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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 30, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. major developments on the mueller report. attorney general william barr in a letter to congress says he's
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well along in making redactions and expects to get the nearly 400 page report to capitol hill by mid april and possibly sooner. he plans to release it to the american public, but he says he's not planning to send it to the white house for an executive privilege review. we're learning robert mueller himself is insisting justice department officials in making the redaction. but there's pushback tonight from the chairman of the house judiciary committee. chairman, congressman jerry nadler wants the report on his desk by next tuesday april 2nd. the deadline democrats gave barr earlier this week and nadler said he wants to see it full and complete without redactions. let's discuss. evan perez joins me now. good evening to you. let's talk about this. barr said the justice department is well along in the process of redacting the almost 400 page report.
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how much should we expect to see? >> we're not going to see the whole thing and that's where i think the confrontation that is coming is going to come. i think jerry nadler in his letter or in his statement in response to the barr letter this afternoon, don, made it clear that their april 2nd deadline still stands and not only asking to see the full mueller report, the full 400 pages or almost 400 pages that bill barr refers to, but they want to see the underlying evidence. they want to see what else mueller uncovered during this 22 month investigation. so i think what you're going to see is bill barr is going to say, look, here is the version of the report that got four different categories of information that are going to be redacted, including grand jury information, classified information, information that is protecting people's privacy as well and information about ongoing investigations.
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you know that mueller referred to a bunch of investigations to other u.s. attorney's offices, so he's going to try to redact all of those things and that is not going to satisfy members of congress who want to see everything, don, and so then we're going to probably have a subpoena fight and something that's going to end up in the courts. >> so what are the chances though of that happening, honestly, no redactions for the democrat? >> there's no chance. that's justice department policy and i think the two sides are kind of gearing up for what is going to be a big battle and we'll see whether a judge agrees, who a judge finally agrees with. >> there's some news, i understand, on maria puthnah, acting as an illegal agent of the russian government. what do you know? >> today, the justice department notified a judge that essentially when she is sentenced at the end of april next month, they're planning to have her go back home to russia. so that's going to be the resolution to this game. she pleaded guilty to one count. she basically was accused of
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being a spy for russia, someone, an unregistered agent, essentially, here to infiltrate gop organizations including the nra, so she is essentially, don, already served the time she probably was going to get as a result of her sentence next month. at the end of this, the resolution is for her to be sent back to russia and as part of that, she's agreeing to never come back here or not come back here for at least another ten years. >> evan perez, great reporting. >> great to see you. >> you too. >> i want to bring in susan and michael moore. good evening to you. julia, why do you think the attorney general barr, why did he wait almost two weeks for the mueller report, almost 400 pages, the full version with redactions will be released and, i don't know, why not do that in
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the letter on sunday? >> i have no idea and i do have my raspy voice tonight. >> are you okay? >> your producer said it would be fine. i want to say, stalling for time at this stage. i think barr screwed up big time last weekend and now he's just buying time before he has to report out. >> wow, okay. julia says she's fine, so we're going to carry on, i'm going to take her at her word. get, drink some water or hot tea, let's bring susan in now. barr went to great lengths to defend his letter on the report. this is what he wrote. march 24th letter was not and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting of the special counsel's investigation or report. i do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or release in a serial or piecemeal fashion.
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did he write this letter because he knew his reputation was on the line? >> absolutely. his credibility was challenged and this defensive tone of this letter, the fact they're disclosing basic information to us, one week after this submission of the mueller report. frankly an outrage and it would have been unthinkable in any other administration that is systemically cancelled regular press briefings and given the public information. only this information would take a week to tell us how many pages the report is and even that, only after we had leaked information about that. this is outrageous. if they are so confident in the findings of the report as the attorney general summarized them for us last sunday afternoon in a four-page letter, then they're doing everything possible to undermine the legitimacy of this investigation and so the question i would have is how is that good for anybody? i don't even understand how it's good for donald trump. if he's so confident in the
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vindication that he is claiming here, why on earth would they have handled it in this outrageous unprofessional and untransparent manner. >> so we're being played? >> they're telling us the number of pages. >> are we being played, susan? >> absolutely. but the question is whether we're being played well or not. >> very good. that is a very good and excellent assessment. michael, let's bring you here and get your response. evan explained, the attorney general laid out in his letter, how subjective are these redactions? >> some of them will be subjective, but i think you have to remember, like, the grand jury information is not going to come out. there's a federal statute on that. it says specifically, it's just not going to come at it. we don't want it to come out. in most cases. and i think here, you know, that's following the rules. my question deals more with some of the other exceptions that they make and that is redactions as it relates to other ongoing investigations and districts and places where mueller might have sent cases and national security concerns, certainly classified information out but talking about national security, we may see the report because the
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report by the special counsel was supposed to be about russia so that's a problem. i don't think we're going to see this 400 page, 400 plus page document without a lot of blacked out pages and i think that's the reality of where we are. what i do think -- >> the thing is about national security now that you mentioned it. >> that's the whole thing. we need to take a breath, the democrats need to take a breath and look at, play the long game. that is, they've got to remember they control the oversight committee. and let's, they can bring people in. they can look at the investigation but whether or not we're quivering over we can see so many pages or some kind of redaction. whether it's a week or extra ten days, this has been a long investigation and the american people have an interest in seeing the investigation to its conclusion. and the quality of that and the quality of the review we get at the end of the day is more
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important than if we get it next week or the week after. we need to sort of step back. >> when you said that's the whole thing, georgia, you know, you didn't say that's the whole kit and kaboodle. so listen, julia, i'm not finished. still going on, right? it's been a long week so need a little levity. julia, barr said mueller insisting him with the redactions and mueller signs off on these redactions. can anyone really, i guess, complain about anything but i wonder if some cover or legitimacy to what he's saying or doing, what he might do? >> that's exactly right and i think barr, what he wants to do is get the legitimacy from mueller at this stage. i do worry, like michael said, we're focused on what we're not seeing rather than what we already see, as susan as
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eloquently written today in ""the new yorker,"" there's a lot already out there, take the long game and don't fight every fight because we will not win every single one. >> the house judiciary chairman, demanding a full report without the redactions. saying it would be illegal. who's right there, michael? >> you know, there's some rules in the grand jury provision, a prime example of that. we don't let that information go public. make sure it does not go public. so i don't often agree with the congressman for the statement but in this instance, speaks some truth that some of the information is not going to come out but again, the democrats control the oversight committee. we could get to some of that information, but there are reasons that we don't always make these exceptions. they're reasons we have rules and reasons we have statutes and we need to think about following
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those. the democrats have got themselves in a bind before. that's what is changing the rules. some of the special counsel regulations are in there because the star report, you've got to have a soft core porn novel with some of the facts in there. we weren't going to let people come out and throw this stuff out. the democrats put this provision in. now we're living with what we did and that's we've got some provision for the ag that can redact some of the special counsel's information. did the same thing on the filibuster. overreach sometimes in the senate, guess what, a lot of new judges because we got rid of some things there. the democrats have got to start thinking about the long game.
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you know, what they want, how they're going to get it in a way, that they don't have to eat crow later on. >> all right. so listen, susan, barr writes in the letter, the president would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report and he has stated publicly that he intends and accordingly, no plans to submit the report to the white house for a privilege review. what does that language say to you, susan? >> one, it's an interesting statement that at least the attorney general in this situation considers the public statement to the president to be policy. the cabinet officials in the trump administration routinely tell us they're not referring to the tweets to be policy. on one hand, barr trying to hold president trump to his comments, perhaps not sure of them himself but of course, opening up a very wide loophole and again, i just keep coming back to the fact
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that number one, if they're so confident in this and remember, the president has not only claimed vindication and complete exoneration but has called in his rally last night. he called this investigation itself, the biggest political hoax in american history. so if that's the case, why they would be appearing to undermine public confidence in number one, beyond me and i think we're making a little bit completely two different things here. what congress has access to, and the issue of the redactions but at the same time, congress with the government with the potential to investigate high crimes and misdemeanor with the purview of the attorney. >> you said they have every
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right to see the unredacted report? >> absolutely, routinely interacted with sensitive and classified information not made public. i think a disservice to people to suggest that attorney general barr has the final say on this and this is very much the reason why there's likely to be a court battle. not because you and i will sit there and read every single word of what mueller has written but because congress has not only a right to presumably all of it but the constitutional responsibility to look at it, arguably. >> that's what they're supposed to do. >> thank you all, i appreciate it. julia, get better. don't talk this weekend. rest yourself. was that honey? thank you. we've got breaking news to tell you about. jussie smollett on the jussie smollett case, we'll tell you what the cook county state's attorney's is saying about the case next. listerine® cleans virtually 100%. helping to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
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the cook county state's attorney, in an op-ed, she welcomes an outside review of how the case was handled. let's bring in rhonado mairiani. welcomes an outside review of how they handled the jussie smollett case and critical to ensure the community's trust. would an independent review in your estimation restore that trust? >> it depends, i suppose, on what the review finds. i will note, don, there's no mechanism for an independent review that i'm aware of. for the attorney general here in illinois, has stated that for there to be a review by his office, there would need to be a credible allegation of wrongdoing so i do think this is a good step. the question, and i do think it's something that is needed, don.
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i will say here in chicago, throughout the legal community, i've been hearing all sorts of rumors and speculation on all different angles what may have been going on with this case. i do think there's value in restoring trust in the process and ensuring that this was an appropriate decision. that said, i don't know how that would actually happen, and wonder whether after this call, whether that there will be some follow-through in making that happen. >> so here's what she's defending, why jussie smollett, in her estimation, at least not on trial tonight. in the chicago tribune piece, first cites the law. in part, in determining whether or not to pursue charges, prosecutors are required to balance severity of the crime against the likelihood of securing a conviction. for a variety of reasons including public statements made about the evidence in the case, my office believed the likelihood of securing the conviction was not certain. that's what she said.
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that's not what the police superintendent said. that's not what the mayor said and on wednesday, not what she said. because she said, cook county's kim foxx, on wls, expressed confidence in her office that her office could bring jussie smollett guilty. she said based on the evidence presented in the charging decision, they believe he was culpable. is this an about-face, is this a contradiction? >> it appears to be, don. because i believe her office is also maintaining that they had confidence that i think her principal deputy, the one who made the decision. her principal deputy said no changed circumstances that would affect their ability to prove the charges. so it's very bizarre. there's a lot of bizarre things about how this was handled and what happened and frankly, to me, this op-ed is going to raise more of those questions. >> what about the mayor and the police chief? >> well, i mean, the fact, you know, certainly, kim foxx is a
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very popular figure here in chicago with good reason and i don't know whether or not, why the mayor has come out so strongly. but certainly, one could infer that because the chicago police want this looked into that there isn't some misconduct by them that they want to hide or at least if they do, it's a very bad strategy on their part. certainly, there may have been some friction between the police department and kim foxx's office. after all, she knows in the op-ed, calling for reform but i tell you, it's a very unusual situation when the police department that works hand in glove with the prosecutors' office in chicago, in cook county, when they're calling out the cook county state's attorney office, it's a very unusual situation and until there is an independent review or something, some reveal that curbs this, these questions will remain.
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>> let's talk about that. she's not without her own controversy in this case. walk us through that and what her office said yesterday about her not being formally recused. >> that's bizarre because my impression was, don, that she had been recused. there were some e-mails that had surfaced indicating that, for example, she had contact with a woman, tina chen, sort of a well known lawyer who was connected to the obama administration, talking about having the fbi involved. there has been suggestions she was close to the victim's family. so there's been a lot of reasons suggested as to why she recused. frankly, the issue of whether she's recused or not appears not to be settled and i will say that her writing this op-ed adds to that because she's not the obvious spokesperson here.
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her principal deputy is the one who announced the decision. you would think her principal deputy would be the one writing the op-ed defending it. >> kim foxx writing an op-ed for the chicago tribune. that is our breaking news. renato, we appreciate you helping us out this evening. thank you so much. >> thank you. democratic presidential candidate, a stark diagnosis for america. he said americans are being radicalized by the trump administration. we'll talk about that next. ♪ i was just finishing a ride. i felt this awful pain in my chest. i had a pe blood clot in my lung. i was scared. i had a dvt blood clot. having one really puts you in danger of having another. my doctor and i chose xarelto®. xarelto®. to help keep me protected. xarelto® is a latest-generation blood thinner that's proven to treat and reduce the risk of dvt or pe blood clots from happening again. in clinical studies,
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show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving simple. easy. awesome. stay connected with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. so democratic presidential candidate pete buttigieg. he said americans are being radicalized by the trump administration. let's dig into this now. he said when people are economically and socially dislocated, they are more vulnerable to being radicalized. the experience of disruption that's gone on, especially in the interior, has obviously made it more fertile to being taken advantage of by people like this president. matt, you say this is absolutely
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the case. tell me why. >> i think it's true and there's actually studies done that show that, if you look at the republican primary, especially, the people who were most susceptible to donald trump's message are people who live in areas with low social capital. they go bowling alone. they don't join car leagues. they don't know their neighbors. so i think that mayor is right and trump maybe has more purchase in those areas at this moment. i think he's driving us crazy. but i think it kind of goes both ways. on the right, i think he's stoking fear and anger and i think on the left, and even in the mainstream media, there is
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this trump derangement syndrome. donald trump has a way of driving people crazy. >> you disagree with him. why? >> i think why he encouraging people to indulge worst impulses, i don't think economic hardship is the necessary, is the relevant factor here. black and latino people saw their wealth wiped out by the recession. not susceptible to trump's treaties because they targeted him. what is relevant is the ideological lens in which you view your misfortune, whatever it is and i don't think, for example, people who are economically comfortable are necessarily immune to trump encouraging them to indulge their worst impulses and i think clearly, that's not the case.
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>> go on. explain more. i find it fascinating what you're saying. because when people said it was economic anxiety that was really the reason that the president was elected, the middle of the country, felt like they were left out. every study shows that it was the loss of power in society and being afraid of change and quite frankly, of a more diverse country. >> i think that's a big part of it. donald trump basically told these people, you're having problems, yes, and your problems can be blamed on people who aren't like you, but even if you look at the studies that have been done in terms of the income cohorts where people voted, it was really in the income cohort between $50,000 and $100,000 where trump really cleaned up over hillary clinton. on the lower end of the spectrum, those people more likely to vote for clinton than trump. obviously, people's economic
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problems are a factor but i don't think that is the main issue. the main issue is this ideology that has been part of america since the beginning that says these newcomers, these foreigners, these people different are to blame for whatever hardship you're suffering and donald trump has taken advantage of that. >> let me say something, because i think the mayor is in an interesting position to talk about this issue specifically. he's the mayor -- >> that's why i wanted to read this quote. he goes on to say, at the same time, my experience leading to a turnaround in the industrial midwestern city that's also very racially diverse where we had to work hard to keep everybody together and make sure what we do is inclusive. demonstrates that these things go hand in hand when it comes to proving our economic condition and making good on our commitments to racial and social justice. inclusive and keeping everyone together. sounds different from where we are in the country. go on. >> these are two entirely types of leaders.
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donald trump is a fighter who wants to divide. he sees the media and the left as enemies that have to be vanquished rather than mayor buttigieg would be focused on bringing people together. and calming things down. >> why is the left something to be vanquished, why would that be? >> i think because, i'm somewhat sympathetic to this message. there is an argument to be made on the right that the media's liberally biassed, you can't get a fair shake and the left is going insane. the list of all sorts of stuff, the jussie smollett and the hate crime hoax but my larger point is about the mayor. this is a guy who really did turn around south bend, indiana. a working class area that was blight. tons of blight. factories that, for decades, he actually did turn that around and i think that, you know, there's an argument, the economy isn't everything but if you lose
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your factory job and then the church shuts down, eventually you have people who are isolated, alienated, disaffected. that's a spiritual crisis, not just an economic crisis and i think those are the people who are more susceptible to donald trump's message. >> listen, i got to go but during the campaign, there was one person who said these things are going to happen and that evolution happens and we're no longer this industrial society and plants will close down and retrain and one person to say we'll bring your industry and coal jobs back, which will never happen in a gazillion years. that's not the way of the world now but they voted against their own interests and here we are. >> and if you look at, what the mayor has done is actually taking, there was a bakery out since the 1960s and turned it into an industrial park. that's the kind of thing you can do, where you can revitalize areas but 21st century matter.
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>> but they'll never be what they were. like most people don't have phones in their house with cords on them, right? just can't go back. adam, thank you, i wish we had more time. appreciate it. louisiana police officer who came under fire for posting a racist meme nearly two years ago is now serving as this town's police chief. that story is next. ♪ - [woman] with shark's duo clean, i don't just clean, i deep clean carpets and floors, so i got this. yep, this too, and this, please. even long hair and pet hair are no problem, but the one thing i won't have to clean is this because the shark's self-cleaning brush roll removes the hair wrap while i clean. ♪ - [announcer] shark, the vacuum that deep cleans now cleans itself. itso chantix can help you quit "slow turkey." along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit.
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louisiana police officer who landed in hot water after posting a racist meme on facebook two years ago is back on the job as his town's police chief. cnn's nick valencia has the story. >> reporter: why he posted a racist picture on the facebook page. they're proud to have him as their top cop. just beyond the crawfish filled
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waters of southern louisiana, the village is small and sleepy. in november, residents elected a police chief who shared this meme on facebook. those we spoke to want you to know they're definitely not racist and neither is their top cop. >> this town racist? >> no, it's not. >> you use the n word? >> often, but not as racist. >> how is using the n word as a white man not racist? >> i don't find it racist. i got plenty of black friends, we all use it. meme he shared.
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>> he's lived there his whole life like the 900 or so residents, no problem with police chief wayne welsh or the meme he shared. >> do you think that's funny? >> not necessarily, but at the time it was. >> what was funny about it? >> it was just a post on facebook that was shared and everybody blew it out of proportion. >> reporter: it was posted nearly two years ago in july of 2017 when chief welsh was assistant police chief. >> he was disciplined. he was dealt with. and then reelected. ran out of foes. >> reporter: welsh stepped in as the interim for nine months and then ran unopposed. by the time of the election, people forgot about the meme or didn't much care. >> what does it say about the people of this community to elect something like that? >> again, i'm going to say what, reiterate what i said. not the mayor back at that time. i understand what you're saying but i'm not going to elaborate on it. >> you are the mayor now. >> i am the mayor now, yes. >> what defense do you have to
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have a police chief to put something like this on the internet. >> i tell you what i just said. i don't foresee any other problems with chief welsh. >> wayne, are you there? >> we wanted to talk to welsh on camera but he declined. he did agree to total interview and then this happened. minutes later, he sent me this text message. two years ago, i shared a picture on facebook that i got a lot of heat over because it was said to be racism at that time. i didn't think it was. it was just sharing something off facebook. i was suspended from the police department for what i did. i also apologized on facebook and on the live news later. the next year, i ran for police chief in the election and the town voted me there new chief of police. what happened two years ago is behind me and my punishment was done to me and now i'm moving forward with my life as a new chief of police. thanks. >> welsh may be moving forward with his life but black residents who account for less
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than 5% of the town sound like they live in the past every day. >> it doesn't surprise me. >> out of fear of retaliation, no black residents we spoke to would go on camera to talk about the chief. their voice, it seems, drowned out by the others in estherwood. >> you go that man and he will give it to you. all around good guy and whoever thinks this is messed up because he posted it, [ bleep ] in the head. i hate to say it like that, but they are. >> reporter: recently underwent training required for all new police chief in louisiana including new guidelines and policy for social media. he said if any one of his officers of the department does anything remotely similar to what he did, they would, quote, be automatically terminated. he added, he doesn't want anything like this to happen again. nick valencia, estherwood. >> a lot to talk about next. this is charlie not coughing because he took delsym 12-hour. and this is charlie still not coughing
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the police chief of a small town of estherwood, louisiana, posted a racist image on facebook two years ago when he was assistant police chief and as we saw in nick valencia's report, he's now in the top job because plenty of people in estherwood apparently didn't find the image offensive. let's discuss now. pete and tara. hello. it seems like a comedy piece, right? but it's, it's not funny. >> i felt like i was watching an episode of "the daily show" watching that, it was so sad. i couldn't even believe the people could be that ignorant and on national television, but this is a reflection of the country we live in right now.
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we have a problem with our country where people are more afraid of being called racist than actually being racist. they're so ashamed, they don't even want to admit when they're doing something obviously racist. posting a meme of a white woman drowning her white baby because that baby might be dating a negro person is exactly the definition of what we'd consider racist and this happened, by the way, in a country or in a state, i should say, louisiana, the same place where 1896, the ferguson case where a mixed race person went on a train and forced off the train because of the segregation laws and that ushered in a whole generation of jim crow that didn't end until the brown v. board education decision. louisiana, you can do better, folks. you're saying they don't want to admit. people don't even know when they are racist. they think their behavior is not racist. >> clearly. when i was researching this story, i hadn't heard of it
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until tonight, but i started researching the local coverage of this. one of the stations in louisiana did a longform story, and this guy has absolutely zero contrition about this being a racist, offensive, horrible meme he posted. he's more focused about the attention it brought to their town of 900 people. and this piece we just saw showed that the people there seem to think there's nothing wrong with this. that scares the hell out of me. i'm from new jersey, 15 minutes outside of new york city. i don't get this level of podunk racism. but the fact that it exists scares the hell out of me. and the fact that this guy wasn't held to account of it at all shows that we have a long way to go. and he said, i didn't think it was racist, or the other guy says the "n"-word all the time. when the president uses coded language, or tip-toes around racial animus, nobody but offended, even the president of the united states is kind of bigoted. so we must be all right, too. this is 2019, people, my god. >> i hate to say something that
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seems like it might be defending donald trump, but he didn't invent racism, he just exploited it. but the other point i want to push back a little bit on, you mentioned you're from new jersey. there is racism taking place in new jersey, too. not just louisiana. >> it's just not every day, i'm sorry. >> i've lived in the north, south, east, west, and midwest, racism is everybody where. people think racism involves wearing a klan robe, but it happens in everyday ways. >> let me raise my hand here. because i'm from louisiana. >> yes, i forgot about that. >> you should be talking about this. >> there are very good people in louisiana. but there are some places that are, when they say people in the northeast, or who live in big
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cities live in bubbles, yeah, that is indeed a bubble. >> 900 people. >> because the rest of the country don't feel that way, but to have that level of ignorance is really quite shocking. and people take that from childhood all the way into adulthood. as the police chief, he's in charge of protecting the town's residents, black and white. should the black people be worried about being treated fairly? >> why shouldn't they? the head of the naacp down there said, my suggestion is, for
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black people, people who aren't white, drive right through that town. that's a shame that people aren't safe going through a town, because the police chief is posting racist memes and doesn't think there's anything wrong with that. >> none of the black residents wanted to talk. >> that's a shame. >> the fact that none of them would be interviewed on camera
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says a lot about the culture that exists in that community. and it's a lot of places in the south, and not just the south, too. but we can't challenge this because we live in a community that's 95% white in a small, rural community in the south. >> esterwood, do better. >> and i didn't say that racism doesn't exist. i said, racism like that. >> we're going to take a field trip. thank you. we'll be right back. readyaveeno's sheer formulaiant? packed with pure soy evens tone and texture. so skin looks like this. and you feel like this. aveeno® positively radiant get skin happy™ a great dishwasher needs a great detergent. so ge appliances tested finish on over 5000 dishes proving dish after sparking dish that it's not just clean,
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a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! refugees coming to america have tried to build a better life. many struggle to find jobs with upward mobility. this week's cnn hero helps refugees showcase their talents. meet carrie brody. >> what we're teaching our students isn't just knife skills or cooking. it's the ideal that you has a human have value. what's the dream team cooking up? awesome. >> that experience of watching
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students transform, seeing them really come into their own, inspires me. >> to learn more, go to cnnheroes.com. thanks for watching. our coverage continues. releasing the mueller report. new details from the attorney general about when and how much of that report could be revealed. plus, shutting down the u.s. border. president trump makes a threat, again, saying he would act as soon as next week. also ahead this hour, the third time theresa may's brexit plan gets voted down again leaving the united kingdom in political limbo. live from cnn in atlanta, we welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm george

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