Return to Transcripts main page


Confederate Statues, Monuments Targeted Across U.S.; DOJ Demanding User Info from Anti-Trump Web Site; Trump Calls CEOs Who Quit His Council "Grandstanders"; New Details on Suspect in Deadly Charlottesville Attack North Korean Leader Backs Off Guam Threat. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired August 15, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] TANZINA VEGA, CNN NATIONAL REPORTER FOR RACE & EQUALITY: We are used to seeing images on television from the '60s and mythical images of America where people are protesting for civil rights. We thought, I think, largely, people thought we were past it. We are not past it. That's what this parent is addressing today. That's where we are going to see more Americans getting involved, I would hope, because there's a lot of pain behind the words.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of pain. A lot of power and strength and resolve. To think that that father went through before this, to then go through the extent of renouncing and disavowing his son and pleading for him to reject the hateful ideology he has taken on. Remarkable.

Tanzina, great to see you. Thank you for coming on.

VEGA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: I appreciate it.

Just in for us, the president is responding to the CEOs dropping out of the jobs counsel over his response to the attack on Charlottesville, calling them "grandstanders." Details on that next.

We'll be right back.


[11:35:00] BOLDUAN: This just in. The Department of Justice is seeking detailed information that could involve more than one million Internet users. Now, a web provider fears it's a move to crackdown on political dissidents. DreamHost is the web provider. It's raising its fears in a public way, warning your personal information could be at risk.

CNN's justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is live in Washington.

Jessica, what is the DOJ seeking here?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: This is an aggressive request from the DOJ, Kate. They want the identities of and detailed information on 1.3 million Internet users who visited a website used to organize protests against President Trump. Like you said, the web hosting site that they are seeking the information from, they are sounding the alarm saying this is too much of an over broad protest and violates the First Amendment's protection of free speech.

DreamHost is the provider. They are saying the Justice Department is demanding it hand over I.P. addresses, contact information and e-mail content of the thousands of visitors who went to one site called That Web site organized people from all over the country in protests surrounding Inauguration Day. DreamHost is challenging that search warrant in court.

But in the meantime, they are blogging about the request from the Trump administration. They're putting out that alarm saying it seeks information about people who use the website to exercise political speech. Kate, DreamHost is concerned the administration's Justice Department is trying to use a search warrant to identify political dissidents of the current administration.

When the protests were happening, there were more than 200 people who were indicted on felony rioting charges in connection with the protest in Washington, D.C. on January 20th. Now, DreamHost is concerned the Justice Department is trying to get even more information about even more people who may have been involved in all of those protests -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: How unusual is this type of request is coming from the Justice Department?

SCHNEIDER: That's part of the pushback from DreamHost. They put on their blog, look, we regularly respond to requests from federal authorities, state authorities, looking for information on I.P. address when it comes to criminal matters, sex offender cases or child pornography. But in this case, the search warrant is so over broad, it's untargeted. And DreamHost worries that by asking for anyone who visited this website, they may be, the Justice Department may be trying to chill free speech and going after anybody who went to that Web site, whether or not they showed up at the protests or not.

They are arguing, OK, we usually comply with criminal requests but this goes way too far and crosses the line. That's their argument -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Not the end of the story.

Jessica, great to see you. Appreciate it.

SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: This just coming in. I want you to take a look at the latest tweet from President Trump, who just sent it out, going after, once again, the CEOs, the major business leaders who quit his jobs counsel over his Charlottesville response. Appearing to call them grandstanders.

I want to bring in more for the discussion, CNN politics reporter, editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza. Chris, what do you -- I'm not -- I think the president is calling them

grandstanders. I'm not entirely sure how it is formulated in the tweet. Once again, he's not letting it go. He went after Kenneth Frazier. Now he's going after them as a group.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. I feel much more comfortable, Kate, saying he is calling them grandstanders. He views what happened over the last 48 hours, starting with Ken Frazier, and Kevin Plank adding his name, as political correctness run wild. If you ask him why are they doing it, they are doing it because they are worried it is going to hurt their bottom line. They don't believe any of this stuff.

But we saw it with Jeff Sessions, we saw it last week with Mitch McConnell, now this week with Ken Frazier and this broader Manufacturing Advisory Counsel. When Donald Trump is a dog on a bone, he does not give it up. He will go back at it, back at it.

The problem here is that we are still at zero tweets, unless he's done it since I started talking, regarding Charlottesville and what happened there. Yesterday, two tweets about Ken Frazier and Merck, zero about Charlottesville. This is why it is very important to follow what the president tweets. And it is, in many ways more indicative of what is on his mind, what he cares about, what is animating him, than certainly the public statements he makes.

BOLDUAN: We had a supporter of his, Jeff DeWitt, from Arizona.

CILLIZZA: I saw that.

BOLDUAN: He was on earlier. And he said that it is a voice of the frustration that the president feels and the direction the conversation is going where everyone needs to be focused on attacking and condemning these hate groups. I appreciated that additional statement saying that is where the focus should be.

[11:40:08] CILLIZZA: Yes.

BOLDUAN: We have to get beyond the Twitter feed to get that conversation going.

CILLIZZA: That's the problem, Kate. I watched that interview. I thought he was right. He's right that the president should have done and said more.

The difficulty here is that we are now, you know, on tuesday talking about what he sort of said on Monday, and definitely didn't say on saturday. This is the president of the United States. You don't get three swings at things as it related to moments like this, moments of real leadership that require moral clarity.


BOLDUAN: You can clarify.

CILLIZZA: Yes. BOLDUAN: I don't think you get major do overs on this. We will see.

Chris, great to see you.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, man.

Coming up for us, chilling new details on the suspect in the deadly attack on protesters at the Virginia rally. Police reportedly visited the home of the suspect's mother in recent years. We are going to have details on that, ahead.


BOLDUAN: Learning new details about the man charged in the car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. Police dispatch logs obtained by CNN affiliate, WLWP, show that Samantha Bloom, James Fields' mother, called police to her home nine times between 2010 and 2013 in Kentucky. On two occasions, officers responded for alleged violent activity against Bloom. In 2011, a 14-year-old was arrested. Police have not explained how the case was resolved. However, the boy's name is redacted in all of the call logs.

Fields is charged, now, with murder and the death of Heather Heyer.

Days after his daughter was killed, Heather Heyer's father is speaking out and saying he forgives the killer.


MARK HEYER, FATHER OF HEATHER HEYER: I don't hope ill will toward this fellow who did this. He's stupid. He's only 20 years old. He doesn't have sense enough to make a life-long decision about nothing.

You know, I forgive him, flat-out. I forgive him.


BOLDUAN: That's powerful.

Joining me to talk about the situation there, where it goes from here, David Toscano, a Democratic leader of the Virginia House of Delegates and a former mayor of Charlottesville, and Congressman Don McEachin, of Virginia.

Gentlemen, thank you for coming in.


REP. DON MCEACHIN, (D), VIRGINIA: Thank you very much for having us.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

David Toscano, you're the former mayor of Charlottesville. The police chief there has been facing quite a bit of criticism for the police response to the protests and what happened. The police chief defends the response but he did say he has some regrets. Do the police deserve to be criticized here?

[11:45:00] TOSCANO: I think we need to take a thorough look at what happened on that day. There was a lot of planning and preparation for the event but a lot of things didn't go according to plan. The demonstrators didn't show up in quite the same way. And there was a lot of chaos on the street. We have to do a thorough review of what happened to see how we can improve on this. I think these folks are coming back and we need to be prepared.

BOLDUAN: You don't think this is over?

Congressman, the hate groups that descended on Charlottesville came to rally to keep up the Confederate statue. There are similar plans for rallies for a Confederate statue in your district next month. Are you worried what could be happening in Richmond?

REP. DON MCEACHIN, (D), VIRGINIA: Well, actually, the person who applied for the application has withdrawn it. Whether people will come anyway is beyond me to know right now.

You know, we don't want that type of hate in Virginia. I think we can be concerned about the police reaction. And the governor is going to have a report about what happened. He ordered an investigation. That really takes the emphasis off the white nationalists. That takes the emphasis off the president's delayed response. That takes the emphasis off how his campaign, that is the Trump campaign, gave birth to a lot of what we see today. Let's keep our eye on the ball.

The police did the best they could. We could be Monday-morning quarterbacks if we want to be. The reality is we have hate groups that are on the run right now who are feeling like they have a place in America and we have to change that.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, that kind of reminds me that after tragedies that have national significance, like what we have seen play out in Charlottesville, there are often calls and a desire for the leader of the country, the president, to come to that place, to offer support, to be a unifying figure. Congressman, do you think President Trump should go to Charlottesville? Do you think that would help?

MCEACHIN: If President Trump can come to Charlottesville with humility, if President Trump can come as a unifying figure -- he's going to have to do more than what he's done so far with the rhetoric. He's going to have to do something. Here is a for instance. How about let's look at the domestic terrorists again. Let's shift the funds you took out of being concerned about domestic terrorism and shift them back to keep an eye on white nationalists. If we wants to come to Charlottesville and make that announcement, that would be welcome. If he wants to come and wink and nod at the white nationalists, we don't need that.

BOLDUAN: Are you happy, though? Were you satisfied? Were you happier with the secondary response that the president gave yesterday, Congressman?

MCEACHIN: Not in the least. It wasn't sincere. It needs to be backed up by actions.


David Toscano, this morning, the current vice mayor of Charlottesville explained why he won't call Trump "President Trump." Instead, he only calls him "45," as in the 45th president of the United States. He only calls him "45." Listen to this.


WES BELLAMY, (D), CHARLOTTEVILLE VICE MAYOR: I believe that when he begins to act as if he deserves to be in that office and leads in terms of unifying people, he will deserve the name of President Trump. At this point, he has not done the things in regards to bringing this country together.


BOLDUAN: What do you think of this? You are a former mayor of Charlottesville? Is this helpful?

TOSCANO: It is clear Donald Trump has not done the things he needs to do to bring the country together. His response saturday was really a colossal failure at leadership.

Can we blame these events on Donald Trump? No. Can we say he set in motion a number of things that led to white nationalists coming to Charlottesville? I think the answer to that is definitely. In his speeches, his political rallies, his criticism and threats to lock up political opponents or even beat them up, he created this atmosphere that is not conducive to the democratic process and how we try to seek grievances in this country.

We strongly support peaceful protests, but you can't have people coming into towns to try to intimidate people and create violence and mayhem. That's what these white supremacists attempted to do in Charlottesville on saturday. In fact, that's what they did.

[11:49:52] BOLDUAN: Gentlemen, I want to ask you -- just getting breaking news in now. Let me ask you about this. Just learned a fourth executive quit the president's manufacturing counsel, Scott Paul. He is the president for the Alliance for American Manufacturing. It's a nonprofit. A non-partisan partnership formed in 2007, according to the website, leading manufacturers and the United Steel Workers. This is another person. In a tweet, he says, "I'm resigning from the manufacturing jobs initiative because it's the right thing for me to do."

Congressman, your reaction?

MCEACHIN: Well, you know, I -- I certainly support those individuals who are leaving the council. I still am curious, as far as I know -- perhaps you'll educate and share with me a tweet I haven't seen. As far as I know the only person attacked by the president in almost like a nanosecond of his resigning is the African-American leader of Merck. Why is that? Why hasn't he had the courage --


BOLDUAN: Do you think he --


MCEACHIN: I don't know what it has to do with. But that's why I asked the question, why is that? When he can attack the -- attack the Merck CEO in, like I said, a nanosecond and at the same time take days to respond to the white nationalists, and then just with a wink and a nod as we've seen in subsequent tweets today.

So we've got a problem. The president of the United States is not acting like the president of all the United States. He's acting more like the president of Alt-Right.

BOLDUAN: Of Alt-Right.

Gentlemen, thanks for coming on. A lot more questions, and running out of time. Appreciate it very much.

And more on our breaking news. Coming up for us, is North Korea backing off its threat to attack Guam? Are things calming down? Are they at a stalemate? What is the status? The surprising new comments coming from Kim Jong-Un. That's coming up next.


[11:56:24] BOLDUAN: New this morning, is North Korea's Kim Jong-Un backing off his threat to fire missiles at Guam? The leader says, after reviewing a plan to strike the U.S. territory, he will wait to see, quote, "What the foolish, stupid Yankees do next." This is the latest in a week of ramped-up rhetoric between the two nations. Yesterday, a stern warning saying from Defense Secretary James Mattis to North Korea, saying, game on, if missiles are fired on U.S. territory. So for now, is the standoff over between the U.S. and North Korea?

With me to discuss, retired U.S. Army Major General James "Spider" Marks, CNN military analyst, and Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow on the Atlantic Council. He worked under Bill Clinton on the National Security Council then.

Gentlemen, great to see you.

General, first you.

What's your take on this, what you're seeing? Is Kim Jong-Un backing down?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He blinked. I don't think he's backing down. He still has nukes and missiles. Development in both will continue. And we'll track as best we can that development.

The concern I have, there are tactical indicators we might miss through intelligence. But strategically, we have a very good handle on what he's doing. So he's not backed down, but in a tactical way, he's followed a path he's been on before.

This is the time of year where there's a big military exercise in South Korea. Used to the called Achieve Focus. Not it's called Achieve Freedom Guardian now. You have a number of the command-and- control headquarters, all the commanders and their staffs are in Korea right now. So he does this as a matter of routine. Gets very bellicose and then he takes a step back.

BOLDUAN: Does this mean, Jamie, the president's strategy of ratcheting up the rhetoric has worked?

JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: No. I disagree lovingly with my friend, General Marks, because I don't think Kim Jong-Un blinked. He got everything he wanted. He got the president of the United States engaging him in a tit-for-tat verbal confrontation.

BOLDUAN: Right, but no -- he said, no missiles going towards Guam.

METZL: But Kim Jong-Un was never -- it wasn't that was his goal, was to fire missiles at Guam. President Trump said, don't threaten us. Then the North Koreans, five minutes later, threatened. So the president has been totally delegitimized. The United States, our strength comes through our leadership. Not through making nuclear threats against other countries. And American leadership is now undermined. So North Korea is stronger and, America is weaker.


MARKS: I'm sorry.

Isn't it fair to say when he said, I'm going to fire missiles on the 15th of August, it's the 15th of August and it hasn't happened. That's a blink.


METZL: But they said they were reviewing military options. They never said we're going to do it on this day. They said we are reviewing military options. And now they have that on the table. And the president has been engaged in this tit for tat, which is unlike anything any American president has --


BOLDUAN: I want to ask, if I could, another tit for tat, what another leader is saying, Iran. Iran is saying, Iran could quite the nuclear deal within hours if the U.S. imposes more sanctions. How realistic is the threat from Iran?

MARKS: They've said it. We would have to monitor that very, very closely. I can't imagine -- I mean, they have sanctions in terms of -- that are in place right now. I can imagine they're certainly talking in that direction. What that really means is their relationship, Tehran's relationship with Pyongyang is not at risk if we really try to put this economic isolation dome on top of North Korea.

BOLDUAN: Jamie, you'll get the first and last question next time.

Great to see you both.

General always gets the last word.

Sorry, Jamie.


BOLDUAN: Thanks for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.