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NFL players defiance to Donald Trump. Jared Kushner's use of private e-mail for correspondence; GOP health care bill threat to failure. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 24, 2017 - 16:00   ET



[16:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. And thank you so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitefield.

All Right. We continue to follow breaking news out of Tennessee. One woman dead after a masked gunman opened fire in a church in Antioch, Tennessee just outside of Nashville. At least six people were wounded. Here is what we know about the shooting. Police say the woman was killed in the church parking lot. The gunman then entered the rear of the church where he opened fire. Police say most of the victims were over 60 years old. All of the victims have been taken to various hospitals.

I want to bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval now.

So Polo, what more are we learning about the sequence of events there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it started at about 11:15 local time just after services were letting out there Fred. That is when authorities say this 26-year-old African-American man from nearby Rutherford County apparently arrived there at the location and then shot and killed a woman in the parking lot before proceeding inside. We do understand the six other people were shot in the interior of the sanctuary before a church usher according to what authorities are saying tried to face-off with the gunman. The gunman then pistol whipped him. That is when this usher who is licensed security to fire arm that went out to his vehicle, grabbed a gun and then engaged the suspect and a form of struggle. But in the end the suspect himself was actually shot. It's a nonlife threatening injury. Authorities speaking to him now trying to get information.

Meanwhile, I want you to hear directly from what some of the witnesses have to say about what was a truly just horrific scene playing out this morning in Antioch, Tennessee.


JOE LOVE, WITNESS: A man is like (INAUDIBLE) the house. We heard and a lot of them (INAUDIBLE). We heard another one. And bang, bang. We thought it was just a crash. We have two to three a week at the corner so they can run over. Next thing I know a man and his wife, they was in the church and the gut shot at them but they was able to get out and they run over to me to me. And I went back and said we have been shot at in the church. I said what? I said nothing goes on out here in the country. We have been shot at. My sister is still in there. So I got my shoes on and went over there. And by the time I went over there he shot the first lady in the back in the parking lot by that green explore explorer. Then he turned around and rolled her over and shot her in the face. Then he went through the church and he knocked one older man off a Walker on the floor. And there was two right here and then one guy he shot hit his scalp here because he had blood down his face and everything went on. He was inside over there, standing on top him with the gun. And like I say, as far as I know he was the only one that they left there with that was alive that he shot.


SANDOVAL: All right. So here is what we are. Again, at least one person now confirmed dead. A woman was shot and killed in the parking lot of that Tennessee church parking lot. Six people currently recovering from their injuries as is the gunman himself. Now authorities say they know the name of this individual but are not releasing it at this point all we saying. But again, he is a 26-year- old African-American man from a nearby county.

And finally, the question everybody is asking right now, Fred, a motive. Authorities saying that they have in their own description found quote "certain things that have been brought to the attention to the investigation that could potentially point them in a direction of a motive in a direction of a motive," but at this point they are not prepared to really elaborate on that, Fred, as you may imagine. Still a very fluid and tragic situation happening in Tennessee.

WHITFIELD: Right. And then, Polo, you said that the suspect was from a nearby county. Do we know anything about whether his residence or what they know about his residence should be, whether that is now being searched?

SANDOVAL: Yes. As we have seen in many of these kinds of investigations, Fred, authorities are always led back to the home of the suspect. So as you can imagine, they will be searching that. They are also searching the vehicle of the suspect. We are told it was a blue SUV that was found in the parking lot not far from where the woman was shot and killed. Bombs, explosive detection dogs have actually hit on that vehicle. Police say that they believe that could possibly be simply the ammunition that was used. So far they have not found anything threatening in that SUV. But again, this is just one stage in what is still a very early, very fluid investigation that is happening right now there in Antioch, Tennessee.

WHITFIELD: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

All right. I want to bring in now - well, actually, we are going to take a short break for now. We might have a guest or someone who is familiar with this case coming up.

We will be right back.


[16:09:10] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

Big stories we are following today. The NFL hitting back at President Trump. Eleven NFL games kicking off this afternoon with a show of solidarity and unity across the league during the American national anthem being sung. Players, coaches, staff, kneeling, hands on shoulder, arms locked. A seemingly direct response to President Trump's blistering condemnation of players who refused to stand during the anthem.

In Chicago, all but one of the Pittsburg Steelers during its game against the Bears chose to remain in the locker room for the anthem. The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans also deciding to stay in the locker room during the national anthem in the game just now getting underway.

And earlier, the President responded today to the demonstrations on the NFL field today tweeting this great solidarity for our national anthem and for our country standing with locked arms is good. Kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings.

Remember, this all got stirred up quite a bit with the President in Alabama and what he said Friday night. You might find the words that you are about to hear from him offensive.


[16:10:21] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field out. He is fired. He is fired!


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk more about all of this. CNN sports correspondent Andy Scholes back with me.

So clearly, NFL teams are displaying a lot of different things. I mean, they are taking different approaches to displaying this sort of unity, staying in the locker room, coming on the field in various ways.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fredricka. And you know, every NFL team has meetings Saturday night before the games on Sunday. It seems like this specific issue was discussed at length in their meetings because it seemed like every team had a plan whether it was you go out there and do whatever you wanted to do during the national anthem or whether we are going to lock arms as a team.

WHITFIELD: Are the players generally part of that kind of conversation? Or are we talking about owners, you know, staff members, coaches, they have the discussion and then --.

SCHOLES: It is usually a coaches run meeting with players in there. But I'm guessing that they open the room to anyone who wanted to speak on this issue. And we saw over the Pittsburgh Steelers did not come out at all for the national anthem earlier today. Only one person did that. And their head coach Mike Tomlin explained the decision and why they decided to remain in the locker room.


MIKE TOMLIN, STEELERS HEAD COACH: We are not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn't have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem he shouldn't be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something he shouldn't be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. So we are not participating today. That is our decision. We are going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game. That is our intentions. And we are going to play and play to win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be clear, that means your team won't be on the field.

TOMLIN: We will not be on the field.


SCHOLES: Now, one Pittsburgh Steeler, Fredricka, did decide to go on the field. Now, (INAUDIBLE). He is a former army ranger. He did three tours in Afghanistan. He graduated from West Point. So while the team made the decision that they were not going to come out for the national anthem, he seemingly disagreed with that and he was the guy out there standing in the tunnel with his hand right there over his chest for the national anthem.

So that was one thing we definitely saw different today. Another thing we saw was for the first time owners out there on the field supporting their players in this show of unity. We saw multiple owners throughout the - (INAUDIBLE) this morning in London started it off. Arthur Blank (ph) right there arm in arm with his star player, Julio Jones. We saw other - there is Martha Ford (ph), the owner of the Lions, arm in arm with Jim Caldwell, her head coach. Steven Roth (ph), the owner of the Dolphins was arm and arm with his players.

This is something, you know, we had not seen before. No owners joining in on the protests or show of unity with their players. And after the Jaguars game earlier today, they got a big win over the Ravens in London, their tight end Marcedes Lewis kind of explained what was going on around the NFL with the demonstrations. Let's take a listen.


MARCEDES LEWIS, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: With the situation yesterday and the President calling, you know, a lot of the athletes out, you know, I think God put us here for a reason and put us here to lead from the front, you know. And you have to look at some positives from what he was doing. And if you look at a lot of athletes that said what they said or lashed back, I mean, sophisticated responses that you can't really debate those, you know what I mean? It is what it is. It's a real situation.


SCHOLES: And just moments ago, the Titans and Seahawks held their national anthem before their game. Neither team coming on to the field for the national anthem. You see closed doors for the locker room, the empty sidelines during the national anthem. And both teams actually sent out statements on the decision to not come out for the national anthem.

But Titans read in part, the players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem should not be misconstrued as unpatriotic.

The Seahawks players sending out a statement that read in part, out of love for our country and in honor of sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.

So as you can see there, Fredricka, those teams in agreement that they were not going to go out for the national anthem. And the woman there that sang the national anthem actually took a knee at the very end when she was done singing. So definitely a show of unity by those teams.

WHITFIELD: And we saw that actually in the gentleman who sang the national anthem in London, as well.

SCHOLES: And as well as Detroit as well. So that was also --

WHITFIELD: So then the, what next? You know, one has to wonder, this is today. This is what we are seeing. But does this mean now consequently and all of the NFL, you know, regular season games from this point forward we are going to see something of this caliber or is there an expectation that the NFL as a franchise will have to do more or display a sentiment or reflect in some other fashion? What is the expectation potentially?

[16:15:27] SCHOLES: You know, it is hard to tell if this is going to continue for the rest of the season. You know, as long as Colin Kaepernick remains without a job that conversation will always continue to keep going. And we saw even earlier this morning members of the Miami Dolphins were warming up wearing I'm with Kaep t shirts. It is a t-shirt that was very prevalent.

WHITFIELD: So this potentially creates an opening. For any owner that was reticent or had seemingly made up their mind not to give Kaepernick a chance, you know, might this display mean that there is potentially an opening? If the owners are willing to make statements about supporting their players to exercise their freedom of speech as long as it is peaceful, does that also mean now that some of those owners who are unwilling to talk about or talk to Colin Kaepernick now see him and his cause different and might be willing to have that conversation of bringing him back?

SCHOLES: That could definitely be the case. I mean, there is no question, there is more than 64 quarterback jobs in the NFL. There is no question that Colin Kaepernick is one of the best 64 quarterbacks in the league. That being said, you know, is there an owner out there willing to bring on the extra attention that Colin Kaepernick will bring to your locker room.

WHITFIELD: So that was the explanation then. But now I wonder as a result of the statements now and I mean, what he was doing was a peaceful protest, right. I mean, nobody disputes that, and that that was what he says he was doing. This was his peaceful protest. So if the statements now say supporting players who protest peacefully today it seems as though the point of view has changed.

SCHOLES: Yes. I could understand if the approach has softened. If certain owners might have a more open view of bringing in someone considering now that many players on the roster are doing the same thing that Kaepernick started a year ago. So the narrative of it as a distraction and everything, does it make complete sense anymore because now there are people doing that week to week. Michael Bennett for the Seahawks sits every week.

WHITFIELD: Seeing the first one.

SCHOLES: He was the first one. And you know, he was the leader and it was his name put on it. And so, that is all everyone wanted to talk to Colin Kaepernick about last season. When he was talking to the media it was 95 percent, you know, social injustice questions, police brutality questions, what's next questions. Is progress being made question, not much football.

And so, for some that they take that as a distraction from the team and a reason to not bring him in. But as you said, with this now being prevalent across the NFL, it seems like it would be an easier path to him for him to come in and not be such a big distraction.

WHITFIELD: Yes. All right, thank you so much. Appreciate. Andy Scholes, appreciate it. We will keep talking about this one.

We want to go now to Tennessee, Antioch. There was a shooting there inside and outside a church. Let's listen more now on new details.

DON AARON, PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER, NASHVILLE POLICE: At the church this morning William Jenkins, age 83 who is in stable condition at Vanderbilt. Marlene Jenkins, age 84, in stable condition in Vanderbilt. David Span, age 60, who is in critical stable condition at Vanderbilt. Peggy Span, age 65, stable condition at Vanderbilt. And Linda Bush, age 68, stable condition at Vanderbilt.

At Skyline medical center is Katherine, Katherine with the "K" Dickerson, age 64, in stable condition. Also at Skyline is Robert Engle. That E-N-G-L-E, Mr. Engle, age 22. Mr. Engle is the usher at the church this morning who confronted the gunman. And we believe is the hero today.

With me now is national police Chief Steve Anderson who will have a statement and then we will take questions. CHIEF STEVEN ANDERSON, NASHVILLE POLICE: So shortly after 11:00

today, we received active shooter (INAUDIBLE) call. That's his location. And we also responded as did metropolitan (INAUDIBLE) fire department. And as just heard, we have one person received fatal gunshot, six persons injured.

What I would say about Mr. Robert Engle, the usher, he physically engaged the shooter and during the struggle the shooter was shot. This time, we don't know exactly how that happened, whether he shot himself or whether gun discharged during the struggle. Mr. Engle, sustaining serious injuries himself. And he is the hero. He is person that stopped this man and so we are very, very grateful to him. Questions.

[16:20:24] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was Mr. Engel shot or just being --?

ANDERSON: We think he was just beat with the pistol, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still under investigation. .

ANDERSON: Still under investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we have any idea where Mr. Samson? (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: We received some preliminary information, but at this point, want a fully developed with authority before release her. But it could be a variety of reasons. And we always take that into account.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of activity around his vehicle. (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: Nothing. Nothing of note. But we were very cautious. And as you can see, we had our hazardous device person personal, our bomb squad. We have to carefully examine it. But we were very concern. But at this point, nothing about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, we had one witness from inside say she heard a lot of gun shots, more than when it come from one handgun.

ANDERSON: Well, as far as we know, there was just one at this time. But keep in mind that one weapon can discharge multiple rounds. And you could see the number of people that we are going to back on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was supposed to be a church service tonight at 5:00 here. And there is a number of church services in Nashville. What would you like to say to the people in Nashville after this incident?

ANDERSON: Well, I think that just first of all recognize the bravery of the individual that stopped this man, this struggle. But for everybody put together. And anywhere in one or two or three people gathered is subject to something like this. But we certainly don't want to have this interfere with our lives. We go back in our lives as usual. And we take this into account. Many people had called on us to receive training at churches and

businesses what happens if an active killer and we are always happy to go out and provide the attorney.


ANDERSON: I believe that is up to the individual church organizations. But it would be somewhat un-Christian like maybe to lock the doors. And I think that most churches recognize that at the same time taking cautious procedures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand a lot of churches have a security ministry that a lot of people who had that is what they do in the church. This, police have an opinion about (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: Well, I think anytime any organization can do anything to secure the premises as long as they do it in a safe and cautious manner with the proper training and we would support that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can they reach out to the police?

ANDERSON: You can reach out to us for anything. We are happy to come out and evaluate to provide training and to provide any support possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, there are a lot of friends and family anxious to get reunited with some people that were in the church at the time. I'm sure obviously police are talking with them as witnesses to this. But when might they expect to be able to be reunited with their friends and family?

ANDERSON: Well, everyone has been released so to speak at this point. We still have several people gathering at the church. And I personally met with them just a few minutes ago and offered them -- their cars are secure at this time. And we need to process this accordingly. But we made offers to transport anybody home and bring them back at the proper time and secure their valuables in the meantime, so. But everybody has decided they will stay at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the suspect talking at the hospital? Is he saying why he did it? Is he --?

ANDERSON: We have not received any information at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, this is a small country church. But could there be video or any sort of surveillance it could them understand?

ANDERSON: We have not seen any at this point. But that is always a possibility with the multitude of video cameras at homes and churches and businesses. That's could be possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief Anderson, to my knowledge, this has never happened. There has never been a church shooting in Nashville. How does this change the game? ANDERSON: Well, I think we are all in the game all over the United

States. There have been church shootings at other places. And it just happened here in Nashville today. So again, I think people go about their lives being cautious. But we can't let acts like this interrupt our lives. We need to go on and live our lives and be all that we can be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can agree that this is has not happened before?

ANDERSON: As far as I know this is not happening nationally. I don't recall one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it just coincidental that they had a big gathering (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: I don't know anything that would connect it so I would say yes, coincidental.


ANDERSON: We are not looking at robbery as a motive at this point.

[16:25:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you all.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Tragic situation with a shooting taking place in and outside of a church there in Antioch, Tennessee. One person killed and six others injured including the gunman. The update there coming from Antioch police.

We will have much more on this breaking news right after this.


[16:59:49] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back.

Live pictures right now of President Trump there talking to reporters from Morristown, New Jersey on his way to air force one and then making his way back to Washington, D.C., the White House. We all can't wait to hear what the President is talking about, if he is talking about more of the show of solidarity that we have seen on the NFL fields today. His tweets have said a lot or is he talking about the upcoming health care -- GOP health care bill which seems to be falling apart with more Republicans saying that they will vote no or are still thinking about things? Or is he talking about his next big legislative type agenda that he wants to tackle -- tax reform.

We hope soon to find out what he is talking about there From Morristown, New Jersey before he boards Air Force One. All right, meantime, all of this on a day where 11 NFL games kicked off this afternoon with a powerful show of solidarity and in some cases defiance across the league during the American national anthem being sung. Players, coaches, staff, kneeling, hands on the shoulder, locked arms are seemingly direct response to President Trump's blistering condemnation of players who refuse to stand during the anthem.

And just moments ago, the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans staying in the locker room during the anthem. Meanwhile, on the field this happened.




WHITFIELD: The singer there taking to the knee at the end of singing the national anthem before the players then did emerge and take the field. So, the president of the United States tweeting, just last hour courageous patriots have fought and died for our great American flag. We must honor and respect it. Make America great again. CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House for us now. So Boris, what more from the White House?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, the president obviously still focused on this kneeling during the national anthem issue. He also retweeted someone just before sending out the tweet that you mentioned who wrote, you can boycott our anthem we can boycott you, again reiterating this idea presented earlier today that NFL fans should boycott the league in light of players having the opportunity to kneel down during the anthem.

Earlier, the president actually tweeted out that he saw a great show of solidarity by those players that were locking arms as others were kneeling. A bit of confusing tweet there when you think about the fact that most of those players were upset at the president's tone during his speech on Friday and doing it in solidarity with those players that were defying the president.

He has caught a lot of heat from a lot of places, not only NFL and NBA players and coaches but also league officials. He had kind of a tit for tat with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier. He also heard from the owner of the Patriots, someone who calls himself a friend of the president, Robert Kraft who said that he was disappointed in the president's tone and said the president could learn from the teamwork, the politicians could learn from the teamwork that players showcase every week.

Let's step back for a second, Fred, and showcase this issue in light of everything else that the White House is dealing with. The president is choosing to focus on this kneeling issue more than a year since Colin Kaepernick first made headlines by kneeling during the national anthem at a time when the White House is as you said, focused on a tax reform rollout that is set for later this week.

Also, tensions at an all-time high with North Korea and this lingering question about another repeal and replacement effort by Republicans on Obamacare that is on life support. Not just all of that, but also the Russia investigation which continues to linger in the background of everything that this White House does. Certainly a curious time for the president to set his focus on this, Fred. WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you so much. Let's talk

more about this now, about this league-wide NFL demonstration today. Joining me right now to discuss this, Michael Eric Dyson, a sociology professor at Georgetown University and author of the book "Tears We Cannot Stop." Also with me CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson. Thanks so much to both of you gentleman for joining me. So Michael, you first. How do you interpret all that is unfolding?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I think Fred, first of all that it indicates that these players understand that they were deeply and profoundly insulted by the president of the United States of America. So in order to protect the integrity of their game they felt they had no choice but to lock arms and lock aims with those players who have already understood that this is bigger than a protest about a flag.

It's not about the national anthem or the flag. It was primarily Colin Kaepernick's response was to black people who were unarmed being shot down in the streets by police and asking the criminal justice system

[04:35:00] to be held accountable. That resulted in his taking a knee during the national anthem because it did not signify the full acceptance of African-American American people in the country. So now, with the insult that the president delivered on I think Friday night, the rest of the league got in order so to speak and understood this is something that not only hurts those particular players of color, this hurts the game, this hurts the nation and now they have forged connections in a way that couldn't have been anticipated.

So I think unintentionally, Donald Trump has really forged a real solidarity among many of those players who understand that these issues transcend sports and we can't have the bully pulpit of the president of the United States of America attempting to control the actions of private citizens.

WHITFIELD: So Ben, I wonder, you know, the president has said this is an issue of respecting America, respecting the flag, respecting military vets and that kneeling is disrespectful.


WHITFIELD: But now that the franchise, nearly overall, has come out with this statement today, locking arms, kneeling, hands on each other's shoulders, has that changed the message now of the intent behind kneeling?


WHITFIELD: All that's unfolded, has it change the dialogue of the message?

FERGUSON: I can't speak for the players. They are the ones who are going to have to decide if this is them just jumping on the band wagon which I think a lot of them actually are because they saw an easy chance to go after Donald Trump who it's very clear that many of them don't like. But let's be clear about where it started. You have a guy in Colin Kaepernick that wore socks that depicted police officers in this country as pigs, a guy that also wore shirts honoring Fidel Castro.

I have a hard time being lectured from a guy that says that he's sitting up for police brutality when he supports a guy that's been brutal to all of his people as a dictator in Fidel Castro and refers to the police, all police, and wear socks depicting them as pigs in general statements. I also have a hard time respecting a guy who acts like he is some sort of justice warrior when he didn't even spend the time to register to vote, didn't even vote in the last election.

To our knowledge he is still not even registered to vote. So, I would say to all the NFL owners and all the NFL players who are jumping on a Colin Kaepernick as somehow a victim band wagon even though he opted out of his own contract, look at where this all started. Look who started this protest. Look at what Colin Kaepernick is.

He is an empty suit who went out there and decided I'm going to kneel during the national anthem when he didn't even have the guts to vote in the national election and he praises Fidel Castro who has brutalized and beaten and murdered his own people and then refers to police as pigs by wearing clothes that show that.

DYSON: Well let me say this --


WHITFIELD: -- what this is about. OK, Michael.

DYSON: Yes, let me respond to that. First of all, black people were wearing the uniform of the United States of America, returned home from World War II as veterans and were murdered by white supremacists, bigots who denied the legitimacy and repeatedly -- let me finish, sir. I didn't interrupt you.

FERGUSON: I'm agreeing with you.

DYSON: OK, repudiated their American identity. So, let me finish -- so what I'm saying to you is that those people who committed those heinous acts of course were un-American, were not patriots and didn't understand the complicated nature of black people's relationship to a country that we have often stood proudly for a flag that did not protect us.

So, you can name legitimate flaws in Colin Kaepernick's approach without under cutting the basic moral trajectory of what he is saying because it's bigger than Colin Kaepernick. You can discount Colin Kawpernick and the fact is, unarmed black people still die in disproportionate numbers from police people.

The facts that he was highlighting and under scoring are still real today. So we can discount Colin Kaepernick altogether and still say that the issues that he highlighted and that he confronts must be dealt with and those owners had a reckoning with themselves in a very serious and fundamental fashion and then joining themselves with others who do the same thing. I think that represents progress. FERGUSON: Michael, let me just ask you one question. Do you not find

it a little bit of hypocrisy that the majority of these players until Donald Trump said what he said the other night about respecting this country had not gotten involved off the field? The majority of them and you may know a stat on this.

I would love to know how many of the players that are kneeling and how many of the players that were in the locker room today refusing to come out and actually agree that this is the greatest country in the world and that we should honor those who have fought to protect and defend our freedoms, who have fought and given ultimate sacrifices of all races, how many of them do you think are even, seriously, how many of them do you actually --

WHITFIELD: But I wonder Ben, are you conflating different issues?

[04:40:00] This is this an issue of choice, I mean, that one player decided to --

FERGUSON: I think it's really an opinion, but let me answer that question.

WHITFIELD: -- that one player decided to take this approach does not necessarily mean that all, you know, players have to take the same approach. Go ahead Michael.

DYSON: Exactly. Well here is the point, too. First of all, we can never determine when people will buy into an understanding of the politics of their culture. Look, mothers who have their sons get killed in foreign theaters of war then become, if you will, radicalized in the positive way and they become activists against some of the things that they find problematic with the military. Do not -- let me finish -- do not equate the fact that people die for that flag on foreign theaters of war with the fact that what they die for is the right for people in America to be able to voice their opinions.

It is not disrespectful because first of all, soldiers are not the only people who stand up for the flag. Number two, many soldiers came out in defense of Colin Kaepernick --

FERGUSON: I'm not saying they don't have the right to do it.

DYSON: Let me finish sir. Many people -- I didn't interrupt you -- many people came out in defense who fought in the foreign wars and who fought for America, came out and said that what Colin Kaepernick is doing is right. And then many police people support Colin Kaepernick for what he is doing. So all I'm saying to you, you do not have a copyright on --veterans in this country who have done their valiant war who have valiantly fought in this country, do not have a copyright.

So that Martin Luther King Jr. never fought a day in a foreign war who was one of the greatest Americans we produced. We cannot reduce the complication of patriotism to a fact that you fought in a foreign war.

FERGUSON: Michael, let me answer (ph) you now. I heard what you said. DYSON: We who love this country on this side had to also be defended as well.

FERGUSON: I find it interesting that you want to somehow act as if there is a bunch of veterans are on your side. There was one veteran today in the NFL who was the only player that understood that the American flag is bigger than any football player and he walked out of that locker room and stood there by himself when he was sitting there with the Steelers, the rest of his team, in my opinion are a bunch of cowards who stayed in the locker room and don't even fully understand what exactly this is all about except for the fact they said, oh, I'm going to jump on this band wagon.

Did they vote? Are they registered to vote? Have they been socially active on these issues? Go back and look at this team and tell me how many of them are registered voters.

DYSON: Right is right and wrong is wrong. It doesn't make a difference whether --

WHITFIELD: --- that's a demonstration of choice. That was a demonstration of choice, is it not? I mean the team is allowing -- the team has said it was allowing players to make the choice whether they wanted to go out there or whether they didn't.

FERGUSON: Look at the NFL right now. The NFL stands up today and these owners stand next to their players and they act like they're doing some grand work. This is a that's incredibly flawed, a league that helps cover up when many of their players have physically abused and assaulted and beaten their wives and girlfriends, who have kept them in the league and minimized what they do when they literally beat their wives and beat their girlfriends, and now they come out and act like they're on some moral high ground as if there is some moral club. It's embarrassing the NFL is even pulling (INAUDIBLE) situation.

WHITFIELD: All right, hold on guys. Go ahead.

DYSON: You're making my point for me. Here is a league that has allowed that kind of thing to go on and yet those players have been allowed to play but a man who is engaged in peaceful protest, doing nothing more to take a knee so that people can rise upon the voice that he articulates for them, plans (INAUDIBLE) with them, they are then demonized, hypnotized, and then he is t run (INAUDIBLE) out of the league.

Here is a guy -- let me finish. Here is a guy who is plays well enough right now to be starting ahead of at least eight quarterbacks in this league and the quarterback play so - let me finish -- the quarterback play so far in this league has been horrible. Colin Kaepernick services (INADUDIBLE). He was black bald (ph). This has shifted the dialogue and the debate. Now that even many white players because the NFL is 69.7 percent black.

FERGUSON: Michael. Michael.

DYSON: Let me finish -- 69.7 percent black. The ownership is primarily white so what we see now here is that there is a coming perhaps together closer to understand that those players on the gridiron are African-American. They see their brothers and sisters getting killed every day and they want to make a statement. They don't have to register to vote. They don't have to be involved in political, a formal political atmosphere. What they have to be are black people who understand the plight of other black people and that offend people who don't understand the need to love and protect about these issues.

FERGUSON: Michael, if you care about these issues -- if you care about these issues and you actually care enough about them.


FERGUSON: Michael, I have an opinion. You have an opinion. This is my opinion. These players if they truly care as much as they are claiming and this isn't just I'm going to jump on the band wagon to any moment, then go register to vote and actually get involved.

DYSON: You know what, there are multiple ways of protest, sir.


DYSON: I disagree with that.

FERGUSON: If you're being oppressed, go vote.

DYSON: You cannot, as a person who is not a victim of white supremacy and police brutality, you cannot dictate to those victims --

FERGUSON: I'm not dictating.

DYSON: -- how to respond and how to behave in that sir,

[04:45:00] you cannot make those determinations.

FERGUSON: Relax. It's called an opinion.

DYSON: I don't have to relax. I'm highly articulate in the midst of emotional articulation because I understand the joining of both passion and intellect. Sir, deal with that. The fundamental issue is we have to understand the need to express our outrage against injustice wherever it happens. These young men and women --

FERGUSON: Where were they on Election Day?

DYSON: -- that allows them to express an issue that the masses of black people have been concerned about.

FEGUSON: This is not simple. There is nothing simple about this. This is deep rooted and very emotional. And while there is still so much on that topic that I do want to ask you all about, we also have just learned now as it pertains to ongoing investigations involving the White House, now we have learned that White Hosue senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has used a private e-mail account on occasion to correspond with other administration officials. His lawyer put out this statement just moments ago. Mr. Kushner uses

his White House e-mail address to conduct White House business. Fewer than 100 e-mails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal e-mail account. He's usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an e-mail to his personal rather than his White House address.

This, of course, coming after Hillary Clinton's use of private e-mail server for all of her work as Secretary of State was heavily criticized during the campaign and beyond. Of course, testifying on the Hill for multiple hours. So Ben, let me ask you about this reported, you know, hypocrisy now on the use of a private e-mail versus a secured, you know, government e-mail. Again, you know, he is a senior adviser. He has special clearance and security access. So Ben, what is your point of view? What is your view on this hypocrisy?

FERGUSON: I think total transparency and if you're talking about, you know, doing the math in my head here, about eight or nine e-mails a month where other people initiated them to his personal account. He responded to them, I would say full transparency first off. And then make sure that you get that e-mail either shut down or only use a government e-mail address. It just causes issues and problems even if there is no ill will or intent especially when you saw what happened with Hillary Clinton.

I'm pretty consistent on this one. If the government says you need one e-mail address, it needs to be a government one, use it. If these e- mails should be brought up, I have no problem with saying that people should be able to look over them and see exactly what's there. But I also think it's not -- we're not talking about 20, 30, 40,000 here. We're talking about six or seven a month here since he got into office and they were mostly started by people that e-mailed him. But again, I'd say shutdown that e-mail account.

WHITFIELD: OK, quickly, Michael, your point of view.

DYSON: Yes, so we want you to apply the same strict analysis that you did in terms of hypocrisy here, sir. First they were saying lock her up, throw away the key and (INAUDIBLE) her reputation.

FERGUSON: He didn't setup a server and delete them.

DYSON: Let me finish sir. Here is the point, sir. The fact is that's the same moral hypocrisy that you point to so stringently in the case of NFL players. Here's my point, that of course we have to hold all people accountable. I think you are absolutely right, transparency is not necessary but let's hold him the to the same strict account and let's see if the president of the United States of America comes with the same lethal intensity and ferocity that he did against Hillary Clinton against his own son-in-law.

And we doubt that very much because what we understand about Donald Trump is this, is that it's a narcissistic preoccupation with an adolescent expression of his own emotional state at any given time. What they do on the other side is bad. What we can be excused. You're talking about the ultimate hypocrite, that would be Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America.

WHITFIELD: OK, we're going to leave it right there gentlemen. Thank you so much. Thanks for covering a lot, Michael Eric Dyson, Ben Ferguson. Appreciate it. So much more in the "Newsroom" straight ahead but first, meet this week's CNN hero.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kids were kind of gravitating toward the shop to see what was going. So it was like let's have them come here and they can actually, learn lesson.

It's going down.

Wiring, the fuel system, carburetor.

No crazy cut lines in it. It looks pretty.

The whole time they are working we are dropping little bits of knowledge on how to make the right decisions in life.

We are not looking for perfection but better than yesterday.


WHITFIELD: All right, you can see the full story on And we'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. The GOP health care bill is facing a new threat today as the deadline to replace Obamacare nears. As it stands right now, this latest plan is just one vote shy of failure. And this morning on CNN, Republican Senator Susan Collins indicated she is leaning towards voting no.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: It's very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill. I have a number of serious reservations about it. I am concerned about the impact on the Medicaid program which has been on the books for more than 50 years and provides health care to our most vulnerable citizens including disabled children and low income seniors.


WHITFIELD: Here is a look at Senate Republicans to watch. Rand Paul and John McCain are the two no votes right now and there are now six Republican senators who are expressing concerns. Senator Ted Cruz joined this group today saying the bill does not yet have his support. CNN's Athena Jones is following the reaction to Collin's comments today. Athena. [04:55:02] ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All right, Fred, and Senator Collins went on to saying she is concerned about the impact on cost and coverage this bill could have. And she's concerned about what she called the erosion of protections for people with preexisting conditions. This is very similar to the kind of concern we heard from her over the summer when she opposed the previous failed effort by the GOP to repeal Obamacare.

There are a whole lot of people in this country who know someone who has some sort of preexisting condition whether it's asthma or arthritis, cancer, diabetes, a whole long list of conditions. She is concerned about those folks not being able to afford coverage. We also heard from Senator Rand Paul on "Meet the Press" this morning talking about why he is opposed to the bill and also what changes might need to be made for him to support it. Listen to what he had to say on "Meet The Press."


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: So I don't think block granting Obamacare, it doesn't make it go away. It just means you are keeping all the money spending to Obamacare, most of it, reshuffling it, taking the money from Democrat states and giving it to Republican states. I think what it sets up is a perpetual food fight over the formula.

If they narrow the focus to the things we all agree on, expanding health savings accounts, giving governors more freedom through waivers, slowing down the rate of growth of an outrageous or out of control entitlement spending, sure, I'd be for that.


JONES: And so there you heard Rand Paul saying that he is a no. He could become theoretically become a yes if certain changes are made. We also heard from Texas senator Ted Cruz who said that he right now, the bill doesn't have his vote. He'd like love to see more consumer freedoms in the bill, more choices for consumers when it comes to coverage.

And going back to Senator Collins, she has said she is leaning no but she's waiting to get that score from the Congressional Budget Office which will let them know a bit about the bill's potential impacts although it's pretty clear the CBO is not going to be able to do a full analysis of this legislation in this short period of time. But Fred, as of right now it's looking pretty dicey for this latest repeal effort.

WHITFIELD: All right, Athena Jones, thank you so much. Appreciate it. And thank you so much for being with me this afternoon. I'm Fredricka Whitefield. So much more straight ahead. The next hour of the "CNN Newsroom" continues right after this.