tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN August 13, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
6:00 eastern, 3:00 in the afternoon out west. i'm anna cabrera in the cnn newsroom. so far, no flairup of fighting like the kind that sent many to the hospital this weekend and cost one woman her life. white nationalists battled in the streets with police initially unable to stop them. and then things turned deadly, when a car accelerated into a crowd of counter protesters, the driver of that car, a 20-year-old man arrested and held without bail right now.
president trump on twitter and in person declined to label those responsible as hate filled extremists. the governor of virginia today had no such hesitation. >> we had folks come to our beautiful state. let's call it what it is. they were white supremists. >> yes. >> they were nazis. >> call their names. >> they don't stand for us. they call themselves patriots. ladies and gentlemen, they are not patriots, they get out of bed every day to hate people and divide our country. as i said yesterday. go home. >> let's bring in brian todd in charlottesville right now. what are the priorities of city officials right now. >> you heard it in the governor's voice just now, we heard it all day today. there's a lot of anger in this
city over what's transpired here over the last 48 hours. people are very angry the white supremacists descended on this city and they stuck around today. the governor said we don't want you here, get out, there's no place for you here. you heard what he said today about how angry they are that this happened. one of the white supremacy leaders jason kessler decided to stick around today he started to speak, there were protesters here countering him, shouting him down, people playing instruments trying to drown him out. the police came in and swooped him away, really protected him from the crowd, an angry crowd that was swarming around him and got him into the police station here. that was an you cannily scene. and one man was awrested for misdemeanor assault and battery for spitting on jason kessler. he tweeted this, i tried my
best, but once again violence rules over speech and ideas, in charlottesville, the first amendment is finished, it seems. the crowds are still very angry. still boiling with tension here. i spoke to a counter protester, named katrina turner a short time ago. here's what she had to say. >> we need for them to leave and don't come back. that's what we need. whenever they come, we're going to be here, and they will not come to town without a fight. >> big question tonight is how many of these people are sticking around. how many white supremacists are still here. i talked to a police official a short time ago, asked if jason kessler was still being held here. no, he's long gone. we got him out of here, i asked if they're still protecting him. i asked where he was, he said, we're not responsible for his whereabo whereabouts. the question is, is jason kessler going to stick around this area, come back here and try to hold any more events. what we can talk about is new
information we got tonight about the suspect, james alex fields. killing one woman. and injuring several others. we found out today from some records that he obtained he served in the u.s. army for four months from august of 2015 to december of 2015. he's charged with one count of second degree murder. three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of failure to stop an accident that resulted in death. >> brian todd in charlottesville, virginia. i want to bring in cnn senior political analyst david gergen. terry mcauliffe made a pointed statement while speaking at a vigil last hour, let's listen. >> i call upon every elected official from the white house to the state house to all the local offices, we got to call it out for what it is. >> yeah.
>> it is hatred, it is bigotry, and our leaders have to be very frank, unequivocal, we will not tolerate that in our country. >> it seemed pretty clear who he was talking to. >> it does, indeed, and i'm afraid the president still hasn't stepped up to what would be expected of a president in a situation like this, that is to make forthright statements with the same kind of emotional intensity and clarity that he's condemned islamic terrorism. i must say, i do think there are people around the white house, ivanka trump among them, who have strengthened the white house's position. another one is very importantly, h.r. mcmaster today, who said on television, this was an act of domestic terrorism. the president has to be equally frank, he has not been. it's clear in his heart he doesn't want to be, and it's clear that the white
supremacists have taken heart from his vagueness, from the fact that he has not condemned them, and the kind of way we know donald trump can through his tweets and other personal statements. so i think the country is still on boil today or tonight. i think we -- the president talks about bringing us together. if anything, the emotions have become more poisonous, the divisions are deeper, and we're a long long way from being a country that we want to be. we're not united, we're tearing ourselves apart at the moment. >> you mentioned ivanka trump, the president's daughter. there should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazi. we must all come together as americans and be one country united #charlottesville. he's had no problem in the past retweeting people, he could have retweeted his daughter too, right? >> he could have indeed. >> i mean, is he making a
statement by not doing that? >> i think his lack of speaking with clarity and emotional punch sends a clear message that he just does not feel that these people ought to be singled out. he continues to see this as a law and order problem, not a terrorism problem, and he continues to see it as -- there's violence on both sides. and to be -- let's be fair to the president, there is some violence -- there is some hatred on the part of the people who came as a counter protesters, we saw in a just in that clip. but the primary responsibility here rests upon those who preached hatred and held this rally. you do not have a first amendment protection if you use language that insights violence, invites hatred. that does not protect the first amendment. the courts have been clear on that point. the primary responsibility for
this violence rests with those who came to charlottesville, the neo-nazis, the anti-sellites, the kkk and all these other forms of hate groups descended upon charlottesville. and they bare primary responsibility for what happened. >> would it help if the president went to charlottesville and visited with the victims and talked to officials there? >> well, that's a very good question. i think that's exactly the line of thinking that ought to be exported by the white house, for example, for starters, he should call the family of the woman who was killed. you know, he needs to offer a sincere condolences on behalf of the nation to a grieving family. a woman who should still be alive thriving today, and was a totally innocent victim. he should call the families of those who were the state troopers who were out there and died in this as well. i think that's for starters. it's worth remembering how
important the call was, way back when, when john kennedy and richard nixon were running for the presidency in 1960 and martin luther king was thrown into jail. and the nixon people remained quiet and john kennedy placed a phone call to mrs. king, coretta scott king to express his great concern and support for her. and it made a differece. it sent a clear signal. i think the president's team ought to be devising a series of steps that would be healing. and show a recognition and acceptance on his part that we're dealing with terrorists. he has been -- you know, he's gone way over board to condemn islamic terrorism, but there are studies that have shown in the last decade or so, the number of domestic cases of terrorism have been double that of islamic related terrorism in this country. so -- and this administration is proposing to cut the funding for
the programs that deal with domestic terrorism. >> that fight domestic terrorists and some of these hate groups. exactly. this morning on "state of the union." the mayor of charlottesville accused the president of emboldening some of these hate groups. >> look at the campaign he ran, look at the intentional courting both on the one hand of all these white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-semitic groups and look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed all those different efforts just like we saw yesterday. this is not hard. you know, there's two words that need to be said over and over again, domestic terrorism and white supremacy. we are not seeing leadership from the white house. >> do you think that's fair criticism? >> i think it is basically fair criticism from a mayor who is --
deeply distraught and emotional, he put it right on the line. as he sees it. i know there are people around the president who don't believe that's what the president thinks, that's not who he is. but, you know, what's more important is, that these white supremacists, some of them were quoted today, there was a quote in the press today by a white supremacist saying, we were emboldened by donald trump's electi election, we have taken our signals from that. he has to denounce this, i think, to restore the order -- to build up the moral authority of this presidency, i cannot emphasize enough, the overall context of this is, as frankling roosevelt once famously said. the presidency is a place of moral leadership. preeminently a place of moral leadership. what he was talking about was, that repeatedly in american history, questions come up about right versus wrong, it's been up for the president whoever's in that office to identify what is
morally right, and in this case, president trump needs to provide moral clarity on what we're facing. >> david gergen, thank you for joining us this weekend. >> thank you so much. >> still ahead in the newsroom, mixed messages. the white house issuing a new statement today on the violence in virginia, but it didn't come from the president. plus the images from charlottesville, terrifying, disturbing all speak to a former neo-nazi skinhead about what life is like inside a hate group. the crest of a wave, it's like magic ♪ ♪ rollin' and ridin' and slippin' and slidin' ♪ ♪ it's magic introducing the all new volkswagen tiguan. ♪ higher and higher, baby the new king of the concrete jungle.
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spoke to condition krng earlier today and like the president, he pointed to violence on both sides. that's when jake tapper asked this. >> how many people did the counter protesters kill yesterday mr. boss ert? >> well, i'll tell you, one death is too many. >> that wasn't -- the victim was a counter protester. >> hold on, one moment. >> the victim was a counter protester. >> i don't for one moment -- and i won't allow you for one second to put me in a position of being an apologist for somebody who is now a charged murderer. this individual should face twist justice, the president of the united states shares that view, i know he does. i won't allow you to put me in a position of not finding that justice. >> you just decried both sides. we have a situation where
neo-nazis, the clan, alt-right. >> no, i don't -- >> went to charlottesville, virginia, chanting anti-semitic slogans, provoking the people of charlottesville, virginia, making them feel intimidated. yes, violence did break out. one person was killed by one of these alt-right clan nazi protesters and you just decried both sides of this -- >> no, i didn't. >> and this is the issue. >> no, i didn't. and you're making this issue a little bit distorted. what i would decry is the individual who committed murder yesterday, what i would do is quibble with this notion that any of this is acceptable. these groups showed up looking for hate. >> what groups. >> i think it's more than for people to understand. >> what groups are you referring to? >> i refer to the groups that clashed yesterday, i think it was graphically evident.
>> with me to discuss, andre power, and new york times contributor, it's clear this suspect was demonstrating alongside the white supremacist. does the president need to come out and specifically corn dem this attack? >> yes, but why would he go against his base, and this has been a recurring theme for the past two years, there are two groups that president trump seems utterly impotent in if front of, slatd mere putin and white supremacists. it's a very easy meat ball down the middle, he could crush this, he could say, i condemn white supremacy, the ideology of hatred of nazis, the racism of the alt-right, i call it out for what it is, domestic terrorism, white supremacy terrorism, just like i call out radical islamic terrorism. and criticize president obama
for being weak on terror and not calling it out. here i am president trump who will shoots off the cuff and say whatever i want whenever i want. and go against cnn and the cia and intelligence agencies, and republicans and basically anyone i want to, but i am unable to go against white supremacists, the question should be, why. why is president trump unable to muster 140 characters to call it what it is. white supremacist terrorism and condemn it, this is a question with you should be asking, anna, why? >> you've been defending the president, do you have an answer to that question? >> well, i hope -- i agree with him, i hope the president will specifically say it, i thought he covered it pretty well, i see a lot of folks are going to criticize the president no matter what he does. i'm not saying the guests on this show will, a lot of the people i continue to be on with, no matter what the president does or says, if he had had said
this, there would be criticism, it would be better if he cleared this up so we can move forward, i feel like the president did a pretty good job yesterday, some folks on the show don't. there's no room for this, the republican party. when people say this is trump supporters, i went to a lot of trump rallies, not one time did i see one of these individuals carrying a swastika or nazi flag. to brand president trump with this is wrong. >> guys, we have brand new video of the suspect i want to get in here quick. this is the individual who rammed his car, this is video of james fields at the white nationalist rally, he's in the white shirt we're told, holding a shield. his former high schoolteacher had told cnn fields had a fondness for nazis and adolf hitler. what's your reaction to this? >> it's sad, because we see
young white men radicalized online, an online community that is finding itself feeling dislocated from associate. united by racial hatred, feelings of superiority. we would call some of these people isis, but in america, they're white supremacists. you see a 20-year-old who rammed his car deliberately and killed -- i mean her name is hell heather heyer. a 32-year-old woman, anti-racist activist, and apparently there are many sides according to donald trump, heather heyer who died, and james alex fields a nazi sympathizer, hitler sympathizer who rammed his car and killed her. i don't see the moral equivalents here, and i don't see why it's so difficult for people to come out and condemn it for what it is.
hatred, white supremacy and domestic terrorism. let's not forget, just last week there is another act of terrorism, an ied was thrown in a minnesota mosque, no one has been hurt. it's been a weak and donald trump is silent. and his aide thinks it may have been a false operation. he said on wednesday that we're paying too much attention to white supremacists. >> we played that on our show. >> why can't he call out white supremacist terrorism? >> we played that on our show earlier, let me read you the reaction from the white supremacists. this is a neo-nazi website. trump comments were good, he didn't attack us, he just said the nation should come together. he said that we need to study why people are so angry and
implied there was hate on both sides. so he implied -- there was virtually no counter signaling of us at all. he said he loves us all, also refused to answer a question about white nationalists supporting him. when asked to congress dem, he walked out of the room, really really good, god bless him. andrei, if neo-nazis are celebrating what the president said, did he say the right thing? >> look, anybody can take what the president says and make it what they ought to. there are dangerous people, as we saw yesterday, but just because they took -- extrapolated certain words the president said and tried to push it for their cause, they're probably trying to gain more people to get active in the cause, maybe people that support trump that would think this person otherwise wouldn't read his message, but because he tied it in with something the president said, they tried to
bring that in. donald trump doesn't associate with these people, i didn't see any of them at the rallies. this is a time as a country where we ought to find ways to come together. ways to address this. i will say this. more and more moderate people that may have attended these rallies in the past will look back and say, i don't want to be affiliated with this type of individual, and you'll see less people turn out in the future, when anyone who says they are in anyway neo-nazis or any of these other groups, you'll see less and less participation from moderate folks that may have just been against removing a statue. >> thank you both for being here, we appreciate your time. coming up, the president under fire for his statements on the events in charlottesville. did the president fail a key leadership test? we'll discuss live.
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we're closely following the terrible events unfolding in charlottesville, virginia. we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. on many sides. >> today the white house is playing defense after the president blamed many sides for the violence in virginia, instead of directly denouncing the actions of the white supremacists involved. a white house official trying to collar phi by saying the president condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and that includes white supremacists, kkk, neo-nazi and all streamist groups, he called
for national immunity and bringing all sides together. is this clarification going to be enough? >> it's not from the president, and it's not the president on camera saying this. as we head into the new workweek, the answer is no, there's going to be continued calls to hear more from the president about this. a couple unusual things about this statement, it was from an unnamed white house official, some of the reporters came back and said, can we at least identify who's saying this? >> no. it's weird to see an anonymous statement from a white house official, trying to do cleanup. >> it's odd it was an anonymous stateme statement. >> you would think the press secretary or anyone who wrote it would want to put their name on it. the point is, the main message from the white house this weekend has been from the
president, that's the one that's getting close to universally criticized for not going far enough, as this heads into monday. they're going to hin to hear calls from the president to say and do more. not just from democrats, but republicans. >> it was an omission to leave out the words white supremacist, nazi. the president's daughter did use those words and issued this strong condemnation on twitter. there should be no place in society for racism. we must all come together as americans and be one country united. #charlottesville. we know now just how close the president and his daughter are, and how much weight does her influence provide when it comes to social media statement like this? >> it's one of the mysteries of the white house, how much influence does ivanka have and when does she choose to wield it. the president of the united states could have retweeted his daughter, shared her message far
and wide today, he's chosen not to. >> he hasn't hesitated to retweet other people in the past. >> exactly. he could have tried to amplify what she said more loudly, that's why i think this is going to be an issue. the financial times came out with a scathing editorial. i was struck by this part of the editorial. in the days to come, the president and his advisers will work to reinterpret what was said over the weekend, none of this will obscure the challenge facing the u.s. it is the role of the president to provide moral leadership, the white house is unoccupied. and it evokes an interesting image of an empty white house because they're doing renovations. more importantly, a lack of leadership. it's how the whole world is viewing a situation like this. i think even growing up reading history books, americans are used to hearing certain sorts of
moral statements from their president, what this weekend is all about is the confusion about why that's lacking. >> the president we learned on the issue of north korea answered 50 questions in two days, had multiple press conferences in which he took questions. what we learned from a white house official is that he wanted his voice to carry the message when it came to the issue of north korea, it was that important, it does stand in stark contrast to how he's responded to this incident and walking away when people were lobbing questions about whether he condemned white nationalists and neo-nats ziz specifically. i'm also wanting to ask when you talk about the vacancies in the empty white house. we don't have a communications director. and how much of an issue is that? >> i think right now in the short term, the president can get around for a couple weeks without one, he did in june. long term, if he wants to try to turn things around, try to improve his approval ratings and
get some policy, some legislation 24r50u the house and senate, he needs someone thinking long term, he needs a communications director opinion it's a hard job to fill and a lot of people don't want that job right now. he was answering a lot of questions on thursday and friday. he seemed to enjoy his banter with the press. i had a white house aid say to me, this is vintage trump. he's enjoying himself in bedminster. on friday he said he would have a big press conference monday. i'm wondering, in the wake of charlottesville, will he follow through, answer questions from the press core or will he try to somehow avoid it? >> we'll see tomorrow. thanks for the conversation. coming up, new reports suggest the knives are out for trump's chief strategist. why steve bannon may be the next one to be shown the door. ply... and wake up ready to perform. only exclusive retailers carry tempur-pedic. find yours at tempurpedic.com.
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these are live images as they make their way from union square too trump tower. this is a rally being held in sol dairy of the victims of the violence in charlottesville. the white house intrigue continues. people close to the president are behinding the knives are out for trump's chief strategist steve bannon. take a listen. >> if the president really wants to execute the legislative agenda that i think is so promising for the american people. the lower middle class people and the middle class people, he has to move away from that bannon/bart none sense. >> you mean bannon and breitbart. >> yes, it's nonsensical. >> now listen to how h.r. mcmaster responded when he was asked three times if he can work
with bannon. >> can you and steve bannon still working together in this white house or not? >> i get to work together with a broad range of talented people, and it is it a privilege every day to enable the national security team. >> you didn't answer, can you and steve bannon work in the same white house? >> i'm ready to work with anybody who will help advance the president's agenda and advance the security, prosperity of the american people. >> do you believe steve bannon does that? >> i believe everyone who works in the white house, who has the great privilege of serving their nation should be motivated by that goal. >> joining us now is ryan williams, he's the former spokesman for mitt romney. scaramucci and others, they made the argument that bannon and his ties to breitbart are to blame for the president's widely criticized response to the violence in virginia, when he didn't directly condemn white supremacists, are they right to make that argument? >> i don't know who advised the
president to make that statement. >> i will say steve bannon has been lying low and is not in bedminster with the president. he's managed to survive in the past, however, this time we're seeing some of his allies he installed on the national security council being fired and laid off since general kelly took over as chief of staff. prance his power base is eroding now that his allies are being pushed out. we don't know. we'll see at this time if it has any long term consequences for him. >> do you think there is a place for bannon in this administration going-forward? >> the president is entitled to pick whoever he wants in his administration. that's his prerogative. it's up to the president, and the president will make a change if he thinks it's appropriate. if he doesn't, i'm sure he'll continue to keep him on board. >> what do you view as what steve bannon brings to the table
to benefit this president and his administration. >> well, i think a lot of what you're seeing from the president's agenda is tied to mr. bannon's world view, the muslim ban which he put forward which many don't agree with, that's something that mr. bannon put forward. certainly the tightening of immigration. the president is following steve bannon's playbook, if that's something he's comfortable with, he can implement those policies, but he's going to have to face the backlash about. >> if bannon is to go, what does that tell you? >> i think it would be signature trump, every few months we seem to have a major upheave el in his leadership. if he were to go, i think that would be standard policy for this administration. we've already been through a chief of staff, a communications secretary. it wouldn't be a surprise if we saw another leave. this is one who has had a great
deal of influence, in terms of crafting the domestic policy and some of the immigration issues. it may leave a void in terms of what direction the president would choose to pursue his agenda going-forward. >> earlier this year, bannon was on the cover of time magazine. sources are telling cnn kelly has soured on bannon. how do you see this power struggle between those two men playing out. >> i think we have seen a pretty strong power struggle. he's not tough enough on islamic terrorism. the president put a statement out to dissuade he was losing
faith with h.r. mcmastcmaster. he doesn't like these public staff feuds that distract from the president's message. i could see that being something that would work against mr. bannon, if general kelly were to see that effort continue. >> thanks for bringing your perspective to the show, we appreciate it. straight ahead. the images we saw from charlottes have the are chilling. how can this kind of hate happen in america. a former member of the first neo-nazi skinhead gang in the united states will join us live next.
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charlottesville made it clear which side they were on making the nazi salute wearing army-style fatigues with pro-fascist patches and kkk hoods, and some of them carrying white nationalist flags. i want to bring in someone who understands this movement. christian picioli spent time with hate groups and turned it into a book called "memoirs of an american skinhead." thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> you have been inside one of these groups. what draws people into this ideology or movement? what drew you in? >> you know, i was recruited when i was 14 years old in 1987 and i spent eight years, every one of my teen and early adulthood years until 1995 when i was 22 and america's first neo-nazi skinhead group and what drew me in and what draws people in that i speak to every day is this idea of a fundamental need for identity, community and purpose, and if there is an
underlying brokenness, if there is a pothole that deviated their path originally, they're open to these ideas of an us against them narrative and blaming somebody else for the problems that exist in their lives and frankly, we're living in a society where millions of young people are feeling marginalized. they don't have a lot to hope for. job opportunities are scarce, college is expensive. if you even are quote, unquote lucky enough to take that burden on and there isn't a whole lot for them to look forward to as far as leadership or where our country's going and it doesn't surprise me that young people are joining far-right groups and they're flying to syria to join isis because they want paradise. they want a solution for what's happening. >> why do you think charlottesville specifically is becoming a target for this movement? we know there was an earlier rally in the same area held by richard spencer back in may and we see this large gathering yesterday that the southern poverty law center had
anticipated being the largest hate group gathering in decades. >> yeah. the truth is is rallies like this have been happening for decades. they haven't been reported. in my book i write about a rally that was almost identical to what happened in charlottesville and make no mistake. this wasn't about a statue. this was about racism. this was about showing -- showing other americans through fear that these people can gather and really try and spread this rhetoric around so that people see them en masse and think that this is a big movement and in fact, it is a big movement, but it is very spread out online and it lives mostly in a virtual world. >> i want you to listen to what the president said in response to the violence in charlottesville yesterday. watch. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. on many sides.
>> what do you make of his statement. did you hear a dog whistle in that? ? >> oh, i did, of course. i think the far right has since the beginning used propaganda and spinning to call the left-wing the haters or to call them the bigots or the racists. as far as what i saw yesterday i saw only one group or one movement ram a car into people and murder somebody. i saw one group carrying swastika flags and i saw another group of american citizens who were standing up against something that they believe is undemocratic and un-american. so for somebody to say especially for the president to come out and equate the protesters that were there to the neo-nazi demonstrators to me is -- is not calling it how it is, and i would love it hear the president call out white supremacists for what they were doing yesterday specifically. >> you do not sound like somebody who has lived and breathed that -- that ideology, that mentality. what does it take to change the
hearts and minds of members of these groups? >> you know, it really, for me and for so many other people it really comes down to receiving compassion from the people that we least deserve it from when we least deserve it. i had the opportunity to meet richard spencer and i sat down with him for two hours after white fish, montana, after the town was terrorized by neo-nazi trolls and i can tell you had i punched him and had he punched me and i'm talking about 25 years ago i would have come back angrier and it would have polarized us further and i know we have to start with the common ground and i know it's hard for people to believe that we have some common ground with neo-nazis and haters, but we do. we're all americans. we all want happiness and we all want to be loved and we all want security and we need to start from there and stop blaming each other for the problems that exist in the world when 99% of the time we're not responsible
for the problems. >> was there something that someone said specifically that woke you up? >> twrou knyou know, it startede birth of my children. when i was 19 years old i felt connected to the innocence that i lost when i was 14 years old when my son was born. there was a record store that sold white-power music and i started to sell hip-hop punk rock and meet the people that i thought i hated. for the first time in my life i had a meaningful interaction with african-americans or with jewish people or gay people, and i suddenly realized that i had much more in common with them than i had indifference and that the differences were only there to really, you know, add more flavor and add culture to it and appreciate rather than polarize us further. >> christian, we really appreciate your time and thank you for bringing your perspective and your insight to our show. >> thank you, ana.
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this is cnn breaking news. >> top of the hour, you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm ana cabrera in new york. right now so far no flare-up of fighting that sent people to the hospital this weekend and cost one woman her life. white nationalists and hate group members battled in the streets with the police unable to stop them and then things turned deadly when a karak cell rated bo a car of counterprotesters. the driver of the car, a 20-year-old man arrested and held without bail