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Former First Lady Barbara Bush Laid to Rest; DNC Filed a Lawsuit Against Russia, The Trump Campaign and WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange; North Korea Has Agreed To Suspend All Nuclear Tests And Close Up A Major Test Site; Judge Wants To Hear From The President's Personal Attorney, Michael Cohen, Before Deciding Whether To Delay Stormy Daniels' Civil Lawsuit; L.A. Fitness Is Now Apologizing After Accusations Of Racial Profiling; Allison Mack Is Accused Of Recruiting Young Women To Join A Self-Help Program, But In Reality, Officials Say It Was A Pyramid Scheme Where Recruits Were Sexually Exploited. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired April 21, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Those are both the archives of his presidency, a library commemorating his presidency, and now his wife lays on that ground, you know, the ultimate commemoration to his family.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: It was said during the funeral too that, you know, it is not out of the ordinary that a death of a child can really cause parents to go apart. It could be at the core of so much, you know, tumult that it makes it so difficult but it was just the opposite between George H. W. and Barbara Bush that it solidified their union and speaks to their largely speaks to their 73 years together, Julian.

ZELIZER: No, absolutely. This was a union unlike many we have seen. It survived personal tragedy, it survived being in the public eye many times and in many different iterations. And the sadness that former President George H. W. Bush must feel today is really difficult to imagine.


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Agreed. I mean, I think one of the things we heard about Barbara Bush and people discussing her life is that she had really come to peace with this last phase of her life and a lot of people thought that it was because she would be rejoined with Robin. She had a very strong and abiding faith. Jenna Bush posted a cartoon image of Barbara being reunited with Robin in heaven. And I sort of feel as though that moment in the Bush family history had some closure today, and I think the family felt that way too.

Again, it was just really sort of a moment to remember a woman who kept her chin up and really kept the country together. I mean, you know, this was a family that used to have competitive, you know, horseshoe games on the White House lawn and really fierce debates about politics and life and policy. She really ran the gamut. We have to remember the Bushes met when

Barbara Bush was just 16 years old. George Bush was the first boy she ever kissed, she said. And she said whenever I say that, it makes my kids feel like they want to throw up. She sort of joked about that. But certainly, you know, hearts went out to former President Bush today as he laid his wife to rest after seven decades together.

WHITFIELD: Wow. It's such a beautiful love story. And then even to be reminded, you know, since her passing earlier in the week of just the love letters is that he wrote to her even, you know, well before their marriage but when he was, you know, in service, I mean, just a beautiful union and a beautiful tribute today.

Thank you so much, Kate Bennett, Julian Zelizer, appreciate your accounts of all that has unfolded today.

And again, right now, this private moment of the internment of the former first lady Barbara Bush at the George Bush Presidential library complex there in college station, Texas.

Thanks so much to both of you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All of this on the day that the President of the United States, the sitting President, Donald Trump, is preoccupied with something else. He is taking to twitter to blast his former FBI director again.

A short time ago, the President tweeting this, James Comey's memos are classified. I did not declassify them. They belong to our government. Therefore, he broke the law. Additionally, he totally made up many of the things he said I said and he is already a proven liar and leaker. Where are memos on Clinton, lynch, and others?

The President is referencing Comey's memos leaked to the press earlier in the week, but the President didn't stop with Comey. He is also pushing back against reports, his personal attorney Michael Cohen could flip and work with federal prosecutors and suggesting Cohen might even lie to investigators to save his own skin.

Right now, President Trump is at his resort in Florida. CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is nearby.

Boris, a lot on the President's mind today. Again, the first lady, Melania Trump, was at the funeral today for the former first lady. The President there in Florida, but he is preoccupied with a lot of things and we can see that as evidenced by his many tweets.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you can say he is occupied with a number of things, mostly focusing on his enemies, both political and just out there in the media.

As you noted, he attacked James Comey, the former FBI director, in his latest tweet. This follows several days of Comey's media tour promoting his book, "a Higher Loyalty." We should note that in his tweet, the President is accusing James Comey of being a leaker just a few days after having pardoned Scooter Libby, who was actually convicted of leaking classified information to the press.

The President also tweeted mocking Democrats after yesterday. The DNC filed a lawsuit against Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for allegedly conspiring to interfere in the 2016 election. And the President attacking "The New York Times," specifically reporter Maggie Haberman after a story was published on Friday that shifts some negative light on the President's relationship with his personal attorney Michael Cohen. That article cited six different sources that Haberman says explained to her the President mistreated Cohen over several years, likening the treatment of Cohen to that of an animal.

Listen to this. Haberman talking yesterday on CNN.


[16:05:42] MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Michael Cohen has over the years done all kinds of things, you know, at the President's urging because the President wanted them to, because he came to sort of intuit what he thought the President would want. It didn't always work out. Sometimes those things were handled in a way that was either ham fisted or that came back to bite the President later. The stormy Daniels case would be one of them.

But Cohen was basically trying to do right by his boss and was seeking his boss' approval, and Trump, time after time, treated him -- Trump is very fond of using the phrase, like a dog. He treated Cohen quite poorly over a period of time.


SANCHEZ: And we should also note in those tweets about this Maggie Haberman piece, the President specifically referred to someone that was mentioned in the piece as a drinker and a drug user. There's been rampant speculation online about who the President was talking about. We won't get into that speculation, except to say that CNN has reached out to the White House for clarity to try to find out who the President was referencing there. They have yet to respond, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

Meantime, the U.S. justice department's internal watchdog is taking a closer look at how former FBI director James Comey handled his memos recounting his conversations with President Trump. Comey has publicly stated that he shared the memos with top FBI officials, Mueller's office, and a Columbia law school professor but now, CNN has learned the inspector general's office is questioning additional close associates of Comey about precisely which memos they saw.

CNN's justice reporter Laura Jarrett joins us with more details on this.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: According to multiple sources, the inspector general's office at the justice department has interviewed several individuals who saw copies of former FBI director James Comey's memos detailing conversations with President Trump prior to their release to Congress this week. Now the memos cover a four- month period last year when Comey was still at the FBI and he said many times that he shared the memos with top officials at the FBI as well as his friend, Columbia law school professor Daniel Richmond.

But we have now learned of additional close associates of Comey all outside of the FBI who have seen these memos. And we are told investigators have been questioning these witnesses about precisely which memos they have seen and when Comey shared them with him.

Now, the tricky issue, of course, here, comes down to how the memos were classified. Both when Comey wrote them at the FBI and potentially after he left. We know that there are at least seven documents in total, a combination of both his notes and emails. But we don't know exactly which ones the people outside of the FBI have seen.

Comey, during Jake Tapper's interview this week, said that he couldn't recall exactly how many memos in total were classified. But the memos that we obtained this week showed that there are redactions on at least four of those memos.

Now, what happens with the inspect general's report remains to be seen. It's expected to be a comprehensive report that should be released sometime in May on how the FBI handled politically sensitive investigations on both Trump and his former rival, Hillary Clinton.

Laura Jarrett, CNN, Washington.

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's bring in our panel now. Karoun Demirjian is a CNN political analyst and congressional reporter for the "Washington Post." Amie Parnes is a CNN political analyst and correspondent for "the Hill" and Jeremy Herb is a CNN politics reporter.

All right. Good to see all of you.

All right, so, Jeremy, you are up at bat first. You know, how big of a deal is this that the inspector general would be looking into how Comey distributed these memos, shared information.

JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: It's potentially very significant. The inspect general has the ability to refer matters for criminal prosecution for the -- to the justice department and we saw this past week that that happened in the case of deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe after the IG found that McCabe had potentially misled investigators.

Now, there are four memos that Comey gave Richmond, according to reports. Two of them that we saw this week appear to be unclassified. The "Wall Street Journal" reported that the other two were classified. In one case, Comey redacted the memo before he gave it to Richmond. The other was retroactively deemed as confidential, which is the lowest form of classification. But that still could potentially posed problems for Comey with the IG. [16:10:04] WHITFIELD: So President Trump, you know, has tweeted away

on this, that, you know, James Comey's memos are classified and that Comey broke the law. So Amy, if the inspector general finds that Comey showed classified material, how much trouble would that put him in.

AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's pretty problematic for him and I think that's why this week you saw him take a delicate approach in kind of talking about it and saying, I don't know which ones were classified at the time. He doesn't remember exactly what's what here and so I think he has to be a little bit worried that this could be troublesome for him down the road.

WHITFIELD: How did he -- he had to have thought about all of that before making it public, before writing about it in a book, before all of these interviews to help, you know, promote his book.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, I mean, as we have seen that, you know, there's various members of the FBI were making decisions in various circumstances that were sometimes based on what protocol was, sometimes seemed to have been based on what they were concerned about for themselves. And I think that as, you know, we are seeing these memos come out now and seeing the response from Comey who is now no longer at the FBI give the explanation, we are going to kind of get a sense of really what was going through his head at the time more clearly.

I mean, at the time, he was summarily fired by the President. He's kind of trying to -- a defense of his reputation in the immediate aftermath because of the reasons that are being given out of the White House for why that happened, and those decisions were made potentially for reasons that are being questioned.

And so I think it's going to be -- there's been various characters in the story that have been acting for different reasons and those have put a lot of people in awkward, difficult, and potentially very liable positions as Jeremy was just referring to McCabe. So, this is yet another chapter of what was going on.

And we have seen it's interesting to just watch the President's reactions, right, because at the first outset, he's saying, oh, look, this is great. This is saying no collusion. Now it's actually, you know, those were classified and you shouldn't have been leaking them out in the first place. So everybody is kind of trying to figure out which side of the argument they're on right now, and I don't think anybody is really firm in their position.

WHITFIELD: OK. All right. Let's now turn to the Michael Cohen situation, the personal attorney of the President, the federal investigation and the lawsuit. Now from adult film star Stormy Daniels now seems to be kind of intertwined here with news that her former attorney provided documents to prosecutors in New York.

So Jeremy, we have heard it from, you know, Michael Avenatti that an indictment, charges are soon to come for Jeremy. Is there real truth to that? Might that indeed be the case? HERB: Well, we heard this past week Michael Cohen's attorney say he

expects an indictment within 90 days. It's probably too soon to say for certain that's going to happen. If you remember, Paul Manafort, he was raided back in July of 2017. The indictment came down against him in October.

The other factor here that could potentially affect the timing is the discussions that are going on behind the scenes between federal prosecutors and Cohen's attorneys and whether they can convince him or are really trying to flip him, as we have heard the President tweet and others have talked about to get him to cooperate in the investigation. And that, you know, whether he gives a willingness to potentially cooperate, I think, will also determine the timing here.

WHITFIELD: And then Amie, I'm sure you took a look at the "New York Times" today and talks about this relationship, describing, you know, people who have worked for President Trump under the Trump organization, describe him like, you know, New York's first avenue. It's a one-way street.

So given that, and about this whole issue of loyalty, how loyal is the President to a Michael Cohen versus Michael Cohen has professed loudly that he is very loyal to the President. But when you're looking at potential jail time or indictments, at least, trial, he's got a family, might he be someone who cooperates with prosecutors and flips?

PARNES: Yes, I mean, you are right, Fred. This is a guy who defended him tooth and nail. And I think he -- I know people who he's threatened. I know reporters have talked about it. I talked to someone else the other day who has been threatened by him. He took this job really seriously, this job of defending Donald Trump.

But I do think that he, you know, he is going to put himself first. And I think in the back of his mind, he has to think I wasn't treated well by my client, even though he is the President of the United States, and I do come first. And so I think he does. You know, when you talk to people around him, I think a lot of people think that he will flip. And I think the President's wrong on this.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And then, Karoun, real quick, does it appear that the President's getting more worried about this and that's why he is now talking a little bit more about going after Comey, you know, in order to perhaps distract or perhaps, you know, find some advantage in all of this?

[16:15:02] DEMIRJIAN: I mean, it was a three-part tweet this morning about the Michael Cohen topic, so I think that we can kind of measure what the President's comfort level is with these things depending on how confidently he is tweeting or how much he is tweeting at all. Usually when he goes after a reporter, he has been rattled. And when he then follows that up by, you know, kind of poking at various people who he sees as his enemies in this layout of the situation that he is in, it's a sense that he's also trying to, you know, distract and blame and everything else like that. So it's a sign that he's not happy right now.

WHITFIELD: Right. All right, we will leave it there for now.

Karoun Demirjian, Amie Parnes, and Jeremy Herb, appreciate it.

All right. Coming up, Kim Jong-Un stunning leaders across the world claiming he is suspending North Korea's nuclear and missile tests. Details on that straight ahead.


[16:20:07] WHITFIELD: A dramatic announcement from North Korea saying it is done with nuclear and long-range missile testing after decade of tests and threats of war. The announcement was made on North Korean state television.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Under the proven condition of complete nuclear weapons, we no longer need any nuclear tests. Midrange and intercontinental ballistic rocket test. And the nuclear test site in northern area is also completed its mission.


WHITFIELD: Donald Trump was quick to react, tweeting out North Korea has agreed to suspend all nuclear tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the world. Big progress. Look forward to our summit. That, from President Trump.

Well, this comes just days before talks between north and South Korea are set to begin. Here's CNN Ivan Watson following the developments from Seoul, South Korea.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, countries, governments all around the Korean peninsula have welcomed this unexpected statement coming from the North Korean government announcing that it would suspend launches of medium and long range ballistic missiles, that it would suspend nuclear weapons tests. And in its own words, discard its own nuclear weapons testing site in the north of the country which was last used in September of 2017 to test North Korea's sixth nuclear weapons test, its largest and most powerful to date.

Now, the argument that the North Korean government used was it has mastered nuclear weapons, it is a nuclear armed state now, and it no longer needs to conduct these types of exercises. Instead, it's going to focus on economic development for its society and focus on improving relations with countries in the international community.

This has been welcomed by the South Korean government because it's just six days out from the first ever meeting, face-to-face, between North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in. It's also been welcomed by President Trump and other countries around the region. Though Japan has had a serious note of skepticism, saying the pressure must be maintained, it's demanding complete disarmament of North Korea's nuclear arsenal - Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Ivan Watson in Seoul.

All right, coming up, new details in the Stormy Daniels civil lawsuit. A judge wants to hear from the President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, before making any decision. That's next.


[16:27:19] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. A judge wants to hear from the President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, before deciding whether to delay Stormy Daniels' civil lawsuit. Daniels wants to void a contract that prevents her from talking about an alleged relationship with Trump before he became President. Cohen's attorneys claim their defense was hindered when the FBI raided his office, seizing computers and documents related to the case. They, like Daniels' attorney, suggest Cohen could likely face an indictment soon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Mr. Cohen is going to be indicted soon?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: Absolutely, I do. I don't know the scope of that indictment, and I think that was the point that I was raising in court. What I state in the press is not evidence. The court is interested in competent evidence before the court. And look, this investigation could take a long time. There could be subsequent indictments. We don't exactly know. My own personal belief as someone with 18 years of experience who has some knowledge of what's going on. Yes, I believe the indictment will be issued within the next 90 days.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's discuss all of this with my legal panel today. Avery Freedman, a civil rights attorney with us and in for Richard Herman today, Joey Jackson.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Glad to be pinch hitting.

WHITFIELD: Excellent.


WHITFIELD: Good to see you both.

FREEMAN: And you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK. So, Avery, you first. I mean, what are the potential implications for Michael Cohen? I mean, this is -- these cases have gotten rather complicated.

FREEMAN: Well, they have gotten complicated, Fredricka. And actually, the showdown 24 hours ago in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles was really dramatic for the wrong reasons. We heard this sort of over caffeinated statement by the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, but at the end of the day, and thank goodness for federal judges, judge James, the federal judge said you know what, you want a continuance for 90 days but how do you know, he asked Michael Cohen lawyer that there's going to be an indictment in 90 days. And the response was, well, Stormy Daniels' lawyer said so. Well, that didn't work with the federal judge. The judge says, give me a statement, give me an affidavit, and then we will consider whether or not we continue it.

And you know what, Fredricka? It will be continued.

WHITFIELD: OK. So Joey, what is the strategy behind Michael Avenatti doing, saying something like that? Is that just simply to, you know, rattle the other side?

JACKSON: Fighting power with power. Now, let me just logistically say, I'm not sure why, right, Trump's people, I'll just put it that way, would want any type of continuance. I know this relates to Michael Cohen, certainly, however it has implications on the President based on potential campaign finance violations and other investigations.

But let's talk politics quickly, right. The fact is that we have a midterm election happening in 2018. And as a result of that, when you push something like this for 90 days, it treads upon the political, because now you have fodder out there for your opponents that are going to reference this case. Reference Michael Cohen's close work with the President, reference the President's dirty hands, reference the payoff 11 days before an election, and so, whenever you have a continuance, walk on your own peril, be careful what you ask for. It pushes and it's going to push this case into the political cycle, the political season.

Now, quickly, Fredricka, on the merits of it, the fact is that he is entitled, that is Michael Cohen, to a fifth amendment privilege and therefore he could say, you know what? I'm not going to answer that question under the grounds that it may incriminate me. And to the extent that his civil, right, deposition, where he is giving testimony, might implicate him in a little southern district investigation that may not be so little.

He has the right, certainly, to remain silent. But boy is it going to be political fodder when you get into political congressional season in terms of his work and his work for the President and his not so clean hands and who knows how clean Trump's hands are going to be.

FREEMAN: You know --.

WHITFIELD: So, Avery, I mean, or does it mean by having continuance after continuance or delay, et cetera, that there is some hope, perhaps, in the Michael Cohen camp that perhaps there will be some momentum lost by the Stormy Daniels side, by dragging things out?

FREEMAN: Well, it may be. But you know what, Fredricka, I respectfully disagree with Joey. Whatever political implications may be out there falls because the constitution prevails. A federal district judge has to make sure those individual personal constitutional rights are protected. So is anybody thinking about politics in a federal courtroom? Absolutely not. The judge Otero is doing the right thing. And you know what? Let the cards fall where they may. Whatever happens politically happens but the constitution has to prevail here.

JACKSON: Point of clarification, sir. Point of clarification. I'm not suggesting that the judge should at all be involved in politics. What I'm doing is assessing the strategy on Michael Cohen's lawyers. The fact of the matter is, is that, you pushing this off. If you are worried about politics, puts you into political season. So clearly there's a political imperative here.

FREEMAN: I get it but it doesn't.

JACKSON: Timeout.

FREEMAN: It doesn't matter, Joey.

JACKSON: Of course it matters. It has to do with politics as well as it has with the law.

FREEMAN: It has to do with the constitution, not with politics. That's what the case is about. And so we disagree. But I think the federal judge is doing it right and we are going to see another continuance after 90 days. Take it to the bank.

WHITFIELD: And then now you have got Stormy Daniels' former lawyer now, Keith Davidson, who is also weighing in, cooperating, apparently, with the federal probe on Cohen and he has actually, you know, complied with a request to provide authorities certain limited electronic information and perhaps it's all related to that $130,000 hush payment.

FREEMAN: You bet.

WHITFIELD: How troublesome is this, Avery, potentially.

FREEMAN: Well, I mean, I think there really isn't much of a choice here. I mean, the fact is, that when this evidence is going to be -- the FBI has it, the argument of privilege doesn't seem to be working particularly well with judge Kimbal Wood, the federal judge in New York. And at the end of the day, there's going to be an enormous amount of evidence that I think -- I think although I think the argument by Stormy Daniels' lawyers, again, a little over caffeinated and I think he's right. I think that at the bottom of this thing there is going to be an indictment. And the moment that happens, you can forget about what's going on with this contract and stormy Daniels out in California. Nothing's going to happen until the criminal case is out of the way.


JACKSON: So, here's the reality. The reality is, let's disagree again. Forget about over caffeinated. When you are fighting the President and the President's people, you have to fight fire with fire. And the fact is, is Avenatti is taking it to him. You talk about Trump being a power puncher and a counter-puncher, he is being a counter-puncher as well. I believe the development of the cooperation of Keith Davidson on the other side is significant for three reasons.


JACKSON: Number one, you want to address what was the nature of the relationship between Cohen and Trump? I think the other side could speak to that. Was he acting as an attorney? Was he acting as a family member? Was he saying, hey, I'm doing something for a friend?

WHITFIELD: And quickly, two and three.

FREEMAN: He said he would do it for a friend. He is a friend. That's what he's saying.

JACKSON: OK. Number two, the issue of intent. Remember here, if you are getting to the issue of in kind campaign contributions the other side is going to say, what is the nature of the discussions?

WHITFIELD: All right. Approximate almost out of time. Number three.

JACKSON: And number three is when you get to ultimately all the issues surrounding this case, I think that you have to look to where the money came from and that's a big point, Fredricka. Where was the money? Was it a home equity loan or otherwise? And so that's why it's important.

[16:35:05] FREEMAN: Joey, it's not coming out in California. It's coming out in New York. Everything is shut down.

JACKSON: It's coming out everywhere.

FREEMAN: It is all about - no it is not.

WHITFIELD: It is complicated.

FREEMAN: No, it's not. It's not coming out in California, my friend.

WHITFIELD: I love it. Thank you.

All right. That's a lot of good information. We will leave it there for now because you know we will be talking about it again very soon, Joey and Avery, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

But first, meet this week's CNN hero.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found out that I wasn't alone, that there were tons of girls that were also being sexually abused, and I had to do something. I had to use the rest of my life to prevent other girls from going through what I went through. I think the biggest thing is giving the voice back to girls and allowing them to speak up.


WHITFIELD: Wow. To learn more, go to

And we will be right back.


[16:40:19] WHITFIELD: This week, highs and lows where race is at the core. L.A. fitness is now apologizing after accusations of racial profiling. Videos posted on Facebook show staff members in New Jersey asking two African-American men to leave. Those men say they were targeted, even though they had a valid membership and guest pass to be there. L.A. fitness says they are now exploring ways to better train staff members.

This follows the arrest of two black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia who were waiting for a business colleague. Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz says he is, quoting now, "embarrassed and ashamed." The CEO promised this.


KEVIN JOHNSON, STARBUCKS CEO: For me, it's a learning experience. It's an emotional learning experience, and I take it personally. So, yes, I'm affected by it. And I'm going to fix it.


WHITFIELD: Contrast that with a couple milestones being celebrated involving two of music's biggest stars.

At Coachella, the largest music festival in the U.S., Beyonce is the first woman of color to ever headline it. And rapper Kendrick Lamar becomes the first Pulitzer Prize winner for music that isn't a classical or jazz musician.

So what does all of this say about race in America?

Joining me right now is CNN political commentator and host of the "VAN JONES SHOW," Van Jones.

Van, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: All right. SO how do we assess what's happening when you have new examples of racial profiling juxtaposed against barriers still being broken?

JONES: Well, you know, when a train is moving, all the cars aren't in the same place. And I think we may be seeing real progress and real breakthroughs in other places. In some places, certainly, in the arts and communication and in entertainment, you are seeing breakthrough after breakthrough. You know, Ryan Coogler with "the Black Panther." (INAUDIBLE). You can just do a whole list of that. And that can precede a lot of other changes.

But when you get away from Hollywood, away from the glitz and the glamour, away from the people, the very, very top of the charts, and you deal with just folks on the ground, you know, there is some malware glitching in the brains of millions of people. We call it racism. But you just call it malware where you can see somebody, two people doing the exact same thing, but if one has darker skin, you think that person is doing something wrong, one has lighter skin, you think that person is doing something perfectly fine.

WHITFIELD: At that Starbucks, these two gentlemen, you know, handled it in a really inspiring way. While it was a heartbreaking thing, you know, to say. And you know, one of the gentlemen saying, you know, this is a people thing. And now Starbucks is teaching classes in a month. So is this a starting point or is this a false start that it's a month from now?

JONES: No, no. It takes a while to pull the curriculum together and that kind of stuff. I mean, and frankly, if you are going to take a whole day as Starbucks is doing, close all your stores, that's a huge statement, and then try to retrain everybody all at once. You better do it right. If you rush and do it, you know, day after tomorrow and it's a disaster and it doesn't work and makes no difference, that's not good.

I think the fact that they said that they are going to do it and are planning to do it, and have brought in some very, very serious people to do it sends a very important signal all the way down the chain that this is not going to be tolerated.

WHITFIELD: So these other incredible high points you alluded to, you know, "Black Panther," you know, still dominating at the theaters, this is black produced, directed by, you know, the same, a black man, mostly cast of black talent, huge hit while there also remains this real feeling among black people of being dismissed, being discounted, being disregarded in so many ways.


WHITFIELD: How do, you know, we understand?


WHITFIELD: You know, these extremes here.

JONES: Yes, well, I mean, there's no celebration when an all-white cast has a movie that's successful. So that lets you know right there that that's the norm. That's already been accomplished. But when an all-black cast does, we rightfully celebrate because it's never happened before.

You have an all-black cast, no slaves, no drug dealers, you know, all dignified people, even the enemy, even the opponent has some dignity to him. It's a huge achievement. But listen. It's a tale of two cities. It's the best of times and the worst of times. I mean, you -- both things can be true that good things are happening. But there are things that are happening to ordinary people who don't have the fame, who don't have extraordinary talent, who don't have big studios behind them that's just not fair. WHITFIELD: So there was, you know, this real palpable feeling, you

know, of empowerment during the Obama administration, people of color, women out front, you know, and center in leadership roles with real power. So how hopeful are you that there will be this return of that kind of feeling?

[16:45:15] JONES: You know, listen, breakdowns lead to breakthroughs. Let's not forget the Obama moment came after the George W. Bush moment where some people felt that we were moving in the wrong direction, had gotten into these two wars that we didn't know how to get out of. We had a big recession under George Bush and the collapse of the stock market.

So, you know, in that situation, suddenly people turn to an Obama who seemed more hopeful. Who knows what comes after this moment. It could be something even more hopeful, even more beautiful. Things go back and forth.

But here's what I do know. The idea that progress is inevitable and can never be rolled back, that idea has to be taken off the table. It is, in fact, every generation's responsibility to fight for more justice and against injustice just because Dr. King's generation made a step forward, doesn't mean that something good is happening in the Starbucks today. Those have nothing to do -- just because Barack Obama was elected nine years ago, doesn't mean that what's happening in that sports center is fair today. You got to continue to be vigilant for what we call liberty and justice for all. It's not automatic. We got to fight for it every day.

WHITFIELD: All right. Van Jones, thanks so much. Always good to see you.

And of course we will all be watching "THE VAN JONES" tonight, 7:00 p.m. right here on CNN. Thanks so much.

JONES: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: Also tonight, don't miss two all-new episodes of Christian Amanpour, "Sex and Love Around the World." It all starts at 10:00 p.m. Here's a sneak peek.


CHRISTIAN AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: For years, marriage and relationships here have been controlled by three sacred pillars. Family, tradition, and state. I'm curious to find out to what extent people are taking back control of their relationships, their love, their desire, and their sexuality.


WHITFIELD: All right. Don't miss "Sex and Love around the World" tonight, 10:00 eastern and pacific right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:51:50] WHITFIELD: All right, this just in to CNN, Syracuse University is permanently expelling the Theta Tao Fraternity from campus. The university chancellor citing a video that surfaced this week showing fraternity members exhibiting quote "extremely racist behavior." Students have been protesting that video on campus. It shows members of the engineering fraternity repeatedly using racial slurs and simulating sex acts. The students involved could face possible suspension or expulsion.

And actress Allison Mack is facing charges for her alleged role in a sex trafficking case. She is accused of recruiting young women to join a self-help program, but in reality, officials say it was a pyramid scheme where recruits were sexually exploited. You may recognize Mack from her role as Chloe on the CW's super hero series, "Smallville."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 327, that's how many (INAUDIBLE) I have profiled from slave grave (ph). And you know how many I have actually saved? None.



WHITFIELD: CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us now with more on this. So what more can you tell us about this crime at Mack is accused of and these charges and this group?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this group reportedly would claimed that it was a mentorship program for women, but according to federal investigators, Fred, the information that we have found in this document, it also allegedly had a very dark side. And before we break this indictment down for you, a warning, some of the details we found here are certainly disturbing for younger viewers.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Federal prosecutors indicting Allison Mack on sex trafficking charges Friday. The actress best known for her role on the CW series "Smallville" is accused of recruiting women to join a sex cult, according to federal prosecutors. Mack recruited women under false pretenses to perform sexual acts for Keith Raniere, the group's leader and sole male member of a secret group within Nxivm.

STANLEY ZAREFF, FRIEND OF ONE VICTIM'S FAMILY: She is dangerous. She is sick. She is evil. She is dark and she has done harm to many people. Imagine having your initials burned into a woman's body. That's happened.

SANDOVAL: Raniere has also been indicted on sex trafficking charges. Both he and Mack face claims that many so-called slaves were branded on their pelvic areas with Raniere's initials. Mack and Raniere have pleaded not guilty. On its website, Nxivm reports to be a self-help program providing

quote "an ethical humanitarian civilization." In a statement, Nxivm defended their founder. We're currently working with the authorities to demonstrate his innocence and true character. We strongly believe the justice system will prevail in bringing the truth to light. If convicted, both Mack and Raniere face at least 15 years in prison.


SANDOVAL: Well, already two unnamed women have come forward accusing Mack of indirectly or implicitly in some way being forced to have sex with the man that we just talked about here. And you might ask yourself exactly how or why did they choose to stay with this group, Fred? Well, we have also learned that the price of admission for this group meant surrounding collateral, if you will, information on them, nude photographs that would then be used against them if they did not follow orders. So certainly a disturbing case here that's unfolding in federal courts in New York.

WHITFIELD: Yes, disturbing indeed.

All right. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.

All right. Thank you so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

So much more straight ahead with Ana Cabrera right after this.


[16:59:52] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Its 5:00 eastern, 2:00 in the afternoon, out west. You are life in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being here.

President Trump angry and accusing, name calling and defensive today to anyone reading his twitter feed. He rails against "The New York Times," insulting a reporter by name while standing up for his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. He called the Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman third rate --