tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 18, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
join me this sunday for "state of the union" talking with ohio governor john kasich and congressman adam schiff. democrat of california. sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. and noon eastern. thanks for watching and follow me on facebook and twitt twitter @jaketapper, tweet the show @theleadcnn. now turning to over to wolf blitzer. happening now, bannon fired. president trump dismisses his divisive chief strategist steve bannon as the west wing is buffeted by a storm of racially charged controversy over the president's wee responsible to the violence in charlottesville. and forcing out bannon with ties to the alt right do anything to calm the uproar? heading for the breitbart. what bannon once calm add form for the alt right.
where his next role be antagonizing the president he worked for? no thank you. the mother of the woman killed at the white supremacist attack in charlottesville says she won't talk to the president. what is her message to the president about his infilammatoy words. and violence overt weekend. concern that protests by emboldened white supremacists could lead to dangerous confrontations with counterprotestors. can law enforce ers eliminate another attack like the one in virginia? we're following the breaking news. a new bombshell wokking the rouse. rocking the white house. president trump fired steve bannon, the kroemcontroversial
head of breitbart. bannon's once very influential role in the white house dramatically diminished amid in-fighting and sources say the ouster was in the works for weeks. bannon was given the opportunity to resign but ultimately was forced out. he is expected to return to breitbart, once called the platform for the alt right strongly supporting mr. trump as a candidate and president. the site has been critical of members of the trump team. it proceeds to be fighting against bannon and more recently even critical of the president himself. a top breitbart editor responded to news of bannon's firing with a single word tweeting this word -- #war. a white house source just told cnn that's not what bannon wants. all of this comes at the end of a very tumultuous week for president trump, facing bipartisan blowback for his reaction to the violence that erupted at a neo-nazi
demonstration in charlottesville, virginia, including the death of heather heyer, among a group of counterprotestors run down by a white supremacist. heyer's mother now says the white house reached out to her, but she won't talk to president trump, because he compared those protesting the neo-nazis to the hate groups themselves. and she has a message for president trump right now -- think -- think before you speak. we're covering all of that and much more this hour with our guests including senator brian shotz and our correspondents and specialists are also standing by. first, let's go straight to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta in new jersey where the president continues his working vacation at his golf club. jim, another major white house shake-up. >> reporter: and friday as well, wolf, president trump unloaded his most controversial staffer in the west wing firing steve bannon. the question now for the president is whether forcing bannon out will unleash the fury of the far right on the white
house. like a contestant on president trump's white house reality show, the west wing's chief strategist steve bannon was fired. the white house released a statement saying chief of staff john kelly and steve bannon mutually agreed today would be stephen last day. we wish him the best. the wheels have been in motion for some time. sources tell cnn bannon was supposed to be fired two weeks ago because he didn't meet kelly's discipline power structure for the white house. the president hinted bannon's days were numbered earlier this week, i like mr. bannon. he's a friend of mine, but mr. bannon came on very late. you know that. i went through 17 senators, governors and won all the primaries's mr. bannon came on very much later than that, and i like him. he's a good man. he is not a racist. i can tell you that. he's a good person. he actually gets a very unfair press in that regard. but we'll see what happens with mr. ban's.
>> reporter: add to that, ban the irked the president underkiting mr. trump's message. asked about the president's fire and fury warning to north korea, bannon told a progressive american prospect, there's no military solution. bannon reveled in needling the press as he did at a political conference earlier in the year. >> dead wrong on the campaign and dead wrong in the cast of the transition, absolutely dead wrong what's going on today because we have a team grippeding it through, president trump promising the american people. and all of the promises will be implemented. >> he also told the "new york times" the media should are embarrass pd and humiliated and kooep its mouth shut and live a while. the media is the opposition party. bannon is expected to rush to the brig breitbart website he once led and attacks the president for not being conservative nudge. enough. reaction from one breitbart
editor, war. the president has plenty of problems from earlier in the week. the mother whose daughter was killed in the violence doesn't want to talk to the president. >> have you talked to him directly yet? >> i have not, and now i will not. i'm not talking to the president now. i'm sorry. >> what did -- >> after what he said about my child and nots not that i saw somebody else's tweets about him. i saw an actual clip of him equating protestors like ms. heyer with the kkk and the white supremacists. >> is there something, though, you would like to say to the president? >> think before you speak. >> reporter: the white house response -- our thoughts and prayers continue to be with her and her family. top republicans are still blasting the president's handling of charlottesville. >> you also had people that were very fine people.
on both sides. >> mitt romney posted on both sides, he should address the american people, acknowledge he was wrong, apologize. stays unequivocally race i69s are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in charlottesville. now, as for steve bannon, a white house ally, said the outspoken strategist doesn't want to go to war with president trump. he wants the president to succeed and become his top outside surrogate. we'll have to wait and see how long that cease fire can actually last. >> interesting point. thanks very much, jim acosta. digging deeper into the breaking news. white house reporter kaitlan collins and mark preston. kaitlan, his job seemed to have been on the line for weeks but that interview, he granted a controversial interview in recent days seems to have been, what? the final straw? >> definitely the last straw for the president. infuriated him and he was fuming
over it this week, because in that interview not only did steve bannon contradict the president completely on north korea saying there was no military solution after the president had been tweeting he would respond with fire and fury to north korea, he was acting like he was the president. steve bannon told this reporter at the american prospect he could make personnel changes at the state department and that infuriated the president. he's been stewing over that in recent weeks. like you said, this isn't the first time steve bannon has been in this dog house. this happened time and time again, because the president constantly gets irked whenever steve bannon was getting credit for his success. >> told me earlier, granted four interviews, none approved, authorized, by the senior white house staff including the choof of staff. is that right? >> exactly. this interview with "the american prospect" so controversial, steve bannon didn't know he was on the record for the interview, he says. that's what the story was this week. he called up, didn't even know. told him all of this and it was printed. didn't even know. the white house certainly did not know about it. >> the president of the united
states, deeply irritated by that. what are you hearing, mark, from your sources? >> a couple things. one, heard from senior republican, an official, what's happening to steve bannon next, go back to breitbart? there have been discussions between reince priebus and steve bannon creating a national media and political firm. these discussions haven't gone very far as of yet. there's nothing concrete, but the fact you could see reince priebus, this establishment figure, the rnc chairman for many years and head of the alt right in some ways or the breitbart side was able to come together to create a firm would be kind of interesting and could be formidable. i'm hearing inside the white house now is that there's a lot of nervousness now. not so much that steve bannon was fired, but the overall stability right now of the white house, seeing so many people have been let go. and this one senior administration official told me that without any knowledge, speculated, that gorka, the
deputy assistant to be the next to go and in addition to that concern amongst conservatives on capitol hill now about who do they work with? talk to, and talking about this today, in the white house on the staff level? right now if you look at who the top advisers are, centrist republicans at best, wolf. concern amongst conservatives. a lot will fall on the shoulders, i think, in the short term on mike pence who really has a strong, strong ties to the conservative party. >> and reince priebus, and steve bannon, they have a good, strong personal relationship? i thought there was tension, at least early on? >> a lot of tension barck to jue and july but realized they needed each other. they went to the white house and actually got along in a friendly way but needed each other. counterbalanced one another and actually worked pretty well together in the white house. were they successful? no. that's in large part due because of donald trump. >> and i want you both to stand by. more on all of this.
democratic senator from hawaii joining us. senator, thank for joining us. >> happy to be here, wolf. >> you responded to steve bannon's firing on twitter. put it up on the screen. "it's the president that matters. personnel changes are fascinating and dramatic, but let's just remember how little of a difference it makes with this president." explain, senator, what you mean. >> well, i'm as fascinated as the next person at the latest personnel change and this is significant. no doubt that steve bannon has played an integral role in the president's cabinet. and probably an oversized role, but the truth is that if you think about the moral failure that was the president's statement in the wake of the charlottesville tragedy, that was on the president. by all accounts, they had him ready to read the statement that you would expect any president would read, and to take the moral stand that you would
expect any president of any party to take, but it was the president himself that failed america. and so i think the departure of steve bannon is no doubt a good news story for people who care about the rule of law and care about american values but i have no particular hope that will change what happens in terms of the president himself. he's failed the united states in terms of moral leadership and that won't change with the departure of steve bannon. >> you and other democrats have been calling for steve bannon'sous sbannon's o ouster for some time. in your perspective, senator, isn't this a positive step in the right direction? >> sure, it is. you still have sebastian gorka, stephen miller and most importantly, even if these individuals aren't in the west wing, you have a president who has declared where his sympathies lie. you have a president who equivocated -- there are only so
many bright lines in american political morality. forget the question of the size and scope of the government. forget social issue, fert some of the things i care about, climate change, women's rights, gay rights. set all of that aside, one bright red line is that nazis are bad guys. and he couldn't even meet that basic test. it is good that steve bannon is gone. but until the president understands that he failed all of us, i don't anticipate that there will be any significant changes inner its of the president leading us in the right direction. >> following the president's response to the attack in charlottesville you tweeted this -- i'll put it on the screen as well. as a jew, as an american, as a human, word cannot xres my disgust and disappointment. this is not my president. like it or not, senator, he is the legitimately elected president of the united states. i know you received a lot of criticism for saying, this is not my president. i want you to explain why you said that.
>> well, i think it's important to say, wolf, and i appreciate what you're saying. he is the legitimately elected president. legally, he's the president of the united states. i recognize that. we all have to recognize that. and contend with that reality. but this is a president who has failed to do what we expect every president to do, which is to provide moral clarity, and moral leadership. so in that moment i was frankly mad, and hurt as an american, as a person. as a person of the jewish faith, that my president hadn't met even the most basic moral test. i'm not asking him to agree with me on all of the issues. i'm not asking him to be someone i admire. i'm just asking that he understands the difference between right and wrong. the difference between nazis and the people who protest against nazis. so in that moment, i said what i think was on a lot of people's minds. which is, he's not acting like a
president. >> you would, if you had to do over again, how would you rephrase it? >> i wouldn't rephrase it. given it's 140 characters i'm happy to say exactly what i meant. he's certainly the president of the unite but in that moment not just my president but i think for a lot of people across the country, he didn't act like the president of the united states, and part of the challenge of being a president isn't just executing the duties according to the constitution and laws of the united states, but being the leader of the united states. the leader of the free world. he failed that test. >> as you know, i assume you know, the house mine ompty min nancy pelosi, want to formally censure president trump for charlottesville response. would you support a formal congressional censuring of the president? >> i don't know yet. one of the things happening that is really encouraging, we've seen a coalition of the same emerging.
we saw all of the service branch chiefs, and recore commandant, all of his counterparts, come out in favor of diversity and tolerance and social cohesion. we had both presidents bush. we had mitt romney and we had bob corker and other members of the united states senate on the republican side basically repudiating the president over the last several days. part of what i'm exploring and, of course, every member of the senate is sort of all across the world and across the country. so we're mostly in contact by text, but we are trying to find where that common ground is, where we don't draw a bright line, can't get republican support. because we really do need at least for a moment to set aside our differences when it comes to partisan politics, when it comes to our philosophy of government, and say, we stand for the rule of law. we stand for american values. e were stand for each other, and let's restabilize our country, and then we can get back to fighting over the size and scope
of the government, social issue, climate change. all the ing things that i thought i would fight about in the united states senate. i want to get back to those fights, but i think we can't get back to those fights until we re-establish that the rule of law has to operate and american values have to be adhered to. >> i just want to press you on this, senator. on this issue a of century. you tweet century. former senator bob packard censured. this is not my president but not sure you would support a formal censure of this president? >> right. as simp i would like to talk to my colleagues, find out the legislative vehicle and thoughtful and planning how we move forward together. if this becomes a dividing line between rs and ds, that doesn't move us forward together and i was encouraged to see
republicans finally stand up and do something and call out the president by name. and do the right thing that i think we have to build on that momentum. if a censure vehicle gives us that opportunity i'm certainly open to exploring it, but i don't want to jump the gun and force republicans back into their corner. >> all right, senator, more we need to discuss. i have to take a quick break. we're going to resume or coverage on all of this breaking news right after this. (vo) dogs have evolved, but their nutritional needs remain instinctual. that's why there's purina one true instinct. nutrient-dense, protein-rich, real meat number one. this is a different breed of nutrition. purina one, true instinct. to to me he's, well, dad.son pro golfer. so when his joint pain from psoriatic arthritis got really bad, it scared me. and what could that pain mean? joint pain could mean joint damage. enbrel helps relieve joint pain, and helps stop further damage enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections.
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campaign and a white house source now says bannon will continue to work from the outside to advance the president's agenda. we shall see. meantime, back with democratic senator brian shotz of hawaii. senator, the senate has very, very serious battles coming up. in the coming months, congress will need to raise the nation's debt ceiling, and try to pass a budget. there's tax reform. there's an infrastructure bill. there are a lot of substantive issues that will be coming up your consideration. here's the question -- have the events of the last week alone damaged the prospects of getting anything serious done? >> well, i think there's two ways to look at this. i think in terms of the president's sort of big ticket items, there's no doubt that he's lost a lot of credibility and a lot of traction and a lot of sort of oomph in the legislative context. on the other hand it has sort of pushed democrats and republicans into each other's arms, despite our instincts towards fighting.
what happened during the aca fight was that we were all repulsed for various reasons at the president and the white house's behavior, and we found a bipartisan majority to reject what was happening, and so when it comes to the debt ceiling and when it comes to keeping the government open, i'm actually more hopeful than i was we'll do the adult thing, go ahead and raise the debt ceiling to maintain the full faith and credit of the united states and also going to do hopefully regular appropriations bill. likewise on aca, the author of the repeal and replacement of no child left behind. 78 votes in the united states senate, i think. he's a person with patti who can actually do bipartisan legislation and went ahead and is scheduling hearings to make sure that premiums don't skyrocket because of the uncertainty that the president has caused.
so on one level i think there's an opportunity for us to sort of hit singles, do the basic stuff. when it comes to tax reform and infrastructure, i think that the president and the white house and the cabinet is going to be at least delayed, if not delayed indefinitely when it comes to the big ticket items. >> hitting a single, better than striking out. look at this picture, senator. there are now by our count at least 23 republicans who have publicly denounced president trump by name as a result of his reaction to charlottesville. the president clearly increasingly isolated from many members of his own party facing some pretty severe criticism from these lawmakers. many of them question his competence, his ability to govern. do you get the sense that the republican leadership and congress, the house and the senate, is going to pursue its own agenda regardless what the white house wants? >> i think they are, and i think part of it is personal frustration at having been attacked.
the other aspect of it is just a sort of basic knowledge of three coequal branches of government, respect for the legislative branch. i served in the executive branch in the state of hawaii, and you have to be almost reverential to shares and leadership. they're the ones that make laws in that context. the president and his team, not all of them. some cabinet members are really good about, would go with committee members on both sides of the aisle, but for the most part just don't get how the government operates and over time that has become increasingly frustrating. i also think there's a moral aspect to this. a lot of these republicans are conservative. i disagree about most policy issues bit they're good people and simply sick of stays silent, because i think what they're thinking to themselves, since when it is a conservative or republican position to equivocate on the question of whether neo-nazis are the same as the people who protest against them? and i think that as much as we fight between the parties, it's
important to recognize that we have patriotic republicans serving in the congress, and they are torn up about this. and i have been critical of them for being too quiet for too long but many are stepping up and saying, there are more important things than cutting the corporate tax rate down from 35%, or repeal affordable care act and basically being a moral person. and being basically a lawful person. that's more important than any public policy, position, you may take and that's what i'm seeing in a lot of my republican colleagues. not that they're making a specific calculation about the president's popularity in their own state, but they're just sick of this and don't want to countens it anymore. >> a lot to do when you come back after labor day to washington. senator, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> senator brian shotz of hawaii. coming up, much more on the breaking news. even though steve bannon is now gone, more departures may be ahead.
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now getting hints more of president trump's top aides may be leaving the white house as well. a person close to the new white house chief of staff, telling cnn, quoting him now. kelly's not done. bring in our specialist and chris cillizza, start with you. speculation about the future of steve bannon over the past several weeks. what was the time straw, the final trigger, if you will, that resulted in his dismissal today? >> okay. so knowing donald trump, i think almost certainly it was the "american prospect" article. one, why is steve bannon given an extended interview to a liberal magazine. number two, why is steve bannon essentially saying, yeah, i'm moving this guy around, doing this, doing that. oh, north korea. no military solution, directly contradicting the president of the united states. the truth that we know of donald trump is, you don't get to be a star that shines brighter than donald trump. you don't even get to be a star
shining as close to donald trump. why bannon was almost fired months ago painted as the shadow president of the united states. that's probably what caught up with him. and one other quick thing, wolf. not ale lot of allies left in white house. reince priebus, gone. and others not on his side, ever, ivanka trump, jared kushner. they got their way. >> and some worried if steve bannon could do more damage to the president from the outside than the inside. what are you hearing about what he might be doing next? >> it's clear steve bannon won't go quietly and be on the sidelines for all this. writering y saying, nicknaming him bannon the barbarian. we won't see him train his sights on the president yet. if anyone, the people he badmouthed in that "american prospect" interview. gary cone, the likes. those he doesn't think are
pursuing the trump ajegenda he tried to pursue when in the white house. i don't think we'll see him go after the president specifically. >> curious. you served in the cia, fbi, a long time. how do civil servants, people elsewhere in the government, see the turmoil going on in the white house now. how do they deal with that? >> a mixed message. hate to tell you, working in the real government, outside of the white house, the white house is seen as sort of like a chaperone on a date. they're a pain in the butt. look over your work, tell you how to do your work. in a sense gives people especially in places like the department of defense, cia, very capable cabinet officers, gives the agencies room to maneuver. a huge asterisk. look at situations like north korea and iran. the concern as the president vacillates, you want to have negotiations what to do with allies in europe on iran, want to talk to the south koreans about north korea, what the heck are you going to say? come back say, what's the president going to do next week? you want to talk about iran. he says tear up the deal.
difficult to set up policy in that department. >> ron brownstein, put on the screen a photo of the president with top aides back at the end of january. look at this picture right now. you see the president. he's sitting at his desk in the oval office on the phone, by the way, with russian president putin. you see the vice president sitting there. look behind him. white house chief of staff. you see reince priebus, july 28th, gone. steve bannon today, august 18th, gone. reince priebus, you see sean spicer. the press secretary, july 21st gone and you see general michael flynn. the former national security advisers, only lasting until february 13th. gone. when you see that kind of departure, so quickly, in a new administration what does that say to you? >> look, it's reflects everybody of the president's management style. not only did not run a large institution, public company, but also that he basically believes, and i think it's very clear from
his career, he believes chaos benefits him nap he is strengthened when there is unease around him. and when lines are uncertain and positions are uncertain. somethingals larger. steve bannon and reince priebus were supposed to represent the book ends marrying with a populist nationalism that bannon embodied and the administration really struggled i think to make that balance. you see the tension on all sorts of issues like foreign policy, trade. above all i think, what you've seen over the first six months, the president abandoning his, one of his core promises to his blue collar and older lower income white base he would defend the entitlement programs which many rely. saw his numbers decline among older and blue collar whites after this health care fight, went exactly in the opposite direction for six months. it's no coincidence, only after that that we have seen the sharp turn to the right on all of these cultural and racial issues starting with banning
transgender soldiers, cutting illegal immigration in half. and charlottesville and defending confederate monuments. so what, with steve bannon there or not, i think the big question is whether whatever comes next still believes that it has to kind of elevate this culture conflict as a way of pulling back voters who drifted away from the president on economic grounds and the cross-pressure for economic conservatives like business leaders uneasy with the racial tone the president is setting. >> getting, chris, a statement tr carl icahn, resigning. carl icahn. this confirms our conversation today in which we agreed i would cease to act at special adviser to the president, issues relateding to regulatory reform. a letter he wrote to the president. just got it. you remember during the campaign. >> i do. >> almost every appearance the then candidate was making, he would quote carl icahn, talk about carl icahn. i'm going to bring people in like carl icahn.
change regulations, the economy, jobs. all of a sudden, and to follow several other resignations over the past several days. >> golly. i remember that, i always would ask. is there any other name other than carl icahn? he literally would be like, i know every business leader in the world. carl icahn. okay. i think this is certainly being portrayed, though we can do more reporting. portrayed as what carl icahn mutual, isn't about charlottesville. for the moment put it in a separate basket, but i do think more broadly speaking, wolf, the fact you saw -- the intel ceo, under armour ceo, campbells soup. all of these big, high profile figures stepping away and trump basically saying, oh, you can't quit, because this council doesn't existly inmore. anymore. speaks to, ron talking about not making good on campaign promises's it speaks to another problem with his campaign promise. remember when mentioning carl
icahn, in the service i know all the business people in the world. they're best. not being utilized. i will do that. now that promise took a hit. it's not the biggest thing that happened this week obviously. but it is impactful based on how trump handled charlottesville and that matters. >> go ahead, ron. >> quick, i think it's more structural than that. i do think that these business leaders have been essentially in the same position as many of the republican leaders in congress. where they agree with the president on much of his economic agenda. maybe not the trade side. certainly cutting regulation and cutting taxes and have wanted to focus on that and look away from, overt a gaze as much as they could from the racial division part of his message literally since he came down the escalator in 2015. they concluded over the last days, many in a stampede of them, was that association with those racial and cultural views were too toxic to justify the hope of a payoff on some of the economic side. given all the constituents they had to appeal to.
the question whether more republican elected officials ultimate reach the same conclusion. i think the internal logic where the trump administration has been, elevate, escalate the cultural and racial dialogue as a way of pulling back some of the voters they alienated on health care and with or without steve bannon there. the question is, do they make a course correction? do people like paul ryan more forceful, on cnn monday night, is he more willing to demand it? my guess is steve bannon, give it time, people like paul ryan saying, wait and see what comes next. no doubt the -- the abandonment of trump by the business groups, business leaders, gives democrats something of a trail of bread crumbs where to go in 2018 and 2020. the kind of voters who trump is alienating by the way talking about race and broader cultural issues. >> and kaitlan, not just business leaders resigning from these councils the president disbands the councils. they're republicans criticizes the president by name for the way he reacted to
charlottesville or the joint chiefs of staff issued very strong statements. listen to the secretary of state rex tillerson making a special statement today. >> we do honor, protect and defend freedom of speech. first amendments rights. what sets us apart from every oh government regime in the world, and in allowing people the right of expression. these are good things. but we do not honor, nor do we promote, or accept hate speech in any form. and those who embrace it poison our public discourse and damage the very country that they claim to love. so we condemn racism, bigotry and all of its forms. racism is evil, antithetical to america's values. it's antithetical to the american idea. >> and you remember, the president said there was quotes from fine people among those
protestors white supremacists, nationalists, que s ku klux kla. rex tillerson doesn't seem to believe there were very fine people. that's the way his remarks are being interpreted. >> no one else from the administration or republicans or in general issued a statement at all mirrored what the president said on tuesday when he really distanced himself from the statement offered from the white house monday saying he condemned it. neo-nazis whatnot and distanced himself on tuesday saying there's fine people on all sides. we even saw that from heather heyer's mother this morning. not going to speak to the president, would not take his call, because she said it wasn't a tweet she saw. wasn't a commentary on a political show. she saw the president's press conference, equated her daughter essentially with the neo-nazis and white sprim 1iupremacists m in charlottesville. rex tillerson, trying to
reinforce the president's comments saying the administration does not stand by that and do not think there were good people on both sides and they're trying to remedy that situation trump created for himself. >> extraordinary to hear members of the joint chiefs of staff, secretary of state, republican leaders in the house and senate go out. i want to read a statement, part of a statement mitt romney, the 2012 republican presidential nominee issued today on facebook. whether he intended to or not, what he referring to the president communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep and the vast heart of america to mourn. his apologies strained to explain what we heard is now the reality. unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence, repeat, there may commence, an unraveling of our national fabric. that's the former republican presidential nominee. >> if you look at what we've talked about on this show in the
last five to ten minutes, business leaders, gone. presumably should be the core the president's support. republicans and democrats, gone. 60-plus percent of the american population, gone. what you saw with rex tillerson i think is a piece that americans don't understand. who's he speaking to? partly overseas and the american public. partly like the joint chiefs members, members of the services who made statements similar, speaking to the workforce looking up saying, do you believe what the president believes? he's telling them, no. my point, i think what you'll see in the unraveling, agencies and got like republicans in congress saying, we're going to do what we want. freelance and speak publicly when we don't like what the president says. unprecedented. >> is this a tipping point? >> gosh. i hesitate to ever predict that donald trump has gone too far this time. because he's -- he obliterated every line we knew. i will say this from saturday until today, wolf -- you saw a
moral and da kabdication of lea. some hurt some didn't. but this was a -- a vacuum of leadership. i think that's what mitt romney is looking at. this is not about politics. this is about who we are as a country, who do we want to be as a country and what the president's job in moments of national tragedy, national strife is. trump seems to not care or not understand that that's the role, and that frankly is different than the 43 people who preceded him in the job. you know, he says he's modern day president's. his words. that's what -- we're going to see. i think most want regular old presidential. >> mitt romney also said the president should address the american people, acknowledge he was wrong, apologize. >> he's not going to do that. >> a lot of people don't think the president will apologize. more breaking news coming out of charlottesville now. new charges against the suspect in the death of the counterprotestors in charlottesville.
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with five new counts stemming from the car strike which killed heather heyer. three counts of aggravated malicious wounding. that is in addition to second degree murder charge, three other counts of malicious wounding and hit and run charge. so, a total of 8 charges now for james fields. meanwhile tonight, heather heyer's mother is expressing her outrage, revulsion of president trump for remarks about protesters this week. amid her grief, the mother of charlottesville victim heather heyer expresses her disgust. >> i'm not talking to the president now. i'm sorry. after what he said about my child. and it's not that i saw somebody else's tweets about him. i saw an actual clip of him at a pregs conference equating the protesters like ms. heyer with the kkk and the white supremacists. >> reporter: susan told "good
morning america" the white house attempted to reach her repeatedly during her daughter's funeral. if she was ever considering meeting with the president, she says this turned her off. >> you look at both sides, i think there's blame on both sides. >> you can't wash this one away by shaking my hand and sake i'm sorry. >> reporter: the white house responded by saying only their thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. meanwhile, conservative talk show hosts are circulating a conspiracy theory about the counter protesters in charlottesville. fox news host sean hannity on his radio show brought up a rumor which had spread like wildfire on social media about so-called antifa or anti-fascist protesters. >> there is a story out today that raises a question whether or not antifa agitators that showed up in charlottesville on saturday were bought and paid for. anyway, apparently it was uncovered and some of the media reported it that some suspicious activity by an l.a.-based company that calls itself crowds on demand. >> reporter: that company, crowds on demand, did post an ad
on craigslist on august 7, a few days before the charlottesville protests, saying it was looking for, quote, enthusiastic actors and photographers to participate in rallies and protests. it offered people $25 an hour. but the ad also specified that it was in the charlottesville, income area, not charlottesville, virginia. hannity acknowledged that. >> maybe justise a coincidence. we're going to keep an eye on that. >> reporter: crowds on demand told media watch dogs it was not involved in any capacity with the events in charlottesville. a city official in charlottesville told cnn they have seen no evidence counter protesters were for hire. still, analysts say even debunked conspiracy theories can be dangerous in this political climate. >> trump does seem to get a lot of his information from the sean hannitys of the world. this is not the first time that he's kind of given credence to a conspiracy theory. this is incredibly dangerous as far as misinformation making
their way up to not only millions of people but perhaps the most powerful person in the free world, president trump. >> reporter: which the president then could, of course, tweet outs. we reached out to sean hannity's representatives through a spokeswoman. hannity just got back to us saying that he was very clear saying he had no idea if the crowds on demand solicitation was true. he said he informs his audience all the time about what others are reporting and saying and tells them when he cannot corroborate a story, like he did in this case. and then he insulted cnn, wolf. >> all right, brian, thank you. brian todd reporting. breaking news coming up next. new details of the latest white house shake up. president trump fires his controversial chief strategist steve bannon. will he continue to be a trump ally from the outside? 9 whoooo.
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happening now, breaking news. draining the swamp, president trump finally fires his lightning rod chief strategist steve bannon revered by the alt-right and revialed by others. how will bannon's oust ter affect a white house in chaos and president in crisis? loose bannon, a self-promoting interview helped seal his fate. now is bannon planning to return to his roots at breitbart news and turn on the president? new hints tonight of what's ahead. backing out quickly, some of the biggest charities in the united states are cancelling events at mr. trump's