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Interview with Rep. John Lewis; Remember the March on Washington; Republicans Talk Impeachment of Obama; Safe Passages Keeps Chicago Kids Safe; Trump's Real Estate School Under Attack; Miley Cyrus Shocks Parents, Fans.
Aired August 26, 2013 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think he would believe we were in the right place, at a good place when it comes to race relations?
REP. JOHN LEWIS, D-GEORGIA: Martin Luther King Jr would be very pleased that we've come to this point in our history. He would be gratified to see that we have an African-American in the White House and see more members in the Congress that are minorities, African- American members, Latino members, Asian-American members. He would be very disappointed that we still have so much violence in our neighborhoods, in our community, in our country and around the world. There's too much violence. We must end the violence. He would say we need to do something about ending poverty, hunger and joblessness.
MALVEAUX: Let's talk a bit about that. We know the actual anniversary is on Wednesday. The president is going to speak. The '63 march was the march on Washington for jobs and freedom. Back then, you saw unemployment of black, African-Americans double than whites. Today it remains the same. It's still that statistic. What needs to be done to really help African-Americans rise out of poverty as you mention?
LEWIS: It's important to see that all of our children receive the best possible education. Education is a great equalizer. Education is the passport out of poverty and into the middle class. What we need to see that those of us in the Congress and those of us in the private sector need to come together and work with President Barack Obama to put all of our citizens back to work.
MALVEAUX: Congressman, you mention that president Barack Obama, African-American president, that there's a lot of progress. Some believe there's so much progress we don't need to deal with issues of race. This is an op-ed from Bobby Jindal just yesterday. He said, "We still place far too much emphasis on our separateness, our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, et cetera. We live in the hyphenated Americans, Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African- Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, just to name a few." He said, "We need to get over that."
Do you think he has a point here? Do you think our separateness? Is it essential to move forward?
LEWIS: I think it's important to understand we're not there yet. We'd like to get there. We have not yet laid down the burden of race. Race is very much involved in every segment of the American society. The scars and stains of racism are very deep embedded in our society. We cannot escape that. A great black educator, WEB Dubois, said years ago that the problem raised the problem. The 20th century is the color line. It's still the color line in the 21st century. We cannot forget that. We cannot sweep it under the rug in some dark corner. It's real.
MALVEAUX: Congressman, I couldn't help but notice, I listen to a lot of these speeches on Saturday and we played a portion of your speech. But we also heard something similar and common among your speech, Attorney General Eric Holder, Martin Luther King III, all of you talking about equal rights for same-sex couples. Is that something you see as a new fight?
LEWIS: You cannot, in a society, in a democratic society, under the law, have equality for some and not for all. People used to ask Martin Luther King Jr about interracial marriage and he would say races don't fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married. If two individual, two males or two females fall in love and want to get married, it's their business and no government, no state government, no federal government should tell someone who they should fall in love with and get married. It's their business.
MALVEAUX: Do you think Dr King would agree with that today?
LEWIS: I think Martin Luther King Jr would agree with me today. I learned so much from him. He was one of my teachers. He was my inspiration. He was my leader.
MALVEAUX: All right. Congressman Lewis, thank you so much. We appreciate it. We'll be watching on Wednesday as well. It's going to be a very big, big event.
Thank you as always. Appreciate it.
LEWIS: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Thank you.
Some Republican legislators are trying to impeach the president but not all Republicans agree with that. Hear what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says about it, up next.
MALVEAUX: We're seeing a new split in the GOP. There's some Republicans talking about trying to impeach President Obama. Others want the conversation to just end right there.
Here is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal weighing in on all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY JINDAL, (R), GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA: The reality is one of the great things about this country is we do have peaceful transfer of power. I disagree with this president's policies. Instead of talking about impeachment, let's go out there and let's have a legitimate debate. Let's fight his policies. Let's try to appeal Obamacare. Let's try to promote school choice. Let's fight against more government spending. And we've had decades of these government programs, entitlement spending. You still see the disparity numbers. You still have those numbers you showed earlier about the African- American unemployment rate, about the challenges in joining the middle class. The reality is it's time for a new approach. So let's not talk about impeachment. Let's talk about the policies we disagree with.
MALVEAUX: I want to bring in Wolf Blitzer out of Washington.
Wolf, good to see you as always.
When you and I covered the impeachment and acquittal of President Clinton, over the Monica Lewinsky affair, there was a much high bar for Congress to impeach the president. He has to be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Republicans who are calling for this, they might be upset over Obamacare or immigration reform but it seems to be quite a stretch, a long way from high crimes and misdemeanors. Is there anything saying there's evidence of that?
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: No. This is just a fringe element right now that's discussing it. Usually only in a town hall meeting somebody asks a question and they sort of respond off the cuff and say something about that. There's only a handful of Republicans out there in any serious position to even discussing it. The speaker of the House, John Boehner, doesn't want this to come up, the majority leader, Eric Cantor. If you take a look at the top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives -- forget about Bobby Jindal --
BLITZER: -- the Republican governor of Louisiana -- but if you take a look at the serious leaders there, they're not seriously considering raising high crimes as an impeachable offense against the first African-American president of the United States. So it's a fringe element out there. It's not very serious. No one is really taking it all that seriously. Although, when you get these YouTube comments out there for some elected Republicans in the House of Representatives, it's going to cause a little bit of stir, a little bit of an anxiety out there, but nobody is taking it all that serious.
MALVEAUX: Is it just a distraction, Wolf? I imagine this probably angers most Republicans, certainly those not on the fringe but say, look, we are actually trying to do something here that they believe in, repeal Obamacare, deal with the budget, immigration reform.
BLITZER: Yeah, there are major issues now. There's a crisis in Syria. The president has to make a huge decision in the next few days about whether they launch air strikes against specific targets in Syria. He's working on that right now. He's considering all sorts of options with this to national security leaders, and Republicans appreciate that as well. The talk of impeachment is not really serious, although it's obviously entertaining to some. There's no doubt there's a lot of Republicans out there, a lot of conservatives, a lot of Tea Party activists who are very upset with the president. But it's one thing to raise questions about Obamacare, to raise questions about raising the nation's debt ceiling, other specific issues. It's another issue to suggest the president isn't guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and is worthy of being impeached by the House of Representatives.
MALVEAUX: Wolf, I want to talk about Syria because obviously the president is under some pressure from friends and foes alike. You have Senator John McCain who really is leading this push, asking for more action when it comes to Syria. We see these four warships that are moving into the area. Can you give us a timetable -- I know the discussion is going on in the White House and the Pentagon -- in terms of when the president might take further action?
BLITZER: I think the president will have to decide one way or the other in the next 48 hours, 72 hours. The week, the president will make some major decisions. One of those options is obviously doing nothing, just continuing the same policy as going forward over the past couple of years. There's some other options on the table that the president is considering. He's already been consulting with the NATO allies and others. I suspect they will wait for official reports from chemical inspectors on the ground in Syria right now. The president will make a decision and address the nation and tell us what he's going to do. This is a critical moment in this whole crisis in Syria right now. I know that all of this evidence -- and U.S. officials believe the evidence is strong that the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of Syrians. It's pretty intense. So this is a decisive week that we're all going to see some major decisions unfold.
MALVEAUX: Wolf, you're absolutely right. 24 to 72 hours, a critical window here.
Wolf, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
We're following this story as well. This is the first day of classes for children in Chicago and dozens of people are trying to help the kids walk through these crime-ridden areas. It's a program called Safe Passages. We'll find out how it's working.
MALVEAUX: Heavy rain could trigger more flooding. Over the weekend they were stranded after floodwaters hit the Palm Springs area. Most of the rains came from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ivo, which is lingering offshore.
In less than an hour from now, at the White House, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor for Conspicuous Gallantry to Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter. Carter risked his life to save a gravely wounded fellow soldier during a deadly Taliban in Afghanistan attack almost four years ago. The names of all eight men who died on that day are engraved on a steel band Carter wears on his wrist. Carter will be the fifth living Medal of Honor honored for his actions in Afghanistan. We wish him well. Congratulations. This is the first day of school for kids in Chicago. This comes after a violently week along what is being called a Safe Passage route. The whole idea of these routes is to beef up security and safety. A lot of these kids have to walk through what is considered gang territory. But a teenager was killed over the weekend in that particular safe zone. Police are now investigating new shootings today at well. This, after 50 schools were closed to save money at the end of the last school year.
I want to bring in George Howell. He's in Chicago to explain how's the first day of school going for a lot of these kids who really -- I mean, they need a Safe Passage just to get to where they've got to show up on the first day.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Suzanne, it's got to be tricky and scary for parents and scary for kids as well. Thousands of kids going on new routes. We understand that things went smoothly this morning. But these Safe Passage routes are considered to be safe zones in neighbors even when workers are not on the streets protecting kids.
But over the weekend, we know that two of those routes did become the focus of crime scenes. On Saturday, we understand a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed about a block way from a Safe Passage route. And then on Sunday, a 28-year-old man was shot in the neck. We believe he's in guarded condition, according to police. He was on a Safe Passage route. Then don't forget what happened just a week ago. Five people who were shot in front of a church. One of those victims died. That happened on a Safe Passage route.
Suzanne, here's the thing. Chicago public officials point out that none of these shootings happened during Safe Passage hours. They say the Safe Passage Program is a successful program, that no child has been injured or killed since the program started back in 2008.
MALVEAUX: George, it's amazing. Back in the day, we had crossing guards to help us get across the street. You have a whole area where you have people who are being paid, contracted out to make sure that these kids can simply just get to school without being harmed.
HOWELL: Yeah. That's the thing. Parents are certainly happy that the program is in place. We understand that some are worried. Some even made their own Safe Passage route if they didn't like the route designated for them.
MALVEAUX: We wish those kids all the best.
You'll let us know as they get out of school how they end up getting back home as well.
Donald Trump's real-estate school under attack. New York's prosecutors are calling it a bait-and-switch scam. Hear how Trump is firing back.
MALVEAUX: Donald Trump might know real estate, but according to the attorney general of New York, Trump doesn't know business school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: If you're going to achieve anything, you have to take action. And action is what Trump University is all about. But action is just a small part of Trump University. Trump University is about knowledge, about a lot of different things. Above all, it's about how to become successful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Trump's school now faces a $40 million lawsuit. It is accused of scamming students out of tens of thousands of dollars.
I want to bring in Alison Kosik from the New York Stock Exchange to talk about this pretty high-profile lawsuit.
The attorney general, he's a Democrat. Trump a Republican. Anybody calling politics on this or do they believe they've got a real case?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Trump is quoting politics on this, saying he thinks this lawsuit is politically motivated. You look at this lawsuit. It is quite the bombshell lawsuit. One that the Trump camp says at this point is without merit. It accuses Trump of fraud. The New York State attorney general says students who went to Trump's investment school were essentially given empty promises. So the state is suing Trump for $40 million for what it says the school wrongly took from people who attended classes. The lawsuit alleges a bait-and-switch with Trump using his well-known name to mislead prospective students.
Both were on -- both Sneiderman and Trump were on "New Day" this morning defending each of their sides. Listen to what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: We've had the testimony, sworn testimony of the former president of Trump University who says -- I mean, Mr. Trump claims he wrote the curriculum and was very involved. He said it himself. But the president said he insisted on seeing all the promotional materials, Trump, and he was the pitchman. He was in all the videos. People came to the seminars thinking they were going to meet him. In fact, all they got was a chance to stand next to a life-size poster of Mr. Trump to make it appear as though they had met him.
TRUMP (voice-over): We have and had a great school. The school did a terrific job. 98 percent approval. Of course, he doesn't mention this. We sort of gave a report card on ourselves to every student that took the course. We had a 98 percent -- if you go to Wharton, you go to Harvard, they don't have a 98 percent approval rating. We had a 98 percent approval rating, Chris. (END VIDEOTAPE)
KOSIK: Suzanne, what I wanted to say was that the lawyer for Trump says that at this point this is a cheap publicity stunt -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Alison, thanks. We appreciate it.
Miley Cyrus shocking parents and fans alike -- this is over the weekend -- with her dirty dancing at the Video Music Awards last night. What parents say, that she just went too far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: OK. Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke. Last night's Video Music Awards all the buzz today. 20-year-old Cyrus taking to the stage with kind of a skimpy outfit there. She first was dancing with bears. Then the "Blurred Lines" singer. This was just one memorable moment in a show that was full of them.
Nischelle Turner, she's got the inside story.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A beloved boy band got a big welcome back.
TURNER: The hotly rumored N Sync reunion became reality, finally, at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.
(on camera): You might be a little excited about N Sync?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little too excited.
TURNER (voice-over): It was a night full of moments for Justin Timberlake. He capped off a 20-hit medley of his hits by receiving a Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from his pal, Jimmy Fallon.
TURNER: The show famous for its surprises had a few more to offer. Lady Gaga, returning to live performing after hip surgery in April, opened the broadcast with four costume stages while performing "Applause."
TURNER: And, somehow, seemed tame when compared to Miley Cyrus. While singing "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke, a stripped-down Cyrus got "R" rated with a foam finger.
TURNER: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were the night's top winners, taking home best hip-hop video for "Can't Hold Us" and "Same Love," a marriage equality anthem.
TURNER (on camera): Not only were you making fun music, you were making socially conscious music, too.
UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: Right. At the same damn time.
UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: At the same damn time!
TURNER (voice-over): Taylor Swift lit up Twitter after appearing to utter an expletive when One Direction and rumored former love interest Hairy Styles appeared on stage.
TURNER: The more than two-hour show wrapped with a live Katy Perry concert under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
MALVEAUX: All right. That was Nischelle Turner reporting from New York.
That is it for me. Have a great afternoon.
Wolf Blitzer takes it from here.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Suzanne.
I'm Wolf Blitzer here in Washington. We're following special coverage this hour of two significant events happening live in the nation's capital.
Up first, in just moments, history in the making over at the White House. President Obama getting ready to award an Army staff sergeant just 33 years old with the nation's highest military recognition, the Medal of Honor. Staff Sergeant Ty Carter will be --