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NEW DAY SUNDAY
President Trump Called Off Strike Against Iran; North Korean Dictator Claims He Received A Personal Letter From President Trump; Democratic Contenders Woo Voters At South Carolina Convention; Mayor Pete Buttigieg Hosts Town Hall Today After Police Shooting; President Trump Delays ICE Immigration Raids; Filthy Conditions At Border Detention Centers; Iran Says, Consequences Of Fighting In Region Would Be Unmanageable; Navy Pilots Report UFO Sightings; Team USA Enters Knockout Stage With Magical Play; Pujols Homers In Return To St. Louis, Gets Curtain Call; Marlin's Wilkin Castillo Goes A Decade Between Hits. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired June 23, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's make Iran great again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are multiple things we could do with attacking Iran without launching a strike.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kim Jong-un has received a letter from President Trump.
TRUMP: He wrote me beautiful letters. And they're great letters. We fell in love.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-two of the 23 Democratic candidates for president testing their strength with black voters.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will not beat Donald Trump by fighting him using his tactics, on his turf, on his terms.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a president who has promoted hate and division, encourages white supremacy.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The most dangerous president in American history.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because we're not going back. We're not going back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our chance in 2020.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And we're starting this morning with the tense standoff with Iran. This morning U.S. national security adviser John Bolton warned Iran should -- quote -- "not mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness and that military action is not off the table."
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now all of this following the president's last-minute decision Friday to strike -- call off, I should say, a strike against Iran after they shot down a U.S. drone. Now, we have team coverage on this this morning. CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood in Washington.
BLACKWELL: CNN correspondent Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem where National Security Adviser John Bolton was speaking. And first we go to Oren. What do Bolton's comments tell us about Washington's next move in this back and forth with Iran?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've known National Security Adviser John Bolton was a hard-liner when it comes to Iran and he made that clear in his statements. He ticked off like just like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a long list of what they see as Iran's aggressive actions in the region. Netanyahu in fact went so far as to once again call Iran a devourer of nations and said they're looking to build an empire in the Middle East.
For now it was Bolton who said the strike was called off but not permanently. He said sanctions will come into place. The details of those will come out perhaps as early as tomorrow but he also warned Iran. Here's part of what Bolton had to say and what was directed straight at Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness. No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East.
As President Trump said on Friday, our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go. By far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting and more added last night.
Iran can never have nuclear weapons. Not against the USA and not against the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: Bolton also quoted President Trump by saying the strike was called off at this time. Emphasizing those words and apparently implying that that's an open-ended threat. That if doesn't go well, if the tensions continue to escalate and the situation deteriorates, perhaps a military strike could be back on the table.
Interestingly, Netanyahu made no mention of President Donald Trump's decision to call off that strike -- or retaliatory strike in return for the downing of an American drone. Bolton was not here originally for this -- or I should say only for this.
He in fact will have a three-way meeting with the Israeli and Russian counterparts, the national security advisers of those countries again to discuss Iran, perhaps with a heavier focus on Syria. Those meetings are scheduled to begin tomorrow. So we'll certainly keep an eye on that. Russia, much more on Iran's side than either Israel or the U.S. at this point -- Victor and Christi.
PAUL: All right. Oren Liebermann, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Now let's go to Sarah Westwood at the White House. The president, Sarah, said that he believed sanctions -- economic sanctions would drive Iran to at least the negotiating table.
What's the strategy now because we're hearing more hawkish language from Bolton?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor. But President Trump seems to be indicating that his administration is shifting from a focus on punishing Iran militarily to punishing Iran economically. The president saying that he wants to focus on imposing new sanctions on Iran rather than reviving the strike that he called off Friday night.
In fact, when he was speaking to reporters yesterday, the president even downplayed how close he was to pulling the trigger on a strike that by his account could have ended up killing 150 Iranians. The president though suggesting that he wants to follow an approach similar to the one that he criticize heavily when former President Barack Obama did it, which is trying to get Iran to the negotiating table and workout some kind of deal that would involve Iran giving up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The president took some shots at the Obama/Iran nuclear deal yesterday but said he wants to start from scratch and pursue a similar kind of deal, also suggesting that Iran could perhaps unlock economic prosperity if they were to give up its pursuit of a nuclear arsenal. The president repurposing his campaign phrase saying he wants to make Iran great again. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Iran wants to become a wealthy nation again. Become a prosperous nation. We'll call it, let's make Iran great again.
Does that make sense? Make Iran great again. It's OK with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Now, the president hasn't specified yet what exactly his administration plans to sanction of Iran's assets. But tweeting yesterday he wrote, "We are putting major additional sanctions on Iran on Monday." Then he says he looks forward to when those sanctions can come off. Says, the sooner the better.
The president has been under pressure from Democrats to de-escalate the situation. And tomorrow we will see what kind of additional sanctions in addition to the already existing punishing sanctions (INAUDIBLE) that Trump has in mind -- Victor and Christi.
PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: So, the pen pals they are reportedly at it again. North Korean state media is reporting that dictator Kim Jong-un has received an excellent letter from President Trump.
PAUL: Now CNN hasn't received confirmation from the White House that President Trump did, indeed, send the letter but CNN's Paula Hancocks has more on what we do know.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are back to the letter writing between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. KCNA, the state-run media in North Korea says that Kim Jong-un has received a letter from President Trump. They've also published a photo showing him reading that letter.
Now, according to KCNA, the North Korean leader said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content. Also flattering the U.S. president as he wants to do saying that he appreciates the extraordinary courage of President Trump. Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content.
Now this comes just a couple weeks after, we understand, that there was a letter from Kim Jong-un sent to the U.S. president. Mr. Trump did say it was a beautiful letter. He said he wouldn't reveal the contents but that he was happy with it.
Certainly we're seeing that these two leaders are back to communicating. Since the Hanoi summit in February, there really had been very little communication between the U.S. and North Korea. Those denuclearization talks had definitely stalled. The Hanoi summit where there was no agreement and both sides walked away with no agreement.
We had heard from Kim Jong-un that he wanted the U.S. to change its attitude in order to get these talks back on track. But it does appear as though this letter today is in response to the letter Kim Jong-un sent a couple of weeks ago.
It comes at an interesting time as well. We're just days away from the U.S. President Donald Trump headed to the region. He's going to the G20 summit in Japan where he's expected to meet on the sidelines with the Chinese president Xi Jinping and he's also coming here to Seoul around the G20 to talk with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. So certainly, we are seeing a lot more movement when it comes to potential talks, once again, on the denuclearization of North Korea.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
PAUL: Paula, thank you. So, South Carolina, the 2020 hopefuls wrapped up their speeches. They're headed to south Florida now for the debates later this week. We have highlights for you from the Democratic Party convention.
BLACKWELL: Plus, President Trump has called off for now the ICE raids on undocumented immigrants after a call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
PAUL: And later this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my gosh, dude.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow! What is that, man?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Some U.S. Navy pilots have been having some close encounters with UFOs. Why Congress is taking these sightings pretty seriously.
BLACKWELL: The 2020 Democratic candidates were in South Carolina this weekend for the state's Democratic Party convention.
PAUL: And the nearly two dozen candidates voided attacking one another being instead to take some positions on the issues. Here's CNN's Arlette Saenz.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Nearly the entire Democratic primary field descended here on South Carolina. All but one of the 23 Democratic presidential candidates was here pitching their message to voters.
You had Senator Elizabeth Warren talking about the need for structural change, saying that the time for small ideas is over. And Senator Kamala Harris was trying to sell her experience as a prosecutor, saying that she's the best person to prosecute the case against President Trump. Take a listen to what she had to say.
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HARRIS: Let me tell you, we need somebody on our stage when it comes time for that general election. Who knows how to recognize a rap sheet when they see it and prosecute the case. So, let's be that rap sheet, shall we?
He asked black Americans, he said, what do you have to lose? Well, we know civil rights investigations are down, hate crimes are up. We have a lot to lose. Let's look at the rap sheet where he told working people that he would help them but instead passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1 percent and the biggest corporations of this country. Said he would help the farmers but passed what I call the Trump trade tax. Trump trade policy by tweet and now we have got farmers who have soybeans rotting in bins and autoworkers who may be out of their job by the end of the year.
Let's look at the rap sheet where he said he would give everyone health care but he's trying to rip health care away from folks and turn back the clock on Obamacare. Let's talk about looking at that rap sheet where he has embraced dictators like Kim Jong-un and Putin and taken their word over the word of the American intelligence community. Let's prosecute the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Now the candidates were keenly aware of the optics of this weekend. Whether it was trying to sell their messages or trying to have a show of force. You had Beto O'Rourke bring up a bunch of supporters on stage, kind of making this into his own town hall. He was only candidate to bring the supporters up on the stage.
And later in the day you had Cory Booker and Joe Biden speaking back- to-back after a week of tension between of two of them over the former vice president's comments about working with segregation senators decades ago. That issue is still lingering over this Democratic primary.
Now, after all of these candidates appeared here in South Carolina, the tension now turns down to Miami later this week where they will participate in the first presidential debate.
Arlette Saenz, CNN, Columbia, South Carolina.
PAUL: So, Arlette, thank you so much. She just mentioned the candidates avoided a fight this weekend but Biden's comments about segregationists may still be a tender spot on the campaign trail.
BLACKWELL: On Friday the former vice president was spotted here hugging it out with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. And when reporters asked Senator Booker if he had buried the hatchet with Vice President Biden, the senator said there was no hatchet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOOKER: I don't think there was a hatchet. There wasn't. I have an obligation and I have this with people I love and respect, that you speak truth. That doesn't mean you're not kind and you're not empathetic.
But as a person who spent my entire community standing up for populations that are marginalized or demeaned or degraded when I heard what he said using language like boy in a way that didn't seem to understand the power dynamics and how that word has been used. I did what I think is the thing you do to people you love and care about which is you speak truth to them. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now for his part, Vice President Biden is dismissing the criticism. He insists that the remarks were taken out of context.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I do understand the consequence of the word boy, but it wasn't said in any of that context at all. To the extent that anybody thought that I meant something different, that is not what I intended. And it would be wrong for anybody to intend that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Mayor Pete Buttigieg returns to South Bend today after less than a day in South Carolina.
PAUL: Yes. The 2020 presidential candidate is hosting a town hall tonight. He wants to hear from residents after a black man was killed by a police officer. Now Friday Buttigieg came face-to-face with angry protesters during a march. And yesterday he offered his vision for the future of policing in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to live in a country where a black person and a white person feels the exact same thing when they see a police vehicle approaching and that thing they feel is safety. We've got to work towards that together in the name of our values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now CNN will be at that town hall in South Bend today at 3:00 central time, 4:00 eastern.
Later this morning, Congressman Adam Schiff and Senator Ron Johnson are guests on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER." You can watch it at 9:00 eastern right here on CNN.
PAUL: Well, President Trump is putting a brake on ICE deportations temporarily and officials say children that are being held at border detention centers are living in appalling conditions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE A. WALLACE TASHIMA, NINTH CIRCUIT, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS: If you don't have a toothbrush, if you don't have soap, if you don't have a blanket, it's not safe and sanitary. Wouldn't everybody agree to that? Do you agree to that?
SARAH FABIAN, LAWYER, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Well, I think it's -- I think those are -- there's fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and sanity --
TASHIMA: Not may be. Are a part. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Twenty-one minutes past the hour. Thank you so much for spending some time with us here.
President Trump is delaying his plan to have thousands of undocumented immigrants arrested and deported, at least for the time being. Here's what he tweeted.
"At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the illegal immigration removal process, deportation, for two weeks to see if Democrats or Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border. If not, deportations start" -- unquote.
BLACKWELL: Undocumented families and activists have been speaking of their relief. CNN's Paul Vercammen spoke to some of them.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Los Angeles, right at the top, Mayor Eric Garcetti had called these threatened sweeps inhumane. So, when they were called off, there was a sense of relief and also a lot of cynicism. That's because a lot of activist groups for the immigrants have long said that they believe that Donald Trump uses all these threatened sweeps as mere political grandstanding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen this from the Trump administration since the day he announced his -- him running his campaign in 2016. He's been doing this to feed the trolls, to feed his supporters, to let them know that he's doing something about the -- quote/unquote -- "immigration problem." It's just part of his M.O. even into his presidency.
VERCAMMEN: Although the sweeps were called off, the immigrant activists here had already set in motion a series of measures that they thought would help these immigrants. Among them, free legal counseling. They were also setting up what they would call the sanctuary network where people could go to churches or homes and this, the red cards.
They got the word out in a myriad locations that these immigrants should know that under their Fifth Amendment rights they have the right to stay silent so they would not have to speak to an ICE officer, and they also made it clear that under the Fourth Amendment that they did not have to allow anyone into their home, this would be an ICE agent, who basically did not have a search warrant that was signed with their name on it. So they were prepared. And they said that this means they will be prepared here in the future if there are any more threatened ICE sweeps. Now back to you.
(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: Paul, thank you so much. Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst and historian and professor at the Princeton University with us now.
Good morning to you, Julian.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
PAUL: Good morning. I want to start with a senior Democratic aide who said this to CNN. The president has -- quote -- "walked away from several deals on immigration. We have no illusions here."
When the president does walk back some of the things that he's saying, what does it due to his credibility?
ZELIZER: Well, I think now there's a record of threats that were not followed through or threats that didn't actually lead to any kind of deal. Both on foreign policy and on immigration. So, I think when he does this, many people see a political tactic rather than a negotiating tactic, and it actually undermines trust between the different parties rather than building a solid basis for an agreement.
PAUL: So the president, as we mentioned, in terms of these things that he's pulled back on, let's listen to some of the back and forth here from the president about what he says he will do and then what actually happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mexico's tough, they can stop them but they chose not to. Now they're going to stop and if they don't stop them, we're closing the border. They'll close it.
And we'll keep it closed for a long time. I'm not playing games.
Something pretty dramatic could happen. We've told Mexico the tariffs go on. And I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it.
I thought about it for a second and I said, you know what? They shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it and here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TRUMP: And I didn't like it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Now, let's be very clear. There are people who are grateful that he does not go through at times with what he -- what he promises he's going to do, but does that become at some point empty rhetoric?
ZELIZER: It does. And I think though in this case the threat still matters in that the people who are living through the potential consequences still have the fears about what this would look like. So we do have to remember that.
I do think in this case the threat in some ways is more appealing than the reality to President Trump. I'm sure there are discussions in the administration of what this roundup would look like on television screens and online and what the real consequences would be. So I suspect part of the pullback is also a result of understanding what this will really entail.
PAUL: So, you wrote an op-ed detailing President Trump's strategy to deal with immigration. And you compared it to President Eisenhower's operation wetback. What's the historical perspective there that is relevant today?
ZELIZER: That was an operation in 1954 and 1955 which focused on the roundup of Mexican immigrants who had been brought here as part of a work program. And it was a pretty big deportation.
The history is that it was quite brutal. And that it was not a bright spot as historians look back on the Eisenhower administration because it had terrible consequences on the people who were rounded up and deported back into Mexico in horrible, horrible conditions.
President Trump has often talked about this as a great moment in American political history. But I think many look back -- most look back and see this as a real dark spot in the nation's past.
PAUL: Do you see any point with which the president could, indeed -- as he said, he pulled back on this at the request of Democrats.
PAUL: Do you think that it's plausible Democrats and Republicans in the next two weeks are going to come up with some sort of immigration solution?
ZELIZER: It's doubtful. We've been through this before several times under the Bush administration, under the Obama administration. And there are real differences in terms of what an agreement will be.
If the president is talking about putting the DACA program, the dreamers program back on the table or some kind of path to citizenship, a dramatic offer, then I believe something would be possible. But I don't think that's in the cards. So if there's no concessions that are going to be made in a few weeks, there won't be any kind of deal.
PAUL: Does the president have any leverage with the Democrats, do you think, Julian?
ZELIZER: Not much. I mean, the only way he could possibly have leverage in this political moment is a really big, bold offer that goes against what a lot of Republicans want. I don't think he's going to do that. And it probably wouldn't survive the Senate, but that's the only kind of leverage he would have at this moment.
Something that the Democrats can't refuse. But that's not on the table right now.
PAUL: All right. Julian Zelizer, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you for being here, sir.
ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.
BLACKWELL: The conditions at a detention center where migrant children are being held are being called unconscionable. A report this week says that children don't have access to soap. They're not able to bathe regularly. And the 7 and 8-year-olds are looking after the toddlers.
CNN's Nick Valencia has the details.
JUDGE WILLIAM FLETCHER, U.S. 9TH CIRCUIT COURT: I find that inconceivable the government would say that that is safe and sanitary.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A contentious court hearing on the awful conditions in which some child migrants are being held. Conditions described by one inspector who this week visited this Texas Border Patrol station as "unconscionable," calling it a pervasive health crisis where toddlers are -- quote -- "left to fend for themselves."
One walking around only in a diaper, another in a filthy onesie.
Teenagers, not fairing any better. Older kids are taking care of the babies. And inspector tells CNN, adding, there doesn't appear to be child care there.
CLARA LONG, SENIOR RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: It just makes me, my heart hurt to think about what kind of last damage these experiences might have for these kids.
VALENCIA: Before the night circuit court of appeals on Tuesday, a Justice Department lawyer was put on the spot about those conditions.
JUDGE A. WALLACE TASHIMA, U.S. 9TH CIRCUIT COURT: It's within everybody's common understanding that, you know, if you don't have a toothbrush, if you don't have soap, if you don't have a blanket, it's not safe and sanitary. Wouldn't everybody agree to that? Do you agree to that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think it's -- I think those are -- there's fair reason to find that those things maybe part of safe and sanitary.
TASHIMA: Not maybe, are a part.
PAUL: And thank you, of course, to Nick Valencia for that report there.
Now, U.S. National Security John Bolton had a warning for Iran overnight following the President's aborted military strike Friday. We have live reaction for you from Tehran.
PAUL: Thirty-five minutes past the hour, and this morning, National Security Adviser John Bolton has told Iran to, quote, not mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness. It's been two days now since President Trump called off a military strike in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. drone.
BLACKWELL: Well, this morning, Iran's military commander has said the consequences of fighting in the region would be unmanageable.
CNN's Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran. So, Fred, what else are you learning?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the interesting things, Victor, that we've picked up on here in Tehran is that the Iranians seemed pretty surprised by the fact that President Trump came out yesterday when he justified the fact that he called off the airstrike and said that he appreciated the fact that the Iranians did not shoot down a manned U.S. plane that was also in the vicinity of that drone when it was shot down by Iranian air defenses. That clip of President Trump saying that, I think it was outside on the White House lawn, that's being played again and again and again on Iranian T.V.
But at the same time, you're absolutely right, the Iranians are essentially saying that the U.S. should not strike, obviously, and was wise not to strike Iran because they say that that would have, as he put it, unimaginable consequences for the region.
And the reason the Iranians are saying that is because they say, look, in their book, there is no such thing as a limited strike on Iran. There would always be a reaction by the Iranians. And the Iranians have said, if that takes place, that the reaction would not necessarily only be between Iranian military in the region and U.S. military, but the Iranians would also involve the proxy forces, many of them, that they have in the greater Middle Eastern region as well. And that's something that they say that the U.S. should always think about when it contemplates military action against Iran.
At the same time, you have the Iranian council of experts, which is one of the highest political bodies here in this country, come out and once again reiterate that Iran does not want to go into a war with the United States. Victor?
BLACKWELL: Fred Pleitgen for us in Tehran. Fred, thank you so much.
Well, plenty more ahead this hour, including Navy pilots. They're going public with stories of encounters with unidentified flying objects. Yes, UFOs. You're going to hear about it, their own descriptions of what they saw.
PAUL: All right. Listen, because I know I'm going to say this and people are going, come on. But there have been several recent sightings of UFOs by U.S. military pilots. So many, in fact, that President Trump and top members of Congress have just been briefed by the Pentagon about them.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Brian Todd has more on these unexplained encounters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh, dude. Wow.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A veteran fighter pilot surprised by an object outside his cockpit window.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a whole fleet of them. Look at my S.A. (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're all going against the wind. The wind is 120 knots to the west.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that thing, dude.
TODD: This video is from a U.S. military training mission off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida in 2015. The object is a UFO and American military pilots have seen so many of them in recent years that the Navy now tells CNN it's briefed members of Congress this week on what it calls threats to the safety and security of our aviators.
The Navy won't comment on what it told members of Congress. Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Mark Warner is one member who got a classified briefing.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): one of the key takeaways I'd had is that the U.S. military and others are taking this issue seriously, which, in previous generations, may not have been the case.
TODD: And it's even gotten to the level of the President.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I did have one very brief meeting on it but people are saying they're seeing UFOs. Do I believe it, not particularly.
TODD: But former Navy pilots tell CNN they still can't explain the objects they spotted. We spoke to Ryan Graves who flew Navy F/A 18 Super Hornet fighter jets. He was on that same mission off Jacksonville which spotted this object.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that thing. It's rotating. TODD: Graves told us this object was similar to what he saw on training missions off the southern coast of Virginia throughout 2014 and 2015.
RYAN GRAVES, FORMER NAVY FIGHTER PILOT: That was one of the most amazing things to us, or at least to me, is that these objects would be out there all day, and speeds that they're exhibiting as well as the flight characteristics, there's no platform or, really, energy source that I'm aware of that could allow something to stay in the air as long as these objects were.
TODD: Graves told us he and his fellow pilots first thought these objects were drones, then a near disaster.
GRAVES: Someone accidentally had one of the objects fly between his aircraft at very close range and gained visual, realized it was very unlikely it was a U.S. drone program.
TODD: Another former Navy pilot, David Fravor, told us he saw a UFO during a training mission off San Diego in 2004 on a clear day. What surprised him, the object had no visible propulsion and was much more agile than a plane or a helicopter.
DAVID FRAVOR, FORMER NAVY FIGHTER PILOT: This was extremely abrupt, like a ping pong ball bouncing off a wall. It would hit and go the other way and change directions at will.
TODD: Skeptics say these objects could simply be military hardware being tested on classified missions, unbeknownst to the pilots who spotted them.
BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: It's probably one part of the military not telling the other part of the military what they're up to for a good reason.
TODD: Still, Graves is happy that the Navy has a newly upgraded process for pilots to report these sightings.
GRAVES: If these things are operating in our airspace, the smallest amount of damage they could do is potentially take out a couple lives in an aircraft. And I think that alone is worth the investigation.
TODD: We asked Navy officials about Bill Nye's comment that these could simply be cases where one branch of the military doesn't tell another what it's doing.
A Navy official did not respond directly to that but did tell us they are working with the Air Forces and other branches to better understand what pilots are seeing.
Another Navy official told us, they don't believe that aliens are flying around in U.S. airspace but they do have to investigate all of these unidentified objects that pilots are reporting.
Brian Todd, CNN Washington.
BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now to talk more about these unidentified flying objects, Leroy Chiao, our favorite retired NASA astronaut.
Leroy, welcome back.
LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: Great to be with you.
BLACKWELL: So let me ask you, typically, these UFOs are mysterious at the time and usually explained later. Is that your experience?
CHIAO: Absolutely. And I agree with the comments that this is probably one part of the government not talking to the other part. We know there are classified programs going on. We don't know what they are. And you can bet that some of those classified problems involve flying vehicles.
You know, my own experience as an (INAUDIBLE) has been explained later as either, you know, caused by humans or by natural phenomenon. And I can give you an example, on my last space walk, we were in twilight when we were just right between -- just almost into sunrise. And you really are disoriented.
You're kind of in a fog and you can't tell just for a few seconds whether you're looking at earth or into deep space. And this is kind of a light fog. And I saw what looked like lights flying in formation going by. And I called out to my cosmonaut partner, hey, did you see those lights? And, of course, that was reported as a UFO sighting.
Now, I didn't think at the time that it was really a UFO. I thought maybe it was a military satellite constellation. And what it turned out to be is, in that fog, they were actually fishing boats off the coast of South America lined up using very bright lights to attract squid and the rotation of our orbit and the earth made it look like they were flying by.
PAUL: Wow. But at least you've got an explanation. So, Leroy, I want to ask you something as we talk about Apollo 11, which premieres tonight at 9:00 P.M. on CNN, 50 years obviously next month since that mission. How did that open up the path for what's going to be paved today and what is your hope for future moon walks?
CHIAO: I mean, it's just amazing to think about the fact that Apollo 11 was almost 50 years ago. In just a few weeks, we'll have that anniversary. And it certainly inspired me as an eight-year-old kid to want to be an astronaut myself. And that's where the dream started for me.
And, you know, to me, that's one of the most important thing, if not, the most important thing that comes out of a human space flight program. And that's inspiring the next generation, the inspiration that space shuttle provided and the space station and our future exploration programs. I think it's very important that we as a country continue to explore space, not only with unmanned probes, like the Curiosity, Rover and other fantastic missions that have been going on, but also with the human element.
And so, the next 50 years or so, gosh, it's hard to say where we're going to be. I hope we're on Mars by then. You know, in 1969, we thought certainly by 1990, we'd be on Mars. That kind of keeps, sets and been a moving target, but I'm hopeful we're going to get there hopefully sooner rather than later.
PAUL: He, Leroy, I want to go back for a second to the UFOs. Can we pop up those images again with the UFOs? I am thinking there's somebody at home who has a theory and they're looking at this going, it's the Russians, it's somebody from some other country that's spying on us. How plausible is that, Leroy?
CHIAO: Well, you know, I mean, it wouldn't be impossible but I would think it's unlikely for a couple of reasons. Number one, you know, the United States, historically, we've always been in the lead for these kinds of things, you know, when these programs come out and they're declassified later, and we have operational vehicles, it turns out that we are actually doing a better job at these advanced aerial vehicles in other countries.
Number two, if another country is developing these kinds of things, I think it's unlikely they would fly them in our airspace or near our airspace and risk, you know, having one go down and found by us, you know. So I would think that they would testing them well within their own borders in order to control and contain those secrets.
PAUL: Leroy Chiao, always appreciate seeing you. Thank you for waking up so early on Saturday and Sunday mornings for us.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Leroy.
PAUL: Take care.
And be sure to tune in the award-winning CNN film, Apollo 11, premieres tonight at 9:00 P.M. Eastern only on CNN.
Listen, a decade of hard work and perseverance on the baseball diamond has led to one of the most unique stories you are going to hear today.
BLACKWELL: The U.S. women's soccer team is gearing up for the knockout round of the World Cup.
PAUL: I'll be in front of my T.V. and I have one day off this week, and it's tomorrow.
Andy Scholes with this morning's Bleacher Report. ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, guys. Yes, this is when things get serious. You know, group stage was easy business for team USA. But now, no margin for error as the team enters the round of 16. And through three games thus far, you have team USA that have outscored their opponents 18 to nothing. And Defender Ali Krieger says, right now, team USA is firing on all cylinders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI KRIEGER, USWNT DEFENDER: What we're translating onto the field is really magical and we're very successful in what we're doing right now. And we're playing really well. And I think that's just what we wanted to showcase.
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SCHOLES: Team USA takes the pitch tomorrow at noon Eastern against Spain. The loser goes home.
All right, a very special moment at Busch Stadium yesterday, the Angels' Albert Pujols playing in his first series in St. Louis since leaving the Cardinals eight years ago, he came to the play at the top of the seventh inning and watch, smacks a home run to left. And all the fans in St. Louis just went bonkers.
They even kept cheering until Pujols came out of the dugout for a curtain call.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a visiting player get this much love from a city. You know, Pujols has won three MVPs, two World Series. But his wife, Deidre, said that moment was one of his best.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIEDRE PUJOLS, ALBERT PUJOLS' WIFE: Oh, man, that probably was the most special thing I have seen in his whole career happen. That was just amazing. It's emotional.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: All right. The Marlins meanwhile were trailing the Phillies three-two on top of the seventh yesterday, two on for Catcher Wilkin Castillo. And he rips a double to right (ph) to give Miami the lead.
Not that big of a deal, right? Well, this was Castillo's first game in the big leagues since June 20th of 2009. The last time he played, Castillo tore his labrum. Ever since then, he's been fighting his way to get back to the big leagues.
And a fun fact here, Castillo got an RBI in that game ten years ago where he was injured. With this RBI yesterday, he's the first player ever to have an RBI streak that spans ten years according to the Elias Sports Bureau. So, guys, it's like -- can you imagine just taking ten years off here from CNN and then coming in cold and doing some political interview and then knocking it out of the park, because that's what Castillo just did yesterday.
PAUL: Victor could do it.
SCHOLES: Victor could do it?
BLACKWELL: I'll take it.
PAUL: He'll receive it.
BLACKWELL: I'll embrace it.
PAUL: Andy, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Andy.
PAUL: So, up next, we're talking about the standoff with Iran. National Security Adviser John Bolton telling Iran, even though the U.S. called off a strike over a downed drone, military options are still on the table. We'll talk about it. Stay close.