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White Supremacists Gather In Washington, D.C. Marking The Anniversary Of The Charlottesville Deadly Rally; Rudy Giuliani Contradicts Himself Regarding a Meeting Between Trump and Comey; Data Recorder Recovered From Stolen Seattle Plane; Arms Depot Blast Kills 36 People. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 12, 2018 - 17:00   ET



[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN "Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Right now, voices spouting hate and racism are mixing with voices spouting justice and equality and so far, thankfully, it is just words that are clashing. I am talking about Washington, D.C. where protests marked one-year since the rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and one woman was mowed down by a car and killed.

A relatively small group of people from far right groups including the KKK and the neo-Nazis marched through the nation's capital a short time ago, greatly outnumbered by people trying to shut them down. Counter protestors facing down those white supremacists and letting them know they are not welcome.

CNN's Brian Todd and Sara Sidner are in Washington for us. Brian, from what you have seen, how do the crowd sizes compare the white supremacists and the counter protesters, and what kind of police presence has been out there?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, it has been a very large police presence as you can see behind me. Some of these protesters are now kind of angrily chanting and yelling at police because we just saw this line of police officers kind of bolster their ranks here and we saw some police motorcycles kind of rev their engines so, that kind of drew this crowd closer to the police.

And now they are kind of just chanting and yelling things at police. No major flare up here yet, but again, these are some of the Antifa protesters, some Black Lives Matter protesters are here. The Antifa protesters, the anti-fascist protesters often show up wearing some of the garb that you see over here, you know, black helmets, black gas masks, sometimes bandanas over their faces.

And they sometimes kind of get into some of these confrontations with police, but so far here, Ana, not really much of a confrontation. It's just a lot of yelling. This is not atypical for a situation like this. We are hearing some chants here again, they are yelling at police. The police are just kind of holding their ground. Pretty common place for a situation like this. The white supremacists protesters were probably about 200 to 300 yards

that way, and again, the police are not letting these people get anywhere near them. That's been a key factor here. Keeping the distance between these anti-racist protesters and the white supremacist, they really have not been able to get close enough to maybe even be heard by them even though the crowds here much more numerous than the white supremacists, Ana.

CABRERA: And obviously the weather now perhaps impacting these protesters where they go from here. Sara Sidner also joining us. Looks like it's cleared out a little bit where you are, Sara?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Cleared out is the good word -- good way to put it. The Unite the Right organizers and all of the few people that were here or there marching, have just been put into a vehicle. They have left. And so the scene basically is one of quiet on this side if you will. That is where they had their speakers. They were very, very quiet in comparison.

And I want to swing around real quick now, because that is the Unite the Right organizers and marchers leaving with the police escort there. They are moving them out both ways, trying to get them out. But look, we are talking about maybe 10, 15 at the most 20 people that came for this. You could definitely count the numbers here.

And you can see how big the police presence is with just the number of officers that are getting them out and trying to move them out of the area. There are dozens of officers that are down. You can see at the very end in those very bright green vests, and then you have the horses that are also here. They have managed to keep these two apart. And the other side by the way at this point may not know that the Unite the Right protesters are now out of the area.

CABRERA: Let me interrupt you because there is some stuff going on where Brian Todd is I'm told. Brian, fill us in.

TODD: Ana, some of the police officers -- some of the police officers have just come up to the line here and I think a couple of them went through the line, and that has kind of drawn the crowd over here again, just yelling all sorts of epithets and other things at the police. There seems to be some excitement over here where the police have approached.

And now some people, some people have started throwing some things, but some of these other people are telling them not to throw some things. So again, it is a bit of a tense situation here. Not atypical of these situations where, you know, something flairs up, maybe not much of an incident and it gets a little bit blown out of proportion. Again, the police have come up to this area here and maybe pushing through, I can't quite see.

[17:05:01] But they are talking to some people and I'm trying to see if there is a confrontation here, Ana. Some people here encouraging others not to throw things at the police. And what is unclear is whether the police want the kind of come through here and clear a path for anyone, even though the white supremacists are not scheduled to speak for about 30 minutes. And now it's just basically a stare down and some chanting where protesters are right face-to-face with the police, Ana.

CABRERA: OK, Brian Todd, we will continue to monitor the situation and we will check back with you as it continues to unfold. We should note as Sarah Sidner just mentioned, it appears the white supremacists already did the speaking that was scheduled to happen a little bit later and have since left this area. So now, it appears to be this large group of what have been considered counter-protesters who came out to denounce hate and to really protest against bigotry and racism.

Again, this is the live shot from where those white supremacists had initially been rallying. Now, this again, happening in the nation's capital today. Let me get to Charlottesville, Virginia now where those violent rallies happened one year ago. CNN's Kaylee Hartung is joining us from there, and Kaylee, I know you had a chance to speak to mother of Heather Heyer, that young woman who lost her life while protesting against neo-Nazis last year.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did, Ana. And Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, says it's not unusual for her to visit the site of her daughter's death, this intersection just behind me, protected by police cars. But she says typically when she does she is the only one there. Of course, that wasn't the case today.

It was a very solemn moment. Many supporters came out to surround her, to hope to give her a moment to herself to remember her daughter, but also there, other survivors of that attack. Heather Heyer's mother said this wasn't just about Heather. There were so many people impacted by that moment, a point well taken by those in attendance.

But shortly after this very solemn moment, some tensions erupted in the street just behind me. You can see those police cars now barricading that street, but at that time, there were also physical barricades, a line of policemen wanting to protect those mourning, but some people didn't see it that way.

Some people in this town, in that counter-protester faction that we've come to know, they have been very unhappy with this large scale police presence, so there was a confrontation. Heather Heyer's mother was able to observe what happened in that moment and I asked her about it.


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 wasn't really 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.


HARTUNG: How those tensions calmed down because there was compromise, communication, and negotiation between those counter-protests of sorts and the police. The clergy intervened and a conversation was had to allow the police to back up from that space. So much of the focus beyond the tensions though, Ana, has been on the healing process which again, Heather Heyer's mother says is a matter for more than just her.


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 couldn't stop the tears rolling down his cheeks. Another one came up to said he had been there last year and he has had a really hard time talking to me and I have learned the spot.

I said, have you been in counseling yet? Well, I have some friends I can talk to. And I said, you need counseling and there's money available if you need it. There are funds available with the victims fund if you need it. You need the 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 that just finished her third or fourth and final surgery about a month ago, and she walked.

[17:10:09] She walked up to hug me and that was awesome.


HARTUNG: The young woman Susan was just talking about that named Sophia, survivor of the attack a year ago. She has been one of the students from UVA who has been leading this counter-protest movement this weekend, voicing their frustration and the anger that they still have towards law enforcement.

But a sign of the progress that was made today, I told you about that moment of compromise, Ana. Well, we had known the plan all weekend. It was for this downtown mall area to be a secured perimeter. Pedestrians were only supposed to be allowed in two entrances and no vehicular traffic would be allowed across those streets, among the lessons learned from what happened here a year ago.

Well after that conversation was had, police agreed to remove that secure perimeter. Any pedestrian can now walk up this street in particular, visit Heather Heyer's memorial, but if you see that large vehicle blocking that road, the purpose of that, again, to protect the people of Charlottesville, to protect these streets and not allow any vehicles to cross through that heavily pedestrian area.

CABRERA: Well, we hope it all stays peaceful. Kaylee Hartung, thank you. We could certainly hear that heaviness, that pain still in Heather Heyer's mother's voice. We are continuing to monitor the images happening, what's happening on the ground in Washington, D.C. right now as we also honor the memory of Heather Heyer. The rally that was of the group of white supremacists appears to have

wrapped up, but the counter-protesters, those protesting against hate are still there. I want to bring in the activist Cornell William Brooks, the former president and CEO of the NAACP and Robert Jones, author of "The End of White Christian America" and CEO founder of Public Religion Research Institute.

So Cornell, first your reaction to what we have been witnessing today in the nation's capital.

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, FORMER PRESIDENT & CEO, NAACP: Well, I am certainly happy that the white supremacists did not show up in hundreds of thousands, but I would note here that we need not prematurely breathe a sigh of relief because there were only a few or relative handful of white supremacists who showed up.

Because in fact, the issue here is not whether or not the white supremacists can command a crowd in Washington, but rather not -- but whether or not they can command a larger ideology in terms of white supremacy in this country.

And so, the threat of white nationalists, white supremacists, the Klan, neo-Nazis is real and ongoing. We need look at the immigration debate, certainly the debate around police misconduct and certainly the conduct of the president to know that their ideology rather than their numbers today, which I should say, that is the primary matter of concern here.

CABRERA: Robert, what do today's protests tell you?

ROBERT JONES, FOUNDER & CEO, PUBLIC RELIGION RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Well, these are certainly responding -- these white supremacists are certainly responding to real changes in the country. For instance, the census bureau is telling us it will be 2045 when the country will be a majority non-white. That is already true among the Americans under the age of 10, but if we look at kind of a religious and cultural lens, some of these changes are actually already upon us.

We think about a kind of cultural majority, there is no other country for most of its life, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants -- we've had this kind of WASP acronym for them. Just in the last 10 years, we have crossed this milestone of the country being majority white and Christian to be being a country in which no ethno-religious group has a majority. That number is now down to 42 percent.

One other thing I would like to add though is that the ratio of the anti-hate protesters to the white supremacist protesters actually mirrors pretty well public opinion. We asked just recently about whether these changes would be a positive thing -- these demographic things would be a positive thing or a negative thing for the country -- by a margin of two to one, the country says this thing will be a positive thing.

However, among Trump supporters and Republicans and white evangelical Protestants core group of Trump supporters, only 4 in 10 agree with that statement compared to 85 percent of Democrats. So we have a 40- point partisan gap, which I think tells you something about why this issue has come to the fore in our politics today.

CABRERA: Right. And Robert, I just have to wonder, yes, the numbers were smaller this year among the white supremacists, but the very fact that they had a turnout enough to even have a rally to be there today, how does that happen?

JONES: Well, I think you're right that it says something significant that this rally was repeated even with the violence that was here last year. It means that there is, you know, a group of Americans in the country that do feel this kind of anxiety about the changing face of the country and fear and are being active.

[17:15:04] And there's no doubt that I think our current political climate has kind of not produced these, but I think has encouraged them to come forward and be more public about these events. I still think that the thing that we all need to reckon here with is how this is sorted itself along partisan lines.

Like it really is quite disturbing I think that we've got a 40 percentage point partisan gap on an issue about whether the country becoming more diverse or not is a positive or a negative thing. That means that these kinds of American identity issues have really surpassed the old kind of cultural war issues, hot button issues like same-sex marriage and abortion and really the fault lines today are increasingly about the identity of the country and who the country is going to look like and really who owns the country at the end of the day.

CABRERA: And you mentioned the president, Cornell.


CABRERA: And I want to read you what he wrote this weekend in relationship to these rallies. He writes, "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to the all Americans." Cornell, what do you think the president means when he says all types of racism?

BROOKS: This is, again, the president engaging in a false pseudo moral equivalence. When he condemns all kinds of racism, he is suggest all sides, and what I mean by that is when he is condemns all kinds of racism, that's like saying that all bigots are equally dangerous. All bigotry is equally bad, but not all bigots are equally dangerous. That is to say that white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen, neo-Nazis are uniquely dangerous, point one.

Point two, when he suggest that violence, I should say, riots killed Heather Heyer. No, a white supremacists killed Heather Heyer. And so, again, the president is engaging in this kind of the code speak when he appears to speak for peace or speak about peace and justice while coddling these white supremacists who are literally in his backyard.

Think about this fact, Ana, here we have this white supremacists in Lafayette Park on the doorsteps of the White House. So we have in effect geographic proximity and ideological affinity. That is to say the folks who are on the doorstep of the White House are assuming that their ideology is in sync and supported by the president in the White House.

This is a very dangerous and serious moment in our democracy where the president through his tweets, through his statements uses what's happening among the alt-right or I should say the so-called alt-right as a way of stirring up the base. Look at the way he attacked NFL players.

CABRERA: And so I want to just ask you this question, Robert, about this debate then and how we as a society, how we as journalists address this issue, cover this movement responsibly? There's one side of the coin that is do you expose these racists and bigots or is it better to deprive them of oxygen? What do you think is the most effective approach?

JONES: You know, it is certainly a challenge. We've seen this playing out this week with twitter and YouTube and Facebook and trying to figure out where is the line between free speech and promotion of values that are frankly anti-Democratic. I think that is the real challenge and we are kind of feeling our way along here. I think words matter, how we describe these groups, what they stand for. All of these things are really important to get right.

And I think trying to think about what is a kind of the basic democratic values that the country really stands for. Those aren't -- at the end of the day aren't neutral, and I think that's one of the things I think that is really pushing us back if there is a silver ling here to really having to hang on to, what are basic Democratic values of a pluralistic and free society.

CABRERA: Robert Jones and Cornell Williams Brooks, I got to leave it there, guys. Thank you as always. I really appreciate the thoughtful discussion.

Here is some evidence of what can happen when people seek to understand differences. In a CNN exclusive, we sit down with the KKK wizard arrested last year in Charlottesville and a black man who befriended him and even went to his wedding.

Plus, the president's lawyer muddying the waters yet again. Rudy Giuliani contradicting himself on that infamous meeting between Trump and James Comey.


CABRERA: Another week, another backtrack from the president's legal team, this time on the critical issue of whether President Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to drop the FBI's investigation into his friend and former National Security adviser Michael Flynn. Here is the president's attorney Rudy Giuliani on CNN this morning.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: The president says he never told Comey that he should go easy on Flynn. Comey says the president did. He put it in his memo. If he goes in and testifies to that under oath instead of just this being a dispute, they can say it is perjury if they elect to believe Comey instead of Trump.


CABRERA: You will recall, however, James Comey testified under oath that the president had asked him to see his way clear of investigating Flynn. And oh, yeah, just last month, Giuliani basically confirmed this happened.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: How is he a good witness for the president if he is saying that the president was asking and directing him in his words to let the Michael Flynn investigation go.

GIULIANI: He didn't direct him to do that. What he said to him was can you give me a break.

STEPHANOPOULUS: Comey says that he took it as direction.

GIULIANI: Well, that's OK. I mean, taking it that way, I mean, by that time he had been fired and he said a lot of other things, some of which have turned out to be untrue. The reality is as a prosecutor, I was told that many times, can you give the man a break, either by his lawyers, by his relatives, by friends. You take that into consideration, but you know, that doesn't determine not going forward with it.


[17:25:02] CABRERA: So just to be clear, last month Giuliani said, "What he, President Trump, said to him, James Comey, was can you give the guy, Michael Flynn, a break." Today, his story is that the two never even talked about Flynn. CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is in New Jersey where the president is spending his summer break. And Boris, this is a pretty significant flip-flop.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana, not in the eyes of Rudy Giuliani. He is trying to say that this was just a misunderstanding. He is suggesting that he was using a device in legal argumentation called arguing in the alternative.

Of course, he did not make that clear during his interview with ABC where as you just heard he suggested that the president did not obstruct justice by suggesting to James Comey that he cut a break to Michael Flynn, saying that he was asked that many times as a prosecutor and that James Comey shouldn't have taken it as a directive.

Jake Tapper this morning on "State of the Union" replayed some of that sound to Rudy Giuliani. I want you to watch the president's attorney's reaction here.


him to what he said was can you give him a break, you said that, I mean.

GIULIANI: Yes, I said it, but I also said before that I'm talking about their version of it. Look, lawyers argue in the alternative. I know it's complicated, but my goodness, we've been over it long enough that -- I mean, why would I say something that isn't true? I mean, the president didn't say to him go easy on Flynn or anything about Flynn.

He is saying that I am talking about their alternative. I am saying the conversation never took place, but if it did take place, and here is the conversation that's alleged. It is not illegal to have said that.


SANCHEZ: Giuliani later apologized for that confusion. Ana, you well know this, the president and his legal team have had to clarify and re-clarify a number of different statements they have made previously regarding the Russia investigation, hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and other women, and the list goes on.

Here, they are making the argument that this is part of the reason that the president should not testify before Robert Mueller. They believe that the special counsel is trying to set a trap by asking questions about what specifically the president told James Comey and why he ultimately fired the former FBI director, Ana.

CABRERA: Boris Sanchez, thank you. Let's get right to it with Page Pate, CNN legal analyst and a criminal defense attorney. Page, does Giuliani's argument make sense to you this idea that defense attorneys argue in the alternative?

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Ana, defense attorneys always argue as many ways as they possibly can to protect their clients. But if you are arguing in the alternative, you make it clear. You would say, well, they take this position, and even if it's true, we are still not guilty because of X, Y or Z.

The way Giuliani put it I think clearly meant back then that they were assuming that the president had made those comments but that they were not considered obstruction. Now I think they have backed up and said, wait a minute, I think our better argument is just to say he never said it because then the government is faced with only having James Comey's word versus the president's word and that is a hard perjury case to bring.

CABRERA: Because when Giuliani said this last month that Trump had asked Comey to give Flynn a break, I mean, that made headlines everywhere and Giuliani did not come out and deny that there was no statement.

PATE: Exactly. So I think that's what his client was telling him at the time. Yeah, I talked to him, but I did not really order him to do anything. I just said give Flynn a break. That's not obstruction is it? And then I think Giuliani agreed with that.

But now as it gets closer to a possible interview, I think Trump's legal team is saying our best position here, our best argument is not that the comment was an obstruction, but that he never said it, because the government has no way to really prove it other than Comey's word and whatever internal memos that he may have prepared at the time.

CABRERA: Does it matter what Giuliani says on T.V.? Can Mueller use it or does it only matter what Trump says?

PATE: Yeah, Ana, fortunately or unfortunately people rarely believe the lawyers and the lawyers are generally parroting what their clients tell them. But at the end of the day, the government can't prosecute a client or a defendant or a target based on what the lawyer may have said. So Giuliani knows legally he has cover and it may make him look bad. It may make the whole Trump legal team look bad, but it's not going to be evidence in a case of obstruction against the president.

CABRERA: One part of the problems with these flip-flopping stories is that Giuliani is constantly on T.V. giving interviews. He's tweeting. Even on Friday, he hosted Sean Hannity's radio show with Trump's other attorney, Jay Sekulow. They talked a lot about the investigation, their decision making process about whether Trump should sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller's team. You're a defense attorney, do you see a strategy in any of this and would you do the same?

PATE: Well, Ana, this is a very unusual case. I think their strategy is let's approach it, well, like a shotgun blast, OK.

[17:30:03] We're going to argue that if he said that, it is not obstruction but he didn't say it. And even if he did say it and it is obstruction, you can't prosecute him. So it's -- you know, because you got credibility issues. They throw that in there as well. I think they are trying to muddy the waters.

And in their view, if we can throw enough doubt on this investigation then we have a plausible reason not to put the president in front of Mueller and his team, say we are not going to agree to be interviewed and you can't do anything about it.

That's what I think is going to be very interesting because if the president refuses the interview, Robert Mueller says you're going to give the interview, there is a subpoena that's issued and it's challenged. We've never been in that situation before and that could be re0al dangerous to the entire country.

CABRERA: Page Pate, always great to have you with us. Thank you.

PATE: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: On the anniversary of the Charlottesville violence, a KKK wizard arrested at last years rally shares his ugly vision with CNN.


SIDNER: Why the Ku Klux Klan?

RICHARD PRESTON, KKK MEMBER: Because I want to see the Klan become what it once was.



CABRERA: Continuing to follow the breaking news in our nation's capital as rallies continue on this day, the one year since the deadly rally that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. We just saw the group of white supremacists who showed up in D.C. today clear out, but this rally continued. That's where we find Brian Todd (inaudible) been among the counter-protesters today. What is going on there?

TODD: Ana, we've just heard from police saying that the white supremacists have left the area. They are asking these people to disperse and some of these people h that's basically what we have just heard in the last 30 seconds or so from the police. They have let these people know that the white supremacists protesters have all left the area and they are asking people to leave.

That has kind of prompted some people to defy them and come up to the barrier and say they don't want to leave, but I do have to say that a lot of these people seem to be dispersing from this intersection. This is Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street Northwest. They are kind of milling around over there. A bunch of them gathered over here where my photo journalist, Albert (inaudible) is shooting right here.

Some of this black clad Antifa protesters with the white helmets, with the -- excuse me -- with the black helmets, black bandanas, gas masks and again, they are just getting word here in this crowd that the white supremacists are no longer here. So, this is going to be kind of an interesting dynamic, Ana, to see what happens from here.

The weather is a factor, too. Some of the people just don't want to stay out in the driving rain, but some of them are hanging tough and are determined to get their message out. So, this could be one of those crucial moments in a day-long protest where people might converge back in this area or they might disperse.

CABRERA: OK, Brian Todd, thank you for keeping us apprised of the situation there again, today, the one-year anniversary, one year since the deadly rally that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. Meantime, CNN's Sara Sidner tracked down a top KKK member who attended last year's rally where he was arrested for shooting a gun in the air.

His views are appalling and the language you're about to hear is very disturbing, but his story is remarkable if only for who has befriended this devout Klansman and is even defending him in court.


PRESTON: I shot a gun. A mand had a flamethrower.

SIDNER (voice-over): Richard Preston admitting what he did during the deadly white nationalist Unite the Right rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia. That's Preston, yelling the "N" word, aiming and firing in the direction of a black counter-protester wielding a blow torch. Preston spoke to CNN for the first time since he pleaded no contest in the case against him.


SIDNER: Are you sorry for shooting a gun towards the black man?

PRESTON: No, because I protected -- no, because I protected people in the stuff. It's all I was doing.

SIDNER: But you did say the "N" word before you fired that gun. Why?

PRESTON: Can I ask you a question? If you are standing in a group of thousand black folks --

SIDNER: It wasn't a thousand black folks around you.

PRESTON: All right, I can't tell you how many there was. But OK, a large group of black people, OK. How do you get one black man's attention in a crowd full of black people?

SIDNER: You say, hey, you with the torch. There is a thousand ways.

PRESTON: I yelled. He didn't care.


SIDNER (voice-over): Preston says he went to protect the confederate statue as a member of a militia, but he also wears another hat -- that of an imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan chapter. For years he has been trying to rebrand the KKK as peaceful do-gooders not hateful racists.


SIDNER: Do you hate black people?

PRESTON: No, I have friends that are black.

SINDER: But you are an imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan group, and the Klan has a history of terrorizing black folks so how can you say that?

PRESTON: Some claims they have history of terrorizing black, but not all Klans did and I have never terrorized a black person in my life.

SIDNER: Why not join the Kiwanis Club? Why not call it something different? Why the Ku Klux Klan?

PRESTON: Because again -- because I want to see the Klan become what it once was.


SIDNER (voice-over): He references this, the second rising of the Klan when thousands marched through Washington in 1925.


PRESTON: At that time, that march was about the fact that our country was allowing immigrants to come here, change their name with no documentation. If your name was Schwarzkopf, you could come here and call yourself Schwartz and nobody cared.


SIDNER (voice-over): He fails to mention it was also about keeping blacks, Jews and immigrants from rising socially or politically, but he says his Klan is different.


PRESTON: It is not about a black man or white man or brown man or red man or yellow man. It's about the red, white and blue.


[17:40:02] SIDNER (voice-over): Preston is still awaiting sentencing in Charlottesville. While he waits, something remarkable is happening because of this man. R&B musician Daryl Davis has spent decades engaging with Klan members and challenging their beliefs. He and Preston have talked for years via phone, and suddenly, Davis was standing up for Preston in court.


SIDNER: What do you say to the judge?

DARYL DAVIS, FRIEND OF RICHARD PRESTN: I testified on his behalf. I also paid part of his bail money to get him out.

SIDNER: You paid part of his bail money?

DAVIS: I did.

SIDNER: Is he taking you for a fool using you?

DAVIS: No, not at all. Not at all.

SIDNER: How do you know?

DAVIS: Because he and I were already friends. I said I am willing to take Mr. Preston and he has agreed to go down to this museum with me and take a tour of it and learn something.


SIDNER (voice-over): He is referring to the National Museum of African-American History.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVIS: Seeing what he is going to see there is going to plant a seed. The seed may not blossom today or tomorrow or the next day, but eventually it will come out because the truth can never be squashed.


SIDNER (voice-0over): The two men bonding over history and returning to Davis' home to find another shared passion.

His track record speaks volumes. Davis says 200 of the Klansmen he has befriended over the years have left the group. More than 40 of them with the simple gesture, relinquishing their Klan robes to him.


SIDNER: You don't think that you'll ever give your robe up?

PRESTON: No, I will be buried in it. It's already set in stone.

SIDNER: Are you sure?



SIDNER: But then this happened, Richard Preston who had never been married had Daryl Davis at his Klan wedding. This time it was Davis giving something away, the bride.


SIDNER: His friendship has been something really special to you.

DAVIS: She wanted me to be a part of this wedding. That's beautiful. That is a seed planted.



CABRERA: A seed planted. Sara Sidner, thank you for that reporting. So fascinating. We now know the name of the airport worker in Seattle who stole a commercial airplane and flew it around before crashing it. We will hear from his family, next.


CABRERA: New video just in to CNN, now giving us our first look at that scene where a commercial airplane that was stolen from Seattle's main airport crashed. A 29-year-old Horizon Air employee Richard Russell took off from Sea-Tac airport Friday and performed midair stunts, complicated stunts before crashing on this remote island an hour later.

Now, authorities have recovered one of the planes black boxes. Officials believe Russell was the only person killed. Family members say they are stunned and heartbroken describing him as a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend. Kyung Lah is in Steilacoom, Washington near the crash site. Kyung, what more are we learning from Russell's family?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the family says if there were any signs of mental illness, they simply didn't see it, that there was nothing obvious to them. To them he was a 29-year-old man, somebody who appeared to be very much in love with his wife. He had married her when they were quite young. They met at a Christian college in Alaska, that's where he grew up.

They moved here so that they could be closer to her family. And then he got a job at Horizon Air, working there for three-and-a-half years. He had the security clearance to work there. He posted videos about his job. He seemed to like it very much. And so for them to hear the conversation that he had with air traffic controllers was simply stunning.


RICHARD RUSSELL, MAN WHO STOLE HORIZON AIR PLANE: I've got a lot of people that care about me and it's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it until now.


LAH: His family referred to him as "Beebo." He liked to travel. He posted a lot of pictures about his travel. He had the job in fact so he could see the world and they said this to the press saying they really think he didn't intend on hurting anyone.


MIKE MATTHEWS, RUSSELL FAMILY FRIEND: It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm compassionate man. As the voice recording show, Beebo's intent was not the harm anyone. He was right in saying that there are so many people who have loved him.


LAH: Before making that statement, the family did hold their hands, they made a circle. They said the only thing keeping them together at this point, Ana, is prayer. Ana.

CABRERA: It really is a tragedy. Kyung, what are the investigators now wanting to learn from the flight data recorders, the black box they have recovered and what other evidence might they still need to find?

LAH: Well, they are still looking for the cockpit voice recorder. They managed to find the base. They did not find the top part, but they are not very optimistic that it will be intact because when the plane crashed in that heavily wooded area, that island that has almost no one who lives there, the plane virtually came completely apart.

They said that there is almost no part of it that looks like a plane. That recovery process is still happening. It is very slow. It is still very arduous. It's been handed over to a contractor. They do hope though to still recover that. The flight data recorder, Ana, that is going to be sent to Washington tomorrow. It will be analyzed in D.C.

[17:50:01] But it's the what that they already don't know. What they don't know, Ana, is the why, Ana.

CABRERA: Kyung Lah in Steilacoomn, Washington. Thank you for that report.

In New Mexico, we continue to learn more about the 11 starving children rescued from a compound with littered with ammunition, fuel cans, and dirty diapers. Residents nearby are asking why officials didn't search that property sooner. The sheriff responds, next.


CABRERA: A devastating blast at a makeshift ammunition depot has killed at least 36 people in northwest Syria. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights says women and children are among the dead.

[17:55:03] Dozens of others are thought to be injured. This explosion happened in a rebel-held town near the Turkish border. White Helmet volunteer rescue crews said they have pulled 10 people from the rubble and are searching for more survivors.

One year after the violence in Charlottesville, white supremacists marched in Washington, D.C. just blocks from the White House. Thousands of counter-protesters outnumbered them. So how is the president responding to this? You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."