Return to Transcripts main page


Family of Airplane Thief Speaks; White Nationalists Plan Rally on Sunday; Race in America; NASA Launching Historic Mission to the Sun; Brexit Could Change Beer Consumption. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired August 12, 2018 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We now know who stole a commercial airliner and crashed it just outside Seattle, Washington.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And later today, a city on edge. Specifically the U.S. capital, where white supremacists prepare to rally again, this one year after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

ALLEN (voice-over): Also ahead this hour, NASA launches humanity's first-ever mission to a star. And it's our very own star, the sun.

HOWELL (voice-over): It was so cool.

ALLEN (voice-over): So cool.

HOWELL (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen and CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: At 5:01 on the U.S. East Coast, a day after a man steals and crashes a plane from Seattle's main international airport, we're learning new details about who he was and the access he had to that plane.

ALLEN: Covering the story 24 hours ago, that was the big question, who did this. This is the man, Richard Russell. His family called him Bebo. Airport officials say he worked for about three years on the ground crew. He was certified to move aircraft and he had clearance to be in secure areas. His family offered this statement through a spokesman.


MIKE MATTHEWS, FRIEND OF RUSSELL FAMILY: We are stunned and heartbroken. It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe but Bebo was a warm, compassionate man. It is impossible to encompass who he was in a press release. He was a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend.


HOWELL: This is what many people saw, watching on there in the Puget Sound. He executed several dangerous stunts as he was pursued by two military jets. Running low on fuel, he crashed on a small island about an hour after taking off.

Now investigators say it could take months before they figure out exactly how these events unfolded. What we do know about Russell is that he was apparently in uniform and had worked the shift Friday before stealing the plane. People who worked with him were shocked by what he did. We get more now from CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A law enforcement source tells CNN that the 29-year-old Horizon Airline employee has been identified as Richard Russell. We can tell you that Russell is somebody who kept a very active online presence. He recorded YouTube videos, talking about his job.

He also had an online blog where he mentioned that, a few years ago, he and his wife operated a bakery somewhere in Oregon.

He did work in ground support at the Seattle airport, so what does that mean?

We know he loaded and unloaded luggage. He would also tidy up aircraft and it also involved riding a tractor or driving a tractor, where he would put an airplane in the right place for takeoff. That is apparently what he did yesterday before getting in the cockpit, firing up the engines and then having a successful taxi and takeoff.

That is very difficult to do under normal circumstances because of the protocols in place. I want you to listen now to the CEO of Horizon Airlines, who spoke out earlier today.

GARY BECK, CEO, HORIZON AIR: Normally you would request clearance for pushback, from either your own tower or ground control. You'd then speak with ground control all the way out to the runway.

They would turn you over to the tower, who would then clear you for takeoff. And I believe -- in fact, I know that he did communicate on the ground frequency and all of the communications for the entire flight were conducted on that frequency.

You're right, there were some maneuvers that were done, that were incredible maneuvers with the aircraft. To our knowledge, he didn't have a pilot's license.

So, to be honest with you, I mean, commercial aircraft are complex machines. They're not as easy to fly as, say, a Cessna 150. So I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did. SIMON: I spoke to a former co-worker who worked with Russell. He's shocked that he did this. He said he had a very good sense of humor but he wasn't shocked that he had gained the knowledge in terms of how to operate the aircraft, he said, because being on the tow team, you learn certain things that other employees might not know how to do.

When you heard the conversations he was having with --


SIMON: -- air traffic control, what went through your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I recognized the voice first. And it was before I could put a face to it. And then, you know, I saw some people posting "Rest in peace, Richard Russell." Then I figured out it was him. And I listened to his voice more carefully during the audio after that.

And it was heartbreaking. You could tell he was in pain, kind of seemed a little delusional. And I was just shocked to see that someone who was so nice, so helpful and caring, actually, he cared about his job, to do such a thing and, you know, end his life. So it was a little sad.

SIMON: Now as far as what is happening now, I can tell you that, over at the island where the crash occurred, there are dozens of investigators there. They're trying to retrieve those black boxes, the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

But what evidence those boxes might yield, we don't know. We already have a ton of evidence because of the conversation between Russell and air traffic control.



ALLEN: David Soucie is a CNN safety analyst and former safety inspector for the U.S. Aviation Authority. He joins us now.

David, thanks for being with us. We've had a little over one day to digest this unfortunate feat. Grounds crew airline worker backed up a plane, pointed it toward the runway, started it, took off.

It still seems somewhat surreal, doesn't it?

But it was very real.

Do you have any more insight now into how he pulled this off?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: There's a lot of processes that were overlooked and did not happen that should have happened. I've looked at to see the Seattle processes and procedures for security. And there's no possible way that that guy should have been out there by himself, towing that aircraft for a number of reasons.

One is because they need to have somebody in the aircraft with their feet on the brake, ready to stop the aircraft in case anything happens. But that's just one level. And there are two or three other levels of people that should have noticed he was out there by himself.

ALLEN: So is this not a gap in just typical airport security?

Was this more specific to this airline?

SOUCIE: It is. The airline's responsible for that tarmac, for a bad area where the aircraft is. And the fact that all their employees are trained, everybody knows that you don't go out there on the tarmac by yourself, this should not have happened.

Even if you look at baggage handlers, if you look at everytime there's somebody driving a baggage cart, there's two people with them. That's -- never should be by himself like this. So there's some things that need to be looked at on that airport and at the airline.

ALLEN: So you don't see this as a systemic issue with the industry?

SOUCIE: I really don't. I think that the system, the safety system that's in place, has proven by the fact this doesn't happen very often.

But I think the safety system's in place. But the fact is, there were people at three different levels that didn't do the right thing.

So we first look at performance of the safety mechanisms. And if the performance isn't done properly, then you go back and you look at the individual.

But systemic, as you had mentioned, I don't see a systemic problem here. But if is it isn't an individual, if it was something that could have easily been overlooked, then at that point, the system needs to be looked at as well.

ALLEN: That's very interesting. We'll wait and see what the investigation bears out there. I want to get your insights into the work of the air traffic control to try to get this young man to land that airplane. Let's listen to a bit of that conversation.


RICHARD RUSSELL, AIRCRAFT MECHANIC: 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.

You think if I land this successfully, Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they'll give you a job doing anything if you can pull this off.

RUSSELL: Yes, right. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you wanted to land, probably the best bet is that runway just ahead and to your left. That's the McChord field. If you wanted to try, that might be the best way to set up and see if you can land there.

Or just like the pilot suggested, another option would be over Puget Sound into the water.

RUSSELL: Dang, you talk to McChord yet?

Because I don't think I'd be happy with you telling me I could land like that, because I could mess some stuff up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already talked to them and just like me, what we want to see is you not get hurt or anyone else get hurt. So like I said, if you want to land, that's probably the best place to go.

RUSSELL: I want the coordinates of that orca with the -- the mama orca with the baby. I want to go see that guy.

Hey, pilot guy, can this thing do a backflip, you think?

I'm going to try to do a barrel roll and if that goes good, I'll go nose down and call it a night.

Man, have you been to the Olympics?

These guys are gorgeous. Holy smokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's try to land that airplane safely and not hurt anybody on the ground.

RUSSELL: All right. Damn it, I don't know, man. I don't know. I don't want to. I was kind of hoping that was going to be it.


ALLEN: It's chilling to listen to but the controller states so measure this what they're training to do.

Is a rogue pilot part of training?

What's your assessment of how they handled the situation?

SOUCIE: It was amazing how they kept their cool during the whole time. They didn't get emotional about it, they didn't even raise their voice. You can tell --


ALLEN: They were very measured --

SOUCIE: -- the training they've had over the years were dealing with this has paid off in this case.

[05:10:00] ALLEN: Right. Fighter jets were mobilized, David, they were flanking him. But he flew for one hour. One analyst said at CNN, had he wanted to crash the plane into downtown Seattle, the jets weren't going to be able to stop him.

Why not?

What is their role?

SOUCIE: Well, there's some protocol there. So the air -- the National Air Command is what it's called, the National Air Command will send -- they'll scramble their jets and they got out there amazingly quickly. There were there.

But as far as stopping him, there's two things that happened, the first protocol is to guide. So they're guiding the aircraft, they're making sure it isn't going into a populated area.

The second thing is, if he's headed towards a populated area, then the next step is to move in front of the aircraft and deploy flares. And those flares would divert the aircraft. He'd be trying to avoid flares that are deployed from that jet, is step two.

And then step three is, if it is heading that way, that aircraft can be destroyed in the middle of the air. And whoever said that it couldn't be is incorrect. That -- any aircraft can be stopped with those two fighter jets that are up there. They're well equipped and, luckily, they didn't have to go to those extreme measures.

ALLEN: Absolutely. But that's good to know. We thank you for your information, David Soucie, CNN safety analyst. Thank you, David.

SOUCIE: Thank you, Natalie.


HOWELL: Now to the other story that we are following this day, in the hours to come, we are expecting to see rallies of racists in Washington, D.C. This one year after those racist protests that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it seems that these Nazis are preparing to spout their hate once again.

ALLEN: In just a few hours, far right groups and white supremacists, Nazis, are planning to gather again, this time in the nation's capital. They will meet right in front of the White House. They're calling it a white civil rights rally. They will not be alone. At least 40 counterprotest groups -- 40 -- plan to show up, too.

This comes after Saturday's demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. Again, no signs of white nationalists there, as hundreds of students and activists, instead, marched peacefully against racism.

ALLEN: Though the protests in Charlottesville were peaceful, the crowds were full of emotion.

HOWELL: CNN's Kaylee Hartung was there on Saturday with a look at what she saw on how things played out.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For about three hours on Saturday night we saw students from the University of Virginia and members of the Charlottesville community marching through the streets. It was an eruption of the anger and outrage that so many of them feel because of the failure they perceive by the institutions that they believe should have supported them a year ago, namely the University of Virginia and law enforcement.

Now this weekend there's a heavy law enforcement presence. You can see an example of that behind me. Some of these people protesting telling me they don't feel any safer this weekend than they did a year ago.

They feel this increased presence, this preparation is essentially an overreaction, a remembering nix recognition of the failures last year, the law enforcement's lack of ability to control the violence and protect them, some going so far as to say they believe law enforcement protected the white supremacists that marched into this town.

As I said, this march through the middle of the streets of Charlottesville but it began on the University of Virginia campus in front of the rotunda, the most iconic building on campus.

But these students say they were given strict security measures that they were supposed to abide by. They did not want to abide by them, by an institution that has failed them.

We're unsure where this leads next as the march conclude as they tried to get near Emancipation Park, the park where General Lee's statue still sits. They said we'll be back tomorrow.


HOWELL: Kaylee, thank you for the reporting.

Now let's bring in Scott Lucas. Scott a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, live from Birmingham, England.

Thank you for your time as always. Talking about the issue of race in America. It can be messy, can be ugly but the diversity of people, it's a key part of the formula that unites and divides.

And we now know, according to Republican representative Tom Garrett, who say member of the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, that Russia used race to sow division in Charlottesville last year. Listen to this exchange.


REP. TOM GARRETT (R), VIRGINIA: Let me give you some breaking news here, though, back to Charlottesville. 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 classified?"

They said, "No, it's not."

I've waited until today. But this is what happens. The Russian intermeddling --


GARRETT: -- is seeking to pit Americans against Americans.


HOWELL: Scott, this is a major headline to say the least with significant implications.

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: It is. But, to be honest with you, George, if you watch Russian state outlets and their allies carefully, it's not new. You can go back to the presidential campaign itself in 2016 and you'd have Russian accounts that were posing as Trump supporters, on the one hand, to try to stir up animosity.

And on the other you had Russian accounts that were posing as Black Lives Matter movements or even Antifa to try to stir up division. And anytime you have a Charlottesville, when it did occur last year, Russian state media are on top of this.

This is a sign that America's falling apart. This is a sign that race is a dividing line and that America is weakening and that it can't live up to its values. In other words, the Russian exploitation of race is something that goes beyond its alleged support of Donald Trump during 2016 and afterwards.

HOWELL: President Trump has weighed in on Twitter. He says that he condemns all types of racism and acts of violence. You see that tweet that was posted most recently. But you'll remember, during a news conference last year, days after the violence in Charlottesville, he added the phrase "on many sides," suggesting a false equivalence between protesters and Nazis.

Did this go far enough or did it leave room for him with this many sides silliness?

LUCAS: All right. Let's do a checklist here, George. I'm not a racist but LeBron James. I'm not a racist but Don Lemon. I'm not a racist by immigrants are animals, immigrants are vermin.

I'm not a racist but Chinese students are threatening the U.S. I'm not a racist but the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, who is Muslim, is supporting terrorism. In other words, Donald Trump can't just simply say I'm not a racist

and sweep away what has happened the past couple of years anymore than someone who insults me or insults someone of another religion or another race can come up to you and say, hey, buddy, I'm still your friend.

HOWELL: OK. So, you know, here in the United States on this day in the coming hours, we're expecting to see Nazis march in this nation's capital, Nazis, the losers of the World War II, who were roundly defeated by brave U.S. veterans and allies around the world.

This is not an issue of Right or Left here; whereas, a journalist you don't take a side. It's the difference between right and wrong and somehow the lines seem blurred now for some people.

LUCAS: Yes. You know, George, one of my favorite films is "The Blues Brothers." You might remember it back from around 1980s. And there's a whole scene, where the characters, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, drive into across into a neo-Nazi rally, what we might call a white supremacist rally. And all of them scatter and jump into the water.

And we all cheered back then. Now we've got white supremacist rallies on the streets and we've got no leadership from the White House. Indeed, one might say that the leader in the White House might have a secret affinity for those rallies and, indeed, that some of his advisers -- who I won't name for now -- do so as well.

You know, I hate to say it, but I'd be much rather relying on John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd right now than I would Donald Trump.

HOWELL: It is important to point out -- if we could pull the tweet up -- the U.S. president did chime in on this on Twitter. He did say that he condemns all types of racism and acts of violence.

Scott, the question many people will have, given what he said last year, did it go far enough?

Scott Lucas, thank you so much for your time and perspective today.

LUCAS: Thank you.

ALLEN: We'll wait and see what happens at these rallies. Again, 40 groups coming out to counter these white supremacists.

California is still burning up but firefighters' latest approach battling one of the fires seems to be working. Ivan Cabrera will have the story for us coming up here.




(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: Going to take you back now to California, which has been burning for months but firefighters are battling one fire in Southern California from the sky and it seems to be working.

HOWELL: Yes, there's some progress made. A containment for the Holy Fire, it jumped to 36 percent in the last day; since starting Monday, the fire has consumed nearly 9,000 hectares and it's forced 21,000 people from their homes. Some of those evacuation orders have been lifted, as firefighters continue to make progress.


ALLEN: Protests in Washington are highlighting the racial and political divides in the United States --



ALLEN (voice-over): -- and many across the country are asking, is the president, Mr. Trump, helping with his tweets or making everything worse?

We'll take a look at that ahead.



SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you sorry for shooting a gun towards a black man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, there's a protective people on the steps, that's all I was doing.

ALLEN (voice-over): A year after firing a gun at a black protester in Charlottesville, a KKK leader speaks with CNN.

So why would a black musician help pay his bail and stand up for him in court?

We'll get into that just ahead here.




HOWELL: Coast to coast across the United States and to our viewers around the world this hour, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta, I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: Thanks for joining us, I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.



HOWELL: What happens this day in the nation's capital, really anyone's guess. And to talk more about this, we have now Mo Ivory. Mo, an attorney and radio personality here in Atlanta, joining on set.

It's a pleasure to have you here on the show.


HOWELL: The U.S. president has commented on this on Twitter. He said the riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in the senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to all Americans.

Mo, this coming in the form of a tweet. You remember how difficult a moment this was for the entire country just a year ago.

Was this tweet enough?

IVORY: No. I mean, this tweet, first of all, is a year too late. And it just does not -- if we had a president that had action behind his tweets, if he meant what he said and we could rely on his word, then maybe it would mean something. But we don't have that in President Trump.

And, unfortunately, I don't think a tweet was appropriate for the anniversary of this occasion. I think he should have stopped what I was doing. I understand he's not in Washington and has not been for the past week.

He should have met with his press -- his press contingent and had a press conference and he should have addressed this and soothed the nation, that we don't want to continue in this path. He could have paid homage to Heather Heyer and her family and he could have invited some peaceful protesters to discuss things with.

But he never chooses that. He never takes an issue that is delicate or that is dividing our nation and tries do something that would bring our nation together. So he can tweet all he wants, it's what he normally does.

But do his tweets have any action behind them?

And I don't think that they do.

HOWELL: So a tweet this day but just a year ago the president did call a news conference and he talked about the situation.

You'll remember this was a very complex response, you could say, left a lot of people scratching their heads because, on one side, you had people protesting and, on the other side, you had the Nazis, the racists. And the president offered a false equivalence.

IVORY: Yes. HOWELL: Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They showed up in Charlottesville to protest --


TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. (inaudible) themselves (inaudible). And you have some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.


HOWELL: So I say a complex response there because, really, this should have been simple, you know. It's not about Right or Left, it's really about right or wrong. And the president somehow suggesting that some of the people on the other side there were "fine people."

IVORY: Yes. It's -- you know, it's the same way that he could call LeBron James "dumb" after opening up a school to help children in his hometown. It just perplexes me how he finds a way to say things that, in a moment where he could be so healing, he finds a way to divide even more.

And I think there's so many examples of that, that he's done, that it's very disheartening that this is a president that is going to ever try to attack the racism problem, to try to bring us together instead of actually make things worse.

And I think that he does that in a way that he gives a voice to the -- those that want to say whatever they want to say, who want to fan the flames. He is their voice. And he continues to do that.

And it's just really upsetting for many in this country, who would rather see our president, the leader of the free world, work towards, in his own country, bringing unity.

HOWELL: The U.S. president typically weighs in on sports figures, many times sports figures who are African American. And after the criticism that he had for LeBron James, again, opening a school for children and for their parents, the president, of course, criticized.

And then Keith Boykin, a commentator who's been on our air, offered this tweet that has gained some traction.

The tweet basically saying, "In Trump's world, Obama Kenyan, LeBron James dumb, Don Lemon dumb, Maxine Waters low IQ."

It goes on and on. You get the gist. A lot of people see that tweet and they say, that's right on --


HOWELL: -- the nose. IVORY: I read that tweet and I thought it was right on the nose. And it was also very -- it was very sad, you know. I think there's so many things that have been happening lately. There was, you know, there was recently a whole show on Trayvon Martin and that whole case.

And I watched that and I thought, wow, you know, where are we since that?

And then I saw that the NFL players this past week were back on their knees again and really him to say he doesn't even understand that they think they don't know the issue.

It's very clear what the issue is for the players that are taking a knee. And he continues to say these things, as if people can't read for themselves and understand what the issues are.

So I think Keith's tweet was right on point and I saw it and I just shook my head. And I thought, even when Donald Trump came back with his tweet today, to say that we want -- he wants to unite, it doesn't really have any weight in lieu of the history that he has as president and as a businessman.

So you know, I just don't think that we can look to our president to be somebody that's going to protect and also is going to try to bring all Americans together, because Keith's tweet just shows all the Americans that he doesn't -- and all of the immigrants and everybody else that he doesn't really stand up for.

HOWELL: This president typically speaks his mind.

IVORY: Yes, he does.

HOWELL: Under the First Amendment. We see those protesters, people speaking their mind on the football field and in the nation's capital this day. We will likely see hate on parade, again, all protected by the First Amendment. But certainly will be interesting to see how it all comes together. Mo, thank you so much for your time.

IVORY: Thank you so much. Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, now we have this in relation to this whole big dialogue. Ku Klux Klansman Richard Preston took part in last year's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville and also fired a gun at a black protester while shouting a racial slur.

HOWELL: CNN's Sara Sidner spoke with him about that and about his unlikely friendship with an African American musician. We do want to warn viewers: this report contains language that many may find offensive.


RICHARD PRESTON, KKK MEMBER: I shot a gun. The man had a flame thrower.

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 counterprotester wielding a blowtorch.

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 a black man?

PRESTON: No, I was protecting the people on the steps. That's all I was doing.

SIDNER: But you did say the N word before you fired the gun.


PRESTON: Can I ask you a question?

If you're standing in a group of a thousand black folks --

SIDNER: There wasn't a group of a thousand black folks around you.

PRESTON: I can't tell you how many there were, but OK, a large group of black people.

How do you get one black man's attention in a crowdful of black people?

SIDNER: You say, hey, you with the torch.


PRESTON: He didn't care.

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

SIDNER: Do you hate black people?

PRESTON: No, I have friends that are black.

SIDNER: But you're an imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan group. And the Klan has a history of terrorizing black groups.

How can you say that?

PRESTON: Some Klans did have a history of terrorizing black folks. But not all Klans did, and I've 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 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 names and no documentation. If your name was Schwarzkopf, you 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 plan is different.

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

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, R&B MUSICIAN: 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's agreed go down to this museum with me and take a tour of it and learn something.

SIDNER (voice-over): He's referring to the National Museum of African American history.

DAVIS: Seeing what he's going to see there is going to plant a seed. The seed may not blossom today, tomorrow, the next day. But eventually he'll come out because the truth never -- can never be squashed.

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

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

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

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

SIDNER: You sure?


SIDNER (voice-over): But then this happened. Richard Preston, who had never been married, had Daryl Davis at his Klan wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you stand in the presence of God...

SIDNER (voice-over): This time it was Davis giving something away: the bride.

PRESTON: Man, his friendship has been something really special to me.

DAVIS: He wanted know be a part of this wedding. That's beautiful. That's a seed planted.

SIDNER: Now considering that another Unite the Right rally is scheduled for here in Washington, D.C., on the anniversary of the Charlottesville protest, I asked both men where they thought race relations were headed in this country. And they both said they thought it would get worse before it gets better -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Division and unity on display.

ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. More unity, please.

Coming up here...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, zero. Liftoff of the mighty Delta IV heavy rocket with NASA's --

HOWELL (voice-over): That was an incredible sight. NASA's first unmanned spacecraft on its way to our closest star. Details on its journey ahead.





ALLEN: NASA is going right now where no spacecraft has gone before: the sun. After a 24-hour delay, this happened about two hours ago from Cape Canaveral. NASA launched its first unmanned probe towards the sun.

HOWELL: The Parker Solar Probe is carrying a sensor that will extend beyond the sun's heat shield to get samples of the star's atmosphere.


ALLEN: Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao joins us now via Skype from Hong Kong.

We always enjoy talking with you about this cool stuff, Leroy. Thank you for joining us.

First of all, what an impressive sight, huh. It was a Delta IV heavy rocket and it sure looked heavy taking off.

LEROY CHIAO, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Absolutely, Delta IV heavy is one of the biggest rockets we have in the arsenal here and having launched a probe like this is certainly an exciting event.

ALLEN: And they had to scrub it yesterday but off it went today. It's remarkable that it's going to get there and start sending back data so soon. And I was reading that, even though it will be some 3 million miles still away from the sun, it will be 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit where this space probe will be.

How are they doing that?

How are they keeping this intact with all that heat?

CHIAO: Right. Well, we're pretty good at building heat shields so that will protect the sensitive electronics inside the vehicle as well as the other components.

But the sensors outside are going to be looking at the corona of the sun, the atmosphere if you will, and making something unprecedented direct measurements of the solar wind.

That's the charged particles streaming away from the sun at supersonic speeds, which was first postulated by Dr. Parker all those years ago. And he was eventually proved right.

So it's neat to see that this probe, which is named after Dr. Parker, who's still alive at the age of 91, exciting to see us learn more about our star, which is about 4 billion years old and about halfway through its life.

HOWELL: And wonderful that he gets to see this happen. Leroy, a question for you.

How fast is this thing going? CHIAO: It's the fastest spacecraft that we've ever launched. And I believe it's somewhere in the 450 -- gosh, 450 million -- thousand miles an hour, something like that.

ALLEN: We'll believe you. Yes. And when it gets there, it will be the fastest moving manmade object ever, going 430,000 miles per hour. I mean, we're talking --


CHIAO: OK, I was close.

HOWELL: Pretty fast.

ALLEN: What big picture things can we learn about star formation?

What will they be looking at?

This mission is going to last several years, too, of data.

CHIAO: Right. Well, we're going to be looking mostly at the corona because that's about as close as we can get without melting the spacecraft. And so, interestingly, the corona is about 300 times hotter than what is defined as the surface of the sun. And so it's kind of a mysterious area.

Generally the farther you get away from an object, the cooler it's going to be. And so hopefully it will be able to pick up some clues as to what it is about the corona that makes it actually hotter than the defined surface of the sun.

So that solar wind, it's going to be making those direct measurements, very exciting stuff. And I'm sure there will be a lot of scientific discoveries that come out of it that we hadn't even anticipated.

ALLEN: That will be so exciting.

HOWELL: Leroy, just briefly, you mentioned solar winds. Remind people around the world the impact of solar winds on the United States, on many countries around the world (INAUDIBLE) important equipment.


CHIAO: Right. Absolutely. So solar wind is charged -- they're charged particles streaming away from the sun at supersonic speeds and, of course, they impact all the planets in our solar system to varying degrees, depending on how far they are away.

In our case, we have the magnetosphere, that is the Earth has the magnetic field lines, we have the Van Allen belts and those fields capture most of the charged particle radiation coming from the sun, which is why life and our atmosphere is able to flourish on the Earth.

So very important stuff and, you know, it's very exciting that this probe is going to teach us a lot more about those solar particles. ALLEN: It's very, very cool and it's very, you know, go NASA. It's so impressive. And Mr. Parker was there and he was interviewed afterward for the launch.

HOWELL: Very cool.

ALLEN: Leroy, thanks so much for coming on and talking with us. We always appreciate it.

CHIAO: My pleasure. Thank you.


ALLEN: OK. Back to the real world. And Brexit. The quintessential --


ALLEN: British pint of beer may feel the effects of Brexit, did you know?

And perhaps for some to modify their drinking habits.


Next, we take you to the Great British Beer Festival.





HOWELL: Beer and Britain's exit from the European Union: these two topics would seem to be unrelated.

ALLEN: One will definitely have an impact on the other. As our Nina dos Santos reports, it was a big topic at this week's Great British Beer Festival in London. We were there.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ales, porters, bitters, some things for every taste. You've guessed it. It's a beer festival. The Great British Beer Festival, to be precise, an annual tradition for a demanding crowd which organizers say will have drunk 250,000 pints, by the time this five-day event finishes. That's 100,000 liters, all in layman's terms a lot of beer.

But with Brexit on the horizon, will Britain's drinking habit suffer --


DOS SANTOS (voice-over): -- as the country leaves the European Union?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It surely will, won't it, because we mostly drink British beer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the U.K. market in the beer world is so, so, so good. The Brexit base won't affect it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It might stop some of the largest (INAUDIBLE) abroad. But we don't care about that because that's stuff's rubbish.

DOS SANTOS: This festival is all about celebrating a great British institution, the humble pint. But Meghan would say, there's a lot riding on Brexit for British brewers, not at least because beer was among the top three food and drink exports of this country last year, generating some $700 billion worth of sales and 900,000 jobs.

And the industry does have some concerns, one thing the cost of wheat, hops and other ingredients use to make beer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just want to make sure because we remind consumers so they know that the prices are not going to skyrocket. We want to make sure that brewers are going to have to maintain the supplies they have for making the beer and making the cider.

DOS SANTOS: A weaker path could make that harder. But are drinkers worried?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may get a bit more expensive because some of the contents of beer probably may get more expensive. Probably stop with drinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it goes up by a pound, we'll still have a beer. It's not (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the Brexit perspective, this will survive.

DOS SANTOS: Maybe some things just never change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A cold day in the middle of winter, you want a nice, dark, British strong beer that's going to warm you up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very intensive in British. Beer is our national drink in the U.K.

DOS SANTOS: For consumers and for the industry, at least for now, the Brexit glass is half-full -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


ALLEN: God save the beer. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues here on CNN right after the break.