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Markets Tumble and Lira Continues free-fall As Turkey Seeks to Calm Contagion Fears; Hospital Official 100 Killed In Afghan City Of Ghazni; Trump's Decisions Have Turned Palestinians Away; NASA Launches Groundbreaking Solar Probe; Turkey's President comes back at United States; South and North Korea have now agreed to meet; Washington is getting a loud message; group of schoolboys in Yemen; Richard Russell. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired August 13, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:14] GEORGE HOWELL, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: A rally that many thought would glorify a deadly day ends up being a bust. We will explain what happened on the anniversary of the Charlottesville clashes ahead.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: Plus, before they made headlines as victims of a devastating attack, they were just school boys on a bus in Yemen. CNN has new video of their final moments.
HOWELL: And Turkey's President fires back at the United States as his country's economy buckles under U.S. sanctions. t
CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church
HOWELL: And I am George Howell from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Newsroom starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This in CNN breaking news.
HOWELL: We begin this hour with the breaking news. This in to CNN, the leaders of South and North Korea have agreed to meet in September in Pyongyang, South Korean President Moon Jae-In and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have met twice this year.
CHURCH: The summit next month comes as experts doubt whether the north is committed to getting rid of its nuclear weapons. But Pyongyang is putting pressure on western countries to start lifting those sanctions. CNN's Paula Hancocks is following this story from Seoul in South Korea. So Paula, bring us up to date, all the information that you have on this summit now expected in September.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, this has just been decided at a meeting between North and South Korea, a high level meeting with the minister of unification from the south, the equivalent in the north as well. And this was at the DMZ, at Panmunjom, that truce village where a number of meetings between the north and south have been carried out over recent months. So what they have decided is that they will have this third inter-
Korean summit within September in Pyongyang. There isn't an exact date at this point. And this is something we were expecting. It is what we had heard after the first inter-Korean summit. President Moon Jae-In of South Korea had said that he would go to Pyongyang in the autumn, in the fall.
And clearly, next month is when they are now going to me. Now it would be significant. It would be the first time that a South Korean leader has gone to Pyongyang in more than a decade since 2007. And certainly, it will be closely watched. And we are seeing really some increasing cooperation between North and South Korea when it comes to these kinds of meetings.
We've seen a number over the past few months. At the same time, North Korea is criticizing Washington and the United States for what it believes is Washington not keeping its end of the deal. But certainly, from the North, South Korean point of view, it appears as though relations are improving. And now of course, this confirmation that Moon Jae-In will be going to Pyongyang, Rosemary.
And of course, Paula, the timing is interesting because at this point, the U.S. and other western nations are very concerned that there doesn't appear to be this commitment any more on the part of North Korea, if there ever was, to denuclearize. So how likely is it that this would be the top talking point between the two leaders in the North and South?
HANCOCKS: Well, there have been a number of comments from U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently that there is a continuation of the nuclear missile program in North Korea, that there hasn't been any palpable steps to show that they are moving towards denuclearization. But from North Korea's point of view, they believe that they have given concessions, and in return, they want to see some of the sanctions against them lifted, which is something that Washington has said they won't do, Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right, our Paula Hancocks, bringing us up to date on that story from Seoul in South Korea, which is just after three in the afternoon, many thanks to you. Washington is getting a loud message from thousands of people. The U.S. is no place for white nationalists and bigotry or racism. On Sunday, dozens of anti-hate groups gathered near the White House to drown out a white nationalist rally called Unite the Right II.
It was held on the first anniversary of the racist riots in Charlottesville, Virginia.
HOWELL: The violence in 2017 led to the death of Heather Heyer, a young activist who was protesting the white nationalists in Charlottesville. But on Sunday, the white nationalist made a lackluster showing in the nation's capital. Organizers had expected hundreds of them to march, but only about two-dozen showed up.
And they were easily outnumbered, shouted down by anti-hate groups, as CNN's Brian Todd was on the ground and filed this report for us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:05:07] BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This was a day of passion and high energy here in Washington, and just about all on the side of the anti-racist protesters who vastly outnumbered the white supremacist protesters. There were several thousand ant-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators from a coalition of about 30 different groups and black lives matter to Antifa to other groups opposing a white supremacist message.
They showed out in force on the streets of Washington, where the white supremacist only had maybe a couple of dozen people (Inaudible), and there message was drowned out. This was a bit of a flare up towards the end of the day here where some a few counter-protesters, people who may have been white supremacists. We don't know -- showed up with a flag, and were confronted by some of these people here with a counter message.
Again, we don't know if they were white supremacists or not. But there was a flare up. There was a little bit of jostling. They were some screaming at them. They quickly took refuge behind a line of police. And that was what went to this confrontation here over my shoulders. So some of these protesters are now leaving and kind of moving this way after police have basically cordoned off the area and gotten those few counter-protesters out of the way to safety.
Well, you can say that most of the protests were peaceful and dispersed earlier in the day than anticipated. Some of the anger has not dissipated. So some of these people are still hanging around, but what we can say kind of during the day is the security measures that the police have put up right here and elsewhere in Lafayette Park over here.
The counter-racist protesters, the anti-racist protesters were not allowed to get really within about 100 yards of where the white supremacists were. And that prevented what could have been a confrontation similar to what happened in Charlottesville. The police here are very cognizant of that. But that really didn't happen in any large measure.
And what did happen was that the white supremacists were so severely drowned out by the counter protesters that they left. They didn't even finish their speaking program. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Brian Todd, thank you. Now, to a reality star and one time White House aide now stepping up attacks on her former boss. We're talking about Omarosa Manigault-Newman. She's now promoting her new and mostly unverifiable book, recounting her time in the White House.
CHURCH: And now, she is releasing what she says is a secret recording of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her. She says the recording was made in the Situation Room, which of course, you would know supposed to be on of the most secure places on Earth. Here's a portion of that recording. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I ask you a couple of questions? Is the President aware of what is going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's not go down the road. This is a non negotiable discussion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to negotiate (Inaudible). If this is my departure, I'd like to have an opportunity to understand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can talk another time. This has to do with some pretty serious integrity violations. So I will let it go with that, so the staff and everyone who works for me, not the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: The White House says the recording shows a disregard for national security. But Omarosa told NBC News here in the United States she did it to protect herself. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unhinged.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will see (Inaudible) I protected myself because this is a White House where everybody lies. The President lies to the American people. Sarah Huckabee Sanders stands in front of the country and lies every single day. You have to have your own back, because otherwise you will look back and go see 17 knives in your back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: In the meantime, there is another u-turn to tell you about by the President's attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
CHURCH: Yeah. He is now telling CNN that the President never asked former FBI James Comey to drop the investigation into Mr. Trump's then National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. CNN's Boris Sanchez has more on now on the Giuliani reversal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS SANCHEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Rudy Giuliani is trying to make the case that this is not a contradiction, but rather a misunderstanding. Back in July when he spoke to ABC News, he said that the President asked James Comey to cut a break for Michael Flynn, to take it easy on him.
Something that he says that he was asked to do many times to as a prosecutor, he also suggests that James Comey should not have taken that as a direction from President Trump. That's why he makes the argument that the President did not attempt to obstruct justice. I want you to listen now to exactly what Rudy Giuliani said during that ABC News interview just a few weeks ago. Here it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is he a good witness for the President if he's saying that the President is asking, directing him in his words to let the Michael Flynn investigation go.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER, PRESIDENT TRUMP: He didn't direct him to do that. What he said (Inaudible).
[02:09:55] SANCHEZ: Rudy Giuliani here saying that this is simply a miscommunication. He apologized for the confusion that was created by what he says was the use of a device and legal argument, which he says was arguing in the alternative to try to prove a point. He is suggesting that this was not a contradiction, and that the President in fact never had any conversation with the former FBI director about Michael Flynn.
Now, the President's legal team is continuing to make the case that the President should not testify before Special Counsel Robert Mueller. They say that Robert Mueller is trying to set a perjury trap for the President by asking him questions about a conversation that he had with James Comey, and specifically why the President ultimately fired the former FBI director.
The White House is also responding to another explosive story, that of Omarosa Manigault-Newman and her release of this secret recording that she made of Chief of Staff John Kelly as he was dismissing her in the Situation Room at the White House, which is supposed to be a secured area where recording devices should not be allowed.
The White House, Sarah Sanders putting out this statement, writing quote, the very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room, shows a blatant disregard for our national security, and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee.
Sarah Sanders there not even using Omarosa's name in this statement. There are still other aspects of this that have yet to be answered by the White House, namely why the Chief of Staff felt it was necessary to take Omarosa into the Situation Room to fire her, and what he was talking about in that recording regarding Omarosa's integrity, infractions, or a possible very serious legal issues.
And the reasoning behind his wanting her to have a so-called friendly exit from the White House, again, I asked this of the White House press team. They have not responded. Boris Sanchez, CNN, travelling with the President near Bedminster, New Jersey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Boris, thank you for the reporting. And now let's get context with Scott Lucas. Scott, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham live this hour in Birmingham, England, a pleasure always to have you on the show, Scott. Let's start by talking about this statement from the President's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that statement claiming that Mr. Trump never had a conversation with James Comey last year telling him to ease up on the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
That statement, Scott, in and of itself directly contradicts Comey's memo and even contradicts Giuliani, what he said himself on ABC News before here in the states. What do you make of this new revelation?
SCOTT LUCAS, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: First of all, it is Rudy Giuliani's tactic. First he'll say, oh wait, it never happened and then if it happened, it's no (Inaudible). He did this only last week when he was talking about how it never happened, that there was a meeting with the Russians amongst high level advisors, including Donald Trump in June 2016.
But if that meeting happened, it is collusion and collusion is legal. He has done the same thing here. We know that James Comey is on the record as saying that he was asked by Donald Trump for his loyalty. We know that that loyalty included Donald Trump asking, maybe not demanding, but asking if he would end the investigation into Michael Flynn.
The fact of the matter is that, you know, James Comey is going to testify under oath. And if he is called upon by the Special Counsel Mueller, he's already done so to Congress. That conversation took place. So if Rudy Giuliani is denying it, well, they better bring something to the table, which would be for example Donald Trump speaking with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
HOWELL: For many people following this closely, it feels like the three shells game where you shuffle the shells around and guess where the ball is. So let's ask about that strategy behind these confusing contradictions. Is it more about a clouding public sentiment? Is it to throw the investigation some way, Scott, or a little of both.
LUCAS: It is both. And what you do is you do sort of a two step strategy here. And in fact, both steps take place at the same time. One is you just throw up so much smoke in the eyes not only of everyone, all of us watching, but in the eyes of you folks trying to cover the story that you're not sure where you stand. But then the second is at the same time you try to undermine the investigation.
So I'm -- no doubt today that Donald Trump, as he comes back off vacation, is going to have at least one tweet talking about witch hunt, talking about Robert Mueller and his team being all Democrats, they aren't by the way. And the idea is that while you confuse people, you try to erode confidence in Mueller, and of course, you try to make the Special Counsel the target of what is happening here and not Donald Trump.
HOWELL: All right. The White House also fuming about these secretly recorded audio clips by Omarosa Manigault-Newman, being fired by the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. What is your take on what we have heard so far and the implications of it?
[02:15:01] LUCAS: Well, I mean there is a specific issue, which is that about recording someone in a sensitive area, which is, you know, the top secret Situation Room. But the problem with the White House (Inaudible) on this is if you are going to slam her, Ms. Manigault- Newman, for doing this, this is a huge breach of security.
Folks who hired her, who praised her until she left at the end of 2017, you did. So you guys own this one, first of all. But the broader issue is what would bring her to record that conversation. And it is of course, that she felt she was going to be set up in the media that she was going to take the fall. And she had basically been the target of stories being (Inaudible) White House staff that she was disruptive.
And that is just a sign of wider discord within this White House. Remember that more than half of Donald Trump's staff has left since the start of the administration. And many of them have not left on good terms. This is just another example that this White House is not functional, and one might say dysfunctional is more of the default term that we look at day to day.
HOWELL: Scott Lucas live for us in Birmingham, England. Thank you so much for the time and perspective. We will stay in touch with you.
LUCAS: Thank you.
CHURCH: All right. We'll take a short break here. But still to come on CNN Newsroom, investigators begin piecing together how an airline employee was able to steal a commercial plane from a U.S. airport then crash it. We're back in just a moment.
[02:20:00] CHURCH: CNN has obtained (Inaudible) footage showing the final moments of a group of schoolboys in Yemen before many of them were killed in an airstrike by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition. It was filmed by one of the students, (Inaudible). It shows the classmates jostling and yelling during roll call on the bus and playing chase with friends.
HOWELL: The trip was reward for the religious school's graduating summer class. The teacher told CNN the boys had been sleepless with excitement for days. Less than an hour after the video ends, Osama and many of the children seen in the video, they were killed. Some of the scenes in this report by CNN's Nima Elbagir, the scenes are graphic. They are distressing but they reflect the reality, the very grim reality of this horrible tragedy taking place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: They are taking roll call. They probably need not bother. This is a day we're told where students had excitedly been awaiting for weeks. The little boy filming, Osama swings the cell phone around to capture all his friends. They choose to graduate today as of two months of religious (Inaudible).
First up is a shrine to the healthy masses. It may not seem like a fun day out, but in a city ravaged by war this cemetery is one of the few remaining green spaces. The children scatter in a game of chase. But less than an hour later, most of the children you see in this video were dead. Osama's phone was found in the wreckage of the buss, and with it the children's last moments.
CNN obtained the footage from local Houthi officials. This attack on the school bus carrying children by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has drawn condemnation. The coalition maintains the attack hit a legitimate target. Trainers and recruiters are child soldiers. Still, the coalition is investigating, and says it is fighting to reinstate Yemen's legitimate President after his overthrow by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.
Three years on now, and the devastation in Yemen continues. The surviving children struggle to piece together what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
ELBAGIR: The scope of the tragedy is still too difficult to absorb, (Inaudible) is a medic, the first at the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
ELBAGIR: Many of the bodies found after the attack is so mutilated, that the process of identifying them has been drawn out and torturous. While the men busy themselves digging little graves waiting to be filled one by one. You can hear the joy in Osama's voice. (Inaudible) he calls out chasing behind him. Wait. Let's take a picture. And the camera goes dead. Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: The images of these children, the sounds of screams. That is the reality of what is happening there in Yemen. And we are hearing from the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. He has come out in support of an investigation into the airstrikes. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have dispatched a three star general into Riyadh to look into at what happened here, and if there is anything we can do to preclude this in the future (Inaudible) State Department's call for an investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:24:57] CHURCH: (Inaudible) added that the U.S. is concerned about humanitarian crisis in Yemen and supports a U.N.-brokered negotiation. The Saudi coalition it launched the airstrikes on missile launchers, and it was quote, it was a legitimate military operation. It accused the Houthi rebels of using children as human shields.
HOWELL: Switching over now to the state of Washington here in the United States, investigators there trying to understand how an airline employee was able to steal a passenger plane. Richard Russell I should, he took an empty horizon airplane from the CPAC Airport. That's the main airport of the Seattle area on Friday.
CHURCH: He flew it about an hour before the plane went down and Russell died in that crash. Investigators have now found the flight data recorder, and they're hoping it will provide some answers. Our Kyung Lah has the very latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The NTSB says the flight data recorder is on its way to Washington D.C. for analysis. They hope to begin that some time this week. It was recovered over the weekend by investigators. They say very little is left of the plane, but the data recorder is intact. The investigation shifting now to 29-year- old Richard Russell, he is the man, the Horizon Air employee, who worked there for three and a half years.
A ground service employee, he stole the plane, flew it in the sky for an hour here, many people recording this, seeing the stunts that he took in the plane before crashing it into a remote island. He had security clearance. He is described by his family as having no outward signs of mental illness, also described that way by his friends at work. To hear his voice on these recordings say the people who know him is heart breaking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a lot of people that care about me. It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. (Inaudible) I guess I never really knew it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 to harm anyone. He was right in saying that there are so many people who loved him.
LAH: Beebo is the family name for Russell. That is how they referred to him. Before that family gave a statement to the press, they held hands. They prayed. They said their faith in God in is the only thing helping them get through this, Kyung Lah, CNN, Steilacoom, Washington.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Outnumbered and overshadowed. How thousands of Americans are showing up and speaking up, so racism won't have its day in the sun.
HOWELL: Plus, many say the way to answer hate is through knowledge. Still ahead, the story of a man who hopes his friendship with a KKK leader will lead the clan leader out of the hate group. Look behind the scenes of the men and women putting the show on the air. You are watching CNN live from Atlanta. Stay with us.
[02:31:42] CHURCH: We'd like to welcome back our viewers here in the United States and of course all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following f or you. This hour, Turkey's finance minister says he's launching an economic action plan on Monday. The country's lira plunged to a new record low in early trading. It had already plummeted more than 20 percent last week rattling investors. President Erdogan said the free fall is the result of an economic attack on Turkey.
CHURCH: The leaders of South and North Korea have agreed to meet next month in Pyongyang. This will be the third meeting this year between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Leader Kim Jong- un. The summit next month comes as experts doubt whether the North is committed to getting rid of its nuclear weapons. In Washington, thousands of anti-racist protesters are cheering after a much hyped racist rally fizzled out.
HOWELL: Around two-dozen white nationalist and neo-Nazis, they came together near the White House on Sunday for what was to be to unite the right to really.
CHURCH: But they were easily outnumbered by thousands of counter protesters who shouted shame, shame, and Nazis go home.
HOWELL: CNN's Sara Sidner spoke to a member of the Ku Klux Klan who was there in Charlottesville at a rally last year and he took an active and violent role. Here's her report. We do warn you that some of the language you will hear in this report it is offensive.
RICHARD PRESTON, CONFEDERATE WHITE KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN: I shot a gun. I made it out of a flamethrower.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Richard Preston admitting what he did during the deadly white nationalist unite the white 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 blowtorch. Preston spoke to CNN for the first time since he pleaded no contest in the case against him. Are you sorry for shooting a gun --
PRESTON: No. Those are protective people in the steps. It's all I was doing.
SIDNER: But you did say the N word before you fired that gun --
PRESTON: Can I ask you a question? If you're standing in a group of 1,000 black folks --
SIDNER: More than a thousand black folks around you --
PRESTON: I can't tell you how many there was. OK. A large group of black people. OK. How do you get black's attention in a crowd full of black people?
SIDNER: You say, hey, you with the torch, there's a thousand way --
PRESTON: He didn't care.
SIDNER: Preston says he went to protect a confederate statute as a member of a militia, but he also wears another hat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hat (INAUDIBLE)
SIDNER: That of an imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan chapter. For years, he's been trying to rebrand the KKK as peaceful do-doers, not hate-feel racist. 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 clan has a history of terrorizing black folks, how can you say that?
PRESTON: Some clans did have a history terrorizing black folks, but not all clans 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 clan become what it once was.
SIDNER: He references this. The rising of the clan when thousands march to Washington in 1925.
[02:35:03] PRESTON: At that time, that march was about the fact that our country was allowing immigrants to come here and change their names and their documentation. If your name was (INAUDIBLE) and nobody care.
SIDNER: 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 man, a brown man, a red man, or a yellow man. It's about a red, white, and blue.
SIDNER: Preston still awaiting sentence in Charlottesville. While he waits something remarkable is happening because of this man. R&B musician Daryl Davis has spent decades engaging with clan members and challenging their beliefs. He and Preston have talked for years via phone and suddenly Davis was standing up for Preston in court. What did 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 of 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'm 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: He's referring to the National Museum of African-American History.
DAVIS: Seeing what he's going to see there is not a fantasy. The seed may not blossom today, tomorrow, the next day. But eventually, it will come out because the truth never -- it can never be squashed.
SIDNER: 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 clansman he has befriended over the years have left the group more than 40 of them with a simple gesture, relinquishing their clan robes to him.
You don't think you ever will give your robe up?
PRESTON: No. I'll be buried in it. It's already sentenced down.
SIDNER: Are you sure?
SIDNER: But then this happens. Richard Preston who had never been married had Daryl Davis at his clan wedding.
DAVIS: As you stand in the presence of God --
SIDNER: This time, it was Davis giving something away, the bride.
DAVIS: Me and his friendship has been something really special in me she want me to be a part of this wedding. That's beautiful. That's a seed planted.
CHURCH: Jason Downard joins me now from Washington where these rallies took place. He is a reformed white supremacist and works with a group called Life After Hate. That organization helps people who want to leave racist groups. Thank you so much for being with us.
JASON DOWNARD, REFORMED WHITE SUPREMACIST: Thank you.
CHURCH: So knowing what you do now about these extreme hate groups, how surprised were you to find out that only a very small number about 24 or so white supremacist turned up for this Washington D.C. rally and what did that signal to you?
DOWNARD: It was very shocking that am I surprise and that to be honest because when we did our rallies back in the day, we had a lot of numbers of all types. It was mandatory to be at these rallies and stuff, and so seeing the numbers that happened today was shocking. So it makes you wonder what's really going on if they have a back-up plan or if they're up to something else. So I mean it's hard to say and Antifa was -- there's more Antifa and counter-protesters than there was the neo-Nazis, and the white supremacy movement in the far-right.
CHURCH: Right. Do you think it signals the dropping off of support or do you think there's some sort of strategy there?
DOWNARD: There's probably some kind of strategy there that there, you know, a lot of people are under law enforcement right now and they got, you know, they have (INAUDIBLE) pending charges going on, so they could be in hiding and not everybody showed up that was supposed to show up and nobody did the speaking or anything.
CHURCH: All right. And of course as we mentioned you are a reformed white supremacist, can you explain to us what makes a person hate another person just because they look a little different to them. What's the fear behind that hatred?
DOWNARD: Well, what happened to me was, you know, I was 19 years old and I went to prison and you stick with your own people. And they pulled me up and showed me family and showed me brotherhood, and everything else, so a lot of these people that find in these organizations, they're missing something in the childhood, you know, a lot of people are trying to fill these potholes after missing, so they cling to these organizations and stuff like that, and you're starting to see this in the social media.
That's how they're recruiting everybody nowadays and so it's -- they're angry with themselves and they're -- you know, they're taking it out on other people and that's what's going on in society and the world today.
[02:40:03] CHURCH: Right. So you were in prison, you were exposed to this group, you were staying with those people who looked like you. But what was it do you think that initially made you identify with white supremacist?
DOWNARD: Part of it what pulled me up was, you know, they showed a support system. They showed me love and support at the time and stuck with that. But, you know, what people are driven to hate is about is they show you a small piece of how other cultures act and they sit there and say, well, we don't want that happening in our neighborhood. We want an all-white nation, an all-white, you know, we -- the white be with the whites, the blacks with the blacks and Hispanics the same thing.
And so they feed all this stuff into your brain and you start to believe these ideology thoughts and everything else. It's like training a dog, you know, how to hate and that's why a lot of us were trained to do. We were trained how to hate and how we overcome those barriers and everything else, and learning how -- we learned how to love other people of color and stuff like that. We got to know their stories.
And so, we -- they opened our hearts and that's what we're trying to do is open the hearts of -- who are actually Nazis right now and try to understand what's their power, what's missing in their lives, so maybe we can help fill that.
CHURCH: And obviously, not everyone gets to that point, what was it that made you think I don't want to be a part of this racist group, what was it that change your mind?
DOWNARD: Part of that change my mind is that I was fighting for a lost cause. I wasn't going anywhere. And I was fighting -- I 100 percent with my people and when I needed them the most, they was never there. Yes, they were there for me in prison, but when it came to the streets, nobody was there. And what really changed my mind was, you know, I spent almost eight years in prison going in and out. I got tired of it and beat myself up with everything else.
But I have a nephew that's half black and that's what changed the heart and everything with me, so like I've seen -- it tortured him and I think he knew what I was about and it just, you know, my family is more important than what I was fighting for.
CHURCH: And your group Life After Hate helps other people like yourself realize that being a white supremacist is not the way to go. Jason Downard, thank you so much for joining us and explaining to us what is behind this hate behind some of these groups. We appreciate you.
DOWNARD: Thank you.
CHURCH: Amazing to see that shift, isn't it? To --and he's helping so many other people doing the same realizing that's not the way to go.
HOWELL: It is -- it is hopeful. It's good.
HOWELL: Yes. Still ahead here on the show, the Trump administration says that it has a plan for Middle East peace. But the question is, will it work when Mr. Trump's popularity is surging with one side of the equation but dropping sharply with the other? We'll take a look.
[02:46:19] HOWELL: In Afghanistan, there are reports of sporadic clashes in the city of Ghazni. Taliban militants launched a fierce attack there on Friday. Ghazni is on the main highway connecting Kabul with the country south.
CHURCH: A hospital official says more than 100 people have been killed since the fighting between the militants and government forces began. A U.S. military spokesman, says Afghan forces are in control of government centers, American planes, conducted five airstrikes Saturday, and four more on Sunday.
Women and children are among the dead in an explosion in a rebel-held Syrian town near the Turkish border. A Syrian volunteer force says at least, 36 people are dead and dozens more are wounded in Sarmada. The group said the explosion went off in a building that had been housing ammunition.
HOWELL: Volunteers rescued 10 people from all the rubble that you see there. Idlib province is the last strip of territory still held by rebels, opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. The Trump administration says it is working on a plan to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.
CHURCH: However, the bombastic style that's in dear Donald Trump to many Israelis is pushing Palestinians away. CNN's Oren Liebermann takes a look at how the divergent views on the U.S. President may hinder or halts the peace process.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These would be some of President Donald Trump's most loyal voters.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we officially opened the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.
LIEBERMANN: If they could only vote in the U.S., no country has been so open and so loud about supporting Trump as Israel.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Welcome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for hosting us.
NETANYAHU: It is my pleasure.
LIEBERMANN: Led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has held those ties in every meeting with American officials.
NETANYAHU: You have no greater ally than United States, that's clear. But I think you have no better ally than Israel.
LIEBERMANN: Trump has cemented his status in the minds of many Israelis following his visit to the Western Wall, his opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, and his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The political bromance looks set to continue with both leaders touting the best relations ever between Israel and America.
Despite the strong ties, there is a risk to the unabashed love-fest warns analyst, Yoas Hendel.
YOAZ HENDEL, CHAIRMAN OF THE INSTITUTE FOR ZIONIST STRATEGIES: If Trump -- President Trump, eliminates a President Obama legacy, probably the next Democratic president -- it doesn't matter who is going to be will eliminate Trump heritage and maybe legacy. And maybe we are part of it. LIEBERMANN: Palestinians have had an equally strong if very different reaction to Trump. Rallies against Trump have become increasingly common. At first, Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas showed signs of cooperation, but those soon faded as the Palestinians froze contact with the American administration. Abbas hasn't looked back since.
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRESIDENT OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE (through translator): We have cut all contact with American administration after Trump's decision on occupied Jerusalem. And those who do not like it should hit their heads against the wall.
LIEBERMANN: Abbas has shown little if any flexibility in his refusal to work with the Americans. Instead, turning to the international community.
The Trump administration is still working on its secretive Israeli- Palestinian peace deal to be presented at some point in the future. Right now, only one side is listening. Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.
[02:50:00] HOWELL: Next here on CNN NEWSROOM. NASA launches one of its most ambitious journeys ever. A one of a kind mission to touch the sun.
CHURCH: Plus, with Tiger Woods surging up the leaderboard, fans were treated to a thrilling finish at the PGA Championship. We'll have that for you in just a moment.
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: With your "WHETHER WATCH" I'm CNN Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera, across North America, a couple of areas of disturbed weather that will bring some heavy rain across the Southern United States and then, portions of the Mid-Atlantic and into New England, as well. We'll seeing some rainfall there in the form of showers and even thunderstorms, as well.
Plume of moisture coming out of the Gulf here and that has been affecting Texas also severe weather. We call that through the weekend and at Vegas things beginning to wind down at monsoonal moisture here, shrinking a bit. So, we're not going to see as much as far as any significant rain across Southwestern U.S.
Looking at British Columbia, nice there. Temps in the mid-20s with mostly sunny skies. And we'll see that as well across the central provinces of Canada with temperatures in the 20s. And we'll have the typical afternoon thunderstorms across portions of Florida including Miami.
But there is New York with the afternoon storms with temperatures in the upper 20s. That system that has been impacting the region really for the last several days finally getting kicked out here. So, that will allow for more sunshine and once that happens, beginning on Tuesday and into Wednesday, especially. We'll see temperatures recovering nicely into the lower 30s at through the afternoon.
Extreme weather continues as far as the heat in the Southwestern at U.S. and that is impacting the fires as well as course, we've been there covering that. Slightly cooler temperatures moving into the Northeast midweek.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, zero. Lift-off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And with that launch, NASA aims to make history starting its first ever mission to explore the atmosphere of the Sun.
HOWELL: We watched it in the NEWSROOM just so excited. About less than 24 hours ago at this unmanned probe called the Parker Solar Probe. It will fly closer to the Sun than any spacecraft has done before. Our Lynda Kinkade has more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 25 seconds into flight.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: The journey by a robotic probe about the size of a small car is literally, one of the hottest in science.
GERONIMO VILLANUEVA, PLANETARY SCIENTIST, NASA: We're going to be very, very close. We're going to be actually touching the particles of the Sun.
KINKADE: It's a seven-year mission with a price tag of a $1.5 billion. That will bring NASA about 6 million kilometers from the sun's surface. The craft is designed to withstand searing temperatures which could reach more than 1,300 degrees Celsius.
[02:55:11] VILLANUEVA: Not only we had to go flying very fast entering the Sun atmosphere, but we also have to go reaching with millions of degree temperatures. So, we have this a special -- a heat chill, it's going to be around five inches thick. And that thing is made of special materials.
KINKADE: The probe will eventually swoop into the solar corona, the outermost part of the sun's atmosphere known for its magnetic charges and solar winds. They're energized particles a whipped into space which interfere with certain technology systems back on earth.
VILLANUEVA: The Sun also emits a lot of particles, highly energetic particles that they affect our communication systems. So when we get a massive storm happen in the Sun, they may kill -- you know, satellite or a power grid here in our own planet. It's the first time NASA has named a mission after a living person.
Astrophysicist Eugene Newman Parker, who pioneered the study of solar winds. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.
CHURCH: Very impressive. And back on Earth, Gulf of Brooks Koepka is on a major role. The American captured his third major title and second this year winning the 100th PGA Championship. Koepka led wire- to-wire on Sunday with a final score of 16 under par.
HOWEL: What makes it even more impressive? Tiger Woods was hot on his trail. Woods shot a final round, 64 to a massive war from the crowds. He finished in second, just shy of what would have been his 15th major title.
Thank you so much being with us this hour for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. We'll be right back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anyway.