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Car-ramming victim identified as 32-year-old Heather Heyer; Suspect's mom: "I thought it had something to do with Trump"; Car crush suspect said to be infatuated with Hitler; Trump fails to condemn with supremacists; Scaramucci: Trump knows what he's going to do with Bannon; Democrats, Republicans want stronger Trump response. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 13, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN Newsroom. Thanks for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We begin with the city of Charlottesville in mourning and a nation battling its past, the Justice Department has now launched a civil rights investigation into yesterday's horrific car crash attack at the white nationalist rally this weekend.
The 20-year-old driver is due in court tomorrow. A former high school teacher is now speaking out about early signs of trouble.
DEREK WEIMER, FORMER TEACHER, COOPER HIGH SCHOOL: I mean, he had some very radical views on race. He was very infatuated with the Nazis, with Adolph Hitler.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We'll have much more from the suspect's former teacher in just a few moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: But first, I want you to know more about 32-year-old Heather Heyer. She is the victim killed yesterday afternoon when that dark gray car plowed into a crowd of people.
She died on the same day she rallied against white nationalists marching through her quiet college town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's go to Rosa Flores in Charlottesville. Rosa, what's happening on the ground there this afternoon?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, there's a lot of grief. There's a lot of pain but there's also a lot of love here in Charlottesville. Let me set the scene for you. You can see that there's a growing
memorial and there are dozens of people here now, and there have been people stopping by this street all day long with flowers, with notes, with photographs as you see there, a photograph of Heather Heyer.
This is the street where a car plowed through a crowd of counter protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. You see it now filled with messages of hope, with messages of love and solidarity for this group of counter protesters.
Now, earlier today, we were at a church service with Governor Terry McAuliffe. And he had very strong words for the individuals who are behind this -- behind the tragedy that you're seeing here.
And he did not mince words when he said that these individuals were white supremacists and they have no place, no room here in Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: The white supremacists and neo- Nazis who came to our beautiful state yesterday, there's no place for you here in Charlottesville.
There is no place for you in Virginia. And there is no place for you in the United States of America. We deplore your hatred, your bigotry, and shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: And as we take another live look here, you see the photograph of Heather Heyer. And a message there that says, no place for hate.
That is the message that we're getting from a lot of people who are visiting here, a lot of them, Ana, with tears in their eyes.
One woman that I talked to with, she had her emergency number on her arm and said, you know, we don't know what's going to happen next but we're here in solidarity for the counter protesters who were here to make sure that their voices were heard. Ana.
KEM GANCZAK, GIVING FREE HUGS: So there was so much hate in town yesterday. And I believe that the only way to combat hate is with love.
And hopefully I can spread a little love to my community and pass it on. It's been overwhelmingly positive. I've had several of small children. I've had people from all walks of place, all nationalities. It's been amazing so far.
FLORES: As we take another live look, you can see that there are dozens of people here still gathered. There are some members of the clergy.
We talked to one man who said that he was here yesterday when the chaos unfolded, and he described the scene as not only very chaotic but also a place where heroes came out of the individuals who were here protesting.
Ana, he said that he was in the middle of the street and a woman not caring for her own safety went to the middle of the street, pulled him out to the sidewalks that you see here to make sure that he was safe.
So we're also hearing about those heroic stories where people risked their own lives to save others.
CABRERA: That is a silver ling at the very least. Rosa Flores, thank you very much.
Just moments ago, the mother of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old victim in Charlottesville spoke out for the first time since losing her death. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: It was important to her to speak up for people that she felt were not being heard to speak up when injustices were happening.
And she saw in the lives of many of her African-American friends particularly and her gay friends that equal rights were not being given.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: President Trump did condemn the hatred, the bigotry and violence in his words, quote, on all sides, on many sides, he said. But he has yet to call out by name or description the white nationalists and white power groups who clearly started the trouble in Charlottesville this weekend.
[17:05:00] They're the one who's marched with torches. They are the one who's cheered and rallied around David Duke. They are the ones carrying Nazi flags and proudly advertising their loyalty to the racist extreme right.
A Homeland Security adviser to President Trump was on CNN earlier today with Jake Tapper defending the president's response which many Democrats and Republicans are saying was not strong enough.
TOM BOSSERT, ADVISER, WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY: These were people who showed up intentionally looking for trouble. These were people that showed to protest a statue.
I'm sure they were good people in the group that had various opinions on the removal or maintenance of the statue but what they were -- what they found when they showed up were groups from outside that showed up on both sides looking for trouble, dressed in riot gear, prepared for violence. It's not tolerated. It's not tolerable. I think what you saw is
Republican unity in terms of denouncing it and I think you saw the president stand up clearly and not only denounce it but rise to a presidential level of calling for a counter message of love, and dignity, and respect for fellow human beings.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How many people did the counter protesters kill yesterday, Mister Bossert?
BOSSERT: Well, I'll tell you, one death is too many, Jake. And...
TAPPER: But that wasn't by the counter protester. She was the victim was a counter protester.
BOSSERT: Hold on one moment, Jake. I don't -- I don't for one minute, I don't for one moment and I won't allow you for one second to put me in a position of being an apologist for somebody who is now a charged murderer.
This individual should face swift justice. The president of the United States shares that view. I know he does. I share that view deeply.
And I don't want to be put in a position, I won't you allow to you put me or him in that position of not finding that -- finding that justice as swiftly as possible.
TAPPER: You just -- you just decried both sides.
TAPPER: You just decried both sides. Here we have a situation, Mister Bossert where neo-Nazis, the Klan, alt-right and others went to Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting anti-Semitic, anti-African- American and other racist slogans provoking the people of Charlottesville, Virginia...
TAPPER: ... making them feel intimidated. Yes, violence did break out. One person was killed by one of these alt-right Klan Nazi protesters and you just decried both sides of this...
BOSSERT: No, I didn't.
TAPPER: ... and this is the issue.
BOSSERT: No, no, I didn't. And you're making this issue a little bit distorted. So what I would decry is the individual that committed murder yesterday.
What I would do though is quibble with this notion that any of this is acceptable. These groups showed up, spewing hate. These groups showed up looking for violence. TAPPER: What groups?
BOSSERT: I think it's just important for people to understand.
TAPPER: What groups are you referring to?
BOSSERT: Of course the groups that showed -- well, I refer to the groups that clashed yesterday. I think it was pretty graphically evident.
TAPPER: Are you talking about the neo-Nazis or are you talking about the counter protesters?
BOSSERT: One of the -- one of the things that I think the mayor will make clear to you and probably stated earlier on your program, I know he and I talked about it this morning was the difficulty he had in planning for this event.
This was an event in which we anticipated violence -- in which he anticipated violence, in which there was violence being rehearsed and planned for in events that preceded the events of yesterday.
I know the mayor and others sought relief in federal court to move this protest because they anticipated violence. I know the mayor and governor acted very responsibly by calling up the National Guard in advance of yesterday's event.
So I don't assign blame or assuage blame, or try to press blame to different groups, Jake. The point I'm trying to make here is what we saw yesterday was an unacceptable planned demonstration of violence.
CABRERA: Meantime, we are now hearing from the suspect's mother explaining what she thought her son, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. was doing in Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA BLOOM, ALEX FIELDS JR.'S MOTHER: I didn't know it was white supremacist. I thought it had something to do with Trump.
CABRERA: So you heard her say, I thought it had something to do with President Trump. I want to bring in three Republicans to talk more about all of this.
Former Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, Andre Bauer, ABC News Political Commentator Tara Setmayer and former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings.
So Andre, again, the suspect's former teacher we played earlier saying he was obsessed with Nazis and with Hitler. His mom thought he was at an event related to President Trump. What's your reaction?
LT. GOVERNOR. ANDRE BAUER (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, first off, we realize now that we're missing some steps.
If in fact the teacher knew there were problems there, this individual law enforcement needed to be notified. Maybe they were. We don't know. I don't know.
[17:10:00] But if they were notified then we've got to get better at catching these folks that are absolutely in that mind-set where they want to invoke outrage or chaos.
And we got to make sure that we have the resources to go after these folks to try to stop these things before they happen. If in fact that individual state...
CABRERA: So wait. Hold on though because he was at the rally representing many others' viewpoints who are at that same rally. Nobody could have predicted he was going to drive his car necessarily into a crowd of people.
But he was very clear, and those who were at the rally said they were there to express themselves and their neo-Nazi white extremist views. They weren't trying to hide it.
BAUER: I'm not sure what you're asking me at this point then.
CABRERA: I'm not sure what your point is in terms of trying to track these people. They were there right front and center. How -- are you suggesting that he could have been avoided? All of this could have been avoided?
BAUER: No, but if we know people have anti-Semitic feelings, if we know they're activists in certain groups, then they should be watched more clearly.
I think that's pretty common sense. I've got over 15 years of law enforcement. There are certain folks you know that are more apt to do things than others if they have a history of saying or doing other activities. And so we need to do all we can just...
Andre, I'm sorry. I'm going to ask you to hold your thought for just a moment. We've got go live here to the Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe speaking.
MCAULIFFE: I've just come from visiting the two families of our two fallen state troopers. And to go in the homes to talk to the children whose father, neither one are coming home tonight, and to Heather Heyer who was 32-years-old, she was doing what she loved.
She was fighting for democracy, free speech, to stop hatred and bigotry. These three individuals lost their lives and what I'd ask today right now if we could have a moment of silent for Heather and Jay, and Burke for what they have done for us. Thank you. Also keep in your prayers the 19 individuals I went to the
UVA Medical School today. Also we've got some folks that are still in critical condition.
So where do we go from here? As you know, we had folks come to our beautiful state. Let's call it for what it is. They were white supremacists. They were Nazis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call their names. Call their names.
MCAULIFFE: They don't stand for us. They call themselves patriots. Ladies and gentlemen, they were not patriots. They get out of bed every day to hate people and to divide our country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MCAULIFFE: As I said yesterday, go home. Leave our beautiful city.
MCAULIFFE: Leave our beautiful city, leave our state. Let's be honest. They need to leave America because they are not Americans.
MCAULIFFE: And this is a time for us. And I call upon everyone. And I call upon every elected official from the White House to the State House to all the local offices. We got to the call it out for what it is.
It is hatred, it is bigotry and our leader's got to be very frank, unequivocal. We will not tolerate that in our country. We all need to have some self-reflection on how did we get to this point.
How did we get to a point where people are walking down the streets wearing swastikas, in confederate flags, and spewing yesterday the most vial hate-filled speech I have ever heard in my life?
We've got to all figure out, how did we get to this place and we've got to the stop the rhetoric, the political rhetoric that's going on in this country today must stop now.
MCAULIFFE: So I was angry yesterday. But I got up today, I'm sorrowful today. There's a sadness in my heart. These state troopers were very close to me.
[17:15:00] One had been my pilot for three and a half years, and the other had served in my executive protection unit, lived with me 24/7.
But I realized for all of us folks, we have to use this opportunity to send a message out that we here in Virginia and the country, we're better than that. These people came here to hurt us. Let me send a message to these folks.
You came to Charlottesville, but you only made us stronger here in the commonwealth of Virginia. They didn't win yesterday. They didn't win anything. I want to thank the clergy who was out there yesterday bringing people in.
MCAULIFFE: I want to thank those brave University of Virginia students on Friday night when 200 people -- when 200 people showed up with torches, they outnumbered them and said you are not going to do that here at the University of Virginia.
You don't do that here in Virginia. And they sent them out. And now they've all left. But let's be clear. The swastikas and all that, they've left our state. They have gone back to wherever they came from.
But we must all realize that we all have a problem. We know in Virginia we've had a horrible history on civil rights issues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
MCAULIFFE: We know that. And it exists here today. And we all got to work together to bring folks together. And that's our challenge, reconciliation.
I know it's hard when we're angry and I know it's hard when you see evil but you got to open up your hearts. You got to show folks that we are bigger than them.
We want Virginia to be a beacon of democracy, every child in Virginia ought to have access to a quality education. We ought to have health care for every single person in this country.
CABRERA: Again, we've been listening in now to some remarks by the Governor Terry McAuliffe there in Virginia. This is at an event that they've called the Unity Prayer and Reconciliation Rally.
We've heard him speak of unity and also calling for zero tolerance of hate groups of white supremacists, to neo-Nazis, people who gathered there in Virginia this weekend that all led to a tragic and deadly event yesterday there in Charlottesville.
I want to bring back my panel and unpack a little bit of what we just heard from the governor. And go back to you, Andre. I did not mean to cut you off.
We were -- we were talking a little bit about this individual, what we're learning about the person who drove his car or suspected of driving the car into that crowd of people that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman.
And my broader question, the direction I was hoping to get into with you in this discussion is the fact that this individual who is accused of this horrific act apparently thought he was going to some rally that was connected to politics in some way. Does that bother you?
BAUER: Well, as a 20-year-old, I know that even being a 20-year-old one time myself, just because I told my parents something that didn't mean I actually was going to do that.
He probably told his mother that because it was an easier thing for her to digest -- digest than saying I'm going to some crazy rally for neo-Nazis where she would have said oh no, you're not.
CABRERA: So Tara...
BAUER: I don't think he was going to -- I mean he identified himself in the school, he didn't tell the teacher he was a Trump supporter.
He told him -- the teacher said he was a neo-Nazi supporter. So in fact just because he told his mother that, I wouldn't say that that in fact is where he thought he was going at all.
CABRERA: Fair point. Tara, does it bother you that the president's name though has come up among some of the people at that rally, including David Duke.
TARA SETMAYER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, ABC NEWS: Absolutely. This isn't news. We knew that neo-Nazis and white supremacists were full -- had full support of Donald Trump a year and a half ago when the whole kerfuffle over trump not denouncing David Duke came up back in February of 2016.
This isn't news. So this whole circuitous logic that my friend, Andre, is trying to put forth here is ridiculous. First of all, if the guy was a domestic terrorist, what he committed was an act of domestic terrorism. Now...
BAUER: No question.
SETMAYER: Was it pre-meditated? I'm not sure. But if this had been a Muslim and he used his car as a weapon, we would have no problem, the president of the United States would have been firing away on Twitter condemning this and calling this exactly what it was.
Donald trump has no problem going after anybody else and sometimes third grade bully ways to name call people, from Mika Brzezinski in face lifts, to calling our former FBI director, nut job.
He goes after his own attorney general. When he's very specific about someone and wants to say it, he calls them out.
[17:20:00] The fact that he's unwilling to do that in a circumstance like this with white supremacists, alt-right neo-Nazis makes him a coward because these people make up some of his base.
It's cowardly to make a moral equivalence between them and the counter protesters. Yes, the Antifa, those guys have done things that are not exactly above board. They have been violently packed but they didn't kill anybody yesterday.
The white supremacist neo-Nazis did. And the president of the United States was too much of a coward to call them out. That's the bottom line.
SETMAYER: The fact that the president -- that even Tom Bossert, his Homeland Security adviser today, it took Jake Tapper almost 15 minutes to get him to acknowledge that he was against white supremacists.
The Trump administration, Trump himself, Republicans, they went after President Obama rightfully for not calling out radical Islam for years.
Not naming the enemy but now they're doing the exact same thing and twisting themselves into political pretzels to not name it and it's disgusting.
CABRERA: President Trump could have been more specific. I want to read you what President Reagan said back in 1984 in response to a KKK endorsement.
He said the politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood. Scott, could President Trump have taken a cue from President Reagan there?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT, PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, the president could have definitely been more specific yesterday, he should have been more specific.
And the issue here is, if you've got people marching around streets in Virginia or anywhere else in this country carrying Nazi flags, these are not American patriots whose political views we need to respect. These are American traitors, OK?
These people do not deserve a place in our political spectrum. We don't have to respect their views. This is -- these are people who are carrying the flag of a regime that actual American heroes defeated in battle years and years, and years ago.
So their ideology, their view of the way the world should work has been defeated and largely extinguished from the planet earth. So I don't want to see them given any sort of -- any sort of place on the American political spectrum.
So yes, I think the president has a moral responsibility to be specific in calling them out. I did note the White House today did issue a statement specifically calling out the KKK and neo-Nazi groups. I thought that was a good step.
At times like this, the president of the United States has to offer clear, unambiguous, moral leadership. American values here demand it.
And I want to see the president and the White House continue to do what they did in their statement today which was be very specific about who is at fault here.
SETMAYER: It's a late though.
CABRERA: Andre, if people in these groups feel like they are in some way -- crazy way welcome in the Republican Party, is that a problem? And what needs to be done to say that is not part of us?
BAUER: Well, I think myself and anyone else that feels like they are a part of that party needs to absolutely unequivocally say we don't want anyone with this mind-set involved in our party. I mean, I said it over many times.
But I would want to make sure that we as a party clarify that these are not people that we want to in any way associate with and they are American in what they're doing and their practices.
SETMAYER: So, Andre, do you think the president should do that?
SETMAYER: Do you think the president should do that? Are you -- you're OK with the president continuing to not call these folks out when he's done it for other reasons way more juvenile and you know, that were inconsequential, but this is seriously consequential.
We're looking at a potential race war in this country or civil war here. Do you understand that? This could -- it could escalate. Our country is so divided and then fractured.
And the president of the United States is in a unique position or used to be to have that moral clarity. You can't be ambiguous. Everyone else -- we all as conservatives and Republicans are unafraid to call it out.
Senators Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, Cory Gardner, Speaker Ryan, many others were unequivocal about this, but the president of the United States continues to be ambiguous and obtuse. Why? Why? Doesn't that bother you as a Trump supporter, Andre?
BAUER: No, it bothers me that every time I turn around we never give Trump a fair shake. We just count on him. The guy said look, we need to love each other. We need to respect each other.
SETMAYER: That is a weak excuse.
BAUER: He came out with a very strong statement.
SETMAYER: Weak excuse, Andre.
BAUER: The White House released a statement today. And so...
SETMAYER: That's a weak excuse. So you think -- so then you think that's the case for Senators Rubio, Orrin Hatch, McCain, and the number of other people who came out right away and had no problem uttering the words white nationalists?
That's not a problem for you and then given -- and given Donald Trump's history with this issue, the fact that he lied that he didn't nope who David Duke was when he was pressed on this back in February of 2016, he lied about that.
Because he knew who David Duke was. He brought him up in interviews in 1999 when he was thinking about joining the reform party and David Duke was there at the same time.
So he was a liar then, he's a liar now and for whatever reason why, he just cannot bring himself to condemn them.
[17:25:00] And I'm not going to give the White House a cookie because some unnamed White House official today decided to dry to clean up the president's mess and say something that every piece of American in this country expected him to say and expected from the president.
CABRERA: Let me just cut the last word here and ask you this question, Scott. Because we have seen such a strong response from Republicans and leadership in Congress in particular, is this a defining moment perhaps for the Republican Party?
JENNINGS: Well, it very well could be if the Republican Party doesn't embrace the mantle of being the party of Abraham Lincoln. I said last night you have to feel these moments and you have to understand what they mean for the history of this country.
And the history of the Republican Party is Abraham Lincoln is the father of our party. We're the party of Lincoln. And failure to embrace that heritage on a day, a weekend like what we're experiencing right now is a moral failure.
We have to have more clear moral leadership. So I would recommend that the White House communications operation continue to feel and understand what it means to be a Republican president, being the party of Lincoln.
I would recommend to the Republican National Committee that they make a clear unambiguous statement that if someone out there is trading on the president's name, is claiming to be part of the Republican Party, that they are not welcome in the Republican Party and if they do not speak for the Republican Party.
So I think the white house has a role to play. I think the Republican National Committee has a role to play. I've seen some local Republican leaders do that.
It is vital that the Republican Party get this right. We're the party of Lincoln. We are the party of Abraham Lincoln. So we have to act like it and get these moments right.
SETMAYER: Not today we're not. CABRERA: Scott Jennings, Andre Bauer and Tara Setmayer, thank you all
for joining us. Coming up, we will hear from that former teacher of the Charlottesville suspect who rammed a car into a crowd.
What his teacher is saying about the suspect's obsession with Nazis and Hitler. Much more on the suspect and the investigation live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We have to live and it is just right now. This is in Seattle where people are gathered. This is being billed as a rally against white supremacy and people there on the streets of Seattle are trying to show some solidarity with the people of Charlottesville, Virginia.
We're continuing to keep an eye on the situation there right now. It appears everybody is being peaceful. But you can see there's still a very large police presence, especially in light of everything that happened in Charlottesville yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Now, we are learning more about the man accused of murdering the young woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, by plowing his car into a crowd of people protesting against a white nationalist rally there.
James Fields' former high school teacher tells CNN, Fields had a fondness for Adolph Hitler and quote, really brought into -- bought into white supremacy. Here's what he told our affiliate, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEIMER: I mean, he had some very radical views on race. He was very infatuated with the Nazis, with Adolph Hitler, he also a huge military history specialist with like German military history and World War II. But he was pretty infatuated with that stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Brian Todd is live in Charlottesville, Virginia, where some protesters were back on the streets today. Brian, how are people responding to this news that the suspect behind the deadly crash was there to take part in the white nationalist rally?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're pretty angry about that, Ana, and they're angry about a lot of things here.
They're angry that the white supremacist leader who staged that rally yesterday, Jason Kessler, stuck around today even though the governor, the mayor, everyone else told him to get out. There's no place for you here.
Jason Kessler insisted on coming back to a spot just a few feet from here and holding a news conference today. We have some video and some images of how that turned out.
It turned out very poorly for him. People were shouting him down. He spoke for a few minutes. He couldn't really -- I mean none of us could hear what he was saying because there were so many people shouting at him.
There were musical instruments being played to drown him out. Then the crowd kind of converged on him a little bit. He really seemed to be alone. He didn't come with anybody. The crowd converged on him.
He either slipped or was pushed. Then the police swooped in clad in riot gear and shuttled him around the building to the front of the police station here, got him inside and he was shuttled to safety.
Later he issued this tweet saying, quote, I tried my best but once again, violence rules over speech and ideas in #Charlottesville. The first amendment is finished it seems.
But again anger at the fact from these white supremacists have stuck around here, that Jason Kessler came back here today to hold a news conference. I spoke with a counter protester named Katrina Turner, whose been around all weekend. Again, she voiced some of their anger. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATRINA TURNER, CHARLOTTESVILLE COUNTER PROTESTER: We need for them to leave and don't come back. That's what we need. Because whenever they come, we're going to be here and they will not come to this town without a fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And some other news we got just a short time ago. There was a man arrested here for misdemeanor assault and battery for spitting on Jason Kessler as he was being taken away.
So still a lot of tension here in Charlottesville. As for the suspect, Ana, we've got some new information on him, as well. James Alex Fields according to records that we have obtained served in the United States Army for about four months from August of 2015 to December of that year.
The records do not indicate why he left the service. We're digging up more information on the suspect as we go. We do know that he is now charged with one count of second degree murder.
Three counts of malicious wounding, one count of failure to stop at an accident which resulted in a death. He's going to be arraigned tomorrow morning, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Brian Todd reporting there in Charlottesville. We'll check back with you. Thanks very much.
And just a few days ago, Sebastian Gorka a deputy adviser to President Trump was asked about white supremacist violence during an interview with Breitbart. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:35:00] SEBASTIAN GORKA, DEPUTY ADVISER, PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's this constant, oh, it's the white man. It's the white supremacist. That's the problem. No, it isn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So the government tracks domestic terror attacks and according to a recent report between September 12th, 2001, just after September 11th attack and the end of last year, there were 85 domestic attacks.
Sixty-two of them were carried out by far right violent extremists. Twenty-three were committed by radical Islamist extremists.
Now I want to bring in CNN Law Enforcement Analyst James Galliano. He is a retired FBI supervisory agent. James, enough attention being paid to this alt-right white supremacist side group?
JAMES GALLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Ana, what you have to understand is from the FBI's perspective, this is going to be worked as a civil rights violation.
And civil rights violations, they are salient to the area -- the particular area. In the New York office of the FBI, there's a focus on a lot of international terrorism. Not so much on the domestic end.
In the areas of the country, the more rural areas out in the Midwest, out in the west and say down in the Deep South, that's more where you have these domestic terrorism incidents.
In this situation, the reason why the FBI and the Department of Justice was able to take this over as a civil rights violation, you've got three things you have to look at with civil rights violations.
First of all, migrant worker exploitation, law enforcement misconduct and the third hate crimes. So this is going to be worked as a hate crime.
You've already got the interstate nexus because this subject drove from Ohio on his way to this area to conduct this, to be part of this rally. So there's no -- no problem with that. That's already been set.
Now you have to determine what his mind-set was. And therein lies the difficulty is, what was his mind-set. You have to find out whether or not his intent was to injury or to kill somebody which he obviously did.
CABRERA: So you bring up a good point. This guy came from out of state. We heard that from the governor as well. They believe a lot of the people who are participating in this white supremacist rally weren't from there, weren't from there locally. And so now these people disperse. They go home. They go elsewhere.
Are intelligence or investigative officials looking into hate groups, tracking some of these hate groups? How does that work?
GALLIANO: Sure with well, with the 21st century, we all love globalization, right? Whether you're not in -- you're in New Canaan in Connecticut or New Delhi, India, you can talk to people in real time.
These hate groups can do the same thing, whether it's radical Islam or whether or not it's -- let's not say white nationalism because that's a benign term for this racist organization, which is a white supremacist organization.
The neo-Nazis and obviously this group -- this alt-right group here, they're able to contact each other in real time. How does the FBI work these things? Well, we have folks obviously work the social media end and track that.
And again, it's difficult. You've got to find a needle in a proverbial haystack.
And just because somebody says something, we can't lock them up for an errant thought or what they say, we have to be able to prove that, you know, the mens rea, which is the criminal mind then moves toward the actus reus criminal act.
That's difficult to do because we want to interdict them in between. The FBI uses a couple other things. They also use undercovers.
And it's difficult in these instances because some of these groups there in the rural areas they're very close knit groups. And to introduce an undercover agent -- undercover officer, you have to break into that group. And it's difficult. We work it. We desperately try to get entry into these groups but it's very difficult to do.
CABRERA: Well, thanks for giving us some insight. We definitely appreciate that. James Galliano, good to see you.
GALLIANO: Thanks for having me, Ana.
CABRERA: Coming up, one of the president's most fervent online supporters Matt Drudge goes after President Trump's response to Charlottesville.
Also, are the knives out for the Trump -- for Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon? What some in the president's inner circle are saying today? And we'll discuss all of it next.
[17:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: He was only on the job for ten days but former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci made clear today he has a strong opinion about one person still walking the halls of the West Wing, the president's chief strategist and former Breitbart executive, Steve Bannon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I think the president knows what he's going to do with Steve Bannon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which is what?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, let's leave it up to the president. It's his decision. But I mean, at the end of the day, I think the president has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House.
The president has a very good idea of the people that are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It includes Steve Bannon?
SCARAMUCCI: Look, you know, we're not on a phone call and a taped phone call. And so we're on live television. And so I would prefer to let the president make the decisions that the president needs to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us now, CNN Senior Media Correspondent and Host of Reliable Sources Brian Stelter.
So, Brian, it was a couple of weeks ago we here on CNN were reporting that the president had some issues with Bannon but ultimately have decided he was going to keep Bannon because he worried ousting him would hurt him with his base. Do you think the events yesterday change that in anyway?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Not necessarily yesterday but there's been this gradual push among some inside the White House to see Bannon go and certainly from a lot of folks outside the White House to see Bannon go.
I think we're -- we're reaching a sort of climactic point here with Bannon where it seems both his days are numbered if you believe both the anonymous sources that are leaking to news outlets this weekend and some of the president's own former aides.
There you go right there, Anthony Scaramucci all but saying that the knives are out for Steve Bannon inside the White House.
[17:45:00] Also notably today, H.R. McMaster was repeatedly asked by NBC's Chuck Todd if he supports Bannon, and he can work with him in effectively in the West Wing and McMaster avoided answering the question three times.
CABRERA: They Kind of -- he kind of dodged it when asked directly.
STELTER: Exactly. The context for that as some folks think Bannon has been behind a campaign against McMaster. So the infighting continues.
STELTER: Last month it was Reince Priebus. And others leaving the White House. Now it seems like Bannon could be the next to go.
But the big caveat, you've got add in all these conversations, is that there's always or maybe not. With President Trump, there's always a maybe not...
STELTER: ... when it comes to these personnel issues. Because he frequently changes his mind or floats trial balloons to see how people react and doesn't actually react.
CABRERA: Well, Bannon's name has come up on the heels of this event, this happens in Charlottesville, this deadly tragic accident or terror event some are calling it.
Today Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters tweeted this, Trump has made it clear with Bannon and Gorka in the White House and the clan in the streets, it is now the white supremacist's house, #Charlottesville. She's not the first person who accused Bannon of being a white supremacist. Five a fact check here.
STELTER: You know I think there are some -- there are some extreme comments being made by Bannon that are not supported by any quotes he's ever he said. Not supported by any direct things he's ever said.
The reason why folks try to tar Bannon as a white nationalist or in the most extreme version, a white supremacist is because when he was running Breitbart base at this time last year, he left Breitbart over to the campaign, when he was running Breitbart, he described the site as the platform for the alt-right.
And certainly, there were some articles published on Breitbart at that time that you could point out and raise questions about. For example, there was a tag called black crime, articles emphasizing not crime but black crime.
Those sorts of issues at Breitbart are where I think have caused Bannon to be so scrutinized, so criticized by some Democrats. I'll leave it to Maxine Waters if she wants to provide proof that he's a white supremacist, I certainly wouldn't use that term to describe him.
But yes, there are many Trump fans who feel Bannon is their voice in the White House, that Bannon channels their anger and their frustration. So it's a risk for President Trump to consider removing Bannon.
CABRERA: I want to ask you about Matt Drudge, he's the man behind the conservative news site the Drudge report. He's been an ardent supporter of the president.
Lately he has been covering the White House in a different way. In fact, take a look at the front page of the Drudge report today. It says make America hate again. How much influence do you think he has with this administration and
quote he, and the Drudge report end up being as much a risk for this president as it has been a help in the past?
STELTER: Well, the thing about, if you have someone like Bannon who leaves the White House, someone like that can be risky on outside. So can these conservative media stars like Drudge who have so far been pretty supportive of the president's agenda.
If they were to turn on the president and be critical of him basically taking shot at him and then trying to take him down, that would -- that would be significant. We've seen small signs. I don't want to overstate this. Small signs of conservative media support starting to erode.
Drudge is one of those examples. I think what we've seen this weekend is an almost unprecedented sort of unanimous -- not unanimous but as close as it's gotten so far criticism of the president for his half hearted response to Charlottesville, that's including GOP senators. Huge talks about it, included some conservative media commentators.
I think Drudge might have his finger up in the air trying to figure out which direction the winds are going. But it's -- it's worth paying attention to. These tea leaves matter because the president gets some of his news from these right wing sites from the Drudges of the world.
He relies on them to provide support when he thinks the rest of the media is out to get him. So when you see sites like Drudge or you see Fox News stars seemingly expressing skepticism about the president, it could be an indication of trouble for the president.
CABRERA: Brian Stelter, thanks very much.
CABRERA: Coming up, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticizing the White House response to the events in Charlottesville.
So is the president's inaction bringing Republicans and Democrats, together? We'll hear from one lawmaker next.
[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: These images from just moments ago in Seattle. It looks like protesters are spraying the police officers on scene with silly string. That's the word from the ground there.
We've been monitoring these images. This is supposed to be a rally -- a counter rally of some sort to another alt-right protest that was scheduled to take place in Seattle today. We'll give images from just a moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Now President Trump condemned the deadly violence in Virginia this weekend. A very general term choosing it seems to not call out the specific hate groups. Those white nationalists who bear the blame for starting the trouble in Charlottesville.
Officials and lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans want the president to fix that, to be more specific. California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu is joining us now.
Congressman, prominent Republicans like Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, they are all criticizing the president over his response that they say should be stronger. Is this issue now bringing Democrats and Republicans together?
GOV. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Ana, for you question. Yes, it is. What America witnessed yesterday was not a partisan issue. It was an American issue.
And Americans from all walks of life condemn white supremacists except for apparently Donald Trump.
In his refusal to condemn Nazis and white supr3emacist only leaves to two possible conclusions, either he supports their racist views or he's a coward.
And if he's a coward, he better find his courage soon, because his behavior is tearing our country apart.
CABRERA: Now, a White House official did put out a statement today in the wake of this criticism about the president's failure to call out the specific groups, let me read it to you.
Says -- the president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups, he called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.
[17:55:00] Does this help put the issue to rest?
LIEU: No, not at all because the president didn't actually say that. He said there are many sides, that's just false. There's only two sides. There's a side of bigotry and hatred, and there's everybody else.
And Donald Trump at his press conference tomorrow Monday needs to himself denounce neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups. If he doesn't do that it will continues to send a signal that he supports their views.
CABRERA: Congressman Ted Lieu, wish we have more time. Thank you very much for joining us and offering your thought tonight.
LIEU: Thank you.
CABRERA: We'll be right back. You're live in the CNN Newsroom. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: It's 6:00 Eastern, 3:00 in the afternoon out West. In I'm Anna Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.