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Recovery Town Hall Postponed; Kushner in Middle East; Kaepernick Supporters Rally; Lone Jackpot Ticket Winner. Aired 9:30- 10a

Aired August 24, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:59] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A town hall billed as a step on the road to recovery in Charlottesville has now been postponed due to scheduling conflicts with the school hosting the meeting. The town hall originally set for tonight is being organized by the city council and a unit of the Justice Department. It comes as two confederate monuments at the center of the protest have been covered following a unanimous city council vote to do so on Monday. One of the white nationalists who helped organize the United The Right Rally is now in police custody. Christopher Cantwell (ph), shown here in a documentary on the event, he turned himself in after warrants were issued for his arrest.

Joining me now, Dr. Wes Bellamy, the vice mayor of Charlottesville.

Doctor, thanks so much for being with us.

Talk to me about the meeting that was supposed to be tonight, now rescheduled. What's going on here?

VICE MAYOR WES BELLAMY, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: Sure. Thank you so much for having me and I'd be remised if, once again, we didn't showing some love, appreciation and our condolences to the family of Heather Heyer, as well as the two officers who lost their lives, in addition to everyone who was injured, both physically and mentally, during the melee on August 12th. We're praying for you and we are looking to insure that justice will be served.

Now, to answer your question, in regards to the town hall tonight, we've been playing this for some time now. And we wanted to make sure that we had the opportunity to provide everyone with the opportunity to speak. And because we were expecting a much larger crowd and kind of some of what we saw take place at the city council meeting on Monday, we thought it was best to postpone until Sunday of this week due to the fact that, you know, there's a lot of national media who want to participate and come and cover the event and some of them were saying that they wanted to set up in the schools as early as noon today. And we can't have media or kind of a circus environment interfering with your young people's education because that is at the forefront of everything in which we're doing.

BERMAN: All right.

BELLAMY: So we decided to move it to Sunday.

BERMAN: So the Community Relations Services Department, of the Department of Justice, is involved with this town hall.


BERMAN: This is part of the administration. The Trump administration. You have been saying you're disappointed by the president's response so far. But do you see this as constructive involvement from the Trump administration?

BELLAMY: Well, I believe that we're taking proper steps to move forward as a community and specifically as a city. And I'm looking forward to us having this town hall. Again, I think it's important for us to listen to, empathize with and be open to everyone's opinion. The so we're doing and taking, again, the procedure steps to move forward.

BERMAN: The statues, two of them have been covered inside Charlottesville.


BERMAN: Is that enough?

BELLAMY: No, sir. No, sir. And while we are mourning not only the death of Miss Heather Heyer and the individuals who lost their lives, we're also mourning everyone who has given their lives and fought not only for freedom but fought for civil rights and the equity of our people. That is why we chose to shroud the statues.

But, no, it's not enough. It kind of feels like, to a certain extent, a neighbor who's been doing something for a very long time and now we're finally addressing that issue in which they've been doing. But it's not enough for us to just cover the statue. We have to move forward in terms of removing the statue, also creating equity through substance, through policy, our budget and doing the substantive things within our community. Some of the things that I presented in the equity package to continue to move us forward.

[09:35:21] BERMAN: So, one person who does not think that this is the right battle to be fighting now is Ambassador Andrew Young, who, of course, is a, you know, a veteran. One of the shining stars of the civil rights movement.

BELLAMY: A hero.

BERMAN: He was on with -- and he was on with Anderson Cooper last night. Listen to what he says.


ANDREW YOUNG, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER, WORKED WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Well, I think that we should focus on substance and not symbols. There are real issues that transcend all of the things that we're talking about in the news. And I just wish -- I think Dr. King would want to bring us back to substantive issues that are going to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick and set at liberty those who are oppressed.


BERMAN: So I seriously doubt that Ambassador Young likes the statues. But what he seems to be saying is he'd rather see the focus somewhere else, which is something that their -- many people on the left saying right now as well, that this might not be the most important battle.

BELLAMY: Yes. Well, absolutely a tremendous honor any time you get a chance to listen to someone like Mr. Young. He and I got a chance to spend some time together at the (INAUDIBLE) National Conference in New Orleans in June and he gave me a lot of wisdom and a lot of nuggets.

One thing the things that I agree with him with is that we also need substance. I think symbolism plus substance equals progression. And we -- our city council, I presented an equity package earlier in the year. City council unanimously approved it. It had nearly $4 million in specific resource allocations to marginalize communities. Now $150,000 to our African-American Heritage Center. $20,000 for anyone who lives in public housing to get free GED training.

We -- excuse me, we awarded a new positions to black male achievement, which we're calling a youth opportunity coordinator. We were able to look at job training, infrastructure for people within our community. We also looked at a scholarship fund for students to be able to attend different colleges. Looking at different monies allocated to students to be able to go to our community college.

I mean there's a plethora of items within that equity package, including $2.5 million over a five-year period for the redevelopment of public housing sites within our city. And I presented it. It was passed unanimously.

So we are doing the substance and we're doing both. There's no reason why we can't do one without the other. And I have the utmost respect for Mr. Young. And I really, really appreciate all the work that he's done for our community.

BERMAN: All right, Dr. Wes Bellany, good luck on your meeting which is now Sunday. Appreciate you being with us.

BELLAMY: Yes, sir. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, President Trump's top adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, looking to jump start peace talks in the Middle East. He just finished up a meeting with the Israeli prime minister and we will get the details live from Jerusalem, next.


[09:42:19] BERMAN: All right, just a short time ago top advisers to the president, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, wrapped up a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Later today's Kushner is expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Today's meetings come as Kushner and the White House attempt to find some kind of working framework for Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations.

CNN correspondent Oren Liebermann live in Jerusalem with these details.

Oren, what are you learning?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, we got a short readout of the introduction of the meeting between Kushner and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was short on any sort of specifics or concrete steps. But Trump and the White House wanted to take the push forward and restart negotiations here. That's what we were looking for.

What does the Trump administration have in mind? They haven't been very clear on that. And that's been one of the complaints here. There was no clearly laid out vision.

Before coming to Jerusalem, Kushner made the rounds with that delegation of some of the important Gulf states that can play a critical role in a sort of regional peace initiative, that's Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Those will be important players if Trump wants to involve the entire region in moving forward some sort of peace process.

But now that Kushner is here, he encounters different problems. Netanyahu himself is under criminal investigation. And to shore up his own support from his own voter base, he's moved sharply to the right, criticizing previous Israeli/Palestinian accords, and that gives him very little wiggle room, very little flexibility on trying to make concessions as part of a negotiation with the Palestinians.

As for the Palestinians own concerns about this peace process or what 'Trump is trying to start here, the Trump administration has never clearly said two-state solution. They've never made that the goal. That's a problem for the Palestinians who, along with virtually the entire international community, see that as the only possible future here and see that as the ultimate goal. And yet Trump won't commit to it.

That lack of vision here is problematic. So we were looking for specifics in the meeting between Kushner and Netanyahu. We didn't get it.

As you pointed out, we have another meeting coming up. That's with Kushner and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. We hope we get a readout of that statement and some idea of what they talked about. Once again, we'll be looking for specifics. So far they haven't been there.

John, it is worth pointing out the fact that Kushner is here for a third time on an official visit, it indicates how seriously Trump takes this. And that can never be discounted.

BERMAN: All right, Oren Liebermann, keep us posted on that later meeting. Appreciate it.

He protested on the field and now his backers say that very protest is keeping him off the field and out of a job. Hundreds of Colin Kaepernick supporters took to the streets to protest in front of NFL headquarters.


[09:49:17] BERMAN: The NFL season kicks off in two weeks and one of the most talked about players may not even take the field. Colin Kaepernick is a free agent. It means no team. Because of that, hundreds of protests flooded the streets outside the NFL headquarters in New York to show solidarity to Kaepernick, famous, of course, for kneeling during the national anthem last season. Many people believe the NFL is black balling Kaepernick for expressing his political views.


SHIRAVA MOHAMED, COLIN KAEPERNICK SUPPORTER: The NFL is 70 percent people of color. They need the black and brown community. So to black ball Colin Kaepernick, that's not in their best interest. And, at the same time, it's just absolutely wrong.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR. COLIN KAEPERNICK SUPPORTER: Obviously, the NFL thinks he's bad for business, obviously. We all know, the NFL is an $11 billion organization.

[09:50:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not yelling or screaming or being disrespectful. He's just bringing attention to a very important issue. They have a problem with it.


TAPPER: All right, with me now, the former president of the NFL Players Association, former defensive end for the New York Giants, George Martin.

George, thanks so much for being with us.

Why isn't Colin Kaepernick on a football team?


First of all, I think the NFL has its own subjective and, in many cases, objective ways of determining talent. Far be it for me to say why they are or are not inviting Colin into camp. But it seems very suspicious that a man of his talents, who has great post-season experience, has great leadership.

And, by the way, when you have a quarterback position, you tend to look for characteristics that he's displaying, strong commitment, leadership and, I think, courage. And that's what he's displaying with this stance.

BERMAN: You don't question whether or not he's a good enough football player to be on an NFL team right now? You just think he is.

MARTIN: Oh, absolutely. I know unequivocally that he has the talent to be on a team. Maybe not as a starter, but certainly as a backup.

BERMAN: Then the question becomes, are these teams looking at that and their decision to bring him on maybe doesn't have to be a statement saying we disapprove of him taking the knee last year during the national anthem, but some people suggest that these teams are saying, we just don't want the controversy that surrounds it inside our locker room.

MARTIN: Well, it's unfortunate they would take either of those positions because, again, I think that to be a professional athlete, as I was for 14 y ears, it should be predicated on talent and talent alone. And he has demonstrated that he has those abilities. And to be black balled or to be shut out or shunned because of his political statements I think is wrong.

BERMAN: Even if the coach and the general manager is saying that his abilities would help us win, but the controversy may get in the way of winning?

MARTIN: I don't see how the controversy can get in the way of them winning. I mean once the turnstiles are open and people come in, it's football. They're playing football. And he's performing on the field as an athlete, not as a politician, or making a statement beyond the national anthem.

BERMAN: You heard some of those protesters out there suggesting the NFL, rite large, had somehow decided to keep Kaepernick out. Do you think there's any collusion here or do you think it's really individual teams deciding the same thing?

MARTIN: I don't think there's any grand conspiracy there because teams are independent enough where they can make their own decisions. And I don't think that any mandate would come down from Roger Goodell to keep him out of the -- out of the league.

BERMAN: The Players Union. You know, players in general, what's their role right now? What should they be doing, in your mind, in support, if you think that's what's important in Colin Kaepernick?

MARTIN: I definitely think there should be a loud voice of support coming out of Washington and the NFL Players Association. It should be because that's what we have the union for, to protect our safe -- and safeguard our profession. And I'm not hearing that right now. But I think it will over time.

BERMAN: Why Colin Kaepernick when a dozen guys from the Cleveland Browns took the knee in a game just a few days ago You know, they did it. They're playing. Why isn't Colin Kaepernick?

MARTIN: Well, you know, John, I'll go back in history. When you look at what happened with the 1968 Olympics with John Carlos and the guys, when you look at Muhammad Ali, when you look at even Paul Rosen (ph), they were all persecuted for making a social stance. And history did something unique. It went back in retrospect and has deemed them all heroes. And I think that a similar situation will be done in Colin's case. In retrospect, people will look and see what a courageous thing he's done, what a tremendous sacrifice he's made. And I hope he will be vindicated.

BERMAN: You know, a lot of teams need quarterbacks, that's for sure. And this goes way beyond football.

George Martin, an honor to have you here with us. Thanks so much.

MARTIN: Thank you, John. My pleasure.

BERMAN: All right, those Powerball daydreams, they can stop now. You didn't win. One person did. But there is some intrigue this morning because they didn't win where we thought they did.

And then breaking minutes ago, the president takes on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell again. We told you he did at the top of the show, but it's happened since we started. We're on top of the latest developments coming up.


[09:57:58] BERMAN: All right, we have a winner, but it's not you and it's not where we thought. The Powerball has made one person very, very, very rich this morning. $758.7 million richer. That's before taxes.

So, we do know the ticket was bought in Massachusetts. The question, though, is, where in Massachusetts? I think we have now found out. These are live pictures from Chicopee, Massachusetts. Chicopee, Massachusetts. Most decidedly not Watertown, Massachusetts, where authorities have been telling us all night and all morning that the winning ticket was purchased.

CNN's national Brynn Gingras on the road from Watertown, where she thought she had a winner this morning, on her way to Chicopee.

What the heck's going on here, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, it's been a crazy morning, John, in your state. I can tell you that much.

So basically what happened is about 1:00 this morning the Massachusetts State Lottery sent out a tweet saying that the winning ticket worth over what you said, $758 million, was sold at a store in Watertown, Massachusetts. So you can imagine all of the media that descended on this little convenience store. We even talked to the owner who was so excited because they would get $50,000 just for selling the winning ticket.

Then, fast forward to just before 8:00 this morning and the Massachusetts State Lottery corrected it saying, oops, we made a mistake. There were three $1 million tickets sold in Massachusetts, but the big winner, yes, that wasn't in Watertown. That was actually in Chicopee, Massachusetts. So that's why your viewers are hearing my voice and not seeing me because we are in the car, almost in Chicopee, headed to the Pride Station and Store to talk to that owner who is now getting $50,000 selling that major, major jackpot ticket.

BERMAN: All right, heading to the Packi (ph) in Chicopee. Pick me up a Dunkin' (ph) while you're there.

All right, Brynn Gingras on the hunt for (INAUDIBLE) who won the lottery in Massachusetts with that bit of intrigue there at the end.

Thanks, Brynn.

[10:00:01] All right, good morning, everyone. John Berman here. If Wednesday's are for warm hugs, Thursdays are for thrashings.