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Protestors and Counter-Protestors Gathering in Boston; Steve Bannon Leaves White House and Joins "Breitbart News"; Pastor Leaves Trump Administration Council in Wake of President's Comments on Charlottesville Violence; Georgia Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Taking Down Confederate Monuments. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 19, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Victor Blackwell. CNN newsroom continues right now.
PAUL: And speaking of right now, it's getting busy in Boston. Take a look at some of the video just coming in to us here. Two groups organizing for planned demonstrations in Boston Common. The city gave permission for a free speech rally there. But there is fear and concern that it's actually a white nationalist event, much like the one that ended up erupting into violence in Charlottesville. Barriers are blocking the rally goers from a planned counter-protest that its leaders call a racial justice solidarity march.
CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval following the story this morning in Boston. Polo, there was nothing behind you. I see some people moving now. Talk to me about these barriers and how authorities are hoping to physically keep the groups separated.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They placed those concrete barriers, Christi, at the entrance to Boston Common in order to try to keep any vehicles from trying to make their way into the general assembly area. So that just gives you an idea of those security measures that are now in place. And a massive police presence not just here but also about two miles away where the counter-protesters are gathering right now, a lot of left-leaning groups.
As for the organization that has put this event together that has been scheduled already for several weeks, it is advocating for free speech. But the reality is this will likely draw some of these white supremacist groups, some of these extremist groups as well. As you're about to hear from the police commissioner, William Evans, the concern is that this heated rhetoric that certainly has not been helped by the mixed messaging coming from the White House could potentially boil over. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMISSIONER WILLIAM EVANS, BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: I just think the rhetoric has really brought this to a different level. And that's what we're worried about. I've never seen so many people looking, almost looking for confrontation. And you know we got to knock it down and remember what tomorrow is about. Tomorrow is about coming together against the hate and bigotry that we've seen unfortunately in this country over the last couple of weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: So this is where we stand now. In about two hours that free speech rally expected to get under way. Again, two miles from here that counter-protest is beginning their march, it will end here. Finally Victor and Christi, authorities making it very clear if things do take a violent turn, they promise they will shut down this event.
PAUL: All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: President Trump's response to Charlottesville is driving away some of his friends and supporters. A New York mega church pastor A.R. Bernard quit the president's evangelical advisory board after several CEOs and charities walked away from the president.
PAUL: Also the president's chief strategist Steve Bannon is back at "Breitbart" this morning after a turbulent run at the White House. President Trump tweeted just a short time ago saying "I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service. He came to the campaign during our run against crooked Hillary. It was great. Thanks."
BLACKWELL: Plus you know that Bannon is not the only Trump ally to leave this week. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who you heard the president invoke his name several times during the campaign, he stepped away as a special adviser on regulatory reform.
PAUL: And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is being asked to step down not by President Trump, we want to clarify, however by about 300 of his former classmates from Yale. They say to protest, quote, "President Trump's support of Nazism and white supremacy."
So let's get to the latest exit from the White House I should say, fired chief strategist Steve Bannon there. This morning, we read to you, offered his support via Twitter as he thanked him for his service. Athena Jones is there for us now, CNN White House correspondent. Athena, what are you hearing?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Well, it's interesting to see the president take to Twitter to offer that support to Steve Bannon. There's been a lot of questions about what will be the impact of Bannon's departure from the White House and what effect it will have on the West Wing operations.
Bannon was accused of being behind much of the infighting at the White House. And he himself has talked openly about some of his enemies in the West Wing, people like economic adviser Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster and his deputy Dina Powell. We also know that he has feuded with the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
So the thinking among the president's supporters, or the hope among the president's supporters is that the departure of Steve Bannon could lead to a more effective, more efficient West Wing that is better able to help the president get his agenda through.
Another big question, though, is what impact it will have as he returns to lead "Breitbart." We know that even just last night, the same day that the news came out that he had been fired, he chaired an editorial meeting at "Breitbart." Bannon has said he does not want to go to war with the president. He wants to go to war for the president on behalf of the populist and nationalist policies that Bannon and candidate Trump espoused on the campaign trail. Christi?
[10:05:00] PAUL: All right, and any more, do we anticipate that we'll hear from the president regarding Boston, anything more on Charlottesville?
JONES: Unclear whether we're going to see him come out. Of course we haven't seen the sort of violence in Boston. I'm not certain when the rally gets under way. But it's not all clear he's going to come out and say anything more about Charlottesville.
But I can tell you, as you've said earlier, that the backlash to the president's response to the violence we saw in Charlottesville last weekend continues. We haven't just seen the president's business advisory councils disbanded. We haven't just seen Democrats and the people would you expect to criticize the president, criticizing the president. We've also seen a growing list of fellow Republicans calling the president out by name. Former GOP nominee Mitt Romney called on him to apologize to the American people, saying the world is watching. Our children are watching.
And now the latest news from today, we saw the White House deciding to pull out of taking part in any of the festivities surrounding the Kennedy Center honors. Those are the yearly gala, it's a big deal at the Kennedy Center in Washington to honor artists and performers of all stripes. Several of those honorees had said that they were planning to skip the pre-gala reception at the White House to oppose the president. And so the president, the White House put out a statement this morning saying that they were withdrawing from those festivities so that the honorees could take part without any sort of political distraction. Christi?
PAUL: Athena Jones, I know a lot to wrap up there. Thank you so much for helping us out with it.
BLACKWELL: So Christi and I started list of people who are walking away from this president, Athena Jones continued it. But let's look at the larger groups, the business councils that have abandoned the president. Both of them shut down, CEOs walking away from them. The infrastructure council that the president mentioned on Tuesday, that never even got off the ground. And then the Mar-a-Lago resort had 16 charities and businesses and organizations cancel events that had been planned there. There's also, as we said, the resignation from the evangelical board.
Let's bring in now CNN contributor Selena Zito and David Siders, a senior reporter at "Politico." Good morning to you. Selena, let me start with you. And how does the president stop the bleeding here? Or is this even a priority for him? These business councils went to the direct narrative for his presidency, but they weren't really part of his policy set.
SELENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. Right, well it's important to remember that this week was supposed to be infrastructure week, right? That is like the core of why a lot of blue collar Democrats crossed the line and voted for him, because they were looking for things to better their communities, to better their lives, to better their families. And it ended up being like burning river week. Nobody talked about infrastructure.
I think that while it's disappointing for the president to lose these people on the council, as you pointed out, they tend to just be figureheads, right, people that show that they buy in and are part of, of rebuilding the economy or expanding the economy, but they don't really do anything.
I think it's important for the president to step back and re- evaluate why he was put into office, and that was to do things. People were tired of the politics of conflict. They wanted the politics of results. And I think that that's important that he does that.
I also think that it was really smart on his part, to remove himself from the Kennedy Center events. It was going to become a thing. It was going to become massive. Just the way the White House Press Correspondents' dinner would have become. And if he, if you're looking for sort of nuggets of him trying to sort of turn the tide and calm things down, that to me shows -- that was clear thinking. That was smart on his part.
BLACKWELL: OK, so let's turn, David, to the number. I think we have a graphic showing these members of Congress who have called the president out by name initially after the president's comments on Saturday, and then Monday and Tuesday, there was a silence there. And they were releasing statements via Twitter. Not calling the president specifically, not @RealDonald Trump-ing, but now they are. What's the significance here?
DAVID SIDERS, SENIOR REPORTER, "POLITICO": I think it shows that he has a problem and is facing some blowback. But I question how big a deal this reaction is because if you follow up this question with anybody who is criticizing him and then say, well, yes, you're criticizing, but then what? The answer is very often nothing.
And so I'm not sure that while he gets some blowback here, I'm not sure that the long-term effect is significant for him. We're talking about Charlottesville this week. It was North Korea before that. I don't know that things can't turn for him in a week and that he doesn't suffer long-term consequences at least within the conference, the Republican conference. I'm not saying the public at large, but at least within the conference. I'm not sure the long-term consequence is great.
[10:10:10] BLACKWELL: OK, so what's the message, Selena, of Bannon's firing to his base? Bannon in his piece with "The Weekly Standard" said that the president, when he talked about Charlottesville this week, he spoke from his heart, that was his default, speaking to his base that got him elected. But with Bannon out, how is that received?
ZITO: Well, I'll be honest with you, OK? My beat is the rustbelt, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, those places. And these are the places, these Great Lake states that flipped for Trump, that the people didn't anticipate it happening.
Never in any of my coverage, either before the election or my subsequent coverage after I've been out in all of those states again, 27,000 miles, I never heard Steve Bannon mentioned even when I would ask people, people didn't think of him as, as being -- if he left. And that would be the direct of my question, if that would have an impact. I don't think he wields as much power in his influence in the voters that made the difference in the past election. And these are the same voters that will likely make the difference in a midterm election because those are the sort of states that you watch to see if there's going to be a wave.
BLACKWELL: So David, then to you, Bannon said the pull-out quote is the presidency that we fought for and won is over. I mean, maybe that's a man who is self-aggrandizing there, saying when I leave we're going to shut this whole thing down. Or is he looking at who's left? You've got Gary Cohn there. You've got Jared Kushner, you've got Ivanka Trump. You've got some people who are from Goldman Sachs, from New York, some people who supported Democrats, although the president himself supported Democrats. Does he have a point there that the presidency that some believe that the president, that President Trump is going to bring, is now a thing of the past seven months in?
SIDERS: I think it's a point to pay attention to. Keep in mind that few people have as solid an understanding of what's going on in the White House as he does. And when he comes out and says things like we're going to have a traditional tax bill, probably a clean debt vote, that is an informed opinion you would have to think. And so that is definitely not what you know the presidency that was fought for.
On the other hand, he's going outside now and will fight from the outside. I think Selena makes the right point. Who in America really beyond you and me know who Steve Bannon is? And I'm not sure that as far as the puppet master, he definitely influenced Trump's thinking in the most populist ways, the most populist vein of Trump's thinking. But Trump is the populist. We've seen time and time again that no matter who the advisers are around him, he's going to take the action in the way that he's, the kind of odd ways I think we've seen in the last week, that he sees fit.
BLACKWELL: All right, Steve Bannon says that he's jacked up and free now. We'll see what he does with that freedom. Selena Zito, David Siders, thanks so much.
SIDERS: Thank you.
PAUL: And as we look forward at policy, after losing health care, you have to wonder what will House Speaker Paul Ryan say as he's facing voters during a live call CNN town hall report. Jake Tapper is moderating the special CNN event. It's in Racine, Wisconsin. It's Monday night at 9:00 eastern.
BLACKWELL: This morning, Florida police have now charged Everett Glenn Miller with first degree murder for the shooting death of a Kissimmee police officer. We've been talking this morning about the two officers who were patrolling the area when the shots were fired at them. Officer Matthew Baxter was killed. The police chief says that Sergeant Sam Howard is in critical condition and he's not expected to make it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JEFF O'DELL, KISSIMMEE POLICE DEPARTMENT: I'm so very proud of the men and women of the Kissimmee police department. We don't get to stop for a minute and cry for somebody that we've lost or mourn a hero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, there's been a spate of shootings overnight. These just two of six total officers who were shot in three incidents in Florida and Pennsylvania. The second incident, two officers were shot north of Jacksonville in Florida while responding to an attempted suicide call. And the third incident was in Pennsylvania, two state troopers were shot there. The suspect was killed.
PAUL: Well, Victor, you referenced it, but a lot of people are wondering what's next for fired White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon. We're going to talk about the man who wrote the book on Bannon's rise to the West Wing. He has a few thoughts.
BLACKWELL: Also two candidates for Georgia governor square off over Confederate monuments. Should they be removed? Should they be left alone?
[10:18:57] PAUL: So fired White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has returned to a familiar role. He's at "Breitbart" this morning after a turbulent seven months in the West Wing.
BLACKWELL: So what's the next move for Bannon? We know a little bit about that. With us "Bloomberg" reporter and author of "Devil's Bargain, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency" Joshua Green. Joshua, good morning to you.
JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR, "DEVIL'S BARGAIN": Good morning to you guys.
BLACKWELL: So let's start with what role Steve Bannon will have moving forward. He's going to be off the government payroll, out of the White House. But how much will he still have the ear and attention of the president?
I think he'll still have the ear and attention of the president because we know that Trump likes to stay in contact with his advisers, even ones he's fired. He routinely talked on the phone with people like Corey Lewandoski, his first campaign manager, Paul Manafort, his second. So I don't really have any doubt that Bannon is going to continue to have the president's ear. I think he will also get his attention, though, because now he has what Bannon called his killing machine of "Breitbart News."
[10:20:02] He has a public forum to wage these battles that he had been trying to wage from inside the White House, and he doesn't have a government job and a White House chief of staff to clamp down on him. I talked to a friend of Bannon's early this morning who likened him to a tiger being let out of his cage. I think that's probably a pretty good analogy for what we're going to see from Bannon going forward.
BLACKWELL: He said he's jacked up and free now to get back to his weapons. Let me ask you this -- the effectiveness of "Breitbart," and this is a conversation we've been having this morning. You know better than anyone we've had on the show this morning. "Breitbart" went after H.R. McMaster, went after Ivanka Trump, continues to go after Gary Cohn, goes after Jared Kushner. They're all still in the White House and Steve Bannon was the one shown the door. So how effective will "Breitbart" be? How much of a voice is this website?
GREEN: It's a good question. Before Trump went into the White House, Breitbart was actually quite effective at influencing Republican politics at a congressional level. I think they were chiefly responsible, they and their group of allies in Congress, for ousting former House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. Now Bannon is a larger figure in our politics and our culture, and especially among grassroots conservatives now that he's been in the White House and helped Trump beat Hillary Clinton. So I think returning to "Breitbart" is going to give him a newfound stature.
I don't know if it will be enough to influence policy debates like the ongoing issue of troop levels in Afghanistan, which was one of the major fights that Bannon had with McMaster inside the White House. I think now that Bannon is on the outside at "Breitbart" news this is going to become a public debate. And Bannon is going to try to galvanize the populist rightwing in a more public way against some of the president's policies, or against the policies of some of the president's advisers that Bannon doesn't agree with.
BLACKWELL: So this president now, do you expect that what Bannon suggested in "The Weekly Standard" interview that the president will likely move towards the center, move away from the presidency that he said that the supporters voted for, and just go for a win where he can get one, or the president will hold to those promises that were so popular with the base that elected him?
GREEN: Well, I don't think Bannon knows. I think what he was saying in that interview, basically, and I know this is Bannon's view, was that he thinks that Trump was elected because he espoused on the campaign trail a certain set of nationalist policies that proved unexpectedly popular, powerful enough not only to clear the Republican field but to defeat Hillary Clinton.
And Bannon's great disappointment with the Trump administration so far is that the president and the White House, and Bannon includes himself in this analysis, haven't been able to deliver on a lot of the things that they promised that they would.
In Bannon's view, that is because there are people in the West Wing, people like Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin, inhibiting Trump from carrying out that agenda. So I think what Bannon wants to do is try from the outside to exert pressure on them and to try and steer Trump back toward the kind of policies that he ran on.
The interesting thing to watch for me will be if Trump doesn't do that, if he does move to the center or embrace small-ball politics and give up on some of these bigger ideas, will Steve Bannon and "Breitbart" actually attack President Trump directly.
BLACKWELL: I expect the first opportunity to see that will be in Phoenix at the start of the week. I believe it's on Tuesday. What do you expect from the president there?
GREEN: You know, I think that the president is going to do what he always does at these rallies, to try and connect with the audience, to project the idea, even if it doesn't comport with reality, that Trump is winning, that's achieving great things. That he's on the verge of victories on tax reform and other areas. I would be surprised if he mentioned Steve Bannon by name. But Trump likes to get outside the White House and reconnect with his audience to try to get his mojo back. We'll see. He has had maybe the roughest week of his presidency. So he certainly needs to make some kind of a change.
BLACKWELL: He may have to work hard to reject the narrative that Steve Bannon built in the exit interviews as they are on his way out of the White House.
Joshua Green, thanks so much.
GREEN: Thank you.
PAUL: Just in case you didn't know really how stormy Bannon's short tenure was at the White House, here's CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Through the whole improbable, unexpected, roaring rise to power, the man whispering in Donald Trump's ear was Steve Bannon, a true believer at the ultra-rightwing Breitbart.com when few were.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: They were laughing at me when I was saying hey, this guy Trump is going to be, this is going to be very serious, so it's good to see that you're in the heat of combat now.
[10:25:07] DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I remember that you looked and you said, boy, those are big crowds you're getting.
FOREMAN: More than a cheerleader, Bannon was the campaign's ideologue, pushing explosive and persistent themes, some of which he had crafted over years. On terrorism -- BANNON: We are in an outright war against jihadists, Islam, Islamic
FOREMAN: On big money interests.
BANNON: Our financial elites in the political class have taken care of themselves and led our country to the brink of ruin.
FOREMAN: On opponents within the Republican Party and on his holy grail --
BANNON: Deconstruction of the administrative state.
FOREMAN: Once called the most dangerous political operative in America, Bannon is a former Navy officer and a former banker who made an early investment in the Seinfeld TV series that led to money and media experience which he transformed into political battering rams.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do not want our kids and our grandkids' futures taken away from us, and we're going to stand up and do whatever we need to do to make sure that that doesn't happen.
FOREMAN: He produced a series of blistering films promoting conservative views on immigration, climate change, and the Obama administration. Bannon's movies praised Sarah Palin and the right while savaging Hillary Clinton and the left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the Clintons, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale. But we're the ones who are paying the price.
FOREMAN: And through it all, he preached the gospel of a government run amuck.
TRUMP: Unbelievable! Unbelievable!
FOREMAN: By the time he and Trump joined forces, Bannon was fiercely going after the media and elites of all stripes.
BANNON: I say every day, these working-class men and women, middle- class men and women are 10 times smarter than this intellectual group.
FOREMAN: But Bannon's outsider status called friction with D.C. insiders. He was never able to push any major legislation through to passage. He fell out of favor with some Trump family members. And critics never stopped howling about his ties to the nationalistic alt- right movement with its racist overtones.
BANNON: We're a nation with a culture and a reason for being. And I think that's what unites us. And I think that that is what's going to unite this movement going forward.
FOREMAN: And even though he's now out of the White House as he takes a familiar role as "Breitbart's" executive chairman, you can expect his war on Washington to roll on. BANNON: If you think they're going to give you your country back
without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.
FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
PAUL: Barely week into Donald Trump's presidency, this photo was taken. You see him in the Oval Office, he's on the phone with Vladimir Putin. But this shows, illustrates how much things have changed in seven months, because national security adviser Michael Flynn was out by February. Press Secretary Sean Spicer, resigned in July. A week later, it was chief of staff Reince Priebus who was forced out. And now Steve Bannon is fired. So the only two left in this photo are the two who are elected, the president and the vice president. And despite turmoil in the West Wing, the president is still casting his administration as a well-oiled machine.
BLACKWELL: There's a free speech rally and a counter-protest against it, a cause for concern for some today in Boston. There are fears of violence like what happened in Charlottesville a week ago today. But don't controversial groups, even those we saw last week, have a right to demonstrate? Our panel will weigh in, next.
[10:33:14] PAUL: Well, turmoil in the White House, President Trump's response to Charlottesville, it seems to continue to isolate him this morning. Now the New York mega-church pastor, A.R. Bernard, has quit his evangelical advisory board.
BLACKWELL: Plus the president fired former chief strategist Steve Bannon yesterday. But this morning he tweeted "I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service." He came to the campaign during my run against crooked Hillary Clinton. It was great, thanks."
PAUL: And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is being asked to step down, not by the president, we want to clarify, but by about 300 of his former classmates from Yale. They say to protest, quote, "President Trump's support of Nazism and white supremacy."
People are already starting to gather in Boston. We want to show you some pictures we're getting as the next rally is about to take place here in just about an hour and a half. The only, they won't be the only group demonstrating we should point out. Thousands of protesters are expected to march against hate and bigotry. This is being characterized as a free speech rally, something that was already asked for -- they asked for the permit for this before Charlottesville, we should point out.
But of course it comes after what we saw at this time last weekend. This is about the time that we started seeing some scuffling in Charlottesville. And you know how that escalated. A counter- protester was killed when a car plowed into her group.
Joining me CNN, national reporter and race and inequality reporter Tanzina Vega and Yodit Tewolde, a criminal defense attorney and former criminal prosecutor. Ladies, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it. Good morning. Tanzina, I want to start with you, because you had said that, and I want to read this right, "These moments that we've been seeing have been built on dog whistles." What do you mean by that?
[10:35:06] TANZINA VEGA, CNN NATIONAL REPORTER FOR RACE AND INEQUALITY: So dog whistle politics is something that is not new. These are the sort of coded languages, coded phrases and language that are used. We heard a lot of this during the Donald Trump's campaign, right? But we've seen this used as the southern strategy. We've seen it used during the Nixon campaign. These are words sort of like "inner city." What does that represent? You know, that usually represents scary brown people and black people who are living in crime-ridden communities, right, and lawlessness, this idea of law and order, right?
So these are the sort of ideas that have started to creep into this administration in particular. And so those are coded phrases meant to sort of invoke this idea that brown people and black people are largely scary and lawless. And so that's the coded language. But we're also seeing lots of un-coded language, right? When the campaign started, this campaign started around the idea of Mexican immigrants or some Mexican immigrants as criminals. We've talked about banning Muslims. There's been all of this language around the fear and intimidation that brown and black Americans and immigrants could represent. So that's very important to pay attention to the language. This isn't -- this didn't just happen yesterday.
PAUL: Yes, very good point. And because of that, there had, you know we've heard hate speech for a long time, Yodit, but help us understand from a legal perspective, when does hate speech cross the line into a hate crime?
YODIT TEWOLDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So essentially the First Amendment, we all know, gives us freedom of speech and expression. And that would also include views that are racist, offensive, unpopular. And so there's this misconception that speech that's hateful isn't protected under the First Amendment, and that's not true. It actually is.
But the First Amendment isn't absolute. Free speech isn't absolute. There are limitations of the First Amendment's guarantee to free speech and expression. And that means when speech then goes over and crosses over into threats or incitement of rioting, you know, criminal behavior, that is when that speech is unprotected.
And so as much as we don't like what this message is at these rallies with these white nationalists and these neo-Nazi groups, we have to respect the right that gives them the capabilities to go out and spread those messages. And to be quite honest, as much as I hate what they're saying, I've got to respect the right of them to say it.
And I think it's best to say these things in an open forum rather than censoring them because, to be quite honest, this might be the confrontational side to me, but I would rather confront these thoughts and these beliefs out in the open. And there is a lot of people and I'm kind confused, that are sort of astonished as to what is going on when we kind of know, minorities and people of color have known that this has been going on for quite some time. So to have people actually see these people in the streets rallying and saying these disgusting and bigoted things is really an eye-opener, and I think it's a good thing.
VEGA: I agree with that. I think white America, this was a wake-up call for a lot of white Americans who had thought this was something that was left in the past, who didn't assume that we were still dealing with these types of issues or this level of hatred. And it's a little -- it's great that this is out in the open. I think we're having a really intense conversation around whose culture, whose history the United States is going to represent. But this isn't something that's new, as our other guest mentioned. I think we really need to pay attention to why it took so long for other, particularly white Americans to realize this was a problem.
PAUL: No doubt about it. Let me ask you, Tanzina, if you have any sense what is the end game for these neo-Nazis?
VEGA: I mean, you know, we're looking at what's their philosophy? The basic philosophy in a lot of these hate groups is superiority of the white race is how we have to look at this. And if you have a superior race, you have an inferior race. So there's been a lot of talk of rebranding of things like the KKK and the alt-right or the alt-light. At the end of the day a lot of these groups have the same goal in mind, which is a separate ethno-state, as they refer to it, of white Americans with European blood and the purity of whiteness. That I think is ultimately the end goal.
How they're going to execute that, how they're going to carry that out we're starting to see now. I think it remains to be seen how much violence is going to be used in throughout, and to get these messages across. And so you know that's essentially what the end game is. We heard a lot of that, once again, going back to the issue of dog whistle politics throughout the campaign, of making our country great again, of taking this country back. Who are we taking the country back from? We're looking, when we look at the demographics, when we look at the fact that we just had our first black president, the last, you know, eight years.
[10:40:05] And so the country, taking the country back from whom? From the growth of black and brown Americans and the increasing minority population? We really have to pay attention to that. If that's the case, this is, we're in for a pretty difficult next couple of years.
PAUL: No doubt about it. And Yodit, real quickly, there was an image last week that Victor and I saw where there was a line of these white supremacists holding guns, about at this time, about an hour and a half before the rally was supposed to start. They had every right to hold those guns, it is their Second Amendment right, nobody is trying to take those guns away from them. Is there ever a point, however, that holding a gun coupled with the things that they say becomes criminal in some way, it becomes threatening? TEWOLDE: It could. When you have words that people are saying and
they're indicating that they can actually or are willing to act on those words, that then becomes a threat. So on top of that, when you have those words that are threatening and coupled with the fact that you have a gun, and are willing to or giving the impression that you're willing to use the gun, that can also be perceived as a threat. And so hopefully that won't be the case. I'm not sure with Massachusetts if they're an open carry, if that's going to be the case at all. But yes, it could be seen as a threat and it could be criminal if it, if it goes down that path and results in a criminal conduct. So yes, it could be, absolutely.
VEGA: I want to add another note about the guns and being out. If we had seen Native Americans, African-Americans, Latino-Americans, showing up to rallies fully armed and in full gear I imagine the response would have been quite different both from law enforcement --
TEWOLDE: Completely different.
VEGA: -- and from the media. And so I don't think that we can sit here and say these are people that have the right to do that and that's totally up to them and each state has their own open carry laws and what have you. But let's imagine for a minute that this was another group of people, people of color, other organizations, fully armed to the nines, what that would have looked like and what the response would have been.
PAUL: You're right, what it would have looked like is very different. But legally those people would have had absolute right to carry as well.
PAUL: And just to answer a question so everybody has some clarity here. We're looking at pictures from Boston. No weapons are allowed. And that has been something that has been mandated by official there is in Boston, no weapons allowed at this rally in particular. Yodit, Tanzina, we so appreciate the conversation. Thank you for being here.
TEWOLDE: Thank you.
VEGA: Thanks, Christi.
BLACKWELL: So are they offensive monuments to terrorists or sacred markers of history? Two candidates for Georgia governor on whether Confederate memorials and monuments should stay or go.
[10:47:02] PAUL: Take a look at your screen. Those live pictures there of some of the folks who have come out in downtown Boston for this free speech rally, people who, all people who want to have their voices heard but are shouting very different messages.
BLACKWELL: Yes. There are some who are afraid that the free speech event is actually a white national event that is being disguised, like the one that erupted into violence in Charlottesville. Now, there are barriers up there to separate the people from the -- the free speech people, from the people who came out just to protest bigotry and racism. They call their event a racial justice solidarity march.
PAUL: Now a Republican candidate for governor of Georgia says the controversy over Confederate monuments we've been talking about so much this week, he says it's a distraction designed to ruin President Trump.
BLACKWELL: Now one of his rivals on the Democratic side says that all Confederate monuments, including the massive carving on the face of Stone Mountain Georgia, that they're all monuments to domestic terrorism. I want you to listen to candidates Michael Williams, and Stacey Abrams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS, (D) GEORGIA CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: Confederate monuments have nothing to do with any of our American history except treason and domestic terrorism. They were put up post-reconstruction to terrorize black families, to scare them because of their demand to be treated as equal American citizens. I may have issue with other parts of our American history, but there's nothing that Americans should unite around more than tearing down monuments to bigotry and racism and domestic terrorism.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS, (R) GEORGIA CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: Where is this going to end? Is it going to end in exploding of the Washington monument? We've already gotten bills right now being dropped in the Senate to pull out all of these Confederate monuments from the capital. This is part of our history. The battle, that war was a horrific war, but it's part of our history. We cannot erase it. We can't go back and change that. We need to move forward. We need to focus on uniting our country together. This is not an issue. This is a fabricated issue to undermine the presidency and do everything they can to ruin him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Also new this morning, developments surrounding the Barcelona terror attack, the suspect, one of them still on the loose. Huge manhunt happening right now. We'll tell you the latest on that.
[10:51:54] PAUL: You know New York is home to some of the greatest art in the world of course, but did you know that you don't have to visit a museum to see some of the city's best work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABE SCHOENBERG, GRAFF TOURS: This collection is the largest collection of murals in the United States. It's not like going to a museum. It's much more authentic to the street art culture.
Welcome to Graff Tours. We specialize in teaching people the art of graffiti. Bushwick Collective is some of the world's best artists. Yes, it is in the graffiti style, but these are really legal murals showcasing some of the best technique of artists around the world. It's the best showcase for graffiti in the country.
We offer an interactive experience. A lot of people like to go to museums in New York City, but you hardly have a chance to interact where you can get your hands dirty and actually participate in the craft that you're learning about from NYC graffiti artists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was a great lesson. I can tell you I need more lessons, but I'll definitely try it again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:55:12] BLACKWELL: This morning we've got new details about the terror attacks in Spain. According to Spanish police, a terror cell made up of 12 people was involved in this attack in Barcelona.
PAUL: Spain's interior minister says the terror cell has been, quote, "completely dismantled." This as a massive manhunt is underway for more suspects this morning. Forty-three-year-old Jared Tucker of California, he was among those killed in the attacks. He was on a delayed honeymoon with his wife of one year.
BLACKWELL: ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying the two, as they called them, security detachments conducted the attacks.
PAUL: It has been five hours.
BLACKWELL: Five whole hours.
PAUL: We are so grateful that you kept us company. It means a lot to us. We hope you had some great memories today.
BLACKWELL: Can't do it without you. There's a lot more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. We will continue to watch what's happening in Boston. That's happening right after the break.