLACKWELL: Was that tampering with this case, what you hear from the president?

[07:20:12] MOORE: You know, he has a bad habit of interjecting himself where he doesn't belong. And it may be a signal that he's trying to send that he will consider a pardon, he may be just trying to say hang in there, it may be that he's flying to get some message across to jurors who might click on the television since they're not sequestered. You know, who knows? I mean, it -- he also is a master of shifting the story here. So, was he tampering with a jury, can you say it was an overt act or can you say that he's trying to definitely send a message to Manafort or other defendants who might be called witnesses in cases, perhaps.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's turn down to George Papadopoulos. Mueller's team has submitted a recommendation of sentencing up to six months in jail, the $9,500 fine for lying to investigators. What we learned from the documents, the filing released, is that they say he wasn't especially helpful, wasn't as forthcoming until there were text messages and e-mails and more information -- didn't even share that there was a cellphone until the fourth meeting with an attorney. How do you correspond or can you show some correlation between the degree to which investigators say he was not helpful, was cagey, was not clear? And recommending six months, not the five year or anything close to the five-year max for this guilty plea?

MOORE: The federal system has a sentencing guideline, and what that means is that the judge is bound within some range, they look at the crime, look at somebody's criminal history, they look at harm, they look at, you know, what's happened in the past. And ultimately, cooperation -- whether or not a defendant cooperates. It may be that the Mueller team looked at the guideline range and saw somewhere where they needed to hit maybe in the middle. It's often hard for somebody who has no criminal record to max out on a federal criminal charge.

And so, here, I think the Mueller team is sending the message that if you don't cooperate, it you leads down the wrong path, if you're not completely candid with us, then you can expect to do some jail time as opposed to, you know, what you might expect if he had been a full cooperate and had come forward voluntarily with information and held nothing back, you know, that they come in and maybe recommend probation. And they didn't do that here.

BLACKWELL: His wife has suggested that he should pull out of the plea deal agreement. Is that possible now? What are the potential implications?

MOORE: You know. it's tough at this point to try to withdraw from the plea agreement. And my guess is that he's got a lawyer that's telling him, look, if you pull out, or ever try to pull out at this point, you may have -- expect to spend a greater amount of time in jail. The problem that Papadopoulos had is he made the mistakes that a lot of criminal defendants make, and that is they go in and they think that they're smarter than the investigative team without realizing that probably the answers to the questions that they're being asked are already known by the investigators.

BLACKWELL: Quickly, on the larger Mueller investigation, here's Carl Bernstein...


CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: I've talked to people in the White House who say that, increasingly, the president has said to others in the White House that he wants to bury the Mueller report when it is written and make sure that it never reaches the Congress of the United States.


BLACKWELL: Is that possible?

MOORE: You know, that's going to be tough. Ultimately, the report gets sent to Rod Rosenstein, who's acting and in charge of the investigation. I suppose that Trump could try to make some maneuver to remove Rosenstein at that point. We might see some political play. But by and large, I think that you've heard from Rosenstein, and he's been before Congress for a number of times now, that he's going to let this report roll out.

BLACKWELL: All right. Michael Moore, always good to have you.

MOORE: Glad to be with you, thanks.


[07:23:40] PAUL: Well, the University of Maryland is under fire, Victor, over this football player's death and a "toxic culture on the team." There's a new report we want to tell you about that claims the school nixed plans to overhaul health care for its athletes, and that may have exposed Jordan McNair to elements that led to his death.


[07:28:42] PAUL: Welcome back. 28 minutes past the hour. We're always glad to have your company here. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: So, let's talk about the Maryland board of regents. They've seized control two of investigations into its flagship university after the death of 19-year-old football player Jordan McNair. Earlier this week, University President Wallace Loh admitted that the school didn't do enough to protect the teenager.


WALLACE LOH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK: The university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day of May 29th.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: A new report, however, by the Washington Post claims Loh nixed

a plan one year ago that may have protected McNair. CNN Sports Analyst and "USA Today" Columnist Christine Brennan with us now. Christine, always good to see you. Were you as surprised, I think as I was, to hear the president of a university come out and say the words that they accept legal responsibility?

[07:29:48] CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: We all were surprised, Christi, although I think it's the right thing to do. When you have a 19-year old student and its athlete but it's also was a student. Jordan McNair, when you have him died on the field because he wasn't -- allegedly, wasn't properly taken care of, back in -- well, May 29th. And he died in mid-June.

When you have that happen, that is such an extraordinary tragedy that I think it's any university, any person with a heart, any, any human being should react that way. And so, I'm glad as an observer that the university did that. That Wallace Loh did take that responsibility.

But you're right, in this world of ours, where everyone seems to be pointing fingers somebody else, it was -- it was extraordinary. But it was clearly the right thing to do.

PAUL: What do you think is Loh's future, especially, in light of this new report by The Washington Post about this plan that, that perhaps could have saved McNair's life?

BRENNAN: Exactly. That it's a -- it's a big deal because more and more universities are going towards this independent training idea. The idea being if someone's injured or hurt, you don't report right back to the people who want them on the field, you report to an independent group -- an independent person.

And so, Maryland did not follow the orders of it or the recommendation of its old athletic director Kevin Anderson, his previous athletic director. I think that sheds new light on this story, Christy. I think it is problematic for Wallace Loh.

And my sense is I don't know if it's months or years. But whatever it is, I've got to believe the entire leadership at Maryland will be gone. This is such a big story, broken by ESPN, of course. Such a tragedy, such a dereliction of duty of taking care of the kids, the parents bring their kids to school and say for the next four years you'll take care of my child, and then, they didn't do that.

So, I think this is as big a deal at Maryland as the Len Bias tragedy of over 30 years ago.

PAUL: And you know, that's the thing. We -- I can't believe on some level that we are still hearing about these problems with everything we know about the safety of these players that need to be taken. About heat stroke, and practicing in extreme heat as we've seen.

This has happened before. Why on earth is it still happening? And help us understand it's not just the University of Maryland. I mean, how expansive are these problems at other universities? BRENNAN: Well, and you're asking this the way you asked it, I think it -- you're speaking for every person in the country. How in the world is this still happening to our children in this country of ours?

I think it's probably happen in other places to some degree or other. There was the South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, when asked about D.J. Durkin, the Maryland coach in this situation, instead of expressing sadness, regret for the loss of a young 19-year-old, no, he immediately turned on the media and said, it was gutless anonymous sources.

That was the reaction of the coach at South Carolina, the head coach at another school after knowing about the death of this man. And they're not even focused on it. Took him 48 hours, Will Muschamp, to be able to finally talk about the loss of Jordan McNair.

So, I think, there's a culture, I think there's a mindset and we all kind of lead into it and approach it. Because, of course, if you're buying season tickets, you're cheering for your team, we love our college football. But there can be love of college football and also sanity in terms of how we treat these players.

PAUL: Well, what happens now? I mean, is there a plan, is there any overseeing board that is trying to craft some sort of plan or protocol for all universities to deal with this?

BRENNAN: No, no, there's not. I thought, Christi, when the Penn State story broke, the Jerry Sandusky horrors in 2011. I thought then we might see a group of 20 select University presidents come together with an extraordinary meeting and say, "OK, this is broken we need to fix this because that was all around the college football program at Penn State.

Nope, never happen -- never happen, the NCAA trying to punish Penn State, and immediately people push back and the NCAA ended up pushing back. So, I'm not throwing up my hands and saying there's nothing to be done. I'm just saying, so far, the leaders of our college football programs around the country, they are -- they're -- they seem to be reticent to do anything.

Maybe it takes a tragedy like this at this young man, and his parents -- you see them on T.V., such a -- such wonderful people. You see they're hurt, there see their pain, maybe. It's Jordan McNair that finally brings that bell loud enough so that people are paying attention.

PAUL: Well, not only that, but maybe it is cleaning house, so to speak, as you said. The leaders there, most likely -- we know -- we know, coach Durkins on leave, athletic staff -- other athletic staff on leave. Head strength coach Rick Court is gone. How expansive do you think this might be, though, they're specifically at the University of Maryland?

BRENNAN: Well, D.J. Durkin, their head coach, it's hard to imagine him coming back and I don't think he should. Because it was his culture according to ESPN, a culture of fear and intimidation with the players that may well have led to Jordan McNair feeling that he couldn't stop the sprinting.

That he -- that he couldn't stop because he would be vilified and criticized by the coaching staff and this -- and this strength coach. And strength coach is gone.

You know, I think it's probably going to be little steps. Obviously, Maryland will be an example in a test case. I think that a lot of universities will use it around the country. And while we'd say don't do this. But, there's a long way to go here. I don't want to sound too negative, because though a college football can be great.

[07:35:15] PAUL: Yes.

BRENNAN: And young men learn a lot from the game. And you know, I know you cheered for your Toledo Rockets and I grew up in Toledo cheering for them too.

This is not about bashing college football. This is about making this safer for our children. And I think you can have both, the love of football, and obviously, as sane and wonderful management of these young people in the coaches care for those four or five years.

PAUL: It take a lot of people agree with you. I'm behind you too. Christine Brennan, always good to see you. Thank you, ma'am.

BRENNAN: Christi, thank you so much. Take care.

PAUL: You too.

BLACKWELL: Some strange behavior from a Russian military satellite is worrying arms control experts what is Moscow doing? Is there a plan here? We'll talk about this coming up.


PAUL: Well, mortgage rates have steady this week. Here's your look.


[07:40:36] PAUL: Well, Florida Senator Bill Nelson is standing by his claim that Russians have already hacked in his state's voting systems, and have "free rein". Now, there are local officials whoever election officials in Florida who say that Nelson still hasn't responded to their requests for more information.

BLACKWELL: Well, Florida officials say they asked the FBI and Homeland Security Department about Nelson's comments. And we're told there is no proof to back up those claims. And the Democrat is in the middle of a tough reelection fight with Republican Governor Rick Scott.

There are new concerns inside the U.S. defense community about a Russian military satellite that's been acting let's say strangely. Experts worry the strange behavior could mean the Russians are planning to use the satellite as a weapon. CNN's Brian Todd spoke with experts who have been tracking it. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Blasting off from a Russian cosmodrome, a Soyuz rocket surges into space. Its payload a military satellite shrouded in mystery that was in June of last year.

Now, space and military analysts are investigating whether that satellite is the same one which atop U.S. arms control officials said this week was exhibiting "abnormal behavior".

BOB HALL, SATELLITE EXPERT, ANALYTICAL GRAPHICS INCORPORATED: When you look at the entire Russian catalog, this satellite and its children are the ones that jumped out, is the ones that are acting in an unusual way.

TODD: The satellites children, experts at the firm Analytical Graphics who've analyzed this satellite, believe the larger Russian satellite "birthed" a smaller satellite a couple months later.

Then, a couple of months after that, the smaller Russian satellite birth an even smaller satellite.

HALL: Almost like a Russian nesting doll.

TODD: The Russian Ministry of Defense even announced the first birthing. Saying, the smaller satellite would "inspect the condition of the larger one". But experts are worried, the Russians could be testing it out for military purposes.

HALL: The fact that it's the MOD, announcing that -- the Ministry of Defense announcing that and it's a secret mission. Clearly this -- even if it's a test satellite, it's got some kind of military purpose in what it's testing.

TODD: What kind of military purpose? The Pentagon and U.S. Air Force space command won't say specifically what they believe the Russian satellites could do.

But now, a U.S. military official tell CNN, the Russians and other adversaries have turned space into a "war-fighting domain"

MICHAEL KOFMAN, SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST, CNA CORPORATION: You can see the evolution of that technology in that. Is single satellite could then, sort of give birth to multiple smaller satellite which would principally be potentially kinetic weapons. Of course, we're thinking later on to the future.

TODD: This possible threat is one reason why the Trump administration has been pushing so hard for a so-called, Space Force.

AMERICAN CROWD: Space Force, Space Force.

TRUMP: Space Force.

TODD: U.S. military officials have told CNN, the Russians have already developed a satellite called Kosmos 2499. They've nicknamed it kamikaze because they say it could at some point have the capability to go on the attack and slam into American satellites.

Experts say the Russians could use satellites to jam American satellites, intercept, or disrupt crucial communications.

KOFMAN: A lot of our Image Surveillance Reconnaissance means our space-based, it's really more a United States ability to see in support of as forces that potential is threatened.

TODD: The Russians are flatly denying the U.S. assertion that they're trying to weaponize satellites.

ALEXANDER DEYNEKO, SENIOR DIPLOMAT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The same unfounded slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions, and so on, and so forth.

TODD: In denying that they have weaponized satellites, the Russians are again pressuring the Americans to join a treaty that would ban weapons in space. The Americans are resisting joining that treaty, saying there's no way to verify that Russia and China are curtailing their weapons.

And they say the treaty has too many loopholes allowing those countries to actually build their weapons capability. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Thank you, Brian. All right, coming up, First Lady Melania Trump, you're going to be seeing a little more for this week, or next week I should say. She's set to attend a cyberbullying summit. Of course, just a few days ago, her husband, President Trump called former aide, Omarosa, a dog on Twitter.

We're going to talk about the struggles of what she had in front of her pushing her Be Best initiatives inside this White House. Stay close.


[07:49:01] PAUL: 40 minutes past the hour right now, and First Lady Melania Trump is attending a cyberbullying summit next week. She's expected to address the positive and negative effects of social media on youth. One of the key issues, of course, of her Be Best campaign that this renews the growing concerns, however, regarding her husband's own behavior on social media.

There's a new piece in The New York Times that details what her life is like inside the White House, and how she feels about her husband's Twitter addiction. I want to read you an excerpt here. It says, "The sort of Twitter fisticuffs that tend to recharge her husband's batteries exhaust to the first lady. And at times, she's frustrated by his inability to compromise."

Here with me to discuss, senior editor of the Huffington Post, Lauren Moraski. Lauren, thank you for being here. We appreciate it. So, how does -- how does the first lady privately deal with President Trump's comments that really contradict her entire initiative?

LAUREN MORASKI, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, ENTERTAINMENT, HUFFINGTON POST: Absolutely. I mean, with this campaign it's called the Be Best initiative, she wants to get the word out about cyberbullying. But it completely contradicts what's going on in the real world with Donald Trump and Twitter. I mean, we saw this week with Omarosa, him calling her a dog.

So, she is trying in her own ways to make a stand on this issue, and we're going to see her on Monday, speaking in Maryland on the issue of children and cyberbullying. So, I'll be curious to see what she talks about.

She is completely aware about her husband's antics online. And I think, part of it is -- you know, her way to kind of get the word out about an issue that's really important to her and she's not backing down.

[07:50:31] PAUL: Yes, she said publicly, she knows that the public looks at this -- that they see -- you know, the differences here and in both of their thoughts. And that it's not going to stop her, she's going to go forward with it anyway which a lot of people have a lot of respect for.

I want to read another part of this New York Times feeds, because they say, "Just like her husband, she often ignores guidance from aides in favor of her own instincts. And directs her staff to fight back against news media coverage she dislikes."

So, there's a commonality between her and the president in that regard. However, she gets to pick and choose what battles she -- she's going to fight. Does it work better for her?

MORASKI: I mean, I think she's doing whatever she can. I mean, I feel as though she's under the guise of the president, she's in the public eye, and she's trying to stay as private as possible. She has a 12-year-old son and I think she's doing what she can to get by as well she's in the White House.

PAUL: Here's how this article described her relationship with the president. It writes -- they write, "In private, a former White House official said, the President and first lady give the impression that they like one another. But their rapport is not particularly warm. One person who has spent a considerable amount of time around her said, the first lady was far more relaxed outside the presence of her husband than when he was around."

Not everybody has a warm relationship -- you know, privately. I mean, nobody knows really what happens behind closed doors. But, what do you make of what we seen in public and what might be going on privately?

MORASKI: You know, it's hard to know. I mean, we -- from the reports say that -- you know, they sleep in different -- separate bedrooms at the White House, and even when they travel. I think that's part of the allure of Melania, is that we don't know that much of what's going on to its sort of a mystery.

She wants to maintain a private life and I think that's why we're trying to read into cues from her fashion. Read into her verbal cues or her nonverbal cues to figure out what is really going on behind closed doors, because we really don't know.

PAUL: You mentioned Omarosa and we understand that she's detailing in her new book the relationship between Melania that -- you know, the first lady and the president. What do you know about that?

MORASKI: You know, she doesn't have any concrete information but she does speculate that by the end of the White House, pretty much the next day. She guesses, of course, this is all instantiated that Melania will divorce Donald Trump the minute they -- he's out of the White House.

And she -- but the White House has said, you know, they don't even have a relationship. Omarosa and Melania didn't even have a relationship, so she doesn't know anything.

So, it's hard to say, but of course, but you know, a lot of this is speculation.

PAUL: Well, you know, at the end of the day, Melania is pushing forward with Be Best and doing her own thing showing a lot of independence. Thank you, Lauren Moraski. We appreciate it.

MORASKI: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Absolutely. Victor?

BLACKWELL: John Brennan, returning fire after the president revoked his security clearance. The former CIA chief says the president is drunk on power. More of his comments, coming up.


[07:57:40] ANNOUNCER: "STAYING WELL" is brought to you by non-drowsy 24-hour Claritin. Live Claritin clear.

PAUL: You know that saying, laughter is the best medicine. Well, this week "STAYING WELL" looks at a Laughter Yoga class where practitioners say, "Yes, it reduces stress and relieves pain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Laughter Yoga, we come together in a group and we generate laughter as a form of exercise. We make eye contact with other people and engage in playful exercises.

It's called Laughter Yoga because of the diaphragmatic breathing that takes place. When we laugh, it's a full inhalation and a full exhalation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laughing is good exercise. You feel it from the bottom of your diaphragm up. It really lifted my spirits in ways that I had not anticipated.

SOPHIE SCOTT, NEUROSCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: It feels good to laugh because you get a change in the uptake of the naturally circulating endorphins, and those are the body's painkillers and you actually get immeasurable, increase in your ability to tolerate pain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Laughter Yoga, definitely helped me to manage stress better. I'm more open to solutions coming to me because I'm in this relaxed space.

SCOTT: Over a longer timescale, you get a decrease in cortisol. And cortisol is the stress hormone. When you laugh, you feel better, you're more relaxed, and you become less stressed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breath in, stretch up.

I do think laughter is the best medicine. Science shows us it is and I experience in my own life.



PAUL: I failed, Victor. I said, he said I couldn't do that. Then, I said, I would be laughing at you not being able to do it.

BLACKWELL: I could get 10 seconds interview like that.

PAUL: I'm out, I can't do it.

BLACKWELL: Honest Abe is $9.7 million in debt. OK. Actually, it's the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation that owed the money. You see the management, they took out a loan 11 years ago to buy rare Lincoln artifacts for the Springfield Illinois Museum.

PAUL: Well, if they can't pay up by October of 2019 of next year, they may have to put the items up for auction. So, if you want to help, there's a Save Lincoln Artifact Go Fund Me page. So, far it's taken in little more than $21,000.