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Some Dems Say They Wouldn't Pick Pelosi; Jordan McNair's Parents want Maryland Coach Fired; Pentagon Postpones Trump Military Parade. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 17, 2018 - 10:30   ET



REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: This is right out of the Nixon playbook.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So, on another note, Senator Rand Paul -- I'm sure you saw -- took this trip to Moscow, right? And he has come back and he said that he wants President Trump to take some of the Russian lawmakers that are currently sanctioned, and you know not allowed to come into the country off that list, because he says our biggest problem -- this is a quote, "Our biggest problem right now is no dialogue." Is that a good idea to remove some of those Russians to allow them to come to this country to talk?

HIMES: You know, Poppy, it's almost the same answer to your previous question, which is how did our politics get upside down to a point where the right, the Republican Party, which for generations has stood up against autocracy and dictators and Russia and communism, is now doing all they can to try to soften what should be a very clear message to Russia. No, the answer is not how can we take people off lists, how can we better get along. The answer is you don't get to use chemical weapons against people you don't like in the United Kingdom. You don't get to kill journalists. You don't get to mess with our elections. That's the answer.

HARLOW: So, Congressman, I mean to be clear, Rand Paul is sort of in an island - on an island with this request, right? There are plenty of Republicans in the House and in the Senate, who have been proponents of and voted for legislation to really slap Russia for their actions. So, that aside, let's talk about your party, OK? Quick yes or no answer here on this and then I want to dig deeper. You know that there are a number -- growing number of Democrats, some running, that say Nancy Pelosi does not represent the future of the party, should not be House Speaker if Dems retake the House. Yes or no, should Nancy Pelosi be speaker? Should that be the case?

HIMES: You know, that's not my decision. That's going to be one rollicking fight that we have after we take the majority in November.

HARLOW: Come on. Come on. What's your take? Yes or no, for you?

HIMES: You know what, I have not made up a decision, because I don't know who is running. So, you are not getting a yes or no out of me today. I will tell you though -- HARLOW: All right. Let me move on to this. On that point, let me move on to this because she has -- she's really good at raising money. You look at the numbers that came out this week. She has raised an eye- popping $83 million for the DCCC for 2018 for the election cycle. That's double the next closest Democrat. I wonder if you think those that outright say she should not be in leadership, she doesn't represent the party, et cetera. Maybe she's worth more to the party, do you think, than they might see?

HIMES: Poppy, far more than her ability to raise money is her operational capability, especially now. I have watched a bunch of speakers in the House in my relatively short congressional career. I have seen three of them. John Boehner was incapable of controlling his party. He got tossed out. Paul Ryan, incapable of controlling his party. Nancy Pelosi in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 did the impossible. She took a rollicking caucus that included all sorts of people from all over the country, south, north, white, black, poor, rich, and got the Affordable Care Act passed, got Dodd-Frank passed, got the Lilly Ledbetter Bill passed. I'll tell you what, forget about the fundraising. Her historical accomplishments in terms of her ability to get stuff done is without parallel.

HARLOW: But is leadership - by the way, that sounds like a yes to me. But you know, I will let you come to that another time. Is leadership - I mean, Congressman, is Democratic leadership in the House too old and too white?

HIMES: Well, Poppy, look, having said that I am a huge admirer of Nancy Pelosi's operational ability, the fact that our top three leaders are in their late '70s -- I don't care who those leaders are -- that's in fact a problem. It's a problem because, of course, you know, we are in a moment in time where young people are involved as they never have been before. These are the Parkland students getting young people involved. I don't care how good you are, there's a generational gap.

And so, again, you can ask me for a yes, no answer for what happens four months from now. But very clearly, you know, soon, the Democratic Party is going to need to get some faces and some people who can speak to people in their 40's to people in their 20's. No doubt about it.

HARLOW: But -- but to that point, it is some of those young candidates, the Alexandria Ocasio Cortez for example, who have led - you know, or at least started the abolish ICE, right? Sort of momentum here. There's a lot of momentum. You've got a lot of big named Democrats currently in the Senate in the House who have jumped on board here, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, all senators, you name it.

You have a warning for them. You say, you have now made life harder for the 60 or 70 Democrats fighting in districts we need to win if we ever want to be in the majority again. Do you think abolish ICE, for example, leaning what sounds like too far to the left in your opinion could cost your party control of the House?

[10:35:00] HIMES: My message, Poppy -- I tried to be very clear on this -- is that in 2018, our mission is very clear. We're not trying to elect a president of the United States. We're trying to win the House of Representatives. That means we're going to need to win Ms. Ocasio Cortez's district in Queens. We're also going to need to win districts in places like western Pennsylvania, in Ohio, Virginia, where quite frankly, I don't think that abolish ICE plays as well as it plays in Queens.

So, look, if that works for Ms. Ocasio Cortez in Queens, fine. Do what you need to do in your district. What I'm warning against is let's not have purity tests where we assume that a message that works in one of the bluest districts in the country is necessarily going to work for Connor Lamb in western Pennsylvania or people running out west.

HARLOW: Sure. All right.

HIMES: Give people the room to say yes or no to different ideas in their districts that allow them to win.

HARLOW: All right. It's nice to have you, Congressman. Thank you for being with me.

HIMES: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: All right. Coming up, see how the Queen of Soul used her voice to help empower and inspire the civil rights movement.


[10:40:37] HARLOW: Aretha Franklin will forever be remembered at the legendary Queen of Soul. But her music is far from her only legacy. Of course, an icon who passed away yesterday at the age of 76 in Detroit was also an integral part of the civil rights movement. Watch this.


ARETHA FRANLKIN, QUEEN OF SOUL: When Dr. King came out in the early days of Selma and Rosa Parks, I told him that I wanted to go out and travel with him and sing for him. Because I had sung for my dad and I liked to sing for Dr. King and what he is trying to do here. I appreciated what he was trying to do, bring people together. Certainly, get parody in some way and lighten up the discrimination and give people a chance to make a dollar. And so, my dad said, if that was what I wanted to do, it was OK.


HARLOW: Civil rights activist, former NAACP Chair Myrlie Evers- Williams joins me. She knew Aretha Franklin, joined her at President Obama's first ceremony. Thank you for being here.


HARLOW: Tell me about the Aretha you knew.

EVERS-WILLIAMS: I wish I could say I knew Aretha Franklin well. I knew how we shared the same spirit in terms of justice and equality and excellence. She was a hero of mine, a heroine of mine, if you will. Brave woman who took it upon herself to take a stance for justice and equality. And she paid a price for it somewhere along the way. But never, never did she cease her efforts to try to see that people of all races, creed and color were shown as who they were, human beings with opportunities to achieve and to enjoy the promise of America, a very strong, a very brave woman. We just miss her terribly. But she's leaving so much in terms of her music and her memories and the gifts that she made over the years.

HARLOW: She really is. I was struck in reading all of the tributes to her this morning. The last paragraph of the "New York Times" piece on her, which by the way, as it should, spanned three pages, right, in the actual newspaper, here is what it reads. Quote, "Despite the world's bereavement over her death, is it possible that we have taken her for granted, that in failing to make her president, a saint or her own country, we still might not have paid her enough respect. Just a little bit."

What do you think?

EVERS-WILLIAMS: I think that's true. The word respect is enormous and it really captures what Aretha Franklin was and what she did and what I think will carry forth into generations yet to come. The word respect is so strong and so dynamic. It was very important during that time of the height of the civil rights movement. But if we look at what is happening today, that word, that song still speaks to so many things, not only in terms of civil rights, women's rights, all of the issues that America is facing today.

Aretha Franklin was one in millions. Her songs, her words, her deeds, how she gave herself in carrying forth those things that she believed in and that she believed in America, that she believed in her own people. That will never, ever leave us. It will never leave us.

[10:45:00] HARLOW: So what's -

EVERS-WILLIAMS: I think of the times that she worked endlessly to help support an organization that I also was at the helm of for a while, the NAACP. There were times when people said, Aretha, you need to be just a little bit more different, a little more sophisticated. And she said, I am who I am, accept me or not. People loved her for that. I believe the song that she sang, "Respect," will be one that will be carried out throughout the ages.

HARLOW: What was the Aretha Franklin soundtrack to your life? What song is it?

EVERS-WILLIAMS: I think perhaps "Respect." I loved all of her songs because it gave momentum to life, it gave momentum to justice. She sang from her heart. There were challenges to America, challenges to people, challenges to women. She supported all of those efforts. And I think she will be remembered forever for those things and her teachings and her songs and in her words.

Aretha Franklin lives, and she will continue to do so. And there will be young women particularly who will continue to follow her. There were times when Aretha was not looked upon as well as she should have been, particularly when African-American women were struggling so hard to be recognized in terms of dress and performance and all of this. She stood up for who she was and what she believed in. She helped in the NAACP, which at one time I was the head of that. She was there to help us financially. She was there to help us in other ways. I recall meeting her again at Dr. King's funeral. She was an activist and a strong one at that.

HARLOW: She was. We are all thankful to her. And I would be remiss not to say how thankful we are to you and to your late husband, Medgar Evers, for all you did to fight and have done and do today, you, for civil rights. Thank you, Myrlie.


HARLOW: I appreciate you being with me.

EVERS-WILLIAMS: I appreciate that.

HARLOW: We'll be right back.


[10:52:01] HARLOW: The parents of the University of Maryland football player who died are speaking out this morning saying the team's coach never should be allowed to coach again. Let's go to Andy Scholes. He has more on this morning's bleacher report. Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. A 19- year-old, Jordan McNair died back in June, 15 days after suffering a heatstroke after a grueling football practice. Maryland's school president came out and said the school was taking legal and moral responsibility for Jordan's death, apologizing to McNair's parents. This morning his parents joined CNN's "New Day" and they say the head coach DJ Durkin should be fired.


MARTIN MCNAIR, FATHER OF JORDAN MCNAIR: Initially, you need to get rid of the head coach Durkin. He needs to go. He needs to resign. He needs to be terminated. There's no way that as a parent you send your child knowingly into an environment where your child will get bullied, knowingly. If we had any idea that that would be the case or we would have made another decision.


SCHOLES: Durkin is currently on administrative leave while the school continues its investigation into the circumstances surrounding McNair's death. ESPN reported last week that Maryland's football program had a toxic culture, detailing allegations of verbal abuse, bullying and a general disregard for the players' well-being. Durkin has not commented on the ESPN report since being put on leave.

And McNair's parents have started the Jordan McNair Foundation. Their goal is to try to promote awareness and educate parents and soon- athlete about heat-related illnesses. You can check out their mission at

The Denver Broncos are in the market for a backup quarterback. But they won't be signing Colin Kaepernick. The team's manager John Elway said he tried to sign Kaepernick before and it didn't work out.


JOHN ELWAY, DENVER BRONCOS GENERAL MANAGER: Colin had his chance to be here. We offered him a contract. He didn't take it. So, you know, as I said at my deposition -- I don't know if I'm legally able to say this - but he had his chance to be here. He passed it.


SCHOLES: And up for context, Elway tried to work out a deal to trade for Kaepernick before the 2016 season, which is the year Kaepernick started his protest. He couldn't agree on a pay cut so Kaepernick remained with the 49ers. So, Poppy, you know, Kaepernick still has not received a contract offer since he started that protest. And apparently, his talks with the Broncos a couple of years ago maybe burned some bridges and that's what Elway is referring to.

HARLOW: And his skills would show that he is among the 90 best quarterbacks, right, out there right now. Andy, thanks, my friend.

Quick break. I'll be right back.


[10:57:40] HARLOW: The Vatican has broken its silence on a grand jury report this week detailing rampant sexual abuse and cover ups by the catholic church in Pennsylvania. Pressure has been building on the pope to say something. About this report that accuses more than 300 so-called predator priests of abusing, sometimes raping more than 1,000 children.

The Vatican has come out now finally and said this. "The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith."

The Pennsylvania attorney general says he appreciates the remorse but hopes the church will embrace the grand jury's recommendations.

Also, today, President Trump has canceled plans for a military parade on Veteran's Day this year and blasted city officials in Washington for the cost estimate here, right? Millions and millions of dollars. In a series of tweets, the president said that was very, very high, ridiculously high the cost and blamed leaders in Washington.

In a heated response the mayor of Washington sent out a tweet saying the district estimates the parade will cost the city just about $22 million. The Pentagon says it will consider whether or not to have a parade next year. So, stay tuned. Thanks so much for being with me today and all week. I will see you back here Monday. "At This Hour" with Kate Bolduan starts now. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We are following some breaking news at this hour. President Trump is on his way out from the White House and he is stopping by to speak with reporters as he goes. The tape that is playing back will be coming in any moment. We will bring it to you as soon as it comes. And there are a lot of questions facing the president this morning. Let's discuss right now with Abby Philip. Let's go to the White House. Abby Philip is standing by. Well, actually, let's go straight to the president walking over to reporters as he was heading over to Marine One. Let's listen in.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to New York. We're going to New Jersey for work. It's going to be all work. I think you see what's happened. The economy is maybe better than it has ever been. The numbers are coming out the best they have ever had. We just came out with youth numbers. They have been just fantastic. Off the chart. We're very happy about that. And I think for that reason, I think in November we are going to do extremely well, extremely well. I'd like to see twice, but we're going to see. This took place when I had, as you know, the world's top executives among the world's top executives and the head of -