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Trump: Tillerson Wasting Time Negotiating with N. Korea; WH Official Committed to Diplomatic Approach on N. Korea; Tillerson: We'll Pursue Diplomatic Efforts with N. Korea; Tillerson: We Have Direct Lines of Communication to N. Korea; Mixed Messages from White House on North Korea; Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 1, 2017 - 14:00   ET



FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next week.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me on this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Facing stinging criticism for his response to Puerto Rico and with his trip to the storm-battered island just now two days away.

President Donald Trump today undercutting his secretary of state on whether diplomacy is possible with North Korea. Tweeting this morning, "I told Rex Tillerson our wonderful secretary of state that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with little rocket man. Save your energy, Rex. We'll do what has to be done."

This coming on the heels of Tillerson's comments yesterday from Beijing after he met with China's president and said the Trump administration can and does talk directly to Pyongyang. And within the last few hours, a senior administration official told our Jim Sciutto the president's tweets do not change the White House commitment to a diplomatic approach.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has been traveling with the president. He's joining us right now from Branchburg, New Jersey not far from Trump's private golf club where the president is this weekend.

So, Ryan, the president's tweet says to his top diplomat, don't waste your time on diplomacy. How is this not a direct contrast to a White House commitment of a diplomatic approach?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's really hard to wrestle with that question, Fredricka. There clearly appears to be some mixed messages coming out of this administration. And as we've learned many times before from the White House, the president's tweets are considered to be an official statement from the White House.

So the fact that the president is going out there and essentially telling his secretary of state via Twitter not to bother with diplomatic negotiations, that is certainly stands in stark contrast to what Rex Tillerson said yesterday in Beijing. Let's first listen to one of the pieces of information that Tillerson relate to reporters yesterday after those meetings with Chinese leaders.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary, the back and forth tweets with Kim Jong-un, how is that, at all, helpful to the situation?

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We're going to continue to pursue our diplomatic efforts. And hope that that's the way we'll solve this. Thank you.


NOBLES: And Tillerson also described the rhetoric between the White House and Pyongyang as overheated. He went on to say, "We are probing. So stay tuned. We ask, would you like to talk? We have lines of communication to Pyongyang. We're not in a dark situation or blackout. We have a couple of channels to Pyongyang. We can talk to them. We do talk to them directly through our own channels."

And the fact that the president came out this morning and essentially said, "Don't waste your time in talking to the leaders in North Korea," stands and start contrast to not only what Rex Tillerson has said in the past, but also what Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said.

He has long said that the diplomatic solution is the best path to peace in this region that a military option is the absolute last thing that the United States wants to get involved with.

It's hard to understand at this point, Fredricka, exactly where the administration stands as it relates to North Korea. Fred.

WHITFIELD: All very confusing. All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much in Branchburg, New Jersey.

CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto joining me now on the phone. So, Jim, I ask you the same thing. The president's tweets that it is pointless to negotiate with Kim Jong-un, but then an administration official telling you that they are still committed to a diplomatic approach with North Korea.

Is this not stunning to hear a president of the United States to tell his top diplomat, the secretary of state, not to waste his time on diplomacy?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, I think you shouldn't dance around the issue that there is a direct contradiction here. Not just from the messages, but it appears the positions coming from the White House. Coming from the president himself in his tweets which are presidential statements. They've shown the direction of Trump's policy in the past during the campaign and since then they've shown us position during the campaign and since then. So these are not just meandering, but these are presidential statements. And the president's statement today via Twitter signaling it seems, at least an impatience or perhaps a abandoning the diplomatic path lies in direct contrast with the statement coming from the senior administration official.

I reached out and I saw the tweet and I said tell me, is the president saying that he is abandoning the diplomatic path? And the answer I was given is they're still committed to a diplomatic approach. So, who's right? Is it Tillerson when he says that there were multiple lines of communication with the North Koreans or is it the president?

And it was a genuinely confusing message not just for you and me, but more importantly, for U.S. allies --


SCIUTTO (via telephone): -- and frankly U.S. adversaries. Because if you are considering a diplomatic path and if Tillerson is telling the North Koreans through channels that the U.S. under certain circumstances willing to talk or to the Chinese and to the South Koreans and the president says this, what are those allies and what does North Korea supposed to believe? Who do they believe? I have to imagine you would believe the president since he's the one in charge. But they have to have some whiplash seeing as they hear one thing and moments later they hear another.

WHITFIELD: And so I wonder, Jim, it was just yesterday that Rex Tillerson wasn't trying to talking about these direct lines of communication with North Korea. Is this the president, essentially, kind of slapping the hand even of the secretary saying it's the president who wants to make the headlines on what is or isn't happening with North Korea?

SCIUTTO: It's possible because we know that there's a precedent -- for the president seeing something on television and responding to it even if the comment is coming from. Well, we saw that comment from the Puerto Rico -- from the San Juan mayor. But also with members of his own administration. And whether that is dissatisfaction with how the position was articulated or just again, expressing his own internal bouts about a U.S. position, we just don't know.

And when you look at the list of cases like this, it's not -- it certainly not confined to North Korea. Because let's look back at the last several months. The president orders persons -- the decommissioning of transgender service members and in fact you get that to the military who's effectively slow-footed by his own military commanders and now it appears there's a decent chance the transgender -- the current transgender member s may very well stay in the military.

On Venezuela, well remember a few weeks ago, the president said there are military options on the table for Venezuela and then Mike Pence found himself on a trip throughout Latin America seemingly walking that back and saying, no, that is not the administration of policy. You see it on the Iran nuclear deal where members of his administration saying Iran is complying, the president said it's not. So this is a -- this is a sort of a state of being in this administration. And I don't think we should underestimate the confusion that is gender not just, again, from the new but for allies and adversaries alike.

WHITFIELD: Jim Sciutto, thanks so much. We'll check back with you. We'll talk more about this, about the messaging between North Korea and the White House and the apparent undermining of the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Joining me right now, republican congressman, Francis Rooney of Florida is also on the house foreign affairs committee.

Congressman Rooney, thanks for being with me.

REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FLORIDA: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: So, what's your interpretation of what's going on here, this messaging that is a direct contrast with earlier messaging coming from the secretary of state, from the defense secretary that diplomacy should be the first and the priority route for the White House?

RONNEY: Well, first, there is no doubt that anyone seriously looking at the situation would seek a diplomatic solution in what to avoid arm conflict which in this case would be highly destructive to a lot of people.

WHITFIELD: But is that what interpret from the message from the president who says, "Don't waste your time?"

RONNEY: Well, the question becomes, what combination of words and acts are most destined to accomplish that result? I may be a minority in this, but I think that the strong words that the president has used combined with Rex Tillerson saying some very appropriate diplomatic things has set the table for maybe Kim understanding that he won't be appeased like he has been for the last 30 years, with three successive presidents.

WHITFIELD: So, what do you mean? Do you believe that it is a clear message that's being sent, if not just to North Korea but then globally when you have the president who says, don't waste your time on diplomacy but then you have Rex Tillerson, the top diplomat saying we've got these open lines of communication that we can and that we are exercising. Those sound like two different things.

ROONEY: Well, they are two different things, but they're part of -- they're part of an entire story to present to the Chinese and to North Korea.

When you take Trump saying, I'm not going to talk to you anymore and Nikki Haley saying basically the same thing and then you have Rex Tillerson saying, "We don't want regime change. We don't want to take over the entire peninsula." You're setting the stage to maybe get more engagements out China would seem. China's more engaged in finding the solution here than we've ever had. They've been willing to put on sanctions even on their own companies and banks that do business with North Korea and cutoff their iron ore imports and things like that.

So I think there's some things that are being accomplished by taking a clear stand.

WHITFIELD: OK. But you've got the secretary of defense who's also saying diplomacy is the first route all --


WHITFIELD: Exhaust all options diplomatically and the military option should be last. But when you have the president who says don't waste your time, that says don't waste your time on any more words. Does that message also undermine the secretary of defense's message? Military options should be the last options.

ROONEY: Again, nobody wants to use military force to deal with North Korea, but we've got to make the North Korea authoritarian realize that it's not the same game it has been for the past 30 years where he can act up. We'll talk to him, we'll do some kind of temporary agreement and he'll go about his business. And we need China to work with us to accomplish that.

WHITFIELD: So, what do you think the interpretation is? If you're North Korea, if you're Kim Jong-un, what's the interpretation when you see this tweet from the president? "I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with little rocket man. Save your energy, Rex. We'll do what has to be done." What does the president mean? "We'll do what has to be done?"

ROONEY: What I hope is that Kim is sitting there looking and saying there's a new sheriff in town here and it's disruptive and unpredictable and I better be careful what I do.

At the same time, I think he's sitting there saying wow, we've got China involved now. The United States has said they don't want regime change. That's a good thing for China. And I think he's getting hemmed in. I just don't think that we've been successful in 30 years trying the overt diplomatic approach without walking softly and carrying a big stick.

WHITFIELD: And how different is this method of back channels that the U.S. can exercise and it's exercising that Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state just explained yesterday. How different is that than what you've seen exercised in previous administrations?

ROONEY: Well, I think that offers a promise of being effective especially if it's coupled with back channel activity by China who really basically controls what North Korea does.

WHITFIELD: As it pertains to Puerto Rico now, the president just two days away from embarking on a trip to see for himself the devastation after two hurricanes. What's your expectation from the president and the ongoing relief efforts or the answer to the calls of those who have been hard to reach in Puerto Rico? ROONEY: Yes. I've heard that they can land airplanes at the airport, but the roads are so beat up, that they're having trouble getting material distributed out of the airport. It's a horrendous devastating tragedy that's occurred there and of course, we just -- we've been dealing with one in Southwest Florida for the last three weeks as well.

And I will say, when the president and the vice president came down with Governor Scott, Senator Rubio and me and Congressman Diaz-Balart, we toured around, I thought the president showed great compassion and empathy and concern for the people whose homes and mobile homes were destroyed in Hurricane Irma.

WHITFIELD: Congressman Francis Rooney, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

ROONEY: Thank you, Fredericka.

WHITFIELD: So just two days now ahead of the president's visit to ravaged Puerto Rico, Trump touts job well done by FEMA and U.S. military, this as a spat between the San Juan mayor and the president continues to escalate. We're live from the capital city of Puerto Rico right after this.



WHITFIELD: President Trump plans to head to Puerto Rico in just two days to view hurricane devastation and recovery efforts. But in the meantime, he continues to brag on Twitter about a job well done saying in part, "People are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great military. All buildings now inspected for safety. Thank you to the governor of PR, Puerto Rico, and to all of those who are working so closely with our first responders. Fantastic job." Well Governor Ricardo Rossello says he is not quite sure what inspections the president is referring to.


GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: I'm not aware of such inspections. Of course, there are areas of Puerto Rico which we haven't really got in contact. Perhaps he was referring to a particular set of buildings. I'm not sure what the context of the message is.


WHITFIELD: All right. This comes on the heels of President Trump spewing nearly 20 tweets since yesterday on the dire situation in Puerto Rico from blasting the mayor of San Juan to bragging about the federal response.

CNN Sarah Murray Sara Murray just touched down in San Juan ahead of the president's trip. So, Sara, what are you hearing about how the president might be received when he arrives on Tuesday? SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, for the most part, people who are here has bigger problems on their hands than wondering what the president might say or do on Twitter or even when he's on the ground.

Here, most of the people we talk to are hoping that President Trump will arrive, that he will talk to some people, he'll go on a tour and he'll understand that they still need more help here.

We talked to people who have been without power since before Hurricane Maria. Since Hurricane Irma. We've talked to people who haven't yet seen a federal aid truck with food, with water and then there are so many people here without cell phone service. So they don't even know how to contact the appropriate authorities and saying, look, I'm living in a house with no roof right now, with no food, with no running water.

And so I think that from the people we talked to, they're really hoping that the president will get here and understand that there is a lot more that needs to be done.


WHITFIELD: And, Sara, this morning, the U.S. treasury secretary actually spoke about the president's attacks, verbal attacks and tweets against the San Juan mayor. What exactly did he say?

MURRAY: That's right. It's interesting because treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, of course, has worked closely with the president. He was there by his side during the campaign, so he's certainly familiar with the way the president goes tit for tat when he feels like he's under siege. Here's how he explains the president's back and forth with the mayor of San Juan.

STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I think you should know when the president gets attacked, he attacks back. And I think the mayor's comments were unfair given what the federal government has done.

I completely understand people's frustration and this is a very, very difficult situation. I haven't been there, but I've been almost on daily calls monitoring what's going on with the rest of the cabinet. I think FEMA has done a terrific job.


MURRAY: So there's the treasury secretary's response. And it's interesting, Fred, when you listen to him say that the mayor is being unfair to the federal government's response. And many ways, San Juan is really the best-case scenario. Places are beginning to get power back. There is some cell phone service that's been restored. You can see there's some bars and restaurants that are even opening up downtown.

But this is the best-case scenario. You do not have to drive far outside of San Juan to see homes that are completely devastated, streets that are impassable and people who have no access to cellphone service and are waiting overnight in the hopes of they're going to be able to get gasoline for generators.

WHITFIELD: All right. Sara Murray, thank you so much from San Juan. Let's talk more about this with my panel.

Nathan Gonzalez is the editor and publisher of the "Rothenberg" and Gonzales, Political Report. Matt Viser is the deputy Washington bureau chief for the "Boston Globe." Good to see both of you.

All right. So, Matt, you first. Clearly just like Sarah laid out there are people there in Puerto Rico, they want essentials. They may not be getting tied up in the war of words, so to speak.

But overall, how do you expect the president will be received given that he has -- had these very targeted sentiments against the San Juan mayor?

MATT VISER, DEPUTY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, BOSTON GLOBE: I think the question is how attune people in San Juan are to what the president has been saying. A lot of people without power so probably not refreshing the Twitter feed.

WHITFIELD: Right. Except that we've heard from a lot of our correspondents who have said the word has been filtering through various communities.

VISER: Yes. And so -- I mean, you wouldn't expect President Trump to get a great reception from average people who are trying to build their lives back. The president is sort of focused on a petty fight with the mayor of San Juan.

So he is sort of distracting from the overall FEMA effort and from the mission to rebuild Puerto Rico. And so I think that you will sort of see a potentially frosty reception to him when he goes there on Tuesday.

WHITFIELD: So, Nathan, I heard the mayor say this morning she says, if he asked, meaning the president to meet with me, I'll meet him. But right now, she's not scheduled.

NATHAN GONZALES, EDITOR, THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Well, two days is a long time for people to decide what they are going to do. I think that one of those that we could see happen is we know the tweets that have happened from the president. But once he gets there, it's very possible that he says, it's worse than what I thought. I've been saying all along that we need to do more even if that's not what he was saying before. And he complete -- he changes his tune and it ends up being a net positive for the people of Puerto Rico.

The president has shown that he can hold one -- he can hold one policy position or one stance one day and completely change the next. That doesn't bother him.

WHITFIELD: Matt, I spoke with the FEMA administrator yesterday and he said that the mayor has not been to the meetings or has not been to the field office. Kind of the unifying command center there and that's in part led to the consequence of the mayor being out of the loop and perhaps she doesn't know about all the resources that are afforded to her.

He describes that many mayors and some of the other communities or 78 mayors, if you have Puerto that many of them have come in. They receive and retrieve the material and they go out and just distribute. Is that fair criticism of the mayor of San Juan?

VISER: Potentially. But it's sort of beside the point a little bit. It's a focus on sort of the PR battle rather than sort of what's happening on the ground from a FEMA perspective.

There has been criticism of the mayor for her frequent media appearances. But she's also trying to draw public attention to -- and issue that frankly a lot of the people on the mainland who are not paying attention to.


VISER: And so she's been quite aggressive in seeking help and trying to advocate and draw the national spotlight to her city and her -- the island of Puerto Rico.

So I think that that has been a key goal of hers. In some way she's been successful. The president, however, has elevated it into sort of more of a public spat between two elected leaders rather than the federal government's response to a disaster.

WHITFIELD: Nathan, why is this a winnable spat for the president of the United States to engage in?

GONZALES: Well, I don't know that it's a winnable spat. But I think when the dynamics we're seeing and we saw this in the 2016 campaign is that President Trump to a group of Americans, he gets the benefit of the doubt because he's not a politician. I understand he's the president now, but people don't view -- his supporters don't view him as a politician.

And so when he says something, they take him at his word and that word goes above any politician that's on the mainland or Puerto Rico or over the news media. Believe it or not, there are people who think the news media wants to make the president look bad. They think they're playing it up.

And so the president still is in a honeymoon phase with his -- with his supporters and I'm not sure that this there's enough happening right now, that we change the dynamic even though we see some of the videos and the pictures coming in day by day.

WHITFIELD: Right. Matt, you've got the president who is saying essentially to people, don't believe what you see. These pictures of people being very uncomfortable, they're devastated, they're without. It's horrific. Don't believe that. He really is saying don't believe what you're hearing because from the ground, because I'm hearing from my people that they're doing the best they can.

But those messages are not necessarily in synch. FEMA and other federal response people probably are working as hard as they can. We know they are. But then when the picture represents people are not receiving all of the aid, how helpful is it that the president would tell people don't believe what you see. Only believe what I'm telling you.

VISER: I mean, it's a continuation as Nathan's mentioning to the way that he's ran his campaign and sort of the early part of his presidency, which is whenever he's criticized, he sort of questions the person criticizing him rather than addressing the underlying criticism.

So you're seeing that. In this case, where there is criticism over the federal government's response, over President Trump's own lack of response.

Last weekend, he was focused like a laser on the NFL and the kneeling issue rather than Puerto Rico. I think he tweeted 12 or 15 times about the NFL and maybe twice about Puerto Rico.

So his distractions were elsewhere. And so I think whenever he's criticized, then his base instinct is to criticize back. In this case, he's trying to criticize images that you can see with your own eyes about what's going on in Puerto Rico.

WHITFIELD: And of course, Nathan, the president can help control the messaging better, right? If when he gets to Puerto Rico. He is actively being that consoler or comforter. What needs to be instructed for the president so that that picture is comforting to people there?

GONZALES: I'm not sure. I mean, certainly because of the tweets and because of what we're talking about now, there's going to be even more attention on his visit. And I'm not sure. I think it's about the net result and what ends up, how the aid is either being distributed or communicated, coordinated and what the end result is.

This trip is important, but I think it's the days and weeks and months after that it'll be even more important to the island.

WHITFIELD: All right. Nathan Gonzales, Matt Viser, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): All right. Straight ahead, another round of protests across the NFL today even after the president implores players to stand for the national anthem. What fans and one iconic Olympian had to say about the demonstration.




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome back. All eyes are back on the NFL as players, owners, and coaches decide for a second straight week whether to kneel, stand, or lock arms during the national anthem.

President Trump doubling down on his criticism of kneeling as a form of protest tweeting last night, "Very important that NFL players stand tomorrow and always for the playing of our national anthem. Respect our flag and our country."

So far, we've seen a majority of players standing today during the anthem, but some have taken a knee. ESPN's Darren Ravel (ph) noted just 11 players from the early slate of games knelt or sat.

We also have seen some teams kneel in unity before the anthem played like the Baltimore Ravens. They were greeted by cheers and boos in their home stadium.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins us now live outside the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. What are fans saying there?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that the message originally intended by NFL players protesting out of racial injustice and police brutality, that message has been lost amid this controversy between the president's tweets and players' actions and fans' reaction.

This entire conversation has gotten muddied. If you listen to some of my conversations with fans, you will see the clear difference between the passion some feel versus the offense others take.


JERI SIEJKA, SUPPORTS STANDING DURING ANTHEM: My stance is that the flag is our freedom. I respect that. That's what I was brought up to stand at attention and place my hand on my heart.

RENEE GANTT, SUPPORTS NFL PROTESTS: People have to understand it's not about the flag. It's about the inequality and injustices and police brutality going on for the longest against minorities. It's not about the flag.

MATT DAUBER, SUPPORTS STANDING DURING ANTHEM: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but for me personally, I stand and if they don't see it that way, that's their choice.


HARTUNG: As the national anthem was played here in Atlanta today, members of the Falcons team stood and locked arms. Six members of the Buffalo Bills took a knee. Just before that game started, one Bills fan told me her next door neighbor burned his season tickets in his backyard last week after seeing some of the Bills players take a knee in protest.

There have been reports of one stadium worker in Buffalo who left the stadium and quit his job after he saw Bills players taking that action. But Fred, as you mentioned, they saw the Ravens players in Baltimore take a knee before the anthem and they were still booed.

When you hear that, you have to question the understanding that many have of where this conversation began.

[14:35:06] WHITFIELD: All right. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much outside Atlanta Mercedes Benz Stadium. Joining me right now to talk about all of this, U.S. track and field Olympian, former professional football player, the iconic, John Carlos. Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: Well, this is really something from your perspective because no one can forget that iconic image. You're also the author of an extraordinary book, "The John Carlos Story, The Sports Moment That Changed The World." This is that iconic moment, 1968 Mexico City games.

You and fellow U.S. Olympian Tommy Smith raising the fist and even Australian, you know, Norman also there who also was part of that movement for a statement of human rights.

So, what are your thoughts when you see the protest from last week and Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers. How do you see similarities between those moments to what you and Tommy Smith were standing for?

CARLOS: Well, first of all, I think it takes tremendous amount of courage to swim upstream against the tide when you see something wrong and decide that I need to bring attention that is being affected by law enforcement not doing the right thing or racism in general and to our society.

You know, we have a history in this country. It's not something that you know when made up. This history is documented in terms of slavery and so forth on down the line to the president attitude as law enforcement might have had for various people of color throughout the country.

It is documented. Individuals have died for merely selling loose cigarettes and as a kid playing in the park with a cap gun and a young lady died as a result of a traffic stop. It's on and on and on. A young man went to the store and he was killed. No one is prosecuted for these things.

We are not seeing the law enforcement as a whole, as a corrupt organization, but we say we have some corrupt officers involved in law enforcement and no one is taking the lead to say we (inaudible) individuals out.

They are trying to protect them by shielding and saying whatever black dude saying we want to face these things and have conversations, they are saying the same thing they talked 50 or 100 years ago.

WHITFIELD: Why is it that people are interpreting this moment so differently? We saw it exemplified by the two women outside of the Mercedes Benz Stadium. One said this is disrespecting the flag and the other said it's not about the flag. It's about human rights. It's about justice. What is your reaction when you hear that people see the symbolism behind what's happening here so differently?

CARLOS: When you sit back and you think about the flag, the flag is protection for all and freedom and justice for all. That's not true. That's a written statement. It's a fallacy that is not true. The divide we have with black people and the way they see things as opposed to how white people see things.

White people see things, but don't feel what black people feel. We have a sense of feeling when your kid goes out to the store and don't return home or your daughter goes out to the store and don't return home or husband goes out and don't return home. White folks don't have to deal with that.

They don't come out and see drugs running rampant in their communities. It's black on black, but blacks didn't bring the drugs. We didn't have planes to fly into our communities. It's there. It's law enforcement's job also to protect us against these drugs.

For (inaudible), it has been going on that way. The white folks don't seem to understand because it's not immediately affecting them. It's not their kids in this situation.

WHITFIELD: That kind of best represents a lot of what you are saying. Look along black and white lines. Recent polling as to what this kneeling means. It's almost in half in terms of supporting what the president have to say. Blacks seeing the athletes -- and this is not the actual athletes are wrong for protesting. Overwhelming whites see it as wrong and whites don't -- blacks don't by 12 percent. How they interpret it differently?

CARLOS: let me say this. My parents and my brothers and my uncles, all of them military. Even my son after 1968, they referred 25 years in the military. When you sit back and you think about these individuals, they fought and they stood on the front lines to protect the ride of these individuals to take a knee.

[14:40:06] The First Amendment, they fought to protect that right. I look at the president of the United States with his great divide that he created in this nation and think to myself wow, I remember when Barack Obama was running for president that he chose to say as a citizen, I need to see your birth certificate.

Here on your show today as a citizen told the president of the United States, I would like to see your discharge papers from the military. You are waving the patriotic flag, show where you were on the frontlines and where your dad or kids were on the frontlines.

I can show you mine. I would like to see you go full circle and say hey, other than me waving the flag and talking about individuals sitting or standing for the national anthem, show me your true patriotism.

WHITFIELD: There have been so many athletes like you and Thomas Smith, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russel, Muhammad Ali, the list is long in terms of athletes who have used their power of celebrity being elite athletes to take a stand to send a message. What is your message to young athletes today and how they are able to use their celebrity to help legislate change? To help in the consciousness of America and to help bridge divides.

CARLOS: Well, first of all, you have to take into account it goes back further than that, back to Jack Johnson and Harriet Tubman. All of these individuals who is put themselves on the line to make change not for themselves, they don't anticipate change immediately, but they want change for their kids.

My father would not go to the first world war and think I would fight with race relations in this country. Here I am 80 years later and I'm fighting for the same thing he fought for. These individuals are making statements to say my career is a fine situation.

God blessed me with this talent. It goes beyond what God gave me. I'm concerned about the talent that are being lost and the cure for cancer or heart disease. These individuals right now are stepping up. We are setting the tide now because it's not for us that we make these statements.

It's for our kids to make sure we have a better opportunity. We play on an equal playing field. The president with his rhetoric constantly, you see racism running rampant throughout the nation. You go to every college campus or see a KKK sign. This is running all over the nation based on his demise and putting this rhetoric out in the nation now.

WHITFIELD: You made that statement with Tommy Smith 50 years ago.

CARLOS: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: I know you said earlier that this is like deja vu.

CARLOS: It is deja vu. When you think 50 years ago, I felt like I was a horticulture God. I put the seeds in the earth and watered it. We see the fruits of our labor. As many individual kids that understand now far greater they did 50 years ago that it's about self- sacrifice to make a better world.

They are younger doing this. They think about the fathers and grandfathers in terms of the situation they were put in. I have to accept certain things because I need to feed my family. The kids are starting to say it's not about accepting, about you we want change and we want it now. We tied a hand so give us time. Your day is coming

WHITFIELD: Really quick before I let you go, immediately after the protest, that was not celebrated like it is today as an iconic moment. You did pay a price for that, didn't you?

CARLOS: The price was worth it. I would sacrifice one more time today because it's not about my sacrifice. It's about revolutionizing the industry to make them understand that everyone deserves a fair shot in life.

WHITFIELD: John Carlos, thank you so much.

CARLOS: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back. A horrifying act of terror in Edmonton, Canada is captured on video. Five people were injured after a man used two separate vehicles to ram into four pedestrians and one police officer. We want to warn you the video you are about to see is disturbing.


In this footage, you can see a car plowing into a police officer that is directing traffic at the time and the police officer goes flying through the air. Moments later the same driver got out and actually stabbed the officer. Amazingly the officer survived and is recovering.

CNN's Paula Newton is in Ottawa. So, Paula, explain, what more do you know about this?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. An incredibly terrifying evening. You have to think the video that we just viewed happened at one location and it was several hours later that a U-haul went speeding through the downtown.

Witnesses and police say the person who is driving that vehicle deliberately trying to hit pedestrians and hit four of them. We believe they are recovering in hospital, but their condition is not clear.

I mean, Fred, really the city was on a manhunt starting at around just after 8:00 at a football game that police officer that you saw there in the stunning video was doing traffic duty as you would have a football game, and went flying and then the suspect went up to him and stabbed him at least four times.

The miracle that the police officer really overpowered him and that's when the suspect fled on foot. Police now say it is the same suspect that they alleged was behind the wheel of both cars.

[14:50:06] Fred, we should say that in that first incident that you see in that video, that Chevy Malibu, an ISIS flag was found inside. It's one of the reasons that, of course, this is now a terrorism investigation.

They are waiting to see what they might know about the suspect and whether or not he was already under surveillance, but I mean, Fred, it really could have been so much worse and the fact that in those intervening hours during the manhunt, they had no idea where the suspect was and able to get his hands on a large U-haul truck. It could have been done so much more damage to pedestrians. It was a busy night and people were out having fun. Really lucky it was not a lot worse. There was a heightened risk and authorities say they believe it is one suspect at this time. We will know more within a couple of hours and we'll have a press conference.

WHITFIELD: All right. Paula Newton, thank you so much.

All right. After nine years behind bars, O.J. Simpson is a free man. So, what's next for the former football legend following his prison release? That is next.


WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Live pictures right now, Marine One there arriving at Jersey City, New Jersey. The president has been spending the weekend in Bedminster, New Jersey at his golf course, but now he is heading to a different golf course, Liberty National.

Where the president's cup is underway, if you recall early this week, you saw a picture of former Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Obama there and now it's President Trump's turn to be at the President's Cup, the 12th annual tournaments.

And at any moment, the president there emerging up Marine One and then soon a quick ride there to Liberty Nation. Of course, when we get more pictures from the tournament and the president's participation there, we will bring it to you.

[14:55:07] All right. After serving nine years for a Las Vegas kidnapping and armed robbery, an upbeat O.J. Simpson walked out of a Nevada prison shortly after midnight. The spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections telling O.J. don't come back. His response, quote, "I don't intend to."

CNN's Jean Casarez joining me right on the phone. So, Jean, a quick something like six to eight-second video of O.J. Simpson walking out and then that still image. What more do we know about his exit?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): He was released on parole at 12:08 this morning. Parole officials said he was upbeat and personable and very happy. He signed a lot of paperwork and read a lot of paperwork and with his parole officer and they told him things like how to get a driver's license.

They did an inventory of his belongings and there were things he wanted to take with him like several boxes we were told amounted to about the size of a microwave. It's interesting to see what he wanted to keep, a hot plate, clothing, and shower shoes.

And when he left, there was a driver in a light SUV. He was taken away, but we don't know where he went. At the parole hearing in July, there was very demonstrative intent on the part of O.J. Simpson and his lawyers that he wanted to return to Florida.

At that hearing of the pre-parole report that had been made, but we confirmed with the state of Florida as short as 20 minutes ago, they have never received paperwork from O.J. Simpson showing an intent to return to Florida.

Pam Bondy (ph), the attorney general for Florida wrote a letter saying that she was recommending to her Department of Corrections that the state not accept him if he wanted to go there. She cited a number of factors, his criminal history and civil liability history.

She said there was a concern for the safety she believed for the citizens of Florida. Simpson's attorney said Pam Bondy doesn't know what she is talking about. She plays no role in any of this, but the public information officer for Nevada Parole and Probation said after the hearing in July that doing interstate compact, which means going to another state to serve your parole is a privilege, not a right. We don't know where he will end up at this point.

WHITFIELD: All right. And so, for now while in Nevada, he stays with a friend?

NEWTON: They believe so.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jean Casarez, thank you so much. We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. Stay with us.