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VA Governor Defends Police Response: Militias Had Bigger Guns; Heather Hoyer's Employer Talks his Former Employee; Twitter Users Search for Others Responsible for Violence in Charlottesville; Trump Calls Out White Supremacists. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired August 14, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] TIM LONGO, FORMER CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE CHIEF: Brooke, it would be so irresponsible and, frankly, unfair of me to be critical of that which I was no part. Unfortunately, I was not consulted. My opinion was not sought or desired. And that's OK. I say that only to suggest I don't have a basis upon which to criticize.
What I can say is what happened here over the weekend, as shocking as it was, as tragic and terrible it was for this community and, frankly, our nation, this violence was foreseeable. We had enough information in advance of this rally to know the potential for violence was great. People came here with hate in their heart and they came here to hurt people. That's what they did. Unfortunately, lives were lost and many, many were injured.
What we should be doing is, rather than asking whether the preparation prior was appropriate, is what do we do now? I fear, and I think others fear as well, that violence will revisit this community as it will others, and we better be prepared for it. The community is right in asking about what the level of preparation was and what it would be as we move forward.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: In order to move forward, Chief, you have to think about lessons learned.
BALDWIN: There was chatter on social media for months. I know people who were in Charlottesville the last week and, in hotel rooms, there are signs, "If you're taking part in any of these rallies, we are not hosting you." So how were there not larger conversations with chiefs in much bigger cities to prepare for this?
LONGO: I can't answer that. I can speculate. It's unfortunate, in fact, that was the case, if it were. I can tell you there are people in this country who I would turn to immediately in circumstances like this. People like Charles Ramsey, Darrell Seams (ph), Terry Gaynor, others around the country who know this work well and could help prepare for the future. I think it's unfortunate that we're left, unfortunately, with a suspicion that the preparedness efforts might not have been what they should be. But, again, it's not for me to pass on the judgment. I would be speculating at best. I think and I hope there will be an effort taking place to debrief and look at this retrospectively, and as you said, learn some tough lessons that need to be learned if we're going to move forward.
BALDWIN: When we chatted this morning on the phone, you mentioned to me, in looking at the pictures of the clashes, you mentioned how you should create a buffer, right? A buffer between the two sides, and you didn't see one. Can you explain that?
LONGO: I can't. Not only is it a generally accepted policing practice, it's a well-known policing practice. When you know you're going to have groups that are divergent or groups with very opposite views, and there is the potential for violence, the ability to be able to, in a safe and fair and feasible way, create that buffer, that inability for those two groups to come together best you can with the resources you have with the likelihood of mitigating damage. That's what typically would take place. Why that didn't take place under these circumstances, again, not being familiar with the resources on the ground and the planning efforts, I really can't answer that question. I will tell you --
BALDWIN: But what about cars?
LONGO: -- that would have been an expectation.
BALDWIN: Chief, what about the car that mowed the people down? Why were there cars even allowed?
LONGO: I have no answer for that as well. I'm shocked in disbelief that there was any traffic anywhere near that level of pedestrian activity. That street is typically shutdown on weekends for events that occur on the mall. I can only assume that it wasn't in this case. Why, I simply can't answer that question. It typically would be and should have been.
BALDWIN: You are a man of answers, normally, Tim Longo. So a lot of people have questions, I know for this current police department, and they'll be looked into.
Tim Longo is the former police chief.
Mr. Longo, thanks so much for your time.
LONGO: Thank you, Brooke.
[14:33:57] BALDWIN: Heather Heyer, the young woman killed by that car while protesting hate and bigotry in Charlottesville, we'll talk live with her boss, who happened to have just taken her to lunch last week to celebrate her fifth year with the company. Her words to the killer and the world, next
And Twitter users taking matters into their own hands. We will introduce you to the man using the power of social media to track down those responsible for the violence in Virginia. Stay with me.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: I want to really focus now on this young woman whose life was lost while protesting for justice in Charlottesville. Friends of 32-year-old Heather Heyer say she knew how dangerous these types of protests could be, but she refused to back down when he came to fighting injustices.
Heyer's co-worker and best friend, Marissa Blair, was with her at Saturday's protest. She talked to Chris Cuomo this Monday on "New Day."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARISSA BLAIR, FRIEND & CO-WORKER OF HEATHER HEYER: Heather wasn't over-optimistic about the world like I am. She had a quirky way of dealing with the hate she knew that was going on in the world. She felt bad for people who weren't like her and didn't grow up like her, and minorities and people of other races and religions that have to deal with hate every day. She hated it. She made sure she stood up for it and she spoke for people if they didn't want to speak for themselves.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: Everybody knows
BLAIR: This is her quote.
CUOMO: That's her quote?
BLAIR: That's what she said.
CUOMO: Oh, that's what she said?
BLAIR: Well, she didn't say it, but she would also say that she strongly believes in it.
CUOMO: I've got you.
BLAIR: She thinks it's ridiculous that people are still thinking that racism isn't a problem in America that isn't resurfacing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Heyer had worked as a paralegal at a Charlottesville law firm by assisting those facing bankruptcy. She just celebrated her fifth anniversary on the job.
Her boss, the firm's president, Larry Miller, joins me now.
Larry, thank you for being with me.
I'm so sorry for the lot of your friend and colleague.
The tragic detail is not only did she want to help people facing adversity, but she was good at it. Can you tell me more about that?
LARRY MILLER, PRESIDENT, LAW FIRM & EMPLOYER OF HEATHER HEYER: Sure, thank you for having here today. I apologize for being a little casual today, but we have closed the office because of the loss of Heather. And it's going to be a loss for you. She really did her job well. She made sure she had everything right behave financial issues she may have had, and she wanted to make sure it was right. She kept working on trying to have perfection. She was just phenomenal.
BALDWIN: You took her out to lunch, my understanding, last week to celebrate her and her five years at your firm. Can you tell me about that?
MILLER: It was kind of a private moment with us. I tooled her I appreciate --
[14:39:39] BALDWIN: Oh, did we just lose him? That's always unfortunate. Technology. We're going to work on getting him back.
He's back or we'll be right back. I guess we'll be right back.
Forgive me. We'll be right back.
BALDWIN: Larry Miller is back up with me.
Larry, my apologies. That always happens at the worst time. Technology here.
Larry, you were talking to me about how you had lunch last week to celebrate her five years at your firm. Did she speak at all about how she wanted to do go to this rally? Or how outspoken was she about racial injustices in general.
MILLER: She didn't speak out loud, but she voiced her opinion about her beliefs, and her believes were everybody is alike, everybody is the same, and they all deserve the same opportunities for success. That was her big credo. That's what made her really a good employee because she did her best to make sure she treated everybody the same and they all got her best. I got her best when she did her job.
MILLER: I think that's key.
BALDWIN: Of course. She sounds incredible.
The quote that everyone keeps mentioning is the quote that she loved: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." This is the last thing she posted while on Facebook. All kinds of people, politicians, celebrities, regular folks have been posting that as a way to honor her. What do you think she would think about that?
[14:45:32] MILLER: I think she would like it, because she said that to me on Friday afternoon, before saturday.
BALDWIN: Did she? MILLER: We were talking about what are some of your favorite sayings
by famous people. She said mine is not by famous people, but, "If you're not outraged, you're not listening." That's what she said. That's her. That's Heather. She listens all the time. She listened all the time, sorry.
BALDWIN: Let me read to you quickly, Larry, the statement we just got from her mother in the wake of President Trump speaking up this afternoon. This is what her mom said, "Thank you, President Trump for those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred. My condolences also to the grieving families of the two state troopers and quick recovery for those injured."
Just your final thoughts, Larry, before we wrap this up?
MILLER: My final thoughts are, I appreciate all of the e-mails and the telephone calls we have gotten, wishing us their best and condolences, because Heather was a great person. She will be missed. I do appreciate the president calling this out and recognizing the state troopers and Heather, because they gave their lives during this protest.
BALDWIN: Larry Miller, thank you, sir. Again, my condolences to you and just the staff at your firm.
There's Heather's story, the state trooper's. We'll talk about that in a while.
But the man here accused of driving his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing Heather and injuring at least 19 others, has now been denied bond. He's being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, among other charges.
But he's not the only one accused of being behind the mayhem and violence in Charlottesville. While police are investigating other weekend clashes, Twitter users are taking matters into their own hands, scanning images from these clashes, crowdsourcing to find the identities of some of these protesters, and calling them out online. The account spearheading this name-and-shame effort is "Yes you are racist."
Logan Smith created that Twitter handle back in 2012. He joins me now.
Logan, thank you so much for coming on.
LOGAN SMITH, CALLS OUT RACISTS ON TWITTER: Thank you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Why do this?
SMITH: Well, I've been calling out racists no about five years now. I'm on this Twitter account. You know, when I saw these images coming out of Charlottesville, you know, these angry men with torches, like something you would see in 1930s Germany, but this isn't a far-off land. This is here and now. I think that if these people -- they're not hiding anymore. They're not wearing that are hoods anymore. If they are so proud of their white supremacist belief, then I think their communities should know who these people are.
BALDWIN: But there is a back story? I understand this takes times. It's soul draining on you, from what I understand. Why do it?
SMITH: I think that everyone has a responsibility to stand up against bigotry. I'm probably not the person you would expect to be running an anti-racist Twitter account, but white people in particular have a responsibility to stand up against white supremacy, because if we don't, if we don't challenge bigotry whenever we see it, then we are being silently complicit in it.
BALDWIN: How does this work? You have nearly 300,000 followers. You're looking through the photos of the clashes, you post a photo, and people start contacting you?
SMITH: Pretty much. Almost immediately, I was inundated from message saying I was a college class with this person. I went to high school with this person. Tis person is a well-known white supremacist in my town. It wasn't very difficult to find the public profiles of these people and confirm that they were, in fact, the folks who are at the rally, and calling them out.
BALDWIN: Have any been outed?
SMITH: Yes. Several people. There was one young man from Nevada just pictured with an incredibly angry expression. And you know, we certainly tracked him down quickly. I found out he was even pictured with Senator Dean Heller. So, you know, for anyone saying these are fringe activists, clearly, it's not.
[14:50:09] BALDWIN: You know what? Good on you, Logan Smith. Keep doing it.
Logan, thank you.
SMITH: Thank you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: The president of the United States finally calling out the KKK and Neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Is it too little too late? What took him so long? What do Republicans have to say about this? All of that and more, coming up.
BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
We are about an hour outside the president now coming out and calling out the racists bigots for who they are, the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, by name. Was it enough? Did he reveal his true colors? These are all questions being asked and pondered by critics and supporters of the president.
Carl Bernstein is with me, journalist and CNN political analyst.
Nearly 48 hours after the crash, the president labeled these groups finally, called them repugnant. Do you think it was too little too late?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Obviously, it shouldn't take a whole weekend to condemn Nazism. The idea that a president of the United States needs 48 hours to condemn Nazism is unheard of.
But there's a much deeper story here, and that is we're in the midst of a presidential crisis, a leadership crisis, such as this country has never experienced. The way you see it is by talking to Republicans, by people high up in the intelligence community, and in the military, who tell you, very frankly, that they see doubt the fitness of Donald Trump to be the president of the United States. And that this episode has underscored it. How do you teal with a president that's morally, ethically, has no regard for the law in their view and is, therefore, unfit to be president in a way that none of his predecessors were. That is the kind of conversation that, sub- rosa, is taking place in washington today among movement conservatives, Republicans on the Hill. It's not going to stop.
BALDWIN: Listening to you, and we've talked a lot the last couple months about cracks in the Republican Party. In the wake of the president's comments, or lack thereof, you hear Republicans using not much more power of language, but also calling out the president. It's my understanding, Carl, you've been talking to your Republican sources who say the president crossed the line and there is no turning back. Can you tell me about what you're learning?
BERNSTEIN: I think the dialogue within members of Congress, among themselves, has changed. They are looking at their own president as someone who they have serious doubts about his fitness, about his moral fitness, about his competence. There's never been a discussion like this, including in Watergate. That doesn't mean that the president doesn't have his base which he appeals to, and did over the weekend, once again, by letting this racist event go by without him taking proper notice of it. But this event has now galvanized people in the military, people on the Hill, movement conservatives. But also this is about the press. We now have a story in which we, as reporters, need to be talking to high sources in the intelligence community, in the White House itself, in the Congress about the competency and fitness of the president of the United States. That's the real story here. It's a crisis.
[14:55:24] BALDWIN: So one of the questions being asked in looking at the president is, can he essentially absolve himself because he -- I was talking to Michael Eric Dyson and Chris Cillizza, and they were talking about what the president did today was essentially they called it was a political alley-oop or a political lay-up. It's easy to criticize Neo-Nazis. The fact that he didn't properly do that within the first 48 hours, that doesn't go away. Do you agree?
BERNSTEIN: It has not -- yes, but it's not gone unnoticed again by Republicans in Congress, by movement conservatives that this is somebody who traffics in racism. You get into the question of whether or not Donald Trump is a racist, I don't know. But when you talk about --
(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: Reporters would disagree. Stephen Moore was on and he said he's not.
BERNSTEIN: Right. Well, again, I'm not saying he is. I say he traffics in racism. He did as a real estate broker, as a real estate enterprise person, in terms of anti-discrimination actions that were brought against him by the government for discriminating against blacks. But you also have to go back to the Birtherism claim, so much of his political career rests on, that's trafficking in racism. We're now into far more dangerous territory than simply his rhetoric and his tweets. We now have fundamental questions that the most important people in washington are raising amongst themselves about his competence, about whether he is capable of doing the right thing as president, whether he is able to do things on behalf of people of this country to protect and defend them and the Constitution of the United States. So far, there is a growing feeling, and I keep coming back to, among Republicans, who are -- you know, they don't know what to do about this. He is the legitimate president of the United States. But to say that there is worry in the Republican Party such as I have never seen about what steps to take about a president in whom they are losing confidence, this is unprecedented and dangerous.
BALDWIN: Yes, a problem.
Carl Bernstein, thank you. Thank you.
We are moments away here to taking you back to Charlottesville. The suspect in that crash, who killed Heather Heyer, that young woman, he was denied bond today. We'll get you the latest on what's happening there, the investigation.
And amid outcry over his response to the events in Charlottesville, we're standing by to hear from President Trump on China. So we'll take that live when it happens.
You're watching CNN.
[14:59:48] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
CNN's special coverage of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the controversy surrounding the president's response. President Trump finally delivering the unifying message many say should have been given two days ago when the clashes happened in Charlottesville. He condemned the names of the racist groups that rallied there protesting a removal initially of that Confederate statue.