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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Meets with Staff as Questions Swirl Over Russia Probe; Homeland Secretary: Russian Back-Channel Not a "Big Deal"; "Brave and Selfless" Victims of Portland Attack "Heroes"; 15-Year-Old Helps People Make Sense of Politics; North Korea Tests Ballistic Missile; Documentary Details One Man's Fight against the Taliban; Stocks on Big Winning Streak since Trump Inauguration; Disney CEO on 2020 Rumors and Magical Attractions. Aired 6-7 ET

Aired May 28, 2017 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Stay with us. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(MUSIC)

[18:00:01] CABRERA: And we're back. I'm Ana Cabrera here in New York. About the top of the hour, 6:00 in the eastern part of the U.S.

And President Trump is back in the West Wing as we speak. He returned from his first overseas trip less than 24 hours ago. He now confronts a growing controversy focused on Trump's son-in-law and Jared Kushner. Sources tell CNN he discussed creating a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Now, Washington is buzzing with new questions and diverging point of focus. President Trump's Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says a secret backchannel with Russia is simply not a big deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: You can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us is a good thing. And again, it comes back to whatever the communication is comes back into the government and shared across the government. So, it's -- it's not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines to any government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Meantime, that's not what James Clapper, the former of director of national intelligence, had to say. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: It's certainly arouses your concern about what's going on given, you know, Russia at least for my money is our primary adversary. They are not our friends. They are into to do us in.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: I want to turn to CNN's Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles.

Ryan, an administration tells CNN today, Sunday is a workday at the White House. What activity have you been seeing there?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. From what we know, the president has been in the White House today. A focused on his agenda moving forward and that means huddling with some advisors to not only talk about what he plans to do on the domestic front, but also how they plan to defend the president against these attacks that are coming his way in the light of these investigations into Russia's interference in the U.S. election.

And he's also huddling with his legal team. Not too long ago, we saw Mark Kasowitz, the high powered attorney that Donald Trump has worked with for many years, he was leaving the south lawn of the White House. He was accompanied by Ivanka Trump, of course, the president's daughter, and the wife of Jared Kushner, his son-in-law who was the center of a lot of this controversy. We don't know if Trump met with Kasowitz one-on-one, but we do know that Kasowitz was here at the White House.

And, Ana, he's an important figure. This is someone that's going to represent the president's private interests as this legal proceeding moves forward. He's someone that represented the president when he was sued for fraud related to Trump University by the New York attorney general.

And, Ana, he's also someone that has extensive connections to Russia. He's currently representing a Russian bank in a U.S. trial and throughout the course of his career. He's also represented various Russian interests. So, it's not a surprise that this is the lawyer that Donald Trump is turning to at this particular time.

CABRERA: And, again, he was getting in that vehicle with Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner's wife. This news about Jared Kushner dropped just as this weekend got underway. Some Republicans are now speaking out today on this.

What are you hearing?

NOBLES: Yes, one Republican we're hearing from is South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Now, this is somebody that isn't necessarily the first person to step up and defend the Trump White House but he has concerns about this report regarding Jared Kushner in this backchannel communication with the Kremlin. This is what Lindsey Graham had to say this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know who leaked this supposed conversation, but just think about it this way. You got the ambassador of Russia reporting back to Moscow on an open channel, hey, Jared Kushner's going to move into the embassy. I don't trust this story as far as I can throw it. I think it makes

no sense that the Russian ambassador would report back to Moscow on the channel that he most likely knows we're monitoring. The whole storyline is suspicious. I've never been more concerned about and suspicious about all things Russia than I am right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: So, Graham views this situation as suspicious. That's not a surprise because, Ana, we frankly don't know that much about it and part of the reason we don't know much about it is because the White House isn't telling us what they know about it. They're not confirming or denying this report. The most we've heard is administration officials somewhat broadly defending the concept as you played earlier with the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and others.

So, still a lot of questions about this but not too many answers here at the White House.

CABRERA: Ryan Nobles, thank you.

Joining me now, CNN global affairs analyst and online news director for "The New Yorker", David Rohde.

David, the secretary of homeland security, John Kelly, heard that sound byte we played. He suggested a backchannel to the Kremlin that Jared Kushner was allegedly pursuing could be a good thing.

DAVID RHODE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: If this report is true and what's unusual about, the idea of the backchannel is that -- again, we're not sure it's true -- but Jared Kushner was suggesting using Russian communications equipment to communicate with Moscow so he could have the secret back channel.

[18:05:05] That's preposterous that that's a good thing. I mean, what is he trying to do hide? Why would he not want, you know, the American government and intelligence agency to be able to hear what he was saying to Russia? And so, I'm very surprised by Secretary Kelly's response. You know, that's not a good thing.

CABRERA: He was just walking the line because he's part of the administration, do you think?

ROHDE: I don't know.

And Senator Graham is right. Maybe this story isn't true. Maybe Kislyak made this whole thing up and he was sort of, you know, they put false information in their communications back to Moscow to see what we're monitoring. So, it's not clear.

But for Secretary Kelly to say this is a good thing to use Russian intelligence channel, the Russian communication system to communicate when you've just won -- you know, elected -- your father in law's been elected president of the United States, that's very strange. CABRERA: I mean, the fact that it sounds so preposterous, Lindsey

Graham we just heard essentially graham saying perhaps this is bogus. Perhaps there was a discussion or perhaps there wasn't and essentially Kislyak said there was this discussion knowing he was being monitored by U.S. intelligence and wanting to throw them off. What do you think?

ROHDE: It fits this very broad, I mean, A, there's the fact that American intelligence agencies are included Russia tried to tip the election in Trump's favor, and there's this just broad, you know, question about why the embrace of Russia, why the backchannel, why this idea that we can have this great alliance with Russia that is our adversary, you know, and so different than the United States on so many basic issues about, you know, unbiased press freedom, you know, democracy in general and it's -- the administration keeps saying this is a good thing. It just -- I don't understand it. It puzzles me.

CABRERA: Is it a bad thing that you think to get closer relationship with Russia if that's what the intention is?

ROHDE: I think we should -- you know, you want to reduce tensions but I don't see some sort of alliance with Russia suddenly helping us, you know, combat terrorism more effectively with the president did on his trip in Saudi Arabia, you know, would be more to help. The only way you're going to win the war on terrorism is having, you know, Arabs and Muslims fight this extremism that exists in Islam.

It's not -- you know, it's not working with Russia. Russia is just not that powerful. And then the things Russia has done this Syria are abhorrent. The bombings, you know, the backing of the Assad regime. So, again, this is broader premises of an alliance with Russia is just, I find it very strange.

CABRERA: Meantime, the relationship with our ally, the president ruffled some feathers when he met with the countries that are part of NATO, basically criticizing some of those countries for not paying their dues in a very public way and then today we hear this from the Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The times when we could completely count on others, they are over to a certain extent. I've experienced this in the last few days. And that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: And if you listen further in her comments, she essentially says you can't rely on the U.S. or the U.K. -- again, saying Europeans need to stick together. What do you think when you hear that?

ROHDE: Well, it's disturbing and then back on Russia. I mean, this is a goal Vladimir Putin has had for years throughout his many years in power with the sort of split the U.S. from Europe, you know, to weaken NATO, so that's a troubling sign.

And then, look, this trip was strange, you know, President Trump went to Saudi Arabia, praised the sort of beautiful palaces they had there and then sort of made a veiled criticism of the cause of the NATO headquarters. He's sort of tougher on NATO allies than he is on these other autocratic states around the world, whether it's Saudi Arabia or Russia, and he's sort of exaggerating his impact on this whole issue of NATO payments.

Twenty-two of the 28 NATO countries were increasing their payment towards their defense budgets before Donald Trump took office. He is not singlehandedly, you know, changing that dynamic.

CABRERA: And he seems to imply in those comments that the U.S. is having to pay some unfair burden because of that.

ROHDE: There's a joint NATO budget and other members of NATO are paying that budget. There was a decision in 2014 after complaints from President Bush and President Obama that every NATO country should pay 2 percent of its GDP towards defense spending. All NATO countries have not reached that 2 percent goal yet. They are increasing.

CABRERA: And that's within their country. That's not to NATO.

ROHDE: No, the money that's supposed to go to NATO has been met. The Europeans are paying that. There's no increased, you know, American money going into fund NATO itself. That's all set.

Maybe, you know, you could argue that some of these countries if they did meet the 2 percent threshold, they would have stronger militaries and the U.S. would have stronger allies. But, you know, the commitments to NATO are being met and even before Trump took office, NATO countries are spending more on defense than they have been partly because they see Russia as a threat. They've increased the spending since Russia has gotten more aggressive and maybe its moves in Ukraine.

CABRERA: Real quick, I want to ask you about the Paris climate accord because we're expecting a big decision from the president this week. He chose not to sign documents at the G-7 that the climate change communique portion of some of the documents.

[18:10:02] He says he's going to make a decision on the Paris climate accord this week.

What if he pulls out? What's that going to do politically for him?

ROHDE: It could help him I think with his base. You know, there's a fierce debate in the U.S. about whether, you know, it's happening or not, it'll energize Democrats and it will definitely alienate these European governments, that was a big frustration to Merkel and other European leaders that he declined to sign it.

CABRERA: So, do you think he's going to do it?

ROHDE: The latest report is there's deep division inside his administration. I think he probably will pull out of the accord. That's my guess. I don't know. It helps him with his base but it just creates, you know, the same polarization here.

CABRERA: We shall see. David Rohde, thank you.

ROHDE: Thank you.

CABRERA: A heads up to anyone planning to travel overseas this summer. There's a chance that laptop ban may be expanded to include all international flights leaving the U.S.

Here's what Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said about this earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: There's a real threat. There's numerous threats against aviation. That's really the thing that they're obsessed with, that terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly it's full of mostly U.S. folks, people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Right now, laptops must be checked with luggage on U.S. bound flights from eight countries coming into -- out of Europe.

Next, the FBI now looking into possible hate crime charges in the fatal train stabbings in Portland, Oregon. This as we learn more about the two men who died trying to intervene. Today, they're being remembered as heroes.

And a dramatic crash at the Indy 500. The frightening video coming up, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:15:48] CABRERA: Welcome back. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera.

And we are getting some new details about the investigation into that fatal stabbing on a Portland commuter train. Investigators are looking into the suspect's background and they're trying to determine if he will face federal hate crime charges. Police say he started shouting anti-Muslim insults at two young women before stabbing the two men who came to their defense.

Those two men you see them here on your screen. The victims who lost their lives just for standing up to hatred and they're being hailed as heroes. The man on the left, 23-year-old, who just graduated from college. The man on the right, an Army veteran and a father of four.

CNN's Dan Lieberman was at a memorial service in their honor where he talked to friends and family about their heroic bravery.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're being hailed as heroes. The three stabbing victim in Friday's brutal knife attack were honored in a vigil last night in Portland. The victims came to the defense of two women aboard a crowded train at rush hour who were a target of the suspect's anti-Muslim and racial slurs.

One of those killed, 53-year-old Ricky John Best, was on his way home from work. He was a city employee, an Army veteran and father of four. His employers remember him as a model public servant. His mother telling CNN he liked to help people and said he will be missed greatly.

And 23-year-old Taliesin Namkai-Meche, a recent graduate of Reed College, an economics major. His school remembering him in a statement. One professor saying, quote, "He was a wonderful human being as good as they come and now he is a hero to me."

A third stabbing victim, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher survived and is recovering at a hospital. His mother speaking out, grateful that her son's alive.

MARGIE FLETCHER, MICAH FLETCHER'S MOTHER: I am feeling very, very lucky. I'm thanking God. I am feeling bad for my son who thinks it's his fault.

LIEBERMAN: She says he's not surprised and tried to intervene.

FLETCHER: Micah's always done that. It's -- I've told him his whole life, one of these days, Micah, I worry -- I've always worried about it, but he's always been that way.

LIEBERMAN: Strangers are leaving notes and flowers at the cite of the attack, calling the men heroes.

Dan Lieberman, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: At least three crowdfunding campaigns have now been creating in response to this attack. Together, they've raised nearly $700,000 for the victims and their families.

Up next, he's just 15 years old. He's keeping some of the biggest names in news up to date. Joining me next, the teenager who could help you, maybe even me, sort through the title wave of stories pouring out of Washington every day.

Plus, a frightening crash at the Indy 500. What happened to the driver involved in this wreck, next?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:22:55] CABRERA: If you aren't living and breathing news right now, it's tough to keep up with all the developments coming out of Washington and the White House. But there is someone who is doing all the work for you. He is just 15 years old. That's right, a teenager whose political sharpness and journalistic talent has caught the attention of some pretty big media institutions. His daily newsletter is called "Wake Up to Politics", and the brains behind, it is my next guest, Gabe Fleisher.

Great to have you with us, Gabe. I understand next week is finals week at school, so we appreciate you taking a little break from studying to chat with us.

How do you keep up with all the things going on in the political sphere?

GABE FLEISHER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/FOUNDER, WAKE UP TO POLITICS: Well, thanks for having me. It's difficult at times, but, you know, it's just all about balancing school and life and the newsletter and it's a lot of fun. Mostly, it's a lot of fun to do and it's an honor to be able to inform people.

CABRERA: I understand you've been doing this since you were 8 years old. So, seven years. Why did you decide to start your own political newsletter to begin with?

FLEISHER: Well, I've been interested in politics since like the 2008 elections and I first started writing it to my mom and it kind of grew and grew from there and it had 2,000 subscribers yesterday, and now I'm up to 13,000, so it's very exciting.

CABRERA: I'm one of those subscribers. Where do you find the time to do it?

FLEISHER: Well, I guess I wake up pretty early and it's called "Wake Up to Politics" and I try to get my homework done as soon as possible and I try to, you know, always stay on Twitter and see what's going on and just do it when I can.

CABRERA: I got to ask you a serious question because we're all grappling with this, in a digital age where anyone can start a blog, just about anyone can post just about anything on social media -- how do you vet the information that is floating out there to try and decipher the facts?

FLEISHER: Sure. Well, I go to a lot of different sources by my newsletter, I make sure that all of them are trustworthy. And I think it's more important than ever to, you know, stay literate with media and make sure all your sources are accurate and I -- CNN is one of my main sources I use and a lot of other outlets.

[18:25:04] CABRERA: We have a picture of you at work there. I understand your bedroom is your world headquarters as you put it in your newsletter. Are you into politics just because or is this something that you and your peers are talking about?

FLEISHER: For sure. I mean, especially since this election, it's something that almost everyone is talking about and I certainly -- I don't think I'm the only young person who's interested and engaged in politics. There's so many across the country, in St. Louis at my school and really everywhere. It's what's happening right now.

And so, it's a lot of fun to be able to be a part of that and to inform people at a time when it's so difficult to get information like you're saying.

CABRERA: I want to read you what President Trump tweeted today. He says, quote, it is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by these fake news media. It's very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers, fake news is the enemy.

What's your reaction to those tweets from our president?

FLEISHER: I mean, I would certainly say that journalism -- there's no more important time to be a journalist and I think that -- I think there are places online where there's incorrect information, but I think the vast majority of the mainstream media is not fake news. I don't think that's correct.

And I think it's unfortunate that there's a lot of people in this country right now who are forgetting that our country was founded on the freedom of press. You have instances in what happened in Montana and it's sad to see, you know, politicians kind of making that more prominent, that anti-media sentiments.

CABRERA: How do you restore trust in the media when our president is accusing reporters of lying?

FLEISHER: For sure. I mean, I think it's more important than ever for journalists to keep on -- just keep at it. Keep our heads down and keep writing facts and vetting information. It's what I try to do every morning. And I think it's so important to make sure everything is true and to vet things again and again. And I think the vast majority of the time that's what the media does.

CABRERA: If you could ask this president one question, what would it be?

FLEISHER: Well, I think certainly I would ask I think he -- as a young person, I think a lot of his rhetoric I think trickles down to young people and I would certainly ask him how he views, you know, his office not only as the president but also as a model for young people and if he thinks he upholds that.

CABRERA: Well, Gabe Fleisher, I hope CNN is calling you and giving you a job. You deserve it. You're doing great work. Your newsletter is really sharp. So, congrats and thanks for spending time with us. Good luck in your finals this week.

FLEISHER: Thank you so much.

CABRERA: Now, if you're away from your screen, you got to come take a look at this. This is a terrifying moment from the Indy 500 today. Scott Dixon's car flies into the air after he bumped into Jay Howard.

The contact, you seen, sent Dixon's car into this fence and the retaining wall. Whoo, look at that. Incredibly, both drivers walked away from this crash. They were later checked by doctors and cleared. Amazing.

Next, some breaking news out of North Korea. The country firing an unidentified projectile. We're learning about where it landed. A live report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:32:27] CABRERA: Breaking news into CNN. New provocations from North Korea. Pyongyang has tested another ballistic missile. President Trump was briefed about this launch, but it's where the missile landed that's drawing even more attention.

Will Ripley is joining us now by phone. Will, we understand this missile landed in an area of critical importance to Japan.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Hey, Ana. That's right. It landed in the waters very close to the Japanese coast known as the Exclusive Economic Zone.

This is significant because when North Korea launches missiles and they land so close to mainland Japan, it is a stark reminder of the dangers that these missiles potentially could bring to Japan and 52,000 U.S. troops based here, along with those 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea well within firing range here.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said that this ballistic missile did land within the Exclusive Economic Zone. So this water's very close to the coast. We don't know how many nautical miles from the coast just yet. We should get that information in the coming hours.

But, remember, it was back in March when North Korea simultaneously launched four ballistic missiles. Three of them landed less than 200 nautical miles from mainland Japan. And because of that, there was actually a coastal village that started conducting North Korean missile drills.

There's a nationwide North Korean missile alert system set up here in Japan, where they will actually stop all of the trains and subways and the bullet trains across the country in the event of a North Korean missile strike. I do not believe that that alert was activated in in this case, but it's certainly troubling for Japan, Ana, that these missiles would come so close.

CABRERA: And, Will, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was actually asked about North Korea today. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JAMES MATTIS (RET.), UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people's lifetimes. And why do I say this? The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So, obviously, this is a big deal, Will. Mattis went on to say the U.S. assumes every one of these tests makes Pyongyang stronger. Give us some perspective.

RIPLEY (via phone): Well, certainly the South Koreans have the potential to be hurt the most if there were an armed conflict to break out with North Korea. And that is why, over the decades, you see this ratcheting up of tension almost to the brink of war, but then both sides dial it back.

[18:35:05] I've been in North Korea a dozen times. I was there twice last month during two failed missile launch attempts. And the sense that we get from the North Koreans is they don't necessarily want to start a conflict with the United States. They're testing these missiles. They want to have an arsenal of them, but they don't want to use them because they know what the consequences would be.

Of course, they would never say it out loud, but North Koreans are acutely aware that they are massively outgunned by the United States. But what they think that these missiles and also the nuclear war heads that they're developing, what they think they will do is serve as sort of an insurance policy to stop the U.S. from provoking an act because they want the world to think that they are willing to use these weapons even though the eventual outcome of a full scale war would be catastrophic for all sides.

CABRERA: All right. Will Ripley reporting. Again, missile launch fired in North Korea, landing in Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone in the waters near the coast. We're working to gather more details about just how far this missile may have traveled, what type of missile it was. Keep it here with CNN, and we'll bring those to you as we learn more information.

Now, in the fight against terror, interpreters are key. They're sometimes the only people on the ground able to help our service members communicate. Up next, how a single man was tasked with driving a wedge between the Taliban and the innocent people in their grip. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:39] CABRERA: When we talk about the fight against terror, you normally hear about Syria and Iraq, but fighting is still raging in Afghanistan. At least 18 people died there just this weekend in a car bomb attack. The Taliban has claimed responsibility in that case.

This is a country that remains a quandary for the U.S. government. Right now, the Trump administration is contemplating sending thousands more troops to assist the ongoing war against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and now ISIS.

A new documentary, "Saber Rock," sheds light on the challenges forces face on the ground there through the eyes of a man whose role was to break the ties between the Taliban and the people in its grip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our main goal was to drive a wedge between the Taliban and the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The interpreters are a linchpin to the success of the mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You always prefer Saber Rock over any other interpreter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Rock was doing was making a difference and making an impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so the Taliban was hunting Rock.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Joining us now, two of the producers of "Saber Rock," brothers Thomas and Matthew LoCastro. Thanks, guys.

So for a lot of people, what's happening in Afghanistan is out of sight, out of mind. But the bottom line is, we have a lot of military men and women who are fighting there. And, of course, in this Memorial Day weekend, we honor them. You made it very personal in your documentary. Tell us about this man you profile and his role.

MATTHEW LOCASTRO, PRODUCER, "SABER ROCK": So it's Saber Rock, an interpreter. And he's really an interesting guy because every time somebody met him, they just fell in love. And the way it works is, when you're a good interpreter, your boss tries to steal you from them. So he ended up on the front lines in the most dangerous region in Afghanistan, the Sangin District, 1,200 IEDs per square kilometer. They called it Bangin' Sangin.

And he was, you know, there on the front lines, constant positive attitude, making jokes in, you know, extremely stressful situations. And that humor and that levity and that charisma that he had, you know, he won over not just our troops but the people on the ground. And it's really an inspiring story of the successes that can happen with the intervention of coalition forces.

CABRERA: And expand on that in terms of the importance of building these relationships with the people.

THOMAS LOCASTRO, PRODUCER, "SABER ROCK": Absolutely, especially in a place like Sangin. That's where Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it was not only the most dangerous place in Afghanistan, but potentially the entire world.

The challenges there are still immense. And having someone like Saber Rock, who didn't just verbatim translate for the troops, he was given objectives. And he would complete that mission, to go ahead and do what coalition forces needed to bridge the gap and actually turn the tide against the Taliban. M. LOCASTRO: There's a difference between a translator and an

interpreter who can take the message, the objective, make it his own, and really communicate with people on a personal level. And it has a profound impact.

CABRERA: It's so interesting. Based on what you learned, though, again, just trying to take us to this place, what do you see as the biggest challenge facing the troops that are on the front lines there?

M. LOCASTRO: Authority, authority, authority. The issue that we kept hearing time and again is that they didn't have the full authority to do what they need to.

The problem is really a triad. You have the ideological insurgency, which is the Taliban. You have the criminal networks, the criminality, the corruption. And you have the drug enterprise, which fuels and gives capability to both of those. Right now, we're only attacking the ideological insurgency and not these two more virulent and capable aspects.

T. LOCASTRO: But what's so fascinating for me was to learn about the fact that the number one source of opiates in the world, by 96 percent, are coming from Afghanistan. Other than pharmaceutical companies, all the opioids are coming from Afghanistan. $4 billion --

M. LOCASTRO: That's a $4 billion export.

CABRERA: Oh my gosh. It's all so complicated and all combined to make it such a dangerous situation there on the ground. And obviously, this is a country that we have been involved in, the U.S., for years. A lot of people call it the longest war that America has been involved in.

What do you see as the impact of sending more resources to that region? Could more troops, thousands more, make a difference?

T. LOCASTRO: Absolutely, without a doubt. When we withdrew, the numbers are staggering, the impact.

M. LOCASTRO: We had from 830 bases down to nine. So in terms of how many people across the country you could touch and give support to the Afghan units, it was greatly diminished.

T. LOCASTRO: Because the Afghan army is going to have a steel rod up their back with confidence when we have our people there standing with them and next to them.

[18:45:01] CABRERA: What's your sense of whether these military men and women feel supported by those of us here at home, by the government, by the people? And do they, themselves, believe in the mission? Any sense?

M. LOCASTRO: It's tough. It's really tough because, again, they don't have the authority to go after what a lot of them consider to be the bigger problems, which is the drug enterprise, which is the criminal networks. Terrorism is a layer on to the criminal networks. People think of it in a silo but it isn't.

T. LOCASTRO: And people can really relate to that criminal network maybe a little bit more because it's unbelievable the impact we have with heroin in the world. And even in that region, how there's a huge AIDS epidemic in Iran through the spread of needles, and in southern Russia, also all over Europe. The flow of drugs, which is literally funding this terrorism.

M. LOCASTRO: And this is why we love the documentary so much and many people have ranked it so strongly because it gives that case study of when things do work, of when you can have a man who can go in and have a dramatic impact on an area. I think the story of the radio, right?

T. LOCASTRO: Somehow Saber Rock would -- he's able. They lose an encrypted radio, and they go ahead get an entire village to line up on point and go through a flooded cornfield to find that radio before the Taliban does.

CABRERA: What do the people in Afghanistan want the American people to know about what's going on there?

M. LOCASTRO: The people of Afghanistan? We're not the Russians.

T. LOCASTRO: Yes.

M. LOCASTRO: It's one of the things that, you know, Saber Rock had a hard time with. We're talking about really remote regions sometimes in Afghanistan, and their memory is from the Russians and from these previous people.

CABRERA: Really?

M. LOCASTRO: You know, we're there to help them. And when you have a charismatic person, when interpreters know that they'll get supported if they go out on a limb to help the United States, then they can bring that message. It has an impact.

T. LOCASTRO: These special immigration visas are so important for people like Saber Rock because these are people that have served the United States for at least a year and under grave danger. And it's only fitting that we help those who help us, and it sends a message to everyone else in Afghanistan that if they step up for us, we'll step up for them.

CABRERA: Well, gentlemen, thank you so much for coming on and shedding some light for us. Really nice to meet you and look forward to seeing the documentary. I know it just came out. "Saber Rock" is what it's called. Thomas and Matthew LoCastro, the two producers. Again, thanks.

T. LOCASTRO: Thank you so much.

CABRERA: Meantime, Secretary of Defense James Mattis is the man leading our nation's military in the fight against terror, and his power only second to that of the President. General Mattis, or Mad Dog as he is known by his colleagues, spoke earlier today about this ongoing fight against ISIS and other terror groups.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTIS: Obviously, we're going to have to watch for other organizations growing up. We cannot go in to some kind of complacency.

I'm from the American West. We have forest fires out there. In some of the worst forest fires in our history, the most damage were caused when we pulled the fire crews off the line too early. And so we're going to have to continue to keep the pressure on the enemy. There's no room for complacency on this.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS HOST: What keeps you awake at night?

MATTIS: Nothing. I keep other people awake at night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Coming up. Disney CEO Bob Iger speaks out on the rumors he could run for president in 2020. Plus our sneak peek at Disney's newest attraction, "Pandora: The World of Avatar." You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:52:48] CABRERA: Donald Trump promised a lot of winning as president. And on Wall Street, he's delivered, particularly this holiday weekend. Christine Romans tells you what you need to know "Before the Bell." Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNNMONEY CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. For stock investors, these have been profitable days, another round of record highs last week. Since the markets close Monday for Memorial Day, it's a great moment to pause and look at the gains for the year.

A big run up as President Trump came into office and record highs after his speech to Congress in late February. That rally then slowed and then that freak out two weeks ago and now? Well, now optimism has returned.

The big prize for Wall Street remains tax reform, and investors seem willing to wait for it. Also, the passage of that house bill to replace ObamaCare is also a tax cut because it nixes the surcharge on high-income earners. The investor class clearly winning in the Trump administration.

But also this week, we get important new information for the American working class, the May jobs report is due Friday. 211,000 new jobs were added during the prior month. It's a slightly slower pace than the past few years, and it brings the total under President Trump to 522,000 jobs.

It's a solid start. But remember, he promises 25 million new jobs over the next decade and that's a pretty lofty goal. It would make him one of the top job creating presidents in history. Ana. CABRERA: Thanks, Christine. And she also spoke with one of the big

names on the president's advisory council and also rumored candidate for the White House in 2020. Disney CEO Bob Iger sat down with her to talk politics, safeguarding the "Star Wars" franchise, and opening a brand new attraction, one that he says features Disney's most advanced ride yet.

ROMANS: Ana, it was a wide-ranging interview, from Disney's stewardship of the "Star Wars" franchise to a great first year for Disney Shanghai to his hopes for tax reform and his own political future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Tell me what your hopes are for this new Pandora.

BOB IGER, CEO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY: This whole idea started when we saw Jim Cameron's movie "Avatar," and we were blown away by the world that he created.

[18:55:01] SAM WORTHINGTON, ACTOR: Outstanding.

IGER: Because it was so unique but because it felt so real.

ROMANS: Right.

IGER: So he created a digital world that felt real. And we felt that it was a perfect, perfect place or world to turn from the digital to the physical, and we also believed in our ability to do that really well. And so we called Jim and said, hey, we'd like to build Pandora, and he was amazed that we would have that ambition.

And here we are today, sitting in the middle of Pandora. I think he's actually still amazed. He calls it a dream come true because I don't think he thought it was quite possible.

ROMANS: It's remarkable, the Flight of Passage. There's really no way to describe it. It's not a traditional ride. It's also not a movie experience. I mean, how would you describe it?

IGER: I think Flight of Passage is the most advanced ride or e-ticket attraction that we've ever created. Obviously, what we tried to do was to simulate real flying through the world of Pandora. And we touched on or we tapped into a very, very core value of the Walt Disney Company, which is using technology to tell stories better.

ROMANS: I know that park attendance was up four percent in the first quarter. They're still coming, you know. What does that say to you about either the Disney experience and the American economy, that people can make this a priority in their budgets?

IGER: Well, I think it starts with the experience that we creative. And by the way, we're finding that attendance is up globally.

ROMANS: Right, OK. IGER: We got a great first year. Actually, we're just about to

celebrate the first anniversary in Shanghai. I think we create great experiences for people. They're memorable in nature.

And of course, we mind all the great intellectual property and storytelling that the company now has to create places like Pandora, whether it's "Star Wars" -- we're building two "Star Wars" land -- and you let people, essentially, visit the world and engage with the characters that they saw and loved in the movies. That's very, very powerful.

ROMANS: What does Bob Iger do next? Do you ever think about politics?

IGER: I never really dreamed of being the President of the United States actually.

ROMANS: Why not? Being president is running busy.

IGER: I didn't dream about being the CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

(LAUGHTER)

IGER: Well, I did have a discussion actually with President Obama at one point, and Mrs. Obama, about who had the more fun job. They concluded that I did.

(LAUGHTER)

IGER: I don't know if they're right or not. I haven't made any plans post Disney. I've said before that the whole notion of running for president or being president is not something in any way considered frivolously. I haven't spent much time thinking about it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Ana, he has extended his Disney contract again through mid- 2019. That would be 14 years as CEO and of course, just in time for "Star Wars" Land. And, oh, yes, just before a presidential election, Ana.

(LAUGHTER)

CABRERA: Timing is everything. Thanks, Christine.

Now, some dramatic video showing a kayaker surviving a shark attack. You can see the shark grab the kayak as the man floats just feets away. Watch it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENE MACE, JR., WITNESS: I see a shark attack. I'm filming it. He got knocked off by a shark. The shark went on his kayak right now. See it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The black one (ph)? MACE: Yes. Look at the kayak. See the shark?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MACE: See the fin?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god.

MACE: See the fin? It's swimming toward the guy now. Call somebody, Karen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm calling.

MACE: That's a big (inaudible) shark. The shark is wider than the kayak. He's waving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. The sailboats going over there now.

MACE: Here it comes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The couple who might've saved his life and filmed this amazing video joins us next hour, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

We began with breaking news. North Korea has just test fired yet another short-range ballistic missile. This one reportedly landing near the coast of Japan. It's just the latest in what we've seen as a barrage of missile test since President Trump took office, and we were told the President has been briefed. We will bring you a live report in just a moment from our correspondents overseas as well as our Pentagon correspondent.

But, first, crisis management. President Trump huddling with his senior advisers and his legal team today as he tries to dig out from a mound of Russian headlines. Among those spotted at the White House today, first daughter Ivanka Trump and high-powered attorney Marc Kasowitz, whose celebrity clients have included Robert de Niro and Bill O'Reilly.

[19:00:00] A senior administration official tells CNN no immediate staff changes are expected despite reports President Trump's son-in- law, Jared Kushner, tried to set up a secret line of communication with the Kremlin.