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Holy Fire Triggers State of Emergency; South China Sea Surveillance Flight; NFL Players Continue Protests during National Anthem; Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:54] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: We are following breaking news. A state of emergency declared for two southern California counties as the raging Holy Fire moves dangerously closer to homes. More than 21,000 people at this hour are under mandatory evacuation orders.

CNN's Nick Watt is live in Lake Elsinore, California, with the very latest.

Nick, good morning.


Well, as you can see behind me, a hillside is on fire. Helicopters have been coming in, dropping water. One is coming in right now to try and control at least some of this.

As you mentioned, more than 21,000 people under mandatory evacuation and other people getting ready to leave. You can see, if Kevin pans over here, you can see this person's packed up a trailer ready to move.

Now, this fire is very, very close to homes right now. If you can look up there, those flames, we were just up on that road. It's a small, windy road. And the fire is literally just feet behind those homes with fire trucks stationed there ready to try and protect those structures.

Now, yesterday, early in the day, there was a bit of positivity about this fire. The forecast, the weather was looking good. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, winds just whipped up and threatened homes right on the edge of Lake Elsinore. It is something of a miracle that none of those homes were destroyed. We're still looking at only 12 structures destroyed by this fire. All of those cabins back in the forest.

But this is a battle now to save these homes. More than 7,000 homes are apparently under threat of this fire right now.

Later today we also expect the man who is suspected of setting these fires to appear in course, but the weather is not looking good. We have more high temperatures and high winds predicted for later today.

Back to you guys.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, not good.

Nick Watt for us on the front lines of the fire at Lake Elsinore, California.

In the meantime, CNN getting rare access to a U.S. military surveillance flight over hotly disputed islands in the South China Sea where China has built up an extensive military presence. So this flight is already angering China's military, triggering a number of warnings.

CNN's Ivan Watson on board the P-8 Poseidon -- actually no longer on board, but he was on board the P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane -- with the very latest.



That's right, CNN was the only American news organization invited by the U.S. Navy to fly on this reconnaissance flight over this man-made islands, a virtual archipelago of manmade islands that China has built in the South China Sea and territory claimed by a number of other countries as well. And the U.S. refuses to acknowledge China 's territorial claims to this enormous body of water, which is a major transit route for much of the world's shipping. And our flight was warned off, it was challenged a number of times, at least six times, by the Chinese military. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. military aircraft Papa 8 Alpha, this is the Chinese military. China has the sovereignty of the Naga Islands including the reef and these adjacent waters. Leave immediately and keep far off so as to avoid any misunderstanding.

[06:35:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a sovereign immune United States Naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal states and exercising these rights as guaranteed by international law. I am operating with due regard for the right and duties of all states.


WATSON: John, we saw four of these islands that China has built. They had airstrips, radar towers, radar domes, virtual cities of concrete buildings, four and five stories high. And the incredible thing is these islands have all been built literally out of coral atols (ph) in just the last five years or so.

The Chinese have embarked on this incredible, colossal land reclamation program. And the Pentagon accuses China of putting surface to air missiles and electric jammers on these islands. China insists it's defending its own sovereign territory.


BERMAN: All right, Ivan Watson for us with this rare look from the Poseidon flight.

Ivan, thanks very, very much.

Football is back. The national anthem protests began anew last night. Protests against racial injustice and law enforcement. How will the president respond?


[06:40:16] BERMAN: The NFL preseason kicked off in full force last night, and with it a new round of protests during the national anthem. There were players who took a knee, others who would raise their fists, or sat out the anthem all together in the locker room.

Joining us now to discuss that and more, CNN contributor, national reporter for "The Washington Post," Wes Lowery, and Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson. His new book, "What Truth Sounds Like," is a "New York Times" instant bestseller.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with us.

I have to say, we invited you here because this is the one year anniversary of the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville. There's a whole lot to discuss tonight. These protests came out overnight. We're waiting for the president to respond.

Professor, you know, what did you see last night? What is the fact that these players continue to make this statement? What does it tell you?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR, "WHAT TRUTH SOUNDS LIKE": Well, first of all, black life continue to matter to them and doesn't seem to matter to others who continue to victimize black people with random violence and arbitrary forms of aggression.

Number two, these are grown black men. They will not be dictated to and told by the president of the United States of America or a football league, a sports league, about what it means to be a responsible, conscientious citizen. Here we are talking about the one year anniversary of white supremacists and nationalists and neo-Nazis expressing their right to protest in America, and yet these black men of valor, of integrity, of courage and bravery are being muffled.

And finally what it says to us is that all players should have a conscience around this, not just black players. Where is Aaron Rodgers in this whole situation. He praised LeBron James for keeping his comportment in the face of assault by the president, but where is this pro-active engagement with these players to link arms, even if he doesn't raise a fist, raise a voice and say something important. That's what I think these protests suggest. BERMAN: You know, it is notable -- we led the show with this because

it did happen overnight, the new season begins here, and people did note to me on social media that you know who probably likes seeing these protests more than anyone this morning? The president of the United States, Wes, because this is something that he has used to rally support.

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly. I mean the president has shown, since even before he was the president, that he enjoys or at least believes it's politically advantageous to drive a wedge between, you know, citizens along racial lines, that he is enjoying in engaging on these issues because he believes in rallies his base.

I think that the conversations we're having here, whether it be about NFL players and their protests, whether it be about the anniversary of the white supremacist violence and murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, whether it be the conversation we had a week or two ago about LeBron James and the attacks he came on -- he came under from the president of the United States or the comments from Fox News' Laura Ingraham, this weekend and many other weeks from her and some of her colleagues there, it underscores how racial politics really are at the heart of much of what's going on politically across the country, that right now the politics of white racial grievance and the fear of a demographic change across the country is really one of the driving force behind much of the conversation we're having.

And so it's unsurprising to me that we're seeing this revisited and it's also unsurprisingly that in the face of kind of an increased white grievance and also in the fear of violence against black and brown peoples in the context of the child separations of the last few weeks, in the context of the fear, we've seen additional rounds of policing videos this summer, right, the black players who for years have said, look, these are protests about injustices and about the way we're treated by (ph) law enforcement who have come under attack from the president and his allies that they would say, look, as we approach a new season, we're not giving up our voice, we're going to keep talking about this. So I was unsurprised to see these protests last night. And I would imagine, you know, not much has changed about the context of our politics between last season and this season. I would expect this for the rest of us.

BERMAN: You know, we're talking about the one year anniversary of Charlottesville, though. It is interesting, I had a reporter from "VICE News" who -- they won an award for their coverage one year ago of these demonstrations and they've been on this for the entire year. And she noted to me that the organization within some of these so- called alt-right groups, some of the groups that staged the white supremacist violent protests last year in Charlottesville, they've dissolved. They're having a harder time organizing because of the reaction against them.

Professor, what do you see as the state of their movement one year after Charlottesville?

DYSON: Well, every time the president opens his mouth, he reaffirms some of the basic premises and fundamental predicates of that white nationalist, white racist reaction, the politics of grievance that Mr. Lowery has just eloquently spoken about, the way in which the fear and intimidation of being in the face of diversity. Laura Ingraham is the mouthpiece.

[06:44:59] This is not a dog whistle. This is a megaphone. Speaking loudly from the hills proclaiming the vicious politics of assault upon black and brown peoples and the refusal to acknowledge that America is broader and deeper and more profoundly inclusive than they would like. So when I look at what's going on here, the state of white supremacy is just fine, thank you. It continues to grow. It, in aggregate, it continues to intimidate people. Even if the numbers are small on the outside, it gathers into itself a kind of snowballing effect where an avalanche, if you will, of indecency against black and brown people is being expressed.

And let's be real, there's a fear of disappearance in the face of black excellence. And black excellence is not meant to intimidate white people, it's meant to show and support black people.

Look at what happened to LeBron James when he simply said with Beyonce and Rihanna and so many of the black women on the covers, he said nothing's stronger than colored women, women of color, and celebrating them.

And look at all the backlash he got because he simply celebrated black women. He didn't denigrate white women. Kim Kardashian is still in the press. Courtney Kardashian is still showing her bikini in the press. So white women are being celebrated and being embraced across the board. But when there is an aberration from that, when whiteness, as a norm, and a presupposition is challenged, then America seems to cower in the face of it.

And we have the perfect president to be the mouthpiece for them. Here is a man who has seen no difference between the sides, those who are against racism and those who are for it. Those who are against Nazism and those who are for it. As long as we have that kind of functional, moral equivalency between evil expressed on one side and the resistance to that evil on the other, this will continue to happen. And I thank God that those blackball players are standing up, raising their fists, raising the consciousness of American to say we will not stop.

The problems continue. They persist. And those who say, wait a minute, you're rich ballplayers, why are you arguing against what's going on now? You're being treated fairly. Well, isn't that interesting. Why is it that they would be bought off, that their consciences would be silenced because of a contract? Rich, black people, well to do black people, celebrities have always been the voice piece -- voice mouth -- voice piece, that is, for those who have not been given a platform to articulate their viewpoints. So I think, in that sense, that's where we are in this country.

BERMAN: Wes, I want to give you the last word here.

LOWERY: Certainly. Well, I mean I feel a lot of what Professor Dyson just said. You know, I think that they're in this moment is a question about, you know, last year -- this time last year we were seeing Nazis marching in the streets, the torches through Charlottesville, the rise of these organizations and many of these figures. And to be clear, the media coverage we gave a lot of these individual figures helped prop some of them up. And in the year since then, as they've received more scrutiny, as their identities have been known, many of them have had to fall -- have kind of had to fall back.

But there's a difference between the group that are marching in the streets. And the mass of kind of conservative media megaphones, as well as, in many cases, conservative politics that have given rise to the same types of sentiments, right? When you've got Fox News hosts who are going on diatribes that could be copy and pasted from white supremacist websites, it's hard to argue that that cause is somehow weaker today than it was a year ago. And so I think there is something to be said for -- you know, there's going to be a rally this weekend allegedly in Washington, D.C., and it will be interesting to see what that turnout is compared to a year ago in Charlottesville.


LOWERY: But what we know is that these ideas are still in the main stream, at least in our politics and in our conversation.

BERMAN: Wes Lowery, Professor Dyson, thanks so much for being with us.

I was merely reporting what we heard from "VICE News," again, that some of the cohesion within these white supremacist groups has dissolved and evaporated over the last year, which is interesting. But as Wes was noting there, we'll see. We'll see what these protests look like over the next couple of days.

HILL: We will.

Still to come, Kanye West at a loss for words. What he didn't say to Jimmy Kimmel.


[06:52:54] BERMAN: An assistant coach for the Wake Forest men's basketball team has been charged with assault after New York City police say he punched a man. That man later died. Police released this surveillance video of Jamill Jones walking away from the scene Sunday. Our affiliate, WPIX, reports the victim, Sandor Szabo, knocked on the window of Jones' SUV thinking it was his Uber. It lead to a confrontation that ended with Jones allegedly striking Szabo in the face. The victim then fell back, hit his head and lost consciousness. Jones did not enter a plea during his arraignment Thursday evening and was released on his own recognizance. He's due back in court in October.

HILL: A California police chief is speaking out after his son, Tyrone McAllister, was one of two teenagers charged in an attack on a 71- year-old Sikh man. McAllister and another teen are accused of knocking the man to the ground, kicking him, spitting on him. McAllister's father is the chief of the Union City California Police Department. He says he is devastated by his son's actions and they go against everything he stands for in his personal life and his 37-year career.

BERMAN: Kanye West defended his support for President Trump during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," but Kimmel pressed back discussing the president's policies separating immigrant families at the borders. And that seemed to render Kanye West speechless with this.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": You've so famously and so powerfully said George Bush doesn't care about black people, it makes me wonder what makes you think that Donald Trump does, or any people at all.

Why don't we take a break. We'll come back. And Kanye West (INAUDIBLE).


BERMAN: Interesting silence there. West never answered. After the break, Kimmel moved on and asked about his children.

HILL: I wonder what the conversation was during the break.

BERMAN: I -- you know, that's a --

HILL: Or if there even was one.

BERMAN: Who knows. We may never know.

HILL: We may not.

BERMAN: The silence there, it was interesting. Kanye West getting most of what he wanted, which was publicity, probably.

HILL: Exactly. And Jimmy Kimmel getting what he wanted out of it too. There we go. A win for everybody.

BERMAN: There we go.

[06:55:00] HILL: Meantime, Stephen Colbert delivering an out of this world monologue mocking President Trump's Space Force. Here's some late night laughs.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Long time viewers of the Trump administration will remember that Space Force is the president's boldest idea that he got from a Buzz Lightyear Happy Meal toy. We already have NASA. We don't need Space Force. Please wait until NASA finds life before you try to kill it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but to distract from Robert Mueller, witch hunt.


Space Force all the way.

Space Force, you know I love it. I -- of course, I would join, but I have space spurs. I can't. I can't do it.

Space Force. Mars has cleaner water than Flint. In space, no one can hear you collude. And one small step for man, really small hands for a man.


BERMAN: You knew. You knew. You just knew.

HILL: I did.

BERMAN: We're going to discuss Space Force coming up with General Michael Hayden. I should note that.

HILL: Yes. Stay with us.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.


[07:00:07] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The national anthem kneeling controversy is alive and well in the NFL.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a great country. You should stand for our national anthem.