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One Year After The Violence In Charlottesville; Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett Dropped A Bombshell. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired August 12, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:04] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN HOST: Hello and thank you for joining me. I am Ryan Nobles in today for Fredricka Whitfield.
And we start today with breaking news. This is the scene right now in Washington, D.C. one year after the violence in Charlottesville. We are watching competing rallies. One right by the White House, the anti-hate groups are drastically outnumbering the white supremacists. People are gathering also in Charlottesville where there is a heavy police presence. They blocked off the streets there where Heather Heyer was killed in last year's violence.
We are watching all of the protests today. Brian Todd is following the anti-racist groups, Sara Sidner following the white supremacist protests in Washington, D.C., and our Kaylee Hartung is with the demonstrators in Charlottesville.
Let's begin though with CNN's Brian Todd. He is in Lafayette square now where the antiracism protesters had finally made their way there.
Brian, what is the scene like there now?
BRAIN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ryan, we have been saying all day this is going to be the crucial moment when the anti-racists protesters was got to Lafayette square park, how close would they going to be able to get to the white supremacist protesters. We can show you that right now, because the bulk of the anti-racist protesters are here. Hundreds of them. Several hundreds, you can get a good perspective. Our photo journalist Harlan Schmidt is going to give you that perspective.
Now Harlan is going to keep going to his left. Now Harlan, you can stop right here. And I'm pointing across Lafayette Square Park. If you can see the people beyond the police lines across there, under those trees, those few people, a handful of people, those are the white supremacist protesters. This maybe the best perspective you are going to get as to just a crucial security question here. How close were they going to let the protesters where we are get to those people?
I would estimate it is about 100 yards away, maybe little less. But you can tell that the police are not taking any chances here.
This is what they have been preparing for. They really wanted to keep a distance between these two groups, and they are doing it. So, so far that has resulted in a pretty positive situation, I would say. You have a lot of spirited chanting here. Just a lot of speeches. A lot of very passionate voices being heard here.
And look, here is another barrier over here we can show you. There is a fence between us and this little median and then there is another fence over there. So several layers here of fencing, of police officers and vehicles and other things, Ryan. And they are just getting ready for these people to speak in an hour and a half.
These people are going to be doing their darkness to drown out those voices. We will see if that happens, and the police obviously are surrounding us to keep a very, very close eye on everything.
NOBLES: All right. Brian Todd, outside of the White House in Lafayette Square Park with the anti-racism protesters.
Let's go over now to Sara Sidner. She is on the other side of Lafayette Park.
And Sara, Brian said that the protesters on his side would do everything they could to drown out the protesters on your side. Didn't seem like that would be too tall of an order because the group there is not all that imposing, at least from this perspective.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am sorry I am laughing, but it is a little bit laughable when you look at the numbers on this side, the huge numbers of police here. And one of the reasons why they are here is because of what happened in Charlottesville, because of that deadly car ramming.
But there is more media here to be perfectly honestly with you on the side of the Unite the Right marchers than there are actual people marching for Unite the Right. They have come in, they are very far away from the other side. And you know, they are all wearing sort of the cameras so they can record things. This person has a flag up to his face.
Can you tell me why you are holding the flag that way? Why are you not showing your face? If you are coming here with the ideals, why are you not able to show your face?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we will be harassed.
SIDNER: Because what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be harassed.
SIDNER: Can you tell me why you are here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want to talk.
SIDNER: Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want to.
SIDNER: And you don't want to talk either?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I don't.
SIDNER: What is the march about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are media people that you can talk to.
SIDNER: There is media people, but you are marches out here, and you are, you know, ostensibly you are here to show people that you have a stance, why not talk to us?
So obviously some of the marchers are not wanting to talk. Jason Kessler who organized this event and organizer one in Charlottesville is now standing on the stage. They have told people I think not to speak to the media. They have told people not to be violent. That is not what happened obviously in Charlottesville, but you are seeing him talking to a crowd.
And honestly, he is talking to people who will already believe what he believes. There is no one over here other than the media that is really listening to him, because if you will walk with me for just a moment, you will see -- let's go kind of around here, you will see where the majority of the people are, just to give you an idea of the distance between the two groups, it is quite vast. You will see the police are in positions here, but that is the crowd that is standing against Unite the Right.
It is huge in comparison. And we are talking about a handful or so of people on one side. And we are talking about hundreds of people on the other and they are managing to drown out Jason Kessler who is talking now-- Ryan.
[16:10:28] NOBLES: All right. Sara Sidner, thank you for that. We appreciate it.
Now, let's go to Charlottesville. That's where the mother of the woman killed in the racial violence though last year just spoke to our Kaylee Hartung.
Kaylee, tell us about that interview and what did Heather Heyer's mother have to tell you?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, the narrative coming into this weekend in Charlottesville was that with all of the negative energy focused in Washington, D.C., the weekend in Charlottesville would be about healing. Healing, of course, for Susan Bro, Heather Heyer's mother and so many others who witness and were in the middle of the violence in the street.
Coming into the weekend though, the police chief saying no violence would be tolerated here. So we have seen a strong law enforcement presence. And that presence had been met by anger and frustration for many people in the city, because many people here feel that law enforcement failed them to a year ago. Despite that anger and some of the outbursts we have seen over the course of this weekend, there was a moment of solemnity for everyone. When Heather Heyer's mother visited this intersection behind me. You
can see the markings on that brick wall. It has remained in memorial to her daughter over the course of the past year.
When she came to the site, there was respect from all who were there. And then very shortly thereafter, a scuffle began in the streets behind me, a confrontation between people here, and members of this community and the large scale police force who is here.
These people started chanting Heather Heyer's name. And I asked Susan Bro about her reaction to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: The group who was confronting police used Heather's name. They chanted her name.
SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: Yes. I didn't -- I was not real appreciative of that, but it is what it is.
HARTUNG: What is your message to people who do that?
BRO: I don't know that I have one. Heather's sort of public property in a way. They weren't defaming her. They weren't using her name to support violence. But I am glad that it calmed down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: The situation in the streets calmed down, because of compromise. Conversations actually began between some of the people who in one moment were shouting with police. It happened with the assistance of clergy members who simply asked for the police to back off of it. To give the people of Charlottesville a time to mourn at the site.
Now, Heather Heyer's mother, Susan, had made a point of saying this day wasn't not just about Heather. There were so many other people affected by that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRO: There were some people there very traumatized, because they had been there last year, and it was very challenging for them. One young man hugged me and he just could not stop the tears rolling down his cheeks. Another one came up and said he had been there last year, and he is having a hard time to talk to me. And I have learned the spot. I said, have you been in counseling yet. Well, I have some friends they can talk to. And I said, you need counseling, and there is money available if you need it. There are funds available with the victims' fund if you need it. You need to go into counseling. He said, I'll think about it.
I hope he does, because the longer you delay, the worse it gets is what I have been told. A lot of hurting and needy people still. There are many people. I saw one young lady who just finished her third or fourth and final surgery about a month ago. She walked. She walked up to hug me. That was awesome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: The result of the compromise I mentioned between the police and the people of Charlottesville, anti-racist protesters who wanted their feelings shared is that this security (INAUDIBLE) downtown that once was just two and three points for pedestrians, where their bags were checked and then the implements of riot would be taken. That security perimeter has been taken down. The downtown mall now only prohibited for any vehicular traffic. You can see this large city vehicle right here behind me, again, that is to protect the downtown area from any vehicles passing through with the memories of what happened a year ago and the moment that took Heather Heyer's life so fresh for so many -- Ryan.
[16:10:05] NOBLES: Kaylee Hartung, excellent reporting. Kaylee, thank you for that.
And joining me now to discuss all this, CNN political analyst Nathan Gonzalez, CNN political commentator David Swerdlick and CNN contributor Wes Lowery.
Gentlemen, thank you all for being here.
Nathan, let's start about with the politics of all this. These obviously happening right outside of the President's house. He is not there. He is on his he working vacation in New Jersey. But what role does President Trump play in all this? It is usually the job of the President to be a calming voice when there is conflict with this, right.
[16:10:33] NATHAN GONZALEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, I mean, that is the -- maybe the job of the President, but I'm not sure that as Americans that everyone wants to be or have a calming voice. I mean, I think that the President is a polarizing figure. There are people who want to stand up and be vocal in their opposition. There are those that want to support him and think that we are headed off in the right track. And so, in some ways, I feel like we are calling on the President or any President to bring the group of people together that I am not sure want to have anything to do with each other.
NOBLES: All right. That's an excellent point.
But there is - (INAUDIBLE) David, right, in terms of House administration is made up. Listen to what Kellyanne Conway had to say this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Omarosa was the most prominent high level African- American serving in the west wing on the President's staff, who now is that person? Who is the most prominent high level President on the west wing staff right now?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: African-American?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CONWAY: I would say that, first of all, you totally not covering the fact that our secretary the of housing and urban development and world renowned --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am asking you about the White House staff. I'm asking you about the people that the President is with every day.
CONWAY: Well, the President works with Secretary Carson every day. He is trying to break --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who there is in on the White House staff right now?
CONWAY: And we have Jerron who has done a fabulous job and very involved with and he has been very involved with Jared Kushner and President Trump on prison reform since the beginning. He has been there from the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: And David, Kellyanne Conway can usually talk her way out of almost any question. But she clearly had a difficult time answering this. Is this add fuel to this problem?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is indicative of a lack of preparation, a lot of care at a minimum on behalf of the President and his chief spokespeople.
She mentioned Jerron, I think his name is Jerron Smith. I thought I heard Tara Setmayer mentioned him in the last hour. I have met him before. He -- there are many African-Americans working in the administration, fewer in White House in good faith. Omarosa was not one of those people. She was woefully unqualified. The wrong person to be in the role she was in. She is gone. That is a whole separate issue. That's how that question started.
And it is clear, as you say, that someone like Kellyanne Conway who normally is super glib with all kinds of answers about all kinds of topic, had to really struggle there to come up with the name of a White House African-American White House staffer.
I think the President, to go back to the President what Nathan was saying, has made himself at a minimum irrelevant on this. But he tweeted out yesterday condemning the white nationalist protest today a year too late and in the weakest possible fashion.
There are a lot of people who are looking to the President for a lot of things, the leadership, on issues of bringing people together and leadership on issues of race. He has wasted every opportunity that he has had. He is not a voice of authority of moral or otherwise on that issue.
NOBLES: And so Wes, let's go to you now. It has been since Charlottesville. It did open up a conversation about race in America. I mean, where do you think stand right now? WES LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly. I think that was really
interesting piece from my friend Adam Serwer (ph) in the "Atlantic" and he wrote it a few days ago. And its premise was essentially the white nationalists have won part of this argument.
Now, there were not hundreds or even thousands of them in the streets the way there were a year ago today or a year ago this weekend. But when you look at their ideology and what they have been pushing, the conversations we are having about immigration in our country, conversation we are having, even the President e's tweet yesterday where he condemned racism of all types, whatever that means. As if somehow there are different types of racism.
What we see is that as President both either knowingly or otherwise has mainstreamed to many of these views. It is one of the reasons that the groups like this, even where it is only seven of them or 25 of them want to find comfort and show up at the front door, because this is at President in the administration that when they see and hear the policies of the administration, these white supremacists find comfort and they see ally.
And so, I do think that in this moment, it is great that there are not 1,000 of these folks out in the streets right now. And it is, you know, and we hope that tonight no matter what happens there is no violence like last year with Heather Heyer. But what we know is that so many of the policies and the ideas off these folks have entered the mainstream conversation. That remains dangerous to our democracy and to literally and physically dangerous to so many of our fellow Americans.
NOBLES: So Nathan, has the ball moved a little bit? I mean, our standards in terms of policy, has it moved a little bit? Our perspective as to what is appropriate and not appropriate in this conversation changed?
GONZALEZ: Well, I think as Wes said, I think that the President has opened the door or made people feel comfortable. They may have had these views before, but they feel more comfortable coming out protesting. They know that they are going to get 15 cameras around them even if they don't want to actually talk about it which is a kind of a weird thing.
[16:15:06] NOBLES: Exactly.
GONZALEZ: But I don't know if things have fundamentally changed beneath the surface, but above the surface, I think people are feeling more emboldened to talk and act like this.
NOBLES: Yes. But there is a tangible conversation is happening here, David, in terms of how it impacts the midterm elections, right? You know, this is to the certain extent is going to be on the ballot in the fall, isn't it? And how both sides articulate where they stand and where that resonates with voters.
SWERDLICK: Sure. Couple of things there. First of all, you know, not all Trump supporters are supporting what is going on today in Lafayette Park.
SWERDLICK: But I think at this point, if you are still a Trump supporter, you are at least comfortable with the environment that he has helped sort of inflame as Wes and Nathan were just saying a minute ago.
I think when people get to the ballot in November and we are just a couple of months away, they are going to have to I decide if think, well, look, we have a pretty good economy right now. And that is good enough for me or if you have a situation where I am voting for a party that is being led, they are voting for the members of Congress and the people at the state level, not the President this year, but on voting for the party that is being led potentially by someone who has in some ways done what he has done what he has been able to do to inflame this kind of the division in the country.
NOBLES: And Wes, does it change the conversation if the President's party loses in a big way in November?
LOWERY: I think it could change the conversation, it might not. It might force the President and his allies to double and triple down, you know. That many ways we have seen his former chief of staff Steve Bannon and other have talk about how they think these are winning issues. That they think it is a good thing for them to stoke this racial division and they want the Democrats to be talking about these types of ideas. And the implication there is that they think they benefit from the other side of this as well, right.
This is an issue in the Republican politics for decades. The idea of - there are folks with these types the -- of beliefs who exist on their side of the isle, and the conversation behind about folks on the other side of the aisle. And what we see with this administration is a willingness, not necessarily a dog whistle them, but to wave call them over. Look, come over here. And you are with us.
And so, it is going to be interesting to see is in 2018 Democrats make gains. Maybe they take back the House. Maybe they pick up a Senate seat or two, does the President and his party, do they say, look, we need to be uniters. We need to change our tone or do they say that we are going to be keep dancing with the people who brought us here and double and triple down on this rhetoric.
NOBLES: OK. All right. We got to go, guys. Thank you all. Great conversation.
Wes Lowery, David Swerdlick, Nathan Gonzalez, we appreciate you being here.
Stay with CNN as we cover these marches across Washington with white supremacists and counter protesters one year after the deadly attack in Charlottesville. At least one Republican congressman says Russia, yes Russia, fanned the flames of that attack.
We have details when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[16:21:50] NOBLES: You are looking at live pictures from Washington where a group of white supremacists and a much larger group of anti- hate counter protesters are marching today on the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville violence.
And yesterday, I spoke with Virginia congressman Tom Garrett. He represents Charlottesville. He said the FBI recently told him during a briefing that Russians were involved in stoking the flames of division surrounding Charlottesville. Take a listen.
REP. TOM GARRETT (R), VIRGINIA: I sat in a closed session briefing probably two months ago about Charlottesville with the director of the FBI amongst others and asked if Russian intermeddling had to do with fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville. I was told yes, it did. I asked is this information is classified? They said no, it is not. I have waited until today.
But this is what is happens. The Russian intermeddling is seeking to pit Americans against Americans, to undermine confidence to (INAUDIBLE). It has done so in the Baltic States. It has do so on Western Europe. It will continue to do so. We need to know what they are trying to do. What they are trying to do is make the world safer. Cleptocrats and oligarchs and dictators like Putin and they use events like this. That his is racial fight which really ignores the commonality that we as American (INAUDIBLE) with one another regardless of race or have been, mostly religion. And this is the sort of things they did.
NOBLES: And joining me to discuss this is Steve Hall. He is a CNN national security analyst and former CIA chief of Russian operations.
Steve, I have to tell you that we were a little bit surprised when Congressman Garrett dropped that bombshell on us yesterday in that interview. And I followed up with the congressman today and he told me specifically that the FBI told him that this meddling by the Russians was happening before the events even took place in Charlottesville.
I mean, are you surprised by this revelation by the congressman?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, I'm not really surprised at all. This is something that is very consistent with what the Russians and the Russian intelligence services specifically who would be in charge of carrying out these kinds of influence operations, really have been up to since, you know, even before modern times. Back into the soviet times. They will look for divisions or for hot button items in a society, and societal stresses inside of a target country like the United States for Vladimir Putin, and they will try to exacerbate those things. So it is speaks not only to the modus operandi of the Russians, but it also speaks to where we are as a country in terms of what those actual flashpoints are. And in the case, in the case of Charlottesville, we know it is a racial one.
NOBLES: That is right. And we know that the intelligence community has already determined that the Russians meddled in our elections. You talked about this a little bit, but maybe given into a little bit more, how -- what motive do they have to get involved in creating divisions in a situation like Charlottesville?
HALL: Sure. So, you have to get step back for a second and ask yourself, what are Vladimir Putin's real geopolitical goals? And I would not disagree with the congressman. It is making, you know, making Russia specifically a safe cleptocracy, as you refer it. I would refer it to as an autocracy.
So democracies, especially strong democracies threaten Putin. Remember, he thinks that we are at the CIA and others were in charge of street protests that happened in Moscow back in 2011 protesting his government. So he is now basically saying, OK, turnabout is fair play. You guys are going to messed with my government which, of course, is not true, we are going to mess with the United States. And that's -- the goal of that is to weaken the United States and therefore strengthen Putin and his automatic regime in Russia.
[16:25:11] NOBLES: And does it seem from your perspective that we are prepared to fight back against meddling like this in the future?
HALL: Well, I certainly hope so. And certainly, if there are measures out there that are being considered and I suspect most likely are, things that we could threaten Russia with, and the sanctions have of course sent a strong message, but talking about the cyber-attacks, but when you are talking about cyber-attacks, when you are talking about, for example, the Russians using Facebook and other media sites, social media sites to exacerbate these problems, then the Russians need to understand there could be as steep cyber price that they might pay as well, sort of a mutually assured destruction of the modern era, not referring to the nukes, but in this case cyber-attacks.
NOBLES: All right. Steve Hall, excellent insight as always. We appreciate you being on. Thank you.
NOBLES: And we will have more on the protests in Washington, D.C., after this quick break.
[16:30:10] RYAN NOBLES, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: And we continue to follow the breaking news. One year after the violence in Charlottesville, we are watching competing rallies in Washington, D.C., and things are happening right near the White House. The anti- hate groups are drastically outnumbering the white supremacists, sending a clear message that hate is not welcome.
Let's go now to CNN's Brian Todd who is in Lafayette Square in Washington. He has been with the anti-hate protesters all day long. Brian, what is the scene like now?
BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Ryan, we can show you a scene here. The protesters are kind of breaching this fence and going onto this grassy area. Some black lives matter protesters kind of started this process. And really the police have no issue with this. They're going to let them go on to this grassy area. But they will not let them get beyond a fence over here to our left.
We're going to show you the density of the crowd over here. It is really a dense crowd. Several thousand people here in Lafayette Square Park. The white supremacists are over across this grassy area over toward the White House. You can barely see them. They are at least 100 yards away from us. The police are not letting the crowd get beyond a fence that is just beyond the people who you see here.
So some people again have breached the fence and gone into this grassy area. But the police seem to have no problem with that, Ryan. And again, there are a lot of the colorful flags, a lot of chanting, some using the crude language as you have just heard, but pretty spirited and pretty peaceful so far, Ryan.
NOBLES: All right. Brian Todd, thank you for that report. We will continue to check in with you as the evening progresses. And a stunning claim from a former White House aide, Omarosa. Hear her secret recording of the moment she was fired and whether she broke any laws.
[16:35:00] NOBLES: And we are following our breaking news. One year after the violence in Charlottesville, we are watching protests in Washington, D.C., happening right near the White House. The anti-hate groups drastically outnumbering a meager group of white supremacists. They are sending a clear message hate is not welcome.
We will continue the monitor the developments. We should say there is some weather expecting to be heading into the Washington, D.C. area. So that could impact these protests. In other news though, former White House aide and apprentice star, Omarosa Manigault-Newman with a stunning claim today, telling NBC's Chuck Todd that she was complicit in helping the Trump administration deceive America, and releasing an apparent secret recording of her being fired by the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly which took place in the White House Situation Room. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be, you know, you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation, and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is very obvious a threat. He goes on the say that things can get ugly for you. The Chief of Staff of the United States under the direction of the President of the United States threatening me on damage to my reputation, and things getting ugly for me, that is downright criminal. And if I didn't have these recordings, no one in America would believe me, no one. (END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: All right. I want to discuss this with CNN Contributor Walter Shaub. He is a former director of the office of government ethics, also joining us Sam Vinograd, CNN National Security Analyst. Walter, let's start with you. I mean from your vantage point, are there illegal ramifications here for, you know, Omarosa or John Kelly?
WALTER SHAUB, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, unless she actually recorded classified information, I'm not sure that there will be able to make any kind of a case against her. It might be a stretch. They could argue that the Presidential Records Act is implicated here, because you are supposed to preserve all recordings and documents.
And she obviously took it with her and did not record it in the official system. But that is not something that anybody ever pursues. And so I do think however, this is an egregious violation of national security policy. No one would ever take a firm into that room and it would be a firing offense. So there is some irony in her being told she is being fired for misconduct while she is committing misconduct, something that she could be fired for.
NOBLES: Sam, you worked at the White House for many years. You spent quite a bit of time in that very Situation Room. I mean how difficult is it for a recording device even to get in there?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, CNN: Well, I worked at the White House for four years. I can't count how many phone lists and dark hours I spent in the Situation Room. But there was not a phone that made it in, not because there was a security guard or strip searches when you walked into the Situation Room, but because there is an element of trust between the staff that was at the White House, the Chief of Staff and the President.
When you are hired at the White House, the obvious conclusion is that you put national security above personal interest, which means you're not going to carry a device into the Situation Room that you know, and Omarosa knew this, that you knew that foreign intelligent services are trying to hack. When you're a senior White House staffer, you are a prime target for foreign intelligent services.
Phones are relatively easy to get into. That is why there is a cubby hole when you walk into sit room. You're supposed to put your phone in there. There is staff that's reminding you to put your phone in. But unless you are comfortable going in and putting national security first, no one's going to rip that phone away from you.
[16:40:07] NOBLES: So we obviously know that Omarosa's motive in all of this. But what does John Kelly have to answer for here, Sam?
VINOGRAD: I think John Kelly has to answer for not creating a work environment that is based on respect for and analytically-driven rules. He is Chief of Staff. His job is to ensure that everybody at that White House respects the rules, including the fact that you don't bring a phone into a sensitive space, because foreign intelligence services can hack in.
So I would really like to know if any other staff has been bringing their cell phones into the Situation Room. I am guessing that they have been if Omarosa felt comfortable doing so. And then we have to work backwards and ask what kinds of meetings were happening with those electronic devices present and how do we do damage control.
NOBLES: We should point out that at one point there was a law, a rule instituted that you were not allowed to bring personal phones into the White House under any circumstances. So obviously, maybe that was too late for this situation. But let's talk about the idea of privacy, which you brought up, Sam. Kellyanne Conway talked about this morning on ABC. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is typical and you know it to sign...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- NDA in any place of work. I would be shocked if you didn't have one at ABC. I'm told she signed them when she was on the Apprentice, certainly I think (Inaudible) signed them in the West Wing. And why not have somebody...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've signed a nondisclosure in the West Wing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we have confidentially agreements in the West Wing, absolutely we do, and why not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So that is a bit of a revelation there. We've heard these rumors, Walter, about of NDAs existing, but no one had confirmed it until Kellyanne Conway had this morning. She made it seem as though this is common practice across all levels of business. I have never signed an NDA in my entire career. It seems unusual to me. Is it unusual for the White House staffers to be forced to sign these?
SHAUB: It's not just unusual, it is shocking. It is unbelievable. And that's the first time I've heard any of them admit these rumored agreements actually exist. In fact, I'm pretty sure some of them have at least implied that they didn't exist. There is no such thing in the government, and it is antithetical to the government culture.
You do sign an agreement saying you are aware that you cannot reveal classified information, but the government is supposed to be transparent. And the idea that government officials would be committing to secrecy in non-disparagement, which was at least in the other agreements that campaign officials signed so we can assume that maybe they are in these as well.
That is completely contrary to the culture of the government. It makes people accountable to an individual rather than to an office or to the American people. And that runs afoul of the first principle of the government ethics program, which is that your loyalty is the constitutions, the law, and the people.
NOBLES: Right. It might be out of the realm for government work, but clearly part of the culture for the Trump business culture and obviously his administration as he has made people across his entire business career sign these similar agreements. And Sam, I want to get back to what John Kelly said in his firing of Omarosa.
He accused her of serious integrity violations on the recording. What do you think he could he be referring to?
VINOGRAD: I don't think we have any idea what he could be referring to, particularly based upon the fact that several members of the administration have been engaged in serious integrity violations and ethical violations that have really traversed the gamut and they haven't been fired. So I think it really remains to be seen.
NOBLES: All right. Walter Shaub, Sam Vinograd, great conversation, I appreciate you both being here. We continue to follow breaking news. One year after the violence in Charlottesville, we are watching the protests in Washington, D.C. right near the White House. Sara Sidner now live in Washington at Lafayette Park. Sara, what is the latest from where you are?
SARA SIDNER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: So we just got done talking to Jason Kessler. He is the person that got the permit for the Unite the Right rally that has sparked hundreds of people to come out marching against the Unite the Right rally. That is the Unite the Right rally there. You're seeing literally more cameras than members who showed up today.
A very, very small number, a minuscule number of people here talking from the Unite the Right rally. But you are also seeing a very heavy police presence. You are seeing horses. You are seeing the police in vehicles. You can hear and see the crowd way on the other side of this. There is almost no chance that these two groups are going to come together. But these folks do have to leave.
There is a concern, so police are in very, very tight form here, making sure that they keep these two groups separated. I do want to mention a little bit about what Jason Kessler just said. We asked why have the rally on this day, this particular day when a young American died in Charlottesville during this Unite the Right rally and counter protest, Heather Heyer, and he said he didn't condemn the violence.
[16:45:57] But he blamed the police for the violence. He said that he is not a white nationalist. He just cares about white people, and so he had a lot of answers to our questions, saying that he is not racist but still that he felt that his rights were violated. And that is why he says he had this rally today. There are folks on the other side that completely disagree that any of his rights were violate, and they are here to telling people from the Unite the Right rally to go home, Ryan.
NOBLES: All right. Sara Sidner, thank you for that report. We appreciate it. And we have much more ahead in the Newsroom as we cover these dueling marches near the White House, the anti-hate groups vastly outnumbering the white nationalist supremacists speaking at that rally one year after the deadly violence in Charlottesville. Much more when we come back. Stay here.
[16:50:04] NOBLES: All right. Here is a look at what is happening in Washington, D.C. right now. This is one year after the violence in Charlottesville. We are watching competing rallies right near White House. The anti-hate groups drastically outnumbering the white supremacists who originally set up this rally.
They're sending their message that hate is not welcome. It's been a very peaceful day, a lot of yelling and screaming but no violence of any kind. In fact, that's in part because of the work of the metropolitan police department that worked very hard to keep these two groups as far apart as possible. Let's go now to CNN's Brian Todd who has been with the anti-racism protesters throughout the day.
He is near Lafayette Square Park. Brian, first, I know there is some weather moving in. I wonder if that could maybe have an impact on what's happening with these protests. But, you know, tell me what your overall perspective is right now.
TODD: Well, Ryan, we have moved to the west of where we were before. Previously, we were right in the center of Lafayette Square Park, which is right in front of the White House. We have moved about a block west, where some of the protesters over here, we believe some of these are Antifa protesters, anti-fascists protesters.
They've been in kind of this in a stare down with the police over here. It's not really any kind of a confrontation, but these are black-clad protesters here with a banner. And the police are over here, basically just -- you know again looking at them, kind of anticipating whatever may come. We don't anticipate anything necessarily will, but we were told that someone a short time ago lit off some kind of a smoke flair over here to my right, and it kind of fizzled out, pretty short-lived event there.
These people have just been kind of yelling slogans, yelling chants, and you can see the heavy police presence. This is as about close as we have been able to get to a very heavy police presence here in Washington. And as you can see, the skies have opened up a little bit. It is raining here. That often does affect what happens in these protests.
It tends to sometimes dissipate these protests, but we're going to see how heavy rains, if it doesn't rain heavier than this. I don't anticipate a lot of these crowds fading away anytime soon. Again, these people over here have been, again chanting, kind of staring down the police here. But no real major flare ups here. We are just a little bit west of the White House.
And again, the protesters here are vastly, vastly outnumbering the white supremacist protesters who are now over here under this line of trees to your left beyond the police right there. So we are going to see what happens when they actually they start to speaking probably in roughly 30 minutes, Ryan.
NOBLES: OK. Brian Todd, live in Washington just outside of the White House covering these dueling protests. So Brian, we appreciate it. And before we go, we want to take a moment to honor this week's CNN Hero. Neil Burmis trains at-risk young adults for a career in the booming culinary and hospitality industry in Vietnam. And if you are visiting, you can experience a taste of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We developed these oodles of noodles. It is not quite a tour. It is not quite a cooking class. It is not quite a demonstration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We show the guests how to make the noodle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) I say in Vietnamese.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are practicing their English. And they are developing their confidence. And they're tableside with the guests, and they're tasting and having fun. And it is a very, very uplifting experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Every single student in Neil's program has found a job after graduation, helping to end the cycle of poverty for hundreds of families. And you can see their story at CNNheroes.com. And don't forget tonight, the CNN original series, History of Comedy, is back with an all new episode. We will look at how the comedy teams have been making audiences laugh for generations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dean Martin seemed like he was a straight man, and Jerry Lewis had called himself a monkey, but it was way more complex than that. Unlike Hope and Crosby which were funny guys, Jerry Lewis was 20 years old. So he had a certain appeal, and then Dean Martin had this very easy-going style that women loved, men loved, and they were a post-war phenomena.
Martin and Lewis were bigger than the Beatles would eventually become. They were massive. There were tens of thousand of people in the streets lining up to see them. And they created this mass hysteria of comedy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will tell you what, you want to come up? We ain't got any.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martin and Lewis transcended their material in a huge way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it is not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You be a good boy and a nice boy and after the show, I will take you to the park and we will paint some statues.
[16:55:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The root of what makes chemistry work for people like Davis, it seems like they love each other, you know. Martin and Lewis have that. They did love each other at one point in the beginning, but then they hated each other in the end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: And don't miss CNN's original series. History of Comedy airs tonight at 10 o'clock right here on CNN. And thank you so much for joining me. I am Ryan Nobles. Our continuing live coverage of these dueling rallies in Washington continues in a moment with my colleague Ana Cabrera. Have a great night.