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Driver Arrested in Fatal Bush Crash; Trump Not Denouncing the Alt-Right by Name; Trump's Family Delays Move to the White House. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 22, 2016 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHIEF FRED FLETCHER, CHATTANOOGA POLICE DEPT.: Certainly speed is being instigated very, very strongly as a factor in this crash.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A witness living near the crash said she heard a big boom just before 3:30 p.m., and that the impact was so strong it knocked her power out.

SUPT. KIRK KELLY, HAMILTON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: This has been a great tragedy for us. We have suffered a great loss.

SAVIDGE: As emergency officials raced to the scene, so did frantic parents. The fire department working for hours to remove the 37 elementary school students on board, trapped inside. Meanwhile, hundreds of residents from the community lining up to donate blood at a local blood bank to help the injured. Their parents hoping they can take their child home soon.

FLETCHER: We are working diligently to ensure that all of the other children who have received care at the hospitals or may have been transported to other locations are reunited successfully with their families.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, joining us now is the president of the National Safety Council and former NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman.

Ms. Hersman, thanks so much for being here.


CAMEROTA: So they've already charged this 24-year-old driver with vehicular homicide. How do they know already that he did something criminally wrong?

HERSMAN: You know, I'd say the local authorities probably have a lot more information on the ground than we do. There can be anything from cameras that are on board the bus, to witnesses, to even self- disclosure by that driver. And so when you have fatalities involving children on school buses, this is clearly a huge concern for the community. CAMEROTA: So what does vehicular homicide mean in this case? It means

that there weren't road conditions, that the bus slid off the road. It means either, what, that he was speeding or that he was under the influence of something?

HERSMAN: Well, I'd say at this point I don't know that information, but certainly the local authorities will know. It's standard procedure after any crash involving fatalities to do blood and alcohol - blood alcohol tests, drug tests. Also the speed issue, certainly the local authorities have referred to that and so there may be some indicators about speed. Certainly the crash was catastrophic and it was in a neighborhood where speeds should be on the low side.

CAMEROTA: Deborah, why don't school buses, all school buses, have seat belts?

HERSMAN: You know, we have a patch work system across our country. Some states do require seat belts, but others don't. The National Safety Council has recommended that on all newly manufactured school buses, we ought to have three-point belts. That's the best protection that we can give our kids. It's what they're used to in cars. And we know that there are very few fatalities involving children on school buses every year. They are a safe form of transportation. But anything that we can do to make them safer is really our responsibility.

CAMEROTA: But isn't this a no brainer? I mean who's fighting it? Why wouldn't school buses have seat belts? Who's fighting this one?

HERSMAN: Well, I'd say a lot of it has to do with the communities that are responsible for replacing or buying new school buses, but the school bus manufacturers have made it very easy. Many states, again, do have requirements. In fact, the state of California, the biggest state in country, does require three-point belts. And so when we're looking at new manufacturer and buses lasting potentially for decades, we want to have the best safety equipment on board.

CAMEROTA: So meaning money from the local communities is what's preventing it from being just nationwide?

HERSMAN: You know, I do think that you have to follow the money. We're talking about a couple thousand dollars for each new bus that's purchased, but also it's about changing behavior and changing the culture, getting kids to buckle up every time on the bus. It has a lot of other benefits, keeping them seated and behavior and everything else. But it's really about safety. Everyone's grown up with seat belts and the standards on school buses date to the 1970s. Times have changed and we need to update the standards for buses.

CAMEROTA: Times have changed. I mean this is now - all kids know - you know, we've done a good job at sort of the public service campaign of - that kids have to buckle up. And so the idea that there are still kids on school buses who aren't doing it just sort of flies in the face of logic. Do we know if there were seat belts on this school bus?

HERSMAN: In this situation, we don't know what the bus was equipped with. Certainly the investigators will be looking at that when they arrive on scene. But this is not a state where you have a three-point belt requirement.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, do buses have those information boxes, the so- called black boxes that airplanes have? Will they be able to find something from the technology on the bus of what went wrong?

HERSMAN: The great thing about school buses, is they very often have better technology than we see on anything else on the roadways, not just the event data recorders that can give you speed and braking, but also cameras. School buses often have cameras inside the bus, internal facing and external facing cameras. So they'll be looking for those.

[08:35:11] CAMEROTA: Deborah Hersman, thanks so much for all of the information this morning.

HERSMAN: Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There is just this question that continues to confound, why is Donald Trump, a man who does not suffer any criticism lightly, loves to call people out, why is he refusing to directly condemn the alt-right by name? Why isn't he calling out Nazi saluting extremists? David Axelrod joins us for "The Bottom Line," next.


CUOMO: President-elect Donald J. Trump praised this weekend during a gathering of some of the worst people in the country, 200 members of the alt-right movement. Members raising their arms in a Nazi salute, as Richard Spencer, the white supremacist group leader, delivered his speech. Here's a little bit that you can play and not get sick over.

[08:40:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD SPENCER: Hail Trump. Hail our people. Hail victory.


CUOMO: Now this isn't about this group or that they exist or their numbers, because they're not that relevant numerically. It's about why our president is dealing with them the way he is or isn't.

Let's get to the bottom line with CNN's senior political commentator David Axelrod.

The main line defense is, you know, President Obama won't call out radical Islamic terrorism for what it is. He won't call out Black Lives Matter for what it is. So why go after Trump for not calling out these Nazi-saluting guys by name?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think the - I don't think that the comparison holds. You know, the president has been very tough on terrorism and on terrorists and on Islamic terrorists, the extreme Islamic sector that - among ISIS and al Qaeda. I mean we're - the U.S. has been pounding them under this administration. He's been very tough on them. But let's separate out that issue and, you know, your panel, I think, hit it on the nose. Donald Trump essentially denounces people who he thinks are not kind to him and he is more reluctant to take on people who are supportive of him, regardless of where they come from. They did send a spokesman out yesterday to say he doesn't have an association with this group, but he's very free to tweet about the cast of "Hamilton," not so much about this group.


AXELROD: And it would be good for the country if he did it.


AXELROD: The odd thing about it is, you know, he has - his family members, his daughter, his son-in-law, his grandchildren -

CUOMO: Jews.

AXELROD: Are Jewish.


AXELROD: And so you would think he would take personal umbrage at some of the language that was used by Mr. Spencer and that group -


AXELROD: Which were virulently anti-Semitic.

CAMEROTA: This is what's confusing, David, because Jared Kushner, who we know has the president-elect's ear as his son-in-law is Jewish. He's an orthodox Jew. He observes the Sabbath, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, you know, he is the real deal. And yet Steve Bannon, who has bragged that he created the platform for the alt-right with Breitbart or at least his incarnation of it, also has the president's ear and they both are his top advisors. So it's hard to know which way Donald Trump feels about what the alt-right stands for.

AXELROD: Yes. You know, but Trump has sort of defined his philosophy very simply, which is, he's about winning. I think he feels if people help him win, if people are supportive of him, then, you know, he is going to be supportive of him. I'm not suggesting the alt-right people. I'm talking about the people he has around him. But I just don't think he's going to go after people who are supportive of him. I mean that's - that's the kind of -

CUOMO: But he has not - what I don't get is, politically, even if you're looking at this politically, which, frankly, I don't think you should, but he has nothing to lose. If he comes out against this group, who does he lose, the alt-right? They aren't -

CAMEROTA: Two hundred people at this conference.

CUOMO: They aren't big enough in number to have effected this coalition. I mean one of the mistakes that Democrats made was they confused these haters that glommed onto his movement as the same as all those middle class and working families who glommed on to his movement for good reason. So you can't conflate the two.


CUOMO: How do you lose if by you - you denounce them for what they are?

AXELROD: No, I have to say - just to - just to add on to your point, a lot of his supporters were older, rural working class white voters, a lot - men, but also women, but very much part of a generation that remembers World War II or whose parents fought in World War II -

CUOMO: Right.

AXELROD: Against Nazism, against Fascism. I'm sure that many of them would be uncomfortable with Mr. Spencer and his group. So I don't think he has that much to lose.

I just don't think - when you look at - if you look at his body of tweets, if that's the window into his mind, then they - they really reflect his anger at people who lash out at him. And, you know, that seems to be the consistent thread of his discourse. So if you're - if you are supportive of him, he's less apt to - to strike out. If you're not or if you're critical, he is.

And, you know, that's a particular problem for the news media because the news media's job is to scrutinize people in positions of power and to shine bright lights into dark corners of government. And so strap on your seat belts, it's going to be a long four years.

[08:45:06] CAMEROTA: On that note, David Axelrod, thanks so much for "The Bottom Line."


CAMEROTA: Donald Trump and his family going against traditional politics. Donald Trump's wife, Melania, and his son Barron, will wait to move into the White House. They will stay in New York City instead. So how will that decision define the next first lady?

CUOMO: But, first, Zach Anner is a comedian, actor and writer. He has cerebral palsy. But he also has one of the quickest wits on YouTube. He is the subject of this week's "Turning Point." Watch this.


ZACH ANNER, COMEDIAN: Dealing with cerebral palsy growing up, you know, having a sense of humor about it was really the key.

Hi, I'm Zach Anner and I'm a used underwear model.

I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy like a year after I was born. When I was a baby, I did get eye surgery and you could see how well that worked out. So back in 2010, my mom, she said, Oprah's launching this new network

and she's going to give away a TV show and you should totally audition for it.

My audition video got me on the reality show and then I won the reality show. And from there, I won a travel show. And then it was canceled. And now I'm a YouTuber.

I think Oprah was definitely a huge turning point in my life because that was the first time I realized that I could do this as a career.

Workout Wednesday is my comedy fitness series.

I'm an Olympian. Olympic (INAUDIBLE).

All of my friends are pitching in to help make these things. My life is a collaborative effort.


ANNER: I hope to make people laugh and maybe make them think a little bit. If they're inspired by what I do, then that's great.

I got it. I'm fine.



[08:50:51] CAMEROTA: When President-elect Donald Trump moves into the White House in January, his wife and son will not be coming with him for now. The future first lady and 10-year-old son Barron Trump will remain in New York City until the end of the school year.

So let's bring in "Vanity Fair" writer Emily Jane Fox to talk about this, as well as Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Emily, thanks so much. Great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: So, Washington, D.C., has schools. They have some excellent schools. That's where other presidents with young kids have sent their kids. Why is - why must Barron remain here in New York City.

FOX: Well, I think Melania and Barron have been shielded away from the campaign and now the transition since President-elect Trump has announced his candidacy. And I think Melania, as a mother, has decided to keep her child off the campaign trail and out of the public light. And I think she wants to keep his life as normal and as close to normal as possible. And I think keeping him in his school where he feels comfortable is her top priority.

CAMEROTA: Fair enough. It's every parent's prerogative to send their child to school if they can afford it wherever they would like. Are we certain that they will be moving to Washington, D.C.? In other words, is there any indication that Melania and Barron don't want to move to Washington, D.C., and may not at the end of the school year?

FOX: I think until a Trump does something, it's hard to say that they will do something. I think we've seen that time and time again throughout the campaign. For now it appears that they will be moving. I think that's what President-elect Trump has said, that they will move at the end of the school year. But until it happens, it's hard to say definitively.

CAMEROTA: Your most recent article for "Vanity Fair" is about Jared Kushner. He, of course, the son-in-law of Donald Trump, married to Ivanka, and he has the president-elect's ear, as we heard. He's become a vital part of the campaign and now the transition and into the future. He is an orthodox Jew and we've been talking a lot this morning about the alt-right movement.

There was a conference of about 200 people this weekend where the alt- right said basically this is our moment and they had all sorts of Nazi salutes and they talked about how they want to restore white nationalism. Steve Bannon, who is a chief strategist is - he said he - I mean he gave them a platform, he says, at Breitbart. How does Jared Kushner reconcile all of that, that Steve Bannon represented?

FOX: Now, Jared hasn't commented on that. I'll start with that. But he has defended his father-in-law, saying that he knows him to be a very tolerant, accepting individual. He has also defended Steve Bannon.

I think the Jewish community, in my reporting, is having a hard time figuring out how Jared can stand by this. But many people I spoke to look at this as a practical decision, to support the Trump administration, because they want him to support Israel. And I think that Jared Kushner, from my reporting, may fall in line with that, where it's, let's stick by him, let's not speak up against this because we're going to need him down the line to stand up for Israel.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that Jared Kushner will press Donald Trump to denounce more forcefully the alt-right movement?

FOX: I think Donald Trump is his own man. And I think Donald Trump will do what Donald Trump wants to do. But I also think from everything I've learned in my reporting, that Donald tends to do whatever the last person in his ear tells him to do. And so if Jared is in his ear telling him to do something, odds are he'll listen, it's just a question if that's what Jared's priorities are right now.

CAMEROTA: Well, this can't be a comfortable time for Jared Kushner. I mean -

FOX: Or Ivanka. I think this -

CAMEROTA: Or Ivanka, about everything that they're hearing from the alt-right with this conference.

FOX: It's difficult. They're very observant Jews. They go to synagogue most weeks. Their children go to Jewish day school. This is not an easy thing for any Jew to square. I think it must be very difficult to have in their face day after day. Just a really tricky time for the family and for all Jews across America.

CAMEROTA: All right, we will see what they do and what their influence is, obviously, on President-elect Trump.

Emily Jane Fox, thanks so much for sharing your reporting with us.

FOX: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right, "The Good Stuff" is next.


[08:58:50] CUOMO: Time for "The Good Stuff." And, boy, do we need it. Sure, it's a place where guys go to get their haircut, OK, but a barber shop is a lot more than that, especially in this place in Iowa we're about to take you. It's like a brotherhood. They talk about simple guy stuff, also important issues, race relations, policing. Take a listen.


DONELL RIVERS, BROTHAZ BARBERSHOP: Wide variety. From frustration, to anger, you know, to different people telling stories about encounters that they've had, good and bad.


CUOMO: Ice Cube's movie was not that far off. There is a real culture there. It's also something that is taking place in Iowa. That was barber Donell Rivers. He wants to close that gap. He wants to unite brothers within the cities men in blue, bring them both together. So he asked the Waterloo police chief to make pamphlets for the shop.


RIVERS: It's important, with all that's going on in our community, that we do something proactive and try to get people to know what their rights are, and what to do in certain situations, so everybody can go home safely.


CUOMO: Good for him. He's dedicated to making a positive change in the community. The barber shop, such a place of cultural relevance and it can be very useful, and what they're trying to do with it.

[09:00:05] CAMEROTA: That's a - yes, obviously, bring the police together with the people in the community. That - everybody's trying to do that. So good for Donell.

CUOMO: And everybody likes a nice, tight cut.