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California Driver Charged; Police Raid Suspected ISIS Hideout; FBI to Meet with Florida Officials on Election Hacking Claims; Rosenstein Blames Obama for Burying Attack on 2016 Vote; Poll: Most Think Trump Lied and Obstructed but Oppose Impeachment; NRA President Oliver North Steps Down; Tyreek Hill Pulled from Team Activities after Tape Surfaces; Trump, Abe Hold Meetings Leading up to G-20 Summit. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 27, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:31] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield.

We're following new developments in northern California where police are now saying that the man who slammed his car into pedestrians this week targeted the group because he thought they were Muslims.

34-year-old Isaiah Joel Peoples is currently behind bars. He's been charged with eight counts of attempted murder.

CNN national correspondent Sara Sidner has been following this story from Los Angeles. Sara -- what more do we know about this person?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So we are learning more information because his mother has been talking to reporters with the Mercury News and with some of the local stations there saying that he was certainly an army veteran and that she says he suffers from PTSD.

We have also been hearing from the police. The police saying that initially they were trying to figure out if there is a motive in this horrible attack where he -- the suspect rammed his car into a bunch of pedestrians.

Now they are saying they have evidence that he did so believing that the people he was hitting were Muslim. We also know from a witness on the scene who has talked. He said look, we heard him after he did this say, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus," after he had run over all of these people.

And as you know, he has been charged with eight counts of attempted murder. He was in court on Friday. There was an arraignment there where he did not enter a plea -- his attorney did not enter a plea. The police chief of Sunnyvale at the time said, you know, he did not show any remorse.

Of course, his attorney has said that indeed he is sorry and that he is quote, "praying for the victims" in this case. His attorney saying he does not believe that it was intentional. He instead has said that this client has a mental disorder. And it was due to that disorder that this happened. So it will be interesting to see going forward if police do in fact have this evidence that he was intentionally trying to run people down because a, of their race; and b, because he thought they were Muslim.

There could be more charges coming. California has hate crime laws. And certainly, the district attorney, as they look at all the evidence presented to them and decide that there is indeed a motive here that has to do with religion, they could actually add on a hate crime enhancement in this particular case, you know.

As you might imagine, the people of Sunnyvale are banding together. They're saying, you know, this cannot happen in our community. And if it does, we're going to be there for those who have suffered the most, those eight people hit including a 13-year-old girl who has been hit in the head, her skull having to be removed to release the pressure. Her brain was swelling so there are some very extensive injuries to those who were hit in this incident -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: All right. Sara Sidner -- thanks very much for that.

Meanwhile, a police raid and shoot-out on a suspected terrorist hideout in Sri Lanka leaves ten civilians dead including six children. And police are now searching for two possible terrorists on the run.

It started when police took down a suspected safehouse where they believe the bombs were being made, and possibly connected to the Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed more than 250 people. Investigators discovered ball bearings, ISIS flags and uniforms and a separate garage nearby which prompted the Friday night raid and as they tried to hunt down the suspects still remaining.

CNN senior international correspondent Sam Kiley joins me now from eastern Sri Lanka. What's the latest you're hearing there -- Sam?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, now that there is night fall, the whole country is on the verge of curfew. But this region has been on a full day and night curfew, following the raids last night first of all, at that explosives factory effectively, where 150 sticks of gelignite, 100,000 ball bearings and the materials, the precursor materials to make many dozens of very powerful bombs were found.

That then caused intelligence to be found there that led them to this safehouse where there was a gun battle briefly. One individual was killed outside engaging the police and special forces.

And then inside, three different suicide bombs, it's believed, went off killing six -- six terrorists, alleged terrorists, but also nine civilians, which the police suspect very strongly are members of that group's family. That family includes three women and six children.

[11:05:07] I'm afraid I had to bear witness to the scenes in the immediate aftermath. And they were extremely distressing. This was -- the killing it would appear of their own families by a group of extremists who have been directly now connected to the Easter Day bombings through one particular individual, the guy who's killed on the street, Mohammed Niyask (ph) is the brotherhood -- brother-in-law of the kingpin in the Easter Day massacres.

And there are continuing to be more raids and more arrests today just a few hour after that. For example, a man on a motorcycle was caught with a large amount of detonators and yet more gelignite.

SAVIDGE: Sam -- any idea how many more people they're still looking for? How long this will all continue?

KILEY: Tell, that is the big question. And the Sri Lankan authorities are suggesting that they think that they can wrap this up pretty quickly, not least because this is a country that had a civil war but has had ten years of peace and is now one of the world's most favored tourist destinations.

That of course, has gone to the wind so they're keen to get it back on track. They think that there are perhaps 100 to 150 members of this very extreme group. But absolutely critical to this all is going to be the role of the Muslim minority here in Sri Lanka. And it was the Muslim minority in this case that gave up details of both the explosives factory and the safehouse where this gun battle took place.

SAVIDGE: Sam Kiley reporting to us from Sri Lanka. Thank you very much for the update.

Still ahead, the FBI says that Russia managed to actually hack a Florida county ahead of the 2016 election but state leaders say the feds won't tell them which county. I'll ask the Florida election supervisor why the state is refuting the FBI's claims.


SAVIDGE: The FBI will meet in the next few weeks with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Rick Scott about Russian election hacking concerns that were mentioned in Robert Mueller's report. DeSantis has expressed frustration that state officials don't even have details about it other than the U.S. government claim in the report that one Florida county was hacked ahead of the 2016 election.

With me now is Paul Lux. He's the president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. Thanks for joining us.


SAVIDGE: Yes. Good morning.

According to that Mueller report, hackers targeted election workers' e-mails, kind of a phishing expedition it sounds like. Do you have any evidence of this, and were you made aware of it?

LUX: Well, so we were made aware of it, all of us supervisors in August of 2016 shortly after the spear phishing campaign happened. A lot of county -- I say a lot of counties -- my county specifically and several others were not even aware that the e-mail was sent. Whether our county e-mail servers filtered that e-mail already and blocked the malicious e-mails, I don't know. But I can tell you we have searched and searched and been unable to find traces of e-mail even coming into our e-mail system.

SAVIDGE: The FBI seems to allege here that there was a specific county -- they don't name it. Do you happen to know which county it might be?

LUX: Certainly I'm not privy to the things that the FBI knows. And, of course, you know, the way law enforcement notify victims, you know, they don't really go around telling everybody else what happened to a specific victim.

So, without a clearance level or the -- I would presume I wouldn't be on the list of people who would be informed.

SAVIDGE: Right, ok. Well, the portrayal the FBI seems to give is that this was a hack. In other words, somebody got through all of the barriers and managed to get inside of the system. Whereas, the other sort of scenario you portray there is where they're sort of probing. Which do you think is more accurate?

LUX: Well, so, again, if you look at the actual wording in the Mueller report, and of course, I haven't seen whatever FBI report it's based on, but it says they, the authors of the Mueller report, understand that the FBI believes that a county government was accessed, which is slightly different, in my opinion, than being actually hacked and penetrated.

Earlier in that same report, when they talk about a county or a state that was penetrated, they talked specifically about data manipulations that occurred in Illinois. So, of course, again, without knowing the actual contents of the report or even which county they might be talking about, what we do know is that in 2018, the secretary of state at the time and here in Florida received a letter from Homeland Security and the FBI director saying that there was no ongoing threat to Florida's elections in 2018.

SAVIDGE: Well, let's talk 2020 then. Because it seems fairly clear that the Russians may try to do something like this again. Is the system prepared to fend them off?

LUX: Well, so, of course, you know, the most -- the most complex and complicated and protected systems with the Department of Defense get probed and attacked every day. Certainly, Florida has been doing everything we possibly can to prepare. And we do not rest on, you know, the fact that we have been identified by a senior cyber security adviser for Homeland Security as being one of the best engaged in prepared states in the cyber security infrastructure environment.

But we have been doing a lot in Florida since 2016. Most of it, before 2018, to ensure that everything went off very smoothly, which, of course, it did. So, we're ever vigilant. We will continue working with our partners at DHS, along with the Center for Internet Security. And of course, the Election Assistance Commission for any and all support we can get from the federal government. So if there's an ongoing threat still we'd like to know.


[11:14:54] SAVIDGE: Well, how about this -- from the federal government. Let me ask you, what could the FBI specifically provide you, or the state of Florida and its elections that would be helpful, as far as understanding what the threat is or how to prevent it in the future? What could they tell you? What do you want to know?

LUX: Well, you know, I actually voiced this to Senator Rubio when we met not quite a year ago to discuss this very issue. And I said, you know, without revealing intelligence sources the -- we had a meeting. We were actually at an airport. Without revealing intelligence sources you could tell the TSA people do not to let people bring toothpaste on planes. TSA would post a sign that said no more toothpaste on a plane and people would stop bringing toothpaste on the plane. Nobody needs to know why, nobody needs to know how they know.


LUX: They could do that.

So when it comes to elections if there were security scans that needed to be run on our systems to ensure that the information we have is accurate, i.e., that homeland told us in 2018 that there were no ongoing threats to our election systems, then all they had to do is come in and say we need to scan all of your systems. And we would go through that process making sure everything was clean.

But right now, we have 100 percent of our counties, our members of the EI and MSISAC which is an information sharing and analysis center which means we receive daily e-mails of threats that are anonymized but they through the Center for Internet Security which is working in very close cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.

We have 100 percent of our counties have installed intrusion detection systems and intrusion threat systems.


SAVIDGE: So you're feeling secure at this point?

LUX: Well, as secure as we possibly can. But that doesn't mean that we're not continuing our vigilance, because we absolutely know that the threat changes daily. And so we continue to do things like inform our staff members, train people.

The human firewall is one of the most important things you can do. Training your staff to not open e-mail attachments that they don't know where they came from or who they came from, or that are suspicious when they come in. That is one of the most important things and we've been doing a lot of training here in Florida as well.

SAVIDGE: All right. Paul Lux -- thanks very much. We'll look forward to finding out how things work out in 2018 -- 2020, I'm sorry.

LUX: Thank you -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein defends the Mueller report and attacks the Obama administration for sweeping some of the Russian election meddling under the rug.


SAVIDGE: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is firing back against his critics over his handling of the Mueller report. Rosenstein said Russia's attempts to undermine the 2016 election were, quote, "only the tip of the iceberg".

He also placed blame on the Obama administration for burying concerns over Russian interference. Here's what he had to say about that.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The previous administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls and how they relate to Russia's broader strategy to undermine America. The FBI disclosed classified information about that investigation with selected lawmakers and its staffers. Someone selectively leaked information to the news media.


SAVIDGE: I want to bring in now former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst, Renato Mariotti. Good morning to you.


SAVIDGE: So Rosenstein says the Obama White House didn't do enough to let everyone know about the dangers that were posed by Russian attack. And I'm wondering does this investigation bears that claim out.

MARIOTTI: You know, it's unusual because this was not an investigation into the Obama administration's practices during the 2016 election. So it struck me as a political talking point by Mr. Rosenstein which is unusual because as deputy attorney general he's really supposed to be talking about what the Justice Department did. And it seems to me like he was trying to, I think, make an administration talking point for better or worse.

I will say that, you know, just on the merits of it, the Obama administration certainly could have done more to tell the public about the dangers of Russian interference. But they were blocked by Mitch McConnell and others in Congress who said that they would view any announcement by the President in the middle of the campaign as a partisan act. And they would attack it on that basis.

SAVIDGE: Let me ask you this. Rosenstein we know came under fire from Republicans and Democrats while he was the number two at the Department of Justice. The "Washington Post" reported that he told President Trump that he gave Mueller, the report at least, credibility. Will that be his legacy at the Justice Department, do you think?

MARIOTTI: I don't. First of all, I don't think Robert Mueller needs anyone to give him credibility. Anyone who reads that report sees the work of a fair-minded man. Someone who even President Trump said acted honorably. I think that that really says something about the stature of Robert Mueller and his actions in this case which were very honorable.

Regarding Mr. Rosenstein, I think his legacy ultimately is going to be, you know, some of the steps that they took during the investigation that were trying to play both sides, trying to, at times, placate President Trump and at other times trying to protect Mueller.

And then what we've seen is him standing silently as Bill Barr said misleading things to the American people and taking actions that I don't think are defensible. Rod Rosenstein has stood with him and joined with him on that effort.

SAVIDGE: You know, the Mueller report continues to deliver all sorts of insights including to what the report is now saying that, you know, the Russians hacked one county in Florida ahead of the 2016 election, that's coming from the FBI.

I was just talking with a person who's connected with the Florida elections, Paul Lux. Here's something he revealed in that conversation. Take a listen then I'll ask you about when we're done.


[11:25:04] LUX: If you look at the actual wording in the Mueller report, of course, I haven't seen whatever FBI report it's based on, but it says, they, the authors of the Mueller report, understand that the FBI believes that a county government was accessed which is slightly different in my opinion than being actually hacked and penetrated.


SAVIDGE: So, in your mind, first of all, is there a difference between someone who accesses versus hack, and just how significant is this revelation?

MARIOTTI: Well, the difference between accessing and hackings is essentially whether or not someone has defeated a security measure to do so. It may be an access maybe that they're going through a back door or a vulnerability that doesn't require them to defeat any password or other protection. That's likely what that indicates.

But look, I think there's no question that, you know, in this country we have our electoral systems are generally managed at the state and local level. That's the way that our system is set up. And we need to do more to protect those electoral systems.

In my home state of Illinois, we had over half a million names and addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, partial social security numbers, dates of birth were hacked by the Russians as part of this effort as well. That was also detailed in the Mueller report. And we need more resources to combat that in the future.

SAVIDGE: Renato Mariotti -- thanks very much for joining us this morning. Always good to hear from you.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, a new poll -- it could pose problems for Democrats planning to impeach the President. Why most Americans believe the President obstructed the Russia investigation but say he shouldn't be impeached.


SAVIDGE: There's some new polling numbers out giving us insight on how the American public views President Trump following the Mueller report. And the numbers also show some tough choices for congressional Democrats. A new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll reveals that 47 percent of Americans believe the President did try to interfere in the Russia investigation. And they said he did it in a way that amounts to obstructing justice. But in that same poll, a majority also said they do not believe Congress should start impeachment proceedings.

Right now, the President is golfing with the Japanese prime minister before heading to the Midwest, to hold a campaign rally to celebrate the latest blockbuster numbers on the economy. This, as the President is once again defending himself against criticism of his Charlottesville remarks as Democrat Joe Biden slammed the President and joins the 2020 race for the White House. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly. And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general, whether you like it or not.


SAVIDGE: All right. Let's begin with the President's day ahead of golf, diplomacy and the campaign rally.

Joining us now CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez who is at the White House this morning. Good to see you -- Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Always great to see you -- Martin. As you said, President Trump is on the golf course right now with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Those two leaders with plenty to discuss, including trade and security, obviously with the ongoing efforts by the United States to denuclearize North Korea.

The President as you noted also has a rally tonight in Green Bay, Wisconsin he will likely tout strong economy numbers just out this week -- 3.2 percent GDP growth over the last year in the first quarter.

And despite those strong economic numbers, the President still seems to struggle when it comes to popularity. Take a look at this polling. The President sitting at a 39 percent approval rating, a number that he's hovered over for months, if not years. The President clearly struggling to break through to the majority of the American people when it comes to his job approval.

And keep in mind, these numbers -- this polling was also completed after the release of the Mueller report. And voters, or rather those asked in this poll weighed in on that, too. Some 58 percent of those asked believe that President Trump lied about the Mueller probe. So, the President not really earning the trust or the majority of the people polled.

But still, as you noted, the majority of those asked did not want Democrats to pursue impeachment. So it's kind of an interesting situation here. An uphill battle for the President going into 2020 -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: It is a very interesting dichotomy. Boris Sanchez -- thanks very much for that from the White House.

With me now is Jeff Mason, a White House correspondent for Reuters and a former president for the White House Correspondents' Association. Also joining me, David Swerdlick, an assistant editor for the "Washington Post" and a CNN political commentator.

Thanks to both of you for joining me this morning.



SAVIDGE: David -- let me start with you --


SAVIDGE: -- and these poll numbers. A majority of Americans believe the President interfered in the Russia probe, lied to the American public and obstructed justice but say that Americans don't believe that the President should be impeached.

And I'm wondering what kind of position does this put Democrats in Congress who continue to investigate the President and have portions of their base that want the President to be impeached? How do they handle that?

SWERDLICK: Right. Good morning -- Martin.

So, I think these numbers are actually not that bad for Democrats because their leadership, because Speaker Pelosi has taken a wait-and- see attitude on impeachment and neither ruled it out, nor ruled it in yet.

I think they can look at these numbers and say ok, only 37 percent think impeachment is warranted this time. Only 62 percent of Democrats think impeachment is warranted. So they haven't gone off the cliff with impeachment yet. And they can now take their time, continue to investigate and they're in a position where they can see how things play out.

The numbers though that favor the President, I think going off of the "Washington Post" poll for a second, are the economic numbers. Stock market closed up 34 percent from inauguration day yesterday; 3.2 percent GDP growth; 3.8 percent unemployment. That is good for the President. And as long as he has those numbers in his pocket I think he'll take that 39 percent approval rating.

[11:35:01] SAVIDGE: And that leads me exactly to the next question for Jeff. And we've got these new economic numbers that have come out, despite those poll numbers that could be somewhat damning for the President. The good news, economically, seems to have outweighed them or have they?

I'm wondering tonight when the President is at his rally. What is he going to pump up most? Is he going to talk about the economics under his administration or is he going to go back and just hammer the Mueller report all over again?

MASON: Well, I don't think those two topics are mutually exclusive for the President. I think he will almost certainly talk about the economy. He's got a lot to talk about there. And he's very proud of performance of the economy under his stewardship and under his administration.

So he'll cite those numbers, I'm sure. He'll talk about the stock market. He's very proud of the stock market, particularly, when it's doing well. He stands back from it a little bit when it has dipped. But right now, he's got a lot to talk about.

As far as the Mueller report is concerned, I suspect that's going to be a mainstay of his stump speech on the campaign trail. And we'll no doubt hear about that again tonight.

SAVIDGE: David -- we know, of course, Joe Biden jumped into what is a very crowded Democratic field for the president this week. And then went right after the President for his handling of Charlottesville. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's when we heard the words of the President of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscious of this nation. He said there were, quote, "some very fine people on both sides". Very fine people on both sides? With those words the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it.

TRUMP: If you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly. And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals. People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.


SAVIDGE: All right. We haven't got a lot of time, but I do want to ask you both this question. David -- first, do you think the President cleared up the confusion over the controversy?

SWERDLICK: No, I don't think he did. Here's the thing with President Trump on Charlottesville. He's the moral leader, the leader of the free world, the head of government, the head of state. At anytime, he can give a full-throated denunciation of white supremacy, of hate, of division. And he hasn't chosen to do that.

Instead he sort of look at these little granular issues like I think Robert E. Lee was a good general and people I know think so, too. That's not getting it done. This is an issue where he's weak and this is why I think vice president Biden chose to come at him on this point.


MASON: The way that the President explained that comment yesterday is not the way that many Americans heard it when he said. And that's something that Joe Biden knows. It's something that Democrats know. And the fact that Biden sees it still as a weakness is the reason that he went straight there in his announcement to run for president.

SAVIDGE: Yes. As they always say, if you've got to explain the answer, you probably had a problem with the answer.

Jeff Mason, David Swerdlick -- good to see you both this morning. Thanks.

SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead -- drama, infighting and a shake-up at the NRA. Why another top executive at the nation's gun rights organization is heading for the exit.


SAVIDGE: We're following breaking news this morning.

A major shake-up at one of the country's most powerful lobbying groups, the National Rifle Association. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North is stepping down as the organization's president after serving less than a year. North was reportedly locked in a power struggle with longtime chief executive Wayne LaPierre.

Polo Sandoval is here. And Polo -- what more do we know about this pretty dramatic change?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely --Martin. That information confirmed by CNN here in just the last moments.

Oliver North making that announcement in a letter that he will not be seeking reelection as the president of the National Rifle Association, that letter read out loud during the group's national convention earlier this morning.

Let me give you the back story on this not only tension but also turmoil that we've seen at those high levels of the NRA. North, as you mentioned, recently appointed to that position here, making the announcement. And this is coming as leadership has been locked in this tension here, Wayne LaPierre telling the NRA's board through a letter that he was being pressured to resign by Oliver North according to the "Wall Street Journal".

That publication reporting that apparently LaPierre wrote that North demanded that he resign or face very serious and so-called destructive allegations being brought to light including that he made over $200,000 in wardrobe purchases and then charged those to a vendor. That among many other so-called destructive allegations that would be brought to light, should LaPierre not step down.

But here we are now, and Oliver North now the one who's choosing to essentially step away from this position. At least not run for reelection here. North, in a letter of his own, responded to some of this saying that his actions were in the best interest of the National Rifle Association. And that he was forming a crisis committee to look into the group's finances. That's highly unlikely now that this announcement has been made that he will not run for reelection of the organization.

Finally, a little bit of a back story on what has led to some of this conflict at those high levels of the NRA here. We are told, according to some reporting here, that the dispute is initially between these individuals originated in part from a dispute between the NRA and also a very high-profile vendor that the organization works with.

So this is really just the latest chapter in this ongoing conflict, again not only speaking to the tensions between these two individuals but also the turmoil. Oliver North deciding not to run for reelection as the president of the National Rifle Association.

[11:45:04[ SAVIDGE: You know, it's all very fascinating. We'll have to see how it continues to shake out. Polo Sandoval -- thanks you very much.

SANDOVAL: Thanks -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, new audio purportedly of Kansas city chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill discussing the alleged abuse of his child. The disturbing tape and what has come next right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: This next story is one that still has a great many questions attached to it. Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been pulled from all team activities after a disturbing audio surfaced purportedly of Hill and his fiancee discussing the police investigation of the alleged abuse of their 3-year-old son. His fiancee reportedly suggesting on that tape that Hill broke the boy's arm.

The team's general manager says they are deeply concerned with what they have heard.

CNN correspondent Ryan Young is covering the story for us. And Ryan -- this audio is 11 minutes, I think. So what can we glean from this?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's 11 minutes but it's hard to listen to, especially because we don't have all the facts in this case. We know there has been a case involved with this but you really don't who to point the fingers at. I think it's best for people at home to at least listen to a portion of it.


[11:50:04] BRETT VEACH, CHIEFS GENERAL MANAGER: -- foreseeable future, Tyreek Hill will not take part in team activities.

YOUNG: This decision by the Kansas City Chiefs comes hours after an audio recording surfaced Thursday purportedly between the wide receiver and his fiancee Crystal Espinal as they discuss how he treats their son.

In an exchange on the recording obtained exclusively by CNN affiliate KCTV --

CRYSTAL ESPINAL, FIANCEE OF TYREEK HILL: He is terrified of you. And you say that he respects you but it's not respect.


ESPINAL: It's terrified. He is terrified of you.


You need to be terrified of me too, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

YOUNG: CNN has not authenticated the recording but KCTV says this exchange is part of a longer 11-minute audio recording.

ESPINAL: And then Then he kept crying because he was scared. He's terrified. And you grabbed on to him, somehow, or he fell? One of the two.

HILL: I didn't do nothing. That's sad, bro. That is really sad.

ESPINAL: Then why does he say "daddy did it"? Why? Why does he say "daddy did it"?

HILL: I don't know. He says daddy does a lot of things.

YOUNG: The couple was arguing over how their child got a broken arm. At one point they debated what investigators know about their son's alleged abuse.

The Overland Park, Kansas Police Department and the state Department for Children and Family have been investigating the child's welfare.

STEVE HOWE, JOHNSON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We believe that a crime has occurred. However, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed this crime.

YOUNG: Before the audio was made public, Hill denied wrongdoing. In a statement released by his legal team for the "Kansas City Star". He said, "I love and support my family above anything. My son's health and happiness is my number one priority."

Hill's legal representatives did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment about the allegations. And we have been unable to reach Espinal.


YOUNG: Martin, as you know, this man is a star in the NFL. But it doesn't matter, right because the focus should be on that child. We know he has been removed from the home right now. We're not sure if an investigation has been reopened in this case.

But there's so many questions. I mean let's not forget, that's just a portion of the 11-minute tape. So many more questions now because of it being released at this point.

SAVIDGE: Yes. All right.

Ryan -- good to see you. Sorry for the subject matter but nice to see you -- thanks.

Still ahead, Vladimir Putin -- he may be emerging as a key player in nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the U.S. after his historic summit with Kim Jong-un. Here is the question. Is Russia helping or hurting?


SAVIDGE: Right now, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are playing a round of golf after holding trade and policy meetings at the White House. They have got a lot to talk about.

Upcoming bilateral trade talks between the two nations, and the ongoing American effort to stabilize that region and denuclearize North Korea. Of course, this is all leading up to the G-20 summit which will be held in Japan, Osaka, in late June.

Joining me to talk about all this, CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd.

I've got to say about the Japanese prime minister, he always seems to show up at very interesting times. And I don't necessarily think that's by accident. But anyway, Sam -- what do you think? What are they going to get accomplished?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think that Prime Minister Abe has done his homework and perhaps understands President Trump better than perhaps President Trump understands himself.

It's no accident that Prime Minister Abe has flown all the way here and is playing golf with the President after complex negotiations. I think that we have a pretty good idea of who is going to win that golf game based upon the fact that Abe is really in the United States right now to make progress on two fronts -- one is on trade and the second is on North Korea.

And North Korea, it's really worth noting that Abe is a very important counterweight to other visitors and other discussions that President Trump is having on North Korea right now.

The South Koreans, another one of our allies have really become messengers for Kim Jong-un and are urging us to stay involved in these diplomatic negotiations that are going nowhere.

Abe is coming up just from an entirely different angle. Japan has been opposed to endless negotiations in the past and has been very vocal about the fact that North Korea directly threatens Japan. And for that reason, we could express, I'm going to stress the "could" because we can never tell what will be with the President. We could expect the President to take a slightly less positive stance on North Korea, coming out of these discussions with the Japanese.

SAVIDGE: How about the recent meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong-un? I'm wondering, you know, Is this a power play by Putin to maybe, you know, pick up where Trump may have failed or is Putin trying to interfere? How would you portray it?

VINOGRAD: I would portray it as Putin doing what Putin does best which is trying to increase his own leverage on the global stage, which is in this case and often is to our detriment.

Putin did something very purposeful in this meeting with Kim Jong-un. He declared that North Korea needs security guarantees from countries other than the United States if Kim is going to denuclearize. He gave a nod to something known as the six-party talks.

What these means is that other countries will have to come to the table to negotiate with North Korea. And, of course, Vladimir Putin is positioning himself as a mediator in chief on that multilateral process much like he has done on Syria.

Vladimir Putin set up a separate set of Syrian negotiations to the process that was ongoing with the United Nations because in that scenario, as well, he wanted to increase his own influence over the process. In both cases, Syria and North Korea, of course, Putin is not an unbiased mediator.

SAVIDGE: No. Actually those countries are very close geographically but also politically Putin has been very close.

VINOGRAD: Yes. Putin has been very close with Bashar al Assad. He's been very close with Kim Jong-un. His friends and family list includes a lot of people that I don't think either of us would want to have at our dinner table. But that's no accident.

He is building a cadre of perhaps like-minded despots to counterbalance what used to be the U.S.-led liberal democratic order. Now, of course, we have President Trump spending more time with leaders like Kim Jong-un and there is a power play to an extent between Putin and President Trump, which has been long standing, based upon the fact that Putin's primary objective as well as Xi Jinping is ensuring that the United States does not get more influence on the Korean Peninsula, which is so close to both of their borders.

[12:00:08] SAVIDGE: Right.