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Terror in Charlottesville; Trump Blasted for Response to White Supremacist Rally. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired August 13, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm George Howell, continuing our breaking news coverage this hour out of the U.S. state of Virginia.
ALLEN (voice-over): Where federal authorities are now investigating a car in Charlottesville as a civil rights case. A car plowed into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally.
HOWELL (voice-over): The man the police arrested, this man, in connection with that car attack; 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. from the state of Ohio. He's being held today on suspicion of second- degree murder.
ALLEN: The video from the car attack -- we warn you is graphic so if you have small children in the room, now is the time to have them turn away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Them Nazis drove into people. He -- oh, my God. Oh, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: That's the video there, you get a sense of the chaos that played out in that particular moment.
This picture you see here shows the exact moment when people were thrown into the air. We know that a 32-year-old woman was killed in this attack. ALLEN: Five people are in critical condition as well.
Meantime President Donald Trump for his part urged unity but was less explicit when it came to who was to blame.
HOWELL: He didn't call it what it was and that has Democrats and Republicans criticizing the president for not labeling the protest for what they are, white nationalists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: And it's that line right there, "on many sides," that has many critics scratching their heads. They're questioning what did he mean by "on many sides"?
Let's get the latest now from CNN's Brian Todd with exactly what happened in Charlottesville.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A day of violence and escalating tension here in Charlottesville, Virginia, as white supremacist protesters engaged in a pitched street battle with counter demonstrators on Saturday in Charlottesville.
And then the violence got even worse. Several people were injured in the initial clashes between the two groups of demonstrators then shortly after 1:30 pm Eastern time in the street just behind me, 4th Street here in Charlottesville, as a group of demonstrators were walking down the street, a car plowed into several of them and then struck two other vehicles.
One 32-year-old woman was killed in that incident; at least 19 people were hurt.
And separately, two state trooper died in a helicopter crash just outside Charlottesville, Virginia.
Here is what we can tell you about the suspect in the car strike that occurred, again, right behind me here at the scene. He is 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. from Maumee, Ohio. He has been arrested and booked a local jail. He is charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of failure to stop in an accident, which resulted in a death.
In addition to that, three people have been arrested in connection with the demonstrations; two of them are young men from out of town. And the governor and local mayor here have told us that a lot of people they believe who have come here to cause trouble did come from out of state.
So investigators here are still piecing through what happened. Civil rights investigation has been launched by the Justice Department into the incident here behind me. And one man faces a second-degree murder charge -- Brian Todd, CNN, Charlottesville, Virginia.
HOWELL: Brian, thank you for the report there.
Earlier CNN spoke with a reporter who heard from the mother of the man suspected of driving that car into the crowd of protesters. Listen.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUREN LINDSTROM, "TOLEDO BLADE": He told her last week he was planning to go. He had taken the day off of work. And she described this as an alt-right rally but she had no idea kind of -- she said she was unaware of its extremist natures or leanings as far as the other people who were going to be attending.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did she say that her son was part of an of these groups, was somehow simpatico with any of these groups?
LINDSTROM: So she was pretty unaware of what the definition of alt- right would be. She fumbled over the language. I don't think she had a clear idea of what that definition of what that would be.
She said to me that she doesn't try to get too much into his political --
LINDSTROM: -- beliefs and that she's not too well versed in his political leanings in any way. I don't get a sense that she necessarily knew what he was headed for this weekend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: In an emotional news conference, the governor of Virginia was emphatic. He did not mince words as he spoke directly to the white nationalists at Saturday's rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY MCAULIFFE, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple. Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.
You pretend that you're patriots but you are anything but a patriot. You want to talk about patriots, talk about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who brought our country together. You think about the patriots today, the young men and women who were wearing the cloth of our country. Somewhere around the globe, they're putting their life in danger. They're patriots. You are not. 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.
We were here today to bring people together, to unify folks. I remind you all that we are a nation of immigrants. Unless you're Native American, the first ships that came to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, and since that time many people have come to our great country to unite us.
Our diversity, that mosaic tile of immigrants is what makes us so special and we will not let anybody come here and destroy it.
So please go home and never come back. Take your hatred and take your bigotry. There is no place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with Randy Blazak from Portland, Oregon, the chairman of the Oregon Coalition against Hate Crime.
ALLEN: He also teaches sociology at the University of Oregon and he's an expert on white nationalist groups.
Thank you much for being with us, Mr. Blazak. I want to start with that emotional news conference from the Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe. He minced no words, talking directly to these hate groups who gathered for a rally in his state.
At the same time, we did not get that from the President of the United States.
Why is that, do you think?
RANDY BLAZAK, OREGON COALITION AGAINST HATE CRIME: This is something we would expect to hear from our president. I think it might be a little bit late for Donald Trump just because he spent so many years kind of on the other side of the line, feeding the extremist views, including all his years as a birther, making the case that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
So the genie is sort of out of the bottle on his side.
On the other side, it's never too late to change. He certainly changed positions on many issues in the past year or so. So I think this weekend in Charlottesville is a wakeup call for a lot of Americans and we hope that he's one of them, where he sees where this extremism on the Right goes and where it's taking us and how it's moving us away from our core American values. So you hope that he has a moment as well as many Americans I think are having this weekend, that this style while he's spinning dramatically out of control.
HOWELL: You say never too late to change. This is a president that we all know knows how to use Twitter. And Twitter is a place where people can go online right at this very moment and make clarifications and give context to important issues at hand.
The question though here, given that we have not heard yet from the president on this big question of why he has not called this what it is what it was, with white nationals, is this -- is there a political calculation involved here, do you surmise?
BLAZAK: Well, I can't read his mind but I know he likes to play to his base and those are the people he thinks are his core supporters. And those are the people who feel that America is changing in the wrong direction. They don't like the way that it's going with regard to gender roles, with regard to immigration, with regard to the general demographic change and the economic changes.
They're kind of displaced by all these changes that are happening in America and the problem is that's a smaller and smaller base. It's not a vocal majority. It's a very vocal minority and it's shrinking but it's getting angrier and angrier.
And so we're kind of moving in two different directions. And that's the fear, is that this schism drives us apart in the nation between the people who understand that we are a nation --
BLAZAK: -- of many colors and we're changing and we're evolving and our -- the pastiche of American culture, if you will, is just going to become more and more diverse.
And those that feel that are left behind and they want to lash out and they want to go back. It's always this rhetoric about going back, make America great again; it's some mythical past when we didn't have all these issues to deal with.
And the problem is that that group is smaller and smaller but in many ways they're angrier and angrier.
ALLEN: Right. And by having an impact as we saw today -- and a violent one -- it's interesting that our president will not come out and negatively talk about the alt-right movement. He will not come out and talk negatively about Russia.
But I'm curious; the world has moved on on the climate issue without this president.
Can this country somehow mobilize and move on what it even if Donald Trump remains scared to step up and address the real issue here and the groups promoting hate? BLAZAK: Yes, I mean, this is a much bigger political issue than just this issue, or we have a president who's on the sideline on many of these issues and the country and the world move forward.
I think from my perspective in the work that I do is how is policies and his tweets feed this monster that's been boiling underneath our culture for so long, that is now spilling out onto the streets and where is that going to go?
And does he feel so loyal to that extremist element that he is willing to just keep it going, keep feeding the machine, to the point where we're at -- on the brink of a civil war?
So it's a frightening time for the nation. I think we're kind of at a crossroads or almost a tipping point and I think a lot of people are going to look at Virginia through the rearview mirror and what happened this weekend and say that's when we had a choice about which road we were going to go down.
And the question is, is the president going to join us on the right road?
HOWELL: Randy, stand by here. I want to ask our director if we can take a look again at that video, where we see the protesters going back and forth with the white nationals that were there.
I want to bring this video in to play because there's a question that comes to hand.
When the president said "both sides," what exactly does that mean?
Because when we see these protesters, when we see them out, basically standing up against the white nationals, again, that were there, at hand, what exactly do you believe the president means when he says, when he sees this video and what do others see, what does it mean, both sides?
BLAZAK: Yes, I mean, I think on a very small scale, if you're just looking at it, if you're just looking at from the perspective of the 6 o'clock news, you have these fascists and these anti-fascists. And they seem sort of equally prepared to come to come to the streets and do battle and they both represent sort of equal validity in the world.
And they're both willing to use violence on some level to stop each other and then, in fact, the fascists want to restore the old order and the anti-fascists are trying to stop that.
So they're not equal partners in this dynamic. They're not equal in any way, shape or form but it looks like -- and I think the people like Trump and the people who kind of just see this from the sidelines, that these are two players in a football game, who are playing by the same rules and playing by the same playing field that somehow it's even.
And in fact, there's a much bigger picture but from the small scope, it looks like these are just members of rival gangs that are going at it.
HOWELL: Randy, I have to ask just briefly here, so when you say that, in fact, is the president legitimizing, as some critics would say, legitimizing the other side as another player on a team, as you point out?
BLAZAK: Yes, I mean, I think that's the concern throughout his campaign. This is nothing new, that he has used these whistles and the sort of scapegoating and the stereotypes and the generalizations and the bringing out of loosely based in reality statistics that sometimes completely unrealistic statistics, to make his case that as someone who's done this research for 30 years, that was the stuff that I would see at Klan rallies.
And a lot of these folks on the extreme Right recognize that and they see that as someone who's coming to speak their language and defend their cause, whether he is or not when he is online, who knows.
But they see it. And as you go onto their chat boards and their forums ad their discussion groups, they see his rhetoric as speaking directly to them. And that's dangerous because there is a large percentage of the population in this country that has a dramatically diametrically opposed view of how the world works, so these folks on the alt-right.
But they don't feel the president is really speaking to them, just to these extremist elements. And so you wonder where that goes if he continues doing this.
HOWELL: Randy, it is important to point out, the president is, in his comment, did mention bigotry but the question is, many critics say didn't go far enough, didn't call it what it was.
ALLEN: Especially when you realize they were carrying --
ALLEN: -- torches into --
BLAZAK: Right, right. And we are really interested in his sincerity. I think most Americans, myself included, want to know where his heart is on this issue. And based on things he's said in the past, it's really hard to judge those words as sincere.
But we want to believe him. We desperately want to believe that he's on the side of justice and fairness and we're waiting for something that's more sincere and is reflected in his actions, not just an occasional tweet or speech.
ALLEN: We'll see if that happens. But thank you so much for your expertise in joining us, Randy Blazak, for us out of Oregon, thanks, Randy.
HOWELL: Witnesses who saw the vehicle slam into the group of counter protesters, they say the car was going very fast. Two men who were near the scene told CNN exactly what they saw and heard. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MAHONY, EYEWITNESS: So, we were walking down the road, as Brennan mentioned, but we came around the corner and you could see the car just over the other side of the road, just sat there, looking down the road.
And as he said, the protesters were coming down 4th Street. So, I don't -- I thought that is a bit strange; there didn't seem to be any other cars stopping him from going.
And then of course, moments later, we heard a car going incredibly fast, you know, down the road and saw it plow into the crowd and then it reversed back and then we were -- some of us ran after the car to take a photo and then followed it -- ran down the road, alerting the police to chase it.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what transpired in those minutes after the car left this block and left view?
What was the scene like here?
BRENNAN GILMORE, EYEWITNESS: Well, there was almost an immediate response from first responders. There were state police right here on the mall. I don't know if they actually witnessed it, so we alerted them.
We said, you need to get down there immediately. There is first aid crews came in. And then pretty quickly an armored vehicle came down to block the scene.
So, you know, the response was quick. But, you know, obviously I understand one person lost their life and, you know, it was a very, very violent attack.
HARTUNG: And, Brennan, you said that you helped administer first aid to a woman.
What else did you observe in terms of victims of that crash?
GILMORE: There were a lot of victims around the scene of the actual crash just halfway down the block and then people coming up, you know, bloodied, shaken. Obviously, people having -- you know, hyperventilating.
And then, yes, again let the professionals take over. And then we got out of the, you know, got out of scene. It was obviously increasingly a violent day in Charlottesville and I certainly agree with the mayor's recommendation that people should stay home.
HARTUNG: Now, Brennan, you travelled here from Washington -- I'm sorry, Chris, you travelled here from Washington, D.C., to be a part of the counter protest to the Unite the Right rally.
How do you describe the emotions you felt as you saw this attack on other counter protesters like yourself?
MAHONY: I can't honestly say; it was the emotion of surprise because up around the center of the protest from both sides, you had a high level of antagonism. Right? It wasn't necessarily peaceful. You had people literally in military fatigues with arms walking around.
So, of course, that's an incredibly intimidating environment. So, then naturally, when that happened, I thought, this is someone deliberately attacking these people, you know, because of their beliefs.
And, yes, and like Brennan said, yes, it's a little bit traumatizing, of course, you know, to witness these people go flying, you know, and later, you know, the carnage of everybody lying around.
Because I walked with the police officer back, you know, from around the corner after we had said, look, one of these cars has to follow and they were fantastic.
You know, the first officer I came into contact with I said, that car just plowed into a whole load of people, you know, as I was sprinting down the road, as I was trying to get away and maneuver through all of these other vehicles
And he immediately got on the mike, you know, and got in contact with another police car that kind of pulled out behind it. I think because it was suspicious, because the front of the car was all smashed up.
And they had the helicopter overhead and he said, yes, we're on it quickly, take me where this has happened. And of course, by the time I got back, like Brennan said, you know, the response was in full swing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung, speaking with witnesses there.
ALLEN: Coming up, the bitter conflict in Virginia took place on and near a campus founded by Thomas Jefferson.
HOWELL: There is a lot of history involved here. We'll hear from the mayor of Charlottesville and others on their anger, on their sadness, at the extremist violence that took place. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): This was the scene, a Saturday in August, as school began on the campus of University of Virginia in Charlottesville. A normally quiet college town and this, white nationalists protesting the removal of a Confederate statue.
They clashed with people who came to face them.
HOWELL (voice-over): Then the violence deadly. A speeding car plowed into a group of counter protesters. We've seen this type of tactic used in Europe by ISIS, yes. One person was killed; at least 19 others were hurt.
The suspect, the driver, a 20-year-old man from Ohio, taken into custody.
ALLEN: The FBI has now opened a civil rights investigation into what he did.
HOWELL: So as far as reactions go, Democrats and some Republicans are criticizing the president for his response to what happened in Virginia.
ALLEN: CNN's White House correspondent Athena Jones with more on that for us.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there; that's right. The president did respond to the violence in Charlottesville earlier today. Here is part of what he had to say.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. It's been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And one phrase that you heard from the president just now there is getting a lot of attention and a lot of criticism, I should say --
JONES: -- , and that is when he said the violence, the hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. A lot of folks are saying he is equating the neo-Nazis and white supremacists and white nationalists who were demonstrating today and last night with the folks who were counter demonstrating, protesting the racism and the racial epithets they were espousing.
I asked a White House official what the president meant by "many sides." I asked several White House officials. This is what one of them said. They said the president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today.
So that was the White House doubling down on this idea that both sides are to blame.
Another thing that is notable here is that the president talked about bringing the country together, about the need to unite, to straighten out the situation in Charlottesville, to study it, to figure out what's going wrong in this country that allows this sort of thing to happen.
Well, a lot of critics on both sides of the aisle are saying that the president himself needs to call out the organizers of these demonstrations by name; specifically we're talking about the white nationalist, people who were carrying flags with Nazi emblems, carrying Confederate flags, people who showed up on the University of Virginia's campus last night, carrying torches, protesting the removal of a Confederate statue.
They note that the president has long criticized people like President Barack Obama for not using phrases like "radical Islamic terrorism," arguing how can you fight or defeat this enemy or this idea without naming it?
They are calling on the president to condemn white nationalists. And one more thing I want to note. This is a president who has not been shy about criticizing a long list of people, whether it's Democrats like President Barack Obama or his former rival, Hillary Clinton, or fellow Republicans like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John McCain, also the former FBI director, James Comey and the current special counsel, Bob Mueller.
But what he has not done while president is condemn white nationalists, white supremacy, white nationalism or Nazis or neo- Nazis. That is why a lot of folks believe that his statement today, the statement here on Saturday, did not go far enough -- back to you.
HOWELL: Athena Jones, thank you.
Senator Ted Cruz is among prominent Republican lawmakers condemning Saturday's violence calling white supremacists "repulsive and evil." The Texas senator called on the U.S. Justice Department to immediately investigate and to prosecute today's grotesque act of domestic terrorism.
ALLEN: other Republicans were even more pointed in labeling and condemning the agitators.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said, "White supremacy is a scourge that must be defeated."
Former presidential candidate Jeb Bush said, "White supremacists and their bigotry do not represent our great country."
Senator Marco Rubio called Saturday's violence "a terror attack by white supremacists."
And Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said, "Hate and bigotry do not reflect American values."
The mayor of Charlottesville says the white supremacists brought hatred into the city and that belongs in the trash heap of history, his words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE SIGNER, MAYOR OF CHARLOTTESVILLE: This tide of hatred and of intolerance and of bigotry that has come to us and that has marched down with torches the lawn of one of the founders of democracy, it is brought here by outsiders and it's brought here by people who belong in the trash heap of history with these ideas.
They're going to be in the trash heap of history. This day will not define us. We will define this day by the story that we continue to tell tomorrow and the tomorrow after that, the week after that and the year after that.
There is very sad and regrettable coarseness in our politics that we've all seen too much of today. Our opponents have become our enemies; debate has become intimidation.
What democracy is about -- and we this here because we're the birthplace of democracy -- it's about deliberation. It's about action. It's about progress. It's about working together and it's about, at the end of the day, if you disagree with somebody, you don't try to take them down. You agree to move forward.
These folks do not want that. They do not agree with the rules of democracy and they are on the losing side of history. The work of rebuilding and healing is just beginning today. Tomorrow will come and we will emerge, I can promise you, stronger than ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: still ahead here on NEWSROOM as U.S. leaders denounced racial bigotry and hatred after the Unite the Right rally of white nationalists, we discuss race relations in the United States with a bit of history in mind. That interview ahead.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world, continuing our breaking news coverage this hour out of the U.S. state of Virginia. I'm George Howell.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen. Federal authorities have opened a civil rights investigation. It didn't take them long to do that into the car attack in the city of Charlottesville. One woman, a 32-year-old woman, died when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally; 19 people suffered injuries; five are in critical condition.
HOWELL: And the man arrested in this case, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., he's arrested in connection with this crash, being held on suspicion of second-degree murder. Three other people also arrested in connection with clashes between white supremacists and people who came out to face them.
ALLEN: Meantime, Democrats and Republicans are criticizing President Trump for not labeling the protesters what they are: white nationalists. The president also said that about the violence in Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville. And we want to study it. And we want to see what we're doing wrong as a country, where things like this can happen. My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens.
But our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other --
TRUMP: -- respect each other and cherish our history and our future together.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: What did he mean by that?
That is the question that has a lot of people scratching their heads. Some those, including Republican lawmakers, are criticizing the president for not specifically calling it what it is, white nationalism.
Republican Senator Cory Gardner tweeted this, "Mr. Trump, we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism."
ALLEN: On the opposite side of the coin but also criticizing President Trump is the former leader of the hate group, the KKK. David Duke is questioning Mr. Trump over his condemnation of the rally in Charlottesville. He first asked the president, "So after decades of white Americans being targeted for discriminated and anti-white hatred we come together as a people and you attack us?" HOWELL: He later tweeted this, "I would recommend you take a look in the mirror and remember it was white Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists."
Duke explained the reasoning for Saturday's alt-right and neo-Nazi rally, hate groups, that took place in Virginia. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DUKE, FORMER KKK LEADER: This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We're going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in. That's why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he's going to take our country back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Joining now to talk more about this, we have Derreck Kayongo. He is the CEO for the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Derreck, good to be with you today. So we just heard a moment ago the president, his response here, but many are questioning why he didn't call this "white nationalism."
Looking back on the campaign trail, you remember that President Trump criticized the former president, Barack Obama, for not using the term "radical Islamic terrorism."
I want to play several clips of this so you can get a sense of what Mr. Trump was saying back then. And now it seems the shoe is on the other foot. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Radical Islamic terrorism and I'll tell you what, we have a president that refuses to use the term. He refuses to say it.
He refuses to use the term radical Islamic terrorism. He refuses to use the term.
You know, you hear the term "radical Islamic terrorism." He won't say it. He won't say it. And you can't solve a problem if you refuse to talk about what the problem is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: So to use the president's own words here, he refuses to use the term, Derreck. We'll get into a bit of history on this in a moment but, first, your thoughts about where the president is right now on this very important issue that is dividing America.
ALLEN: He is refusing to use the terms.
DERRECK KAYONGO, CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Yes, you know, Trump's words are powerful and I think that when you obfuscate and run away from this important moment, that's when you engender this kind of passion.
And I think what we're looking at is -- I'm going to be positive here and say let's give him time to really gather his thoughts because I think it's time important thinking versus a rush to judgment or to pronouncements.
So we call, I think, on the president to come up with a rational statement that will govern as this country and bring us back together because these are the moments that make a leader great.
So we're waiting for that moment and I think he's going to come through. I hope he does come through.
ALLEN: Well, so far, he isn't the president of unity, though.
KAYONGO: You know, he is not projecting that right now but, you know, I want to make sure that people understand that, while the president is important in this discussion, at the very end of the day, what are you doing in your neighborhood to bring about equality?
What are you doing every day to live up to this moral aptitude that we all sought when we were building this country?
This requires all of us to really change the country around and turn it into a place where we are all equal. It's not going to just by the president. At this moment, the president needs to come out and say something powerful.
But at the very end of the day, what are you and I doing to bring equality in this country?
HOWELL: Derreck, obviously you are the head of the Center for Civil and Human Rights here in Atlanta. It's so good to have your perspective because there is a great deal of history at play here.
When you think about the reason for what we saw took place in Charlottesville, it is a nexus of --
HOWELL: -- two passions, correct?
You have the passion of people who say they are there to preserve history; you also have the passion of people who see these symbols of Confederate leaders and they see the symbols as symbols of hate, of slavery and of racism.
KAYONGO: You know, hatred is a dying art. If you think that there is a future in hatred, you are wrong What happened today is reminding all of us that something next year is going to happen, too. It's going to mark 50 years since Dr. King died.
And he died for this monument of courage, there are two monuments that we're looking at here. There's courage that engenders injustice and there's courage that engenders justice. So we're looking at these two pieces fighting each other. At the end of the day, justice does win. So as we look at the upcoming commemoration of Dr. King's death, which spoke to us partly about the issues of injustice and poverty, issues of housing, issues of gender rights, this is actually a good time for us start reflecting for next year because it is going to be a question asked of us by the whole world.
What you done since that man's death?
ALLEN: He said for peaceful protest.
ALLEN: Not what we saw today. We talk about people speaking up and standing up for (INAUDIBLE), these people from all walks of life, came and faced down the alt-right, they were carrying weapons. One man I was arrested for a concealed handgun.
So these are very tense times and, unfortunately,, we are not able -- all the friction an tension in this country to live up to MLK's edict to us so many years ago.
KAYONGO: Yes. And but behind all that is an interesting issue going on. There is a march toward freedom that started a long, long time ago. I think what you're seeing is we're tearing down monuments that discourage us from being free and we're building new monuments.
So the African American Museum just got built. If you haven't been, you should go. It's a monument of courage, that sort of courage that we're proud of as a country.
Dr. King's statue was built not too long ago. That's a monument of courage. So as we tear down these old monuments that represent hatred and this fear that we have against each other, the good news is that we are starting to build new monuments and that's where we think we need to go.
So this rout you see in Virginia is just this last fight to hold onto those old vestiges. But they're dying. They're dying away.
HOWELL: I think depending upon a person's life experience, I suppose they can see this different ways. Some people see it clear as day; other people see it a different way. But as you point out it's important to give time because the president has Twitter These questions continue to come up.
And for the critics who have those questions, there is always time for clarification. Derreck, thank you.
KAYONGO: This has been great to be here, to remind everybody how important this work is.
ALLEN: It is critical, absolutely critical to peace and stability in our country. Derreck Kayongo, thank you so much, Derreck.
KAYONGO: Thank you very much.
HOWELL: Thank you for your time.
ALLEN: and coming up here, violence in Virginia isn't the only issue of course, facing President Trump. That's a domestic issue. Of course he has international issues. Venezuela, North Korea; we'll have the latest on the North Korean missile threat live from Seoul as we push on here. You're watching CNN breaking news.
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN breaking news coverage, covering the story out of the U.S. state of Virginia, where white supremacists clashed with counter protesters that turned into a deadly confrontation on Saturday.
ALLEN: A 32-year-old woman was killed; 19 others were hurt; five are in critical condition when a speeding car rammed into a crowd, some of those injured, as we said, are in critical condition.
HOWELL: And here's a look now at the suspected driver, a 20-year-old man from the U.S. state of Ohio, taken into custody. He's being held on suspicion of second-degree murder.
ALLEN: The FBI has now opened a civil rights investigation into the incident. Virginia's governor said he spoke with President Trump about what happened.
The violence in Charlottesville comes as the U.S. is also facing the North Korean missile threat. The White House says President Trump discussed the issue with French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday.
Meantime the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is set to meet with South Korea's president. That will come on Monday.
For more on this, CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from Seoul.
And what a time to be talking, Alexandra, instead of inflaming with more rhetoric that we've seen from more than one five here (ph).
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's certain going to be an important time for U.S. and South Korea to have an opportunity to be speaking directly, the South Korean officials have clearly been standing by their allies, the U.S., all week.
They have not been commenting publicly, officials at the government level, on what President Trump has been saying and the tone of what he has been saying.
Instead, they've been pointing the blame at Pyongyang for raising the level of tension on the peninsula and they have been warning Pyongyang that they maintain a full defensive posture here, that they're ready to respond in a powerful way if further provoked.
That's certainly a much more tame way of saying essentially what President Trump has been saying all week. It started on Tuesday; you'll remember that now-infamous comment about fire and fury. And there has been a rapid back-and-forth of threats ricocheting around the world from Pyongyang to the president's home in Bedminster, New Jersey, both sides saying here, threatening various kinds of military action if the other side doesn't back down, back off.
Other world leaders have been wading in; the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has been raising his concerns about the heightening tension here on the peninsula. He had a call with President Trump, during which President Trump assured him that the U.S. has military, economic and diplomatic measures ready to proceed with.
You also had the Chinese president expressing his displeasure, saying that both sides need to ratchet down the rhetoric. The Chinese, as you'll recall, have continued with the same option, the same solution on the table, while the U.S. wants China to crack down on North Korea economically. China says that the U.S. and South --
FIELD: -- Korea should stop with those military training exercises that so enrage Pyongyang.
In exchange they say that North Korea should freeze its nuclear program. Neither side has agreed to that, certainly, Natalie, and we do know that the U.S. and South Korean militaries are expected to proceed with those annual training exercises later this month. We'll be watching it -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Never a better time for all these different countries to come together. We haven't done that yet. Alexandra Field for us there in Seoul, thank you, Alexandra.
HOWELL: And that's on the international front. Here on the domestic front, we will have much more on the violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a white supremacist rally and the criticism of President Trump's response or lack thereof response to it. Stay with us.
ALLEN: Again, our breaking news is out of the U.S. state of Virginia. A white nationalist rally in the city of Charlottesville turned violent and deadly.
HOWELL: Police have arrested several people; three people, in fact, over clashes between white supremacists and counter protesters. ALLEN: And federal authorities have opened a civil rights investigation into the car attack.
We also have video of that incident. We warn you, you may find a graphic. It shows part of a chain --
ALLEN: -- reaction of the attack. That red van moved into the crowd after being hit from behind by the attacker's car.
We know that a 32-year-old woman died in that crowd; 19 people were injured, several critically.
HOWELL: Wow, you look at that video, people just didn't have time to get out of the way.
Police have taken this man into custody in connection with the crash. In the meantime, some Democrats and Republicans are criticizing President Trump for not labeling the protesters for what they are: white nationalists.
Some analysts who listened to President Trump's words on Saturday say that his tepid message could send the wrong signal those who want to spread a message of hate and intolerance.
ALLEN: CNN political commentator Van Jones said there is danger in Mr. Trump's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Somebody lost their life today, an American citizen, who woke up this morning, assuming that he or she had a long life to live, that said I want to go and bear witness against Nazis marching down American streets.
We lost a whole bunch of people in this country to stop the Nazis. Dr. King lost his life try to stop the Klan. Every responsible parent raises their kids to hate -- to not hate based on color.
So somebody wakes up in America and says I want to stand against that and they are killed in America by a Nazi. It should not be a surprise that there is universal condemnation specifically about hate groups, white supremacy, terrorism.
That's what we're supposed to do. I am very concerned that he is not sending a strong enough signal to people who think that this is the right way to engage in politics in America, mowing people down, showing up to protests with shields and guns.
I'm concerned that he missed an opportunity today to nip this in the bud and say I'm making America great again. This is not great. I do not want this. It's got to stop right now.
He said some good things but he did do say enough things. And I'm worried. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: And that is this hour of our are breaking news. Thank you for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. I will be back with more of our continuing coverage of the protest nightmare in Virginia. Stay with us.