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White Supremacist Rams Car Through Crowd, Kills One Woman. Clashes at White Supremacist Rally. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 12, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. John Berman here. You're watching CNN special live coverage of the violence in Virginia. Police have now been given the authority to institute a curfew in Charlottesville after a day of violent clashes sparked by white supremacist and neo-Nazis, members of the Klan, marching and then counter-protests against them.
There was this fighting you're looking at in the streets right now. And then there was this, a car plowing into a crowd.
BERMAN: You can hear the terror in their voices. They are badly hurt. Oh my God, people are badly hurt. In fact, one person was killed, a 32-year-old woman, mowed down in that accident, 19 others were injured.
Police say, this is the suspected driver, now in custody, 20-year-old, James Alex Fields, Jr. He is accused of second-degree murder and other charges as well.
Now earlier today, the Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe delivered an emotional rebuke to the white supremacist behind the violence. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY MCAULIFFE, GOVERNOR of VIRGINIA: You came here today to hurt people. And you did hurt people. But my message is clear, we are stronger than you. You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America.
BERMAN: All right. The president made a statement today as well. He condemned hatred, but did not make clear from whom or by whom. He did not say who was to blame.
DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.
BERMAN: Hatred and bigotry on many sides, he said, equating the neo- Nazis and white supremacists who marched and those who counter- protested. Let's go to the streets right now in Charlottesville and get a sense of the scene. It is after 10 pm there right now. CNNs Brian Todd is there. Brian, what's the latest.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, we can safely say this is a city on edge tonight, waiting to see if anything else is going to happen with these white supremacist groups monitoring - the local authorities are monitoring whether any members of those groups are still in the area. They're not really willing to give us information on that at the moment, but they're watching the scene very closely,
We're told by local officials that between 600 and 700 police officers are deployed on the streets tonight. There could be a curfew. The police chief has the authority to institute one. He has not done that as of now.
Let's give you some more information about this suspect. He is identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20 years old from Maumee, Ohio. He is booked in the Albemarle County regional jail. This information coming to us from Martin Kumer, the superintendent of the Albemarle Charlottesville County regional jail.
James Alex Fields, 20 years old. He is charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, one count of failure to stop in an accident that resulted in a death.
And, John, we can give you some witness accounts because myself and our other CNN teams here have spoken to at least four witnesses who were here and saw this horrific car strike.
And as I explained, what the witness accounts have told us, I can ask for our photojournalist Jeremy Harlan to zoom in on the very spot where this occurred, the two vehicles that the suspect struck are still there at the corner of Water & 4th Streets here in Charlottesville.
That dark Honda van facing us here was struck by the car behind it, which was struck by the perpetrator's vehicle. And, of course, we know now that he struck and killed a 32-year-old female pedestrian and injured several others.
But it's the witness accounts that really kind of bring home the horror of that moment. The witnesses tell us that they saw his car kind of sitting there for a while, then they saw him backup and reposition his vehicle and then he gummed the vehicle down the street.
[10:05:00] One witness told me he thought he was going at least 50 miles an hour as he headed toward that crowd just behind me here. So, John, just horrific accounts of the violence here of what the suspect allegedly did.
We also have some new information tonight, John, on the two people who died in the helicopter crash. They were identified by the Virginia State police as Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48 years old, and Pilot Berke Bates. He was to turn 41 years old tomorrow, John. These are two state troopers who died in a helicopter crash. They are including those in a total of three people who died in connection with these protests today because they were operating a Virginia State helicopter in service of support of the police in this event, John.
BERMAN: So, three lives lost today and dozens more injured. And, again, one man James Alex Fields being held right now, accused of second-degree murder. What we do not know yet is if he in any way was connected to the various hate groups marching over the last 24 hours.
Brian Todd for us on the streets, which are so far quiet tonight. Brian, thank you very, very much.
Former President Barack Obama has put out a statement of source. What he did is he wrote these notes on twitter with the quotes from Nelson Mandela. He wrote "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate. And if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
Now, President Trump actually spoke of love and condemned hate and violence and bigotry earlier, but there were certain things he did not say. Here's parts of his remarks right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country, not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. Has been going on for a long, long time.
BERMAN: Now, those words, many sides, many sides, sparking some controversy over the last several hours.
White House correspondent Athena Jones is near the president's resort in New Jersey tonight. Athena, what's the latest from the White House?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, we haven't heard anything new from the president. But, you're right, drew a lot of attention and criticism. I asked several White House officials what the president meant in saying that. Who was he referring to.
An official told me the president was condemning hatred, bigotry, and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter-protesters today.
Now, that last sentence is true. There was a confrontation between the protesters and counter-protesters, but I don't think a lot of people would agree that both sides were expressing hatred and bigotry.
People have criticized the president's remarks there because he is equating those who were marching in the streets with Confederate flags, carrying flags with Nazi emblems, some wearing Nazi armbands, some wearing make America great again hats, some carrying Trump campaign signs or signs supporting the president.
And also, the people last night, the group of white nationalists who carried torches to the campus of the University of Virginia, he at no point in his remarks specifically spoke about what - the facts on the ground.
He didn't talk during his remarks about the fatality that by then had been confirmed, that first fatality of the young woman who was run over by that car that plowed through the crowd and he didn't talk about the reason for the conflict on the ground in Virginia. He didn't mention white nationalism or white nationalist. He didn't mention white supremacy.
And this, a lot of people feel that the president didn't use the strongest possible terms to condemn what we've been seeing in Charlottesville. This is criticism coming from both sides of the aisle.
We're also seeing Republicans go further than the president. For instance, Speaker Paul Ryan, ten hours ago, posted a tweet saying that "views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry."
Just two hours ago, the speaker went a bit further saying, "Our hearts are with today's victims. White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated."
One more tweet I want to read to you also from a Republican senator, Cory Gardner from Colorado. Directly talking to the president, saying "Mr. President, we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacist and this was domestic terrorism."
So, it has not gone unnoticed that the president has not condemned explicitly these white nationalists. And I should note, John, that this is a president who has not been shy about repeatedly criticizing a long list of people, whether it's Republicans or Democrat.
People like Hillary Clinton, like President Barack Obama, also his fellow Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senator John McCain of Arizona, the list goes on.
[10:10:10] He has, of course, called the media, the enemy of the people.
Not on that list is any condemnation of Nazis or neo-Nazis, white supremacists or white nationalists.
And I want to note that I have asked several White House officials where the president stands on white nationalism and whether he has any plans to issue any sort of statement condemning white nationalism. I haven't heard back from them. We should note the president ignored questions about whether he wants support from white nationalists after that brief press appearance.
John? BERMAN: All right. Athena Jones for us near the president's resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.
We should note that, this evening, the president did tweet condolences to the family of the young woman who was killed, mowed down on the streets there.
Joining me now to talk about this day is David Toscana. He represents Charlottesville and the Virginia House of Delegates. He was the Mayor of Charlottesville for a time as well.
Representative, thank you so much for being with us tonight. Again, our thoughts are with the people of Charlottesville. Give me a sense of the evening there now. It is after dark. Has calm set in?
DAVID TOSCANO, VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES DEMOCRATIC LEADER: It's eerily calm. I was down on the mall just a few minutes ago.
There is a small candlelight vigil that is going on at the spot where the young woman was killed by this supremacist, apparent domestic terrorist incident.
But it's very, very quiet here. I think people are hoping for the best that the white supremacists do not appear again and do some things that would be disruptive in our community, but the police presence is very strong and, hopefully, they'll deter them from coming back.
BERMAN: You mentioned the man who is being held tangentially, James Alex Fields, 20 years old from Maumee, Ohio. He is accused of second- degree murder, but you called him a white supremacist.
We don't know yet, do we? Do we know if he was connected to the marches themselves or to any of the groups there? Is that something you know as of this evening?
TOSCANO: We don't know for sure. But my understanding is that folks have looked up his Facebook page and looked at things that he's been posting that suggested he is part of this white supremacist group.
And at first, people were not sure, and I think we always have to reserve judgment, but it certainly looks that way. And if it is that way, it's clearly an incident of domestic terrorism that has to be called out in the strongest possible ways by everyone, every leader in this country, including the president of the United States.
BERMAN: And what is your take, sir, on the response so far of the president of the United States, who did condemn hate, bigotry and violence, but condemned it from what he called many sides, many sides.
TOSCANO: It's very interesting. I have gotten lots of calls during the day for my colleagues in the general assembly in Virginia, both Republicans and Democrats. And I have heard people on various programs really talking about white supremacy and how we cannot let that stand in this great country of ours. But we didn't hear that from the president tonight and that was kind of shocking because it was an opportunity that he had to speak very clearly to the American public that we don't tolerate this kind of movement in America and that we have to put that genie back in the bottle, the violence and hate that has pervaded this country for a long time, but especially over the last about a year.
It is deeply disturbing. And any violence and hate that's related to white supremacy has to be condemned in the strongest possible way.
BERMAN: To add on to this, so we got a statement a short time ago from Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas. And he said the Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists are repulsive and evil and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out.
And what may be more interesting there is he said that he urges the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism. Would you like to see the Department of Justice step in here?
TOSCANO: Well, I think it would really be worth looking at carefully because I think that if this gentleman is - gentleman, I shouldn't use that word - but if this is a white supremacist and he is linked at all to what is going on today in Charlottesville, it may be grounds for federal prosecution, and that would implicate the Justice Department and the president would have to send a very clear message that he would like the prosecution if the facts justify.
Hopefully, we'll take a look at the facts and see if it justifies some kind of other charges that would be federal in nature and not just state charges.
[10:15:05] BERMAN: Representative, so many people know Charlottesville because of the University of Virginia, one of the finest institutions of learning in our country, with so much history. You served as mayor of that small city. You represented in the Virginia House of Delegates. What does this day mean for you?
TOSCANO: Oh, it's a very disturbing day because I think a lot of people who watch on television might get the wrong impression about Charlottesville and the people who live here.
The people who live here are very clear in their views about the support for diversity and tolerance, non-violence. There are a number of demonstrations over the last few days, have been very non-violent in general, prayer services, people giving to the community.
This is a very giving community, very tolerant community, very progressive community. We're going to tell that story to people and we don't want to have impressions of Charlottesville be sullied by white nationalism, white supremacists coming from outside our region and outside our state to play out their own political agenda that we don't embrace in anyway.
BERMAN: All right. David Toscano, representative to the Virginia House of Delegates, former mayor of Charlottesville. Thank you very much for being with us. Again, we wish you a calm and peaceful night.
TOSCANO: Thank you very much.
BERMAN: We are following the developments in Charlottesville, Virginia. Three people killed including one woman mowed down on the street. We're getting new information about a suspect now being held, charged with second-degree murder, and we're getting new reaction, political reaction from around the country, from Republicans breaking with the White House or at a minimum urging more action from this administration. Stay with us.
BERMAN: All right. We're watching Charlottesville, Virginia tonight to see if there is a new flare up of the violence there. Three people are killed. One 32-year-old woman who was mowed down on the streets.
[10:20:09] This violence sparked by white supremacists, neo-Nazis who have been marching who have been marching and rallying in this city for the last 24 hours.
Two law enforcement officials, by the way, killed in a helicopter crash connected with the response to the violence and demonstrations on the street there. So, a total of three people dead, more than a dozen injured.
You're looking at live pictures of the scene of that incident with the car. Again, the driver plowed through the street. There is one suspect in custody, James Alex Fields, 22-year-old for Maumee, Ohio, charged now with second-degree murder.
I want to talk about this day, the significance about what it means for Charlottesville race relations and the United States of America.
I am joined now by Van Jones, a former official in the Obama administration; Paris Dennard is Former Director of Black Outreach in the White House under President George W. Bush; Ken Cuccinelli, Former Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, now President of the Senate Conservatives Fund; and Joshua DuBois, Former White House Religious Affairs Director for President Obama. Quite a grouping right now.
And Ken Cuccinelli, I want to start with you here for a variety of reasons. You are from Virginia, the former attorney general there. And you were a big supporter of Senator Ted Cruz during the presidential race.
And I bring that up because we just got a statement from Senator Cruz a short time ago who urges the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism. Do you agree with Senator Cruz? Go ahead.
KEN CUCCINELLI, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA: Well, first of all, everyone should know that the police in both Charlottesville and Albemarle and their prosecutors are exceptionally capable of charging murder crimes themselves. To the extent the attack today, with the car in particular, turns out to have been premeditated, if that is the case, then I think someone who came from Ohio to Virginia to do that, it would be appropriate to bring the federal government in.
But understand there's going to be no lack of effort and resolve on the part of Virginia law enforcement and Virginia prosecutors in seeking full punishment.
And the list of charges that you read off earlier in the show is only the beginning. I promise you. There will be 10, 20, 30 more charges as this all settles out. The initial charges are really just for holding the guy in the local regional jail there, but he is going to prosecuted. And I expect he'll be in jail for the rest of his life.
BERMAN: Second-degree murder is the most serious of those charges. Do you think -?
CUCCINELLI: There is going to be dozens of other felony charges.
BERMAN: Absolutely. And I do understand. I do understand. I'm just getting your opinion. If it is proven that he is connected to one of these hate groups, then do you feel that some kind of federal domestic terror charge would be merited.
CUCCINELLI: Well, it certainly appears that the reason he did this was because he hated the people in front of him. And from my perspective, if ideas are the reason you're trying to kill people, that's terrorism.
Now, we do have a state terrorism charge. You may recall the sniper, the Beltway sniper was prosecuted in Virginia in my home county actually and, well, he got the death penalty.
So, we have done this before in Virginia. It's never pleasant to have to deal with this. But I'm resisting your question because we are perfectly capable of handling this in Virginia.
I understand why Senator Cruz, he is a senator, he wants to bring the federal angle in and the Department of Justice -
BERMAN: Not just Ted Cruz.
CUCCINELLI: - from my fellow panelists. And there are absolutely laws that make it plausible for the federal government to press charges.
My point is Virginia can handle this. They have done it before and we can do it this time.
BERMAN: I understand your point there. Van Jones, do you - the importance of calling this domestic terror if, in fact, as we said, there is proof that the suspect being held is connected to one of these hate groups?
VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR GREEN JOBS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think it's critical. And part of the thing is you now have ISIS tactics in the streets of America.
ISIS is a group that's been using cars as weapons to run over innocent people overseas. ISIS tactics being brought to the United States, but not by Muslims, by white supremacist.
And the problem that we have now is that you have Nazis marching down the streets in America with torches and when Americans go out and say, you know what, we don't think that's appropriate. Our grandparents, our great-grandparents lost their lives to stop the Nazis, Dr. King lost his life to stop the Klan. We don't think it's appropriate.
[10:25:05] People are now being killed. You have a woman who was killed apparently, possibly by a Nazi in the United States and yet the president of the United States has not been as forthright in condemning that as he condemns the US news media and politicians that he doesn't like.
And so, I think that tonight is a very important moment. I think people are - it's just now beginning, I think, to sink in with people that we've gotten to a place where somebody is willing to take a human life to save a statue, a statue of a Confederate leader.
I don't care how much you like the Confederacy. It's not worth killing a human being over, and yet that's where we are. And we need real moral leadership and moral clarity right now and we have not yet gotten that from the White House.
BERMAN: These developments in Charlottesville took place over the vote of removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, which still stands in Charlottesville, but is scheduled to be taken down at some point.
Paris Dennard, do you - again, words that the president of the United States did not use today include domestic terror. He did not call this terrorism? More importantly, he did not call out white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan for their role in the violence that we've seen over the last 24 hours? Is that significant? PARIS DENNARD, FORMER DIRECTOR OF BLACK OUTREACH UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I don't know - first of all, I want to say my condolences to the people who have been impacted by this senseless tragedy.
I live in Virginia. So, this is very terrible and it hits close to home. You can't drive in Virginia on the highway without seeing a massive Confederate flag on the highway from someone's personal property. So, this is something that we see and face regularly.
But I will say this about President Trump. I read the entire speech that he delivered today. I think that's important for our listeners, our viewers to actually read all of it because we are a soundbite, sound clip society, and so we can only play a clip on here.
But read the whole thing. And I think the totality of his remarks were appropriate and measured.
I also went back, John, and looked at what President Obama did immediately after the Charleston incident which was by a white supremacist, which was an act of domestic terrorism which we now know.
And President Obama did not use the term neo-Nazi white supremacist. He did not go into the same type of word choice that we are asking now President Trump to do. I think what we see now is the presidents have to exercise good judgment and caution in terms of what words that they use when they don't know all of the facts.
I am certain that after all the facts come in about this horrific, disgusting incident that happened in Virginia today, the president will use the appropriate terms to describe exactly what happened just as President Obama did and did not do quite frankly immediately after that senseless act.
BERMAN: Josh, actually go ahead.
JOSHUA DUBOIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Can I speak to that? President Obama certainly did not say many sides, Paris and everyone.
The president's statement today was an absolute moral disaster. He created a false equivalency with and functionally normalized actual Nazis.
These are people who are walking around with swastikas on their arms, who in their ideal world would actually annihilate blacks and Jews and he could not find it within himself to call them out.
And the reason is - let's stop playing games here. The reason is because he's been flirting with them and winking and nodding at them for two years. They are an important part of his coalition. And so, he could not bring himself to do that because he needs them right now with his support diminishing -
DENNARD: So, Josh, why did President Obama do the same thing after Charleston? Why didn't he do the same thing? Was he winking and was he nodding? Be real.
BERMAN: Hang on one second. One at a time, guys. One at a time. Josh finish, then Paris, then Van.
DUBOIS: President Trump needs these folks as a part of his coalition and he brought them into the West Wing of the White House.
Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, this is who he is. This is who President Trump is. And they're being (INAUDIBLE 4:20).
DENNARD: You will not be on this network and call these people to be Nazis or white supremacists. Somebody cut that off.
BERMAN: Hang on, hang on, hang on, hang on, hang on. Stop. Everyone -
DENNARD: That Sebastian Gorka, that Stephen Miller or that Steve Bannon -
DUBOIS: I wish that you were just as enraged by -
BERMAN: Josh, hang on. Josh, hang on.
DENNARD: Excuse me, Josh, I wish you would be just as enraged with President Obama -
DUBOIS: I wish that you were just as enraged -
DENNARD: - not using that language.
DUBOIS: I was with President Obama in Charleston. I was standing in front of the coffin of the pastor who was killed there. I saw as tears welled in President Obama's eyes. Donald Trump does not have that moral fiber in his body to come close to that.
DENNARD: You do not know President Trump and you do not know what's in his heart.
DUBOIS: And the reason is that because he has toyed with white supremacist for two years.
[10:30:04] BERMAN: Josh, let Paris respond.
DENNARD: Why you refuse to answer - why won't Josh answer answer the question?
DUBOIS: I'll answer any question you need, Paris.
DENNARD: Why did President Obama refuse to call them white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anything of the nature right after the speech.
DUBOIS: Paris, read his speech in Charleston.
DENNARD: I just - no, no, no. Not the speech in Charleston. It was days later. I talked about immediately after. Let's keep there. I will not let people sit here and have a different standard for President Trump (INAUDIBLE 0:28 30) President Obama. It's wrong -
BERMAN: Hang on, guys. Everyone, stop. Everyone, stop. Everyone, stop.
DENNARD: (INAUDIBLE) talk about my integrity.
DUBOIS: I am just talking about the facts, man. That these folks are marching in the streets of Charlottesville -
DENNARD: Read the speech that he gave immediately after Charleston -
VAN JONES: Guys, let me just say a couple of things.
BERMAN: All right, guys. Guys, guys, guys - Van, go ahead.
(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: Van, go ahead.
VAN JONES: This is this is where we've come to. We've got two of the greatest guys in American politics yelling at each other, you've got people who are watching this who are crying or in hospital right now in waiting rooms, wondering if their friends are going to make it, and we are arguing like the way we're arguing.
And this is the danger of where we're going. We're beginning to spiral away from each other. Paris makes a fair point. And I wanted to tell you why I had a different reaction. You can tell me, Paris, if you think if you think if I am right or wrong.
With the situation with Obama, he's been so clear in terms of the civil rights position and also that shooting when it happened, it wasn't happening in the context of actual neo-Nazi mobilization and a big, big global attention to a neo-Nazi mobilization.
So, I think that Trump, for two reasons, I think he would have been better advised to speak to it directly. Number one, there is a little bit of monkey on his back around this kind of neo-Nazi stuff. He has re-tweeted some posts he shouldn't have re-tweeted.
So, there is a monkey on his back in the middle of a big neo-Nazi mobilization. So, I think it's a different context. And I think, honestly, the country is in a much worse position now.
And we need Donald Trump and we need every leader to speak from their hearts and say, listen, people out there, they're scared, they're upset, but you cannot be out here flying Nazi flags in America and have my support. You cannot be out here driving cars over innocent people and have my support.
And, Paris, I think there were some good things in his speech today that were overlooked, but there was a big, big omission there, Paris, and I think he hurt a lot of people's feelings with that, and that's I think where we are coming from.
I think we can talk about as friends. We're all friends here. I don't think we have to get as far down the road we got a few minutes ago.
DUBOIS: Yes. I think we can be friends, but we also have to speak truth and love.
VAN JONES: That's fine.
DUBOIS: And the truth and love, Van and Paris, is that Donald Trump has played with these fires for two years and now he is beginning to get burned.
BERMAN: Ken Cuccinelli, go head.
CUCCINELLI: If we want to look ahead, this is a problem that America has had to deal with since our beginning and we still have to deal with it. And the nature of human nature is that it's going to go on forever and we need to be able to figure out how to address the problem.
Calling Steve Bannon a white supremacist and Steve Miller a white supremacist is not a constructive discussion. It's an instant firebomb in a discussion.
And frankly, look, these folks, they came to Charlottesville with their evil agenda and to get attention. You didn't see a lot of women in the pictures of their rally, did you?
These are angry young white men. They are really, really angry. But you know who else they are? They're desperate - Van, let me finish. They're desperate for attention and they are getting tons of it today, tons of it.
We need to be condemning this and we need to be doing it without elevating them in the media.
VAN JONES: Can I say three things, Ken? I agree with you that you've got some desperation here. But I think three things. First of all, I do think that personnel is fair to question.
I think Bannon has said some stuff and has been associated with stuff that is very troubling to people. I don't think it's off the table to raise that.
Second, beyond personnel, there's policy. You do have Donald Trump saying that they're going to move their attention away from these white nationalist groups from a counterterrorism point of view to focus more on Muslims. That decision now looks very, very bad.
And so, I think there is a policy problem here when the president is only seeing terrorism from Muslims and cannot see terrorism from national white supremacist groups.
But the third piece of what you're saying, there is something going on in this country where there is a level of anger and alienation, you see it with some of our young white brothers, and this is not the right way. And there needs to be real leadership.
Ken, you show much better leadership on this stuff in your state than you are seeing from Donald Trump. And I think we have to be honest. If we want this president to do a good job, if he can do a good job, we've got to tell him when he's doing right and tell him when he is doing wrong.
[10:35:06] These young men need to hear from this president that this is not the way to go. I have got a better plan for you. Democrats have a better plan for you. Anybody has got a better plan for you than Nazis.
When he doesn't say that, I think it is bad.
DUBOIS: And let's listen to what these young men are saying about Trump's statement. If you look at "The Daily Stormer." I looked at it before we came in. I almost cringed to look - it's terrible, but they're pleased with his statement. Look online. I'm not making this up.
I won't repeat it back to anyone. Just spend some time after this segment. They think that he was winking and nodding to them by not condemning them. They thought that he was talking about progressives and Antifa.
I'm not making this up. Folks, we know what's going on here. This is not a game. And he is so quick to condemn anyone else. He spent more time talking about Rosie O'Donnell or Mitch McConnell in the last 24 hours than he spent talking about Nazis and white supremacists.
BERMAN: Paris? He isn't talking about Rosie O'Donnell or Mitch McConnell today, by the way, but over -
DUBOIS: Yesterday, he was talking about Mitch McConnell. Paris, go ahead.
DENNARD: When I worked for President Bush, he talked about the fact that he was unable to legislate love and was unable to force people to love your neighbor. One of the things he always said in the face of these instances that happen.
President Trump said something similar at the end of his remarks today. He is talking about the fact that he just wished, above all else, that (INAUDIBLE 1:25) way to love one another.
If any white supremacist, any person that read that speech, when the president clearly denounce hatred, bigotry and violence though that was a wink and a nod, they are doing that on purpose to try to convince Americans that somehow President Trump is on their side or that he supports them or that Republicans or people who support President Trump agree with him.
At the end of the day, we have got to do what Senator Scott has called for us to do, is to sit down and to listen with people that don't look like us, that don't talk like us, and they have a lighter or darker hue than us, bring them to the table and come together, and not use vicious, hateful speech and a cast huge clouds of doubt and suspicion on people's character and their morals.
Let's call out what needs to be called out, but let's get the facts and let's be honest and be fair. That's all I'm saying.
BERMAN: The words many sides, when he talked about the bigotry and hatred from many sides today, was that the right word choice today?
DENNARD: I think if you - I watched the speech. And President Trump ofttimes goes off script and adds things to his remarks. I believe, in watching it, he was talking about on many sides, referring to the violence because there was a violence - and that's fact - on many sides, on both sides. I think that that is what he was referring to.
Now, in hindsight, was it the best thing to say? Probably not because it was misconstrued. But you misconstrue that if you want to see that, if you want to hear that. If you come to watch that speech or read the speech and think that the president is a racist or think the president is winking and nodding, as Josh has alluded, then that's what you hear.
But if you stop and say that he was referring to the violence on both sides, then you can say that's probably what he was referring to in a off-the-cuff comment.
DUBOIS: Maya Angelou once said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. And, Paris, I think what you just said is fascinating because, you're right, when he was on script, when he was reading the paper, he was just fine, he was good. I agree with most of what he said.
But when he went off-script, when he spoke from the heart, that's where the many sides came in. This was from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. That's where - that's when he said the many sides, the false equivalency is when he went off script.
So, I'm not saying that he can't change, but someone, maybe you, maybe his evangelical advisors needs to pull him close and say, this is a moral problem here, this is a moral disaster for you to have these wink and nod, saddling up to white supremacists. And this is something that is going to bring us back to a dark and evil place that we are hoping to leave in this country.
I am not saying he can't change. I hope he does, but (INAUDIBLE 4:12) deal with the reality of the situation right now.
DENNARD: I think it's appropriate for the president to remind all citizens, just like Mrs. Trump, our first lady put in her tweet, about violence. You can't - if you have a disagreement, we are Americans, you have right to free speech, you can assemble, you can do whatever.
But you are not - it was not appropriate, it's not right to be violent on either side. Dr. King - as we ofttimes quote, Dr. King was criticized because he had a peaceful movement and people often said that when he came to the town that he was bringing violence, even though he wasn't the purpose of the violence, he wasn't bringing - people reacted towards him. Dr. King was smart. Dr. King was correct.
You cannot have - you can protest, you could be against the government, you can be against what's happening, but you do not have to resort to violence. And Dr. King's people marched with him, never resorted to violence and that was what President Trump was making sure to clarify tonight.
[10:40:06] BERMAN: Here's what we're going to do. Guys, stick around. We're going to take a quick break. We discuss some new information in.
The mother of the suspect, the man who drove that car and is now accused of second-degree murder for killing a 32-year-old woman, the mother is speaking out. We'll have the details coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BERMAN: All right. We have some breaking news we want to report here at CNN. This has to do with the violence we've seen in Virginia over the course of the day. Three people killed there including one woman mowed down on the street.
There have been three arrests, individuals charged with varying degrees of violent activity, disorderly conduct, misdemeanor assault and battery, one person with a concealed handgun. Two of these arrests are from people not from Virginia, two people out of state, one Virginia resident.
This is in addition to the man now being held charged with second- degree murder for mowing down a 32-year-old woman on the streets.
That man you see on the screen right there is James Alex Fields, 22 years old for Maumee, Ohio, which brings us to the second piece of breaking news that we are hearing from the mother of this individual.
[10:45:00] I believe Brian Todd is with us now. Brian, what does the mother say?
TODD: Right, John. Some information here from the mother of James Alex Fields. Her name is Samantha Bloom. She spoke to the "Toledo Blade" newspaper and a pretty riveting account of what she said to her son apparently as he was leaving to come to this rally.
Samantha Bloom, Mr. Fields' mother, according to the "Toledo Blade", she expressed disbelief upon learning that her son was involved in this incident today. She told the "Toledo Blade" newspaper that he told her last week that he was going to a alt-right rally in Virginia, but he didn't know what it was about.
Her quote to the "Toledo Blade" is, I tried to stay out of his political views. I don't get too involved. Then she said "I told him to be careful" if they're going to rally to make sure he is doing it peacefully, she said, before, according to the newspaper, she broke down in tears. That is Samantha Bloom, the mother of this chief suspect James Alex Fields.
You gave a little bit of information on him, John. What we can tell you, 20 years old - he could be 20 or 22 from Maumee, Ohio. He is charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, one count of failure to stop in an accident which resulted in a death. He is from Maumee, Ohio.
And some of this information coming to us from Martin Kumer, the Superintendent of the Albemarle County regional jail.
And again, what we can also tell you about some of these arrests tonight, you mentioned them a moment ago, John, three people arrested, one of them is 44 years old. He was arrested for carrying a concealed handgun. Two others, 21-year-old young men, arrested for misdemeanor assault and battery. And one arrested for disorderly conduct. And as you mentioned, John, two of those three are out-of-state. One from Chattanooga, Tennessee and the other from Gainesville, Florida. That's interesting because we were told earlier today from Governor Terry McAuliffe and from the Mayor Mike Signer that a lot of the people causing trouble were from out of state.
I have covered a lot of these riots and protests in the past and very often local officials will accuse people from out of state of coming in and causing the trouble. That seems to be the case here as well, John.
So, again, between the witness accounts of what happened behind me here with this car strike and some of the fighting and the protests that you saw earlier today and the new information that we are getting, two of the three being charged today being from out of state, you really kind of see some of the disturbing nature of what happened today coming together.
Now, we've been asking city officials all night, are there any of these white supremacists around in any kind of numbers tonight. They're not giving that information out. They are not telling us whether they think anything else is planned. It is fairly quiet here tonight.
Just behind me, the city is flashing light. They have tow trucks coming and gathering the two vehicles that were struck in this car strike. Witnesses have told me that they saw the perpetrator sitting there in his car for a while. Then they saw him backing up, positioning his car and then gunning it right down the street.
One witness told me he thought he was going at least 50 miles an hour. He struck that pedestrian, a 32-year-old woman was killed. He struck two vehicles that are behind these trucks. They seem to be moving those vehicles right now, John.
So, a lot of dramatic new information tonight from here in Charlottesville.
BERMAN: Indeed. All right, Brian Todd for us on the streets of Charlottesville. And again, one of the headlines we don't want to overlook. Quiet as of now tonight on the streets of Charlottesville, which is a welcome thing, to say the least.
I want to bring back our panel right now. And Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of the State of Virginia, I want to go straight to you with this new piece of information, the statement from the mother of the suspect, James Alex Fields, charged with second-degree murder.
The mother says he told her last week he was going to an alt-right rally in Virginia. That gets to what you were talking about before. If we find out that this young man left Ohio to go stir things up in Virginia, that's when you get into the realm of maybe a federal crime with the Department of Justice. Ted Cruz calling on them to investigate it as a case of domestic terrorism, correct?
CUCCINELLI: Yes, absolutely, because you are crossing state lines and it's for the purpose of breaking the law, of course. The fact that he was just going to the rally wouldn't quite get you there, but mom has identified that he knew what he was doing, where he was going and so forth.
Frankly, that statement sounded like what a mother would say under these circumstances. So, I feel bad for her, but it's hard to feel bad for her son - that's for sure - who caused all this harm to so many people today.
And if other information comes out, and it could be from e-mails that he communicated with people he might have been meeting in Charlottesville and so forth that he was coming with an intention to do harm, then you're going to be in a very legitimate federal realm for a charge.
VAN JONES: I think it's important -
BERMAN: Go ahead, Van.
VAN JONES: I just think it's important - Ken, you were saying earlier than Virginia could handle it, and that's certainly true. But there's something about the federal government stepping in and saying these kinds of things are not appropriate, we're not going to tolerate it because it's America's government that needs to take a stand against this kind of hatred, especially when there is a loss of life.
[10:50:18] If people just want to come and say dumb, mean things, I am for dumb, mean people saying dumb, mean things. I'm not one of these - but if you want to go and do mean things and cruel things and lethal things, I think America's government needs to take a stand.
So, no doubt that Virginia couldn't handle it, but I think America's government should handle it.
BERMAN: Paris Dennard.
CUCCINELLI: Well, Van, if I could comment real quickly -
BERMAN: Go ahead, Ken.
CUCCINELLI: I understand where you're coming from on that, Van. I just think that the long-term solution to this problem is more a problem of the heart than any particular incident represents.
And we've got to do this one community at a time. That's the reason I think for Virginia to handle it and to face this itself and to deal with it ourselves. Like I said, we are perfectly capable. I know that you feel the same way.
I understand the symbolism that you're talking about. And I think it's appropriate. And we'll hear in the coming days, I'm sure, from all portions of this country and our government, appropriate statements of response as these facts are better understood.
Just what the mother added right here, it confirms for us at least that this individual who drove this car was coming to join this rally. So, which camp he was in. As those facts unfold, I think more responses along the lines of what you are describing make more sense.
BERMAN: Paris Dennard, getting to what the president did not say, before one of the things that President Trump has criticized former President Obama for not saying is the term radical Islamic terror.
Is it important, Paris, if this young man did cross state lines with the intent of going to this rally to cause harm to people, is it important to call it domestic terror?
DENNARD: Listen, I won't be hypocritical like some people and say that he shouldn't. Listen, when President Obama didn't call the incident that happened down in Charleston domestic terrorism, I took him to task on that, saying that he should because it was, in my opinion, an act of domestic terrorism.
And I think that if the facts prove - and I think they're coming out and they seem to be supporting the fact that this man is a white supremacist who did these acts out of malice towards others because of their view that was - and he wanted to act out on this because he is a racist, then it should be called what it is.
And President Trump should call it domestic terrorism if that's what it turns out to be because I think what we have to do is be able to speak the truth as to what these things are that have been happening.
Quite frankly, what President Trump said today was correct. This is not a new thing. This is not a Trump phenomenon. This has been going on well before President Trump, well before President Obama, well before President George W. Bush. This is the issue that our country has never fully dealt with. And I think we have to call it out for what it is.
But there was something pretty remarkable -
BERMAN: There's a new term, which is alt-right, which is something that we haven't heard for the decades and decades. It's a relatively new term in our Lexicon here, Josh -
DENNARD: You can slap a new term on it, but the people have been there for quite some time.
DUBOIS: There was certainly something pretty remarkable about what happened yesterday and today with Nazis marching in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.
And he speaks so forcefully about everything else and yet it took until 1 pm for him to tweet and then a couple hours later we saw the statement that we saw.
I'm not waiting - I hate to say it, but I'm not waiting for President Trump for more leadership. But I do think there are moral leaders and moral hope in this country.
If you look at Charlottesville even today, there was a lot of things that we could still look to with hope. There were clergy surrounding the protesters that were there and saying that love has already won. There were folks laying hands and praying on the counter-protesters and lifting them up.
We see Republicans and Democrats speaking out even now. Even institutions like UVA and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello are condemning hatred and white supremacy and bigotry. There are good things happening, but President Trump needs to catch up to the goodness that is in this country right now and his statement today just did not do that.
DENNARD: The president denounced violence, hatred and bigotry. Read the whole statement. He did that.
DUBOIS: I did.
DENNARD: And for Josh to say that, look, there were many people who wanted President Obama to - he worked for President Obama - to do more, to show up, to go to Ferguson, to show up to go certain places and do things.
DUBOIS: Paris, I was there in Selma -
DENNARD: But nobody questioned his morality. So, for us, the question of morality of President Trump, I think, is disingenuous.
[10:55:11] BERMAN: Josh, go ahead.
DUBOIS: If you have to look at the history and the track record, and that's a fair thing
DUBOIS: If I could finish, when you talk about, you want to rough up protesters, when you're re-tweeting white supremacist accounts - look at the facts of - Sebastian Gorka's history. Just Google it. Mainstream websites, mainstream news, particularly in the Jewish press.
Look at who is in the West Wing. These things matter. I'm not making this up. These are not figments. These are not conspiracy theories. This president and the candidate did these things.
And now, we see folks taking him seriously and picking up torches and marching in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is real life. And no amount of talking points or both sides or anything like that is going to paper over that, Paris.
This is who he is, but he can be something different. We all can be something different, but he we've got to confront who he is.
DENNARD: What are you saying that he is?
DUBOIS: We're saying that he is someone who has courted white nationalists, in part. That's not the only part of his coalition, but that was a part of his coalition. And that is a dangerous thing to do. (CROSSTALK)
VAN JONES: I think one thing that we do have to take responsibility for is sometimes unintended consequences. Paris, your apathy for this present, I think, is admirable. I think he makes a lot of good points.
But I just don't think that I'm seeing the people who are defenders of Trump taking enough responsibility for the fact that we've never really seen a president with this relationship to these kind of forces.
You're correct that we've had - listen, the Klan is probably the oldest terrorist organization in the world. It's certainly the oldest terrorist organization in the United States is the Ku Klux Klan. They have been around for a very long time, but they have not often felt that they had a friend in the White House.
And when you had Reagan in that awkward moment where the Klan endorsed him, Reagan was much more clear and much more forceful in separating himself. And he wanted to separate himself.
There is a hesitancy here. And I think part of the problem that we have is this president is not hesitant on anything else. He is so aggressive coming after the media, so aggressive coming after his opponents who are political.
And yet, when it comes to this particular bunch of people, he pulls his punches. And I think that, if you have is ear or anybody has his ear, if he is watching right now, this is the time.
We now have a dead American. An American is dead and this is the time to come out full guns. We need a full speech.
When Barack Obama was running for office and there was a challenge that came because of Rev. Wright, he gave an eloquent speech.
Donald Trump has shown the ability to give important speeches. He actually rises to the occasion. He did not do it today
If we get to the end of this week and we have not heard this president tell this young generation of young white men, this is not the right way, we've got a better way for you, I am afraid that they are going get the wrong signal.
If you look online tonight, a lot of these young white guys are getting the wrong signal from the president. They need better leadership than they're getting.
DUBOIS: It's both about the woman who died, but it's also about the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.
When I see that Swastika on armbands, that gives me - it turns my stomach. It's about the millions of African-Americans who died in slavery and because of Jim Crow in Virginia and in other states, in graveyards that are around the community of Charlottesville and that these folks are walking on.
It's not just about that one woman. It's about what these people represent. Donald Trump - honestly, after having known that he should say something and not saying something immediately, and then maybe he walks around to it later in the week, I'm not sure that that's enough, but there will be other opportunities.
And in the meantime, folks who have his ear, folks who are praying with him, folks who voted for him need to hold him accountable and say this is wrong and you need to go another way.
BERMAN: We have heard from many members. We've heard from - hang on one second, Ken. Because we've heard from people from all over the political spectrum.
Ted Cruz, who you worked there closely in the campaign, has was condemned this forcefully, called for the Department of Justice investigation.
Cory Gardner has called on the president to speak out more forcefully. Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, John McCain, the list goes on and on.
I just want to read one more. This is from someone assumingly on the other side of the aisle right now from Sally Yates, who was the acting attorney general, who was fired by the president for enacting his travel ban.
She wrote, "The poison spewed by Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK is not who we are as a country. Takes less than 140 characters to say it.
Her point there, Ken, is that it doesn't take much just to condemn these groups.