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First Lady Breaks with Trump over Criticism of LeBron James; Historic Landmarks of Elliott Wiesel & Emmett Till Vandalized; Rick Gates to Testify Against Paul Manafort; Children in New Mexico Found in Filthy Conditions; Bikers Weigh in on Trump & Politics. Aired 2:30- 3p ET

Aired August 6, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think the difference here between the East Wing and the West Wing is that oftentimes the answer feels like, you know, it's come from the first lady. It's direct. It's truthful. And it doesn't mean to cause waves. It's not released to cause the waves. But by the nature of what she's revealing, of course, it does. We are all talking about it.

Again, Melania Trump demonstrated several times she has an independent streak, whether that's going to the border to talk about the border crisis, whether that's something -- like drawing attention away by wearing the white hat or slapping back at Rudy Giuliani when he tried to put words in her mouth and said she believed her husband about the Stormy Daniels situation. Her spokeswoman says, "I don't think Mrs. Trump has had a conversation with Rudy Giuliani about anything, actually."

These are all steps that we are seeing the first lady sort of make her mark in a very independent way, in a way that, quite frankly, can be very opposite of what her husband is saying or feeling. And she doesn't seem to mind. And he doesn't seem to mind. So, certainly, it's a very different sort of first couple that we are witnessing here in this administration.

BALDWIN: Listen, I love a good independent streak. And a wife should not always have to agree with her husband, right? But it is -- it is of note. You just rattled off, she went to Barbara Bush's funeral and you can continue down the list of things where she has gone this way when her husband has gone the other. I'm wondering what you think that's about.

BENNETT: I honestly think it's about the first lady, in my opinion, is one of the few people who doesn't react in response to something that the president does. So we see a lot of the president doing something and then people respond, whether it is about the Russia investigation or, you know, a policy issue. The first lady is not reacting necessarily to what the president did. In fact I think she is more reacting to what LeBron James did. He said I don't want to sit across from the president and talk about this. The first lady is saying in the effort of kids and education I will sit across the table from you.

BALDWIN: Uh-huh.

BENNETT: I think it's more her in the interest of pushing forward her agenda regard of what the president is thinking that motivates her. And that's also something that we are seeing in other flourishes of her personality. She is very mysterious, very private. So we have to look into these things and read into them a bit. But I truly think that was a response more to how LeBron was responding even more so than how her husband was.

BALDWIN: It does.

Kate Bennett, thank you.

BENNETT: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, two historic landmarks targeted with disgraceful acts of vandalism. Among them, a memorial marking where Emmett Till's body was recovered in the Mississippi, riddled with gunshots days after the previous sign had to be replaced.

And it is known as the world's largest gathering of bikers. CNN's Bill Weir goes inside to talk politics, President Trump, and facts. Don't miss this.


[14:37:00] BALDWIN: There are landmarks meant to remind the nation never to forget about the savagery of racism, the horror of the Holocaust, and the heroes who emerged in the struggle against it. Now two of those historic landmarks have been vandalized. Romanian vandals sprayed anti-Semitic graffiti on the childhood home of late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laurette, Elliot Wiesel. Police are investigating. They say they already have a list of suspects there.

Here in the U.S., for the third time, the memorial marking the spot where Emmett Till's body was pulled from the Mississippi River was defaced. Someone fired multiple shots into the sign, as you can see. And the prior vandalism incident happened just over a month ago.

Joshua DuBois is with us, a CNN contributor and former White House adviser to President Obama on faith and race and community partnerships.

Joshua, I want to have this conversation today because when I was read being the incidents, it is profoundly infuriating. Two men, two different parts of the world, but men that really stand for something.


BALDWIN: My question to you is, why do you think this is happening.

DUBOIS: First and foremost, Brooke, thank for calling attention to this. It's absolutely disgusting. Disgusting is not even strong enough a word. For viewers who don't know, Emmett Till was a child, a 14-year-old who was tortured and brutally murdered in Mississippi down in the Delta for no crime at all. They said he whistled at a white woman which, of course, should not be a death sentence anyway. And even the woman has since said he didn't do anything at all. To shoot up a memorial to that little boy.

And then Elie Wiesel, a survivor of genocide, someone who was at the forefront of making sure that incidents, genocides like the Holocaust never happened again, to deface his home.

It is not about the incidents. It is a broader problem of crisis of hate. We have seen hate crimes increasing in America's largest cities for four years in a row. A 60 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents, according to the ADL, from 2016 to 2017. This has reached a crisis point and it's time we take it seriously.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you a question on something else. It won't seem related, but in the end, we are going to come back around. I want to talk about LeBron James. LeBron James opened I Promise School, opened the last week to 240 at-risk third and fourth graders. Let me just -- the school includes free uniforms, free tuition, free breakfast, lunch, and snacks, free bike and helmet, free transportation, access to a food pantry for families, and guaranteed tuition to all graduates to the University of Akron.

First of all, before we delve deeper on this, how great is that?

DUBOIS: It's amazing.

BALDWIN: How great is that?

DUBOIS: Amazing. He could be so much else with his money and his time. He has decided to pour into other people. Yes.

[14:40:04] BALDWIN: Don Lemon goes and interviews LeBron in Cleveland, and they re-air the interview on Friday night. And listen, I don't know if he was watching or not, but the president tweeted, "LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isn't easy to do. I like Mike. All right?"

I want to point out Don Lemon's response, "Who is the real dummy, a man who puts kids in school or one who puts kids in cages?" That's the response.

What makes the president feel like he can do this and specifically attacking levels of intelligence?

DUBOIS: It's absurd. It's like our parents told many of us, when someone is bullying or attacking you, it often says more about them than it says about you. This is coming from a place of weakness, insecurity, inferiority. The president is acting and behaving -- I'm not saying he is, but he is behaving like a small man who can't respond on substance so he responds with insults and attacks. Again, it is a bigger problem because he is moving the boundaries of debate, removing the guardrails, telling Americans you can say and do whatever is in your best interest. When he removes those guardrails, it's no wonder that our civility and our conversations have run into a ditch.

BALDWIN: Amen to that.

Joshua Dubois, I appreciate it.

I want to follow up, but we are getting breaking news out of Alexandria.

Joshua, thank you.

We are getting breaking news out of the criminal trial of the former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Shimon Prokupecz is standing by with an update for us.

Shimon, what's up?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: It's what we were just talking about moments ago, Brooke. The big witness for the prosecution in the Paul Manafort case is set to take the stand. Rick Gates, as you said, will be taking the stand sometime this afternoon. As once the prosecutors and the defense team finishes up with the accountant who is on the stand now, Rick Gates is expected to take the stand. This was announced in court moments ago. He will take the stand. He will begin his testimony. At the very least, this afternoon. Where we will learn a lot about his cooperation. And really, for the first time hear from him since he started cooperating with the special counsel's office.

BALDWIN: So you made a point a second ago when we were talking. I just want to unpack a little bit of what we could hear from Rick Gates. You were saying we may actually see as far as evidence any sort of documents, anything he has signed as far as cooperation deals and the like. Why is that important?

PROKUPECZ: Usually, that is something that on direct testimony the prosecutors will go into great deal with. Really, it's to tell the jury what he's been doing, how his cooperation has been going, how he's been cooperating. They will probably limit it specifically to this case. But it's really to sort of give him some credibility. And honestly, for the prosecution to be honest with the jury about what he's been doing. Also the documents that are usually associated with this kind of an agreement are submitted into evidence so that the jury could essentially review it. And then also the defense attorneys, obviously, are going to want to question him about his agreement. Because sometimes good defense attorneys like to use that as a way to say, well this is the reason why someone is cooperating. Look at this deal that they have given to him. And it goes to his credibility.

His credibility is the big issue at this trial. And the prosecution is going to do everything you can expect, to try and bolster his credible. And then the defense obviously will do everything they can the rip it apart.

Also big for the defense here is they are trying to pin everything, put everything on Rick Gates. He is going to be a big witness for them as well. BALDWIN: All right. It happens this afternoon. We will be in

contact over any and all headlines made from that federal courts in Alexandria.

Shimon, thank you for now.

Also, moments ago, the president of Iran responding to President Trump's offer to hold talks this as new U.S. sanctions kick in today.

[14:45:11] Also ahead, what started as a search for a missing toddler led investigators to make a chilling discovery involving an underground compound. A live report, next.


BALDWIN: A horrifying discovery in New Mexico has led to charges of child abuse, and many unanswered questions. Police raided this makeshift compound outside of Santa Fe. They were initially just looking for this 3-year-old who had been missing since November. Instead, what they found, 11 emaciated children who looked ,to quote law enforcement, "like third-world refugees." The children's ages ranged from 1 to 15. They had no food, no running water, and wore dirty rags for clothes. Police now have charged five people with child abuse, including the mothers of these children.

And Kaylee Hartung has been following this heartbreaking story for us.

Kaylee, who are these people? How long were these children living like this?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, so many of the answers to those questions are unclear. The sheriff's office saying these are the saddest conditions and poverty that he had ever seen.

Investigators are working to determine what these 11 children endured while they were living inside this compound. They are in the care of child protective services right now, who say their focus is on those children's most basic needs now and ensuring that they are minimizing any further trauma.

When authorities came to the scene of this makeshift compound, this small travel trailer partially buried in the desert, they found these two men who amassed something of an arsenal. They were heavily armed with A.R.-15 rifles. They had loaded 30-round magazines and loaded pistols and plenty of ammunition on them. Those two men are being criminally charged. One of them is the father of the missing child. The missing child, who is still missing. While these two men are in custody along with the three other women's who are believed to be the mothers of the 11 children who were found, authorities say they are not answering questions or giving up any information about the whereabouts of this child. Authorities say they have reason to believe he was in that compound as recently as a few week ago. Brooke, today is that child's fourth birthday.

[14:50:57] BALDWIN: Here is hoping justice is served and then some in this case. Kaylee, thank you very much.

Let's get you back to our breaking news here. Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's former righthand man, about to take the stand and testify against President Trump's former campaign chairman. We will go live to the courthouse in northern Virginia, next.


[14:55:40] BALDWIN: Let's go on a ride to Sturgis, South Dakota, where millions have gathered for the world's largest motorcycle rally. A lot of folks there are Trump voters.

We sent our correspondent, Bill Weir, to ask them to weigh in on the president and his politics.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They rumble in from all points on the compass. For one week each summer, this little town of 7,000 explodes to half a million.

(on camera): This is one city that looks nothing like the rest of America. You can go hours without seeing a person of color. In Sturgis, a minority is a white guy on a foreign bike.

(voice-over): There are no debates over gun control here, or the ethics of the "Me Too" movement. And there's no doubt who is the leader of this pack.

(on camera): You are a fan of the president? Do you think he is doing a good job?

JOHN SANDS, BIKER: He is doing a lot better than what Obama did.

WEIR (voice-over): This ghost rider identifies him as John Sands, a postal worker who rides up from Kentucky each year and, like so many I talked to, sees proof of Trump's brilliance in the booming committee.

ROD WOODRUFF, OWNER, BULLALO CHIP: What they'll tell you is they'll say, it's the Trump bump. The economy is so good. People are feeling so good.

WEIR: Rod Woodruff is the owner of the sprawling Buffalo Chip, a Disneyland for bikers, and says his campers have an average income of $95,000 a year.

WOODRUFF: So 70 percent are homeowners in the United States.

WEIR (on camera): OK.

WOODRUFF: Lots of people own multiple motorcycles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a tattoo parlor up here. We have food, pizza, anything you want at the free access crossroads.

WEIR: Do you have your own jail?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We don't need one.

WEIR: You don't need, one?

(voice-over): Violence and arrests are incredibly rare for a crowd of this size. One reason is that most folks share the same values. And those that don't keep it to themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I see here in motorcycling is a microcosm for the whole country. And I get the feeling sometimes that people that don't believe in what's going on is right become very quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there's a lot of hypocrisy going on in the country now because I feel like everybody wants freedom and they want rights but, god forbid, somebody disagree with you because then you will get your head bitten off.

WEIR (on camera): A couple of months back, the president aimed his Twitter and trade guns at Harley-Davidson. Even though they got a huge tax break, the company shut down a factory in Kansas City, laid off hundreds of workers, and said because of the tariffs, they would have to start production in a new country overseas. Which begs the question, is this the ultimate loyalty test for his base? Do these folks pledge allegiance to the president or Harley-Davidson?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hell, I'm going to go with what is going to make America better. If Harley wants to choose to go somewhere else then I will choose to buy different bikes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally love the man. I think he is doing a wonderful job.

WEIR (voice-over): Despite the president's disdain for my profession, they couldn't be nicer.

(on camera): Do I strike you as an enemy of the people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. Not whatsoever. And it's good to have you here.

WEIR (voice-over): But it's obviously that no amount of earnest reporting will change their minds.

(on camera): If you look at the Russia investigation and the Mueller investigation, there's a lot of red flags and dark clouds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's usually with a lot of politicians. One, they are picking on him because he is on the outside. If you look at the Clintons, how come they can do things and no one else can?

WEIR: I'm old enough to know what he the base loved Harley-Davidson and hated Russia. Seems like it flipped a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see any reason to call him out. Should try to be friendly with everyone. But they don't want to be friends, and it is a whole other story.

WEIR: Even Vladimir Putin, even a dictator, a murder?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He met with Kim Jong-Un as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all are fake news. We all know it.


WEIR: Here. Touch me.


WEIR: Touch me.


(voice-over): Back downtown, our presence sparks a debate between some FOX News fans from Texas and Bonnie from Nebraska.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't know what they are talking about.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are un-American, too. You are on the other side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not true. I watch both. I go either way.

WEIR (voice-over): See? Which proves we now live in a media age where people can choose their own facts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a friend who is very much with FOX. I go, uh-huh, yes, I agree with you. No problem. Everybody has their own opinion.

WEIR (on camera): That's true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are like (EXPLETIVE DELETED), everybody has one.

WEIR: Just as long as they don't start shooting at each other, right.



WEIR (voice-over): Then the heckling is interrupted by a hero falling from the sky.

Sergeant Dana Bolden (ph), Army Golden Knight, who lost both legs in a mid-air collision.