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GOP's DeSantis: Vote for Black Opponent Would "Monkey This Up"; Why McCain Asked Obama, Bush to Give Eulogies; Manafort Attorneys Ask for Change of Venue Due to Politicized Media; Buzz About Aretha Franklin's Fashion at Viewing. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 29, 2018 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He started the campaign the same way Donald Trump did. He started by trafficking in racism. And Andrew is true to the form all the way down to the toes a Floridian. He could have just said, I can't wait to have this competition to talk about the policy, to battle on what we think is fair, he's from a blue-collar family. It is so funny. All the rhetoric today is talking about this upset. Nobody is upset except for the folks who polled the wrong people. This is not surprising to us. Andrew has been doing this work. And I would just say to Ron DeSantis, shame on you. If you don't understand the history in this country with -- not even in this country, throughout the world, with putting black people in the same vain as monkeys, it's a problem. He lost a ton of business. Maybe he should be his new spokesperson because they lost business by a black boy wearing a hoodie that said monkey in the jungle or whatever it said in January. We have to get to the point where that rhetoric is not acceptable. It's not a dog whistle, it's a fog horn.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR; Ben, Congress DeSantis' team is saying to characterize it as anything else is absurd. How do you see it?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, there are two things here. First off, to the democrat, congratulations on what is history. I mean, seeing a young person, me being younger, seeing someone pull this off, being outspent, is an incredible thing to see, forget politics for a second. First, congratulations on that. Second thing here for the congressman, I don't think listening to what he said in general that it was meant as a dog whistle. However, when you do misspeak or you say something like this and clearly there are people offended, it is real simple how to handle this. You come out and you apologize and say you are sorry. And you move on from it as quickly as possible. This is one of those moments where you can say, you know what? I should have used a difference word, I apologize. It was not about racism when I said it, but let's mov, on to the general election and have a great debate. And let's have a conversation with the people of Florida. And this is a learning moment for many candidates and for the midterms coming up. We have both sideshow that have become so obsessed with never backing down from a moment, and backing down somehow shows weakness. No, it also can show strength when you realize that when there's a misstep in the campaign, and there will always be missteps, there will always be things you say that you need to apologize for. There are moments when you need to apologize. And that is what needs to happen from the congressman. RYE: Brooke, can I just say one thing?

BALDWIN: Go ahead.

RYE: Ben, do you know if we were in the same city, I would give you a hug today. That's rare.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: No, but seriously, to date, seriously, in real life, I am so glad you said that. And I want you to know, like, yesterday to us felt like it was just a new day. And I really hope what you're saying, we just continue down this path of, OK, maybe he didn't mean it that way, if he did, let me tell you all the treasurer's history he stepped upon, but I am thanking you for being honest in that sense.

FERGUSON: I think in this country we have to really take a step back. And candidates need to admit this, it is OK to say you're sorry. It is OK to say you're sorry if you offend someone. And we have become so polarized that when I talk to candidates and say, look, understand when you have a microphone in front of you 20 hours during a campaign, you're going to say something incorrectly.

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: It is the first day. That is not a good way to start.

BALDWIN: Speaking of people that are good at mea culpas, let's talk about the president. Just kidding.

He weighed in: "A failed Socialist mayor named Andrew Gillum, who has allowed crime and many problems to flourish in his city. Adding to this notion of governing by fear. Moving away from Florida, let me get to this. The president was also with this group of evangelicals yesterday and said, "People say I'm not voting because the president doesn't like Congress. It's not a question of like or dislike. It's a question they will overturn everything. They, being Democrats, overturn everything we have done and do it quickly and violently. And violently. There's violence."

Ben, to you, the White House spokesperson declined to comment on exactly what the president meant by that. But isn't that the notion of violence? That is mighty dangerous.

FERGUSON: See, when I originally saw that, what I thought was, there's going to be a violent takeover with legislation in Washington against the things that we fought so hard for. I don't think it is meant in a literal way of actual violence that is going to be out there. I think you can have one side that comes in and immediately, it's the same thing that Democrats accuse Trump of --

(CROSSTALK)

[14:35:07] BALDWIN: Hang on. I've got to stop you. It is not part of the pattern. Both sides in the wake of Charlottesville, spring of '16 when he wanted to become the nominee, if he wasn't going to be the nominee, he said it would be riots in the street. It's not a one-off. It seems to be a pattern.

RYE: Brooke, he also said if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, like he's trafficked in violence, too.

So, Ben, we were at this new day at the beginning of the segment and we lost each other already.

(LAUGHTER)

But I think the other issue you have to deal with is in this tweet about Andrew, he doesn't mention Andrew, he loves to attack black people on Twitter, especially black men. He hit Don, LeBron, now Andrew, who he's frightened by. And he traffics in the crime-ridden streets of Tallahassee. What? Has he been Tallahassee. Maybe if he left the golf course in Florida, in southern Florida, he would see --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Ouch. Ouch. He's too busy vacationing.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Ben. Close us out.

FERGUSON: When the president talks about crime, let's be clear, it is not just -- this is the part where I say, let's take a bigger look at this. The president attacks a lot of people that are white and also Republican. And if you don't believe me, look at the debate we have been having about John McCain.

BALDWIN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: There are numbers on this.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: This president is an equal-opportunity offender against people he disagrees with regardless of their political party, regardless of the race.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: So I don't think it has anything to do with race. It's a good talking point but not reality.

BALDWIN: All right, we got to go.

(CROSSTALK)

RYE: Look at the numbers. It's disproportionate. He disproportionately attacks black people. Disproportionately. (CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: We'll leave it. I felt the kumbaya in the beginning. But that's all good.

(LAUGHTER)

RYE: That's OK.

BALDWIN: Ben and Angela, thank you so much. Truly.

RYE: Thank you, Brooke.

FERGUSON: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, they were political rivals, but that didn't stop the late Senator John McCain from picking up the phone and asking a pretty big question of the former President Barack Obama, would he deliver a eulogy at his funeral? We have the story behind the story of that phone call, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:41:24] BALDWIN: Senator John McCain carefully crafted his parting lesson for the country he loved so much. Senator McCain went and made sure both are on display for his upcoming funeral. But first, he had to ask his former political rival to take part, the man who crushed his dreams of becoming president, former President Barack Obama.

So let me bring in senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, who has extraordinary color in reporting on this behind the scenes phone call.

Jeff Zeleny, like you explain, it's not like Senator McCain just picked up the phone and called the former president. They had to go through people, which is emblematic of their relationship.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No question about it. That was a central question I had. After it was announced that Barack Obama and George W. Bush would be delivering the eulogies on Saturday at the funeral, I thought, gosh, had President Obama and Senator McCain developed a relationship that we didn't have any idea about? Had they been talking privately? The answer is no. They hadn't been. So that's why on a day in early April, I'm told by friends to both men who described this to me, Senator McCain made a phone call to President Obama and asked him, he said, I have a blunt question for you. Will you speak at my funeral? Will you deliver one of the eulogies? And President Obama, I'm told, was taken aback by this and said, yes, of course, I would, John. Of course I would do this. And it was a pretty brief phone call, but it speaks to so much about what Senator McCain is trying to do with each portion of his memorial services. He's doing a bipartisan message. He's doing a less son in civility. But having two of the men who defeated him speak, he is teaching a lesson. And he was blunt about it on a message he released in the Monday before his death. He was calling for an end to the tribal warfare we are seeing. And the unspoken message in all of this is President Trump, who he made clear he didn't want at his funeral.

BALDWIN: On the ask for Bush 43, can you tell me a bit more about that? Because another former political rival, former President Bush beat him for the Republican nomination in 2000. How did that go about?

ZELENY: And, boy, that was a brutal one as well. John McCain, of course, won the New Hampshire primary back in 2000 and was cruising to a competitive race with George W. Bush back then. It was derailed in South Carolina in a tough vitriolic battle. Of course, the two Republicans were joined by the whole debate over the Iraq war at the time, no question. Senator McCain went on to support President Bush. He campaigned in 2004. I remember being on the road with him for the first time they appeared in Pensacola. You can tell the tension was pretty tough, so President Bush, I'm told, also surprised in April when he got a phone call around the same time that he, too, would be asked to eulogize a former rival who is a rival no more -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Just as you wrote, a parting lesson in American civility from the late Senator.

Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

ZELENY: Thanks, Brooke.

[14:44:43] BALDWIN: Coming up, lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, asking again for a change in venue for his next upcoming trial. Where they want it to be located and the possible defense strategy behind these requests.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Less than a month to go before the start of trial number two, Paul Manafort is, again, asking for a change of venue. Manafort has asked his trial be moved from Washington, D.C., to Roanoke, Virginia. His attorney politicized in the media satire environment that is Washington, D.C. They used a similar argument when requesting a change of venue before the first trial in Virginia, but the judge refused to move the trial.

CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, is on this.

Shimon, why would Manafort's lawyer ask for a change of venue so late in the game if they know request number one was denied?

[14:50:03] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Great question, Brooke. Just yesterday, they were all in court that they raised this issue to ask for the trial to be moved to another location. And then this morning, obviously, they filed that request. You know, it is pure strategy here. They are arguing in the court papers that there's bias here against Paul Manafort in Washington, D.C. And that they can't get a fair jury here. The judge seemingly seemed to indicate she didn't buy that argument. Obviously, she hasn't ruled yet, but it's strategy here on the part of the Manafort defense team trying to get moving into a place like Roanoke, Virginia. And perhaps to be more sympathetic to Paul Manafort. And it could be really here, the lawyers are doing what lawyers are doing trying to preserve any kind of appeal process down the line should Paul Manafort get convicted. But quite simply, I think, none of this perhaps might matter because in the end, there's some indication or no one believes the president hasn't ruled out pardoning Manafort when all this is over. We'll have to have the judge rule in this case. And the trial is set to begin on September 24th.

BALDWIN: We will talk to you all about it then.

Shimon, thank you.

Straight ahead here, CNN has new details about why the president's former attorney, Michael Cohen, chose to cut a deal with federal prosecutors. And in the end, it has everything to do with his family. We'll explain that.

But first, coming this Labor Day Monday, a CNN special event. The television premier of "RBG" as we take a closer look at the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And we are also examining how the experience of all American women has dramatically changed. And today, we look at education.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR (voice-over): Education for women has been revolutionized since the era when "RBG's" mother was in school. Celia was an excellent student, her family sent only her brother went to college. Home Ec class was there for girls when RBG was growing up. When women did attempt college, the expectation was they meet their husband there. RBG did meet Marty Ginsberg, but she also graduated with honors. Many elite colleges didn't even accept women until after the 1960s. Title IX changed everything. The act prohibited gender discrimination in federally supported education. The challenge has been to fulfill the law's promise.

RUTH BADER GINSBERG, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: To my mother, Celia Bader, I pray that I would be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when the women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.

NARRATOR: Watch "RBG" on Monday, September 3rd, at 9:00 p.m. on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:57:17] BALDWIN: They are coming by the thousands. Aretha Franklin fans paying respects to the queen of soul in the public viewing in Detroit today. And today is the last day to do so at the Charles Wright African-American Museum. The star-studded memorial service is on Friday. And so many fans waiting in line have been belting out their favorite Aretha songs as they wait.

Inside, Franklin's viewing is open casket. But there's a lot of buzz about what she's wearing, her style, the red dress, the red Louis Vuitton stilettos.

Ryan Young is our CNN national correspondent in Detroit.

You and I have been e-mailing tod6y. May goodness, she was in red yesterday, baby blue today. Costume changes for Mrs. Aretha

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's mystery and intrigue here. They wouldn't let us inside to get the image like yesterday. Then we hear the buzz like a costume change. And we are like, how is that possible? Then more started people coming out, she's wearing blue today, she's wearing blue. One woman said this is her second time here because she wanted to say something and she did make the change.

Look at the line of people stretched here. This is amazing in terms of the time. At 9:00 this morning, people were lining up. And they are energized about this. So look, it is a memorial, but at the same time, you can feel the energy.

We're going to take you on a journey here. There's so much history involved in this. When you walk up, you see Ms. Franklin.

I'm going to start with you, because the hearse back here has history. How is this connected to Ms. Aretha?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a 1940 Cadillac, the very hearse that transported her father, the late Dr. CL. Franklin, back to the cemetery in 1984.

YOUNG: And Rosa Parks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Rosa Parks.

YOUNG: So you see the history there.

Judge, you knew Aretha. In fact, all you guys knew Aretha, what was it like to lose her? And what did she mean to Detroit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She means everything to Detroit. The fact she never left was so important. The fact that we have thousands of people in this line. And most of the people are from Detroit says the story right here. She was a wonderful person. We were proud of her and happy to have her here.

YOUNG: You actually told me a story that Aretha could change the room when she walked in. What can you tell me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she would walk through a room -- the last time I remember seeing her was at the auto show. She had on a pink hat and the long dress. And everybody at the auto show stood back. And she walked out and just walked. And then when she would know you, she would look at you and nod.

YOUNG: I love it.

So there are great stories here from all of them. And they talked about royalty, the queen of soul.

Brooke, as I leave, I want to show you one thing. We can't have this story without a pink Cadillac being somewhere in the background.

BALDWIN: Oh!

YOUNG: People are stopping to take pictures. This has been a memorial --